Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Concluding the warmachine journeyman league

Note: This is the final report for my LGS’s 50-point journeyman league.  See previous entries for the dirty details regarding how I got here.


              I spent the preceding month reading up on rules and ordering adjustable measuring sticks from:


I hoped that the sticks would cut my turns down since I would not be counting notches on the red plastic any more.  Thanks to JDAntoine for the suggestion.  I was as ready as I was going to be without additional playtime.

              This was the day.  I got to put on my big commandant pants and play a 50-point list.  After the last session, I knew I needed some hitting power.  Malakov running a juggernaut was my answer to Josh’s hope breaker ™ formation.  Two axe wielding robots, one of which would benefit from red line, would deal with just about anything (or so I hoped.)  The angel of retribution was sitting on my unpainted pile.  I figured this was as good a time as any to put her on the table; so, I had my painting guy (he insists on being called a painting goddess after my pet name for my other painter got out) prepare the epic mage hunter and Malakov.  The widowmaker marksman needs no introduction.  He is the bringer of most precise ranged damage, the breaker of cortexes, the bane of tough-guys everywhere.  I figured the sniper boat could disable jacks, beasts, and infantry.  Eiryss is disruption on a stick.  I like her ability to counter magic and spell defense.  Malakov is focus efficiency and threat extension all in one.


My list, Kozlov gets some competent help:

·       Kovnik Andrei Malakov

·       Juggernaut

·       Man-o-War Demolition Corps (Full)

·       Widowmaker Scouts

·       Widowmaker Marksman


As with the previous session, the tournament organizer let me camp on one table to minimize movement issues.  We played the same scenario both games.  Each player placed an objective on the center line of their deployment zone 10 inches out.  Each objective counted as a large base, had 5/18 defense/armor, and massed 30 boxes.  We won by caster kill or taking out the opposing objective.

       I played the same table side both games.  From that perspective, there was an 8 inch high building on my left within easy reach of my advance deployers first turn.  A small hedge sat a couple inches forward of the building making a decent charge-stopper.  There was a hill with scattered rocks on my right that funneled me down the center line.  The center of the board featured a large forest which blocked line of sight from both our deployment zones unless I climbed to the top of that building.  If I swung a little to the right of the forest, there was a section of clear terrain that lead straight to the opposing objective. 


My first challenger was Josh, he of last month’s Menoth fame. 

Josh’s list, the hope breaker MKII or a persuasive argument for fire insurance:

·       Repenter

·       Repenter

·       Castigator

·       Crusader

·       Initiate Tristan Durant

·       Vanquisher

·       Choir of Menoth

·       Exemplar Cinerators (Full)

·       Vassal Mechanik


Josh and I were the only participants to embraced the new all-heavies-all-the-time environment.  His repenters and vanquisher gave him a better ranged presence but my three heavies out-classed him in terms of raw melee output.  I think he had a more challenging task building up to 50 points than I did.  Kozlov is a bare bones caster—pick a unit, add buff, apply to enemy’s dome.  Malekus forces you to pick between fire generating ranged models and utility brawlers like the crusader.  If you fall too far on the ranged side, you will have problems dealing with a dedicated armor cracking list.  If you go too far on the melee side, you will not have enough models to take full advantage of Malekus’s feat. 

              I won the roll-off and picked second.  I set up with Malakov behind his juggernaut anchoring my right flank.  The decimator took up station behind the objective to malakov’s left with Kozlov behind the second juggernaut bracketing the decimator.  The demolition corps crammed in to the gap between Kozlov’s juggernaut and the base of the elevated building—anchoring my left flank with a couple tons of red steel.  I debated putting the snipers and mage hunter off on a far flank to sweep in and/or bate some of the protectorate away from their objective.  Then I remembered we were playing a 50-point game and we would be lucky to get 4 turns.  I decided to dump them in the building where they could give my crimson wedge some covering fire.

