This week Combo Smite decided to invite one of our noble guest hosts, the Circle-playin’ Gaven, to join us on the show. Gaven decided to bring Grayle to tangle with arguably one of the most powerful warcasters in the game, the mighty Epic Haley! Would his stone-knife-wielding maniac be a good counter to the temporal shenanigans of Cygnar‘s first lady?
We also spend some time discussing the new Circle heavy warjack kit, the realities of playing against Cryx, and revisit what we’ve got on our painting tables these days.
As always, you can listen to us on iTunes (Link-Link-Link) or right here on Combo Smite!
Since Gaven has, over the last several months, only brought eKruegar and eMorvahna against my Cyngar forces, I figured it was high time to take off the kid gloves: I crafted an eCaine list and an eHaley list, figuring that opportunities to field my most powerful warcasters without feeling guilty or that I’m clubbing baby seals are rare, and should be embraced.
Our Scenario this week was “Chemical Reaction”: Two 6×12″ zones, one friendly and one enemy, with 2 objectives (that grant immunity to continuous effects when dominated, but neither of our armies had any, so whatev’s). 1 point for destroying the enemy objective, 1 for dominating the friendly zone, 2 for controling the enemy zone, and 3 for dominating the enemy zone. We rolled for initiative, which I won and instantly chose to go first.
After looking at Gaven’s two lists (a Grayle and eMorvahna), I realized that playing eCaine would probably be almost a done-deal for my side. He’s a pretty hard-answer to both eMorvahna (with his Remove From Play Feat) and Grayle (“Oh, you have Stealth? How cute. Bang-bang-bang, you’re dead.”), and so I figured that taking my eHaley list would actually make for a better game. Also, I’ve only used eHaley 2 times… the first time my opponent rage-quit after Turn 2, and the second time was against eDenny and we fought each other almost to a standstill (he eventually won by charging Nightmare through a building I believe). So I went with the following:
Major Victoria Haley (eHaley, Haley2)
Sword Knights (max)
Stormblade Infantry with UA and 3 WA (Stormgunners)
Stormsmith Stormcaller x3
The basic plan was to use the Stormcallers and Strider to wipe out Gaven’s light infantry (through Triangulations and Lightning Arcs off the Lightning Pods dropped by the Stormwall), while the Stormwall and the Stormblades smashed heavies. The Sword Knights were there to bait the Lord of the Feast (if Gaven brought it) into killing less-important stuff… since a full unit of them is 6 points and the Lord is 4, even if he wiped out all of them himself, it would still be a reasonable piece-trade.
Since I was going first, I set up my Stormwall smack in the middle of my deployment zone, with the Strider going several inches to the right of it (if we assume my table-edge is “North”, the Strider went west). The Sword Knights all packed in between my two huge bases, with the Journeywoman behind them and Arlan hangin’ out behind the Strider. 1 of my Stormcallers also went behind the Strider, the other 2 went behind the Stormwall, and Haley and the Squire went behind the Sword Knights next to the ‘Wall. Lastly, the Stormblades went to the east of the ‘Wall, packed snuggly against it.
Gaven, for his part, decided to drop Grayle, deciding that he hadn’t played him in awhile (and, secretly I think, wanting to garner sympathy for not using his most powerful warcaster against eHaley… he’s sneaky that way). His list was as follows:
Grayle the Farstrider
– Warpwolf Stalker
Shifting Stones with UA
Skinwalkers with UA (Alpha)
Tharn Bloodtrackers with Nuala (Character UA)
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew
Lord of the Feast (LotF)
Ah, the Lord of the Feast… I have yet to beat Gaven (ever) when that particular model is on the table. But this time would be different, I swore… I was pretty sure I could handle it (although I had to remember to keep Haley more than 3″ away from both of my Huge bases until it was dead!).
Gaven set up Grayle with his two pet warbeasts in the middle of the table. The Skinwalkers with their Alpha went to the east, while the pack of Bloodtrackers Advanced Deployed to the west. Lastly, the Shifting Stones went around the Advanced Deployed LotF in the middle of the table, near a tower.
Gaven declares that my Sword Knights are the Prey of his Bloodtrackers, and with that, the table was set and I began my first turn!
Cygnar Turn 1
We start with Haley camping all her Focus.
The Journeywoman goes first and casts “Arcane Shield” on the Sword Knights. She then walks towards the east side of the table.
