Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Skorne Month 1 - Saving on slaving

Month 1.
Starting late on the tour (Well i had my models but was away for the first week) I was a t a disadvantage as everyone had already practised with there new armies. But one not to be Detered the Skorne Took the fight to the Dirty hippies (Circle).

All in all it was a close fight, Admonition upkeeped on the Titan Helped provide board control and managed to take out the Warpwolf. But was in turn destroyed by Multiple spirit fangs and then an Argus up the Arse. Kaya charged a Savage and failed to kill it (3 Boxes remained). As the skornes turn started Morghoul activated and cast the Savages animus upon itself (giving him future sight) Then promptly charged Kaya and cut her to ribbons (The argus who killed the titan was maxed on fury) So no feat was needed from Morghoul.

So the main things i learnt about Skorne, FUTURE SIGHT!! Its amazing and makes people hate you so it all works! Being able to boost over rolling allowed me to be fury economic and non was wasted.
Skorne have Surprising speed, Being a Troll player it was nice to play aggressively and take the fight to the enemy.
Admonition, It allowed for so much board control and denial, it totally changed the way my opponent wanted to play (Damn hippies), Its definitely a spell I'm going to miss when  change my caster.

Friday, 21 January 2011

A Little Nature Ramble - Circle on a Budget (Month 1)

Before I start my segment of the Tour properly, I have a confession to make.  While everyone else is playing new armies, Circle was actually my first army in MkI Hordes, but over the years I've played every army in the game, so this is more of a revisit for me than a complete new adventure.  That said, the blackclads have got a lot of new toys since I started playing with them, and there's nothing quite like some good woodland tech to pound face with!

This month, I've been playing with the Battlebox and I've learnt a few good things about the Circle, as well as a few of their weaknesses;

Strength 1 - Manoeuvrability.  Not only are Circle beasts insanely fast, their buffs to movement are a huge part of their combat ability.  Kaya's Spirit Door has saved her life, at least temporarily, and I've been near-drooling with anticipation of the potential of her epic form's (see next month...) Feat for a safe extraction after a first strike.  If you spend thirty seconds on the PP forums, or even reading the book, you'll get this, but it's worth repeating.

Strength 2 - Debuffs.  Sure, I can give a Warpwolf Stalker a 13" threat range, MAT 8 and P+S 22 by laying on the buffs, but I've personally found that Paralysis and Spirit Fang will do miles more damage in the long run - if you can hit a high DEF 'caster with a good Doppler Bark, they're suddenly helpless and you've saved a ton of Fury by not having to pile on the buffs.

Strength 3 - Diversity.  While this is more theorymachine than the rest of my list, my initial view is that the Circle has a certain strength in the difference of models it can field, with fast, hard-hitting living Warbeasts marching alongside the slow, hard to kill Wold Constructs.  This is further improved by the Warpwolves' Controlled Warping and the Woldwarden's Geomancy, giving both types further adaptability on top of their basic roles.

Weakness 1 - Low Armour.  If it hits, an Ice Axe will obliterate an Argus Hound.  As I found out on Wednesday, all it takes is a good roll to utterly negate defence, and then whatever's hit is totally screwed.  Also, Knock Down and Stationary make me die lots.  In fact, I hate them so much they're going to get their own sub-weakness.

Weakness 1a - Knock Down and Stationary.  My best defence is a good DEF.  I've played against Sorscha enough to loathe Stationary with a passion, and Magnus enough (once is enough...) to be...  Uncomfortable around Knockdown.  Not only do these things screw with my DEF, they cost me Fury to shake off and, despite what Trainee will claim to the end of time, that's a finite resource.

Weakness 2 - Low base damage output.  While a Feral Warpwolf, or even an Argus Hound, can do a lot of damage to most things, it takes a lot of Fury to get the kill.  Lots of spent Fury means maxed out Warbeasts than can't be transferred to, more Fury than I can leach in a turn, and more risk of Frenzy than I'd ideally like.  I can mitigate the damage by leaching from the biggest hitters, but a fully boosted P+S 14 attack from an Argus will still do some serious damage if it hits something on my side.

Anyway, it's not like you guys actually care about that!  Here's some minis!  Next month on the Tour...  Kaya goes epic and gets another Warpwolf buddy!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Skiing When You're Skint: Khador On a Budget (Week 1: battle report)

The tour is now officially under-way, and what an epic beginning it was.

The tour began with a three way conflict, Sorscha V Kaya V Deneghra.

The battle took place on a road between Khador and Llael. Whilst on patrol of the road Sorscha and her battlegroup encountered a small warband lead by Kaya from the Circle Orboros. As the two readied for battle Deneghra, leading a small Cryx battlegroup also approached the road from the East.

