Category: Battle Report

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!

I took Minions out for the first time yesterday for a sort of mini steamroller (three rounds, one list, 35 points, 30 minute deathclock) in order to try to refamiliarize myself with the faction and with Hordes, neither of which I’ve really played very much of in a few years now (and really I’ve never dedicated serious time to Minions).  Low points events are inherently a little silly and people can contribute to that by bringing swingy lists.  Lover of midrange that I am I brought a list that I thought had a little of everything:

(Rask 1) Rask [+27] (Will Work for Food)
– Blackhide Wrastler [16]
– Bull Snapper [5]
– Swamp Horror [15]
– Gatorman Soul Slave [0(5)]
Bog Trog Mist Speaker [4]
Dahlia Hallyr [17]
Eilish Garrity, the Occultist [0(5)]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [5]

The list generally fared fairly well throughout the evening, and in the hypothetical that I were to try to critique a list built for a 35 point single list format I think I’d only reconsider the Mist Speaker – whom I felt I had to include on the off chance that someone brought a Wraith Engine (or Deneghra II I guess).

Before the event began I played a quick scrimmage game against a local Cygnar player who had done the sensible thing and brought a very powerful and resilient Nemo III list to the event.

(Nemo 3) Artificer General Nemo [+25] (Heavy Metal)
– Dynamo [18]
– Firefly [8]
– Firefly [8]
– Firefly [8]
– Squire [0(5)]
Harlan Versh, Illuminated One [0(4)]
Storm Strider [18]

I went first in this one and was able to leverage that, scenario pressure, and Dark Waters to force Nemo into me.  When he did move in I was able to make kind of an odd play moving Skarath into melee with Dynamo at an angle so that the snake bounced diagonally forward off of Repulsor Field and into melee with Finch, which it used to overtake into Nemo and eat him.  That was a promising start, but I suspected things wouldn’t be so easy if I had to do it again – part of Rask’s game into Nemo has to do with forcing the issue in scenario – which is hard to do in many scenarios in the pack at such a low points level – and if Nemo were able to just wait me out I’d have to be more creative. . .

Round I – The Pit II

Vs.

(Barnabas 2) Barnabas, Lord of Blood [+23] (Will Work for Food)
– Blackhide Wrastler [16]
– Boneswarm [7]
– Gatorman Soul Slave [0(5)]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [5]
Swamp Gobber Chef [1]
Swamp Gobber Chef [1]
Wrong Eye [17]
Greygore Boomhowler & Co. (min) [11]

I went second here, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to have to do in a reasonably live scenario with Rask’s engagement power.  Barnabas kept fairly central on his side, with the Bone Swarm heading to my right and the Boomhowlers to my left, and Wrongeye and Snapjaw unsurprisingly hugging their boss up the field – so that I would never not have to attack into Star Crossed if I were trying to engage Barny.

I had to split a little around a central Obstruction (of course so did he) and chose to keep Skarath – easily the most dangerous heavy in the army to Barnabas – to my left to start clearing the unit out of that zone and set up scoring on it, and to ensure that Barnabas couldn’t really try to personally threaten Rask without being charged by the snake.  Specifically, Skarath shot and killed Boomhowler while Dahlia cast Haunting Melody and moved up to probably annoy Barnabas a lot later in the game.  The Bull Snapper also went that way, equipped with Fury to trade up if it was allowed to.  On my Right I moved up the Wrastler with Admonition on it and screened it with Veil.  It likely couldn’t do much to scare Barnabas without Rask’s help (hard to provide with the Bone Shakers around) but at least Barnabas couldn’t really feasibly do anything to it either.

Barnabas did move my way, pushing towards the other side of the central obstruction while casting Execration and putting Swarm on himself and otherwise his army mostly tried to play around my threat ranges.  Wrongeye and Snapjaw also toed the central zone to make my scoring it harder, but at an angle that would make actually getting to them a tall order.  Another member of the Boomhowler unit ran at Skarath to engage it but was knocked down by a Retaliatory Strike spray.