The Sword Knights run forward and clump into two 3-man groups and one of 4. The goal here was to keep the clumps far enough apart that the LotF couldn’t get more than 1 group of my guys at a time, but still bait him into killing one of the groups… and then make him pay for it the following turn!
Haley goes next. She casts “Temporal Acceleration” on the Stormwall, then casts “Decceleration” (what a fantastic spell… too bad I rarely play armies that have guns!), and finally walks up on to the hill in front of her.
My Stormwall walks forward 9″ (can I mention that a colossus that can walk 9″ is awesome? Because it is!), pops out lightning pod right in the dead-centre of the table, and then drops “Covering Fire” templates on both of the 3-man Sword Knight clumps (who can’t be harmed since they will not “enter” or “end” their activation in the template, as they have already activated… a little silly, but thematically appropriate I suppose).
My Strider runs up 8″.
Arlan walks up behind it.
My Squire runs up behind Haley, beeping happily.
Lastly, the Stormblades run forward and spread out as much as I can. The goal here is to make it difficult for Gaven to get more than 2 of them with the LotF (and therefore make it more likely he’d attack the Sword Knights than my more valuable Stormblades).
Laster-lastly, Stormcallers run forward.
Stormwall: “Hey Grayle… I’m comin’ for ya…”
Skinwalkers activate and run.
Grayle activates, casts “Storm Rager” and “Sprint” on LofF. He then moves forward onto the nearby hill behind the Objective marker.
The Shifting Stones teleport the LotF forward 8″. Here it comes…
The LotF aims and shoots at the furthest-west clump of Sword Knights. Because he’s Aiming, he actually hits (damnit!) and teleports into B2B with them. However, this puts him in my Covering Fire, and he takes a POW12 takes 2 wounds (dice-7 with him at ARM19… so not a bad roll!). He then threshers and kills 2 Sword Knights (the only 2 in his LoS), buys attack and kills the last of that group (ending with 2 Heart tokens). He then heads closer to the Bloodtrackers with his Sprint move.
And I smile… Feast has killed 3 of my guys, sure… but next turn I have a Strider pretty close to him, and he’s a nice target for 2 POW15 shots… and only with 6 health left? Oh, a small price to pay to take him off the table…
Gaven then activates the Swamp Gobbers, who walk up and pop a 5″ cloud (since they’re B2B with each other).
HIs Stalker warps for Prowl and runs forward to the front edge of the cloud.
Ghetorix runs forward on the hill in front of Grayle, and looks menancing… that is a VERY big axe…
Next, the Gorax riles and runs.
Lastly, his Blackclad Wayfarer teleports to within 2″ of a Stone at the edge of the cloud.
But it was awful nice of Gaven to put his DEF12 Lord of the Feast within 4″ of so many of his Bloodtrackers, don’t you think? An early Christmas present, perhaps?
Cygnar Turn 2
So, Haley takes 1 from Squire, allocate 4 Focus to Stormwall, and the Journeywoman drops Arcane Shield off the Sword Knights. They’ve done their job, they don’t need the extra ARM any more…
But first things first. The Strider walks up 5″ towards LotF, and gets it within 5″. With +2 to hit (since it’s within 5″ of itself and an electrical attack), I only need a 4 to hit… no problem. First shot hits, and at dice-4 damage inflicts 2 points (boo!). However, I crank the lightning arcs, getting 3 which instantly kills 3 Tharn (at ARM11). Second shot also hits the Lord again, but no damage to him (BOO!)… at least I get 3 lightning arcs that kills 3 more Bloodtrackers. Sadly, they pass their CMD check for losing over half the unit.
Next, Sword Knights activate and run, 2 engaging LotF (to keep him from shooting my Strider and teleporting to it, or worse, teleporting away anywhere else) and the others spreading out behind those to block charge lanes to my Strider. And to get out of the massive charge-lane my Stormwall will need.
Haley activates and casts Deadeye on my Stormblades… something I have never done before, but The Internet tells me is a “Good Idea”. Heck, I’ll try almost anything once. She then moves up, measures her CTRL, and pops her Feat. It catches everything Gaven has except Grayle, the Shifting Stones, and the Gorax… not bad, not bad. Lastly, she casts “Temporal Acceleration” on the Stormwall again… 12″ charge and 14″ threat? Yes please!
