[WM/H] Hardcore Cryx After-Action Report!

That sounds even less like something you’d actually want to read.  Perhaps the secret to my lack of success has been discovered…

So, the peanut gallery spoke and I took Mortenebra down to Chimera in Brierley Hill for a bash around.  Before we start, can I just say that Chimera’s rather a lovely little venue?  It’s in a repurposed old-fashioned pub, and the Hardcore tournament was played in the old lounge bar, lending everything a snug, well-matured and gentlemanly air, fresh with the delicate scent of tea and the sounds of endless, ceaseless, merciless Jimmy-baiting.

Anyway.  Event report.  Read on.

Continue reading “[WM/H] Hardcore Cryx After-Action Report!”

[WM/H] Hardcore Cryx Action!

In the past I may have been heard saying good things about Warmachine’s Hardcore format, in a sort of detached, intellectual kind of way, with ref: different goals for different playstyles and a prize for each, no conflated ‘best overall’ nonsense, sportsmanship as a prerequisite rather than something that needs extra gameable systems to police.

What I haven’t mentioned is how much bloody fun it is.

The five minute turn limit means the analysis paralysis that normally grips me can’t be allowed to set in – it’s keep going forward, don’t get killed, make a mistake and live with it.  Not having any time to umm and aah about things or regret errors of judgement is remarkably liberating, and I’d be really looking forward to Sunday’s 50 pointer down at Chimera, which I haven’t found time to visit just yet, were it not for one small thing: the lists I was thinking about taking are rubbish.

Continue reading “[WM/H] Hardcore Cryx Action!”

[WM/H] Live And Let Fly, Games III and IV


Evidently the Darklords were beginning to conglomerate – or even congeal – around the middle tables at this juncture, as I drew my second clubmate in a row – John Stanford.  I had no idea that Mr. Stanford would be running the Protectorate (they’re not even his Menoths!), but I have lots of experience against the Protectorate… shouldn’t be too hard… right?

Continue reading “[WM/H] Live And Let Fly, Games III and IV”

[WM/H] Live And Let Fly, Game II

Game two saw me drawn against Tim ‘Flash’ Martin, who I know from the Dudley Darklords but who I had yet to have the pleasure of facing. He was rolling with Circle, so I was naturally eager to see what sort of stuff made my Hordes faction of choice tick at 25 points (since I’m fairly sure that Epic Kaya and two heavies ain’t it).

Continue reading “[WM/H] Live And Let Fly, Game II”

[WM/H] Live And Let Fly, Game I

So, with that bout of the emoes over: on to the nerdy stuff!

My first game was against Alun Davies, a Welshman who fears not the unknown, nor the unholy, nor the after-effects of overusing the word “cracking”.  Alun fielded Grand Exemplar Kreoss (okay, I have lots of experience blowing him up) with a lot of Exemplars – an awful lot.  Full unit of Errants (spellproof! argh!) plus the Errant Seneschal, full unit of Bastions (argh!), and the good old Knights.  Like me, he’d counted his ‘jack points and spent them on one ‘jack; a Crusader for Kreoss to hide behind.  I was running “the bent Deneghra list” (rejigged slightly to include the full unit of Mechanithralls) and promptly began swarming forward.

Continue reading “[WM/H] Live And Let Fly, Game I”

[WM/H] Live And Let Fly: List Building

I’m off to Ross in a few weeks’ time for a charity tournament at which I’d been intending to give the Circle their first outing.  However, the second bout of learning games (against Stu’s Dwarfs, again, and then against Nik ‘Largi’ Topham’s Trollblood swarm) made it pretty clear to me that my collection isn’t best suited to 25 point games.  I tend to see opposing lists with either two or three units, which do well owing to the economies of scale that appear in spellcasting on units, and their ability to spread out and create layers of threat range, ensuring that they can grab huge tracts of land in scenario play.  The current list doesn’t have enough bodies to spread out and take areas being held by those sorts of numbers and or enough attacks on a wide enough frontage to clear them – not enough boys or toys.  I’m sure I could put together a Circle list that can deal with or do that at 25 points but I’m not sure I can do it with the Circle models I own.

Continue reading “[WM/H] Live And Let Fly: List Building”

[WM/H]: List Build Review and Tournament Pimpin'

Like the mug I am, I’ve agreed to act as ringer, lead sandbag crafter, dark lord of fantasy forestry and general odd-job bloke for a little thing at Dice and Decks which we like to call From Khador With Love,

If we have an odd number of attendees, one lucky personage each round will be facing a Cryx list piloted by my bad self.

