Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Warmachine Battle Report: High Exemplar Kreoss vs. Vladmir Tzepesci, The Dark Champion





I have tossed around a few casters lately trying to lock in on a pairing I like for an upcoming tournament. After a frustrating week forgetting everything I learned while playing Harbinger last winter, I turned to Kreoss1 for comfort. I had a nasty little 35 point assassination list kicking around, however when I move to 50 points, I usually build from the ground up. Keeping some of the flavor and adding in a few new twists (for me), resulted in this Kreoss1 list:

High Exemplar Kreoss
    - Reckoner
Avatar of Menoth
Initiate Tristan Durant
    - Redeemer
The Covenant of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution
Taryn di la Rovissi, Llaelese Gun Mage
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord
Choir of Menoth (4)
Holy Zealots (6) + UA
Temple Flameguard (10) + UA

Last night I went toe to toe with a friend playing Khador and Vlad2.

Vladmir Tzepesci, The Dark Champion
    - Drago
Iron Fang Kovnik
Kovnik Jozeph Gregorovich
Kovnik Andrei Malakov
    - Behemoth
Iron Fang Pikemen (10)
    - Black Dragon UA
Kayazy Eliminators
Winterguard Rifle Corps (10)
Greylord Outriders (3)

At the outset I mistook the WGRC for Widowmakers and I forgot to ask a few key questions that normally float up when I drop Kreoss1. Chief among them: "Are any of your models steady or immune to knock-down". Good old Iron Fang Kovnik … that will come into play later. On my side of the field my goals were to keep myself from throwing all my models up field and losing them because of unchecked aggression. I was also determined to hold the Avatar back and make him a mid to late game piece.

The scenario was Incoming, which meant that the possibility to score defensively was present. There were forests on one side of the field and linear obstacles on the other. That meant one player would have a forest near their friendly scoring zone and one player would have a forest near their enemy scoring zone.

Menoth won initiative and elected to go second and selected the side of the board with the forest near the enemy scoring zone. My thoughts around this were a desire to have the first opportunity to score and I wanted the forest nearer to my safer scoring opportunity.

DEPLOYMENT:

The presence of Rhupert meant I wasn't too concerned about the linear obstacle. I wanted to park Tristan behind the forest and park the Book behind the objective. Hopefully the Book would get some screening, depending on how my opponent responded. As for matchups, the Reckoner and Zealots were staring across the field at the Behemoth flanked by the IFP in the center and the WGRC on the TFG flank. I felt like the TFG could weather the storm of sniping bullets (recall that I thought they were Widowmakers) while closing, supported by some downtown rocketfire via the Redeemer. The scenario lacked killbox, so Kreoss was planning on hanging way back and not rushing into anything.


TURN 1 KHADOR:

The WGRC advance up to his linear obstacle and checkerboard a bit. The IFP get shield march orders and advance eight inches into the center of the field in three penny packets. The Behemoth advances. The Outriders advance, the Eliminators run, Drago advances.

TURN 1 MENOTH:

Four focus to the Avatar, the Redeemer is allocated 2, the Reckoner is allocated 1. Tristan casts Fortify on the Redeemer and advances behind the forest. The choir squeezes forward and puts no spells on the Jacks. The Redeemer advances and manages to drift a deviation onto the WGRC, taking one out. The Book advances and chants no spells. The Avatar tucks up behind the Redeemer. The Vassal enlivens the Redeemer. The Zealots advance praying no spells. I had done the math on the range of the Khador guns and felt I could place myself in a position where he would have to advance to get range. I was fine pulling him out of hiding and was willing to sacrifice a few Zealots for the cause. I didn't minifeat because I wanted to hold on to it for one more turn. What I failed to do was completely screen the Book. I should have focused on that.

The TFG shield wall and advance to a similarly enticing but mostly safe position. I wasn't too concerned about blast damage drifts from the Behemoth, because Kreoss activated and put Defender's Ward on the TFG. They are now sitting at 15/19 while also sitting behind a wall. Rhupert puts Tough on them just in case. Eiryss freaks out about the Eliminators (it is right there in the name!) and runs to the other side of the field. Sadly, my model placement was terrible and I put her within five inches of the Reckoner. Taryn runs center to hide in the back. The Reckoner advances but has no targets in range.


TURN 2 KHADOR:

The Outriders advance and attempt to cast some sprays but the Book suppresses the magic. Frustrated they light cav move back to safety. The WGRC advance over the linear obstacle and spread out. Several of them take shots at the lead Zealots, but most lack the range. A couple hit and two of the Zealots get potted. The Behemoth advances up the field and drifts a shot onto the book for a point and kills a Zealot. The second shot evaporates another Zealot. Drago advances. The IFP shield march up the field in three penny packets. The Eliminators run to the edge of the forest across from Tristan. Of the min unit of Zealots, the leader, a grunt, and the Monolith Bearer remain. Such is their lot in life.

