|You already know what their chief weapons are.|
35+6 points, 23 models
The Butcher of Khardov +6 points
* Black Ivan 10 points
* Kodiak 8 points
* War Dog 1 point
Koldun Lord 2 points
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich 2 points
3 Man-O-War Bombardiers 7 points
Manhunter 2 points
10 Winter Guard Infantry 6 points
* Winter Guard Officer & Standard 2 points
* 1 Winter Guard Rocketeer 1 point
Despite what I said above, there is a bit of a "trick" to this list, if you can call Full Throttle a trick. Since all of the Kodiak's attacks are melee attacks, even throws, Full Throttle will boost them all. The idea was to use this to throw something into something else, then shoot those things up with the Bombardiers and/or charge/shoot with Black Ivan. The melee Black Ivan is extra intriguing because of the claw, which gives an extra damage die on a crit. I don't have the number handy, but I could reasonably expect 4 attacks to crit 1-2 times, and those crits would be "boosted" for free. The rest of the list is WGI, and we all know what they do by now (though I did have a special trick in mind for them). Originally I had the MoW Kovnik in the list, but I had taken the model out of my case to make room for the Butcher himself so I had to improvise. (More on model storage in a future post.) It was an easy fix: out goes the Kovnik, in comes the Manhuntress and a Rocketeer. I wanted to bring the Doomies since they're painted, but I also wanted to give the Bombardiers one more shot at redemption before I relegated them to "Nice, but not as good as the alternatives" pile.
EV fielded basically the same list as the last game, except he swapped the last light out for a Hunter. Here's the list because I'm feeling generous:
35+6 points, 22 models
Lord Commander Stryker +6 points
* Stormclad 10 points
* Squire 2 points
Journeyman Warcaster 3 points
* Hunter 6 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
I've played against the Hunter before and not liked it, so I was expecting more of the same. Speaking of more of the same, I still haven't found a good answer to the super armored Stormblades, short of using a jack or a big CRA or some other huge hammer that should be pointed at a harder target. On the flip side, EV seems to have come to terms with the Iron Fleshed Winter Guard, so in the battle of rock units I'm looking at an uphill climb.
Normally I glaze right over terrain setup, but this time it gets a little more love. I've detailed the process EV and I use before, so if this is a repeat then apologies, but it's especially relevant for this game. We dice off and the winner starts. This has been a "will there be a center forest" roll in the past, but EV has moved away from planting trees in the middle and I have no particular love for it. This time I won the roll and put a building dead center. EV put the hill that I hate to the right of the building, still on the center line, to which I responded with a center feature, to which EV responded in kind. I called it there, and EV exercised his option for a final piece on his side of the table. Out battle field ended up like this:
|Fat Tire? Not equal to the hype, but then I'm not a beer guy.|
Though I didn't think about it at the time, this is really a great setup. Terrain on my half of the table mostly gets in the way and funnels my approach in a predictable manner, so having a wide open avenue towards EV's forces is a boon. During the post-game we talked about it a bit and came to the conclusion that the only terrain that matters in 95% of our games is within ~6" of the center, which is where the magic happens.
(I stalled out at this point a few days ago, so from here on the tone of the post is probably going to change)
I won the roll to go first and took the opportunity. Deferring first player hasn't worked so well for me lately, so I thought I'd try the other side and see how it went. I used my favorite deployment method of the refused flank. This isn't as powerful of a technique when setting up first, since you can't cut off your opponent's flank units when they haven't been deployed, but I like keeping things pulled in close and figured I'd be able to make this happen even going first. Since I was going for a straight-forward list, I deployed in the same vein. Winter Guard up front to tie things down, heavy hitters behind to clean up the remains. I put the Kodiak in the middle since it has Pathfinder, but since the hill isn't rough terrain it didn't really matter. EV put his Storm Smith Zone Holder way out on the flank, but otherwise went to the middle. I considered sending the Manhuntress after the Storm Smith, but I figured we'd both be in the zone so having the one guy alone on the flank wouldn't matter. If I had to worry about getting him clear of the zone I'd probably already cleared out EV's army anyway.
