Friday, April 29, 2011

Spotlight: Bile Thralls

I think Bile Thralls need more publicity, and by god I'm going to make it happen. Anyone failing to realize the subtle way this unit dominates a table, will have a hard time with Warmachine in general, so strap in a enjoy.

The Kings of Vomit

Dead flesh is more versatile than machinery alone. With the proper application of our art even the wreckage of battle can rise to serve us once more. - Master Necrotech Mortenebra

Bile Thralls are amazingly powerful, and even a single Bile Thrall can wipe out an entire unit in the blink of an eye. Looking at the Bile Thralls you'll notice the extreme lack of everything, and finding a unit which appears worse at a casual glance is quite difficult. I strongly recommend you only bring a minimum unit, since Bile Thralls are expensive, and six of them will be enough
Bile Thralls: Abilities
The Bile Thralls all carry Bile Cannons, which are eight inch sprays with the POW to kill light and medium infantry on average rolls. This is often underestimated, and I've seen players refrain from spraying, since they'll probably miss anyway. I can't tell you how much that annoys me, so remember they have it, and you will occasionally get an extra kill (my personal record is three kills with one spray).

Purge is the main reason to bring the Bile Thralls, and entire games have been won with a single decent purge. In order to appreciate the ability you should go here, and just absorb the actual size of the Purge Template. The area covered by a Purge is enormous, and my personal record is thirteen kills with one Purge.

A purge will automatically destroy most single wound models. I'll repeat it once more for clarity: A purge will automatically destroy most single wound models. This is an amazingly powerful ability, and it's made even better with continuous corrosion. Continuous corrosion allows you to Purge models with armor you can't even dent, and just wait for them to melt when his turn comes around.

Multiple wound models aren't immune to Bile Thrall purges either, since the initial damage and continuous corrosion can easily handle most five wound models, or at least bang them up badly. Tough models won't like it either, as even if they make the tough rolls against corrosion on their turn, they're still knocked down (be mindful of effects that negate knockdown).
Bile Thralls: Tactics
Most players field Bile Thralls, and expect them to perform in an offensive capacity. These players are terrible disappointed with the unit, which is understandable, but it's actually the result of a false assumption, because: Bile Thralls are not designed for offense.
  • Counter-punch: There are few units that can absorb a charge, so striking first is a great asset. If you place a couple of Bile Thralls behind you lines, you create an almost unsolvable puzzle. If he engages your line he will be heavily punished, and if he refrains he will be on the receiving end of charge from your lines.
This is why Bile Thralls are so dangerous. If you place them correctly behind a unit they can clear out every enemy engaging you (and probably one or two of your own models, until you get the placement worked out), which leaves your unit free and ready to charge.
  • Bile-baiting: Having your Bile Thralls shuffle along behind your lines, provides your opponent with an interesting dilemma. If he has no ranged units he's in real trouble, but assuming he has a few ranged option he'll have to trade you. If he moves up a ranged unit and fires on you Bile Thralls, he'll be within range of your charge, unless he can manage more than sixteen inch range. There are units that can achieve that range, so I usually hide a couple of Bile Thralls behind large based models to be on the safe side.
I've never lost my Bile Thralls without gaining something of equal value in return. Taking down six Bile Thralls requires at least six shots, and they all need to hit and wound. In some cases a caster can protect them with Occultation or Tough, making it even harder to get them all, but they work almost as well without protection.
  • Surprise Purge: Excarnate allows for some truly absurd tricks with Bile Thralls, but you won't need Excarnate to take opponents by surprise. Death Ride (Darragh Wrathe) will give you the inch you need take on speed six models with reach, and Madelyn Corbeau can move a single Bile Thrall three inches in the maintenance phase. Together they can achieve a fifteen inch purge range for a Bile Thrall, and that's enough to dominate a table.
This works especially well with Terminus, but including Madelyn is rarely a poor choice. Fifteen inches is a huge distance, and a single Bile Thrall getting in a solid purge, will reduce a unit to a pile of melted flesh.
Bile Thralls: Records
It all sounds very nice, but does it actually work. The answer to that question is a resounding YES. Bile Thralls are loathed and despised by opponents in my meta, and the results are clear. Occasionally someone will try Bile Thralls in offense mode, and with Occultation it can be done, but the counter-punch is such a strong option, that defense Biles outshine them without help.
  • Most models killed in one Purge: 13
  • Most models killed by one unit: 27
  • Most models killed with one Bile Cannon spray: 3
  • Most memorable model killed with a Bile Cannon spray: Fell Caller Hero
  • Most memorable purge: Bile Thralls kill a Raek, Carnivean, and Typhon!
I can't even begin to describe how many games the Bile Thralls have won for me, simply by making it extremely hard to steal the initiative, and then a few by inflicting massive destruction to my opponent.
Bile Thralls: Summary
    Bile Thralls are one of the most misunderstood units we have, and used correctly they have a tremendous impact on the game. I've wiped entire units of the table, denied my opponent any opportunity of a dedicated charge, and siphoned his dangerous ranged units by baiting with Biles.

    I've won games by hiding a single Bile behind a hedge or building, and watching the look of horror on my opponents face, when he realizes he missed one, and it's within range. I've never had a game where I found myself regretting to bring them, and I guarantee that you'll get to love them if you try.

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    DM qualifier on May 28th...

    It seems there's a fair chance of getting to play in the Danish Masters anyway, but I'd still like to be there because I actually qualified, and not because some random spots open up. With that in mind I'll be bringing my Dark Swarm list that did so well in the last tournament, but this is 50 points games so I can actually field it almost like it's supposed to.

    Lich Lord Terminus
    - Leviathan
    - Leviathan
    Bane Thralls (Maximum)
    - Officer & Standard
    Bane Thralls (Minimum)
    Bile Thrall (Minimum)
    The Withershadow Combine
    Bane Lord Tartarus
    Darragh Wrathe
    Madelyn Corbeau

    The list only has a single change from the original, which is the addition of the UA to the Bane Thrall unit, at the cost of a reduction of models in the other. The reason for this change is casters like pSorcha, who really messed up my advance when she froze my lines. This has the potential of taking me out of the game due to scenario loss, and that will not stand.

    With the Officer & Standard they will unfreeze and stand up automatically, making my advance flow a lot easier. The list is still lacking infantry, but the only way to get more in is to remove a Leviathan. The second Leviathan is what makes the list work, so I'll have to make due. The final thing my list is lacking is Saxon Orrik, but the only Thing I can remove is Bane Lord Tartarus, and he's been so incredibly useful.

    Now to get in some games with the list... I'm getting my second Leviathan & Bane Thralls come Monday, and the wings for my new Terminus arrived as well. Now I just need to find some time to assemble it all without going insane.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    I need access to Obama!

    That should generate some hits... well, I need him to stop messing with the lunar expeditions. If he prevents man from going back to the moon, how will I ever get my PIECE OF SHIT LEVIATHAN up there. Usually when people tell me a model will be hard to assemble, it turns out to be something of an overstatement, but with this one...

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Terminus... he's not so Tough... I can do that!

    I took a list to the club tonight, since I really wanted to chill out and play anything but competitive play. I grabbed anything from the rarely used models box, and put an army together. Then I added pDenny and two Nightwretches in order to have any chance of winning.

    - Nightwretch
    - Nightwretch
    Bloodgorgers (Minimum)
    - Gerlack
    Blood Witched (Minimum)
    - Hag
    Two Warwitch Sirens
    Dougal MacNaile
    Wrong Eye & Snapjaw

    Well, when I look at it now It's not actually a bad army... anyway, i got my ass handed to me, and in the final turn of the game Denny was at 0 focus and parked four inches in front of an entire army. Got debuffed by Aiyanna, got shot by Holt, got shot by a Mariner, got shot by a nearly full squad of gun mages, got shot by Ashlynn, got hit in the head by Bull, and took a grand total of eight damage... then killed Ashlynn in two hits.

