Prepare the rubber glove: Goreshade, Lord of Ruin vs Karchev the Terrible (Invasion 2)

And we are back after a bit of a lockdown-enforced break. Not that I got to play against an opponent in real life this time, but I spent a good part of the last few weeks keeping some tiny land mammals from killing themselves, which does take up a bit of time.

So the fight this time uses two casters I have always liked the look of, but didn´t really get around playing before the lockdown. I have played both of them a few times during that period, but haven´t put them into battle reports on the blog. Before the game, I was also a bit worried that it would be a lopsided game as Cryx vs jack-heavy Khador used to be a terrible game for the latter.

My lists were:

Goreshade, Lord of Ruin with two Deathrippers and two Slayers, Asphyxious 4 with a Shrike, 3 full units of Mechanithralls with 3 Brute Thralls and a Skarlock Commander each, 2 Necrosurgeons with Stitch Thralls. 2 Machine Wraiths, Hellslinger Phantom in the Black Industries theme.

I call this list ´Undead Sex Magic´ and the idea is to return as many Thralls as possible each round until the opponent has either clocked themselves or run out of models to kill them with. With 42 models with Advance Deployment or Ambush, it can take space early on and then refuse to give it up again. The incorporeal models are usually there to contest or score flags, Asphyxious is the trouble shooter / wrecking crew and Goreshade provides another Dark Shroud, can single out solos, especially juniors, and keep the feat in his pocket to threaten assassinations.

Karchev the Terrible with two Kodiaks, two Devastators, a Marauder, a Juggernaut and a Greylord Adjunct, a Widowmaker Marksman, Kovnik Apprentice Kratikoff with a second Marauder, Underboss Vizkoya, Yuri the Axe, 2 units of Kayazy Eliminators in the Jaws of the Wolf theme.

I really want to write a nuanced tactical essay here, but the list is basically just ´Shove ARM 20 models with 34 boxes into the opponent with Countercharge or Road to War until they can´t kill ARM 20 anymore.´ It does that very well though and subtlety is hard to do when playing versus yourself.

Neither list got to have Ol´Grim as I didn´t want to proxy him twice. A Kayazy Underboss played Underboss Vizkoya in this game.

DEPLOYMENT

Cryx wins the roll-off and goes first, deploying one unit of Thralls in Ambush and otherwise just presenting a wall of necrotic flesh and rusted steel.

Khadorans deploy more centrally as a wedge of steel to ram into the Cryxian forces. As one of my 5″ templates is still with the person I last played against in real life, only one forest is put down before the game.

They all look like toy soldiers from up here.

ROUND 1

The McThralls run forward. The Stalker on the left then advances and jumps in the middle of them, stabbing one of them in the back. The Necrosurgeon collects its corpse. Goreshade then puts Infernal Machine on it and casts Mockery of Life to return the killed Thrall.

Goreshade then puts Scything Touch on the Stalker on his right.

The rest of the undead army moves forward to put pressure on the enemy.

Faced with a pile of Mechanithralls coming closer and closer, Karchev puts up Battle-Charged and the warjacks advance to just outside of their threat ranges. The solos and Eliminators all stay behind them, except for the ones on the right which run a bit forward. The flanking models are all turned to face the sides, should the Ambushing Thralls come in.

ROUND 2

The Thralls come in on the left side.

One of the Brute Thralls actually manages to roll the 11 to hit and kill one of the Eliminators.

The Cryxian forces push further up, staying just out of charge range of the Khadoran heavies.

Karchev goes first and switches Battle Charged for Road to War, he then sprays down three Thralls, which lets the Kodiak on the right move forward. I will be using the three inch widget under the Kodiak for all the Road to War moves.

Someone (not sure at this point) shoots another Thrall and the leftmost Devastator also advances 3″.

The Kodiak then charges into the wall of Thralls, making a Steam Cloud to kill a few of them, then punching the Brute Thrall it charged into the face to let the Devastator move 3″ forward.

The Devastator then charges forward and uses Rain of Death to blow even more Thralls to smithereens.

The Devastator on the left hurls itself into the gap Karchev has made, then uses Rain of Deat, killing multiple Thralls as well as two Brute Thralls. It also injures the Necrosurgeon but rolls too low to kill her.

The Marksman shoots the Necrosurgeon, now that all its Sacrificial Pawn targets have died.

The Juggernaut, being moved by Road to War, then charges into the gap on the right and kills the other Necrosurgeon as well as another Brute Thrall. And just like that, eighty percent of the recursion engine is gone.

On the right, the Kodiak charges into the Thralls that came in from Ambush last turn and kills a few (after the Eliminator ran away from them), while the Marauder wades into the right zone and kills even more Thralls.

Both sides hold a flag.

Cryx 1 – Khador 1

ROUND 3

The Deathripper walks behind the Eliminator, then boosts an attack and kills her.

The Stalker with Scything Touch on it engages the Marauder and Devastator, but does little damage. The remainder of the left unit charge in and do a bit more damage. The Ambushing Thralls then charge and kill the Kodiak that charged them, as well as damaging the Marauder. It remains standing on two damage boxes. The Caine Wraith then shoots it and sets it on fire, but twice fails to break its armour.

The left Machinewraith charges the Juggernaut and actually dings it up for quite a bit, then has it move around and attack the Kodiak. The Stalker, the Shrike, Asphyxious and his gang all go in and kill the Kodiak, as well as contesting the flag.

Cryx still control their flag, Khador has theirs contested.

Cryx 2 – Khador 1

The Marauder doesn´t die in a fire and the Devastator and Marauder kill the Stalker and more Thralls.

The heavies on the right kill more models, including the Stalker.

Crucially, the Juggernaut misses Asphyxious twice and leaves him on 11 boxes despite using three focus points on him. Underboss Vyzkoia tries his luck at killing him, but misses the attack to pull himself closer to Asphyxious. The Marauder uses Combo Smite to slam the Devastator into Goreshade, but it comes up short. However, the slam flattens more Thralls and the Deathripper.

The Marksman kills the Hellslinger Phantom after it revealed itself to shoot the Marauder.

At the end of the round, neither side scores a point.

Cryx 2 – Khador 1

ROUND 4

The Shrike does what Shrikes do and tramples over Underboss Vizkoya and the Kayazy next to him, then misses Yuri the Axe with its beak.

The Thralls finally drop the Marauder and then also do a bit of damage on the Devastator.

The Machine Wraith makes the Juggernaut hit the Marauder with its Ice Axe.

Together, Goreshade and Asphyxious kill the Juggernaut and Marauder. The Devastator is still going strong, but knocked down and out of control range.

Neither side scores any points this round.

Cryx 2 – Khador 1

The öast Kayazy kills the Machine Wraith. The Devastator gets up, but does very little. Yuri hacks a hole into the Scavenger.

Karchev and the Devastator clear out the left zone.

Khador scores the left square zone.

Cryx 2 – Khador 2

ROUND 5

The Deathripper moves back into Goreshade´s control area and he uses a boosted Syphon Bolt to kill Sorscha.

Goreshade and Asphyxious join forces and together, they kill the Kayazy and the Devastator. The light kills Yuri and sprints over to the zone.

Cryx scores the right zone.

Cryx 3 – Khador 2

Karchev easily kills the Deathripper and the Marksman runs to the flag, scoring two for Khador.

Cryx 4 – Khador 4

ROUND 6

Goreshade rides to the flag and uses Mockery of Life to bring back two Stitch Thralls. That unit moves to the south to be able to contest next round. Asphyxious and his Murder Monkeys move to the centre to charge in next round.

Both sides score two points.

Cryx 6 – Khador 6

Same deal on the Khador turn as neither side can contest each other.

ROUND 7

Asphyxious charges the Markman and Devastator, finishing both of them off.

Cryx scores two, Khador zero.

Cryx 10 – Khador 8

With no way of killing Asphyxious and keeping Goreshade from scoring at the same time, Khador concedes.

SCENARIO WIN FOR CRYX!

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Pistols at Dawn: Captain Victoria Haley vs Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Champion (Invasion)

This week´s game is brought to you by … sleep deprivation and Covid scare!

As the year is winding down, it is hard for me to find time for games and to be honest, I hope motivation is just down due to the bad weather and cold.

I have been playing a few games on Wartable, but it is hard for me to use it, as I tend to be more intuitive and rely on eye-balling distances and it has been hard for me to take into account that the screen might just show a zoomed-in part of the table, which has led to me finding it hard to estimate threat ranges etc. Yes, I know that Wartable actually shows all distances, but it is a psychological thing. But enough of that.

For this week´s matchup, I have chosen Vlad2 because it is a powerful list I want to play more over the months to come, but one I struggle with online, so maybe playing it on the physical table will help me get to grips with it. As the opposing force, I wanted to give Haley1 another go as I like the concept and have also recently painted more Gun Mages to go with it.

The lists were:

Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Champion + 27
Marauder: 11
Grolar: 18
Void Archon: 8
Void Archon: 8
Koldun Lord: 4
Koldun Lord: 0 (4)
Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire: 7
Doom Reaver Swordsmen: 10
Greylord Escort: 3
Doom Reaver Swordsmen: 10 Greylord Escort: 3
Doom Reaver Swordsmen: 10 Doom Reaver Swordsmen: 10 Greylord Ternion: 0 (7) Greylord Ternion: 0 (7)

(Wolves of Winter)

A pretty basic Vlad2 list. I tried running it with Ruin and a Thamarite Archon instead of the Grolar and Alexia, but Alexia gives me more recursion and better access to Arcane Vortex.

