Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Warmachine Battle Report: Morghoul vs. Harbringer!

Monday night past I'd reserved a table for some Warmahordes action, and was lucky enough to get to play the club's meanest member, Sean Nayden and his Harbringer led Menoth force!

I chose to use my typical pMorghoul force:

Master Tormentor Morghoul
-Bronzeback Titan
-Titan Gladiator
-Cyclops Shaman
-Aptimus Marketh
6 Nihilators
4 Paingiver Beasthandlers

I've recently decided I really like the Shaman in place of the Brute. I like the Brute's Animus, and Shieldguard is handy, but I can't help but feel like he's standing around waiting for something bad to happen most times. With the Shaman plus Marketh I can easily get Rush and Abuse on two beasts at the same time, making for a pretty good punch. Moreover that magic ranged attack looks like it could be pretty useful as he hides behind a Titan-wall and clears something out of the way!

Sean was trying a slight modification to his Harbringer list that's been terrorizing us all since he started playing:

Harbringer of Menoth:
Choir of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Covenant of Menoth
3 Examplar Bastions
Visigoth Rhoven & Company
Nicia (no model, using Vilmon)

I consistently struggle against this list. The puzzle of target prioritization it poses is something I haven't been able to unravel. I struggle against Sean in any game system we play, but against this list I really don't have a good answer for the threats it poses.

The Jacks by themselves aren't too terrible to deal with. Throw in Awe and the Reckoner's Ashen Veil and suddenly it becomes really difficult just to score a hit. Add in the Choir and Vassal and they're dishing out tremendous damage, up close or ranged. The Bastions ability to transfer damage combined with Harbringer's Martyrdom makes them impossible to kill, while they can dish out some damage. Rhoven really complicates Fury management, and his bodyguards are very capable at putting out some hurt...especially if I try to kill Rhoven first. Nicia (or the Vilmon he typically uses) adds another serious damage-dealer with amazing maneuverability.

Frankly I didn't really have a plan going in to this game. I was going on instinct and hoped for an opportunity to whittle down some support to get the damage-dealing Jacks to manageable level.

Our scenario was Destruction (the Terminators you see in the picture are the Objectives we're trying to destroy). I won the roll and chose to go first. I set up leaning way to the right of the table near Sean's objective, behind a forest, where I hoped to use the Obstruction (the large ruined building by the swamp) to funnel his stuff in to a narrow area where I could hopefully get things piecemeal.

He set up right in the middle, with Nicea's Advance Deploy putting her right out in front.

 I went first, with the Gladiator hoofing thru the forest with the Shaman, while the Bronzeback and Rhinodon went wide right, led by the Nihilators. Nothing very exciting from either of us, as he simply ran forward up the middle of the table.

Inexplicably, on my second turn I decided to swing around and thru the swamp, going way out to the right. I have a vague memory of thinking I'd like to get the Nihilators back where they could hope to beat up the Book, the Choir, and maybe head to my Objective if the way were clear. The Rhinodon went with them to support as much as Morg's Control would allow, and the Bronzeback was set up to try to charge anything that came around the ruin.

Sean's Crotch!
 With timed turns I didn't get many pictures here. Sean cagily advanced just enough around the ruin to get some ranged shots. The Vanquisher was able to find the Nihilators that I'd squished too close together, and dropped 4 of them. The Reckoner put some damage on the Gladiator. The Repenter and Nicia moved far ahead of the others, baiting me and threatening charges or channels on my beasts or the objective. He used his Feat to keep me from getting an Alpha Strike

