Snapshots of the current Meta: Smoke and Steel

So last week, I planted my flag on what I thought some competitive pairings might look like in 2019 for Khador. This week, I thought I might do a bit of a retrospective style post, as I want to talk a bit about what the meta looks like at the moment, at least from where I’m sitting. This probably isn’t going to be a massive piece, I just wanted to take some quick snapshots of each of the factions and what they might be playing/what that might mean for Khador.

We are in a very different place, meta-wise, at the start of 2019 than at the start of 2018. For a start, every faction has all of its themes (pretty much) and has had at least 1 CID at this point. Crucible Guard has come out and rocked the boat, as has the reworkings of various older models, like the Tharn and Exemplars, as well as the introducing (or in the case of Sorscha 0, teasing) of new models, like the various 0 incarnations and models introduced in each CID.

So where does that leave us? With a rapidly shifting meta that we have to adapt to. Hell, back before September and the WTC, Gaspy 3 and Haley 3 were all the rage, and now they have taken a decided back seat to the likes of High Reclaimer and the Tharn. All of which means that this post will be massively out of date by the time we hit February, but such is the fate of a blogger. I don’t really subscribe to faction rankings (other than Khador being the best of course!), as these things are far too fluid to be useful. To quote the song, ‘sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down’, so some of these factions that I rate as less of a threat are sure to change in the future. Anywho, to move on, we’ll go faction by faction and discuss what their current state is, at least as far as Khador is concerned.

Cygnar:

Cygnar has been kinda of a bug bear for Khador since the days of Mk 2. They have been a power in the meta for just as long. Which is why I’m as surprised as the rest of you to say that Cygnar is in kind of a slump right now. The combination of mass shooting denial in the meta as well as the introduction of a bunch of things that dick over Haley 3 (Spriggan changes, Primal Terrors, mass access to guidance, etc) has meant that the might swan has taken a bit of a back seat. Cygnar has always been a power list faction, by which I mean that they historically would take a single strong list and crush the meta under it’s boot. This reached it’s apex a couple of years ago, when the usual pairings built in Cygnar has Haley 2 and something to play against Haley. The most recent hotness for Cygnar was Haley 3, riding high in Gravediggers after it’s release from CID. It combined a massive cloudwall, incorporeal hard hitting Echoes, the ridiculous ranged output of Trencher longgunners and other stuff to make a list capable of soloing tournaments. The thing is though, the meta has adapted. As I said above, even usually trick short Khador now has ways of dealing with the cloud wall, and the rest of the game has been marching forward. Cygnar still has some fangs, and Haley 3 is still strong, but they are no longer the faction to beat at tournaments. I’m sure that during 2019, we will see a resurgence from them, especially if some of their flaws (like somewhat mopey jacks and infantry outside of grave diggers) get tuned up a bit in CID. Cygnar is a sleeping giant at the moment, with just a few tweaks required to make them a worrying match up again. Currently, expect to see Haley 3, Sloan, Kraye and Siege, mostly in Heavy Metal and Gravediggers. The meta marches ever onwards.

Protectorate of Menoth:

Currently known as the Judicator faction, Menoth were big winners in the CID roulette this past year. The exemplar interdiction CID was pretty unremarkable, turning out another good theme of warrior dudes that is competitive, has good options and a reasonable selection of warcasters that support it. And then there’s the Judicator. Holy hell that thing is strong, single-handedly warping the meta. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the thing is broken or OP, but it is certainly at the top of the power curve, and results from the year prove it. Able to put out a ridiculous amount of ranged fire, and murdering basically anything in melee, this is a model we have to plan for. Whether it’s Windstorm from Witch 2, or Windblast, or just a ton of hard to kill models, failure to plan for the Judicator in competitive play means you are getting blasted off the table. It runs particularly well with High Reclaimer (for that double Signs and Portents effect), but also runs well with a host of other casters, such as Cyrenia (double Judy with Tristan) or Reznik 2 (for that sweet 12 inch threat and blessed/magical).

Of course, the other part of this puzzle is the hilarity that is Severius 0, also known as the Eye of Menoth on a stick. +1/+1 in control is pretty ridiculous, and that’s without getting into all of his other tricks with Road to War or just his own focus stat of 5, making everything in the same army just a little bit better. Road to War being able to slingshot a jack for a precision scalpeling brings an ability to Menoth that they don’t usually have otherwise. All of this is, of course forgetting to mention that Exemplar Interdiction is an incredibly solid list in and of itself, especially with High Reclaimer, and can force situations where you either die to the Judicator or die to the Exemplars. Ugh.

Expect to see more EI and Creators might, possibly with a smattering of Faithful masses and Guardians. Casters are likely to include a wide variety, such as High Reclaimer, Harby, Reznik, Thyra, and more. Menoth is definitely one we currently have to plan for.

Cryx:

Cryx is probably the most diverse faction currently. Black Industries with the likes of Gaspy 3 or Denny 2 still present an issue for us, bringing fast hard hitting jacks that are difficult to deal with at range, as well as incorporeal from the latter. Our magic weapons situation has improved massively in the last year, but can still cause issues if we don’t think about it. Dark Host is still good as well, if less dominant than it was last year. Banes themselves are not that much of an issue for us, but Wraith Engines continue to be a pain to deal with. And for gods sake, don’t underestimate Ghost Fleet. It may have fallen from grace somewhat, but the pain in the ass recursion and mass shooting is still strong there and will screw you up if you don’t have some combination of shooting denial and mass infantry removal. The bell of the zombie ball is Slaughter Fleet though, which presents an interesting comparison. It’s strong, attritions well and has a lot of beefy infantry backed up by good theme bonuses. It also doesn’t present any major gear checks for Khador, which puts us in an odd position of having to worry more about the Cryx players not playing the current power lists. As far as I’m concerned, bring an out for Wraith Engines (which can be the Magic Weapons objective in a pinch), and we should be fine. Witch 2 continues to be good into Cryx, with the Blind Gun being a particular bugbear for any of the themes barring Black Industries. Vlad 2 or Zerk 1 in AC, or even just taking a ton of jacks with Karchev are all pretty good into current Cryx. The releases on the horizon, such as the Adjunct or Wolves changes promise to give us some even better answers into Cryx, with easier access to magic weapons and a whole theme that does pretty well into the majority of Cryx.

Retribution:

Ret has had a bunch of cool updates in the last year, with a bunch of adjustments, a new warcaster, and a new battle engine. And me oh my, the changes are pretty great. Goreshade 4 is pretty ridiculously versatile and the various updates have made him a good choice in either Legions of Dawn or Defenders of Ios. Expect to see more infantry spam lists out of Ret, as well as more gunlines, due mostly to the new battle engine. The Trident is a pretty bonkers piece, bringing a ton of options and a high level of shooting output. Pow 13 seems low at first before you realise that it is fast, can boost and is in a faction that supports shooting well.

We can generally expect the updated infantry lists, as well as the usual jack bricks with Vyros, the return of the Pacific rim lists with the likes of the new Ravyn and the gun lines that Kealyssa and Gareth 2 can run. Despite all this, Khador tends to do pretty well into Ret, bringing just enough in the way of armour and accuracy that we can actually deal with a lot of Ret tricks. We tend to out attrition them in an even matchup, and as long as we are building our lists well, nothing that Ret is doing is particularly concerning or requires us to specifically tech for. Witch 2, Vlad 2, Zerkova, etc are all pretty good into Ret, bringing elements of threat extension and shooting mitigation. Goreshade 4, in particular, would be more concerning if it weren’t for our own updated ways of dealing with cloud walls and stealth (Spriggan, Adjunct, etc). Don’t get me wrong, they’re still strong, and not to be underestimated, but there are other factions that we actually do have to make tech choices for.

Mercenaries:

Mercs are stronk right now. Ossrum continues to be bonkers (even after the bulldoze change), as does Magnus. Thexus, Gorten, and others are all good as well, and the release of Crucible Guard, and the new Exemplar update, has breathed new life into Llaelese Resistance, and by extension, Ashylynn and Crosse (Cinerators with Crosse are particularly good). Irregulars is scheduled to be nerfed slightly but is still strong (if only for the masses of great solos it can get).

Khador does tend to attrition well into Mercs, with alot of Merc jacks struggling to trade well without layering buffs, but can do pretty well with control. Being aware of what each piece does in a Merc list is the first step to beating it (good advice with any faction really), and trying to scalpel those pieces that most affect you is crucial. Lists that can do this well, such as Vlad 1 Rockets, Zerk 1, Witch 2, etc do well. Having a fairly varied pairing is also important, due to the varied nature of the current Merc meta. Hell, Ossrum can run about 6 different archetypes of list (Bunny farm, Heavies, Gunline, Hammer Dorfs, Battle Engine heavy and control). Due to this, it’s hard to cover Mercs as a faction, or to tech specifically for them. My best advice is to build your pairing as strong as you can, and hope to dodge that particular Merc pairing that hard counters yours. Don’t worry too much, the odds are you’re not going to see it.

Crucible Guard:

The new kid on the block, Crucible Guard has exploded onto the scene with a very interconnected set of models that layer buffs/debuffs together to make slightly underperforming models perform incredibly well, as well as bringing strong gunline elements and a glass cannon style of gameplay. Probably more than any other faction, a

CG list is at it’s strongest at the start of the game and goes very rapidly down hill as it loses pieces, which means that our combined arms lists are going to be the most effective. CG suffers much more than Khador from the effects of attrition. Removing a Suppressor or Dragons Breath Rocket isn’t just removing a jack or artillery piece, it is making every other piece in the army objectively worse. On top of this, Khador has some Warcasters that CG can randomly struggle with. Witch 2 for Windstorm, Zerkova 1 for feat and cloud walls, Vlad 2 for Windblast, etc. Having shooting mitigation is a very powerful effect into CG. Overall, Vlad rockets, Vlad 2 AC and Old Witch 2 Jaws are all great lists in general into CG. Just make sure you respect the sheer output that CG can acheive.

Convergence:

Convergence hasn’t changed much this past year. They got a bit of an update with the CID for the Frustrum Locus, which will probably put some Clockwork Legions on the table. Frankly, it’s kind of welcome and brings some of those infantry lists back into cirulation. Just remember, COC infantry is kind of crappy, relying alot on the ability to recur constantly throughout the game. Try to keep ahead of the attrition game and you should be fine. As for the old standby of Destruction Initiative, it received one update worth looking at: Locke. Locke brings some interesting game plans to COC, taking a faction that is slow and giving them a caster that can bring a real turn of speed. The sheer threat range that Locke can give her jacks is impressive, especially when it’s combined with COCs cheap arc nodes and Jack Hammer. Playing against Locke in Convergence is an exercise in keeping your caster safe. Do that, grind, and you can win. Other than that, the usual go to with COC is still true. Our infantry lists grind their jacks well enough, and our jacks tend to trade well. Be aware of stuff like Tow Cables and TEPs and Khador can capably win games vs COC.

So that’s the first half of my current reading of the meta. I purposefully haven’t done Khador because I’ve already done some posts on the upcoming releases and changes in Khador. Next week, I’ll be looking at the Hordes factions.

For the Motherland!

