Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Games of 2009

This weekend I got in what will most likely be my last two games of Warmachine in 2009. The first was against Circle, the second against Skorne.

Druids of Orboros and Overseer
Lord of the Feast
Blackclad Wayfarer
Tharn Ravager Whitemane

Early on my Widowmakers caught the Blackclad and then ended up in melee with a few Druids. They managed to hamstring the unit for the whole game since no one could kill the other. I used Sorscha's feat to freeze both Warpwolves after they wrecked my Kodiak, who had been pulled into range by a Force Bolting Druid. The Destroyer took out one while Sorscha and the Demo Corps took out the second.

Kromac came in and killed most of what was left of my army. He was in the open close to Sorscha and I wasn't going to be able to win if I didn't kill him that turn. I tried to kill the Gorax so Kromac couldn't transfer damage to it but the Destroyer had a damaged axe arm and couldn't get it done.

Left without any other units to activate, I had Sorscha charge Kromac with six focus. She boosted the charge attack and got a critical freeze. The charge did 10 damage which Kromac transferred to the Gorax, killing it. Sorscha used the remaining 5 focus to buy three more attacks, boosting the damage on two. I rolled very well and ended up killing Kromac!

Titan Gladiator
Titan Bronzeback
6 Cataphract Arcuarii
10 Immortals

I had a good first two turns with my Widowmakers + Kell killing 6 Immortals and 2 Arcuarii and the Demo Corps finishing the other 4 Immortals. However, I completely misjudged the slam distance of the Bronzeback with Rush.

Sorscha was hiding behind her Kodiak which got slammed right over her. The Bronzeback followed up with three auto-hitting attacks in melee which saw Sorscha get squished very quickly.

This was the same opponent who caught me out last week with a tricky slam. I had correctly avoided putting Sorscha in the charge / slam range of the Bronzeback and had hidden her from LOS behind the Kodiak but again I forgot about slams. I need to be more careful about her placement in the future.

Friday, December 18, 2009

10 Games with Khador - Part 2: Where I'm Going

Yesterday I talked about how I think my current list is performing. Today I'm going to talk about how I think I can improve it.

The three areas I'm unsure about are Kell, the Koldun Lord + Destroyer combination, and the Demo Corps. The first two aren't things that I really feel the need to change - they've been effective for me so I'll keep them in for now and see how they continue to perform.

The Demo Corps however, are up for a change. As much as I love the models and the image of those glowing blue hammers swinging back and forth, I think 9 points for the unit is just too much for what they're giving me. They're quite powerful but are hampered by their speed, are a big target and easy to hit, and are just too expensive.

So, who's going to replace my beatstick infantry? The Great Bears! These guys have everything I like about the Demo Corps (except the hammers) and more. They're functionally ARM 16, which is the same at the Demo Corps, but have better a better DEF of 13. They move much faster at SPD 6, can't be knocked down, and have a 360 degree front arc for making better use of Backswing. They're also Weapon Masters, which means I no longer have to make the decision to get two attacks or boost a single attack - they can always make two boosted attacks!

Great Bears - image from Privateer Press

They hit a little lighter at P+S 12, are only 3 models to the Demo Corps' 5, and have fewer health boxes, but overall I think they're going to be an improvement. Especially considering they only cost 5 points, because that leaves room for me to add a Drakhun.

Man-O-War Drakhun - image from Privateer Press

This guy is a cavalry solo so he's moving at SPD 7 and has ARM 19. He gets a P+S 14 Weapon Master attack per turn, plus whatever his mount can do, and he also has the option for a ranged attack. He can't be knocked down and can make counter charges against models ending their activation near him. He costs 4 points, which means I can add him and the Great Bears for exactly 9 points, the same as my Demo Corps.

I like this option because it gives me to different, fast moving threats compared to my one, slow moving unit in the Demo Corps. Both of these units hit like bricks and are more survivable, plus the models are sweet.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

10 Games with Khador - Part 1: Where I Am

I've now played my first 10 games of Warmachine and I thought it would be appropriate to look back on my army and see how everything has performed. I'm 2.5 painted models away from buying some new units for the army and I'd like to look at the strengths and weaknesses of my list to see where I can improve. The list is:

Koldun Lord
5 Man-O-War Demo Corps
Greylord Ternion
Kell Bailoch

Kell Bailoch
Kell is a 2 point solo who operates as a 5th Widowmaker. His MAT is a little better than the Widowmakers and if he stands still he gets a second shot. He looks great on paper but I'm not totally sold on him. If he moves his effectiveness is cut in half and now I'm paying 2 points for one shot when I still get full effectiveness on the move from my Widowmakers. He has his uses but he may be more situational.

