|I love Legos, but this one never appealed to me.|
35+6 points, 32 models
Forward Kommander Sorscha +6 points
* Devastator 9 points
* War Dog 1 point
Doom Reavers 6 points
* Greylord Escort 2 points
Greylord Ternion 4 points
Koldun Lord 2 points
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich 2 points
Manhunter 2 points
Widowmaker Marksman 2 points
10 Winter Guard Infantry 6 points
* Winter Guard Officer & Standard 2 points
* 3 Winter Guard Rocketeers 3 points
Lots of boots on the table. The Ternion is there mostly to drop clouds and gum up that famous Cryx shooting, while the Koldun gives the Devastator the single Focus it'll need to run and allow Sorscha to hoard her Focus. Taking a bit of advice from the PP forums, I planned to use the Doomies like they act in the fluff: barely restrained lunatics dying to cleave something in two. I had a wild dream of sucking most of the Banes into the Devastator, then clumping them up with Bulldoze and Rain of Deathing them to...death, but something like that would take some magical circumstances.
As in the last game, EV took mostly the same list. The arrival of the Deluge prompted him to make a single swap, with the following result:
35+6 points, 36 models
Warwitch Deneghra +5 points
* Cankerworm 5 points
* 2x Nightwretch 4 points each
* Skarlock Thrall 2 points
10 Bane Thralls 8 points
6 Bile Thralls 5 points
10 Mechanithralls 5 points
Withershadow Combine 5 points
Gorman di Wulfe, 2 points
EV was looking at two targets to swap for Gorman, either the Fatty Thrall or the Skarlock. Were I to find myself in his shoes, I'd keep the Bloat Thrall and ditch the Skarlock. The Skarlock is a fine piece and has a place in the list, but for me the Bloat Thrall's threat range and generous blast area win out over the added utility of the Skarlock, especially in a list that already has the Withershadow Combine.
I won the roll the see if there would be a central forest, so the middle featured a bit of industrial decoration. EV responded by placing a forest as close the center as possible, so with that settled I followed suit and we went from no forest in the middle to a double wood center. In a clear breach of protocol we forgot to roll for scenario until after terrain was placed. The result was Mosh Pit, similar to the objective missions we've had recently but a bit more smashy as there's no scoring, only last man, woman, zombie, or robot standing. Hot on the heels of my so-called victory in the "will there be wood" roll, I also won the roll to go first. Keeping things different, I accepted the first turn.
My basic idea in deployment was to put the Devastator in the middle to hold the zone, then clobber everything else. The idea of advancing through difficult terrain (the water) was less appealing than you might think, so I skewed heavy to the right. EV employed the standard wing deployment but a bit off center, probably in response to my own right-heavy deployment. I put the Doomies on the wing with the Banes mostly to try and clear them out early, per the screaming lunatics plan discussed above, but also because I wanted a showdown of the two melee units. The Doomies could mulch the MechThralls easy enough, but the Banes would be a tougher nut to crack. The Widowmaker Marksman is just out of frame to the left. I learned my lesson with him last time and put him on the side that wasn't entirely Stealthed so he'd have something to shoot at. The Cankerworm is hiding behind the door in the middle building.
Exciting as always, turn one was the running turn for me. To avoid any kind of targeting shenanigans that would allow EV to spray the Doom Reavers, I set said Reavers up in the penalty kick wall formation to screen the troops behind them, blocking LoS and keeping everyone safe behind their Spell Warding. The Greylords dropped lots of clouds to jack up some DEF against all that shooting I was about to face. Iron Flesh went on the WGI to no one's surprise. I tried out the new PP tokens this game. They're about what I expected. I like not having to sort through the entire pile of Gale Force 9 cogs to find the proper spell effect tokens, but beyond that there isn't much difference.
|Khador turn one.|
|Manhuntress lucks out.|
|Cryx turn one.|
It took some creative thinking in terms of who activated when, but my efforts yielded some tasty fruits. The Doomies charged the Banes and Biles, while others took a step back to clear charge lanes and form a second wave. I sent a pair of Reavers into each unit to make sure the job got done, but in each case the first madman on the scene did all the work. I botched the placement of the UA, who is also the unit leader for command radius purposes, but we'll cover that in a bit.
