It was my turn to go through the meat-grinder of our resident Cryx player, Adam, this week. I say that only because Adam has an undefeated 9 game streak going on so far this year… it’s my turn to see if my Menoth can fare any better than the Circle, Khador, Retribution, and Skorne have thus far.
I’m thinking “yes”.Since I have only a limited number of models available, I decided on a single list, 50pt game with death clock of 1 hour and 15 minutes (in practice/preparation for the upcoming Deathclock tournaments I’m hoping to compete in!). Adam brought a pDenny list, and I went with my now-patented “Heavy Warjack Spam” Harbinger list.
We rolled for scenario, getting “Close Quarters” (ironically, the exact scenario I’ll be playing for my podcast game this week, since it’s next in the rotation!). Two flags slightly offset from the center line: 1 CP for dominating the friendly flag, 1 for controlling the opponent flag and 2 for dominanting the opponent flag. We then roll initiative, which I win and choose to go first.
My Harbinger list is as follows:
Harbinger of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Choir of Menoth (max)
High Paladin Vilmon
Paladin of the Order of the Wall
Allegiant of the Fist
This is almost exactly the same list as the one I played against Ozzie last week, but with the upgrade to a maximum unit of Choir and only 1 Vassal Mechanik as a result. It’s actually not a particularly bad list… 1 turn of Board Control from Harby’s Feat gives my warjacks enough time to get a couple rounds of shooting into approaching infantry with four large fire-causing high-blast-damage AoEs from the Vanquishers and Vassals, and then a fair amount of clearing out infantry in the Threshers… plus the Allegiant, Vilmon, and the Paladin all being good at holding zones without much issue.
Is it perfect? No, obviously not. But the trade-off is that since I don’t own any infantry, this is a pretty solid list. As long as my opponent is kind enough not to take Asphyxious2 (his Feat is basically a perfect hard-counter to this list, and there’s nothing that can be done about it), it’s at least an interesting fight!
I set up with the Harbinger flanked by 1 Reckoner and 1 Vanquisher on each side, with the Choir interspersed between them (a lesson I have learned: you can’t have Choir trailing behind warjacks since if they run forward they may be out of song-range!). Vilmon went on one flank while the Paladin went on the other, and the Allegiant went to the far-left side. My Wracks had Advanced Deployment, but with Harbinger’s 20″ CTRL, they can be basically anywhere… so I set up one at the middle of the table behind Harby, and one forward on each flank.
Adam, voluntarily shackling himself by not playing Asphyxious2… decides to bring out the Big Guns:
War Witch Deneghra (pDenny, Denny1)
– Skarlock Thrall
Satyxis Blood Witches (max)
Bane Thralls (max)
– UA and Standard Bearer
Bane Lord Tartarus (BLT)
Gorman di Wulfe
While Adam may complain about not being able to bring Gaspy2 to the party, this list is pretty powerful in its own rights. The addition of the Blood Witches over the Raiders was… interesting, although their Magic Weapons certainly made my Paladins a bit more nervous… but otherwise a solid, foot-to-groin-repeatedly list.
Adam deployed his army in a long line, with 1 Nightwretch on either flank and Nightmare deployed closer to his friendly flag. The Banes with BLT went to the left side, and the Witches took up the right. Denny and her entourage went near the middle with Gorman, and we were off!
Nightmare makes my right-flank Vanquisher his prey.
Menoth Turn 1
I allocate 1 Focus to each of my warjacks, and we’re off to the races.
I debate… I think… I look at the long line of Cryx troops… I decide that this will be Feat turn. A mistake? Probably. But one that I need to learn, and what better way than through the crucible of battle!?
So, the Hierophant activates and sings Harmonious Exhaultation.
The Harbinger activates, casts “Crusader’s Call”, pops her Feat, and charges 11″ down the table. I’m a little saddened that only the very middle of Adam’s formation is directly caught in the Feat, but that’s okay… he won’t be able to move up many/any of his units regardless, which should buy me at least 1 uninterrupted turn.
My warjacks all run forward, sending a Reckoner and a Vanquisher each direction and the Devout close to the Harbinger herself.
Vilmon and the Paladin both run forward, and the Allegiant (“Kicky Monk”) decides that Martyrdom is the better part of valour and runs towards the Harbinger, rather than risking running straight forward into the guns of the Pistol Wraith and out of 10″ of my warcaster.
