Month: March 2016

Latrobe tourney

Latrobe tourney

On a bit of a whim, I took a bit of a drive down for a Saturday in Latrobe, Pennsylvania to a Steamroller tournament at SCG Hobby. With my recent change to Skorne for the Company of Iron campaign at Drawbridge, I was itching to try all the newer stuff I’ve completed for my Trollbloods that I haven’t really had out on the table much. Of course, a nice competitive Steamroller is the perfect spot to run a brand new warcaster to me (Doomshaper2) with an odd sort of list. So why not do it? My other list was a Jarl Skuld speedy infantry list variant that I’m pretty familiar with. I just wasn’t going to tell my opponents that I intended to play Doomshaper2 in every match just to get practice.

The list is probably an abomination: Doomshaper2 with two Dire Troll Blitzers, an Earthborn Dire Troll, a Troll Bouncer, a Troll Impaler, a unit of Pyg Bushwhackers with Officer and Mortar UA, a unit of Trollkin Scouts that were the client of a Trollkin Sorcerer, Janissa Stonetide, and some Whelps. The list was Company of Iron stuff plus some pieces I’ve been wanting to try with Doomshaper2, and ended up to be rather Frankenstein-ish to be honest.

So here’s how it went:

The first match I completely forgot to take photos of my opponent Rob’s beautifully painted Retribution army. He fielded Adeptis Rahn, with a list chock-full of Battle Mages. So much pushing and pulling–one Dire Troll Blitzer was dragged about 8 inches forward, then pushed back about  (without a single knockdown, luckily). It started to get grave pretty quick, as he got ahead on scenario points by clearing one of the zones. So I had to go for a pretty low-chance assassination. A Dire Troll Blitzer got pretty deep, got a fair number of shots on Rahn (that actually hit), and followed with some Primal Shock action from Doomshaper. While some landed and damaged, it would have taken pretty hot dice rather than my decidedly lukewarm rolls to get the job done. Great opponent and fun game, and taught me some initial lessons about running Doomshaper2 to be sure.

Circle vs Trolls 1My second match was against Les’ Circle Orboros force–a beast-heavy list led by Kromac.

Circle vs Trolls 2My list on their side of the battlefield. I was hoping that the Sorcerer could do some work by shutting off Pathfinder–hoping to catch his forces on one side of that center lake with the Sorcerer doing his thing on the far side. Alas, that was hardly what happened. 

Circle vs Trolls 3I lost the Earthborn to the Ghetorix, as Kromac’s ability to get beasts deep and everywhere is just amazing. Sensing the jaws closing again, it was time for another attempt at ill-advised assassination run. Kromac was close enough that my Dire Trolls Blitzers could get some shots on him, and then Doomshaper2 could potentially Primal Shock from the closer one. I did just that, but Dire Troll Blitzers are just terribly awful shots who need to boost too often. Because of that, the hits didn’t quite do enough damage… leaving him able to simply take some of the hits and not transfer, so that as I worked through the couple of transfers I was left without a way to finish the job. He quickly killed Doomshaper2 in return to end the game. 

Cygnar vs Trolls 1Third game was against Bill’s Mercenary-heavy Caine2 list. I felt like I had a decent shot against this list, as long as I could build my defensive fortress for Doomshaper2 each turn closer to Caine2, I could eventually launch a feat-driven assassination into him to finish him off. 

Cygnar vs Trolls 2My forces arrayed with a refused flank, ready for the wall of troll warbeast meat to advance right into the enemy guns. 

Cygnar vs Trolls 3This was probably my best-played game of the tourney. I did a few good things, and felt like I started to get better use out of my two Dire Troll Blizters (not just saving them to be assassination threats). They needed to get work done, and that meant getting situations against multiple targets where they could shoot and swing (and snack).

That said, it all went astray on the bottom of the third turn. I had a good wall against Caine2 (big bodies, stone wall from Janissa, Bouncer close by with Bump up). But there was a slight gap on the side… and Caine2 was too close (as I was intending). He got a move to the line, so the feat just shot me down. Doomshaper2 does not have the ability to stand up against him. I realized I should have had the trolls up, and Doomie2 much further back with the Bouncer and Impaler doing his screening. Too much Madrak2 and Jarl in my Trollbloods experience–they can get a fair amount closer to the foe and be okay. Doomshaper2? Not so much. 

