Saturday, March 10, 2012

Psuedo Battle Report

Thursday night I finally had the opportunity to play a game with pSkarre's Ships in the Night theme list.  It was a really great game and a good opportunity for me to try a faction other than Circle - with which I've been playing exclusively for the last couple of months.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to take any pictures of the game so I can't really give you a proper battle report.  I will, however, give the list that I played with and some perspectives on the list, how it performed, and some general reflections on various elements of the list and how to use them most effectively.

Now I came up with a list last week but since I only had certain models (and even had to buy one at the store), I had to take a non-optimal list, but it still featured many of the elements I wanted to take before anyway.

So here's the list that I took:
I prefer the new model but
this was the one I had
Ships in the Night (35)
pSkarre (+6)
- Freebooter (6)
- Scavenger (4)
- Stalker (4)
- Stalker (4)
Blackbane's Ghost Raiders (min, 6)
Press Gangers (max, 5)
Press Gangers (min, 3)
Sea Dogs (max, 7)
Warwitch Siren (2)

My opponent Mark is a great guy and pretty well-known among the Warmachine/Hordes community for his love of his dwarves.  Originally he was going to be taking a Gorten Grundback list, but once my "friend" told him that I was going to be taking almost 40 models, he convinced him to play Durgen Madhammer instead, and since this was my first time playing the list, I didn't really care anyway, even if it was a pretty bad matchup for me.

Here's what Mark brought:
Searforge Commission (35)
Durgen Madhammer (+6)
- Ghordson Basher (7)
Gundrun the Wanderer (3)
Herne & Jonne (3)
Gundrun the Wanderer (3)
Forge Guard (max, 8)
Ogrun Assault Corps (max, 9)
Thor Steinhammer (2)
- Ghordson Avalancher (9)

How did the game go?  What was learned?

1) Blast weapons hurt.
Durgen Madhammer is very well-known for his blasting craze and this game was surely no different.  After my first turn running everything forward to get into position, he popped his feat and let loose with his entire army.  While he had some very unfortunate rolls, he still forced an incredible amount of damage on my front lines of Press Gangers.  Fortunately, I made most of my tough rolls, although by the end of the game, I assuredly made up for it with him carpet bombing my sea dogs on the last turn, wiping out 10 models in one attack.  Having the Press Gangers up front was a good idea since I didn't really need to cry about losing a 1/2 point model, and I already mentioned how tough saved my skin.  When the dust settled, Durgen's entire army only killed two models on his feat turn, thanks to tough, although I had taken some damage on a right-flanking stalker and my scavenger in the center.  Since they're high-DEF and low-ARM, the blast damage was able to do a number to both of these 'jacks, although they kept some of the more important systems intact.

2) The warwitch siren is very important.
While initially I wanted to buy a Skarlock Thrall instead (the store didn't have any), I'm most pleased with the siren because Power Booster gives a focus point to the warjack instead of allocating, meaning that while the Scavenger had lost its cortex, the siren was able to trundle up to it and give it a focus anyway.  This ended up being huge because the Scavenger then killed the Ghordson Basher by dealing something like 20 points of damage to it, since it had already been heavily damaged from some charging Press Gangers on Skarre's feat turn.  Not bad for a scrappy little 4 point warjack!  While the skarlock would save me more focus over the course of the game, the siren is able to hand out focus points when my very fragile bonejacks inevitably lose their cortex.

3) Positioning is everything.
While this particular match-up was less than ideal for me, the positioning of my units was very important as it allowed me to face my enemy in waves and control the terms of the engagement.  Like I said, I had my two units of press gangers up front to take the hits because they're cheap and tough.  This also meant that I could use them as a screen for Blackbane's Ghost Raiders, who could easily use their incorporeal movement to just fly past the press gangers as either a second wave or to gum-up the enemy.  When Skarre popped her feat, I did exactly this, and I ran the ghosts right up in front of the non-magical-weapon dwarves and similarly tied up the ogrun.  Mark cleverly moved his forgeguard through the ghosts to provoke free-strikes, however, so that way he could swing back.  Very clever of him but I still took those strikes because it meant that the rest of the guard couldn't move past me, letting me hold them off.  Positioning is huge and being able to play aggressively is both necessary and easy since you have so many infantry models.

I got too aggressive with
these guys
4) Be patient.
The stalkers need to wait to pounce.  While I think I still made the right call popping my feat on the second turn, I think that patience is very important.  I ended up charging my left-most stalker into the avalancher to tie it up and take advantage of two POW 17s, but I ended up doing some poor damage and then realized I was stuck, unable to effectively go towards Durgen later since I wouldn't be able to kill the heavy warjack with only POW 12s.  Be patient.  While you'll want to take advantage of the +5 STR and ARM, you don't want to hurt yourself later in the game because you got too eager.  I should have just run the guy around back to worry Durgen and wait until the next turn when I could have sent the freebooter to wreck the avalancher instead.  

5) Lowered expectations.
Although a Skarlock might help too
 Ritual Sacrifice is incredibly random and can be quite disappointing.  Don't cast it unless you don't have any other need for 3 focus.  Every time I cast it, I only got 1 extra focus point, which was probably not really worth it.  The good news, however, is that with the press gangers potentially making more sea dogs (thanks to shanghai), they are great targets for this spell.  Also, while a ton of infantry at +5 STR is awesome, it's not nearly as game-breaking as one might think since most of the attacks in the army are, at best, P+S 11 on your infantry before the feat.  Don't expect too much from your army and combined with the previous lessons, you can see that you can actually win by not crushing your foe but securing the scenario victory with relative ease - which is what happened here.

While Mark had an opportunity to try to kill Skarre, once he found out that she was sitting at DEF 16 and ARM 18 (3 focus overboosting) and that she couldn't be knocked-down (thank you Freebooter!), he realized that it would be a stretch to kill her.  All I had to do on my last turn was kill off two forge guard (harder than it sounds) and I had secured enough control points to win the game.  In the end, it was a lot of fun!  Mark was a great opponent and I got to learn a lot about a particular list that I've been wanting to play for some time!
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