0 to Hero!

So now that I’m done with L&L stuff, I’ve been pondering what to do my next few articles about. WTC is fast approaching, and I don’t want to give away too much of my tech. Thus I thought I’d go back to basics for awhile. To that end, I thought I’d write something on a request sent to me through the comments on one of my previous posts, which asked if I’d do a Khador 101 covering the basics, and running from battlebox to 75 points. This sounds like an interesting topic, so I thought I’d break it up into 2 chunks. The first, will  be about growing the basic battlebox (the current one with Kozlov) into a competitive 75 point list, whilst stopping and discussing my choices one by one. The second will be on some more generalist things you have to learn as a Khador players (in my opinion at least).

I’m going to be following the format of a journeyman league here, starting with the official Battle Box, moving up in points by the denominations suggested (so 15, 30, 45, 60 and finally, 75 points). We’ll be aiming for a theme and for each incarnation of the list to be viable in and of itself. We’ll also follow the rules of the Journeyman league, so no substituting models week by week.

So, the Khador Battlebox. On it’s own, it’s somewhat underwhelming. Kozlov is fine, as is the Juggernaut, but the Decimator is a bit pants to be honest. Battlebox games with these guys are gonna be pretty simple. Roll up to your enemy, feat and charge, hope they can’t get too much damage on you, and then axe them in the face with a furious Warjack. No problems there. You have options for pathfinder, a speed buff, an armour buff and a mobility buff. Use them. Early on, if you can delay engagement for a turn, and have the Decimator take some shots, then Reposition back out of threat range, then great. Don’t be afraid to simply feat and run to engage though, most of the battle boxes don’t have the damage output to kill armour 22 Khador jacks.

So far, our list looks like this.

Khador Army – 0 / 0 points

[Kozlov 1] Lord Kozlov, Viscount of Scarsgrad [+28]
– Decimator [15]
– Juggernaut [13]

Moving on from the Battle box up to 15 points. At this point, we have to start considering what Theme we want to be in, as well as look to the future somewhat. In a true journeyman league, we are still locked to taking only Battlegroup models and no theme, so we’ll stick to that, as a 3rd jack is by no means a bad idea. Another thing to consider for the future is what we want our list to look like. Most of our themes give free models at the 20 points of stuff mark, meaning that if we want all 3 models, we can’t spend more than this 15 points on battlegroup models (unless we’re in Jaws of the Wolf, but we won’t be). On top of this, we have mercenaries to consider, which also won’t count towards our free models. Quite a lot to be thinking about at this stage.

So for the actual 15 points of stuff we take, we have to consider these things. Looking at Kozlov, he has a speed buff, but only once per game, he has a damage buff, but it’s probably better on a unit, same with Tactical Supremacy. He also doesn’t have a huge focus stat and a couple of upkeeps. This means that if he’s wanting to upkeep both spells, and maybe re-cast one of them, he only has 2-4 focus to use every turn on his jacks. From these 2 sets of observations, we can tell that we should be aiming for an infantry based list that can help him magnify the output his spells achieve. But lets leave that there for now and pick another jack for him.

We only have 15 points to spend, so we are only getting 1 jack. Ideally, we want something cheap that leaves us some points left over for the next point level,so I think the correct choice here is to take a Marauder. At 11 points, this jack is cheap and cheerful, having a great slam ability and 2 decent initial attacks that benefit well from Fury. It also leaves us 4 points left over to use in the next version of the list. It also gives us a full heavy to use, with the other options we have not being substantially better. Another Juggernaut would be nice, but not a major improvement on the marauder. Another Decimator would be an option, but has pretty poor ranged output for it’s investment (focus and points). Another option would be a berserker chassis, but at this stage, they would represent a weak point in the list, and would leave us with an illegal list (no more than 4 points under). We could take a Devastator for a brick to lead the charge with, but at this point level, the Marauder feels like it ticks the boxes we need, whilst leaving some flexibility for later lists.

Here’s where we stand so far.

Khador Army – 11 / 15 points

[Kozlov 1] Lord Kozlov, Viscount of Scarsgrad [+28]
– Decimator [15]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Marauder [11]

Onto the next week!

So for this version, we have a bit more to spend. 19 points in all. We are also allowed into theme lists, units and solos. To this end, we have to make a decision on theme, so lets consider them.

Winter guard command features a bunch of light infantry with strong ranged output and some interesting theme benefits. Unfortunately, Kozlovs abilities don’t interact very well with Winterguard. Fury is kind of interesting, due to the addition of Bears Strength from Kovnik joe providing a plus 5 damage swing, but Kozlov brings no ranged attack buffs. His feat is also pretty poor for a lightly armoured ranged unit, as they are going to care less about the speed buff, and are going to die if they are hit with or without unyielding.

Jaws of the Wolf might have some interesting options. Whilst we’ve already established that Kozlov doesn’t have the resources to run a lot of jacks, there are some options here to help him run more (like forge seers), and he could still run some infantry in the form of Kayazy. Some anti-synergies start showing themselves though. Whilst Forge Seers would probably let him run 4 jacks comfortably, more would end up leaving him focused strapped, and he still only has 1 turn of speed buff, which is not acceptable for a jack centric caster. On the Kayazy front, we run into the problem of Fury dropping defense, the Kayazys main defensive stat, as well as Kayazy not really caring about unyielding again. Some of the other options here are interesting, but the core of the list doesn’t seem right.

Legion of Steel feels much more of a fit for Kozlovs abilities. Fast, hard hitting infantry, that he can make faster and hit harder. Shield wall units that benefit from tactical supremacy. All good choices. We could be running Pikemen or Uhlans and still come out ahead. There are even in-theme choices for Pathfinder and to hit fixing. There are no real downsides to this theme for this caster, so we’ll put it in contention.

Wolves of Winter is a possibility, having access to very fast units that can deal with infantry or hit hard. The main issue we run into here is that the main armour cracking unit in this list cannot have spells put on it, which means we are somewhat wasting the use of Fury here (which is the best spell on his card). The speed buff is interesting here, but the unyielding doesn’t get Doom Reavers or Greylords to the armour level where it matters.

Finally, we have Armoured Korp. This feels like the other option apart from Legion of steel. Kozlov has a lot of things that Armoured Korp wants, a damage buff, mobility buff and speed and armour buff from the feat. With Desperate pace available, the MOW actually threaten similar distances to the Pikemen and have the added advantage of bringing guns to the proceeding. Personally, since we already have three jacks here, as well as most Man of War being able to shrug off guns shots in a way that Iron fangs can’t, they get the nod.

So now that that is decided, what do we spend our 19 points on. Well, since this is our first free to use set of points, I think we should put in a unit to try and get some use out of our upkeeps. Thus, we have a choice of Shock troopers, Demo Corp or bombadiers. There are a couple of things to consider here. The first is that our list has little in the way of ranged attacks or ways to deal with infantry, which would give the nod to either Shocktroopers (as they have guns and will be resilient to most shooting) or bombardiers (who have great guns, and are aoes, giving us some ways to deal with massed infantry). The second is that while we have pathfinder for our jacks, we have nothing to help our infantry yet. That will likely change as we advance up the point levels, but for now, we probably want a unit that is self sufficient and flexible, to better counter our opponents lists. Bombardiers fit the mold better for me, adding fairly long range guns and a decent melee attack, that can advance behind our jacks and soften up targets or remove charge lane blockers, due to that sweet arcing fire. If we can fit the UA in, they even get a form of pathfinder and some other useful abilities.

We run into a slight problem here though. A max unit is 16 points, which leaves us no room for anything else or the UA, and we don’t have enough points yet to trigger a free model. A minimum unit is only 10 though, which with UA, brings us up to 15 points. That leaves 4. We could save this for the next set of points, but we now have some solo options as well. One of MOWs biggest weaknesses is that they are mostly speed 4. Thankfully, the MOW kovnik has desperate pace, which will synergise nicely with the Bombardiers by giving them some extra threat range, and allowing them to threaten an impressive 12 inches on the feat turn. He is also 4 points which fits in nicely. Our other options are a forge seer (nice for helping fill the jacks up and having a magic attack, but not much else) or a merc solo. The merc solos we can go for are varied, but mostly boil down to Saxon Orric, Ragman or Sylas, none of which feel particularly useful at this stage when compared to the utility of desperate pace and a late game combat solo. So the Kovnik goes in and we have spent all of our points as well.

List as it stands here.Khador Army – 30 / 30 points
[Theme] Armored Corps

[Kozlov 1] Lord Kozlov, Viscount of Scarsgrad [+28]
– Decimator [15]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Marauder [11]
Man-O-War Kovnik [4]
Man-O-War Bombardiers (min) [10]
– Man-O-War Bombardier Officer [5]

Week 4, and we’re up to 45 points. We can swap our caster now if we like, but we’re not going to. Whilst the Irusks, Butcher 1, Zerkova or vlad 2 could all run this list fine, we have crafted this list based on assumptions and reasoning of Kozlovs abilities, so lets not move the goal posts mid game. As for what is actually going in the list, we have options.

At this point, we have our jack package, as well as a supporting unit with decent guns. Whilst we could spend some of our points fleshing out the Bombardiers, taking them to max, I think our points would be better spent on a front line hammer unit. Due to the theme we are in, all of our man of war units are going to be advance moving, putting them a bit further up the field than our warjacks, so, ideally, we want a unit that can really threaten some distance with some powerful attacks, so that our Warjacks can play the part of the anvil. The other point to bear in mind, is that, so long as we take a MOW model, we are going to be triggering a free model at this point, as we only need 1 more point to get to 20. List building wise, this means we have access to at least 20 points worth of models, as we could take our 5 point Bombardier officer for free. That’s quite a chunk opens up some options.

So going back to the role we want these models to perform, that of the hammer to our jacks anvil, we have a couple options. We could take a full unit of Shocktroopers with UA, a full unit of demo corp with UA, 2 Drakhuns and save 2 points, or we could do a mix of some things. Lets look at each options. Drakhuns are interesting, as they are fast, hit hard, and are hard to remove, which is an ideal state for a hammer unit. What they lack in this case, is any option for pathfinder or desperate pace and advance move, meaning they are not substantially faster than our other options. Shocktroopers will be fairly quick, with our access to Tactical Supremacy, potentially moving 13 inches in shield wall their first turn, as well as hitting reasonably hard and having guns as well. They are also going to be hard to control, due to being steady and sturdy, assuming we take the UA. Again, these guys are going suffer from a lack of pathfinder options, but have the advantage of being very sturdy in the face of attacks. Demo Corp have a slight speed advantage on the Shocktroopers, in the form of being able to run every turn they aren’t charging, and in having access to vengeance. They are also cheaper than shocktroopers, as we will be getting their UA for free. Once again, no pathfinder becomes somewhat of a problem, and these guys are going to be more vulnerable on the approach to being shot, than the other 2 options.

Considering the options, we can probably eliminate the Drakhuns as options, due to them not being substantially faster than the other options, and having fewer attacks and therefore less damage output. The main issue facing us with the other 2 options, is the lack of pathfinder available, which is a problem for a centrepiece hammer unit, as we want them to be. Thankfully, we have some options, if we get creative. We could take Saxon Orric, as our merc solo, or we could take Atanas, who is more expensive, but comes with some other useful abilities, as well as providing another advance move. Since we are taking a bunch of Man O war stuff, we are probably going to want him eventually, as he provides some synergy with Retaliatory strike and fury, or Tough and no knockdown, so now might be the time to go for him. Saxon, on the other hand, is cheaper and is a decently survivable solo with a gun. Atanas seems more of a toolbox, and we’ve already decided we probably need pathfinder, so lets take him. That’s 7 points, leaving us 8 points and a free model.

