Author: Grab Your Foot!

Just here for the E.V., thanks.

Hey all, this is a (now slightly belated) write-up for the team event at the Bokur Brawl – an East Coast regional team event hosted each fall in New Jersey (scheduled for the first weekend of October next year and an experience that I can’t recommend more highly, so if you have the chance I’d heavily, heavily encourage rounding up a team and making the trip – look for more information here).

The DMV (District, Maryland, and Virginia) area put together two teams for the event this year – Mollywhopper Teams Roosevelt and Lincoln.  I was on the latter, which had a lineup that looked like this:

  1. (Captain) Mark Male – Minions – Rask & Maelok
  2. Robert Male – Circle Orboros – Una 2 & Krueger 2
  3. Chris Dumm – Protectorate – High Reclaimer 1 & Harbinger
  4. Bruno Del Alamo – Trollbloods – Kolgrimma & Gunnbjorn
  5. Myself (Jeremy Posner) – Mercenaries – Ossrum & Magnus 2

A full rundown of the list sets for every team (including my own) is available here.

I was fairly happy with my preparation going into the event, particularly in doing as much as I could to get up to speed on a warcaster that I have relatively little experience with in Magnus II (whether I should have been taking a warcaster I wasn’t very fluent with to a team event is another thing entirely).  As befits a Mercenary pair I didn’t have any matchups that I felt were pure dodges – lists that I could not let my team ask me to play into and have any kind of ability to provide a useful performance – but I generally wanted to avoid Cryx as much as I could, and then didn’t relish playing into a few other things (Judicators for one) but then nobody really wanted some of those games and I had no better reason than anyone else to want to avoid them.

Round One – CID’s Nuts – Circle Orboros

Feeling comfortable with my lists and broadly with my ability to deal with a lot of common problems in the field immediately paid off as I ended up being dealt a Circle Pair in Round One (Krueger II/Bradigus) that I didn’t relish playing into but which I felt comfortable navigating.  Ossrum v. Bradigus is a very slow, careful game on both sides and one that is very much about value – Ossrum needs just about everything in his list to have at least one really high value activation before it’s traded off and because the game is likely to be in the 5-7 round range the immediacy of that payout is much less important.  I ended up going first in this one – something which isn’t necessarily that easy to capitalize on in the matchup because Ossrum can’t really crowd Bradigus well even with his feat up, but which let me prevent the opposite from happening.

Turn One – I did cross my fingers that I might mise my way into taking a Sentry Stone on the top of one, and so tried to leave my lanes with Kell as open as I could, but Steve used a central building to keep them safe, and given that they’d be prowling from the Bottom of One onward I just backed Kell and Eiryss off to keep my 9 points of damage around over the long haul to facilitate trades – my experience has been that any value that you think you’re getting by playing the two aggressively in the matchup is less than you get being able to produce ~54 damage on priority targets over a full game (unless you’re either pushing for a win or staving off a loss on scenario).

Turn Two – After Steve similarly had relatively little to do on his first turn I was provided a potential vector to get one Driller into a Guardian on my second turn, but with relatively little support.  I would also be able to put my Bashers into Wold Watchers.  This kind of initial offensive line is firmly below the value threshold that I tend to hold out for in the Bradigus matchup.  What would likely happen in this scenario is that I wouldn’t kill any of the Beasts I went into (or might kill one Watcher that I could leverage my damage support to push on) and then would likely lose the Driller and multiple Bashers in return without actually really forcing a feat from Brad (or might let him take a second Driller by Feating if I tried to push the rest of the battlegroup up to have follow-ups for my trades).  This is a line that probably runs me out of gas on attrition by turn Four or Five, which wasn’t the place that I wanted to be.  So, I instead went for the slower developmental turn and tried to make sure that (1) I wasn’t going to lose any Drillers (2) that I had good lines to play back-to-front if Steve played into me aggressively and gave me Watchers or Guardians in my face and (3) that he couldn’t make major scenario inroads to punish my passivity.  Eiryss and Kell did their things on the turn and my two units of Eliminators postured on hills on each side of the table while one Basher tried to set up one of his Watchers for a future trade while also getting into his zone.  Things roughly played out as I’d hoped they would – I did end up losing an Eliminator to a charging Wight on my left side, and the Basher I’d sent in was summarily  crushed by a Guardian, though it at least drew that Guardian out of stones and into a position that made it harder to leverage ideally going forward.  Steve ended up scoring the far flag and his own zone, ending the turn 0-2.


Turn Three – I felt reasonably happy about how conceding early tempo to preserve longterm value had set me up for my third turn, as I had a pretty good route to getting my Forge Guard into a Watcher he’d put forward to contest my zone and stall me out and then looking to combine two Driller activations and potentially some chip damage from Eiryss and Kell to take out a Guardian with my feat up, hopefully then only giving up a single Driller in return and then being in a position to take out a second Guardian to get up and over an attrition threshold that would be enough to get through the rest of the game.  Things largely worked out, as Ragman and Gorman amped up my Forge Guard to chew through the forward Watcher, allowing the two Drillers to get forward and to take out his Guardian, while I did better than I should have in putting real chip damage on a couple of Watchers in the area with another Basher and my Eliminators, all of which also got into his zone.  I think I accidentally took the third Basher off of the table entirely at some point in this turn (just entirely removed it without its ever having taken damage), which led to some confusion going forward but was my own mistake, and so something we just shrugged off and played through.  Having cleared my own zone and contested his I scored back, 1-2.  His retaliation turn was somewhat stifled by his having to consider how best to work towards re-clearing his zone of models with a diverse set of difficult statlines (17-11 on the Eliminators, 10-22 on the Basher).  As a result he had to make some concessions that led to a less than ideally efficient offensive turn, and so left both of my committed Drillers alive (one without cortex but with and both arms, the other more or less intact though out of my control area anyway).  We both scored our zones at the end of this turn 2-3.

Turn Four –  Having weathered the early storm I endeavored to start building a scenario advantage.  On the turn I used a combination of the Forge Guard, battered Drillers, and the Third Driller trailing in their wake to take out a second Guardian as well as two previously damaged Watchers, leaving him with one of each as well as his Sentry Stones as the bulk of his remaining fighting force.  I put one Blaster as far toward the back of his zone as its speed would allow and sent Eiryss over to score the now clear far flag, tipping things my way 4-3.  Steve again had to somewhat divide his efforts in a way that cut into his ability to do damage, and ended up removing one Driller and  seriously damaging the previously undamaged one with his remaining Guardian, but leaving me with one entirely combat capable and another with at least a right arm to contribute going forward.  Not realizing that my light warjacks were Sturdy (no pushes) he did good damage but could not get the Blaster out of his zone shooting it with Bradigas, and further didn’t contest mine, ending his turn with me up 5-3 and in a position to win.

With one point secure from my own, uncontested zone I needed either to score one flag and remove his objective or to score two flags.  He’d managed to take down Eiryss with a Mannikan on his turn but had only contested that flag with that single model and was only contesting my friendly flag with three Mannikans from the other unit.  This left me to clear the four with a combination of Kell, Jonne, and Blasters, before running Ragman and Gorman to each flag for an 8-3 scenario win.

Takeaways – I can attribute a lot of this game to my having played this matchup a lot, possibly more than any other in MK III (much to the displeasure of Michael Stone, who had the same Circle Pair on the other Mollywopper team).  As a result I had a pretty good sense of the game and was sure from the outset Who the Beatdown was (neither list actually but more Brad than Ossrum if either) and so was able to make almost entirely value oriented decisions over the course of the game – trading a small initial scenario deficit and very little focus efficiency over my first two turns for very high leverage turns in the midgame.  My dice also cooperated, which is something that is more important in the Ossrum v. Brad game than in many, because Ossrum has the edge in cost efficiency but pays for it in often being able to set up ~70-80% plays for pieces that he can pay for dearly if he flubs.  I didn’t in this one and as a result pulled out a win.  My team did the same, getting through the round 4-1.

Round Two – The Team with No Name – Circle Orboros

Round Three – The Influentials – Mercenaries 

Round Four – Mollywhoppers Team Roosevelt – Cygnar

In round four we had the bad luck of being paired up against the team we’d traveled up and prepped with, though bad luck only insofar as it meant we were going to be playing a lot of games we’d played before – we knew going in the quality of competition was going to be more than we could have asked for.  We lost the initial roll (which provided the winning team the choice to either choose three of five matchups total or to choose the tables each matchup would be played on) and were given choice to tables, but less say in who we’d be playing into.  Having played each player on Roosevelt at least once (and most significantly more) and having the benefit of having discussed matchups for their pairs prior to the event (though of course they had the same from me) I was fairly sure of who they thought had the better games into my pair and who would, in an ideal world, want to dodge me.  I had expected, if the other team wanted to line up an even or better matchup into me, to be given a game either with Donnie Gallitz’ Legion pair (and probably Kallus I in Primal Terrors, though he felt comfortable with Fyanna 2 as an option in that scenario as well) or Ryan Babcock’s Skorne pair and specifically his Zaadesh II list.  Both Donnie and Ryan are very strong players, and I didn’t think either was particularly wrong about having a pretty even game into the lists I’d brought, but I didn’t think either game was much worse than even, so felt comfortable being a flex option throughout the process.

Team Roosevelt’s internal assessments, however, had led them to prefer their matchups holistically in a scenario that left me driving the bus, so instead I was given a game with Anthony Gibbs, seller of a great many Minutemen, generally in sets of five.  Anthony was (I think) captain of Team Roosevelt, so personally maneuvered things so as to have this game, though it was one that he had rated as at least a soft dodge going into the event (based partially on our last Ossrum v. Sloan game which went very well until Ossrum declined to remain in cover for no clear reason in retrospect).  So, we ended up playing that game again, though because I had both Anastasia and had been able to pick tables he had the treat of having to go first on a board that gave me a very convenient wall to feat and push tempo with.

Turn One – Compelled to go first, Anthony moved up with an eye towards making sure I wasn’t going to be able to feat and run to engage his Hunters.  He crucially forgot, however, about my ability to Snipe Eiryss, and so left me with an angle to take a titanic tempo lead on my own first turn.  I did, Sniping Eiyrss and disrupting Sloan while putting Bullet Dodger on Ossrum and walking up to camp on two behind that flag, screened by layers of Dorf Armor and sure that without the ability to put up Guided Fire even a desperate assassination line just didn’t have any teeth.  Otherwise everything ran screaming up the board – this is a 100% tempo oriented matchup for Ossrum – he can get through Sloan’s list much faster than the reverse if he can force it to largely fight up in a pocket, and going second he can compel that by threatening to entirely swamp any central zones.

