Time travelling with Major Prime Victoria Haley

I have recently decided to move back to Cygnar for a while after playing Legion exclusively for the last 5 months. The main reason for that is the newest Warcaster for Cygnar, published in the new Reckoning expansion, Major Prime Victoria Haley or Haley3. As a matter of fact, not only is she the third version of Victoria Haley, but she is actually a unit consisting of 3 Haleys. So, how does this work on the table?

Well, Major Victoria Haley has now mastered time travel to the point that she has been named Prime, an arcane rank only awarded by unanimous decision by all other high-ranking Cygnaran mages. As a result, she can now summon echoes of herself to fight alongside her on the battlefield. She is therefore joined by her past version, also known as Young Haley, Haley Past, DILF or similar, and her future version, Granny Haley or Haley Future. The echoes do not count as Warcaster, but are part of her unit, have their own focus pool and can channel spells through her warjacks. In addition, the echoes are Incorporeal, meaning they can’t be harmed by non-magical weapons as long as they have not used their melee or ranged attacks in last round. This gives them another layer of protection. Should an echo die, Haley can summon it again for 2 Focus Points, but the echo cannot activate on that turn, making losing one really annoying. Furthermore, each Haley has her own spell list, though Prime Haley can copy any spell another version has cast on the same term, which means that she cannot use the spells of a freshly summoned Haley.

Regarding their physical stats, they each have the same stat line the previous version had, good SPD, high DEF, but low ARM with OK attack stats. Haley Prime has the usual amount of hit boxes and the echoes have the typical 5 boxes for a solo. Prime has 8 FOC, however, she has to spend two Focus Points for each echo she wants to upkeep at the beginning of the turn, meaning that she usually only has 4 to spend or 5 with the Squire. Her echoes have 4 FOC each, which makes Past Haley’s attack spells a bit difficult to use, as she uses her FOC stat to aim. Finally, her feat is called Arcane Singularity and it gives each Haley in the unit +2 FOC and 2 Focus Points for the turn. This makes Haley Past more accurate and lets them each cast more than one spell per round.

Speaking of spells, what can they cast? Haley Past is all about the offensive, with Chain Blast throwing out 2 templates and Force Hammer, which is great as it slams the target, which damages the target before knocking it down, potentially also dealing damage and knocking down the model behind it. This makes her a good assassination starter, as she can use a low DEF model standing in front of a warcaster to slam it into the warcaster and then knock the warcaster down to make them easier to hit. She also has a unique ability, Raw Talent, which gives her an additional damage dice on her spells and her Telekinetic strike melee attack, with Reach. In fact, she has an alternative mode where she can engage a target and then whale on them with 7 Weaponmaster attacks thanks to Raw Talent.

Haley Future, on the other hand, has no offensive spell, instead relying on her POW13 ROF3 ranged attack. However, she has two amazing support spells that no other Cygnar caster has and that some people already claim Cygnar has no business having. Revive, which lets you return a friendly faction model to play with one unmarked damage box, and Ghost Walk, which gives a unit Ghostly. Ghost Walk is great as it makes you immune to free strikes, letting your ranged units disengage from melee and then shoot the offender in the head. It also makes Cygnar less dependent on Rhupert Carvolo and Archduke Alain Runewood as it effectively gives you Pathfinder. The real kicker though is Revive, as it can let you return models that died previously and more importantly letting you place them further ahead, provided that deploy in formation and in the caster’s control area. This lets you create really long assassination runs because Haley Prime on her feat turn has a 20-inch control are, 22 with Squire, and she can add models to a unit after Future Haley has cast the spell first. That way, you can chain models really far ahead, letting you deploy them in the opponent’s back arc or just much further ahead than they expected. As such, it is an amazing spell and has also boosted the sales of Storm Lances and Tempest Blazers, as those fast cavalry models can make the most of this spell.

Finally, Haley Prime has 4 spells, in addition to being able to replicate her echoes’ spells. She has the brand-new Repudiate, dispelling all enemy upkeeps on a target and dealing damage to the caster of those upkeeps, which is great as Cygnar had no in-faction upkeep removal before this. Her one ‘stinker’ spell is Dominate, which is only rarely useful, but with the amount of spells she has available, it is hardly an issue. Her real winner spells are Tactical Supremacy and Temporal Flux. Tactical Supremacy is another one of those spells Cygnar should never have. In itself, it looks quite harmless, only letting you move a unit 3 inches after activating your whole army. It becomes amazing with Cygnar’s black sheep unit, the much-maligned Trencher Infantry. Trenchers can drop cloud effects to shield the rest of the army, but they themselves have to be in the area of the cloud when dropping it. Units inside of clouds only gain the concealment DEF bonus, whereas units behind clouds cannot be targeted at all by models that don’t ignore clouds (which only Legion does on more than a few units). This meant that Trenchers would put up a cloud wall to shield the rest of the army, then die as the enemy army could only target them. With Tactical Supremacy, those days are over as they can drop their clouds, then step behind them at the end of the turn and become invisible too. The real game winner is Temporal Flux, which adds +2 DEF to her unit and every friendly model in 5” of one of them, whilst also reducing enemy DEF in that area by 2. This is such a kick in the teeth for some armies, as Gun Mages all of a sudden have a DEF of 17, Haley herself goes to 18 and even more with Rhupert Carvolo or against charging opponent, meaning that even elite units need 10s or more to hit. By the same token, the -2 DEF penalty skews dice math in your favour, as units that you would normally hit on an 8 are hit on a 6 now, which drastically changes your odds of hitting (you roll 8s 5 times out of 12 and 6s 8 times out of 12 or so).

In conclusion, you can see that she has an enormously flexible and extensive spell list, with no less than 8 spells and being able to use an unprecedented 12 Focus Points per turn, able to go to 18 (19 with Squire) on feat turn. In terms of roles, she is not really committed like the previous Haleys are. Haley 1 and 2 are both control casters with spells and feats that slow down the opponent long enough to win on scenario or eliminate enough key models to make victory impossible for the opponent. Haley3 still has a control element, especially with the Trencher Cloud Wall being able to prevent charges and shots to anything behind it. Unlike the previous incarnations of Haley, she also has a strong attrition element by being able to Revive key models when necessary. This lets her play more aggressively as she can send Storm Lances and Tempest Blazers off to their death to trade for solos or small units, then Revive them and have them available for the mid- or endgame. Finally, she has an amazing assassination potential because of Force Hammer, Revive and Ghost Walk. So Young Haley can cast a fully boosted Force Hammer at FOC6 on feat turn, hopefully slam the enemy caster into a wall for 5d6+12 damage or ‘just’ slam someone into them to knock them down, then Old Haley can Revive a Tempest Blazer or Storm Lance before giving that unit Ghost Walk to make them immune to Free Strikes if necessary, otherwise dropping a second Revive. Then Prime Haley can drop Temporal Flux (or probably has done so already before moving) to give the enemy Warcaster -2 DEF if they are still standing, following it up with another Revive or Force Hammer. With potentially 3 models Revived, the unit can be extended quite far forward, as the Revived model has to be placed within 3” of an existing model and in command, letting you chain them by placing each one within 3” of the previously placed model to extend up to 9” from the leader model (as they have to be in command), but adding another two inches by virtue of being on a two-inch base as only the rear part of the base has to be in command. As the Revived models can then activate with the rest of the unit, they can charge a full 11 inches further ahead than the unit could otherwise. Getting two Stormlances on a Knocked Down Warcaster is usually enough to end the game even if they have not taken any damage beforehand. This means that she is a triple threat caster who can easily switch her victory condition on the field and thus adapt to multiple situations. She might suffer a bit from being too flexible, as her spell list is not really focused on one aspect or playstyle, but the fact that she has 8 spells makes her able to have the necessary tools to assume each role without being out of her depth.

Having talked about Haley3 so far, I now want to talk about the units that go well with her. First of all, she is a Cygnaran Warcaster, so it is a given that she wants a Squire and a Journeyman Warcaster, especially as she is the Warcaster who benefits the most from him as he can cast Arcane Shield on all three of them instead of just one model as is the case with all other Cygnaran Warcasters. The Squire only lets Prime Haley take a Focus Point off her or get the re-roll, but it is still an extremely useful model for her.

As I have talked so often about the Trencher Cloud Wall, it is clear that a unit of Trencher Infantry is almost a given in her list. Cloud Wall is a strong strategy as it lets your units advance without fear of being shot or charged, which increases the survivability of your main units and lets them attack at full strength. Moreover, opponents often have to sacrifice units, especially arc nodes, to run into the clouds to cast spells behind it or have targets inside the cloud wall to charge or shoot at (so a model with multiple attacks, especially with Overtake or Sidestep, can charge their own model that has moved into the clouds, then move on to attack enemy models behind the clouds). Like most people, I will stick to a minimum size unit as it can become difficult to extend the Cloud Wall much further due to the unit leader’s command limit. As the maximum unit is 10, whereas the minimum size is 6, those extra models would not do much to extend the Cloud Wall. One alternative is to get some Grenade Porter weapon attachments, as they are simply one model for a point, so it would be possible to add two models to extend the Cloud Wall to its maximum size without spending on unnecessary models.

Another essential for her is Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord. The first turn, he can give Pathfinder to a unit to let it advance through rough terrain without being slowed down. From the second turn onwards, he will spend most of his time playing Dirge of Mists to the Haleys, as this will make them DEF19 and cause Terror. Admittedly, Terror is rarely useful for a Warcaster as the things attacking them will rarely not be Warcasters, Warjacks or Warbeasts, all of which are Fearless, but DEF19 forces most units and Warjacks/Warbeasts to only hit them on 13s (so only on boosted attacks and even then it is very shaky) or by rolling boxcars, neither of which is really reliable as a tactic. Even the most elite Warcasters like eCaine and Butcher3 will only hit them on 10s, though that is feasible on boosted attack rolls. All in all, Rhupert adds another layer to the sum of their survivability, combining his DEF bonus with that from Temporal Flux, the echoes’ Incorporeal ability, Arcane Shield and the Cloud Wall. This means that Haley3 is able to take a lot more risks than her previous incarnations and move much further forward to help support the main line with Temporal Flux, making them both more accurate and more difficult to hit, which is amazing value.

This means that we have spent 13 points so far, leaving us with 40 as she only has 3 Warjack Points to start with. Speaking of Warjack Points, we should also add a Warjack now. And here opinions vary. One option is Thorn or a simple Lancer to give her an Arc Node. As all Haleys can use the Arc Node, provided it is in their own control area, it is useful to have one. However, neither Thorn nor the Lancer are very good damage dealers themselves and this means you spend points on models without adding to your damage output. As none of the models added so far are really good at dealing damage, we need to carefully consider if we should spend more points on a model that costs a lot for little offensive output. The next option would be a Sentinel. At 4 points, it is significantly cheaper than a Lancer or Thorn. It also does not really need any focus as it will spend most of the game walking next to Haley, spraying fire with its chain gun, but mostly just being there for its Shield Guard rule to take shots going on Haley or a member of her support staff, such as the Squire, Junior or Rhupert. Again, its offensive output is limited to a single chain gun, but it is cheap. Finally, there is the Charger at 4 points. It has a decent melee weapon and, more importantly, its Dual Cannon has the stats of a handcannon with ROF2 and Powerful Attack, so if it is allocated 3 Focus Points, it can pump out two fully boosted handcannon shots, which can kill two solos or really hurt a light Warjack or Warcaster. However, three Focus Points is a lot as Haley is often focus-starved despite having a potential 19 Focus Points available. I have tested Thorn and the Charger, but neither has really convinced me. I will give the Sentinel a go next and I expect that it will work fine and do work without breaking the bank.