This source of easy tournament points and disappointing bottom-of-turn-two auto-wins because I keep forgetting about the scenario may or may not bear superficial resemblances to the following, which I’ve thrown together on the fly in support of an entirely incidental sidequest.

You see, I want to beat Russ’ Trolls.  It’s becoming something of a point of honour, to the point where I’ve engineered a list designed to circumvent not so much what his Trolls do, but what those similar lists that so frustrate me do, viz. grab scenario control areas with so many buffed-up infantry that I can’t shift them all.  Since it’ll be rolling out in three weeks, I figure I’d best start ironing the kinks out of it now.

Army: Through The Ringer
Type: Skirmish (1 caster, 25pts)
Points: 25

Iron Lich Asphyxious (*6pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)

Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
* 2 Brute Thrall (2pts)
Soulhunters (Leader and 2 Grunts) (6pts)

Darragh Wrathe (4pts)

In essence, my plan is to bypass the quagmire of infantry which so frequently operates as a deterrent, and go for the jugular.  The Helldivers and Soulhunters all have the ability to somehow past whatever nuisances the opponent presents me with, and then eliminate the key support pieces that deter me from massacring the enemy infantry, or rush a vulnerable ‘caster type if that’s an option.

I’ll have to read up on exactly how abilities like Gatekeeper or whatever the High Reclaimer does with his souls work, but if they suffer the same ‘closest eligible model gets the soul’ check as most of my abilities go, I can bagsie those errant spirits with Soulhunter melee attacks.  In the category of options presented, we also have the capacity to chuck out a whole mess of Hellfire and/or Breath of Corruption, thanks to Wrathe, the Skarlock, and Asphyxious’ excellent feat plus two arc nodes.  The feat can pull double duty by potentially killing some more enemy dudes via Parasite (although that could blow up in my face if it’s Menoth or Skorne on the other side and they want me to kill their dudes by the double handful)

How do the Mechanithralls fit in?  They screen Asphyxious.  They go off hunting a big enemy model and they hit it until it dies.  If the opportunity emerges they rush the scenario control zone first and take bullets or deterrents on behalf of the stuff that I’m actually expecting to do something with.

I think it’s a workable plan against those chaff-mad builds that have been giving me such hives of late.  The other option, of course, is to attempt a joining of what I can’t beat; if it’s snarling up the scenario zones with swarms they want, it’s snarling up the scenario zones they’ll get.  I’m just not quite sure I can manage the layers of buffs that that requires with the collection I have available…

[WM/H] A Grand Day Out

I return from the field of war(machine) with a veritable horde hoard of wisdom to dollop before the eyes of my lovely readers and subject to their most insightful of scrutinies… I have also had slightly too much coffee and slightly too little food today, which might explain where the hell that last sentence came from.

Today I played one Steamroller 2011 game with my Skorne, and two with my Cryx.  I have made a great many discoveries:

  • My Skorne list, while very good at pasting lists similar to itself (low model count, focus on multiple wounds), has real problems with crowd control, and with those scenarios that involve bum-rushing a box in the middle of the board; against Russ the Clockwork Goblin and the beautiful Trolls, there was simply too much going on in the control zone for the Arcuarii to handle (and it certainly didn’t help that the huge unit of Fennblades had both Vengeance and a bucket of buffs quite sufficient to rip a Cataphract’s face off).  Incidentally, Russ is easily the most broken thing in Warmachine right now.  It’s bad enough that he paints like an angry god and can turn those jobs around inside a timeframe that mortals can comprehend, but flat-out outplaying most of us is just adding insult to injury.  It’s a good job he’s such a nice chap, and so inclined to give tutorials in being awesome, or otherwise I might be rather hurt.
  • The Revenant Crew are much better than I’d been giving them credit for.  While it’s true that they can’t hit the broad side of a barn with their pistols, and while I didn’t actually get to see what Gang and Point Blank can do, they’re a lot harder to get rid of than I’d been thinking, owing to the instantaneous nature of Field Promotion.  While losing your Quartermaster is a blow if you’ve already lost a few Revenants, the ease with which they can pick up extra models thanks to the Cannon Crew or Rengrave means it’s not a total dead loss either.  I now feel obliged to expand my Cryx in a sort of piratical direction…
  • I am still as likely to defeat myself by not taking note of the scenario’s limitations as ever; my third game, which could have been a tense cat-out-of-the-bag job, was a bottom-of-turn-three defeat because I made the fatal mistake of moving Skarre out of the Kill Box.
  • Second lists serve much more purpose than I had hitherto thought; a fragile support caster with an assassination focus list, built on the ‘more activations means more mistakes’ principle of moose-prevention, is going to fail badly at land-grabs. I really need to build another, more resilient Skorne list that doesn’t have the Morghoul tier’s issues with crowd control, and it’s probably going to involve different units as well as a ‘caster change. Same with the Cryx, really; I do have some slightly more spread-out-and-contest lists, but they’re not especially tough.
  • Investing time, money and effort into terrain, expanding the Cryx collection, and buying a damn camera is probably a better call than investing in eighth edition WFB (watching a few games over the last few weeks, and reading up on The Warhammer Forum, has convinced me that eighth, while not unworthy of investigation, is something of a risky investment, especially given that it’s always going to be a stretch to get a starter force ready without making significant expenditures).
  • Cryx-Cryx mirror matches are still chod.  Not that my opponent Chris was anything other than charming throughout, you realise – just that many of my Cryx lists don’t tick properly when faced with the attack vectors, lack of soul tokens and high DEF of Cryxian adversaries.

