For my game this week, I was lucky enough to be paired off with our resident Circle player, Gaven. Thus far, Gaven is the only member of our plucky band of WarMachinists who is still a purist… he plays Circle, and only Circle. There’s a lot to be said for that kind of dedication!
He’s also in 2nd place in our local totem, having to his credit 5 wins and 2 losses… a perfect counterpoint to my 2 wins and 5 losses so far! Would the gap between us continue to grow, or would the force of the Protectorate stand triumphant over the burning husks of the Circle?
Only one way to find out!
I had finally started painting my first unit of infantry (as followers of this podcast/batrep site know!)… a full unit of Exemplar Errants with their UA! I couldn’t wait to get them on the table, so I slapped some primer on them and the first coat of red/maroon paint for their tunics, and we were off to the races! Both of my lists featured them pretty prominently… but since Menoth only has one tool for giving Tough (Rhupert), I had a clear preference for that list… but since Gaven didn’t really know what to expect, he picked a list that… actually, was pretty solid. But we’ll get to that…
We set up scenario 12 (Fire Support)… central flags with a friendly and an enemy objective that must be destroyed to control or dominate the enemy flag… 1 point for destroying the objective, 1 for controlling a flag and 2 for dominating, and Killbox. A tricky scenario since you can theoretically score 4 points in a single turn… and since Gaven had a list with Circle’s strongest scenario player (eKrueger), I was going to need to be careful! If only Menoth had a good Denial/Control warcaster…
We rolled for initiative, which Gaven won and chose to go first. I took the side of the table with the big forest on it so as to deny it to my opponent… and also because the other side of the table didn’t have a shred of cover or concealment further than 14″ from any table edge… so basically Gaven’s warlock would be exposed and easier to hit, and I could have my warcaster toe-into the forest for the +2DEF and some Line of Sight blocking.
Gaven’s list was as follows:
Baldur the Stonesoul (eBaldur, Baldur2)
– UA (Alpha)
– UA (Stonewarden)
Lord of the Feast (LotF)
So, for those of you who have followed my battle reports, you may recall that my record against Gaven is pretty okay… but I have lost, without exception, every game he’s put Lord of the Feast on the table. That one model is the terror of my Cygnaran armies… it’s slayed dozens, broken cavalry charges, obliterated casters, taken out warjacks. But I was not playing Cygnar this time… and I was pretty confident I would be able to deal with him. I hoped.
Gaven deployed is Skinwalkers to the right, Baldur with his Constructs near the middle, and Ghetorix, the Blackclad, and the Ghorax went out towards the left side. The Stones and their UA, along with the Lord of the Feast, would Advanced Deploy near the middle of the table.
As for my list:
The Harbinger of Menoth
Exemplar Errants (max)
– UA (Officer and Standard Bearer)
Exemplar Errant Seneschal (proxied by a Knight Exemplar)
High Exemplar Gravus (dragoon)
Choir of Menoth (min)
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Paladin of the Order of the Wall
High Paladin Darten Vilmon
So… yeah. Denial? I got that covered. Contesting zones/flags? No worries there… and please say hello to my full unit of 11 Blessed ranged weapons, Weaponmasters who have Tough, can’t be Knocked Down, deny any beneficial affect to my enemies when they die, and can fuel Gravus with souls in a pinch.
Is this a good list? I don’t know. But it was going to be fun…
I deployed the Harbinger with her pet Devout and Hierophant near the middle of the table, with Gravus slightly closer to the forest (where the Errants were destined to go), the Reckoner closer to Ghetorix and the Vanquisher closer to Gaven’s infantry and warcaster. The Choir went behind their assigned warjacks, the Mechanik stood behind the Reckoner with wrench in hand, one Vassal went near each of my heavies, and my two paladins (Vilmon and vanilla) went to the left and right of Harbinger. The Errants and the Seneschal advanced deployed into the forest while the Wracks spread out a little (This being the first time I realized that they actually have a CMD and need to be in formation! Whoops!)
With that, we were ready to rock!