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New Year, New Pairings

(Author Note: Hey guys, sorry this one is so late, I had it planned to be up before Christmas believe it or not. I blame many things for the delay, mostly school, but hopefully, we can pick the schedule back up for 20019

So we are into the new year of 2019. 2018 was a busy year for Warmachine, we have seen at least 2 Khador CID’s come and go, as well as many more. The game is very different now than it was at the start of last year. I’ve been playing the same pairing for most of last year, but new challenges are on the horizon. With that in mind, I thought I’d spend a post talking a bit about the some of the new potential pairings in Khador and what they cover and why they could be good. First, a disclaimer: Khador is a caster rich faction, with a lot of options, and I am only really going to be talking about lists that have caught my eye (not even all of those really). Just because I didn’t mention a caster, doesn’t mean they aren’t viable or competitive. Also, we have a raft of updates and models on the horizon, including Sorscha 0, the Greylord Adjunct and the Cornucopia CID, and since this is a look at building pairings we might be playing all year (if you’re obsessive like me anyway), I’ll be including their current incarnations in the lists I display here.

I’ve said before on this blog that I think there are 2 kinds of factions in this game. Those factions that can single list events (increasingly rare), and those that have to build good pairings. Khador is one of the latter. To do well at tournaments with Khador, you must build a pairing that covers the weaknesses of your main list. We simply can’t cover everything in one list. This is not to say that I think we have to go down to list chicken. We can build lists that have a pretty decent game into a whole faction, just that taking that list that plays into Cygnar and expecting it to smash Skorne might be a bridge too far.

Thankfully, we are in an even better position for this than the beginning of the year, and it was pretty good then! We have had several adjustments to our models, and the meta has shifted around us. Cygnar is no longer the menace it once was, due to our increased access to anti shooting and cloud wall tech. Circle has risen in the rankings, which Khador tends to be a natural predator to (in much the same way that Cryx tends to be a natural predator of Khador). Menoth has gotten the rather ridiculous Judicator, which Khador has some decent natural answers to. The list goes on.

To deal with the rapidly changing meta though, we have to build good pairings, and often the qualities of these pairings depend on our own preferences as players. For example, there are 2 other Khador players in my local club, and both of them play radically different pairings to mine, with their own success. So here, I’ll be going over my own pair building process.

So to start off, we pick the main caster to form the basis of our pair. Personally, I think that every caster has an optimal list build, and I won’t be going into depth here for each list. Ideally, we want to build a pairing where each list covers whole factions, to avoid list chicken as much as possible. Let’s get started with Vlad 2.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Armored Corps

[Vladimir 2] Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Champion [+27]

– Devastator [14]

– Kodiak [13]

Eilish Garrity, the Occultist [5]

Man-O-War Kovnik [4]

Man-O-War Strike Tanker [5]

Man-O-War Strike Tanker [5]

Man-O-War Suppression Tanker [0(6)]

Man-O-War Suppression Tanker [0(6)]

Kommandant Atanas Arconovich & Standard [7]

Man-O-War Bombardiers (max) [16]

– Man-O-War Bombardier Officer [5]

Man-O-War Demolition Corps (max) [14]

– Sergeant Dragos Dragadovich [0(6)]

Man-O-War Shocktroopers (min) [10]

– Man-O-War Shocktrooper Officer [4]

Vlad 2 Armoured Corp is a versatile list, bringing a large variety of tools, damage output and board presence. It can be more varied than what I have presented here, with pretty much anything in the theme being viable to run with him. The core of the list, that probably won’t vary too much, is going to be the Demo Corp with Dragos, Atanas, and the 4 tankers, as they synchronise well with his particular kit. From there, the particular tools you are going to want with him depends on what you want his list to play. Need him to play circle? Then Eilish is going to be a good choice, for a decent Rebuke out. Want him to play into Grymkin? Then bringing something to consistently kill Gremlin Swarms is a must (the new adjunct when he drops is ideal for this). This is going to run well into a lot of the field, being particularly good into Cygnar, Legion, and Khador, but not really struggling into much. Skorne is probably going to be something of a bugbear, due to turtles and the new Exalted theme changes.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Winter Guard Kommand

[Vladimir 1] Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Prince [+28]

– Marauder [11]

– Marauder [11]

– Marauder [11]

Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich [4]

Winter Guard Field Gun Crew [0(4)]

Winter Guard Field Gun Crew [4]

Winter Guard Mortar Crew [0(5)]

Winter Guard Mortar Crew [0(5)]

Winter Guard Rifle Corps (min) [8]

– Winter Guard Rocketeer (3) [6]

Winter Guard Rifle Corps (min) [8]

– Winter Guard Rocketeer (3) [6]

Winter Guard Gun Carriage [17]

Winter Guard Gun Carriage [17]

Pairing wise, you are likely going to want something that covers its weaknesses, namely a lack of bodies and vulnerability to control. Due to this, Wolves feels like a natural pair theme wise, with WGK being the other idea. In particular, I have chosen Vlad 1 WGK and Sorscha 1 Wolves as my personal preferences. Vlad 1 WGK is another versatile list that has a lot of good matchups, being a good drop into Cryx, as well as Skorne, due to the list’s speed, and ability to remove models at range. It deals well with infantry spam and has the ability to remove heavies at range, making it a difficult prospect for some of the more limited model count armies to deal with. It does not deal well with good counter shooting, ala Judicators, but that should be covered by Vlad 2.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Jaws of the Wolf

[Karchev 1] Karchev the Terrible [+30]

– Devastator [14]

– Juggernaut [13]

– Kodiak [13]

– Kodiak [13]

– Marauder [11]

– Marauder [11]

– Marauder [11]

Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]

Kovnik Apprentice Kratikoff [0(4)]

– Devastator [14]

Widowmaker Marksman [0(4)]

Yuri the Axe [0(6)]

Kayazy Eliminators [5]

Karchev (list above) makes another good pairing for Vlad 2, making your pairing 2 different kinds of armour brick. Once Sorscha 0 drops, he is going to be even more of a monster than he already is, with Jacks potentially threatening 13 inches and getting access to Pathfinder and free charges. Karchev gets a lot of mileage out of being one of the hardest casters in the game to kill (Arm 21 to melee before overboosting and 34 boxes is pretty nuts), and a lot of the current Karchev gameplan is simply to fling a bunch of armour up the table with counter charge up and mop up after the alpha strike. Giving the list the ability to conduct the alpha strike itself changes a lot of matchups and makes this list another good generalist list. Jump start gives some play into the likes of Kruger, despite the mass TK and magic weapons from the feat gives you a pretty good way to deal with Wraith Engines (not that Karchev can’t just kill them himself). Overall, he is going to be great into the likes of Menoth and Skorne, threatening far enough that Turtles will struggle with staying away and bringing enough armour and threat range that Judicators should struggle to deal with (Remember, Judicators die if you get to them, and a Boundless charged marauder with feat should murder one pretty handily).

Khador Army – 74 / 75 points

[Theme] Wolves of Winter

!!! This army contains CID entries.

[Sorscha 1] Kommander Sorscha [+29]

– Conquest [35]

– Greylord Adjunct [0(4)]

Koldun Lord [4]

Koldun Lord [4]

Doom Reaver Swordsmen [10]

– Greylord Escort [3]

Doom Reaver Swordsmen [10]

– Greylord Escort [3]

Greylord Outriders (max) [17]

Greylord Outriders (max) [17]

Greylord Ternion [0(7)]

Greylord Ternion [0(7)]

Sorscha 1 on the other hand, is pretty much built to rush the game. I have built this Sorscha list using the Cornucopia changes, but its core is based on a list I ran paired with Strakhov 2 Legion of Steel, and the core concept hasn’t changed. This list puts incredible board pressure on the opponent, with models starting ridiculously far up the board. Sorscha herself usually has an out through asssassination and the list enables that as well. It plays very well into Cryx, as well as a lot of the new meta pieces, such as Tharn, due to it’s control and its speed. Even into the new Exalted, stationary is the one effect that isn’t stopped by Immovable Object. It’s weaknesses are going to be dealing with those lists that require a lot of armour cracking, but again, Vlad 2 deals quite handily with that, and with the Cornucopia adjustments (assuming they stay the same), Wolves can actually deal with armour reasonably well due to having access to a bunch of different debuffs and options (Puppet Master, Canker Frost, Ice Cage, etc). It is also going to have trouble with lists that have mass immune to cold, such as Trollbloods, but again, Vlad 2 can take that match up.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Jaws of the Wolf

[Old Witch 2] Zevanna Agha, the Fate Keeper [+27]

– Juggernaut [13]

– Juggernaut [13]

– Kodiak [13]

– Greylord Adjunct [0(4)]

Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]

– Rager [10]

Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]

– Behemoth [25]

Kovnik Andrei Malakov [4]

– Marauder [11]

Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]

Kayazy Eliminators [5]

Kayazy Eliminators [5]

Witch 2 Jaws (yes, Rob is banging his drum again), is also a good generalist list to base a pair off of. It particularly plays well into Cygnar, Legion and Menoth, mostly on the back of Windstorm being ridiculous. I’ll post the list above, but most of my readers should be familiar with it. The list deals well with a large swathe of the meta, and has, almost accidently, proved fairly adept at dealing with the new shiny toys that are appearing. The list is a great Judicator and Storm Raptor answer, grinds through Tharn well, and is a pretty good answer to Slaughter Fleet most of the time. Hell, it even does well into Primal Terrors and Armoured Corp, mostly due to leveraging Dark Wings and Behemoths shooting. It falls down into some very specific match ups, namely Minions, Kruger 2, and Lich 1.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Legion of Steel

[Strakhov 2] Assault Kommander Strakhov [+22]

– Juggernaut [13]

– Rager [10]

Eilish Garrity, the Occultist [5]

Iron Fang Kovnik [0(4)]

Kapitan Sofya Skirova [0(5)]

Uhlan Kovnik Markov [7]

Great Bears of the Gallowswood [9]

Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]

– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [0(4)]

Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]

– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]

Iron Fang Pikemen (max) [15]

– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard [4]

To cover this, for quite a while I was running Strakhov 2 in Legion of Steel (list above). It brought a weight of bodies and speed to balance Witch’s plodding Warjacks and had a few tricks to deal with things like Rebuke and clouds. It was a list that showed me the power of Iron Fang Pikemen, which is when they are used more like Satyxis Raiders than as line troops, due to their long reach. It still makes a pretty reasonable pairing for Witch, but has suffered due to the newer stuff that has entered the meta. The Judicator changes would be bad for the list, if that match up wasn’t picked up by Witch anyway. More damning is the rise of Tharn and Slaughter Fleet, both of which are pretty well targeted at dealing with Pikes, both having multiple ways of surfing high powered accurate models through entire units of pikes. Add on that Strakhov has just alright games into some of the things that he has to play into in this pairing (Rask has a lot of corrosion, Rebuke is a pain into Kruger, etc) and I found myself being drawn elsewhere. He is still a great pair for Witch though, and should be considered.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Armored Corps

[Zerkova 1] Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova [+28]

– Marauder [11]

– Spriggan [17]

– Greylord Adjunct [4]

Man-O-War Kovnik [4]

Man-O-War Suppression Tanker [0(6)]

Man-O-War Suppression Tanker [0(6)]

Ragman [4]

Kayazy Eliminators [5]

Man-O-War Bombardiers (max) [16]

– Man-O-War Bombardier Officer [0(5)]

Man-O-War Demolition Corps (max) [14]

Man-O-War Shocktroopers (min) [10]

– Man-O-War Shocktrooper Officer [4]

Man-O-War Shocktroopers (min) [10]

– Man-O-War Shocktrooper Officer [4]

A better pairing, I have found, is Zerkova 1 AC, another list I have written a bit about. Having played it a bunch now, it covers Witch’s problem match ups quite well, doing well into Kruger, Rask and Cryx in general. The main issue here is that the list actually struggles a bit with Tharn, mostly due to the Lord of the Feast, who can one round an entire unit of Shockies if your not careful. This leaves the pairing in something of a list chicken scenario, which can be an issue. This may or may not be a problem, as Witch may simply become the new Circle drop. Most circle players seem to be dropping Kruger from their pairing, making this less of an issue. The list changes somewhat with the release of the Adjunct, which gives the list a bit more access to magic weapon and a better game into some of its intended match ups. Dropping both units of Shocktroopers to min loses 4 Shocktroopers, and exchanges them for 2 Tankers and the adjunct, giving the list access to more solos and some serious guns. As such, Zerkova remains a brilliant pairing for Witch 2 Jaws, as she brings a lot of the tools and match up solves that Witch needs, whilst being a strong enough list to be a main in and of itself.