So, I’m going to be buying a digital camera, using the funds freed up from selling RP books and Tyranids and Dark Elves on More Better Cryx (since they are definitely my favourite and best-looking army, and Warmachine definitely ‘my’ game), and thinking hard about things to do with Skorne that don’t require too much more red primer, since I’m running a bit short.  I’ve also been VERY impressed with the Evesham club’s terrain, especially their balsa wood buildings for Legends of the Old West; I’m feeling up to doing some more work on the murky swamp board of doom afore long.

[WM/H] The Lost Weekend

This weekend, I shall be taking a little trip to Evesham (wherever that is) to play some Hordes and/or Warmachine against some new people (whatever those are).  If someone with a camera comes along, there may be pictures; if not, I’ll at least try to take some decent notes.

I’ll be field testing a new version of that Epic Skarre list I posted about a while back:

Army: eSkarre Shooty Solo Spam @25
Type: Skirmish (1 caster, 25pts)
Points: 25Skarre, Queen of the Broken Coast (*6pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Reaper (7pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)

Revenant Crew (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)

Bloat Thrall (2pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)

and maybe giving the Big Game Hunters a run against some new opponents:

Army: Big Game Hunters 25
Type: Skirmish (1 caster, 25pts)
Points: 25

Master Tormentor Morghoul (*7pts)
* Cyclopse Savage (5pts)
* Cyclopse Savage (5pts)
* Titan Gladiator (8pts)

Cataphract Arcuarii (Leader and 3 Grunts) (6pts)
Cataphract Arcuarii (Leader and 3 Grunts) (6pts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)

One way or another, I’ll let you know how I get on.

[WM/H] Fear and Loathing at the FQD 3: A Welshman Fears Not The Unknown

Six minute timed turns and five rounds in a day mean no time for pictures even if I did have a decent camera.  I can’t even copy and paste anyone else’s to Photobucket because library computers don’t let me use right-click menus.  FAIL.

Game the first, without so much as a cup of tea inside me, was against a nice chap called Rich who’d brought Magnus the Traitor, a couple of ‘jacks and Boomhowler’s merry troll minions.  He’d also not played much Warmachine before, and if I’d known that before I chose which list to use I might not have forced epic Deneghra on him.  The scenario proved slightly irrelevant, even with the house rule that control points wouldn’t be counted until the bottom of round two (to stop the move-move-feat-win non-tactic beloved of epic Deneghra fans everywhere, which I actually approve of as it means she gets to use her spell list once in a while).  With his movement locked down on the third turn, and Curse of Shadows allowing movement through Boomhowler’s boys, Rich could do little to stop the Nightmare from closing in and pulling Magnus’ head off.  I didn’t have the range of hitsies necessary to kill everything in the big circle we were fighting over, so it was assassination or nothing.  Took longer than the usual Wraith Witch game, and Rich had a couple of shots at me that didn’t materialise, but I don’t think he had masses of fun and I sort of wish I’d run the Iron Lich list instead.

One cup of tea later and along comes an even nicer chap called Drew who’d played ten games beforehand.  If you’re starting to see a pattern in these early games, well done.  It would later prove to be my downfall.  This time I brought in epic Skarre to face Sorscha, her Widowmakers and two chunky melee ‘jacks.  Drew had me on the rocks here, and he knew it; some excellent target priority on his part saw the Necrosurgeon stripped clean off the board and one of my Pistol Wraiths copped after Death Chilling Beast-09.  However, he’d left Sorscha with no focus and a DEF9 or 10 warjack next to her; dropping a Blood Rain on the ‘jack, boosting the damage on her, and finishing her off with the other Pistol Wraith proved easy enough.  Game of the day for me; Drew was a fine and fun opponent, and I think it was him who sold me… no, we’ll come back to that later.

