Weekly update: Some games I played and my current Blood Angels list

It has been a while, what with Christmas and all that. I have received an amazing gift from my wife, the Lego Simpsons House. Initially, I was not terribly happy with it, as I feel that it is getting this thing where she buys me Lego and I act really happy but would have preferred some minis instead, but now I am spending an hour or so each day building away at it and it is much more fun than I though. So I guess she knows me better than I do. That’s why she is the best. But I also got some other presents that are wargaming related and the workstation is very busy, as I am trying to update my Blood Angels and also get the remaining Warmachine stuff ready. All this and lots of unhealthy food have cut into my blogging time, but I am trying to give at least a sort of an update now.

So, I played a total of 5 games of Warmachine since the last update. I am going to keep my summaries brief, as most of them happened three weeks ago, as I concentrated on the games of 40k I played in my blog entries the last few weeks.

In games 1 and 2, I finally got round to fielding my Convergence army against Chris’s Elves, as he was in dire need of a change after preparing for Saarcon and thus playing nothing but Trollbloods for months. He played his go-to list with Ossyan as his Warcaster with Sylys Wyshnalyrr as attachment, some Archers, Ossyan’s warjack, Hypnos, and a Daemon warjack, so double heavy warjacks, a huge unit of Mage Hunter Infiltrators and another one of Mage Hunter Strike Force with its attachment to gain Advance Deployment, Eiryss2 and two Mage Hunter Assassins. In game 2, he lightly changed the list, dropped Eiryss the solo and buying Eiryss the unit attachment (Eiryss3) for his Infiltrators, so they also had Advance Deployment. In game 1, I ran my Aurora list and it rocked. I got to blonk Aurora on a hill where she had DEF18 against anyone not on a hill, so she was able to avoid most shots, but still nearly died as I deployed her an inch too close to Ossyan, meaning that he could shoot her with his -2 DEF pistol and then having the rest of the army open up on her. However, the rest of my army performed extremely well and on turn 2, I popped my feat that let every model that hit an enemy model move again after their combat action. This, combined with her True Path spell that added +2 movement to every warrior model in her control zone, meant that I was able to finish off most of his models in my half of the table to defend my control zone, as well as push really far into his half to contest his zone. My Mitigator was also able to fire on his objective in turn 2, easily hitting it with its DEF5 to cause one point of damage to it, but more importantly, also giving one point of damage to Ossyan standing next to it and knocking him on his behind where he was DEF5. Unfortunately, as he had used his feat the round before, all my ranged attacks in his control area were at -1 dice, so I could not immediately kill him as my POW13 shots were unable to pierce ARM17 on just one dice. Luckily, due to the fact that he was so boxed in by my aggressive advance meant that I could do the exact same thing the following turn, only this time with the usual 2d6 on damage rolls and that did him in. I really liked playing with Aurora, as she is the training wheel warcaster for Convergence, at least in terms of getting the Corollary in the right place and starting the Focus Induction chain the best possible way due to the fact that she has the Field Marshal: Apparition ability, letting herself and all her jacks move 2″ in the control phase, thereby being able to move them in the right position before they activate in the action phase.

In the second game, I played Iron Mother Directrix’s Theme Force on the fourth tier, using lots of Vectors, including Prime Axiom, and 18 servitors, in addition to the three Prime Axiom spawns the first turn. I lost the game on scenario, but it was clear that it would be a rough game for me from the beginning, as he had lots of models with Stealth, so I could not use my superior ranged firepower as much as I wanted. I also lost too many servitors round 1, as I advanced them without clear idea of what they should do. And I got rightly punished for it. I was seriously impressed though by how hard the Prime Axiom is, as it took a whole army’s worth of shooting, some of which at 4d6 due to Ossyan’s feat and the Mage Hunter’s bonus dice against Warjacks and still had half its boxes left before the mechanics even got started repairing it. It also wrecked one heavy warjack and was about to do the same to the second one. I feel that if I had paid more attention to my servitors and also bought more Reflex servitors I could have had a good chance to really do a number on his elves, as Reflex servitors can use their Countercharge ability to threaten zones and their explosion does a lot of damage on lightly armoured elves, even if it does not cause a direct hit. I also misplayed one of my Vectors, diverting it from the main thrust to kill a Mage Hunter Assassin. It did that, but that movement left it out of position and it spent the rest of the game trying to get back in line, thus opening up the Prime Axiom for a countercharge by some Mage Hunter Infiltrators. Even though they barely scratched it, the way Chris had put them meant that I could not actually move the Prime Axiom for three rounds as I could not move over their bases to trample them. If the Prime Axiom had not been blocked by them, it could have made a move towards Chris’s objective and Ossyan, thus limiting his options. As it was, it still managed to kill those two heavies, but otherwise could have done the same thing whilst also advancing. In conclusion, I really played without a coherent battle plan that game and that simply does not work in WarmaHordes, especially not with a finicky faction like Convergence.

So the series of Chris and I going 1-1 in games on the same afternoon continues.