For Witch, we’ve done a past and a present pairing, so lets complete the Dickensian trio and talk about what I’m considering next. Sorscha 1 Wolves (same list as above). Long time readers will recognise the list as something I paired with Strakhov 2 before Witch dropped (also known as the terrible before time) with some additions made due to . I spoke about it a bit above, so I won’t go deep into it here. Just know that the changes to Wolves make her a natural pair, due to her ability to take on most of the Cryx stable, being a good drop into Grymkin due to her ability to assassinate consistently, and Witch taking on the lists that would be a normal hard counter, like Storm of the North lists.

Those are just 2 lists that I am looking at building pairings around, and not even all the possible pairs that could be taken. Chris Davies WTC pair of Vlad 2 and Irusk 2 is legit as hell, and I haven’t even mentioned the possibilities of Sorscha 3 or Butcher 3, especially with new releases and updates on the horizon. We are into a new year now, and the meta is constantly shifting. I am firmly of the opinion that Khador is one of the deepest factions in the game, with no real duds as far as Warcasters go (other than Butcher 2, and even he has some interesting plays), matched only by the depth of our toolbox to deal with things. Where other factions seem to play a lot of the same lists, Khador has been incredibly diverse in my experience. Between my granny love, Chris Davies love of Karchev, Vlad 2 and Irusk 2, Sven Dosch’s man crush on Sorscha 1 and my fellow club mate’s, Jonathon Clarke, obssession with Vlad 1; the diversity of viable pairings we can build in this faction is huge and competitive. Hopefully, we’ll prove that in 2019.

For the Motherland!

Bobsy’s adventures in Pieland

20181202_113856Couple weeks ago, I went over to Sherwood to attend Simon Robinson’s Winter Cup. Simon was running a 32 man steamroller, split into 2 flights. I’d like to say that the reason I went was for the competition (though that was great). I would be lying though. The real reason I went is that Simon is legendary for putting on the kind of spread that makes the feasts of Harry Potter fiction look bad. And I was getting me some of that! Normally, Steamrollers come with an array of Subway or other sandwiches, which is fine, but Simon…. well, we’ll get to the proper gourmet description later.

As I was thinking primarily with my stomach, I opted to bring my usual pairing of Witch 2 and Zerkova 1, surprising exactly no-one. I hitched a lift with a fellow Fister, one Christopher Clare, and we arrived around 9ish for the start of the tournament.

20181202_113845.jpg

Hilariously, due to drops, I get the bye first round. I ended up doing judge calls to give Simon a hand, and generally get a feel for the level of play at the tournament. Due to the flights being seperated, I knew the playing field, and was watching some of the players that I thought would end up going undefeated.

After round 1, lunch happened. Let me tell you, as my goal for the day was to stuff as much food into my face as is physically possible, I used my free floating nature to ensure I was first at the buffet. And what a buffet. I’ll be posting pictures of it alongside this article to make you all jealous/hungry. Many different types of meats, sandwiches, pastries. The centre piece though, were 2 incredible looking apple pies, accompanied by whipped cream, as well as a rather delicious white chocolate cheese cake, all of which was home made. Naturally, I had about 5 slices of pie, and would have had more if not for other people (greedy pie eating bastards that they are).

20181202_113848.jpg

Round 2:

Round 2 started to the sounds of full people groaning that they had eaten too much, and I was among the accursed. I get paired against Andy Martin, a cygnar player who is running Sloan8 and Siege 1. I have been a bit wishy washy with dropping Witch into Sloan, and decide that now is as good a time as any. He drops Sloan, and off we go. His list below:

Cygnar Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Heavy Metal

[Sloan 1] Captain Kara Sloan [+28]

– Hunter [10]

– Hunter [10]

– Hunter [10]

– Hunter [10]

– Minuteman [9]

– Minuteman [9]

– Minuteman [9]

– Minuteman [9]

– Minuteman [9]

Captain Arlan Strangewayes [0(4)]

Journeyman Lieutenant Allister Caine [0(5)]

– Ace [10]

Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]

– Captain Jonas Murdoch [0(4)]

I win the dice roll and go first. Scenario was Invasion. Terrain had a building in the centre zone, as well as some scattered forests and walls. I deploy with Behemoth, Spriggan and Rager on my left and the other 3 to the right. Andy deploys his list in a long spread out line, and AD’s his Minutemen much the same.

Turn 1:

I spend a lot of time ensuring that I have my distances correct, and take even longer than that because I keep forgetting to factor in Windstorm. Eventually, Witch big bubbles Windstorm, puts out Reconstruct and charges forward. The rest of the Jacks run as far up the table as they can, with the Marauder getting Redline and flinging itself up the table.

My opponent opens up by putting 2 hunter shots into the Marauder, dinging it up. The rest of the list positions, with the Minute men positioning aggressively for the next turn.

Turn 2:

Andy has given me a bit too much, and I spend some time in the tank pondering what to do about it. I opt to feat, putting out 4 boundless charges and Windstorm, before walking Witch back. The Marauder charges in a one shots a minute man by slamming it into a wall (dice plus 7 and I roll a 17 on 3 dice). The Juggernaut kills another one as well. Behemoth aims and takes 2 shots into a Minuteman, leaving it on one box, before the Kodiak charges and throws another one into it, killing them both. The final minuteman tanks a Eliminator to the face, taking half of it’s boxes. I pass turn.

My opponent feats this turn as well, focusing on the right hand side of the board. He clears the Marauder and Juggernaut, and puts some damage onto the Kodiak and Behemoth. Both of the left hand side Elims die as well.

Turn 3:

I spend most of this turn clearing up. I manage to get Caine 0 with a Behemoth shot, as well as clearing the centre zone and it’s objective. I kill another 2 hunters as well. Witch runs into the left hand zone, after I clear it with the Spriggan. I score 3.

Andy is playing for Vps at this point. He manages to kil the Rager, and the other 2 Elims, as well as contest pretty much everything. He leaves Sloan flapping in the wind somewhat.

Turn 4:

Witch charges at the Inert Ace, using the distance to get within shot distance of Sloan. She misses, but does re-rolls and boundless charge the Spriggan. The Spriggan manages to get back arc and at dice +4, hitting on 8s, manages to put Sloan into the dirt.

Victory for the Motherland.

Afterthoughts:

The problem here for Sloan, is basically that she can’t leverage her jacks properly. Ideally, she wants to take extreme range shots, feat for long-medium range shots, and then take short range shots after a few things get dinged up. Windstorm removes the first set, meaning that Sloan is starting the match up behind the curve and has high durability models to grind through, that I can trivially remove. MU is way better than I thought, so long as I don’t get Witch killed.

Round 3:

Semi Finals, and I get Paul Shear. He’s a Circle player, who I have done an episode of Warnouns of Renown with. He’s running Morvhana 2 in Tharn, and something I don’t remember. I opt to drop Witch, as Zerkova keeps getting spanked by Tharn. His list below:

Circle Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] The Devourer’s Host

[Morvahna 2] Morvahna the Dawnshadow [+27]

– Argus Moonhound [6]

– Storm Raptor [34]

Lord of the Feast [0(6)]

Swamp Gobber Chef [1]

Tharn Ravager Shaman [4]

Tharn Ravager Shaman [4]

Tharn Wolf Rider Champion [0(7)]

Tharn Ravagers (max) [15]

– Tharn Ravager Chieftain [0(5)]

Tharn Ravagers (max) [15]

– Tharn Ravager Chieftain [5]

Tharn Wolf Riders (max) [18]

I lose the roll off and go second. Scenario was spread the net. Terrain had a building just outside my zone, a hill under his flag, a forest on the left side of the centre zone and a pond around my flag. He sets up his Wolf Riders and a unit of Ravagers on the right flank and the other unit with Big Bird on the left. I deploy Behemoth opposite the Wolf Riders, as well as the Rager, Juggernat and Spriggan. The Kodiak and Marauder get deployed on the left.

Turn 1:

Paul runs everything forward, being relatively conservative on the left. He spreads his Ravagers out a lot, and in range to give me Vengeance triggers. Big Bird runs forward, but crucially, doesn’t get in the centre zone.

My turn and I have some choices to make. I have 2 Wolf Riders I can shoot at with Behe, one in cover. The one in cover is a problem, because I don’t really want to proc vengeance. I go for it, killing the one in the open, and missing the one in cover, though it drifts 2 inches and still blows the lady up. The other possibility this turn is to do with the centre zone. The Marauder and the Storm Raptor both threaten 12 inches. I um and ah, and decide to put Redline onto the Marauder and get him in the zone. He’s in threat range of a Ravager or 2, but I decide the charges are worth controlling the centre zone. Everything else forms a bunker, staying out of threat range. Reconstruct and big bubble Windstorm go up.

Turn 2:
I don’t think Paul was expecting to lose those Wolf Riders, and spends some time umming and awing. He ends up putting his Gobber Chef on the flag and shuffling his infantry around somewhat. He threatens the zone more heavily this time and runs a Ravager to contest my flag. Everything else just shuffles, with Big Bird staying out of the central zone..

My turn and I continue shooting. Behemoth manages to off another rider, as well as kill the Gobber chef. The Spriggan gets Boundless (windstorm goes up as well), and charges another rider, killing it and contesting the flag. On the left flank, the Kodiak runs and stands at the in contesting range for my flag, being in charge range of 1 Ravager. Everything else shuffles somewhat to stay away from Ravagers. The Elims centralise themselves as well, with one running to contest his zone. I score 1.

Turn 3:

On the left flank, the lone Ravager charges my Kodiak, hilariously doing no damage. The others run to just outside of the Kodiaks 10 inch threat. On the right, he ends up charging a Ravager into the Marauder, dinging it up and contesting my zone, with the rest spreading out and dinging a couple of points off the Spriggan. He runs his last Wolf Rider back round to keep it from dying, and clears his zone using the Lord of the Feast. He spends some health off of Morvhana on Re-rolls here. He scores 1.

I have an interesting opportunity here. I can probably clear the central zone, using my remaining Kayazy and Behemoth shots. I opt to do so, killing a bunch of Ravagers, including the UA. On the left flank, the Kodiak vents and boosts, killing the Ravager in melee with him. It then walks backwards to the maximum contesting range, which happens to be out of threat range of the rest of the Ravagers. Witch puts up the big bubble again, and camps. Whilst the Spriggan punches some Ravagers and the Rager gets ready to take up contesting duty. I fail to contest his zone, but score 2.

Turn 4:

Paul’s turn consists primarily of feating, bringing back everything I’ve killed so far. He manages to get the Spriggan crippled, though it takes the whole right flank to do so. On the left, he manages to get another 2 Ravagers into the Kodiak, again doing no damage at dice off 5 on 3 dice (dice are weird). Big Bird continues being wishy washy, and the rest of the army positions. He scores 1 again, contesting with the Champion.

My turn. I manage to blind 3 of the Ravagers, as well as killing the UA for no vengeance. On the right flank, with 1 box in right, the Spriggan manages to brutally murder the revived UA. Behemoth manages to kill another couple of dudes with guns, and the remaining Elim runs into his zone. The Juggernaut and Elims run to contest his the left hand flag. I score 1.

