Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Blood & Oil 2015 - The Beginning

Contrary to my promise to update this blog more this year I haven't. Bugger. However, I giving it a go again with a report of what happened at Blood & Oil this year.

First off, yes I am back using Cryx. I love the Skorne models and will keep them for the future but Cryx seem to suit me better on the tabletop. I promised myself that I would play Skorne for a year after the 2014 WTC and I did (with minor excursions). So this post is about why I chose my casters for Blood & Oil and the lists I took.

Partly it's because of a Cryx player at my local club. He was using those two casters a lot whilst I was using the Skorne and I wanted to show off what I could do. The other part of it is I had not used those casters in ages but both were very familiar so I could ease myself back into the faction.


Infernal Machines - Tier 4

Master Necrotech Mortenebra +4
- Deryliss - Free
- Deathjack - 11
- 2x Harrower - 18
- Leviathan - 8
- 2x Stalker - 8
- Ripjaw - 5
2x Warwitch Siren - 4

Objective: Arcane Wonder

Tier 1 – The FA of Necrotech solos increases by +1 for every helljack included. Additionally, Scrap Thralls solos gain Advance Deployment.
Tier 2 – Helljacks gain Stealth during the first round of the game.
Tier 3 – Reduce the point cost of helljacks by 1.
Tier 4 – Your deployment Zone is extended 2” forward.

Kind of an easy list to write but Mortenebra seems to be rarely seen in the wild. I know I mostly stopped using her after colossals started to appear back in 2012. Everybody was bringing them and she really has difficultly in getting through armour. I know, Cryx complaining about armour, but with the theme list you are stopping at POW 18 max and against a colossal that's not enough, even with seven attacks. Mortenebra's other weakness is infantry. If your opponent has enough then you are buggered as she'll quickly get outflanked and taken down.

Now that colossals are rarely seen she's good enough to be on the table, especially against the Warmachine side of things where the medium base spam is very rarely seen. I took the Deathjack, because there is no reason not to and he kills things very well. The two stalkers and warwitch sirens are the flankers, picking off solos along the way to making the enemy caster feeling threatened. The two harrowers are there for infantry hunting and with Terminal Velocity and Overrun they can get to a lot of the board, you can even assassinate with them if the situation calls for it. Leviathan, well you can get rid of that pesky model blocking the charge lane, or go for the Interface assassination with a potential eight focus if done correctly.

Then there is the Ripjaw. The plan was to use Void Gate and stop colossals getting their focus whilst the Deathjack went to town on them. I love the idea but I've never actually used it on the table. I don't know if I should turn it and the leviathan into two scavengers and a reaper like I have been using, but that's for another blog post.


Lich Lord Asphyxious (2) +6
- Deathripper - 4
- Helldiver - 3
Bane Knights (max) - 10
Bile Thralls (min) - 5
Bane Thralls (max) - 8
- Officer & Standard - 3
Mechanithralls (min) - 3
Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls - 2
The Withershadow Combine - 5
Satyxis Blood Witches (min) - 4
- Satyxis Blood Hag - 2
Bane Lord Tartarus - 4
Saxon Orrik - 2
Machine Wraith - 1

Objective: Armoury

Most of this is very standard. Banes of both types for armour killing and feat purposes, Tartarus to support the banes, bile thralls for Excarnate tricks and so on. About the only thing that's non-standard from when I used to play Asphyxious2 is the mechanithralls and necrosurgeon. Even that is not my idea as people started taking those five points to counter Bradigus' remove from play guns and fists.

After using these casters and lists in a tournament or two I felt up to taking them to Blood & Oil. First time I went I met Lewis Johnson in the final and came second. Last year was the second time and I had three wins out of six games. This time the plan was to be eligible for WTC selection. That means a top 10 finish so at least five wins in a seven round tournament (which it might be). If you follow me on Twitter you know how it went but the next post will be full game reports.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Steamroller & Masters 2015

On to the the way the game is going to be played in the future. Steamroller 2015 has just come out and as is traditional everybody is talking about the changes and what it means. Last year I looked at the scenarios and tried to give hints to win them. Lets do the same again.