Now we can take min Shocktroopers and have 3 points left over for next time, or we could take min Demo Corp with Dragos and be at exact points. To decide, lets consider the circumstances they are going to be doing work in. Between desperate pace and feat, either of these units is going to be threatening 13 inches, and with fury, doing roughly the same amount of damage. So offensively, they are roughly even. But what about after they have done their damage? Well, since we charged, and are under feat, Shocktroopers are going to be arm 19, and Demo Corp are going to be arm 18. Crucially though, Dragos mini feat means that the Demo Corp are actually going to be a bit more durable, and will likely survive to do a retaliatory strike, or attack next turn. So in this case, we might as well go with the Demo corp. This leaves us with a bit of an issue in shooting mitigation, but we can maybe address that at the next point level, and Demo Corp are certainly not fragile (they aren’t going to die to blast damage or a couple of small arms shots.

List so far:

Khador Army – 45 / 45 points
[Theme] Armored Corps

[Kozlov 1] Lord Kozlov, Viscount of Scarsgrad [+28]
– Decimator [15]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Marauder [11]
Man-O-War Kovnik [4]
Kommandant Atanas Arconovich & Standard [7]
Man-O-War Bombardiers (min) [10]
– Man-O-War Bombardier Officer [5]
Man-O-War Demolition Corps (min) [8]
– Sergeant Dragos Dragadovich [0(6)]

Onto 60 points, and we’re almost done. This week, Battle Engines open up to us, giving us some more options. We have another 15 points to spend, and again will probably end up with another free model. We have the core of our list so far. Jacks for the anvil, Bombardiers for clearing and support, and Demo Corp as the Hammer unit. We now have a couple of directions we can go this week.

The first option is to just spend a bunch of points (12) on upgrading our existing units to max, which is something we definitely want to do either this week or next, and then adding some support, or we could add in another piece to try and get some more work done in the list. Regardless of which we go for, we’re going to have to consider what else we want in the list to round it out.

To figure that out, we should probably consider the list we already have and what it’s weaknesses are. The first one that sticks out is having something of a weakness to guns. Demo Corp and Bombardiers certainly aren’t fragile, but it would be good to have something to help deliver them up the table. The other possible weakness could be early game board presence. It would help if we had some fast durable models to get up the table early game and give our opponents something to play with, whilst we get everything else into position.

We have a couple of options for this. Our old friend, the double Drakhuns are a possibility, as are taking a merc option such as Kayazy Eliminators. On the gun weakness front, we could possibly take some shield guards or some Shocktroopers to help us get up the table. The option that I like the best out of these is the possibility of taking a Siege Chariot,. With us having the possibility of Battle Engines and the ability set on the Siege Chariot, it could potentially solve both problems for us, whilst also being cheap enough to get in at this point level. It can benefit from the advance move, which at speed 7 is pretty fast, whilst also having a gun that is pretty good for disrupting lines, and setting up the Bombardiers or Demo Corp to kill something. It is also pretty big and hard to kill, pretty much requiring most lists to kill it in melee, something that Kozlovs feat can help with, whilst the speed bonus means it can charge quite far and knock some stuff about with slams. In addition, the smoke launchers mean that this thing can be used with a suitable piece of terrain to provide a cloud wall for your demo corp to advance behind. Overall, this feels like a good piece to include.

Having added in the Chariot, we also unlock a free solo. This means we can either take a free model or spend the 5 points taking the Bombardier UA gives us. At this point, with only 15 points left to go, we could take another unit, such as a unit of Demo corp, but we’re probably better rounding out our army with some solos. We have a pretty good selection. If we were going for another unit, I would probably put in another Kovnik, but seeing as we only have 2, one kovnik should be enough. Which brings us to Forge Seers or Tankers. Forge seers would be nice, as we have 3 jacks, but more output is probably preferable. Whilst we have a good balance in the list, we don’t have a huge amount of answers to light infantry, and our Demo Corp are potentially vulnerable to weapon masters charging us. To this end, a Suppression Tanker is a very good way to up the attack volume in our list, as well as giving us a control element and a spray to help unjam our front lines. The Strike tanker is interesting, but doesn’t bring as much to the table as the other tanker.

Current list:

Khador Army – 60 / 60 points
[Theme] Armored Corps

[Kozlov 1] Lord Kozlov, Viscount of Scarsgrad [+28]
– Decimator [15]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Marauder [11]
Man-O-War Kovnik [4]
Man-O-War Suppression Tanker [0(6)]
Kommandant Atanas Arconovich & Standard [7]
Man-O-War Bombardiers (min) [10]
– Man-O-War Bombardier Officer [5]
Man-O-War Demolition Corps (min) [8]
– Sergeant Dragos Dragadovich [0(6)]
Man-O-War Siege Chariot [15]

And onto the home stretch, with the jump to 75 points. The majority of this should be fairly simple. We up both units to max, which eats up 12 of our 15 points, which leaves us 3 points and a free model. We have a couple of options for our last set. The first is to take some mechanics and another tanker, the other is to pop in a minimum unit of Demo Corp. As we’ve discussed before, getting another unit of MOW in puts more strain on our desperate pace resources, so I am inclined to go with the mechanics. This gives us some repair options for the majority of our list, and is a great thing to have on a unit that can spread damage around, as you can leave 1 or 2 guys at the back and have them take damage down to 1 box, before healing it all back up. Additionally, it gives our jacks an out for if they get systems crippled and grants us another advance move.

Finally, our final free model should probably be a tanker. It’s either that or a forge seer/kovnik, and they don’t add as much. The only question is which one. At this point, between dual shot bombardiers, the Chariot being able to make big impacts, the Demo corp and the suppression tanker we already have, we probably have enough weight of fire. The Strike Tanker on the other hand, gives us some tools, handing out grevious wounds, and having another long range gun. Between him, the Bombardiers, the Chariot and the Decimator, we have enough weight of fire that we could probably take down enemy heavies at range. So lets have one of him.

The final list:

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Armored Corps

[Kozlov 1] Lord Kozlov, Viscount of Scarsgrad [+28]
– Decimator [15]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Marauder [11]
Man-O-War Kovnik [4]
Man-O-War Suppression Tanker [0(6)]
Man-O-War Strike Tanker [0(5)]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
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 Siege Chariot [15]

Overall, despite the restrictions we’ve faced in building this piecemeal, we’ve come out with a fairly well structured and competitive list. We have a pretty brutal gunline element, which also harbours a nasty punch from the Demo Corp. The whole list is much faster than a army of speed 4 dudes should be, and has a surprising amount of gunfire. It hits pretty hard, and has a steel core in the 3 Warjacks, who, between pathfinder and immune to knock down, are hard to lock down. It has access to tools for particular match ups, such as area denial from the Suppression Tanker, grevious wounds from the Strike tanker, and slams from the Siege chariot. There is even some defensive tech here, including a cloud wall, and the feat. The Demo Corp on the feat, are going to be threatening 13 inches, potentially with tough or retaliatory strike. They are going to be arm 18 to melee attacks whilst also being able to spread the damage around, rendering them difficult to deal with. On top of this melee threat, we have a weight of fire present in the list that can potentially take down heavies, and is great for hunting infantry and lights.

There are probably changes I would make to this list. Potentially changing out the jack package for Kodiaks, for a secondary cloud wall. Maybe drop the siege chariot at that point for more infantry. But the point of this exercise was to demonstrate the decisions you face in list building, and how the Journeyman league format can be useful in training how to build effective lists. I think when newer players start playing a faction, the sheer scope of the number of models and options can be intimidating. However, with a bit of foresight and analysis of your chosen caster, lists building can be reduced to an ever shrinking number if choices, with each choice reducing the number of choices you have from a huge pool to a more manageable set of options (or at least making particular routes more attractive).

For the Motherland!

I haven’t decided yet what next week will be. I am torn between continuing with some basics or doing some tech piece analysis of my latest lists. Guess it’s going to be a surprise.

Regards to Jon “Barry = CygnarJank²” Williams for proof reading services. Check out his blog at http://tobarry.blogspot.co.uk/

 

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Lock and Load Bat Reps

Last week I posted about my general experience at Lock and Load. This week, I’ll be going into more detail on my games and the lists I played. I had a ton of games in the Iron arena, which were excellent but exist in a haze of alcohol and tiredness, so I’ll just be covering my tournament games here. Spoilers: I didn’t win (unless I’m secretly Pat Dunford!). First the lists:

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)]
Kaptain 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]

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

[Old Witch 2] Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+27]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Spriggan [17]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Rager [10]
Kovnik Andrei Malakov [0(4)]
– Marauder [11]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]

You know them, you love them, I won’t shut up about them. Genuinely though, I’ve been playing this pairing for, literally, the last 9 months (with only minor variations on them) and I will likely continue to have them as my main pairing up to, at least, the WTC. This is because I genuinely think these 2 can cover the entirety of the field. I have options here, and these lists can play everything from Haley 3 (Spoilers: one of the games I had was a true test of Witch into Haley 3) to Cryx to the mirror. Whether that remains true? We’ll see.

First round, I get Cory Doyle playing Mercs. He’s got an Ossrum/Magnus 2 pairing, with Magnus 2 running 60is halberdiers. Ossrum has some stuff as well. I end up dropping Strakhov because…. shit, I don’t know. He drops Magnus. Pretty much as soon as he shows me his drop I know I’ve made a mistake, Witch was pretty clearly the right drop here. Sigh. His list below:

Mercenary Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] The Irregulars

[Magnus 2] Magnus the Warlord [+28]
– Nomad [11]
– Nomad [11]
– Vanguard [10]
Anastasia di Bray [3]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [0(7)]
Kell Bailoch [0(5)]
Ragman [0(4)]
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord [0(4)]
Alexia Ciannor & the Risen [10]
Steelhead Halberdiers (min) [7]
Steelhead Halberdiers (min) [7]
Steelhead Halberdiers (max) [11]
Steelhead Halberdiers (max) [11]
Steelhead Halberdiers (max) [11]
Steelhead Halberdiers (max) [11]

Shit that’s a lot of dudes! He wins the roll off and goes first. Scenario is Breakdown (now defunct!). I pick a side of the table with more cover and less pathfinder requirements and we start deploying. Important terrain has a big forest in the left zone, a big obstruction centre right and a forest on my side of the right zone. He deploys his jacks on the right and left flanks of the centre zone, and fills in all the space between with halberdiers. His solos go in the centre along with magnus. I deploy fairly symmetrically, bunching up to try and deny ambushing shenanigans.

Turn 1:

He advance moves and runs everythings forward, nuff said.

My turn and I advance up cautiously. I’ve advance moved up the left flank. I try to stay out of his threat ranges as much as possible, getting stuff near Kell and Eyriss into cover where I can. Quicken goes out on the right hand side, Inviolable on the left. The jacks go forward to hopefully tempt in his jacks too deep, and I get some dudes spread out and into each zone. Hopefully, I’ll be able to hold them through his feat.

Turn 2:

He loads his jacks up and puts up escort and feats, charging his Nomads into my jacks. He gets annoyingly lucky and cripples the cortex on my Juggernaut, whilst the Rager takes barely anything. He lines up a shot with Eyriss onto Strakhov, which gets shield guarded (thankfully) as well as blinding Strakhov and the Rager. Kell takes 2 shots at Markov, hitting once and doing 3 damage (should have had Sofia nearby, ugh, positioning). He runs everything forward to take as much advantage of the feat, whilst Anastasia ambushes in and fails to break armour on a Inviolable pikeman from the back.

My turn and most of my stuff is under feat, with a few exceptions (around 8 pikes from both flanks). I can’t really unjam this turn, and he chose his edge and the left edge for Magnus’s feat. I manage to punch a load of halberdiers this turn, as well as horribly cripple a nomad (don’t kill it due to terrible dice rolls). I do manage to get everyone into shield wall though, and feat goes up, with Strakhov moving back out of feat and then Repo-ing forward to get the right coverage. No-one scores anything.