Turn 5:

Paul commits super hard this turn, keeping big bird back. The Ravagers on both flanks commit, killing the Spriggan and dinging up the Rager pretty hard (hilariously he misses the Rager twice, because def 11 is a thing apparently). He manages to contest my zone with bouncing wolf riders. On the left flank, the Ravagers manage to ding up the Juggernaut and Kodiak a little bit, whilst the remaining Ravagers and the LOTF contest the centre zone.

My turn and I can’t really contest his zone this turn. The upside is that I can break his back attrition wise. Witch moves in, feats and does curse of shadows onto the left hand Ravagers. She allocates some out to the Kodiak and Boundless charges the Juggernaut and the Marauder. She ends her activation by blinding a Ravager, catching the LOTF and 3 ravagers, as well as putting up Windstorm. The Juggernaut goes in on the shaman, murdering it and back handing a ravager. The Kodiak clears the Ravagers around my flag, and on the right flank, a Forge Seer murders a Wolf Rider with an axe, using BW to get a focus onto Behemoth. Behemoth rains down bombard fire onto the remaining wolf riders, killing them all and a Ravager. The Rager continues contesting like a boss. The Marauder lauchs itself into the centre of the board, killing the LOTF and slamming a Ravager over one of it’s friends, killing the lot of them. I pass turn, scoring 2 (one for the centre zone, one for my zone). Paul scores 1.

Turn 6:

Paul has basically run out of models at this point. Big Bird moves up and pulses, frying all the Mechanics, as well as putting some shots into the Marauder. Morvhana goes in on the Marauder and cripples an arm, before Repoing back into the zone. His Argus comes in to try and finish off the Marauder but fails. On the right, he manages to finish my Rager, but not much else.

My turn, and I can score 3 this turn. Witch allocates out to the Juggernaut and does not much else. The Kodiak kills the one contesting Ravager, and the Juggernaut murders the Argus. On the right, Behemoth, Malakov and a Forge Seer manage to clear out my zone. Windstorm goes up. I score 3.

Turn 7:

At this point, Paul can’t really win. He can score a point maybe, but thats about it. He opts to finish off the Marauder and we call it. I win 12 points to 7.

Afterthoughts:

I think Pauls big mistakes were not getting the bird to the zone turn 1, and being too cagey with his stuff. The bird did basically nothing all game, simply standing around and not even shooting. By getting to the zone first, I got to dictate the placement of the rest of the table, as even if he didn’t go into the zone, it was still pinning my marauder in place. This let me keep control of scenario (combined with Behe’s ridiculous accuracy this game) and eventually just roll over him.

Round 4:

Finals, and it’s me vs Ben Thomas. He’s running Ret with 4shade in DOI. His other list doesn’t really matter, because we both know he’s not dropping it. I opt to drop Zerkova. List below:

Retribution Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Defenders of Ios

[Goreshade 4] Lord Ghyrrshyld, the Forgiven [+28]

– Chimera [8]

– Harpy [9]

– Harpy [9]

– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker [0(4)]

Arcanist Mechanik [2]

Arcanist Mechanik [2]

Arcanist Mechanik [2]

Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [0(7)]

Fane Knight Skeryth Issyen [0(8)]

Heavy Rifle Team [4]

Heavy Rifle Team [4]

Houseguard Halberdiers (min) [8]

– Houseguard Halberdier Officer & Standard [4]

Houseguard Halberdiers (max) [13]

– Houseguard Halberdier Officer & Standard [4]

Ryssovass Defenders (max) [16]

Ryssovass Defenders (max) [16]

I lose the roll off and he goes first. Scenario was mirage. Terrain was weird, with a big clock tower in the centre of the board, a couple of other buildings and gratuitous forests. I choose the slightly more open side. He sets up with Defenders on either flank and Halberdiers more central. I go symmetrical as usual.

Turn 1:

The max halberds get Dauntless and everything shield walls and runs forwards.

My turn, and he is so far forwards that I might as well shoot. I end up killing a bunch of halbs, even doing some serious damage with blast damage. Everything else positions conservatively, and I put the cloud wall up.

Turn 2:

I have messed up my positioning and Eyriss has a clean shot at Zerkova, though she has to stand in a freezing mist to do so. She hits the 8, but does no damage. The rest of Ben’s turn is spent shuffling about and putting up a cloud wall. He opts to jam the battered unit of Halbs into my lines and feats.

My turn and I’m kicking myself. No focus is not the end of the world though, and Zerkova pushes forward to get the feat affecting most of the board. I spend the turn punching a load of elves, doing quite a bit of damage. I manage to contest everything and score 1.

Turn 3:

Ben is not happy with his chances attrition wise, and starts off an assassination run (because I have once again positioned Zerkova to close to a MOW). Beginning with 14 focus, he clears some stuff off, and gets an arc node into position. His first boosted blast damage on Zerk does no damage, and the second does 2, at which point he abandons the run and focuses on trying to grind. He manages to kill a few MOW and score 2.

Turn 4:

I spend most of this turn killing as much as I can. I manage to get a good Bombardier mini feat off, killing most of the Halberdiers. The Ryssovas are about down to half strength now and I manage to unhorse the Fane Knight. I also manage to get both of my jacks into contesting his scenario elements. I score 1.

Ben recognises that the game has gone south for him, and spends his whole turn scoring 2. He manages it, but concedes afterwards, as after my next turn he won’t have much left and I’ll end up scoring 3 every turn.

Victory for the Motherland.

Afterthoughts:

Even with my dumb positioning, it goes to show how bad this MU is for Ben that I managed to win despite getting nailed with a disruptor bolt. Zerkova does the cloud wall better than 4 shade, and I have outs for the cloud, which Ben did not. On top of that, my list probably attrtions better. He made the right choice in going for the assassination, and the dice betrayed him (Zerkova took like 3 damage from a bunch of dice off 8 boosted rolls). If I hadn’t been a derp face, I probably sail through this one.

After that, we had the awards. I won my flight, with the other side having been won by Jake Wilstrop, my WTC captain. A bunch more prizes were handed out, and we departed around 8. A late finish to an amazing tournament. Simon did a fantastic job and I hope to attend more of his tournaments in the future.

UK Champions

Sorry this ones so late. Life has been mad the last couple of weeks. I’m just going to count last week as a skip, and hope to get back to normal from this week coming.

A couple of weekends ago, I headed down to Walsall to attend the UK Champions event. Champions is something I have been curious about from the last update, due to the massive overhaul that the Champions format had. Previously, Champions simply meant building your list with War-casters on the Active Duty Roster. Since the overhaul, Champions has further restricted list building to specific themes, with a 2 list event requiring that the lists be in differing themes. For Khador, our casters are currently Zerkova 1, Kozlov, Sorscha 3, Irusk 2 and Butcher 1; with the themes Jaws of the Wolf and Armoured Corp.

I’ve been playing a ton of Zerkova 1 in Armoured Corp, but have been finding lately that I have been crutching on Witch 2 Jaws. This event was interesting to me because it gave me a format to force me out of my comfort zone. I did end up taking a Sorscha 3 Jaws of the Wolf list, with a ton of jacks, but didn’t end up dropping it at all (Sorscha 3 is optimally in Armoured Corp, and I couldn’t run her in that theme as well as Zerkova). List Below:

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Armored Corps

[Zerkova 1] Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova [+28]

– Marauder [11]

– Spriggan [17]

Man-O-War Kovnik [0(4)]

Ragman [4]

Kayazy Eliminators [5]

Man-O-War Bombardiers (max) [16]

– Man-O-War Bombardier Officer [0(5)]

Man-O-War Demolition Corps (max) [14]

Man-O-War Shocktroopers (max) [16]

– Man-O-War Shocktrooper Officer [0(4)]

Man-O-War Shocktroopers (max) [16]

– Man-O-War Shocktrooper Officer [4]

Round 1:

First round and I’m paired against Dan Ford, a local Skorne player from the Warlords. He’s running Hexeris 2 Imperial Warhost and Makeda 2 Masters of War. Since I’m looking at running as much Zerkova as possible, I drop her. He drops Hexeris and off we go. List below:

https://conflictchamber.com/#c9201b_-0L6Q4v4v4v4v4v4v4v4x4x4x2Q5U5UhVhV

Skorne Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Imperial Warhost

[Hexeris 2] Lord Arbiter Hexeris [+27]

– Basilisk Drake [8]

– Basilisk Drake [8]

– Basilisk Drake [8]

– Basilisk Drake [8]

– Basilisk Drake [8]

– Basilisk Drake [8]

– Basilisk Drake [8]

– Basilisk Krea [0(7)]

– Basilisk Krea [0(7)]

– Basilisk Krea [0(7)]

Feralgeist [2]

Paingiver Beast Handlers (min) [5]

Paingiver Beast Handlers (min) [5]

Siege Animantarax [17]

Siege Animantarax [17]

I win the roll off and go second. Scenario was Mirage. Terrain had a cloud on the left hand centre side, as well as a forest on my right flank. I deploy symmetrically, with Zerkova central and near the central cloud. Dan deploys symmetrically as well, with his Animantrax on either flank and his mass of drakes in the centre.

Turn 1:

Dan moves up cautiously, keeping everything out of advance and shoot range of my Bombardiers.

My turn, and my plan is simple. Cloud wall this turn, get a good feat next turn and gun some drakes down. Everything clusters forward and hides behind the cloud wall, with me attempting to keep Ragman safe behind the wall.

Turn 2:

Dan immediately spots how I have messed up. Zerkova is almost b2b with a Bomabardier and he can kill the other 2 dudes who are b2b. He starts going through his activations, running a couple of Drakes up through the cloud wall, and after a few Ashes to Ashes are boosted into her, and feat is run through, Zerkova dies to 4 boosted pow 10s.

Afterthoughts:

This is a great example of why you actually read your opponnents card. Especially if you haven’t played their caster before. I could have fairly trivially defended against this assassination by standing zerkova half an inch back (as he then has to kill a lot more man of war to get to her). Gotchas happen to the best of us boys and girls.

Round 2:

Round 2 and I get another Warlord, Rachel Child. She’s running her rather beautifully painted COC, and has Lucant. I opt for Zerkova again (surprise, surprise) and off we go.

https://conflictchamber.com/#cc201b_-0idjdndndndBd4d9d9dddedfdgdgdzdF

Convergence Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Destruction Initiative

[Lucant 1] Father Lucant, the Divinity Architect [+28]

– Conservator [12]

– Conservator [12]

– Conservator [12]

– Corollary [6]

– Diffuser [6]

– Inverter [15]

– Inverter [15]

Accretion Servitors [2]

Attunement Servitors [0(4)]

Elimination Servitors [0(3)]

Reflex Servitors [0(4)]

Reflex Servitors [0(4)]

Optifex Directive [4]

Transfinite Emergence Projector [19]

I win the roll off and go first. Scenario was Owl Face (also known as Invasion). Terrain had a bunch of unimportant features, as well as a big central forest, (Zerkova thanks whoever is setting up these tables). I deploy symmetrically again. Rachel sets her TEP up on the left hand side, and puts her battlegroup fairly centrally.

Turn 1:

I run everything as far forward as I can, casting a couple of Ghost Walks to get through some rough terrain. I get Watcher up as well.

Rachel decides to feat bottom of 1, reasoning that I’m pretty much threatening to the other side of the zone, and that she’ll lose too much board position if she doesn’t. She runs everything forward, leaving the TEP just outside the left hand zone, as well as most of his jacks in the central zone.