Before the scenarios comes a couple of changes, the first is to where you can have terrain. Privateer Press have defined terrain into two different types; Unrestricted & Restricted terrain. Restricted terrain is obstructions (buildings, rocks, etc.) and linear obstacles. These can be no closer than 5" to other restricted terrain, flags or objectives and never inside zones. Everything else is Unrestricted and has to be at least 2" away from other terrain pieces.

As rumours flew about 2015 people were say that this is a nerf to Doomshaper1's theme list, Runes of War. However, PP have ensured that this doesn't apply to terrain that comes from theme force benefits or placed by models (i,e, Rock Wall).

The second major change is that you choose which objective your armies bring along with them. Each of your armies brings its own along and that could be the same one or different ones. They are still large bases and DEF 5, ARM 18 with 15 boxes. They also all are unable to be chosen as a prey target, unlike some of the ones in 2014. The six types are as follows:

  • Arcane Wonder - When within 4" you can cast an upkeep spell for one less cost. Doesn't have to be non-offensive though, so watch out for those casters with debuffs (I'm looking at Cryx here.) It also causes a POW 10 electrical damage roll to those who hit it, so it's fairly safe from infantry and lightly armoured models. Unless they want to make that ultimate sacrifice that is.
  • Armoury - It's pretty much the destruction objective as it takes it's last damage box, you can choose to remove a friendly model instead. If you have plenty of cheap troops, then this is a decent choice, or if you have light artillery as they gain boosted damage rolls when within 4".
  • Bunker - This one protects against blast damage with the rule girded. It's also very hard to damage at range as your opponent drops a damage dice after hitting it with a ranged attack. Against those shooting lists its a great choice.
  • Effigy of Valour - It protects the things close to it as it grants "cover as if it was an obstruction". Nice way to get some help against Legion there. The important part is the stopping of things running away with some Fearless being given away.
  • Fuel Cache - With those jack and beast heavy armies out there, this is a good one to get some focus/fury efficiency as they run/charge for free when within 4". If it's hit with a melee attack it is also able to fight back by setting them on fire. Yes, this is like the archangel animus and doesn't harm them till the next turn, but it's got to make your opponent think at the very least.
  • Stockpile - No idea what is being stockpiled here as it stands you up for free and if in base-to-base you can't be knocked down in the first place. Pogo sticks maybe? I don't foresee this one being on the table that much in tournaments but it'll be handy against Kreoss1 and Barnabus at the very least.
I like this idea to bring a more reliable way to improve your army along to the battlefield. Plus you can get a few different players using the same list in distinct ways ]

DEATH CLOCK - I haven't heard about this change anywhere but PP have added something rather important to the rules here, "Players must use at least 15 seconds per turn." Stops those silly moments as players hit the clock back and forth as fast as they can. There is an exception later on though "When scenario victory conditions are verified by both players, a player can immediately end his turn. He can do this even if fewer than 15 seconds have been used on the turn." So if you (or your opponent) are going to win via scenario you can tap that clock pretty quickly and claim victory.

Onto the scenarios themselves, which has become easier this time around with only eight in this years packet. All of which can be used in Masters or Iron Gauntlet:

1: Destruction

This one hasn't changed from the last year. You have the 6" x 12" zone in the center of the table and whichever objective you chose in the closest left corner. 1 CP for getting rid of the enemy objective, 1 for control of the zone and 2 for domination.

To win you have to put yourself in harms way and say that you will not be moved. Or push your opponent out and not let them back in, Tarpits of all types work in this scenario and if you can concentrate your forces in the center then you stand a good chance of winning. But it is still a difficult thing to do. If you are winning on scenario then you either have one of the top notch scenario casters (Deneghra2, Krueger2, etc.) or you are winning the attrition match. Not many sneaky plays abound in this scenario.

2: Two Fronts

The objectives have changed position to be within the upright rectangular zones this time around, but everything else is in the same positions. 1 CP for saying bye-bye to the enemy objective, 1 for control of the enemy zone, 2 for dominating that zone and 1 for dominating the friendly zone. With only 14" between the center of the objectives I don't imagine that they will be around for long so try to protect yours as best you can.

Most players will try to get their caster into the friendly zone and just dominate their way to victory. It's a good plan and will often work, just ensure that you can't be caught out by fast flanking models and you can survive inside the enemy zone to ensure they don't do the same to you. Aggressive casters/players will subvert this and go up the center to give themselves options and more control other the battlefield.

