Friday, November 16, 2012

Painting and more Archangel

Should be less shiny after varnishing.  . 
Let's start with what everyone is interested in: a WIP shot of a Destroyer.  While the exact timeline is lost in the misty depths of my less than airtight memory, this Destroyer may be the first Warmachine model I put paint on.  At worst it's one of the first three, and regardless it's been "in progress" for the better part of two and a half years.  If you're wondering why I haven't finished it off yet then you've probably never played Khador.  As the faction stands there's no compelling reason to take a Destroyer instead of Black Ivan, despite the latter costing an extra point, and I'd argue there's no reason to take a Destroyer to begin with outside of some wacky Harkevich Broadsides list.  But that's a tangent for a different day.  Taking up the 5th Border Legion scheme again after a significant break was somewhat uncomfortable as I'm sure this Destroyer will look a little off compared to the rest of my jacks, but it was a nice change of pace to play around with a different palette.  The jack itself is done but I still need to texture the base, then varnish, then paint the base and arcs, then final varnishing.  While it won't take long to do it's still time consuming with all the drying time required.  Fortunately there's still almost two weeks before the Paint the Target deadline which I'm determined to hit this month after slacking in October.  In a perfect world I would have painted up my still unassembled Nephilim Protector, which has begun to figure in AA musings, but I'm not convinced I'd be finished in time.  Plus it's nice to send a little bit of love back to the Motherland every now and again.

There's no good place to put this notice, so here it is: this is a big block of text, so I'm breaking it up with some of the reasons I watch TV this season.

Apparently she's in Species 4.  If you're into that.
In Archangel news, last night was round two of trying to wring some use out of the thing.  This time around I put some Internet wisdom to use in my list building, as opposed to just throwing things together like last time.  Aby was the lady of that particular evening, along with a Nightlurker, Scythean, Shredder, Forsaken, and a pair of Shepherds.  Plus the AA of course.

Before I get into particular results, which were better, a note about testing conditions.  In addition to using a different list, I also played against different opponents.  Last time I played against a regular tournament-goer who fielded a tournament-quality list.  This time my first opponent had recently returned to the game, though I gather he had a decent run in Mk. 1, and my second opponent was playing perhaps his third game in the past two months.  While I'm all for the everyone-is-special-and-fantastic thing (I'm really not for that at all), the difference in competition is significant enough that it needs to be pointed out.  This is all for science.  Also the note about assuming your familiarity with acronyms/spells/general Warmahordes knowledge is still in effect.

Best known for....?
With the disclaimer taken care of, how did the AA fare this time out?  Much better as the AA survived both games.  While it hurt to give up the DEF 17 Angelius, the difference between DEF 12 and 14 (all assuming Tenacity) is bigger than it appears.  The extra 2 STR was nice as well, but the DEF boost is the primary draw of Forced Evolution.  As wonderful as FE is, the main reason the AA lived was Aby.  More specifically, Blight Field.  Both opponents had issues positioning their jacks that allowed me to get two, and sometimes three, jacks inside a single Blight Field.  Since games were at 35 points (which is a real stretch for 20 points of AA), and both lists featured 4-5 jacks, this was a crippling blow.  My first opponent (Cygnar) couldn't hit DEF 14 without boosting, and some poor dice kept my second opponent (Menoth) from doing any big damage even with Choir buffs.  Aby's feat healed up a 2/3 dead AA in the second game, but wasn't used in the first.

I took a different approach to shooting this time, mostly working with the idea of shooting at something that is definitely out of range and hoping for a good scatter (you might be more comfortable with the term "spray and pray").  While this tactic makes a Crit: Fire shot impossible, it did yield some decent(ish) results.  My big complaint here is with the 10" range, though not for the reason you might think.  With RNG 10 your max scatter distance is 5" which isn't a big deal but it does place an extra mental hurdle for you to fall over when deviating your shots.  Things would be so much easier, and better overall, if it was a 12" gun.  Then shoots at too-distant targets travel however far the distance die reads.  Dice match complaints aside, this added a small bit of capability to the AA.

