As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m attempting to step up my tournament game. Towards this end, I’ve been playing warcasters that I’ve enjoyed but traditionally have been weaker with… that also happen to be all of Cygnar’s strongest warcasters! And as for Adam… Adam just lost a game, and Adam hates losing.
Gaspy2? He’s a warcaster for WINNERS. But, of course, Haley is not left-handed either…
Let me start by saying that I know eHaley is a more powerful warcaster than pHaley. I know it. She’s got TK and the ability to cast it 4 times a turn (even boosting to hit once AND having a Squire reroll as needed). That alone can be game-changing. Add in her Feat which fundamentally gives you two turns, toss in Anastasia to increase the odds of going first AND to give you another pseudo-turn when you successfully deliver her Espionage ability (which, with a 16″ range with eHaley, you will) AND Gorman to Blind anything that might otherwise annoy you? Yeah, there’s a reason she’s usually listed in the Top 5 warcasters. Her prime version is good, no question, but compared to eHaley, she’s small potatoes. But here’s the thing… in order to use eHaley *well*, you have to be a really good player. You need to know what order to activate your opponent’s models. You need to know how to get your TKs to where they need, what needs to die first, how to keep Haley safe, how much of your stack to spend…
I freely admit that I am not nearly good enough for eHaley yet. She is a better warcaster than I am a general. But pHaley… “Activate. Cast Temporal Barrier. Camp the rest. Rinse and repeat.” I can handle that!
With that in mind, I built the following list:
Captain Victoria Haley (“pHaley, Haley1, Temporal Barrier”)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (“ATGM”)
– Officer (“The Dude”)
Long Gunners (min)
Tempest Blazers (max)
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord
Lady Aiyana and Master Holt (“A&H”)
Anastasia di Braye
This is the most recent iteration of my list… and it still needs work. The Long Gunners… menh. They’re okay… getting out (potentially) 18 shots at RAT7 (they’d have to be aiming), 14″ down the table can be pretty amazeballs. Or 3 POW16 shots at RAT1million (13, technically). But… by the same token, they’re low power, Haley doesn’t really help them much (any more than she helps EVERYTHING by not being charged), and the Blazers and ATGM are already spewing out huge volumes of low-POW and extremely accurate weapons fire, while being able to move while doing it! Those 6 points might be better spent on a Lancer… help keep Haley safe (blocking LoS), take out important warjack’s cortexes or tying up annoying arc nodes… the other thought is to drop the Long Gunners, Rhupert (he’s cute in this list, but not needed), and a Stormcaller, and throw in a Storm Strider. 3 POW15 shots on Feat Turn with 1d3 electroleaps each? And a Stormpod to bounce them off to hit Stealth models if needed? That is a tempting thought, my friends… plus, hiding Haley behind TWO huge bases is way safer than just 1 and a Lancer. I think my next iteration of the list will probably be that. Probably.
As for Adam, he brought a Goreshade3 list and a Gaspy2 list.
Let us take a moment to lament the position this puts Adam in: His Goreshade list relies on some heavy recursion, and the ability to outrange your opponent with charges, and is backed up by a very solid spell assassination after he Feats. Haley removes 95% of his teeth (no charges, extremely unlikely to get the Spell Assassination off on Haley or anything of value within 3″ of her). And the list was full of low-ARM, high DEF models (Raiders, Witches, Thralls), which my ATGM and Tempest Blazers will happily eat for lunch. His Gaspy list was basically mandated… and I was okay with that! As much as I hate Gaspy2 (and I do… with the fury of a thousand suns I hate him), this was as good a matchup as there is in the game against that blasted lich! Adam’s list was as follows:
Lich Lord Asphyxious (“Gaspy2, eGaspy”)
– Defiler (the biting one)
Bane Thralls (max)
– Officer and Standard
Bane Knights (max)
Bane Lord Tartarus (“BLT”)
Satyxis Blood Witches (max)
– Blood Hag
War Witch Siren
War Witch Siren
Okay, see those “Bile Thralls”? Those, right there… those are why this is a good list. If you look back up to MY list, you’re going to see swarms and swarms of low ARM models with single wounds, and Cavalry at ARM13 and 5 wounds (or 6s to kill on a purge). Everything else is just a method to protect the slow, low-DEF Biles long enough for them to wipe out my army… and Gaspy2 himself has some pretty dang good tools for that job as well (including the ability to make more!). And, of course, Gaspy’s insane spell list was going to cause me all sorts of problems, even with a solid counter like Haley. Yes, I won the list chicken, but that really only put us on equal footing!
