Thursday, June 30, 2011

Captain Damiano - First Impressions

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to fleshing out my Mercs force with some more 'casters. I'm in the process of trading some 40k models for some more Merc models (hooray!) but today I want to take a look at the new Merc hotness, Captain Damiano.


image from Privateer Press

Stats
Damiano has pretty basic stats for a 'caster. His MAT 7 and CMD 9 are good looking but everything else is average.

Weapons
Damiano sports a magical Hand Cannon that can get a 3" AOE for one focus and P+S 12 magical sword. Nothing really special on either of these weapons although the magical pistol could be useful for knocking out Incorporeal solos.

Abilities
Paymaster allows Damiano to give out one of two buffs to friendly Steelhead units. Damiano has 5 coins to spend on these buffs. One buff allows a free 3" move at the end of the unit's activation and the other gives +2 to ranged attack and damage rolls.

With all of the clever movement tricks that Steelheads + Stannis can do the reform moves will have a ton of uses and the buff to ranged attacks will be a big boon to both the Steelhead Cav and Riflemen.

Feat
The Feat gives friendly models +3 ARM and STR for a turn and also prevents them from being moved during your opponent's turn. This takes normal Steelheads to P+S 14 with 3d6 on the charge which is not shabby at all. The ARM boost probably won't save them from any reprisals but it does take Merc 'jacks up to Khador levels of durability and Damiano himself can sit comfortably at ARM 19 for a turn.

Additionally, with a little extra on your turn a lot of potential assassinations that rely on moving your models out of position will be significantly tougher to pull off.

Spells
Damiano has a great spell list to support his army. I'm very familiar with Surefoot and the bricking potential it brings to an army, plus it pushes Damiano up to DEF 17. Combined with Rociante and his feat you're looking at DEF 19 ARM 19 - a very tough nut to crack.

Death March looks perfect for Halberdiers, Forge Guard, or Boomhowler. They all benefit from the MAT boost and Vengeance will get them up the field very quickly.

Deadeye and Warpath seem a little more situational but still very useful while Convection probably won't see too much use. Focus looks like a problem for Damiano since he has 3 good upkeep spells.

Final Thoughts
Damiano looks to be a great tool box / support 'caster with a focus on infantry. At 35 points I'd be surprised to see him with more than one 'jack, and further surprised if that 'jack wasn't Rociante. Here's what I'm thinking as a starting point for a 35 point list:

Damiano
+Rociante
10 Steelhead Halberdiers
3 Steelhead Cavalry
Stannis Brocker
Rhupert

This is 21 points and leaves a lot of space for more infantry, solo support, and maybe another 'jack. Right now I'm thinking about a combined arms force with Gunmages and Aiyana & Holt added in. Wyshnalyrr may also make an appearance to help manage all of those upkeep spells.

Also, I love that this guy is the IK version of Don Quixote. I like his Spanish vibe a lot and I'm thinking about buying some of these resin heads for my Halberdiers.


image from maxmini

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Khador and Wrath - First Impressions

I ran through Harkevich last week - here are a few quick impressions about the rest of the Khador entries in Wrath.

Demolisher
I've never had a chance to play with a Devastator but this guy looks to function in a similar way. He isn't doing auto-hitting damage to models directly around him, he's putting out two 4" AOEs. It might be a little less damage but it greatly increases flexibility in target selection. Plus, with Bulldoze and Gunfighter he can plow his way through screening models to make his shots at squishy stuff in your opponent's back field.

Black Ivan


image from Privateer Press

I'm not sold on the model yet but since I do plan to play Harkevich I will be playing this 'jack too. A small RAT increase plus free boosted ranged attack rolls with Harkevich means Ivan's bombards will be hitting what they shoot at. Dodge is a little weird on a Khador 'jack, even one with DEF 12, but I'm not complaining. He's also got a few melee tricks and enhancements that are nice, but I would have happily traded them for a lower point cost. I probably won't take him outside a Harkevich list.

Torch


image from Privateer Press

Now we're talking. Being able to give 4 focus to a 'jack with a Sustained Attack weapon at POW 18 is just crazy! Throw in Gunfighter and Virtuoso to give him 3 initial attacks and you're looking at a nasty little piece of work in a Strakhov list. Imagine the fun you can have with this guy under Strakhov's feat and Overrun!

Battle Mechanic Officer
This is an interesting way to offer a buff to all of the Man-O-War players out there. I don't often find myself with half dead MoW's so I'm kind of indifferent about this guy. I can see him having more use with Shocktroopers and their Shield Wall but since I don't own them I don't see myself getting this guy (or the mechanics I'd need to run him with).

Kayazy Eliminators
Yes. These two ladies will 100% be making an appearance on my shelf when they're released. The have Acrobatics all the time (not just on mini-feat turn) and they can move around even more with Side Step. Also, they're SPD 7 - nothing will hide from these women. Suddenly I want an eVlad list.

Koldun Kapitan Valachev


image from Privateer Press

This guy has a two big things going for him. First, he's a Greylord. I'm interested in anything Greylord. Second, I just started Mercs as a faction. I've got a bunch of Merc units painted and dying for more table time - Valachev loves Merc units!

