Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday Mercenary Mutterings: All This and Magnus2

So in the great headlong stampede of undomesticated equines that is Mark III, it looks like Magnus2 (or Magnus the Warlord, technically) is coming out at the head of the pack for Mercenaries. As is turning out to be the norm with this edition, that's putting a lot of preconceptions from the previous edition a bit on their heads.

Magnus2 hasn't changed a lot from his mkII incarnation, yet the changes he does have are significant - he dropped his warjack bond in favor of Field Marshal: Unyielding (as well as gaining Unyielding himself), and swapped Mobility for Escort, which doesn't grant pathfinder, but DOES give him additional ARM and is an upkeep rather than an expensive drain on focus each turn.

His feat is unchanged and still arguably one of the most powerful in the game, and can flat out deny an entire half or more of the board to an enemy, which I think lets you be more cavalier with choosing models you like and that work with your play style over the generic "best in show".

The important result of the changes, taken with rules like Power Up, is that Magnus 2 can now do what it seemed he always really wanted to do - run a block of warjacks very, very well.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wednesday Battle Report: Kaelyssa 1 vs. Ragnor 1 (75pts)

This one is a day late due to some unexpected stuff coming up yesterday, but here it is.

As I said last week, I'm going to focus my tactical posts on the Retribution of Scyrah until January.  I'll still post some Skorne battle reports, but this week, I was getting back in touch with my inner mage hunter.

I've been very intrigued by the MkIII version of Kaelyssa, who has some amazing new tools to play with as well as a much-improved lineup of 'jacks, and still-totally-good infantry.  Here's the list I played.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Monday Mercenary Mutterings: Gorten Grundback and the Gunbunny Swarm

At the expense of today's post sounding a lot like a knockoff Harry Potter title, I'm going to take a quick look at Gorten Grundback, arguably mkII's least used Rhulic Warcaster. Also, it's a day late, but that was due to me having second thoughts on the first list I built (see below).

With mkIII, a lot of things changed - Gorten... pretty much didn't. At all. I'm not even joking here, he is almost identical, right down to his feat, spell list, and stats. The only changes to his card (beyond the spiffy new background) is that they threw in a bunch more Warjack Points, Solid Ground is now Friendly Faction, and he gained Tough - 5 minutes with a sharpie and you can keep your mkII card, it's downright unnerving.

However, while he didn't change, it's a lot like the game changed around him, and he is immensely better for it.

Lets take a look.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Looking At Retribution in MkIII

Since any Skorne tactics I try to post are going to be obsolete in, oh, 3 months or so, I'm going to sit down and give my Ret models a hard looking-at.  I haven't played any Retribution yet in MkIII, largely because:
  1. Skorne had some issues, and since I intended to keep playing Skorne, I wanted to see what I could do to help people do well with them.
  2. The Power Up rule, along with a bunch of others, means that my Ret collection needs a serious update to be current with the meta.  I'll get around to it eventually, but right now, any list I build with my own models, I end up wanting more 'jacks in.
  3. My lazy ass never got around to painting, or in some cases even fully assembling, my Ret models, and I've gotten used to playing with a 2/3 painted Skorne list for battle reports.
But I do still like the angry elves, and since I've said I'm going to do tactics on Fridays, I'll start doing tactics for Ret.  I'll try to play a roughly equal amount of Ret and Skorne at least until January, and have a mix of battle reports with both factions.  My tactics posts will mostly be me learning how to elf in MkIII, at least until January.

For now, I'll mainly be looking at Ossyan 1, Kaelyssa 1, and Rahn 1 as 'casters, both because I feel like I can build decent lists for all of them with what I've got, and because they look pretty freakin' fun right now.  I'll probably branch out into Hylena, especially if there's a Journeyman League I can glom onto anywhere near me.  I'm also looking at Elara 2, because holy Scyrah, she looks fun.

No actual tactics this week.  Hopefully, I'll come up with something for Retribution by next week (or if not, then I'll at least have a lot of questions).

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wednesday Battle Report: Makeda 3 vs. Borka 2 - 75pts

Here's the game I played last Friday.  I wanted to try out the bug version of my Makeda 3 list, and Caleb had some Trollblood lists he was interested in trying.  We decided to do a Steamroller-esque pairing, and drop what we thought would work best.