Captain Victoria Haley: + 27
Squire: 0 (5)
Hurricane: 35  
Lieutenant Bastian Falk: 0 (5)
Gun Mage Captain Adept: 0 (5)
Gun Mage Captain Adept: 0 (5)
Arcane Tempest Rifleman: 4
Arcane Tempest Rifleman: 4
Anastasia di Bray: 3  
Tempest Blazers (min): 11
Black 13th Strike Force: 10
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages: 11
Gun Mage Officer: 4
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages: 11
Gun Mage Officer: 4  


(Sons of the Tempest)

The Haley1 list has been slightly changed by reducing the Blazers from a full to a minimum unit, which freed up 7 points to add the second Rifleman as well as Anastasia di Bray to get better odds of choosing whether to go first or second.

Predictably, I roll a 2+1 for Haley and a 5 for Vlad, who goes first.

DEPLOYMENT

Those Doom Reavers sure look far up the table.

´We have guns and our opponents wear loincloths. What could possibly go wrong?´

View from the top. And yes, I have picked up a bit of the Game of Thrones wargame as a palate cleanser.

Anastasia uses her Ambush rule. She is a Gun Mage too by the looks of it.

ROUND 1

Vlad puts Hand of Fate on a Ternion (I guess that is their collective name), Arcane Might on himself and Assail on the Grolar for some trample plus shooting shenanigans.

The second Ternion puts up some clouds on the Doom Reavers to block off line of sight on the left flank, while a unit of Doom Reavers moves to a spot behind the forest to be able to use Apparition to get into the forest and then charge out of it. Otherwise, the Doom Reavers try to stay out of range, while also threatening charges.

Haley puts Arcane Shield and Deadeye on the Hurricane, another Deadeye on the Tempest Blazers and moves up cautiously.

The Tempest Blazers kill the three Doom Reavers in the clouds, but between some Tough rolls and twice rolling 4 on 2d6 for damage rolls, they don´t manage to do more.

Thanks to Deadeye, the Hurricane easily slams one Doom Reaver into another, then shoots its longer-ranged cannons into the Doom Reavers behind the building. Unfortunately the only one wounded by the cannons passes his Tough check. The other Gun Mages attempt to mostly stay out of range.

ROUND 2

Vlad upkeeps his spells and allocates two to the Grolar. The unit of Doom Reavers behind the forest teleports into the forest.

The Ternion with Hand of Fate use Bonds of Woe to kill Watts (or Lynch? One of the two without double pistols) and a Gun Mage to return the two Doom Reavers who got killed by the Hurricane´s guns.

The Void Archon flies forward and sprays over the Gun Mages, rolling the necessary 8+ to hit the two it got under the spray template. Then it teleports backwards with its two Soul Tokens.

The right Void Archon charges the Tempest Blazer in front of the Doom Reavers, using one of its three Soul Tokens to boost the attack roll, gaining it back when the Blazer dies…

… then teleports forward towards the building. It kills the Gun Mage there, again using a Soul Token to boost the attack roll and immediately regaining it. To make matters worse for the Cygnarans, it then sprays over a Tempest Blazer, Bastian Falk, a Rifleman and a Captain Adept, boosting to hit the three solos and hitting all of them as well as the Blazer. Everyone is killed and the Archon is once more on full Soul Tokens.

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Vlad feats, selecting the Koldun Lord on the flag (in case Anastasia wants to charge him) and four Doom Reavers in front. He also advances a bit.

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The feated-on Doom Reavers gain Relentless Charge from their Escort, then charge forward, murderating all their targets. At this stage, only two Gun Mages survive on the right flank.

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The Grolar ends up simply running forward as there is no viable target left for its guns. The Ternion on the right drop clouds on the Koldun Lord, Vlad and a Doom Reaver standing in front of him. The Marauder moves up to remain out of charge range of the Hurricane, but potentially threatening it with Assail should it move into the zone. Alexia rides forward, summons two Thrall Warriors, then falls back again. The Warriors charge the Hurricane, but only manage one point of damage between the two of them. Some Doom Reavers run to engage the Gun Mages, knowing that they can easily shoot them down, but restricting their movement.

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Anastasia bravely charges the Void Archon, but rolls poorly and only does 5 damage to it. She might still be able to pin it in place though.

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Haley, having upkept Arcane Shield and taken one from the Squire, moves up, uses her feat and stabs a Thrall Warrior. She then casts Chain Lightning on a Ternion, killing him and also a Doom Reaver while also knocking another one down. Interestingly, neither Alexia nor the Archon can claim the Soul Tokens for the Doom Reavers as they can only collect from models killed by attacks.

The two Gun Mages on the left do good work and kill two Doom Reavers despite them being DEF 16 and Tough.

The Black 13th show their worth, Ryan kills two Doom Reavers (she loses her second initial as she has charged and killed the charge target with the first initial, but can make her additional attack), then Watts calmly executes the Void Archon with two shots.

The Gun Mages on the right kill the Thrall Warrior and four Doom Reavers, but waste quite a few shots due to Tough rolls.

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The Hurricane knocks the Marauder down and deals 20 points of damage to it, but crucially not taking out any systems to it. The Ternion before it also dies, as do another two Doom Reavers to a slam shot. The Squire runs to control the right flag. The Khadoran forces control their right zone and flag.

Haley 1 – Vlad 2 (could be caster number or points score).

ROUND 3

Vlad drops Assail and Hand of Fate, upkeeping Arcane Might for free. He also allocates two to the Marauder, which uses its Power Up focus point to stand up after being knocked down by the Hurricane. The last two Doom Reavers on the left charge in opposite directions, one runs behind Anastasia and kills her, the other one charges right into the Gun Mages and promptly misses the first one. The Escort tries to spray the Gun Mages before running, but fails to hit them. The Koldun Lord does the same thing he did last turn and casts Puppet Master on the Void Archon. The Void Archon, now freed up from Anastasia, flies over and uses boosted sprays to kill the Captain Adept and the Gun Mage, but missing the Officer. It then teleports into melee with the Hurricane and the Gun Mage next to it, killing the Gun Mage and then hitting the colossal with a boosted attack. The damage roll is disappointing, so I use Puppet Master, turning a boosted 4 into a boosted 3. Yikes!

The remaining two Doom Reavers in the centre left unit charge in, one kills the Squire with the help of a Vlad boost, then misses Haley. The other one does a fair chunk on the colossal. Vlad moves over, potentially exposing himself for an assassination run, but being in range to put Assail on the Marauder. The Marauder can reach the Hurricane due to the Assail bonus and does a fair chunk of damage, leaving the Hurricane on 17 boxes and one side completely out. Alexia rides into the zone and drops off three Thralls. However, the positioning of the Void Archon and Marauder means that only one Thrall can charge, promptly rolling a double 1 for its attack. Not quite what I had in mind. The other ones charge the Gun Mage Officer in the rear and kill her.

The Doom Reavers on the right easily take out the last two Gun Mages on that side.

The Grolar kills Watts with its hammer, then sprays the objective, dealing 10 damage in total to it. The centre right Doom Reaver unit just advances and one of them takes a swing at the objective, but leaves it on 1 box. The right Ternion drop clouds on Vlad and the Ternion before him. Khador controls their zone and flag, no other elements are scored.

Haley 1 – Vlad 4

Desperate assassination run time! Haley allocates two to the Hurricane and tries to cast a boosted Chain Lightning on the cloud-wearing Ternion blocking Line of Sight to Vlad. You can see the die roll above. Whoomp, whoomp! In the interest of seeing what could have been, I fudged the dice to let the Hurricane shoot, but even after hitting the boosted 11 and slamming Vlad, two focus points on Vlad and one crippled side on the colossal mean that the run predictably fails. The odds were really low to begin with.

Haley stabs two mofos, Ryan shoots another two and the last regular Gun Mage kills a Thrall Warrior. In the real timeline where the Hurricane has no line of sight to Vlad, it uses a Power Attack Sweep and two bought attacks to kill the Marauder, Void Archon and Doom Reavers that engage it. But to no avail as the Khadoran forces score another two points for the win.

SCENARIO WIN (AND MASSACRE) FOR KHADOR!

AFTERTHOUGHTS

I am a bit torn here. A few more failed Tough checks early on would have opened up the left flank more to enable the Gun Mages to kill off more Doom Reavers and I shouldn´t have left one Tempest Blazer in the zone as that allowed the Void Archon to teleport and murder all those solos behind the wall.

Overall, I think that the Void Archons might have been the big deciding force here, as they could collect souls and use them to remove expensive models with every attack, as well as being a way around two thirds of Arcane Shield that Haley cannot deny with Arcane Vortex. Maybe that is the difference between a pre-Oblivion and post-Oblivion force.

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Battlebox showdown: Malekus, the Burning Truth vs Major Beth Maddox (Invasion)

Today (actually two weeks ago but we had a bit of a COVID-19 scare at home so while we are all fine, I didn´t have any time to write it up before now) I am going to field two of the recently upgraded Battlebox casters: Malekus, the Burning Truth vs Major Beth Maddox. I didn´t really try to design optimal lists, just lists that looked good and matched a general idea of what I would run with them. As such the lists will evolve over the weeks to come, but look good as a starting point.