Turn 3:

Cory continues jamming everything, bringing back a bunch of risen. He finishes the Rager this turn, and jams his Vanguard (avec bullet dodger) into my lines. He makes a bunch of charge attacks, but bounces off everywhere due to feat. He does manage to kill Markov annoyingly, but by the end of the turn nobody has scored anything.

My turn and losing Tactician hurts. Should have run Markov away. Sigh. I spend the turn punching more Halberdiers, actually managing to clear out a lot of them, but I’m just a bit too locked up. I finish off his Nomad and damage his other one a bit, whilst also jamming him somewhat as well. I consider going for an assassination run on Magnus, thinking I can maybe get 3 attacks on him with last standing Strakhov. We proxy it out and I’d only get there with 1 unfortunately though, so I abandon that plan and keep grinding. I manage to kill a lot of stuff this turn, but it’s not enough.

Turns 4-6:

This turn Cory manages to finally clear the right zone. He gets magnus into it and starts scoring everyturn. As the game winds down, I just don’t have anyway of contesting. Too much stuff in the way, no way to kill enough to matter. At the end of the game, I’ve actually killed a lot of stuff, scoring a point in my own zone, but Cory ends up winning on scenario.

Afterthoughts:

Witch is a much better list to drop here, and I’m still not sure why I dropped Strakhov. I have better guns, better unjamming, and the jacks care less about halberdiers (they top out at pow 15 in this list and that’s with Calamity, which Magnus doesn’t really want to cast). Lessons learned and mistakes made. Onto the next round!

Round 2:

Round 2 sees me paired against a Legion player, who’s name escapes me. He had Anamag and Thagrosh as his pairing. Now, I’m used to the Thagrosh game and know that Witch can win that fairly comfortably. Anamag is somewhat unknown to me though. Ideally, I think I want to play Strakhov into Anamag, but that probably doesn’t happen. I play it safe and drop witch, and he does indeed drop Anamag. List below:

Legion Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Primal Terrors

[Anamag 1] Anamag the Doom Feaster [+27]
– Blightbringer [32]
– Ammok the Truthbearer [4]
Spell Martyr [1]
Spell Martyr [1]
Warmonger War Chief [5]
Warmonger War Chief [5]
Blighted Ogrun Warmongers (min) [8]
Blighted Ogrun Warmongers (max) [13]
– Gorag Rotteneye [0(6)]
Blighted Ogrun Warmongers (max) [13]
Chosen of Everblight (max) [20]
Hellmouth [0(6)]
Hellmouth [0(6)]

How Ogrebearing. I win the roll off and go second (wanting to limit how far the Hellmouths go). Scenario was Recon 2. He deploys the Blightbringer centrally along with anamag, with the Chosen and a Max unit on the right, with the rest on the left. He ends up deploying his Hellmouths behind a forest in the centre and on a hill near his flag. I deploy with the Jacks not on Witch to the left, and the others on the right. I end up putting both units of Elims on the left flank.

Turn 1:

He runs everything forward, not quite realising the threat range that Behemoth and Witch have.

I run most things up carefully, getting up the board, but out of Tentacle range. Witch, however, range amplifies and gets Curse of Shadows onto the Chosen, puts up Windstorm and blinds 2 tentacles. Behemoth then advances and shoots, dropping a Chosen (makes it’s tough roll). Otherwise, everything moves up cautiously with Eliminators and a wall in front of my jacks to prevent Gallows plays.

Turn 2:

His turn 2 and he decides to play relatively safe. He charges in the wounded Chosen, doing a few points to the Marauder, but shuffles about a bit on the left, not really doing much. He attempts a shot onto my marauder, but forgets Windstorm, with it deviating back and being un helpful.

My turn, and I can see an opportunity to take down all the Chosen. I load up the Maruader, upkeep Curse of Shadows. The Maruader gets Boundless charge, Windstorm goes up, and I unhelpfully miss a boosted 6 on a chosen (which would have blinded 2 chosen and 2 Warmongers). I spend a lot of time trying to remove the damn tentacles in my way, eventually having to get Behemoth to shoot them both. The marauder goes in and slams it’s charge target over 2 Warmongers, killing 1 and the chosen, before bought attacks finish 2 other Chosen. The rager hops the wall and murders the jamming Chosen. On the left, I move my jacks up a bit and charge my Kayazy into his Ogres, killing 1 and 2 tentacles. I make a mistake on positioning on the left though, leaving my Kodiak in range to be dragged in by the Hellmouth and messing up positioning on my Kayazy to block the drag.

Turn 3:

Almost immeadiately, my opponent drags in the Kodiak and murders it with the Blight bringer, Feat goes up before this, and he charges the Max unit with UA into my objective. He charges his remaining Chosen into Behemoth, trying to tie him up a bit. He kills the Marauder and Kodiak I gave him, as well as the Kayazy, and ends up scoring 2.

My turn, and I really need to start scoring. I have a plan to clear my flag and contest his, so I can keep grinding. I feat this turn, loading up both the Spriggan and the Juggernaut, as well as blinding some guys, boundless charging Behemouth, and the Juggernaut and camp a couple. The Spriggan goes in and kills a bunch of Warmongers, with a bit of help from some Eliminators. The juggernaut kills the 3 Warmongers he sent in on the objective. Behemoth charges into the central zone, whiffing his attacks and just killing a Warmonger, whilst my Rager also whiffs. My Forge Seers and Markov attempt to kill stuff but also completely whiff their damage rolls. Needless to say, I fail to clear that flag.

Turn 4:

My opponent decides he has to deal with Behemoth this turn. He puts the Blightbringer into him, and combined with some help from some Warmongers, buts Behemoth down. On the left side, he manages to kill both Eliminators and drags the Spriggan over to the left side of the table. He whiffs a lot of his damage rolls though, leaving it fully functional. On the right side, Warmongers continue to grind, killing Markov and bouncing off the Rager somewhat. He clears the left zone, but not the flag, and scores nothing, as he has nothing in the left zone to score with.

My  turn and attrition is starting to swing enough. I can potentially score 1 in the left zone this turn. I get Curse of Shadows onto the Blightbringer, and Power Magnifier to fill up both jacks, including the Spriggan which started out of Control. Witch then completely whiffs her attacks against a Warmonger. There goes my point I guess. The Juggernaut hurls itself at the Blight bringer, leaving it on about 9 boxes. On the right, the Forge Seers and Malakov continue to whiff against their targets. The Spriggan makes up for it somewhat, killing 2 chieftains and a Warmonger. I score nothing again.

Turn 5:

We are getting to the point that my opponent can’t threaten Witch anymore. He puts the Blightbringer into the Juggernaut and falls short of crippling it. The Rager and Malakov finally go down though, and he manages to kill the Spriggan through a combination of 2 drags from the Hellmouths as well as Anamag going in herself. He scores 1 by putting Ammok on the flag.

I am at the point where I am struggling now. I manage to punch a couple of Warmongers and the last chosen on the right, with the Forge Seers finally doing something, even managing a battlewizard Hoarfrost off of killing the Chosen. Witch kicks the Warmonger in front of her to death, after moving around to threaten anamag somewhat, and the Juggernaut finishes the Blightbringer. Unfortunately, he is 3 points up and I have nothing in the left zone other than Witch. He runs anamag in on his turn and wins a scenario victory.

Afterthoughts:

Biggest mistake here was bad placement of the Kodiak. If I have another heavy, I pretty easily win the left flank. Other mistake was charging in Behemoth. I could have as easily left him out of range of the Blightbringer, but got tunnel vision. My dice were also strategically bad. They were fine most of the time, but everytime I needed something to happen, they flipped me the bird. Ah well, c’est la vie. Beyond that, the match up feels advantaged on my side. If I can avoid pulling shenanigans, then the blind gun and Behemoth win the day here.

Round 3:

Third round and I’m paired against someone comparatively local to me. Anthony O’Reilly, a Cryx player from Ireland. He’s got Denny 2 Black Industries and Skarre 1 Dark host (I may be remembering the off list wrong….). I am tempted to put down Witch, but I’ve drilled for this, so down Strakhov 2 goes. I get Denny 2 across from me, and Jesus, it’s a doozy.

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Black Industries

[Deneghra 2] Wraith Witch Deneghra [+28]
– Deathjack [23]
– Deathripper [6]
– Nightmare [18]
– Nightwretch [0(7)]
– Nightwretch [0(7)]
– The Withershadow Combine [9]
Aiakos, Scourge of the Meredius [4]
– Seether [13]
Machine Wraith [2]
Warwitch Siren [4]
Cephalyx Overlords [8]
Cephalyx Overlords [8]
Cephalyx Overlords [8]

I win the dice roll and go first. He picks the slightly less open side of the table, due to damnation being a thing. Scenario is Standoff. Terrain has a big forest in the middle of the table, a wall on the left edge of the left zone and a big forest on my side of the right zone. I deploy symmetirically, Juggernaut on the right, Rager on the left. He deploys his heavies in the centre, along with Denny and her support boat. A arc node goes on either flank, along with a unit of Leather Fetishists.

Turn 1:

I forget about Hellmouth this turn, and run like crazy up the board. Quicken goes on the right flank, Inviolable on the left.

Anthony has not forgotten about hell mouth this turn, and proceeds to punish me. He gets out 2 Hellmouths between Deny and DJ, killing 8 pikes from the right unit (though not the UA). He feats, because to do the former DJ had to come forward pretty far. Everything else runs to take up board space.

Turn 2:

Whelp, that hurt. And Venom is going to hurt next turn, because it’s feat turn. At least operation: “Draw the Feat out” was a success! I have some sneaky plans going forward. Denny feated on DJ, her other jacks, herself and a couple arc nodes. Death Jack is in range of about 6 pikes, one of whom is within range of getting a magic pike. I’m blowing the mini feat this turn anyway, so I make the UA into Jeff the Magic Pikeman. I drop Inviolable, and prepare. The quicken unit go first, running to engage the arc node and Overlords on that side. Strakhov goes next. He gets Last Stand onto the centre unit (containing Jeff the Magic Pikeman) and cycles quicken to the left unit, feating (of course). It’s now time to bid Jeff the Magic Pikeman a tearful farewell. I stupidly forget to give the pikes puppet master, and 6 go in on DJ, dealing 10 damage to knock out an arm (1 more damage and I get the Cortex, dammit!) as well as knocking him on his ass. The Pikes mini feat into a staggered line, to try and minimise Venom coverage. Eilish pew pews down the machine wraith (see, Strategy! not mistake!…… shut up). The left unit manage to use quicken to walk into shield wall. Solos position near where all the heavies are.

Anthonys turn 2, and he confesses that he’s facing a bit of a shit sandwich. He starts by blowing dennys stack on venoms, getting all but 2 of the left unit, as well as a couple from the centre unit. He spends a long time confronting the shit sandwich of engaged death jack facing down the Great bears counter charging. He opts to try and tank them, and ends up armless with no cortex. The Seether sees this and gets in the action, eating Markov and the Kovnik to it’s face, the Kovnik in particular spiking and taking both arms and cortex. Don’t you just love precision strike. Nightmare sees the travails of his compatriots and decides to just back away slowly. On the right flank, the Overlords completely whiff their sprays, ending up still engaged. The Arc Node also whiffs horribly (bone chickens are pow 7 apparently). He runs some Overlords behind the left wall to maybe protect them, as well as getting a breath stealer off on the remains of the left unit to try and mitigate some threat range. He scores 1 in his zone.

