Crotchety Old Ladies

I’ve been dojoing a lot of Old Witch 2 lately. She’s a fantastic caster for Khador, bringing some interesting abilities and capabilities to our faction. I wanted to spend today going over why I think she could end up being the best Warjack caster in faction. To do that though, I’m first going to have to go over some of my perceptions of Khador jacks, and where some of their weaknesses and strengths lie. Sounds like a long rambling talk about nothing, which is luckily my specialty! Forwards for the Motherland!

So the humble Khador jack. We’ll be talking about the standard juggernaut chassis for now, as it is the most common and represents the faction best. Here is my take on the Pros and Cons of Khador Jacks.

Pros:

  • High native armour: 20 Arm basic is great, as it means that, paired with the number of boxes that we have, a lot of other factions struggle to straight up trade heavy for heavy in a fair fight with us. It also makes our jacks difficult to shoot of the table without commiting high quality guns.
  • High Mat: This is important as it means that even against high def infantry, we’re usually looking at no more than 8s to hit. This becomes even more important in heavy trades as the, against the standard 12 def, 18 arm chassis, we need 5s rather than 6s to hit, which is an important part of the dice curve.
  • High basic Melee Power: Our jacks generally have a good baseline power for their weapons. Looking at the Juggernaut, our basic heavy, which is POW 19. Most of the other factions have to pay a premium to get that high. Even on our other jacks, we see some high basic POW with nothing lower than 16 on the main chassis. This, paired with the wide variety of melee damage buffs in faction means that usually we can get our jacks to 1 round enemy heavies, especially with a free charge, which most of our casters can gives
  • Cheap: Some of our best heavies, the Kodiak, juggernaut, marauder, etc, are incredibly cheap. 12 points for a Pow 19 mat 7 heavy is very cheap by the standards of the rest of the game. For comparison, Cygnar pays 7 points more for their Pow 19 mat 7 heavy (though the stormclad has other benefits). This low price point means we can either fit these jacks into lists that are other wise not jack focused, or that we can bring more heavies than most other factions. Cygnar is certainly not running lists with 9+ heavy warjacks.

Cons:

  • Speed: Our jacks are slow as balls! Speed 4 is sad, and doesn’t get our jacks anywhere fast. This is mitigated by almost all of our casters having access to some kind of speed buff (Strakhov 1, the speedy Gonzales of Khador, has 3 different speed buff), but still carries it’s own issues, such as it being more difficult to become relevant in early turns (8 inch runs are sad) and requiring us to spend resources we may not have to get our jacks into combat
  • No shooting mitigation: Beyond armour, our jacks are super easy to shoot guns at. Even standing behind cover only makes our jacks def 14, which is laughed at by the serious gunline lists of the game. This means that in most games, our jack spam lists are going to take damage on the approach. This has a knock on effect, where because they’ve taken chip damage, they are more easily 1 rounded by other heavies, etc. Combined with our own shooting being somewhat lack lustre (the price you pay for great melee capability), it becomes difficult for a battle-group to get up the table un molested.
  • Focus Hunger: Pretty much all of our Jacks are hungry for focus. Our jacks can get some serious work done, and are pretty much all beat sticks. However, pretty much all of our casters don’t have the focus to actually fuel more than 1 jack. If you look at our Jack casters, namely the likes of Harkevich, Karchev, Butcher 3, etc, they usually have a spell they want to cast every turn (Energiser, mobility, etc) and want to camp a few focus. This combined with the general need for our jacks to receive a speed buff to get into combat means that pretty much all our casters at the moment can only fuel 1 or 2 jacks a turn.

And this is where the Witch fits in.

Old Witch 2 both leverages all of the strengths of Khador jacks and covers their weaknesses quite well. She makes them hit better and harder, between scourge, the blind gun, Divinator and Curse of Shadows. She can protect them on the approach with Windstorm (this in particular is very important, as the normal way that factions like Cygnar deal with our armour is to soften up our jacks through shooting) and can leverage Re-construct to turn heavy trades to her advantage. She has tech to get around things like disruption and effects that disallow allocation. And most importantly, she can fuel an unprecedented number of Jacks, whilst also speeding them up (on feat turn it is perfectly possible to fuel and boundless charge 4-5 jacks).