For Malekus, I decided to go with some fire damage in the battlegroup, which would of course be spearheaded by Eye of Truth. To get the most out of his Ashen Veil aura, I would field him with a mix of Temple Flameguard to be a solid anvil and Flame Bringers to serve as the hammer.

Malekus, the Burning Truth + 30

  • Eye of Truth: 20
  • Revenger: 8
  • Revenger: 8

Pyrrhus, Flameguard Hero: 0 (5)

Nicia, Tear of Vengeance: 0 (5)

Hand of Silence: 7

Vassal of Menoth: 3

Wrack: 1

Choir of Menoth (min): 4

Temple Flameguard (max): 11

  • Officer & Standard: 0 (4)

Temple Flameguard (max): 11

  • Officer & Standard: 4

Flame Bringers (max): 17

Flame Bringers (min): 11

(Guardians of the Temple)

Maddox was easier to design a list for, as she still appears to be shoehorned into the Storm Division theme. So she got the mandatory Storm Lances, a Journeyman to get the second armour buff and two decent warjacks to back them up.

Major Beth Maddox + 30

  • Squire: 0 (5)
  • Brickhouse: 18
  • Ironclad: 12

Journeyman Warcaster: 4

  • Firefly: 8

Major Katherine Laddermore: 8

Ser Dreyfus, the Storm Knight: 0 (5)

Storm Lances (max): 20

Storm Lances (max): 20

Stormblade Infantry: 9

  • Officer & Standard: 0 (5)
  • 3 Storm Gunners: 6

(Storm Division)

DEPLOYMENT

Malekus wins the roll-off and decides to go first as Maddox wants time to put down her upkeeps, so the faster Malekus can commit, the less time she has to up them all out.

The Flameguard provide a central anchor, while the Flame Bringers try to nip around the flanks.

The forces of Cygnar deploy around a strong centre, with Storm Lances on both flanks.

The field from the side.

ROUND 1

Malekus puts Banishing Ward on himself and Ignite on the larger unit of Flame Bringers. He also puts up Ashen Veil on all friendly models in his control range.

The Menite forces run up, but ensure that all units stay within range of Malekus´s aura.

Maddox puts Snipe on the Stormblades, Assail on Brickhouse and Dauntless Resolve on the Storm Lances on the left.

The Journeyman, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, drops Arcane Shield on the other unit of Storm Lances.

The forces of Cygnar push forward, but only 4 Storm Lances actually move into threat range of the Menite forces. Either they commit significant resources to kill models that are DEF 13 and ARM 22 or the Lances can push deeply in their lines.

ROUND 2

Malekus keeps up Ignite but drops Banishing Ward, arguing that neither the Journeyman nor Maddox have the potential to kill him with spells. The left Flame Bringers, who currently have Ignite on them, charge into the Storm Lances and thanks to having Parry, some of them can even charge past the frontline Lances. They kill three Lances and set a fourth on fire.

The Choir sing Passage to the warjacks to stop the Cygnarans from using their not inconsiderable firepower to shoot them off the table. The Vassal also puts a Focus on Eye of Truth in case it needs to absorb a hit with its Oracular Visions ability. It also shoots at a Storm Lance and sets it on fire, but fails to kill it.

Malekus then switches Ignite over to the other side. Only one Flame Bringer can charge a Storm Lances, but she easily kills him. My dice are admittedly on fire at this stage of the game. Both units of Temple Flameguard advance in Shield Guard formation and pop their mini-feats. Hand of Silence and Malekus move up centrally. Malekus uses Fable of Ashes again to give everyone Ashen Veil.

Maddox allocates two to Brickhouse and pays two to upkeep Snipe and Dauntless Resolve. She moves up a bit, then uses her feat. Can you feel the excitement? In fact, she might even have shot at a Flameguard, but predictably missed the DEF 15 trooper.

The Ironclad swiftly puts the Flame Bringer in front of it in the ground to open more space for the Storm Lances.

Ser Dreyfus leaps over the Firefly and thanks to Flank (Storm Knight), he drops both Flame Bringers tying them up.

The two remaining Lances on the right charge in, one managing to kill the last two Flame Bringers on that flank with Impact hits. Their Assault shots do little and some cheeky 5s and 6s for the Flameguard´s Tough checks mean that they end up killing only one TFG.

On the other flank, the Storm Lances try to open a gap for Brickhouse, but they are also thwarted by Tough rolls, leaving one Temple Flameguard in the charge lane alive. They need to take multiple Free Strikes to get out the way themselves, but their high armour saves them from the worst of it, even for the rolls without the ARM bonus from Dauntless Resolve due to Eye of Truth´s aura.

This means that the Stormblades have to advance more slowly to let the Storm Gunners stand still to aim. Fortunately, one of them rolls the 8 to hit the Flameguard that is blocking the charge lane and kills him. Brickhouse can thus charge Eye of Truth, but due to Oracular Visions on the charge roll and an unlucky double one to hit, Eye of Truth actually hangs in there on 7 boxes, though without Cortex or Shield, so it wouldn´t be able to pull the Oracular Visions trick again.

Cygnar scores one with Laddermore on the flag, all other elements are contested.

Maddox 1 – Malekus 0

ROUND 3

Malekus upkeeps Ignite, activates first and uses his feat. He also uses Verse of Cinders to get a free spell to cast Brand of Fire on the Firefly, setting Laddermore and a Storm Lance on Fire. He then aims and uses his flamethrower to kill another Storm Lance and unhorse Laddermore. Finally, he uses Open Fire on Eye of Truth to have it land a hit on Brickhouse.

The Choir sang Battle before Malekus activated, come to think of it, and the Revenger on the right moves around the Storm Lance, taking a free strike that does little damage, but kills a Standard Bearer with the Electro Leap. The Revenger can however shoot now and kills a couple of Stormblades and the Storm Lance that repositioned out of melee last turn.

Hand of Silence rides into the gap Malekus opened with his flamer and then uses his soul tokens to boost the to hit rolls on three Stormblades, killing them too.

The Flameguard on both sides flails ineffectually at Storm Lances, only managing to set a couple on fire but generally failing to break armour. They do maintain their Shield Wall formations. The Flame Bringers are more efficient, killing another Storm Lance. Eye of Truth shows that even without Focus, it can deal a lot of damage and it takes out most of Brickhouse´s boxes. Nicia charges over the Flameguard and finishes Brickhouse off, then Sprints back to the flag.

Nicia scores her flag and the other flag is contested by the Temple Flameguard.

Malekus 1 – Maddox 1

Maddox dies in a fire.

The Journeyman very cheekily takes aim, boosts the hit and damage roll and summarily executes Hand of Silence. Another notch in her belt.

The Stormblades charge and kill the last Flame Bringers, a Flameguard and the left Revenger.

The Ironclad, which Maddox brought to full Focus, charges the Revenger and unceremonially flattens it. It now stands right next to Malekus, who regrets some of his life choices. Dreyfus kills another Flameguard, but Tough saves the second one.

The Storm Lances finally have the measure of the Temple Flameguard and kill three of them.

Maddox kills the Flameguard Officer with an Electric Blast, but the unit leader next to him passes his Tough check. However, that lets her shot him with a Storm Strike that then leaps into Nicia and kills her too.

The Squire runs to the right flag to score a point.

Maddox 2 – Malekus 1

ROUND 4

With an Ironclad sitting next to him and his force consisting of nothing but a severely damaged Eye of Truth and Temple Flameguard that are good at tanking hits, but terrible at dealing damage, Malekus decides that he needs to assassinate Maddox now or die. So Eye of Truth marches up and kills a Stormblade model to open line of sight to Maddox. Malekus then moves up, uses Verse of Cinders to cast a free boosted Scourge on Maddox to knock her down, then shoots her with his flamethrower, boosting both rolls. He then tries to finish her off with Brand of Fire, but thanks to her remaining Focus, she stays alive on two boxes.

The Menites move over to contest the flag the Squire sits on, while the Vassal moves over to control the other flag.

Malekus 2 – Maddox 2

In the Maintenance Phase, Maddox rolls a six for her fire check and then a one five on her fire damage roll …

… so she dies!

ASSASSINATION WIN FOR THE PROTECTORATE!

POST-GAME ANALYSIS

I actually liked the changes to both casters.

Maddox still does what she does best, buffing things and not much else. She is reasonably tough with DEF 15 and ARM 16, with the potential to get to ARM 19 with Dauntless Resolve and an another +2 ARM if she is in melee. However, she still dies easily enough when shot at or having spells cast at her, nor does her statline protect her against really strong beaters like heavies. Resourceful is also less powerful on a caster that usually puts out two upkeeps on units rather than on her battlegroup models on herself. She is strong, but I am still not seeing me reach for her over Stryker2, to name but one. Maybe if the next Steamroller increases terrain density or more factions get access to terrain placement, this might change, but not as is.

Malekus performed well enough, being able to contribute each turn with his spells and ranged weapon. Moreover, being able to create a control-range-wide area of Ashen Veil makes him support armies with average to above average DEF fairly well. However, it looks to me as if Temple Flameguard are not necessarily what he is looking for, as even Ignite does not enable them to kill heavily armoured units reliably. Maybe he is better in Faithful Masses, but then again, what isn´t?

