Our second battle report podcast is now recorded and live! It’s an epic, 6 turn clash where Aaron brought his Imperialist Khador, led by the original incarnation of Vlad, against my glorious Cygnar with Kraye at the helm. This was a 35 point game, and by the end of it over 50 models had been taken off the table as casualties…
Also, our humble little Podcast is now available on iTunes!
Of course, if you’d like to listen to it here… feel free to click the audio file below!
This week’s Tactical Question:
How do you get the best mileage out of Khador’s Doom Reavers? They’re a powerful melee unit, but at the same time they don’t have the stats (or the ability to be buffed) to get into melee easily. Suggestions, advice, or counter-advice is all appreciated!
For this week, Aaron wanted to play a single list game (we both bring only 1 list and play that regardless of what our opponent brought). I’m not as huge a fan of single list games as some of the people in our meta (specifically, Aaron and our resident Cryx player, AdamtheHutt, both seem to prefer them) since I find it makes it much easier to be completely listed. What I would like to do is move towards bringing Specialists for our local games, since I think that it adds both a lot of flexibility and makes list design a lot easier (since you no longer need to have a “perfect” list), but I’ll wait to see what SteamRoller 2014 has to say about Specialists first.
We rolled for Scenario and got one of my favourites, “Outflank”: two 12″ circular zones on the middle line, 1 point to control and 2 to dominate either. Kassem set up the terrain with a large bridge connecting the two zones and a river running down the middle. One important note: Aaron and I discussed the Bridge’s terrain rules and both agreed that the sides grant Concealment and that they were Obstructions. Nick and Adam both thought we were insane for this decision. Listen to the podcast for a full discussion about this aspect of the terrain!
We rolled for initiative, which I won, and chose to go first. Aaron selected the side of the table he wanted, and we deployed.
Captain Jeremiah Kraye (Kraye)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (ATGM)
Sword Knights (max)
Alexia Ciannor and the Risen
Vlad the Dark Prince (Vlad1, pVlad)
– War Dog
Steelhead Halberdiers (max) with Khador Officer Attachment (Valachev)
Doom Reavers (min) with UA
Cygnar Turn 1
Kraye gives 1 to Hammersmith, not needing to allocate focus to his Light Warjacks due to the cavalry rules he gives them (allowing Lights to run for free).
My Hunter runs, heading for the cottage on the left side of the table.
The ATGM run up behind the Hunter, ready to lend their magic bullets to keep things out of the zone.
The Journeywoman casts Arcane Shield on my unit of Sword Knights and walks away from Widowmakers.
The Sword Knights run, clumping into 2 units of 3 and 1 unit of 4.
Alexia and her Risen walk forward and turn 1 Risen into Thrall. That Thrall then walks forward… I wanted to run it, but I was worried about getting into range of the Doom Reavers for a Charge. In retrospect, it probably would’ve been better for me to draw the Doom Reavers that far forward sooner, but hindsight!
The Minuteman runs towards Widowmakers over the river (which slows him down considerably).
Kraye activates and casts “Full Tilt” on the Hammersmith and walks forward, since the original plan was to have him lend his rifle’s support o holding down that zone.
Lastly, the Hammersmith runs forward 14″ (out of 16″). Have I mentioned that I love Full Tilt? I loves it! I loves it so much!
Khador Turn 1
Vlad assigns 1 to Devastator.
First, Aaron’s Marksman walks up, shoots the Hammersmith, and hits. He decides to risk rolling for damage rather than inflicting an Auto-1 point… and at dice-7, he rolls an 8! Inflicting 1 point.
Next, 2 Widowmakers walk and the other 2 aim, all shooting at the Hammersmith. Both aiming Widowmakers hit, both walking Widowmakers miss (needing 4s and rolling 3s both times). They auto-wound for 1 each. Aaron puts all the damage on Column 4, hoping to widdle down my Cortex (a wise plan on his part!).
Drago runs for free due to Aggressive. He heads towards the right zone and my Hammersmith.