Figuring that with my feat left to use very little could actually go wrong either way, I decided to see how close Skarath could come to killing Barnabas at effectively 17/18 with Star Crossed up and three transfers.  I suspected it was pretty close, and that I’d at least be chewing through most of Barnabas’ battlegroup in doing it.  So on my second turn I upkept Fury for free and first charged the Snapper into his objective to see what I could manage there.  What I managed was about 10 damage.  Rask then swapped Fury to Skarath and added Rage on top of that before feating and moving so that Barnabas couldn’t really walk around the building to get to him.  The Soul Slave popped Boundless onto Skarath as well and Dahlia ran to get both her bond onto Barny and also Haunting Melody.  Eilish added Puppet Master to complete the suite of buffs and Skarath charged in and boosted, hit, paralyzing Barny, and very nearly killed the Bone Swarm in one go on the damage roll.  The next three buys were exactly the worst kind for a model with Puppet Master on it – a lot of 6s that I didn’t want to reroll ending in a 7, and when the dust settled the Bone Swarm was dead, the Wrastler was at least hurting, and Barnabas had something like 7 boxes left.

Things didn’t get better for Big B as he had more trouble killing Skarath than he’d like, because none of the Bone Shakers were in walking range to provide Dark Shroud.  He did eventually get through the Snake but couldn’t do a great deal else other than get his Wrastler into the Snapper, which very immediately died.

Barny had deprived himself of Sac Pawn targets with his feat, which made it a much surer thing for me to give Rask Puppet Strings, walk around the building to Paralyze Barnabas with the Harpoon, and then send an overbuffed Swamp Horror in to get me the rest of the way to an assassination.

Round II – Breakdown

Vs.

That same Nemo III list

Sooo, as I mentioned this is game is a much harder one in a situation like this – there’s really only the one scenario element for me to score, and it’s not one that it is hard for Nemo to contest without making huge concessions.  As a result, Dark Waters isn’t a free engage as it was in our prior game.  I did go first in this one, putting Admonition on the Wrastler and Fury on the Horror (which is a nice early game target because it really can’t meaningfully have its DEF reduced).  Nemo wasn’t having it this time, and was very cautious on the advance on his first turn.  So I moved to threaten significantly through the zones, but to generally stay out of 10/11” of his models, and popped my feat, hoping he’d feel more compelled to move into me than he was.  Fury was moved to Skarath this turn.

He unfortunately did not, and mostly spent his second turn shooting at his own Firefly to kill my Snapper, which was keeping the Wrastler company on my right side (the Wrastler did use Admonition to walk away from Orin once the Firefly ran so that at least leaps would only be hitting the two beasts).

I was left, then, with a Firefly in melee with my Wrastler but the true key model, the Strider, about 13.5” away from Skarath, and so a puzzle.  I certainly couldn’t just make attacks on the light in front of me for the turn, even scoring two I’d then immediately lose two beasts to Nemo’s feat and with them the ability to play the game meaningfully.  So I settled for a more ambitious line and had the Wrastler angle itself, Rage itself, and throw the Firefly directly away at such an angle that Skarath could use its entire charge distance to end up a legal charge on it while still moving right at the Storm Strider.  Rask then moved over to put Rage on the Snake and boosted his gun on the knocked down Firefly to be sure that Skarath would kill it in one attack.  Skarath then charged, killed the Firefly, and overtook to be in melee range of the Storm Strider, and wedged against a second Firefly so that I couldn’t be pushed out of melee.  It took my full four buys to do it, but I ate through the Strider and overtook to engage both of the remaining Fireflies.

Nemo on his turn used Forcehammer to disengage the two lights, and his feat and their shots as well as his own to remove the Snake, Dahlia, and Eilish (who I’d moved forward as sort of a firebreak – Dahlia was visible in my Veil of Mists cloud and not stealth because she’d had to run so Eilish moved up close to her but 4” away from Rask so that all Nemo could do was kill her but not in a way that could put damage rolls on Rask.  Dynamo also obliterated the Wrastler.

This all left Nemo a little out in the wind, however, so Rask moved up and shot him (paralysis again) and put Fury on the Horror, and the Soul Slave added Boundless.  It then charged a Firefly that had been sort of screening Nemo from it, dragged him in, and ate him.

Round III – Recon II

Vs.

