One of the best things about writing battle reports, both here and on the Privateer Press Forums, has been that it draws people to inviting me to play them. I’ve met several great people this way, and last week a gentleman by the name of Tom (“motyak” on the forums) asked if I wouldn’t mind having a quick VASSAL game. Since Tom lives in the land Down Under (where women roar and men thunder, I’m told), I was totally down for a game over the interwebs, since the odds of us every playing in person was remarkably low! We set up the game on Friday, and I’m writing it up now!
Tom wanted to get some experience/practice in with Ashlynn, and I can see why. She’s an absolutely first-rate warcaster… great spell list, great Feat, really hard to kill and some awesome defensive tech. Since this was his first game on VASSAL, I suggested a lower point game, and so we were both rockin’ 25 point lists.
Speaking of which, a brief aside: For all the rules that have other rules that ignore it (ie: True Sight ignoring Stealth, Fearless ignoring Terror, etc… I really, REALLY want a rule that lets you ignore things that ignore Free Strikes… Parry is rough, but Ghost Walk/Ghostly in particular needs a hard counter, in my opinion. Anyway.
Tom’s list was a solid one:
Amethyst Rose Gun Mages
The Gun Mages are going to get insane mileage out of the Feat, and the Forgeguard with Quicken are a legitimate threat.
For my part, Tom had politely asked me not to play the Harbinger (no worries on that count… I love Harby, but she’s definitely big-guns), so I figured I would try out a pFeora list. I like the *theory* of pFeora, but she’s a little tricky to use… at least she has been for me so far, the 1 time I’ve used her! My list ended up as follows:
Feora, Priestess of the Flame (pFeora)
Exemplar Errants (max)
Temple Flameguard (max)
– Officer and Standard
The Covenant of Menoth
I was a little torn between taking the Exemplar Errant’s UA, or the TFG’s… in the end I went with the Flameguard, and I’m not sure it was the right choice. Making the Errants immune to targeting by spells is pretty freakin’ important, as is the loss of Pathfinder… of course, on the other hand, “Iron Zeal” is pretty awesome, as is Terror… anyway, I think either way would’ve been fine, and I like this list pretty well. If we weren’t playing on VASSAL I probably would try to take Zealots, but all those AoEs? Yeah, not happenin’ online.
We rolled for a Scenario and got the ol’ Steamroller 2013 “Chemical Reaction” (1 CP for destroying the enemy objective, 1CP for dominating your friendly zone, 2 for controlling the enemy zone, and 3 for dominating the enemy zone, plus your objective grants immunity to continuous effects while being dominated). We rolled for initiative, which Tom won and chose to go first.
Tom deployed his Gun Mages on the left flank with their Mule near the middle of the table. Ashlynn went in the middle with Reinholdt and the Nomad, and the Forgeguard took up position on the right flank.
(Forgot to take a picture of our deployments! Sorry!)
As for my part, I deployed the Errants across the table from the Forgeguard (hoping to ping a few of them at range with my Blessed crossbows, and hopefully keeping them safe behind Feora’s Wall of Fire), the Flameguard across from the Mule/Gun Mages (I mean, how scary can Critical Devastation possibly be?), and Feora and her Reckoner across the table from Ashlynn. The Wracks were scattered around the map.
With that, we began!
Mercenaries Turn 1
Tom allocates 1 to the Nomad and we’re off.
The Gun Mages and Mule all run forward, while Ashlynn casts “Quicken” on the Hammerdwarves, Admonition on herself, and then walks forward. The Dwarves fun forward and split up into three groups. The Nomad runs forward, as does Reinholdt.
Menoth Turn 1
Feora camps her full stack, and we’re off.
The Choir sings “No Shooting” on my Reckoner (why not?).
The Errants walk forward and open fire on the Forgeguard. Their Blessed weapons ignore the DEF-buff from Quicken, but I still need to roll 9s to kill… sadly, while almost all of them hit, not a single rolls high enough to kill the stumpy attackers. Ouch.
Rhupert activates, walks forward, and gives the Errants Tough.
The Covenant walks up and says “No Knockdown”.
Feora walks up and casts “Ignite” on the Errants, then casts “Wall of Fire” to deny charge-lanes to several of the Hammerdwarves. She draws in a Focus from a Wrack at the back of the army, which explodes.
The Reckoner walks up and takes a shot at the closest Dwarf, who is safely out of range by a significant margin.
The Temple Flameguard pop their mini-Feat (+4 ARM from Iron Zeal) and run forward, spreading out to hopefully minimize the damage from the Mule’s shot.