The Steelheads activate, and Valachev allows them to Zephyr to the side and then walk forward. Neat ability!
The Doom Reavers walk forward into a semi-circle (like a horseshoe) in B2B contact with each other. Interesting…
Then Vlad walks up into the pocket and casts “Wind Wall”. Ah… clever! With the Doom Reavers in B2B, I can’t get Line of Sight to Vlad to cast spells at (and the Doom Reavers are Spell Warded), and with Vlad’s Wind Wall, they’re immune to ranged attacks!
Of course, I have magical guns in the ATGM, so I don’t really care about Wind Wall… at all… well, aside from Kraye’s gun. But still, it would be a very clever tactic against somebody else!
War Dog runs up behind Vlad, and Aaron ends his turn.
Cygnar Turn 2
So Aaron has obligingly moved his Widowmakers forwards… and my Minuteman (with his glorious Anti-Widowmaker-Flakfield) is probably within range… and therefore Kraye drops Full Tilt off the Hammersmith. The Journeywoman Warcaster upkeeps Arcane Shield, and I assign 3 to the Minuteman. I want to allocate 1 to my Hunter but learn, much to my annoyance, that despite my 28″ CTRL range to that particular warjack (due to “Extended CTRL”), it is STILL out of formation. Curses!
Kraye goes first. He moves towards the middle of the table to get my Hunter back in CTRL for next turn and casts Full Tilt on Minuteman. Sadly, nothing is within 13″ of him at that point, he can’t shoot anyone.
My Hammersmith, seeing the approaching wall of halberds, decides to back up to the edge of the zone. That should keep me safe from Charges (since they have a charge range of 11″ including Reach, and none of them are quite in the zone).
Next, my Minuteman walks up (12″), jumps 5″, and ends up in BSB with a Widowmaker. Which was silly (I should’ve gone B2B with Drago), but I kinda had tunnel vision on in my desire to kill those Widowmakers (which, in Aaron and my last game, almost single-handedly won it for him!). I activate Flak Field and kill 3 Widowmakers but fail to wound Drago (POW6 on ARM18). The last Widowmaker fails her CMD-check! Woo! Lastly, the Minuteman (out of melee range of Drago) takes its Cavalry-move behind the Khadoran heavy and a pillar nearby. Sadly, this results in a waste of 2 Focus.
Hmmm… now that I think about it, I should’ve spent those 2 Focus to shoot Drago (since I wasn’t engaged in melee). That was stupid of me! Oh well!
My Thrall I crafted last turn runs to engage Aaron’s Doom Reavers at the front of their horseshoe formation, making it very difficult (if not impossible) for several of them to charge forward.
Next, my Sword Knights walk up, still in clumps, and spread out a bit, emboldened by the fact that the Reavers are probably going to be unable to charge my guys. Probably.
Alexia walks forward and makes another Thrall out of her Risen. That Thrall runs forward to engage more Doom Reavers, tying up Aaron’s entire Reaver formation (well, the front of the formation, which is the important part!).
My Hunter walks up, and without Focus, fires at the Devastator. I hit, but without Focus to boost, I inflict no damage (dice – 7 since the closed Devastator is ARM25, which is ARM13 against Armour Piercing).
The ATGM walk up. The first bunch fire Thunderbolt shots at the Devastator (which is far too close for comfort, as I recall how powerful Rain of Death can be against relatively-low ARM infantry!). First shot misses (snake eyes), but the second hits and criticals (knocks down) and pushes the vile thing back 2″. I suspect that it is now out of range (it was), so the third fires a Snipe shot at the Doom Reaver UA but is out of range. My other 3 have only engaged Doom Reavers in range, and so choose not to shoot.
Lastly, my Journeywoman walks up a few inches, and the Squire runs to keep up with Kraye.
Khador Turn 2:
Vlad assigns 3 Focus to Drago and 1 to the Devastator to shake off Knock Down.
Drago activates first, walks behind my noble Minuteman, and obliterates it (with 2 of his 3 Focus leftover). Critical Amputates twice, hacking off both the left and right arms in the process before destorying it completely with Drago’s Chain Attack (which overkills by about 13 damage).