I love this solo. He has never failed to be very effective and almost always kills back his points. On the rare times when he doesn't, he ties up quite a bit more than he's worth for a turn or two to allow the rest of my army to be effective. He's a threat on the flanks that causes my opponents to think hard about their deployment and he functions well as a 6th Man-O-War or a bodyguard for Sorscha.

Greylord Ternion
Another very effective unit for me. In my first few games I wasn't using them very aggressively and they weren't performing well but since I've started moving them forward more they've become very good for me. Early on their Blizzard spell helps keep my Man-O-Wars safer from shooting. In the mid and late game their sprays are good for cleaning out infantry or knocking a few damage boxes off a 'caster, and I've used them as a one turn screen for Sorscha to keep her safe. The Ice Cage is a little less useful but the one time I tried I managed to get a 'jack stationary.

These guys are great but I'm still struggling to be confident using them. I want them shooting every turn so early positioning is important, but often I leave them too far forward to get charged or my opponent moves his army and they can't get shots off at infantry. I haven't had any success yet killing systems on 'jacks but I think as I get better with this unit I'll have more opportunities. I'm going to need a few more games to get these guys down.

Man-O-War Demo Corps
I love these models but of everything in the army they're probably the biggest liability. They're slow, easy to hit, and go down surprisingly quickly when my opponent wants them to. They're expensive at 9 points and once they're gone my army is a little stuck dealing with tough targets. They're also easy to tie up with infantry since good positioning means I can only kill one a turn, even with Backswing. I wouldn't say they've been a liability or ineffective for me but they're the first thing I'm thinking of changing.

This 'jack is hefty at 9 points but quite brutal. Being marshaled by the Koldun Lord means that he can boost the attack and damage rolls on the bombard almost every turn which is very effective. The two of them usually take a flank and sit just behind the main lines arching bombards. They're 11 points in total though, which is nearly a third of my army and sometimes I'm not sure they're doing enough. I'll probably stick with them for a while longer and see what happens.

Koldun Lord
Another two point solo who has been quite effective for me. His 'jack marshal and Power Booster ability make the Destroyer a lot more effective than Sorscha would be able to. He usually hangs back a bit from the front lines and since he's almost always using Power Booster I don't get to use his spells all that much. He and the Destroyer can be game changing but can also be big flops when the bombards don't fall my way.

I'm a big fan of this 'jack. I do my best to use Grab and Smash whenever I can. I'd love it if he did a little more damage in melee but he's still my go-to 'jack. The Heavy Boiler makes him focus light, Pathfinder means I'm not worried about terrain, and the model is sweet. I need to work on getting him more involved while also not getting destroyed because often it's one or the other. I may pick up a second one of these.

The more I play with Sorscha the more I like her style. Initially I wanted her to be a beatstick who used her spells and feat to set herself up to kill the enemy 'caster but I've found that not to be the case. I've had a lot more success using her as a support 'caster for the rest of my army, using her spells and feat to allow my army to more effectively kill everyone. I've had a lot of success using her feat to set up my troops to decimate the opponent's army, using the Hand Cannon and Razor Wind to pick off important models, and generally just have her run around and be a nuisance. I'm getting better at having her kill 'casters but I'm still looking for her to be a supporting model first and a beatstick second.

Coming up next, Part 2: Where I'm Going

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend Warmachine

This weekend I managed to get in three games against two different Hordes armies. The first was 35 points against Legion.

4 Shredders
2 units of Blighted Swordsmen, one with Abbot and Champion
3 Raptors
Strider Deathstalker

Rhyas - image from Privateer Press

I was not prepared to deal with 20 SDP 6 (SPD 7 with Dash), DEF 14, Weaponmasters in this game. My opponent spread them out in a wide front with two or three ranks and then ran them straight at me.

After having Sorscha feat to freeze the huge wave of Swordsmen I killed a bunch of them and largely took no damage in return on his turn since everything was frozen. I saw an avenue to kill Rhyas on my next turn but I missed with the Destroyer and all three Greylord sprays so I backed out.

On his turn Rhyas feated and when everything was done I had lost most of my army, but Rhyas was sitting in the open and only protected by being incorporeal. Sorscha has a magical weapon so that isn't an issue, and a few minutes later I had the win!