Turn 3:

God pats me on the head, and says “good boy Robert”. I lose roughly 10 pikes to corrosion, but the ones that survive are well positioned to horribly murder some Leather Fetishists. I debate for a little bit on what to upkeep, make Sofia magical for lulz and allocate nothing, whilst also dropping Quicken. I check the clock, and find that it’s go time. The last stand unit activate and horribly murder the Seether, as well as DJ. Last stand gets cycled and Strakhov fucks off back towards his board edge, to stay the fuck away from Nightmare. He camps 3, with stealth and behind clouds, and I still don’t feel safe from the mean lady with the teleport stick. Sofia proves that she is a Bae and one shots a Defiler, rolling a casual 21 on 4 dice. The new unit of Pikes that have zero prospects in life roll in and remove spell slave Combine and 3 Overlords, controlling the left zone (turns out being def 16 when behind a wall means little to mat 8 dudes rolling 3 dice to hit). In the centre, the Kovnik bravely sacrifices himself murdering a Siren, whilst also contesting. The pikes on the right poke at overlords, killing a couple, whilst the Bears horribly murder the trapped arc node. My jacks still have little to do, and go forward to still be in control and block landing spots for Nightmare (who is currently like 22 inches away from Strakhov, but he’s sneaky like that). At the end of the turn, I score 2.

Anthony is pretty much fucked at this point. He has 1 heavy left, to my 2, as well as Denny and some random spell bois. I have not a lot of pikemen left, due to exploding them for fun and profit, but my solos are still about as well as eilish. He gets Nightmare into the Juggernaut, courtesy of Damnation, who whiffs pretty spectacularly (1 1 2 for charge damage). He manages to clear some more Pikes, kills sofia twice, kills the Kovnik, and has Aiakos murder Steady Bear. At the end of the turn, he scores another 1.

Turn 4:

I systematically murder everything I can get my hands on. I end up scoring 4 this turn, getting his objective and controlling the flanks. He decides to concede there, and i end up 7-2.

Afterthoughts:

Denny 2 might have the best kit in the game to murder pikemen. Venom for high armour, Hellmouth for spaced, along with DJ and all the sprays make this list murder on the approach. Fortunately, I got first turn and forced the feat out turn 1, which makes my life easier, as I can feat into it with a fair number of pikes left. Forgetting Hellmouth was sad, but manageable and, realistically, worth it for the feat and a shot at DJ. This match up is much quicker and dirtier than the Gaspy 3 9 slayer builds, but ultimately, I think it’s easier for the pikes. The speed just trumps a lot of problems, and when I’m gonna lose all my pikes anyway, I might as well burn them for last standing goodness.

That was the end of IG for me, as the next day featured a cut to top 4, which having gone 1-2, I was not getting into. Me and my Captain signed up for a scramble. We only ended up getting 2 games, due to time constraints. Off we go!

Round 1:

I forget my opponents name, but he was running a Grymkin list with the Child. The Scramble was one list, so I had opted for Witch, due to a high quantity of Cygnar players, which is not ideal into Grymkin, but C’est la Vie.

Grymkin Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Menagerie

!!! You have an unused free card.

[Child 1] The Child [+29]
– Cage Rager [14]
– Cage Rager [14]
– Crabbits (2) [7]
– Skin & Moans [15]
– Skin & Moans [15]
– Skin & Moans [15]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Lady Karianna Rose [4]
Dread Rots (min) [7]
Death Knell [13]

I win the roll off and decide to go second. Scenario is Outlast. Terrain has a big forest in the centre of the table. And not much else that is relevent. I deploy centrally and symmetrically. He deploys in the standard Grymkin block, and sends his Gremlins wide. He picks Sacrifice and Labyrinth as his arcana.

Turn 1:

My opponent runs everything forward, putting out 3 abuses.

I run everything forward with Boundless charges and all that good stuff. Re construct goes out on the Kodiak. Since he has nothing in the way of throw away pieces, I play very aggressive with the Elims.

Turn 2:

My opponent puts up tantrum, and positions. He makes a mistake, and the left 2 Skins and Crabbit are out of Tantrum. He runs his Gremlin Swarms wide, toeing into either zone.

My turn, and I’m out to proc arcana, so they don’t bite me later. I confirm that stuff is out of Tantrum and go to work. I move some stuff about to make room for Witch, getting 2 focus on Behemoth in the process. Witch moves to 13 inches away from skin and moans, and 12 inches from a dread rot in front of it. I blind the Rot, which gets shield guarded and still hits the skin and moans. It then gets cursed. Behemoth stands still and aims, and proceeds to spike dice like a mudder trucker. He leaves the Skin on 1 box, murders 2 dreads and a crabbit, which is used to trigger Sacrifice, undoing all Behe’s work. I charge the same skin with the 2 elims, doing a ton of damage (dice off 2!). On the other side, I put the Kodiak in threat range of a single Skin, if he abuses. Everything else positions.

Turn 3:

My opponent spends the turn punching Elims, only getting 1 of the 2 I sent in due to whiffed dice. He decides not to commit, and re organises his line somewhat to be tighter and to threaten forward a bit. He runs in a gremlin swarm onto the Rager.

He has wisely moved his Skin and Moans behind the Forest, so no more free shots. I have behemoth clean the Gremlin swarm of the Rager, and the second shot goes into a dread rot. I have a plan this turn, which involves getting the Red lined marauder into another skin and moans. I get boundless onto the marauder, and have which blind some dread rots. The spriggan  guns them down to clear them out, and the marauder goes in, triggering Labyrinth. He charges the Rager to get there and then takes the rest of his attacks on the skin and moans, coming up 3 boxes short of killing it. Due to Labyrinth, I can’t get anything else in, and just position with the Elim in his lines charging his Knell.

Turn 4:

This turn, my opponent kills the Marauder and dings up the Kodiak (triggering Reconstruct) with a skin and moans. He was aiming to get the spriggan as well, but bad dice rolls mean he doesn’t kill the marauder with the Rager. He runs gremlin swarms into the Kodiak and onto the Spriggan. He also force hammers the Juggy back wards, crushing some mechanicks.

I spend Behemoths turn cleaning off the spriggans swarm. Witch feats and fills everything up, as well as boundless charging some things. I blind a skin, and go to town. I end up leaving him with a single Skin and moans.

Clean up:

He spends his next turn sending the Child in to try and kill the Spriggan and bounces, with the remaining Skin killing Behemoth. My next turn I blind the Child and get 3 jacks on her with re-rolls, taking her down comfortably.

Afterthoughts:

Grymkin is a hard match for Witch, as they can use arcana to really stretch the work they get out of their heavies. That said, this wasn’t too bad, with Child having no real tricks, just brute strength.

Round 2:

I get paired against Jake Wilstrop, my WTC captain and someone I’ve been looking to play for a while. We’ve been Dojoing Haley 3 into Witch for a while so this is a great finals. His list below:

Cygnar Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Gravediggers

[Haley 3] Major Prime Victoria Haley [+25]
– Ironclad [12]
– Thorn [13]
Captain Maxwell Finn [0(6)]
Commander Anson Hitch [4]
Patrol Dog [2]
Ragman [4]
Trench Buster [0(5)]
Trench Buster [0(5)]
Alexia Ciannor & the Risen [10]
Trencher Commandos (max) [15]
– Trencher Commando Officer [4]
Trencher Infantry (min) [10]
– Trencher Infantry Rifle Grenadier (2) [4]
Trencher Long Gunners (max) [18]
– Trencher Long Gunner Officer [4]

I win the dice roll and go first. Scenario is still Outlast, because Scrambles. Terrain has a big hill and forest on his side of the zones, as well as a big patch of rubble and house on my side. I deploy symmetrically, with marshalled jacks on the left as well as the spriggan, and the others on the right side. Jake flanks his long gunners, and deploys his jacks centrally, with Alexia taking the right flank. Infantry go in the centre, and the commandos on the right.

Turn 1:

I run everything forward turn 1, getting re construct onto the Kodiak and putting up the big Windstorm. I get everything as far forward as I can.

Jake positions a bit, putting up the cloud wall and placing baby and grandma. Tac supremacy goes out on the trencher infantry, and thats about it. He hard flanks the Long gunners, expecting the Windstorm.

Turn 2:

Keep calm and continue Windstorm. I move the rager and spriggan forward to block of LOS to Behe and Behe walks forward and drifts some AOEs off the Daag, which is sat behind a wall on the left side of the left zone. It misses and kills 2 long gunners. He takes his second shot at the only other target in range, a long gunner behind said same wall, hilariously rolling the 11 to hit and murdering 2 more longunners. Witch shifts over for better Windstorm cover, and the jacks jostle forward. I run a Kayazy in to contest his flag.

Jake spends his turn manoeuvring a bit/ He manages to get a single combined ranged shot off onto the Spriggan, which is shield guarded and does no damage. He runs a Rune Thrall in near the Eliminator and attempts to slam it with Baby, but misses, finally killing the Kayazy with Finn. Temporal Distortion goes up and he positions everything, lamenting how bullshit a 18 inch windstorm is.

Turn 3:

Jake has made a bit of a mistake, as he has bunched some of his key models a bit close to the cloud wall. I manage through shenanigans to get a flare AOE on a trench buster stood next to Baby (aoe at the back of the cloud wall to light up Baby, then one centered on the back part of her base to light up the buster) and Behemoth aims and lobs 2 shots at the buster. The first is shield guarded and kills out right, and the second lands, leaving the buster on 1 health, but more importantly, killing Baby. Big swing. The kayazy in the centre is replaced as it shanks the thrall to death, and Witch continues her plan of generating wind all day whilst stood on the flag.

Jake is a bit on the back foot, but carries on. He manages a bit more damage with the Long gunners, who were ignored last turn, as the Spriggan had to come forward a bit to lay it’s flares. He does some damage to the spriggan and dings the Rager for a few points, on the right side, he moves in a couple of commandos to try and jam. Grandma guns down the contesting Kayazy, and Baby gets put back out.

Turn 4:

The lines are now close enough that I can actually attack something. I feat, putting up Windstorm again, as well as allocating to the Spriggan and Juggernaut, boundless charging the Marauder and blinding Grandma. The Spriggan tramples into the cloud wall on one side, lighting up Finn, the Iron clad, Alexia and Ragman. Behemoth fires at Thorn, hitting the first shot and killing the last Buster with blast, but missing the second, doing no real damage. The Juggernaut goes into Grandma and some commandos to clear the road. The maruader goes and slams the Ironclad over Alexia, doing a bunch of damage and crippling the Ironclads right arm and Cortex. A Eliminator with distance charges through the cloud wall at lit up alexia, and finishes her. At the end of the turn, I score 1 as I remove the contesting trencher.

Jake is not in a great position. I’ve removed most of his heavy hitters (though Baby is about to remove the marauder). He feats and gets Ragman into position, crippling the Spriggan with Thorn, and killing the Maruader between charging commandos and Baby. He dings the Spriggan up more with Long gunners and ends up scoring 1.

Turn 5:

We’ve managed to keep pace, but I need to turn this attrition advantage into something that wins the game. Behemoth tries to gun down Thorn and fails, but manages to kill baby when I shoot Ragman, it sacs to Finn and I roll ridiculous on the blast damage, killing haley at dice minus 12 after the focus spend, it also finishes Finn and kill Ragman with blast. The Rager goes in and whiffs. The juggernaut and Kodiak go in and clear out a bunch of models, including Baby. Witch camps a bunch of focus and Malakov stands around shooting trenchers. I score nothing due to some terrible rolls.

Jake has something of a come back this turn, managing to clear the left zone and his flag by charging Haley prime forward and dominating the contesting juggernaut away. He kills the rager in the left zone, between shots from the long gunners and Thorn.

Turn 6:

After some careful measurement, we decide that there is enough space to fit witch between Malakov and a contesting trencher. Witch walks through the woods into minimum deviation distance and scourges haley down. The Juggernaut tramples in and with 2 swings, axes her in half.

Victory for the motherland!

Afterthoughts:

So if I play Jake again, this match goes differently. So much of this match up was positioning errors he didn’t realise he was making. Putting naked baby near anything is asking for trouble when Behemoth is about, cuz he doesn’t care about Temporal Distortion. It has to be said as well, my dice were mental here, killing everything, though it evened out from my inability to touch Thorn. It was nice to see I have game here though, into one of the best Cygnar players in the world.

