Cryx is a pain in the butt, something I had forgotten since I last faced them. The casters, the troops, the jacks, and all so cheap. Seeing them across the table is never a happy thing. They do put up a good fight though, more so than the swans, so I approached the table with that in mind. EV and I alternated placing terrain until we were both satisfied, creating a medium density that was roughly symmetrical. We rolled No Man's Land for the scenario, another mosh pit type game. EV won the roll to go first. I detailed my list and general game plan in the "last" post. His list, or my close approximation of it:
pDenny + 5
Deathjack - 12
Nightwretch - 4
Nightwretch - 4
Skarlock - 2
Bile Thralls (min) - 5
Mechthralls (max) - 5
2 Brute Thralls - 2
Necrosurgeon & Thralls - 2
Bloat Thrall - 2
Bloat Thrall - 2
Looking at the list now I think EV made it with the Winter Guard Deathstar in mind. Plenty of templates and auto-hitting attacks. I was none too excited to see the Deathjack, but I had taken it down the first time I saw it and I had three heavies this time around, so I wasn't too worried by it. As much as possible, considering the Deathjack is on the short list for best jack in the game and probably the winner out of the group.
EV deployed in the middle with the Mechthralls on one side and Denny + DJ on the other. I picked the latter and deployed my forces accordingly. Vlad and the limo would go up the center, between the water and the columns, while the rest went up the right flank and shadow the Deathjack. I hoped the Doomies would carve a big hole in the middle of the Thralls while the jacks took out DJ. Vlad would hang around and drop Signs and Portents while waiting for an assassination lane to open. Since Denny is sneaky and can hide in the open I was expecting a high body count before the casters came to grips with each other. Vlad is pretty capable on his own, so I was fine with trading pieces if necessary.
|End of 1. Bile Thralls and Denny circled because they blend in otherwise.|
Not a whole lot going on in turn 1. EV advances, as do I. The Destroyer takes a pot shot at one of the chickens. I had to bring the Destroyer in closer to the Limo than I would have liked, but I didn't think much of it. Wind Wall went up and the limo was in place so I was feeling good. Perhaps too good...
|Middle of 2.|
The confidence I had in the limo proved stronger than its effectiveness. EV dropped a Bloat Thrall pie plate on the unit, auto-deviated, and trimmed two Doomies off one side. The Destroyer proved to be a problem after all. A toxic spray, whose proper name eludes me, got channeled through one of the chickenjacks and just happened to hit the other side of the limo, killing another Doom Reaver. That was all it took for the next spray to have LoS to Vlad. While the damage was mitigated by Tough rolls, my theoretically bulletproof assault vehicle had blown a tire and lost a door on the second turn. In lighter news, the Deathjack backed up a little bit from the conflict ahead while Denny hid behind some rocks.
|End of 2.|
With the Limo already banged up, I pulled Vlad back behind the jacks and dropped Sign and Portents. The Destroyer dropped a bombard shell on the Skarlock. The Greylords Ice Caged the forward chickenjack, then the heavies went in to finish the job. I wanted to use the Doom Reavers as a screen to keep shooting off Vlad, but I ended up grouping them up nicely for templates instead. The Manhuntress hugs the edge of the board, trying to stay out of range of the remaining chickenjack. I hoped the Doomies could clear a big swathe in the Thralls and that the Deathjack would come back around the pillar and in range of my heavies.
|Middle of 3.|
EV's next turn went pretty much like I hoped it would. He sent DJ up the right flank towards my heavies, while the templates that dropped on my Doomies proved ineffective at getting past my Tough rolls. The maniacs were all knocked down, but they lived to fight another day. Provided they passed their Corrosion rolls of course. EV also got a debuff on the Kodiak, Crippling Grasp I think. Whatever it was it reduced most of the jack's stats and disabled power attacks, running, and charging. For a jack features free running, Pathfinder, and a combo special attack, this was not an ideal development. Since I had no way to remove it, my Kodiak was gimped for the rest of the game. At least I had two other jacks.
|End of 3.|
Without Tough to fall back on the Doomies are reduced to two, and knocked down at that. I stand them up and spread them out to minimize the chance of one template getting both. I hope the Thralls don't have charge range, but I think they do. I load the Destroyer up with focus to boost all the damage rolls I plan on making. I hit my target, one of the Brute Thralls, only to find that no other targets are under the template. At least the one Thrall dies a messy death. Signs and Portents goes up again, Ice Cages land again, and a charging Manhuntress boxes the last chickenjack. The Deathjack is awful close, but at least the Manhuntress should block lanes to my jacks. The gimpy Kodiak and the wreck of the first chickenjack keeps the Juggy bottled up.
