Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Warmachine Battle Report: Madrak, the World Ender vs. Intercessor Kreoss

Madrak the World Ender vs Intercessor Kreoss

Intercessor Kreoss is my primary warcaster focus for 2015. I have found him fascinating since I first read his card. Earlier in the week I got my first game in playing against Khador. On Friday night, I got my first Troll matchup. My opponent got to put his new Madrak2 model on the table and I got the try out K3 with an arc node.

THE LISTS

Protectorate of Menoth
Intercessor Kreoss
   - Reckoner
   - Guardian
Vessel of Judgement
Vassal of Menoth
Rhupert Carvolo
Exemplar Vengers (5)
Temple Flameguard (10) + UA
Choir of Menoth (4)
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt

Trollblood
Madrak Ironhide, World Ender
- Mulg the Ancient
- Troll Axer
Horthol, Long Rider Hero
Janissa Stonetide
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (4)
Trollkin Fennblades (10)
- Fennblade Officer and Drummer
Trollkin Runeshapers
Trollkin Runeshapers
Trollkin Warders (5)

THE SCENARIO AND FIELD

We rolled up Process of Elimination. On the field we had a pool of shallow water, a trench, a forest, a linear objective, and a rolling hill. Menoth won initiative and selected the side with the forest and hill. I wanted the hill for the Vessel and I felt like if the Trolls were going to hide in the trench, they would not be a threat for the main show.


DEPLOYMENT (TROLLBLOOD)

A loose brick with the Fenblades ready to charge up the middle, flanked by Warders and Mulg.



DEPLOYMENT (MENOTH)

The Vessel pre-deployed towards the hill. Kreoss took center. The Vengers were tossed out to the right flank near the forest. The TFG were set up to screen the Vessel.



TURN 1

The Troll force moves forward. Horthol slants toward the center, everything else runs. I am not certain why, but the Fenblades only advanced.

On the Menoth side, I run the Temple Flameguard, but position them into Shield Wall triangles anticipating a Force Lock jam. The Vengers swing wide of the forest. The Guardian runs forward and receives Enliven from the Vassal. Kreoss puts Holy ward on the TFG and Warpath on himself. Rhupert gives the TFG Dirge of Mists and the Reckoner runs forward. The idea here is to make the TFG as difficult to hit as possible. I am going to leave the tough checks to the Trolls. I want to bring the Vengers around the horn on his Krielstone, or, failing that, hammer the right zone.


TURN 2 (TROLLBLOOD)

In a brilliant move by my opponent, the Fenblades bank hard to the Venger flank. The Fenblades have Reach, Vengance, Hard, and Tough. With the UA properly placed, they operate with a 12" command range. They are the perfect foil to stop my Vengers from getting around his force. Not to be outdone, the Warders come right up the pipe and fan out. The Runeshapers run, but Janissa leaves them. This was the first time my opponent had fielded Runeshapers and he didn't realize Force Lock was command range from Janissa. The Axer gives Mulg the Rush animus and Mulg barrels forward.


TURN 2 (MENOTH)

I decide that since my opponent spent 10 points on his Fenblade package and I spent 11 points on my Vengers, I am ok with the two units grinding on each other all game. The Vengers declare a run / charge … and I just realized that I forgot about Divine Inspiration all game. However, they manage to drop a Fenblade and threaten the flank enough to distract the unit from crossing the midline. The next step in my plan was to trip up the ongoing Warders. Unfortunately, an arc'd Force Hammer misses and Kreoss feels the burn of missing with a 4 FOC spell. I really need to get more focus support into this list. 

The Temple Flameguard are staring down the field from an oncoming ancient nightmare. In my head I have cinematic scenes of Mulg smashing and chomping TFG like something out of Lord of the Rings … the TFG Howls of Terror turning into screams of pain. They receive the Shield Wall order and minifeat into Iron Zeal. They advance and put a few tough checks into Runeshapers, leaving the Trolls on fire and not terrified. Aiyana drops Kiss onto Horthol and Holt puts some damage into him. Rhupert calls up another Dirge of Mists on the TFG. 

The Vessel fires into the Runeshapers, fails to kill the primary target (either through terrible dice or tough) and only scored one Admonisher target (also terrible dice) … which is crazy, because I boost everything. The Reckoner advances coyly so as not to get immediately Mulg'd out of play and boosts a Condemner shot into Horthol, dismounting him. Nothing was actually destroyed, so no Warpath is triggered anywhere. Thanks Trolls.



TURN 3 (TROLLBLOOD)

This might get a little challenging to described with only one picture for the two turns together, but here we go.