3: Close Quarters

This scenario hasn't changed for the past couple of years and for good reason. The two central flags force engagement but still allow for clever scoring from a canny player.

Generally you will see the caster be deployed slightly to the right so they can start defensively scoring the flag as soon as possible. The slightly more vulnerable casters may hang back slightly further but not too far as there is a killbox in play. This often leads to the battle-lines being drawn on a diagonal as players push for right hand space to ensure their caster is safe as possible. If you move up too much on the left to be aggressive and you'll open your flag up for an easy score or two so be wary.

4: Fire Support

Woo hoo! They have fixed it.

No longer can you score 4 CPs in one turn as there is now a friendly and enemy flag on the board. Same flag rules as Close Quarters with the added fun of an objective to destroy before you can score the enemy flag.

Those flags are pretty far up though, 23", so if you are scoring them your caster is heavily involved in the battle. You've got to be able to project force far across the table to keep yourself safe if you want to score defensively. As with Close Quarters you will find this battle being fought on a diagonal just the opposite way this time around.

5: Incoming

The traditional two rectangular zones with the two objectives scenario. Usual scoring rules apply as well.

The zones are a bit easier to contest than the flags from the previous scenarios so this is a little harder to win on scenario. Because this is less of a central scenario you will often find the offensive parts of the army heading to the enemy zone and the defensive going to the friendly. Make sure you can defeat their attacking forces or overwhelm the enemies defense faster than they can to yours and you'll be in good stead to win on scenario. This will take a while though and recursion armies will start to have an advantage in the long run.

6: Incursion

Booo! They ruined it.

I've loved Incursion for the past few years as the disappearing flag adds in a different challenge to the other scenarios. This time around the flags are back closer together but they won't go away this time. No matter what you do you can only score 1 CP with control/dominate off each flag.

For this scenario you have to be able to spread your forces. Where as before I advocated sending two waves up between each side of the flags this time that won't work as well. I foresee infantry heavy armies having the advantage as they can spread out further, outside the caster's control area. Playing something that's FOCUS/FURY 5 is really not a great idea. When you create your army acknowledge if you can spread that thinly and if not, your other list better be able to. Other than that terrain and where your opponent move to is going to play a huge part in the game so push hard to hold the upper hand or be able to react fast.

7: Outflank

No change to the layout. Two circles that are 8" apart in the center of the board. 1 CP if you control and 2 if you dominate.

Easy to understand this scenario but it's not that easy to clear the zones. Again you have to spread out if you want to defend but it is a decent option to just go full hog attack and occupy a zone to get the win. Score faster (i.e. go second) and you can force the match in your favour pretty well.

8: Recon

A new one!

A single rectangular zone vertical in the middle of the table with each players objectives in the middle of the short edges. Two flags are also on the middle line, 12" from the board edges. The zone gives the normal control for 1 CP and dominate for 2, if you destroy the objective then another CP comes your way and finally you can dominate a flag for 1 CP.

At first glance this seems like a fight in the center, especially when the flags can only be dominated to score. However, if you get too occupied in the center, a sneaky opponent can force you off the flag and easily defend it to a scenario win. Think of it like Into the Breach from last year, most times you fight in the zone, till somebody opens up the flag and suddenly you can be fighting in the wrong place.

Ensure that you can survive the center battle firstly, then watch out for that push towards one of the sides, be that your or your opponents attack.

Masters 2015

Some big changes happening for Masters this year. No longer is Masters three lists, two is the new format. That takes out a few options. Before this news people could have a list with a specific plan, now you have to ensure that your two lists cover everything. Ouch. Death clock is still the standard timing method for Masters events though and each list has to be played at least once, so that stays the same at least.

PP has restricted people's caster, and therefore list, choices. However, they have added a little wrinkle to the proceedings, Active Duty Roster. Each faction gets four casters, if you use two of these casters then you can have 20 points of specialists in each of your lists. Now you don't have to use those four casters but it does give a certain edge to the player that does bring them.

I won't go through the factions cause this post is getting far too long as is. But the ADR choices for Cryx and Skorne are making me think long and hard about what I want to play this year. Wonder if this is doing the same for some of the big guys in the Warmachine world.