Turn Two – Anthony did his best to do what he could with a rough table state, making strong targeting decisions and getting through one Blaster and a number of Forge Guard while also taking Eiryss off of the table – though her damage was already done.  He did his best to make Sloan as safe as possible by using a patch of rubble to zone my battlegroup to a degree and moved her as far away as he reasonably could (as far as he could without killboxing himself, which would probably resulted in an immediate scenario loss given how strongly I had asserted control over the middle and left hand zones).

Every tight play in the world wasn’t enough given how much the matchup allowed me to control the pace of the game and how hard being disrupted had shut down Sloan’s ability to do more than make me have it – force me to execute a one turn win either by taking apart his army so completely that he’d never have a viable assassination threat again or by executing an assassination of my own.  I felt I had strong lines to manage the latter without entirely conceding my ability to bail in the worst case, and so went through a fairly strong run – first throwing a Hunter diagonally at another Hunter slightly behind Sloan to put it less than 1″ in front of her and then Slamming it through her with a Basher to follow up, Flak Field, and buy attacks to end the game.

Unfortunately for my team, setting me up with such a strong matchup ultimately paid off, as we lost the round 2-3 with the last game going down to the wire.  All in all it was a great round and a fitting way to close out the event, though one that left us in the unfortunate position of having to go home without local bragging rights.  Team Roosevelt’s efforts scored them 3rd Place in the event, while we managed a respectable 6th, first out of the 2-2 finishers based on our strength of schedule.

This week only saw one League game, so this is going to be a shorter update.  My current preoccupation is a pairing of Magnus the Warlord (Magnus II) and General Ossrum.  The challenge game was one with another player who’s just getting his feet under him in Retribution and who wanted to play Adeptis Rahn.  That would be a game for Ossrum in that pair – unsurprisingly a durable list of sturdy models with Orin to babysit a reasonably durable Warcaster tends to be a tough game for Rahn – but I also didn’t want to provide such a potentially negative first impression of one of my own favorite warcasters to another player – so I instead offered to amend my pair to include Damiano to make things a little more interesting.  We rolled up Mirage as our scenario for the game and – having won the roll off – I decided to choose my table edge and go second in order to have a wall and trench to keep Damiano as safe as I could.  Even the combination of cover and Orin isn’t an airtight defense against Rahn, but it’s something.

Deployment and First Turn

My opponent kept pretty even in his deployment – Rahn and Disco kept fairly central with the lights fanning out to both sides and one unit of battle mages to more or less lined up with each zone.  On his first turn things ran, Rahn included – he used his theme benefit to start with Polarity Field on the Preyed unit of Mages.  For my part my Skirmishers were angled slightly to the left to focus on one of the two battle mage units and to start getting into and through a forest just on his side of the board.  Damiano aimed to first move up behind the wall, and then possibly further into the trench, following up behind the Eliminator units – which were also headed that way.  Orin tailed him and Kell headed off to hang out in a forest by my nearside flag – not quite on it unfortunately.  Damiano put up Death March on the Skirmishers – who were going to ground anyway and who I didn’t mind losing some of if Rahn wanted to feat largely for that purpose – and Road to War on himself.  Alexia made a Thrall and moved up to be able to catch most of the Idrians while Kell walked into the woods and shot one of the battle mages in the right side unit.  The heavies moved up behind the Idrians to make drags harder to arrange even with Rahn’s feat and Eiryss moved up to be within walk range of the central flag.

Second Turn

The selection of mediocre targets I’d offered weren’t sufficiently tempting to induce Rahn to feat, so instead his force went about setting up for scenario play and killing a few (four I think) Idrians, which was more than I’d expected without help of the feat.  His Griffon charged in to start trying to establish a presence around the central flag and most of the other attacks on the turn came from the Magisters and the Mages on the left, who sort of hid behind a couple of the light warjacks in the area and threw out force bolts.  The turn before Rahn was likely to feat seemed like a fine time for me to use mine – both for the durability and because Conquest has text beyond +3/+3 strength and armor that is about as useful against Rahn as it’ll ever be.  Because Damiano was going to want to move up into the trench to help extend the feat’s area of effect and I also wanted to put out Deadeye on the Idrians he upkept Road to War and kept five focus.  Anastasia ambushed in to be able to charge into the woods and into a light from within the feat area and Alexia put out a couple of Risen – one in position to turn into another Thrall and put in another effective damage roll.  Kell aimed and took out two more Battle mages, while Eiryss moved up and took out another with a Phantom Seeker shot.  One of the two Eliminator units then charged in (well one did – one was out of range) on a Gorgon on the left side, to provide Damiano space in the trench to advance into.  He did, and then feated and cast Deadeye before missing a handcannon shot.  The Idrians then advanced and proceeded to kill one model in their Prey’ed unit, which was certainly on the low end of their spectrum of output for the turn.  They then got out of the way.  The Buccaneer then boosted and hit the Griffon with its net, which was shield guarded over to a Chimera behind it.  The second Eliminator unit combined with the newly minted Thrall to take out the Griffon and Anastasia and a Nomad did the rest of the damage to the Gorgon in the forest.  The Freebooter, using Jury Rigged and with a Road to War move thrown in, then walked over to the downed Chimera and killed it with two initials – I had hoped it would survive to be thrown into some of the Battle Mages that were more alive than I’d expected by this point in the turn.  Orin joined Damiano in the trench and I finished the turn with two flags and my own zone under control, going up 3-0.

Third Turn

With a fair amount of ground to make up on scenario and an effectively sturdy and ARM-buffed army to take it from Rahn had a tough task ahead of him.  The best thing to do with the turn seemed to be to take advantage of some model clumps I’d left to set up slams on his own models with Force Hammer and to otherwise grind down some of the infantry that had pushed up into his lines.  That generally went off – the Aspis punched down an Eliminator before Rahn feated and slammed it over another as well as an Idrian and a Thrall.  The Battle mages on the left largely cleaned up the remaining Idrians as well as another Eliminator and Anastasia.  A Magister took Eiryss off of the central flag and the remaining Battle Mages on the right removed my contesting Idrian from his zone and Ragman from my close flag.  none of the flags were really available to score, however, as there was at least one heavy within 4″ of both of those closer to his side of the board and Kell prowling in the forest and a couple of ARM 21 Forge Guard were hard targets to make much headway against if he had aims at my flag (he likely didn’t have a solo close enough to get there either).  As a result at the end of his turn he scored his own zone, and I mine, but that left my route to a scenario win fairly clear at 4-1.  

Because I am sort of stupid I spent a moment before my third turn started trying to figure out some way to kill to lights within shield guard range of a third light so that Damiano could shoot it with a Blaster shot to kill a Magister and two mage grunts – for really no particular reason – none of these models were scenario relevant, but now that I’ve whetted by Blaster appetite I almost can’t help myself.  The relevant activations on the turn involved the Forge Guard charging in to kill a Battle Mage who was contesting the right side flag and Kell then walking onto it.  I otherwise took an activation to do with the Freebooter what I hadn’t managed the turn previous – hit the Aspis with my initials and then threw it onto a Magister and two two Battle Mages largely to be able to point out to my opponent that the threat of slams and throws provided a reason to be mindful of clumping them up even though Force Barrier seemed to protect them from AOE based threats.  I finished the turn with control of the right flag and my own zone to win 6-1. 

I’d like to thank my opponent for the game and anyone who’s made it here for reading.  I don’t think I’ll have any more coin league games for the week, but I’m aiming to put together an article about luck in the game and particularly how to put oneself in position to, well, get lucky.

Another game night past and two more defenses on the books.  Let’s get to it.

Challenge V – Ossrum vs. Vyros II

We rolled up Standoff for the evening and, as tends to happen when you’re living clean and packing Stacy Di Bray I won the roll off and went first.  For the week I was packing Ossrum and Damiano as my list pair – the former a slight variant on the very battlegroup heavy standard that’s served me well over time (partially to help with the list’s ability to get through durability skews) and the latter an Irregulars list that was put together to see how a Damiano list that was really built around Warpath held up.  Warpath is a powerful and interesting spell, but one that was historically largely wasted on Mercenaries as a faction.  MK III has helped to alleviate the biggest hurdle – the lack of focus to really maximize the mobility the spell provides a larger battlegroup – and while Damiano’s Kingmaker lists are strong they’re not especially dynamic – which can make for a slightly monotonous experience if you play the list heavily.  The evening provided me with a good chance to give each a look – so let’s see if they held up under pressure.

My Lists

The two list that I was set up to play into were Elara II in Shadows of the Retribution and Vyros II in Forges of War.  The latter particularly is a fairly tough nut to crack, which seemed like a good litmus test for Ossrum, whom I put down.  Conveniently, Vyros was the reverse drop, which set us up for a good, old fashioned grind.

 

Deployment and First Turn

I deployed fairly neutrally – leaving the option to get Snipe onto either Eiryss or Kell available as well as to put Fire for Effect on Eiryss or Jonne.  After his deployment and my advanced moves I ended up deciding to get Snipe up on Kell to let him activate more or less however he wanted to on Turn Two and Fire for Effect on Jonne as more a default than anything else.  Energizer & Bullet Dodger (probably on Eiryss) may in retrospect have been a more productive use of the same focus on the turn.  My overarching plan in this one was to try to get Griffons off the table as quickly as possible and to generally try to pick fights on my side of the board rather than on his – so as to make it harder for his entire force to push damage at once while allowing me to do so.  I didn’t expect to have realistic looks at an assassination except in the late game nor at taking out Imperatus until there wasn’t very much else to commit in his list – it’s too hard a target to reliably reach out and remove except by combining a Basher and Driller activation and one that I expected to be precious to my opponent, and so protected if he could afford it. My opponent spent his first turn moving up as well, not making attacks except for a missed Disrupter Bolt by his Eiryss targeting a Driller in a Trench (funny but not actually important – it didn’t use its focus on the following turn).  Vyros started with Synergy up because of the Forges theme benefit and cast Deceleration during his activation.

Second Turn

Still not inclined to pick a fight in his friendly zone I was fairly conservative on my second turn – keeping my Drillers mostly out of harm’s way (the far left Driller was left out of 11″ but within 13″ of one Griffon on its side to invite a high resource and hopefully low output activation to prompt an eventual two for one trade on that side and to push Vyros to make a hard positioning decision to extend Synergy so far to toward the board edge.  Ossrum upkept nothing and allocated two focus to the vanguarding Basher.  On his activation he moved up to put Snipe on Gorman (who’s just on the other side of that watch tower in the image above) and to cast Energizer.  He held his feat on this turn – the Perfect Plan had yet to come together.  Gorman moved up around the Gazebo in the middle of the table and popped the most forward Griffon with Rust.  A few shots from Eiryss, Kell, Holt and two Blasters  were put into it (the latter partially to get the lights forward to make it harder for Griffons and Imperatus to dig into my lines) which pushed a little damage and a shield guard from both Imperatus and another Griffon.  The Basher then did its part – slamming the Rusted Griffon back into Imperatus and then following it up and finishing the job with bought attacks – getting the trade train started and getting another lower value model in the way for the following turn.