My two lists were the Hexeris 2 list I played in this game, which I like a lot, and the following Makeda 3 list:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Changes Are A Foot

I was going to try to go back to tactics posts this Friday, but it seems that might be premature.  The latest PP Insider has revealed that Skorne is going to get a serious second look, and that rebalancing changes will start in the next rules Errata (out in January).  Obviously, I'm pretty excited.  The nature of running a blog means that I talk a lot more about what does work than what doesn't, but I agree with people who've been saying that there were some pretty serious problems with the Skorne range and faction synergies.  I'm very interested to see how PP will address the problems in Skorne, and how building lists and playing games will change when they do.  I have to wait for January for that though.

In the meantime, I'm going to take a bit of a breather, and play some 'casters I don't usually play (in particular, Zaal 2, Naaresh, and Makeda 1 are all 'casters I've been itching to try), and work on my second faction, Retribution, a little bit (and maybe even paint them up a little, so you can stand to read my battle reports).  I'll definitely be keeping an ear to the ground for changes in Skorne, and keep you all posted on what I think.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Monday Mercenary Mutterings: WTC Solo Masters and Constance Blaize

So it looks like Mercs did very well at the World Team Championships, getting 1st, 4th, and 9th in the WTC Solo Masters Report!

That's pretty impressive, but what's almost as impressive was the range of Warcasters used - Bart, Damiano, Constance Blaize, Ossrum, and a pair of Magnus2 lists for the Solo Masters, with a smattering of Cephalix, Drake, Gorton, and more Magnus2 added in for the Teams. That's an impressively broad range of warcasters (yea, yea, except for a small preference for Magnus2), especially considering that Damiano, Ossrum (before Earthbreaker), and Constance Blaize saw very little competitive play in Mk2, with the latter being widely considered the worst warcaster in the faction/game, depending on who you were talking to.

The Blaize list was actually pretty similar to the one I've been toying around with for a while, so that got my interest peaked. After a rather disheartening loss with Borka2 the other day, I think my Trollbloods are going to take a time out for a while, so it's back to Mercs for the foreseeable future, and Constance Blaize is at the top of my list(s). 

More after the break...

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Khadoran Tournament Report: Part Two

Continuing on from my close loss to a local Ret player my next game pitted me against an out of town Cygnar player running Haley1 and Caine2. I'll admit that Cygnar was one of the matchups that I was hoping to dodge, but figured that Vlad1 would have the best go of it. He dropped the following Caine2 list into me:

Captain Alistair Caine
- Ace
- Hunter
- Hunter
Alten Ashley
Maxwell Finn
Lanyssa Ryssyl
Trencher Commandos, Min, with Scattergunner
Max Trenchers with UA and three Grenadiers

He won the roll and chose to go first. The scenario had Kill Box, so I measured out the walls that were available and realized that one side had a "trap wall" (that was placed such that the caster would need to suffer the kill box penalty) while the other side did not. I wisely chose the side where my caster could stand in safety.

Unfortunately I forgot to take pics this game. Scenario was Take and Hold.

I deployed my Uhlan pods on either flank, A+H+V on the extreme left flank, my Jacks and Rifle Corps in the center and Vlad on the left side near the wall. He had Caine, Ace, and <mechanic> in the center, a Hunter on either side, AD'ed the Commandos on my left flank and the rest of the Trenchers in the center.

Round 1:
His force advanced cautiously, Trenchers putting up a cloud wall and staying out of my charge range. Hunters edged up on either side of the board and Caine ran up to his wall, throwing Heightened Reflexes on the Trenchers and Bullet Dodger on himself.

My turn I advanced the left Uhlans cautiously all in a three man pod, trusting Wall of Steel to see them through the hail of bullets that would no doubt come looking for them. My jacks ran up the center as far as they could while the right Uhlans huddled around a Blood of Kings/Wind Wall'ed Vlad standing at the edge of the wall and outside of Caine's 19" threat range. My Winterguard advanced cautiously behind the jack wall, trying to stay out of Trencher threat ranges. Joe tough'ed the Winter Guard.

Round 2:
Caine upkept his spells and kept his focus. The Commandos advanced and took some shots, causing a few Tough checks and some splash damage on the Uhlans. The left Hunter killed an Uhlan while the right Hunter got magical weapons from Strangeways and gunned another rider down. The normal Trenchers ordered a Cautious Advance and threw some shots down range and killed a few Winter Guard.

My turn I weighed my options. Stealth on the Commandos was annoying, but I at least had the Spriggan to light some of them up for my Rifle Corps. The two remaining left Uhlans went their separate ways, one taking out the gun arm on the Hunter and the other murdered a Commando. The Spriggan walked up and flared some Commandos and the Rifle Corps finished them off along with a few normal Trenchers. The right Uhlans destroyed the right Hunter while my Juggernauts killed a few additional Cygnaran dogs.

