Crotchety Old Ladies

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

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

And this is where the Witch fits in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Irish Gauntlet Tournament Report

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

List Building

The full info on Old Witch 2 was released lately and she has me frothing at the mouth to play her. Too bad I wasn’t at lock and load to pick up her pre-release. She’s had me thinking a lot about the way I design lists and what I design lists for, so I thought I’d come and pour those thoughts on the internet for all to see. That’s what we do these days right?

So list building? It’s a core process to the game and is where strategy is born, hunting down synergies to present on the table top. There are a lot of different ways that people build lists: focusing on particular modules, building for specific matchups, trying to amplify the strengths of a caster or a particular set of models, etc. I’ve always started with the caster, reading through War-room looking for something inspiring, and then trying to come up with an optimum list for said caster that takes as much advantage of their particular skill set as possible. Lets do an example of what I mean.

Strakhov 2. When I look at his cards a couple of things spring to mind.

1: Strakhov 2 is a buff caster that specialises in infantry. All of his upkeeps are focused on support, are best utilised on infantry (their being no battle-group specific spells or free charges to give to our jacks) and his feat specifically targets warrior models.

2: Strakhov 2 is a survivable caster. Khador has some of the best infantry support casters in the game (Irusk, Vlad, Butcher, etc), but they struggle sometimes with caster survival. Our base stats tend to be good, but most of our support casters want to be spending all their focus. Combine that with a tendency for these casters to put their opponents in a do or die situation and a lot of games are lost to assassination. Strakhov 2 on the other hand has access to a bevy of tech that can help keep him alive. Stealth, a cloud wall, good base stats, a spell list that allows him to camp, feat making him more survivable, etc.

3: Strakhov 2 prefers high armour melee troops. With a feat that gives bonus armour and tough, Inviolable resolve, a speed buff and a melee damage and accuracy buff, Strak is gonna get more mileage out of things that can already get to a high armour on their own. Combine this with quicken for threat range buffs and last stand to crack high defense or armour and natively high armour, hard hitting melee troops get cranked up to 11.

So these 3 points all point to Strakhov wanting high armour melee warrior models, preferably units, which means we can cut out a substantial number of models from a potential list (Jacks, Winterguard, Kayzy, etc) and also cuts 2 of the 3 themes from contention, leaving Legion of Steel and out of theme as options.

Considering the current environment, Legion of Steel is probably the first place to look, as playing in theme is a big advantage to playing out of theme. This gives us Ironfang pikemen, Black Dragons and Uhlans to look at. To decide what will constitute the majority of this list, I then look at Strakhovs drawbacks. He has 2 major ones. The first is a lack of access to pathfinder, he has it himself, but has no way to give it out. This eliminates Black Dragons for me. Though they could get to the highest armour with mini feat, and add a layer of abilities, the lack of native pathfinder makes them a 3rd place runner for me. Strakhovs other flaw is in Last Stand, with any model with that spell dying after making a melee attack. This disqualifies Uhlans for me, as they are too expensive to be throwing away like that. So we are left with vanilla Iron Fang Pikemen.

To me Iron Fang Pikemen meet all the criteria for Strakhov, getting to high armour natively, being reasonably fast on their own and gaining pathfinder on the charge. On top of that, the mini feat gives flexibility to the list, allowing the pikemen to run or charge something and still be in shield wall for the feat turn. They also have crit knockdown and CMA, which synergise well with last stand. The weaknesses that they have are then mitigated by the benefits from the theme, counter charge especially allowing the solos in the list to act as line guards.

From their the list builds itself, 3 units of pikemen, Markov, the great bears, a kovnik for no knock down, and you have a list that is fast, hits hard, is fairly resistant to small arms fire and trades well into battlegroup heavy lists. The only question that then remains is battlegroup. In this case, the list is lacking in guns and in cheap pieces to hold scenario, so my preference is Torch and a devastator. 2 destroyers is also an option, as well as just a juggernaut and a marauder to just fill jack points. Season to taste as it were.

