Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Warmachine Battle Report: Durgen Madhammer vs. Vice Scrutator Vindictus

Another night, another Colossal dropped in my face. Well, to be fair, my friend and I traded lists and played chicken before we pulled out our models. I was showing pKreoss and Vindictus. He was showing Durgan and Damiano. I figured if he dropped Durgan and the Earthbreaker, I might have a rough time with my Kreoss assassination list. If I had thought for a minute about the massive amount of Knockdown flying out of that list, I might have selected Kreoss because he had the Book with him. As it was, I went with my Missionaries of War, Tier Four Vindictus theme.

This game followed directly after my run in with Stryker3, so we kept the scenario on the table: Two Fronts. Time was going to be an issue and we both wanted more practice on the clock, so I pulled out my chess clock and allocated an hour to each of us.

I have a +1 on my initiative roll because of the theme force, won the roll, and selected second player and the same side I had just played. I did not want that Earthbreaker anywhere near the only spot of elevation on the table. I listen to podcasts, I know how badly that can go.

Here are the lists:

Durgen Madhammer – Rhulic Mercenary Warcaster
 - Earthbreaker
Harlan Versh
Herne and Jonne
Nyss max
Pressgangers x2 max
Rock bottom

Vice Scrutator Vindictus
- Reckoner
- Reckoner
- Reckoner
Choir of Menoth (4)
Holy Zealots (10) + Monolith Bearer
Exemplar Errants (10) + UA
Exemplar Errants (10) + UA


The Earthbreaker was predeployed right down the center. Two waves of pirates littered the center of the board. Harlan took one flank, Herne and Jonne took the other, and the backfield was littered with solos. I clumped my Zealots centrally with the Choir in back. The Reckoners advance deployed to the center, flanked by a unit of Errants on each side. Each unit had a Reclaimer tucked up behind it. Overall I was looking at a symmetrical deployment. Also … it is a lot of bodies to cram into my AD zone.


The lead Pirates get Primed and everything runs forward, spaced out like a player who knows how to minimize incidental casualties from three inch AOEs. Harlan moves forward enough that I think I can Assault him, even with stealth. The Earthbreaker Redlines forward and stops near the back edges of the zones.


Vindictus allocates 1 focus to each jack, casts Defender's Ward on the unit of Errants on the opposite side of the field from Harlan (as in no where near his crazy gun). Then he casts Sacrificial Lamb, advances and feats. The choir advances and puts Passage on the jacks. The right flank of errants deploy in what essentially looks like a line of dudes cheering on a marathon runner as he lumbers by. The right Reckoner then attempts to Assault Harlan and comes up waaaaay short. I was doing my initial thoughts on the turn while seated (and failed to judge the distance properly). However, it does spook Harlan. The Zealots pray no spells and run forward, staying within the feat range. The other Errants advance. And the other two Reckoners take shots at Pirates. Between both units of Errants and the two useful Reckoners, they kill a couple Nyss and a handful of pirates. A bunch of pirates make their tough checks and are knocked down. The Reclaimers tuck in behind.


With the Menites under feat protection, the Mercs spend this turn standing up, pushing in and jostling for position. Herne and Jonne come around the side of the burning house and gain the back edge of the zone. Harlan runs back to the fence for safety.


Well, the feat did what I needed it to do. It bought me a little more time to gain position and not have my ranks thinned by incredibly dangerous Primed pirates. I have fought against waves of Primed models before and I know I cannot let them get to me en masse or I am going to have a very bad day.

Vindictus upkeeps Defender's Ward and allocates a focus to each jack. Vindictus doesn't need to get any closer, so he casts Sacrificial Lamb and backs up. So far I have not needed True Path. The Pirates came to me and the layout of the scenario means the edges of the zones are close. I spend the turn trying to scalpel out Pirates without leaving too many of my troops dead. Most of the Errants on the right miss their ranged attacks because Nyss are tough to hit. A few die. The front unit of Pirates take a lot of heavy fire and when the smoke clears they are nearly wiped out. That's ok, because there is a second unit right behind them. A few of those guys get shot too.

The Zealots pray no spells, mini-feat, and run into the middle to jam. A few stay close to Vindictus for protection.


This was the feat turn for Durgen. That means good luck for me getting decent charges next turn (with my jacks). The Earthbreaker lobs a bunch of knockdown and some killing shots. The Nyss hammer on the Reckoner. Herne and Jonne launch a ton of deviating AOE's. Harlan tries to take some shots and loses his streak after the first. The second wave of Pirates get Primed and they hammer on one of the Reckoners. The Zealots cause a bunch of issues by gumming up the works in that beautifully frustrating way that they do. When the smoke clears, each of the Errant units are down a number of warriors and those souls have been shovelled off to the Reclaimers. A couple of the Reckoners are starting to get a bit creaky. One has a broken mace and the Reckoner on the far flank has seen better days. I think there was a triple six somewhere in there on a damage roll that really hurt.