I think I've caught all the changes. Most of which wasn't unexpected but this Active Duty Roster came from the blue. Lets have fun with it.

Monday, 12 January 2015

The past and the future

It seems to be a standard after a long period of not writing to have a title like this one. An apology and a promise to write more in the future.

So what have I been doing for the past few months? Back at the beginning of the year I was selected as captain for England's Epic WTC team. Preparing for that has taken up most of my time that I would have used to write and sort photos for tournament reports.

I went to as many tournaments as I could doing very well to fairly well. Smogcon came and went as I qualified for Masters and went 2-2 in that event. I came 3rd at the Welsh Open thanks to some major SoS. Didn't make it to the second day at the expo as facing Cryx means facing some right cheese :D (2-2 for the first day). At least I got some practice captaining a team for that Sunday. The UK nationals was going well but at the end of the event I was 4-3.

Smaller tournaments included ones at Wargames Workshop, Dark Sphere, Tabletop Nation and many other places. All good places with great friendly players, even if I did feel bad sometimes. One quote was "I've never played against Asphyxious2, what does he do?" I profusely apologised throughout that game.

I also managed to get back to the European Masters in Rotterdam. I love that event as interacting with the international crowd is great fun. 5-2 afterwards and every game was against somebody new.

But the big one for this year was the WTC. That was a great highlight of the year. Did the team do as well as I hoped? Nope, but all the teams we faced were great people through and through.
On to the future. I'll be playing Skorne for the future, at least till Smogcon, which is coming up in a months time.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Smogcon - Masters lists

Now we come to the issue. If I successfully get to Masters what do I add to Gaspy3 and Denny1? I'm really happy with both those lists so what supports them?

Gaspy2 is a powerhouse and Tartarus is available, but I haven't used him in ages.

Lich Lord Asphyxious (2)
- Helldiver
- Nightwretch
- Ripjaw
Bane Knights (max)
Bane Thralls (min)
- Officer & Standard
Bile Thralls (min)
Satyxis Blood Witches (min)
- Satyxis Bloog Hag
Bane Lord Tartarus
Gorman Di Wulfe
Madelyn Corbeau
Pistol Wraith
Saxon Orrik
Warwitch Siren

Goreshade2 is a slightly dark horse caster and the Kraken threatens those squishy casters like the Haleys. But I'll have very little pathfinder so will have to watch out for the tables.

Goreshade the Cursed (2)
- Kraken
- Skarlock Thrall
Bane Knights (max)
Bane Thralls (max)
- Officer & Standard
Bane Thralls (min)
- Officer & Standard
Bane Lord Tartarus
Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Scrap Thralls x3

Skarre1 is great and in the last 6 months I haven't lost a tournament game with her. (Iron Grudge is an amazing app). But I'm starting to wonder about switching her out for something else.

Pirate Queen Skarre (1)
- Kraken
- Skarlock Thrall
Bane Knights (max) x2
Bane Lord Tartarus
Darragh Wrathe
Machine Wraith
Necrotech x2
Satyxis Raider Captain

Finally there's Deneghra2 with her theme list. Because of the Mechanithrall engine it's very similar to my two major lists but with her spells out at the beginning of the game it plays very differently. I've played it a few times now, so can I rely on it in a Masters event?

Wraith Witch Deneghra (2)
- Nightwretch x2
- Nightmare
- Skarlock Thrall
Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges (min) x2
Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges (max)
Cephalyx Overlords x2
Mechanithralls (min)
- Brute Thralls x3
Mechanithralls (min)
Necrosurgeon x2
Warwitch Siren x2

I've scheduled this for publication on Sunday lunch time. Follow my Twitter to see updates about how I do throughout the weekend.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Smogcon - Beachhead lists

This weekend I'll be at Smogcon and trying to get into the Masters happening on the Sunday. So the next couple of posts will be my lists and what I'm planning to use in the Masters, should I get in of course.