So that was my IG experience. I played way more games over Lock and Load, but those were my Tournament games. The other ones were kind of silly and fun, but not as memorable.

Next Week…. I dunno, I’ll think of something to ramble on about I guess.

Regards to Jon “Barry along, singing a song” Williams for proof reading services. Check out his blog at http://tobarry.blogspot.co.uk/

Lock And Load Report

Woooo! Lock and Load!

This is going to be a fairly short one, as I’m still pretty wiped from all the traveling, having only got back Tuesday evening. So I’m going to leave my tournament games for next week and talk about the convention in general and my experience there.

Last weekend I was in Seattle for one of the biggest events of the Warmachine year, Lock and Load. PP’s own convention took place in the Bellevue Hilton in sunny Washington state. And it was heaving! A collection of Nerds from around the world attended to move plastic minis around a table, compete in tournaments and painting competitions and attend the various hang outs. It was a blast!

I got into Seattle on the Wednesday before the big event and spent most of Wednesday and Thursday with some family, enjoying the sights and sounds (Seattle is really vibrant). On Friday morning, my uncle took me across the lake to Bellevue and the con started. After getting registered and obtaining my badge, the Keynote started, with a bunch of interesting reveals. I’ll do a quick list of my hot takes:

  • Monsterpocalypse looks like a blast, though I didn’t get a chance to play it. It seems like a pretty interesting side game to play, being a bit more casual. Loved the factions within it and the general theme, but safe to say it’s not going to tempt me away from Warmachine!
  • Riot Quest was kinda meh. A big part of this is just that we don’t have a huge amount of info on it yet, or how it plays. I’m kinda interested to see PP’s take on the table top MOBA format, as I was a big fan of it back in the old Warcraft 3 days, when DOTA one was a custom map with altered rules.
  • The upcoming theme releases (Tharn, Immortals, Steelheads) are all really interesting, promising to breath new life into other areas of the game (in particular, it will be interesting to see if the Steelheads get an actual theme or if it will be an extension of irregulars or king makers). The new models look cool, and I can’t wait for it all to go into CID so we can see the actual rules and help collaborate on the final versions.
  • The round of single releases for other factions was also really interesting, with our release being specifically the Greylord Adjunct (which is an concept I’ve wanted for a long time). Him being, effectively, an in faction Sylas is interesting, and spell barrier is potentially a huge buff to certain casters. He’s not going to be good everywhere, and a lot depends on which themes he ends up in (He’ll be in Wolves no problem, and I would like to at least see him in Jaws as well, but every theme would be better), but with certain casters he’s going to be great. Witch 2 stands out to me, due to spell barrier being really good on a huge base, as well as her getting a lot of mileage out of +2 spell range and a free upkeep, but could also see him being good with either Irusk, Zerkova 2, Butcher 3, etc (especially if he has better command than Sylas).
  • Infernals look like a slam dunk, depending on what their particular rules look like. The theme is really strong, and appeals to a lot of people, and brand new rules are always appealing. Very excited to see where they end up and what the models will look like.

After the Keynote I was faced with a choice. Wait and sign up for Masters or join the long queue for the shop. Since I had several orders for stuff and intended to spend the day in the Iron Arena, I opted for the shop. I regretted this 2 hours later when I was only just getting to the front of the line. I ended up picking up a bunch of stuff for other people (including 2 shrines) and grabbed Sorscha 3, Elish and the Bombardier officer for myself.

Finally free of the tyranny of long queues, I headed off to the Iron Arena. This was in a back conference room on the second floor and had several absolutely gorgeous scenario tables set up (around 12 I think), as well as a huge amount of people playing games. I got straight into the swing of it, starting off on some of the regular tables and ending up on a few of the scenario tables. I won some, and lost some, playing against a variety of players. I won’t go into huge details, but ended up playing Witch mostly. I faced a really varied number of opponents from a lot of different backgrounds, who were all lovely opponents. Factions included Menoth, Skorne, Khador, Grymkin and a few others. I also managed to chat to and watch games from some notable players I am a bit of a fan boy for, such as Jay Larsen, Tim Banky, Aaron Wale and others.

By the end of the day, I had clocked 7 games and was pretty wiped. I went and found my room mates and we headed off for dinner, ending up at a nearby burger joint. One of the great things about going to a full 3 day convention is that you end up randomly going for food in the evening with huge groups of people, and this was no exception. We initially went out with 4, and ended up randomly encountering a bunch of people from the Con, chatting and drinking until pretty late. We got back about mid night, and went to bed, so as not to exhaust ourselves for Iron Gauntlet the next day.

Saturday morning and I’m pretty pumped. IG wasn’t due to start till 1pm (due to the LCQ needing to have it’s final rounds), so I grabbed some breakfast and headed back to the Iron Arena, clocking a couple more games. I quit there about 12pm and headed down to the Tournament room for IG. And there we waited. Unfortunately, both rounds of the LCQ took forever, meaning that IG started around 3pm. Whilst we waited, me and a WTC teammate took a stroll to get some refreshments, and we stood around chatting with the rest of the IG qualifiers, some of the best players in the game.

Finally IG started. I’ll go into more details next week, but I ended up going 1-2 which is not a great record. Suffice to say, mistakes were made, but the fault was poor play on my part. My lists worked great. I found out at the end of the 3rd round that there was no 4th round for anyone but the top 4. This being around 11:30, a bunch of us from the IG tables went out for dinner together to a late night establishment, enjoying the food and company.

Sunday began with a fairly early morning, with Caster Draft, Scrambles and the IG finals happening. Me and my fellow WTC team member decided to opt for the Scrambles, wanting to play full on Warmachine, rather than Caster Draft. Only 1 scramble ended up happening, and started late due to a lack of up take. We watched the IG semi finals whilst waiting, thoroughly enjoying it, as well as marvelling at some of the bullshit in Caster Draft (my favourite was a gobber chef model with speed 8, Engine of Destruction, Sprint, stealth and Parry and Lola and Harbys swords for weapons!)

Finally, the Scrambles started around 11am, meaning we only had 2 rounds, due to the event closing at 3pm. I’ll lump these games in with the IG ones next week, but suffice to say I ended up winning both games and coming joint top with a Cygnar player who’s name escapes me. After that, we had the closing ceremony which was a blast, along with goodbyes.

Lock and Load was a fantastic experience. It was a very well put together convention, with great aesthetics, good timings and a great player base. Every player I faced was kind and jovial, making whole con, from beginning to end, a joy to be at. I got to meet a lot of people who I have only ever spoken too over messenger or through podcasts, as well as a bunch of people who are celebrities to me (special mention goes to meeting the cast of Chain Attack, including Jay Larsen, Trevor Christianson and Josh Wheeler, who inspired me to play competitively through their podcast, it was a joy to meet you guys!). I had a blast and would happily go again.

For the Motherland!

Thanks to Jon “Barry by name, Barry by Nature” Williams for proof reading services. Check out his blog at http://tobarry.blogspot.co.uk/

Sweeping Questions and Pivotal Answers

So the podcast sphere can’t shut up about this idea of Pivots and Sweepers. Discussed on Fully Boosted by Tim Banky and the hosts, Pivots and Sweepers are terms from competitive Pokemon that refer to different styles of competitive rosters and the individual ‘Mons position within those rosters. Specifically, a Sweeper is a ‘Mon that deals high amounts of damage or effects to ‘Sweep’ the opponents team, whilst a Pivot is a ‘Mon that has a high number of utility moves or plays to deal with other players sweepers, or their answers to those sweepers.

So what does that have to do with Warmachine? On the cast, it was discussed in terms of classifying list pairings that we take, the gist of which being that we can use this language to better discuss how we build pairings and articulate why certain list pairings function better or worse than others. In Warmachine parlance, a Sweeper list is a question, a list that is leveraging the strength of a particular model or set of models to make it difficult for the opponent to do anything about your army, asking the question “can you deal with the problems I am presenting you”. Think Gaspy 3 Slayers, or other spam lists (though they don’t have to be spam). A Pivot list, by comparison, is simply a list that has answers, or alternative ways to win the game. It’ll have tools and synergies and all that good stuff, as well as outs for how to win the game (whether thats assassination or scenario or whatever). Here we’re looking at lists like the more toolboxy casters, Haley 2, etc.

Musing on it further, I suppose that one of the interesting things about Khador in this context is that, on the surface, have more sweeper style casters than pivots. We don’t tend to have access to the kind of tools or options that other factions do, such as the oft bemoaned magic weapons, board control elements and ways of bybassing other peoples special rules (my usual joke is that Khador’s answer to stealth is carpet bombing the surrounding area).

So setting aside my own opinions on the concept, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of our top lists and see which cubby hole they fall into. One of the principles that Banky talked about on the aforementioned podcast was the idea that a lot of the best pairings tend to have one of each archetype, and that rang somewhat true to me. Thus, it might be valuable to try and identify those types in our more popular lists and casters, at least in a brief manner. I’ll start with my own pairing.

Witch 2 Jaws:

 

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

[Old Witch 2] Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+27]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Spriggan [17]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Rager [10]
Kovnik Andrei Malakov [0(4)]
– Marauder [11]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]

The keen eyed will spot the change I’ve made since the last time I wrote about this list. Classification wise, the immediate reaction is to call this a sweeper list. It’s a jack spam, asking a pretty hard question, can you kill 6 khador jacks through Witch’s shenanigans. Thats not really how the list plays though. It’s much more of a pivot. The list was designed to bring out the strengths of Khador jacks, and then tweaked to answer particular match ups. Spriggan for cloud wall tech, Eliminators for anti infantry and scenario, Malakov for extra threat, Marshalling for magic weapons, etc. Witch feels like an caster that pivots well, due to the large amounts of options and tools she has at her disposal. She has answers (at least into this list) for infantry control, disruption, guns, living battle engines, assassination runs, high defence, high armour, jamming models, etc.

Strakhov 2 Pikes:

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)]
Kaptain 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]

Another change for the keen eyed to pick up. Strakhov 2 pikes has always been a sweeper list, as it doesn’t really have any capability to answer any problems. Instead it poses a problem, can your opponent survive a force this fast and this hard hitting that is going to spend at least 1 turn being hard to deal with? It’s fast and hits hard, whilst having a bunch of defence in the form of Strakhovs spells and feat as well as counter charges. What it doesn’t have is any tech to deal with problems. Incorporeal? Guess we better wait for them to attack. Scathers? Not going through there. It can deal with some things, such as jams (and my addition helps with control spells like rebuke), but generally the answer this list has to problems is to hit them with a Blasting pike or to ignore it.

Vlad 1 Rockets:

I’m not going to post lists for the other lists I’ll be talking about, because they’re not my lists. Vlad rockets is a stereotypical sweeper list. It has very little in the way of tricks or outs, and asks a hard question (can you deal with all this armour whilst my pretty damn good shooting takes chunks out of you?). It struggles pretty hard with some match ups, but generally has good game into the majority of the field, which is basically the definition of a sweeper/question list.

Jack Spams:

Whether run by the likes of Karchev or Harkevich, these lists are going to have similar things in common, a crap ton of metal. For obvious reasons these lists are going to be sweepers, having not much in the way of outs for their bad match ups. There are some tricks, such as Harkevichs kodiak cloud wall or Karchevs Magic weapons on feat turn, but generally, these lists are going to be relying on a tide of steel rolling over the opponent. The nature of what these lists are trying to do also makes it difficult to fit in models to help with these problems. Generally, you’re going to want 8+ jacks, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for mercs or other models, aside from your free solos.