    I officially lost my claim on bad luck... I mean come on...

    The Leviathan, more rested insight.

    The Leviathan is there to take a beating... that's what the tournament this weekend taught me.

    The Leviathan continuously disappointed me with the damage output, but being on the most durable frame in the arsenal (Deathjack not included) it held up to more than one severe beating. The Leviathan is included in the list to cover against certain matchups, but bringing eighteen points worth of models with no assignments is a recipe for failure in every other game.

    This weekend it killed a grand total of one model in four games, but it was instrumental to my success. During game one and four it took a Deathjack to the face and survived. Had it died I would have given it a fitting burial and cheered, since it gave me a shot at the most dangerous thing the enemy had on the table. An opposing heavy cannot ignore the damage from a Leviathan, pathetic as it may be, so at some point he will have to come for it. When he comes for it you exchange your Leviathan for his heavy, and Terminus profits when a threat to him leaves the table. I tried to have the Withershadow Combine in range to retaliate, but both times they failed to seal the deal (still a good setup).

    The Leviathan was also used to shield Terminus after I learned my lesson in the first two games, since the effort needed to bring it down could also have taken down Terminus instead. In fifty point games two Leviathans can actually block LoS to Terminus, which is an incredible boon in some matchups like Menoth lists featuring the Avatar. If you're facing the Avatar and his gaze is making you stay for a messy death the following turn, you load up both Leviathans to full and just walk in front of him to break LoS. Not only will the Avatar take quite a bit of damage (around 8 points from each Leviathan, assuming you can shoot him of course) but Terminus can just walk away and live to fight again. You should remember two rules when doing this...
    • The Leviathan is steady, so there's no way to knock it down in order to get LoS to Terminus.
    • Even when slammed the worst thing that can happen is Terminus getting some downtime, since the Leviathan is staying where it is. Mind the throws though, as having the Leviathan thrown out of position could be very bad news.
    And... remember Molik Karn... it's probably a good idea to flank the Leviathan/Terminus triangle with a pile of Bane Thralls, and have a couple of Bane Thralls in front of the Leviathans as well, in order to block access and set up for retaliation.

    In summary: The Leviathans are there to force action from an opponent, and take the beatings that could take down Terminus instead. When thinking about it like that, the cost suddenly doesn't seem so bad.

    The other kids get cool names!

    Gunslinger, Corpsekrieg, Cryxkrieg... all the Terminus variant lists get some awesome names, so my stealth list is falling behind because of a poor naming process, and that will not

    (must be shouted in a sepulchre voice of course).

    Dark Swarm it is...

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Lich Lord Terminus, the debuff king?

    I've always been telling my opponents that Terminus does nothing for his troops except give them Tough, but that's not entirely true, and especially not so when running the stealth list. The main issues for Bane Thralls will always be to actually hit the things they're charging, and of course we bring Tartarus to remedy that problem, but Terminus actually brings a debuff to the game: Malediction.

    In the history of debuffs it's hard to find one with a shorter range, and in every game so far I've been using it only on the assassination run (upkeeping it the entire game of course, but not really using it), but as I stood in the shower just now I realized that Terminus actually has great synergy with the Bane Thralls. In my post before I talked about running in a Bane Thrall to make Terminus his at PS20, but what about the other way around?

    You have a target that for some reason it's unattractive to charge with Terminus. This could be because it's just an inch out of range, or because killing it would require Focus and thus put Terminus in danger. The target is however in range of the Bane Thrall shield, but is feeling safe enough due to high defenses and a lot of health left (DEF 14+, if they already took care of Tartarus, is hard for Thralls). If the range is a problem you can get another inch out of Terminus by running, and thus getting in range. If the issue is bait, you can run to a position that is easier to defend, and avoid weakening Terminus.

    The effect you gain from this is, that your Bane Thralls suddenly get +2 MAT & STR on the target. If you kept Tartarus safe and he uses his curse, you could charge a target with Bane Thralls, effectively rolling 4d6+15 at MAT10, which would take out almost anything on average, if you get four Thralls on it. It's probably not a trick for every game, but it's nice to remember if your stuck with few Thralls, no Tartarus, and a heavy you can't kill with Terminus because of the danger he would put himself in by doing so.

    Dark Swarm, now with rested bonus!

    I did my posting a bit late last night, so I think I missed a couple of things. I don't really remember details about the battles, but I do have a little more to offer on the Terminus Dark Swarm list. As I posted last night I was told in no unclear terms that I brought the wrong models for Terminus, but taking first and using only that army sort of proved him wrong. I did mess up and won the first two games by luck, but by the semi-finals and the final I had gotten to grips with using the Dark Swarm list.

    The Dark Swarm list is more durable:
    • The Mechanithrall hordes outnumber the Dark Swarm list by more than two to one, but they lack any sort of defense. A Mechanithrall will be hit by most ranged units on sixes or better, and will die on anything but snake eyes. A Bane Thrall unit simply won't get hit by most ranged units at all, and if they face a unit that ignores stealth they feature the same defense as Mechanithralls, and a lot more ARM.
    • A opponent with blasts will regularly place the blast where he needs it to be, and inflict a lot of destruction on the tightly packed ARM 12 Mechanithralls (POW6 kills them on average). Against Bane Thralls the blast will nearly always scatter, and even a POW8 blast which are really rare, will need to roll above average to kill a Bane. There are also fewer Bane Thralls on the table, so blasts will hit fewer models as well.
    • A Tough check on a Bane Thrall means a lot more than a similar check on a Mechanithrall. Whenever a Mechanithrall manages to live you get a Mechanithrall (woop woop!)... when a Bane Thrall lives you get a pissed of weapon master standing up in his face the following round (even better if that unit has the UA). That means that each Bane Thrall will continue soaking hits until he's dead for good, which can often save other Bane Thralls from a similar fate, as most opponent's will come for the guy with DEF 5 that is automatically hit in melee.
    The Dark Swarm list hits harder:
    • A Bane Thrall on the charge swings for 27 damage on average, while a Mechanithrall swings for 25.5 with a combo strike, so how can the stealth list hit harder when there are twice as many Mechanithralls? The first thing you'll have to take into consideration is space: In any game featuring infantry hordes you'll muck up charge lanes, and even when you don't you'll be hard pressed to get more than four models charging a heavy on average (some games will let you get more, but we need to look at the big picture). This means that the numerical superiority of Mechanithrall horde means nothing for their force application in any given round, but the extra damage and MAT of the Bane Thralls will mean a lot. The Bane Thralls also bring Tartarus, which allows them to take on Cryx jacks and circle beasts at DEF 13+ and still hit somewhat reliably with MAT8, which is something that should never be underestimated.
    • The second thing we have to look at is free strikes: The Mechanithralls are PS 11, and while they hit at PS15 when doing combo strikes, that means nothing on free strikes. This means than a Khador Heavy will take a single point of damage on average per strike, and it honestly won't care... Bane Thralls on the other hand swing for full damage, and taking seven points on a heavy for every Bane Thrall means that the jack is staying where it is. In addition the Bane Thralls have increases ARM and Stealth, making it harder to remove those free strikes by shooting the Bane Thralls to free it up.
    • Minor things include offering Terminus a further -2 debuff against ARM, and while this is usually not vital it is very nice to have when facing hard focus campers 
    The Dark Swarm list is more maneuverable:
    • Moving 18-22 models around is easier than moving 38 models around. It also takes a lot less time to do so, allowing for a bit more careful placing of models to avoid clogging up. In addition there's no shuffling around to allow Stitch Thralls to collect corpses, and placing Mechanithralls to prevent someone from shooting your precious Necrosurgeons.
    • Having only half the screen allows you to play your Bile Thralls more effectively, since they can now actually get through the screen in order to Purge, and you will lose less of your own screen that way. Now here's the first thing where the Mechanithrall horde has any real advantage, because losing your own Bane Thralls to a purge really hurts. In order to prevent this, I've been practicing setting up the lines to minimize my own casualties, and the one time I did this yesterday I only lost two Bane Thralls and gained eight souls for Terminus... Fair trade in my book.
     It still needs more playtesting, but I really feel this concept outperforms the Mechanithrall horde by miles, and so far the testing has been supporting that claim. The list has issue at 35 points and is unplayable below that, but as most tournaments are 35/50 points this should rarely be an issue in competitive play, and let's face it... if you're playing friendly games the list composition really doesn't matter anyway.