(Ossrum 1) General Ossrum [+28] (Irregulars)
– Ghordson Avalancher [17]
– Grundback Blaster [6]
– Grundback Gunner [6]
– Grundback Gunner [6]
– Grundback Gunner [6]
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios [0(7)]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [0(5)]
Horgenhold Artillery Corps [6]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (max) [16]

This was an interesting matchup, as I’m actually a more experienced Ossrum player than my opponent (Vic of the Beer Thralls podcast – go have a listen) but he has also definitely played more Minions and specifically Rask Zoo lists than I have.  Fortunately for me, this was a very live scenario, which is quite a thing for Rask at this point level.  I went second here again, but again it was not such a bad thing for me that I did.  He moved up, put Snipe on the Avalancher and Bullet Dodger on Eiryss, and in return I more or less ran full tilt at him and feated, trying to keep too many of his Gunners/Blasters from having walk and shoot threat on a single heavy.  I kept Skarath and the Horror to my right zone, and the Wrastler toward the left (which ended up being a mild issue when I wanted to start spreading my battlegroup and then remembered that in Hordes this is not so easy a thing to do).

He contested the right zone with most of the Forge Guard unit on his second turn, and ran a Gunner more or less right at the Horror, somewhat screening its charge angles.  Otherwise he mostly remained cautious, and Ossrum set up shop behind his flag.

On my second turn I used the Horror and Skarath to bounce around the back end of the right zone to clear it and kill 8 Forge Guard in the process, and did a little incidental damage otherwise, and capped my flag with Orin, scoring two.  I kept Rask on Four (consciously running a little hot – the Horror was maxed on fury) and in a trench, and tried to move him to prevent Eiryss from drawing a bead – there was a central forest between us.

It is sometimes better to be lucky than good, as I did manage that, and so on his turn Ossrum feated and removed Dahlia (though it took him more effort than it probably should have, again, lucky on my part).  He also killed Orin in the Blaster spray that ultimately killed Dahlia, but did not get back into the right zone, letting me score another point and move to 3 at the end of his turn.  I was able to just run Rask to the flag in that zone to end the game.

All in all, the event was a good time, and a good way to start to get my feet wet in a faction.  Rask is obviously very good, and I think Minions are holistically rock solid at this point.  Minions have a ton of strong and interesting Warlocks, strange and effective tech pieces, and I really love the lesser Warlocks (even Brun at this point).  I can’t promise any protracted periods of dedicated Minions play for a bit, but they’re doing a good job of selling me on the idea of getting them on the table more.

Thanks for reading!

This past weekend I had a chance to get out to a local event that served as a qualifier for a local invitational.  A great local organizer and player (and also writer – see the link to his blog below left) organizes the circuit and also a running commentary on it including periodic updates on faction representation.  Prior to this event he noted that there were only two factions that had not yet made an appearance at a qualifier (of which there had been three): Legion and Convergence.  I have no plans to play any Legion, but I’m not averse to Convergence, and I’d put in two weeks of play into the faction a few weeks ago (five games total) which was surely enough to show up and round out some statistics at an event if nothing else.  This entire set of events makes use of the Master’s packet as well, making limited factions and their invariably formidable ADR sets that much more appealing.

I ended up taking two lists fairly similar to those I’d built and used previously, though as much because I hadn’t played enough games to be sure of their shortcomings as any affirmative reason.

My list set was as follows:

Main List – Axis

(Axis 1) Axis, the Harmonic Enforcer [+30]

– Corollary [6]
– Diffuser [6]
– Galvanizer [5]
– Galvanizer [5]
– Galvanizer [5]
– Galvanizer [5]
– Galvanizer [5]
– Inverter [15]
– Inverter [15]
– Inverter [15]
Attunement Servitors [0(4)]
Elimination Servitors [0(3)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Optifex Directive [4]
Transfinite Emergence Projector [19]

Sideboard

Diffuser [6]
Inverter [15]
Transfinite Emergence Projector [19]

Main List – Orion

(Orion 1) Eminent Configurator Orion [+28]
– Assimilator [16]
– Assimilator [16]
– Assimilator [16]
– Assimilator [16]
– Corollary [6]
– Diffuser [6]
– Diffuser [6]
Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex [2]
Attunement Servitors [0(4)]
Elimination Servitors [0(3)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Transfinite Emergence Projector [19]

Sideboard

Diffuser [6]
Inverter [15]
Transfinite Emergence Projector [19]