Things mostly went as I expected on the next turn.  Imperatus was given a hot cup of coffee and then rolled pretty poorly, only just killing the Basher (this happened a couple of times – Imperatus didn’t show especially well on the game and rolled tepidly but was saved by having such strong profiles into its targets that it nevertheless generally got the job done).  Vyros himself moved up to contribute a little damage on one of the Blasters before moving back and feating.  Eiryss managed to roll a four and so did disrupt the Driller hanging out in the left zone and a few Griffons were pulled in between the left and right contingents to take care of the two Blasters that would otherwise have made hash of his support models.  The most forward Griffon used fleet and dove deep to take out Eiryss and Kell, who I’d left too close to each other, and to contest my zone.  He scored one point at the end of the turn for his friendly zone – ending the round 0-1.

Third Turn

Having reeled in a number of Griffons I resolved to take as big an attritional bite as I could – visions of a four or five Griffon turn danced in my head.  The result fell a little short of that high end, but was still productive.  Ossrum upkept nothing and allocated two focus to each of the two Central Drillers and to the remaining Basher on the left.  He began activations for the turn by feating as well.  Stacy embarrassed herself a little by hitting Eiryss with a charge in her back arc and then failing to kill her, but she at least tied her up for the turn cycle.  The Driller on that side, disrupted, walked over to a Griffon and put in its initial attacks.  Ragman went next and gave the Forge Guard the go code – moving over to use Death Field in a position to debuff the Griffon that had snagged my solos on the turn before.  The Forge Guard then proceeded to push a fair amount of damage – killing the one Griffon easily and taking both arms off another, and dealing about half of the boxes on a third.  This also left most of the Griffons that had been committed tied up, and so not in a position to save themselves with a feat move – that move went to a Magister on the far right instead.  The Drillers then activated, taking out another of the left side Griffons and putting the second on its last legs.  Imperatus took the resulting feat move, moving a little towards the left zone and out of range for either Driller to get any ideas.  The Basher followed that up with a poor performance on the Griffon the Forge Guard had put two charges into – missing a couple of attacks and only further roughing it up (taking out movement and its shield I think but nothing else).  The Eliminators capped the turn by capping the second left side Griffon.  I ended up deciding to focus on attrition and so didn’t use an activation to contest on this turn, settling instead for scoring myself, ending the turn 1-2.

On his next turn Vyros took it on himself to take care of Gorman, moving up and shooting him as well as putting a damage roll on a Blaster.  The armless Griffon contented itself just boosting to hit a Forge Guard but couldn’t hurt it (at more than -5 with only one damage dice) while the other managed to take three with a full activation’s worth of attacks.  Imperatus then had another shaky activation into the second Basher – finishing it to the box.  The Remaining left side Griffon then had a less productive activation into a Driller, scuffing paint but ultimately leaving it with all systems up after boosting and hitting one of the Eliminators.  Eiryss and an Arcanist between them couldn’t land a shot on Stacy, though the Arcanist at least missed while in the zone.   He scored his zone again on this turn but didn’t contest mine – as he was running out of low cost activations to enable him to do so.  The turn ended then at 2-3.

Fourth Turn

The tide was turning, and so I resolved to translate that into moving forward toward a scenario win this turn.  Each of two Drillers were Given two focus while Ossrum sat on two for an Energizer move.  Ragman threw another lob up and the Forge Guard wrapped up their fight with the Griffons on that side.  Stacy redeemed herself by taking care of Eiryss and the remaining Eliminator took care of the Arcanist currently in the zone.  One of the fully loaded Drillers teamed up with the Driller which had only powered up to take care of the last Griffon on that side and the other Driller with full focus took out an Arcanist in his friendly zone and the objective.  That left me with control of my own zone and the left circular zone, and poised to score his friendly zone as well if my remaining Blaster could just clean up the final Arcanist having a smoke in the back right (Vyros was in it as well but I wasn’t doing anything about him and of course I didn’t have to).  The Blaster, however, had other ideas and missed its boosted seven.  The Turn was a pretty good one despite that, and ended with me up 5-3.

On his turn he was faced with a rapidly diminishing set of resources, but Vyros still had himself, and wanted me to know it.  He did, and killed five Forgeguard with his activation before backing away.  Imperatus did its part as well, and took out the Driller that had popped his objective.  In the right side zone a Magister ko’ed Herne as well.  On the other side his Arcanists couldn’t do much but did get themselves in the zone.  He scored his, and I scored mine, so the turn ended 6-4.

Fifth Turn

The end was in sight, as the side zones were rapidly opening up to scoring.  The left side was a fairly sure thing, with plenty of attacks to deal with two Arcanists.  The right side was less sure, as the Magister was likely dead with both remaining Forge Guard within 4″ to walk and swing in his back, but another Arcanist sat on a hill towards the back end, asking me to hit either DEF 17 with Holts guns or DEF 15 with a Boneshaker.  The left side wrapped up without incident, as Stacy took out one Arcanist and Ossrum himself the other with a boosted gunshot.  The right took a little more effort – as the Forgeguard didn’t impress.  One missed the four to even hit the Magister and the other hit but didn’t actually kill.  Fortunately Jonne, who moved to the side to leave room for a last ditch charge from Holt, finally did the deed, hitting the Magister with his axe.  Holt then was more impressive, advancing and rolling the nine he needed immediately, taking care of the Arcanist far more smoothly.  The Eliminator finished my activations by running around into his zone to contest, and the game ended 9-4 in a scenario win.

Defense VI – Captain Damiano v. Aurum Adeptus Syvestro

The Crucible Guard pair that was presented for the second challenge of the evening was one that looked like a good test for Damiano – a Toro-heavy list with Locke and a more infantry heavy list with Syvestro.  Neither seemed to be outside of his range – the one presenting a reasonable amount of armor but not so much that a little +3 Strength couldn’t make headway and the other the prospect of super high DEF Rocketmen – but then Damiano is about as capable as they come of dealing with DEF skews.  Syvestro ended up being the drop, and as has become a tradition my +1 to go first was the less effective of the two.

Deployment and First Turn

My opponent deployed his battlegroup centrally with his Assault Troopers and Artillery paired to my right and his Rocketmen and Forge Guard to the left, somewhat behind a forest just out of his deployment zone.  These pairings helped me line up my fights fairly well for the early game – the Idrians were set up to move to skirmish with the Rocketmen (who were declared their Prey) and to follow up into the Forge Guard if things went well.  The Eliminators also were deployed toward the left – both because those two targets were where they’d be best used and because that allowed me to keep them away from the Rockets and so safe in the early game.  The Battlegroup kept mostly central but was shifted slightly to the right, ready to fight against their counterpart warjacks and against the heavy infantry.  Kell and Eiryss also went that way, happy to have easy to hit targets with Carapace but only five wounds to pick on.  On his first tun Syvestro moved up and put Transmutation on the Rocketmen and Admonition on the SuppressorThe Piper put Dirge of Mists on the Rocketmen and they ran – trusting in DEF 18 and needing to get forward both to begin to operate as a relatively short offensive unit and the best bet for early contesting pieces in the Crucible Guard list.

That didn’t quite suffice, as at RAT 7 with Prey and with the help of Deadeye from Damiano (who also cast Road to War) the Idrians were able to take individual shots at the Rocketmen which they could draw a bead on and were a coin flip to hit.  The unit also used its minifeat to Go to Ground and took out five Rocketmen in total (those which they could see).  The Eliminators moved up behind them, making sure not to give up backstrikes if Hutchuk wanted to try to charge one after ambushing in, and the warjacks, Forge Guard and Alexia started establishing themselves on the right side.  Kell moved up to threaten through the right circular zone while keeping out of 11″ of the board edge and with rough terrain to hold off Hutchuk and Eiryss moved into a forest (and too close to one Idrian) to Disrupt the Suppressor.

Second Turn

The Vindicator punished the misplacement of Eiryss by taking her off the table with blast damage after aiming and boosting to hit the nearby Idrian.  The Suppressor moved up and managed to take care of two more Idrians with its sprays as well as doing a couple of  damage to the Freebooter and lighting it on fire.  Rhupert mixed things up by pipping tough onto the Rocketmen, and then Syvestro Revived a couple and they mostly just moved up to establish a presence in the left zone and in my defensive zone while using Defensive Action to keep up their DEF 18.  The Alchemists directly hit another Idrian and corroded another.  The rest of his list just ran to continue to set up for future turns.  Hutchuk, without a juicy target, simply ran into the right zone to screen my Nomad from his Assault Troopers.

On my second turn I decided that I should feat – more to help myself weather what was going to be his highest leverage offensive turn than for offensive benefit (something that proved more true than I’d expected based on later activations).  Damiano allocated one to the Toro and two to the far right Nomad, keeping two to Deadeye the Idrians.  He did, and then feated on his own activation.  The Idrians continued to impress, aiming almost across the board and just hammering the Rocketmen, missing only a single attack on the turn.  Orin, stupidly, activated before them, however, and so missed a boosted 11 to Chain Lightning rather than waiting to clean up a model that made a tough check and was knocked down.  The Eliminator units moved in to clean up some of the models that did tough, and to start working towards his friendly zone and to control his ability to contest on the left.  The Buccaneer (the Vanguard model – I didn’t quite pack right) contributed as well, getting behind a Rocketman in my zone and boosting to spear it. The Freebooter, as is often true, was fungible enough that it went in on the Suppressor to take care of its Admonition move and to get into the far zone.  Alexia then set up the Toro for a second charge on the Suppressor by gunning down an Alchemist and it went in and missed all of its attacks – the only attacks that would have meaningfully benefitted from the offensive part of Conquest on the turn (though because the Idrians were absolutely lights out all game I don’t have much complaint equity on the whole).  Kell set up Anastasia with two shots into Hutchuk and she finished the job with a charge on the other side.  This would have allowed my Nomad to walk in on two of the Assault Troopers, but would also have taken it out of my control area and so out of range to be protected by Conquest, so I instead sat on its focus.  The other Nomad, however, punched another Alchemist to get into position to back up the Toro. I scored at the end of the turn 1-0.