First up is a standard 50pt, 2 list event. Asphyxious3 and Deneghra1 are my two choices and are below:

Asphyxious the Hellbringer (3)
- Deathjack
- Erebus
Mechanithralls (min)
Necrosurgeon x2
Satyxis Blood Witches (max)
- Satyxis Blood Hag
Satyxis Raiders (max)
- Satyxis Sea Witch
Ogrun Bokur
Satyxis Raider Captain x2

Warwitch Deneghra (1)
- Nightwretch x2
- Skarlock Thrall
Boomhowler & Company (max)
Mechanithralls (min)
Necrosurgeon x2
Nyss Hunters (max)
Satyxis Raiders (max)
- Satyxis Sea Witch
Withershadow Combine
Lord Rockbottom
Dougal MacNaile

I've scheduled this for publication on Friday morning. Follow my Twitter to see updates about how I do throughout the weekend.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Winter Offensive 2 - Tournament Report - Part 2

Game 3, Destruction, vs Tom Hutchings, Circle Orboros

A very familiar face this time but somebody who I have only played once against as he's mostly the guy running the tournament in London. So the very busy Press Ganger had Kromac and Morvahna2 to pick from. I expected Kromac as most use him to play against Cryx though Tom did seem to be wavering towards Morvahna. Anyways, I picked Gaspy3 as I knew he could do well against most circle lists and I needed to use him at least once for today. Tom did pick Kromac in the end and as I won the starting roll I went first.
As usual everything runs but I don't run the raiders up fully as I was worried about the threat ranges of teleportation. Deathjack is on the far right and Erebus is up the centre.

Tom moves up slightly with his beasts and gets Kromac's upkeeps on the board. He then sends the Wild Aggression'd stalker into my raiders killing about six of them and retreating behind the objective. Crap, I knew the teleportation would be far but I didn't expect it to be that far. Woldstalkers take positions in the forest on the left and stone pillar thingy on the right (played as concealment and rough terrain but not a forest).

So I Power Swell the raiders and send them into the stalker, who lives through the attacks. I attempt to get a blood witch on the stalker hoping to finish it off but that also fails. I should have cast Carnage but that would have left me vulnerable to Ghetorix teleporting in the same way as the stalker. At least the blood witches were incorporeal this turn. After thinking how to salvage this mistake I feat with Gaspy and charge forwards on full camp. I thought to give Tom pause about if he could kill Gaspy with the healing that his feat can produce. The right hand raider captain went into some woldstalkers and killed a couple to sprint and engage a couple more.

I was right about giving Tom something to think about, he wonder about killing Gaspy and decided against it. Kromac healed the stalker and moved into the left forest at the edge of the killbox. He then cast Beastial and feated to get back to a safe level of fury on himself. The stalker killed the rest of the raiders surrounding him as the woldstalkers killed a couple of blood witches. Other than that it was mostly reorganisation in Tom's back field.
So Tom wasn't being aggressive and I have some focus to use up. I gave Erebus a couple of focus and the Deathjack got his usual two. The big jack cast Ashen Veil on Gaspy and moved off to kill a woldstalker. The raider captain killed a woldstalker with her horns then whipped the leader of that unit to death. The blood witches took down the stalker as Erebus, Gorman and a mechanithrall took care of the objective. Gaspy then runs to park himself in-front of the circle army camping ten focus. Hopefully that's enough to keep him alive.

Tom decides to go for it. The druid wayfarer sprays Gaspy and rolls a critical, knocking him down. (When did they give that guy crit. knockdown? I've never known it be used.) Then the assassination is on. Ghetorix teleports behind Gaspy to hit him a few times, Kromac and the pureblood do the same. Gaspy lives through the attacks with two health and Kromac is right there with one transfer left.

I look at Kromac and think about him being easy to kill but not as easy as Ghetorix behind me as I had the back up of mechanithralls and blood witches. Gaspy casts Carnage and hits Ghetorix a few times. Then he's finished off by my troops so I can dominate the zone a second time and win with five control points.

Things learnt:
Well I won't forget that the wayfarer has critical knockdown now. Also armour 27 isn't enough to protect against the might of circle beasts. Especially as Tom made a couple of miscalculations. 1. he didn't add up the pureblood strength enough and was rolling with two less power. That would have killed Gaspy. 2. When writing this report up I realise that Ghetorix has unyeilding and thus should have been an extra couple of armour over what Tom told me.
Sorry Tom. Hope to play against you again soon.