I’m in a solid, central position, but I’m also clumped up as hell… but what can ya do? The Choir move up and sing “No Spells” on my warjacks, and we’re good to go.
Cryx Turn 1
Adam… I won’t say “whines”, but I will say “verbalizes in a somewhat negative fashion” about the Harbinger’s Feat. He does, however, deal with it like a champ… everything shuffles to the flanks (I kill 1 Blood Witch) except for Gorman, who runs straight forward towards the safety of the house, Deneghra (camping full Focus and unharmed by the Feat), and Nightmare, who takes 3 points of damage.
Menoth Turn 2
First, I determined that by sheer luck, Deneghra was a mere inch or two out of Charge range of my Reckoner… she was probably sitting at 12.5″ away, and with reach my mighty warjack can thunder forward 10″ +2… it would be CLOSE, but not quite close enough. And since she was still camping a full stack (ARM21), it wasn’t worth my Reckoner for a single boosted POW15 if I couldn’t follow up with something equally powerful. So out went that idea.
I quickly allocate out several Focus to my Vanquishers (they’re about to earn their pay!), 1 to my Devout, and camp 3 on Harbinger herself. Adam has been kind enough to offer up Gorman as a fitting tribute to Menoth, and who am I to deny him?
The Hierophant goes first and gives Harbinger a -1 cost spell (harmoniously, one might say).
The Harbinger goes next, drawing a Focus from my Wrack at the back of the table (which elects not to explode). She moves forward to the edge of the house and in B2B with my friendly flag, and introduces Gorman to Menoth… “directly”, shall we say? One auto-hitting POW16 boosted-damage roll later, and di Wulfe is officially di dead.
I measure, triple check, and re-measure to make sure that none of Adam’s Banes can charge the Harbinger next turn. The Pistol Wraith might get a shot, but that’s what the Devout is for! It moves up and uses “Spell Ward” on the Harbinger, just in case.
My Choir shuffle forward a little, mostly repositioning, and sing “Battle”. My left Reckoner moves up a little and fires off a shot at the entirely-Stealth side of the table to predictably no effect.
My right-side Vanquisher moves up and fires a shot at Nightmare, which is, as planned, *just* out of range (to avoid giving Nightmare the Prey movement bonus)… but since Nightmare is Stealth, it still misses. However, it does scatter very satisfyingly into a bunch of Blood Witches, which it instantly vapourizes.
One of my Vassals moves up and gives Ancillary Attack to that Vanquisher, which fires again at Nightmare… this time it only scatters enough to catch the heavy warjack and inflicts light damage (as well as lighting it on fire).
My other Vassal shuffles over and gives Enliven to that forward Vanquisher.
My other Reckoner moves forward slightly up the middle of the table, followed closely by my Mechanik.
My Paladin moves up and drops into Stone-and-Mortar stance (+5 ARM will serve him better than Only Magic Weapons against those witches!) and stays within 10″ of Harby, while Vilmon shuffles forward and goes into “Only Magic Weapons” (immunity to everything besides the Pistol Wraith? Yes please!).
Cryx Turn 2
If I’ve done my math right (and measured accurately), Adam was going to have an extremely difficult time contesting my flag this turn, so I was going to jump into at least a 1 point advantage… and I was pretty sure that nothing was within range of anything, so I SHOULD get a full round of shooting his troops to boot! Of course, Adam had other plans…
Deneghra camps all her Focus, and we’re off.
The Blood Witches go first, popping their mini-Feat (Incorporeal) and running forward to jam up my warjacks and Paladin on the right side of the table. Nightmare moves forward confidently behind them.
The Bane Thralls and BLT run forward on the left-flank, BLT staying safely behind a wall and many Banes, to make it more difficult for me to surgicially remove him from the game as I did with Gorman. The Withershadow run up the middle of the table (Adam spreading them out at the last moment, sadly).
The Pistol Wraith walks up and fires on Vilmon, hitting twice and confirming Death Chill, but not killing him.
Deneghra walks into the middle of the table and pops her Feat, catching all of my warjacks, Harbinger, and my 2 Paladins. She then arcs “Crippling Grasp” on my left-side Reckoner, hitting easily. He shuffles his arc nodes around a little.
