Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We can Rebuild Him! Mercenary theme list league and painting blog. Part 7: 30 pt Most Wanted; 50 pt Agenda

It was about time I finished these guys. These may have been the oldest PP models I owned but hadn't finished, before now.

After almost a decade of getting distracted or changing the schemes, and playing them in countless battles, I finally got these guys all painted to the same standard and same basing, and, I've gotta say, I'm really happy with them.

They have a whole bunch of minor conversions and have been painted to match my Trollbloods (though I haven't decided if I'll eventually switch the faction to have matching desert bases or keep them in the snow). Unlike the Trollbloods, I gave them the most varied and clashing/irregular tartans, to emphasize their individualism while keeping them with my Mercs' drab green armor unifying them with the rest of the army.

And, at the other end of the spectrum, my newest merc piece, and just an unpainted piece of the Galleon, that I've been converting.

I love the Grind jacks, not because they're particularly good or well detailed (they aren't really- the normal WM jacks are far better), but because they're cheap so I'm not worried about hacking them apart.

The poor Charger was originally going to have dangling legs and be futilely attempting to shoot or get out of the Claaamps(!), but I decided that it was a little melodramatic/heavy-handed, so I instead went for a smaller and more subtle wreck.

Also, I'm kind of tempted to do a Futurama-themed battlegroup now that I made that reference, though I'm guessing it'll just stay a temptation and not go anywhere...

Game 8/League game 6 (35)

pMagnus (T4)
-Renegade x2
-Nomad x2
SH Halberdiers (max)
SH Cav (min)
Croe's (min)

pKaya (T1)
-the Warpwolf trio
-Griffon thingy
Reeves (min)
War wolfs x3

I wanted to try out Croe's, and, now that two were painted, what a pair of Nomads could do. I normally like more ranged stuff, so the melee-focused army was a bit different for me.

Early game
This was one of the most just plain irritatingly uneventful games I've ever had of Warmachine, so I'll try to keep it short.

Croe's had Snipe, Halberdiers had Blur, my Nomads had the other two ukpeeps.

There was something like 3-4 turns of my opponent, Michelle, doing nothing of note to my army other than kill a half-dozen Steelheads, as she hit in a tiny forest at the edge of the killbox, while I tried to reposition to get better attack angles. This was basically because I had a better threat range with heavy hitters than she did, but she could land the occasional hit with a far enough strike.

I eventually got tired of waiting around, and Assaulted with my cav to at least kill something, but only succeeded in obliterating one War Wolf with a shot to the face, and pushing the Nomad up, to which my opponent reacted by retreating again.

The next and last turn, again frustrated by dancing around doing nothing, I decided to take a risk, I shot an obliterator rocket into the clump of Warp Wolves, and moved up and shot with Croe's-with some above-average damage rolls, I killed the pureblood.

We had been playing because there were an odd number of players, so my opponent was from the store staff, but another guy came in, so she decided (unless I was opposed) that we should call it here so more customers could play.

We talked about it a little, and basically agreed that the game was pretty much decided already: I'd keep maneuvering and repositioning, while she'd keep launching warpwolves at me and trying to avoid retaliation, and it would be a question of whether she'd be able to strip down my forces before I could corner Kaya and get the kill. She thought it'd probably go to me, though I wasn't so sure.

In true battle report fashion, concluding, Mercs Win! (... uh, I guess? In theory? In wild speculation? I guess I had killed more points when we stopped... Whatever, it's over, which is a win for me.)

Croe's were decent. They have abysmal accuracy on their own (for that cost), but the Renegade helped with that. Snipe allowed them a little more flexibility, but against long threat ranges or even half-decent DEF infantry they're still not very good.

I liked that the pair of Nomads allowed me to have really serious threats without needing to spend a lot of points, though they were mostly just threats.

This was one of the least successful times I've run my cavalry, just because they didn't have much to do.

Playing a melee-focused game was a poor choice, I decided, since I had no way to force my opponent to not just sit there peeling off my grunts slowly. While the rolls helped Croe's be a strong unit, I think I would have replaced them with Riflemen and Orrick in the future, to give more reliable range and pathfinder to a melee-heavy army.

I've decided that there was a very good reason every list I build has at least one non-Obliterator (i.e. single shot) ranged 'jack. If I had wanted to keep Croe's, I'd have dropped one of the Renegades for a ranged 'jack.

Also, against Circle, I think eMagnus's feat (Killbox) would have allowed me to at least close on Kaya without fear of one of my heavies getting munched immediately. I'd probably pick him if I get another league game in against Circle.

This was a case for control scenario play, if I've ever seen one, because it would have forced some more exciting decisions. Also, I think I had control of something like 3/4 of the board for most of the game, which was a weird situation to be in (not being able to do much from that position, and with little attempt to contest it). Even a time limit (as much as I hate them) would have helped force some action, at least.

TL; DR I think both of us were making tactically intelligent choices, but it led to an incredibly boring game. I guess I could have run headlong into the forest and taken a beating before cornering her early, but I was too wary of not understanding Circle shenanigans and just letting half my army get eaten for no gain.

Game 9
This guy was a new player who was a walk-in, so we didn't do a league game though I stuck by my guns and did a theme list. He wanted to do 50 points, and I asked him who'd he's prefer to fight, he said eMagnus, so that's what I did.

eMagnus (T1)
-Galleon (bonded)
-Mangler (discount)
Boomhowler & co. (max)
Trenchers (min)
SH Halberdiers (max)

Siege (no tier)
-Defender x2
Trenchers (min)

I played a very similar list to what I took a few weeks back against Macbain, but with a notable exception. I decided to see what would happen if I took Halberdiers without Cavalry, mostly because I couldn't figure out how to fit the full 12-point module in my army without sacrificing something else I was interested in playing or trying, and I don't think that 6 Halberdiers is enough to keep alive without Blur, with the threat of Flank, and in a 50 point game.