TURN 2 MENOTH:

It doesn't look safe to try to start scoring this turn, so I plan on continuing with my battle plan - ease into the engagement, soften the enemy with guns and bog him down with a tarpit. Also, I need to be careful of a potential charging Behemoth. The Reckoner can't get any focus (thanks Eiryss), Tristan gives the Redeemer a full load, and the Avatar rolls two focus. Rhupert gives the TFG pathfinder, the TFG minifeat and charge/run. One TFG makes charge distance on a WGRC (now revealed as their true selves). The Choir gives the jacks Hymn of Battle. The Book chants no spells. The Redeemer attempts to blast the Outriders and between a pair of boosted shots, manages to do 2 points of damage to one of them.

The Avatar raises Gaze and runs (not very far) to a more potentially advantageous position. Tristan runs away from the threat of the Eliminators (it's right there in the name!). I am still trying to draw my opponent forward into my feat. I am prepared to let him start scoring if he wants to bring Vlad forward to his friendly zone. The Book is frustrating the Outriders. Lamentation has been up since the first turn but hasn't played a role yet. Eiryss and Taryn reposition, getting ready for having range next turn. The Reckoner scratches the paint on the Behemoth with a Condemner shot (crits and lights him on fire!). And the Vassal enlivens the Avatar just in case. The TFG are currently 15/19. The Zealots mini-feat, pray no spells and run forward.





TURN 3 KHADOR:

Fire goes out on the Behemoth. The Outriders attempt to spray, but two of them can't get a position outside of the Book range and still have good angles. One sprays (and kills) an IFP in the back to also clip and kill a Zealot. The WGRC, the Behemoth, and the IFP all attempt to kill TFG but have limited success (1 dies between all of the activations). Drago moves up preparing to join the fray, he also toes into the zone to deny me an easier clear. The Eliminators run around the forest and one gets all up in my backfield. The other engages the Redeemer.

TURN 3 MENOTH:

This is the turn where I would like to feat. In my head, I see most of the board getting knocked down and then a liberal application of continuous fire into incredibly high armor troops, plus a chunk of damage into the enemy jacks. … It doesn't go down exactly like that … that damn Iron Fang Kovnik. The Avatar rolls three focus, Tristan allocates three to the Redeemer. Eiryss is five and a half inches away from the Reckoner, so the Reckoner gets two focus.  Kreoss opens up by moving out from around the Reckoner and feating. At this point I discover that the middle of the board doesn't care. They don't care at all. I catch both jacks, and some of the WGRC. Rhupert advances and puts +1 DEF on the TFG. The TFG give a shield wall order. Two of them advance and murder Kovnik Joe, several of them go back to back and kill a few WGRC. The rest press the IFP and light three of them on fire. Taryn drops some Iron Rot into the Behemoth, and Eiryss disrupts it.

The Choir advances and battle the Redeemer and the Reckoner, the other two choir murder both Eliminators (rolled 5-6 and 6-6 on damage!). The Reckoner assault charges the Behemoth (stopping when it hit Taryn) … I pick up my dice and say "Snakes … no I mean NOT Snakes" … and roll snakes. I should have put three on him and boosted to hit. Oh well. Let's hope that doesn't come back to haunt me because I have intentionally put him right next to Eiryss again. Enjoy that camp, Kreoss! The Avatar raises Gaze and runs through the forest. The Book slides up and says no spells. The Redeemer advances and launches a barrage of rockets into Drago. After several attacks, both Drago's arms are broken. And after the Vassal says "Do it again!", his paint is severely scratched. Overall, it wasn't the back breaking feat turn I wanted, but it was the feat turn I got. With Gaze up and the Book saying no spells, and the Behemoth disrupted, my opponent is going to have fewer options than he would like. The TFG are currently 16/19.





TURN 4 KHADOR:

This is the turn where my opponent forgets to feat until he is well past Vlad's activation. We don't rewind because I didn't rewind my feat screw up and we see what happens. Drago shakes after allocation. Two of the three IFP die to fire. The Outriders juggle around and stick one of their number right in front of the Avatar, then another hits that one with a nasty little spell that says any enemy model ending an activation within two inches is stationary for one round. Not great if the Avatar gets caught in it. The positioning also frees up some of the IFP from the Gaze. Vlad activates and drops something boosty on to Drago. Drago charges the Redeemer and after hitting with both attacks and a Chain Attack: Bloodbath, manages to knock out the right arm (the mace).

A pair of IFP are able to peel away from the Gaze to close on the Redeemer. One hits and drops two more points towards his cortex. The ARM 19 from Fortify is working pretty great. The rest of the IFP attempt to kill some TFG. They manage to kill one. One of them also kills the last Zealot (who forgot to activate last turn). The Behemoth sacks his movement to stand and launches two bombards at Taryn. One drifts onto Eiryss for a point and one goes off into no man's land. Malakov retreats and shoots a TFG dead. The WGRC fail to kill any TFG.