    29-04.2011: I feel a slight update to this post is in order. The Dark Swarm has been found to benefit a lot from one Bane Thrall unit with the Officer & Standard. Originally I was fielding them without the UA, since Terminus grants them Tough anyway, but stationary or knocked down Bane Thralls really mess up the lanes, and the easy solution is to just field the UA. This unit is the one you place in front of Terminus, so come maintenance phase they'll shake whatever was affecting them, and be ready to move out of the way.

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Terminus... that man is TOUGH.

    So I drove to Silkeborg (a town some 25 miles away) to participate in their 35 point tournament, along with a couple of other guys from my club. As I wrote before, I'd decided to field Terminus in every game if at all possible, so my other list was mainly in case of Irusk... really hate that guy.

    Now in my club I'm the only regular Cryx player, though another has begun showing up recently (an old member of the club, I just didn't see him the first couple of months), but facing Cryx is something I'd only done twice before... but when I arrived there were twelve players, and six of us brought Cryx... I mentally prepared for some crappy games without souls for Terminus, and lined up for the first game.

    Game 1: Terminus Vs. Mortenebra; Overrun.
    The guy was pretty nice before we got to playing, but he had a little bit to learn about etiquette at the tables. In my rounds it was very important for me to measure exactly, tell him every detail, and explain my powers. While that's fine with me he didn't exactly return the favor, and instead told me I brought the wrong models with Terminus and how many games he'd won by using Mechanithralls.

    Now the list I brought did indeed lack infantry, and it almost killed me in the game when my lines were broken and a Seether came close to getting through, but a couple of lucky (according to my opponent, average according to statistics) tough checks blocked his path. After my "useless" Bane Thralls munched every heavy he had, Mortenebra actually made an assassination run on Terminus though she had zero chance at making it, but just to add insult to injury she missed Terminus with every attack she made, and when Terminus retaliates... well...

    Game 2: Terminus Vs. pSorscha; Killbox.
    Now this game was against Khador, and against one of my favorite opponents from the club. He's a better player than I am, but every time we play my dice become avatars of flaming destruction and he looses. So again I mess up because I'm lacking enough infantry to block him out, and Terminus get's to say hello to Beast09. It takes him a focus to charge, and after the initial hits Terminus goes down. Now it all comes down to the 5+ Touch check, and the dice avatars awaken. After B09 was done Terminus had made three consecutive Tough checks.

    The Leviathan get's two focus, walks over and headbuts B09, Terminus charges Sorcha and another win for me. I really felt sorry for the guy, because even IF it was a Bane Thrall and not Terminus, I made three consecutive Tough checks and won the game last time we played as well. I should have been out of the race here, but the dice would have it differently and so I moved on to the semi finals.

    Game 3: Terminus Vs. Stryker; Close Quarters.
    Now this I could handle. He probably should have brought his Siege list, but he was having fun, which is definitively alright with me. I'd learned my lesson from the two other games, so now I was using the Leviathan to block access to Terminus with a pile of Thralls flanking them. This game was a lot better, and I was never in any real danger since his list was rather poor against mine; so after his Gun Mages died to a Madelyn Corbeau moved Bile the game was basically over. I got Terminus to ARM 32 and Stryker got munched. We had a really fun and relaxed game, and I'm looking forward to facing the man again. Another win put me in the finals, so for the last and final game I faced another member of my club.

    Game 4: Terminus Vs. eSkarre; Capture the flag.
    I'd never faced eSkarre before, and I'd actually never faced the player behind her either, but it was one of the most relaxed game I've ever had, and a more pleasant opponent is hard to find. The game was a prolonged slaughter on both sides, and in the end it came down to him playing for a draw or just going ahead and doing something silly. He had an opportunity for the draw, which would have required me to accept it or put Terminus in range of a charge from Skarre. Now had he done it I would have taken the chance, and if that failed I would have lost. He decided to call it a day, and accept second place with a better strength of schedule with me as the winner, so he took second in the tournament.

    So now I'm a proud(ish) owner of a coin... go me... I really should have lost the second game though so it doesn't "feel" deserved, but I'm a lot more comfortable putting down Terminus than I ever was with Mortenebra. Now what did I learn today?
    • I need more Bane Thralls. Ten simply isn't enough. I also need the UA in one of those because having stationary Banes clogging up lanes was annoying against Sorscha. So another unit of banes with UA, will be 8 points.
    • Skarlock... turned out to be a model that did nothing at all, except the game where he won it for me. I wouldn't have gotten Sorcha if he hadn't cast Ravager on Terminus for free, so he's a hard choice. I think he's staying in, but I need to accept that he will do nothing at all except for when he wins me the game.
    • Leviathan... did next to nothing in most games, but turned out to be a great road block and soaked a lot of fire. He was the only thing I could bog down a Deathjack with, though it cost him all but three boxes to do so.
    • Bile Thralls... like the Skarlock these guys did nothing at all for three out of four games, but in the third game they won it for me by destroying the two full units that were giving me issues (Gun Mages being the worst)
    So, I guess I'll stick with the man... Terminus... the man that makes up for all my mistakes as a player.

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Decided to go ahead tomorrow.

    I'll bring an eGaspy list, but the target for tomorrow is to field Terminus in every game in order to get the experience I need. I feel very uncomfortable with the list though, as I can't field nearly enough Bane Thralls (since I don't own them... just put in a pre-order for the new sculpts though). The list will be a miniature version of the Gunslinger/Stealth army, and then I'll have to hope for the best (please no beast heavy Saeryn lists...).

    - Leviathan
    Bane Thralls (Leader & 9 Grunts)
    Bile Thralls (Leader & 5 Grunts)
    Withershadow Combine
    Darragh Wrathe
    Bane Lord Tartarus
    Madelyn Corbeau
    Skarlock Thrall

    In other news I got my first ever parking ticket today... then I had a heated argument with my wife to be, and then a cat ran in front of the car so I had to slam the breaks (still a wee bit sore from the seatbelt, though not as much as the missus). I'm really hoping tomorrow will be a day of relaxing and rolling dice, so I'll care very little for winning and just have a nice day. That also means I should probably go to sleep now...

    Things to test tomorrow:
    • Puppet Master works on the Leviathan, and Tremulus usually has nothing to do until Terminus goes in for the kill anyway. Tomorrow Tremulus is going to throw Puppet Master on the Leviathan every round, and see what it can do.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011


    I'm slowly... like very slowly... building a Blindwater army. I only buy things when I get really good deals, since it will take a long time before I ever field it. So far I own:

    Bog Trog Ambushers (Leader and 9 Grunts)
    Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (Leader and 1 Grunt)
    Totem Hunter
    Wrong Eye & Snapjaw
    Bull Snapper

    And I've paid 400 Danish kroner (about 70 US dollars) for it, including transport, which is a bit below half price so far (incidently, half price is my target). A Warcaster and a Ironback Spitter means I can field a 25 point army, but a rather poor one :D

    Considering going to a small tournament this Saturday.