With that I’m done my turn, and I remember to take a picture!
Mercenaries Turn 2
If I could see Tom’s face, I’m pretty sure it has an evil grin on it at this point… but I can’t, and so I’m blissfully unaware of the hurt that’s about to descend on the faithful of Menoth.
He decides to drop everything and camps a full stack.
Ashlynn goes first. She casts Quicken on herself, and walks forward 7″. She casts “Distraction” on my Errants, nailing 1 easily and making the unit lower MAT and unable to use ranged attacks (ouch). She then pops her Feat.
Reinholdt runs up behind her.
The Nomad walks forward.
The Forgeguard charge! 5 successfully charge my front line of Errants, using their Critical Smites to launch my front guys into the guys behind them… when the dust settles, he’s killed 4 and I’ve failed all of my Tough rolls. Boo.
The Gun Mages aim and open fire, using Critical Brutals (which, unsurprisingly, all get criticals under Ashlynn’s Feat), and kill 2 TFG.
The Mule activates and fires a Thunderbolt AoE shot that hits 1 guy directly and clips 2 others, but thankfully does NOT get the Critical Devastation on that shot (despite 4d6… 1,1,5,6)… it does vapourize the directly-hit guy, though. The others are pushed around a little, but manage to survive.
With that, Tom is done… but I still have to get through his Feat…
Menoth Turn 2
For awhile I consider whether I can get Scenario points to start forcing some pressure on my noble opponent… but then I realize I really need to tie up or kill stuff, awesome Feat be damned. So I allocate 1 to the Reckoner, upkeep Ignite on the Errants but drop Wall of Fire, and we’re off.
The Errants go first, shuffling around to get everyone in melee. Despite getting 6 attacks, 3 of which hit… there are no kills. I’m getting thoroughly VASSAL’d in my dice… this is not boding well. On the flip side, though, managing to hit ANYTHING while under Ashlynn’s Feat is pretty damn impressive…
On the other side of the table, my TFGs charge the Gun Mages, with 1 charging into a position to tie up that awful ranged cannon on the Mule. Sadly, even though most of them are out of the Feat, I only manage to kill a grand total of 1 Gun Mage.
Fine. We’ll do this the *hard* way… Feora activates and moves up. She pulls a Focus from a Wrack (which obligingly does not explode) and pops her Feat, lighting Tom’s ENTIRE army aside from 2 Gun Mages on Fire (models with a blue aura in the next picture are the ones not burning!). She casts “Hex Hammer” on herself (what a fantastic spell!), then fires two shots into Tom’s Nomad, but being within Ashlynn’s Feat range, they both miss.
The Covenant moves up and says “No Knockdown”, while Rhupert gives the Errants “Tough” again.
The Choir sings Battle, and the Reckoner stands and aims at the Nomad… I hit! Nice. Rolling dice-4 damage, I inflict enough to cripple the legs (10 points)… a good start!
With that, my turn is over… let’s see how the fury of Menoth plays out…
Mercenaries Turn 3
So, look at that last picture. Now let’s compare it to this next picture, which takes place after all the fire attacks are resolved…
Sooooo… that’s 4 dead Gun Mages, 6 dead Forgeguard, and the Mule continued to burn (although it was undamaged). To add insult to injury… both the Gun Mages AND the Forgeguard break from the burninating! The Nomad and Ashlynn both extinguish their fires, sadly, but at least Reinholdt doesn’t make it.
This puts Tom in, how you say… a bad spot. Ashlynn drops everything and camps a full stack.
The engaged (and fleeing) Gun Mage walks away from my Flameguard and is smote. The remaining few Gun Mages rally.
The Mule activates and walks away from the engaging TFG, taking a free strike which I manage to CRANK the damage on, inflicting enough to cripple the legs (but, sadly, not the Steam Lobber). He boosts the shot, firing a Thunderbolt round, which thankfully misses and scatters away harmlessly!
The Forgeguard stand still and rally.
The Nomad walks towards my Errants, but misses both its attacks (tough luck there).
Ashlynn casts Quicken on herself (taking 1 point of damage from Hex Hammer) and walks forward… sadly (for Tom), my Errant *happened* to be positioned in the exactly perfect position to deny her to get through! Woo! She swings at the Errant, misses, shoots Feora… and misses! Nice.
Menoth Turn 3
If this were almost any other warcaster, this would be game right here… but as it stands, Ashlynn is camping a few Focus and, more importantly, is DEF19! With Riposte! I briefly consider my options… I could have Feora camp a full stack, cast Ignite and Engine of Destruction, leaving her with 2 Focus and 2 Initial attacks that are both POW17… but against Ashylnn’s current ARM19, I’d still be hitting at Dice-2, and she’s only taken a single point of damage… and if I don’t kill her, that’s game! And things had been going so well!