After hanging around bothering the chaps from Invasion, who’d been good enough to bring their mobile shop down and tolerate my indecisive buying-no-wait-not-buying habits, the draws for the third round were announced and… oh crap.  Former UK number one Martyn Jenkins and his Cryx.  Not to worry, I thought, Martyn’s a nice bloke, I’ve almost beaten him before…

Fool’s words.  Martyn’s damn good.  He’s a past master of formation management and board control, and he’d brought along so many Thralls of various flavours and set them up so cunningly that no AOE or Reach weapon would kill more than maybe two at a time, and the rest would be positioned to pounce me right back.  Given that my Asphyxious army relied on these things to clear crowds, and couldn’t really take a counter-punch, I was onto a wrong ‘un from the start.  When we remembered that Asphyxious’ feat doesn’t damage undead models, that was about all she wrote.  My Satyxis were scared to go near Terminus, I gave away a free strike that crippled my Soulhunters, and Martyn’s adept placement skills gave him the scenario on turn three.  Still, it’s always a pleasure losing to the best, and Martyn’s definitely one of the best; proper gent and I always learn a lot from playing him.

Losing to him trapped me on the middle boards to face up-and-coming ace Aaron (third place in this year’s Nationals… yes, those two relatively easy games were coming back to bite me in the arse now, and the tension was starting to build).  Aaron brought Ashlynn, Gun Mages with a UA and marshalled Mule, a Nomad and Aiyana and Holt.  I had melee pieces with poor DEF and ARM.  It was a bloody mess.  This was my first unsatisfactory game – not because Aaron was anything less than pleasant (he was a bit more intense than is my preference in opposition, but not rudely so – just focused), but because it was such a poor matchup and because I played it so badly.  No spells arced onto the back of my own Thralls to catch Gun Mages in the blast, no Skarre moving up and feating early on (I actually forgot to move her at all on turn one), I forgot Ashy had Admonition up to escape charges (even though Skarre’s got it and I used it in the second game) and her stupid feat made any counter-attack an impossibility.  I might have been able to make good in an untimed game with some thinking room and the chance to observe exactly what was falling on the dice and use Seas of Fate to dodge the feat, but it was not to be.

I confess that I was less than gentlemanly after this round.  I’d had a pint after the game with Martyn – big mistake, I should NEVER drink at tournaments – and I was halfway to the bar before we’d finished shaking hands in this one.  I did apologise, and Aaron was good enough to say he hadn’t noticed anything, it was a bad matchup, had I considered trying this/that/the other, but I still feel a bit guilty.  Good advice though; I definitely agree with him about the list changes that need making.

Final game was against my own colleague Neal, who’d been battering his way up from the bottom tables all day.  He had the High Reclaimer and a LOT of infantry against an Epic Deneghra list designed to kill lots of infantry and assassinate.  It’s the first time in ages that I’ve had a list do exactly what it was designed to do and, in doing so, give away a game.  We were able to pinpoint some obvious mistakes (like choosing to go second – I’m a ninny sometimes), and I could scrape together the insight to suggest things might have been different with a Siren and some better target priority on my part (Curse of Shadows the front stuff, walk through and Purge to clear a route for the Nightmare to kill the Reclaimer before his souls turned into focus, and pick a more sensible Prey so the Nightmare could notch up some more speed), but this was my third bad list pairing of the day and it left something of a bad taste in my mouth.  We might restage this one in an untimed, casual environment and see if we can crack it, or we might not.

As I thought before I went in, my collection isn’t really appropriate for tourney play in this day and age.  Goreshade would have been a solid caster choice, maybe more so than Asphyxious; Sirens and some sort of gun-toting helljack would have come in very handy at least twice.

New toys are going to have to wait, however, as right now I want a break from the Cryx.  The tinfoil armour, limited shooting and dependence on debuffs are starting to weary me a bit, and I have an itch to do a Hordes faction, ideally one that has the damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t gameplay the Menites frustrated me with.

The Beasts from the East are back on.  I play Skorne now.  The Invasion lads sold me a battlebox, Drew (I’m sure it was Drew) sold me a faction book, and I still have that Hexeris model lying around.  They still don’t shoot all that much, but they can take some punches as well as dish them out and they don’t seem to have the embarrassingly one-pip-shy statlines Cryx troops are often burdened with.  Only problem is it’s more red and bronze and that’s what I’ve done on the Dark Elves.  We’ll see how it works out.