The last Widowmaker runs towards Vlad and rallies.
Next, the Marksman aims at my Hammersmith and misses on snake-eyes. Huzzah!
Aaron’s Steelheads activate and run. He runs 1 forward to engage my Hammersmith, while the rest move up to keep that 1 brave soul in formation. Interesting…
The Devastator walks up and punches the left of my two Thralls to death, hoping to free up the Doom Reavers… but the other still is blocking the charge lanes for the majority of them (and now the Devastator itself is blocking others!).
So, Vlad activates, moves sideways, and casts Wind Wall again.
The Doom Reavers activate. The front two attack and kill my last Thrall, while the other 4 and UA move next to Vlad and within 3″ of him to continue to enjoy the thin protection of Wind Wall.
Lastly, the War Dog runs up behind Vlad… like a… dog… following its master. Very much like that.
Cygnar Turn 3:
The Journeywoman upkeeps Arcane Shield, but the poor Minuteman no longer needs Full Tilt (or, more accurately, you can’t Full Tilt a light warjack wreck marker!). Kraye assigns 1 to my Hunter (happily back in CTRL) and 1 to the Hammersmith.
My Hammersmith activates. That 1 Steelhead is in my way… so I boost to hit the poor schmuck. Needing only a 7… I miss. 2nd initial attack misses as well, and so the mercenary gets to live to see another turn. Boo.
Kraye activates next and does a Ride-By attack. Moves 4″ laterally towards my Hammersmith and shoots Valachev very dead (boosts to hit and damage). He buys another shot and boosts to hit but misses a Steelhead. Takes his remaining 4″ move back to the middle of the table.
My Hunter activates and moves around the building. He fires at the Devastator, hitting easily. At a more-reasonable dice – 3 damage (because the Devastator “opened” to punch my Thrall last turn), I boost damage and inflict only 4. Still, I’ll take it… the light-cav move puts the Hunter back behind the building.
My ATGM activate next and 3 move forward while 3 aim. The first 4 fire Thunderbolts into the Devastator to push it out of the zone (inflicting a few points of damage at dice – 7). The last 2 fire Snipe shots at the Doom Reavers; one hits and kills (failing Tough) and the other misses… but I’ve still managed to clear the zone! Lets see if I can keep it clear…
My Sword Knights charge. 1 successfully charges the Devastator, 1 successfully charges the remaining Doom Reaver in front of the pack (the rest clumped around Vlad), and the rest fail or run, packing the formation tightly with B2B (ARM19) models. Thankfully, they pass CMD against Abomination. My 1 attack on the Doom Reaver misses, but the other hits the Devastator and inflicts another 4 points (at dice – 7 again, not bad!).
Alexia moves up. She turns another Risen into a Thrall… I figure if I can hold the Devastator in place, it won’t be able to do Rain of Fire due to the fact that all of Aaron’s Doom Reavers are within 3″… but I need to keep it from backing up (so it just hits my guys). Therefore, the Thrall runs behind the Devastator to lock it in place… but is counter-charged by War Dog (gah, forgot he had that…)… which misses! Woo! The War Dog takes the follow up move to head back towards Vlad.
Lastly, my Journeywoman and Squire both walk up a bit.
I score 1 CP for controlling the zone, so the score is now 1-0 for Cygnar!
Khador Turn 3:
Vlad assigns 1 Focus to the Devastator, but that’s it.
First, the Steelheads charge my Hammersmith. 1 doesn’t get distance, 6 succeed at their charge, and the rest (3, I think) just run. The 1 that didn’t get distance hits but does no damage, and then 2 charging 3-man CMAs hit and inflict a total of 12 points of damage. Which, I gotta say, is actually pretty respectable (both were POW15s due to Brutal Charge), and stung more than I expected!
The Marksman moves towards Alexia, fires, but is significantly out of range. Phew!