The week after, he asked if we could play 35 points because he has recently converted to the beardy side and is now starting a Cryx army with Goreshade3. Of course, if you change from Elves to Undead, Goreshade is the natural way to do it, being an outcast Elf who started a civil war and then got banished and turned lich lord at the end of it. I decided to bring two lists, seeing as I was on holidays and thus might be able to play more than two games in a row, especially with 35 point-games normally only taking the better part of an hour. And in fact, the first two games were over in only slightly more than one hour.

He ran Goreshade on his horse, a unit of 5 Bane Riders (heavy cavalry that can ignore terrain and models when moving because they are Ghostly), 10 Satyxis Raiders and their attachment, the Sea Witch (basically, they are female pirates with SPD7, high DEF, a horn attack and a whip attack with Reach that also causes a point of damage to the enemy warcaster if it damages a ‘jack in his battle group), Blackmane’s Ghost Raiders (Incorporeal pirates that add models to the unit if they kill enemies in melee whilst Blackmane is still alive) and two light warjacks that were primarily there to be fast and annoying Arc Nodes, which seems to be what all Cryx Warcasters bring. In essence, a lot of models that were quite difficult to deal with as Goreshade could give them Stealth via spell, in addition to the Ghost Raiders being immune to non-magical attacks and the Satyxis having an amazing DEF.

When I wrote my lists, I was not aware of what he would bring exactly, so I tried to bring a balanced selection. However, he sent me his list two days before the game and it turned out that my lists all had a unit of Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers with Officer attachment in them, simply because they are the best unit Cygnar has in terms of allround performance and utility. And what they would especially do is completely invalidate most of his defensive tactics, having magical attack on their Magelock pistols and being able to ignore Stealth, so the games would not have been very interesting, as my Gun Mages could have easily taken out half of his army at range before he could even get into threat range, then continue to do so in melee as eCaine would give them Gunfighter to use their pistols in melee too. So I decided to drop them out of the Caine list and thus ended up with this: eCaine with his trusty Squire and a Hunter light warjack to spend his warjack points on, 6 Rangers and then a metric ton of Mercenaries, including Lady Aiyana and Master Holt for ARM debuffs or to give a unit magic attacks for a round, 10 Press Gangers and 10 Boomhowlers to have boots on the ground with Tough to shield Caine, Alexia Ciannor and the Risen to be the second wave, Rhupert Carvolo to give either the Rangers or the Risen Tough and Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator for an extra shot.

In game 1, everything went the way it should be. In turn 2, Caine measured his control zone, popped his feat and then went to town, dropping Blackmane to stop the Ghost Raiders from respawning, then gunning down all five Ghost Raiders in a single volley before picking off a Satyxis with his last shot. Combined with the fact that the Boomhowlers had 4+ Tough and could not be knocked down (so unlike normal units with Tough, they would not drop to the ground when passing their save and thus still threaten free strikes and block line of sight) or made stationary (Goreshade’s feat lets you sacrifice any number of your undead in his control area to freeze every model close to them, thus opening up lines for him to ride through and then murder your now stationary and thus DEF5 warcaster) and thus singlehandedly stalled his Satyxises and kept Goreshade from going medieval on me, this meant that I was putting a lot of pressure on Goreshade and he could not do much on the next turn, before the Boomhowlers slew the last Satyxis and started whaling on the bonejack in the control zone to start scoring on scenario. Wow, that was a long sentence. Anyway, in my third turn I managed to cripple most of his army and he had to try a fairly difficult assassination run, which he did not manage to pull off, so Caine did him in on the next turn.

In the second game, I began and thus advanced even more aggressively, forcing Chris to respond to my moves instead of doing his own thing. This meant that he had to expose Goreshade far more than he would have normally done and at the beginning of my second turn, I went into the tank, as Magic players like to say, to calculate the odds for an assassination run, simply because I could and turn 2 assassinations are the reason why I chose Caine in the first place when I started playing Warmachine. The odds were in my favour and on average dice, I should be able to deal enough damage to kill Goreshade with 4-5 damage points to spare. So once I had cleared all intervening models, I declared my charge into the back of an unsuspecting Press Ganger (he is a merc, that’s what they are for), then before attacking, I used Gatecrasher to teleport 8 inches towards Goreshade and into melee ranged, said ‘Feat!’ and started shooting. Remember what I said about Chris and I always going 1-1 in games? Seems that my dice had heard him point that out at the beginning of the game, as they decided to roll dramatically under average, leaving Goreshade barely alive on 3 damage points. He then proceeded to cast a million Syphon Bolts at Caine, and when I say a million, I mean 2 because that’s all it took to kill him. So the series stands, I guess.