              I think Josh had a similar plan which is to say charge the field, try and overwhelm the defenders with positive piece trading, pick off an assassination or objective win, but aim to win on points.  From my right to left, he deployed the crusader, vanquisher, castigator, repenter, cinerators, and the second repenter.  The choir, mechanic, and casters set up behind his iron wall.

1.       We do the standard bum’s rush toward the opposing side.  Tristan fortifies his vanquisher.  Malekus ignites the castigator.  The choir sang something irrelevant to my plans.  The left hand repenter breaks formation to get a shot on my left flank next turn.  Malakov redlines his juggernaut and advances to keep his jack in his puny control range.  Kozlov puts fury on the demolition corps, reposition on the decimator, and walks up and a little to the left to catch some cover while keeping his force in control range.  The snipers take up overwatch on the top of the building covering the entire left midfield.  Eiryss zips through the building like a boss and tags the recently ignited castigator with a disruption bolt.  Josh opts to keep the upkeep so the mage hunter draws first blood with one point on Malekus and a couple points on the castigator.  Eiryss repositions back into the building to grab some cover but cannot completely make it out of sight of the repenter.

2.       Josh adopts his patented wedge of sadness™.  The vanquisher walks forward with the crusader behind and right while the castigator goes left into the forest for an angle on the objective.  The left hand repenter moves up and attempts to fry the angel of retribution but her high defense saves her in spite of a boosted roll.  The vanquisher’s flame belcher hits the Men-o-War dead center, killing 1 and wounding 2—plus setting stuff on fire.  The other repenter sets one of my jacks on fire and does trivial damage.  Malekus—clearly unsatisfied with the amount of fire present—moves up and casts open fire on the left repenter—missing Eiryss again.  He does something else and scratches my jacks.  The choir sings no-shooty on the castigator.  The vassal continues to be unremarkable.

I check Kozlov’s control range, and several charge distances.  These measuring sticks are amazing—they cut at least ten minutes off my turns.  Fire continues on all counts but does no damage.  Redline does 1 to Malakov’s juggernaut.  Lord goat upkeeps fury and gives 2 focus to the decimator.  Malakov upkeeps redline and gives 2 to his juggernaut.  Kozlov pops feat catching the entire army.  He moves up in anticipation of battlegroup advancement and casts chosen ground putting him on 0 camp.  The sniper corps hit every shot and rip the flame thrower off the left repenter.  Eiryss hits the repenter with a disruptor bolt just to be careful.  The decimator checks range, keeps the aiming bonus, and does 12ish damage to the vanquisher.  Malakov’s juggy makes an easy charge to the crusader while ending in base with the vanquisher as well.  What is this 12-inch threat range?  It feels like Christmas.  The juggy uses his initials and 2 of his focus to remove the crusader.  His final focus buys an attack on the vanquisher.  The demolition corps charge forward and finish off the vanquisher.  Kozlov’s juggernaut runs into the forest and engages the castigator.

3.       We are running short on time.  I talk through order of activation re-Malekus.  The cinerators charge Malakov’s juggernaut doing decent damage but leaving him mostly functional.  The castigator does an ok job on the second juggernaut but cannot get through that armor 22 to finish him off.  Malekus and the fully functional repenter cut loose, popping feat and killing off the demolition corps while spreading more fire around.  During this activation Josh gets half way through damaging one of the juggernauts before I remember the +2 armor from Kozlov’s feat.  We agree to take one box off the systems he has damaged as a compromise rather than reworking the entire turn.  Saving the best for last, it turns out that I was a little too aggressive with Kozlov’s movement.  He is just in range for Malekus to light him up.  The roll is boosted and Kozlov barely escapes thanks to his defense.  We do the math and call the game as I have him on points and my final turn would just be making the situation worse.  Kozlov takes protectorate concession.


This was my favorite game of the league.  I faced Josh every-single-time.  He was a great sport playing hard while not taking setbacks and serendipity too seriously.  It turns out I accidentally trolled the poor guy.  I grabbed a shirt at random that morning.  It said “inflammable? Challenge accepted.”  Regardless of the outcome, I wish every game played like this.