The Journeywoman activates, moves up, and casts Arcane Shield on my Stormwall. I’m pretty sure I can kill both his warbeasts, but I’d rather be safe than sorry, I think!
Then the Stormwall charges Ghetorix. I angle it so that it will end up between the two warbeasts… and just *barely* gets distance to Ghetorix and does not get distance to engage Stalker at the same time.
As evidence of my overall stupidity and inability to play this game: I think that’s a BAD thing at the time. I can only claim temporary insanity… anyways. I only now realize that the Ghetorix is DEF14 (needs 8s to hit). I boost my Charge attack to hit and miss (boo!). My 2nd attack also boosts to hit, hits, and does dice+1 damage, which I elect not to boost and roll an 11 (12 points). The electroleap kills a nearby Bloodtracker (yay!). My third initial attack boosts to hit (using my last Focus), hits again and inflicts another 8 damage, with the electroleap going into Grayle but flubs the damage and inflicts none (at dice-6… even inflicting 1 or 2 would’ve been nice…). In my excitment, I forget to drop a Lightning Pod, which is also stupid.
So, after 4 Focus, I have hit Ghetorix a grand total of twice, and done just enough damage to cripple both his Mind and Body… but as we know, a not-dead warbeast is a fully functional warbeast (stupid healing!). Not a good showing for my noble and newly-painted Stormwall!
The Stormblades Assault the Skinwalkers. None of them make Charge distance, but almost all get their Assault shots off… and with Deadeye, everyone who shoots hits, and I *crank* the damage rolls. When the dust settles and the lightning clears, I’ve killed 3 Skinwalkers! Awesome… but have now cleared the unit from Haley’s Feat range (boo).
One of my Stormcallers walk up, calls on Lord of the Feast, hits and does no damage, which at dice-9 isn’t really a surprise.
Arlan walks up behind my Strider, trying to stay close enough to repair (5″) but not close enough to be Threshered by the Lord (3″) if he teleports into B2B with my Strider.
Last, my other 2 Stormcallers run up behind my Stormwall. The Squire trundles along merrily.
Stormwall: “Huh. I was certain you would be dead. How bizarre.”
Ghetorix goes first. He Heals 1d3 damage, but thankfully only rolls a 1, and chooses to heal his crippled Body (but leaves Mind crippled). Warps for Strength. He’s only rolling 1d6 to hit, but on the flip side only needs 3+ to hit… the first attack hits but then (against ARM22 at POW19) does no damage! His bite attack hits, also doing no damage. He buys an attack which misses, and spends his last Fury to buy an attack and inflicts 9 damage (cranking damage). Still, my Stormwall yet stands, mostly unscathed, so I can’t complain!
I tell Gaven to activate the LotF next. He Threshers and kills both Sword Knights that were engaging him (I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that it was probably what he was going to do… oh well…) and then shoots the Strider, teleporting next to 2 more Sword Knights. He buys (with one of his 3 Heart Tokens) and kills, buys and kills (so still at 3), and then attacks the Strider 3 times with Heart tokens. Misses once on snake-eyes, hits twice and inflicts a total of 4 damage (and gives me 2 Power Tokens). Additionally, the Strider pushes LotF back 1″ every time he hits, so he ends up 2″ away. Which, considering he is still engaging my Strider (with Reach) and my Strider stupidly can’t shoot him (Gunfighter is only 0.5″ range, and you can’t shoot “out of melee” if you’re engaged… so stupid…), is actually a bit of a kick in the teeth. But whatever, it’s still alive and barely scratched, I can’t complain too much!
Also, the last Sword Knight rolls his CMD and fails spectacularly (boxcars). Curses!
The 3 remaining Skinwalkers charge my Stormblades. Having 2 attacks each, they kill 5 Stormblades, forcing a CMD-check, which my noble knights… pass! Phew!
Cygnar Turn 3
So, Haley gives 4 to the Stormwall, takes 1 from the Squire, and the Journeywoman upkeeps Arcane Shield. I’m going to need to walk out of melee with Ghetorix, and that extra 3 armour may make the difference between a crippled arm or not.
Haley goes first. She walks up her full 6″ (no choice, since she was 12″ away from the Stormwall) and casts “Temporal Acceleration”. She then casts “Telekinesis” on my Strider to get it back in Gunfighter range of LotF. She then shoots Blackclad Wayfarer (needs 11 to hit), and misses… but I figured that I had the shot, might as well take it!