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Caster spotlight: Malekus, the Burning Truth

Today I am going to talk about the Menite Battlebox Warcaster who has just been updated in the November 2020 Dynamic Update: Malekus, the Burning Truth aka Baron Harkonnen aka Who ate all the pies? He has been changed in a few aspects, not completely reworked like, for example, Xekaar, but in significant ways. I am not going over all the stats as these can be found on Warmachine University, but wanted to give my hot-take view of the caster.

I played him vs Tim from smeerlapperij.home.blog last weekend and am also currently putting him through the paces for another solo machine report, so look forward to that towards the end of the week. Nevertheless, as the update only happened a week ago, a lot of this is still fresh and might be subject to change.

General thoughts:

Compared to his previous iteration, he feels more proactive by having Brand of Fire as a spell that both deals fire damage and always applies Continuous Fire, not just on a Critical hit. While that may be a small change, it is a way for him apply Continuous Fire and also potentially kill models with higher DEF that he has a hard time hitting with his flamethrower by casting Brand of Fire on an easier to hit model near them. Together with Hymn of Might, this lets him spam fire tokens without having to completely design his list around it.

Speaking of Hymn of Might, there are two Divine Passages he can use every round on his activation that greatly modify the way he plays. Hymn of Might giving him a free spell makes an assassination run based on a free Scourge to knock down the target, followed by a spray attack and some spells a definite possibility. Fable of Ash might even be better as it gives all friendly faction models in his control range Ashen Veil, which opens up the potential for a Defence skew list that the Protectorate has little access to otherwise. Admittedly, those lists might not be as efficient as DEF skew lists in other factions, but seeing them in a Menite list pair might give people pause. The third Passage, Verse of Cinders, is unfortunately less likely to come up, but as there is no limit on how many times you can use each Passage per game, having two strong options and one that is hardly used is not an issue.

On the negative side, he is still rather light on defensive abilities, having Banishing Ward, that, while a good way to remove enemy upkeeps like Rebuke, can be circumvented by a number of spells, and control range-wide Ashen Veil, that can be useful in some matchups, but useless in other ones, for example as melee-heavy construct or undead lists. Obviously not every caster can have Defender´s Ward and Ashen Veil is actually preferable against lists that have access to Blessed weapons, but it still feels somewhat less that ideal in terms of defensive tech.

In addition to that, he still doesn´t have a way to get around rough terrain (other than literally going around it) nor a way to increase movement ranges or other movement shenanigans. This makes him somewhat static compared to other casters and occassionally at the mercy of table layout, especially if the opponent forces you on a bad side.

Finally, a lot of his, admittedly huge, damage potential is tied to fire damage, so models that are immune to fire damage are relatively safe from him. In addition, fire damage is usually applied via ranged attacks, which can be denied or mitigated by many effects, or continuous effects, which expire in one third of all cases and might even fail to do damage when not expiring. This means that his place in a list pair depends on the other list´s ability to face off against the lists that he cannot deal with. Fortunately, if he is paired with Cyrenia or Harbinger, they can deal with such lists.

How does Malekus fare in the different Menite themes?

Creators Might: While this theme gives him access to two Menite Archons, he doesn´t really offer much to the jack-heavy lists the theme can create. It might be possible to run a gunline using fire-based warjacks, but he has little to offer such a list beyond the feat damage. He also has little focus to hand out each round or other abilities that increase mobility, which is the main problem of Menoth warjacks.

Exemplar Interdiction: Here his lack of defensive tech comes to the fore, as the theme is already capable of an enormous damage output on account of being almost entirely composed of Weaponmasters. The Ashen Veil zone is great, but it only raises the medium Exemplars´ DEF to 13 and the small-based ones´ to 14, which are numbers that most gunlines can deal with. Therefore, he doesn´t bring much to the table that helps Exemplars mitigate their key vulnerability, which is actually getting to the enemy.

Guardians of the Temple: Our most maligned theme or at least not one in the top tier of the Protectorate lists might be revived by the changes to Malekus. In fact, his Fable of Ash works well with Temple Flameguard in Shieldwall, or at least in base-to-base with each other, as they will have up to DEF 17 against charges with Set Defense and Ashen Veil, as well as being Tough and cannot be knocked down. This lets them absorb charges and that in turn might enable counterstrike elements like Flame Bringers or warjacks to destroy the enemy´s assault elements. He also has Ignite as a much-needed damage buff and could even run Flameguard Cleansers to synergise with his feat, but the Cleansers´ low DEF makes them a choice target when everyone else´s DEF is higher and their RAT of 5 makes shooting less attractive as they have no boosting mechanic or other hit buff. This might be something to investigate and I am currently running a list with TFG and Flame Bringers to see if it has legs.

The Faithful Masses: Our best theme is also one that has a significant number of models with fire-based attacks as well as the highest native DEF scores. This means that is possible to build a list leveraging both the increased fire damage on the feat turn and the DEF buff created by Fable of Ash without having to radically taylor your list to do so. Of course, a few key models like Menite Archons and Hand of Silence already have Ashen Veil, but that only means that it is easier to switch from Fable of Ash to Hymn of Might when needed. Hand of Vengeance on all heavies also makes the counterpunch more reliable. Finally, I am a big fan of Holy Zealots as regular readers of my battle reports might have gathered and he offers them more than most other casters.

Which models and units synergise well with Malekus?

Eye of Truth: It might sound obvious that Malekus likes his bonded warjack, but it not only gives him an Arc Node without having to buy an expensive light or heavy Warjack only to have an Arc Node, but it is also reasonably hard to remove, has a good, if short-ranged gun and a unique bubble of buff negation.

Menite Archons: Again, an extremely strong model to begin with, they also give fire damage rolls in 5″ +2 to the damage roll and their melee weapons cause Continuous Fire, which his feat can boost and cause not to expire for a round.

Hand of Silence: A great fire-typed gun on a model that would be powerful enough in the infantry-based lists he likes even without the gun, meaning that his inclusion doesn´t skew the list too much into a niche. He can also provide focus to warjacks, thus letting Malekus concentrate on maintaining or toggling Ignite or just setting enemies on fire.

Holy Zealots: A cheap unit with limited recursion that can easily deal PoW 10 blast damage and sometimes even PoW 16 direct hits, which can both be boosted on the feat turn.

Where does he sit in the faction power ranking?

Let´s rip off the band-aid straight away: Malekus will not kick Harbinger and Cyrenia off the top tier of the Menoth faction ranking cake. His lack of defensive tech and hit buffs gives him too many matchups he wants to dodge. However, he can easily be a second list to supplement one of them, going for a more brute force approach while still keeping his force relatively safe.

It should also be mentioned at this juncture that as he is the Menite Battlebox caster, he will always be available to play in the Champions format.

Army list ideas

For people who like to burn things: Malekus with a flame-heavy battle group, backing up a horde of reasonably high DEF models.

Malekus, the Burning Truth + 30

  • Eye of Truth: 20
  • Revenger: 8
  • Revenger: 8

Pyrrhus, Flameguard Hero: 0 (5)

Nicia, Tear of Vengeance: 0 (5)

Hand of Silence: 7

Vassal of Menoth: 3

Wrack: 1

Choir of Menoth (min): 4

Temple Flameguard (max): 11

  • Officer & Standard: 0 (4)

Temple Flameguard (max): 11

  • Officer & Standard: 4

Flame Bringers (max): 17

Flame Bringers (min): 11 (The Faithful Masses)

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Solo Machine: Servath Reznik, Wrath of Ages vs Zaateroth, The Weaver of Shadows (Spread the Net)

I have been playing quite a bit of Reznik2 recently as I absolutely love the model and as much as I dislike Wartable’s way of handling movement (don’t get me wrong, I salute the guys who designed it and they kept the community going during these dark times), it actually makes handling a huge-based caster easier than in real life.

The list has lots of old favourites, like Scourge of Heresy and Fort Reznik with Madeline Corbeau sitting behind Reznik and making him immune to warrior melee attacks and the Devout hugging him to be immune to spells, and Idrians being Idrians. Those old favourites are supplemented by the new kids such as the Archons and Champions.

The basic plan is to clear out screens with Idrians and the feat, leverage multiple Vengeance effects to get more attacks and movements per round and finish out the game with either Reznik or Scourge of Heresy, both of which would stay in the second line and threaten, while using Boundless Charge and Lamentation to impact the board.

Here is the list:

Servath Reznik, Wrath of Ages – WJ: +29

  • Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan – PC: 4
  • Devout – PC: 9 (Battlegroup Points Used: 9)
  • Scourge of Heresy – PC: 16 (Battlegroup Points Used: 16)
  • Crusader – PC: 10 (Battlegroup Points Used: 4)

Menite Archon – PC: 8
Menite Archon – PC: 8
Hand of Silence – PC: 7
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon – PC: 0
Champion of the Order of the Wall – PC: 8
Champion of the Order of the Wall – PC: 8
Wrack – PC: 1
Vassal Mechanik – PC: 1

Choir of Menoth – Leader & 3 Grunts: 4
Initiates of the Wall – Leader & Grunts: 0
Initiates of the Wall – Leader & Grunts: 0
Idrian Skirmishers – Leader & 9 Grunts: 15. Idrian Skirmisher Chieftain & Guide – Chieftain & Guide: 5

(Faithful Masses)

I had a bit of a conundrum selectin the list to go against Reznik, as I had plenty of lists I wanted to play, but all of them had little to no way of killing Madeline, so once their warjacks were gone, Reznik could have run the table. So I had to do something battlegroup-heavy and as I had recently finished my Infernals and not yet played Zaateroth, it looked like a golden opportunity to play her.