Turn Three

Syvestro did feat in response and used the Suppressor to put Rust on both the Freebooter and the Toro.  The Suppressor then punched but did very little actual damage to the Toro – it was still swinging at -7 on its damage rolls.  The Rocketmen, aided by two more Revives (Syvestro also swapped Transmutation onto the Forge Guard using his free cast) put their Slug Guns into the Freebooter, doing much better damage, and moved up one last time to contest my zone.  The Vindicator also blasted the Freebooter, putting it in dire straits.  The Forge Guard were somewhat screened by the forest on the left, but both finished off the Freebooter and took out one Eliminator in each unit.  Morely used Revivifier as well.  The Assault Troopers went in on my heavies on the right – and despite the help of the feat did only okay damage – because of Conquest they were rolling uphill.  The two rocket batteries gunned down Stacy – neither hitting but the two managing to kill her between them (I think the first probably should have because it didn’t declare a shot type and then left her on two boxes – which would have been lethal had it used Withering Humor).  With the Toro still in his zone no scoring occurred, leaving us at 1-0.

On my third turn Damiano dropped Road to War and just dished out four focus – two each to the Toro (which was largely fine but had lost its shield arm) and to the central Nomad (which was entirely functional).  Alexia took out one Assault Trooper on a charge, and the Nomad took down three more.  The Toro took out the remaining one and put two swings into the Suppressor – making reasonable inroads.  Kell deprived one of the rockets of its two crewmen and the two remaining eliminators cleaned up four Forge Guard between them.  Damiano then had a play of the game moment by aiming and using Blaster to hit five Forge Guard with POW 12s (they weren’t benefitting from Wall of Steel at the time) and improbably all five failed their 4+ tough rolls.  Orin redeemed himself by taking aim at and boosting to hit the remaining Forge Guard, rolling three leaps and taking out three Rocketmen, though the Forge Guard survived via tough (tough rolls were few and far between this turn). The Buccaneer took out another Rocketman as it had the first and the Idrians cleaned up – taking out the remaining Rocketmen with aimed shots before swapping Prey to the Forge Guard and popping both the one downed member of the unit and Morely, finally swapping Prey to the Objective for one shot and a few damage.  That left me with the left zone firmly won and two more points at the end of my turn for a 3-0 lead. 

In a bad way on scenario and with his resources running low my opponent decided to concede.  After the game we talked about how this game was a good illustration of the value of the idea of pairing pieces – which can be especially important as the first player.  In a given matchup some element of a list can be the clear target of something in the list opposing – like the Rocketmen as (in multiple ways) the prey of the Idrians in this case or the Forge Guard as especially vulnerable to the Eliminators.  When this is true, and especially when the element of the list isn’t especially mobile and so can’t easily redeploy (again Forge Guard are a good example) one can try to make the best of things by pairing that vulnerable piece with the list elements that most effectively threaten the bullying piece – the artillery pieces in this case.  This idea worked out fairly well for me in an earlier tournament game with Connie B into Lich III.  There I backed up my Idrians with Gallant.  When my opponent buffered the Preyed Slayer with Cloak of Ash I was able to make the most of my paired modules by unleashing Gallant to paste the first Slayer with Purgation and then make inroads into another while also setting up the Idrians to swap Prey to another Slayer for a big damage burst into another durability skew.  This buddy system approach can help cover holes and make the most out of the lemons in a given matchup.

That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading!

As per the first entry in this series I’m going to do my level best to keep writing up summaries of every challenge or defense as a part of the King of Coins league.  Please look here for that first post and an explanation of what exactly is going on.  Week two of holding the Trollblood coin promised to be a little more treacherous than the first – as I was going to participate in a local SR and as per my own idea (and so my own fault) I’d put my pair up to a vote – and so I was going to be bringing Shae and Connie B.  That promised to be a wild ride, but didn’t necessarily bode well for my ability to defend.  Nevertheless, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Because I was focusing on tracking my league games I didn’t take pictures throughout the entire event so instead I’ll provide a brief synopsis of four out of the five games and then a more full report of the one challenge that occurred along the way.  With 30 players the event was about as big as local SRs get, and the level of competition was pretty stiff as well.  Connie represented well on the day – getting me out of a shaky matchup into Bradigus round one with an assassination that was 90% Harlan Versh and then getting through 7 of Asphyxious 3’s 9 Slayers en route to a scenario victory in round four.  Shae didn’t embarrass me either (and the practice with Shae prompted by the pair has helped me to appreciate how much I enjoy playing him – something I’ll expand on later) – going 2-1 on the day and falling short in the finals in a game that I really didn’t have a great solution for (into Sloan 4×4 and its inventor – the excellent Anthony Gibbs) when a better shot at assassination than I’d hoped for given the matchup didn’t work out.  He fared better into Maelok and into Asphyxious 1 speaking of which:

Challenge 2 – Shae vs. Asphyxious 1

In this one I was matched up with prior and subsequent coin holder Brad Park.  He’d brought Goreshade 2 as well – but in our first game it would have been a disappointment if I hadn’t been given the full Brad Park experience – and Brad isn’t a man to disappoint.  So Asphyxious 1 and Scourge of the Broken Coast it was – this list:

[Asphyxious 1] Iron Lich Asphyxious [+28]
– Corruptor [14]
– Nightwretch [7]
– Nightwretch [7]
Axiara Wraithblade [0(6)]
Eilish Garrity, the Occultist [5]
Satyxis Raider Captain [0(4)]
Satyxis Raider Captain [4]
Severa Blacktide [0(6)]
Satyxis Blood Witches (min) [8]
– Satyxis Blood Hag [4]
Satyxis Gunslingers [7]
Satyxis Gunslingers [7]
Satyxis Raiders (max) [16]
– Satyxis Raider Sea Witch [4]
Satyxis Raiders (max) [16]
– Satyxis Raider Sea Witch [4]

Neither of my lists obviously lined up well with his but neither was either obviously dead in the water.  I decided to go with Shae because the combination of Parasite and Consuming Blight (Asphyious’ feat) would be a big blow that would inevitably hit either list but would hurt Connie more because it would come as a counter to her own feat and one that I couldn’t very reliably stop or punish.  Shae is also just the more powerful warcaster of the two, so if neither list had a clear edge he’s a safer default pick.

So Shae it was, who brought a list that looked like this:

[Shae 1] Captain Phinneus Shae [+28]
– Freebooter [9]
– Nomad [11]
– Nomad [11]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [0(7)]
Lord Rockbottom [0(4)]
Rutger Shaw, Professional Adventurer [0(4)]
– Freebooter [9]
Savio Montero Acosta [0(6)]
Alexia Ciannor & the Risen [10]
Idrian Skirmishers (max) [15]
– Idrian Skirmisher Chieftain & Guide [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]
The Commodore Cannon & Crew [7]
The Devil’s Shadow Mutineers [8]

A fuller discussion of Shae deserves a separate post but part of what I’ve enjoyed about him is how much he lends to building a list with multiple lines of play and with a number of microsynergies.  He may be the best assassin in Mercenaries, though the faction is one with a few B/B+ entries (Ossrum, Gastone 2) and no absolute powerhouses in that regard.  We played Spread the Net in this one – which is generally to the advantage of a Mercs player because the faction has a lot of options for strong scenario play and tends to naturally build lists to support them – but which was more of an even prospect in this case because Scourge has a lot of the same strengths.

Deployment and First Turn

I was fortunate enough to win the roll off and took the opportunity to go first in a battle of  very fast armies.  Brad sensibly took the side with a central wall 15-18″ up the board.  Walls are actually one of the better defenses against some of the Mercenary assassination options because they can make both slams and throws harder to execute.  On my first turn I played things more or less by the book – putting Phantasm on the Idrian unit (just to avoid having to worry about the Gunslingers on the first turn in this case) and Storm Rager on Acosta.  the Warjacks moved up fairly aggressively because nothing in Lich’s list really discouraged my doing so and I positioned most of my ranged threats (Eyriss, the Cannon, the Idrians, Holt, Alexia) with an eye toward being able to put shots into a target behind that wall – it was a safe guess that Lich would be headed that way.

He did just that on Brad’s first turn – sending a Nightwretch forward to partially hide behind a central building letting Lich tag the Idrians with Parasite (aided with a reroll from Eilish) to play for a second turn feat and then teleporting to get up to the wall.  Mindful that Lich was in range of one or both Freebooters there Brad filled in the gaps around him with a few Raiders, making the prospect of a melee assassination much more dubious.  The rest of the army moved up somewhat cautiously, and a unit of Raiders that were the Idrian’s prey clustered on a hill.

Turn Two 

Part of what makes Shae unique is his ability to set up throws – which are very powerful in Mk 3 – from farther away than just about anyone else in the game.  In this case the Nightwretch that had landed Parasite was within 5.5″ of Lich and because the Raiders were fanned out around him there were targets for throws that landed it on top of him without intersecting the wall.  Given the volume of shots I had to put into him it seemed like a pretty plausible option to take, and so I did.  Shae allocated two to his Freebooter, advanced, feated, and cast Coup De Main.  The Freebooter then (unnecessarily, as Brad and I discussed afterward – it actually was in range to just advance) charged in and boosted all three attacks to chain attack throw the Nightwretch into Lich – who chose to eat his one focus in order to avoid a couple of damage staring down Eyriss 1.  She immediately proceeded to miss, but nothing else did, and after CRAs from the Idrians and shots from Holt and Alexia the Commodore finished the job.

That’s it for coin league games from the event, which might eventually get a write-up of its own, but for now our focus is elsewhere.

Challenge 3 – Constance Blaize vs. Aurum Adeptus Syvestro

The Crucible Guard were back for another go – with much the same list as last week (which might be a matter of the very limited set of models available to the faction than anything else).  As the pilot was one of the set who betrayed me and stuck me with Connnie B for the tournament it behooved me to keep her in my pair for the day – she had one more job to do.  My other list was declared as Ossrum because the coin league wants players to abide by SR convention, but it was Connie B all the way for this one.

