|Peek-a-boo dog is playing with you.|
35+6 points, 22 models
Lord Commander Stryker +6 points
* Lancer 6 points
* Stormclad 10 points
* Squire 2 points
Journeyman Warcaster 3 points
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages 6 points
* Gun Mage Officer 2 points
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios 3 points
Stormblades 5 points
* Stormblade Officer & Standard 3 points
Stormsmith Stormcaller 1 point
For the super-curious the extra points were Gorman and another Stormcaller. This is basically the same list he ran last time, but with a new caster and some different solos. I knew the Stormblades could be nasty and wanted to give them a wide berth. My first game against eStryker left me unimpressed, but apparently pIrusk is his kryptonite so I don't think I got an accurate picture of what he does. What I knew about him (before the game) was that EV has a huge man-crush on Stryker and that he can wreak face in melee, plus he has the resources to get into melee real quick. Fortunately I had the trusty War Dog as a dedicated charge lane blocker and general best friend so I wasn't so concerned about getting surprised by a charge from way down town.
We rolled up the first scenario, Break the Line. This is not No-Man's Land as I originally thought (and deployed for), but instead the scenario that has six zones to control. Win conditions: kill the caster or hold two of your own zones, plus one enemy zone, at the end of your opponent's turn starting on turn three. I won the terrain roll and opted for the Horrible Hill I Don't Like to take the center, mostly because I feel bad that we never use it. I also won the roll to be the first player but deferred to EV with an eye towards setting up shots in turn one and charges in turn two. EV stuck most of his stuff in the center, with units flanking jacks. I opted for a strong center with the jacks and Bombardiers, with solos on the left and the Winter Guard on the right. My plan was more or less the same as last game: let the Winter Guard do their thing, smash face with everything else. The Manhuntress was on Eiryss hunting duty, while the Kovnik would try and Slam something.
First turns are predictabel: run, cast upkeeps. EV did just that, putting Arcane Shield on the Stormblades (via Junior) and casting Deflection (I think) with Coleman. I have a bad habit of not paying super close attention during these first turns, and my opponent's turn in general, while I figure out what I'm going to be doing. Thus while EV told me about both of the spells (I'm familiar with Arcane Shield, not so much with Deflection), I didn't really register exactly what they would mean when stacked atop the base ARM 15 Stormblades. I'd figure it out soon enough though.
|Cygnar turn one.|
While making up EV's list I wasn't watching where everything went, so when my turn began I scouted around for Eiryss. I found her hiding in a building, snuggled up against a window. The Manhuntress appeared to have a charge lane to her, but I wasn't sure if it would work or not. At the end of my turn I figured I'd give it a shot and found that I did have a lane to exploit. In goes the Manhuntress and...double whiff. The slap fight, put on hold since the last game, had resumed.
|Khador turn one.|
We started with the headliners in the second turn. A pair of misses later, the pair of misses continued to slap away.
|Swing and a miss.|
|It's super effective!|
|The Kovnik still lives.|
|Cygnar turn two.|
|Maybe the Manhuntress will do better when I glue her arm back on.|
|The Kovnik finally does something.|
|Khador turn two.|
For reasons I didn't understand then, and don't understand now either, EV decided to move Eiryss out of combat. The +2 bonus for a free strike was enough for the Manhuntress to finally land a blow. The four dice for damage was enough to slay the elf, which I believe is my first time killing her. Hopefully it won't be the last.
|Finally, a winner is decided.|
|At least he lived long enough to swing his axe. Once.|
Around this time EV started cursing up a storm and declaring the game over. He forgot to shoot with his Gun Mages, who should have killed the Manhuntress, which he said ruined his entire plan and probably the universe as well. I suggested we keep playing anyway, so he charged the Charger in and killed the Manhuntress. Universe: saved.
|She made her points back, and then some, before she went.|
|Ouch. Just ouch.|
|Cygnar turn three.|
|At least the CRAs still work like I think they should.|
|Khador turn three.|
EV started off by telling me the game was over.
Wait, what? How does that work? I killed Junior, so he didn't hold two of his zones. That was when he pointed out the Stormcaller. Did you notice him? Take a closer look.
|The arrow shows the movement of the tree.|
Even without the Stormcaller I was probably boned. I would have had to race at least one of Harkevich, Ivan, and/or the Wardog into my left zone to contest it against the Gun Mages, which would have left the door wide open for a glorious Stryker charge and coup de grace. I had a stranglehold on the right half of the table, but little on the left half. In the post-game thinking, it was my approach that did me in. I simply didn't get up the field fast enough. Part of that was due to me passing first player on to EV, but mostly it was just not moving with a sense of urgency. I also neglected the left zones entirely, aside from the Kovnik and Manhuntress who were never going to hold the zone by themselves against a full unit, a pair of jacks, and a caster. While I was left with my mouth flopping about like a fish out of water at the time, looking at it from a more removed position shows me that EV played this one well. He exploited a weakness on my left with an eye towards the scenario and took the victory as a result. I got a bit carried away with smashing things, or lining up things to smash, and lost sight of the finish line.
Like all good losses, or bad depending on your perspective, I learned a number of things from this game. Foremost was to keep the scenario in mind at all times, but just slightly behind was that ARM 20 infantry sucks to play against. While I can lay plenty of that frustration down to failing to kill a single model with three POW 14 shots, I also should have realized exactly what I was up against while EV was layering up the spells. Fortunately this has also spurred me on to build up some Shock Troopers tomorrow. If I hated flailing ineffectually at ARM 20 infantry, I can only imagine how bad it will be to see ARM 21 infantry with 8 boxes across the table. With the Butcher behind them.
Second was to read cards completely. I neglected Stryker's feat and it took a big chunk out of my army when I learned about it the hard way. I also glazed over Deflection and didn't realize how tough it would make things when combined with Arcane Shield. This is extra galling coming after the near miss I had last game with the Stormsmith nearly frying my Manhuntress after EV pointed out how it worked. If I ever want to play in tournaments and not embarrass myself, which I do, then I need to pay attention to details like this.
Lots of other numbers. I need to get the Doomies back into action sooner rather than later. They would have been the perfect unit to run run run into EV's half of the table and probably would have made a mess of the Stormblades, ARM 20 or not. Though the Manhuntress hasn't done a great job of killing Eiryss these past two games, all it takes is one good whack to take her out. The key is getting an attack to hit. There's no good reason to take WGI without Joe. If/when I run this list again, I'll make two points worth of room for the good Kovnik Joe. Speaking of Kovniks, the Man-O-War Kovnik is a nice idea, but not so practical. At 3 points he's an expensive beatstick with a single attack, though when that attack hits on the charge it is spectacular. In retrospect I would have rather upgraded the Juggernaut to a Kodiak and taken Joe.
I seem to have run out of steam here, so let's call it a night.