The event ended up being more well attended than I had expected it to be, given that it was happening concurrently with Captaincon (and a shout-out both to Charles Soong for his strong results there generally and to local Anthony Gibbs for a strong weekend as well).  There were 20 total players (19 and also the organizer as a pitch hitter) and slightly bizarrely 5 Retribution players, and resultantly a total of 9 Arcantrik Force Generators in evidence.  I haven’t been abreast of the cutting edge of Ret list technology, but apparently there was a memo circulated that never reached me, because there were a lot of fairly similar Rahn and Elara II builds about (naturally in Defender’s of Ios).  While my practice games hadn’t provided me a chance to play into Ret, I assumed that an AFG v. TEP fight would be miserable, and so hoped not to have to do that.

I did.

Round I – Pit II

Axis (plus TEP, Minus Three Galvanizers and Optifex Directive)

Vs.

(Rahn 1) Adeptis Rahn [+26]
– Chimera [8]
– Chimera [8]
– Discordia [18]
Aelyth Vyr, Blade of Nyssor [0(5)]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Priest of Nyssor [0(4)]
Priest of Nyssor [4]
Ryssovass Defenders (max) [16]
Stormfall Archers [9]
Arcantrik Force Generator [17]
Arcantrik Force Generator [17]

This was, as was a theme for the weekend and I have found is a theme for Convergence, a grind.  The the early game involved my trying to leverage Axis’ strong ability to build a strong attritional advantage in DI to push myself far enough ahead that I could coast.  I did pull ahead initially – particularly in removing the Chimeras quickly and making relatively short work of the Defender unit (which I’m not sure I totally understand the inclusion of – but Michael Ireland has endorsed as being sort of alright given the support available in this list to which I say “whatever”).  My opponent intelligently focused on putting himself in a position to be able to strip the TEPs of their defenses and to start to actually grind them down, lest they run away with the game against a somewhat ranged reliant force.  I eventually lost one on my right flank, but at the same point in the game that I collapsed his, and at the end of five turns we both took a moment to assess and recognized that the game itself was very close but that my ability to score absent any dramatic shifts likely would outpace his over the remaining two turns.  This compelled my opponent to commit Rahn himself to help to clear the central zone to shift equilibrium back his way, which left him in a position to threaten a scenario win, but also within 11” of both an Inverter and Diffusor.  The latter aimed and, with its Lucky reroll, pegged the Adeptis, resulting in an assassination win at the end of turn six (I had gone second).  This was a close game throughout, and the final breakdown reflected it – we had both scored 82 army points and I had a slim scenario lead at 7-6.

Having rolled that particular boulder up the hill once I hoped not to have to again, and did not at least immediately.  I was instead paired against another local player whom I know to be a very tough out and a fellow Mercenary player (though a more faithful one).  I was worried he might drop MacBain but he felt that my lists didn’t suit the offensive options available to him with MacBain, so instead he dropped Magnus II, while I dropped Axis again out of concern that Orion’s ranged focus would be too stifled by Countermeasures.

Round II – Breakdown

Axis (as in the first game)

Vs.

(Magnus 2) Magnus the Warlord [+28]
– Buccaneer [6]
– Freebooter [9]
– Freebooter [9]
– Nomad [11]
– Nomad [11]
– Nomad [11]
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution [0(6)]
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist [0(4)]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [0(5)]
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord [0(4)]
Kayazy Assassins (max) [15]
– Kayazy Assassin Underboss [4]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt [8]
The Devil’s Shadow Mutineers [8]

This time I was able to go first and leveraged that into a very strong early game again (as I am increasingly finding it is easy to achieve with Axis, but which I might want to eschew for a stronger long game given that Convergence doesn’t easily provide the tools for fast scenario wins.  I feated on my second turn (which I believe I did in each instance of playing Axis – I might also want to reconsider that habit because I wasn’t incredibly reliably gaining significant offensive value by using it this way) and largely via TEP attacks took both Freebooters and one Nomad effectively out of the fight before they could effectively engage (with some strong early damage rolls).  Magnus was more patient in using his own feat, and only did so on the fourth turn after having sent in his remaining models and putting both TEPs in danger of being removed with relatively little effort (both ended that turn on five boxes).  I wasn’t overly worried at this point – each TEP was still capable of swinging the game significantly, but became more concerned when neither accomplished a great deal on my next turn – one particularly flubbed its attacks such that of the Devil’s shadow, Eiryss, and two Eliminators it removed only two members of the DSM (I had chosen to make four attacks with three dice to hit on the turn, a configuration that did not prove as reliable as I had hoped).