Circle Turn 1
Gaven starts by running his Skinwalkers forward towards the objective (and the waiting crossbows of my Errants). The Woldguardian activates its animus and walks up, and Baldur does the same. Baldur also casts a “Rock Wall” in front of his Skinwalkers to protect them on the apporach.
Ghetorix warps for Hyper Aggressive and charges forward, while the Shifting Stones reposition a little and the Lord of the Feast moves forward to threaten my… well, with that 8″ teleport followed by another 10″ teleport, he was basically threatening my everything! But that’s okay!
The Blackclad teleported himself to within 2″ of a Shifting Stone. Neat ability, that!
The Ghorax walked up behing Ghetorix, Megalith lumbered forward, and Gaven was done!
Menoth Turn 1
So I was going to get at least 1 round of shooting off… the trick was to damage the Skinwalkers enough that Gaven couldn’t safely move them up during the Feat. POW14 against ARM18 (assuming they engage my guys, which is a safe bet) needs 12s to kill… but if I can put 5 points of damage on them, suddenly I only need 7 to kill and I’m a lot happier! Plus, I realized that I could run my Vanquisher and get at least 1 AoE lobbed towards Baldur… with a little luck I might light the mighty warlock ablaze! Sure, he’s ARM17 and isn’t as fazed by burning as some, but dice-5 can still do some work, and having to worry about accumulating Wyrm Tokens every turn would only add stress to Gaven’s plans. So, with all this in mind, I allocate 1 Focus to every warjack and we start.
The Vanquisher goes first, running forward.
I activate the Choir next, moving them forward and spreading out, and singing “No Spells” on all my warjacks.
Next, a Vassal of Menoth closes in on the Vanquisher, who fires at Baldur, well out of Range. The AoE deviates towards the Skinwalkers, though, tagging 2 of the mutated warriors, Megalith, and a Stone. The blasts, at POW7, are unable to hurt anything. Not ideal, but I’ll take it!
Next, the Reckoner runs forward… and immediately afterwards I realize that it’s fast enough to actually out-pace my Vassal, which sucks. I activate the Vassal of Menoth, try to put Enliven on it (just in case), but sadly it is, indeed, out of range.
The Harbinger goes next. She walks forward, nabs a Focus from a Wrack which decides not to explode, and pops her Feat. She camps her Focus, and the Hierophant moves up behind her.
The Devout moves up, goes B2B with Harby, and says “No Spells” to Baldur.
My Vassal Mechanik runs up behind the Devout.
Vilmon and the Paladin both run forwards as far as they can, hopefully safe due to the Feat, but also within 10″ of the Harbinger, just in case. As my grandfather used to say, “A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando”, which translates approximately to “Pray, but pick up the hammer”.
Also, it can be translated to “Pray if you want, but pick up the warhammer and hit somebody with it.” Spanish is a somewhat imprecise and violent language. Appropriate in this case, though!
Next the Errants activate, walking forward and opening fire with their crossbows. Happily ignoring the Cover granted by the wall, the front 5 are all in range and find their marks. At POW10 I wasn’t expecting much against the ARM16 Skinwalkers, but I managed to inflict 4 damage on two of them and 1 on a third, so I can’t complain.
The Seneschal activates and takes his shot, putting 1 more point of damage on another Skinwalker.
Rhupert walks up and gives the Errants “Tough”.
Lastly, Gravus runs forward through the forest, getting all the Errants into his dual-field (“No Knockdown, but If You’re Killed I’ll Keep Your Soul Safe, Honest”).
With that, I was done, and Gaven had the unenvious position of trying to deal with the Harbinger’s Feat in a Killbox scenario!
Circle Turn 2
We start the turn, as is so often the case with Menoth, by determining if anything on my opponent’s side of the table burns to death! Yay! Sadly, the fire on the Skinwalker only inflicts a few points of damage, is unable to damage the Shifting Stone, and fizzles out on Megalith. But still… that’s okay!