Also, I'm not sure I'd played a mkII game with Halberdiers and without Cav, so I decided to get a little more time in with the Talon. though in retrospect I'd have rather tried out Brocker without the cav, to see how he worked with just Halberdiers or possibly as a combat solo.

Kelly got the roll, chose to go second (presumably to grab the side with the elevation and without an annoyingly placed forest).

I deployed all my infantry to the right, in the opening between a largish forest and some rock tower. The Galleon went in front of the forest, being the only model with natural pathfinder, and the battlegroup went on both sides of it, in case he wanted to use the forest with his Rangers and flank me.

He deployed his Storm group by a forest on the right, opposite my infantry; Siege & co. in the middle, and the Defenders near the hill on the right.

My Trenchers AD'd in front of his infantry; his trenchers AD'd opposite mine, and his rangers opposite my battlegroup (mid-game, he explained that he didn't realize how speedy I could be).

My basic strategy was that my 26 infantry would be the anvil and make some decent attacks while gumming up charge lanes and protecting my flank from anything that hit too hard (i.e. the Storm contingent), and my hammer would be the Mangler and Galleon (I'm not sure exactly what the lights would be in this analogy... the grippy tongs to ensure Magnus didn't get burned?).

Early game
I basically ran everything up, lights dodging through clearing between the ruins and forest on the left; the Mangler and Galleon jogging through the forest; the infantry spreading out in a giant mess on the right. Boomhowler got Bullet Dodger wary of opportunistic attacks, and the trenchers dug in.

Finn moved up and issued Desperate Pace. His Trenchers Cautiously Advanced and shot a couple of mine dead, with CRA and Finn's LOS accuracy bonus giving them the edge.

I believe this was the turn that Siege killed a bunch of my infantry with Ground Pounder, though I'm not positive it wasn't until next. Either way, I had a ton of infantry and not a lot of space, so that 5" corrected: 4", though it sure felt like 5 :p AOE was killer throughout. The Defenders moved up to engage the Galleon, and the Rangers started their back field run to get into killing position instead of being the obvious AOE targets.

Mid Game
My Trenchers Assaulted his, and killed quite a few of them, for the first time they actually charged in recent memory. I left Finn unengaged so maybe Boomhowler's crew would get some lucky shots in. Turns out they could, but he passed two tough checks. The Halberdiers ran to get in better positions.

My lights moved out of the way and Galleon harpooned one of the Defenders, blasted a few infantry, and pummeled the Defender to death. My Mangler that was going to be backup used its focus to run to a better position.

The third turn roughly repeated the second. He blasted a Renegade with his remaining Defender, killed all but one of my Trenchers, continued bombarding my infantry with Siege, continued running his Rangers. I think this turn his Stormclad got to my lines and killed a few guys.

Again,  loaded my Galleon, blasted some infantry ineffectually, harpooned the second Defender, killed it. I decided to play it conservatively with my Mangler- I wasn't positive about its charge range, so I pulled it back and defended it with some Trollkin getting in the way.

My infantry blob fought his remaining trenchers, didn't do a ton though took out Finn and some Storm Blades that wandered too close.

Late Game
He killed some more infantry with Siege and camped focus. His infantry killed some of mine, and the Stormclad approached my Mangler (but Bommhowler's trolls were in the way). By this point, I was well under half my starting infantry and his second wave was closing, meaning my flank was starting to crumble: I think I had no Trenchers and one Halberdier, and maybe half of Boomhowler's troupe.

I threw two Focus on the Renegade, lobbed a shot, knocking down and hurting Siege, knocking down his Squire, and killing Reinholdt. I then made the harpoon shot, and, even with Siege's one focus, I had enough power to squeeze by with one damage (to trigger Drag), and I still had 3 power 21 autohits, so the game was over.

First, this was one of those "right place, right time" games, where I was very frequently getting exactly the roll I needed for the attack to succeed (on anything important), culminating in just barely grabbing Siege, and I'd say this was a serious contribution to how one-sided the game felt.

Regarding the game, if you couldn't tell, the Galleon was MVP*, and while it's nice to have exceptionally good pieces sometimes, it's also why I stopped playing Cryx: I'd rather win honestly than win because of my ability to choose the army with the best rules.

There were a few parts that were just that he didn't understand just how killy the harpoon is (especially late game, I'd have put Siege in his own fox hole to force ending it in melee). However, it's another example where, at the end of the day, neither of us were happy that Colossals were part of the game. I'd have rather used a trickier army and won through tactics than walking up and shooting his biggest pieces in the face over and over again.

He was mostly fielding an army that I know I would have fielded a few years ago, and I wish it had had done better, because it was a perfectly reasonable army that got crushed largely because of Colossals, rather than through any particular tactical feat.

I didn't even use Magnus to cast any spells (other than the useless Bullet Dodger I didn't upkeep), and just pumped focus into my Galleon every turn, which made it a pretty boring game, too, but it always seemed like the best move.

On one hand, I'm glad that a model I'm spending this much time painting is a solid piece, on the other, I wish colossals weren't so game changing...

*For the record, that was 2(?) Rangers, 2(?) Stormblades, I think it was what finally killed Finn, the Squire, 2 Defenders, and Siege camping focus, for something equivalent to around 25 points (half the army) and the caster.

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