Wolves of Winter

Most of our themes are inherently sweeper lists, as they don’t tend to have inherent answers to problems. The big exception to this rule is Wolves of Winter. Wolves is a theme that encourages you to run models that have a wide range of answers to problems (such as magic weapons, sprays, def fixers, etc). Hell, the main theme bonus is a 2inch place at the start of a turn for one unit, which can help with problems ranging from pathfinder to issues to unjamming a unit. The casters who tend to run in this theme also tend to be inherent pivots, including the likes of Sorscha 1, Vlad 2 and Zerkova 2, who are all fairly tool boxy and answer problems, rather than posing an overwhelming question for opponents to overcome. You can run Wolves as a Sweeper (Spamming Doom Reavers for example), but the inherent strengths of the theme are better realised by leveraging the various tools and tricks available.

Zerkova 1

So Zerkova 1 is a special case to me. She is an odd duck of a caster compared to our other caster, being something of a toolbox for things we don’t get in faction. Due to this, she is such a strong pivot on her own, that having her in a sweeper list creates kind of hybrid. Generally in either LOS or in AC, she excels at taking straightforward force and making it do tricks, with her best one probably e delivery and denial represented by her feat and cloud wall. Add in her flexible offensive spell casting, dispelling capability, use of Ghostly and her inherent survivability into traditionally bad match ups (Cryx mainly) due to sacred ward and you have a list that can play into a wide proportion of the field, is hard to deal with and generally has answers into tricky match ups.

Conclusion:

There are other lists we could look at, but I think the examples I’ve given cover the majority of our list archetypes and themes. Generally, our casters tend to be sweepers, with abilities and spells that emphasise turning up our lists rather than answering questions, and the same is true of many of our models. I still stand by my opinion that you don’t build lists for these classifications, it’s what they end up as. Saying that, there is something valuable in composing a pairing that has a strong central list (that will inevitably have difficulties somewhere) with a list that can be dropped into multiple different problem match ups and has some way out. Identifying those pairings is a matter of play experience and game knowledge.

Next week should be a retrospective of lock and load. It may be late, due to jet lag, so if thre is no post on Friday, don’t panic!

For the Motherland!

Cheers to Jon ‘In Strange Barry, even Death may die’ Williams for proof reading. Check out his blog at http://tobarry.blogspot.co.uk/.

 

Flopping out your 12 inches!

Last week I wrote a bit about my own take on the up coming journeymen realeases, with a big part of why I’m excited for it being Sorscha 0 or Malakov 1 being in lists to provide a second threat extender. Most Khador ‘casters have a movement buff, whether it’s Boundless Charge (on a number of casters), Energiser (B3), Road to War (Karchev), etc, and only about 3 casters don’t (those being Butcher 1, and both Zerkovas as far as I remember, though Zerkova 1 has a cloud wall and doesn’t care as much).

Thing is, those movement buffs are basically necessary if you want to get any kind of real work out of your jacks. Even with those buffs, we generally cap out at a 9 inch charge range, meaning that we threaten 10  inches with most of our jacks, the bare minimum you need to be able to threaten to have viable heavies (in my opinion of course).

Enter Sorscha 0, who brings Boundless Charge to lists that already have other options for speed buffs, bringing the usual threat range up to at least 12 inches. This increase has other benefits, such as access to Pathfinder and free charges (both very important buffs in and of themselves), but, today, I mainly wanted to talk about the impact that increasing our average threat ranges from 10 to 12 has on our Jack list’s game plan.

Obviously, we have a few casters that can fling jacks further (Strakhov 1, Vlad 1, etc), but the difference between threatening less than 12 and threatening at least 12 is pretty huge from a tabletop perspective, so I thought I’d spend this article trying to articulate why that is. Prepare for rambling!

Scenario:

Khador is a slow faction in general. This isn’t always true (we have a lot of ways to speed up our spd 4 jacks), but it is true that we take the first strike more often than not. Part of this is that our charge range is not generally huge, but other elements come into it as well. Speed 4 means running 8, and that’s just not a long way, making it difficult for our jack lists to threaten up the board. One of the ways we can mitigate this is by using scenario. By focusing on threatening areas of the scenario, rather than trying to threaten our enemies models directly, we can often force bad decisions on our opponents part.

The thing about scenarios though, is that 12 inches is the most important distance when dealing with them. Most scenario zones are 12 inches long, and a number of scenario elements are spaced 12 inches apart, meaning that if you can threaten a 12 inch charge, you can toe into a zone and threaten all of it. This is pretty huge in terms of scenario pressure, as one of the problems with the strategy of using scenario pressure is the opponent getting there first and using that pressure against you. If you can threaten the length of a scenario zone, suddenly you have many more options. You can toe into a zone and threaten all of it, or stand in the centre or edge of it and threaten into other zones. It also makes it more difficult to control your jacks, especially with out of activation movement is involved (such as Energiser or Overrun).

Getting to the Alpha early:

Khador jacks are a pain to deal with. Pretty much every army in the game has the tools to deal with three, most with 4. Once your get to 6 or above, opponents have to start seriously asking themselves if they have the punch or control to deal with that many boxes under that much armour. One of the ways that a lot of factions have traditionally dealt with us is through control and shooting. The classic for this is Haley 2, using a combination of guns, TK and feat to take/soften up as many of our heavies as possible before piece trading begins.

This strategy gets much weaker the faster you force them to play the game. This is generally a good way to deal with control feats, force them to feat defensively, but was not something most of our jack lists were actually capable of doing. That extra bit of threat means that, suddenly, we can get those turn 2 charges, giving our opponents less time to array themselves, less time to shoot us, and less time to try and control our jacks. As regular readers of my Witch 2 rants will know, the less time or opportunity they have to do damage to your jacks before engagement, the better.

Out Threating your opponent:

Here’s one of the funny things about being a slow faction: We get movement buffs. And because of those movement buffs, we tend to out threat our opponents who don’t have movement buffs. Most Khador heavies threaten 10, because of speed 4 plus a 2 inch buff. Cryx (for example as they fastest un-buffed jacks in Warmachine) threaten 10 without movement buffs, and because of this, have way fewer movement buffs. Even on the Hordes side, which tends to be a bit quicker, Trolls generally threaten 11, Skorne at 10, etc. Even Legion, who boast some of the quickest models in the game, cap out at a 12 inch threat un-buffed (Proteus, Angelius, Archangels, etc).

My point, if I have one, is that the addition of this extra speed buff puts our piddly speed 4 jacks up to the point where they threaten at least as far as the fastest un-buffed heavy in the game. That doesn’t seem impressive as a stand alone fact, until you realise that our jacks are designed with Speed 4 in mind. Considering our Jacks have high native armour, a lot of boxes and hit like trucks, it’s fairly clear that Khador’s jacks were designed to take a hit, then counter punch harder. Suddenly, getting our jacks to be able to alpha into most other factions becomes ridiculous. A lot of the time, factions like Legion or Circle are relying on the Alpha, as their models are more fragile and don’t hit as hard, requiring them to hit first and hard to be able to grind through our brickier lists. If we hit them first, the game becomes a lot harder (especially as into those 2 factions particularly, we hit hard and well enough to make killing their beasts fairly easy).

Conclusion:

Back at the start of Mk 3, in the dark times before theme-machine, I played a ton of Strakhov 1. It was from those games that I decided that speed is king for Khador jacks. Every time we can increase the threat range of our jacks pays dividends. As I mentioned above, getting our jacks to a 11+ threat range is not what they were initially designed for, and speed is the primary weakness of our jacks. With our various speed buffs, we are already at a point where mitigating that weakness was enough for our jacks to be viable. Putting that average speed up by an additional 2 across the board puts us into the realm of being hard to deal with, of being able to dish out an alpha rather than take one all the time. That’s huge, and I’m predicting that our jack spam lists are about to enter a phase where they start taking the meta by storm. Be on the look out for B3, Karchev, Strakhov 1 and even Harkevich.

The avalanche of steel and smoke is coming!

Regards to Jon “For the Barryland” Williams for proof reading services. Check out his blog at http://tobarry.blogspot.co.uk/.

 

 

Lets go on a Journey, Man!

Lock and Load is only a couple weeks away, and I’m excited. Excited to play in the Iron Gauntlet, excited to meet up with a bunch of people I know only through facebooks or by listening to their podcasts, excited to visit PPs own convention and see what they do with it.

One of the biggest things I’m excited for though, is the Journeymen. See, after the Khador CID, we had a short CID cycle to test models for the 15th anniversary of Warmachine. The result was some pretty exciting models for the original 4 factions. Caine 0 for Cygnar, Severius 0 for Menoth, Deneghra 0 for Cryx and, most importantly, Sorscha 0 for Khador. Accompanying the testing for Sorscha 0 was a couple of changes to our theme forces. After the update goes live (assuming nothing changes), we will be able to take “solos with the battlegroup controller special rule” in Winter Guard Kommand and in Jaws of the Wolf. For those of you not paying attention at home, this means that we will be able to take both of our journeymen warcasters (Malakov 1 and Sorscha 0) in our Jack theme!

So why is this a big deal to me? Well, for starters, it brings up some interesting list building options. The ability to take some other Warjack controllers and shunt jacks on to them reduces the focus burden on our Warcasters, though this does come with the downside of those jacks losing out on Battlegroup bonuses. This is great for some of our casters, including: Sorscha 1 and 2, OW 2 and Strakhov 1. Another part of this being a big deal is that it gives us access to some spell support that we haven’t had before. Lets get into some nitty gritty.

SORSCHA 0

SPD STR MAT RAT DEF ARM CMD FOC

6 6 5 5 15 14 6 4

Weapons: Rng 8 Pow 12 Blunderbuss, Rng 1 Pow 12 Magical Axe

Abilities: No Sleeping on the Job (winter guard), Immunity Cold

Spells: Boundless Charge, Fog of War

 

Assuming Sorscha 0 comes out of CID unchanged, she is looking like a great piece. Bringing several support abilities and spells to the table, she is a fantastic support model for any caster looking to run a bunch of jacks that doesn’t already have access to Boundless Charge. Being able to stack Boundless with the host of other speed buffs we have in faction is a really big deal, make no mistake, as it gets our jacks up to the threat ranges where they are threatening the entirety of zones (as well as giving us trivial access to Pathfinder). In addition to that, she brings with her some interesting defensive tech. Being inherently immune to knockdown is fantastic, especially when you combine that with a high basic defence and reasonable armour. Add in Fog of War and her Powerfield, and you have a model that is def 17 to shooting, can’t be knocked down and will usually be armour 19 to whatever attacks do manage to hit her. That’s pretty hard to kill for a 4 point solo, making her great at surviving to camp flags or cast her spells.

Malakov 1:

SPD STR MAT RAT DEF ARM CMD FOC

6 6 6 4 14 13 7 4

Weapons: Rng 12, Pow 12 Hand Cannon; Rng 0.5, Pow 11 Magical Sword

Abilities: Sucker

Spells: Redline, Razor Wind

Malakov hasn’t changed in the Journeyman CID, apart from one thing. He can now be taken in Jaws of the Wolf (for free no less!). This makes him interesting for a couple of reasons. He wasn’t particularly compelling in Winter Guard Kommand primarily because he both wasn’t free, and because you aren’t particularly encouraged to spam jacks there. Jaws is a different beastie. He isn’t as compelling as Sorscha is in a lot of lists, but has some interesting synergies with other casters, particularly with casters that have non-battlegroup speed buffs already, such as any of our Boundless Charge casters (Witch 2 in particular) or Strakhov 1. He is also interesting as he is difficult to kill for a lot of lists, between Sucker, Power Field and not particularly needing to come forward, whilst also contributing a bit more than Sorscha, due to his hand cannon and magical nuke (even if both are rolling off of rat/focus 4). This means he can help contribute to situations where you need magical attacks. Overall, he’s nowhere near as impactful as having boundless charge on a stick, but still has a place in list building.

Lists:

So in addition to discussing these journeymen and what the changes are bringing, I wanted to discuss a couple of lists I’ve been dojoing. There are quite a few, so I thought I’d look at a list with just Sorscha, 1 with just Malakov, and 1 that can run both well. Lets start with Sorscha.