Turn 2:

The TEP didn’t get far enough forward for me to worry about it, so I opt to just back off this turn. Since Lucant has no speed buffs available (so long as I put a cloud wall up to stop the diffuser), I can just back off to outside of TEP range and wait. I take a couple of shots at Servitors, after I undig a couple of them with Elims darting out and back into my lines, killing a couple of them. I opt not to feat and pass turn.

Rachel is in kind of a bad position. I outthreat her, and I haven’t feated yet. She moves up and contests both zones with her jacks, as well as getting the TEP into the Zone. She puts up Deceleration and waits.

Turn 3:

Zerkova checks the clock, and finds that it’s go time. I send in as much as possible this turn, mini feating with the Bombardiers. When the dust settles, I’ve killed alot of Servitors, a light and 2 heavies. Feat goes up, and Zerkova walks forward to just outside of death range. I haven’t caught the TEP very deeply, unfortunately.

Rachels turn and she manages to kill some stuff back. The TEP backs out of the feat and sprays down some Shocktroopers, and the jacks manage to mulch some MOW, with them being in walk distance.

Turn 4:

I spend most of turn 4 mopping up. The TEP and 2 more heavies go down, with the last heavy being heavily damaged. I also manage to score 2 points this turn.

Rachel’s turn and she manages to kill one of my jacks, but is unable to contest both zones with what she’s got left.

Turn 5:

I finish off most of her stuff, leaving just lucant and some random mechanics alive. I score 3 this turn and win.

Afterthoughts:

Going first here was really key. Man O war aren’t fast, but they can get up the board quickly with advance move. Combine that with how slow the COC jacks are and I put early pressure on and forced bad decisions. Feating on bottom of one is not always a bad choice, but combined with a lack of ability to leverage the extra durability and I could just walk backwards and wait it out.

Round 3:

Last round of the day, and I get the man, the myth, the legend, Jacob Graham. He’s running Circle, with Morvhana 1 in Devourers Host. I drop Zerkova again, because why stop a good thing, and off we go.

https://conflictchamber.com/#c8201b_-0jmXmNmOmRmIfFmMmF5qmj5w

Circle Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] The Devourer’s Host

!!! Your army contains a pre-release entry.

[Morvahna 1] Morvahna the Autumnblade [+28]

– Brennos the Elderhorn [15]

– Storm Raptor [34]

– Tharn Blood Shaman [4]

Lord of the Feast [0(6)]

Swamp Gobber Chef [1]

Tharn Blood Pack (max) [15]

Tharn Bloodtrackers (max) [15]

– Nuala the Huntress [4]

Tharn Ravagers (max) [15]

– Tharn Ravager Chieftain [0(5)]

I lose the roll off and go second. Scenario was the Pit 2. Terrain had a forest on the left flank, a big cloud in the centre, as well as a forest on my right flank and a Trench just outside Jacobs side of the centre zone. Jacob deploys Blood Pack on the right flank, the Stormraptor centrally and the Ravagers on the left. I deploy symmetrically again. Blood trackers go centrally.

Turn 1:

Jacob runs everything forward, getting Restoration out onto the Blood trackers, as well as Harvest up. The Blood pack run super far onto the flanks.

My turn and I have a choice to make. Jacob has really spread out his Trackers to try and protect them from blast. He has no way to see through clouds, and can’t advance and shoot through the clouds with the Storm Chicken. I can either feat or not. I do the Bombardiers first, and manage to clear just enough blood trackers with drifts. I opt not to feat and the cloud wall goes up. Everything else continues shuffling forward, and I get the Spriggan into position for next turn.

Turn 2:

Jacob brings back all the blood trackers I just killed and shuffles about a bit. He knows feat is coming, and so continues to flank hard with ravagers and blood pack. He jams forward with the blood trackers, hoping to gum up my lines. Big bird takes some shots into Shockies, killing 1 and repoing back. Ravagers run 1 guy forward to engage.

My turn, and this is feat turn. The spriggan goes first and clears a couple of trackers, lighting up some models for the bombardiers to gun down. They go next and reap a pretty horrific toll, getting the Lord of the Feast (despite being in a trench), 3 of the Ravagers and a bunch of trackers. Elims go in and kill a couple more, bouncing into annoying places. Shock troopers continue to march forward, pausing only to axe down another Ravager and take some shots into the objective. Zerkova gets central and feats, putting a small cloud wall to her right to prevent Blood Pack from trying their luck on her. I don’t score anything.

Turn 3:

Jacob doesn’t have a lot he can do this turn. He brings back 5 trackers, arranging them in annoying places. The bird moves back a bit, staying out of threat range, but unable to get out of feat. The Ravagers can charge and do, bouncing off the Shockies. He does manage to kill an Elim with a boosted attack roll from a ravager, but doesn’t get much else done. The Blood Pack charge, one of them missing a Shocky and another 4 failing to kill my objective. Still no score.

I spend most of my turn 3 mopping up. I kill a few blood pack, continue punching trackers and finish off the Ravagers. I do manage to kill his objective this turn.

Turn 4:

Jacob decides he has to commit the Bird, so after he brings back more blood trackers (I really should have Hex Blasted that up keep off), he sends in the bird on the Spriggan and some Shockies. He rolls awfully, but manages to kill 2 shockies and disrupt the Spriggan. The revived trackers jam in to try and prevent me reaching the bird and the Blood pack pile in for the same. No further score this turn.

My turn and it’s time to pluck a chicken. I kill 1 tracker thats blocking my way with a frost hammer, and ghost walk the gummed up unit. Between Ghost walk and some clearing, I manage to get 8 shock troopers and dark shroud onto the Bird, killing it fairly comfortably. I also manage to clear the left zone and score it.

Turn 5:

Jacob has basically given up this game, and decides to go for points. He starts with Morv and double Mortalities the shockies, before feating and charging in. She kills one, and between her and the blood pack, he manages to actually clear 7-8 shockies this turn. It’s not enough though, as Morv is stood next to a Spriggan on 0 camp.

I kill morvhana and score 1, ending the game.

Victory for the Motherland!

Afterthoughts:

Having no cloud mitigation against Zerkova is super rough I think. The central cloud didn’t help either. Not being able to leverage about half of his force, while I just ground out was pretty big, and I think this MU is fairly advantaged for me. Onwards!

Round 4:

Round 3 was the last game of the day, and I came back the following day for round 4. The tournament was operating on a cut to 8 system, and due to my first opponent, Dan, absolutely smashing it, I made it into the top 8. My first opponent Sunday morning was Dan Price, a fellow Power Fister, who was running Menoth. He had Vindictus and Malekus. I opt into Zerkova again, and he drops Vindictus. List below:

https://conflictchamber.com/#c2201b_-0O1l1U1U1rmejCjCgblR3E3r3r3r3s3C2_2R2W2WjI2i

Protectorate Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] The Faithful Masses

[Vindictus 1] Vice Scrutator Vindictus [+29]

– Crusader [10]

– Crusader [10]

– Devout [9]

– Hierophant [3]

Champion of the Order of the Wall [8]

Champion of the Order of the Wall [8]

Deliverer Arms Master [3]

Hand of Silence [7]

High Paladin Dartan Vilmon [0(6)]

Paladin of the Order of the Wall [4]

Paladin of the Order of the Wall [4]

Paladin of the Order of the Wall [4]

Reclaimer Gatekeeper [3]

The Covenant of Menoth [4]

Choir of Menoth (min) [4]

Deliverer Skyhammers (min) [8]

Deliverer Sunburst Crew [0(5)]

Deliverer Sunburst Crew [0(5)]

Holy Zealots (max) [12]

  • Monolith Bearer [3]

I win the roll off and go first. Scenario was spread the net. Terrain had a big forest in the centre of the table, as well as a wall on the left flank and a house on Dans side. I deploy symmetrically. Dan deploys both Sunburst crews on either flank, with Zealots central and jacks on either flank. The paladins are spread throughout.

Turn 1:

I run everything as far forward as I can get, putting up a cloud wall to stop Dan getting easy sunburst shots early on.

Dan positions somewhat, trying to decide whether to feat or not. He ends up opting not to, and gets his buffs out, with DW on the Zealots, Admo on a crusader and not bothering with Penitence. He runs everything forward, making pods of zealots for the Paladins to Gird. He takes a couple of potshots with the Sunburst crews, getting alright scatters and setting some dudes on fire.

Turn 2:

Since Dan didn’t feat, I opt this turn to just position and shoot. I get some shots onto the Deliverers and kill most of them. I don’t manage to get much else, but do begin encroaching on his side of the board. Ragman goes and stands on my flag, with 4 MOW in Sac Pawn range. I feat this turn, as the Zealots can True Path through the forest next turn, and I reason that we are close enough now that I will be able to get work done on his feat. The cloud wall still goes up, as I haven’t caught either Sunburst crew.

Dan spends his turn jamming Zealots into my face. Feat also goes up. He gets a lucky scatter with the Sunburst crew and perfectly kills Ragman. He manages to get a Champion onto his flag, and doesn’t get a lot else done. He scores 2, and I score 1.

Turn 3:

Dan has jammed into me, but left me a path to walk into his Monolith Bearer. Zerkova goes, and ghost walks a bunch of stuff, before walking backwards. The right hand Shockies manage to walk 3 into the Monolith bearer (contesting Dans flag as they go), doing a 3 man to make sure he dies, which he does, before randomly punching some other dudes. The Bombardiers do a mixture of shooting onto the flanks and chainsawing dudes in the centre, killing a few Zealots, a sunburst crew and finishing off the Deliverers. The Kovnik gives out DP to the left hand Shockies and walks towards the flag, and the Shockies then march forward into the zone, leaving 2 dudes in threat of his Crusader. I score 1.

Dan spends most of this turn jamming into my face. The paladins collectively murder a couple of MOW from the various units, and Vindictus himself comes forward to kill a Shocktrooper. The Zealots are all engaged and focus on jamming. The Crusader on the left charges in, killing both Shock troopers in the zone, and on the right Dan’s theme wall is preventing his Crusader from charging. He gets Ashen Veil out on multiple Paladins, as well as Vindictus. He scores 2 and fails to contest.

Turn 4:

At this point, I’m starting to mop up a little bit. I manage to get the Kovnik onto my flag this turn, and contest. I clean up the rest of the Zealots, and de horse both Champions, killing the one on the right flank, as well as killing some the other paladins. Zerkova camps 3 and runs, getting away from Vindictus and the Hand of Silence. I manage to kill his left hand Crusader and trample my Marauder into his zone. I score 3.

Dan runs out of time this turn, using Vindictus to kill a bunch of Bombardiers.

Victory for the Motherland!

Afterthoughts:

This is an interesting match up. Dan very specifically was trying to feat after me, but ran into the issue that a feat like Vindictus’ loses a lot of value once the lines are mixed. I feated the turn before him, but actually got a lot of value out of it. Managing to get the Monolith Bearer before mini feat was a big swing, and left him with very litttle to attrition with later on.

Round 5:

Semi finals and I get paired against Graham Keen. He’s running Crucible guard and has Syvestro. I have no real reason not to drop Zerkova, and do so. His list below:

https://conflictchamber.com/#cf201b_-12l8lblulvlHlHfClGlGlmlflgljlAlk

Crucible Guard Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] Magnum Opus

[Syvestro 1] Aurum Adeptus Syvestro [+28]

– Suppressor [13]

– Toro [13]

– Vindicator [15]

Crucible Guard Mechanik [2]

Crucible Guard Mechanik [2]

Hutchuk, Ogrun Bounty Hunter [0(6)]

Rocketman Ace [0(4)]

Rocketman Ace [4]

Crucible Guard Assault Troopers (max) [13]

Crucible Guard Rocketmen (max) [15]

– Crucible Guard Rocketman Captain [4]

– Rocketman Gunner (3) [6]

Crucible Guard Storm Troopers (max) [16]

Dragon’s Breath Rocket [0(5)]

I win the roll off and go first. Scenario was Standoff. Terrain had a big cloud in the centre of the board, a trench on Grahams side of the right zone, a pond in my zone and a house on my far right flank. I deploy symmetrically. Graham deploys Shocktroopers and Vindicator on the left; Toro, assault Troopers, syvestro and Dragons Breath in the centre and Rocket men on the right. The aces flank hard.

