Sunday I returned to my LGS to run our third entry in the season 1 of crossroads of courage campaign. Since last month I ran straight up caster kill, this time we went for the second scenario in the pack. The players wanted to play 1 2x2 game rather than 2 1x1 games. I figured it would be a good learning session for the newer members so I gave the people what they wanted.
I knew going into this mess that I had a problem. I needed to remain relevant and I did not have many options at 15 points. Zerkova is not a strong all jack caster—plenty of focus but 0 straight up support. Short of throwing down a bunch of solos, my options were widowmakers, demolition corps, or Rorsh & Brine. Widowmakers were right out owing to the preponderance of dwarven casters. R&B give a nice assassination threat but are pants against heavy armor—which is most of what you’ll see at 15 points. Demolition corps are super slow but ruin anything they manage to engage. (cue jeopardy music.) Once I figured out that the other players were 2 dwarves and C.O.C it was a no brainer. The demolition corps hit the field again.
· Man-o-War Demolition Corps (Full)
· Holden Courage
My friend Mike wanted to pair up with me…and the other 2 guys were bringing stunties so I was all for it. Mike is a newer player who I hope we are teaching well.
Mike’s list Convergence, once more with feeling!
· Holden Courage
I have to hand it to Mike. He has gotten kicked around a lot in this league. He keeps coming back a little wiser each time. He seems to really enjoy the experience. I’ll be working with him later to get him up to 25 points (suggestions are appreciated.)
Our opponents brought some serious firepower. I have grown to hate facing dwarves. Ranged knockdown is just flat out annoying. Ranged knockdown that sets you on fire is terrifying.
Pete’s list, bringing the noise with style:
· Holden Courage
Jayson’s list, or I’m coming for you “Puff Puff”:
· Holden Courage
Since Mike was a sewer and the rest of us are reapers, we diced off. Mike and I ended up as the defenders for scenario purposes. This was sub-optimal from my perspective. One of the reaper special goals is to kill off the old mining guy we had to escort to the opposing deployment zone. The dwarves had friendly faction synergies all over the place and could brick up around that objective knowing that we had to come to them. Couple that with a ton of boostable AOE shooting and I had concerns. Playing Zerkova into this kind of opposition poses some interesting challenges. On the one hand, none of the enemy can see through your cloud wall. Dropping 7 focus lets lady Z place 12 inches of LOS blocking cloud. On the other hand, that’s her entire stack. If you want to do anything else, you are going to have to come out of your misty bunker to play. Mike and I ran through our options (limited.) We decided the best plan would be for Zerkova to cover our advance as long as possible. I would escort the old guy into the zone. Mike would delay and confound as much as possible. I have no idea what the other side’s plan was but we had a strategy and by Menoth we were going to give it our best shot—frigging double avalanchers.
We won the roll and decided to go first. We put the scoring objective dead center at the front of the opposing zone. For purposes of this fight the only important terrain was one of those long green felt hills with rocks on either end (you know the one that goes on the green felt 4x4 with the road running diagonally across, the same one every gaming store has.) The hill was the only obstacle in our way which was handy what with our lack of pathfinder. The rocks were going to give us trouble but I was more worried about the fact that the straight line approach put us in several fields of overlapping fire. My plan was to hide behind the clouds as long as possible and then ram my giant steam-powered brick down their throat, hopefully giving me enough room for the old guy to score. It was a pretty good plan if Mike could keep some of the pressure off me and if I could protect him long enough to get stuck in.
1. I deployed with the demolition corps in line abreast on my shiny new movement tray. The juggernaut was to their left and the decimator was to their right anchoring the steel wall. Zerkova and old objective guy held back a couple of inches so as to not get clipped by blasts. Holden deployed up and right, attached to the MOW within their command range. Mike worked around my deployment getting ready to duck behind Zerkova’s mobile cover when we started moving. The other guys deployed their forces as far forward as possible with Pete’s group covering left and Jayson’s covering right. Pete’s Holden and the TAC swung left while Jayson’s Holden and Eiryss moved right to flank.