Game II, Khador faces Skorn—Fight!


Peter’s list, the elephant in the room:

·       Lord Assassin Morghoul

·       Agonizer

·       Archidon

·       Mammoth

·       Cataphract Incindiarii (Full)

·       Paingiver Bloodrunners


Peter is convinced his list is broken.  I am convinced it isn’t.  I suppose the best way to test our theories is to fight it out.  Peter wins the roll and opts to go second.  I deploy exactly the same as before except a little farther back due to the 7-inch starting zone.  Peter puts the mammoth just behind the objective, drops the blood runners ahead and to the left, drops the incindiarii opposite the forest, and leaves the archidon to anchor his left flank.  Morghoul and the agonizer back up the assassins.

1.       I send everyone forward.  Kozlov puts fury on the demolition corps and tactical supremacy on the widowmaker scouts.  He holds a little left to keep everyone in control range.  Malakov redlines on his juggernaut and moves up in anticipation of an upcoming charge target.  I feel like rubbing my hands together in gleeful expectation.  The sniper corps runs further into the building.  Half of them make it to the elevation, the other half are stuck climbing next turn.  Eiryss sets up to bate Peter’s left flank.  Peter rushes everything forward.

2.        Redline does 1 to Malakov’s juggernaut.  Despite half the scouts not qualifying for the aiming bonus, the sniper corps snipes out the archidon’s spirit—that thing that keeps them from forcing.  Eiryss hits an incindiarii for 4 points and retreats to the board edge.  Peter moves up, shoots Malakov’s juggernaut for nontrivial damage but leaves all systems functional.  The wounded incindiarii hits Eiryss with its spray attack leaving her on one box and on fire.  Morghoul takes one look at my three heavies and waves the mammoth forward.  The agonizer drops Kozlov’s juggernaut’s axe by 2 p+s.  Blood runners charge the demolition corps, killing the leader and injuring two more.

3.       Eiryss burns to death.  Redline does 2 to Malakov’s juggernaut.  Kozlov allocates 2 focus to the decimator and upkeeps his spells.  Malakov upkeeps redline and allocates 2 focus to his juggernaut.  The Men-o-War consolidate and kill 3 blood runners.  I could have probably killed another but the field promotion lost me a combat action.  Kozlov pops feat and moves up and to the right still wary of last game’s barely avoided assassination.  Malakov’s juggernaut charges the mammoth—mostly killing it.  The decimator shoots the mammoth twice leaving it with 8 boxes of body.  The other juggernaut picks his way ahead hoping for a shot at something juicy.  I think we both had lost track of time at this point.  There were a bunch of rules clarifications and strategic takebacks—especially as Peter realized that the agonizer was the only beast left he could use for fury.  The mammoth clubs Malakov’s juggernaut with his initials doing significant damage.  The archidon walks over and dings up the juggernaut a bit more leaving him with his axe and movement crippled.  The blood runners walk out and back into combat by virtue of apparition.  They kill one more Man-o-War.  Time is called and I lose on points since Eiryss is the only complete unit selection killed.  Next turn I am pretty sure I could have cleared out most of his board but the clock is an unforgiving mistress.


I left this game with mixed feelings.  There were a lot of miscommunications and false rules assumptions at play.  I checked battle college later and found that unless they have changed, incindiarii do not have 10 inch sprays.  Eiryss still might have died to blast damage but the incindiarii was definitely outside 5 inches when he took the deciding shot so who knows.  Mistakes were made on both sides so I’m going to call this one a wash.  The lesson I took from this match was learn your models.  I will be making a spread sheet with all my army stats and leaving it in drop box on my phone.  In spite of some rules-fuzzy-plays, I felt on solid ground with the rules for the first time since the end of MKI.  The portable PDF makes everything accessible for the first time in my PP experience.