Chris then had to leave and I asked Geoffrey if I could run my Kara Sloan list against him because I wanted to see her in attack too. Let’s just say it didn’t go too well. First of all, as I had only brought my 35-point lists (Caine needs a lot of space in the carrying case with all the mercenaries he brings along) and Geoffrey and I both wanted to play 50 points, I had to fill the list with what I had at hand, which was not necessarily what I would have wanted to play. I also had to re-familiarise myself with her spell list, as I have never played with her before and after two games with Caine, I had his spells in mind but not hers. That is really a point where practice makes perfect, as I can switch between Caine, Haley and Stryker without much difficulties as I have had 10+ games with each one of them, whereas Sloan is new to me. The same happened to me the week before, when I had spent a lot of time memorising Aurora’s spell list and running sample turns to see how she could allocate her focus in different situations and not doing the same for Iron Mother Directrix, with the result that I made a significant number of misplays with Directrix and only two negligible ones with Aurora. So to made a long story short, I misallocated my focus the second turn, then tried to use my feat to take out Behemoth, his heavy character warjack, before Behemoth could drop two cannon shots on Sloan. I then activated in the wrong order, activating my Gun Mages before Sloan, so they did not benefit from the boosted shots her feat gives every faction model and therefore missing the last two models between my Charger and his Alexia Ciannor. As a result, the Charger had to shoot those models first with the extra shot from Sloan’s feat and his first shot, then shoot Alexia with his second shot and doing exactly two points of damage less than necessary to kill her and all her Risen, so she redirected the damage to the Risen, killing all but one of them and staying on one wound herself before raising another 6 Risen the next turn and taking a boosted shot into Sloan with 2 of those Risen being sacrificed to get the boosts on the ‘to hit’ and damage rolls respectively. To make matters worse, Sloan’s Weapon Mastered, boosted to hit Sniper Rifle had obviously been loaded with blanks, as she dealt only 14 points of damage in three shots when she should have done nearly twice that on average, so I did not manage to destroy Behemoth. So she died the next turn and I was 2-3 in games of Warmachine for those two weeks. But I can see where the problem is and maybe I can do better next time.

Onwards to 40k now, where I am still working on my Blood Angels, adding new models to get the list up to speed. At the moment, I am painting a second batch of Sanguinary Guard that was part of my Christmas loot. Once they are done, I can run a unit of 10 of them to bring the pain. I have also swapped a few weapons around, adding a combi-melta to an Assault Sergeant with power fist and replacing two flamers with meltaguns to let me field two full Assault Squads with double melta and jump packs. In addition, I built and painted an Assault Sergeant with combi-melta and another one with double Inferno pistols to go into my two 5-men Assault Squads with double melta but without jump packs. These units will go into Rhinos or Drop Pods, depending on how fast I paint my Drop Pods. Finally, I assembled and painted a Sergeant with combi-flamer and a Tactical Marine with heavy flamer to run a tactical squad with all the flamers in a Drop Pod or Rhino. ‘But how are you going to find all the slots to play all those Fast Attack units because I also see that you have dusted off your Land Speeder and Attack Bikes?’, you might ask, or would if you could see my painting table. Well, as usual Games Workshop has found a way to milk the cash cow and the new instalment of Shield of Baal, the aptly-named Exterminatus, features a wide range of Blood Angels formations and more importantly, two new detachments for them. The first one, the Archangels, focuses on the veterans of the First Company and lets you field an army consisting of nothing but HQs and Elites choices, limiting those further to Dreadnoughts, Terminators of either kind and Sternguard or Vanguard Veterans. It looks fun, but it is not the detachment that has caught my eye. That prize goes to the second one, the Flesh Tearers Strike Force detachment. As you might know, this successor chapter of the Blood Angels is putting the Rage into Black Rage and their numbers are swiftly dwindling as more and more of them join the Death Company or go berserk in the middle of battle. To reflect their homicidal tendencies, this detachment restricts you to only 1-4 Troops choices (so only 1 is compulsory), but ‘forces’ you to take one compulsory Fast Attack choice with another 5 being optional, so you can field a grand total of 6 Fast Attacks choices! Of course, you lose Objective Secured and the universal re-roll of the Warlord trait (you can still re-roll if you take their own table, which is not that bad, having Rage for the Warlord and his unit, Hatred for the Warlord and his unit or Preferred Enemy for the Warlord (and thus his unit) as well as some other decent ones) but in turn get Rage if you roll 10+ on the charge roll before modifiers for terrain. On the other hand, who cares about Objective Secured when you can just murder everyone in arm’s reach and then use your jump pack to murder the people outside of arm’s reach too.

So my current 2000 points list is:

Librarian: Lvl 2, Veritas Vitae, Jump Pack

Sanguinary Priest, Jump Pack, Power Sword, Bolt Pistol

Lemartes, Guardian of the Lost

10 Death Company: 1 Power Weapon

10 Scouts: Veteran Sergeant with Power Sword and Meltabombs

10 Assault Marines: 2 Meltaguns, Veteran Sergeant with Power Fist and Combi-Melta

10 Assault Marines: 2 Meltaguns, Veteran Sergeant with Power Axe and Meltabombs

5 Assault Marines: 2 Meltaguns, Combi-Melta, Rhino

5 Assault Marines: 2 Meltaguns, 2 Inferno Pistols, Rhino

Attack Bike: Multi-Melta

Land Speeder: Heavy Bolter, Assault Cannon

Baal Predator: Sponson Heavy Bolters

Baal Predator: Sponson Heavy Bolters

Sicaran Battle Tank: Sponson Heavy Bolters

As you can see, it is an all-in army list, going for the throat and ripping out the opponent’s heart, then stuffing it down their pants and laughing. Blood for the Blood God, erm, For the Emperor!

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