Moving on, we should now add some actual damage dealers as we have solely focused on support so far. To the surprise of nobody who has actually bothered reading the article so far, the two first units we could try are Storm Lances and Tempest Blazers. Both units can hit very hard over very long distances. Tempest Blazers can hit targets 19 inches away even without adding Revive shenanigans, going to a whopping 30 inches when Reviving 3 Blazers. On the other hand, their shots are not that powerful, capping at 3d6+10 for their Brutal shots. Storm Lances have a shorter range, as they can charge targets 13 inches away, but compensate for that by having a P+S15 lance and MAT9 on the charge or with Temporal Flux (or 11 when both are combined). Of course, when you factor in Revive, they go to a threat range of 24” or half the table. Beyond the assassination run, both units are also good at the attrition game, as they can kill multiple targets per round each. They also all have access to Electro Leap on either their guns for the Blazers and melee and ranged attacks for the Lances, meaning that they can try to bounce a shot off a low DEF model to hit a high DEF model next to it. I think one unit of each is best, as it gives you access to both an extremely fast hit squad and a slightly slower and harder-hitting one.

So, having added these two units, we now have spent 38 of our 53 points, leaving us with 15. Having added some heavy hitters and support, we can now look to branch out to iron out our weaknesses. I am still looking at what option is best here.

The first option is the utility package:

6 Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers plus Gun Mage Officer Adept

Lady Aiyana and Master Holt

Archduke Alain Runewood / Captain Maxwell Finn

The Gun Mages do their usual shtick, shooting people off objectives, sniping out blocking models or dealing with Incorporeal or high DEF threats. Being able to ignore Stealth, they can handle all those problem models quite easily. Lady Aiyana either provides another damage buff to facilitate assassinations or Magical Weapons when facing Menoth or Incorporeal models. Master Holt is ‘only’ two RAT8 handcannons to clear lanes or snipe solos. Finally, we have the choice between two excellent support solos. Runewood’s Battle Plans can be adapted to the situation on the fly, letting a unit charge through rough terrain or providing a MAT buff with Fearless tagged on to enable a Storm Lance charge that can kill even the most agile Warcaster reliably enough. Captain Maxwell Finn is less flexible, but Desperate Pace on Trenchers is great, as they can then advance 8 inches before dropping their clouds, giving you more space to deploy behind the Cloud Wall. There is also a moment in the mid- or end-stages of the game where the Cloud Wall is no longer necessary or feasible and the remaining Trenchers are actually expected to do some fighting. At this stage, having a +2 bonus makes them more reliable to actually hit someone, though Finn does nothing to help their slightly pillow-fisted attacks wound.

The second option is the heavy Warjack road:

Lieutenant Allison Jakes

Dynamo

Ragman / Stormblade Captain

Jakes is a Journeyman Warcaster, so she can field Dynamo and give it 3 Focus per round without taking from Haley’s stack. She also has Sidekick as an upkeep spell, which adds +2 DEF to its already nice DEF 12. Stack Temporal Flux on top and all of a sudden you have a DEF16 heavy Warjack with Set Defense, making it all but immune to charge attacks and with enough ARM to shrug off non-charge attacks. Dynamo can also stay behind the Cloud Wall and advance whilst taking shots with its Firestorm Cannon without having to charge ahead to actually have an impact on the game. As Dynamo can easily kill most heavy Warjacks and cripple a Colossal/Gargantuan, it is a powerful tool to hide behind the Cloud Wall and deploy when necessary. Jakes is also quite survivable at DEF16, but she needs to stay well-hidden to avoid becoming a priority target. Finally, Ragman replaces Aiyana and Holt as a cheaper, though not as efficient, ARM debuff or the Stormblade Captain enables the Storm Lances to charge through each other in case they get entangled, which is bound to happen as they have to clump together behind the Cloud Wall.

A variant of this is:

Lieutenant Allison Jakes

Gallant

Ragman / Stormblade Captain

Stormsmith Stormcaller

Gallant is a point cheaper than Dynamo, trading offensive output for resilience. Gallant has DEF13 on its own, going to 17 with all the bonuses, as well as ARM19 with its Buckler. It also has Shield Guard to protect either Jakes or Haley and even wields a Magical Reach weapon in the cases where this is needed. The Stormsmith adds some solo sniping, but to be honest, it is mostly there to fill up the last point. Yet another option could be to drop the Sentinel and the Stormsmith to give Haley a Minuteman to have yet another high DEF Warjack that is very good at crowd control.

I have given some of these versions a go and will try to work my way through them all to see which one suits my playstyle the most. This gives me something to do over the summer I guess.

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100th post battle report extravaganza!

Believe it or not, but this will be the 100th post on my blog and to celebrate the opportunity, I will try to include as many battle reports as I can, so here we go for a spectacular tale of murder, mayhem and dice rolls.

Game 1: Absylonia, Terror of Everblight versus Vlad, the Dark Prince

In this game, I played against a fairly new player, so I tried to make an Absylonia1 list that was not too mean, so I avoided double Angelius and other nasty stuff. This would also be a good opportunity to try out things like the Afflictor and the Striders. The scenario was again Two Fronts, which I seem to roll up all the time these days.

I ran:

Absylonia, Terror of Everblight

Angelius

Scythean

Ravagore

Raek

Afflictor

Naga Nightlurker

Spawning Vessel

Strider Rangers

Strider Deathstalker

The Forsaken

Blighted Nyss Shepherd

Blighted Nyss Shepherd

 

He ran:

Vlad, the Dark Prince

Juggernaught

Devastator

Kovnik Andrei Malakov (the Journeyman)

Juggernaught

Kovnik Jozif Grigorovic

Winter Guard Infantry (10) with UA and 3 WA

Widowmakers

Battle Mechanics (4)

Fenris

Manhunter

Eyriss, Angel of the Retribution

 

He won the roll for first turn and deployed most of his army centrally, using the jacks to shield Vlad and Malakov and the Winter Guard between them. Vlad’s battlegroup was closer to his objective and Malakov closer to mine. The Mechanics split up to stay behind all the Warjacks to repair them without breaking formation. The Widowmakers went on his right behind a wall during AD, Fenris was all alone on the right flank before the Manhunter and Eyriss deployed ahead of him.

I deployed the Ravagore, Naga and a Shepherd opposite Fenris (and then opposite the other two once they advance deployed) close to my zone, Absylonia centrally with the Scythean, the Spawning Vessel and Raek, while the Afflictor and Angelius went closer to his zone. The Deathstalker and Rangers went into a forest on that side too, to get either close to the Widowmakers if they got over their wall or to flank the Winter Guard Infantry and start whittling them down.

He pushed his flanking force of Fenris, Eyriss and the Manhunter forward, even after I warned him about the range 14 gun on the Ravagore. He thought he was out of range of it after moving. The Widowmakers ran up to their wall and started getting cosy there. Vlad realized that he had walled himself in behind the Warjacks, so they ran forward, then he advanced behind them and camped the rest. Malakov and his ‘jack did the same, but he did not want to cast Redline yet, which I think was a mistake. The Winter Guard was made Tough and Fearless and Bobbed and Weaved to form a second wave.

I advanced my centre and right flank, putting Forced Evolution on the Angelius who went into his zone to threaten Vlad’s ‘jacks. The Scythean also toed into that zone and got riled for 3 (so 4 in total) to let the Forsaken hiding behind it absorb 4 Focus points. The Afflictor hid behind the Scythean. The Striders ran up to form a line in front of the two Warbeasts, arguing that DEF15 is difficult to hit for MAT6 Khador heavies. The Deathstalker went to their right flank to start picking off infantry next turn. The Widowmakers were too far away from them to shot them next turn, so no problem, right? The Raek went to the middle of the board after Abbie cast Playing God on it. I also had the lunch ladies pull their pot into a central position, then they pummelled each other to make a Shredder that put Tenacity on the Raek and got into a position to be annoying next round. Then the Ravagore advanced 6 inches, was clearly in range of the Manhunter (the distance was 13”, so no contest), then blasted it and Eyriss whilst placing a Scather template in front of Fenris, before the Shepherd pulled off the 4 Fury on it. That must have been my opponent’s first ‘Blight Makes Right’ moment. The Naga ran closer to the objective in my zone.

In his second turn, Vlad handed out some focus, then cast Signs and Portents and called feat. His Devastator then casually charged my Deathstalker, even getting into base-to-base thanks to now having a 11” charge. It opened its shell to use Rain of Death and the Deathstalker and 3 Striders simply turned into red mist. The Juggernaught then charged another Strider and put it down. I collected no corpses as I was out of range. The Winter Guard bobbed and weaved and only the Rockets ended up being in range of the Scythean, dealing a bit of damage to it, but not really hurting it much. However, the Afflictor also lost a few boxes in its body. The Widowmakers had to move again to see past the Devastator and most of them tried to shoot the Angelius, but failed to hit it. The one that didn’t shoot the Angelius hit the Afflictor and took out its Body aspect. Malakov and his Juggernaught went for my zone after putting Redline on it. The Mechanics ran behind the Warjacks after their burst of speed. Kovnik Joe made the Winter Guard Tough again. Fenris engaged the Ravagore with a run, riding through the Scather.

Right, time for some payback. The Ravagore moved as much as possible without leaving Fenris’s melee range (or its own for that matter), then unhorsed him with a single boosted to hit and damage attack (the one point he had lost from the Scather doing him in), then put another boosted to hit into him to force a Tough check, then bought a final attack to prod him until he died. Fenris went into the pot. Then the Shepherd took off all the Fury again. The Naga tried to shoot Malakov, but he redirected it into a Winter Guard who failed his Tough check. The Naga looked at the Juggernaught in front of it and gulped. The Angelius charged the clamjack, hoping to murderate it, but only rolled a 4 on 3d6, so did not do that much damage after all, even at dice +7. Still, it took out an arm with the attack. It then bought two additional attacks (I always boost the Armour-Piercing * attack) that actually did a respectable amount of damage and took out the other arm too. The Afflictor then flew over it, risking a free strike but with only one dice to hit, nothing happened and it engaged 3 Widowmakers in melee. The Scythean charged the Juggernaught and mauled it quite badly, tearing off the Ice Axe. Absylonia moved behind the two Warbeasts and Warjacks and dropped a Blight Field that covered both Khador heavies, so no allocation next turn. She also put Tenacity on herself and the Scythean. The Shredder engaged a Winter Guard and stood in a position to block all moves from one zone to the other. The Raek ran headfirst into the main Winter Guard group, engaging 6 of them in melee. As he had allocated 3 Focus to the Juggernaught last round and only needed 1 to splat a Strider, the Forsaken felt lucky and dropped its Blight Shroud on a dice -12 on 4d6, but only rolled an 8 in total, so no luck. It did however scare the Mechanics, who would be fleeing next turn. So at the end of his turn, I had two Warjacks that are nearly crippled, a third one that was running rampant through my zone with only a Naga and a Ravagore to stop it and most of his infantry tied up, but Vlad and Malakov still going strong.

