This week Nick was happily smashing MACBAIN!!! into Kassem’s Skorne, leaving me to once again have a more leisurely game.
Aaron got home a little late and asked if it was okay that we only put 35 points on the table. Fine by me… I had been looking for an excuse to try out a few of my new warcasters, and this provided me with a fantastic opportunity!
To my surprise, Aaron hauled out a Mercenary list instead of his usual Khador! Still, the list I crafted was designed to handle just about anything (aside from Assault Kommandoes), so I was confident we’d at least get a good game out of it! And the fates did not disappoint…
First, a word about my list… it is very atypical in a lot of ways, and I won’t pretend that I have “solved” Ad-Raza. I haven’t, and this was designed as an excuse to get a few warjacks I love on the table after not being able to field them in forever… Vanquishers! Fabulous warjacks, and a steal at 8 points… the only reason they don’t hit the table more often?
1. Menoth has better 8 point options (read: Reckoners)
2. They are slow as molasses… or Rhulfolk…
3. A few more points gets you an Avatar
4. I haven’t QUITE finished painting mine. They’ve been hovering at 90% done for… oh my, 6 months? Yeah, awhile.
But! Amon makes them faster! And can make them complete MONSTERS in melee with Synergy (I want you all to take a moment to think of a MAT12, POW23 Thresher attack). And… heck… they’re fun!
So with that in mind, I crafted the following list:
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Choir of Menoth (min)
Daughters of the Flame
See? A ridiculous list. Basically hinging on 4 Vanquisher shots a turn (or, if needed, 2 Reckoner shots and 3 Vanquisher shots) with a bunch of infantry I hope can operate without any support whatsoever. Will it work?
Well, that depends a lot on Aaron’s list… and he brought:
Magnus, the Warlord (eMagnus, Magnus2)
Steelhead Riflemen (max)
Steelhead Halberdiers (max)
Steelhead Cavalry (max)
Also known as “Zounds Steelheads”… I wonder if anyone gets those “Heroes of Might and Magic” references… anyway. A lot of Steelheads… and the wrong warcaster for the list, almost without question. Damiano, yes. eMagnus… well… he’s not BAD… but he doesn’t really do much for this list. And the Riflemen in particular need some kind of help… “Snipe” would work, but that’s on pMagnus. In fact, just glancing over his card, pMagnus is better in just about every conceivable way… but whatever. This is what Aaron took, and it’s what I played against!
The scenario we were playing was “Supply and Demand”, with a central 12″ circular zone and 2 objectives, one friendly and one enemy. 1CP for controlling the zone or destroying the enemy objective, and 2CPs for dominating the zone. Also, killbox.
We rolled for initiative, which I won, and elected to take the table side with a wall placed about 14″ from the back edge… I’ve heard that Ad-Raza is super fragile, and I was hoping the boost to his DEF would be enough to keep him reasonably safe.
Aaron subsequently deployed with the Halberdiers on the far left, the riflemen behind them, the line of Cavalry and Stannis near the right, and Magnus and his two warjacks in the middle.
I then deployed my three heavy warjacks near the middle of the table, the Knight Exemplar opposite the Cavalry, and the Daughters opposite the Halberdier/Riflemen. My Wracks went scattered around the middle and left side of the table.
With that, we were ready to go!
Mercenaries, Turn 1
First things first: the Renegade and Nomad both get a Focus.
Aaron started by noticing that I had placed my Daughters as far away from his Cavalry as humanly possible, and elected to run his warhorses towards my fragile screen. The Halberdiers and Riflemen also ran forward, spreading out behind the warriors on horseback.
The Nomad and Renegade run forward, and Magnus walks forward on a full camp.
Menoth, Turn 1
Amon allocates 1 Focus to both of my Vanquishers and camps the last 4.
Amon activates first. He pulls a Focus from a Wrack that is stupidly EXACTLY where I want to put Amon (how do I not think of these things!?), hoping it will explode.
It does not.
Whatever, He casts “Synergy” and “Mobility”, and then moves forward towards the safety of the nearby wall while camping the last Focus.
The Choir activates and I debate internally about whether to FINALLY sing “Passage” on my warjacks (in 7 months of playing Menoth, I haven’t used it yet!) or to go for the lucky scatters… I decide to sing “Battle” and hope Menoth’s hand guides my dice!
The first Vanquisher walks forward his 6″ (+2 from Mobility), and fires at the closest Cavalry. The shot is short by 4 inches or so… and it scatters backwards harmlessly.
No worries! I activate my first Vassal, who walks up to the Vanquisher and gives him an Ancillary attack… which ALSO scatters away harmlessly.
No worries! I activate my second Vanquisher! He walks forward! He shoots!
It scatters away harmlessly!
No worries! I activate my second Vassal! Ancillary Attack! Scatter! Harmless!
No wor… oh, no, I’m out of tricks and attacks. Crap.
Well. That didn’t go well.