My first turn was standard running. Iron Flesh went on the WGI. EV took a shot at Ivan but didn't do any damage.
|Hit, but no damage.|
With most of EV's army hiding behind the hill, I decided to do damage to the only thing in range: the Hunter. First up was the Winter Guard, who did a decent job with a CRA. Next Black Ivan piled in and landed a Bombard shot.
|Not bad for two attacks.|
That was about it for me. I tried to hide the Manhuntress from Eiryss, who was sniffing around the building, as best I could. As usual I'd forgotten to activate Joe before the Winter Guard, so they were Tough instead of boosting.
|Khador turn two.|
|Not hidden well enough. Next time elf...|
|Sometimes forgetting to use Joe before the WGI works out.|
|A not-so-intimidating charge.|
|Cygnar turn two.|
I started my turn by letting Iron Flesh expire. Why on earth would I do this? A couple reasons. First, I had read up on orders and discovered that I couldn't use Bob & Weave (an order) on the same turn I charged (also an order). This doesn't really matter in this situation as I couldn't charge with the Winter Guard because of the movement penalty from Iron Flesh, but it does matter because when I learned about the orders interaction I started looking at my options. One of these options is Fury, which when combined with Bear's Strength (from Kovnik Joe) and pButcher's feat means the Winter Guard are P+S 15 (I believe) with 3 dice for damage, four if you charge. And they can CMA. Needless to say I was taken by this idea, so when I saw a (bad) opportunity to use it I sprung my trap.
The only problem was that I sprayed every single WGI out of melee with my first attack with the unit (a spray from the standard bearer). I ended up clearing out almost the entire unit, so I guess I can't be too cross, but considering I took down Iron Flesh and put up the DEF-decreasing Fury so that the WGI would be melee beasts and then did nothing but shoot with them wasn't great. Plus it made them DEF 13 instead of 17. Nice idea though.
|Right results, wrong reasons.|
|Khador turn three.|
|Big robot kills little guy-who-looks-like-a-robot.|
|Who decided an AoE CRA was a good idea?|
|Cygnar turn three.|
With the Storm Blade hanging out right next to Stryker, I fired up Full Throttle and sent in the Kodiak. Unfortunately I had to forgo attacking the Storm Blade so it would be alive to throw at Stryker. I landed the throw, double handed of course, on the Storm Blade and promptly missed Stryker. So much for my plan.
|Plink plink plink.|
|Go go Rocketeer!|
|Rev those chainsaws.|
|Close but no cigar.|
|Khador turn four.|
|Hate those Gun Mages.|
Before all this happened, EV used Stryker's ability to boost his strength. He went with two dice of boosting and ended up with a P+S of 26(!). This meant he would take two dice of damage, unmodified by armor and the like. Since Stryker was on 8 boxes, this could have been the game, and an 8 is close enough to expected value on two dice to be interesting. (Of course I need a 9 to hit Stryker with the thrown Storm Blade on three dice, just below expected value, and got nothing, so expected the unexpected). EV rolled something low, two or three perhaps, well short of eight, and the charge was on. Orsus was factory-fresh, but against a P+S 26 on the charge it didn't matter.
|The Butcher gets chopped.|
Despite my intentions to keep things simple, I got my feet tangled and tripped myself at a crucial moment. While the idea of the melee monster WGI is appealing, there's a time and a place for it. Neither was right when I engaged that tactic. I also didn't get any use out of Full Throttle, which was the one trick I was looking to use in this game. My jacks were disorganized throughout and while I got boned on dice with the Throw (9 on 3 dice should be a slam dunk), I should have gone with the better option (Slam) instead.
On the plus side the Bombardiers did well this time out, killing Eiryss and some Gun Mages plus putting a big hurt on the Stormclad. Their overall value is still questionable though. At 7 points for three, they're awful expensive and fiddly. They had a bit of a best case scenario in this game where they could shoot at low ARM targets and use their chainsaws on a jack that can take a hit and potentially survive for another crit-induced attack. In the end they just don't seem like difference makers, and for 7 points I can have the Doomies with a point left over. I really want to like Man-o-Wars, and perhaps I will when I get the Shock Troopers together, but for now the Bombardiers are a prime candidate for sending to the painted booth. The new Paint the Target should be up in the next day or two, so the final call will wait until then, but considering that I want to paint some heavy infantry and that I won't really miss the Bombardiers on the table I may end up painting them regardless of what this month's Target is.