Podcast 104 – Menoth (Harbinger) vs Khador (Strakhov) – S-tier Caster versus S-tier Player

I don’t know about all of you, but I often find myself wondering if a really, really good warcaster at the head of a fantastic list can beat a better player leading a worse warcaster with a sub-optimal list.

Stay tuned to find out!

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Bubba, known to many as “The King of the North” (and not without justification) is a WTC-caliber WarMachine player. He’s recently switched to Trolls, but before that he was primarily and exclusively a Khador player. For this podcast he decided to reach deep into the jank-tank, and pull out Strakhov. As for me… well, I’m playing against Khador, and between Durst and Harby, that’s not even a conversation that needs to happen.

My Harbinger list was as follows:

The Harbinger of Menoth
– Hierophant
– Devout
Knight Exemplar
Exemplar Errants (max)
– Officer and Standard
Covenant of Menoth
Nicia
Exemplar Errant Seneschal
Steelhead Halberdiers (max) x2
– Attendant Priest
Steelhead Cavalry (min)
Rhupert Carvolo
Madelyn Corbeau
Objective: Effigy of Valour (should be Armoury, but oops)

Bubba’s Strakhov List was as follows:

Kommander Strakhov
– Sylys
– Ruin
– Beast 09
Winterguard (max)
– Officer and Standard
– Rocketeers x3 (proxied by Croak Raiders)
Kovnik Joe
Tactical Arcanist Corps
– Valachev
Iron Fang Pikemen
– Officer and Standard
Iron Fang Kovnik
Harlen Versh
Saxon Orrik
Objective: Fuel Cache

The scenario we were playing was Destruction: a central 12×6″ zone with Objectives on the closer left corner to each player.

I won the Initiative, and elected to go first: Bubba took the side of the table with the Trench and the wall.

Deployment:

I set up Harbinger near the hill with the Devout and a unit of Steelhead Halbs to either flank. Cavalry went behind the Halbs, and the Errants were Advanced Deployed into the middle of the table, with Nicia going on the far right flank opposite the IFP.

Bubba deployed the Winterguard to the left with Kovnik Joe, both warjacks and Strakhov in the middle, the IFPs to Marc’s right, and the mercs near the middle of the table.

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Menoth, Turn 1

– 1 Focus to the Devout, and we’re off.
– Nicia runs down the right flank, going wide.
– Devout makes Harby immune to spells and walks forward.
– Errants run forward and spread out.
– Covenant runs forward. Corbeau runs up B2B with it.
– Harby runs up B2B with Corbeau.
– Steelhead Halbs all get Pathfinder and run forward, spreading out.
– Knight Exemplar run up the middle of the table.
– Steelhead Cav more towards the middle of the table, behind everything else.

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Khador, Turn 1

– 1 Focus to Ruin, camps the rest.
– Saxon gives the IFP Pathfinder.
– IFP pop their minifeat and run forward, spreading out
– Winterguard run forwards behind the wall, spreading out
– Kovnik Joe gives the Winterguard Tough and Fearless
– Strakhov casts “Superiority” on Ruin and “Occultation” on the Winterguard and moves up.
– Versh moves forward and takes a shot at an Errant: he misses on snake eyes.
– The TAC move up, pop smoke, and then Valachev casts “Zephyr” and they move back out of the clouds.
– Ruin and Beast 09 both run forward.

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Menoth, Turn 2

– Devout gets 1 Focus, and we’re off.
– Hierophant uses “Harmonious Exaultation” on Harby.
– Devout says “No Spells” on Harby and moves forward onto the hill.
– Harby moves to within 2″ of the Devout and casts “Crusader’s Call” for 2, camping the rest. She pops her Feat.
– Rhupert gives the Errants “Tough” again.
– The Errants charge, getting almost all of them on Winterguard. Between all their melee attacks and a few Quick Work shots, Marc only kills 3 Winterguard.
– Steelheads on the right get Pathfinder from their Priest and charge forwards, killing 3 IFP.
– Steelheads on the left get Pathfinder and run forward behind the Errants.
– Steelhead Cav move forward, with one going onto the hill in front of Harbinger.
– Nicia continues running, curling towards Bubba’s support models.
– Covenant moves up next to Harby and says “No Knockdown”.
– Corbeau moves up to be B2B with Harby and the Covenant.

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Khador, Turn 2

– Bubba allocates 3 to Ruin, upkeeps Superiority and drops Occultation.
– Kovnik Joe gives boosted attack rolls to the Winterguard and fires his hand cannon at Bubba’s own objective, cranking damage and inflicting 4 points.
– Winterguard all stand still or back up slightly and open fire with sprays and solid shots at the Errants. A few Errants Tough, two die and are martyr’d for 3 points on Harby each, and the Objective takes a few more points of damage.
– TAC move up (immune to Feat) and then Zephyr forward (frying Valachev, but who cares?). They cast their spells at the Steelhead Cav near Harby: first shot misses and scatters away, second shot misses but hits for a few points, last shot hits and kills.
– Beast 09 walks forward (takes a few points from the Feat) and frags the Objective. Threshers, kills 4 Errants, misses 1, and obliterates the Objective.
– Versh stands and takes a shot at an Errant in front of Ruin: misses, scatters onto Ruin, and cranks damage for 2 points.
– Iron Fang Kovnik charges a Steelhead: Feat does 3 damage to him, and the Kovnik misses the Steelhead.
– Strakhov activates and charges an Errant. He casts “Overkill”, hits and kills, the Errant Toughs, buys an attack and kills again, and Marc elects not to Martyr. Overkill triggers, moving Ruin up about 0.5″ forward (Ruin takes no damage from the Feat). Strakhov pops his Feat.
– Ruin tramples forward, easily getting distance to have Reach to Harby and avoids the Defensive Strike from the Devout. He takes 4 points of damage from the Feat. He successfully tramples 1 Errant and kills him (getting the Soul, which circumvents Self-sac), inflicts a few damage on the Officer. Buys an attack on Harby (needing 3s to hit due to Superiority), and hits at Dice-3 damage (ARM21 with camped Focus). Inflicts 5 points. Buys another attack, hits, and inflicts 5 more points, leaving Harby on 1 box. Buys another attack, hits, inflicts 2 damage, and kills the Harbinger.

Victory to Khador!

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Post Game Analysis:

It was a near thing, really… the threat range on Ruin under Feat is pretty damn impressive (21″ linear threat, if everything triggers), but it’s not enormously difficult to avoid if you know its coming: I should’ve clogged all the landing spaces with Steelhead Halbs, make it so Bubba couldn’t trample Ruin up to Harby no matter what. Leaving just that 1 Steelhead Cav as the anchor to keeping Harby safe, especially since the Cav can’t be Martyr’d (they’re not Friendly Faction, unlike the Halbs while they have a Priest) was a mistake.

Other than that? Not casting Crusader’s Call would’ve left Harby on 2 more Focus and ARM23… Dice-5 is much, much better than Dice-3 (means Harby should’ve had 6 boxes or so after that last hit, and Ruin would’ve only had 1 more Focus to try and kill her at dice-5, needing an 11 to kill her).

But man, do I love playing the Harbinger. She’s so strong! And it was a very educational game. Thanks Bubba!

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