    It's been a tough week at work, since almost everyone is on vacation, leaving me to hold down the fort. This leaves me feeling like I don't really need another tournament this soon, but on the other hand I really need the experience. Since I'm on vacation starting tomorrow as well, I might just get in the mood anyway, so I better get working on some lists.

    Annoyingly it's a 35 point tournament, so I'll have to work on some viable lists, that will still give me experience running the units and casters I'll need for the 50 points games later. This means I'll be running lists that are less than optimal, which will be a strange experience indeed.

    Lich Lord Terminus: Gunslinger & Stealth.
    - Leviathan
    - Skarlock
    Bane Thralls (Leader & 9 Grunts)
    Bile Thralls (Leader & 5 Grunts)
    Withershadow Combine
    Darragh Wrathe
    Bane Lord Tartarus
    Madelyn Corbeau

    A Terminus list without disposable infantry... that will be hard work. I would take more Bane Thralls instead of the Leviathan, but I don't own more (trying to buy some cheap used ones before Saturday though). Everything else is standard except for the Skarlock. Normally I'd bring Saxon Orrik or Gorman di Wulfe, but in small games like these I'll need to go on the offensive with Terminus without spending any Focus at all, so the Skarlock comes along to cast Ravager on Terminus when he needs to hit stuff.

    With Tremulous, Admonia, and the Skarlock, Terminus can take out 5-6 infantry without decreasing his armor at all, and he can hit a warjack twice if there's an infantry model close by to start the chain with his hand attack as well. 2x PS20 attacks should put a serious dent in any warjack, averaging 17.5 damage against ARM20, and with a re-roll if something rolls way below average. The main issue with this army is going to be Gun Mages, so I guess eAsphyxious will have to cover those.

    Lich Lord Asphyxious: Bane Assault
    - Ripjaw
    Bane Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts)
    Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
    - Bane Thrall Officer & Standard
    Bile Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
    Bane Lord Tartarus
    Darragh Wrathe
    Gorman di Wulfe
    Saxon Orrik

    Aiming at using many of the same models since my transport capacity is limited (going to buy a new case if I go Saturday, since the tournament is held at a store that sells them). I don't know how much terrain will be on the tables, so this army is also designed to circumvent heavy terrain as well. Bane Knights flow very well, and Bane Thralls will have help from Saxon Orrik. Darragh Wrathe will increase move and features a great SPD as well with Ligh Cavalry move, so he should do fine without help. Gorman is mainly there because I had two points left over anyway.

    I think I will be fine, even if it is slightly below optimal lists... if I go that is.

    Oh dear... I'm one of the "smart people" now?

    Someone just called me smart on the Privateer Press forum... there's a first for everything I guess, since usually they call me a lot less flattering things and report me to the mods when I write on forums. :D

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    I did end up getting a game.

    The club wasn't exactly brimming with people tonight, but I did end up getting a game against a Menoth player I'd never faced before. Very nice guy who brought a Severius list with a lot of infantry and a couple of warjacks. I used my new and improved Terminus list, with 20 Bane Thralls, 2 Leviathans, Bile Thralls, and all the Terminus regulars. The list was only 35 models in a 50 points game, and the tactics were really simple, but I couldn't handle timed turns tonight so that will have to wait.

    I did what I always do with Terminus, and ran everything up. We were playing Killbox so I knew he couldn't run forever if I pushed him hard. My Leviathans couldn't target his jacks due to the choir, but i did feed one some Focus to take shots at some support models, but it missed every shot on 7+ and I didn't get to shoot again. The Bane Thralls made a wall to prevent assaults on the Leviathans, and I let him have his turn.

    I got shot up as expected, by rockets, fire, and grenades. The thing is, I don't think he really knew what Terminus was capable of, and he came way to close with his infantry. One round of slaughter later, Terminus was sitting on ARM 35 and the game was over. We did play the last turn, and my army got mauled badly, but he had nowhere to run with Severius so it really didn't matter. A Bile purged everything that was blocking Terminus, and he annihilated Severius in one hit (ran in a Bane Thrall... hitting at P+S 20 is crazy).

    Terminus is an exceptional caster, because even when you mess up he can just keep on trucking. He was on fire for three rounds and who cares... he got charged by MAT8 weapon masters on his feat turn, and who cares. I rolled a bit below average on my Tough checks, and I need to work on my range guessing, but Terminus is such a bad ass that nothing matters as long as he gets to his target.

    This is my Terminus...

    Since I'm going to try out Terminus in a tournament setting, I had to revisit my model. This is my current Terminus. While I'm pretty happy with him as it is, time has shown him to be impossible to transport without breakage. If I need to travel around the country I'll need something that's easy to pack and doesn't break.

    Since I have another Terminus model already, I thought I might make myself a new Terminus altogether, with detachable wings and a new pose. Detachable wings require new wings... plastic wings... so I ordered these today. They're Lord of The Rings Balrog wings, and amazingly they were available as bits on the GW homepage.

    I also need a new head for him, and not because it's hard to transport, but because Terminus is one ugly lump of metal. This guy here simply used a Machine Wraith head, which I happen to have in my box of random stuff, so I'll be trying that out.

    Since I've owned three Terminus models so far, I have two swords in surplus, so depending on the model I might try and make Terminus a weapon like eThagrosh, only much bigger (size does matter!).

    I also need to work on his pose, and I'll be taking my inspiration from this guy here, but as my green/grey stuff skills are nowhere near that guys, I'll be aiming lower... a lot lower...

    New wings, new head, new pose, and possibly a new weapon, unless I can manage a detachable repose like the one in the picture above, which looks bloody awesome. I don't think this project will be finished anytime soon, but one never knows.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    First tournament completed.

    Though I've attended a couple of casual tournaments this was my first tournament with enforced time restrictions, and BOY was I unprepared. After the first game I was stressed out and sweating like horse, but thankfully my opponent cut my agony short with Molik Karn. I don't know why, but I thought Molik had to kill something to sidestep, so I was more than a little surprised when he just stepped around my Harrower and slaughtered Mortenebra.

    Game 1: Mortenebra Vs. eMakeda; Gaining Ground. I had the game, but since I missed that little thing about Molik Karn not needing to kill, but just a hit to sidestep, I lost. It was alright since I really needed to gather my thoughts and prepare for the next round, and consider how on earth I would ever field eGaspy and his 45 henchmen when I didn't even have time to activate Mortenebras army of Helljacks. I decided it might be alright since I had a huge amount of experience with eGaspy (seven whole games!), while I'd had only two with Mortenebra.

    Game 2: eGaspy Vs. Ravyn; Process of elimination. I'd never played against Retribution before, but with Mage Hunter Strike Force on the other side I decided AGAINST Mortenebra, since there was no way she was living through that (I know I brought her to deal with ranged lists.... big mistake). The game was a brutal slaughter of my army while I pushed him back, and in the end he tried for an assassination with Ravyn. I was scared, but my opponent failed some basic math test and didn't boost the attacks against eGaspy, so when he rolled exactly average he missed. Asphyxious was still standing, so he had to throw some hail mary's, and one of them was a stormfall archer that missed eGaspy, hit Ravyn instead, and rolled boxcars, which killed her since a Bile had put some damage on her earlier.

    So, win by team kill, but a win is a win (and I would have taken him in the following round anyway). I made some epic mistakes in this game due to time restraints, and I had a shot on Ravyn the round before which I missed because I purged my Bane Knights as well as the screen I was trying to remove in order to get the very same Knights in there. My opponent was a great guy and took his suicide with style, so I'm looking forward to meeting him again.

    Game 3: eGaspy Vs. eCaine; The Gauntlet. Feeling more confident with eGaspy, though the list will need some serious reconstruction, I again decided against Mortenebra and the risk of facing eCaine. I pushed with all I could, and had him on the run when eCaine decided I had to go down. I had screened eGaspy with Darragh Wrathe, and due to some poor dice he was left unable to take down Asphyxious when Darragh finally fell of his horse (need more protection for eGaspy).