|The part of casualty marker is being played in this report by cuddly teddy bears.|
|One shot, one kill.|
|She gets an A for effort at least.|
|Khador turn two.|
|A deadly combination of attacks.|
|I think I made three separate Tough rolls for the one Doomie. Tough little blighter.|
|Not enough Tough rolls on this flank.|
|I say this a lot, but for real this time: best Purge ever.|
- Reduced my jack to SPD 2.
- Because of the reduced speed, my jack couldn't charge and therefore couldn't benefit from Boundless Charge.
- It also couldn't do special attacks anymore, so Rain of Death was out of commission.
|Do warjacks have balls? They'd be a great place to grasp something if you wanted to cripple it.|
|Cryx turn two.|
The turn had to start with the Doomies. The stranded Reaver shook off the Bile residue and stood up, his individual turn over. The squad leader (not the UA, the actual leader model) charged in to the rescue while the remaining two members heroically ran and hid in the woods. The charge went well as the Doomie struck down one of the Combine, but the cleave fell short on the second one. I debated starting with the Bane on both swings but decided that I wanted to kill a characterful, and effective, Combiner more than a single Bane.
|I love how small based models don't block LoS to medium based models.|
|Gun test completed.|
|Just another day at the range.|
|The return of random rotation. Joy. Khador turn three.|
|This Purge worked as intended.|
|Cryx turn three.|
The surprise performer of the game, the Widowmaker Marksman, kicked things off by gunning down the Skarlock. This guy has been underwhelming in previous games, but this time he really pulled his weight. It's probably due to a better matchup for him, but regardless of why it happened it was nice to see him being effective.
|Moving on to the juicy targets.|
|Evil Santa gets his hands dirty.|
|Bang bang, my baby shot them down.|
|That's a lot of bears.|
|Got worms? CRA them away.|
|Stunt finger provided by EV.|
|Khador turn four.|
The ironic thing is that EV has a piece that can poke some pretty big holes in the Winter Guard: Fatty Arbuckle, aka the Bloat Thrall. You can see the psychological scars that guy has inflicted by looking at all the cloud effects to block LoS and how spread out everything was until I realized there wasn't much left that could clear hunks of troops. The Bile Thralls could have done the job well, but the central forests ensured that they couldn't rush up and Purge all over everyone without getting shot up on the way in.
In the post game jawing EV said that he had to design a list with the WGI Deathstar in mind. While I think you could get around them to a point with an all-comers sort of list, I do agree that you need to have certain tools in your list to be able to deal with them. At the same time, I'm compelled to bring sufficient anti-infantry to deal with the undead horde I'm likely to face. I don't know that either set of "requirements" is such a bad thing. Considering our "metagame" is effectively the two of us, it would be very easy to go down a particular rabbit hole of list design where we each try and undercut the other, ending up with bizarre builds that do well against their opposite but probably wouldn't get to far out in the wild. One of these days I'll find a tournament that I can attend and when I do I'll want to have the tools I need to deal with a variety of lists, and also be familiar with them. Upkeep removal seems like a pretty basic need in most any list, even if it isn't always the easiest thing to get into a list. Same for anti-infantry, anti-armor, long ranged threats, and melee beatsticks.
Variety is the spice of life they say, and I think that applies to wargaming as well. I love the idea of running very jack heavy, but I've found that it just doesn't work out like I want it to. Infantry is too powerful in Warmachine to be countered solely by warmachines, sad as that is to say. But going all infantry isn't much better as a jack will laugh at the Purging Thrall that strikes fear into the heart of any foot slogger, to say nothing of the cleavetastic Doomies. The WGI are good at everything, but a good Purge or template will ruin their day real quick, especially if it catches a key piece like the UA or Kovnik Joe. Everything has a counter and there are few useless units (looking at you Kossite Woodsmen).