So that’s my approach to list building, which I apply to most lists I make. Some casters are harder than others (Strakhov 2 is fairly obvious to me). But generally I can find some thread that each caster wants to follow. As a quick fire round of examples:

  • Irusk 2 gives a lot of soft defense (tough, no blast damage, cover, etc) and can make just about any of our troops trade up whilst providing pathfinder and other solutions, so wants lots of cheap troops.
  • Butcher 3 wants to be delivered, and has energiser, so runs quite well in a jack heavy list that can cloud wall/shield guard.
  • Vlad 1 makes pretty much anything better, but doesn’t have a lot of focus, so wants cheap jacks backed by quality ranged attacks.
  • Strakhov 1 makes everything fast, but has no damage buffs, so wants hard hitting things, also has a cap on resources, so wants a small elite battlegroup

Those are just some examples, with out much depth, but hopefully show some of what I’m rambling on about. With Steamroller 2017 out now, I thin Khador is in an even stronger postion than before, and hopefully, with the release of the likes of Witch 2 and the CID coming up soon, we’ll be seeing some interesting lists come out of the community.

I Learned It From…

I’ve been meditating on some of my lists recently and have been thinking about the various lessons that playing some of our casters has taught me over the years. Playing Warmachine has been a real learning experience for me and when I look back at the difference in play between now and even a year ago, the difference is pretty big. I think the element of my games that has taught me the most is my own casters. I’ve played pretty much all of Khador’s Warcasters at this point, and each of them has a different lesson on the tabletop. I wanted to spend a moment going through some of the more significant ones.

Strakhov 1:

Of all the Casters I have played in Mk 3, I think Strakhov has taught me the most. Strakhov is a caster that is all about threat range and mobility. Between feat, Overrun, Superiority and Sprint on Strakhov himself, any list that Strakhov pilots is going to be far faster and more slippery than any other list we can make in faction. The games that I played with him near the beginning of Mk 3 taught me that threat range in and of itself can be an advantage.

I played a number of games with him where my opponents would be trying desperately to keep their important pieces out of the 20 – 21 inch threat range that I could throw a jack up the board. This would often lead to them making bad decisions, or going on tilt as they tried to work around the obscene threat ranges that Strakhov could threaten. On top of this, the sheer mobility that was on offer often allowed me to pull off moves that my opponents often would not see coming, such as weakening a blocking model and then charging it with a jack and overrunning through the gap to get to a caster.

The other major thing I learned from Strakhov is the value and necessity of proper resource management. Strakhov is a focus 6 caster, who wants to runs jacks. Generally this meant that I had to make hard decisions about when, where and to who I would be casting spells and allocating focus. I often had to pare back my expectations about what I could get done, and take whatever I had available to me to swing dice math in my favour. I can recall a number of games where the decisive play was me using the feat just to get a free charge. All of this helped to teach me with other casters where I was wasting resources.

Butcher 3:

Butcher 3 taught me 2 things in particular. The first was the sheer value of having a threat on the board on Butchers level. Butcher 3 does not support his army, his feat doesn’t help anybody but him and he tends to use his force as an entourage to deliver him. The upside of this is the promise that Butcher makes you, that if you can get him into the enemy with feat intact, he will kill basically anything in the game. I cannot think of another model in the game that can flat out kill stuff better. I have had games where I was left with 1 jack and not much else, and Butcher has killed so much in 1 activation that the attrition is now on my side.

Due to this, and the reputation that Butcher as a caster has, often times you can force your opponent to make bad decisions simply through the fear that butcher can inspire. You can leverage this to make good trades with your force or to gain scenario advantages. I’ve taken this lesson into other match ups, and used that knowledge to play into other bug bears, such as Haley 2, or Denegrha 1, playing through the rough turns and emerging the other side to win games.

This leads into the second lesson that Butcher has taught me. That there is no such thing as too safe for your caster. I am an attrition player, especially with Butcher, and I often leave my opponent in a position where the only thing they can do is kill the Butcher. Inevitably, in some games they do. Butcher has a great stat line, can often camp 3 or 4 focus and be behind a wall of jacks, and he still dies to desperate plans. This was eye opening to me, as I realised in a lot of my other match ups, this was happening as well. It led to me developing better methods of keeping him safe, and through that of keeping my other casters safe.

Irusk 2:

Irusk 2 is a great caster, possibly the best troop caster in the game. Between his tough aura, Solid Ground and battle lust, he excels at taking cheap infantry and making them survive and kill things far outside their weight class. The main lesson that I have taken from him though is the value of flexibility.