With nothing to allocate, Vlad just cast Signs and Portents and camped 3. The Winter Guard gained boosted attack rolls and dropped the Raek to three wounds and the Shredder to four. They also killed the Forsaken with a combined ranged attack. The Widowmakers failed to do much to the Afflictor, but the unengaged one shot Abbie for three damage. The clamjack used another Rain of Death to kill the last two Striders (who had just rallied after fleeing the turn before) and deal nine points of damage to the Angelius on a double 5. The Juggernaught also hit the Scythean for 13 damage despite having lost its axe, Signs and Portents did help a lot there. The other Jugger slew the Naga, then dealt some damage to the objective. Malakov tried to shoot the Shredder, but missed it and the Winter Guard in melee with it. The Mechanics rallied.

I took off all the fury from my central Warbeasts, leaving the Shredder and Raek on full as they were surrounded by enemies. The Shredder missed due to not having a Mind anymore and the Raek killed one Winter Guard. In my activation phase, the Afflictor went first and killed two Widowmakers, one of whom turned into an Incubus who charged and killed the unengaged one whilst the Afflictor tied up the last one. The Scythean luckily still had its Spirit and Body and with the Juggernaught’s poor DEF after losing its movement system, it dropped it to two damage. Then Absylonia charged it, used her feat to heal the Angelius, Scythean, Afflictor and Raek, cast Tenacity and the +2 STR mutation on herself and then put the Juggernaught down with two swings, camping 4 after boosting the second damage roll to be sure. The Angelius rammed its tail into the Devastator to destroy it, doing a massive 22 damage with one swing. The Ravagore considered going after the Juggernaught to tie it up, then spotted Vlad about 19” away. So off it went, Vlad turned out to be in range and took a volley of blight right in the face, being set on fire in the bargain. The blast also killed three Winter Guards, two of whom had been fighting the Raek.

Vlad continued to burn, dropping to 5 wounds after the hit and the fire, so it was now or never. The few unengaged Winter Guard (I think 3 and the officer) got another speech from Joe before he tried to kill the Shredder, but rolled double 1s on damage (he was actually a bit miffed at that, but then I pointed out that it had two Fury and was in Abbie’s control zone, so she could have reaved to 6 to be immune to assassination). The Guard had a clear line of sight to Abbie, but she was DEF21 for hiding right behind a wreck marker and having Tenacity up, so even with a boosted attack roll, their combined ranged attack missed her. The Juggernaught took about 25 points of damage off the Ravagore, but that combat was a side show at that stage. Malakov shot the Shepherd next to the Ravagore to make a point or gain XP or something like that. The Mechanics scatteredIt all boiled down to Vlad versus Abbie, who had 13 damage boxes left after healing her beasts last turn. He cast Blood of Kings to hit on 7s, then charged in, easily making it despite the wreck marker. He swung in, hit and the Raek took 14 damage when she shunted to it. The dagger hit and she took it, going to 3 boxes. He still had 3 Focus left and Abbie had 3 transfers up with enough beasts to take them, so it was clear that he was dead at this point. We still rolled it out and he did about 20 more damage to various beasts.

In my turn, the Angelius killed his objective for the point (it was a regular game, but one should always keep up the form to stay in tournament shape), then the Afflictor killed the last Widowmaker to make a second Incubus. Both Incubi then charged into the Winter Guard, killing two of them and tying up another two. Seeing no more chance of doing more damage, Absylonia increased her Strength, then killed Vlad with a single boosted attack.

Game 2: Vayl, Consul of Everblight versus Lich Lord Asphyxious

In this game, I ran the same eVayl list as in the previous report with her, so my army was:

Vayl, Consul of Everblight

Angelius

Angelius

Scythean

Ravagore

Nephilim Bloodseer

Blighted Nyss Shepherd

Blighted Nyss Shepherd

Blackfrost Shard

Hex Hunters (max)

Spawning Vessel

 

My opponent ran:

Asphyxious 2

Nightwrench

Malice

Warwitch Siren

Satyxis Captain

Satyxis Raiders with UA

Bane Lord Tartarus

Bane Knights (max)

Bane Thralls (min)

Bile Thralls (min)

The Withershade Combine

 

We were lazy, so stuck to Two Fronts as that was still up from the game before. I won the roll to go first, deploying my Blackfrost Shard on the left, then the Hex Hunters and Nephilim Bloodseer next to them, an Angelius, Vayl with the pot and the rest moving on from there. He put the Bile Thralls, Nightwrench, Warwitch and Asphyxious opposite my left, then spread out to his left.

Long story short, I ran forward, but tried to stay out of maximum Encarnate plus Bile Thrall range with my Hex Hunters and Shard, he powerboosted the arc node, had it run forward and Asphyxious charged a Bane Thrall who had moved up to give him a speed boost, killed it, cast Hellbound to upkeep it for free with the Withershade Combine, then arced Excarnate through the Nightwretch to find out it was 6” away from a Hex Hunter with Stealth. Denied! He moved up the rest of his army to engage my Warbeasts on the right with his Raiders, so I was under a lot of pressure even after surviving the Excarnate bomb.

But Asphyxious had exposed himself to pull off the trick and was now rather close to the Blackfrost Shard, close being about 15 inches in this case. So the Nephilim ran close to Asphyxious to give a Telemetry bonus before the Shard moved up and crucially being in his back arc as he had had to turn around to hit his charge target. Sevryn hit him with an Ice Cage to make him DEF13 (11 in the back arc), before Rhylyss and Vyssar cast Ice Bolts on him, which dropped him to about ten boxes. One of the Hex Hunters was also in range and hit him with a Blight Bolt for another 4 boxes before the Angelius landed nearby and finished him with a boosted shot for a turn 2 kill where I had not killed a single model apart from the warcaster.

Game 3: Vayl, Consul of Everblight versus Lich Lord Asphyxious (Two Fronts because we were still lazy)

We used the same armies as in the game before, so look into the post above for the lists. It is a short post, so you should find them easily. Don’t worry, this game was much longer and a bit of a slugfest in the end.

I again won the roll for first turn or rather my opponent rolled a ‘1’ and I didn’t bother given that I got +1 on the roll anyway. As this game was longer, I will go into more details.

I deployed my Blackfrost Shard again on the extreme left, but this time without the rest of the mage package. I wanted to split them up as I had gained more respect of the Bile Thralls and wanted to force him to choose which part of it he wanted to kill. I dropped a Ravagore and an Angelius next to them with a Shepherd to shepherd them. Vayl and the pot went to the middle, then the Scythean who stood parallel to his control zone’s central edge and the second Angelius next to it. The Hex Hunters and the Nephilim deployed opposite his control zone.

He deployed the Bane Knights, the Warwitch, the Nodebot and Bane Lord Tartarus opposite the Blackfrost Shard and the two beasts on my left, then a central block consisting of Malice, the Bile Thrall in a conga line and the Withershade Combine, finally deploying Asphyxious and the Bane Thralls in a forest close to his control zone. The Satyxis Raiders deployed in front of Asphyxious, spread all the way to the middle to cover the central units too. The Captain hid in the second line as I had tied him up in turn one of game one by having the lunch ladies kill each other and then popping out a Shredder at maximum distance to have it go rabid and engage the Captain before she could do anything useful.

Given that he had spread out more, as had I, I ran most of my stuff forward, but trying to stay more than 16 inches from the Satyxises. Vayl dropped Refuge on the right Angelius, then put Admonition on herself and some Tenacities on assorted models, thanks to the Shredder the lunch ladies had spawned. As predicted, it had not managed to engage the Captain, but was close enough to her to force someone to deal with it. And even if it died, it was for free. Nothing exciting happened.

My opponent moved Malice over to deal with the Shredder, which it did, but losing its soul token to do so (and not gaining a new one because Legion). The Bane Knights ran up to my control zone, ending up just in front of it. Tartarus and the Warwitch moved in behind them. The Raiders were ordered to run with Desperate Pace and two of them engaged my front Hex Hunters, while the rest moved up more conservatively and most ended up next to his objective. His Arc Node bonejack did a full sprint, but forgot that Angelii have reach and ended up losing twelve boxes, including its Arc Node. Asphyxious and the Bane Thralls moved out of the forest. Asphyxious also put two Caustic Mists in front of my Hex Hunters to stop them from charging into the Satyxis Raiders. The Withershade Combine and the Biles followed the first line, trying to stay out of my range to be a second wave. The Combine moved closer to my control zone though.

Starting turn two, I was not sure what to do, as I did not want to give the Bane Knights a Vengeance move, but had not enough firepower to wipe them out. I also did not want to hand him control of the battle either, meaning that I had to find a way to do some damage without overextending or opening myself up to an alpha strike. So Vayl just upkept Refuge and dropped Admonition, incorrectly thinking that this might be a feat turn. The plan was to take out his support to weaken his army. The lunch ladies pulled the pot to the right and tried to kill the Satyxis engaging 4 Hex Hunters, but failed to hit her. The Bloodseer flew into the Caustic Mist, taking a damage, to use Telemetry and to kill a Satyxis there. The Hex Hunters shuffled around to attack the two Raiders engaging 5 of them, whilst the other half of the unit moved to the right to see two Raiders sheltering behind the clouds (I got some line of sights without seeing through the cloud). They killed the two in melee, but I could not hit the Nightwretch with my Battle Wizard shots. The ones on the right also killed their targets. Two Raiders went into the pot. The Scythean did not want to commit right away, so it walked over and dismantled the Nightwretch with two blows. The central, Refuged Angelius charged a Bile Thrall and killed it easily, then overtook into a second Bile Thrall which it also killed. It Refuged away a bit. Vayl activated, switching Refuge on the other Angelius after making the Scythean an Arc Node, Icy Gripped the Bane Knights and cast Admonition on the first Angelius . The now-Refuged Angelius advanced to shoot Tartarus who had a larger base than the Knights in front of him, but missed with a boosted shot, so no Refuge for it. Ooops. Luckily, the Ravagore showed it how it’s done and hit Tartarus, dealt 7 damage to him plus set him on fire, killed the Warwitch next to him and lit up a Knight too. The Blackfrost Shard ran to the centre, hiding behind the two Warbeasts. Not a spectacular turn, but I had tied up most of his stuff and taken out some of his support units. The fact that his Arc Node was dead and that Asphyxious was so far on one side made me feel optimistic too.

So back to Christian and his turn 2. Tartarus fortunately burnt to death, as did the Knight next to him. Result! The Bane Thralls went first and spread out to cover as much area as possible with their Dark Shrouds. The Bile Thralls moved up as far as possible, but did not purge yet. His Raiders mostly charged the Bloodseer who had a Thrall next to it and it took another 18 damage, ending up on 3. The Bane Knights charged the objective, dealing 9 damage to it, the Ravagore, dealing 15 damage to it, and the Angelius, who was not hit. Ouch. I guess they had to die now. Asphyxious killed two Hex Hunters with a Hellmouth and collected their souls with his sword. The Withershade Combine did not do much of note, maybe some points of damage to the central Angelius, who ended up using its Admonition to move 3 inches sideways when Malice moved close to it, thereby engaging it to prevent it from using the Harpoon but staying out of Malice’s own melee range.