These advantages combined with Witches inherent survivability and the range she can contribute from make her an incredible Jack caster. Played in a suitably Jack heavy list, Old Witch 2 feels like a game changer for Khador, allowing us to run a full 100 point Jack list at full potential. For example:

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

(Old Witch 2) Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+27]
– Berserker [9]
– Juggernaut [12]
– Juggernaut [12]
– Kodiak [13]
– Marauder [10]
– Marauder [10]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Rager [11]
Manhunter [0(4)]
Widowmaker Marksman [0(4)]

A list like this, i.e. nothing but beef, with a few free solos for contesting and holding flags, looks incredibly strong at the moment. Most of the Khador jack skews that are working at the moment are taking 5-6 jacks. This has 8, with a caster that can fuel and deliver them. It can also skew harder, ending up with 9 Marauders and a Juggernaut. 10 jacks!

Lists like these look strong into Cygnar (all of Cygnar, including Haley 2), and into most other factions outside of Cryx. She straight up shuts down gunlines for a turn or 2, is great into any other Battle group heavy list due to the presence of her many debuffs and Reconstruct coupled with the inherent durability of Khador Jacks, and has the tools available to take her Jacks into an infantry skew, even a weapon master skew.

In short, I am currently of the opinion that Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper, is the best Warjack caster in Khador. She might be the best in Warmachine as a whole.

 

 

 