Drago runs back towards the right zone, getting more or less where he was at the end of Turn 1… so at least my Minuteman delayed him a few turns!
The War Dog charges my same Thrall again, this time hits and kills it. He backs up towards Vlad. Again.
The Devastator activates and Tramples over 6 Sword Knights(!). While he manages to hit 4 of them, he thankfully only kills 1 (ARM19 is a thing, yo). He ends up in B2B with Alexia, which I was *not* super enthusiastic about…
Next, Vlad activates, moves up to the bridge-wall, and casts Signs and Portents.
The Doom Reavers and UA activate. Aaron shifts them around, walking them sideways to engage as many Sword Knights as possible. But I’m DEF13 and ARM19, so I’m not THAT worried… I mean, if they got Charge attacks off, sure, I’d probably be splattered. But against regular attacks? He needs 5s to hit and 8s to kill… so most of my guys will die, but a few should survive.
Many attacks later, all 9 of my Sword Knights are dead (and Alexia now has 10 corpse tokens). My jaw summarily hits the floor. It was… glorious. Painful from my side of the table, but unquestionably glorious. Additionally, the UA sprays Alexia for 2 damage (thankfully flubbing the damage roll).
The last Widowmaker moves up, and shoots and kills 1 Risen (basically the only unengaged model Aaron had LoS to). He has succesfully contested my zone, so the score remains 1-0 for Cygnar.
Cygnar Turn 4:
Hmmm. The loss of my Sword Knights was lamentable, but not entirely unexpected (sure, I didn’t think I’d lose all of them in 1 turn, but I expected that they’d eventually all bite the dust). Time for a bit of retribution. Kraye allocates 3 to Hammersmith (noting that Drago is probably within Trample distance), takes 1 from Squire, and assigns 1 to the Hunter. No more Arcane Shield (or, more accurately, no more Sword Knights for Arcane Shield to be upkept on)!
Alexia generates all 10 of her new Risen with 2 on Vlad and 2 on the Devastator and the other 6 behind Reavers. I originally wanted to pack 8-9 of them onto the Devastator to get a big CMA to start hacking the clamjack to pieces… but with 8 of them, they’re hitting at POW15, which means they’ll be dice – 10 (on a non-charge attack!). So… yeah, I abandoned that plan pretty quick. But I have another, slightly more devious idea…
Kraye goes first. He moves over towards the Hammersmith again, does another Ride-by-attack to cast “Full Tilt” on the mighty Cygnar warjack, and then stupidly fires at Vlad (DEF21 due to concealment and engaged). I forgot he was engaged… I boost to hit (needing a 15), and promptly miss. The scattered shot hits one of my own Risen and kills it. Doesn’t risk 2nd shot, instead moving back towards the middle of the table and pops his Feat.
My Hammersmith tramples up to Drago (8″ from Full Tilt, +2″ from Feat, plus 3″ from Trample… turns out Drago was only 10″ away so I didn’t need the Feat, and it doesn’t give free Tramples, so it was kinda wasted… but it DOES give boosted hit rolls, and that was important!). In the process of the trample, I go over 5 Halberdiers and the Marksman. Misses 2 (despite boosted hit rolls from Feat, boo), but then kills 3 Steelheads and the Marksman so I can’t really complain.
Sadly, I take 2 Free Strikes from other Steelheads, both of which hit and end up crippling his left arm. But that’s okay… this isn’t an Ironclad, so I have another hammer! Buys attack against Drago and hits (dice – 1 damage), buys another and hits. Inflicts 15 points on Drago total… pretty happy about that, actually. Sure, my Hammersmith is dead, but he was dead regardless, and at least this way he killed a bunch of Steelheads AND inflicted some considerable damage on Drago before dying. So well done, Hammersmith!