Here’s her list:

[Blaize 1] Constance Blaize, Knight of the Prophet [+30]
– Gallant [17]
– Mariner [14]
Anastasia di Bray [3]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [0(7)]
Harlan Versh, Illuminated One [0(4)]
Kell Bailoch [0(5)]
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord [0(4)]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (min) [10]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (min) [10]
Idrian Skirmishers (max) [15]
– Idrian Skirmisher Chieftain & Guide [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]
Precursor Knights (min) [9]
– Precursor Knight Officer & Standard [4]

And Syvy’s as well:

[Syvestro 1] Aurum Adeptus Syvestro [+28]
– Suppressor [13]
– Vindicator [15]
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist [4]
Hutchuk, Ogrun Bounty Hunter [0(6)]
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord [4]
Combat Alchemists [7]
Crucible Guard Assault Troopers (max) [13]
Crucible Guard Rocketmen (max) [15]
– Crucible Guard Rocketman Captain [4]
– Rocketman Gunner (3) [6]
Dragon’s Breath Rocket [0(5)]
Dragon’s Breath Rocket [0(5)]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (max) [16]
– Doctor Adolpheus Morley [4]

Deployment and First Turn

His +1 to go first proved more powerful than mine and so I deployed on a side of the table with an extended trench that would make delivering my eliminators to the fight much easier.  Even more conveniently, the Forge Guard were deployed opposite them, something that we talked about as an advantage to avoid giving me – not only are they ordinarily easy pickings for MAT 7/9 models with Anatomical Precision – their extra defenses in CG – different flavors of tough –  are no defense at all.  On his first turn Transmutation went up on the Rocketmen and Admonition on his Suppressor.  On mine the Eliminators and Stacy made their way to the trench and I took advantage of the Run order the Rocketmen had been given to deviate a shot from the Mariner into them and kill three.  The Idrians (also preying the rocketmen) moved up and dug in, staying more than 7.5″ away from the Rocketmen so that they couldn’t be taken out of cover without the Rocketmen giving up some of their own defenses.  Eyriss wandered over to stand on a hill – it wasn’t exactly a value play but I was inclined to get Hutchuk onto to the table sooner rather than later and she had better than even odds of surviving my using her as bait.  At the very least a few Forgeguard were around to complete the trade.

Second Turn

This was another fairly uneventful turn for him – as there wasn’t a great deal that he could productively do.  His Vindicator did aim and rip the Anchor arm off of my Mariner, and the Alchemists in the left zone corroded but didn’t otherwise threaten it and the eliminators nearby.  On the right side the Suppressor took out 1-2 Idrians with a spray and tried to look inconspicuous standing so near to Gallant with an upkeep on it (though one that would likely not be on it for very long, fortunately for it).  By the end of the turn Syvestro was, however, within 12″ of Anastasia, and while Espionage is not quite the monster it was in MK 2 in MK 3 (which is for the best) it’s still a very powerful and interesting ability.  Knowing, then, that I was going to be able to have it all on my second turn I put together an order of activations to make sure that both warjacks and every unit would be able to benefit from the movement provided.  The Eliminators pounced on the Forgeguard and killed seven of them (which is to say a 1-1 was rolled for one of their attacks) and the Forgeguard behind them put Hutchuk to a tough (passed) and killed two of the Alchemists, Holt moved up to kill the third.  Connie cast Crusader’s Call, feated, and moved up into the trench.  Harlan moved up behind and killed two of the Rocketmen – who were still within his spread despite being DEF 18 to the rest of the world.  Kell aimed and killed one of the Assault troops and the Prescursors moved up in Shield Wall, making sure that one of their number was forward enough to be in range for Stacy.  Stacy activated at that point, and everyone changed places.  The Idrians moved up so that the entire unit could aim into the Rocketmen, the left side Forgeguard clumped up again, the Eliminators moved around behind the remaining Forge Guard to contest the flag and Gallant (with Pathfinder from my objective) moved up to threaten the middle of the table and to prompt the Suppressor to take its Admonition move.  It did, and Gallant proceeded to spend its activation killing a couple of Rocketmen.  Despite Prey and Aiming the Idrians managed to kill only 2-3 more Rocketmen – they needed to be in pods of three to have reasonable odds of hitting (6s at that point).  Because I’d chosen to keep Kell aiming to make more inroads into the Assault Troops there was no scoring at the end of the turn.

Turn Three

Syvestro feated on this turn, as this was as much offensive output as was going to be available going forward.  The Suppressor started things off by putting Rust on Gallant, and then the Rocketmen and Assault Troops combined to bring it down.  A second shot from the Suppressor (incendiary) killed two Forgeguard and a Precursor – netting me two souls (the Knight was out of my control).  On the other side the remaining Forgeguard weren’t able to do much swinging for tens against the eliminators even with Syvestro’s help.  In the middle the Idrians were less invulnerable, and four died to Assault troops, Rocketmen, and Gorman.  the left rocket battery was engaged and the right chose to run rather than drift onto models it wouldn’t likely threaten.

Stacy, however, was still on the table by turn’s end, and so I was able to put together another plan around having a great deal of mobility (and twelve focus).  The Eliminators took care of Gorman, Morely, and the Forgeguard remaining, and my Forgeguard on the same side finally won their fight with Hutchuk and moved up.  Harlan polished off two more Rocketmen (two more had been revived over the course of the game) and the Forgeguard and Precursors on the other side killed the Toro and three assault troopers between them.  Aiyana harmed the objective and the remaining Idrians killed it.  With one zone clear that put me at two points and threatening to score either zone and both flags on the following turn, which prompted my opponent to concede.

Challenge Four – General Ossrum vs. Fyanna, Torment of Everblight

The last challenge of the week proved to be a phenomenal grind – one that ended with a combined eight models on the table and 1:15 on both clocks.  Local meta heavyweight an actual Trollblood player (though not in this one) Donnie Smith challenged me.  His Primal Terrors has been as terrifying as advertised lately so it was probably for the best that I rolled up Ossrum as my drop in this one.

Donnie was bringing:

[Fyanna 2] Fyanna, Torment of Everblight [+28]
– Golab [17]
– Neraph [12]
– Seraph [14]
– Ammok the Truthbearer [4]
Warmonger War Chief [5]
Blighted Ogrun Warmongers (max) [13]
– Gorag Rotteneye [6]
Blighted Rotwings (max) [12]
Chosen of Everblight (max) [20]
Hellmouth [0(6)]
Hellmouth [0(6)]

I was mixing things up a little in my Ossrum list – seeing how a heavier infantry presence felt (though the solo selection was more a matter of having taken some of the usual suspects out of my bag prior the weekend tournament):

[Ossrum 1] General Ossrum [+28]
– Ghordson Basher [9]
– Ghordson Basher [9]
– Ghordson Driller [10]
– Ghordson Driller [10]
– Ghordson Driller [10]
– Grundback Blaster [6]
– Grundback Blaster [6]
– Grundback Blaster [6]
Anastasia di Bray [3]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [0(7)]
Harlan Versh, Illuminated One [0(4)]
Kell Bailoch [0(5)]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [0(5)]
Herne & Jonne [5]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (max) [16]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]

Deployment and First Turn

I was fortunate enough to score a minor coup in this one in being able to get a Hellmouth off of the board right way – there was a central forest that I knew would make it impossible to reliably threat one of the two with Kell and Eyriss – who are tasked with dealing with those things in this matchup – but the other side was more open.  The one did go down, as it wasn’t entirely out of LOS and with Snipe Kell is a hard man to keep out of aiming range.  Otherwise things moved forward.  Ossrum is lucky enough not to have to worry about keeping things out of range of tentacles and so I was somewhat aggressive.  In addition to Snipe on Kell Fire for Effect went on Jonne.

On his first turn Fyanna decided that the feat was necessary to protect a somewhat aggressive advance and so moved up and used it, also using Slipstream to get the Seraph into range to fire at Eyriss.  It moved up and took her out and then also did a few damage to my most forward Basher (more important here than it normally would be because of Gholab’s Finisher ability).  The Rotwings (Swordsmen in these images) moved up in a fuzzy line while the Chosen kept to the left side behind a forest and the Warmongers moved up, some clustering in the same trench on the board, and were given Iron Flesh.  Admonition went up on the Seraph, and Fury on the Chosen.

Turn Two

For a Fyanna feat turn things went fairly well for me.  The Rotwings were easier targets – as I didn’t need to play fair to get damage rolls on them, and Jonne and Orin between them took out six while only hitting one (Jonne direct hit one with his scattershot).  Blasters contributed to the effort and one or two were brought low by Flackfield and by the end of the turn the unit was gone.  The Seraph took more effort but was similarly off the table by turn’s end – taking fire from Harlan (because of Admonition) and then moving in response to an early move forward from a Driller only to then be charged by another and then finally finished by a Basher that walked around it and boosted for the final damage roll. The Eliminators charged in for scenario purposes – one of them was far enough away so as to be irrelevant, but the other hit the central maw of the Hellmouth twice and walked around into contesting the far flag.

Donnie came back with a vengeance (but not with Vengeance) and with the Warmongers, warbeasts, and Chosen took out both Bashers pretty comfortably, but only one of the Eliminators (the one contesting).  He ended up scoring one at the end of the turn.

Third and Forth Turns

Things were holding together so far, but PT can do a huge amount of damage without very many models and I needed to be mindful of that.  I was not quite mindful enough, and so over the next two turns traded Two Drillers, a Blaster, and all of the Forge Guard for the Neraph, the Bloodgorgers and one of the Chieftain solos (Donnie had two on the table I think, which was probably a mistaken legacy of other PT lists he’s been testing) as well as the Chosen.  Fyanna herself took care of the remaining Eliminator and Stacy (who jumped in on the same side to help out the effort on scenario.  Donnie also took out my objective and by the end of what I think (this was a long game and both time and turns went slightly weird) was turn four he was up 7-5 on scenario and both of our clocks were getting low.

(This is probably the end of turn three)

Fifth and Sixth(?) Turns

Donnie was a little ahead on scenario but down a little on resources and on clock, and so he committed Gholab in a combined stalling and threatening effort.  The complexity of having to balance this with getting Fyanna around in the left zone to clear it of a Blaster that had run in resulted in Gholab’s being able to get in on the final blaster in the right zone to remove it, but unable to move in on the Driller beside it while still in Fyanna’s control area.  This put Donnie up four scenario points, but left Gholab flapping (as it were) in the wind.  This let me take Donnie down to just Fyanna and the Hellmouth itself and up 9-7 at the beginning of his own sixth turn.  More significantly, he had only seconds left on his clock, which expired as he tried to both clear Orin and get a tentacle in position to prevent my scoring my flag.  This was a very close game throughout, and one that would have been very close on scenario if time had allowed it to continue for another turn (either a tie on scenario favoring me based on points remaining on the table or a one point win for him).

 This was just prior to my last full turn – the Driller moved up to take out Gholab andn get closer to the objective and his flag while Ossrum and Kell cleared off the tentacles and Aiyana and Holt moved up and started on the objective.

So this was a week of challenges from a formidable contingent of opponents, but the coin remains mine for now.  We’ll see whether that remains true a week from now.  Thanks for reading!

So, it’s been a while huh?  In the spirit of just doing the damn thing and getting the ball rolling once more I’m endeavoring to put together a series about a summer league in which I’m participating – which means plenty of battle report fodder.  The gist of the league is that there are coins – eight of them, one for each of the original factions – distributed across a few states.  Player participants are to challenge a coin holder in order to win one and then do their best to hold onto it through their own challenges – a sort of a multipart king of the hill.  This will eventually culminate in a tournament and in the meantime provides an impetus for games as well as bragging rights for those who can manage particularly impressive runs with one of the coins.

