Friday, August 17, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Softcore

Not quite 100%. 
Before I start, an unrelated bit of head-scratching.  If you dare, turn off safe search on Google.  Search for "hardcore" images, then repeat for "softcore."  You might be surprised by which search turns up more porn.

Further note before beginning: I try to keep the jargon to a minimum and explain things so that just about anyone, provided a modicum of wargaming knowledge, can figure out what I'm babbling on about.  This time, not so much.  This is as much an exercise for me as it is a post for you, so if you don't know much about Legion, Hardcore, or Warmahordes you'll either want to pick a different post (there are many to choose from, all high quality) or bring yourself up to speed.  Battle College is a handy resource that should do the trick.

There's a Nova Open warmup event at Game Parlor tomorrow which I should have mentioned by now but may not have.  It's the so-called Softcore setup: all the usual Hardcore trappings except for the painting requirement.  Since Hardcore is the event I'm eying the most at the Nova Open, and considering how little experience I have with the format, I'll be glad to get some concentrated reps in tomorrow.  I'm checking my list for the thirtieth time, poking for holes, so I'm taking the opportunity to write about it at the same time.  Let's start with the list.

Saeryn, Omen of Everblight  +5 points
* 2x Angelius  9 points each
* 2x Ravagore  10 points each
* Shredder  2 points

10 Blighted Legionnaires  6 points
Shepherd  1 point
7 Spawning Vessel  3 points
1 Spell Martyr  1 point
Strider Deathstalker  2 points
The Forsaken  2 points

Taking it from the top, Saeryn is my Hardcore lady.  She has tools to cover most bases, with the notable exception of offensive dispelling and damage boosting, she's resistant to shooting, her (woefully short-ranged) thrown daggers do Grievous Wounds, and her feat can be back breaking.  Things I need to work on are using Blight Bringer defensively to keep a beast safe from single wound non-reach infantry, using Breath Stealer more, and remembering to use her feat when not going for the Angelius assassination.

Moving on to beasts, Ravagores are there to clear infantry, force engagement, and as a last-ditch melee backup.  The Angels can chip in at range, but their real job is killing casters.  With melee immunity from Saeryn's feat, they can fly across enemy lines with impunity.  Armor Piercing means they're likely to get the job done if they can get into melee, while a 10" charge with Reach means they're probably going to get into melee.  While I don't anticipate playing for control points much in Hardcore, having the Angel's animus on hand to clear out zones is nice.

Infantry is where I'm less than satisfied.  The fury management is solid, the Spell Martyr is nice to have around if not required, and the Deathstalker can help clear lanes or toe into a zone (while Stealthed) in the unlikely event I need to contest a zone.  What does that leave?  Legionnaires and the pot.  This is a great pairing, and cheap, but one that's more suited to the Vayls than to Saeryn since the pot poops out potential arc nodes for Vayl but just lessers for Saeryn.  The problem, if it is a problem, is that the combo is cheap.  At 9 points for 16 bodies and one pot it's hard to argue with and even harder to replace.  Ultimately I need (or at least want) a tarpit, I haven't found a better one than Legionnaires, and if I'm taking Legionnaires I'm going to bring the pot along with them.

So what's the plan?  Run the Legionnaires forward, center the pot behind them, flank the pot with Ravagores, flank the Ravagores with Angels, add in the rest wherever they fit.  Ideally the Legionnaires will engage/eat charges to keep my beasts free, allowing the Ravagores to pound casters or support while the Angels zoom over heads to poke casters to death.  The pot is there to spit out lessers when the Legionnaires inevitably die, then the lessers can help clear lanes further or be roving Blight Bringer targets.  Ideally I'll advance on the far zone through my zone, but that will depend heavily on what terrain looks like.

Potential changes are the Legionnaires and pot, though that's unlikely for reasons already noted, and two potential additions in Swamp Gobbers and the Blackfrost Shard.  Seeing a shooting heavy list across the table does not make for happy times, though a nice 5" cloud from the Swamp Gobbers would do a little to make it more palatable.  My other big concern is seeing lots of beefy or a tanky caster like Karchev or Terminus, though the latter is more by reputation than personal experience.  Since Saeryn has no damage boosters I've been looking at the BFS who can buff damage and accuracy in a single package.  While the Swamp Gobbers are an easy substitution at a single point, carving 5 points out of the list to add in the BFS is a tougher task.  The only reasonable approach I've found involves losing the Legionnaires and Spawning Vessel which frees up more than enough points, but then I'm left with no tarpit/speedbump and no good way to fill that gap with the 4 remaining points.  That said it just occurred to me that I could swap the pot and the Deathstalker for the BFS.  The night before an event is no time to make list changes, but it'll be something to think on for the future.

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