All in all a fun event. I was good playing three brand new players, and I got a crash course in what makes Doomshaper2 tick (and not tick). Primal Shock in particular is not nearly what I thought it would be in planning the army, mostly due to order of operations. Warbeasts cannot use the feat movement to advance into amazing spots for the spell, as they cannot go in the middle of the Warlock’s turn. Still, I’m liking some of what Doomshaper2 can do–and with more practice I hope to improve on him a fair amount.

366 Points Challenge Progress (2016):

73/366

Battles (Privateer Press):

Overall Totals 2016: 20 (Win/Loss: 13/7/0); 2015: 43 (Win/Loss: 29/14/0)

Skorne:

8 Wins (Butcher, Deneghra, Shae, Sorscha2, Feora2, Severius, Skarre)/ 1 Loss (Rask)

Trollbloods:

1 Win (Karchev) / 3 Losses (Adeptis Rahn, Kromac, Caine2)

Cryx:

4 Wins (Caine, Karchev, Skarre, Vlad)  /  3 Losses (Asphyxious, Lylyth2, Goreshade3)

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Company of Iron Begins

Company of Iron Begins

This week marked the first week of Company of Iron games.* First up, the painting progress I made:

 

Trollbloods Pyg BushwhackersPyg Bushwhackers add 5 points to my total. I think they turned out really nicely. 

Void Spirit SkorneThe Skorne Void spirit on the right adds another 2 points. I also added the Heap of Corpses that I created and painted myself as we’re doing some terrain modeling competition as part of the league. 

Why the Skorne Void Spirit when I was working on Trollbloods for the league? Well, because as the Press Ganger running the event it felt like a bummer doubling up Trolls when one of the players decided to run them for the league. So I decided to run my Skorne in the league instead (there’s also a Cryx player, so my third army was no-go too). I don’t mind, as I love my Skorne and there are some upcoming tournaments that I’m leaning on taking them too over the summer. I’ll post updates on those, especially my entries for a regional Tier Four tournament in June.

My first battle of the league was a larger game against Ryan’s Cryx, followed by a platoon skirmish against Andy’ Minions. Because I had been focusing on painting the Trollbloods, my Skorne Platoon is sadly only partially complete in the pictures below.

1 eHexeris SkorneMy Hexeris2 list with the Platoon included. The list is pretty shooty, with the Platoon intended to be a skirmish screen and contest objectives while the shooting core whittles the foe down. 

2 pSkarre CyxMy opponent Ryan’s Cryx. Led by pSkarre and containing the Cryx Platoon, this was going to be a tough fight for my force.

3 Cryx vs Skorne Companies ClashPlatoon on Platoon action… the Void Spirit slowed the Black Ogrun crew down, and took a free strike at the last one to leave his range (but missing, of course). 

4 Cryx vs Skorne ScrumThe center was a jammed, overlapping mess. Skarre has a real advantage in a grind situation, so I had to get some quick success or Hexy2 would not be able to finish things. 

5 eHexeris vs pSkarre assassinationThe Cannoneer is normally a shooter, but this time he had to clear the path with his melee ability (and present his back to Hexeris2 as a Ashes to Ashes target should I need an easy defense to hit). Skarre was on only a single Focus point, so Hexeris2 charged and lit into her with his spells (all the more powered by his feat). He cut her down with a final blast of magical force. 

6 Company of Iron SkorneThe second game saw my Skorne Platoon defending a safe house that my opponents were trying to get a military officer into. It’s a great little mission that plays well with the small forces. 

7 Company of Iron MinionsAndy’s great-looking Minions Platoon for the league were my opponents. 

8 Skorne vs Minions Company of IronThe clash with the Croaks was just too much for my forces in this scenario. I had a couple of shining moments where the granted Poltergeist ability for the Platoon made for good protection, ultimately I wasn’t able to seal down enough space nor able to reach out and take out the Military Officer. 