So Gaven starts by muttering evil things about the realities of dealing with the Harbinger’s Feat. Which is mostly justified… expect that he’s really got a field full of ARM18 infantry (Skinwalkers when engaged), and ARM19+ warbeasts… a Blackclad, which is immune to the Feat, and the Lord of the Feast, who, while not TECHNICALLY immune, doesn’t ever “advance” and so is BASICALLY immune. Even Baldur would only be taking a Dice-3 die roll which he can transfer off if he wants… so while the Feat is still GOOD, Gaven really brought just about the perfect Circle list to deal with it!
But that’s not the way he saw it, and it is a bit of a blow to the ol’ gonads if you’re not expecting it. Or if you are. Really, it’s just an awesome Feat.
Baldur fills up his Fury again, the Shifting Stones toss away the 1 extra Fury from one of his warbeasts, and we’re off!
Gaven starts with the Shifting Stones, who teleport the Lord of the Feast forward, and the Stonewarden attempts to cast Rockfall on Vilmon… who is safely out of range, and the spell then scatters harmlessly.
The Lord of the Feast activates, and fires a shot at a Choir member behind and slightly to one side of the Harbinger… sadly out of the 2″ range of my Devout’s “Shield Guard”. The shot hits, and the Lord teleports into B2B with Choir member. In this position he engages 2 Choir, Rhupert, and the Harbinger herself… and Gaven grins as he activates his Thresher attack.
Initial attack on the closest Choir… misses. The attack roll hits Rhupert, kills him… and he Toughs. The other Choir member is hit… killed… and Martyr’d for 1 point of damage… and then the Lord misses the Harbinger by a mile.
Well! That went well! For me, at least…
Gaven utters a few more colourful metaphors about the Harbinger and her Feat, and then activates his Skinwalkers. The three that were undamaged the previous turn charge forward, each taking a few points of damage from the Feat but none killed. The 2 most heavily wounded stand still, and the Alpha ducks into a nearby forest to avoid the Feat… but simultaneously leaves one of the charging Skinwalkers out of formation, so Gaven only gets 2 successful charges. Those Skinwalker’s 4 attacks kill a grand total of 0 Errants (2 Tough, 1 miss, 1 successful ARM-save).
Next, muttering, Gaven activates and pushes Megalith forward, and unable to target the Errants with any spells, casts his Animus on himself, and looks imposing. He takes 4 damage from the Feat.
Baldur walks forward and takes 6 points from the Feat and decides not to Transfer it. He casts the Woldguardian’s animus (-1 dice to ranged attack damage), and pops his Feat. He then casts “Rock Wall” out to protect his Skinwalkers, forgetting that my Errants have Hunter (although it will protect a few of them from being Charged, I suppose!).
That basically ends Gaven’s turn, since the Blackclad and Ghetorix can no longer move/be placed… the Ghorax moves forward a bit onto the river.
Menoth Turn 2
Well, that went well! I love it when a Feat turn manages to buy you more time to shoot stuff… since this is my first time using the Errants, I was worried that they wouldn’t live up to the hype, but so far, so good! Surviving only 2 Skinwalker charges is perhaps less impressive than surviving a full unit charge… but that’s okay! I’m happy to get all 11 weapons brought to bear against Gaven’s troops!
We allocate 1 Focus to each of my warjacks again, and we’re off!
The Choir goes first, shuffling around a little to get all my warjacks within range of their songs but having the 2 engaged by Lord of the Feast still engaged… which means another Terror check, which sadly they fail this time. NOOooooo! Oh well. Time to see if Menite warjacks can hold their own against Circle-beasts without their precious, precious support!
However, their repositioning has opened up enough room for the Harbinger to move within 0.5″ of the Lord of the Feast. She pulls in a Focus from a Wrack (which does explode this time) and lays into the demigod… she automatically hits and boosts damage, inflicting 7 (so close!), and then buys and boosts again to polish him off. She camps the rest of her Focus protectively.
The Seneschal charges a nearby Skinwalker, hits and kills it, and takes a Quick Work shot at the Alpha, which hits but fails to wound.