Turn 1:

I run up as far as forward as I can, staying out of threat range and putting up a cloud wall to form a bunker in the centre.

Graham spreads out as wide as he can. The rocket men defensive action and fly forward, and the aces continue flanking hard. Everything else runs up conservatively, spreading out to avoid Zerks feat. Transmutation goes up on the Rocket Men and Admo goes up on the Toro.

Turn 2:

I opt to not feat this turn, doing some measurements to make sure Zerk is safe from trampling Suppressor sprays. Without feat there isn’t a lot I can do to stop the Suppressor, but decide I’ll just tank it on the chin. The cloud wall goes back up, favouring the left hand side, as that’s where the scary guns are. The Shockies on the right stay just over 11 inches away from the Rocketmen, and the Bombardiers take some shots at Assault troopers, managing to kill 2 between the 6 of them.

Grahams turn, and he goes for the Suppressor play. He manages to kill 3 Demo corp, but bad dice prevent him from doing much to the Bombardiers and objective. He also ambushes Hutchuk onto the right flank, moving up and missing an Eliminator. He moves everything else forward somewhat, as he needs to start having some presence on scenario. We both

Turn 3:

I can catch most of the Rocket men with feat this turn, so long as Zerkova charges. The rest of the army goes first, with the Spriggan trampling forward to drop some targeting flares, and the Marauder slamming the Suppressor out of gumming up my lines. The Bombardiers gun down the a couple Assault troopers and the ding the objective. The rest of the army moves forward, to take advantage of feat. The Elims charge and murder Hutchuk.

Graham can’t do a lot under feat. He does move his Aces up, with one contesting and the other murdering a Kayazy. He jams some of his Rocketmen into my right hand Shockies, and moves the others around the zone, hoping to protect them from blast somewhat, with 3 in the trench. The rest of the army shuffles forward.

Turn 4:

This is go time. The Bombardiers go first. They mini feat and start drifting AOEs around the right zone. They get ridiculously lucky, leaving only 2 Rocketmen alive (the Officer and a regular dude), with shots drifting perfectly into trenchs, and into groups of enemies. They also manage to finish the objective. Zerkova goes and hex blasts Admo off of the Toro. Ragman moves up and Death fields, with the Demo Corp charging and murdering the Toro. The left hand shockies get Desperate pace and manage to put the Vindicator down to 2 boxes, and kill a couple of Shocktroopers. I score 2.

Grahams down to desperation plays at this point. He manages to kill all of the Shocktroopers this turn, using feat and his unengaged Shocktroopers. The Vindicator gets fixed up and charges the Spriggan in the back, leaving it alive. He goes for the kill on the Spriggan with his Ace, but fails, leaving Syvestro flapping in the breeze.

Turn 5:

My turn, and I run the last remaining Demo corp up next to Syvestro. The Marauder promptly slams the MOW trooper over him (coincidentally slamming the trooper into a wall and rendering him into a fine paste). From there, Syvestro doesn’t survive the boosted Hex Blast and 5 shots from Bombardiers that are put into him.

Victory for the Motherland!

Afterthoughts:

The more I play this list, the more I’m realizing that it just wants to play the game as long as possible. Especially if you can keep your Bombardiers alive, as they just rack up a larger and larger body count as the game goes on. This was a really hard match up for Graham, as he has nothing that ignores the cloud wall, and the Rocket men, whilst annoying, are sitting ducks after feat turn, as they are not getting the defensive order, and I can Hex blast Transmutation off if I need to. While he probably made the right call spreading his forces out, it created a problem where I could feat on one side of his army, and cloud wall to ignore the other side.

Round 6:

Onto the finals, and I’ve got Micheal Dick, running Devourers Host with Wurmwood. I opt once again for Zerkova and off we go. His list below:

Circle Army – 75 / 75 points

[Theme] The Devourer’s Host

[Wurmwood 1] Wurmwood, Tree of Fate [+27]

– Ghetorix [19]

– Gorax Rager [7]

Lord of the Feast [0(6)]

Swamp Gobber Chef [1]

Tharn Ravager Shaman [4]

Tharn Ravager White Mane [5]

Tharn Wolf Rider Champion [0(7)]

Tharn Wolf Rider Champion [0(7)]

Boil Master & Spirit Cauldron [5]

Bríghid & Caul [7]

Shifting Stones [3]

Shifting Stones [3]

Tharn Bloodtrackers (max) [15]

– Nuala the Huntress [4]

Tharn Bloodweavers [8]

Tharn Ravagers (max) [15]

– Tharn Ravager Chieftain [5]

I win the roll off and go first. Scenario was Recon 2. Terrain has a big forest on opposite corners of the scenario, a cloud in the centre of the right zone, and a pond on my left flank. I deploy symmetrically, and Mike deploys Ravagers to the left flank, Gheterix and the Gorax centrally, and Bridgid and the wolf riders on the right flank.

Turn 1:

I decide I don’t want to get too far forward, and drift some AOEs around. I get ridiculously lucky and kill Nuala and 2 other blood trackers top of 1. Everything else runs forward somewhat. Zerkova stays very far back, to avoid being hellmouth assassinated.

After some tilt from good deviations. Mike, spots my positioning error, and curse of shadows the left flank of Shocktroopers, before the Lord of the Feast gets puppet master, some corpses and is ported forward. It kills 4 of the 6 Shockies. The rest of the list runs forward, with the Champions hard flanking.

Turn 2:

I start the turn off by murdering the Lord of the Feast with Kayazy. I put the cloud wall up again, and break both sets of stones with some decent shots from the Bombardiers. The rest of the list continues walking forward, with Zerkova camping 2 this turn.

My opponent manages to kill 3 of the right hand shockies this turn, between Champions and blood tracker shots, mostly due to bad positioning on my part. The rest of the list positions, trying to stay out of the threat of feat. He ends with no souls, Spiny Growth and a 5 camp on Wurmwood.

Turn 3:

Mike has left Wurmwood within aiming range of 3 bombardiers. I um and ah about going for the assassination. I can get potentially 9 shots, as well as a boosted hex blast and 2 boosted Spriggan shots. It doesn’t seem great, but I decide that at this point that I probably can’t win the grind. I go for it, and leave Wurmwood on 3 boxes. We discuss it, and at this point Zerkova dies trivially to Hellmouths and Champions, so we call it there.

Afterthoughts:

If I position better early on, this seems like a pretty good match. The thing that lost me the game was not getting Zerkova far enough turn 1. If I put out one less cloud and camp 2, I’m pretty well positioned to feat top of 2, which lets me tempo swing hard enough before I lose too much. Messing up my positioning didn’t help either. Ugh.

At the end of the tournament, I end up taking 3rd. Not to shabby considering I lost 2 games. Overall I had an ace time. Champions is a really interesting format, and I’ll be looking forward to trying out some more Champions tournaments in the future.

Greylords and Madmen and Wolves, oh my!

Sorry this ones late you guys.

So CID dropped last week, for a veritable cornucopia of models. I was planning to do a post for the first week, but life got away from me. Thankfully, Khador wise, nothing much changed in the second week. It’s been an interesting and quick CID, mostly due to the most contentious change, which is Doom Reavers becoming 9 points. This has left many proclaiming that the Mad Dogs of War theme list from mk 2 is back and ready to ruin the meta. I disagree, but I’ll get to that in the Doom Reaver section. What this reaction has shown, which I find interesting, is that the Devs have come right out and said that they recognise the complaints, but (and I may be paraphrasing/assuming things here) that they haven’t seen those concerns borne out in play-testing games, I’m assuming posted or internal. Now, as a disclaimer, I don’t know that that is what was meant by the Dev response, but if it is, that gives me a lot of reassurance as to the viability and quality of the CID (not that I didn’t already think it was a great system). If the Devs are both listening too, and vetting complaints/wishlisting, it makes the whole process a lot healthier to input into.

Right, now that I’ve got that boring bit over with, onto the exciting things.

First of all, Doom Reavers! What if they were 9 points? Well, first of all, they become a much more interesting option in list building. Doomies are probably a bit cheap at 9, but only slightly

Long time readers will remember that I was very keen on a Sorscha 1 Wolves list that paired double doomies with double outriders and a conquest. It was a great little list that put a lot of pressure on the board, but had the unfortunate weakness of being unable to crack much armour. This was kind of the problem across the board. If you wanted to run Doomies in anything approaching a combined arms list, you were generally struggling with actually killing heavies, as you didn’t have enough Doomies to weather the initial wave of infantry clearing. The Doom Reavers that got there hit hard, especially with the likes of Vlad 2 or Butcher 1, but with the casters that had a different game plan, like Sorscha 1 or Zerkova 2, it was hard to actually clear harder targets. This changes a bit with the points drop, as now you can generally take between 1-2 more units of mad sword wielding maniacs.

Doomies are probably a bit cheap at 9, and in Week 2, they have increased to 10 points, which is still cheap. The upshot of this discount is that, depending on how the rest of the support staff changes around them, doom reaver spam is probably now viable, and the more combined arms lists are probably going to be able to fit another unit of Doom Reavers in. Doom Reavers haven’t gotten any more defensible, nor has their output been increased, but simply freeing up points makes them look much more interesting. Just being able to take more of them makes them perfectly viable, as does being able to fit more things in around them.

Escorts got a bit of a change as well, with them dropping Rise (as it’s gone to Fenris), and picking up Relentless Charge. This leaves the Escort in a bit of a weird position, as outside of particular casters or Saxon, they are now the only way to get pathfinder on a unit of Doomies. The problem with this, however, is that Doomies were never massively inconvenienced by lack of pathfinder in the first place. It’s a useful thing to have, but between their quick board presence and access to apparition, alot of the time you can simply manage your pathfinder with positioning. If it is really that much of an issue, Saxon is an easy fix (especially now the the Adjunct exists to free up the Merc slot of Sylas), as most of the time with Pathfinder, there tends to be one problem piece of terrain that needs a unit to address it. Week 3 addressed this, giving Escorts another 2 spells to cast. 1 gives full pathfinder, and the other grevious wounds. Suddenly, the Escort has an actual role, giving the theme and unit access to some worthwile tools and justifying the extra cost to the unit.  He now feels like an actual upgrade for the unit, rather than adding something that solves for problems that could be played around 9 times out of 10.

Fenris has gone through some changes as well. In week 1, he got a command buff, as well as unyielding. Week 2 has seen his leadership change to give Rise, and him picking up Blood Quenched. This is pretty nuts in the right places. Fenris now has a chance in games to go in on a bunch of infantry, horribly murder them all, before putting 2 high pow attacks into something harder (like a jack or beast), before being much harder to kill. The problem, however, remains spell ward. It is very difficult to get Fenris to be consistent, and (outside of Vlad 1 or de buffing opponents),  and it is hard to make him reliable enough to be worth it. Add on his relative squishyness and his inability to move during his attacks, and it’s actually quite difficult to set up him getting more than 2 or 3 dudes. Vlad 3s feat is the exception here, as he gives out side step and sprint. Overall, Fenris looks much more of a monster than he was before, but just doesn’t feel worth 8 points. At that point level, I can almost pick up a whole unit of Doom Reavers, and Fenris doesn’t bring enough outside utility to justify the huge point cost you are paying. If he ends up with a point discount to around 7 points, or (Empress forbid), as a free option, he would totally be worth taking. Currently though, taking another ternion and an Escort to get more out of your existing Doomies feels like a better option (outside of specific builds anyway).