    Caine gatecrashed to safety instead, so I had to do something about it or face another round of guns blazing. I threw everything at him, and built a cloud wall to keep eGaspy safe. A major part of his army was tied up or dead, but the real kicker was the two Blackbane's I had charging Caine... 11+ to hit, and one of them did, setting Caine on fire! The rest of the game was Caine burning to death while his army was dismantled, and at dice down I had Darragh Wrathe on foot win me the game due to tie breaker. I felt sorry for the guy being manhandled by his dice, but I needed that win.

    Game 4: Mortenebra Vs. The Coven; Killbox. I was so incredibly tired, and I couldn't face another round of Asphyxious. I wasn't going home with a medal anyway, so I took Mortenebra. Now I posted a picture of a boy giving himself a wedgie a few days back, and that's exactly what happened. I was tired, I made some dumbass mistakes, and died without ever rolling a die to a spell assassination by the coven. I put my screen up, did some shuffling around, and left Mortenebra completely in the open (well, 3 mm gap, but might as well be in the open). I lost in 12 minutes, including the time it took to set up my army... After a couple of minutes of being incredibly annoyed with myself, I came to realize that it wasn't the end of the world, and I quite enjoyed the friendly teasing I received afterward. The guy who beat me also won 4/4 and took second place... and is a two time danish master, so if I had to get an atomic wedgie it might as well be by him.

    I didn't make the top five, but as the tournament was expanded to 18 players my sixth place actually got me the top third position I was gunning for anyway. As of now I'm not qualified for the Danish Masters, but the system being used to determine the spots is incredibly complicated and hard to understand. I think it means that if somehow the winners of the coming tournaments are some of the same players that won this one, they will be removed from the calculations and leave me qualified. Either way, I'm just going to do better next time and earn myself a ticket.

    Despite having bought a crapload of models Mortenebra, I think she'll remain on the shelf for the next tournament. I need casters I know when time is running short, and I need casters that can survive my stupid mistakes, so Terminus is signing up. I'm going to have to find a way of cutting his model count in half, but I think I have some ideas.

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Tomorrow will be a long day.

    Woke up today feeling like...

    Feels like I drank a case of beer, ran a marathon, and then entered a headbutting contest with a Rhino, except that would rock and I did none of those things... Tonight I have a dinner planned, so I'll be entertaining guests for most of the evening, meaning that I'll have zero opportunity to recuperate. This will go well, I can feel it...

    Terminus writeup...

    A fellow over at the Privateer Press forum did an excellent writeup of Terminus. For the first time someone actually got it right and remembered everything, so I'll just promote his post instead of writing my own some day.


    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Painting blogs are boring without pictures.

    So I scoured my apartment looking for the charger to my camera but to no avail. If you cant enjoy pictures then maybe you can enjoy my anguish. The paint scheme I have for my army just wouldn't work for Bane Thralls, so after three test miniatures I finally gave in and made them quite like the Privateer Press scheme.

    I love it... they're dark and dangerous, which is a huge problem, as they really don't fit the rest of my army. I've still got 10 Bane Knights and Tartarus to go, which means that my Lich Lord Asphyxious army will have two different paint schemes split right down the middle (45 models, 21 painted in the new scheme). I could paint over the Bile Thralls in an hour since they've only got gloves and a collar in the wrong color, further swinging the balance, but all the really hard models (Epic Asphyxious, Darragh Wrathe, Withershadow Combine) would still be in the wrong scheme.

    What to do... what to do...

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Speak of the devil...

    New Bane Thrall sculpts are here... will mesh very well with the old ones.

    More grunts for my ever growing army of the undead!

    Painting is hell...

    Got the last Bile Thrall finished last night, and a being ill today allowed me to finish six Bane Thralls and the Officer & Standard. I'm leaving the last three Thralls unpainted as there's no painting requirement for the qualifiers, and then I'll paint some of the new Bane Thrall sculpts to swell the ranks when they arrive. I hope I can have my Asphyxious list fully painted by Saturday, but it's not looking good.

    I've also finished my Mortenebra list, and since there's no time for more play testing this is the list I'll bring Saturday. I'm not completely satisfied with Mortenebra as a caster, but it's been a blast playing her because every round beyond the first is all or nothing.

    Mortenebra & Deryliss.
    - 2x Helldivers.
    - 1x Scavenger.
    - 2x Harrowers.
    - 4x Slayers.
    2x Necrotechs & Scrap Thralls.
    2x Warwitch Sirens.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    The Scavenger is... amazing?

    Tonight I faced Trolls in my first 50 points game ever, and what a game. I faced Mulg for the first time, and though it was really painful, it was rather funny seeing him wreck two Helljacks in a round. I made some stupid mistakes in deployment, and I payed for it when Grim popped his feat and basically shut down my army for a round.

    I tried to minimize the damage, and sacrificed a Harrower to keep my army in fighting shape, but it was a mess when my turn finally came. I lost all three Slayers and my Harrower, taking out 4/5 Helljacks as well as one of the Sirens. I had to finish it right there and then, since I wouldn't last another round.

    Accurate portrayal of Grims last moments!
    Two Helldivers pop up with lanes to Grim Angus, Mortenebra walks up and feats before casting Terminal Velocity and Spectral steel one Helldiver. The Helldiver charges Grim and rolls triple six on damage... sadly he had a Fury to transfer, but doing 31 damage on a charge with a 3 point model was fun though ultimately pointless.

    Second Helldiver gets a Focus from a Siren and charges for 25 damage against ARM17, but misses his second attack. Then Deryliss moves up and moves Spectral Steel to a Scavenger that's just within range of Grim, so with Flight, Terminal Velocity, Finisher, and it's one focus, it charges up and beaks Grim in the face for 29 damage... he makes his Tough check. I buy another attack for my Focus and of course he makes another Tough check...

    With only one chance left the last Harrower moves up, Ghost shot to the face, and Grim finally fails his tough check. One more tough check and I would have lost, but for once I had a deserved win, even if it was way to close for my taste. So while the Scavenger didn't actually kill Grim Angus, he should have...

    I have to admit that the Scavenger is worth every point in a Mortenebra army. It's a nigh unstoppable homing missile taking out any caster that isn't ARM20+, as long as it has a damage point on it. With two Focus it can do two fully boosted weaponmaster attacks with re-rolls to hit and damage.

    Paint que... sigh...

    After getting everything assembled it's time to paint... I really hate painting, but watching some lame television show while doing it, seems to let me get some things done. 
    • 9 Bane Thralls + Officer & Standard.
    • 15 Bane Knights
    • Bane Lord Tartarus conversion.
    • Bane Lord Tartarus original (in case the conversion is rejected by the organizers)
    • 1 Bile Thrall (I need the real leader model painted)
    • 10 Blackbane's Ghost Raiders.
    • 3 Slayers
    • 2 Harrowers
    • 2 Helldivers
    • 2 Scavenger conversions
    • 2 Scavenger originals (in case the conversions are rejected by the organizers)
    • Mortenebra & Deryliss
    Better get started then... still a few episodes left of the 4400, so hopefully that will last me through first unit on the list.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Awesome markers...

    Found these... seems like they'll make a lot of things easier.
    Now I have to print and laminate a pile of them.

    Game Theory; Water

    When I play I adhere closely to the water theory. It's a holistic system incorporating both army construction, table strategy, and a state of mind. It's a concept I've stolen somewhere (I do believe it was from Irondog Studios) ages ago, and expanded on since then, so I can't take full credit.