The battle began by the Cryx forces moving in on two fronts against their foes, Chris (playing Cryx) attempted to make use of Deneghra's relatively high Focus score and the speed of his Bonejacks, combined with their arc nodes in order to do some early damage whilst the other two forces had to manoeuvre into position. Relying on the high defence of the Deathripper to keep it alive safe from retaliation Chris wasn't prepared for the Jack to be made stationary. Sorscha was able to freeze the Jack in position, allowing her Destroyer to launch a devestating shot, almost wrecking it completely.

On the other end of the road the Circle forces moved in to attack the other warjacks in Deneghra's battlegroup. The defiler and the second deathripper were made quick work of, and the warpwolf was successful in neutralising the slayer. Deneghra attempted to mount a comeback with the 'Jack power she had left but suffering from several status effects such as paralysis and stationary meant Chris didn't have a whole lot of focus left to play with. The Deathripper facing the Khador heavies made a valiant effort to do some damage before it was destroyed and due to some clever use of spells it was successful in doing some damage to the Juggernaut.

When the Juggernaut was activated though it made quick work of taking apart the final bonejack. With the loss of her 'Jacks Deneghra quit the field, now having to report her failed ambush to her unforgiving master Asphyxious.

And so it came down to the Khadoran's and the Circle Druids. Both sides took a bit of damage from the Cryx interlopers but for the most part it was a battle between two relatively fresh forces.

In my last post I talked about how in our previous test games I was handily defeated time and time again by what I considered a far superior foe, but in that same foe I made several observations and speculations that would hopefully allow me to mount a better defence in the future, and I am happy to report that I was right on most counts.

The clash re-commenced with both sides moving their groups back into a formation from which an attack could be mounted. Learning from my previous experiences I moved forward cautiously, taking my time and moving slowly forward. This had the desired effect of keeping me out of the range of the speed hindering status effects of the Circle beasts. I was able to significantly weaken the beasts through the use of the Destroyers Bombardment weapon.

Both sides managed to keep out of direct conflict for the most part, however disaster struck the Circle side when the Warpwolf fell to the power of the Khador heavies. From here things got intense. Using the remaining beasts at her disposal Kaya mounted a comeback, eventually they took down the Juggernaut which I will admit, made me think that this wouldn't go my way, even after the strong start. Kaya moved away from the fighting, hiding in the nearby forest off the road. I took a massive gamble here, I could have targeted the Argii with the Destroyer but instead chose to shoot at the highly defended Kaya (her defence was 18 at this point, gaining bonuses from the forest). With a RAT of 4 the destroyer didn't have a lot of hope here. But then a miracle occurred and I rolled a 14 on the nose, just enough to hit! I boosted the damage roll too and much like the Bonejack from the beginning of the battle it was almost all over for Kaya being left with a mere 4 hit boxes.

At this point I could see the opportunity for assassination. Using windrush to move Sorscha closer to the target I attempted a quick spell assassination with the Razor Wind spell but this time the 18 Defence was too much and I tragically missed. This is when things got really hairy.

The two Argii (still alive after all this time) went for the jugular. The first Argus unsuccessfully tried to assassinate Sorscha due to her own very high defence, then Kaya stormed out of the woods attempting to assassinate Sorscha herself. However Sorscha's high defence held true once again, meaning all that was left to attack her was the remaining Argus which had unfortunately engaged itself in melee with the Destroyer. The resulting free strike as the Argus sought to end Sorscha ended with the Argus being left one 1 hit box and unable to assassinate the stubbornly defensive Khadoran.

And so it was down to the wire. Sorscha had six focus points with which to attempt to eliminate Kaya, if she failed she would be no doubt torn to shreds by the beasts that surrounded her. She swung with her giant hammer, and although boosting missed the attack. Things were not looking good. The second boosted attack (three focus now gone) thankfully managed to hit it's target. I boosted the damage (2 focus left now, enough for one more boosted attack roll). I rolled a whopping 22 overall damage (before armour) which was far more than needed to kill Kaya. However the warlock still had a trick up her sleeves.

Transferring the damage to a beast was still an option. One of the Argii was only just limping around with 1 damage box, transferring to it would have still resulted in the death of Kaya. But there was still the final hope in a much more intact Argus. However Khador rejoiced as all present realised that this Argus had maxed out his fury points in his attempt to kill Sorscha. This left the damage with nowhere to go but onto Kaya, smearing the warlock on the roadside.

So what have we learnt from all this?
1. With the right strategy and knowledge of what your opponent can (and most likely will) do, even an inferior force on paper can overcome a superior foe.
2. It is unwise to blindly put faith in a high ability score to save you (See: The destruction on the Bonejack by Khador heavies; The miraculous Destroyer Bombard into the forest).
3. If your game has a tense and nail-biting conclusion where victory to either side comes down to a single dice roll, then no matter how the game turns out you should feel proud of the amazing game you just had and enjoy that experience equally.

With Llael safe for now Sorscha Kratikoff can rest, but what are the implications of these attacks? The Druids of Orboros wouldn't attempt such a daring assault without cause, and what could the presence of the sinister Cryxian forces mean for the people of Llael?