One of the things that makes Irusk 2 so great is that he can take any of our infantry and make them kill high armour targets. Winter guard, Assault commandos, etc, all take down things they have no business taking down with battle lust on them. The advantage of this with Irusk is that you can take a variety of infantry to solve your other issues (clearing infantry, pathfinding, etc) and just have any of them deal with enemy heavies when the time comes. This forces your opponent into difficult straits. Ideally, any  player wants to kill the things that can deal with their key pieces, whether that’s a Colossal or a centre piece unit or a couple of heavies, and will prefer to keep those pieces away from the things that can deal with them. When your entire list can, at a moments notice, become a weapon master, where does your opponent put their heavy that they’re not trading down. This is a lesson I’ve used to even greater effect with Strakhov 2. That list can make any of the 3 units of Pikemen in it threaten further or hit harder or become harder to kill. This flexibility means that my opponents often have to respect my entire force when manoeuvring, and gives me options to deal with bad match-ups.

Those are the main 3 casters that I feel I have learned the most from. Have a think yourselves, what have you learned from the lists and casters you play?

 

Brief ETC round up

Haven’t posted in a while due to my hated enemy, real life. Have just come back from Cardiff and Firestorm games which were hosting the European Team Championships. My club fielded 2 teams and we ended up 10th and 9th, a great result up from last year’s 17th and 12th. Thought I’d post a quick round up of the rounds.

The team:

Me: khador myself with strakhov 2 legion of steel and butcher 3 Jaws of the wild

Jonathon Clarke: menoth, unthemed high reclaimed and guardians of the flame Thyra

Paul Jordan: Skorne with zaal 2 and Zaadesh 2

Jace Winter: Trollbloods with power of dhunia Doomie 2 and band of heroes Jarl

Christopher Clare: Retribution with Forces Vyros and Forges Rahn

Round 1:

Lost the round roll8 off and picked the tables. Ended up in the mirror playing into Khador. He dropped butcher3 winter guard kommand (battle engine and everything) and I dropped Strakhov 2. Game was grindy with me assassinating turn 4 between quickened great beard and last stand pikemen. Our team won that round 4-1

Round 2

Yay, team England lions. Because of course. I ended up in the mirror again, this time against Richard Beech. He dropped Vlad 1 with 5 jacks and all the rockets. I dropped butcher having played the Strakhov – vlad match before. What followed was one of the best games I’ve ever played. Neither of us really made any mistakes and what swung the game in the end was Ruin going in on a marauder  fully loaded and failing to even cripple a system. This forced me to position badly and things went down from there. Butcher ended up dead. We lost 4 – 1.

Round 3:

We end up playing playing team Wales. I got Legion in the end who surprised me by dropping vayl 2 in Oracle’s rather than fyanna. I drop strakhov. He has the Throne, but between tieing up the hellions helpings and some countercharges I score 3 in one turn (extraction is the scenario) and he has no way to contest one of the flags. My team wins this round overall.

Round 4:

We get team Scotland, who are difficult, and I get the mirror again. The match up is once again butcher 3 into vlad. This game goes much better, with me sniping all 9 rockets out early on. Between positioning and failing to kill ruin, I manage to get a fully loaded ruin into Vlad which kills him. The team loses this round 2 to 3 though and we end the tournament at 2-2.

We were all pleased to do better than last year. Next up, the Midlands open.

Future Sight: Looking at Khador lists of the Future

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of Khador’s competitive lists. Mark 3 is almost a year old and the meta is shifting. Between new releases, SR2017 and people trying out less obviously powerful pieces (looking at you Ghost Fleet) we are seeing more and more lists that are breaking the initial wisdom that big battle-groups are the answer. My prediction is that the current trend of troop swarms is going to continue and bring something like a balance to the international meta. With that in mind, I wanted to have a look at some lists I think are going to be powerful in the coming year. A quick disclaimer: A lot of this is based around models and theme lists making it out of CID without changing too much.

To start, a list of some of the things I think we’re going to be seeing more of:

  1. Battle Engines: The Battle engine CID was long and very interesting and has produced some good results in raising the power level of the various battle engines in the game. Expect to see them in multiple lists, as most of them now are actually performing very well compared to Beasts/Jacks.
  2. Troop Swarms: SR2017 seems to be favouring attrition play, and with the zones spreading out much further, I think we will be seeing a lot more in the way of units and solos that can take up more real estate on the board.
  3. Innate Pathfinder: SR2017 also is introducing much more in the way of terrain, with boards generally looking denser and being harder to move around. This makes abilities like Pathfinder, flight, incorporeal, etc more useful. Based on this we will likely end up seeing the squishier troops (as the scout esque designs are the ones that tend to have pathfinder) or casters that have ways of handing out pathfinder.

On to lists!