In my third turn, I decided it was time to feat, so I dropped all upkeeps. The Blackfrost Shard engaged the Bane Knights, killing the one hitting the objective and one of the two engaging the Ravagore. Then the Angelius in my zone activated and killed four Bane Knights, including the one engaging the Ravagore. Even the Shepherd in the zone killed one, so there were only two left. The Ravagore took a shot at the Withershade Combine behind Malice, killing their leader, setting the other two, a Bile Thrall and Malice on fire. The Nephilim took a swing at the objective and dealt it a bit of damage, but lost a wound in return (we both used an Arcane Wonder). The Hex Hunters moved around the new Caustic Mists Asphyxious had dropped and fired Blight Bolts into the Bane Thralls and Raiders in his zone. The Scythean moved into position to become an Arc Node. Then Vayl called feat, dropped two boosted Obliterations on the objective to kill it as well as doing another wound to the Nephilim, more Satyxises died, so he only had two left at this stage (the game went so long that the mid-stage is a bit blurry right now). She gave herself Admonition, Occultation on the Scythean because it was free, Refuge on the Angelius engaging Malice and moved closer to my control zone. That Angelius took a huge swing at Malice that damaged it quite a bit, then flew over him to sit in the Scather pool, engaging the Withershadow Combine, Malice and two of the three remaining Bile Thralls. I went ahead 1-0.

All the fires went out though, so no other members of the Combine died. Then Asphyxious happened. It all started really well, the Bane Knights used their Vengeance move to get behind the Angelius but could not hit it. The Bane Thralls had to regroup, so one engaged the Angelius in his centre who tied up the Combine, Malice and Bile Thralls and the other one engaged the Scythean. The last two Raiders finished off the Nephilim. Asphyxious activated and stuff went south. He dropped his soul-collecting template on top of 4 Hex Hunters, the last two Vessel servants and a Shepherd, then activated his feat to return all 8 Bane Knights and two Raiders. Finally, he excarnated a Hex Hunter and created a Bile Thrall right in the middle of his control zone. Hmmm. The two returned Raiders charged the two last Hex Hunters on the extreme right (the other four were in the centre), but failed to hit them. The Bane Knights overran my Scythean. Then the Bile Thralls got their turn and shit got real. There were only two of them that could move without taking free strikes, but that was enough. The one in the centre exploded and killed everyone under Asphyxious’s soul template, so he collected 7 souls. It also damaged the pot for 1, which was now full thanks to that explosion. The second one damaged the Ravagore and melted the Angelius, as well as killing a Bane Knight, Sevryn and Rhylyss. Ouch, there goes half my army. The remaining forces in his middle bullied my Angelius some more but it dodged most of their attacks, so I was down to it, a Ravagore, a Shepherd, Vyssar, a melting pot, two Hex Hunters who were fleeing after seeing all their friends melt and Vayl, who looked very worried at this stage. He had the two last members of the Combine, Malice, a Bane Knight in melee with the Ravagore, a last Bile Thrall, a Bane Thrall in the centre of his control zone and Asphyxious. Asphyxious dominated his zone for 1-1.

She then even had to cut herself as so many of her beasts had died outside her control zone. She kept Admonition and Refuge going. Fortunately, I would be able to score a point with her for dominating her zone and maybe take out more of his stuff. The Shepherd healed the Ravagore, which then killed the last Bile Thrall. The Angelius finished off Malice and hit a Combine member for one, then overtook plus Refuged into his control zone to engage Asphyxious. The pot spawned a Harrier that cast Truestrike, then charged the last Bane Knight to kill it. It then sprinted back, nearly making it into the enemy control zone towards the last Bane Thrall. The two Hex Hunters rallied, but could not flee into his zone as Asphyxious and the Thrall were blocking it to them. I dominated to gain a point (2-1).

So, down to the wire it went. Asphyxious and the last Bane Thrall killed off the Angelius, but could not kill the Hex Hunters as they were more than 6 inches from Asphyxious and still had Stealth. The two members of the Combine moved closer to my zone and cast some spells to damage my Ravagore, but barely keeping it alive. We both dominated our zones for a point (3-2).

Vayl upkept Admonition on herself, cutting herself some more and going to four wounds. The Harrier charged and true struck the Bane Thrall on the edge of his control zone, but could not wound it. Unfortunately, I then forgot to sprint into his control zone. The two rallied Hex Hunters finished the Thrall off but could not harm Asphyxious with a Blight Bolt. The Shepherd healed the Ravagore. Vyssar charged the last two Combine members, but failed to hit. The Ravagore moved over and killed one. Vayl decided that Vyssar had failed her for the last time and fired a boosted Obliteration into his back, killing him and the last Withershadian (at some point, I have to learn their names). She then hid behind the objective. As I had not moved the Harrier into the zone, I could only contest it and get a point from dominating mine, going to 4-2.

Seeing how Asphyxious was the only Cryx model left and not in range for any of his spells on Vayl, he decided to take out his rage on the Hex Hunters and the Harrier, killing all of them, ending the game on 5 for Legion and 4 for Cryx.

What a game! I am pretty sure I got some of the details for the middle part wrong, as it was such a slaughter on both sides. In the end, I had barely any models left, with the only meaningful stuff I had left being the Ravagore and Vayl, so if he had kept me from scoring once in between, I do not know how I could have ended the game against a fully-camping Asphyxious who had not lost a single wound that game. Needless to say, we both had a headache after the game.

Game 4: Blood Angels vs Chaos

In the fourth game, I played my Blood Angels versus Thierry’s amazing looking Chaos army, combining a Chaos Space Marine detachment with an allied Renegades and Heretics force. We played a Maelstrom mission, the one where you can steal your opponent’s ‘Secure Objective x’ cards if you could fulfil them before the opponent. I took lots of pictures, so I let them tell the story.

 

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My deployment and first turn advance. I planned to use the tanks to shield the infantry as long as possible. I should have switched the position of the Predator and Sicaran though, as the Sicaran could have hung back more. 

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Thierry’s deployment. His deployment zone was quite clustered. He had a Vindicator and Rhino with Marines at the bottom, a horde of Renegades, including 3 Rapiers with Laser Destroyers in the middle. The Warlord was a level 3 Chaos Sorcerer sitting in the Renegade units in the forest on top. He had two Hellblades in reserves too. An amazing-looking army.

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Turn 1, I drop 10 Tacticals with 3 flamers in front of his army, annihilating most of the command squad and a Renegade unit. The second drop pod lands next to the Leman Russ and 4 melta shots are enough to kill it.

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The Obliterator countercharges one combat squad and they spend four turns not hitting each other in melee, the other combat squad loses three models and the other two leg it. His Vindicator hits mine and the Sicaran, which also takes three Rapier hits. The Vindicator loses its cannon and the Sicaran is wrecked.

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The last drop pod lands and kills a Rapier and causes the crew to flee. The Assault Squad in the rear blows up the Chimera, but the passengers all survive. Two Scout squads with Shotguns outflank, one on each flank and they shoot a few Cultists. My Death Company murders the first Renegades squad on the top flank.

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The Renegades squad with the Sorcerer becomes invisible, then charges the Death Company, actually wiping them out over two rounds of combat.

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The Chaos Marines wipe out the Scouts, meanwhile the Sanguinary Guard kills the Vindicator. In the end, the Sanguinary Guard kill the Marines, but lose the Librarian (Warlord) as he splits off to maximise Victory Points (I wanted to kill six units to gain d3+3 VPs for one card, obviously failing miserably and killing only 2) and is then machine-gunned by the Hellblades. The nearby Assault Squad killed the Renegades and the last gun crew from the Rapier unit.

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The Assault Squads kill the Icarus Quad Gun, but only after using it to down one of the Hellblades. The Super Renegades wipe out the Scout Squad and Lemartes on the top flank, but I manage to hold 3 objectives to gain 2 VPs, as well as holding objective 5 which is on one of my cards and two of Thierry’s. As his only remaining units are on top and mine at the bottom, we call it a day there as I have a 12-5 lead in points and he has no units left that are mobile enough to score multiple points per round.

This concludes our fourth battle report and this seems to be a good place to end my 100th post. Thank you all for reading my posts and keeping me motivated. I hope to keep up the good work and post more interesting articles as we go along.

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Blight makes right: Starting out with Legion of Everblight

I have recently begun a new Hordes army, the Legion of Everblight, in fact I have already shown you a lot of pictures of units and warbeast the talented Christian painted for me. As the army has reached the stage where it is possible to use it on the table, I have had a number of games with it and want to discuss my impressions so far. I have had 10 games so far, winning 7 and losing 3.

The first four were all with Vayl, Disciple of Everblight, who I also used in games 8 and 9, so the bulk of my experience was with her. She is 5-1 at the moment. I have used two versions of the army, both of which can be found in this article. I am very happy with the way the list works, using 5-6 heavy warbeasts to pummel people into submission, then have Vayl unleash her feat to blow things to smithereens. The one game I lost with her was due to a mistake on my side, I advanced her into a central position against a Khador cavalry list, in order to have all her beasts in her control range so they could force to buy more attacks or boost rolls, then had two fury left after casting a few support spells. I had the choice between camping two to have two transfers in case I got hit next round, cast Admonition on her to let her move away if an enemy got too close or Occultation to gain Stealth against the whopping two shots my opponent had, both of which would need highly above average on account of her high DEF. Of course, like the numpty I am I go for Occultation, when the correct play would have been either of the other two. Vlad3, the Great Prince of Umbrey then casually jump over a wall on his horse, charged the Seraph in front of her,cast Hand of Fate to gain an extra dice discard lowest on all attack and damage rolls, hits the Seraph and does a ton of damage, sidesteps closer to her thanks to his feat, then turns to no longer see the Seraph and casts Flashing Blades 4 times to kill Vayl and her Succubus. If he hadn’t turned around to avoid seeing the Seraph, he would have had to attack it too as Flashing Blades is an attack against every enemy model in melee reach, which would have killed it and allowed me to reave its 4 fury, making Vayl impossible to kill with all those transfers. Of course, if I had cast Admonition on her, she could have run away when he charged the Seraph or rather kept him from doing it in the first place. As I was leading on attrition, having murdered a lot of his cavalry and locked the rest in melee with heavy warbeasts, I could have taken the game home easily if I had thought about what spell to use for a minute.