Special Bonus Merc Entry- Sylas Wyshnalyrr


image from Privateer Press

What's not to love about one free upkeep per turn, +2" range on spells, and extra dice on offensive spells? I'll tell you what - no Wardog. Suddenly there are two fantastic options for warcaster attachments in the motherland.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kommander Harkevich - First Impressions

Wrath is finally in my hands and I'm super excited because it is the first PP expansion to come out since I started playing. Here are my early impressions on the new Khador 'caster, Kommander Harkevich.


image from Privateer Press

Stats

Nothing seriously impressive or outstanding here. MAT 7 is kind of cool and DEF 15 is pretty good but not terribly special.

Weapons
Hand Cannons come standard on Khadoran Warcasters and this one will probably see good use under Harkevich's feat and his spell Broadside (more on that later). His mace has a solid POW 14 and is magical. It also has Beat Back, allowing for some interesting possibilities with movement shenanigans.

Abilities
He grants all models in his battlegroup Pathfinder, including himself. This is pretty sweet. His feat and spells look to synergize well with ranged 'jacks but this little nugget also gives a huge boost to 'jacks looking to get stuck in after they've shot.

Feat
Now we're getting interesting. The feat gives a significant ARM boost to battlegroup models, lets them charge or slam for free (with Pathfinder!), and allows them to make a normal ranged attack before that free charge or slam. This shot doesn't ignore ROF restrictions but it allows 'jacks to shoot, charge, and then make their normal melee attacks, something they're not normally allowed to do.

Spells
Three spells on Harkevich's list stand out to me. The first is Broadside, which allows battlegroup models to make a shot that ignores ROF. This is awesome. On feat turn with this spell, Harkevich's 'jacks get to make two shots for free, then charge for free with Pathfinder, and then make their attacks in melee.

Escort is an upkeep that gives his battlegroup a speed boost and gives Harkevich an ARM boost. Fortune is another upkeep allowing a model/unit rerolls on missed to hit rolls.

Right away I'm noticing that with these two great upkeeps and Broadside Harkevich is left with just one focus a turn to allocate. A Koldun Lord might help here and so can the new Merc attachment Wyshnalyrr but I see Harkevich being rather starved for focus all game long.

The other two spells are interesting but not as obviously applicable at the above three.

Final Thoughts
Harkevich certainly looks interesting. He has some very good battlegroup spells that point strongly to him being a 'jack heavy 'caster focusing on ranged attacks. He also has a few tricks up his sleeve that allow his 'jacks to have 9" charges with Pathfinder, something you won't see too often from a Khador army.

I'm not sure yet if I think he'll be a super powered tournament level 'caster but I am sure that he looks like a lot of fun.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Bunch of Painted Models

I haven't shown a painted model in a few weeks but I have been painting at a pretty good pace lately. Here's what I've been working on.

pEiryss - painted for the Slow Grow League. I wanted to have her epic version in my list but wasn't able to locate the model in time. This was a great model to paint and didn't show its age at all (unlike some other original Warmachine models).





Steelhead Riflemen - also painted for the Slow Grow League. I haven't had much table-top success with these guys yet but they were fun to paint. I'm especially happy with how their hair came out because that's something I can struggle with.



Borka Kegslayer and the Keg Carrier. I was thinking about running a Borka list for the New England Team Tournament so he got painted up. After some more thought I don't think I'll be using him as one of my lists but he'll probably see some table time after the tournament.



Stone Scribe Chronicler. This solo appears in two of my lists for the New England Team Tournament as support for Burrowers. He's one of the few models I have left from my big Troll purchase from a year ago and I'm glad he's finally painted.


I've got a few more Troll models to paint up for the tournament in July and then I'll be back painting up Mercs!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Paint My Stuff

With the league done I've been giving some thought to what my next project would me. I've got lots of ideas - expand the Mercs with pMagnus and Gorten, take a look at the new Khador 'caster and / or the Old Witch, maybe see how Calandra and Borka run... options and ideas abound.

Then I looked around my room and realized that I want to be fully painted (or near fully painted). I've got 3 factions (2.5 factions?) and a host of unpainted models for each one and frankly, I want them painted before I start something new. So that's what my next project will be - finish all my other projects!

Here's the list of stuff I want to get painted before starting something new:

Trolls
6 Scattergunners
Stone Scribe Chronicler
2 Stone Scribes
Troll Impaler
Borka and Keg Carrier
pDoomshaper

Khador
Man-O-War Drakhun

Mercs
10 Forge Guard
Rhupert
Aiyana and Holt
Taryn

That's 28 models to work my way through. It seems like a lot, but over half of it is tied up in the Forge Guard and Scattergunners so once I knock those two units off the list I think I'll be home free. I've been participating in the One Thing A Week painting thread on the PP forums which has been great fun and a good motivator on this project.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Slow Grow League - After Action Report

This past weekend was the 50 point tournament that capped off the slow grow league at my LGS. There were 10 players (nine and one TO playing the bye position) and a good spread of factions. I went 0-3 on the weekend. I had hoped to play better but there were a number of very talented players using strong lists and I haven't played in a while.