TURN 4 MENOTH (picture missing):

We are running a lot long at this point and I forgot to take a picture. The Redeemer gets a full load from Tristan. The Reckoner is being interfered with by Eiryss. The Avatar rolls two focus. Not great. The Choir manages to get battle onto all of the jacks. I entertain a few ideas of shooting Drago with Taryn, but in order to damage him, she needs to use Iron Rot, which means she will most likely shoot the Redeemer in the back. Instead, the Redeemer (with a broken mace) begins hammering on Drago. He has an initial and three focus. I need a four or better on one die to hit and I am at dice minus three on the damage. Drago has eight boxes left.

I roll straight on the initial and hit. I boost damage and deal 5 points of damage. I buy and roll straight again, hitting! I boost the damage (rolling two dice), needing fives to kill … and roll snakes! Not good! I scan my board for solutions. The Vassal! He activates, and sneaks his way forward. The Avatar gets an Ancillary Attack and hammers Drago in the back for allllll the damage. Thinking about it now, I probably should have opened with that and then used my rockets for great justice.

The Book activates and moves into the forest and says no knockdown (or stationary). Just. In. Case something goes wrong with the Avatar. The Avatar activates, sidles around the Outrider, smashes it into gore with his Shield and then kills a second with his sword (lighting the third on fire with flame burst). Then he raises the Gaze of Menoth and stays parked in the zone.

Rhupert gives the TFG +1 DEF again and the TFG get a shield wall order. I forget to actually make attacks with half of them (it is getting late), but the ones in front of the IFP toss around a little more fire. Taryn shoots an IFP engaging the Redeemer with Black Penny and Iron Rots the Behemoth. Eiryss advances into the zone and disrupts the Behemoth again. I would have like to be able to clear the IFP and potentially move Kreoss toward the zone to start scoring, but I miss a bunch and that is a bad idea anyway. The Reckoner advances forward and smashes the remaining IFP engaging the Redeemer. Tristan runs back behind his forest. Kreoss say peace! and heads over behind a linear obstacle.

At this point, I feel like I have accomplished what I wanted with the Avatar. I made it to the late game with him completely intact. He is being offered up if my opponent wants to commit his warcaster to him, and he is still having a huge effect on the table because of Gaze. He has made his points back (if you count kill stealing Drago from the Redeemer). Tristan is safe behind a forest. And my Reckoner and Redeemer have spent the game shooting guns (for the most part). My tarpit has been amazing. The TFG are again 16/19. Dirge of Mists + Defender's Ward + Shield Wall is sick. After the game my opponent remarked that they were both "high defense and high armor" and that it was incredibly frustrating to fight them. Way to go TFG!

TURN 5 KHADOR:
With dwindling options and thinning ranks, my opponent tries to equalize on the piece trade. The Outrider lives through the fire and tries to spray the Vassal. The Vassal was base to base with the Redeemer and was sitting at 15/15. The spray missed. Then Vlad activates and feats. He makes four super soliders: the IF Kovnik, and three IFP. Vlad charges the Avatar, but without being a weapon master, the armor was just too high to cut through cleanly. The Kovnik charges in and adds his damage to the mix, but when the dust settles, the Avatar had 8 boxes left, a fully working shield, and a fully armed and operational sword arm. The IFP can't peel away from the TFG, and end up killing one more of them. The Behemoth misses both bombards. The WGRC succeed in shooting the TFG standard bearer. And I think Malakov murders one more TFG. At that point he is out of models and passes turn.

TURN 5 MENOTH:
The Reckoner receives three focus, the Redeemer gets three, the Avatar rolls three. The Choir Battles all three jacks. The Avatar activates and is able to kill Vlad, although it comes down to just barely connecting on the last swing. Vlad's defense starts jumping as you damage him past certain thresholds, and I had completely forgotten about that.





VICTORY FOR MENOTH!!

CONCLUDING REMARKS:

It was a long slog. We timed ourselves, but it was a warm summer night at a friend's house surrounded by other friends playing and chatting. We both went over time, but we needed the practice and wanted to play the game all the way through, regardless of what the clock said. We each made errors of position. I should have screened the Book better and should have realized that the IFP were not going to be bothered by my feat. And Eiryss should watch where she is going. My opponent should have kept the Behemoth further back and lobbed shots all game. I also made some jerk moves, such as lighting his unit leader on fire such that when he died and a grunt was promoted on my opponent's turn, that new leader did not get an attack. Awareness of the Book and Awareness of the Kovnik were both points we could have improved upon. Overall I felt like the TFG were troopers in this match and made me extremely proud of how well they functioned as a tarpit. I was pleased that my goals surrounding the Avatar were realized. And for once I didn't just throw my models as far forward and as fast as possible. My models and game play frustrated the hell out of my opponent. Fortunately I have known him for 20 years and we remain good friends. But if I keep jamming the Book down his throat … we'll see just how far friendship can be stretched.

As always, thank you for reading!







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