Magnus took a chance on his turn to execute a scenario gambit and, removing both battle engines, pushed ahead enough that I was not necessarily likely to be able to equilibrate over the remaining turns.  I was left, however, with a shot at Magnus, both an Inverter and Diffusor were in range but engaged by his Buccaneer.  Axis solved that problem by advancing into the scrum and using Battering Ram to clear my lanes and the Diffusor/Inverter pair again ended the game.

Having survived two grinds with Axis I was hoping for a reprieve and possibly a round in which I felt happy with the prospect of Orion, because at this point we were guaranteed to play only four rounds and I was obliged to find a fit for him in the next two.  This did not exactly work out for me – I was dealt another very strong local player for round III (who was also already qualified and crushing dreams throughout the event) who was certainly going to drop his well practiced Kreoss III list.  I did not like the idea of playing Orion into that because it had the range and the mobility to present too many significant threats for Orion to address at once, and without any control effects and backstopped by (poor) Convergence defensive stats he would struggle to hold up.  Fortunately, however, I did think that Orion would be acceptable into either of the other undefeated players – who were playing either Madrak I and Kolgrimma as a pair or Kaelyssa and Ossyan – in the event that I made it through the round.  So I once again dropped Axis.

Round III – Standoff

 
Axis (as previous)

Vs.

(Kreoss 3) Intercessor Kreoss [+28]
– Reckoner [16]
– Redeemer [11]
High Exemplar Gravus [9]
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord [4]
Vassal Mechanik [1]
Vassal Mechanik [1]
Vassal of Menoth [0(3)]
Wrack [1]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]
Exemplar Vengers (max) [20]
Exemplar Vengers (max) [20]
Idrian Skirmishers (max) [15]
– Idrian Skirmisher Chieftain & Guide [0(5)]

This was the least smooth early game of the event for me – my opponent did a good job of spreading his Vengers so that it was not easy for me to either pick up a dramatic attritional advantage over them or to control his engagement via Circumpotence entirely.  In retrospect this may be an instance in which I want to pair my TEPs so that I can more reliably make dramatic inroads in attrition against a single unit of Vengers and have access to Axis (aha) to feat on the other to help get me through the risk of taking huge chunks of damage at a time from even a couple of cavalry charges.

I also somewhat overestimated by ability to clear Vengers quickly with TEPs (and rolled a little poorly, but not dramatically so).  I consistently put one Servitor each into ROF, Hit and Damage dice and sort of assumed that needing slightly below average rolls in all instances entitled me to kill every Venger I shot at, which it did not and I did not.  While his Warjacks did not contribute to the fight to a huge extent (the Redeemer’s melee damage actually did more than anything else) this was actually a more even to slightly poor attritional fight for me, which prompted me to become more aggressive with my battlegroup towards the center of the table.  On my fifth turn I put one Inverter into his Reckoner – crippling but not destroying it (both its Mace and Cortex were out) and another into the midst of his remaining few Idrians.  Significantly both were potentially in range to threaten Kreoss on the next turn.

The one mingling with his infantry was dealt with by Kreoss himself, who ended the turn on two focus.  The other was left entirely functional but a little scuffed and engaged by his semi-functional Reckoner, a Venger, and the Redeemer, which had done the damage to it in melee.  Not happy with my future prospects I put together a plan to clear that Inverter for a shot at Kreoss, though I did not have a neat way to entirely unengaged it (and Kreoss was at an angle that wouldn’t allow the use of Unstoppable Force to avoid any free strikes).  The Venger was dealt with easily enough via a charging Galvanizer, and I hoped to clear the Redeemer with a boosted Battering Ram from Axis himself.  I carelessly failed to note the scatter of a Flare Servitor early in the turn, however, (it had moved up to point blank to improve my odds of hitting the Venger, which was very nearly base to base with the Redeemer) and missed the boosted roll by one (which was entirely my own fault, we had agreed to just note Flare on the Venger without rolling a deviation at my request).  Instead I was faced with a Free Strike from both of the Warjacks.  It is actually fairly hard to cripple systems on Vectors because they have strange, spread out grids, but I was only working with around 18 hit points at this point and enough damage to the right column was liable to remove the Meteor Hammer, without which I certainly wasn’t assassinating anyone.  After setting things up by Flaring Kreoss and hitting him with the Diffusor I hoped for the best and got very lucky – after both free strikes and relatively poor damage rolls I was left on 13 boxes, but with all systems on the Inverter, which dropped Kreoss with its final attack.