In game 9 on the other hand, Vayl made me proud as she was standing with her back against the wall, having lost all but two Warbeasts against Butcher 3 and then seeing the Ravagore miss him with its ranged attack. So it was down to Vayl, an Angelius and a plucky Shepherd to kill the 7-foot murder machine that had just killed 3 heavy warbeasts in a single round of combat and was currently ARM23 thanks to camping 5 focus. So the Shepherd goes first, charging a Doom Reaver that was locking the Angelius in combat. She knocked him out with a backstrike with her staff to his head. Then Vayl activated, popped her feat and cast a free Icy Grip on the Butcher to drop him to DEF12, then the free Obliteration, boosted to hit and damage of course and a second Obliteration with boosted damage. At dice -8 (POW15 vs ARM23), she does 6 points of damage to him, bringing him to 14 damage boxes. One model was left and it was the Angelius. It was now free to charge without risking a free strike and had Armour Piercing on its first attack, dropping the Butcher to ARM14 against POW14 for that one. All other attacks would be dice -9 as he would revert to ARM23 for them. Luckily, the Angelius lived up to its name and did 14 damage on the first roll, killing Butcher with exactsies.

Games 5 and 6 were with Saeryn, Omen of Everblight, using a modified version of the list mentioned in the same article (some models were not available as Christian was not able to paint them in time), but to be honest I cannot remember the exact changes made. I think I replaced the Deathstalkers with a Warbeast and switched some of the Warbeasts to ones I already had. Both games were against Goreshade3 piloted by Christian. In the first game I used her, I went second, which was weird after beginning all games with Vayl thanks to her +1 to starting rolls in the theme force. With that and the fact that it was my first game, I was too defensive in turn 1 and as a result allowed myself to be boxed in. In turn 2, I popped feat and advanced aggressively, but could not do much damage as I was too far away from the units I could actually hurt (the frontline was mostly incorporeal). However, I was immune to all his melee attacks and he had no ranged attacks to speak off, so what should happen, right? Well, he still had Syphon Bolt and I had 2 Fury on Saeryn, so he bolted her, stole a Fury, I transferred to get rid of my last Fury, then he cast another 2 boosted to hit and damage Syphon Bolts and that was that. Turns out that if your Warlock can be immune to all but magic due to her feat and has a spell to be immune to magic, you should cast that spell on her too. I guess lessons learnt the hard way are lessons that stick, so it was a good learning experience. In game 2, I was more aggressive and remember to use Banishing Ward on her. As a result, I was able to turn the game into an attrition match with my feat being the decisive factor, as I could alpha strike him without fear of retribution, then sit back and score scenario points quickly. He made a last-ditch attempt to assassinate her, turned out to be out of range, so I tried to counter-assassinate him, failed, but still had enough units around to hold the flags and score the last points needed (in fact, I could have simply begun my turn, resolved continuous effects, then waited for the minimum 15 seconds a turn has to have, then said ‘End of turn’ and scored my points, but what’s the fun in that?). Based on those two games, I can say that I really enjoy how Saeryn plays, with her spells, abilities and feat making her nigh-on impossible to kill unless you play her like a complete numpty. DEF16 is quite high against melee even if she is not feated, DEF18 against shooting and being immune to blast damage means people can’t simply try to scatter AOEs on her or aim at easier targets in front of her and Banishing Ward is an easy way to protect against spellcasters without Purification or Dispel.

The last caster I used was Absylonia, Terror of Everblight, and she unfortunately confirmed the Internet’s poor opinion of her. She brings a lot of powerful spells to her Warbeasts and her feat, Panacea, can help in a free-for-all situation where both sides start hitting each other’s Warbeasts by healing every Warbeast for a point of damage on her per Warbeast healed, but that feat only works if the opponent is spreading out damage instead of killing them one at a time. Similarly, while she has a lot of spells that increase the offensive output of her battle group, she has no defensive spell or ability apart from the animi from her battle group, which means that she is usually affected by Tenacity and then DEF17 ARM15, but that is simply not enough if hit by Goreshade’s ‘Freeze then Syphon Bolt’ ploy or Butcher’s ‘Stop transfers, then apply axe to face’ tactic. She might have game for more experienced players, but right now she is beyond my skills as a Legion player.

Moving forward, I definitely want to get more games in with all of the Warlocks I have to gain more experience, as well as trying out Absylonia2, Daughter of Everblight. Unlike her first version, Abbie2 has better defensive options as she has Teleport, so can flee after punching someone out. She also has Conferred Rage, which lets all her beasts charge or make power attacks without being forced in her control area and in addition grants a SPD and MAT bonus to them if she has killed an enemy model that turn. This means that even ranged beasts like Ravagores have strong melee potential near her and turns Angelii or Scytheans into MAT8 SPD8-9 fighters. As the icing on the cake, her feat gives them a STR bonus, Flight and Reach to make them even more menacing. I have recently listened to a podcast where one of the commentators said that she actually has two feats, being able to use Metamorphose once per game and Conferred Rage every turn. As we all know, feats are game-breakers, so having a ‘second’ feat that can be used every turn is extremely powerful. She will also complement either eVayl or Saeryn very well, as both of them are good control casters, but do not add enough to their Warbeasts’ output to deal with high ARM units, which are Absylonia’s favourite targets.

There is a tournament mid-May in Trier where I plan to use Legion, so either Vayl or Saeryn with Absylonia or eLylyth to act as a brick breaker. In addition, I might go to the German version of Lock and Load in June, where I would also take Legion.

Christian has nearly finished my Legion army, so here are some more pictures of models he has painted.

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Incubi solos: I am not planning on using Incubi in any of my armies, but the Afflictor can replace one living model he kills per turn with an Incubi under my control. As you can see, they actually spawn from other models, either through the Afflictor or their own rule which lets you replace a disabled friendly model with a token that turns into an Incubi at the beginning of your next turn. NB, I also took some pictures of the Afflictor Christian painted, but they seem to have gone.

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A Teraph, a light warbeast with a decent ranged attack. He will join the two Ravagores in Lylyth’s list.

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A Naga Nightlurker light warbeast. It can make attacks Magical and Blessed, thus helping against armies with Incorporeal units or strong defensive spells.

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Hex Hunters: elite infantry with Stealth and Pathfinder who wield magical swords and can cast a strong, but short-ranged spell after killing an enemy model.

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Legionnaires, the Legion’s namesake unit. They have average stats, but are really cheap to field. In the worst case scenario, they will die jamming the opponent out of a zone, at the same time feeding the Spawning Pot to let it create more Lesser Warbeasts. I don’t expect much from them, but someone has to die to buy time for the rest of the army. IMG_0508-0

The Forsaken: solos that absorb Fury off Warbeasts, then later use it to cause damage to all enemy models in a small area. The POW of their explosion is only 8, but it adds a damage die for each Fury or Focus on the enemy model, so they would deal an average of 12 damage to Butcher3 camping full Focus or even more against a Harbinger camping 10 Focus. I like Shepherds a lot as they provide easy Fury management, but Forsaken are the splashier version, which can either manage Fury or use it to deal damage.

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Zuriel, character Warbeast. I initially only planned to use him with Saeryn, but there is a case to be made to use him with eLylyth, where he would have 3 sprays on feat turn and turn her into a murder-machine against warrior models, rolling 3d6 to hit and still being able to boost with his animus.

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Some Legion lists I want to play, as well as more painted models

Today, I wish to discuss some potential army lists for my newest Hordes army, the Legion of Everblight and the reasons why I have chosen to run them this way. Last week, I showed off some of the stuff that Christian has already painted for me, with more coming over the next month or so. When I wrote that article, I wanted to include an army list for Vayl’s forces, but as I am still recovering, I got too tired and decided to leave it for a later date. This is also due to the fact that somehow my computer keeps lagging when I write anything using the WordPress text editor, so I have taken up writing my articles in Word first, then copy-pasting them over. However, as I was pasting in pictures at the same time, I decided to finish the article using WordPress and it took so long that I stopped before coming to the list.

But don’t despair, here it is. In fact, here are 4 lists I plan to run with the Legion over the next few months.

List 1: Vayl’s Creature Feature

This list uses Vayl, Consul of Everblight’s Theme Force Machinations of Shadow. As I have not yet used Theme Forces before, I should briefly explain what a Theme Force is. Theme Forces exist for every Warcaster/Warlock in the game, some even have more than one. Each Theme Force has restrictions on which units, solos and Warjacks/Warbeasts can be included in the force, which is why I have never run them with Cygnar before, as they all prohibit mercenaries and Cygnar struggles without mercenaries. In addition to those restrictions, each Theme Force has 4 tiers, each one needed all previous ones to be fulfilled as well. Of course, each tier also gives a bonus for completing it, because otherwise what would be the point?

Vayl’s Machinations of Shadow is indubitably one of the most popular tier lists, as it comes very close to what she would play anyway and gives amazing bonuses.

Her tier list consists of:

Tier 1: Only units from the list: All solos gain Advance Deployment, which is great as it means Shepherds and the Succubus can deploy after seeing the enemy deploy and thus be with the Warbeasts that need them most. Also it means that they start ahead of the beasts, so they can make a normal advance and use their actions in turn 1, even if the beasts run and thus move faster.

Tier 2: A Spawning Vessel is included: +1 to see who starts the game. Simple and elegant. Vayl wants to control where the action takes place, so having a +1 to start is great, as it gives you a roughly 60% chance of starting the game and thus dictate where the game takes place by moving forward first.

Tier 3: Her battlegroup includes three or more Warbeasts with Flight: +2 SPD on turn 1 for her flying beasts. Again, moving into position is great to dictate the flow of the game. She always wants to run 2 Angelii, so it is a simple matter of either including a cheap Harrier or a Seraph to fill tier 3.

Tier 4: Her battlegroup includes three or more heavy Warbeasts: Her heavy Warbeasts cost one less point each. As her 2 Angelii are heavy, she simply needs to add a third heavy and be done with it. In fact, she likes running 5-6 heavies, so this tier bonus easily ends of saving enough points for the Spawning vessel and then some.

So what is in her list?

Vayl, Consul of Everblight +6

  • Succubus: 2
  • Angelius: 8
  • Angelius: 8
  • Ravagore: 9
  • Ravagore: 9
  • Seraph: 7
  • Scythean: 8

Blighted Nyss Shepherd: 1

Blighted Nyss Shepherd: 1

Spawning Vessel and 6 Grunts: 3

This is a slight adaptation of Jake Van Meter’s tournament-winning list, dropping a unit of Blighted Nyss Legionnaires for another heavy Warbeast. The basic tactic is to use the Ravagore’s insane 14” shots to slow down the enemy and block parts of the battlefield for 1-wound infantry with their Scather templates. The Angelii flank, with the Seraph and Vayl using their Slipstream animi to move them further or push a Ravagore into range for a turn 1 shot on advance deploying units. The Scythean advances centrally to shield Vayl and keep opponents honest. Ideally, one of the Angelii gets Refuge cast on it. Then in turn 2, the Refuged Angelius goes first, attacks a heavy target with the Armour Piercing sting attack, then uses its own Repulsion animus to push the opponent back before activating Refuge to back off again, ideally behind a forest because Legion loves forests as their Warbeasts can see through them, whereas enemies cannot. Then the Scythean goes in and unleashes its attacks, ideally triggering a chain attack to clean a 2” zone around it. If the opportunity presents itself, Vayl then activates and shots the Scythean in the back with her Oraculus. If it hits, it will not deal much damage, being POW8 hitting POW18, but once hit, the Scythean functions as an Arc Node for the turn, so she can channel spells through it. Then she feats and unleashes hell on whoever happens to be in 10” of the Scythean. She casts the free Refuge on herself, uses it to scoot into safety, then casts a free Admonition on herself to keep her from being charged and casts Refuge on the second Angelius, who then does the same thing the first one did. The Ravagores then clean up or block charge lanes to the Scythean. For thereon in, it is mostly a cleaning up operation.