The Errants activate next and get Charge orders. Thanks to Gaven’s central Skinwalker being out of Formation (and therefore unable to do Free Strikes!) I’m able to charge 3 Errants all the way to Megalith, get 2 or 3 on each Skinwalker, and the Officer near the middle of the group to keep everyone in formation. Woo! Of course, I’m working against Gaven’s Feat… turns out Megalith escapes unscratched (ARM22 trumps POW9s today… even on 4d6, at dice-14 I was unable to wound the mighty pile of rock), the 3 forward Skinwalkers all bite it (with Quick Work bolts striking the others for a few more points of damage), and I get 6 points of damage o the Objective (which, in retrospect, should’ve been only 3 points of damage due to the Objective being a Friendly Model and therefore benefiting from Gaven’s Feat… but it had no impact on the game, so moving on!).
The Vanquisher moves up a bit and opens fire at Baldur. The shot is slightly (EVER so slightly) out of range, but scatters a small amount, catching Baldur, the Woldguardian, and the Stonewarden (boo-yah!). The Vassal activates and gives an Ancillary Attack to the Vanquisher, which fires again and this time has it scatter to re-ignite Megalith and a Shifting Stone. None of the blasts (at POW7 still due to lack of Choir) have any hope of injury, but the Feat will be gone on Gaven’s turn, and maybe this will help thin the ranks!
The Reckoner activates, moves forward, and shoots at Baldur, who despite me checking from the Harbinger… is still out of range by a good half inch! Oh well. At this point I realize that I forgot to Enliven the Reckoner before moving it… the Vassal of Menoth moves up and fails to have it within range. Damnation!
My “regular” paladin walks up and drops into “Magic Weapons Only” within 4″ of my friendly flag (Gaven can kill him, but he’s still within 10″ of the Harbinger, so it wouldn’t be trivial!). Vilmon walks forward and gives himself +5ARM (too many magic weapons on that side of the table), also staying within 10″ of the Harbinger.
Gravus runs forward behind the Errants, keeping them all within 9″ of him (no Knockdown, and Souls if all else fails!), Rhupert stands up and gives the Errants Tough again, unable to move due to being knocked down by his own Tough check last turn against the Lord of the Feast.
Lastly, the Devout activates, walks B2B with the Harbinger, and makes her untargetable by spells again.
Circle Turn 3
Our Feats were now over, and all that was left is the grind… but for now, I’m still in a better position than Gaven, and hope to maintain it! Baldur gains another Wyrm Token (he’s on 3 now), heals himself a little through Megalith and Megalith heals a little himself, and then we’re off!
We start by seeing which of Gaven’s stuff decides to properly honour Menoth by burning to death… the fire on Baldur decides to go out (curses!), as it does on the Woldguardian (menh, whatever)… thankfully, the Stonewarden does NOT go out, and DOES burn off the table (yay!), the fire inflicts 1 point on a Shifting Stone, and 2 points to Megalith. Lastly, the Skinwalker takes a few more points of damage, but still has 2 or 3 points on him.
We start with the Blackclad moving forward and putting Hunter’s Mark on my Vanquisher.
Ghetorix mutates for “Hyper Aggressive” and runs forward, with the Ghorax running alongside.
The remaining Skinwalkers and the Alpha charge forward, engaging many of my Errants. I try to keep Megalith engaged, but even with Self-Sacrifice, eventually Gaven clears the 3 models out. One of the Skinwalkers heals 1 point of damage, and Gravus gains a soul, as the last Errant over there has nobody to Self Sacrifice to. The Alpha has much less luck, though, failing to kill the Seneschal due to a Sacrifice, but I allow him to kill a Tough-failing Errant (giving Gravus a 2nd Soul) since the Alpha is still unwounded and therefore gets nothing from killing my model.
However, the damage was done… the Megalith was free to charge! And Charge it did, heading straigh at my Vanquisher with plenty of speed to spare… thankfully taking a Free Strike from Vilmon as it passes him. The mighty Paladin connects with his blow, and at dice minus 4 manages to inflict a solid 10 points to the construct… sadly not enough to cripple anything, but still a good start!
Megalith starts laying into my Vanquisher, pounding into it with its fists… but the blows are raining off the thick armour of the Menoth warjack as often as they are damaging it. When Megalith is full of Fury (gaining the free charge and extra distrance from Hunter’s Mark), my Vanquisher stands with 6 boxes… and *nothing crippled*.