The Fenblades Vengeance but fail to kill anything. A couple of them start bashing on the Objective. Fire goes out on one Runeshaper and the other passes his Tough check. Mulg presses the issues and asks Menoth if he can deal with him by way of mowing through a pair of TFG. The high defense forced him to spend more fury than he would have liked. For the TFG,  Iron Zeal pays gold this turn. One of the TFG gets sent through Death's Door and puts fiery hurt on Horthol. Mulg ends his activation about even with the inside flank of the Objective. The Warders press in and come up short on the TFG. Two of them charge the Guardian, but after the first hit, it Enlivens away. Horthol advances and flails at the TFG to no gain as well. 

The Runeshapers are a bit jammed by the TFG flank. The second unit swing around and throw some hammers. Holt takes four points and Kreoss scoffs at some drift blast damage that fails to break armor. The Fenblades get to work on the Vengers, but due to positioning, Battle Driven, and a little luck only manage to kill one of them. The Axer and Janissa advance, and Madrak follows the Krielstone towards the Venger/Fenblade zone.


TURN 3 (MENOTH)

At this point, I make a major tactical error. Firm in my belief that the Fenblades are going to whittle and chop at the Objective uselessly, I fail to put anything substantial into the zone. The Vengers pull off a charge/run, allowing several of them to use lances. My main focus this turn (and part of why I lost sight of the scenario) was the Mulg question. Kreoss had allocated three focus to each jack and dropped all of his spells. Aiyana starts the show by Kissing Mulg. Holt is disgusted and completely forgets to shoot anything. Good job, Holt!

The TFG activate, receive a Shield Wall order and jostle around. The second unit of Runeshapers break under Menoth's Howl. The reluctant Runeshaper is reignited and his friend is killed. Two of Temple Flameguard poke Mulg for a point and three of them manage to drop a Warder. Kreoss activates, declares a ride-by-attack, advances, and feats. The TFG get their Holy Ward back, the Guardian get Ignite, Kreoss gets Warpath, and Mulg gets Death Sentenced. The Choir battle the Jacks and the Reckoner activates. It gets a slanty Assault Charge off on Mulg, ending in melee. The Condemner shot hits, lowering Mulg's defense, and it proceeds to wail on the Troll. At the end of the activation, Mulg is on a couple boxes. The Vessel activates and obliterates Mulg, Warpath triggers and the Guardian adjusts his charge lane. Rhupert Dirges the TFG again. The Vassal Enlivens the Guardian again.

With just the Guardian remaining to activate, I decide to try to run down the Krielstone. It takes a free strike from a Warder for a spot of damage and unloads on the Rock. For a minute we screw up and perform a take-up style model replacement instead of a self-sacrifice style model replacement. Without the Rock in my reach for an additional attack, the Guardian drops a Warder. Then we catch our mistake. I ask my opponent to replace the Krielstone bearer to the proper place, but I don't rewind my attack on the Warder. I buy another attack on the Krielstone and leave one on the table. Notably, I am not in the zone.


TURN 4 (TROLLBLOOD)

Again, only one picture for the two turns. Of course, fire goes out on the Runeshaper. Horgol toughs. Vengeance takes it's toll and the Venger contesting the zone goes down. One of the Fenblades advances and hits the Guardian. Enliven triggers and I make a huge mistake. Instead of pushing sideways into the zone, I pull the Guardian back to protect him from charging Fenblades. Then the Fenblades activate normally. The rest of the Fenblades part like the sea and I see the mistake I have made. Several of them hack at the Vengers, but miraculously the remaining three survive. But it doesn't matter, there is a straight road from Madrak, right to the Objective. 

The only model I have contesting the zone is a Choir member who is sitting in front of two Warders. One of those Warders is going to kill him and then the other is going to crush my Jack. When the Warders activate, the first one misses the Choir with double ones! I have a chance! Then the second one cuts the singer in two. The other Warder mulches the TFG officer, pulling the remaining TFG on the flank out of formation. On the other side of the table, the Axer advances and Threshers down a couple TFG. One of them steps through Death's Door and lights up Janissa. Janissa advances and attempts to hit Kreoss, but is out of range.Madrak activates and advances into the Zone. In moments, he has battered the Objective into pieces, scoring a point and ensuring the domination for another two. Then he Feats. Whoops. The Runeshapers rally, and the active Runeshapers tremor and throw Rock Hammers. The tremor knocks down the out of formation TFG and the Rock Hammer fails to damage anything (It missed Aiyanna).

Feat triggers and the Fenblades murder another Venger. My opponent could probably have had a second one, but activated his Fenblades in the wrong order to manage it. Horgol and the Warders mop up more TFG … leaving my leader alive and well … well away from his friends. The Guardian also takes a significant hit. At this point the Guardian has some boxes in column 1, several in 2, all of 6, and two precious Cortex boxes in 5. Any significant hit is going to cripple it. The Arc Node has been out for a turn.