Irish Gauntlet Tournament Report

Last weekend I traveled over to malahide, Ireland, to participate in the Irish Gauntlet event being run out of the malahide rugby club. It was a 32 man tournament featuring a good number of great players from the Irish meta and a smattering of players from the uk meta, including the latest Iron Gauntlet champion, pat dunford. So a pretty big shark tank to dive into. The tournament capped out at 5 rounds in the end, and a number of casual games were played on the Saturday night. As a side note, the venue was fantastic, very pretty with plenty of space, great food and a fantastic bar.  Enough stalling, onto the rounds!
I brought 3 lists with me:
Strakhov 2 in legion of steel
Torch
Devastator
3* Iron Fang Pikemen w/ CA
Kovnik Markov
The Great Bears of Gallowswoods
Iron fang kovnik
Butcher 3 in winterguard kommand
Ruin
Juggernaut
2* kodiak
Devastator
Winterguard infantry w CA and 3 Rockets
Mortar crew
Kovnik joe
Widow maker marksman
Sorscha 2 in jaws of the wolf
3 * juggernaut
2 * forge seer
Behemoth (marshalled)
Kayazy assasins w underboss
2 * eliminators
Widow makers
Widow maker marksman
There was D&C 0
Round 1: Strakhov vs Fiona the black
So I was paired up in the first round into a mercs player running thexus, Mcbain and Fiona. Looking at his lists, I’m not super thrilled about the though of affliction into pikemen, but decide that I can probably play through it and that it’s the best list into the other 2. He drops Fiona and I drop strak. He has nyss, a bunch of solos, hammer dwarves and the battle engine, as well as rocinante and a free booster. Scenario was Stand Off.
The game was interesting, with me winning the dice roll and going first, advancing cautiously to stay out of any affliction application. He decides not to try drifting aoes and just runs forward. 2nd turn I get some charges off with some pikemen onto the dwarves, feat and jam quickened pikemen into his nyss.
I also manage to get a charge off on lanyssa through some los hijinks as well as 2 onto anastasia (who is the telgesh mark). I manage to kill everything I charge. He spends his turn trying to clear out the pikemen, getting quite a few of the afflicted pikemen. He feats as well which blunts some of the counter-charges, but he can’t quite cover enough of the board.
My 3rd turn I manage to clear the right zone and score 2, adding to the 1 from his turn, I am 3 up. The pikemen continue clearing stuff, managing to, using last stand, hard roll the 9 to hit eyriss and kill her. He struggles back on his turn, but doesn’t manage to score or contest and I win in my next turn.
Round 2
Strakhov vs Durgen
Round 2 has me paired into another merc player, this time running all 3 dwarf casters. He ends up picking Durgen, which is the only list not on theme, but has eliminators, aoes and 2 boasters. So fire everywhere. I drop Strak, Durgen being the best of his lists into the pike men, but still a playable game on my end. Scenario is the pit 2.
He wins the roll and goes first, running everything forward, getting primed out on 1 unit of eliminators, red line on a driller.
I advance forward in shield wall and stay out of direct shot range of his mortars, offering up torch as a fire target, hoping he’ll go for killing the jack over setting fire to a bunch of pikemen. He does indeed do that, damaging torch severely. He also runs the eliminators in to jam my lines, 1 of which dies to a counter charge, which promptly blows up due to primed. Ah, won’t  make that mistake again. He runs his gun bunnies into the zone to contest and gun down some pikemen as well.
My turn and I manage to use a combination of feat, markov and the devastator to kill the 3 eliminators left without killing any more pikes, and kill 2 of his bunnies, crippling 2 more. Torch kills the objective and I score 3 points.
My opponent spends his next turn flailing around a bit, but fails to contest the right zone, letting me score on his turn. We end the game at the end of my turn, with me scoring 5-0.
Round 3
Butcher 3 vs Sorscha 1
Yay, the mirror. And we’re playing Spread the Net. Thrilling. I decide at the outset that I can’t drop the pikemen into Sorscha, too much hard control. So Butcher it is.
The game is long and grueling, with me making a couple of positioning mistake and my opponent making some key lucky scatters that kill off my mortar and my Marksman. In the end, we grind down to  the point where I have butcher, his dogs, some winterguard and a Kodiak left to contest the whole scenario and I’m up on attritition, but he’s up on points and round 7 comes with me failing to catch up.
The match ends 8 points to 9. A fantastic game demonstrating why rockets and field artillery are awesome.
Round 4
Strakhov 2 vs Madrak 2
The next day begins with my first hordes match up, and it ends up being dude spam into dude spam, on Recon 2. He has Doomie 3, Madrak and a Grim 2 list, so I decide to drop Strakhov as I’m suspecting Doomie. He surprises me and drops Madrak, which feels bad for me. I win the dice roll and go first.
Everything legs it up the field, staying away from his bomber and taking up a lot of real estate on the left flank, where his long riders are. He stones and jams the long riders forward, running the bomber and arraying his forces in a large wide front line. My next turn, I accept the inherent challenge, cycling quicken to get my forces as deep as possible. I get some kriel warriors, some fenn blades (blunting his vengeance where possible), poke the bouncer a bit and get 2 long riders. At the end of my turn feat has gone up, I’ve basically abandoned the right flank but for torch and some pikemen and the left flank is awash with my dudes in shield wall.
He begins his turn with feat and blood fury on the remaining longriders, kills some stuff with the bouncer, triggering countercharges which cripple it’s spirit and mind. His longriders go in and between 1 getting knocked down by Markov and some bad dice, don’t get as much work done as my opponent would like, though he does finish the great bears. O the right flank he clears as many pikemen as he can, but there are feated Inviolable pikemen over there and he just can’t crack that kind of armour, with Horthol going in and killing a couple pikemen himself. The bomber starts chucking explosions at Torch, doing some damage, but not enough.
My turn sees me clear the left hand zone, kill Horthol, the rest of the long riders and a bunch of infantry, I end up scoring 2 in the left zone. My opponent counter punches in that zone, clearing some stuff, and putting some more damage on Torch, but at this point the attrition has swung. A couple of turns later and he has a Inviolable Resolve Devastator in his casters face, and just a frenzied bomber apart from his caster. I rapidly win on scenario from there.
Round 5
Strakhov 2 vs Nemo 3
I draw Cygnar in the final round. My opponent has a Haley 2 Sons of the Tempest list, Caine 3 in Heavy metal and a double storm knight Nemo 3 list. I quickly decide that I can’t put butcher into Caine, and that while Nemo isn’t great for pikemen, if I feat at the right time, I should be able to weather the feat. I drop Strak and he drops Nemo. Scenario is Outlast.
What follows is an incredibly cagey gaem, where I dpend 3 turns trying to bait my opponent into feating to kill my heavies, whilst I score continually on my flag. I contest his flag and the right zone with my Devastator and the left hand with Torch whillst the Pikemen hang out in a big line outside of charge range. He sends in Laddermore to contest and I murder her horribly. In the end, he is forced to feat into my feat and kills a grand total of 3 pikemen (props to the great bears who tank 3 fireflies worth of shooting), with me counter punching the next turn and killing a firefly, and then winning on scenario 6-1.
Overall for the event, I go 4 wins and 1 loss, ending up 6th. Which is a great result that I am very pleased with.