    Water theory takes it's name from the phenomenon we know as a Tsunami. This unstoppable wave of destruction, has several abilities that can be used on the table. I'll walk you through the most important of them, and do my best to answer any questions.
    • Remove a portion of water, and the remaining liquid will even out
      It means, that if you specialize your units to much, you'll end up without an answer to a looming threat. If you choose models/units that can cover several aspects of the game, your army will be likely to remain functional, when faced with heavy losses.
    • A Tsunami carries deadly debris
      It means bringing units that grow stronger when your enemy grows weaker. This actually increases your own strength, while diminishing your opponents, and such models/units can turn a game around.
    • A Tsunami flows around objects it cannot crush
      It means bringing models/units that ignore parts of the table, or even your opponents models. Incorporeal units are the undisputed kings of flow, but many other abilities come close. These units can avoid the unbreakable barriers, and hit your opponents weak points instead.
    The best example of how this works, is to look at Bane Knights. They can cover multiple purposes, since they can slaughter both heavy warjacks and infantry. They can swell their numbers when Bane Lord Tartarus swings his mighty Axe, and they've got the second best flow ability in the game (Ghostly).

    The thing to remember here is, that several of these abilities can be granted by other models in the game. Bane Thralls can bring along Saxon Orrik to fix their flow issues, and several casters can either boost a model/unit, grant flow, or swell the number of models in a unit.
    • A Tsunami will collapse a wall at it's weakest point
      There's no point in throwing your might against the strongest point, unless you're absolutely certain it will break. If you can apply pressure to a weaker spot, it will crumble and allow your forces to roam freely.
    • A Tsunami kills by retreating, and returning with greater force
      If running away is beneficial to you, then retreat, and return with your full force instead. You could also use bait, and sacrifice a model/unit without value, in order to lure your opponent on to the "beach".
    If you have superior flow, this is an excellent way to play. Retreat where your enemy is strong, and then hit him with twice his numbers where he's weak. There are so many ways of achieving this, that listing them would be futile, but keep it in mind when looking over your lists, and you'll notice.
    • A Tsunami doesn't care if the first ten billion gallons did nothing
      I've seen many games lost, because players gave up, and I've won quite a few before, where spectators had left because the game was over. Your opponents will activate in the wrong sequence, they will be violated by dice, or they will simply forget vital information.
    • A Tsunami does not care about failure
      I've seen people lose games to anger and frustration, when they could have won with a clear mind. This is a hard thing to do, when playing games that are influenced by dice, but it's a vital thing to control. I was once told, that I was violated by my dice, and that's why I lost my game. This simply wasn't true, because while I was indeed manhandled statistically, I lost because I made some questionable choices. I told my opponent that, and her facial expression was worth the loss.
    • A Tsunami is a destructive wave of water
      I'll sound the hippie alert, but when I see games played in tournaments, I see coffee, cola, energy drinks, snacks and a truckload of things that make your body go "flrghblargh". Your body needs something like three liters of water per day, and nothing but clean water counts. A large tournament can easily go for eight to ten hours a day, and most miniature wargamers are sweating and gasping for air near the end. Get outside for a quick breather, snack on something that won't sour up your body, drink your three liters, and you've just bought yourself an advantage.
    That's the basics of Water Theory. It's not something I apply to every move I make, but it does govern the way I play miniature wargames. Try it on for size, and I guarantee you'll see a vast improvement over time.

    Avengers... assemble!

    After spending most of this sunny Sunday with glue, green stuff, and paint, I've got everything assembled and primed for the qualifier on Saturday (just missing arcs and facing, but I took a break to let my back rest). After all this work I really hope I don't fall flat on my ass, but as always it's about setting realistic goals. I usually go in with the intention of winning just one game, and if I can do that I can be satisfied, but this time I have to actually do better.

    In the last tournament I won three out of three games, and took first place, but that was without time limits, without hardcore movement rules, and without stakes. This time my goal is to be in the top five. There are 14-16 players, so that would be the upper third of the list, and if I can do that I'm satisfied. Should I fail then... well... then...


    Scavengers are ugly!

    I've put mine together and added some wings from Micro Art Studio (my charger for my digital camera remains missing so no pictures so far), but the legs...

    The legs are making me cry. Privateer Press' attempt at sculpting the thing walking on claws failed miserably, and if you turn the legs around they look slightly better but now it looks like it has tiny elf boots on it's feet. The solution so far is to mount them on flying stands, which seems to work fairly well, but every time I look at those feet I cringe. These are the wings I've used for the two Scavengers:

    The first set is used for a Scavenger gliding in for a landing, and the second is on a Scavenger diving in for a kill. I'm very pleased with the two models, except of course for the feet. I've searched every available bits box, and I can't find anything that even remotely looks like clawed feet in the appropriate size.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Monday night trial run...

    Having never actually had a 50 points game, I figure I might bring my full list to the table on Monday night, and see how it goes. The first two games I've "won" with Mortenebra, have been won by being extremely lucky, so I'd like to win one by skill before going in on the 16th...

    I'm also under attack for my Mortenebra list on the PP forum, but the regular wisdom just didn't seem to work for me, and throwing 5 point Slayers to their deaths to kill a two point solo just seems silly, so I'd love to prove them wrong. I hope I can get a game against the type of list I'm designing this list against, but as long as it's not another "worst match up of the week" list it's fine.

    - Deryliss
    - Helldiver
    - Helldiver
    - Helldiver
    - Scavenger
    - Scavenger
    - Harrower
    - Harrower
    - Slayer
    - Slayer
    - Slayer
    Warwitch Siren
    Warwitch Siren

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Spotlight: Helldivers... Part 1.

    Since I now have three Helldivers in my army (until I change my mind like I always do), I got to thinking about it. It's actually a pretty survivable little machine at three points. With DEF14/ARM15 and 22 health boxes, it's a lot tougher to take out than your average three point solo, can boost it's attack and damage, and benefit from Battlegroup buffs. Add to that the ability to burrow and the Helldiver strikes where it likes, and has a pretty good chance of surviving it.

    So why is this wondrous machine just three points... There have been epic discussions about this on the privateer press forums, and some of it actually made sense:
    • Focus: Operating at the front or behind enemy lines, makes it hard to keep the thing within control range so you can assign Focus. This drawback is made less annoying with Terminal Velocity, as Mortenebra can move up and fire her pulse, to allow the Helldiver to be 20" away from her at the beginning of the round. There's also Deryliss, but having him so far up the front is asking for trouble.
    • Movement: The Helldiver is slow and tops out at just above ten inches per round, with burrowing, which is faster than running. It does so without using any Focus, but the main issue is, that the Helldiver works best when it's out in front of the army, pushing back ranged units or making the opponent jump through hoops to avoid a burrow charge through his lines. Cryx is a faction of SPD6-7 models, and being left behind means the Helldiver will do nothing for the entire game. With Mortenebra there's a slight offset in the T4 bonus, that increases the deployment zone by two inches, but this really isn't enough. The thing I see here is, that I'll have to slow the rest of my army down in order to maximize the three Helldivers, and that could be an issue in scenario play.
    • Offensive capabilities: It's only MAT6 & PS13. While this is true, when running it with Mortenebra it becomes able to charge for free and roll 3d6+6 to hit with Terminal Velocity, making it able to pull of a fully boosted charge without spending any Focus at all. Giving it two Focus allows it two fully boosted attacks, which will take down a lot of the weaker casters, and if Mortenebra burns her feat on it, something is going down hard. The Helldiver also has the option of a boosted slam for no cost, as Terminal Velocity allows free power attacks and slams. This can set a caster up for some real world hurt, if they get slammed through their own troops and into the arms of a FULLY OPERATIONAL DEATHSTAR... or Slayer/Harrower. There's also the added little thing, that a Terminal Velocity Helldiver is amazingly fast on the charge: 3" Unburrow + 1.57" base +10.5" charge = 15.07 inches... not a lot of jacks that can do that.
    • No Arc Node: Typically the only bonejacks that see play in Cryx are Arc Nodes, and the Helldiver doesn't have one. The argument is, that for one more point it could be a Nightwretch or Deathripper, and this makes the Helldiver bad. Guess what, Mortenebra doesn't need a node.
    So why am I bringing three? Well the main concern when facing a Helldiver is the astounding number of angles it can attack from, and as Aduro from the Privateer Press forum says: having one coming at you, with pretty much Nothing you can do about it until it attacks, has a Very distinct psychological effect on most opponents. (...) really messes with your opponent's head and plans.