Menoth Turn 3
Okay, so far so good… the addition of “Incorporeal” to the Blood Witches would mean that they were going to survive, but that was okay… their ability to wound my mighty warjacks without ARM-debuffs would be limited, and Nightmare… well, it was 1 Heavy against my 3 on that flank. I was pretty sure how that would end up for Cryx. But I had bigger fish to fry… yes, I do belive “fry” to be the correct verb in this context.
1 Focus went to my unengaged Vanquisher, 1 to my Devout, and the Harbinger camped the rest (leaving her with 6, due to Denny’s Feat).
The Hierophant activates and exhaults the Harbinger for a -1 cost spell. The Choir activate and sing Battle.
The Devout activates, uses “Spell Ward” on Harbinger again, and backs up a little.
The Harbinger goes next. She draws a Focus from a Wrack (which again decides to not explode), lobs out a Cataclysm at the closest clump of Banes (obliterating the one directly hit, who fails his Tough, and hits 3 others, of which only 1 passes his Tough check. She then casts “Purify” to get rid of “Crippling Grasp” on the Reckoner (hey, no reason to make it easier for Adam than it needs to be!), and retreats back to the other side of the flag, safe(r) knowing that its base can’t be filled by charging undead.
Vilmon sacrifices his movement to Death Chill, and then his sacrifices his Activation to be immune to everything besides magic weapons. Hey, every bullet Adam sends at Vilmon is one shot NOT going towards something more useful/powerful/important!
I move the Allegiant up to block access to the Reckoner and drop into “Shifting Sands” again. DEF17 is a pretty difficult thing for Banes to hit, I suspect, unless he curses my Allegiant… and if he does THAT, I will consider it 2 points of solo VERY well spent!
My Vanquisher and Reckoner on the right are jammed to the gills with Blood Witches that are immune to everything besides magic weapons, so they just stand still and look imposing. I have the Vassals give the Vanquisher “Enliven”.
The other Vanquisher (unengaged), moves forward it’s full 2″ towards Deneghra and lobs a Flame Belcher shot at her… which auto-misses due to range, but thankfully still tags her in the AoE… there are few things I’m happier to see than an ARM14 warcaster lit on fire… now if it will just refuse to go out for a little bit, we’re going to have a stew going.
A victory stew! I boost damage on the blast, and inflict 2 points with a below average roll (dice – 6).
With Deneghra thus enflamed, I decide not to take an Ancillary attack (which would be unlikely to do much damage without being able to boost, and you can’t stack fire damage, sadly!), and so use my 2nd Vassal to Enliven my engaged Reckoner on the left.
The Paladin, who is surrounded but also an excellent road-block for a charging Nightmare, decides to forfeit both his movement and activation for both +5ARM and immunity to non-magic weapons.
I decide to run my Mechanik away from the Blood Witches (to deny them an easy kill… well, eas*ier*), and end my turn. The score is now 2-0 for Menoth, and if I can survive this next round I’m pretty sure I’m in a very good position…
Cryx Turn 3
Adam’s army has weathered the approach very well, all things considered… on the approach he lost Gorman, 3 Bane Thralls, a Blood Witch, and suffered some cosmetic damage to Nightmare… but in my corner, Deneghra is on fire, and at dice-2, if that flame keeps burning I might be able to win the game by just waiting…
The fire… does not go out! Yes!
I roll damage… and get a 4, inflicting 2 points on the Warwitch. Bah! That should’ve inflicted at LEAST 3 or 4… but whatever. She yet stands barely scratched, and the war continues.
Adam decides to play it safe and allocates only a single Focus to Nightmare. Without any remaining upkeeps, he is therefore ready to start.
The Skarlock Thrall goes first and casts “Ghost Walk” on the Banes…
A moment of your time, good reader? Of all the over-powered, ridiculous, INSANE things that Cryx has going for it… and they are legion (as in “many”, not as in “dragonspawn of Everblight”)… this spell has to be in the top-3. Immunity to free strikes!? The ability to advance through terrain is bad enough, but the fact that I can’t take free strikes while its happening!? I know people whine about Haley’s Temporal Barrier… but this spell makes Temporal Barrier look like a minor annoyance or tiny speedbump. Anyway, moving on…
To add insult to injury, Deneghra goes next and casts it on the Blood Witches (sure, why not?). She then shuffles behind a wall for a bit of extra safety in case things go south, but carefully stays within the Killbox.
