Sunday, May 1, 2011

Khadoran Machine Breaks Cover

 EV and I changed it on Friday, breaking the stranglehold 40k has had lately and bringing out the Warmachine.  EV called out the Winter Guard in particular, so when I sat down to make a list a large chunk of the work was done already.  This was unfortunate as I had lots of ideas for non-WG lists, but there'll be another time for those.  The game saw the full-on, maxed-out Winter Guard unit for the first time, thanks to the new arrival of a pair of Rocketeers.  I wasn't very happy with my list as I felt like it put a lot of pressure on the WGI to perform since they were such a large part of the list.  Rough approximations of the two lists are as follows:

Koldun Lord
Full WGI w/UA and maxed Rocketeers
Kovnik Joe
Widowmaker Marksman

Journeyman Warcaster
Long Gunners

We decided to do a scenario this time.  The most consistent advice I'd seen regarding how to beat Cryx was "Play scenarios," so it was something I had wanted to do for a while though this time around the context is different.  We rolled up Mosh Pit, which basically meant we had to keep bodies in the middle or lose.  I've added a helpful yellow circle approximating the extent of the pit to the setup shot.

I won the roll to setup first, which meant I also went first.  Most of the game was an odd sort of remembering for me as I tried to recall the differences between 40k and Warmachine.  In short, Warmachine makes a lot of sense in places that 40k seems insane, but you probably know that already.  There wasn't much to be done other than putting upkeeps in place, which I did, and advancing, which I also did.

Middle of turn 1.
See the yellow line in the above picture?  That's what I guesstimated my Widowmaker's range to be.  While the ruined building was a great place for them to hide, it was a lousy place to shoot from.  I realized all this during EV's first turn, which went much the same as mine.

End of 1.
In the second turn you can see my plan begin to unfold.  It's a complex one: plug the center with WG, send my Devastator after Siege/a tasty looking jack, and hold the other flank with the Destroyer.  The Rocketeers get off to a good start and kill a couple Long Gunners.  I also moved my Widowmakers out and up so they could do something in the fight.  I stranded the Marksman a bit, but I figured he'd be ok with Stealth.

Middle of 2.
This is where I start missing pictures.  It's ok though, there wasn't much that happened in the turn that I missed (both halves of the turn at that).  Both casters used their feats, a jack was destroyed, and a unit was blasted.  Not much at all really.  I moved the Devastator in against the Defender, supported by my various infantry, with the hopes that I could do some damage to it and then survive the reprisal, leaving the Defender stationary and primed for my feat.  I also picked off the Stormsmiths that had moved out of cover to try and attack.

Middle of 3.
This long shot actually worked out.  The Devastator did a little damage, then took a couple on the chin from the Defender to freeze it because of Sorscha's warjack bond.  Siege came in and finished it off, but my ploy had worked and all that remained was to close the trap.  EV popped his feat this turn and killed the Devastator with it, plus a single WGI.  He piled damage on the Destroyer throughout the game as well.

End of 3.
Turn 4 was going to be the turn where I ended the competitive part of the game.  I thought about what I needed to do for a minute, then went about it.  I popped Sorscha's feat and shot at Siege to no effect.  I cleared out all but one of the Long Gunners.  Then I carefully plotted and placed my WG so they could pour fire into the Defender.  This accomplished, I proceeded to try and shoot Siege a lot.  This wasn't as effective as I thought it would be, but when you're trying to hit a caster's DEF instead of a jack's then things are going to be a little harder.  This was a huge gaffe on my part, and not even the last, but I soldiered on anyway.  Post-script: it's also possible that I was shooting at the jack, but shooting at it's regular DEF instead of it's stationary DEF.  Regardless of exactly what happened, I made a plan and then deviated from it.
 Middle of 4.
In his half of turn 4 EV brought in the Stormblades.  I didn't think he had the range to make it to the Winter Guard, but he managed to get a couple guys in.  You can see that the WGI are slowly getting whittled down, particularly the UA Officer which eliminates Bob & Weave, but ensconced as they are in the woods they're still relatively safe from harm.  EV also moved his Hunter back a bit to try and stay out of range of the WGI.  A few templates get dropped on the WGI, but for the most part they hold up. 