I wound up getting my first shot at becoming a coin holder this past week – taking aim at the Trollblood coin (not one I particularly targeted, but the one I was in a position to play for).  The rules (and instructions for participation if you’re in the right general area and want to) are fully available here, but the essential details are that games are to be at 75 points in a two list SR format.  The game was played on Recon (the new SR 2018 iteration) and featured Shae on my end and Issyria on the part of my opponent.  More exactly he brought this:

[Issyria 1] Issyria, Sibyl of Dawn [+29]
– Banshee [18]
– Hemera [16]
Aelyth Vyr, Blade of Nyssor [0(5)]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [0(7)]
Fane Knight Skeryth Issyen [0(8)]
Ghost Sniper [3]
Ghost Sniper [3]
House Vyre Electromancers [8]
– Soulless Escort (1) [1]
Ryssovass Defenders (max) [16]
– Soulless Escort (1) [1]
Arcantrik Force Generator [17]
Arcantrik Force Generator [17]

and I brought this:

[Shae 1] Captain Phinneus Shae [+28]
– Freebooter [9]
– Nomad [11]
– Nomad [11]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [0(7)]
Lord Rockbottom [0(4)]
Rutger Shaw, Professional Adventurer [0(4)]
– Freebooter [9]
Savio Montero Acosta [0(6)]
Alexia Ciannor & the Risen [10]
Idrian Skirmishers (max) [15]
– Idrian Skirmisher Chieftain & Guide [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]
The Commodore Cannon & Crew [7]
The Devil’s Shadow Mutineers [8]

Deployment and First Turn

He went first (them’s the breaks when you decide you don’t need to bring Stacy – which by the way you do) kept both AFG’s fairly central with the Defenders, combat solos, and Hemera pointed towards his right hand zone and close flag, with the Banshee and Electromancers going the other way.  I kept my deployment fairly neutral, but put the DSM and both units of Eliminators towards the left hand zone where they could fight into Ret infantry that their attacks were well suited for and the battlegroup models slightly right of center so that they could use a forest to avoid as much AFG fire as was possible on the way in.

On his first turn Issyria put Inviolable Resolve on the Defenders and Admonition on the Banshee, then cast Crusader’s Call to help the AFGs get up the table.  I responded on my first turn by putting Phantasm on the Idrians, Storm Rager on Acosta, and doing what I could to keep his really debilitating offensive tools from being effectively in play.  Alexia moved up to take advantage of whatever corpses would be generated and Acosta hid just behind a pillar on my side of the right zone, waiting to hopefully free up his charge lane with a Vengeance move.

Second Turn 

This turn largely bore out my positioning choices, as nothing really horrendous happened, but I didn’t do a particularly fantastic job playing around exposing some of the Idrians to electroleap shots from the Electromancers (they should have been pushed farther forward than they were and the ‘jacks should have been more closely packed to use their ARM and the flag to absorb bounces).  The Idrians paid for my shortcomings to the tune of five models.  One of the Freebooters also took a hit from his Banshee, though because of Lashed and DEF 12 the ancillary chaser missed, and as a result it wasn’t in bad shape by turn’s end.  I was doubly punished as Acosta wasn’t provided a Vengeance move because of the non-attack nature of electroleaps.  Alexia, at least, picked up all five corpses.

If there’s one thing that Shae encourages its a reach that exceeds one’s grasp – he provides enough threat on top of the strange vectors the list already has that it always seems like he’s poised for a knockout punch that you may or may not see soon enough to throw it.  In this case I had aspirations of an assassination because Issyria was only around 17″ from the marshaled Freebooter, and there’s often a way to make up a little distance via least disturbance.  My fundamentals saved me from myself, because while I didn’t actually manage that (I did knock her down) I did manage to have a productive turn towards the victory conditions that were more realistic.  Shae gave two to his Freebooter and then went fairly early in the actual turn sequence, moving up, feating and casting Coup de Main.  A Godspeed move provided me with a way to get Admonition out of the way early in the turn, and five Idrians got into the Objective to clean it up.  Another ran into melee with the Banshee to set up Gang for the marshaled Freebooter now that I knew where the Myrmidon was going to be for the turn.  The Eliminators got into the Defenders, killing six total and sidestepping their way up the field – one getting into contesting range of his flag and another getting into a trench in melee with Eyriss.  The DSM trailed after, and Moreland used a Payday coin to clean up two more Defenders while the others set up in a trench to continue the grind on my next turn.  The Marshaled Freebooter then went in (Crush!) and did about twenty damage to the Banshee before throwing it onto Issyria (this was the point at which I should have recognized that I didn’t have and didn’t need that kind of hail mary play on the turn and used a headbutt and my final attack to likely wreck the heavy instead) while the other Freebooter took care of the remaining Electromancers.

All in all it was an effective turn with a couple of missteps (the Cannon didn’t fire) which nevertheless put me in a position to put on serious scenario pressure – I took my zone and flag and with the objective went to 3-0 before passing the turn back.

37146506_10212425952579200_2357912718809235456_n.jpg

The game as it was at the end of my second turn – the scenario heat has been turned up.

Third Turn

On my opponent’s third turn Issyria counterfeated and the Ret army hit back pretty hard.  Issyan, the remaining Defenders, and Aelyth cleared off the Ret. flag and Eyriss, and she then shot but did not kill Moreland.  The AFGs and the Banshee (much the worse for wear but still hitting with a busted 2″ sword) managed to take down both Freebooters between them, and Hemera took out three more of the Idrians.  A ghost sniper got another on the right side to use its Swift Hunter move to get into my zone to contest, but nothing got in on my flag, and so scoring remained even on the turn 1-1 to put me up 4-1 when he passed back to me.

Needing only to kill the Ghost Sniper I moved in Acosta (MAT 11 ya’ll) and then Moreland ran in to block scoring on his flag and, that accomplished, I ended the game to win at 6-1 and take hold of the Trollblood coin.

Post Mortem

So a fairly effective outing despite a muddied plan.  Mercenaries are a fairly strong faction on scenario and while they don’t always have incredible tools to actually kill AFGs (then again who does?) they do have ways to pressure lists with them to punish their relatively static threat.  I don’t think I made perfect use of my resources in this one, but I did, at least, keep my eyes on the prize in making sure I was making efficient scenario plays on each turn, and that was ultimately a plan I was better equipped to pursue to a successful end to the game.

The quality of Shae as a warcaster is a somewhat divisive issue among Mercenary players.  I’ve been positively impressed so far – I both enjoy playing him because he lends himself to divisive lists full of microsynergies and dynamic activations and while he hasn’t quite been Ossrum so far he hasn’t seemed obviously inferior to Ashlynn, who I view as the quintessential respectable but not intimidating Mercenary warcaster.  He has the ability to generate a lot of assassination pressure, however, which is fairly unique in Mercenaries as a natural result of balanced list building (you can design for it but the faction doesn’t exactly encourage you to) and that combined with his mobility and very Mercenary ability to generate impressive trades with spare parts (something like a Thrall warrior, a hand cannon shot and a Freebooter for a Cadillac heavy) adds up to a Warcaster that I think deserves consideration as a legitimate competitive option.

This should be the first in a series of posts about Coin League games – about my defenses for the short term, and perhaps about challenges for other coins in future.  Thanks for reading and I hope you’re back for more!

This past weekend I attended a 20 person local steamroller and brought the familiar pair of Ossrum and Thexus, lists as follows:

(Ossrum 1) General Ossrum [+28]
– Ghordson Basher [9]
– Ghordson Driller [10]
– Ghordson Driller [10]
– Ghordson Driller [10]
– Grundback Blaster [6]
– Grundback Blaster [6]
– Grundback Blaster [6]
– Grundback Gunner [6]
– Grundback Gunner [6]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [0(7)]
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist [0(4)]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [0(5)]
Ragman [0(4)]
Horgenhold Artillery Corps [6]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (min) [10]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (min) [10]
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]

(Thexus 1) Exulon Thexus [+29]
– Warden [10]
– Warden [10]
– Wrecker [14]
Cephalyx Agitator [3]
Cephalyx Agitator [3]
Machine Wraith [2]
Machine Wraith [2]
Cephalyx Mind Bender & Drudges (max) [11]
Cephalyx Mind Bender & Drudges (max) [11]
Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges (max) [12]
Cephalyx Overlords [0(8)]
Cephalyx Overlords [0(8)]
Croe’s Cutthroats (max) [16]
– Cephalyx Dominator [1]
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]
– Cephalyx Dominator [1]

The questions that I was particularly interested in answering throughout the event were:

  • Whether I should give into my dissatisfaction with Forge Guard and move to an entirely battlegroup and “other” list model with Ossrum (I think Cory Doyle has run a list along the lines of what I’m imagining).
  • Whether the Croes held up their end with Thexus.  I’m not necessarily that enchanted with the backstab/TK combination because they still tend to run into problems with really formidable ARM values, but Thexus is already such a good scenario warcaster I wondered whether he might be able to make a lot out of having an AD presence.  I also had faint inklings that Croe himself and Silencer might be tech for some matchups (e.g. Kolgrimma as a way to stave off giving up looks at an assassination by shooting Mulg).
  • Whether I felt that I needed a more straightforward midrange list to grind against stat skews (probably a Damiano list).
Round I – Breakdown

(Nemo 3) Artificer General Nemo [+25] in Storm Division
– Dynamo [18]
– Firefly [8]
– Firefly [8]
– Firefly [8]
– Firefly [8]
– Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator [4]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [4]
Stormsmith Stormcaller (3) [0(5)]
Stormsmith Stormcaller (3) [0(5)]
Stormsmith Storm Tower [4]
Storm Strider [18]
Storm Strider [18]

My opponent, a local, and I were a little miffed that we were matched up immediately (but of course you always are) and I was also a little miffed to have to play Nemo III on a fairly slow scenario.  On the top of turn one I ran, aiming to keep my options open if only I could get away with taking a solid shot at Nemo right away and duck having to have a real plan for the game.  This involved keeping lines of threat as open for both of the Gunners as possible around a central obstruction and being sure that Eiryss and the Artillery could manage to clear the same for LOS (but without making a show of measuring from either too much).  The former got Snipe and the latter Fire for Effect.  On the bottom of one Nemo didn’t quite play things safely enough.  He didn’t advance aggressively, but didn’t have to, really, and really I was happy to take what I could get.  Nemo ended the turn having put Electrify somewhere (not on himself, which was really what mattered) and Lightning Shroud somewhere else (not on himself either, but in this case it didn’t matter) and then on the top of two I threw a lot of dice at him.  Eiryss got the show started by seeing if I could roll a 5 and then, having proven that I could, I figured that I was feating this turn regardless of what happened vis a vis killing an elderly inventor, and so I did (but didn’t do damage).  I ran the Basher up into a trench to engage a Firefly near one Strider, to try to encourage poor scenario play as much as I could, but I then managed to avoid coming up with any more ideas because the Artillery and a Gunner killed him.

