Tag: Steamroller

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!

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.

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!