The Daughters, now safe from scatter AoEs of friendly-fire, activate and run. I spread out 5 as much as I can, and launch one of them forward as bait, hoping to force Aaron to move his forces up to deal with her.
The Reckoner activates and shuffles forward a little.
The Knights activate and run, and I immediately realize that I put them in an extremely stupid position… half of them are forced to go left around the house while the others are forced to go around the right, leaving 1 of them out of Formation! Damnations…
With that, my turn is finished and Aaron’s pristine, unharmed army gets to activate again!
Mercenaries, Turn 2
Aaron’s gotta be a bit happy about how that went… but he plays his cards close to his chest, so it isn’t always easy to tell.
Magnus decides to stay on a full camp, singing the song of Scyrah (“It’s MY Focus! MINE!”).
The SH Cavalry go first, moving forward and spreading out cautiously. They open fire on my Daughter at the front of my army… and 5 shots later, she yet stands! Go high Defence!
Stannis activates next and runs protectively behind a nearby ruin.
Aaron then goes into the tank for a little while and decides to play it “safe”… he moves the Halberdiers up *behind* the Cavalry, and spreads them out a bit.
The Riflemen move up behind the Halberdiers and do a single big CRA into the Daughter, finally tagging and killing her.
Magnus goes next, moving forward and casting “Bullet Dodger” on himself.
The Renegade activates, walks forward, and lobs its Obliterator Rocket at my closest Knight Exemplar… he has range! He hits!
The direct hit wipes out the KE, and the blast finishes off another Knight and a Daughter, while failing to wound another Knight and my right Vanquisher.
Lastly, the Nomad shuffles forward a little.
With that, Aaron is done his turn!
Menoth, Turn 2
Friends, I would like to “get real” for a moment here… pull up a chair and let me wax poetic for a moment while my friend, Che, lays down some beats.
I want you to scroll back up to those last pictures and look at Aaron’s models. Really look at them… can you see, despite the poor quality of the camera we use, the detail? The love that goes into crafting each model? The stunning contrasts between the metals and the oranges on the cavalry unit, and the sense of motion and depth on Magnus’s cloak?
I’m not being facetious here. The work Aaron does on his models is nothing short of artistry, plain and simple. I’m proud of the models I paint (when I get them finished, which is rarely), but compared to Aaron, they’re crude fingerpaintings next to Ruben, crayon scrawls on the wall next to the Mona Lisa.
This is the first time that I’ve ever hesitated to open fire on a unit because of how beautiful they are on the table. I’m sure it won’t be the last, but I wanted to let you all know that, without exaggeration, the artwork on the table actually gave me pause.
With that out of the way, let’s get back to the game!
Amon upkeeps Synergy and allocates 1 Focus to each Warjack.
Thanks to the Obliterator rocket, the area around that Wrack which was worrying me earlier has been conveniently cleared. Amon activates, shuffles over to be out of the blast (but still in the Killbox), and pulls a Focus, and this time the Wrack obligingly explodes. He then casts “Mobility” again.
My Choir then activates and sings “Battle”… I’m pretty sure I’m about to get remarkably good mileage out of it.
My first Vanquisher (on the left) activates and moves up onto the hill. He opens fire at the closest Cavalry model. The shot hits, vapourizing the Cav (dice damage), reducing the Halberdier behind him to a black dust floating on the breeze, and lighting another Cav on fire.
Vassal activates and gives an Ancillary attack, which lights a Cav on fire but fails to kill him, and does kill another Halberdier
Second Vanquisher activates, and 2 shots (one from Ancillary) later, and there is 1 more dead Cav and I wipe out 3 more Halberdiers, dropping them to half-strength. They pass their CMD check.
The Reckoner activates, shuffles forward a little (blocked slightly by my right-side Vanquisher) and takes a shot at the Renegade. I boost the hit, getting a Critical (woo!) and lighting it on fire, and inflict a handful of damage.
The Daughters go next, and I charge the 4 surviving members forward. 2 go for the last Cavalry on the left (who is on fire, but why leave it to chance?) while the other two both charge the last 2 Cavalry on the right. One CMA later and the left Cavalry is dead, but the other Daughters categorically fail to hit the other 2 Cav on the table! I fail to get a 7 in 4 attempts… very annoying.
Lastly, my Knight Exemplar activate and run forward, hoping to threaten Aaron’s warjacks… time to move ’em or lose ’em!
With that, I’m done!
Mercenaries, Turn 3
We start with the fire checks, and everything proceeds according to Menoth’s plans… the last two Cavalry burn to ashes and the Renegade takes enough damage to cripple his Movement.
Aaron goes a little on tilt (I can’t say I blame him… in a 35 point game, he just lost 10 points of Cavalry without it:
1. Killing anything
2. Wounding anything
3. Doing anything aside from dying.
He looks at his options remaining and concludes (perhaps correctly) that there is no way on Menoth’s green earth that he can kill 3 heavies. I’m… a little less convinced, but I agree it will be an uphill battle for him from here on out.