The Blood Witches charge. Most are unable to get the required 3″ of distance, but all of them manage to engage something aside from 1, and 3 of them DO get distance. Thankfully, the whole pack of them are within 10″ of Harbinger, and 7 of them are within 2″ of my Reckoner as well… my Paladin is successfully charged but missed due to his now-DEF17, and the Reckoner takes a few minor scratches due to its hefty ARM19 coupled with a respectable DEF14. My Vanquisher is hit for 1 point of damage, but Adam has carefully placed his Witches behind my warjack… I move directly towards Nightmare, hoping to keep him from engaging both of my warjacks at once and perhaps deny him his charge bonus.
Sadly, it is not to be… Nightmare walks up to the Vanquisher. He hits with all three initial attacks and then with the bought attack… but when the dust settle, my warjack is still fully functional and has 16 remaining boxes! Ah, the joys of sturdy Menite construction!
Well… sturdy Menite construction and only giving Nightmare 1 Focus. That helped, I’m sure!
The Withershadow Combine shuffle over towards the left side, but with nothing to Unbind, and all the targets in front of them engaged, they elect to do nothing more.
Lastly on that side of the table, the Warwitch Siren charges my Reckoner, but again the DEF14 foils his efforts to connect on the Charge.
The Nightwretch on the left side of the table moves forward to open a hole for BLT. It fires on the Reckoner but misses.
Tartarus waltzes towards my Allegiant and curses my Reckoner. Adam debates on whether to take the attack or not and decides against it.
The Banes Charge. 4 Charge my Reckoner, 1 Charges through the building to get to Harbinger… but my Devout’s Defensive Strike triggers, hitting the Bane… who Toughs! Excellent! This means Adam can’t get a different Bane into that space! That went just about perfectly… the remaining Banes charge my Allegiant while the Officer and Standard Bearer shuffle forward to keep everyone else in formation.
Adam starts with the Reckoner, which by the 4th attack is merely a wreck marker (a Reck-marker?). His Banes then swings at the Allegiant, which deftly steps away to tie up the arc-node and BLT.
Lastly, the Pistol Wraith moves into the forest and shoots Vilmon twice, killing him twice, but he’s Martyr’d twice (inflicting 4 damage on the Harbinger total). He also lands the Death Chill shot again (curses!).
With that, Adam ends his turn, and the score stays at 2-0 for Menoth…
Menoth Turn 4
That… could’ve gone much, much worse. Having a fully functional Vanquisher already engaging Nightmare was a blessing, and the loss of the Reckoner was a noble sacrifice that protected Harbinger and tied up much of Adam’s ARM-cracking capabilities. And since in this context “ARM-cracking” could be read as “Harbinger-slaying”, that was a worthy sacrifice. Now to ensure it wasn’t in vain!
Thankfully, the Harbinger is back up to her full 10 Focus, and my warjacks and solos are all hitting at full power again. Time for a little payback… 3 Focus goes to the Vanquisher engaging Nightmare, 1 goes to the other Vanquisher, and Harby camps the last 6. It was going to be a calculated risk… but one I thought I could pull off.
Hierophant goes first and sings Harmonious Exhaultation for the Harbinger.
The Allegiant activates and punches BLT twice… the first blow inflicts only a single point of damage (dice – 8 on 3d6 due to Weaponmaster), but the SECOND attack… that one also only inflicts a single point of damage. Phooey.
Well, I was hopeful… but there’s almost no way around it now. The Harbinger activates. She casts her first (low cost) Cataclysm at the closest clump of 5 Banes, vapourizing 3 of them and knocking 1 down. She then take a Focus from the Wrack… which explodes (oh well!), and casts it again at Tartarus. It hits, and at dice – 2 manages to inflict 7 points of damage and kill the undead lord. Woo!
The Harbinger then pulls back from the flag, putting some distance between her and the remaining Banes.
The Choir activates and sings Battle, catching all of my warjacks. They also make a few attacks, and actually manage to hit and slay 2 Blood Witches (hey, with MAT4 and POW6, that’s pretty damn impressive!).