List 1: Old Witch 2 (Jaws of the Wolf)

 

(Old Witch 2) Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper [+26]
– Juggernaut [12]
– Juggernaut [12]
– Kodiak [13]
– Kodiak [13]
– Marauder [10]
– Rager [11]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
– Behemoth [25]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
Widowmaker Marksman [0(4)]
Battle Mechaniks (max) [5]

I played quite a bit of Old Witch 2 during the CID and was very impressed with her. She is, IMO, uncontested in Khador for her ability to run a big Battle-group well. Jaws is a natural home for her, as the Forge seers give her some flexibility with her focus. She also brings a new trick to Khadors arsenal. She can have a jack survive on 1 box, repair it back up to full functionality and then fully fuel it as well. This is a trick that other factions can do (Ret, every horde faction) but has been missing from Khador for a while. Additionally, Re-construct is a big deal in Khador, bringing what is effectively Admonition into faction. It takes effort to 1 round a Khador heavy, usually requiring buffs or more than 1 heavy. Being able to increase the amount of resources required to take down a jack is just kind of mean in some match ups.

In addition, she runs marshalled jacks better than any other caster in Khador. Between all her de-buffs you can have Behemoth shooting at an effective POW 18 that is Blessed and Magical. Top that off with her general survivability (made better by the addition of the Rager to fend off pesky Eyriss shots or just to tank a defender shot), her de-buffs and Windstorm delivering our jacks to the mid table without getting too dinged up by guns, and Old Witch 2 is looking like our best Jack caster to date.

List 2: Sorscha (Winter Guard Kommand)

 

(Sorscha 1) Kommander Sorscha [+29]
– Juggernaut [12]
– Marauder [10]
– Rager [11]
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich [4]
Winter Guard Infantry (max) [10]
– Winter Guard Infantry Officer & Standard [0(4)]
– Winter Guard Rocketeer (3) [6]
Winter Guard Mortar Crew [0(5)]
Winter Guard Mortar Crew [0(5)]
Winter Guard Rifle Corps (max) [13]
– Winter Guard Rocketeer (2) [4]
Winter Guard Gun Carriage (CID) [17]
Winter Guard Gun Carriage (CID) [17]

The Battle engine CID was exciting, in that it has re-vamped a bunch of models that no-one was taking. Couple this with a caster who has Boundless Charge and fixes the Gun Carriages crappy RAT, we’re onto a winner. The Gun Carriages in this list are acting as jamming models, while also providing a gun platform that can dig really deep to remove key pieces, one that isn’t as constrained by terrain pieces due to it’s speed and innate Pathfinder. It is also hard as balls to kill, requiring a concerted effort to remove.

Sorscha 1 on the other hand, is still awesome. She plainly got better between mark 2 and 3, receiving a point of armour, weapon master vs stationary, a cost drop on her signature spell Freezing Grasp and a major boost from the changes to the focus mechanic. The reason she hasn’t been seen on the table for Mark 3 has been a meta one, not anything innately wrong with her. That being said, if the predicted infantry meta materialises then she will likely shoot right back into the competitive scene. Between some hard control element of infantry models, (I can remember a game in mk2 where she was surrounded by Bane thralls and perfectly safe, as she kept freezing them), the fact she is still running 5 models at armour 20 and 30 plus boxes, and the gunline elements brought by Winter guard, she should do well.

List 3: Theoretical Man-O-War Theme list

This one hasn’t even been announced as far as benefits are concerned, but the Man-O-War theme has been announced, and will likely give free points on man-O-War stuff. Am predicting Man-O-War solos and units, along with mecaniks to be included. Regardless of what the other benefits (am predicting some buff for the jacks involved and +2 inches of Deploy personally, but will see) this could be a really strong theme. Man-O-War Shocktroopers are currently 16 points, with a 4 point UA and a 5 point solo, slotting nicely into the usual free point levels for infantry, and are a really solid choice at the moment, only over shadowed by the themes currently out.

A full army of Man-O-War, backed by several cheap jacks (say 60 points of shocktroopers, which is 3 full units with UA, netting you 3 free solos coupled with 40 odd points of Jacks) could be a very intimidating advancing line of dudes to deal with. If that materialises, expect to see the likes of Strakhov 2, Kozlov (I said it!), Irusk 1 or 2 and Vlad 2 at the helm. All of them synergise well with heavy infantry, with a little left over for their jacks. Could be the next armour skew.

 

 

All in all, the next year of releases is going to be fascinating in shaking up the meta. The reveal of structures, the amount of additions that Ret and Cygnar have had along with the revisions going through CID point to a very vibrant and diverse meta, and I’m looking forward to seeing what puts an axe through it best.