So far so good for the Company of Iron League. The Platoon Missions especially seem promising, and I’m excited to see how my Skorne fare in further battles. I’m thinking that I need to swap Hexeris2 for Mordikaar, as the Void Spirits and the Paingiver Bloodrunners both seem to really fit his abilities well.

*Note that I’m going to only count the 35 or 50 point games for my battle total. The Platoon Skirmishes are fun, but much more story than something to reflect in my battles total. 

366 Points Challenge Progress (2016):

73/366

Battles (Privateer Press):

Overall Totals 2016: 17 (Win/Loss: 13/4/0); 2015: 43 (Win/Loss: 29/14/0)

Skorne:

8 Wins (Butcher, Deneghra, Shae, Sorscha2, Feora2, Severius, Skarre)/ 1 Loss (Rask)

Trollbloods:

1 Win (Karchev) / 0 Losses

Cryx:

4 Wins (Caine, Karchev, Skarre, Vlad)  /  3 Losses (Asphyxious, Lylyth2, Goreshade3)

Company is Coming

Company is Coming

At Drawbridge Games we are starting a Company of Iron organized play league starting on March 10th. I wanted to get a bit of practice with the stuff I’ll be fielding in the league, so this past Thursday night of gaming was the perfect time to do so.

After much rumination, I decided to play Trollbloods in the league. I play Cryx and Skorne as well, but I already had both the Skorne platoon for the campaign and the Trollbloods platoon (both are completely unpainted except for the Mortitheurge Willbreaker for my Skorne). I thought about each of them and what I’m feeling like playing lately, and I felt the call of the Trolls pretty strongly. While I like my Skorne, painting them is not as rewarding as painting the trolls. I like the color scheme of my Skorne, but it’s labor-intensive and doesn’t always “pop” on the tabletop. My trolls are just as much labor of course, but the green gemstone look I’m going with is fun and makes them very neatly visually different on the table.

Trollbloods PlatoonThe platoon gathered. It’s composed of a minimum unit of Pyg Bushwhackers, a unit of Trollkin Scouts, and a Stone Scribe Chronicler. I love the Trollkin Scouts models–the one stealing the pig is priceless. 

We wanted to give the platoon scenarios a test run so we could make sure things did indeed work in tidy fashion for the league. Thus my sadly unpainted Trollbloods faced off against Enrico’s Legion of Everblight for a game.

Platoon Skirmish Scenario 1His force, arrayed to protect the safehouse from being reached by my Officer. 

Platoon Skirmish Scenario 2I managed to sneak my officer (represented by the Pyg Keg Carrier companion of Borka) just far enough around to make a run for it. The Legionnaires almost caught me, but he managed to slip free and get to the safehouse. 

Definitely a fun way to play–I’m looking forward to both more platoon games and larger games with the Platoons included.

I also had time to squeeze in a 35 point regular game. I wanted to use my new models in what I’m thinking of generally running in the league–a pBorka list. I matched up against Colton’s Khador. I’ve played before against his Karchev list, but Borka and Trollbloods bring a very different look than the Goreshade3 list I faced him with last time.

Borka vs Karchev 1His deployment and cluster of warjacks around Karchev. 

Borka vs Karchev 2My force after my first turn of movement–sending the Scouts and Pygs on both edges to clear out his support, and hoping Borka, Janissa, an Impaler, and two Dire Troll Blitzers can stand against the onslaught of Jacks down the middle. 

Borka vs Karchev 3My feat turn was going to be perfect. One of his Warjacks had ended slightly in the water of the river. With Knockdown on all my models, and the Devastator Open after shooting, it meant that a charging Stone Scribe Chronicler had a pretty good shot at knocking the warjack down thanks to Borka’s feat and his engine going out. It was a great plan until the Trollkin missed his attack roll.

Borka vs Karchev 4The conclusion was climactic simply because of how long it took. Karchev got a shot at killing Borka personally. So he took it, only to have Borka stumble away after the first attack hit him (and transfer the damage). Then it was my turn, and despite Borka’s attacks, the Blitzer’s full compliment of firepower, and Janissa’s armor piercing swing, Karchev lived. His next turn saw Borka stumble away yet again at the improbable last moment… And I finally finished him on my following turn. 