Alexia activates and orders a Charge. She has 9 remaining Risen behind Aaron’s Doom Reavers and 5 behind her from the original Risen she started the game with. 1 of her “old” Risen charge past the Devastator at a Reaver, which Aaron elects to hit with a Free Strike, splattering it. But the trade off is that this Free Strike opens up the Devastator… a small price to pay for a Risen! I do CMAs onto the Doom Reavers, killing 2 (neither Tough) and lightly wounding the UA (flubbing my damage roll this time). Alexia then attacks the Devastator a total of 8 times (initial attack plus buys 7 more), boosting damage each time. At dice – 5, and consuming all remaining 15 Risen, the Devastator is at 3 boxes (a total of about 26 damage)… Alexia is swinging WAY above her weight-class, and I’m very happy with this result. Sure, it would’ve been nice to actually kill the damnable thing, but that’s a minor gripe, all things considered!
To finish off the wounded Devastator, my Hunter activates, moves out from behind its building (where it was heroically hiding), and shoots the Devastator. It’s DEF11 (due to being engaged by Alexia), and as a result it actually misses on a 3!
Afterwards, I remember that I was in the Devastator’s Back Arc and therefore *should’ve* hit… but hindsight. Menh! The shot scatters to Alexia and also misses her. I take the light-cav move to go back behind the building.
The ATGM activate and aim. First Thunderbolt shot pushes the Devastator out of melee with Alexia (woo!), but fails to wound (at dice-7). Next 2 shots kill all the remaining Doom Reavers aside from the UA (who both fail their Tough). The UA isn’t in the zone, but the Devastator still is, so the last 3 Thunderbolt shots go into Devastator, pushing it back twice (but failing to wound) and finally killing it on the last shot.
My Journeywoman casts Arcane Shield on Alexia (who has 4 corpse tokens from Doom Reavers, but no more Risen) to try and keep her alive for another turn… and then my turn ends. I score my 2nd CP for clearing the left zone, making the score now 2-0 for Cygnar!
Khador Turn 4
Aaron looked displeased. This pleased me.
Vlad assigns 2 Focus to Drago, and we’re off.
The last Widowmaker activates and shoots Alexia, but still misses. Nice!
The Doom Reaver UA moves up into the zone and Sprays, catching both Alexia and 1 ATGM, but thankfully misses both (needing 7s to hit).
Next, Drago uses both initial attacks, boosts damage on 2nd attack and splatters the Hammersmith authoritatively. Goodbye, noble and frequently-unloved-on-the-Forums warjack…
The Steelheads go next and issue a Charge order. 2 successfully get to Kraye and do a CMA attack, hitting and inflicting 11 damage (leaving him at 7)…
Wait, what? TWO Steelheads just inflicted 11 damage on my ARM17 warcaster!? Ouchouchouch…
The others run into a line across the river to make it difficult to get into the zone behind them. An interesting tactic…
Vlad then runs into the right zone, with the War Dog runs up behind him.
Aaron dominates for 2CPs, tying the game at 2 each. Wow, that changed quickly!
Cygnar Turn 5
So, I allocate no Focus to anyone, and the Journeywoman upkeeps Arcane Shield on Alexia.
Alexia spawns 4 Risen, putting 1 on the Bridge, 1 by the Widowmaker, and 2 more behind the Doom Reaver UA.
Alexia activates first and turns the Risen on the bridge into a Thrall. The 3 remaining Risen attack both the Widowmaker and the Doom Reaver UA, and succeed in killing both.
The Thrall runs off into Aaron’s zone to contest.
The Hunter, devoid of targets on the left side of the table any more (everything Aaron still had was on the right) runs towards the middle of the table.
Next, Kraye activates. He repositions slightly, does a Ride-By-Attack to melee-smite 2 Steelheads engaging him (of the 3 that could reach him) and then walks back 8″ into the cleared left zone. Thank Morrow for Parry!
The Journeywoman backs up and shoots the Steelhead that charged onto the bridge, hitting and splattering him.
My Squire runs back towards Kraye.
Next, my ATGM activate and move towards the remaining Steelheads. They shoot as best they can, their LoS often blocked by Kraye or the press of models around him, but in the end they kill all but 2 Steelheads, who then fail their CMD-check (thank Morrow again!).
I score 2 Points for dominating my zone, bringing the score to 4-2.