My Zaateroth list might be a bit less traditional, as I wanted to avoid the ‘decide if you want 3 or 4 Tormentors and add Foreboders accordingly’ school of Infernal battlegroups. As the used lot I picked up to begin my Infernal collection had some Grievers I had never used before (using ‘never’ for 5 games, shocking!) and I had seen them in a few lists to trigger Rites of Torment, I wanted to include them too. The rest is pretty standard.

NOTE: I played this game the day after the big Dynamic Update, so Tormentors will be MAT 6 only and Hauke’s Tactician only affects Warrior models.

Here is the list:

Zaateroth, The Weaver of Shadows – WJ: +26

  • Foreboder – PC: 4 (Battlegroup Points Used: 4)
  • Tormentor – PC: 12 (Battlegroup Points Used: 12)
  • Tormentor – PC: 12 (Battlegroup Points Used: 10)
  • Soul Stalker – PC: 13

Infernal Gate – PC: 12

Lord Roget d’Vyaros – PC: 4
The Wretch – PC: 4
Alain Runewood, Lord of Ash – PC: 5
Valin Hauke, The Fallen Knight – PC: 7
Hermit of Henge Hold – PC: 0
Great Princess Regna Gravnoy – PC: 0
Eilish Garrity, the Occultist – PC: 0

Cultist Band – Leader & 5 Grunts: 7 Master Preceptor Orin Midwinter – PC: 4
Cultist Band – Leader & 5 Grunts: 7 Dark Sentinel – PC: 2 Griever Swarm – Leader & 5 Grunts: 8

(Dark Legacy)

DEPLOYMENT

With Dark Legacy getting +1 to the starting roll, I predictably roll a 1 and then a 5 for the Menite forces. Given the table, Menoth Me gave the first turn to Infernal Me to pick sides and have room for Reznik’s big butt.

The Infernals deploy rather centrally, making sure they can get around the Gate now it is no longer possible to walk through it with Hauke.

Fort Reznik assembles, with a Champion and an Archon on each flank to swing into the centre.

View from the top. I was actually standing on a chair for this one. That´s just the guy I am, endangering my life for my faithful readers.

ROUND 1

The Infernals begin the game by having a Wretch run forward.

Zaateroth turns him into a Desolator. She also casts Rites of Torment on herself thanks to Harmonious Exaltation and then Scything Touch on the newly summoned Desolator.

Regna summons a Shrieker.

Overall, the Infernals run forward to take space. The Gate gets two Souls, so it teleports the rightmost Tormentor and the Shrieker forward.

In a shocking turn of events, the Menites mainly walk up. Reznik casts Lamentation and Death March on the Idrians.

The Idrians take a few potshots, hitting the Soul Stalker once for three damage and killing a Griever.

ROUND 2

This turn gets rather technical, so bear with me.

The Grievers shoot a few Idrians to trigger Rites of Torments. The Gate brings the dead one back at the beginning of the turn.

One of the triggers pulls a Tormentor forward.

It tries to kill the leftmost Archon, but leaves it on two boxes and decides not to use the last Essence to avoid exploding at the end of the turn.

Zaateroth puts Black Spot on the Idrians through the Arc Node and then kills a few Idrians with his gun, but the Archon protects their souls.

She then feats.

Then turns Roget into a Tormentor.

The Gate then teleports her backwards.

The Shrieker tries to wipe out the Idrians by boosting a shot into them (and hoping for a second one with Black Spot)…

… but Dartan Vilmon heroically intercepts the shot to avoid losing the unit. He promptly eats triple sixes and dies.

On the right, the Soul Stalker tries to kill off the other Archon, but misses with its charge attack and thus doesn´t have automatic hits, which means that it bounces off the Archon.

At the end of the turn, the Infernals present a solid wall with high DEF scores.

Reznik feats, upkeeps his spells, then charges the Foreboder and Curses the Shrieker. The boosted charge attack hits the Foreboder and literally explodes it, so Reznik buys an attack into the now wounded Shrieker and kills it too, which in turn injures the Tormentor. Scourge of Heresy advances thanks to her bond.

The rightmost Initiates run up to deny the Tormentor the ability to Countercharge and contest the flag Regna is on. The Archon, the Crusader and the Champion have to use all their attacks to put down the Tormentor.

Thanks to their Vengeance move, some Idrians can aim and shoot into the Cultists. Two connect and kill two Cultists, which kill the Sentinel and Runewood when they explode.

The Champion, Archon and Hand of Silence all try whaling onto the Soul Stalker, but fail to kill it due to it being DEF 16 on Zaateroth´s feat.

Scourge of Heresy charges into a Griever, then kills the Desolator thanks to having Purgation on his sword. It explodes and deals a bit of damage to Hauke and one point to the Hermit.

At the end of round 2, the Protectorate score one point for their square zone.

Reznik 1 – Zaateroth 0

ROUND 3

The Soul Stalker dies in the Maintenance Phase.

Regna charges an Initiate and cranks the damage roll to kill it, then only does 4 damage to his friend with the free Hellfire she gets from Blood Boon.

So the Infernal Gate has to kill the Initiate with a boosted damage roll.

Valin Hauke kills the last Initiate on the left flank.

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Orin Midwinter Annihilates his whole unit for rerolls.

Zaateroth activates, turns Hauke into a Tormentor and puts Ghost Walk on the Tormentor on the right. The Hermit moves up and uses Whispers of the Gate for a -2 ARM debuff. If I can kill the Devout, the right Tormentor might be able to kill Reznik2.

Unfortunately the right Tormentor is one inch out, so instead it murders Scourge of Heresy, then gets refuelled by the Cultists.

The Tormentor on the left kills the Archon, but misses once on an eight that would have hit before the Dynamic Update.

At the end of the turn, the Menite forces score one point, but the Champion contests Regna´s flag, so no points there.

Reznik 1 – Zaateroth 0

The Initiates wade into Cultists and kill them.

The Idrians deal a lot of damage to the Tormentor that killed Scourge of Heresy, then the Archon kills it.

Two Choirboys sing Hymn of Battle and then the third one kills the one that sang to the Devout to give Hand of Silence a Soul. Thanks to the Hermit debuff, Hymn of Battle and Hand of Vengeance, the Crusader kills the new Tormentor and does a ton of damage to the other one, despite rolling a double one for one attack.

The Champion rides down Regna, then repositions onto the flag to score it.

Hand of Silence rides over, sprays over the Tormentor and Hermit before he gives the Soul Token as a focus to the Devout. The Devout then kills the Tormentor and drops the Hermit to two boxes, though crucially missing him with a 3.

Reznik kills the Hermit with his initial and a bought attack, then repositions backwards. Madeline thinks that now is a good moment to begin negotiations and uses Parlay.

The Champion on the Menite left unpacks his lunch and starts digging into his sandwich. It is probably something char-grilled. The Infernals score no scenario elements, but the Menite forces hold both flags and a square zone.

Reznik 4 – Zaateroth 1

ROUND 4

I guess it is assassinate or die now for the Infernals.

Turns out that they choose the ´or die´ option as both Grievers either miss or fail to damage, even with rerolls from Orin. Zaateroth then tries her best, but doesn´t do enough damage as Reznik2 survives on 11 boxes without even needing his Shield Guard Devout.

At the end of the turn, the Menites score another three points.

Reznik 7 – Zaateroth 1

AFTERTHOUGHTS

I haven´t really played Zaateroth before, which probably showed at some points. Still, I can see the power she brings and the feat is a real timewalk.

Hauke losing Tactician for the Gate and Horrors was ok, as he still kept the support stuff from falling over their feet. It felt a lot less harsh having to sacrifice him to summon a Horror in Round 3.

The Tormentors missed one attack that they would have otherwise made against average DEF values, so it remains to be seen how they would deal with lists that really try to skew DEF.

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My cousin Vinnie: Vice Scrutator Vindictus vs Durgen Madhammer (Solomachine: Spread the Net)

As the pandemic is still keeping us locked down, this week´s game will be another game of Solomachine. As Durgen didn´t get to show off his skills last time, he would be up again this time, facing off versus a caster I have been using on Wartable a bit recently, Vinnie D.

Here are the lists I used:

Vice Scrutator Vindictus + 29

Sanctifier: 14

Reckoner: 16

Menite Archon: 8

Menite Archon: 8

Hand of Silence: 7

Champion of the Order of the Wall: 8

Champion of the Order of the Wall: 8

High Paladin Dartan Vilmon: 0(6)

Wrack: 1

Choir of Menoth (min): 4

Holy Zealots (max): 12

Monolith Bearer: 3

Holy Zealots (max): 12

Monolith Bearer: 3

Initiates of the Order: 0 (7)

Initiates of the Order: 0 (7)

(Faithful Masses)

ROUND 1

Durgen Madhammer: + 29

Reinholt, Gobber Speculator: 4

Earthbreaker: 35

Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord: 4

Steelhead Gunner: 3

Anastasia di Bray: 3

Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire: 0 (7)

Stannis Broker: 0 (7)

Sergeant Nicolas Verendrye: 4

Steelhead Cannon Crew: 0(6)

Steelhead Halberdiers (max): 11

Steelhead Halberdiers (max): 11

Steelhead Halberdiers (max): 11

Steelhead Heavy Cavalry (max): 18

(Soldiers of Fortune)

Deployment from both sides. Durgen rolls higher, but decides to go second because otherwise Vindictus could use his feat bottom of one to timewalk right into the scoring part of the game. This also gives the mercs a better side.

