|Different terror, but worth your time.|
With a potent challenge awaiting me I was sure to take all of five seconds picking a list I had ready to go on my phone. The first week's games have a suggested level of 15 points, which is what we went with. Apparently the games were supposed to be Highlander as well, just like the tournament tomorrow, so it was fortunate that the list I picked fit the format. The list was: pButcher, a Kodiak, a Juggernaut, Widowmakers, and the Manhuntress. Chris fielded Garryth, a Phoenix, Mage Hunter Infiltratos, and a Mage Hunter Assassin. While we were setting up there was much chuckling over how what was supposed to be a thrown together Ret list was actually pretty good and boned my army hard with all the Stealth and Arcane Assassins. At least I had more jacks (2 to 1) and more Weapon Masters (I think, though perhaps Garryth is one). It would also be a learning experience as I'd never seen Garryth or Infiltrators and had no real idea what a Phoenix did. Our scenario was Chemical Reaction.
Setup was pretty simple with so few models. I put Orsus between the jacks with the Widowmakers in front and the Manhuntress off to the side. Chris deployed in much the same way except that his unit didn't Advance Deploy and his solo was on the opposite side from mine. I didn't get a picture of the setup so you'll have to wait for the next one and use your imagination to move my models back.
A little more than 24 hours after the game I'm no longer sure who won the roll to go first. My guess is Chris did because it involved rolling high and I tend to go second. However it happened, I got the action started. Fury went on the Kodiak and everything moved up.
|Khador turn 1|
|One less Widowmaker.|
|Ret turn 1|
I had quite the choice in my second turn: shoot the objective or shoot the jack. I went with the jack and plinked three points off its shield.
|Better than nothing?|
|Khador turn 2|
|Another one bites the dust.|
|Infiltrating, but not like this.|
|Ret turn 2|
My options weren't looking so hot at this point. Outside of a silly Butcher advance and Obliteration I had no way to damage the objective, let alone destroy it. I could have taken an equally silly swing at clearing the right zone with a Manhuntress charge on the rear Infiltrator, but she was well out of range. A Kodiak trample over the engaging Infiltrator wouldn't have gotten it far enough to swing on the one at the back of the zone and would have left it over-extended. There was also the small matter of all those Infiltrators waiting to murder Orsus, plus the Assassin looking to do the same, to say nothing of Garryth or the Phoenix.
Pulling up my socks, I went about exercising the few options available to me. I let Fury drop and gave the Juggernaut two Focus, then used that Juggernaut to slam one Infiltrator into another and take them both out. The Kodiak used Vent Steam to clear out the Infiltrator standing in front of it. Orsus took a step forward and cut down the remaining MHI on the hill. Then I did something I never do, something I instruct anyone in ear shot to never do, something I made double sure to tell Ron not to do when he started playing pButcher, something I further made sure to call Ron's attention to when I did it: I cast Obliteration with the Butcher.
This is a bad idea on many levels. Obliteration costs 2/3 of the Butcher's available six Focus, and if you actually want to hit with it you'll probably need to boost the attack roll as well. In this case I wasn't worried about wasting all the Focus I could otherwise be camping since (nearly) the entire Ret army ignores camped Focus. Since I was chucking the spell at Stealthed models I wasn't worried about hitting, so I could skip the boost. I got a decent deviation and killed a pair of Infiltrators with the blast. As a final trick I started bringing the Manhuntress back to the center of the table as she didn't have to worry about drawing attention from the Infiltrators anymore.
In the end I had Orsus hanging out by himself staring down a half dozen angry elves. This is not a great situation to be in, but I had cleared out as much as I could and had nothing left but to hope for the best. The final ace up my sleeve was Terror. I've won more than a few games by throwing an Abomination model, typically a Forsaken, into a vital enemy unit and hoping for a failed command check. It's a real long shot, but when grasping at straws you don't discard some just because they're flimsy.
|Khador turn 3. The Juggy is on the hill but wouldn't stand there.|
|Orsus got Gallowsed, but there was no pole involved.|
Somehow Orsus had stared Ceratin Death in the face and gotten Death to blink first. When Chris was distraught I could understand as the events that had just unfolded were unlikely at the very least. Then he started talking about having just blown the game by scenario. It took me a minute to figure it out, but I saw he was right. I scored in his turn for controlling the zones and could do nothing in my turn, score again, and take the win.
|I won? No, Terror won. I was just there.|
I also didn't realize just how certain the Butcher's death would have been if not for those failed checks. Turns out the Infiltrators and Assassin are effectively Weapon Masters when hitting spell casters. I thought I had a reasonable, if small, chance of surviving a MHI charge since Orsus has respectable base stats and plenty of boxes, but that was before I found out about the extra die against casters.
In the end this wasn't a game that I won, it was a game that Chris lost. I'm not sure what I could have done better considering the matchup. My Widowmakers were effectively useless. With everything except the jack having Stealth the only option they had was to get up close and shoot, which would lead to a quick and messy death the following turn. The MHI were spread out enough that I would be unlikely to get a good Trample off, especially with Chris being savvy enough to avoid putting himself in that situation. The usual Butcher defensive tactics of Iron Flesh and (nearly) full camp won't work against all the Arcane Assassins, and there was no real way to hide him with the medium base and all the Acrobatic elves looking to do murder. I suppose I could have used the Manhuntress more effectively, which is to say at all, but she too was outclassed by the opposing field who all had longer threat ranges and potentially 4" reach as well.
Despite all that, a win is a win and I'll take this one even if I did back into it. It was also very satisfying to see Chris's dice work against him for once. I may have discovered an effective tactic against him. Now the trick will be to make sure he doesn't sniff out any future command check traps I might lay.