Still, he makes the most of it. 3 Focus to the Nomad, drops Bullet Dodger, and we’re off!
Stannis activates and walks over to the closest 2 Daughters on the left. He does a Backswing, but the initial attack misses… the 2nd attack does kill, though.
The Halberdiers get run-charges, and move up to engage my Daughters. A few CMAs later and he’s managed to kill the last one on the left, but the other two on the right dance between the pikes unharmed.
The Riflemen move up and do CRAs into the objective: three 3-man CRAs (1 guy was out of range) get their shots off and leave the objective on 5 health.
Magnus activates and walks forward. He pops his Feat, catching my Reckoner, right Vanquisher, 2 closest Knights Exemplar, and my closest Vassal. He declares his own table edge and the left side as verboten. He then casts Mobility and camps the last Focus.
The Renegade moves a bit closer to get out of the Nomad’s Charge lane.
The Nomad charges! The initial attack hits my right Vanquisher, inflicting moderate damage, the Shield-attack kills the closest Knight Exemplar, and then 2 bought attacks manage to wreck the cannon and legs.
With that, Aaron’s done!
Menoth, Turn 3
Once again, it is proving that I am luckier than I am good… but I’m not going to push that luck if I can help it!
Amon upkeeps Synergy and camps his full stack (gasp!).
My nimble warcaster activates first, popping his Feat, casting Mobility, and Charging the Nomad. I happily spend my entire stack (plus one from a Wrack), allocating Focus out to my warjacks as I spend it: 3 to the Reckoner, and 3 to the unenaged Vanquisher. In the process, I also manage to cripple the Nomad’s Cortex! Bonus!
The Choir activate and sing Battle. No surprise there.
Part 2 of the plan is for my engaged Vanquisher to move up to the Nomad and, with the Battle and Synergy bonus, inflict enough damage with its one attack to cripple the Nomad’s sword (or, ideally, scrap the Nomad entirely, although that is unlikely). Then my unengaged Vanquisher charges Stannis and Threshers him and some Halberdiers to death. Lastly, my Reckoner, now at +5 to hit and damage from Synergy and Battle, Assaults Magnus… if he hits with his Flare assault shot, he’s +7 to hit with his melee attacks, and Magnus is unquestionably toast.
Of course, we hit our first stumbling block immediately: I activate the Vanquisher to move up to the Nomad and Aaron immediately stops me, reminding me that Magnus’s Feat is up.
Damn. Can’t move the Vanquisher towards the Nomad, and definitely can’t charge Magnus with my Reckoner! Silly thing to forget… but it would’ve been SO COOL! Anyway, time to adjust.
Because I’ve already nudged my Vanquisher, I allow that he’s going to be out of non-Reach range even if he moves directly towards the right.
The Reckoner activates and aims at Magnus, tagging him with his initial Boosted shot and lights him on Fire (another critical, very nice). The damage roll is sub-par, though, and only inflicts 3 points.
I give the Reckoner an Ancillary attack, which also hits, and inflicts another 3 points. Boo.
The unengaged Vanquisher activates and walks towards Magnus. He takes his initial shot, which I boost and hits, and then boost the damage, inflicting 4 more (BAH!).
Last chance… I give it an Ancillary Attack, which… hits! And I finally crank the damage, inflicting 10 points and putting Magnus in the dirt.
Victory to Menoth!
Post Game Analysis
Okay, so forgetting about Magnus’s Feat? Bad. Sadly for Aaron, his list isn’t really designed to handle the kind of heat that my list brought (see what I did there?)… and, to be honest, I’m pretty sure eMagnus is not the warcaster that his list needs or wants.
I’m not sure eMagnus is the warcaster that ANY list needs or wants… but I digress.
Using Damiano is a no-brainer, but I don’t think the list is super-good even in that situation (better, no question)… another unit of Halberdiers instead of the Renegade would probably be a solid addition, and the list *might* be survivable enough with that replacement (and the additional speed and firepower Damiano can give Steelheads with his Paymaster coins). And pMagnus is also a relatively solid choice with “Snipe” and “Blur” to help out the Riflemen and keep things alive on the approach…
As for my list… it was fun. Silly, sub-optimal, but fun. The pair of Vanquishers can get some heavy lifting done, but against an anti-ranged list (Kaelyssa, Witch Coven, anyone with Occultation) things start to get a little messy… but again, it’s unlikely for any opponent to be Stealth AND immune to blasts/fire AoEs, so not a bad list regardless. The only issue is Amon himself… super fragile, and he doesn’t really ADD anything to the list aside from Mobility and Synergy (in a pinch).
This is the 2nd time I’ve used Daughters, and they continue to impress. The Knights Exemplar are a really cool unit, but I have to remember that despite the +1ARM from their brethren dying, they really are far more fragile than I think.
So, there we go! Thanks for reading, and comments, questions, suggestions, and mockery are all welcome!