The other two games were modified battle box games against a Skorne player. I was using Sorscha, a Kodiak, and a Destroyer.

Titan Bronzeback
2 Cyclops Savages

Skorne Battle Box - image from Privateer Press

This game started off very poorly for me because I didn't realize what Admonition could do. I managed to sneak off a charge on one of the Savages using Kodiak and Boundless Charge, only to have the Savage jump away when I got there. I expected the Kodiak to get boxed and leave me a 'jack down without having done any damage to him, but the Savage and Bronzeback were unable to take it down.

Sorscha used Tempest to freeze both Savages and her and the Destroyer put some damage on one of them. On of the Savages had Abuse cast on it and caught Sorscha in a charge but couldn't kill her. Morghoul moved in and feated, hoping to stall Sorscha for another turn.

I gave my Destroyer two focus and had Sorscha feat, catching the Savage engaging her and Morghoul. Since the Savage couldn't hit her with free strikes anymore, Sorscha moved away and hit Morghoul with a boosted hand cannon shot and a boosted Razor Wind spell. The Destroyer killed Morghoul with a boosted bombard shot.

Titan Gladiator
2 Cyclops Savages

Since these games go quickly we just set up again. The Skorne player took out the Bronzeback and added a Gladiator.

I started a little more conservatively after the early mistake I made last game, but I made another one this game in forgetting that Abuse gives +2" of movement. Sorscha got charged by a Savage and left with two points of health, while a second Savage moved up quite close.

My Destroyer charged the Savage engaging Sorscha but it had Admonition on it and jumped away. I hoped to have the Kodiak use Grab and Smash to throw the other Savage into the jumping one, but he missed his attack roll and I couldn't pull it off. I don't know why I didn't use Sorscha's feat defensibly here.

On his turn, the Skorne player had the Gladiator slam my Destroyer over Sorscha and kill her.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Journeyman Warcaster and Kell Bailoch

The Journeyman was actually completed last month as part of a holiday model swap on Librarium Online. My recipient is starting a Cygnar army so I painted him this guy who is almost an auto-include in any Cygnar army.

It also happens to be a model that I've wanted to paint myself for a while so I'm glad I got the opportunity to do so.

This other guy is Kell Bailoch, a mercenary sniper who I've added to be the fifth Widowmaker in my Khador army.

I used a lot of different browns on him and made good use of Devlan Mud. I tried to add a little color with the red bandanna and blue hat but I don't think the hat worked well.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Warmachine Tournament Report

On Saturday I went to my very first Warmachine tournament (actually, it was my first tournament of any kind). Since the field test rules for MkII Hordes were just released the local Press Gangers decided to hold a MkII tryout tournament so everyone could start getting a handle on the new rules. The format was 35 points and 12 people showed up.

My list was my standard 35 point Khador list:

Koldun Lord
5 Demo Corps
Kell Bailoch

My first game was against a very pink Legion army using the following list:

5 Warmongers
3 Raptors
2 Warmonger War Chiefs

The scenario was called Kill Box. There was a 24" x 24" box in the middle of the board and anyone who didn't have their 'caster in the box by the end of the third turn lost. 'Caster kill was the win condition, and the tie breaker if time was called was whoever had their 'caster closest to the middle of the board.

Sorscha used her feat to create a log jam of beasts and Warmongers in front of Thagrosh and it allowed my Demo Corps and Kodiak to do a lot of damage to those units and be pretty safe. The Widowmakers handled the Raptors and after Sorscha finished off the Carnivean with her hand cannon I was feeling pretty good about my chances to control the board and kill Thagrosh.

However, it started to look like he was going to have the last turn. If I didn't move Sorscha, he'd be closer to the middle and win. If I moved closer to the center he'd kill me, so I took a wild chance to kill Thagrosh with Sorscha and failed. On his turn he killed Sorscha and took the win. With a little more time I think I might have been able to win but I'm pretty happy with how I played and had a fun game with against a good opponent.

Game two was against another Khador player.

Windergurad with 3 Rocketeers and UA
Kovnik Joe
Kell Bailoch
Alten Ashley

The scenario was No Man's Land. There was a six inch area across the middle of the board. After turn three, anyone controlling the area got a control point. Anyone with two control points or a 'caster kill would win the game. If time was called, the first tie breaker was number of unit leaders in the area, the second tie breaker was whoever had their 'caster closer to the opponent's deployment zone.

I wasn't prepared for how hard Winterguard and Rocketeers hit with the UA, Kovnik Joe, and Butcher's feat all running at once. Between them and his three 'jacks my Demo Corps and Kodiak took a huge beating on Butcher's feat turn and left me with not many options.