Welsh Masters: Round 7

Going into the final round of the tournament I have 5 wins and 1 loss. Am aiming for 6 wins, so the final round has me nervous. In addition, Round 6 had me finishing late thanks to the epic grind that was Toby Nathans Madrak 3 list, so I was rushed getting my lunch. I end up near the top table paired against Toby Jennings, who was kind enough to let me finish eating before we started clocks. He was running COC with Lucant and Iron Mother, both in theme (unsurprising) and both without TEPs (very surprising). After looking over his lists, I prefer Strakhov over butcher, despite a heavy amount of auto wound causing stuff in the mother list. I drop Strakhov, he drops Mother (as I feared), and off we go. Scenario was Extraction. List below:

Convergence Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Destruction Initiative

(Directrix 1) Iron Mother Directrix [+27]
– Assimilator [16]
– Assimilator [16]
– Corollary [6]
– Diffuser [6]
– Mitigator [7]
– Prime Axiom [38]
Attunement Servitors [0(4)]
Elimination Servitors [3]
Elimination Servitors [3]
Elimination Servitors [3]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Optifex Directive [4]

Predeployment:

I win the roll off and spend a good amount of time agonising over the choice to go first or second. He has a lot of shit that can just murder pikemen. I eventually settle on second and pick the side of the table with more walls. Also a hill to my right and a big forest in the centre, with a big wall running along the centre of the table. I deploy in standard formation, with strak and the jacks behind the forest and the centre pikemen offset to the side of the forest.

He deploys the axiom off centre to the left and the heavies on the other side, with the diffuser on the right and the mitigator on the left. Mother is central.

Round 1: Fight!

He runs everything forward as fast as he can, getting the reflex servitors dug in just in front of his lines. So far so normal.

I spend a good 5 minutes still agonising about what to do. In the end, I put quicken on the centre pikemen, who advance moved, and Feat, charging strakhov forward into the forest and giving him stealth, camping 3. The centre pikemen then minifeat and run to engage as much as possible, getting all the servitors, the heavies, the lights on the right and the axiom tied up, while also being in shield wall and under feat. The officer and the flag are central behind the wall. Everything else runs up as afast as possible, with markov joining the centre pikemen behind the wall, the right flank mini feating and moving up and the left flank just running. I think he has more to deal with.

Round 2:

My opponent is somewhat flabbergasted, he didn’t think I’d get up that far so fast, and is not sure what to do. He spends the turn trying to clear stuff out of melee, with mostly gunfighers, but the def 14 manages to save a number of pikemen. 1 heroic pikeman who is engaging one of the Assimilators tanks something in the range of 10 attacks, with reflex servitors missing, or him toughing and not being knocked down. He ends up having to back off his assimilator to take a free strike, which promptly crits and knocks it down, spiking damage as well. My opponent is on full tilt at this point, and ends the turn having killed most of the centre pikemen, and a couple from the right unit.

My turn and less has died than I thought it would. The remaining centre pikemen get Last Stand and the left hand unit get quicken, which ends up killing a bunch of servitors, the Mitigator, hurting the axiom (the great bears go in on it) and crippling both heavies. Markov and the left hand pikemen hang back as another wave.

Round 3:

Toby continues trying to clear off his gunline and kill pikemen, finally finishing off the centre unit and gutting the right hand unit.

My turn and the great bears kill tobys objective, Markov goes and controls the left hand flag. Last standed pikemen from the reserve unit manage to put down the Axiom and the 2 heavies get cut down to 1 heavy.

Round 4:

Toby knows the game is over and spends the turn trying to score points, which he does. He both agree that I’ll get to 5 trivially and the game ends there, with the score 5-3.

Victory for the Motherland!

Post Game thoughts:

Toby is a great player, he ended up getting best in COC in the end. He played as well as he could under the circumstances, but this game was a great example of how you can play a list into bad odds by adjusting your strategy. The pikemen running turn 1, combined with feat meant that Toby struggled to clear them. Because of that, the rest of the force got delivered almost untouched and just swept up his gun-line. Strakhov continues to impress with just how hard his feat makes pikemen. This was a list that could specifically kill a lot of pikemen, and I managed to pull it out between tough rolls and quicken.

In the end I finished 7th over all, which is my second best result at a tournament, and best in Khador. A fantastic result that I am very pleased with. Next stop. The ETC!