2. The wall activated and ran forward. I did not bother with watcher since by the time it got activated either I would be doing the charging or I would need that upkeep focus for other things. Zerkova placed 4 cloud templates using the metal ring idea I cribbed from Pete last time (so simple.) Zerkova and her little buddy ran up staying behind the center of my line. Using the 8 inch adjustable measuring stick and the movement tray my turn took no time at all. Mike crammed in behind me and put hotshot on the modulator. The other team advanced their flankers and jockeyed for best placement for when we came into range.
3. Our block ran forward and kept up the cloud wall (it’s amazing how fast your turn goes when all you have to do is drop 4 templates. No dice rolling is pretty sweet. Eiryss and Holden managed to swing wide enough to get a shot at my battle group. They disrupted and pinged the decimator for one point. Pete’s Avalancher hit a bank shot onto one of Mike’s vectors but since most of them were immune to knockdown nothing spectacular happened.
4. Top of turn three, I knew the elf had to go down. If I did not get rid of her I would spend the rest of the game disrupted or without focus which was pretty much an auto-loss. I told Mike I was coming out of the bunker. The demolition corps took a hard right turn and ran with the farthest right trooper engaging Jayson’s holden on the diagonal. They had a reasonable line of sight around the hill for next turn shenanigans. The decimator walked right to bookend the left most MOW. The juggernaut did not have any valid charge targets so he moved up in line with the decimator. Zerkova walked up, drew a bead on Eiryss, popped feat, and used her true sight artifact to lob a boosted hex blast right into the elf’s face (first blood, Khador!) As a bonus, Jayson’s Holden was caught in the blast. Boosted damage put him down for the first time—though because of his special rule he would get back up again next turn. My Holden ran up to within 5 inches of the engaged Holden and set up shop. Mining guy took up station beside Zerkova. Mike took down Pete’s Holden for the first time and Moved to take best advantage of Zerkova’s no shooty bubble. The dwarves were not prepared for the lateral move and so had to scramble. Both of my jacks were hit multiple times, knocked down, and set on fire but remained fully operational. My left most demolition corps took some damage, was set on fire, and knocked down. Because of Zerkova’s feat, the gun bunnies could not shoot so moved up for some next round fun with the demolition corps. Jayson’s Holden swung at his MOW and missed.
5. This is where I would have been in trouble with most casters. Fire did some damage to the left most demolition corps. My jacks were allocated a focus in addition to their power up. The jacks spent one to stand up and another to run up and over the hill standing on the down slope with the rocks to either side. Zerkova activated, cast ghost walk on the MOW, dropped two clouds to block off where the demolition corps would be moving, and ran past the line to hug the right side of the hill. The two farthest left MOW charged out of combat with Holden and into combat with the gun bunnies. The others ran except for the left most one who walked after standing up. The two demolition corps crushed the gun off one jack and broke the movement on the other. My Holden looked down the barrel of his service weapon and mortally double tapped his alter ego. Mike repaired a lot of stuff, did a little bit of damage, and set up for charges next turn. Had I been playing the dwarves, I would have retreated to fortify the objective marker—obliterating anything that came into range next turn. They chose to counter assault—throwing their kitchen sink at my advance. Mike’s vectors took some more damage to little affect—it’s amazing how little damage bothers you when you know your entire army is going to self-repair next turn. Pete blew the movement and gun off my decimator. The juggernaut ate a safe cracker shot and got hit with powder keg losing his initial attacks next turn. The gun bunnies bashed their opponents for minimal damage. The basher moved up and further scratched the decimator’s paint job. I placed my force in such a way that there was really no good option for Gorten to feat. If he moved me back, the jacks would go back behind the hill but the MOW would get stopped by the rocks. If he moved me forward, I would end up closer to the objective. Moving me left would just jam my demolition corps farther down his throat. Moving me right would push the MOW farther away but leave my jacks standing on the hill against the rocks on the far side. Jayson is a standup guy. He forgot that obstacles and intervening models stopped the move. He chose to go right which hit my entire army except for Zerkova and objective guy. Critically, the rocks stopped my jacks in melee range of Gorten with 0 camp—oops. I gave him the chance to take it back but he chose too take the lesson on the nose.