Vindictus puts Defender´s Ward on the centremost Archon and Penitence on the Zealots on the right.

The Menite forces run forward to take up space.

Durgen puts Primed on the cavalry and Redline on the Earthbreaker after it has activated.

Both sides have taken up space but try to stay out of threat ranges.

ROUND TWO

Vindictus upkeeps both spells, casts Admonition on himself, advances behind the forest, then feats and considers his work done.

Turns out that just out of threat range is not that important when lobbing tons of AoEs at the opponent. With Fervour, the Zealots kill on 6s regularly and 4s if there is an Archon nearby.

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Top of two view.

Top of two casualties.

Anastasia comes in behind enemy lines to contest the flag. Unfortunately, she needs to run to contest.

Alexia uses three souls to create three Thrall Warriors, which then move to engage the Archon. One of them actually connects and deals five damage.

Some Halberdiers are volunteered and run into enemy lines, then Durgen and the Cannon use them to drop AoEs into the frontlines of the Zealots. One of the shots scatters onto the Menite Archon and kills two Thralls.

Bottom of two. Neither side scores a point.

Menoth 0 – Mercenaries 0

ROUND 3

The Champion rather humourlessly rides down Anastasia, then repositions back to the flag.

Having dispatched the last Thrall with its Swift Vengeance attack, the Archon flies up and kills more Steelheads with a Thresher attack, then the Initiates charge in to kill more of them.

After replenishing their numbers with Greater Destiny, the Zealots on the right rain more firebombs into the Steelheads, who really started reconsidering their life choices. This clears enough space to let the Reckoner toe into the zone to hold it.

(There should be a picture here, but there isn´t one, obviously) On the left side, the Zealots also replenish their numbers and drop more firebombs into the enemy rearline, killing the cannon crew and more Halberdiers. This clears the left zone and the Sanctifier moves in to score it.

In the centre zone, there aren´t any mercenaries left, so with Vindictus toeing the zone in the rear, it is controlled by the Menite forces. This gives them a huge scenario lead.

Menoth 4 – Mercenaries 0

The Steelhead Cavalry ride down some Zealots and contest the left zone. However, the one tasked with killing the Champion jamming the Earthbreaker fails to kill him, so Stannis Broker needs to finish him off, barely managing to do so. Alexia summons three more Thralls, one of whom moves over to control the left flag, while the other two charge into the centre.

The Gunner sprays down two Zealots.

The Earthbreaker kills off the centremost Menite Archon.

The last Halberdiers and Sergeant Nic endeavour to kill the other Archon, but fail to kill it.

Deciding that now is as good a time as any, Durgen feats and blows apart most of a Zealot unit with a Carpet Bomb shot.

The turn´s casualties.

As the zones are all contested and both sides control a flag, points don´t change much.

Menoth 5 – Mercenaries 1

ROUND 4

The right Initiate kills the penultimate Halberdier to free up the other unit of Initiates.

They then try to kill off Reinholt to be able to score that zone again, but roll a three on their Combined Attack and miss him.

The Choir sings the Hymn of Battle on both warjacks. The Reckoner aims and fires a boosted shot into the Earthbreaker. The Sanctifier turns two souls into focus and due to Hand of Vengeance and Hymn of Battle, it pummels the Earthbreaker nearly into submission, so Hand of Silence charges it, riding down the last Halberdier as an afterthought, then destroys the Earthbreaker with his charge attack.

With the colossal down, the Menite forces simply run in to contest the right flag, then win by scoring the left flag.

Menoth 6 – Mercenaries 1

SCENARIO WIN FOR THE PROTECTORATE OF MENOTH!

AFTERTHOUGHTS

I wanted to give Durgen another go, but unfortunately he disappointed again. I guess the list wasn´t doing him many favours, as he couldn´t really use Primed and Redline to good effect. He is quite fun to play, but maybe it is the hallmark of lower tier casters that they cannot cope as well with changing circumstances, such as Vindictus´s feat denying charges and shooting for a turn.

Vindictus did his job well, but didn´t really do much other than timewalking the enemy. I guess ´only ´timewalking the enemy for a turn is pretty decent for a second tier caster, but I find him rather boring to play to be honest. I might give him another go in the Exemplar Interdiction theme with a truckload of medium-based Exemplars.

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Return to Solomachine: Durgen Madhammer vs Omodamus, the Black Gate (King of the Hill)

As Covid restrictions have once more forced us to go into lockdown mode, it is back to Solomachine, which gives me an opportunity to try out a few casters I have always wanted to play, one of them being Durgen Madhammer. After some deliberation (and because I really wanted to play more games with Infernals), I decided to have him face off vs Omodamus, the Black Gate.

My Durgen list was:

Durgen Madhammer + 29

  • Reinholt, Gobber Speculator: 4
  • Ghordson Earthbreaker: 35

Stannis Brocker: 0 (7)

Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire: 0 (7)

Sergeant Nicolas Verendyre: 4

Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord: 4

Anastasia di Bray: 3

Steelhead Gunner: 3

Steelhead Halberdiers (max): 11

Steelhead Halberdiers (max): 11

Steelhead Halberdiers (max): 11

Steelhead Heavy Cavalry (max): 18

Steelhead Cannon Crew: 0 (6)

(Soldiers of Fortune)

The list tries to leverage the Primed spell to get mileage out of Steelhead Halberdiers and Cavalry while also having a credible assassination threat with the Earthbreaker´s knockdown torpedoes, buffed by the theme bonus which gives all solos Mark Target. Finally, Alexia and Dr. Nick give the list some recursion.

Omodamos, the Black Gate +28

  • Lord Roget d´Vyaros: 4
  • Tormentor: 12
  • Tormentor: 12
  • Tormentor: 12
  • Tormentor: 12

Infernal Gate: 12

Umbral Guardian: 0 (6)

Great Princess Regna Gravnoy: 0 (6)

Hermit of Henge Hold: 0 (5)

Alain Runewood, Lord of Ash: 5

Eilish Garrity, the Dark Seeker: 5

Valin Hauke, The Fallen Knight: 7

The Wretch: 4

Cultist Band (max): 7

  • Master Preceptor Orin Midwinter: 4

Cultist Band (max): 7

(Dark Legacy)

It is Omodamos with a horror brick and just as subtle as the aforementioned brick.

Thanks to the theme force reroll (both sides had a +1 bonus to go first) and after both sides rolling the same result three times in a row, Mercenaries won the roll-off and decided to go first.

Deployment: both armies and a view from the side.

Round 1

Durgen puts Redline on the Earthbreaker and charges the Infernal Gate.
The rest of the force runs up, staying just out of shooting range of the gate. The Earthbreaker is zipping across the field with Speed 7 and is going to try to kill the Infernal Gate next turn.
Eilish Garrity runs up…
… and turns into a Soul Stalker.
Regna summons a Shrieker. Cultists fuel up both summoned Horrors.
Omodamos also puts up Synergy and Locked Horns, after Roget has put Harmonious Exaltation on him. I summon a Soul Stalker here because I need Synergy and Locked Horns and am thus somewhat limited in what Horrors I can summon without going to 0 camp.
End of round 1. Both sides are moving up aggressively.

Round 2

Wary of the Countercharge threat, a Halberdier runs to engage a Tormentor…
… and promptly gets countercharged. Luckily, Set Defense keeps him alive.

After the Steelhead Halberdiers move in, three Cavalrymen charge and kill the Tormentor.

Anastasia does Anastasia things and murders Runewood.
Rest of the turn: the Earthbreaker easily drops the Gate to 3 boxes and mauls a Tormentor, though unfortunately it misses once and thus doesn´t kill the Tormentor. Durgen shoots the Gate, but the Umbral Guardian materialises to take the shot, promptly dying to the shot. Thanks to Reinholt´s Reload ability, Durgen finishes the Gate off regardless.
Casualties sans the Infernal Gate.

The Soul Stalker kills the three Halberdier that ran to engage it.

The Tormentor shrugs off two free strikes from the Halberdiers and kills both Cavalry warriors, then snacks on them to heal the few wounds it took from the free strikes.

Regna kills a Halberdier, then takes a rider out with a free Hellfire.

The Wretch uses Fly´s Kiss to kill a Halberdier, which then explodes and kills his mates.

Roget uses Harmonious Exaltation and moves up, Omodamos then turns him into a Tormentor for free and casts Locked Horns for two before attacking the Earthbreaker. This also brings the Synergy count to its maximum of 3. The Tormentor then finishes the colossal off.
A lot of casualties on the Mercenary side.
Erm, also the three poor Infernalists who got sacrificed for the cause.
Bottom of two view: the shiteth hath hitteth the faneth.

Score 0-0

Round 3

Durgen feats after receiving a Reload from Reinholt, then drops a Carpet bomb on top of Orin and Regna. Regna has to burn through three transfers and Orin kills off two Cultists with Self-Sacrifice. Durgen´s second shot is an Incendiary round that kills Regna and sets Orin on fire., killing a third Cultist, plus one that is hit and killed along with him.
Alexia summons three Thralls and gets in position to collect more souls. The Thralls charge Valin, but only one hits and so Valin stays alive on two boxes.