Once I get my platoon models painted, Borka will be my next target. I love him as a caster and he was a blast to play–such amazing survivability. It was a great game, as we both had so many chances that went awry there was a great deal of laughter (punctuated with occasional kindly but understandable swearing).

366 Points Challenge Progress (2016):

66/366

Battles (Privateer Press):

Overall Totals 2016: 16 (Win/Loss: 12/4/0); 2015: 43 (Win/Loss: 29/14/0)

Skorne:

7 Wins (Butcher, Deneghra, Shae, Sorscha2, Feora2, Severius, Skarre)/ 1 Loss (Rask)

Trollbloods:

1 Win (Karchev) / 0 Losses

 

Cryx:

4 Wins (Caine, Karchev, Skarre, Vlad)  /  3 Losses (Asphyxious, Lylyth2, Goreshade3)

Who’s the Boss?

Who’s the Boss?

This past Sunday I organized a Who’s the Boss tournament at Drawbridge Games using the nice Grotscon ruleset. While an unusual number of last-minute cancellations from players kept the numbers down, we still had enough to field a sizeable group of casters. For those unfamiliar with the Who’s the Boss format, all the Warcasters and Warlocks get pooled in the middle and are rolled for at random each round. It makes it so the players have a different caster leading their force each time, and as they cannot be from the same faction it can lead to some strange and fun combinations. In addition, casters are fielded as if they are part of the faction you’re playing, so Warcasters could be using a Fury mechanic instead of Focus (and vice versa) depending on who gets them. It’s pretty chaotic, because they’re usually using spells that aren’t balanced for the faction. Mayhem can easily ensue.

We had a huge field of casters available even with the cancellations–40 different fully painted casters that could be randomized.

Whos the Boss CroppedQuite the deadly group.

As we would have had an odd number of players if I didn’t join in, I played as well. Because Who’s the Boss games take a long time–there’s a lot of reading and thinking about the casters, which slows you down to be safe–we had 30 point forces with at least 7 points worth of Warjacks/Warbeasts. I fielded Trollbloods for mine: Two Dire Troll Blitzers, a Storm Troll, a Troll Bouncer, and five Troll Whelps. I figured that it could deal with whatever infantry showed up at 30 points, but could still get work done against beasts and jacks as needed.

Whos the Boss Trollbloods 1My first Random Boss was Calaban the Gravewalker, a Minions warlock. Occultation to keep me safe, Bone Shaker to assault the foe, and Parasite to make the Trolls hit like trucks… plus a crazy feat versus an opponent fielding a lot of living infantry. 

Whos the Boss 1I got lucky, and that’s exactly what my opponent fielded. It was a Thornfall Alliance force with a heavy line of Brigands and Slaughterhousers, backed up by some beasts. His randomized caster for the round was Grissel Bloodsong, Fell Caller. As Grissel is one of my contributions to the caster pool, I knew her pretty well–it was time to see what she did for the Pigs. 

Whos the Boss 2The Roadhog grabs my Bouncer’s shield as the two tussle in the zone. I put a lot of pressure on his force, with the Blitzers’ Guns and Calaban’s spells (especially on feat turn) putting the hurt on them badly. But the sheer brute force of the Roadhog helped keep my Trolls in check. Finally my caster was killed, thought we were each down to just three or four models each at that point. Absolutely bloody but fun battle with a great sport of an opponent–who seemed to love the raw power of Grissel’s feat turn especially. 

Whos the Boss 4My second Random Boss was Kara Sloan, a Cygnar Warcaster. She’s a shooting specialist for a shooting faction, and given that I was fielding a pretty shooty list, I was excited about the combo. Her feat turn in particular could be devastating with my force as it meant a number of extra long-ranged attacks from her and no need to boost my to-hits with my Trolls (which is usually a must for ranged attacks in the faction). 