General thoughts before I write up a review of Kozlov from battle box to killbox:

1.       Demolition corps just did not do it for me this league.  There was never a situation where I would have rather had them over shock troopers.  This is not to say they are useless but they offer nothing substantive besides a single point reduction over a full unit of shockies.  I’ll be playing shock troopers in the upcoming narrative league so maybe my opinion will change.  Until then though, hammer boys are firmly on the casual side of the bag.

2.       Malakov is an absolute monster under Kozlov’s feat.  Screw the d3 damage, the free charge leaves that third focus available to get serious work done.  Add 2 extra inches of threat on top of red line and very few heavies are going to survive or out-threat your alpha.  I felt like I was cheating—he was that good.

3.       This was my first time out with all the widowmakers.  With elevation and aiming bonus, there was not much my opponents could do.  They rendered multiple models combat ineffective.  I felt like they shined best when I gave my opponent bigger problems to deal with—letting them survive long enough to cripple key components.  They fit my play style well.  Reposition or tactical supremacy combines with premeasuring to make them a serious problem…if your opponent can spare enough resources to seriously threaten them.  In my testing, my heavy hitters are so attention getting that the snipers get a free hand. 

4.       Ok, so I was wrong about the decimator—I can admit it.  I used to think it was a pretty crappy jack for the points.  He got work done in every single game.  I don’t know if he did 16 points of work but those 2 pow 15 shots set up other models to decisively finish off other heavies.  His melee capacity is rubbish.  After you spend 1 focus to charge, he does not have enough juice to finish the job.  If he could fire his gun twice on the charge I would take him every game.  Still, he is a vast improvement over the destroyer.

5.       Juggernauts, juggernauts, say it with me, juggernauts.  Just so sweet.  They require resources to shine but man are they a great value for the points.  I am looking forward to playing my marauders and seeing how they stack up.  The difference between MKII juggernauts and MKIII is beyond words.

6.       Eiryss was a solid player for the points.  I like her toolbox more than version I even though it is less intimidating.  She always had a target.  I put her on the ground in front of the widow makers to split my opponent’s forces.  She succeeded in both games.  She pesters your opponent until they cannot help but send something to deal with her.  I am not sure I would take her at less than 50 points but at this level she did a great job.

7.       Kozlov is so close to being a really great caster.  Right now, he feels like a feat on legs.  He is durable, he just does not have the offensive capacity to spearhead attacks single-handed.  I just wanted him to be close enough to the rest of his army to feat and upkeep fury.  Everything else was situational.  Outside his feat, Malakov had a bigger impact than the “warcaster.”

8.       The marksman feels odd.  He unquestionably gets work done.  Still, his status as a solo feels “off.”  I wish they made him a command attachment that granted prowl and tactics swift hunter rather than the poor man’s Kell.  There is something about his entry that just feels unsymmetrical.

9.       Honorable mention goes to the Man-o-War Kovnik or sir not appearing in this battle report.  I gave serious thought to whether I wanted Malakov or the Kovnik—I had the points for one or the other, not both.  I figured desperate pace was useful for shock troopers in that it boosts their movement while they get to shield wall.  He makes them one inch short of a charge for their threat range while keeping their defenses at maximum.  Demolition corps have no such reason to avoid running/charging.  In fact, they have no special actions at all.  I ended up playing at least one point down both of the last 2 games.  Even if I took shock troopers, I think Malakov was the better choice between the two given the point restrictions.

10.   Next month we start the current narrative campaign at 15 points.  I am torn between fielding Kozlov for more data and Zerkova I to broaden my experience base.  Kozlov has the advantage of stupidly simple strategy.  However, I have wanted to try MKIII lady Z ever since I read her updated card.  Either way, Malakov is probably coming along for the ride—he is that good.


I took second overall for the league.  Josh took first place and best sport and rightfully so.  Lessons were learned, foes were vanquished, and fun was had by all.  Now to prepare for my starter box review and next month’s shenanigans.

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