Thursday, August 7, 2014

Warmahordes league, round II

Sunday was the second of three events for my local warmahordes league.

Game 1:

My first opponent, Gram, wanted to warm up with a hordes on hordes match so I borrowed a legion battle box. Being superstitious about such things, mine was at home as I don’t like to mix factions in the same case. This was a nice start to the day. I had PLylyth, 4 shredders, and a Carnivean. Gram took PKaya, a Gorax, a feral warpwolf, and a unit of tharn ravagers.

Terrain was sparse. I had a small stony ridge in my lower right deployment area. There was a large crater network in the center of the board. Beyond that, it was open. This was my first time playing hordes. I played against Kaya once before in a kitchen table throw down so I knew she was fast and prone to teleporting shenanigans. I won the role-off and opted to go second. I wanted Gram to move forward and extend his lines, letting me pick the point of contact. From my perspective, he set up in the upper left corner of the board with the ravagers on the left and the beasts on the right screening Kya. I decided to see where he would commit himself before picking a flank. I deployed slightly behind the stony outcrop in a flying ‘V’ formation—2 shredders on either side of the Carnivean with Lylyth sheltering a couple inches behind the giant spiky dinosaur.

We moved slowly, working on bating the other guy into a charge for the first 3 turns. I managed to get parasite on the Gorax. He moved his ravagers up my left flank while leaving his beasts in front of my battle group. I responded by removing the 2 shredders from that flank and positioning them off to the right.

Turn 4, Gram decided that he was going to press the engagement. He moved his ravagers up my left flank into charge range. His wolf moved forward with Kaya right behind him. This was the turn I had been waiting for. I up kept parasite, moved Lylyth up, popped her feet, and shot the warp wolf twice. In retrospect, I should have shot it with irruption of spines and hit Kya for first blood. The 2 left most shredders made failed charges on the encroaching ravagers, blocking future charge lanes. The carnivean charged the warpwolf, hit Kya and the Gorax with the assault spray, boosted on Kaya and took her down to 5 boxes. He used his initial attacks and remaining fury to dismantle the warpwolf. With the wolf gone, my two remaining shredders had line of sight to Kaya. The nearest one went rabid, charged

, and finished off the druid.

Game 1, Lylyth.

Game 2:

Jason and Nate were still going at it on the other board so we decided to go for a second round. Gram was ready to up the power level. We pushed up the points. I took PButcher, a Kodiak, a Decimator, Yuri, a man hunter, a war dog, and a unit of widowmakers. He took PBaldur, 2 Argus, a feral warpwolf, a unit of tharn ravagers, and Lord of the Feast.

I don’t think Gram had ever faced Butcher before. He was understandably concerned over the big guy’s threat potential. I was pretty confident that I could face this down, especially since Baldur didn’t have any constructs with him. Ironically, Baldur and Kaya were the only warlocks I’d faced to that point. My opponent won the role off and took first turn. He set up in the upper left hand corner again with most of his forces positioned to run down my right flank. I held back in my corner with the jacks in front of the butcher to the left of the outcropping. My widowmakers deployed on the outcrop, giving most of them elevation. Yuri and the other man hunter hugged the terrain behind them, ready to charge to Butcher’s assistance or walk through the snipers and counter assault.

The first two turns consisted of Circle slowly advancing on my position while I consolidated my charge lanes and lines of sight. Gram put stone skin on the warpwolf while I got iron flesh on the widowmakers…defense 17 FTW! After turn 3 I was pretty sure the snipers had range on the ravagers so I popped butcher’s feet. Two of the WM had range and managed to scrub a beast man. The decimator was out sadly.

Turn 4, the Lord of the feast missed a raven shot and Gram ran the remaining Tharn into melee with my widowmakers. I’m not sure what he intended with that move but if he wanted to feed me his army piece by piece I wasn’t going to argue. Butcher charged and missed, bought another attack, and killed a ravager. Man hunter walked around the terrain and killed a second beast man with his first attack. Yuri walked over the hill, turned himself so Butcher wasn’t in his front arc, killed the last Tharn, and missed a thresher attack on a Def 17 widowmaker.

Gram maneuvered while I pulled the WM from the right flank to the left. I wanted to bate him into a run across my front line, exposing his forces to my battle group. Instead, he ran both Argus onto the outcrop. I was pretty sure I had the game won at this point since it looked like butcher could walk over and wipe both doggies handily. Butch wiped the first pup only to find that he was just out of melee range for the second. I knew I’d over extended him, but I was pretty sure I could get him out of the situation. Yuri walked over the hill again and slashed the remaining Argus without killing it. The manhunter ran around Butcher to block charge lanes from the warpwolf. Widowmakers turned to cover my front line while the jacks moved up to maximize their next turn. I knew I was in trouble, but I figured there was only so much he could do.