I had pushed myself in to a bad spot, so went ahead and took the baits. The Shaman put Rush on the Gladiator, and Marketh Abused him. The Paingivers Enraged the Gladiator and the Rhinodon. Morghoul moved up behind the ruin where his control would extend far enough, and put Rush and Abuse on the Gladiator, leaving him with no Fury after transferring the damage from Harbringer's feat, so he Maltreated the Shaman to have 1 fury just in know how those sneaky Menoth weenies are! The Rhindon charged the Vanquisher, and found himself completely incapable of doing anything decisive. I really expected his Pow 18 and two Pow 16 attacks would be able to put a dent in the thing, but I barely scratched it. The Gladiator I bungled badly. I thought he'd have charge range to the Reckoner. I really wanted to Grand Slam it and follow-up to beat the crap out of it when knocked down. I'm not good at judging ranges, and got cold feet...I instead tried to slam Nicia. I figured I could slam her in to the Revenger, knock her down, and I'd be able to force a few Martyrs or he'd lose his assassin and have a Gladiator with Admonition in his face.

This went awry immediately, as the Covenant prevented Knockdown, and the Gladiator was only able to hit once again after the initial Slam, resulting in only two Martyrdoms required. I wasted my Gladiator and my Time Extension to do a few points to Harby. Yeah.

 Predictably then he used his ability that removed Admonition and dogpiled the Gladiator. Here Sean felt the time crunch as I had last turn and did some things out of order here. He Assaulted the Gladiator with the Reckoner, doing healthy chunks of damage, but he'd forgotten to do the Choir first. He then did the Choir, and Rhoven took away a Fury from everyone, including Morghoul, leaving him with none. Uhoh! Here's his big mistake: he then focused on killing Beasts. He had the Revenger try to finish off the Gladiator, but it was left with 4-5 boxes and I believe had only lost one Aspect. Then he had the Vanquisher kill off the Rhinodon. Big mistake for him, as this let me Reave the 3 Fury left on him on to Morghoul, which saved my bacon! He'd wanted Nicia to use her Acrobatics to charge over the Titan in front of her and kill Morghoul, but even with both attacks hitting I'd be able to transfer off. He'd also sneakily engaged the Bronzeback playing goalie with one of Rhoven's bitches to prevent a counter-charge. He went with the plan anyway, rolling an impressive 15 damage on poor Morghoul, which was transferred to the poor Shaman, who was now near death without ever having been near the enemy! With his last seconds, he tried to get the Bastions in to finish the Gladiator, but the one guy that had the range failed to hit.

With a fully healthy Bronzeback, all things are possible! I got Rush and Abuse on the Bronzeback, Enraged him, and the big beast Trampled over Rhoven & Company and Nicia, getting engaged with the Reckoner. He put Trainwreck on himself, hit the Reckoner once, pushed him back, and advanced on to Harbringer. She was effectively DEF18 at this point...scary...but the boosted damage roll came up a healthy 13, needing 11. Pow 21 hitting Arm 14, and I used his last Fury to boost the damage, and killed that bitch dead! I don't remember exactly what the roll was, but it was low...just enough that with the Martyrdom done from Nicia to finish it!

This was a really fun game. While it was a win for me, it really wasn't my fault. Sean could have done so many minor little things different on his last turn that would have completely wrecked me: if he'd used the Choir first, the Gladiator would have died to the Reckoner, then the Bronzeback wouldn't have had Rush and would have been stuck in the swamp swinging at solos waiting to get wrecked next turn. If he'd ignored the Rhinodon and gone for the assassination first, Morghoul would have had no Fury to transfer, and that one attack that did 15 points of damage would have given him the kill. Playing under the clock is new for all of us in the club, and it's really pushing us out of our comfort zone!

I still don't really feel like I have any answers for fighting against Sean's army. The Choir has to die; the Vassal has to die; the Covenant has to die; Rhoven has to die; Nicia has to die. Sadly, they're all nearly unkillable because Harbringer will just take a little damage to keep them standing. I'm hoping for a few more games against Sean with my two Skorne lists to see if I can get anything constructive to happen; i.e. find out what I need to change!

I really enjoy playing Sean. Every time I play him I learn something new and am really pushed to think of things outside the way I normally do. Moreover, I think this was the first WM/H game in Ordo where both sides had fully painted armies! Jason will be proud!

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