The Halberdiers duly provide her with more souls.

The leftmost Halberdiers charge the Soul Stalker, but leave it on three boxes due to Locked Horns. Anastasia sighs, rolls her eyes and charges it in the back to kill it. On the right, the other Halberdiers and the last Cavalryman kill a Tormentor and severely damage another one.
End of turn. Still no scoring but both sides have been depleted.
Thanks to the souls gained by his Horrors last round, Omodamos has a ton of essence this turn.

The fire on Orin goes out and he uses Annihilation and a liberal use of soul tokens to blow away the last rider, Dr Nick and a few Halberdiers to gain more souls.

The Tormentor eats a few Halberdiers to raise Synergy by one.

Omodamos activates, feats, throws three Breath of Corruptions into the Halberdiers that killed the Soul Stalker with Anastasia, then moves forward and uses Flashing Blades to kill even more dudes. Synergy count: 2

The bottom Tormentor kills two Halberdiers and shrugs off the Primed damage. Synergy count: 3
The Wretch is still surprised to have reached turn three without being turned into a Horror and kills two members of the Cannon Crew with Fly´s Kiss. Due to Take Up, the Cannon survives.
The final Horror has been healed back to the middle circle by Omodamos and thanks to Ghostly and +2 Speed from the feat, it can walk up to Durgen without taking a free strike.
With MAT 10, dice+3 damage and rerolls from Orin, it is no surprise that even 4 focus points cannot save Durgen and he dies.
Other casualties of the turn.
ASSASSINATION VICTORY FOR THE INFERNALS!

A bloody game with few survivors and many wild dice swings, though the ending was somewhat of an anticlimax.

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Playing Infernals during The Longest Night

In the last post, I showed off my newly painted Infernals army and as I mentioned there, I wanted to take them to a local group´s The Longest Night event. The event´s storyline was the final confrontation between the Infernal invaders and the Grymkin, who attempt to throw them back into the Abyss. The scenario featured a table for each side that would grant a small bonus to models in 3 inches of their Luminal Space, a 5 inch template on their side of the table.

Game 1: Agathon vs Viscount Kozlov (50 points)

My list was: Agathon, 2 Tormentor, 2 Foreboders, Infernal Gate, 2 units of Cultists (one with Midwinter2), Runewood2, d´Vyaros, Regna, Eilish2, Wretch.

The opposing list was Kozlov, Destroyer, Devastator, 11 Assault Kommandos (1 Flamer), Lord Longfellow (due to the scenario), Carriage, Sorscha0 with a Rager

Deployment: My gate deployed on my Luminal Space
Khador goes first and pushes forward. I turn Runewood into a Tormentor, drop a Shrieker and advance.
The Gun Carriage rams one of my Tormentors but does little damage. The rest of the Khadorans advance. Kozlov feats for more speed and Unyielding. As his special scenario rule dealt d3 damage to each model casting a spell in 12″ of one of his models, I felt so much on the backfoot that I decided to go for a spell assassination here (after the game, we realised that it would only do d3 to the first model casting each turn, so not that penalising). Eilish put up Puppet Master, Orin killed two Cultists for rerolls, d´Vyaros used Harmonious Exaltation and one Foreboder flew into two inches of the good Viscount, then the other one flew behind the first one after a Tormentor threw away the ARM25 Devastator. Agathon then drops a Hellmouth, killing the Foreboder but pulling Kozlov closer and then executing him with Dark Fires.
The second game was 75 points vs Hexeris2 with a Mammoth, Zaadesh1 with two heavies and some Cataphracti.
I begin, advancing and summoning a Desolator.
My opponent advances slowly and crucially decides to only advance the Mammoth and shoot with it instead of running to threaten my centre, so it does negligable damage and is out of position.
I advance and tie up the Mammoth with an Umbral Guardian. The rest of my force spreads out. He charges in with an Ancestral Guardian and the Gladiator, eating two countercharges on the way in. Poor die-rolls mean that my heavies survive, though the Desolator is almost crippled.
Agathon does his thing, putting Curse of Shadows on the Mammoth and killing Zaadesh with a boosted Hellmouth. He also summons a second Desolator out of Roget. The Cultists heal the Desolator that was almost killed by the Gladiator, then it charges the Mammoth, sprays it and heals some damage to it. The Guardian causes a decent amount of damage too. The next turn, the Mammoth kills the Desolator and Hexeris takes control of Tiberion, but the game is essentially over, the second Desolator kills the Mammoth and the two Tormentors that had absorbed the shooting and melee of the Incendiarii walked into them and wiped them out. Even Tiberion fell when faced with two Tormentors and Hexeris was on his own, so chose survival over valour.
For game three, I played Omodamus with 3 Tormentors and a Lamenter in 50 points against Mackay with a Vulcan, an Interceptor and some other models. A ton of shooting against a pure melee force, but on the other hand the scenario asked for three models of any kind in the zones, so my force had better chances of scoing than a force with only 9 models. I go first and make a fourth Tormentor.
He moves up and shoots me, but Deceleration putting the heavies at ARM21 made damaging them very hard, so I could heal most damage with the Cultists. I summoned a Desolator.
The next turn, he scored a point and shot me some more, but crucially wanted to score his zone, which put Mackay within 11 inches of two Tormentors, so I just had to move Omodamos up, my Tormentor charged the Vulcan and the Desolator charged through the building thanks to the feat to spray Mackay, but couldn´t reach her in melee. Still, with Synergy at 1 and -2 ARM from the spray, the first Tormentor dented her and took all her focus and so the second one killed her with two attacks.

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‘Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’entrate’ or How to lose friends and alienate people.

Agathon, the Voice in the Darkness (Infernal Master): The message on the scroll is not safe for work or sensitive American readers. No, I am not bitter about being banned for a week from the PP Facebook site for telling someone to fuck off to 40k. At all.

So, I recently sold my Crucible Guard army because they were just not doing it for me anymore. While the army was still ok power-wise, their focus on shooting and the dominance of Syvestro as the best option in the faction made them wear out their welcome very soon. I hope their new owner is having more fun playing them than I had the last few times I ran them.

But that left me with a bit of spare cash to burn and having played against quite a few Infernals lists to prepare for the VTC, I was intrigued and also curious about whether there were people who already wanted to sell their Infernals after less than a year. Fortunately, or unfortunately, it took about an hour for someone on the German forum to reply to my ad in the marketplace subforum and all of a sudden I owned one of everything in the faction for less than I got for the Crucible Guard. A few additions later and here I was with a ton of unpainted resin and pewter.

So while I was wracking my brain on how to paint them up quickly as I had been invited to a Longest Night event three weeks later and as it would wrap up the story of the Grymkin and Infernals conflict, having an Infernal army would make sense, I noticed that a) I only had white primer left and b) I had never used contrast paints to paint an entire army and I had some purple contrast paints staring right at me. Huzzah! And here is what I managed to paint since then.

I am really happy with the results, as the army looks good on the table without taking ages to finish.

Omodamus, the Black Gate (Infernal Master) and Nicia, Hound of the Abyss (Solo): Actually the last models finished before the event and thus the first picture in my file.
Zaateroth (Infernal Master): Painted this morning and finishing off the trio of Infernal Masters.
Four Foreboder Lesser Horrors: Agathon wants to run at least three and Regna might want one too. Also, they come in packs of two anyway. They remind me of something, not sure what. It will come to me, I guess.
Shrieker Light Horror: Mostly there to be attached to Princess Regna if she doesn´t need an arc node Foreboder to take out enemy Asphyxious4 or other problem solos.
Lamenter Light Horror: It will find a place with Zaateroth as it can provide a hit penalty to stack with her feat. It is also a good filler or suicide attacker with Regna.
Tormentor Heavy Horror on the left and Desolator on the right. The core models of my battlegroups. The Desolator can debuff armour and thus support the Tormentors, which will do the main can opening as well as providing board control with Countercharge. There are three more Tormentors and a second Desolator on the pictures below.
Soul Stalker Heavy Horror: Useful to take souls in matchups where I need them. Also with higher DEF and immunity to knockdown in case that ever becomes relevant, for example with Zaateroth.
Alain Runewood, Lord of Ash and Great Princess Regna Gravnoy: The two first solos I painted as they are vital to the army. Runewood gives +1 to the roll-off for first turn, which is important as Infernals want two or three turns before engaging to summon more Horrors and gain an attrition edge. Speaking of summoning, Regna can summon a light or lesser horror each round without needing to sacrifice a solo for it. She also has Deceleration which makes Horrors extremely hard to kill off at range.
Roget d´Vyaros and Eilish Garrity, Dark Seeker: Roget is the caster attachment and has Harmonious Exaltation to make casting cheaper and he can also be a free sacrifice one round as summoning a horror off him costs no Essence. Eilish has Puppet Master and Hex Blast, while his Gatewalker ability combined with Reposition 5 gives him great mobility while casting spells, to score flags or be a sacrifice at a convenient location.
Wretches: cheap utility solos that usually end up being the first to be summoning victims.
The opposite of the Wretches, Valin Hauke is a centrepiece model that has Tactician (Faction) and is thus the glue that keeps the list together without an order of activation nightmare each round.
Umbral Guardian: Ninja Shield Guard that can be stay in reserves until a model gets shot at, at which time it can jump out of reserves and take the shot.
The Infernal Gate makes summoning cheaper, has a great boostable gun and can TK friendly models in 5´of it.
First unit of Cultists plus Master Preceptor Orin Midwinter: Utility unit that keeps the army going by healing Horrors or giving them Essence points. They also get sacrificed to refuel the Master and Regna with Essence points. Orin collects his unit´s souls to get rerolls or deny spells with Arcane Vortex.
The second unit of Cultists with a Dark Sentinel attachment. Not sold on the Dark Sentinel as it is 2 points for not much more than a regular Cultist, but it might be a good filler as nothing else in the list is less than 4 points, so having a throwaway model to fill the last two points might come in handy.
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The Sturgening: Sturgis1 vs Sturgis2 (King of the Hill)

The time has come for the final showdown to determine which version of the best warcaster is truly the best… Yes, it was time for a Sturge-off!