Game 4, Rally Point, vs Craig MacGregor, Legion of Everblight

So I face the third guy today who I've only played once before. Craig got the bye in the first round and thus used both his lists (but not really) for today. Thagrosh2 and Vayl1 were his picks and though I would have loved to play against Vayl1 again, just for the practice, I expected Thags2 to go down. So out came Gaspy3 to gain some benefit from all that fury I expected on the table. I lost the starting roll this time and thus was the second player.
Craig moves up with his heavies slightly more on the left and the shredders on the right. The raek runs into the right zone and dabs his toe in the zone to contest. My raiders cover the left zone with the blood witches more in the middle for support. Deathjack and Erebus run to the right of the board.

Then comes Thagrosh2's feat turn. Manifest Destiny goes up and a load of beasts come into my front lines. A scythean comes up the centre into the blood witches, shredders all around him to do a bit of damage. The other scythean goes into the raiders as the carnivean hangs back with the naga nightlurker and Thagrosh.
I didn't expect that charge to happen. Time to hit back. Deathjack gets Scything Touch on the blood witches who go incorporeal and attack the armour twenty scythean. But with no charges they fail to do major damage, but they do go incorporeal to survive another turn. The ogrun bokur goes in to do a little more damage on the scythean as Erebus and Deathjack kill two shredders and contest the right zone. The raiders use Power Swell and attack the nearest scythean and a few charge into the naga and carnivean. More damage is caused but only minor of course. Then Gaspy moves up to feat and finish off the scythean nearby. A raider captain also removes the shepherd sneaking behind the naga.

Craig doesn't upkeep the armour buff on the remaining scythean instead he uses it to destroy my objective and the ogrun thanks to the chain attack. The naga and carnivean kill a few of the raiders around themselves but don't get to move any further forwards. Thagrosh removes the left raider captain from the game as the forsaken move closer to kill a raider with their fury burst thingy. Oh, and a shredder right at the back of the table frenzied to attack the objective back there and put four points of damage on it.
I'm slightly worried at this point as I realise over my turn that Craig is one control point up on me and dice down could be called. I don't think it's going to happen this round but I need to get on top of that. So the Deathjack moves into the centre of the zone to look at the raek there. Erebus and the blood witches finish off the last scythean as the remaining raiders charge into the carnivean and naga again. I use the remaining raider captain to kill the remaining solos and sprint into a position to charge the objective next turn. Gaspy mostly camps and mechanithralls surround Gaspy to protect against tramples or flying Thagrosh.

Craig is running out of stuff now and runs the last shredder into the right zone as the raek moves as far from Deathjack as possible. Thagrosh kills a couple of raiders to put up some clouds and protect from the incoming mechanithralls. The carnivean and naga get cleared of the raiders finally and that's about it.
Time to get my scenario on. Blood witches charge the objective but leave it alive. The raider captain kills the last shredder though as the Deathjack picks up the raek and throws it out of the zone. Vociferon runs to get close to the objective and Gaspy boosts damage on a Boneshaker to finish it off. Mechanithralls charge the naga and put a little bit more damage on it but can't get to the carnivean due to the clouds. Erebus moves into the left zone to support Gaspy and threaten Thagrosh. 2 CPs to 1

Craig has run out of time and decides to assassinate. Firstly the raek moves back into the right zone. Then, after debating whether to send in Thagrosh or the carnivean he uses scourge to knock Gaspy down and somehow ends on no fury. The way is clear for the carnivean though and he charges in to land his charge attack. However, Craig (and myself) hadn't noticed that the carnivian's body was out and thus he was rolling one less damage dice than expected (thanks to Jon for pointing that out). A few attack rolls later and Gaspy lives with most of his boxes.
So I fill up Erebus with focus, cast carnage and kill Thagrosh.
Things learnt:
That was my first time playing against Thagrosh2 and I was surprised at how much damage Manifest Destiny allowed his beasts to wreck on my lines. It did help that Ashen Veil made the raiders difficult to hit. Other than that I was too far forward with Gaspy when the assassination run happened. Distance is always the best way to stop assassination and I didn't remember that.

The Aftermath

After four rounds there was two guys on four wins but we had ran out of time to finish off the tournament (Jon warned us about this at the beginning of the day). Strength of Schedule was used and I came out the winner. Ben de Bosdari came second after being paired down twice during the day and Tom third. All in all a good day and though Deneghra2's list isn't going to be used in the nearby future I am glad to have given it a go.