    This means that with three Helldivers coming at him, not only will it be next to impossible to stop them all from coming through, but it will mess up everything from deployment to assassination attempts, since he constantly has to worry about three little diggers turning his day into a nightmare of Terminal Velocity boosted charges. Fielding Helldivers is not about averages, it's about potential, and the potential for three free charges/slams at almost any angle is exceptional.

    I've been thinking about letting my opponent go first in scenario play. Edit: This turned out to be an amazingly bad idea, and has been removed from the post!

    Part two of this article is now up.


    Thursday, April 7, 2011


    Just ordered two Scavengers. I know they get a lot of heat on the various forums, and to be honest i think they're really expensive for what I get, except with Mortenebra. I probably can't get them in time for a play test, so I'll have to bring them to the qualifiers without any experience running them *gulp*.

    The plan is to run them on the flanks, depending on where my opponent deploys his flanking solos, and then hopefully go to town on them. With Terminal Velocity they can assault 12.5" and if they kill their target they can retreat 7" afterward. This will either allow me to take out most solos and retreat to safety, or require my opposition to bunch up in the hopes of getting at my Scavengers with either free strikes or just making sure they're still in range after the Sprint move. This can be exploited by working the Scavengers as a team, or by keeping my Warwitches close by to spray the bunched up models.

    The thing is, that even against an undamaged target the Scavenger under Terminal Velocity is rolling 3d6+7 to hit and 3d6+11 damage on a charge, which should take out most normal 5 health solos, and it's doing it without spending any Focus (will probably give it a Focus to make sure I can kill something and get away though, but that's what Warwitch Sirens are for, and they're running on the flanks anyway). If it's something a bit more resilient, I could always shoot it with my Harrower and if it's damaged the Scavenger is rolling 4d6+11 and will take out Dragoons if I give it a Focus to buy another attack.

    I had planned for those 8 points to be used for a Leviathan, but after doing a lot of encounters in my head, I ended up with the annoying result, that the things I need to kill either have Stealth or really High DEF, which means that I'd have to dedicate 3+ Focus to a Leviathan in order to get that kill I need (assuming they don't have Stealth and just ignore me). With the Scavengers I can get that kill for no Focus at all, as long as I can get TV up, and I'm probably doing that every round anyway.


    Borrowed my dads sports car last night in order to celebrate spring and take my woman out for a spin. Now this is the first time I've ever borrowed it, and it wasn't really a success. Sure it was fun racing around, but that car was designed for midgets (which is okay, since my dad is a head shorter than me)! After half an hour I had cramps in my neck and back, and when I awoke this morning I had a splitting headache. So, accepting I'll get little to no work done today, I decided to take a look at the Leviathan I found in my mail when I got to work.

    This of course leads me to a second, if rather more pleasant, headache... I would really like to include a Leviathan in my 50 point army (though finding room for it is proving very difficult). The Leviathan is a weird Helljack, and as such I've been having trouble making myself "see" the potential, but it gives me something a Mortenebra army badly needs: A reason for the opposition to stay back or come forward.

    Staying back: With Overrun from Deryliss on something else I can get the Leviathan 5" forward (or 10" if I walk when I activate it, but then there's no aiming bonus), then you can assign it a Focus with a Warwitch Siren, move up Mortenebra, Feat, and because of her Interface rule the Leviathan can aim and spend 8 Focus that round. This is three completely boosted shots, with re-rolls, at POW 13-15, which should hurt: 3d6+7 RAT, 3d6+13-15 DAM

    There are many casters that will die from it, and so they'll have incentive to stay back. The thing is, that last Mondays game taught me that even with re-rolls the dice will screw you over, and this Leviathan assassination will leave me high and dry if it fails, which is something I really don't like. In addition to that, the damage it can do is really pathetic for 8 Focus. Now for three Focus I can get two boosted damage shots, which sounds a lot better to me, but won't assassinate anyone. That's 10 damage inflicted on a ARM 20 jack, with 5+ to hit, and most likely outside of charge range.

    Coming forward: The Leviathan can also force a confrontation against melee armies, in case I get outwitted and end up against a melee heavy army, since play testing clearly showed that being aggressive against such an army is pure folly.

    Conclusion: So what do I really need the Leviathan for? ... support and solo hunting. I hate having to commit a jack to charge in and kill them, because that will leave me bad choices every round. Do I sacrifice this jack or allow that support to live another round and screw me over. With the Leviathan I can get some of them while staying safe(ish), and Overrun can also be used to juggle the Leviathan if needed: Walk, shoot, trigger Overrun, walk back to safety, if 13" range isn't enough to keep the Levi out of harms way.

    That being said... I'm still not sold. This thing hogs so much Focus it's making me dizzy, and will need two or more Focus every round in order to do anything, much less live up to it's potential. Since I have one Focus in surplus on an average round, something has to change or I have to leave my Levi at home, and just bring more Slayers to sacrifice in order to take out annoying solos.


    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Spotlight: Blood Witches & Hag.

    The crucial thing to remember, when running Blood Witches is, that Blood Witches allow you to purchase one of the most awesome "solos" in the game. When you can make that mental distinction you're well on you way to getting the most out of them. You should never ever field the Blood Witches without the Hag, since they're a piss poor unit without her.
    Blood Witches: Are normally used to run up and tie down units without magical assistance or weapons, and they do this very well. Turn one you run up in range and try not to get to many models killed by shooting, and turn two you feat and charge/run in. This means that your opponent has a lot of Incorporeal models blocking lanes and/or swinging at him, and even if you don't get your gang bonus with free strikes later, you can easily kill most shooting units on free strikes.
    On occasion the Blood Witches will be able to charge, and at MAT8 and with two attacks each at PS12/10 they will kill most medium infantry, and with the special abilities you could easily create havoc. (Cloud walls, or extra casualties against very low ARM units like Assassins). Don't ever count on your witches killing anything though: if they stop a unit from a round of shooting they were worth it! If they do kill things, all the better.
    Blood Hag: The real power behind the unit, she features Stealth, a mini-feat, Entropic Force, and even a backup dispel if needed. The Blood Hag is slower, but you still need her to get the unit swinging, so she should be within nine inches of the witches, but make damn sure you're no further up the field than absolutely needed, and if you have something to protect her with that would be great as well. She's rather hard to get rid of with Incorporeal and Stealth, but she needs help.
    Now the Hag is really a defensive model, so after her witches die horribly she should probably retreat to safety. Against some armies she never leaves it at all, and I keep the Witches as defense for my caster as well, but make very sure your opponent doesn't have anything that gets increased power from killing living models, because eMadrak or the likes will laugh and kill you, if you protect your caster with living models.