Moving on to Greylords, Ternions are both cheaper and free. They have gained crit dispel on their axes. They are now interesting enough to bother taking as a free option, giving the list more access to Ice Cages. There has been a lot said about their relative squishiness, but in a list with very quick board presence, they feel like they will be passed over in target selection, in favour of the sword wielding mad men, or horse wizards. My experience with them in Mk 2 was generally that they got to the end game, due to being ignored. The addition of Canker frost, a pow 10, rng 10 nuke that drops arm by 2 on non cold immune model; and the change to Blizzard letting them stick clouds on Doom reavers finally gets them a reason to exist. They are now a proper swiss army knife for supporting your army and are useful in a variety of situations. Being free helps a lot, but they are also worth paying for now. They will be seen more often now, in a varety if lists..

Outriders got 2 changes. First they got Crit Dispel, which is much more interesting than on Ternions, due to them getting boosted attack rolls on the charge. This got dropped in the 3rd up date, but the next change still stands. The 2nd change is that they are now the 2nd cheapest cav unit in the game (after Neigh Slayers). 10/17 is a crazy cheap price point for these guys, and combined with the Doomy price drop, frees up a ton of points to add in more models. Not much else to say on Outriders, they were good enough before the point drop to see play and now they will see even more.

In the third week, the Koldun Lord got added in as well, with a major overhaul of his card. He has dropped both Ice Cage and Frostbite, but in return has picked up Bonds of Woe (rng 10 nuke that revives a Doom reaver if it kills) and puppet master (always welcome). Much more interestingly though, is the addition of Lore Master (Greylords), letting the Koldun Lord cast a spell requiring a special action from the card of any Greylord models in his Cmd range. Even before the change to Ternions, this would have been huge, but now the Koldun Lord can be a flex piece that can help to apply that effect in a difficult place. Native MA 8 Ice Cages were a big reason to take him before, and now he can apply that to Canker Frost or Hoarfrosts. Even more interestingly, Koldun Lords can duplicate Guidance off the new Adjunct (more on him in a minute), Empower off of Greylords, or just throw out that extra Blizzard you always wanted. Want to fully fuel 2 jacks with Empower, or Guidance 3 different models? Now you can. He is a genuinely strong flex piece that rewards you for taking a variety of Greylord models. I hope that he ends up the same after CID, even if Ternions end up not keeping Canker Frost.

And on to the main event, the Adjunct. I want to preface this section by saying that there are certain things that I never thought I would see in the game. On the big scroll of doom in PP headquarters that is titled “Ain’t gonna happen”, right at the top and inscribed in blood, I thought they had written “Khador will never get Guidance, not happening guys”. Well turns out I was wrong.

So the Adjunct has guidance, which is a game changer for Khador. Cloud walls, incorporeal models, stealth, spell slinging, all these issues are alleviated (though not necessarily solved) by Guidance. We can now give our big shooting platforms, like Behemoth or our colossals, both a stealth, cloud and magic weapon solution, as well as giving a front line jack the ability to charge through a cloud wall. We can give our offensive spell slingers eyeless sight (like Sorscha 1, Zerkova or Old Witch 2). It is, in short, a major sea change for the faction. The Adjunct also comes with some other nice abilities, such as Sylas’ +2 range and free upkeep, as well as Frostbite and Blizzard (making Ternions even more obsolete), but the nicest bonus here is that he is available in every single theme. Hell, giving Legion of Steel access to an additional magic spray/attack, is pretty damn tasty. I predict that once he drops (assuming he looks the same as currently), that he will be in every damn list. Guidance is that ridiculous in Khador.

Overall, the various changes to Khador so far are pretty varied. Doomies and Outriders being cheaper is welcome, Fenris feels like he’s on the right path, Ternions feel like they’re in a good spot (though I do think they should be available in more themes) and the Adjunct is pretty nuts to be frank. I am terribly excited to see where this CID lands by the time it comes out.

For the Motherland!

Next week, I’ll be putting up a bat rep for one of the many tournaments I’ve attended , not sure which one yet, but probably UK Nationals. over the last month. We’ll see which.

The Right Lady at the Right Time

Last week I did a brief knock up of why I think Boundless Charge, and by extension Sorscha 0, is ridiculous. This week, I thought I’d share some of the lists that I am excited to get on the table once she turns up (she’s taking a long time to put that hat on). I already did a post about lists with Journeymen, back in the heady days of summer, back when it was first announced that we would be able to take Journeymen in Jaws. I still get nostalgic. In that post, I talked a bit about a list with either of our 2 journeymen and a list with both. Today, I’m going to focus on the lists that really leverage Sorscha 0, in all her ridiculous glory.

I wrote last week about the benefits that Boundless Charge on a stick can bring to one of our lists, with it re-vitalising our Warjack lists and breathing new life into some of our more disused casters. Old Witch 1 and Butcher 1 can now run credible jack lists that focus on armour; Butcher 3s list becomes more than just a delivery system for the big man himself; and Karchev’s dumb armour list that runs forwards, takes a punch and then grinds, can now sometimes actually get the alpha strike. Hell, Karchev himself now has a 13 inch threat range! Lets get into the nitty gritty of some lists and start with Mr “Man in the Machine” himself.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Jaws of the Wolf

!!! Your army contains a CID entry.

[Karchev 1] Karchev the Terrible [+30]
– Devastator [14]
– Devastator [14]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Marauder [11]
– Marauder [11]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
Kovnik Apprentice Kratikoff [0(4)]
– Marauder [11]
Widowmaker Marksman [0(4)]
Yuri the Axe [0(6)]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]

This list is still fairly similar to what Karchev was already running. It even has a pretty similar game plan, namely to get into the centre of the table and grind. The tweak to the list is pretty minor in fact, we simply take a jack out of Karchev’s battlegroup and change one of our free solos to Sorscha. But that small change brings a major difference.

One of the main issues I have always had with Karchev is that he is a Warjack caster (i.e. A caster that wants to run mainly Warjacks), that doesn’t do a huge amount for his Warjacks. His abilities and spells are pretty reasonable, Battle Charged is a great spell, Jump Start is efficient and Road to War is good, but hard to use well in some match ups. Nothing on his card really amps up his battlegroup though. He only has 6 focus, which will usually be 5 as he upkeeps. He has nothing like Full Throttle, or Fury, or Boundless Charge, nothing that really lets him get efficient use out of his battlegroup. This is fine, and he is still a very strong caster, but it does mean that the game plan he’s been trying to play involves taking a punch to the face, and riding the inherent durability of Khador jacks, and his own ridiculous survivability to victory. A lot of lists in this game just can’t deal with effectively 9 Khador heavies.

The big change that Sorscha brings is the efficiency that she lends to Karchev’s battlegroup. Before, pathfinder was an issue, and it was difficult to get any kind of efficiency out of his feat. You had to allocate out to a jack if you wanted it to charge and get major work done, and it was difficult at times to actually leverage a lot of his jacks due to the limited threat range. 8 inch threat is really bad you guys. Boundless Charge fixes all that though. Suddenly, even without Road to War, Karchev’s jacks can get Pathfinder if they need it, they get a lot out of a free charge (effectively giving them an extra boosted damage roll), and threat far enough that you can finally get your back line jacks into the action. Even discounting the 13-14 inch threat you can get out of his jacks between the 2 speed buffs, being able to guarantee that 10 inch threat independently of murdering one of your opponents models makes Karchev’s jack brick much more reliable. Between Sorscha’s boundless and 2 forge seers, Karchev’s feat turn looks pretty good, with potentially 10 focus worth of output (2 boundless, 2 empower and Karchevs stack). That doesn’t sound impressive when compared to the likes of Witch 2, but remember, Karchev’s feat effectively doubles every focus you spend to buy attacks, giving you boosted damage rolls means that a Juggernaut is completely murdering most things it can hit, if it is fully loaded.

The other benefits are nice as well. Karchev is randomly def 12, and fog of war takes him to the point where he is not just automatically hit all the time and Boundless Charge makes him incredibly dangerous at the end of the game, letting him stand inside of zones and project threat out to anywhere in that zone. Combined with his inherent durability (camping full, he’s one of the few models in the game to survive a fully fuelled marshalled Behemoth to the face), Sorscha makes him even more of a force to be reckoned with.

Butcher 3 is another caster that gets a kick out of having Sorscha with him, which is amusing for fluff reasons. Unlike Karchev, Butcher is taking much more advantage of the whole of Sorscha’s kit. List below:

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Winter Guard Kommand

!!! Your army contains a CID entry.

[Butcher 3] Kommander Zoktavir, the Butcher Unleashed [+22]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Ruin [17]
Kovnik Apprentice Kratikoff [4]
– Marauder [11]
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich [4]
Winter Guard Field Gun Crew [4]
Winter Guard Mortar Crew [0(5)]
Winter Guard Mortar Crew [0(5)]
Winter Guard Rifle Corps (min) [8]
– Winter Guard Rocketeer (3) [6]
Winter Guard Gun Carriage [17]

This list varies somewhat from the karchev list, in that it is actually taking some infantry. Butcher 3’s game plan is somewhat different to Karchev, in that he is looking for a point in the game when he can commit himself and swing attrition massively. Up to that point, he wants to avoid taking chip damage and try to trade down his opponents models that can actually threaten him. Sorscha helps with both aspects of this plan. Boundless charge being added to the mix makes Butcher a pretty credible jack caster. He can often allocate a lot of focus out, and has Energiser and Silence of death for threat range and out put, with BC helping out by extending that threat range and output, as well as bringing in a Pathfinder solution. This gives his jacks a 12 inch threat range, and more output, allowing Butcher to actually trade well. On a side note, the Gun carriage also benefits massively from boundless charge, giving it a 13.5 inch threat range. This thing can mow down infantry, and combined with silence of death, can RFP entire units at a time.

On the personal front, Sorscha’s suite of abilities are pretty close to ideal for Butcher. She is making his Sac Pawns steady, which combines well with tough from Joe, as well as making those Sac Pawns and the Butcher more difficult to shoot. Def 16 to shooting and spells is no joke. On top of that, the option of Boundless charge on Butcher gives him a higher threat cap as well as more flexibility with his spells. He can now threaten 14 inches before Vengeance and Impending Doom, or charge 12 and energiser 2 back. This flexibility makes it easier for him to commit as their are now more situations where he can commit and not get killed.

Overall, Butcher gets a lot out of Sorscha, enough that he will likely make a reappearance in the meta. He brings a couple of important tools that Khador can often lack, including RFP, Magic Weapons and Upkeep removal. Ruin, whilst he doesn’t benefit from Sorscha, is still one of our best jacks, being a steal at 17 points for the level of output and tools that he brings to a match up. Be on the lookout for Butcher.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Jaws of the Wolf

!!! Your army contains a CID entry.