I saw an avenue for an assassination on Butcher and took it. Sorscha Wind Rushed forward, then cast Boundless Charge and charged the Butcher for 11 inches. I needed to do 20 damage and only had two focus to do it with, but I thought I was going to lose the game next turn if I didn't kill the Butcher. I hit him for 10 on the charge but only 5 on the second swing and I thought I had lost, but the game ended on time and I won because Sorscha was closer to his deployment zone.

The highlight of the game (and the tournament) was when my Kodiak used Grab and Smash to throw a Juggernaut into and kill the Winterguard UA.

The third game was also against a Khador player.

2 Kodiaks
Doom Reavers
6 Kossite Woodsmen
War Dog
Ogrun Bokur

The scenario was Mosh Pit. There was a 12" circle in the middle of the board with the same control point rules as the previous scenario. You could also win on a 'caster kill and the tie breaker was whoever had a 'jack closest to the middle.

Most of the Mosh Pit was filled with a forest that made LOS a bit tricky. I had a tough time figuring out when to enter the forest to get charges off without suffering for it by being charged first. I ended up doing a poor job of it because he got a good alpha strike on my Demo Corps and Kodiak using the Juggernaut and Doom Reavers on Butcher's feat turn.

I had one of his Kodiaks pretty beat up and had worked his Juggernaut down to about half strength but without my Demo Corps and Kodiak I couldn't really threaten his 'jacks. He won when he threw my Destroyer out of the Mosh Pit and scored his second control point.

I had a great time playing three very fun games against three pleasant opponents. I thought all of my games would go like the third one and was really happy to play a competitive first game and come up with a win in my second.

I think I was able to get a much better feel for how my army runs. I have a much better understanding about the capabilities of my models and I'm a lot more aware of potential 'caster kill situations, both for getting me the win and avoiding a loss.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Preparing for my First Warmachine Tournament

I got in another Warmachine game last night. I played a 3 player game against Circle and Skorne with 35 points for everyone.

Lord of the Feast
War Wolf
Shifting Stones
Wolves of Orboros + UA

Titan Cannoneer
Molik Karn
Void Spirit
Tyrant Rhadeim
Praetorian Swordsmen + UA

Koldun Lord
5 MoW Demo Corps

The Wolves and Woldwarden moved towards the Praetorians and Cannoneer in the middle while everything else moved in my general direction. I held back a little bit, hoping to pick my targets and mop up after the melee for a win.

After two or so turns I managed to drop a bombard on Mohsar that left him with 5 health. The Skorne player mopped him up right after me and except for a few Wolves, the Circle army was pretty much out of it.

I hadn't lost much at that point. My Demo Corps charged in and did a fair amount of damage to Karn but didn't kill him. In his turn, Xerxis killed several of them and cleared the way for Karn to charge Sorscha, but he failed the charge.

Sorscha feated, went after Xerxis, and hit him with the charge attack and two other boosted attacks to leave him with one health. My Greylords finished the job.

I had to be told about the potential assassination attempt on Mohsar, although after hearing about it twice now (it was a similar thing to what I did to Durgen in my last game) I'm more on the lookout for it. Sorscha nearly killing Xerxis was my idea but it was a pretty obvious move.

This was a tough game to get much out of. Most of the things I learned were about reading the game and seeing opportunities, which is certainly important, but I'm still unsure how to use my army in a regular, 1 v 1 game. I should get in three games at the tournament this Saturday though and that will be a big help.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

November Summary and Finished Kodiak

New Model Fund:

I tarted November with $68.18 and went a bit overboard this month. I bought an issue of No Quarter (my last issue as I'm not much of a fan of the magazine), a bunch of 40k bits for my Crimson Fists, several Warmachine models, and some miscellaneous things that I need to play Warmachine. In all, I ended the month with -$36.56, so I'm going to start December with $13.44.

My spending allowed me to get all of the models I need for a 35 point Khador list. Once I've got them painted I'm going to look a few new warcasters.

Painting for Points:

November started with 66 points. I finished two Sternguard, a Journeyman Warcaster, and a Kodiak for total of 8 points in November and 74 points this year.

Speaking of the Kodiak, here he is:

I'm still having some trouble getting my red highlights to work on this type of model but he's an improvement over the Destroyer and Juggernaut and I'm pleased with him overall. I'm hoping he's a big success in my games tomorrow night and the tournament this weekend.