The Scenario we were playing is “Rally Point” (two offset 12″ diameter zones, one friendly and one enemy, and 2 objectives on the Latitudinal mid-line, again 1 friendly and 1 enemy, which grant “Valour” to friendly solos within 4″ when not contested. 1CP to destroy the enemy objective, dominate your own zone, or control the enemy zone, and 2CPs to dominate the enemy zone). No killbox (thank heavens), but at the same time this is a very risky scenario with the possibility to score 3CPs in a single turn… and Gaspy is a pretty solid scenario warcaster! Oh well… I still think I can probably take him as long as I get to go first.
Adam wins the initiative (I rolled a 1, going up to a 2 with Anastasia, and Adam nailed a hard 6) and elects to go first. Joy.
Adam sets up Gaspy slightly to the left of center (possibly because my Stormwall is set up slightly right of center?) with his arc nodes as far to either flank as his considerable CTRL will allow. One War Witch Siren went by each arc node. The Bane Knights took the right flank, the Bane Thralls took the middle, and the Biles went around Gaspy2 himself. The Withershadow went behind Gaspy, Darragh went behind the Bane Thralls, and the Blood Witches took the far left flank.
My Stormwall was slightly to the right of center, as I mentioned, primarily to help me clear out Adam’s zone as efficiently as possible. I was hoping to start scoring earlier than Adam, to put him on his back foot… and since I could just about ALWAYS contest (10″ Stormpods that can be placed behind clouds, troops, and anything else? Kinda hard to stop!), but Adam would have to WALK his troops into whatever zone I claimed… it was unlikely, but possible. Anyway, the Blazers (after WAY too long thinking) went to the right, hoping to clear out most of the Bane Knights with Electroleaps off other targets (e-leaps don’t trigger Vengeance, my friends… important lesson there), while the ATGM and Long Gunners went to the left in order to make Adam pay for every inch of my zone he wanted to claim. Haley went smack in the middle with Rhupert and Aiyana and Holt committing slightly more to the left side (I figured my Long Gunners might need magic weapons), and the Squire went behind her. Lastly the Stormcallers went behind everything else, one to the left, the other to the right. I elected not to deploy Anastasia, realizing that the zones were both pretty much entirely within her “Deploy 3 inches, walk 7, Espionage 5” range.
I was as ready as I was going to be (which is to say, barely). Adam hasn’t lost 2 games in a row in a year… he was going to be coming straight for the throat. Could I hold him back long enough to put down the Lich Lord? Could I hold him off long enough for my guns to thin his ranks?
Cryx, Turn 1
Adam was pretty sure he’d be completely unable to get any of his troops up to my lines for the majority of the game, and as such had decided that he would win by Scenario. Towards that end, he was going to flood my Friendly Zone to dominate it for 2 points (starting on my turn), and win by the top of Turn 3. Clean, elegant, forces me to come to him… of course, he has forgotten one teeny, tiny thing.
– 1 Focus to the left warjack, camp the rest.
– Blood Witches run up (terrain on the left is elevation, with a wall that gives Concealment. Trees on that piece are just aesthetic and have no in-game effect)
– War Witch Siren on left moves up and Power Boosters arc node.
– Arc Node (the shooting one… Nightwretch?) runs forward.
– Bane Thralls run forward
– Darragh activates and uses “Death Ride”. Biles, Bane Thralls, Gaspy, and a few Bane Knights shuffle forward.
– Bane Knights run forward.
– Bane Thralls and BLT run forward
– Arc Node on left (Deathripper?) runs forward.
– War Witch Siren runs forward.
– Gaspy activates, moves forward, casts 3 Caustic Mists between my army and his Biles.
– Biles run forward.
Cygnar, Turn 1
The thing Adam has forgotten, of course, is that Stormwalls don’t care about “not being able to get past models” to contest. Say hello to my little Lightning Pod, Gaspy…
– 1 Focus to Stormwall, camp the rest.
– Stormwall goes first. Measure control: no way to Trample-then-walk into left zone, so I decide to walk. Drop Pod in the left zone. Take shots at Deathripper on right: out of range. Drop Covering Fire dead ahead.
– Rhupert gives Pathfinder to ATGM
– ATGM walk forward and spread out. Take “Snipe” shots at Blood Witches, only 2 in range, and both shots fly wide.
– Long Gunners run and spread out behind ATGM, trying to keep them from being closely packed.
– Tempest Blazers walk forward and take shots: nothing in range. They Light-Cav move back onto the hill.