Instead, I go the safer route… I assign 3 Focus to the Reckoner, and we’re off!
The Choir goes first and sings Battle.
The Errants go next, shuffling forward and taking some swings at the Hammerdwarves… despite hitting several times, I only manage to kill one (stupid damage rolls!). And although I have 1 Errant engaging Ashlynn, I elect *not* to take the risk of her Riposting me to death. I’m also careful to put 2 of his brothers as close as possible, to make it as difficult as possible for Tom to get Ashlynn through to my delicate nougat core.
The Book says “No Spells”, just to be on the safe side (“Flashing Blade”, anyone?).
Feora stands pat and opens fire at Ashlynn with her flame throwers, but misses both times (despite Ashlynn’s “Quick Draw” missing!). But, most importantly, she casts “Ignite” on the Reckoner… POW21 mace? Yes please!
The Reckoner goes next, and Charges Ashlynn, moving into the pocket created by the Errants and easily getting distance. I boost the initial cannon shot… and miss! Gah! I boost the charge attack… AND MISS! And that’s the full stack of Focus… I mean, don’t get me wrong, needing 12s and 11s isn’t good, but damn.
On the other side, the Temple Flameguard charge the few remaining Gun Mages and the Mule… I fail to hit any of the Gun Mages, but I do a single 3 man CRA on the Mule and inflict some more damage on the warjack (Tom was recording the damage in Warroom, which is why it doesn’t look like the Mule has taken any damage yet!).
Rhupert moves up and gives the Errants Tough, and it all comes down to this… if Tom can clear out that one Errant, Feora is probably toast. If that Errant can weather the attacks… I’ll have a Reckoner already engaging his warcaster, and it will probably be game.
Mercenary Turn 4
It’s all come down to this. Ashlynn gives a single Focus to the Nomad and drops Quicken.
The Nomad goes first, walking away from an Errant to engage the one blocking Ashlynn… sadly (for Tom), that single Free Strike is enough to completely wreck his sword arm! Nice! He boosts to hit the Errant, but fails to connect on 2d6.
The Hammerdwarves go next, moving around to engage that Errant… the first hits (but doesn’t Critical)… and slays! I Self-Sac the death off… and the second misses! Woo! I’m now in the clear, and Ashylnn is stuck.
She activates and swings at the Errant, hitting with her sword (I self-sac that one off as well), and then shoots him but misses due to the Reckoner’s Ashen Veil (I love that warjack!). She then tries to cast Quicken again… but cannot, due to the Book.
Ah, it’s good to be king sometimes…
The Gun Mages take swings at the TFG futilely, but the Mule manages to smote one with his hammer.
With that, Tom is done.
Menoth Turn 4
Tom was on borrowed time last turn, and it’s now out. I allocate 3 to the Reckoner and upkeep Ignite (but drop Hex Hammer).
The Choir moves up and sings Battle again.
The Reckoner goes next, moving up to engage Ashlynn at 0.5″ range. He headbutts her, boosting to hit… and connects! Ashlynn is on the ground.
He buys an attack with his hammer, rolling POW21 against her ARM20, and inflicts 10 points! She yet survives!
Feora casts “Engine of Destruction” on herself, walks up, and takes her initial attack. She swings at POW17, and rolls 7 damage, finally putting an end to Ashlynn.
Victory to Menoth!
You know that old saying “It’s better to be lucky than good”? Yeah… I had some craptacular rolls, yes, but on the flip side, my Feat was about picture-perfect (aside from Ashlynn refusing to die!). I also made a few mistakes, but most of them were minor… forgetting to cast Hex Hammer turn 1, not *INTENTIONALLY* blocking Ashlynn’s path to Feora, and using “No Spells” with the Covenant “just because” rather than specifically because I remembered she had Flashing Blade… all silliness. But Feora is relatively tanky (nothing compared to Ashlynn, though!), and she did well this game… good mileage from her Feat, good use of Wall of Fire (too bad it’s an upkeep… having 2 of them on the table would be super-awesome!) for that one turn, and the Reckoner did me proud (despite that one useless round trying and failing to kill Ashlynn!
Tom was a great sport, and it was super-fun to play him… and for all of VASSAL’s shortfalls, the ability to play with a guy in Australia in real-time? Priceless.
Anyway, there ya go! Hope you enjoyed the read, and comments, questions, suggestions, and mockery are always welcome!