The Devout moves over to block approaches to the Harbinger and smotes another Bane. Smites? Whatever. It hits and kills a Bane which does not Tough.
Next my Vanquisher with a single Focus activates, walks up to a group of 2 Blood Witches and the Warwitch Siren, and Threshers them all to death (boosting to hit the Siren).
The Reckoner takes a swing at a Witch, slaying another.
The Paladin drops into “Magic Weapons Only”, and kills another Witch. At this point… they fail their CMD-check and break! Nice… very nice…
The other Vanquisher activates and lays into Nightmare, battering it until only a few boxes remain (sadly, both arms are functional… but critically, the Cortex is NOT). I activate the closest Vassal, give it an Ancillary Attack, and reduce the Nightmare Kingdom’s Nightmare warjack into scrap.
My other Vassal activates and gives an Ancillary Attack to the other Vanquisher, which fires at the closest of the Withershadow… the shot is JUST out of 5″, but only scatters an inch and still tags all 3 members! 1 point of damage on Admonina, 5 points on Tremalous (killing him with a perfect 12 for damage!), and none on Maelvous… but the 2 remaining members are both on fire and hopefully not long for this world.
Lastly, I run my Mechanik over to clog up more of the real-estate around the Harbinger. Adam’s tools were running in short supply, and I could sense that an assassination was his only remaining hope… I had to put enough bodies between Harby and the Banes to make sure it didn’t become a reality!
Cryx Turn 4
Before Adam’s turn really got started, we rolled to see if Denny would burn to death (unlikely, but a roll of 12 for damage at this point would kill her!). The fires for her and Admonina do not go out… Admonia burns to death, but I roll only a 3 on Denny and she takes a mere 1 point of damage.
The only upside to this is that hopefully Adam will under-estimate the power of having your warcaster on fire in the future… but 2 turns of burning and so far 3 damage! Very disappointing. The fire on Admonina goes out, while the other fire burns the remaining member of the Withershadow for 4 points of damage… not quite enough to kill him (again), sadly.
So, as a result, Adam gets yet another turn to try and kill me. He starts by camping all his Focus, and we’re off.
The Nightwretch on the right flank opens fire at my unengaged and heavily damaged Vanquisher, but misses.
The Skarlock Thrall moves up and casts “Crippling Grasp” on the Reckoner.
One of the broken Witches runs away from the Reckoner, getting thoroughly smote in the process… and the remainder fail their CMD check again.
But this opens up a charge-lane for the remaining 2 Withershadow Combine members, who charge my Reckoner and inflict respectable damage (leaving it with 2 boxes… both Cortex).
The other side of the table still has most of Adam’s Banes, though, and this is the critical part of the turn. The Banes move forward, unable to engage the Harbinger directly and another of them falling to a Defensive Strike from the halberd of the Devout. Two of them engage my Allegiant, but the first misses and he walks away to engage the arc-node. 3 of them take swings at Vilmon… who is immune to their puny non-magical weapons.
Can I tell you how good that felt? Oh, it felt REAL good…
In frustration, Adam moves Deneghra back a bit to be safer, and ends his turn.
Menoth Turn 5
At this point, Adam has 7 minutes left on his Deathclock to my 23 minutes, I have a 2 point lead on points and Adam’s flag is being contested by two fully functional warjacks and a paladin who can be ARM21 and immune to everyone besides Deneghra herself. All I have to do is keep the Harbinger safe for a turn, and Adam is going to either clock out, or rush into making a simple, exploitable mistake. I decide to try and clear out the last few Banes, since they’re the only serious threat to the Harbinger aside from Venom-sprays. With this in mind, I give 1 Focus to the Vanquisher near the Withershadow, 3 Focus to the one near the Nightwretch (slippery, hard to hit bastards), and camp the remaining 6.
The Hierophant goes first and gives Harby an exultation that could be described as harmonious. The Choir goes next, singing Battle and swinging at a handful of Banes and Witches, but failing to kill anything this time.
I activate the Allegiant and walk him into engaging the Bane Officer and Standard Bearer. The first punch drops the Standard (who fails his Tough, thankfully), and the second swing wounds the Officer but fails to kill him. Still, progress!