https://i.imgur.com/dEZXgW4.jpg https://i.imgur.com/WBJaFuI.jpg

Round II –  Standoff

(Mortenebra 1) Master Necrotech Mortenebra [+24] in Black Industries
– Deathjack [23]
– Deathripper [6]
– Malice [15]
– Reaper [13]
– Scavenger [0(7)]
– Scavenger [0(7)]
– Seether [13]
– Seether [13]
Machine Wraith [2]
Machine Wraith [2]
Necrotech [2]
Necrotech [2]
Warwitch Siren [4]
Warwitch Siren [4]

This looked like a job for Thexus to me, as I have generally been rewarded for trusting his ability to trade well with Cryx heavies, and it was Cryx heavies on the other side regardless of the list my opponent took (the other was also in BI – a Venethrax list).  This was also a good chance to test the premise that Croes are actually a live unit even against fairly shooting resilient lists that Ossrum might draw out (BI certainly being one, Forges another) because those lists don’t necessarily have the same durability in melee and Thexus facilitates their backstab charges as well as their backstab shooting.

After I moved up on the top of one my opponent responded by moving fairly aggressively and particularly by getting the DJ up behind a central obstruction with Spectral Steel on the bottom of one and trying to keep as safe from my Machine Wraiths as possible (mine were certainly the better Wraiths in the matchup).  I was reasonably sure that I had a decent long game, but also that the game would be pretty short if the Deathjack (or possibly any Cryx heavy) ever got to Thexus, so I spent a bit of time early making sure that I wasn’t within 16″ if I could possibly help it.  On the top of two I accepted that I would have to get within the magic distance if I wanted to have a decent feat, which I did, pulling the Reaper towards the ambushing slavers on the right, the Deathjack towards the Machine Wraith that hopefully spelled its end and TKing the Inflictor on the left side around to set up a Croe unit charge.  Everything went relatively well except in re: the Deathjack, which I failed to roll a five to hit.  I contented myself by trying to jam it up behind the central obstruction as thoroughly as I could, charging in a Warden and beating it back diagonally towards the Cryx deployment zone. The turn was otherwise relatively uneventful, though I managed to kill a Siren but not a Machine Wraith with the one Overlord in range on my right.  On the bottom of two the Deathjack and Seether certainly killed the sacrificial Warden very thoroughly, but otherwise things went fairly well, but he scored a point on his close zone and kept the others contested.  On the top of three I took down the Seether that had been playing patsy to the Deathjack and did a moderate amount of damage to it as well via Adrenal Flooded drudges.  At some point either during this turn or the turn previous I also brought down the two Scavengers.  I scored both my near zone and the right circular zone on the turn to go up 2-1.  On the bottom of three the Deathjack removed my Wrecker, and Malice continued to mostly soak up attacks and hoard souls, slowly fighting the Bender unit on the left but being ARM 22 and in a zone more than anything else.  He scored his near zone one again on this turn, 2-2.  On top of four the combination of a boosted hex blast and three AF drudges finished off the Deathjack, though after Aiyana whiffed her Harm roll.  My volume of attack advantage ground him down to Malice, his Deathripper (scuffed), Darryl and Mortenabra by the end of the turn, and I scored 2 to go up 4-2 (Thexus wasn’t quite ready to get into my friendly zone and my Monstrosities were now gone).  On bottom of four, without a much else to do, Morty went in herself and started collecting souls,  and Malice killed the remaining Warden, but I scored again at the end of the turn, 5-2.  That allowed me to walk Thexus into my near zone and end the turn on top of five to go up to 7-2 and win on scenario.  

https://i.imgur.com/kQ0cVCr.jpg https://i.imgur.com/jl3Vz77.jpg https://i.imgur.com/k2ZUcy8.jpg https://i.imgur.com/GE0kPXY.jpg https://i.imgur.com/CYHa9pM.jpg

Round III – Spread the Net 

(Amon 1) High Allegiant Amon Ad-Raza [+29] in The Creator’s Might
– Dervish [7]
– Devout [9]
– Indictor [15]
– Sanctifier [14]
– Sanctifier [14]
– Templar [15]
– Templar [15]
– Hierophant [0(3)]
Anastasia di Bray [3]
The Covenant of Menoth [0(4)]
Vassal of Menoth [0(3)]
Vassal of Menoth [3]
Wrack [1]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]

My opponent was somewhat concerned from the word go in this one, as he selected Amon out of concern for the Harbinger’s safety against Ossrum, while I assumed that he likely wouldn’t be interested in playing her, and so brought Thexus, content to see what I could do in the matchup if I did end up seeing Harby. He went first and moved forward on top of one, but had to give me a friendly zone that would be pretty punishing to contest, because an obstruction allowed me to really remove a warjack at a time without providing easy angles for retaliatory trades.  He was concerned a second time on bottom of one, as he appreciated the issue that my machine wraiths presented for him (he could attack them well enough because of the Sanctifiers, but couldn’t easily do anything about them until they were committed, which would generally entail sacrificing something much more valuable for the opportunity).  On top of two he moved a Sanctifier into my friendly zone, enlivining it because it was better to do than not.  The vassal responsible set up camp on his flag, with an Indictor for company. Contesting my friendly flag with a heavy was a bridge too far at this point, however, and so on bottom of two I killed the Sanctifier and crippled the cortex and sword arm of the Indictor with the ambushing drudges, positioning the rest of the unit so as to not easily give up backstrikes to Stacy (it wouldn’t do for a Merc to get got by ambush) and killed the Vassal with an Overlord.  A Machine Wraith ran to my flag and so I ended the turn up 2-0.  He felt that things did not portend a long and successful scenario game at this point, and so got aggressive, feating with Amon and ending the turn on one focus and in his friendly zone, which he scored.  He dealt with the wraith my flag with a Dervish after getting the Sanctifier in range.  I don’t believe he contested my friendly zone, and so the turn ended 3-1.  on top of three I felt I had something of a free roll at Amon, as I could probably score both my friendly zone and his flag and make attritional inroads with the drudges and monstrosities on that die of the board, leaving the Bender unit, Overlords, and Holt without anything quite as essential to do with their activations.  One of the overlords managed to hit him and did 1-2 damage through his single focus, and Thexus set Holt up by TKing him into range to aim, and Holt obliged by hitting twice and doing what I think was very average damage.  The Bender unit then advanced one drudge into melee via an Adrenal Flood and the one attack proved enough to force a tough roll, which Amon failed, saving me from having to continue a longer game on attrition and scenario.

https://i.imgur.com/Ew215di.jpg https://i.imgur.com/kEtAsKz.jpg

Round VI – Recon II

(Kolgrima 1) Kolgrima Stonetruth, Winter Witch [+28] in Power of Dhunia
– Dire Troll Bomber [19]
– Dire Troll Brawler [16]
– Dire Troll Mauler [15]
– Mulg the Ancient [22]
– Troll Axer [10]
– Trollkin Runebearer [0(5)]
Bog Trog Mist Speaker [4]
Troll Whelps [0(4)]
Troll Whelps [0(4)]
Dhunian Knot [6]
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (min) [6]
– Stone Scribe Elder [3]
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew [2]

There were three undefeated after four rounds, and I ended up being the pair down.  Fortunately we all agreed that we weren’t about to play through 10:30 or 11:00 and that we’d just split in the event that I won and we didn’t have a clear winner at the end of the round.  That decision proved wise as both my opponent and I were tired in this one.  Early on I cemented in his mind the conclusion that he didn’t like his chances in a long game by very nearly killing his Bomber for free via a Rampager and the Aiyana/Croe unit activations (and I will add because I can’t stop myself that I should actually have killed it).  He ended up spending his turn two (bottom of two) tanking for a good thirty minutes trying to find a way to kill me, which I didn’t think he could, as Thexus was on a hill, camping 3, with a shield guard and both on the other side of a forest from Kolgrimma and Mulg and more than 21″ from the former and 19″ from the latter (and there weren’t really viable Hunter’s Mark targets around, the angle that would be created would require Mulg to turn to face away from Thexus to get up the table).  Happily for me my opponent eventually decided that I had done a good job of avoiding offering any sort of viable assassination and he conceded, having taken up most of his clock and also having not done anything significant to keep his shot at attrition alive.

The night was capped off by discovering that the game that I didn’t have to play would have been into Madrak I.  I could certainly stand to get more practice in that one, but in this particular case I was more than happy to let the opportunity escape me.

The aim in this series is to talk about the core “psychographic” profiles as originally dreamed up by the Wizards of the Coast R&D department to try to encompass clusters of traits that they had begun to identify in particular players and which they used to help be sure that each set released contained something for everyone.  The profiles have been covered with more authority than I can provide there, but rather than try to further hijack the concept I’m going to explain each very briefly and then suggest what factions and within them particular themes and warcasters might be suited to a player who leans towards each profile.  Hopefully doing so will help players getting into the game to have a better sense of what might most appeal to them while also providing more experienced players food for thought, and direction when they get the urge to expand.

images

The first profile is the first to have been named – Timmy (“Power Gamer” is Timmy’s title, though not because he “power games” as the term is usually used in tabletop games, but because he likes big things).  Timmy plays for emotional experience and is drawn to excitement and to things that are big and dramatic and which create narratives in a game.  Timmy wants to win big when he wins, to win in one huge swoop, to wipe his opponent out entirely; Timmy sure isn’t worried about overkill.  Younger players are often a Timmy, but that doesn’t mean that older and experienced players can’t be, or that there’s anything wrong with being a Timmy (or that it’s something that you do or should outgrow).

In Warmachine then, Timmy would be drawn to things that are big, that look intimidating, that hit hard, and have high stats.  Timmy is a player generally not interested in paying costs for benefits (doing so feels bad) nor necessarily in being responsive to what the other player is doing (seeing cool and impressive things happen is part of the fun, as is a social experience, so Timmy would most naturally want everybody to do what they’re trying to do and see what happens).  So, naturally, the factions that we should recommend here are those that are the biggest, the meanest, and which look as much.