In a strong scenario position, with a very hard to kill caster, my opponent passes turn.

SCORE: TROLLBLOOD 3, MENOTH 0


TURN 4 (MENOTH)

I do not have the pieces necessary to hold scenario and deal with my side of the board. I have to move immediately to assassinating Madrak, the World Ender. This is the troll that other trolls die to save. He has three models within 1". The only point in my favor is that his only Warbeast is outside of his control range, so I only have to break armor on him three times before I can do any damage to him. I would like the Admonisher shot to clear out some of those helpers, but I am doing the math and I don't think I can save it. I really need to apply two Jacks to his face. Unfortunately, my Guardian is stuck in front of two Warders. I need the TFG to get out of the way so I can Assault with the Reckoner. I need to clear one Warder in front of the Guardian. 

Kreoss upkeeps Warpath and Ignite and gives two Focus to the Reckoner and three to the Guardian. If if if the Assault kills the last free troll, the Charge attack and the Buy might do the deed. If that fails, the Guardian is going to have to do something … somehow. But it all starts with a Kiss.

Aiyana and Holt advance. Aiyana kisses Madrak and Holt shoots. One of his shots breaks armor and a Fenblade dies. The Choir activate, advance, and Battle both Jacks. The TFG slide the rest of the way clear for the Reckoner. I look at the board and the math and decide to commit the Vessel to clearing the Guardian's problem and triggering Warpath for the Reckoner. The Vessel shoots and kills a Krielstone Bearer. Admonisher rolls 1 and the boosted POW 10 fails to break armor on the Kissed Madrak. However the Warpath trigger moves the Reckoner.

Reckoner Assaults Madrak! The Assault shot misses! The remaining attacks clear out the last Krielstone bearer and the last Fenblade in bodyguard range.

Now I have a real problem. The Reckoner isn't in the zone, so the premise of the turn is still on in full. I have very very few activations remaining. Kreoss, the Guardian, and the Vassal. Ok … Vassal Ancillary Attacks on the Guardian. Guardian swings at the Warder. And misses. Ohhhh nooooo. Maybe Kreoss can kill him! There is a Choir member in the way … there is always a Choir member in the way. Wait!!! Rhupert. Do what must be done! Rhupert advances and shivs the Choir leader in the back, clearing the path for Intercessor Kreoss to triumphantly advance through the thinning ranks of his force in order to come up a half inch short on his intended target. Ugh.

Well. I did everything I could think of to not have to make the game come down to a coin flip (after putting myself in a position where this was my only road to victory). Guardian! Activate, walk four tight inches around those Warders and dirt that Warlock! You are going to have to take two free strikes to do it. Against Weapon Masters at dice off 7 because of course they have been injured.

First free strike. Hits. Dice off 7. Four dice. 1 … 3 … 1 … 2 ??!!! No damage!
Second free strike. Hits. Dice off 7. Four dice. 1 … 1 … 5  (ugh) … 2 !  Two damage … ok .. If he rolls a 3, 4, or 5, I lose my Cortex, all three Focus, and it is game over man. Six! What the what?? The Guardian makes distance and with Battle and Ignite, manages to put Madrak on Tough Checks at the second hit and closes it out on the third. Whoa.

SCORE: TROLLBLOOD 4, MENOTH 0


VICTORY FOR MENOTH!!

Thoughts on the Match

This game was a blast to play. I love playing against Trolls because I love looking at them on the table. I am sorely tempted to pick some up. Kreoss3 is just so much fun to play, however I am definitely feeling the lack of focus support. I need to put three points into the list somewhere and I am afraid it is going to be Aiyana & Holt swapped out for a Hierophant, Wrack, and consolation Mechanik. My fear is that Kiss had delivered Behemoth, Mulg, and Madrak in my two games this week. Losing that damage helper / fixer might diminish the entire list's ability to function.

My opponent had a brilliant Turn 2. Effectively redeploying the Fenblades to counter the danger of my flanking Vengers while still applying pressure up the center was a fantastic move. I made a huge error in losing track of scenario and my opponent capitalized on it. In terms of handling threats and preparing for the arrival of Mulg, I felt like I made good choices. Holy Warded, Dirge of Misted, Shield Walled, Iron Zealed Temple Flameguard are a thing … a thing I am growing to love.

So, scenario awareness, speed of play, and positioning are all things I need to work on. I wasn't convinced that the arc node was very necessary, but I am curious what a Templar would do in there instead. I am still enjoying the Vessel and I did not miss the Mechanic at all this game.

Thanks for reading!

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