Couldn’t have gone better if I tried!
The Woldguardian charges Vilmon, but is safely out of range and fails the charge. I suspect Gaven was just trying to make it harder for me to get to Baldur!
Lastly, the Shifting Stones teleport themselves protectively around Baldur, and Gaven’s turn is over.
Menoth Turn 3
Well, I certainly can’t complain about that charge… even one spike in the damage and the Vanquisher was toast… on really good rolls, Gaven *could’ve* crippled both my warjacks. But not today! Today, Menoth smiled on the robotic portions of my army.
3 Focus goes to both of my Heavies, 1 to my Devout, and we begin.
My Choir shuffles around a little, getting out of the Harbinger’s way, and manages to Rally (phew!). Still, another turn without “Battle” was going to be sad… but sometimes these things will happen, I suppose!
Next, my Paladin walked over to engage both Ghetorix and the Ghorax, and dropped into “Magic Weapons Only” stance. Sure, they could walk away… but an almost-guaranteed POW14 Weaponmaster blow would at least make them think twice!
Next, the Vanquisher layed into Megalith, hitting and buying attacks until his Focus was all spent… sadly, the construct yet stood with 7 health. Curses! If only I had 1 more attack…
Oh wait. I play Menoth. I calmly activate a Vassal and make an Ancillary attack, which hits!
And inflicts 5 points of damage! Curses!
Fine. I activate the OTHER Vassal and give an Ancillary attack to the Reckoner, which finally puts the warbeast into the dirt.
Next, I activate the Devout and immediately spend its Focus to make the Harbinger untargetable by spells again. It then moves forward a few inches to make room for Harby to move up behind it.
The Harbinger then does so (I once again forgetting to activate the Hierophant first). She moves up to make sure Ghetorix is within 10″ of her (that -2 on attack rolls may be key!) and camps the rest of her Focus.
The Hierophant moves up behind her and heals her for 3 points of damage, leaving her almost at full health from the few times she had to activate Martyr.
I briefly consider what I should do with my Reckoner, and then settle on the wrong thing. I decide to Charge Ghetorix, hoping to get some damage on the warbeast before he has an opportunity to return the favour.
This… was a mistake. But oh well.
The Reckoner charges and gets its Assault shot, which hits! This is good, as a DEF12 warbeast is a lot easier to hit than a DEF14 one! The charge attack hits, and 1 more bought attack hits, but the last swing misses. Ghetorix is still fully functional (and would heal regardless), sitting on about 12-15 boxes left. Whoops.
Should’ve just stood and shot him… if it scattered into the Paladin, he was immune, and if Ghetorix charged my Reckoner he would take the mighty swing of the Paladin in the process! Oh well. Live and learn!
Rhupert activates and gives the Errants tough again.
The Errants activate and shuffle around, taking swings at the Woldguardian (pings off harmlessly), killing another Skinwalker, and damaging one of the Shifting Stones.
The Seneschal charges the Alpha… but misses!
Lastly, Gravus activates and charges the Alpha. He hits, smashes it to pieces, and then buys two attacks on the Objective, but doesn’t quite kill it (it still has 4 hitboxes at this point).
My Vassal Mechanik moves up, and I end my turn!
Circle Turn 4
At this point, Gaven has 7 minutes left on his Death Clock, and he’s pretty doom-and-gloom about his prospects. I would counter that he still has 2 fully functional heavy warbeasts to my 1 pristine-but-engaging-Ghetorix and my 1-barely-functional warjacks… if he had more time, he unquestionably could’ve made a game of this, but with that little time… well, who knows? I’ve lost with less time on the clock before, I suppose!
Baldur goes back up to full (having taken the 4 Fury from Megalith as it fell), and the Stones again toss an extra Fury from the table. Another Wyrm Token goes on his warlock, and we’re off!