List 2: Vayl’s Creature Feature, now with more infantry

Vayl, Consul of Everblight +6

    • Angelius: 8
    • Angelius: 8
    • Ravagore: 9
    • Ravagore: 9
    • Harrier: 2
    • Scythean: 8

Blighted Nyss Shepherd: 1

Blighted Nyss Shepherd: 1

Blighted Nyss Hex Hunters (10): 8

Spawning Vessel and 4 Grunts: 2

This variant of the list drops the Succubus and the Seraph to include a Harrier (to make sure I have 3 flyers for Tier 3 and a full unit of Blighted Nyss Hex Hunters. The Hex Hunters are in the list because they have Magical melee attacks and the Battle Wizard rule, so they can charge, hopefully kill an enemy and if they manage to do so, they can also cast their Hex Bolt spell, which is a POW13 shot. With DEF14, Pathfinder, Stealth and SPD7, they can hide in forests or other concealing terrain and be reasonably safe from enemy retaliation. As the original list struggles against Incorporeal units, the Hex Hunters are there to remedy that. I am not sure if I like that list though as it lacks a 6 heavy Warbeast, so I guess I will have to make sure my second list in a two-list format can deal with Incorporeal units.

List 3: Lylyth’s Wild Hunt

Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight +5

  • Succubus: 2
  • Nephilim Bolt Thrower: 6
  • Ravagore: 10
  • Ravagore: 10
  • Naga Nightlurker: 5
  • Teraph: 5

Strider Deathstalker: 2

Strider Deathstalker: 2

Blighted Nyss Shepherd: 1

Blighted Nyss Shepherd: 1

Strider Rangers: 6

Blackfrost Shard: 5

Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight, is a ranged Warlock, specialising in crippling the enemy force with a hail of arrows and blight-fueled fireballs. Her spell list support that, by giving bonuses to everyone shooting a target unit, letting models move if the target advances or by giving models in her control range Stealth, thus giving her an advantage in ranged confrontations. Her feat gives each friendly Faction model in her control range +4” RNG and lets her and her Warbeasts shoot an additional shot this round.  Her whole army is designed to take advantage of her ranged skills to take out as many opponents as possible at range, then mopping up survivors in melee if necessary. As she is a ranged caster, the two Ravagores are almost mandatory, as is the Naga Nightlurker, which has Magical attacks and can give another model Magical and Blessed attacks, so letting a Ravagore hit Incorporeal models or ignore ARM or DEF bonuses created by spells. The Teraph rounds out the ranged Warbeasts, adding another 3” AOE to the mix and having the useful combination of Advance Deployment and Dig In, letting it use its first turn to get into a firing position offering good views over the field, then digging in to increase its DEF to 15 and becoming immune to blast damage. Alternatively, thanks to AD it might even be able to snipe someone turn 1, especially if going second, as it can then deploy up to 16” onto the field, move 6 and fire 10, so shoot well over the middle line in turn 1 to catch the first wave of the enemy off guard. It does not have the same firepower as a Ravagore, but it is also 40% cheaper.

Finally, there is some infantry and some solos to round up the list. The Shepherds are there to provide fury management, which is key on account of Lylyth being Focus 5 only. The Deathstalkers are unit-killing machines with a RAT of 8, Stealth and Advance Deployment, they can quickly get into position without being in danger of being shot at, then start killing infantry. As they have Sniper, they can choose to deal an automatic wound instead of rolling to wound, letting them kill single-wound models easily enough, which makes them the bane of units in Shieldwall or Defensive Formation. After killing the first model, they can move 2” then shoot again, so two of them in concert can kill 4 men in a Shieldwall, thus depriving the other 4 next to them of their Shieldwall bonus too (you only get the Shieldwall or Defensive Formation bonus if next to another model with this rule, so if there are 8-10 in a line or in groups of 2-3, simply killing the second one will cause the first one to lose the bonus and so forth) and leaving them open to other shooting. By the way, Lylyth also has Swift Hunter and Snap Fire with a ROF2 bow, so she can kill up to 4 models per turn (normal shot 1 kills, Snap Fire shot 1, normal shot 2 kills, Snap Fire shot 2), moving 8” in between shots.

The Strider Rangers are the slightly less apt cousins of the Deathstalkers, being only RAT6, but also having Stealth and Advance Deployment, as well as being able to combine their shots to gain greater accuracy and power. Finally, the Blackfrost Shard is the Legion’s version of Lady Aiyana and Master Holt, only that there are three of them and they each have an individual spell in addition to two shared ones. So one has Kiss of Lyliss, Aiyana’s +2 damage spell, whereas another has Cloak of Mists, her spell granting Stealth to the unit. The leader only has Disbinding, letting him cancel enemy upkeeps on the unit, which is slightly pointless as they will die once an enemy has hit them with a spell. All of them share the Ice Cage and Ice Bolt spells, the first one being a DEF penalty for one model, that makes the model Stationary if all three cast it on the same target, and the latter being a ranged attack that also makes the target Stationary on a crit, so I guess this will be the leader’s main job.

The thing I dislike about Lylyth though is that she is a very mono-dimensional caster, similar to eCaine or Butcher3 in that sense. She is good at hitting things and helps her army hit things, but she is not really good at anything else. Beyond giving her battlegroup Stealth, she has no defensive abilities and she is herself quite squishy at ARM14, though at least she has a high DEF of 16 and due to Eyeless Sight, she can hide in forests without taking a penalty to hit.  She can play attrition reasonably well by alpha-striking the opponent to the point where he can no longer defend himself properly, but she is definitely not a scenario caster, as she will die as soon as she leaves cover to dominate an object. She is also tailored to run a ranged army, so she does nothing for melee beasts. But overall, she is so good at her game that it is hard to complain about her failings in other areas.

List 4: You can’t touch Saeryn

Saeryn, Omen of Everblight + 5

  • Angelius: 9
  • Zuriel: 10
  • Raek: 4
  • Naga Nightlurker: 5
  • Shredder: 2
  • Scythean: 9
  • Scythean: 9

Strider Deathstalker: 2

Strider Deathstalker: 2

Blighted Nyss Shepherd: 1

Blighted Nyss Shepherd: 1

Spell Martyr: 1

Saeryn, the name that causes all melee casters to roll their eyes and say ‘Fine, I will wait a turn if that makes you happy.’ She will be another Warlock I am keen to try out, one of the strongest in Legion, if not in Hordes and one that does really well in Control or scenario play, the playstyle I like best in Legion. Why, you might ask? Well, one big reason for it is her feat, Foreboding. For one complete round, models in her battlegroup (including herself, but not the Archangel, the Legion’s Gargantuan) cannot be targeted with melee attacks, including free strikes or friendly attacks. Yup, it is a timewalk like eHaley’s feat. Of course, like eHaley, there are ways around it, such as ranged attacks or magical attacks, but you shouldn’t drop her against Cygnar because of that. She does not only rely on her feat though, as her spell list is excellent. She has a POW14 shot and the utilitarian Banishing Ward to make her or another model/unit immune to enemy spells, as well as the handy Respawn that respawns one of her Warbeasts on 3 health if it is killed. The real money-makers in her list however are Breath Stealer and Blight Bringer. Breath Stealer gives a unit a DEF and SPD penalty, thus making them easier to hit and unable to charge. Slowing down Trollkin Warder to SPD2 is hilarious. Well, not for the Trollkin player, but for everyone else it is. Blight Bringer is a 5” template that you centre on a friendly beast, so there is no roll to hit involved. Then every enemy model under the template takes a POW12 hit and anyone entering the template the next turn takes an automatic wound. This is great as it makes even a heavy Warbeast immune to single-wound infantry, as they cannot enter into melee without touching the cloud, which would kill them before attacking. It gets even more hilarious on the Raek though.

Speaking of Raek, her battlegroup is very large, as with all Legion Warlocks not named Kallus. She has the obligatory Angelius to clear zones with its animus and attack high ARM targets with its Armour-Piercing tail, two Scytheans to hit things in the face and a Shredder to gain Tenacity to put her to DEF17 and ARM15 (19/15 and immune to blast against shooting). These are all classics that you will see in some amount in each Legion list. But then she branches out a bit, with a Naga to have some shooting or way to deal with Incorporeal creatures, as well as those pesky models with DEF and ARM bonuses due to spells, which her animus lets you ignore for a turn. This helps Scytheans engage and destroy buffed heavies or mow through entire units that though their Escort or Inviolable Resolve spell would save them.

She also has the aforementioned Raek, an assassin-type Warbeast that has an excellent DEF of 15 (16 with Tenacity), Stealth, Advance Deployment and the ability to jump 5” after a normal move. The last one is great as it is a placement, not a movement, so it does not trigger free strikes or abilities that trigger at the end of a movement, such as Vayl’s Admonition, Defensive Strike or Watcher. Combined with its Reach tail attack, it can stop at 6.5 inches of a model with Admonition, Boundless Leap to within 1.5”, then hit with its tail without letting them use Admonition to get the hell out of Dodge. Another use of the Raek is to advance towards a Shieldwall or a group of models that have killed a heavy and are thus arranged in a circle around the empty space the heavy had been in, jump behind the Shieldwall or into the empty spot, make a few attacks, then have Saeryn cast Blight Bringer on it to kill every single model around it.

Her last Warbeast is Zuriel, i.e. the one thing where Legion has to play by the rules and accept character-restrictions. He is a character Warbeast and a Nephilim, so he has wings and can thus fly. Unlike the other Nephilims, which are all light Warbeasts, Zuriel is a heavy Warbeast with the ARM, damage boxes and damage output of a heavy. It has an excellent MAT of 7 and a decent RAT of 5, but both can be increased by its animus, Predator’s Instinct, which adds a dice to all attack rolls against non-Warcaster, non-Warlock warrior models, so everything that is not a Warcaster, Warlock, Warbeast, Warjack or Battle Engine, ie all solos and units that are not one of those. As this is not a boost, you could even boost to add a fourth die if you really want to hit something. This lets Zuriel mow through infantry and solos without working up a sweat. Against Warbeasts and Warjacks, it does not need that bonus as they are usually easy to hit, so it can lay into the targets with its two P+S16 attacks and if both hit, get a free POW12 spray on the target and everything behind it, then buy more attacks if necessary. Should it need to clear infantry, it can simply cast Predator’s Instinct, spray once with 3 dice to hit, then buy a second spray (ROF 2) to the other side (or the same) and create a gap of dead or burning models for the Scytheans and Angelius to charge through. Of course, like all Animi, it is also granted to the Warlock, so Saeryn can throw her knives, which stop people hit from using Tough, healing or transferring wounds for a round,  with deadly accuracy. Moreover, as Zuriel is Saeryn’s creation, she has an Affinity with Zuriel, letting her channel spells through Zuriel if within her control range and unengaged.

Her support cast features the traditional Shepherds for Fury management and Deathstalkers to kill stuff, as well as a Spell Martyr to channel a spell through, though he might be replaced with a Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew to create clouds front of Saeryn.