We realized at the end of this turn that my opponent had kill boxed himself, getting me two control points.

Round 3:
My opponent made some big mistakes this round due to kill box. Caine and the Trenchers danced around, but Caine couldn't hide and for some reason he didn't feat to remove my jacks from the table. At the end of his turn he had placed the Cygnaran warcaster within 14" of one of my Juggernauts. I allocated the Juggernaut one, feated, Boundless Charge'd the Juggy and cast Signs and Portents. One boosted Ice Axe later and Caine was frozen on one hit box left, with the Juggy's second initial finishing him off.

Game 4: Irusk2 vs Harkevich in Extraction

The last game of the day was against renowned local Khador player Jordan, who was famous in Mk 2 for bringing exactly two lists: Claws of the Dragon and Mad Dogs of War, and doing extremely well with them.

In Mk 3 he's switched things up and is now running the new "Mad Dogs of War" manned by Harkevich:

- Kodiak x 2
- Juggernaut x 2
- Mad Dog x 2
- Rager
Max Mechanics

After some debate I decided to drop Irusk2 into this, as Battle Lust is great at breaking armor. I won the roll and decided to go first.

Uhlans went on the right with the Juggernaut, Pikemen/Irusk2/Spriggan/Mortar in the center and Rifle Corps on the left. The plan was to try and sneak the Rifle Corps around and work towards an assassination  and stay just outside of his charge range where possible.

Round 1: 
I ran up with everything as fast as possible. He advanced to just outside of my charge range.

Round 2:      
I backed off a bit, but ran the Juggernaut into just outside of his charge range and on the flag to force him to come up. The Uhlans backed off to the middle of my line and the Rifle Corps set up 13" from the left edge of his line.

Jordan feated and ran up with his jacks. Turns out that Kodiaks can run 15" with Mobility, which I hadn't accounted for, leading to three of my Uhlans getting engaged.

Round 3:
 Well, that was unfortunate. I went in the tank for a while trying to figure out a way to get through. I considered going for an assassination on Harkevich- I was pretty sure I could get two fully loaded Jacks on him- but at 16/21 thanks to Iron Sentinel I didn't think it would be a winning proposition. So, I tried to go for some attrition. 

My Juggernaut threw the Kodiak away so that I could free up an Uhlan, and the Spriggan speared the Kodiak next to it for a few points. Battle Lust went on the Pikemen and the Uhlans. The Uhlans ripped both arms off of a Juggernaut and the Pikemen stabbed a Mad Dog to death and put some damage on another Kodiak. Meanwhile the Rifle Corps snuck around the one Mad Dog engaging them and eliminated all but one of the mechanics.

Jordan wasn't able to do much damage to me in return- the Spriggan and Juggernaut got punched a bit, over half of the Pikemen were trampled to death, and I lost all but two Uhlans. Free strikes destroyed another Kodiak. Harkevich and the Rager walked over to the left near his flag.

Round 4:
I didn't have many resources left to chew threw all of that armor, so I decided to go for the assassination. The problem was that the Rager in front of Hark was granting him some significant armor bonuses that I couldn't work through. After thinking I decided to eliminate the Mad Dog, then get to Hark.

On reflection I think I would have been better served just running the Spriggan to push the Mad Dog out of the way, but instead I charged it and battered it with my lance. Two battle lusted Pikemen charged in and couldn't finish it, leading to the Mortar having to be used to finish it off. My Rifle Corps aimed and fired... but left him on 10 boxes.

And really... that was pretty much it for me. I survived the following turn and tried to assassinate again (including getting a ludicrously lucky hit with the Mortar on Harkevich behind a wall), but I ended up being 3 boxes short. Irusk was killed shortly there after.

End Thoughts

I had a great time at the tournament and certainly did better than the 0-4 that I was planning on. With a few smarter moves I think I could have made a better show of things, but that's just me shaking the rust off.

Thinking more about the jack spam lists I think that actually my Vlad1 list will do much better into it. Signs and Portents is a big deal, and in the current version I have even more heavies to throw at my opponent from a longer range than he can threat. Plus with Harm the Rifle Corps can actually put damage on heavies. During my initial testing it seems to work, but I haven't actually gone against Hark with it yet- guess that'll be for next tourney.

Next time, I tackle Menoth.