Winter Offensive 2 - Tournament Report - Part 1

As you may have noticed I've been having issues with gun line armies, in particular Haley1, Haley2 ones. A couple of people have suggested that Deneghra2 is the answer to Cygnar and with her new theme list out I decided to give it a go. Using Keith (from Muse on Minis) idea of one max unit and two min ones for drudges I took the following lists:

Wraith Witch Deneghra
- Nightmare
- Nightwretch x2
- Skarlock Thrall
Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges (max x1, min x2)
Cephalyx Overlords x2
Mechanithralls (min x2)
- Brute Thralls x3
Necrosurgeon x2
Warwitch Siren x2

Asphyxious the Hellbringer
- Deathjack
- Erebus
Mechanithralls (min)
Necrosurgeon x2
Satyxis Raiders (max + UA)
Satyxis Blood Witches (max + UA)
Gorman Di Wulfe
Ogrun Bokur
Satyxis Raider Captain x2

Game 1, Incursion, vs Matt Rowan, Cygnar

I have played against Matt before but not for ages so it was great to see him again and play against is Cygnar. Matt had Kraye with him and had paired him with Stryker2. Both of which I felt fine to use Deneghra2. After all I had come to the tournament to practice her. Matt then rolled a dice for his caster to my horror and came up with Kraye for me to face. I lost the starting roll but Matt wanted a particular side so I still got to go first.

Using the tier 4 bonus I got Marked for Death on the Nyss hunters, Pursuit on the gun mages and Curse of Shadows on Gallant. Matt put the Nyss on the left, gun mages on the right with three hunters in front. Gallant and the sentinel went in the centre with Kraye. My first turn and the drudges ran forward. I put the max unit in the middle and the other two on the flanks. Everything else moved forward scooting around the building in front of me.

Matt used Kraye first to cast Guided Fire and ride-by-attack a drudge who lived. Then the hunters went and shot at the right hand nightwretch who was putting his toe in a forest. But very little damage was caused, I think because they mostly missed. Gallant moved forward, followed by the sentinel who only shot once with his chain gun :( After all that the Nyss moved up but did little damage to the drudges and the same happened with the gun mages on the right. Then the right flag went away.

I didn't upkeep Pursuit as it wasn't doing much for this game but the other spells stayed on their targets while Deneghra went Incorporeal. Drudges ran forwards again and tried to tie up what they could. Nightmare moved to the central flag and based it. The skarlock went and cast Ghost Walk on the right hand arc node, the warwitch siren gave it a point of focus and then it ran to be infront of the gun mages. Deneghra then cast Hellmouth on the gun mages and left two of them alive to fail a command check. She then moved slightly left and the mechanithrall unit with the brute thralls bunkered up around her.

A few bits of focus went to the hunters and Gallant at the beginning of Matt's turn and with the Nyss he killed a fair few of the central drudge unit. The sentinel tried to finish them off but with one shot again not much happened. Gun Mages rallied and the hunters did something. I think they took out the arc node on the right hand nightwretch, but not much else. Gallant then trampled to the central flag to take a wack on Nightmare who shrugged off the couple of hits. I score 1 control point from controlling the left flag (nightwretch and the Overlords were both there)

My turn and with both spells upkept I gave Nightmare three focus to remove Gallant. It only took one. Deneghra feated and caught the hunters, Kraye, sentinel and the Nyss. The Overseers on the left flank moved away from the flag and killed all but one of the Nyss who then went down to the drudge's blades. In the middle the drudges engaged the hunters and sentinel to stop them shooting and that was about it. I'm now up to three CPs.

Matt can't move much now, the squire and the gun mages were out so they mostly dawdle around the back field as one runs to contest the central flag. The hunters clear off the drudges engaging them with their axes as the sentinel does the same with his shield. Other than that not much happens so I score another control point.

I don't go for army points killed, I just end my turn to score the fifth control point to win.

Things learnt:

With the drudges up front it is hard for normal models to get through that line of tough troops, especially when normal blast damage won't do it. Then anything solid that gets past them is eaten up by mechanithralls, Nightmare or Deneghra herself. I pressed forwards because Matt wasn't able to get enough on Deneghra for assassination purposes and that allowed me to take control of the scenario.