– Haley walks forward (next to Objective) and casts “Temporal Barrier”. She camps her remaining Focus (forgetting to cast Arcane Shield on either herself or Stormwall: oops).
– Squire runs up behind her.
– Aiyana and Holt activate. Holt heads to the left (towards Witches), Aiyana gives herself Stealth and stays closer to the middle of the table.
– Lastly, Stormcallers spread out, one going far right, other near to the middle.
Cryx, Turn 2
Adam has escaped that turn basically unscathed. Gotta be happy about that… but, correspondingly, he hasn’t quite clued in yet about the fact that it will be impossible for him to score any CPs by dominating a zone on my turn. I will *always* (almost) be able to pop in a Lightning Pod to contest. You’d think that the first pod would’ve clued him into that, but at this point he was still going all in for the quick game-ending Scenario win.
– Gaspy camps all his Focus.
– Nightwretch on left goes first, moves up and shoots my pod: hits and obliterates it.
– Blood Witches pop mini-Feat and run forward: 1 is within Temporal Barrier range and can only move 7″, the rest run forward and spread out. 2 engage 1 ATGM, another Witch engages 1 more, 1 Witch is just shy of engaging, and the Blood Hag stays as far back as possible.
– Darragh activates, uses Death Ride. Knights, Banes, Biles, and Gaspy shuffle up an inch.
– Gaspy activates, moves into zone, drops Caustic Mists between me and his army. Carefully spreads them out around the Objective to block as much LoS as possible.
– Biles move forward behind Clouds.
– War Witch Siren on left runs forward.
– War Witch Siren on right runs forward (starting from outside the Temporal Barrier zone) and manages to engage my far-right Blazer.
– Knights run. Front line are in Temporal Barrier range and can only move half speed. They crowd into the left zone.
– Bane Thralls run forward, again front line only moving half speed.
– BLT runs forward.
– Lastly, Withershadow Combine run up around and behind Gaspy, staying back.
Cygnar, Turn 2
So, this will be Feat Turn, and that means I get to kill many, many things! I know that I can pop in another Pod to keep Adam from scoring, and even if/when he gets 2CPs on his turn, I should be able to clear out enough of his troops that hopefully I can swing the momentum around to put Adam firmly on his back foot. And if I wasn’t an idiot, that’s exactly what would’ve happened!
– Consider allocating: decide Haley is too Fragile to risk. Camps full stack, nothing to upkeep. Takes Focus from Squire.
– Haley goes first. Walks straight onto hill (to the right), pops Feat, casts Temporal Barrier. Casts “Deadeye” on Blazers, camps last 2 Focus. Shoots Deathripper: misses.
– Stormwall activates, moves up. Drops Covering Fire in front of Bane Thralls, blasts 2 Biles with big gun shots (initial and Feat shot on left side), 1 shot at the Deathripper hits and does moderate damage (dice+1, rolled a 5). Drop Pod in the left zone again.
– Blazers activate. They move forward. The one engaged by the War Witch hits and kills her with a Brutal Shot. The rest fire Electroleap shots into the Deathripper: leaves it on 1 wound (boo!) in the Cortex, kills only 1 Bane Knight with Electroleaps. Sadly, I forget my Feat shots (STUPID!), and Light-Cav move back to safety.
– A&H activate. Aiyana gives Holt Magic Weapons and moves closer to left side. Holt aims: pumps 2 shots into Witches engaging my ATGM: needs 7s to hit, nails both solidly and vapourizes them.
– ATGM activate. The 1 still engaged swings pointlessly at Blood Witch (sword isn’t magical), the rest open fire. I do remember their Feat shots: 3 get 2 attacks, and I kill vast swathes of Blood Witches (6 of them bit the dust).
– Long Gunners activate and move further left. One gets LoS to a Bile Thrall (BARELY), drops it. Feat Shot has nothing in range. Other gets LoS on the Deathripper and buries it.
– Rhupert gives Tough to the ATGM (derp-derp-derp… that’s a Blood Hag right there).
– Stormcaller moves over, uses “Surge” on Blood Witch engaging ATGM: hits, but I forget that Surge is not a Magic Attack. Oops!
– Stormcaller on right runs behind Blazers cautiously.
Cryx, Turn 3
Adam was insanely lucky that he’s playing against an idiot. That left flank should be GONE, and I should already be up at least 1CP. But no. I’m an idiot. As a result, he’s still actually in a stronger position than I am this turn… my Blazers should’ve wiped out the Knights and be in commanding positions in his zone, ready to blaze across into my Friendly Zone and make Adam’s turn a living hell… instead, Adam still has breathing room.