Timmy’s Top Factions

  • Khador
  • Trollbloods
  • Skorne
  • Legion

Khador

This is the easiest Timmy pick.  How many times have you heard the story of someone being drawn into the game by the chunky, brutal look of Khador heavies?  Khador in MKII was a faction that was more likely to seduce and then disappoint Timmy players than anything, but the faction is much closer to delivering on the desired play experience in MKIII.  Jaws of the Wolf and Armored Korps are perhaps the two most Timmy-friendly themes in the game.  Warcaster suggestions: Butcher I, Butcher III, Karchev, Vlad III, Sorscha III.

karchev-concept

Khador also doesn’t obviously pay for its strengths, not in a way that is immediately, viscerally apparent in game.  Khador generally pays in having fewer abilities that interact with enemy models to prevent them from leveraging their rules and strengths, or which allow the Khador player to solve problems that an enemy list might present (problems that aren’t models with DEF, ARM, and boxes, things like Incorporeal).  Khador is also a faction largely without rules that provide incentive to allow harm to come to your own models – relatively few instances of rules like Vengeance and Battle Driven, and very little in the way of alternative resource mechanics.  This also suits Timmy, who doesn’t generally like having to accept downsides in order to get benefits.  The general heartiness of Khadoran warcasters also suits Timmy.  Warcasters are often provided the stats and tools to be relatively potent combatants, but aren’t necessarily best used to make anything more than opportunistic attacks in many cases, but it is more often a good idea to get stuck in properly in Khador than in just about any other faction.

Trollbloods

Troll warbeasts are probably the closest Hordes analog for Khador warjacks in being visually intimidating and exciting in a way that often draws in players (though they have competition in Hordes in Legion, more on that upcoming).  The extreme Mauler has long been a favorite of painters and a model that draws oohs when done well.  The Mountain King (and now the Glacier and Sea Kings as well) is also still often lauded as one of the best and most inspiring sculpts in the game.  These models visually reflect the Troll identity of being bigger and meaner – and as Troll infantry has gotten bigger over time Troll heavy infantry lists similarly have a very satisfying beefiness.  The Mountain King is also a model which naturally creates very cinematic activations (in addition to being a strong huge base) between Bulldoze, Assault, and Kill Shot it can generate productive activations that might appeal to other players for other reasons, but which Timmy likes because they involve a huge monster being a huge monster.

A number of the other features of Khador also apply here – the relative lack of rules that benefit from taking damage (despite it being a feature of the faction’s style that it often takes the first hit in a fight – something that might cause tension for Timmy), the number of buffs possible (which can appeal to Johnny in a different way – in creating synergistic combo play), the number of high durability brawling warlocks available.

Warlock Suggestions: Madrak I, Madrak II, Borka II, Grissel II, Ragnor

Honorable Mentions – Skorne & Legion

Skorne is an honorable mention here because it has some claim to being the Hordes faction of big angry monsters in lieu of Trolls.  Titans appeal to a slightly narrower range of aesthetic sensibilities, in my experience, than do Dire Trolls, but they’re similarly impressive.  Skorne are, however, a faction that looks to use debuffs and denial more often than Khador or Trollbloods, and one that does have a significant soul collection subtheme.  That focus on cost-for-benefit play doesn’t suit Timmy nearly as well, and Cataphracts are less often seen currently as well – which is another aspect of the faction more likely to appeal to a Timmy.

Legion is here partially because there’s something about dragons for some people and because they have traditionally been the go to answer to anyone very new to the game who asks to be directed to a faction which doesn’t have to play any boring infantry – big monsters or robots only.  That last element of the faction’s identity has been somewhat eroded, and there are other elements of Legion which are not particularly in line with a Timmy experience (incremental damage and yo-yoing beasts), leaving Legion as a less pure Timmy draw.

Timmy’s Bottom Factions

  • Mercenaries
  • Circle
  • Grymkin
  • Cryx

The factions that populate this list are those that don’t necessarily create visually striking lists (Mercenaries, Cryx), which tend to have heavily responsible or denial based play (Circle, Grymkin, Mercs), which tend to focus on leveraging efficiency and cost-for-return rather than out and out exceptional stats (Cryx, Mercenaries) and which often focus on winning without a full blown engagement (Circle, Mercennaries).  This is not to say that each of these factions have nothing for a Timmy – waves of undead Cryxian warriors do appeal to a certain kind of Timmy in particular – but these are probably the factions that are farthest from the core Timmy experience.  I have to particularly note Cephalyx – which are control oriented, which have a strange aesthetic, which focus on cost effectiveness, and which have a heavy emphasis on paying significant costs for significant benefits, might be the farthest thing from a Timmy experience in Warmachine.

Top Timmy Warcasters for Each Faction

Cygnar – Lord Commander Stryker (Stryker II).
There’s not much more cinematic than overloading for three dice, and Stryker is a warcaster who is great at creating evocative experiences (though also a very Spike friendly option).
Honorable mentions – Siege II, Nemo III.

The Protectorate – Feora, Priestess of the Flame (Feora I).
Randomness is something which appeals to Timmy more so than any of the other player archetypes, and there are few things in the game which can lead to the stories that Scorched Earth (Feora’s feat) can.
Honorable Mentions – Reznik I, Feora III.

Khador – Karchev the Terrible
Karchev needs very little justification here – he’s a warcaster who is also a warjack (which has long been a very Timmy thing to be, even though it generally just makes him more vulnerable to more things in the game than he would be absent Man in the Machine).
Honorable Mentions – Butcher I, Butcher III.

Cryx – Lich Lord Venethrax
Countercharge is an ability that is very viscerally fun to pull off, and Venethrax, even when more niche and much more boring in MKII, long appealed as a warcaster who could brawl with battlegroups of warbeasts.  Cryx is a faction that is generally a little less well suited to Timmy experiences, and so while Vengeance of the Dragonfather (Venethrax’s feat, which is weirdly named given what it does), Deadweight, and Lamentation aren’t really Timmy rules to have, he is still probably holistically the best fit here.
Honorable Mentions – Terminus, Skarre III.

Retribution – Vyros, Incissar of the Dawnguard (Vyros II)
Retribution is another faction that isn’t perfectly suited to the Timmy experience, but Vyros II is a pretty solid offering.  Synergy is a Timmy-friendly spell (in making for good stories, in leading to big numbers and dramatic activations, in supporting battlegroup heavy play) and he is himself a pretty bad dude.  Tide of War (his feat) is, again, not a great Timmy fit, but it can sometimes suddenly create assassinations, which potentially creates exciting stories.
Honorable Mentions – Vyros I, Thyron, Ravyn.

Mercenaries – Bartolo Montador
Bart runs a Galleon and makes it do crazy, impressive things.  He produces some pretty intense numbers and, generally, effectively allows (nearly requires) you to play with the colossal as your de facto warcaster.  Broadsides can also create some unpredictable and dramatic effects (especially if Bart’s battlegroup has more ranged warjacks in it than it should).  Typhoon (Bart’s feat) is not a very Timmy effect, but it is very evocative, at least.
Honorable Mentions – Drake MacBain, Durgen Madhammer.

Convergence – Forgemaster Syntherion
There isn’t really a perfect Timmy fit in Convergence.  Each of Synthertion, Lucant, and Axis offer some features that appeal, but Syntherion’s Axiom on his feat turn likely is the most Timmy-centric experience in Convergence, and that pushes him over the edge.  Very few other models in the game can do the damage across the area of table in a single activation, and that kind of dramatic knockout punch play is big, flashy, exciting, and a great story afterwards (Timmy likes to win big when he wins, recall).
Honorable Mentions – Axis.

Trollbloods – Madrak Ironhide, World Ender (Madrak II)
Desperate Hour (Madrak’s feat) is one of the most quintessentially Timmy effects in the game – it can be hugely swingy and can win the game outright and very emphatically when it swings high.  Madrak is himself can brawl about as safely as any Warlock or Warcaster in the game (though Grim Salvation is a bit of a cost, which Timmy might not love).  Blood Fury is another fairly Timmy-friendly effect, though the DEF debuff might rankle Timmy more than say Spike – who is more likely to view the cost as close to irrelevant based on the spell’s impact.
Honorable Mentions – Madrak I, Borka II.

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Circle Orboros – Kromac, Champion of the Wurm (Kromac II)
Kromac is here because he is by far the Warlock in Circle I’ve most often had people speak about their desire to put on the table and make work based on coolness factor (Borka II is also way up there in the game on Timmy factor for the same reason).  He was also a payoff to a call in Circle for a warbeast-as-Warlock release that a subset of the faction’s players had been crossing their fingers for.  He’s big, he’s impressive, he brawls, he has dramatic, intimidating activations.
Honorable Mentions – Baldur II.

Skorne – Xerxis, Fury of Halaak (Xerxis II)
This is another very self-evident pick.  Xerxis is a huge brawler on a giant Rhino (and as an aside – Battleengine warcasters and warlocks generally are much more a Timmy thing than a Spike or Johnny thing).  Ignite and Rapport are Timmy-friendly spells and Hand of the Ancients (his feat) is an enabler for the dramatic swings that let Timmy go home happy.  Makeda III did get a long look here because her feat is also a very Timmy effect.
Honorable Mentions – Makeda III, Hexeris I.

Legion – Thagrosh the Messiah (Thagorash II)
Another large monster man to win fairly safely.  Thagrosh is an intimidating melee presence in his own right and runs an aggressive, high damage battlegroup.  As with Stryker II he appeals to Spike because he enables more complicated lines of play and (at least historically) was high on raw power, but while Spike can feel smart about using Dragon Storm (Thag’s feat) to back up and avoid trading, Timmy can dig that much deeper, and have a very exciting turn.
Honorable Mentions – Lylyth II, Absylonia II.

Minions – Helga the Conquerer
This is actually something of an upset in my own mind, as Barnabas II felt like the most immediately obvious pick (another frontline monster).  There’s not much in the game that is as good for chaos, for excitement, and for creating memorable game experiences than Grand Finale (Helga’s feat), however, and that’s what pushed her to the top for me.  Helga is also very Johnny friendly (Minions generally are).  Cyclone when used for to actually generate attacks is also a very Timmy spell.
Honorable Mentions – Barnabas II.

Grymkin – The Child
Grymkin are really another of the factions that seem fairly far from Timmy’s core interests, but the Child is another big brawling Warlock, and Wrath is a very Timmy-friendly Arcana.  A fair amount of what the Child does otherwise is benefit for cost (if minor costs – e.g. Tantrum, Abuse, and Pain Response) which aren’t really what Timmy is normally looking for, but that’s also something that’s really very core to how Grymkin play, so it’s hard to avoid and part of why Grymkin aren’t a faction with a ton of good picks here.
Honorable Mentions – The Heretic.