Game 2, Balance of Power, vs Benji Hanson, Protectorate of Menoth

Benji is a club mate and as such knew of my plans for today, in fact I had tried out a Deneghra2 list against him the previous weekend (he won). Still, I wanted to practice Deneghra2 so I automatically reached for her. Benji had Kreoss1 and Feora2 for his casters and I expected (and got) Feora2 to be picked. As I won the roll I deployed first to push those drudges forward.

This time around Curse of Shadows went on the judicator, Marked for Death on the Choir and Pursuit on the reckoner. Errants went middle right, bastions far right and cinerators left. I kept the same set-up as last time and ran forwards. Though I was careful about how I placed Nightmare and the drudges around him.

Benji moved up the errants and took a couple of shots at the drudges to take one or two down. Judicator put a few of them on fire as well. Everything else pretty much ran to get up the board.

I ran a drudge behind the errant seneschal and then used it as a beacon for Hellmouth, removing a couple of errants from play. (Forgot to mention, Marked for Death was dropped.) The max unit of drudges also did their best to hurt the errants and did ok at it. Nightmare had moved forwards thanks to Pursuit and stuck around there rather than move forward. Other than that it was my second line that advanced forwards but that was about it.

Benji loads up the reckoner with some focus and sends it into Nightmare. Who then dances away thanks to Pursuit (though the free strike took off the right arm) and Benji can't even use assault as he has stealth thanks to his affinity. Errants try to deal with the drudges but tough makes it slightly more difficult than normal. The judicator sends firey death around the board killing a few things. Finally the bastions and cinerators run forwards again.

Feat turn I feel. Deneghra goes incorporeal, loads up Nightmare and moves into the central zone to feat, catching most things, excluding three of the bastions. Hellmouth takes out another three errants as well. Nightmare fails to destroy the reckoner so some mechanithralls sort it out as the Overseers spray both the bastions and cinerators. Drudges spend most of their attacks on the errants and also on the seneschal, doing enough damage to override his large self sacrifice ability. I score 2 control points.
Benji can't move much, I missed the choir and three bastions with my feat but everything else stands still and tries to hit what they can. A few drudges die because of this but not much else happened. Benji had a clever idea though, he used Fire Step to get Deneghra in Feora's control range and attempted to move fire onto her. But being incorporeal stopped that. I score another 2 control points and then just end my turn straight away to win.

Things learnt:
Drudges are great Hellmouth targets what with being DEF 11. The biggest thing was that Pursuit doesn't allow you to ignore free strikes so I have to watch out for that in the future.
So lets stop here and look at this new theme list. It's good. The fact that a load of people are talking about it and know what it involves stands to that. I know that Kaya2 got a new theme list in the same No Quarter but I can't tell you what's in it or if anybody has been speaking about it.
Why is it good though? The drudges don't enter into it. All they do is jam up and provide bodies for the mechanithralls coming behind. That's great and all but I can use satyxis, pirates or other mercenaries for this purpose and they'll do some real damage on the way. The two units of Overlords are great, especially when they are three points per unit. Infantry clearance in a great package there. The real power of this theme list is the upkeep spells starting the game on the enemy. Having those three spells out on the board on their preferred targets is a godsend. Before this theme list came out you could count the number of times Pursuit was cast by Deneghra on one hand. But now you can use it to get a massive advantage for an early feat, manoeuvre Deathjack for a Hellmouth and retreat or advance Nightmare around a corner ready to eat a caster or some important piece of the enemy. That's leaving out Curse of Shadows for a free strike ignoring ARM debuff or Marked for Death for helping your guys to hit.
Everybody who had talked about the theme list had mentioned it's weak to Purification or Eiryss2 (or similar). I don't disagree but I'm going to skip over that. This theme list isn't going to be a major part of my Cryx line up at the moment. I have good match-ups against most things out there on the tournament scene, but as I've shown on this blog gun lines can shoot me down in a major way. Dan Cunningham only lost with Kreoss1 in the Invitational because that helldiver rolled fire for damage rolls. Lewis and the way he plays both Haleys are going to take me down in a major way. The major players out there have their Cryx game plan and unfortunately this theme list matches up fairly well with what they expect to play against.