Gram checked range and found that the Argus was out of Baldur’s control area. Doggy passed his threshold check. Baldur cut for 4, cast earth spike, crit knocked down Butcher, man hunter, and Yuri, stupid medium based warcaster. Argus, no longer engaged, walked over and combo struck Butcher for 30+ damage. @@###!!!!! Lord of the feast shot, scored, and teleported in. He swung leaving butcher at 2 and killed the man hunter who was blocking the warpwolf. The warp wolf activated, chose speed, charged, and swung for lethal.

Game 2, Baldur with authority.

Game 3:

Gram and Nate were done for the day, leaving Jason and me to go head-to-head. I took PButcher, a Kodiak, a Decimator, a war dog, and a unit of widow makers. He took Siege Brisbane, a charger, a defender, a unit of stormblades, and Eiryss 1.

He won the roll off and chose to go first. His battle group spread out across the far side with Siege slightly to the right of the central craters and the stormblades off to the left. I decided to refuse flank and set up my force in the left corner. He put Eiryss as far forward in front of me as possible. I knew from last time that the charger would be a problem and the defender…well that just wasn’t going to be fun. Siege is a lot like PSorscha in that you know the feet is coming. You can bate it, try and wait it out, or work around it. If you live in fear of the event you’ll just play into your opponent’s strategy. I decided to try for door number 3.

Turn 1, Jason moved his battle group toward the center of the board, the storm blades advanced to confront me, and Eiryss moved up a little looking for her moment. I consolidated and pushed hard toward the stormblades and Eiryss. I couldn’t afford to leave them in my rear. The butcher put iron flesh on the widow makers hoping that defense 17 would work for a second game. The next two turns saw the WM kill off 4 stormblades only to be wiped out by the defender and charger in retaliation. The decimator got the fifth stormblade with his cannon. Gram charged the decimator with the remaining stormblade.

Life got interesting when Eiryss managed to disrupt the Butcher. I looked at the board and figured I had to kill the elf or spend the rest of the game disrupted. The Butcher countercharged Eiryss but missed his attack. The Kodiak walked over and vented steam leaving a very satisfyingly cooked mage hunter corpse. The decimator killed the final stormblade with a single unboosted swipe.

I was left with a mostly untouched battle group and a war dog VS. Siege with an unspent feet and 2 unscratched ranged jacks. I’ve played this game with Cygnar before. You ding around waiting for that perfect moment. While you’re trying to set up your ideal caster kill, they take you apart at range—not this time. I guestimated range and figured I had game on the charger. Butcher allocated 3 focus to the decimator, popped his feet, and cast full throttle. The decimator activated, checked range, and was .5 inches short. @@@####! I moved to protect butcher with the Kodiak but there was nothing I could do for the decimator.

Siege activated, popped feet, and combined fire with his battle group to ding the Kodiak and wreck the decimator. The Kodiak advanced and vented steam, completely blocking line of sight to the butcher. Next turn Jason was going to try and maneuver a long shot on the butcher until I reminded him that the Kodiak was a viable target inside the cloud affect. He proceeded to strip most of the Kodiak’s grid, but left me enough to move up and continue blocking line of sight—venting steam one last time. The war dog ran up and engaged the charger. Siege and company pushed up. They had a concealment shot on butcher but opted to finish off the Kodiak and the war dog instead.

We checked, and with the cloud of steam expired, butcher had a clear charge lane to the defender who was in line of sight to and base to base with Siege. Butcher charged, wacked the defender with his initial, bought a second attack, missed, bought two more attacks and cut siege in half.

Game 3, Butcher—barely.

Things I learned:

1. I need to be very careful regarding order of operations. I need to make sure to try the risky thing first so that if it doesn’t come out well I still have activations to cover my mistakes.

2. There is a big difference between charge range, melee range, and total threat range. I knew this before—but losing a few charges has highlighted the need to be more precise in my estimations.

3. Widow makers are freaking awesome. I knew they were good before but under iron flesh let alone in cover…they bad. Range 14 on a high defense good rat unit is spec-tac-u-lar. I’m going to have to try them out with my newly painted marksman.

4. As with Sorscha, I really have to pay more attention when popping the big guy’s feet. I realize that in larger games this won’t be as much of an issue, but in both of the above games, I over estimated my units’ threat range. In game 1 it was almost a total loss. In game 2 it did nothing. Screw inches, quarter inches matter…a lot.

5. I’m wondering if the Kodiak’s armored fists shield bonus gets added before or after Siege’s feet. If so, that last game might have gone differently.

6. Speaking of which, the Kodiak is a serious work horse. It blocks, it clobbers, it par-boils. I’ve always thought it was one of the most under rated jacks—now even more so.

7. Two games is not a representative sample. That said, the war dog may not be showing up again in smaller games. In game 2, I could have swapped him with Yuri for another manhunter and a marksman. I think I would have gotten more out of that pairing.

September is the last game of this league season. Hopefully I’ll have at least my shock troopers and MOW Kovnick ready for that one. This once a month thing is just the right pace to start out. I’m getting to play enough that its fun while infrequently enough that the anticipation is high when I walk in the door.

Courtesy of Pandora, I’ve settled on a theme song for this army:

Set’s the right tone.

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