[Old Witch 1] The Old Witch of Khador [+18]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Marauder [11]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
Kovnik Apprentice Kratikoff [0(4)]
– Marauder [11]
Ragman [4]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]

Old Witch 1 is probably the caster brought up the most by the inclusion of Sorscha 0. The old dear’s battle plan benefits massively from access to both Boundless Charge and Fog of War. I’ve spoken before about what Old Witch 1 wants to accomplish with her particular mix of spells and abilities, namely that she wants to be able to deal with any and all infantry completely on her own, and to leave any and all armour cracking to her army. As I mentioned in the article I wrote on her (link), her anti infantry abilities are so strong, that any additional infantry clearing with her is kind of pointless. Boundless charge lets her actually threaten pretty far personally, hitting a 12.5 inch threat between Boundless and apparition, which allows her to threaten the berserk and overtaking soul collection that she wants. However, where it really shines is on Scrap Jack. He gets to a fairly ridiculous 15 inch threat, at mat 7, pow 14, berserk and overtake and a free charge. At that point, he can probably kick a reasonable number of medium infantry to death! On top of that, Fog of War allows both Scrappy and Witch to trivially trigger Prowl, saving Witch from having to place her Murder of Crows on herself just to survive.

Sorscha 0 really gives the Witch and Scrappy some personal benefits, but where it really shines is in the same place as with Karchev and Butcher (output and threat range for the battlegroup). Where it differs from them is simply in the details. Witch pays nothing for her threat range extender, and it happens at the start of the turn, with 0 input or activation from Witch. In addition, apparition is a place, and so can be used to un-jam your jacks. Where it really starts to get ludicrous is when Witch starts getting Gallows in to play. Between Scrappy as an arc node, and Forge Seers, Witch can quite comfortably fling out 2 gallows in a turn and still power 2 Warjacks. That bring her jacks threat ranges to 12 inches plus potentially 2 d6 inches. That’s just the upper limit of her output as well. If her turn is spent casting gallows and then porting Scrap jack or herself to safety, that’s pretty reasonable as well. Putting Sorscha 0 into the list frees up Witch to actually cast her spells, and gives her the output buff she sorely needs. With that addition, Witch 1 has actually made the leap in being competitive.

The main issue with Witch remains how squishy she is. She wants to play forward, and wants to spend her focus, and her main defence is still stealth. The difference is that adding in both Sorscha and Forge Seers allows her the support that she needs to stay safe. In this list she can play at the back of the board if she needs to, or camp aggressively. Iron Flesh can be used if necessary, to get her to arm 16, which combined with focus camp, a shield guard and stealth leaves her fairly survivable.

I’ve discussed an Armour brick, a spell slinger and a bully caster; all of whom struggle mainly with output from their battle groups. Now lets look at someone who has all the markings of a fantastic jack caster, who mainly struggles with threat range.

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Jaws of the Wolf

!!! Your army contains a CID entry.

[Butcher 1] Orsus Zoktavir, The Butcher of Khardov [+28]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Berserker [8]
– Ruin [17]
– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker [4]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
Kovnik Apprentice Kratikoff [0(4)]
– Berserker [8]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]

Butcher 1 has a bunch of great spells on his card. He doesn’t have much in the way of tricks, but with output like that, who needs them. Having a spell caster with both Fury and an additional die of damage feat (untyped at that) is ludicrous. Some casters have whole feats that give stuff +3 damage in melee, mostly in the less hard hitting factions (Kryssa and Maddox). Butcher has that in a spell, and an additinal die of damage feat, and an additional output buff for his battlegroup, in a faction where the basic beater is Pow 19. If you can get a fully loaded Furied, Full Throttled, Feated Juggernaut onto something, it’s going to die. No ifs, no buts. And there in lies the problem, getting there. Butcher has no threat extenders, relegating his jacks to the dreaded 8 inch threat range. Then along comes Sorscha 0.

Boundless charge changes the game for Butcher. Suddenly, his jacks threat 10 inches. That is not massively far, and doesn’t really out threat anyone, but it does allow him to actually counter punch properly. Between all of his output buffs, he can lose half his army, and as long as the rest of his army can reach, still completely annihilate everything he can get models to. 2 for one on heavies is not outside of the realms of possibility when you have fury and an additional die of damage. The reason for the Berserker spam is simply a matter of efficiency. Berserkers are 3 points cheaper than Marauders with the same P&S, berserk still get power up. Their low mat and pow are completely fixed by Butcher, and they will almost always trade up. And importantly, they are dirt cheap. Sorscha helps here as well, bringing fog of war to get them to def 13 from shooting. This list is running 10 heavies, any of which can have a +3 pow and weapon master damage swing as well as a 10 inch threat and free charge.

The main issue here is that this list is massively vulnerable to control or anti charge effects. While it will be able to muscle through a lot of those lists, and Butcher is tough enough to survive a lot of assassination attempts that would work on other casters, it is still going to struggle to deal with tricks. That being said, with enough practice and a good pair, I think this list, or variations on it are going to be incredibly strong.

Why Boundless Charge is a ridiculous spell

So last week was kinda hectic. I moved, had long essays to write for my course, my car decided it hated me (i.e. It broke down). Due to all that, I was just wiped out. So I didn’t post last week, and I’m probably not going to make it up. Apologies to my readers, as I didn’t even have time to post a notice up about it. Hopefully, now that the move is done with, I can resume my regularly scheduled broadcasts.

So Warmachine Weekend just happened (Yay!), and a bunch more miniatures were released (Yay!), but Sorshca 0 wasn’t one of them (Boo!). A few of my fellow knights went over with ninja orders to buy stuff, and reported back that there was no journeyman Boundless Charge on a stick casters to be found. So to assauge my disappointment, I thought I’d do a post on one of the best spells in the game, and the Journeylady attached to said spell. As a disclaimer at the start, I will be assuming during this post that she hasn’t changed since the CID, with the same stat-line, spells and theme inclusions. That might change with her release, rendering some of this obsolete. But thems the risks. Onwards!

Lets start with the good lady herself. Sorscha 0 is a journeyman warcaster at a 4 point cost. Her statline isn’t massively important, beyond speed 6, def 15, arm 14 and Focus 4. She wields the standard Winter guard weapons of axe and blunderbuss, with the one caveat being that her axe is magical. She has No Sleeping on the Job (Winterguard), as well as the spells Boundless Charge and Fog of War. She is a free option in Jaws of the Wolf, and counts towards free points in Winter Guard Kommand.

Right off the bat, a couple of abilities stick out. The most obvious one is Boundless Charge, which will get it’s own segment later. Beyond this, Fog of War is pretty impactful. With her control area of 8, she can easily catch a pretty big area with this spell, giving everything concealment. This is a fantastic spell to have up (if you can afford it, more on that later), as most of our casters have a pretty decent statline to begin with. +2 def vs shooting takes a lot of our casters into the realms of def 17+. It also makes Sorscha herself a particularly hard nut to crack, with def 17 to shooting, no knock down and over boosting to her name. The last part of this particular spell, is that it takes our jacks from being basically auto hit at range, to might miss, and our infantry to a harder to hit range (14 for Winterguard, 15 for Kayazy, 16 for Widowmakers, and stealth for Kossites). This is a pretty big buff for an upkeep spell on a journeyman.

The next ability that stands out is No Sleeping on the Job. It won’t come up much in Jaws, due to Sorscha being the only Winter Guard model that theme can take, but in Winter Guard Kommand, it adds a pretty significant buff. Her command is only 6, ( and she probably doesn’t want to be that close to the front line) but where this ability really shines lies in keeping your caster alive. Winter Guard Kommand comes with the theme benefit of Sacrificial Pawn (Winter Guard Trooper) for your Warcaster, and Kovnik Joe provides tough to a WG unit. All combined, any of our casters can have concealment along with Sac Pawn to tough models that can’t be knocked down, making assassination from range all but off the table.

Finally, we her own personal survivability. Most journeymen have decent stats, but suffer because they need to play forward an amount. Sorscha has pretty ridiculous stats, with def 15, arm 14 and easy access to concealment and no knockdown being fairly ridiculous. On top of this, she has very little reason to play forward, providing mostly buffs from fairly far away.

The main downside to Sorscha is the main downside to Journeymen in general, namely that she has to take a jack. The normal way around this for other factions is to put a cheap light warjack onto their journeymen (Dervish on Sev 0, Charger/Hunter on a Cygnar Journeyman, Stalkers on Aiakos), however, we don’t really have lights. Some of our jacks are cheaper, and they provide a decent option, with the Rager in particular standing out (as it has a gun, shield guard and doesn’t want the focus that Sorscha doesn’t really want to hand out). However, this is still a 12-14 point investment, which can be painful, especially when you otherwise would have run minimum jacks (and thus can’t foist a jack from the main battle group off onto her).

The benefits, however, massively outweigh the downsides. Sorscha 0 has a bunch of impactful abilities, as we have discussed above, with the main one being the spell we haven’t even discussed yet, Boundless Charge. Lets change that.

Boundless Charge is a fairly common spell in Khador. It exists on 5 of our 21 casters. It costs 2, is range 6 and gives a friendly faction model a free charge, that has +2 movement and pathfinder. In a lot of ways, BC is the bread and butter spell in Khador, with most of our speed buffs being similar (in that they give +2 speed or movement). Boundless Charge seems fairly boring then, as in faction, it is necessary for our Jacks to function. Looking in to it in detail though, it is a pretty ridiculous spell. In one spell, you have a threat extender, a pathfinder solution (much less common than you might think) and an output buff for jacks (because you are charging for free). It is also very versatile, there are no limitations on what model you can put it on, and is fairly cheap at a 2 cost. Viewed in this light, Boundless Charge is pretty ridiculous. And that spell is now on a Journeyman Warcaster who can be taken in any of our Jack lists.

Boundless Charge is the most impactful thing on Sorscha 0’s card. While it exists already on 5 of our casters, the remaining 16 do not have it. Most of them a different movement buff, and since BC isn’t an upkeep spell or Battle group dependent, it can be layered on top of them. This means that, for the likes of Butcher 3, Harkevich, Karchev, etc, they can take Sorscha 0 and have 12-13 inch threatening jacks. That number is huge! Suddenly, our jacks are threatening as far as some cavalry! And more than that, a lot of those casters do not have a consistent way to give out free charges. Adding Boundless Charge into the mix adds a new dimension of output to some of these lists. Strakhov 1 can have consistent free charges to help his output problem, Butcher 3 becomes a pretty amazing jack caster (speed buff, plus focus to hand out plus a damage buff is pretty ridiculous), Karchev can actually start getting the alpha with lists that are designed to take a punch first and has an output buff beyond his feat. Beyond even that, some of these casters had nothing in the way of innate pathfinder solutions, which putting Sorscha 0 in the list can help to solve.

Khador is a faction that doesn’t really have jack support. A lot of our jacks seem to have been balanced around no more outside input than being given focus, and maybe a threat extender. Our mat is generally high, as are our POW. Our basic beater is POW 19, Cygnar has to pay 5 points more for that level of hitting power. The additional support provided can help to magnify the output of any of our lists, really cranking our jack lists up to 11. Upping threat ranges, adding in pathfinder, increasing output; all this for the low cost of 2 focus!

Sorscha 0, assuming she stays the same as she was at the end of CID, is poised to bend the Khador competitive scene almost singlehandedly. I’ve spoken before about the how moving fromn a 10 to 12 inch threat range is one of those massive swings, like going from mat 6 to 7 or pow 18 to 20 (https://avatarofslaughter.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/flopping-out-your-12-inches/). That alone would be significant to the Khador meta. But add in everything else, all of her other abilities and the other qualities of Boundless Charge, and you have something truly meta defining.

Next week, I’ll be having a look at some more lists that I think are going to shape the Khador metas. I already had a look at a couple in my Armoured Corp post a few weeks ago, but one of the exciting things about Sorscha 0 being on the horizon is the competitive space widening massively!

For the Motherland!