The Harbinger moves up the the flag again to get a bit closer to the remaining Banes and casts “Cataclysm” on the closest, hitting at POW18. That vapourizes the one, hits several others, but leaves 3 alive. She pulls one Focus off a Wrack (leaving her with 4), and sits.
The Devout kills another Bane, as does Vilmon. Adam is now down to the officer and 2 others. I figure that I’m pretty safe at this point… the Devout is there to Shield Guard a shot if needed (from the Pistol Wraith for example, who is still around), the Nightwretch is WAY out of Denny’s CTRL, and the Harbinger is ARM18 with 13 hitpoints at this point and a respectable DEF14… so I switch attention to the other side of the table.
The Vanquisher with 1 Focus walks up and tries to engage both Admonia and Maelvous, but can only get Admonia in range. He smacks her, boosting to hit, and kills her. The Vassal then uses an Ancillary Attack on that Vanquisher to shoot at the Nightwretch, which it hits and inflicts light damage on.
The Vanquisher with 3 focus moves into melee with the Nightwretch, boosts to hit, and drops the light warjack on his first blow.
The Reckoner, with a crippled mace, needs a 6 to hit a Blood Witch… and does so! The weapon, even crippled, obliterates the model.
The Paladin drops into “Magic Weapons Only” and swings at the nearest Blood Witch… but misses. Boo.
And with that, my turn is finished. The score remains 2-0 for Menoth.
Cryx Turn 5
Before Adam gets to take his turn, we once again determine if the fire on Deneghra goes out… and yet again it does not! I need to roll a 10 on 2d6 to kill her… and I roll… a 3. Inflicting ONE point of damage. AGAIN.
Adam camps his full stack and rushes into his turn, the clock racing against him.
The Skarlock Thrall moves closer to the remaining Banes and casts “Ghost Walk” on the Officer. Adam carefully places it within 11″ of Deneghra.
The Nightwretch activates and walks towards the Harbinger. It shoots, needing a 9 to hit… and gets it! He rolls damage and inflicts a solid 6 points.
He charges his Skarlock with Denny, hitting it and wiping it off the table. She arcs “Crippling Grasp” at the Harbinger, boosting to hit… he needs a 9… and he nails it!
Denny casts “Venom” on the Harbinger… needing a “5” to hit, she hits! She boosts damage and rolls 16… which at dice – 4, is more than enough to kill the Harbinger.
Victory to Cryx!
Okay, so… yeah. Let’s start by talking about the obvious mistakes:
1. I forgot to Shield Guard the shot by the Nightwretch. I couldn’t even tell you why I forgot… but I did. Whoops.
2. Harbinger’s defense against the Venom shot was only -2, not -4. Don’t ask me why Denny needed a 9 to hit the first time and then a 5 to hit the second. I’m pretty sure Adam actually missed that second shot (rolling a 6), but I’m not positive, sadly, and if he had known that he still needed a 7, he would’ve boost to hit the spray… but that means (at dice – 4) he PROBABLY wouldn’t have killed her (needing to roll an 11). Still, he still had 3 Banes alive, including the Officer with 2 attacks, and they’d need 6s to hit the now-DEF12 Harbinger. Sure, the Devout would kill one with a Defensive Strike if I was lucky, or if I was REALLY lucky Adam would try to charge, since only 1 of them (the Officer) had LoS and an unobstructed charge-lane to Harbinger (through the building)…
3. But… why… oh WHY did I move Harbinger TOWARDS every piece on the table capable of actually hurting her?! I knew I couldn’t clear the flag, so I wasn’t trying to score points, and Harby would’ve been quite safe behind her wall of Choir and the Devout, and I could’ve backed her up a few inches just to make sure to stay out of Spray range of the Nightwretch… or, hey, just NOT walked my Allegiant away from Adam’s still fully-functional arc-node!
Just ridiculous of me. One inexcusable mistake, and it cost me the game. Good on Adam for capitalizing it after so much of his army had been obliterated, though!
Anyway, there ya go. My most recent game against Cryx, and another notch on Adam’s unending victorious streak. But I came close… damn close… and I have a full unit of Exemplar Errants with the UA on my painting table as I type these words.
Next time, dear readers… next time the undead are going down!
Comments, questions, observations, and outright mockery are always welcome!