Well, if undead breath. But you get the idea.
– No Vengeance (electroleaps aren’t “enemy attacks”, don’t trigger Vengeance). Gaspy camps his full stack.
– Nightwretch moves up and takes shot at Objective: hits and inflicts a few damage.
– Gaspy activates, moves forward deep into the zone and near the middle of the table. Casts Caustic Mists between my Stormwall/ATGM and his army again. Camps 1 Focus. Drops 5″ Soul-Collecting zone on 2 ATGM and 4 Long Gunners.
– Blood Witches charge (safely out of Temporal Barrier range). They kill 1 ATGM with a melee attack and another with a Blood Boon shot (POW4 on ARM11).
– Darragh moves up and Death Rides again: Biles, Thralls, Withershadow, and Knights shuffle up 1″.
– Biles move forward. 1 gets close enough to Purge: hits and kills 2 ATGM and 1 Long Gunners: Holt is *just barely* out of range, and the ATGM Officer is safe due to Forest blocking LoS. Puts more damage on Objective: has 9 boxes left. Other Biles do nothing.
– War Witch Siren on left moves up. Adam derps a little and places her in the wrong place to spray through Objective to hit Aiyana (forgetting that sprays are always from Model Center to Model Center, and that facing is basically pointless in that regard): still clips another 2 Long Gunners: hits and kills 1 more, giving Gaspy his 4th Soul. Damages the Objective, leaving it on 6 boxes.
– BLT and Banes walk forward, clumping up around the Covering Fire and filling the space between my Stormwall and Gaspy with bodies to stop me from Trampling up into Melee range and punching Gaspy to death (to… redeath? Undeath-again? Whatever)
– Other side of the table, Knights move forward, still spread out.
– Withershadow move forward. 1 gives “Puppet Master” to Malevous, who walks into Covering Fire (takes 2 damage) shoots and destroys Pod.
– Adam ends his turn and scores 2 CP for dominating the left zone.
Cygnar, Turn 3
Adam is trying to keep Gaspy safe… but more importantly he’s trying to keep his entire army safe. Which, at this point, means that he’s put Gaspy very deep into harm’s way… let’s capitalize on that, shall we?
– Decide that is too risky to keep the game going: can’t trample, but still have guns! 2 Focus to Stormwall, pull 1 from the Squire.
– Haley goes first. Casts “Deadeye” on Blazers, walks straight forward, casts “Temporal Barrier” again (catching Gaspy). Doesn’t have range to shoot him, despite getting past Caustic Mists: just shoots a Knight.
– Activate ATGM: all move to get LoS to Gaspy. Officer fires Crit: Brutal ammo, needing 5 to hit, hits and criticals! Does 5 damage (dice-7). Other ATGM fire Snipe shots, both hit and ping Gaspy for a few points of damage each.
– Aiyana and Holt activate: both walk into Caustic Mists (taking a point of damage each). Aiyana attempts to Kiss Gaspy: needs a 5 and rolls snake eyes. Oh well. Holt pumps 2 shots into Gaspy: hits both times, inflicts light damage, leaving Gaspy on 4 boxes.
– Stormwall moves up and dumps a Pod behind Gaspy (forgot to do the damage roll: whatever). Decide not to boost to hit (need hard-7s): first shot hits! Boost damage, and inflict 10 points.
– Victory to Cygnar!
Post Game Analysis
So, I made a few mistakes, some of them pretty critical. Forgetting about the Blazer’s Feat shots? Massive. That alone should’ve been a game-ending mistake, but pHaley allowed me to claw back up to the victory. The Stormwall continues to impress, although I think that the ability to contest with the pods isn’t necessarily very balanced (but hey, what do I know?). I’m still sorely tempted to run a pHaley double-Stormwall list… I think it’d be BONKERS good (with a couple Stormcallers to triangulate out light infantry), and buckets of fun as well. And, as I mentioned above the Long Gunners didn’t really pull their weight in this list… they certainly have potential (pHaley giving them multiple rounds of shooting is about as good as it gets on a warcaster without Snipe!), but this isn’t the list for them.
As for Adam… well, he over-extended and tried to save too much of his army. If he had accepted that I was going to kill 95% of his stuff, but he was going to win, I would’ve been in a much, much tougher spot. Maybe still capable of pulling off the win, but by no means a guarantee! Still, he put up a good fight against a warcaster that is unsurprisingly effective against Gaspy2.
Thanks for reading, apologies again for the audio quality this time around, and comments, questions, suggestions, and mockery are always welcome!