My last Sword Knight is blocking the path my Strider needs to take… so he runs away from the Lord and dies to the Free Strike (no surprise). The Bloodtrackers switch their Prey target to my Strider.
That’s okay! Second attack boosts to hit, and misses (rolled an 8).
That’s less okay! Third attack boosts to hit, and misses (rolled another 8). Boo!
But! But! I have plenty of other attacks to go with… Grayle still has his Transfer, so I just need to hit him TWICE for 3 damage. That’s it. Plenty of attacks… I can do this.
Next Stormcaller activates. Same Triangulation, but can only see Grayle. Hits Grayle, rolls 5 for damage, inflicting… none. BAH!
This is it. Grayle is out of Transfers and at 3 health… my second shot hits the Lightning Pod and leaps once, but goes straight into Grayle. Needing to roll a 9 to win the game (again!)… I roll a 3. Grayle survives on his last 3 health…
Circle Turn 3
He activates Grayle first, and his warlock charges my Stormwall. Hits without trouble, and the Weaponmaster 4d6 charge attack almost cripples the left side of my colossus. Grayle sidesteps behind the ‘Wall. His 2nd attack hits again and destroys the last few boxes on the left. Grayle then Sidesteps again, movign towards Haley. He casts Gallows at Haley, boosts to hit, and needing a 10… actually hits! He drags her forward (rolls a 3 for distance, but she stops at my Squire 2″ away) and inflicts 5 damage. And then he Feats.
Grayle still has 1 Fury left, but Gaven figures that he doesn’t need it and so ends his activation.
The 4 remaining Tharn charge my Preyed Strider. They all hit… and at Dice-7… they fail to kill it! My Strider now has a full set of 3 Power Tokens and 4 health left.
I start getting a glimmer of hope… maybe Ghetorix won’t get distance to Haley! Maybe… just MAYBE… I might survive this…
The Shifting Stones teleport forward, up to about the half-way point of the zone. They leave a hole, through which the UA charges a Stormblade… but misses his attack! So far so good…
Gorax then casts Primal on Ghetorix. He Charges my Stormwall, and actually does hit for some damage (not enough to destroy it by a long shot, but still… more damage than I was expecting the little support-light warbeast to do!).
Gaven needs a 7 to hit… he boosts to hit (spending Ghetorix’s 3rd Fury)…. and rolls… a 7! Damn!
Now it all comes down to this… Haley has 10 health left, and the POW21 Ghetorix is hitting at Dice + 4 damage… so he only needs a 6 to kill me. He rolls…
And gets a 7 again. Haley drops, and Grayle stands victorious!
Post Game Analysis:
Have I mentioned that this is only my 3rd time using eHaley? Yeah, and it shows.
First, I completely and utterly pooched that Feat turn. What I SHOULD have done was keep everything I could OUT of melee range of Gaven’s troops and just shot him to pieces. Why, oh why, did I not just walk the Stormwall up a bit, take all 3 Big Gun shots at Ghetorix, and drop Covering Fire templates (or, if Ghetorix “Hyper Aggression”s towards me while I’m shooting him, take the Metal Storm shots at the warbeast). And then, next turn, Gaven can either move away with whatever was left (giving me Scenario positioning), or move towards my guns and Stormwall to be pummeled for another turn. Just… so, so stupid of me to charge in my Stormwall.
And THEN, after that… sure, I had a statistically good chance of getting that assassination attempt off (REALLY good odds… I had a 60% chance to hit ALL THREE ATTACKS, and a 75% of hitting twice, which was all I really needed to win me the game), but I should’ve stayed with the safer approach and just killed his warbeasts and Skinwalkers, leaving him with nothing capable of killing my Stormwall. I could even run Arlan up to the Stormwall to keep repairing him as needed… I was worried about Gaven sneaking in a win if I did that, but it would’ve been much, much safer. Stupid decisions!
Oh well. At least I got a bit more practice with Haley (she really is a lot of fun to play… I just wish people complained a bit less about her Feat…), and it was a good, solid game. Credit to Gaven for the win!
Feat Use: 3
Scenario Awareness: 4
Feat Use: 2
Scenario Awareness: 3