Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Holidays are finally over!

I sincerely apologize for being so scarce during the holidays. I seldom made it to Ordo events, and in fact seldom did anything but homebody Daddy stuff! I enjoyed the time with my family very much, and I hope all of you had as blessed a time as I did!

Now, back to the gaming!

A few weeks back Ordo held a small Warmachine Steamroller-style event. (Note I'm not allowed to call it a Steamroller event because I've been too lazy to paint up my Legion starter set to get qualified as a Pressganger!). The short summary: 1st place went to Sean Nayden with his Harbinger Menoth; I took second place with Skorne (Zaal and pMorghoul); and 3rd went to Brian Fox with pIrusk Khador.

Brian wrote up his thoughts on the tournament and his army right after the event, and I'm finally getting unlazy enough to post on!

I promised Bob a while back I would write something for him to post here – ultimately, schoolwork picked up and I went through a 40k faction crisis so couldn’t decide what I wanted to write on.

Well, after the great tournament I had today, I know what to write about.

Bob has been setting up and running local Ordo tournaments for the club every month – last month was 40k, and this month’s was Warmahordes (Flames of War is next month, and Fantasy the month after – then the cycle begins anew!). He’s put a lot of work and effort into these events for the club, and they turn out great – gives us motivation to put models on the field and roll dice, in an environment that manages to be competitive yet super friendly. If you’re semi-local, I totally recommend coming down.

The WM/H tournament was rather small, 8 players across three rounds – our club got into the game about a year ago, and played pretty frequently for a couple months but slowly turned back to 40k. We only recently got back into it. I was drawn to Khador (a combination of their Russian theme, which is awesome, and the look of their jacks, which is badass… ironically, I find Khador to be a pretty weak ‘jack faction – most of the good casters only want to run one ‘jack!), and brought this list to the field:

Kommandant Irusk (*6pts)
* Behemoth (13pts)
Great Bears of Gallowswood (5pts)
Kayazy Assassins (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Kayazy Assassin Underboss (2pts)
Winter Guard Infantry (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Winter Guard Infantry Officer & Standard (2pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich (2pts)

I was never a fan of pIrusk, since he didn’t have any of the flashy cool tricks I wanted – I thought all the more nuanced spells of eIrusk were more attractive. But Bob pushed me to try him out, so I finally bit and fell in love. pIrusk is everything a support caster should be – a phenomenal toolbox. Inhospitable Ground can play great denial against factions weak on pathfinder. Iron Flesh and his feat are perfect for attrition, and keeping your infantry models alive for longer. Battle Lust and his feat also multiply the already impressive output of our infantry (Kayazy under Battle Lust are very credible threats to heavy ‘jacks!). Superiority is an awesome ‘jack buff, and Irusk has enough focus that he can hand some out if necessary. He doesn’t have the best personal stats, but is competent enough – his gun actually has some impressive stats so is good for solo hunting/killing things that get to close.

The list is built to capitalize on Irusk’s abilities – I’ve had a handful of Kayazy wreck heavies on the charge with Battle Lust, and his feat helps keep them alive on the critical turn they engage. The models are hideous imo, but they’re possibly one of the best infantry choices in the game. The Winter Guard blob is pretty obligatory, and also solid – crazy good defense when buffed up, Joe can keep them Tough or boost their attacks for high defense, and their sprays are invaluable in clearing infantry. Behemoth is a phenomenal warjack – his points cost is totally justified to me, since he has the damage output of two ranged jacks AND can solo any heavy in combat with his fists as well. One giant steampowered can of whoop ass. The Great Bears are there for counter-charges, and as more reliable ‘jack killers – I keep them close enough that they could charge anything that would threaten Big B, while also being my only unit that can easily navigate difficult terrain on the offense. Eiryss fills that last cracks, more as an experiment – that and providing some critically important upkeep hate.

I don’t have any pictures (or a solid memory), but I figured I would provide some cursory battle reports: my first game was against Chris’ Circle. At first I was optimistic about the matchup, but became terrified to learn that I’d have to contend with Krueger. This guy had so much electroleaping-auto-hitting-lightning shenanigans that the guts of my list, high defense infantry, weren’t going to be worth much. We played the Overrun mission, which had a big rectangular zone in the middle. Most of the game was a scrum in there – I critically misjudged my charges on feat turn and found my Kayazy/Great Bears both about an inch outside of melee (which is rather funny – I was in charge of bringing construction paper for the zones, and the paper I brought made for 9x36” zones… we figured it wouldn’t be a problem, but when doing math in my head I counted the paper as only being 8” wide!), and had to take the hit square on the jaw from Chris’ stuff. I tried to pull an assassination attempt on Krueger, but misread Eiryss’ abilities: I had hoped that she stripped fury from the target model just like focus, but that wasn’t true. So Krueger was easily able to transfer damage he took from boosted Behemoth shots and two Battle Lusted Kayazy in his face. Ultimately, our casters tried to stay as far back as possible… Behemoth managed to kill his warbeasts that could threaten such a high armor target, so by the end of the game I had free reign of the zone. Still, we went to third tie breaker for the scenario (VP’s in zone) before I won. Chris really felt the crunch of the clock, and there were several turns he ran out of time before he had done everything he needed to (including some critical charges). I play fast/lazy/stupid most of the time, and that was only compounded by the clock – but I was still pretty comfortably moving and resolving all the infantry in my list within the 10 minute time limit.