The story will continue next week when these forces clash once more.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Skiing when your Skint: Khador on a budget (Month 1)

So here we are at last, the beginning of a 12 month adventure to collect the biggest baddest armies in all of Western Immoren, so what's on the cards? I'll be building up a 100 point Khador list using Zerkova and Vlad, and they will I'm sure 'wreck face'.

I'm not really that big on modelling so my posts will be focused more on analysis of the battles themselves, trying to figure out what exactly went right or wrong.

So to kick off Pete and I had several 'training' matches with our battleboxes to test the waters a little. The Khador batttlebox contains a Destroyer, a Juggernaut and Sorscha. Out of the 5 or so battles we had, I only came close to winning once (perhaps not the greatest start), but I did come out with some observations.

1. Khador heavies have a speed issue
This seems obvious, just looking at the stat line can tell you that, but this speed disadvantage was a MASSIVE problem. The biggest issue is that the problem can be easily compounded; anything that reduces your speed or eliminates your ability to do special move commands like running and charging more or less grounds your 'Jacks.

2. No arc node is dangerous
Sorscha has a limited spell range, with an overall threat range (movement+spell range) of 16 (more with wind rush) you're going to need to get close to the enemy in order to deliver the damage on the spell front, you have no choice, Khador has no arc node. This puts your caster in massive danger, especially Sorscha with her low ARM, but this can be mitigated to a degree by her high DEF.

So with that in mind, what would I do differently next time?

1. Be a bit Cagier
It is obviously tempting, and often beneficial to rush your Khador heavies in trying to pound face, but this does mean putting your 'Jacks in place for a horrible dose of slowing effects. The solution? Hang back. With this box the Destroyer gives you a powerful ranged option so use him to whittle down the enemies beasts. With luck you can cripple the enemy lights, and if not you can at least goad him into coming to you.

2. Use those spells for different reasons
With the spell wind rush, it is often tempting to use it to move further up the field, however it is probably better to use it to move back, initiating hit and run tactics. Casting freezing grip on a beast, a 'Jack or a caster is not AS effective as it is against infantry because the effect can be shaken off. However, especially as far as warmachine is concerned, the focus/fury it costs to shake off may prevent an enemy plan by either preventing them from upkeeping a key spell or by preventing them being able to charge with everything.

So the verdict then is that when facing a foe with speed the basic Khador battlebox seems to be outclassed. When you see those mighty 'Jacks on the table with their seemingly impenetrable ARM score you feel like you can take almost any level of punishment, but I think it would be better to play things a little closer to my chest.

These observations were based on battles against the Circle Orboros battlebox, I will report on my experiences against other forces when I meet them on the field of battle.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Cryx Month 1 - Deneghra

Being fairly new to Warmachine and only really having experience with Khador i decided to pick the force that had a playstyle totally the opposite end of the scale, so i settled upon Cryx.

Having just taken the shrink wrap off my Cryx battle box my head is already deciding upon the paint scheme even before the first model is even constructed. Having looked at the official paint scheme in Prime I decided that although the scheme looks good its just a bit to dark for my taste, so I have used this scheme as a start point and added some splashes of colour across all the models in the starter box.I always start a new army by painting the leader; these models have lots of detail and usually contain elements of all of the models in the army, Deneghra is a prime example of this. She has the armour plating of the bonejacks and the skin and flowing cloth of the Cryx units.

All of the models have a black basecoat, and then are given a metal dry brush all over, this helps bring out the details as well as covering the armour plating.

After giving the whole model a coat of the base colour I inked the areas that benefit from the extra detail such as the clothing and skin, followed by individually painting each armour plate.

The skin came out looking very green, giving her too much of a rotting look so I painted back over with grey while leaving the green in the details.

Here is the completed model in all her glory, ready to demolish all enemies of Cryx

The base will need completing but i will decide upon this for the whole force once i have established upon what field of battle she destroys the most.

Friday, 14 January 2011

The Tour has started!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the Western Immoren Economy Tour!  The deal is simple, a group of gamers at Muttley's Model Shop in Canterbury, England all want new Warmachine/Hordes armies, and are all skint.  We're all starting with a battlebox, and then going for £30 a month (about $50 US) to expand out our armies while we blog about it.

The current combatants are;

Pete Croucher (Me, Chip) - Circle Orboros
James "Trainee" Purdham-Cook - Khador
Dan Martin - Skorne
Chris Pattle - Cryx
Elton Walters - Magnus' Agenda

Hopefully, the first minis will be painted over this week, and the first few posts and pictures will be up by next weekend!  We're looking into having an ongoing story arc and actually using the Bonding rules, but that'll come in with our new 'casters next month.

Lastly, I will throw in a disclaimer - this is done for fun.  While we will no doubt learn new and fun tactics, this will probably never be a font of any information that isn't useless.  There are other sites designed for getting the most out of models, but this is about getting an army on the cheap and having a laugh with some mates.  Keep reading though, there's gotta be a diamond in the shit occasionally!