The only only enemy models contesting the zones are Herne or Jonne (whichever one has the big gun), and some Nyss. Vindictus has a small control area, so Priority is not going to come into play. However, I see an opportunity to score multiple points. Vindictus upkeeps Defender's Ward and allocates a couple to one of the nearby Reckoners. The Choir activates and puts Passage on the jacks. I had waffled on opening up a charge or trample lane to Herne or Jonne, but instead I settled for staying the course and killing models. The center Reckoner had three primed Pirates right in its grill. I spent some time in the tank trying to figure out how to spring the Reckoner by only detonating the middle one. I settle for declaring a charge run with the left flank of Errants. They murder the remaining two Pirates from the first wave, Herne or Jonne (the big gun), and one of the other Primed Pirates. The explosion only kills the middle one, but that leaves one more Pirate jamming the Reckoners. One activates and hammers the Pirate which explodes and breaks his gun. The other Reckoner shoots at the enemy objective doing less damage than I would have liked. And that was after getting loaded up by a Reclaimer.

Vindictus activates and runs through the forest into the now cleared left zone. The other Errants start rolling sevens and eights like they are being handed out on street corners. The Nyss start dropping and suddenly the right zone is also clear. The Reclaimer on that side moves into the zone to control. Then the Zelots activate and declare a charge run. Three Zealots charge the Objective and the rest run. Two of them run out of formation and chase after Vindictus. One of them does an end around the forest and one pushes most of the way straight through. They made their command checks. The three who made charges on the Objective bring it down with charge damage rolls. Menoth dominates the Friendly Zone, controls the Enemy Zone, and eliminates the Enemy Objective. Three points!



The pressure is on now, and my friend remarks that he is staring at losing on scenario again. I am looking at the seven minutes on his clock and just over three minutes on my clock and wondering what the heck I am going to do for my last two points. Gorman tosses some corrosion to clear out the hero Zealots who defeated the auto-hit in melee Objective. Fun fact, he accidentally bounces corrosion on to the Earthbreaker.

The remains of the Nyss finish off the Reckoner although one of them dies to the Soul Storm whipping around the Reclaimer. Harlan moves into the edge of the zone as well and starts popping Errants, trying to reach the Reclaimer. An Errant dies, gets self-sacced thinking I can keep the Reclaimer out of LOS, but Harlan doesn't care and gets a shot on the Reclaimer anyway. Fortunately it misses. The Earthbreaker moves into the right zone, so getting points out of that is going to be impossible. The Earthbreaker fixes the Reclaimer issue in a permanent way.

On the other side, a pile of solos run into the left zone. The other half of Herne and Jonne, First Mate Hawk, and the Doogs. A couple Errants get scalpelled out. Durgen follows the Earthbreaker and my opponent passes turn. He has about two minutes left on his clock.



Time is of the essence. I throw some focus at one Reckoner, I activate the Choir and Battle. The Reclaimer dumps focus on the other Reckoner. The Reckoner with the working mace tramples towards the back of the zone, squishing the last Pirate on the way. He kills off the Doogs when he arrives. The Reckoner with the working gun Assaults Gorman and snuffs his candle. The right side of the board guns down Harlan. The Zealots activate and run. I move the Monolith Bearer first and cross the field. The two zealots out of formation move towards the Monolith Bearer but stop off near Vindictus. The Errants on the left cut down all of the remaining solos contesting the zone. Menoth dominates for 1. There are 51 seconds left on my clock.



Lord Rock Bottom moves to contest. The Earthbreaker runs across the field towards the left zone but can't get in. From the picture I am reminded that a mechanic has been hanging out behind the Earthbreaker all game fixing all the scratches and Redline damage. Reinholdt and Durgan remain in the right zone. My opponent passes turn with over a minute left on his clock.



Fifty-one seconds. Drop DW, No allocations, Advance the Errants. I spend about 15 seconds dinking around looking at the EarthBreaker and its melee range. I get four guys on Rock Bottom. Clock is at about 15. Roll to hit. Hit. Roll Damage. Tough Check. Rock Bottom dies. Activate Vindictus and end turn. Dominating for 1. BEEEEEEEEP. Apparently I had about two second left when I finished my turn. Whew.



Thoughts about the match:

Whew. That was tight. We wasted a bunch of time here and there. I should remember how precious each of those seconds can be at the end. I did almost nothing on my final turn and it still took me forty-nine seconds to finish. This is not the first time I have faced the Earthbreaker. My strategy is to avoid it, if I can. God help me if someone drops two on me. Or the dreaded three Earthbreaker list? Good night. I think it might be the best Colossal in the game.

I have the benefit of having played this list a ton this year. I played sixteen games with this list at TempleCon (although using a second Reclaimer vs. a Seneschal is new). And I have played it more since. I love Vindictus. This game came down to recognizing the importance of chewing through the Primed models as quickly as possible and doing everything I could to prevent them from jamming me. I should have staggered my models more. Once again the Zealots come through with amazing jamming. And it sure feels good to score some control points.

Thanks for reading!

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