I was a little chagrined to have to get to the finals that way, my opponent played the game very well, but there wasn’t anything to do but to drop Orion and hope for the best.  My luck continued as it turned out to be Retribution I’d face, and a pair not particularly well equipped to handle the fairly unique set of problems he poses.

Round IV – Outlast

 
Orion (Plus a TEP and Inverter, minus two Assimilators and the ADO).

Vs.

(Kaelyssa 1) Kaelyssa, the Night’s Whisper [+29]
– Banshee [18]
– Banshee [18]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Dawnguard Sentinel Scyir [0(4)]
– Hydra [15]
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress [0(4)]
Dawnguard Sentinels (max) [18]
– Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard [4]
– Soulless Escort (2) [2]
Dawnguard Sentinels (max) [18]
– Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard [4]
– Soulless Escort (1) [1]

Far from facing my just desserts for locking myself into Orion for the final, I was given a game in which he was pretty dramatically advantaged.  Taking the first turn I moved my TEPs and battlegroup into position to threaten through both zones and prepared to sandpaper, looking also to take the Sentinel units one at a time if I could to punish them for their mediocre threat ranges absent Vengeance.  He both Feated and mini-feated in order to help to get himself through the prospect of a very hard engage as best he could but was also conscious that he couldn’t simply throw the Sentinels forward because not even their relatively formidable armor would reliably hold up against the TEPs.

It did not, though because he was cautious in playing around my TEP kill zones I focused on chewing through about half of one of the two units and doing damage to his Hydra and Scyir on my next turn, semi-consciously ceding one TEP to force his forces closer.  That TEP did go down in response, clearing a zone and allowing him to build an early scenario lead but the remainder of his infantry was exposed as a result, and the second TEP combined with Ground Pounder shots to remove most of it and further damage the Hydra as well as chip the paint on one Banshee, and I scored in retaliation to leave him up at this point 2-1.  He started to move his battlegroup models into the fight at this point, and removed my Inverter, which had committed to help remove the last of the Sentinels.  He did not score, however, and I did, leveling us at 2-2.

Both a Banshee and the Hydra ended his turn with focus on them, which prompted me to feat, and I moved to start pushing for a scenario win via attrition, leaving him with a scuffed Banshee (it had taken something like 8-10 damage) as well as two Sentinels with weapons, a Soulless, the Standard for the surviving Sentinels, and Lanyssa, who had been hiding in one zone behind a forest.  I scored both flags at he end of the turn to put myself ahead 4-2.

There was relatively little he could do to alter the inevitable tide of attrition at this point, but I did not have an enormous amount of time left (about four minutes) so he committed his Banshee to doing damage to one of my two Assimilators, both of which were in the zone occupied by the Myrmidon and behind which Kaelyssa was camping out behind a wall.  The other models mostly moved into range to contest both flags.

Starting the turn up two I needed to score three to win outright, and thought I could, needing only to clear two models contesting my flags and to finish the Banshee to be able to move Orion into that zone.  It took a little longer to do the latter than I expected, but six focus worth of attacks from my Assimilators (Orion had activated earlier and moved into that zone to shift to MAT 6 which, combined with a Flare, made melee a less dicey proposition) eventually did it in, and the flags were cleared without issue, allowing me to end the game with about 30-40 seconds on my clock.

Had things really gone south I would hopefully have had the win on his next turn – as Orion was fairly safe from Kaelyssa (he had two Shield Guards and was camping four) and none of his remaining models would have been able to reach the zone Orion occupied to prevent my scoring it.

All in all I was at least as lucky as good throughout the day, but was very happy to have a chance to roughly double my experience with Convergence in a trial by fire.  I’m not so sure I’ll be so fortunate if I run into either of my last two opponents in the invitational (top three in each qualifier receive invites) but I look forward to finding out.

Thanks for reading!