My next game was against Dante’s Cryx – he brought a mean Terminus army, loaded with Mechanithralls, a bunch of incorporeal cavalry/solos, and Malice. The mission was Capture the Flag, but we didn’t play it until the end.The Incorporeal stuff scared the crap out of me, since Irusk’s sword was my only magical weapon – I was kind of screwed in dealing with them! However, Dante quickly realized a problem – his list didn’t have any way to hit Defense 16/17. My Winter Guard and Kayazy were nearly untouchable, and the Winterguard sprays were brutally effective – his hordes didn’t stand much of a chance against so many boosted attack rolls. I used my feat in anticipation of Terminus’ and managed to pass a ton of tough rolls to deny him many souls. Dante had flanked me with his cavalry and pistol wraiths, but I forced their hand and managed to kill them with my own backfield stuff (Joe, Eiryss, Irusk, and the Underboss swung back to help). Eventually, Dante was armyless – his horseless solo was running away from the Kayazy, and Terminus was stuck playing cat and mouse with Behemoth around my flag. My Winterguard scored one flag capture, and I baited Dante out with Eiryss and the last Great Bear: he flew Terminus in to try and claim more victory points from the two units, and was in turn charged by Behemoth. Two armor piercing sucker punches later, and that was game. That’ll teach you to scoff at Big B, Dante!

I groaned as I realized that my final game would be against Sean, the only other player who had two wins. Sean has been my mortal Warmachine nemesis – most of our games have been against each other, and I’ve only beaten him once… he has a rock hard Menoth list with Harbinger that none of us can seem to crack. The final mission was Destruction, and I played it very poorly. I deployed without much thought for the objectives, and was rather focusing on keeping my stuff alive – turn two, Sean walked up and with three shooty jacks blew apart one objective in a single round of shooting. I realized then that the game was dangerously close to ending, since all he needed to do was redirect his jacks closer to the next objective and he could pull off the same trick again. I wizened up at this point, and threw the remnants of my Kayazy into his mess of ‘jacks and support solos, effectively tying them up for a turn – which bought Behemoth enough time to take down my objective. I really feel I wasted the Winter Guard here – they were deployed on the wrong side of the board, and dashed themselves against some super tough dudes that they couldn’t hurt (no idea what they were called, some character unit).
Sean managed to Cataclysm the Kayazy out of the way, and maneuvered his ‘jacks into range – with some hot dice, the only two that were within range were the only two that he needed to destroy the final objective. It was a satisfying loss though, as I felt that after my initial two turns of bumbling I really turned around and managed to frustrate Sean and score enough points to place (Sean has to keep Harbinger far away from Behemoth to avoid me trying to assassinate her – that meant she was out of martyr range of some solo’s, and I tried to pick on those guys for victory points).

When it came down to the final placement, strength of schedule was a big tiebreaker – Bob beat me out; and I snuck into third above Eric (another great player, who in our past 40k tournament beat ME out by a fractional number of points on an extreme tiebreaker). But the rankings weren’t really important – as far as I could see, everyone had a great day. Even guys who had rough games throughout the day were excited and smiling, as they talked about list changes or abyssal luck. It was a really cool opportunity for us to get back into Warmachine and get some practice with new toys under our belt. I really enjoyed the tournament – I’m definitely a 40k player at heart, but the shorter games and skirmish based nature of Warmachine makes it incredibly appealing. The game itself can be a lot more cerebral than 40k with all the different abilities and synergies between units, which makes it a cool experience. If you’re on the fence about WM/H, I’d definitely recommend splitting the new two player battlebox and diving into it with a friend – it’s very refreshing no matter what wargame you come from. Of course, it helps when you have awesome club members/opponents/tournament organizers!

What’s next for Warmachine in the Ordo Ineptus? We’re thinking of having a month long Mangled Metal league in January, which would be sweet – at least give me an excuse to throw a bunch of those badass Khadoran heavies on the field! My Irusk list may be seeing some changes as well – I was unimpressed with Eiryss and the Great Bears, and sorely missed some magic weapons – I’m thinking Doom Reavers would be a welcome replacement, as well as Saxon Orrick to hand out Pathfinder when I need it. I always contemplate replacing Big B with Black Ivan to free up points as well… Black Ivan has nowhere near the melee threat of Big B, but hopefully that makes him a smaller target. Also, his Defense 12 is bumped up to 14 under Superiority, and Defense 14 with Dodge is no laughing matter!

Thanks Bob for letting me ramble! Maybe you guys will see more from me in the future, more Warmachine ramblings or some 40k list theory... who knows where my hobby ADD will take me next! :)

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