Whos the Boss 3My opponent fielded Cryx, led by Random Boss Vice Scrutator Vindictus. The force was two bonejacks, a big unit of Bane Thralls with UA and Bane Lord Tartarus, and Blackbane’s Ghost Raiders. Defender’s Ward on the Bane Thralls was a bad, bad thing, and the movement bonus and pathfinder from True Path was just icing on the cake for them. 

Whos the Boss 5A lone Troll Whelp stands up to the withering menace of a Bane Thrall. Too much work had to be done by Kara in this one: she was the only magic weapon, but it was only ranged, so a lot of her shots had to go into Blackbane’s incorporeal models. But with her ability to see Stealthed models, she was the only one that could really project any threat on the Banes. While the feat helped, it really didn’t stem the tide. 

Whos the Boss 6Vindictus himself rolled up to push the attack and clear the zone. Kara was not assassinated, as he was well back on a flag on my half and killing things as they got close. But the Banes cut my warbeasts to ribbons and eventually left him able to out score me with dominating the central zone. It was a fun game, and I’m not sure what all I could have done to be the victor in this one. 

Whos the Boss 7My third Random Boss was Drake MacBain, a Mercenary Warcaster. As my force was almost all battlegroup, his feat was near useless but Energizer was awesome. He was also the best painted of the casters that I got to play with during the event. 

Whos the Boss 8My opponent had a Khador force that was quick and deadly with Black Dragons and Doomreavers. His random Boss was Anson Durst, Rock of the Faith. The scenario was the older one with three flags, one of which disappeared at the very end of round one. I gambled by sending my force almost entirely to the left flank, while he went middle and right. Luckily, it was the rightmost flag that disappeared. I could win the scenario by dominating the outside flag (2 points) if I could keep him off it. 

Whos the Boss 9What proceeded to happen was a strange maneuvering game, with very few casualties at first. I got a quick turn of nabbing 2 points of the objective, so I was well on my way. Once his forces started to hit home I could see that I wasn’t going to with the actual battle. So I had to be creative–thank goodness I had the Dire Troll Blizers and their Repulsion animus that pushes opponents away. Through creative use, I was able to slow him down and score again. It finally ended in a situation where if I could just get a few key models pushed away, I’d win the scenario 6 points to 5 points (as he had been getting the middle one flag for a while). Drake did his job, pushing a unit away, Energizering, pushing a few others away, then moving and pushing out a third group. All that was left was the completely healthy Blitzer needing to animus near him, then suffer but a single free strike on his way to move and animus away the last two models. Victory was almost in my grasp. Till the Black Dragon Pikeman’s free strike rolled doubles, and my Dire Troll suffered the Critical Knockdown effect which ended his turn before he could shove out the last two foes and causing my opponent to win 5-4. It was a blast of a game, and my scenario play was a race against his killing power. Really fun time. 

Whos the Boss TropiesI did up the trophies for the event, as you’ve always got to give out trophies to reward players, as I wrote about in this Bell of Lost Souls article. The big center one, with Who’s the Boss’ Tony Danza, was for the overall winner and came with the prize of Haley 3–the boss who’s three bosses at once! The one on the left, with Boss Hogg, was for the best painted boss, and came with pSkarre. The one on the left, with Boss Nass, was a surprise award–it went to the player who had the worst luck with which random bosses they rolled throughout the event. It’s good to award a non-competition prize in every event. 

Whos the Boss WinnersA shot of the winners with their prizes. Matt won the overall Who’s the Boss victor, going undefeated for the event. Andy won best painted for his nifty, and bloody, Minions warlock Midas. And Ryan won the Boss Nass worst caster luck award largely on getting Durgen Madhammer in his first round, which proved to be a complete disaster. Durgen has a hard time being successful with a force full of carefully synergized dwarves… in Who’s the Boss he’s a disaster when you get him in a force that had no shooting besides a single spray. 

Overall it seemed to be a fun event. I was bummed that we had so many people cancel and no-show right at the last minute, but focusing on the players who did show and the fun we had makes it a success in my mind. I’ll probably try to host another in the future sometime, as it’s a fun format for everyone–and I’ve got a few casters I want to paint up to offer up for the next incarnation!