Tag: Mercenaries

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.