Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zaal vs Lich Lord Terminus...battle for your soul!

I've not had much time to actually finish games lately. This was done over two days with a good friend from Ordo. When he described his list to me I was terrified, I had no idea how I'd chew through that many guys, get to Terminus, and actually be able to kill him.

But then I re-read his Feat, and re-read Zaal's "Direct Spirits" rule, and I realized that Zaal is a really bad matchup for Terminus!
He wants your soul...but Zaal wants it more!

Terminus' Feat lets him gain a Soul for every enemy living model killed in his control area, and those souls add to his armor. He become nigh untouchable for a round, allowing him to bring his pretty potent melee abilities to bear without having to worry about dieing (too much).

But, Zaal doesn't allow such things:

Direct Spirits - When a friendly living Faction warrior model is destroyed in this modelʼs control area and generates a soul, you choose which eligible model gains the soul, regardless of any modelʼs proximity to the destroyed model. Enemy models never gain soul tokens for friendly living Faction warrior models destroyed in this modelʼs control area.

So by simply fielding Zaal, poor Terminus loses his Feat!

My Zaal list consisted of:
Zaal & Kovaas
Titan Gladiator
Cyclops Brute
10 Praetorian Swordsmen & UA
10 Praetorian Karax
2 Ancestral Guardians
Haakar the Destroyer
Aptimus Marketh

I thought I had a lot of bodies, but the Cryx force was:
Lich Lord Terminus
10 Mech-Thralls
10 Mech-Thralls
10 Mech-Thralls
3 Soulhunters
and a Pistol Wraith

A million tough bodies to chew threw, with some mean jacks to make me pay for getting close.

We decided to do a scenario, and rolled Close Quarters (two zones near the middle of the table, you get points for holding the one nearer to your opponents starting side, first to two points wins). I won the roll and decided to go first.

The Skorne race forward!
 I deployed in a compact line at the middle of the table. He spread out with the Soulhunters on the extreme end.

On my first turn everything ran forward, Zaal getting some Souls on the Guardians.

And unsurprisingly on his turn everything ran forward. I think the Soulhunters didn't move their full distance, staying close to the group. The Pistol Wraith went nicely in to the forest, ready to shoot me up.
Not to be outdone, the Cryx surge forward too!

My second turn, the Karax Shieldwalled and advanced their none-too-impressive 5". The Swordsmen ran forward to tie up things, with a Guardian moving amongst them hoping for a defensive strike on something juicy, and to be in position to prevent the swords from getting trampled. Haakar and the other Guardian moved between the Praetorian units, me hoping that Haakar could get a vengence move from dead Karax. The Gladiator ran around to the other side, hoping to not get harpooned to his death. Inviolable Resolve went on the Karax, boosting them up to ARM 20. More Souls were given out to the Guardians.

Zaal hides behind the big guys!

*Note: I forgot to take a screenshot right after his turn, so the below shot was done as my turn was getting underway. Sorry!*

On his second turn, the soulhunters moved kill the Swordsmen opposite the wall, failed to hit any, and walked away with their Light Cav move. Malice harpooned a Guardian, dragged him to him and killed him, spawning a Kovaas. The Green Thralls charged the Shieldwall, killing several, but getting some souls on Haakar and Marketh. Grey Thralls and Slayer shredded the Swordsmen, with many souls going to waste (I could use an Extoller in this list to help with soul-gluts like this, I think!). Red Thralls moved up behind the Grey Thralls.

During Skorne 3, mostly as-was after Cryx 2
  On my third turn I was very confident that I could, if not kill, at least severely wound Terminus with the Kovaas. Haakar's vengence move knocked down a tough Thrall. The few surviving Swordsmen ran thru melee zones, prompting many free strikes (and more rage for me!). The Karax Shield-walled again and moved up, killing a few thralls, making room for Haakar. Zaal advanced in to the open, put Last Stand on Kovaas, and killed a few Thralls with a Hex Blast, and used his Feat, for 15 Ancestral Rage. Haakar charged Malice, combo-strike on the charge (with a huge damage roll), then bought two more strikes, boosted with Rage, to finish Malice off. Kovaas then simply charged Terminus, used his two souls to buy extra attacks, everything was boosted with Rage...and Terminus was alive with 4 life left! Uh-oh!

Then I remember Last Stand! Dante let me roll the extra three dice from the three attacks, and Terminus was dead!

He's Incorporeal?!?

It really was a poor matchup for Terminus, and this was the first time the Cryx player had seen the Zaal madness. I think next time he'll be more aware of what a Kovaas can do, and be more prepared. If he'd kept Terminus a bit farther away, or more surrounded by Thralls so I couldn't get Kovaas in melee-range, it would have been very different, I think! I also think the Soulhunters should have been running like mad, and getting behind my slow-as-molasses army. I have virtually nothing to deal with super fast things like that.

It was also nice of him to let me use the dice I'd forgotten to use. Even without them, with Terminus alive, I didn't feel too horrible. The other Guardian would likely wreck Slayer, or at least severely injure him. The Gladiator and Brute could wall off Zaal, and I'd intended to use Marketh to blast the Pistol Wraith. As long as I could get Zaal to live through this turn (pretty likely since he had fury to transfer), I think I'd pulled out ahead. Maybe...those Mech-Thralls sure hit hard!

I'm considering trying a variation of this list, replacing the Swordsmen with Nihilators. I tend to use the swordsmen to run up in the way and jam enemies more than actually fighting. I think the Tough might allow them to do the same job, but some of them live to deal some death on the next turn. Berzerk plus Last Stand sounds pretty fun, too :)

I'm going to try to get the LGS involved in the Privateer Press-run campaign league, Shattered Ground. To do this, I need to become a Press Ganger. To do that, I need to send pictures of two painted starter boxes. Either two Hordes, or two Warmachine, not one of each. I own the Skorne box, need to paint Morghoul and finish one Savage, quick to do there...but I don't own another, nor am I inclined to spend more money to buy one. The Legion box-set comes with pLylyth, Carnivean, and 4 shredders. I have a Carnivean and 2 Shredders painted, could buy blister of 2 more shredders (I wouldn't mind having more anyway!) but I can't seem to find where to buy that Warlock seperate from that boxed set!

Any help much appreciated!

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