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]
– Marauder [11]
– Marauder [11]
– Ruin [17]
Kovnik Apprentice Kratikoff [4]
– Rager [10]
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich [4]
Winter Guard Mortar Crew [0(5)]
Winter Guard Rifle Corps (min) [8]
– Winter Guard Rocketeer (3) [6]

So this was a toss up between Butcher 3 and Karchev. I decided to go with Butcher mainly because I’ve played him more. I also wanted at least one of these to be in WGK.

Butcher 3 has some very interesting interactions with Sorscha 0, as he is probably the only caster to take advantage of every one of her abilities. A large part of playing Butcher 3 is projecting and managing threat with him, often using jacks to trade for everything that can actually kill him, before getting butcher to run the table. Sometimes this manifests itself as an attrition advantage, sometimes as taking a part of the table and killing everything that comes near (like a couple of scenario elements for example). Sorscha helps with every part of this. Butchers package as a jack caster is also lacking certain elements, and again, Sorscha helps out here. Providing boundless charge to the list is a big deal, as it means that Butcher’s jacks can threaten 12 inches, a pretty big leap from 10 inches as well as providing your jacks with a source (a Sourca, hehe) of pathfinder and free charges, which means that your long range threat is not solely projected by Butcher and Ruin. It also pushes Butchers personal threat range out to 14 inches, before vengeance and impending doom, which is further than most heavies in the game threaten (barring certain cases like Kallus 2 or Strakhov), helping him to project his personal threat. On the defensive side, she provides concealment if relevant, getting Butcher to def 16 to shooting, whilst also stopping the Winter guard he is Sac Pawning to from being knocked down (such as when they tough).

This particular list is a variant of something I played last year, and is interesting enough to re-visit with the new tools Sorscha provides. The list was predicated on the idea of playing a trading game in the early turns, before committing Butcher to irrevocably collapse a flank. It brings a few guns to help deal with infantry and ding up enemy heavies for trading is valuable, as well as for the defensive aspect of the theme making Butcher a pain to kill from range. In addition, the Advance move helps more with Butchers particular game plan than the benefits from Jaws. Sorschas presence turns most of these elements up to 11, for the reasons mentioned above. Overall, Sorscha 0 could be the shot in the arm that Butcher 3 needs to get back on the competitive scene.

 

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

[Old Witch 2] Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+27]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Spriggan [17]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Rager [10]
Kovnik Andrei Malakov [0(4)]
– Marauder [11]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]

So this list will look pretty familiar to regular readers of my blog. I’ve only talked about it for the physical age of the universe (or so it feels by this point). Regardless, I’ve been testing this variant of it, with an aim of taking even more jacks out of Witches battle group. The more I play Witch, the more I realise that making her list more efficient pays dividends. The previous incarnation of the list could, on feat turn, fuel 4 jacks and boundless charge all of them, so long as you did nothing else. Shifting the Marauder onto Malakov gives me the flexibility to maintain or even increase that level of out put, whilst giving Witch more options with her focus. On top of that, being able to stack Redline and Boundless charge gives me a jack that threatens 12 inches (as well as the other benefits that being speed 6 brings) as well as another damage buff. The marauder in question only really loses out on in activation allocation (which is corner case) and re-rolls to hit (which is compensated through the increased damage and ability to fully allocate every turn if necessary).

The loss of the Marksman in return for Malakov is not trivial, as having a pathfinder stealth solo that is high rat is useful, especially as I can throw him away if necessary. In addition, rat 8 base is still probably better than a boosted rat 4, especially as the Marksman can usually aim. However, the efficiencies and buffs that Malakov brings makes up for that. In addition, whilst Malakov is not quite as trivial as the Marksman to throw away (a jack going inert is pretty terrible), his jack will usually be one of the first casualities of the list, wanting to be the first jack to go in and, thus, the first to die. Once unencumbered by a jack, Malakov becomes a def 14, arm 13 solo with a range 12 gun, sucker and Power Field, which is a fine stat line for sitting on a flag. Witch is also very good at protecting her back line pieces with Windstorm making it difficult to get shots that deep, and Sucker combined with Power Field makes Malakov fairly likely to survive the kind of attacks that would kill the Marksman (blast damage, sprays, etc). Overall, while there are some disadvantages to dropping the Marksman, Malakov feels like he brings enough benefits to the list to warrant the change.

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

!!! Your army contains a CID entry.

[Strakhov 1] Kommander Oleg Strakhov [+28]
– Behemoth [25]
– Berserker [8]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Marauder [11]
Gobber Tinker [2]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
Kovnik Andrei Malakov [0(4)]
– Juggernaut [13]
Kovnik Apprentice Kratikoff [0(4)]
– Beast 09 [18]

And so we end on a list with both Journeymen. I don’t think it’s a good option for a majority of lists, but Strak 1 is probably the biggest exception. Strak 1 is a caster that hasn’t been seen a huge amount, mostly because he doesn’t fit well into most of our themes. Jaws was always the closest fit, but was kind of a struggle because Strak is an Elite Jack caster rather than a Spam Jack caster (by which I mean he takes a couple of jacks and makes them do a lot, rather than leveraging lots of cheap jacks like Harkevich or Karchev). Because of this, he can really struggle with actual getting full work out of more than about 2 jacks a turn. The difference here then, is that a lot of the actual fuelling of jacks is taken over by support staff.

Straks other problem has always been damage output, and alot of this list taken up with solving that problem. Malakov is an obvious increase, but there are also multiple pow 19 heavies here, along with Behemoth and free charges outside of the feat turn. This also includes the shear level of focus this list  can put out in a turn if it has too (there are far worse feat turns this list can have other than just allocating fully to 6 jacks and having them charge). The Journeymen, in particular, feel like the missing piece that Strakhov needed (especially because Superiority is not battlegroup dependent), providing fuel and a touch more threat range. On feat turn, both of the Journeymens jacks can charge 15inches (threatening to 16 and 17 inches depending on reach), which is a pretty ridiculous distance, whilst Strakhovs jacks can potentially get out to 22 inches. This threat range means that the list can comfortably alpha into most enemy lists with 4-5 fully fueled jacks on turn 2, with all the connotations that brings. Add in overrun shenanigans, Occultation, high mat Berserkers and decent threat ranges outside of the feat turn Even the Journeymen jacks are still threatening 12-13 inches outside of feat, and you have a list that flings Khador jacks at your opponents like rifle shots. Just remember: screaming “Heavens Piercing Spear” when you get the full speed combo on a jack is mandatory.

Conclusion:

The journeymen update adds some very interesting dimensions to our jack lists, due to the support they bring and the age old problem of Khador casters not really having enough focus to fuel battle groups properly. Sorscha 0 is the more impactful of the 2, as it enables a lot of casters to extend their Jacks threat ranges out to at least 12 inches through buff stacking, but Malakov is also interesting in a number of lists. The effect that access to these 2 will have on our list building looks to be interesting in the next few months (from whenever PP decides to release them at least).

For the Motherland!

Cheers to Jon “I am become Barry, Destroyer of Worlds” Williams for proof reading. Check out his blog at http://tobarry.blogspot.co.uk.

Welsh Masters: Day 2

Last week, I put up the first half of my Tournament report on the Welsh Masters. I was originally going to put the whole thing up in one go, but decided it was too long. So here’s the last 3 rounds. I’ll start, as always, with a refresher on the lists that I brought with me.

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)]
Man-O-War Kovnik [0(4)]
Ragman [4]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Man-O-War Bombardiers (max) [16]
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]

Khador Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Legion of Steel

(Strakhov 2) Assault Kommander Strakhov [+22]
– Rager [10]
– Torch [18]
Iron Fang Kovnik [0(4)]
Kaptain 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]

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

(Old Witch 2) Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+27]
– Juggernaut [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Marauder [11]
– Spriggan [17]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Rager [10]
Widowmaker Marksman [0(4)]
Battle Mechaniks (min) [3]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]

Round 5:

As I’d known from the previous evening, round 5 saw me paired against fellow Team Knights player, James Sykes. He was running Harbinger, Kreoss 3 and High Reclaimer. We’d talked through the match at length before, and had reached the conclusion that the match would probably be Witch 2 into Harby (pikes are bad into Harby, High Reclaimer can’t get enough done into Witch and Kreoss suffers from the blind gun too much). So that’s what we end up dropping. His list below:

Protectorate Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] The Faithful Masses

[Harbinger 1] The Harbinger of Menoth [+24]
– Devout [9]
– Indictor [15]
– Hierophant [3]
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist [3]
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist [3]
Champion of the Order of the Wall [8]
Champion of the Order of the Wall [8]
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon [0(6)]
Paladin of the Order of the Wall [4]
Paladin of the Order of the Wall [4]
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord [4]
The Covenant of Menoth [0(4)]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (max) [16]
– Attendant Priest [3]
Idrian Skirmishers (max) [15]
– Idrian Skirmisher Chieftain & Guide [0(5)]

I won the roll off and went second. Scenario was Outlast. Terrain had 2 big ass forests on one side of the board, and a cloud in the right hand zone. I picked the more open table side. James placed his wall to jut off from the central forest and deployed with Indictor and some paladins on one side, Harby in the middle with her retinue and the Dorfs off the right. I deployed with Behemoth, the Spriggan and the Rager on my left and the other 3 jacks on my right, with Witch dead centre. He AD’s the Idrians centrally.

Turn 1:

He flings his Idrians up the board (and mini feats), taking up real estate, and runs everything forward. He spreads out somewhat to deny good blasts from Behemoth.

I look at how far he’s gotten up the board and make a few decisions. There is a nicely placed Idrian in blind cloud range that would block LOS and movement for the Dorfs behind it. With Purification being on the table I don’t have a huge amount else to do with my focus, so Witch moves up and boosts a shot into said Dug In idrian, needing 11s re-rolling. I hit it on the first try, and then cast Windstorm. I’m left camping 3 with some Idrians having charges on the Witch. Everything runs up, with me putting multiple jacks forward and in range of the Champions on either side. Behemoth drifts some AOEs, doing some damage to both Monks and forcing a martyrdom on the Idrian UA. I have my right hand Eliminators hide behind the cloud in the right zone.

Turn 2:

James starts the turn by jamming Idrians down my throat. He charges some into the leading Kodiak, and spreads out the rest, doing some damage to the Kodiak. He also charges the Champion on the right side into it, doing even more damage, but spreading out the damage. Everything else moves up and positions, with an Allegiant being put on his flag, the Dorfs spreading out on the right to stay away from nasty stabby ladies and Harby getting healed up and feating.

I take a look at the board and realise that I can get the Kodiak in to contest and generally make a nuisance of himself. I end up feating, though it takes me a long time to decide whether to do so or not. I end up doing so to make sure I’m camping enough and to get enough work done this turn to start forcing Harby to make decisions. Witch goes first and walks up a bit, blinding some far away Idrians (to block LOS from the Indictor to where the Kodiak is going to be) and casting Curse of Shadows onto the unit, before allocating a bunch of focus out. The Kodiak then walks through the jam and into a nice bunch of Idrians, before hitting the Champion twice and throwing him away (sadly, not unhorsing him) and venting to kill 3 Idrians. The juggernaut finishes off the ones that the Kodiak walked over with some help from the Marauder. The spriggan ends up burning a load of focus to gun down some Idrians. Behemoth takes some shots, unhorsing the other Champion (can’t martyr horses!). The Marksman walks onto the flag and unhorses the thrown Champion (who had 3 left). The Stabby ladies on either side continue to hold off. I score 1.

Turn 3:

James checks the clock and finds that it is go time. He sends in the Dorfs, after Harby goes and puts up Guided Hand and Crusaders Call. They go in and murder the Kodiak to death. The Champion on the right charges in as well to stab the Juggernaut a bit. The remaining Idrians move in to contest, as well as a kicky monk. The Indictor positions a bit to threaten anything contesting his flag. He scores 1.