Game 1 - Carver

This game was a mess from the start for me. I wasn't thinking at all and just started moving models around and rolling dice with no plan.


dead all over

After a while a Farrow Brigand with Quagmire ran behind Ashlynn and gave her -2 DEF. She then got demolished by a Slaughterhouser, Carver, and a War Hog.

Game 2 - Barnabas

This is a terrible match up for my shooty Ashlynn army. Swamp Pits negate all of my shooting and Barnabas's feat cancels out all of the defensive capabilities of Ashylnn's feat. Add in the high ARM of Gatormen and the Gator beasts and I was in for a rough game.


failing important Fear checks

I had a pretty good idea early on to split my Forge Guard to engage both Gatorman units. I wanted to kill 2 Gators from each unit, jam up the chokes on each side, and snag an early control point. Because of the swamp pits on the board I chose to have Rhupert give the Forge Guard Pathfinder instead of making them Fearless - they passed the first Fear check but failed the second and at that point the game was mostly over for me.

I managed a clever assassination run late in the game but didn't have enough to see it all the way through.

Game 3 - Barnabas

Same thing, new player. This time around I used the Forge Guard (now with Fearless) to jam up the choke on the left side while I cleared out the right hand side and scored an early control point.


early plan success

There was a lot of killing on the left side of the board and I started to lose control of it while the Gators slowly forced me back from the right side as well. Barnabas's feat put me in a bad position and, faced with losing the game to control points, I tried and failed to kill Barnabas.

Overall a fun tournament but I was hampered by some bad match-ups and my own rustiness. I'll be putting down the Mercs for little while and getting in some games with my Trolls in preparation for the NE Team Tournament in July.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Slow Grow League - Final Tournament Prep

This coming weekend is the final day of the league and will be a 50 point, single list tournament. It will also be the last chance to gain points in our ladder and the top three players will form our team for the New England Team Tournament. I'd like to attend so I'm looking for a good showing on Saturday.

Here's the list I'm running:

Ashlynn
+Vanguard
+Nomad
Gun Mages + UA
+Mule
10 Forgeguard
6 Steelhead Riflemen
Aiyana and Holt
pEiryss
Gorman
Reinholdt
Rhupert
Taryn
Ragman


not as much painted as I wanted but not bad

It is quite shooty which is where I've found the most success. I'm looking to hold the middle of my lines using the Forgeguard and Rhupert with the Nomad, Vanguard, and Ashlynn as a second line. The Gun Mages and Riflemen will be on the flanks supported by Eiryss, Taryn, and Gorman. I'd still like to get a combination of Ragman and Aiyana's Harm on something but I think more likely I'll be using them to target two different things.

If I can get some wins I imagine they'll come from a shooting assassination. In a perfect world I'll get a Gorman Blind Bomb + Harm + Ragman on the enemy 'caster, Taryn will remove any LOS blockers, and Eiryss will either remove focus or deal 3 damage right off the bat. Once all that is set up I'll be free to throw 4 Hand Cannon shots, 3 two-man CRAs, 7 Gun Mage pistol shots, and a Mule cannon at the 'caster.

Obviously that won't happen but there is sufficient support and firepower to make it work even without all of the pieces.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

May Summary

Finally, a good month hobby wise. I painted a ton of models and even managed to get my first league win!

Painting for Points
A really great month painting wise for me. I painted a Vanguard and Mule, getting all of the 'jacks done for my league army done. I also made a start on my infantry, painting the Gun Mages and UA and finishing it off with Ragman. I'm now up to 67 points for 2011.


Battlegroup!

New Model Fund
Another bad month money wise but I've got all the models for this army and no plans to purchase anything new for the next few months (yeah, right). I bought Ragman, Steelhead Riflemen, some Forge Guard, Taryn, Eiryss, and Aiyana and Holt. I'm going to be at -$107.29 (yikes!) for June.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mule

I had a lot of fun converting and painting up my plastic Nomad so when I decided to add a Mule to the army it made sense to try another plastic conversion. I didn't get any photos of the Nomad in his unpainted state but I remembered this time around.



This conversion was a little trickier. I wanted to give the Mule a slightly different profile so I bought the metal boiler and removed the two plastic smoke stacks from the chassis. That was a big pain to do but I'm glad I took the time. The other sticking point was mounting the flat contact point of the gun arm to the round shoulder socket.



Painting this guy was a lot more fun than building him. I'm really enjoying the green that I'm working on here and I think he has a good balance of colors all around. My only gripe is the big mace looks too mono-chromatic.



All of the 'jacks for Ashlynn's army have some yellow stars on them somewhere and with the smoke stacks removed the boiler on top of the Mule looked like it needed some love. I also added a few red Khador anvil kill markers to the cannon (but don't tell my Khador army).



I haven't been able to play too many games lately so this guy hasn't seen much table time yet but I'm hoping that with a shiny new paint job he'll be ready to kick some butt.