(In retrospect, I actually won the game this turn… my Thrall in Aaron’s zone SHOULD have scored 1 point since the only thing in the zone was Vlad, who can’t contest!… that would make the score 5-2 and a victory to Cygnar at this point… but I didn’t see it until we posted the pictures, so live and learn!)
Khador Turn 5
Vlad decides to camp all his Focus. Aaron knows he needs to contest my zone or I’m going to win this turn without breaking a sweat. and with his Steelheads broken he only has the War Dog and Drago to do this with… plus, he needs to kill my Thrall to tie up the game again.
So, Vlad activates first. He casts “Boundless Charge” on Drago and then moves up and hits my Thrall with Razor Wind, killing it. Vlad then finally pops his Feat.
The War Dog runs into my zone, just barely getting across the river and into it to contest. Curses!
2 Steelheads run onto the bridge (now that my Thrall is gone) to block access (and the rally).
Next, Drago activates and charges at the Hunter. He fails the Charge but due to Pathfinder on Charges and Vlad’s Feat, he does also get into my zone.
Aaron ends his turn and scores 2, bringing the score to 4-4.
Cygnar Turn 6
Kraye begins this turn by assigning 2 Focus to my Hunter and taking the last Focus from the Squire. I have only 2 things I need to do this turn: Empty my zone, and contest Aaron’s. That’s it. All I have to do. I can handle that, right?
The Hunter activates, aims, and fully boosts a shot into Drago, inflicting heavy damage (crippling one arm), and then light-cav moves away.
Kraye activates next, moves towards the bridge 4″ and does a Ride-By-Attack. He casts Arcane Bolt at the War Dog, boosting to hit (needing 11)… and hitting! I had the Squire reroll if needed, but it was nice to not need it! I boost damage, and, at Dice -2… flub the damage roll (only inflicting 3). Gah!
He shoots 1 Steelhead, hitting and killing, and then buys an attack and misses the other, and then finishes his move back where he started. Disappointing, but I still have many guns left!
The ATGM activate and Thunderbolt both Drago and the War Dog out of the zone with their first 4 attacks (to into each of them, but inflict no damage on any), and then Snipe-shoot the last Steelhead on the bridge, killing him.
Alexia activates. The zone is now clear, so all I have to do is craft a Thrall and send it running into Vlad’s zone… or, instead, I can kill Aaron’s last two models, making it impossible for him to contest my zone next turn, and win that way! That sounds less risky, right? Right?
Anyway, she charges Drago. The last 3 Risen run-charge, 1 successfully charges the Dog, the other 2 just run. My Risen misses the War Dog on its charge. No worries… Alexia hits Drago, dropping him to 2 health… she buys another attack and boosts damage, destroying Drago! Nice! She then hits the wardog with her final attack and kills it!
The War Dog successfully Toughs. For the first time all game… oh well. No worries! I still have a Journeywoman! And the War Dog is knocked down!
Journeywoman (instead of running across the bridge into Aaron’s zone) decides to aim at War Dog, hiting and kills it…
… and it Toughs. Again.
I score 2 more points, as does Aaron, bringing the score to 6-6.
Khador Turn 6
The War Dog stands up and moves into my zone.
Aaron ends his turn, scoring 2 more CPs and denying me any more, resulting in an 8-6 victory for Khador!
Post Game Analysis:
Okay, besides the fact that I actually won this game (whoops!), it was a lot of fun and a damn close match. By the end of the game I had killed 39 of Aaron’s 40 points on the table.
Overall, I’m actually pretty happy with how everyone performed… except for that idiotic last turn (push models out, contest Aaron’s zone, and WIN… how could I forget that part!?). A few mistakes (not shooting with the Minuteman being a big one… and not jumping into melee range so I could punch Drago being another), but still a solid victory and a great game, despite it taking 3.5 hours! And good on Aaron for playing a pretty solid game against me and not giving up!
Feat Use: 3
Scenario Awareness: 4
Feat Use: 2
Scenario Awareness: 4