So those are 4 lists I shall be working on over the next few weeks. Here are some pictures of the newest models Christian has painted, some of which I have referred to in this article. So enjoy!

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The Blackfrost Shard

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Succubus Warlock Attachment

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Saeryn, Omen of Everblight

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Raek

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Nephilim Bolt Thrower

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Weekly update: YVAN EHT NIOJ

Hello, dear reader! Welcome to another installment of my weekly update, where I talk about painting, gaming and list building.

 

First of all, let’s start with some news fresh off the press. Apparently, the Blood Angels will get a new Codex next week (or rather the week after, but will be on pre-order next Saturday). I am really looking forward to that, as the Sons of Sanguinius are my second-biggest army and the 40k army I like most. I love the idea of the flawed hero who has to fight his baser urges or end up being shunning by those he wishes to protect. In addition, I love their performance on the board, as they are all about going for the throat and being fast and aggressive on the field. They are fast, bring tons of mid-range firepower from their Assault Cannon tanks, melta-wielding Assault Marines and fast Vindicators. I am not going to make a wishlist or go on about what the codex needs, I just hope the list is not changed too much (Assault Marines as Troops are lovely) and see what we get.

But now to something completely different… stuff that I painted this week and stuff that Christian painted for me. He painted more units for my Convergence army, whereas I followed my plan of doing at least one unit and one character/solo each week. So here goes. Yes, as usual, Christian’s stuff looks much nicer than mine.

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These guys are my press gangers, a Privateer Mercenary unit that will be used with eCaine. They are Tough, so have a 5+ if killed, as well as Advance Deployment, so can deploy further ahead.

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These two guys are the Lass, the Press Ganger officer, and the guy with the bodybag will become the unit leader should she die. The Lass has Seduction, letting her take control of an enemy model in base-to-base. This lets you move that model into an unfavourable position, then have it wallop a friend too. In addition, the entire unit has Gang, giving them a bonus to hit and wound in melee if another model in the unit is also in reach of the target model. So in essence, once they surround you, they will hurt you. And as the name and the guy with the bag suggest, if they take out a model, they recruit it to another unit of Privateers. While I have no unit to benefit from that, their rule still helps as these models are removed when boxed, so they do not produce any corpse or soul tokens, which some armies rely on. So it is a small blessing. But in essence, they are there to provide 10 Tough, Advance Deployment bodies for 6 points.

 

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This little lady is Cygnar’s named Journeyman Warcaster, Lieutenant Allison Jakes. Unlike the regular Journeyman, she is more melee-oriented with Energiser to move her and her ‘jacks and Sidekick to give her ‘jack and herself (if in base-to-base with the ‘jack) a DEF bonus and immunity to being knocked down, placed or moved. I plan to run her with a Charger for a cheap 7 points package that is high DEF (15+) and can churn out 2 boosted to hit and wound POW12 shots each round.

And now to the nice stuff, i.e. the ones Christian painted. He ‘only’ painted two models, but one of them was rather big.

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 Tada! The Prime Axiom! This is the Convergence Colossal and it is the bee’s knees. It rocks a Spike Launcher that can fire up to 6 shots per turn to thin out enemy infantry or kill enemy solos. On its shoulders, it has two harpoon guns that do an automatic point of damage if they hit, but more importantly also drag the target into melee range, then letting the Axiom take a swing with one of his Drill Vice. This is excellent news, as other Colossals are limited to either their melee or shooting attacks each activation. The Axiom however can start with his Accelespiker, then shoot harpoon one, drag somebody in and wallop it, then fire harpoon two (if necessary into the same model), drag and hit again, then spend any remaining focus to buy more attacks with the claws that also automatically hit once the first one has hit. Needless to say, very few things survive being dragged in and hit with such weaponry, but it is possible to work around the drag ability, for example by making sure there is a wall or other model in the way, as models cannot be dragged through others.

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And the final model for my army: the Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex. It is a 1-point solo that can be used as an Arc Node if it is within 6″ of a Vector and in the Control Zone of the Warcaster, thus giving you greater flexibility as to where you are going to cast your spells.

I also had two games of Warmachine this week against Khador, rocking my Stryker list against the Butcher Unleashed as promised and then playing Haley versus Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova, Khador’s resident arcane researcher/spellcaster Warcaster. To make a long story short, I lost both games.

Against the Butcher, I tried to keep out of his range and lay waste to the rest of his army, which I managed to do to some extent, but this meant that he could use the Butcher to dominate the control zone and thus threaten to win the scenario rather quickly. So I was forced to take more risk and try to slay him, but could not remove the last two interfering models, so I had to try to deal more damage to him whilst also whittling down his forces some more. Sadly, this left me exactly within his range and he moved up, cut a swathe through my models with Flashing Blade, letting him attack every model in reach for one measly Focus, then he pulled up Stryker with Impeding Doom and activated his feat for 6 extra Focus, which bought him 6 more attacks at POW16 with 3d6. Yup, Stryker did not make it. I did learn a lot from that game, such as being less defensive, even against a model like the Butcher, as I could have easily taken him out the turn before if I had been more aggressive the first three turns of the game. Also, it gave me a good example on how to run Alexia Ciannor and the Risen, as Geoffrey gave a master class on how to use her to tie up most of my army with annoying Risen. Even though I managed to take her out in turn 2, by then she had done the damage and I had to wade through skeletons instead of being able to use my Forge Guard to smash the enemy Warjack to the ground or try to put pressure on the Butcher, as even he has to worry about POW11 weapon masters.

The second game was cut a bit short as I had to pack up to go to work, so I took an unnecessary risk to kill the enemy early on when I saw what time it was. If I had had more time, I could have tried to play it safe. However, I managed to pull off a few nice tricks that game with my Storm Lances. They ended up being engaged by Kayazy Assassins with an Underboss, who boosts their DEF in melee to 16, making them very difficult to hit for MAT 7 knights. However, they just shrugged and started hitting each other with their lances, as they could not really hurt each other, but each lance hit generates an automatic Electro Leap into the nearest model, so by enthusiastically hitting each other, the Knights managed to kill all the Assassins by the end of the combat, whilst taking only one casualty in return. If I had had more time, that unit could then have tried to turn his flank, riding behind his two jacks to start wailing on Zerkova.

But oh well, lessons were learned and I am eager for another go next week.

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Weekly update: For coin and country

Welcome everyone to another fabulous episode of ‘What I did this week and what we should all learn from it´. Or something like that.

As a matter of fact, this week was a rather quiet week, as I was slightly under the weather and as such had some trouble getting motivated to do a lot of painting or gaming. I did manage to do a bit of gaming-related reading this week, reading the rulebook for Hordes, the sister game of Warmachine (which is why they are often collectively referred to as WarmaHordes). It was rather interesting as I have played most of my games so far against Trollbloods, who are a Hordes faction and thus behave slightly differently compared to Warmachine armies. The rules are not colossally different, in fact warbeasts differ only slightly from warjacks in so far as they generate their own fury and do not rely on the caster’s, but with the caveat that should they generate more fury than their caster can handle, they might go berserk and end up pummelling one guy right in front of them instead of a target further away or otherwise misbehave. Warlocks are also slightly different from warcasters, as they, as mentioned above, leech fury instead of automatically gaining focus, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. They also lose the bonus to ARM for unspent focus and instead can redirect damage they take to their beasts, but only if they still have a fury point and the beast can still get a fury point (they have a cap of how much fury they can have). This is a double-edged sword, as it makes them more resistant to high POW assassinations where a flat ARM bonus might help less, but on the other hand it can mean that you will be easy to kill if your beasts are all on full fury or if you have no fury left. In addition, as damage is first done to you, so POW of the strike+dice- warlock’s ARM, then redirected to the warbeast, the warbeast will often take more damage that way as if it were hit directly (where it would use its own, normally higher ARM value instead of the warlock’s weaker one). As a Warmachine player, I had the tendency to think all Hordes armies were more powerful because of how much fury they can generate, but now I feel less intimidated by them, having read the rules in all details.

I also picked up a copy of the Forces of Cryx and Forces of Menoth books, so I am currently working my way through those books to learn more about those two armies. I already have all their cards on War Room, but the paper versions have much more background information and I like reading that too. In fact, I think that this dual system is a great way to satisfy all your customers. The people who are purely interested in gaming and rules only need the cheap cards or War Room, whereas people who also wish to find out more about their army’s background can buy the more expensive books. Furthermore, they even give you the choice between hardcover and soft cover books. Nudge, nudge, GW.

Finally, I went to the SaarCon convention in Saarbrücken (or rather a forest in the vicinity of Saarbruücken as it turned out, where do you people put your universities?) to see the WarmaHordes tournament there and introduce my wife to the wonderous world of gaming. She was a bit worried about the cosplayers running around with gigantic swords, but we explained it to her and now she knows not to talk to them directly, as they are shy creatures that will bolt if spoken to by a woman. The tournament was quite a success for the Trier scene, as Geoffrey made first place with his Khador army (including the Butcher Unleashed, the deadliest caster in the game. Basically, get within 20” of him and you’re dead) and Christian made second place. Maybe our training games helped him. He had one match against eHaley where it definitely paid off. I had also wanted to go there, but I had thought that they had 32 open places and that there was no rush to pre-register. Unfortunately, they only had 18 seats (16, but some people took some time to wire their money, so they ended up with 18 paying players) so I could not register. Of course, 4 people did not turn up, so there were only 14 players in the end. Next time, victory shall be mine. Probably not, but I am going to work on it.

Nevertheless, I did at least some painting, proceeding with my painting schedule of one unit and a character per week. Actually, I managed two characters this week, but I took no pictures as it turns out. I managed to paint Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios, the first version of Eiryss, Angel of the Retribution. She is, as the name suggests, a mage hunter, so she specialises in sneaking up on enemy casters, then shooting them to strip them of their remaining focus and stop them from regaining their focus next turn, so she is great when it comes to setting up an assassination. The jury is still out whether Eiryss1 or 2 are better, the second version having better weapons on the whole, but not having the rule that stops warcasters from regaining focus next round. So it depends on how you wish to approach your assassination runs. I also painted Captain Maxwell Finn, Cygnar’s answer to Rambo. He is a Trencher, so he has all the usual Trencher rules like Dig In, Smoke Bombs and Advance Deployment, but more importantly he gives a bonus to hit to all Trenchers who can see him (including Captain Jonas Murdoch, the ranking officer who can join Mercenary units to make them Cygnaran) and also has a special action that gives +2 movement to a Trencher unit (such as the Mercenary unit joined by Captain Jonas Murdoch). He totes a chain gun and is quite handy with a knife, but he is mostly there to let Mercs move faster. And which Mercenaries might benefit the most from a movement bonus? The ones with the shortest legs of course. Which brings us to the unit I painted this week, my Horgenhold Forge Guard. I wanted a break from painting all that blue, so I painted them mostly dark grey, on account of them being Dwarves, then shading it with a generous helping of Drakenhof Nightshade to create a blueish grey effect.

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Don’t they have the most adorable little backpacks?