The Big Bang has some great visuals.  Really.
Staying with the shooting theme, I also took occasional advantage of Ride by Attack.  This wasn't much of a factor, though it did allow me an extra turn of shooting against a shooting-light Cygnar list.  Still staying with the shooting theme, and this paragraph, I had a glorious turn of shooting that saw all three shots crit.  When the fires died down in the next turn most of a unit of TFG (who had Shield Walled and minifeated the turn before) was dead and a heavy or two had taken some damage and were also on fire.  Dice aside, most of the success here was from my opponent's positioning which allowed me to hit three different clusters of TFG.  While the direct damage was nice, the fire is what did the bulk of the damage as TFG are base ARM 13, so any fires that didn't go out killed.  All shooting was not glorious though as the AA failed to shoot down eNemo.  In fairness to the AA I should have flown over to bite his old man head off, but that's a lesson learned.

Didn't recognize her from Once Upon a Time.
Speaking of biting heads off, the AA saw melee in its latest field test.  The final tally was fairly impressive, totaling perhaps half a dozen jacks and a smattering of infantry.  Lest you think this is a rosy turnabout for the AA, even this "impressive" tally was underwhelming.  The AA could take out a heavy in a turn, and maybe part of another, with relative ease, but that shouldn't be a selling point for a model that's twice as expensive as its victim.  The sad truth here is that though the AA was more capable in melee than at range, that capability was bolstered by a near-perfect set of circumstances: Forced Evolution and Blight Field.  FE made the AA hit harder (though harder is relative since the buffed AA still doesn't hit as hard as Conquest) while being harder to hit, and Blight Field kept it mostly immune to reprisal.  Granted I could have put in the BFS (couldn't shoehorn them in at 35) to tack on an extra 2 damage and/or DEF debuffs, but things really aren't going to get much better for the AA than this setup.  With all these factors, it still struggled to scrap a heavy.  Struggle is a relative term here as I typically had an "extra" fury or two to swing at other targets, but my dice were fairly neutral outside of the TFG shooting spree and I never felt like I could take out two heavies in a single turn with the AA.  To compare this to another perfect storm situation, I had an Immobilized but otherwise undamaged Scythean exploded in one swing from a Conquest under eSorscha's feat.  Granted one storm is more perfect than the other, and comparing jacks and beasts is never an easy operation, but in one case it takes around 5 hits to take out a heavy while the other takes one.  I've had similar results while facing a Stormwall with Siege's feat going (the Stormwall killed two heavies and had Focus left over).
This may or may not be me when the above pair share the screen...

To wrap this meander up, Aby made the AA work better, though I'm attributing much of the performance boost to opponent confidence.  While DEF 14 is nice it's not invincible and a dedicated opponent should still be able to kill it off with modest effort.  Similarly P+S 19 isn't bad, but it's also what a Juggernaut packs straight from the factory.  Plus you can nearly get three Juggys (21 points) for the cost of one AA (20 points).  Reasons to sink 20 points into the AA instead of a combination of any of Legion's very capable heavies are few, though I did find one by accident: a huge base can straddle both zones in Process of Elimination.  I'm skeptical of finding better results in different conditions, though I'll continue to experiment.  I've been having a good time with Bethayne lately, so she's next on the roster.

An accurate portrayal of the Archangel's current appeal.
As a final bit, I'm updating my big bowl of OK graphic from last time to reflect my new experiences with the AA.  I'm adding in a pretzel, specifically one of those rock-hard ones that I see no reason anyone should enjoy.  While pretzels are amazing (especially with cheese or wrapped around a hot dog or both), soft pretzels are definitely better than hard pretzels.  Even hard pretzels have their place when they're thin or thick but not particularly dense (try pretzel rods with peanut butter.  I should start a food blog...).  The pretzel I'm adding is hard and dense though, dense as the heart of a black hole, hard enough to shatter your teeth if you even think about looking at one.  It;s not anyone's first choice and  doesn't really add anything to the big bowl of OK but it is a little different and maybe, with enough time/gnawing/drooling, you can make something passable out of it.


  1. hey.... havent been around to check out your stuff lately but its lookin pretty smashing.. diggin rhyas and i really like the way your painting the feather/leaves as a fall bunch with different colors intermixed... keep up the good work my friend... seeya.

    1. My own internettery has fallen to its lowest levels in recent memory, as witnessed by the delay in comment replies and general posting, so don't worry about any slowness on your part.

      The "leaves" were one of the first choices I made, based in large part on orange as a scheme building block. The fall "leaves" seemed like they would echo many colors that were likely to end up in any scheme (browns) while also fitting in with a colder climate like northern Khador. The more oblique reference to the death/transformation of Nyss culture is an Easter Egg for anyone who is trained to read extra meaning into trivial details, aka people who took the BA route over BS. This all worked out well...until I realized they were feathers and not leaves. Which didn't happen until I had painted the majority of the faction...