6. I allocated max focus to the jacks. Fire happened with much sound and fury signifying nothing. The demolition corps and Holden Ran back left to their previous line. The decimator powered up its saw and cut into Gorten missing its initial, boosting and hitting with its first bought attack, and auto hitting with the third attack thanks to sustained attack. The juggernaut bought three attacks and finished off the dwarf rendering the rest of Jayson’s army inoperable. Zerkova and her elderly friend moved up and left behind the MOW. She dropped two smoke clouds fully screening her from Pete’s jacks. Mike repaired again, killed Pete’s Holden, and took the shield off the avalancher. Pete did not have a lot of options. Mike was about to engage his entire front, I still had a fully operational juggernaut coming down the center line, and those beautiful demolition corps were about to roll up his flank. He decided that the best plan was to set everything on fire and hope for the best—a typically Madhammer choice. Madhammer’s jacks lobbed templates all over Mike’s forces. The corollary survived on one box. Madhammer dropped a ground pounder shot into my right-most MOW leaving him on fire and at one box. There was a bunch more scattering which left another trooper down to 3 boxes.
7. Mike furiously began repairing. I looked at the board and double checked Corbeau’s rules. Fine. Fire continued without affect. The juggernaut was allocated 1 focus. The Juggy used one focus to stand up and ran into melee range with Pete’s warcaster attachment—she was just out of range of the charge. Zerkova activated, cast ghost walk on the demolition corps, and climbed two thirds of the way up the hill. Using the five inch range extender, she hex blasted the juggernaut in the back and killed Corbeau with boosted blast damage. Three of the demolition corps charged into combat with Madhammer on four camp—the rest of the unit piled in behind. The first MOW swung for 31 netting 9 points after powerfield. The second swung for 27 netting 6 points and freezing Madhammer. The third swung for 24 netting the final 2 points required to assassinate the dwarf. Victory via team assassination.
This was the first fight in a long time where I felt like I honestly had a handle on the game. Part of that came from shortening my turns and part came from having done my homework. Having an actual scenario made for a dynamic and interesting game—even if it did come down to assassination in the end.
1. Zerkova has a lot of tools. It took me a while to see past her spell list to see how it combines with her artifacts to give her a variety of options. Granted, she does not have a lot of strategic depth but she has more at her fingertips than it first appears.
2. I never thought I would say this but I am beginning to like demolition corps. With some protection going in they are quite nice once you get them rolling. I have to try shock troopers to see how they compare but as of now they have done a lot of work for me. This leads me to wonder if the issue in the previous journeyman league might have been Kozlov and not the hammer boys.
3. I took first place in this session so Jayson (my painter) got my earnings, 2 marauders, Butcher I, and a rager kit to paint up. After that it’s conquest time. I so want range 15 critical devastation.
4. March’s session goes up to 25 points and will focus on 1x1 games. I am really hoping to convince Deathquaker to finish my shock trooper unit attachment before that happens. The full shock boat plus kovnik is exactly 25 points. Barring that I may have to get creative.
5. The more I watch Mike learning convergence the more impressed I am with the faction’s versatility—and the more I am convinced I would be a terrible convergence player.
6. I am really beginning to dislike blast deviation. It clogs up turns so much. Scatter here, check the distance, agree on the direction…it just makes it hard to keep the mental momentum going during my opponent’s turn.
That’s it for now. Our next game is 3/25. Mike has already put in his order for his additional models and I am furiously thinking about the mission requirements. Zerkova is growing on me with every game. I wonder what other subpar models I can have fun with.