  That´s it for this week. Or rather last week, as all of this happened last week. This week, I am working on a unit of Press Gangers, privateer mercenaries that will join my Caine list and provide him with even more cheap and tough bodies to hide behind. I also intend to paint Lieutenant Allison Jakes, Cygnar’s named Journeyman Warcaster, and maybe take her for a spin on Thursday, when I am going to face Geoffrey’s tournament winning list and try not to get my behind handed to me too much. Wish me luck.

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Weekly update: Nommern and Warmachine

This week, I am going to talk about my games over the last two weeks, as well as the painting I got done this week.

 

First of all, we had the fifth semi-annual version of Make War Not Love and it was great as usual. I had to supervise an exam in the morning, so I could only make it there on Saturday afternoon, but I never the less managed to get three games in on Saturday and another two on Sunday. There were less people there than the previous times, mostly because only one person wanted to play Warhammer and thus decided to go somewhere else in the end. It seems that the number of Warhammer players is still steadily dropping around here. There is another gaming group in Luxembourg where the game seems to be going through a renaissance right now, but none of the people in Nommern felt motivated to dust off their fantasy armies. Maybe End Times or a 9th Edition can breathe new life into the game, but right now I am personally at a loss about whether I will continue to play Warhammer. I have just discovered two sealed boxes of Dark Elves that have been gathering dust since last October’s release of the codex, as well as a pile of unpainted Vampire Counts models, which is saying something as these are the armies I still actually play or would if I could muster the enthusiasm. There were also no Tau armies, despite Tau having been the most popular army the last four times.

But enough nay-saying for the moment because I did manage to play some 40k and it was an eye-opening experience. I played one game with my Nurgle army and it was a good game where we both ended up with a Sorcerer with Invisibility and even had the two units face off against each other. Luckily for me, I had managed to kill the opposing Aspiring Champion in the first round of combat, so in round two my Nurgle Lord could punch the opposing Sorcerer with his fist and thus achieve psychical superiority. From that moment onwards, I could dominate the psychic phase and a unit of invisible Nurgle Bikers is impossible for most armies to deal with. After the game, I spent some time with Patrick, my opponent, to give him advice on how to improve the general performance of his army.

The other four games were with my Dark Eldar and they rocked. I ran the list without Incubi that I talked about in the last article, so two units of Grotesques from the Grotesquerie formation, 6 Venoms and 5 Raiders as well as 3 Ravagers. I actually had very low expectations as I felt that Dark Eldar could not keep up with some of the armies I faced, but they did very well and won all 4 games. It was good for me that there seemed to be an agreement to run only Maelstrom missions, so there were no kill points to worry about. The way the games went, I would spend the first couple of turns manoeuvring in the middle of the battlefield to avoid too much return fire, then swoop in to grab multiple objectives per turn. More importantly, every time I drew the cards asking me to hold multiple objectives or have 3 units in the enemy deployment zone for d3 points or even all of the objectives for d3+3 points, I managed to score those easily with a bit of calculating and moving flat out. Those points enabled me to outscore most armies, even if half my army ended up dying in their paper planes. One game was actually a negative play experience for me and my opponent, as he was running an Unbound Necron army that brought a ton of Destroyers, Wraiths including the T5 Forgeworld version, as well as a Tomb Stalker monstrous walker. He had four shooting units (Destroyers and Heavy Destroyers) and the rest of his army was melee-based. Unfortunately for him, I got first turn and was able to drop his shooty units first turn, then would have been able to wreck his T4 and T5 units more or less at will with my mass of blasters and lances, so we called it quits there and then. It was a shame as his army looked very cool, but the match-up was extremely lopsided and the fact that I could have reversed in turn 2 and 3 to prevent him from charging before turn 4 and able to fire at him without receiving return fire would have made it unfun for either of us. The other games were against a Thunderwolf-heavy Space Wolves army, a Tyranid force with a Malanthrope and 3 Flying Monstrous Creatures and a Ravenwing/Deathwing army.

This got me thinking: Was I completely wrong with my assessment of the Dark Eldar? Did the mission favour me over other armies? Was it blind luck? Or was it due to the fact that I didn’t face Tau or Eldar?

I also played four games of Warmachine over the last two weeks, helping Chris prepare for Saarcon, an event in Saarbrücken next weekend. I will not be able to play as I missed the registration deadline. I had actually believed it would be a 32-people event, but there were only 18 places (I guess they got 18 people who paid for 16 places, so they added a table). Oh well, it might have been a bit early for me. I hope to gain more playing experience this year, then start playing in some events next year.

We went 2-2 in games over all, with one win and one loss each for eStryker and eHaley. The games I lost were both due to my caster being assassinated, whereas I won my games on scenario. The game I lost with Stryker, Chris managed to fail a credible assassination attempt with Grissel on Stryker, hitting him with two of Grissel’s three different shooting attacks to knock him down and drop him to three wounds, but being out of range for the last shooting attack, which was a 8″ spray whereas the other two were 10″ shots. I then used a focus to get back up, charged Grissel with a re-roll from Reinholdt and all seemed to be dandy. At least until Stryker failed four average attack rolls and then didn’t manage to do much with the one hit he scored. I could have tried to move the Lancer, risking two free strikes, then cast Positive Charge on it to get a +2 bonus on the rolls to hit and wound to even the odds in my favour. Oh well, the odds were there, but sometimes the dice don’t want to cooperate. In the game I lost with Haley, I made two mistakes early on: in turn 2, I took a Focus Point from the Squire that I ended up not needing as my Stormwall killed all its opponents with the first few attacks. I also parked the Squire next to Haley that turn instead of behind her, so she was unable to run into a control zone to dominate it for two points, so I only got one for controlling it. As Haley could not have been targeted that turn, I would have received an extra point. These two mistakes meant that I could not have an extra Focus Point from the Squire in turn 5 and needed to empty one control zone to dominate it for the win.  He had three models in that zone and I had a full unit of Gun Mage Pistoleers in there. Unfortunately, the three models had engaged most of my Gun Mages, so they would be unable to fire. The plan was therefore to use Haley’s Telekinesis spell to move all three models out of melee range and closer to the edges of the control zone. Haley has 8 Focus and Telekinesis costs 2, so I could do 2 TKs with boosted attack rolls (Haley needed an 8 to hit them as they were in melee and thus gained +4 DEF) and one without boost. Luckily, the Squire would allow me to re-roll one failed attack roll. Of course, I easily passed the two boosted attack rolls, then failed the unboosted one twice. If I had not used that Focus Point on turn 2, I would have had a third boosted attack roll and thus easily pulled the last Warder out of combat. Then the Gun Mages would have been able to shoot them out of the control zone with their Thunderbolt shots and Haley could have dominated for the win. The way it worked, my Gun Mages shot the two unengaged models out of the zone, then failed miserably to kill the model in melee. Of course, if Haley had dominated in turn 2, I would have won the game in turn 4 already. So not making either of the two mistakes would have won me the game. Lessons to learn.

During the games, I used my new unit of Stormlances (see below for pictures). And they rocked. On the charge, they have a MAT of 9 (or higher with Positive Charge or Alain Runewood’s battle plans) and hit like a truck with their lances being POW 15 on the charge (or 17 under Positive Charge). They also have a POW 10 attack from their horse and can fire their lances on the charge with their Assault order for POW 12. In addition, the lance attack and shot both have the Electro-Leap rule, so they generate a POW 10 hit on the nearest model if they hit the initial model. Against Meat Mountain, they were strong, but had their work cut out for them as this army routinely has ARM 20 and better. I can’t wait to see how they do against opponents that have more average ARM values, where each one of them can easily kill 2-4 models per turn, moreso under Stryker’s feat where they can get more attacks and thereby more electro leaps. But even against a poor match-up like Meat Mountain, they admirably held their flank with ARM 20 with Arcane Shield and 5 wounds each. They also have an impressive threat range, being able to charge targets that are 13 inches away or even shooting someone who was 19″ away at the start of their activation. Finally, people don’t expect Cygnar to punch them in melee, so it is always nice to have a surprise unit. I look forward to more games with them.

 

On the painting front, I managed to paint a Cygnaran Warcaster I inherited from my brother this spring and the Stormlance unit. In fact, I have made a painting list and hope to be able to keep up the pace, painting a character and a unit each week for the next couple of weeks until my Cygnar army is fully painted. Right now, I still have the Horgenhold Forge Guard (10 dwarves), the Sword Knights (12 guys including command) and the Pressgangers (10 pirates) to paint, as well as Eiryss1 (elvish solo) and Lt. Allister Caine (warcaster) to do. This should keep me busy until December and then I would like to get started on my three Drop Pods for my Blood Angels, as they should be getting a new codex soon and I really love Drop Podding some Death Company and Veterans right now.

imageimageCommander Coleman Stryker: The man before he became the legend.

Commander Coleman Stryker is the original version of Coleman Stryker and the caster included in the Cygnar battle box. He is not the melee beatstick that Lord Commander Stryker is, but makes up for that with a plethora of support spells and a great support feat. In fact, his feat, aptly named Invincibility, gives all your models in his control zone a cool +5 bonus to ARM, making your Warjacks as tough or tougher than Khadoran warjacks for a round and giving your Storm Knights (be they Stormblade Infantry or Storm Lances) or Horgenhold mercenaries an equally insane ARM value. I really hate playing against Mean Meat Mountain, so maybe it is time to get even and bring my own ARM24 and higher units to give them a taste of their own medicine. His spell list includes Snipe to add 4″ to a unit’s ranged attacks, thus giving Stormlances a 23″ threat range on their guns or letting Gun Mage Pistoleers use their other special shots at targets that were 20″ away from their starting point. Blur gives a DEF bonus against shooting and magic that raises light Warjacks to DEF16 which is almost impossible to hit for most unboosted shots. Gun Mages go to DEF 18, but who really bothers shooting them as it is nigh impossible to start with. Earthquake lets him knock down everything under a 5″ AOE, which is perfect to assassinate enemy casters or open line of sight to them. Finally, he has Arcane Shield, just like the Journeyman Warcaster does. And this is amazing and one of the main reasons to run him over his epic version. As you should still run a Journeyman because they are mandatory in Cygnar armies, you can drop two Arcane Shields per turn and thus avoid having to choose which unit gets it. Very often, a canny opponent can try to avoid the shielded unit and go after an unshielded unit, thereby rendering it less useful. However, with two instances of the spell, two ‘jacks or units can benefit from it and the opponent loses the option of hammering the weaker-armoured target.

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Stormlances: Cygnar’s heavy cavalry. Of course they are immune to electricity.

 The Stormlances have featured in my games over the last two weeks, so I have sung their praises above already. They simply give Cygnar that melee hammer that its armies often lack, whilst still having a decent ranged output. If necessary, they can actually ride up to high DEF units, then hit each other in the face (their DEF is quite low, so they hit each other on 5s) to arc electro-leaps to hit the more agile models around them automatically. As their ARM should be 20 under Arcane Shield, there is little risk that they kill each other, but they can electrocute the guys around them (very few DEF15+ units have ARM above 12-13, so their POW10 lightnings will be murder). Under eStryker, they also benefit from Rebuke, as it prevents the target from receiving a charge order (unless it is a solo, warbeast or warjack) and thus the charge bonus to damage rolls.

 

 

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