Baldur starts, walking up to a few of my Errants and taking POW18 swings at them. He kills 1 and misses the others on some truly awful, awful rolls… well, the fact that I Tough’d twice didn’t hurt… Gravus takes the soul from the dead Errant. The Shifting stones reposition to protect his warlock, and Baldur takes a handful of damage.
Next, the Woldguardian activates and walks up to Vilmon, laying into the Paladin. At ARM21, he’s saved a few times by his ARM, and Martyr’d twice by the Harbinger to stay on his feet.
Ghetorix activates and lays into the Reckoner, but misses a few times (DEF14 is pretty solid, ya know) and as such my warjack survives to see another day… albeit with only 4 boxes and only his Cortex uncrippled. But still! Against Ghetorix, I’ll take that as a win!
The Blackclad Wayfarer moves forward and sprays my Paladin (immune to everything besides magic weapons, after all), but misses both him and the Reckoner… he DOES hit the Ghorax, but then fails to wound his own warbeast, so there is that, I suppose.
With that, Gaven is done, deciding to leave the Ghorax where he stands… and he’s got 5 seconds left on his death clock.
Menoth Turn 4
We both acknowledge that I’ve won the game (I could end my turn immediately and Gaven will clock out almost instantly), but we decide to run down the game anyway, see what would’ve happened.
I allocate 3 to both of my heavy warjacks, and we’re off.
The Errants shuffle around a bit and destroy a Shifting Stone. The Seneschal charges the Objective and finally destroys it!
Gravus charges another Shifting Stone, inflicting 7 points of damage on it (curses!) and then rolling triple ones on his bought attack with his Soul. Curses!
The Choir, finally rallied, walks towards my heavies and sings Battle.
The Vanquisher activates, walks up to the Woldguardian, and lays into the heavy… I leave it with 2 boxes after all 4 attacks are finished.
Vilmon drops into Stone-and-Mortar stance again and swings to finish off the Woldguardian… and I roll snake eyes. Blast!
I run the Vassal Mechanik up being the Vanquisher, just to keep Gaven from Pushing it with the Guardian to get closer to the Harbinger. Just in case.
The Hierophant activates and exhaults the Harbinger in a harmonious fashion.
The Devout walks forward, but without Focus, just stands there.
The Harbinger activates and walks up behind the Devout. She casts “Cataclysm” on the Blackclad, auto-hitting and boosting damage, wiping the druid off the face of Immoren like one might wipe dust from a glass surface.
Rhupert walks up and sings the song of Tough on the few remaining Errants, and I’m done!
(Yes, those of you paying attention: I forgot to activate my Reckoner)
Circle Turn 5
Gaven takes another Wyrm Token, more damage to Baldur (who is sitting at… 6 left, I believe), and we begin.
The Woldguardian stomps my Vanquisher easily, killing it on the second initial attack. He attacks Vilmon a few times, but either fails to kill him or the Harbinger Martyrs him with minimal damage.
Ghetorix corrects the oversight of letting my Reckoner live, obliterating it easily.
Baldur hits and easily dismounts Gravus (I place him far enough back that he can’t hit him again), and then hits the Errant Officer, who toughs, and then misses, and then hits and he Toughs again.
Menoth Turn 5
Not wanting to extend poor Gaven’s suffering any longer than needed, I camp all my Focus and we begin.
The last Errants move around a little and take swings at Baldur, hitting and inflict 2 points of damage each (bad rolls). Gravus walks over and smashes him with his flail, but only inflicts a single point of damage (bad rolls!).
My Hierophant sings harmoniously about the Harbinger, who then walks towards Baldur and blasts him with a POW16 Cataclysm. I boost damage, inflict 15 points, and it’s all over.
A bit of an uphill climb for Gaven, but I stand by the fact that he had a solid (albeit warbeast-expensive) list, and a very solid list to counter the Harbinger’s Feat. Sure, the Errants are annoying and powerful (and tough with Rhupert), and Fearless, which is nice, but I think this was more of a question of Gaven just not knowing what to expect from Menoth.
I think he’s learned.
Still, a great game, and a lot of fun to play! Hope you enjoyed reading it, and as always, comments, questions, and rules clarifications are very welcome!