My turn and the pressure is on. I’m pretty sure he can clear his flag at least one more time (due to the Indictor), but apart from that he’s running out of pieces that can actually kill my jacks. I take a look at the table and decide that I can probably clear my flag this turn. Witch ends up going first, up-keeping Curse of Shadows on the Idrians, putting out a ton of focus and firing the blind cloud again, this time blocking off the right side of the board to stop the hammer dorfs. The Spriggan charges the Allegiant contesting my flag, bulldozing it away from my flag and boosting the charge attack, before spending the rest of it’s attacks on a nearby paladin, forcing a few martyrdoms. It’s guns fire at the Covenant, missing one and hitting the other, bleeding 2 points off of it. The Juggernaut goes in and murders some Idrians to clear my flag, whilst the Marauder does much the same. Behemoth continues shooting at infantry, proccing more martyrdoms and damaging the Covenant more.  The Eliminators continue doing work on their respective table sides. I manage to clear my flag, and score it again, going 2-1.

Turn 4:

James has a choice here. Kill the Juggernaut and equalise or kill the Spriggan and try to push his flank on that side. He opts for the Juggernaut (because he has more chance of killing it, and because he needs to keep pace on score). The Juggernaut takes some chip damage from a paladin, and the Indictor goes in, killing it pretty easily. He shuffles some infantry around to contest again. Harby heals a bunch and James scores again, equalising.

My turn begins with the main plan for the turn being to remove the pieces he has left that can actually deal with my jacks. Witch kicks things off by doing much the same thing she did last turn, allocating out a load of focus and blinds some stuff. The Spriggan goes in on the Indictors back arc, dealing a bunch of damage and using it’s guns to finish off the Covenant and proc a martyrdom on an allegiant near to the Indictor. The maruader moves up to contest both flags and finish off the Indictor (the Spriggan took out the shield). The eliminators continue stabbing things and I fail to clear my flag this turn.

Turn 5-6:

Both of these turns end up much the same, with my jacks mopping up models, working my way through Harbys health. James continues to try to mill through my jacks with what he has left whilst continuing to contest everything. The score stays at 2-2 throughout. On the bottom of 6, I start running out of time, and end up committing Witch into melee, camping 4.

Turn 7:

Unfortunately, I commit witch too far forward. He gets some damage onto her between the last remaining paladin, and sends Harby in, having to cast Crusaders call to make distance. It’s not a guaranteed assassination, but the dice are with him, and Witch goes down to the last attack.

Afterthoughts:

I make 2 mistakes in this game. I committed witch to far forward, when if I focus on contesting everything I win on army points. The second mistake is simply taking too much time in early turns. If I’m quicker there, I am less likely to put Witch too far forward. Otherwise, this is actually a pretty good Harby drop. Witch can put out alot of focus and has some control and anti jam elements (Curse, Slams, Throws, Bulldoze).

Round 6:

Round 6 dawns and I end up against Andrew Devine. He’s playing Cryx, and has Gaspy 1, Venethrax and Skarre 1. Scourge being on the table means that Pikes are going down, and he does indeed drop Gaspy 1. List below:

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Scourge of the Broken Coast

[Asphyxious 1] Iron Lich Asphyxious [+28]
– Deathripper [6]
– Deathripper [6]
– Stalker [8]
– Stalker [8]
– Satyxis Blood Priestess [0(4)]
Axiara Wraithblade [0(6)]
Satyxis Raider Captain [4]
Satyxis Raider Captain [4]
Severa Blacktide [0(6)]
Satyxis Blood Witches (max) [13]
Satyxis Gunslingers [7]
Satyxis Gunslingers [7]
Satyxis Raiders (max) [16]
– Satyxis Raider Sea Witch [4]
Satyxis Raiders (max) [16]
– Satyxis Raider Sea Witch [4]

I lose the roll off and go second. Scenario is Standoff. I pick the side of the table that is a bit less busy, and has a wall that Strakhov can hide behind in my zone. Other terrain has a big house in the middle of the table, as well as a big cloud in the right zone and a forest on his side of the table. He deploys everything fairly symmetrically, with raiders, gunslingers and an arc node on each side, and his solos in the middle. I deploy symmetrically as per usual, somewhat more bunched up in the centre to account for ambushing Witches. The centre unit advance moves up.

Turn 1:

Andrew runs everything turn 1. He pushes his arc nodes out to extreme ranges, and drifts some breath of corruptions. He gets good scatters, and is able to use the blocking scathers to position his lines much further forward than he would other wise.

My turn and I’m in an uncomfortable situation. Normally in this match up, I would have preferred to advance up cautiously and give myself another turn to get everything where I want it to be. Him being as far forward as he is removes this option. So I feat, get out Quicken and Inviolable and push as far forward as I can, whilst spreading out as much as I can. I’m hoping he commits next turn, and doesn’t just breath of corruption the front ranks.

Turn 2:

Andrew does indeed commit this turn, ambushing onto the left table side and committing everything. He sends in the Blood priestess first, to dispel Invioalble, and then parasites a unit. He tries to get a good landing position for his stalkers, but when he moves one to jump into a place to tie up several of my counter chargers, it triggers a counter charge, and a Great Bear fails forward to plug the gap. After all is said and done, he has removed roughly a unit worth of pikes, between ignoring the shield wall, parasite and dark shroud. Thankfully though, I am free and clear to retaliate, and have managed to get a few raiders with counter-charges.

On my turn the hard work begins. I have this turn to get as much of an attrition advantage as I can,. The bears go first, charging through the front lines and murdering 6 Satyxis. Said front line then murders it’s way through a bunch more, leaving the CA alive from one unit of raiders. The left hand is a bit less successful, but does manage to kill both stalkers and a bunch of raiders. Markov murders a Raider because he’s tied up and can’t charge. At the end of the turn, he has a CA and his gunslingers on the right hand side, and a few more on the left along with both arc nodes. Strakhov is behind a wall with Inviolable on him and camping 3 focus. I score 1 in my own zone.

Turn 3:

Andrew ends up clocking on this turn, trying to unlock an assassination run. His goal is to remove a number of pikemen that would free strike his Arc Node, and run it to a position where it can draw LOS past the wall. Due to some unlucky rolls, counter charges and a CA and flag that won’t die, he ends up clocking before he manages to unlock it.

Afterthoughts:

This is an example of a match up that was reasonably fair until my opponent made a mistake. He probably should have burned his feat on the top of 2 to place a bunch of Breath of Corruption AOEs in my front ;ines. He probably doesn’t kill any of them with it, but can then sand paper off the front line and lose less to retaliation. I probably then respond with my multi wound infantry (Great Bears/Sofia, etc), and we end up grinding it out. As it was, though he took a bunch of models on my feat turn, it wasn’t quite enough, and the Pikes are pretty good at killing Satyxis.

Round 7:

I get paired against Ben Thomas, who is running Retribution. He has Rahn, Kaelyssa and something I don’t remember. Having played him before and discussed the match up, I’m fairly certain he’s going to drop Kaelyssa. I decide to stick with the pikes. He does indeed drop what I predicted and off we go. Lists below:

Retribution Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Legions of Dawn

[Kaelyssa 1] Kaelyssa, the Night’s Whisper [+29]
– Helios [34]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Dawnguard Destor Thane [7]
Dawnguard Destor Thane [7]
Dawnguard Sentinel Scyir [0(4)]
Dawnguard Sentinel Scyir [0(4)]
Dawnguard Destors (min) [12]
Dawnguard Sentinels (max) [18]
– Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard [0(4)]
– Soulless Escort (1) [1]
Dawnguard Sentinels (max) [18]
– Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard [4]
– Soulless Escort (1) [1]

I win the roll off and go first. He picks the clearer side. Scenario is Spread The Net. Terrain has a big forest on my right, a big house in the centre zone and not much else that’s relevant. I deploy symmetrically, with Torch on the left and the Rager on the right. He deploys Helios on the left side of the house, with Eyriss and a Destor Thane on it’s left. The Destors flank hard to the right, and the sentinels stay central with Kaelyssa. I advance move the centre unit.

Turn 1:

I run everything forward, to threaten into the back of his zone. I make a slight mistake and give him a charge with a Destor. Inviolable goes onto the centre unit and quicken goes out on the right.

Ben moves forward, feating this turn. He positions as far forward as he can, getting a few shots off with Kaelyssa, proccing righteous vengeance on Sophia as well as getting the afore mentioned charge with a Destor. He leaves the Soulless Escort from each unit out front to bait me into proccing vengeance. He makes a mistake and leaves the front line of his Sentinels within walking distance of the front line of pikes.

Turn 2:

This will be my feat turn, and I want to get some work done. I manage to kill the destor on the right hand, before using mini feat on that side to get into shield wall. Quicken gets cycled and feat goes up. I forget to declare stealth (mistakes thy name is Bobsy) After clearing out the Soulless escort with a different unit of pikes (a mistake on my part as we’ll see), the quickened unit go in on the Sentinels, killing 4. They repo back, leaving a couple of speed bumps out front. The rest of the army shuffles around, and I commit the third mistake of the turn by splitting up my counter charge block to both flanks.

Ben’s turn and he uses his vengeance moves to clear a lane for Helios, swinging on the speed bumps as he goes, hilariously failing to kill them. He spends a couple activations killing them with Scyirs and then Helios goes in. I have forgotten that Helios has Flame Burst, and he strategically murders pike men to get the most on fire and out of shield wall. He takes a chance and takes some pot shots at Strakhov (who I foolishly forgot to Stealth), and hits, moving him back 3 inches to get the right flank out of feat. He then attacks said flank, eating some counter charges from the bears on the way. He chops up a bunch of Pikes on that side with some Destors going in to finish off 2 of the Bears. He takes a pot shot with Eyriss at Torch, which gets shield guarded by Sophia (who is super angry by now). He scores 2.

Turn 3:

Fire kills 4 out of 6 pikes. My hand is forced this turn. I have to kill Helios, which is very doable. I mess up my orders of activations, sending in my pikes and solos first, finishing with Torch (would have been better to do him first, leave him out front for the Sentinels to chew on). I run Markov onto my flag and manage to punch enough stuff in my zone to score a point there as well, but I can’t get anything to his flag and he scores in my turn. Score at this point is 3-2.

Ben spends his turn cleaning up pikemen, who I have graciously left in a lovely bowl shape for him. I commit Markov to a Counter Charge on a Destor Thane, forgetting how many boxes it has, and don’t manage to knock it down. He finishes off Sophia this turn, a bunch of pikes and disrupts Torch, as well as scoring 2.

Turn 4:

The writing is on the wall at this point, but I decide to try and eke out what I can. I manage to kill some more stuff, and contest both his zone and his flag (the latter with a Trample from the Rager that procs a free strike). I manage to kill a lot of Sentinels this turn, but not enough. I mess my positioning up with Strakhov, and fail to score a point from my cleared flag.

At this point, Ben just clears his zone and the central zone. Scoring 3, he ends his turn with the game at 8-2.

After thoughts:

This is a game that hinged on a bunch of small mistakes. Not declaring stealth here, bunching up too much there, ill advised counter charges, ugh. Despite this, discussing the match up with Ben, the game feels fairly even. Even going second, his army isn’t that fast, allowing me to threat the feat out, and then back up, without giving up too much of the board. Ah well.

Conclusion:

At the end of the tournament I went 4 and 3, which is a bit sad. I still managed to pull out more wins than losses which is something though. I ended up placing quite poorly due to my SOS being terrible (no first round opponent, and at least one of my opponents dropped). Despite the terrible placing though, I had a blast, as I always do at the Welsh. I shall be back next year, hopefully on form this time.

Onwards to Iron Gauntlet!

Cheers to Jonathan ‘Oh Barry where art thou?” Williams for his proof reading. Check out his blog at http://tobarry.blogspot.com/