In hindsight I should have just shot the Bloat Thrall and not worried about boosting potential hits while loading up the Juggernaut, popping Vlad's feat, casting Boundless Charge on the Juggy and sending it in to glory. While the charge may not have had range, the Bloat Thrall might have taken out some of it's companions. Things still turned out alright, but the targeting priority gaffe stings.
|Middle of 5.|
From this point on I start expecting the hammer. The Thralls are getting into charge range, a Bloat Thrall is just floating around, Denny is hiding, and DJ is still alive. My jacks are dinged up and most of my infantry is dead. Things don't turn out so bad though. The Bloat Thrall picks off a Greylord. DJ kills the Manhuntress. The Thralls carry on from the Doomies into the Destroyer. A vicious mugging ensues, but the Destroyer toughs it out.
|End of 5.|
As I began my turn 5, EV was talking about the state of the Deathjack, which systems were still active. I said it didn't matter much what his current state was, then set about showing him why. Ice Cages again, then Vlad's feat goes off. The extra move gets the Juggy over the wreck marker and allows gimpy the bear to get in as well. Signs and Portents of course. The Kodiak is first and lands both fists but doesn't kill the target. My first instinct is to throw it into Denny, who has been hiding behind the rocks. Turns out she moved, I've even circled it, and is out of sight. Instead it eats a Headbutt and is on the ground when the Juggy rolls in to finish the job. In the other combat, I want to trample the Destroyer into the cluster of Thralls, but a Brute Thrall (big X) cuts off my lanes. Instead I kill two and brace for another round of gangbanging.
|Middle of 6.|
Shaky cam here to give a sense of the epic impact of this turn. I continue expecting the hammer, and it does fall. The gang calls in more members to assault the Destroyer and leave it a smoldering wreck. A Bile Thrall comes in a shoots. Who knew they could do something other than Purge? It finishes off the Koldun Lord. The rest of the Thralls group up, but make no move towards the rest of my force.
|End of 6.|
I don't really have a lot to do this turn. Denny is hiding behind a rock, safe from Vlad's advances. The jacks are screened by the same rock and can do little more than run around it. I'm concerned about the Thralls coming around the bottom and outrunning my jacks, but then I think they'll just run towards Vlad and that's not such a bad thing really. Between Vlad and the jacks I should be able to pin down Denny. In the meantime the Greylords carry their magic shotguns over to the clustered Thralls. I spray down a fair few, 4-5, but don't do as much damage as I hoped to.
|Middle of 7.|
The Thralls wash over the Greylords like an undead tide, carrying the wizards away. Denny advances in their wake. One gets close to Vlad but does no damage. In the middle, the Bile Thralls form a line…
|End of 7.|
I make another mistake here, though it's too late to really matter. I split my jacks up, sending the Kodiak into the Mechthralls and the Juggy Trampling towards the Bloat Thrall. Since the Kodiak is gimped I have to use Boundless Charge to get it in, and even then it only kills one Thrall. The Juggy tramples all three Bile Thralls, but comes up just short of the Bloat Thrall. I pull Vlad back to try and keep some range on the Thralls, but lots of things have lanes to him. This is a major mistake as it takes Vlad out of the zone and he's the last contesting model I have.
|End of game.|
Another gangbang occurs, this time with the Kodiak as the unfortunate recipient. It's around here that we realize that Vlad is out of the zone and EV has won.
Taking nothing away from EV, I beat myself in this one. When the Limo got broken up early I was thrown off balance and never recovered. The thing I wanted to do in this game was try out the Limo, so when that went awry I lost track of my priorities. The worst part is that while the Limo got dinged, it could have still worked. Had I kept it together I could have sent to blob around the columns with the rest of my force and maybe have gotten some use out of the Doomies. This course probably would have ended with the Reavers feeding the Deathjack, which I imagine is a Bad Thing, but considering my experiences with DJ have gone pretty well for me I don't know that it would have mattered much. I also should have just jacked up Vlad with Blood of Kings and stacked focus at the end. His DEF would have been pretty good, and his armor too, so he should have been able to stroll through some Thralls and maybe take out Denny. He would have had every debuff available on him, plus Denny's feat, but it would have been a better end than walking out of the zone.
All told this was an entertaining game. I got to pull off some power attacks and used some pieces that I haven't used in a while. It's a little amusing that I deliberately put aside one crutch, the Winter Guard, only to pick up another in Signs and Portents, but that aspect didn't factor into my list building. I was all about the Limo speeding into the heart of the enemy, but when that failed I had to fall back on plan B. That plan served me well and I might have pulled it out had I not flagged a bit from the start, but we'll never know. I have yet to push my caster into melee extensively, but with pButcher waiting to be assembled, plus Vlad ready to go, I have the options to explore that route next time. Then again, Strakhov is patiently waiting to hit the table as well. So many options, so little time.