End of 4.
In turn 5 the Winter Guard move up to counter-punch the Stormblades.  The standard bearer is still alive, so I get to pump some sprays into the Stormblades.  Unfortunately I messed up my activation order yet again, so Kovnik Joe doesn't get to boost the attacks.  Things work out anyway and most of the Stormblades get cleared out.  The Manhuntress also enters the fray, taking out a pair of Stormblades before preparing to die.  At least she killed some stuff this game.  I continue to plink away at the Defender which has been hiding behind the wrecked Devastator.  With that jack in cover, and Siege in the same position, I have a hard time connecting even with the Widowmakers.  The Rocketeers have to score a direct hit to have a hope of damaging the jack, and without the boosted attack rolls this is a tall order.  I'm feeling pretty good at this point.  Most of EV's infantry is dead, while the WGI still holds the center.  I'm concerned about jacks coming in against them, but the Hunter is staying at range and the Defender may have had it's legs shot off by this point, so even that threat is not too big.  I have the mosh pit flooded with troops while EV is quickly running out of bodies to contest the area with.

Middle of 5.
 EV continues to pump templates into the WGI, but to little effect.  Because I activated Kovnik Joe after the WGI I gave them Tough for the turn as the boosted attack rolls wouldn't have done anything.  This was fortunate as I made a couple Tough rolls to keep bodies on the table.  The Hunter plinks away at the Destroyer and is wearing it down, but not fast enough.  The Manhuntress is cut down as expected.
End of 5.
 Turn 6 is a bit of a slap fight.  I line up the WGI to take some shots at Siege, but I spot the Journeyman caster out in the open and decide to shoot at the easier target instead.  A rocket to the face ends the caster quickly, and I get an unexpected bonus: the Hunter loses it's Jack Marshall and goes inert.  In other news I trim the Stormblade unit by 1 and keep pinging the Defender.  I also bring Kovnik Joe up thinking he's fairly safe and might as well use his Hand Cannon.  He does little damage.  I also lob a Destroyer shell at Siege, but fail to connect.

Middle of 6.
 EV takes out some of my support pieces, Kovnik Joe and the Koldun Lord in particular, but his lack of pieces is hard to overcome.  Siege isn't going to break cover to come after the WGI, the remaining Stormblades are locked in combat with said squad, and the Defender is immobilzed.  I'm not sure how I'm going to kill Siege, but I figure I can swamp him with bodies and get the job done.

End of 6.
I think I missed a shot or two towards the end of the game, but there isn't a whole lot going on.  We both have our little strongholds, me in the woods and EV in the ruins.  My Winter Guard are pretty beat up by now, but EV's force is reduced to a stationary jack and Siege.  I start to bring my forces to bear on Siege, but in the interest of time (and realizing the game is effectively over already) we call it here.
End of game.
I'm pretty pleased with how the WGI held up.  They're very hard to kill with Bob & Weave and Iron Flesh on them, clocking in at an impressive DEF 17.  Putting them in the woods means they're even harder to get to.  I think that EV had a solid force for dealing with them as he had plenty of templates, plus Explosivo to make more templates.  The key to defeating the WGI is avoiding their high DEF, and templates are the perfect tool for the job.  EV took out 1-2 per turn, but in the end it wasn't enough.  I though he should have focused on them more, dropping as many templates per turn on them as possible, but on more reflection he did pretty well against them.  He targeted the Widowmakers once or twice, but stayed on target for the most part.

In the end this was a pretty ugly game.  We both had plenty of gaffes and misplays, which is to be expected after a long layoff from a game.  Our feat turns were ineffective and the Winter Guard proved too resilient to be overcome.  I would say the terrain and scenario played against EV, but considering that he set the terrain up before I arrived, as is usual, he had a chance to not put a big blob of cover in the middle of the board for my Winter Guard to hide in.  The scenario roll was a bad turn for him, but things don't always work out perfectly.  It amuses me that the unit which I dismissed at first glance as ineffective has turned out to be the solid foundation of my army.  That said, I would like to try out some of the other infantry units.  Kayazy Assassins are supposed to be very nice, and Iron Fang Pikemen should go without saying.  What I'd really like to run are Men of War, but I think I'll wait for them to come out in plastic as I don't want to do all the pinning and greenstuffing such a unit would require.  I'd also like to run the Bombardiers, but considering they have no models they're not yet an option.  Then there's all the character options between the Great Bears, Beast 09, Torch, and the Behemoth (which I have a crazy notion to convert from the plastic jack kits).  Always more things to get.  This game reminded me of just how compact a Warmachine army is, and therefore how easy it'd be to get it all painted.  I think I'll try and squeeze in a caster or some Widowmakers between batches or Orks, but for now the Khadoran Machine goes back into its case to await another day of glory.

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