I first wanted to replicate their old theme forces, but Sturgis2’s theme brings a ton of Mechanithralls and if Cygnar can do one thing, it is easily remove a ton of fragile infantry, so I decided to go for more modern forces.

Sturgis1 brought a Storm Division list, because nothing takes two Arcane Shields better than two units of Storm Lances. This would also allow me to finally play Sir Dreyfus and Gwen Keller (one of whom is not like the other). A Stormclad is a big beatstick and now a point cheaper and the Cyclone’s Covering Fire combos well with Sturgis’s feat.

Commander Dalin Sturgis – WJ: +30

  • Squire – PC: 0
  • Stormclad – PC: 17 (Battlegroup Points Used: 17)
  • Cyclone – PC: 13 (Battlegroup Points Used: 13)

Sir Dreyfus the Storm Knight – PC: 0

Lieutenant Gwen Keller – PC: 4


Major Katherine Laddermore – PC: 8

Major Katherine Laddermore (Continued)


Journeyman Warcaster – PC: 4

  • Firefly – PC: 8

Stormblade Infantry – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9

  • Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard – Officer & Standard: 0
  • Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner – PC: 2

Storm Lances – Leader & 4 Grunts: 20

Storm Lances – Leader & 4 Grunts: 20

(Storm Division)

 

For Sturgis2, I decided to go with a wave of Banes. They hit hard, interact well with the Desecrator (each side got a jack with Accumulator, can you feel the fluff?) which also combos with Sturgis’s feat and should be able to withstand the Cygnaran firepower better than Thralls.

Sturgis the Corrupted – WJ: +31

  • Desecrator – PC: 14 (Battlegroup Points Used: 14)
  • Nightwretch – PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
  • Slayer – PC: 10 (Battlegroup Points Used: 10)

Bane Lord Tartarus – PC: 0
Machine Wraith – PC: 0
Machine Wraith – PC: 0
Machine Wraith – PC: 0

Bane Knights – Leader & 9 Grunts: 15

  • Bane Knight Officer – PC: 4

Bane Knights – Leader & 9 Grunts: 15

  • Bane Knight Officer – PC: 4

Bane Warriors – Leader & 9 Grunts: 16

  • Bane Warrior Officer & Standard – Officer & Standard: 0

Bane Warriors – Leader & 9 Grunts: 16

  • Bane Warrior Officer & Standard – Officer & Standard: 5

(Dark Host)

Cygnar rolled a 6 to Cryx´s 5, so obviously the dice knew it was on too. Cygnar decided to go first because Sturgis1 wants to cast at least two upkeeps.

Cygnar deployment

img_7690

Cryx deployment

Round 1:

img_7692

Sturgis put Snipe on the Stormblade Infantry and Arcane Shield on the left Storm Lances, then teleported forward.

img_7691

The Journeyman Warcaster put Arcane Shield on the other Storm Lances.

img_7694

The heat was on, Cygnar ran mostly forward to claim the middle of the board.

img_7696

Sturgis dropped Parasite on the left riders through the Nightwretch.

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For the rest, the Cryxian forces ran up, setting a skirmish line to take the first charge, then counterpunch with the second wave. Both units of Bane Knights triggered their mini-feats to gain Defensive Strike next round. The Desecrator fired a really clutch shot that scattered unto a Lance (dealing one damage), but more importantly putting a 4″ template in front of the Stormblades that would deal an automatic point of damage if they ran through it, thus timewalking them.

Round 2:

img_7699

Sturgis took a focus from the Squire and upkept both spells.

The Cryxian forces set up a solid defensive line to absorb the Cygnaran charge. If only there was something that could disrup that line… The Cyclone put down a covering fire wall in front of the left unit of Bane Knights, then Gwen Keller hurled a Voltaic Grenade into their direction which scattered beautifully in the centre of the circular zone. The Squire ran up to extend Sturgis´s control zone, then advanced, cast a Lightning Storm into the right unit to kill one and leave a hazard, then feated. It was brutal.

img_7698

The unit getting dragged through the Covering fire almost evaporated, 8 out of 11 died. The other unit lost quite a few models to the two hazard templates. The photo above shows the casualties of the feat only. Sturgis then teleported away. 

img_7702

The Storm Lances went in, leaving the Slayer on six boxes, the Nightwretch on ten and the Desecrator on 13 boxes.  For some reason, no systems were crippled. They also killed a few Banes with Electro Leaps. The Firefly and Laddermore used the Machine Wraith to kill three Bane Warriors with Lightning Generators.

img_7703

Total casualties of the turn. That was brutal!

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The Desecrator got full loaded up, but failed to do much, missing two attacks and rolling poorly on another one, so it only dealt 3 damage to one rider in total.

img_7707

The right Bane Warrior CA used its mini-feat to return two Bane Warriors.

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The Bane Warriors waded in and killed two Storm Lances.

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Tartarus tried to show his might, but only killed one Storm Lance, leaving the other one on one box.

Sturgis2 charged into the fray and feated, being able to drag in three Storm Lances into damaging race. But as you can see, his dice were cold too and at dice -5, no Lance died. Disappointed, Sturgis made his two initials, but still not killing a model, so he teleported back behind the cloud.

The Slayer threw one Storm Lance into another, but surprisingly only one of them died. The Bane CA on the left used his mini-feat to return one model, then the unit killed two Storm Lances. The Machine Wraith on the left ran into the square zone on that side and the one on the right did likewise. 

img_7713

The total Cygnaran casualties of the turn.

As all elements were contested, no points were scored.

Cygnar 0 – Cryx 0

Round 3:

img_7717

The Slayer had taken four damage by standing in the Lightning Storm template, so it was down to 2 boxes and without Movement boxes, so the Journeyman, never missing an opportunity for a cheap shot, boosted its shot and killed it.

img_7718

Between its regular attacks and electro leaps, the Stormclad killed four Bane Warriors and knocked one down, that got ridden down by a Storm Lance later on.

img_7720

The Cyclone killed the last two Bane Knights and the Nightwretch. This opened a gap for Laddermore, who charged Tartarus, killing a Bane Warrior with an impact attack, but unfortunately missing her Assault shot, so while she killed Tartarus with her lance, she didn´t take any Bane Warriors out with her Lightning Generator. She then repositioned into the square zone.

img_7719

The left Storm Lances killed the Desecrator, knocked down one Bane Warrior and leaping into another one to kill it.

img_7721

Gwen Keller killed the Machine Wraith, who had failed to hit the Storm Lance in the centre. The Stormblades ran in and shot a few Bane Warriors.

img_7722

Sir Dreyfus leapt onto the flag and Sturgis stepped into the zone too, daring his counterpart to come at him.

Cygnar 2 – Cryx 0

img_7724

The Bane Warriors decided it was now or never and killed Laddermore (both mounted and dismounted) and a Storm Lance. The Machine Wraith then ran into the circular zone to contest it and the flag.

img_7729

Sturgis2 charged Gwen Keller, but needed a disappointing three attacks to kill her, as the charge attack missed. As he gets two attacks for one focus, the ´free attack´ he got killed another Stormblade, before he killed another two with another focus.

img_7730

He then teleported behind a cloud with his two soul tokens.

img_7731

The Bane Warriors on the right also killed two Storm Lances and the Officer took a huge chunk out of the Stormclad.

All elements were contested, so no scoring took place.

Cygnar 2 – Cryx

Round 4:

img_7733

Sturgis1 decided to make an aggressive play, charging and killing the Machine Wraith.

img_7734

The Cyclone shot 4 Bane Warriors.

img_7735

The Firefly tried to kill the Bane Warrior Officer, but it toughed.

The Journeyman Warcaster put Arcane Shield on Sturgis1, then hid behind the building.

img_7739

The Stormclad laid into the objective, fortunately rolling low on its first two attacks, so it got three automatically hitting attacks into the objective and killing two Bane Warriors with electro leaps, while also knocking down the Officer with its fist.

img_7740

The Storm Lances killed the last two Bane Warriors.

img_7741

Seeing that only Sturgis and a Machine Wraith (on the left) were still alive, Sir Dreyfus leapt onto the enemy caster, but failed to hit him.

img_7743

The Squire ran unto the flag and with that, Cygnar scored 3 points and won the game. In hindsight, I should have activated differently so Sturgis´s attacks would have happened after the Stormclad had killed the objective, then teleport him unto the central flag and control it, showing who was the true king of the hill.

Cygnar 5 – Cryx 0

SCENARIO WIN FOR CYGNAR!

 

 

 

 

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