    The Hag is there to shut down Tough, and oh dear god this makes some units and casters cry. Originally I purchased the unit after running into pIrusk and his 4+ Tough, Immune to Knockdown, Fearless band of merry men, but there are many models that will mess up your game by rolling those Tough checks, so here's what the Blood Hag does.
    a) One shot, move up and negate Tough: This will most likely get her killed, but the expressions when Trolls just die is worth it. Having a caster roll a Tough check usually spells disaster, so getting her in there to prevent it can save you games. Remember she also prevents healing, so Harbinger will loose her paladins, and several defensive feats will be negated.

    b) Dispel. Withershadow Combine dead or busy?, then go stab your Warcaster/Unit/Warjack. It's a POW10 and you don't need to damage anything to remove the effect, so 1-2 damage on a Warcaster or Light Jack, probably nothing on a Heavy Jack, and one model missing from a unit could easily be worth it, when it means getting rid of Crippling Grasp or the likes.

    c) Mini-feat. Now I've already talked about the uses for this ability, but pay special attention to the fact that you can do this while running, and that it takes effect when the activation ENDS. This means you can charge with the Witches, feat and then default to run with the Hag so she can keep up, hit with the witches, and when it's all over they fade to incorporeal. This is really really no holds barred annoying for an opponent to deal with, since Incorporeal usually works the other way around, so you get to hit them when they hit you.
    You should note, that the Hag's ability has been hit by an errata, so it does NOT block transfers on Horde Warlocks, but it does prevent healing so Harbinger will be crying, and so will a lot of the units that sacrifice themselves for each other. If you play competitively, you should pay notice to the units that sacrifice themselves in order to "heal" a comrade, because he WILL sacrifice himself, and the heal will be prevented, getting you two kills for the price of one.

    Update: 21.07.2011
    Since I wrote this I've discovered a few more tricks I'd like to share. The one bad thing to say about Blood Witches is, that a lot of their better tricks rely on the mini-feat, so timing that is crucial.
    • Sweepers: Blood Witches are pretty good at saving other units. If you have a unit bogged down by enemies, and you need them free, Blood Witches can do it. If you walk/charge in to kill them, you would normally just end up blocking your own unit just as well. Since Blood Witches can go Incorporeal after they attack, you can simply engage to free up the unit, and then go Incorporeal to allow the unit to pass unhindered.
    • Assault: Sometimes a juicy target will be protected by a line of skirmishers, with the intent of blocking access to them. Blood Witches can feat, then clear that line, and go Incorporeal to allow other units access to the second line behind it. This will often be worth the sacrifice.
    • Cover: Amongst the Blood Witches we find a time tested tradition, of stabbing each other in the back. This happens, because the special attacks on their melee weapons do not specify "enemy" models. If you have something living you don't really need, do feel free to get yourself a nice cloud cover instead.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    A... sort of victory... I guess.

    I faced an eVlad army tonight, with Doomreavers, Ironfangs, a Juggernaut, Two Manhunters, Yuri, Drakhun, and Great Bears. We rolled killbox and I won the roll for deployment. It's not particularly important what happened in the game, because in his turn two he moved backwards to avoid getting a Harrower to the face, and forgot we were playing killbox.

    Since I had discovered exactly nothing about my army at that point, we decided to keep on playing, and I promptly overextended my army and was more or less annihilated. Mortenebra might be down, but she's not out as long as she has Deryliss and a Warjack, so I figured out how to kill Vlad (took me long enough though).

    Slayer gets three Focus, Overrun, Spectral Steel, Terminal Velocity, Mortenebra Feats, and the Slayer charges an Ironfang pikeman, procs Overrun, and walks around the Juggernaut and over to Vlad. Now Vlad had his feat up, so I was rolling damage at -3, and had 3d6+7 MAT and re-rolls. That's five claw attacks (horns were used to kill the pikeman and the charge was free), at 2d6-3 damage with re-rolls, and of course I failed to kill him (sigh).

    I learned that I need more Slayers and that the Internet should shut up. I discovered that the Stalker is useless if the opponent hides behind an infantry screen, and I learned that the Deathjack cannot survive Doomreavers on feat turn. Still think I'll bring the Stalker next time, but I need to be more aggressive with it, and less aggressive with everything else.

    Time to think up a new list for next Monday, and threaten Maelstrom games with death and destruction if they don't get my Bane Knights in the mail so I have them for the qualifiers the 16th.

    The Stalker...

    I've been thinking about the Stalker a lot lately. Now in most armies the Stalker is crap, but in a Mortenebra army I think it could be just what the doctor ordered. It's fast, it has stealth, and it's really hard to hit with DEF16, so with 35 tons of steel and necrotite bearing down on his army, I think most opponents will tend to ignore the Stalker until it's to late.

    The thing I look for in an assassination attempt is mostly: "what happens when I fail". This has saved my bacon a lot of times already, and I see people loosing every game night, when the "sure thing" blows up in their face. This means that attempts that will allow my caster to remain safe is right there at the top of the list, and the Stalker comes close.

    Mortenebra assigns the Stalker three Focus, activates Terminal Velocity, Feats, and moves up to within 15" of the opposing caster, assuming that everything else is deemed possible of course.
    - Deryliss casts Spectral Steel on the Stalker, so it can ignore free strikes and pass through impassible terrain if needed.
    - If you need a lane cleared, you could try using the Harrower to clear it.
    - Deathjack can charge for free with TV up, so it spends it's two Focus casting Overrun on itself. This needs to work and it doesn't matter if you kill anything of value, so go for a sure kill. If you can kill something while allowing yourself a measure of safety in case the assassination fails, do so.

    - Now when Overrun procs on the Deathjack, you move the Stalker up seven inches, while making sure you have a direct charge lane to the caster. Remember that impassible terrain and free strikes are taken care of, but you still need to be able to see the caster, and Ghostly does not allow you to charge through models.
    - When charging remember to stay inside Mortenebras control area, or this entire plan falls apart. Mortenebra is 15 inches back, so with the size of your Stalkers base, and ½ inch melee range, this should be no problem at all.

    This now gives you three fully boosted MAT7 & POW12 attacks, with re-rolls to both attack and damage. In addition they ignore Focus camping, Tough, Transfers, and spell effects that add to DEF/ARM. This will absolutely slaughter anything with less than ARM16 (remember to account for non-spell effects that add to DEF/ARM).

    I'll be testing it out tonight, but I think I found a winner here.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Trial run... Mortenebra.

    Now I've had almost a third of my games with Lich Lord Asphyxious, so I feel I can go head to head with anyone while using him (also because he's something of a win-button), but at a SR event you need to bring two lists, so I've been messing about with some options. Initially I was going to run with Lich Lord Terminus, but after a couple of test games I've decided against it. Now I did win all four games with Terminus, but I came to realize that moving around sixty models... twice... every round, and respawning, positioning, keeping lanes open, and waiting for my opponent to mess up, would be hell while playing with time limits.

    Enter Mortenebra: Fielding 12-14 models in 50 points seems like an optimal army to bring, and in addition it covers my main armies one major weakness, which is an opposing infantry horde that shoots. I met a Khador Winterguard army, with both Infantry and Riflemen, and if he hadn't misjudged the range to eGaspy by an inch (or actually he forgot about Darragh Wrathe moving him an inch), I would have lost that game. Mortenebra does not have that problem, and Infantry horde is actually a great match up for Mortenebra if you plan for it.

    Now I've played very few games, so I need some practice before the qualifiers, and since I get to play on Mondays this leaves me two games to get ready :( ... I've had one already, so that's three games with a caster, and more or less the same number of games fielding Heavy Warjacks (I did field one before, and I got to move it once before it was destroyed, so that really doesn't count for much), to get ready for the qualifiers.

    Last Monday I faced the guy who's won two out of three Danish Masters tournaments (the guys thought it was funny to match up the newest player against him), and he fielded a pGaspy army with two living models (Gorman & Warwitch Siren), so that was something of a nightmare game. Luckily for me I must have sacrificed just the right amount of chickens, to whatever dark lord controls the dice, and a no-focus Morty survived a pGaspy spell assassination and won me the game, but I really didn't learn anything since it was pure luck.

    This Monday I'm going to run a 35 point list, and test the Stalker as part of my build. I switched out a Slayer for him, since I felt I needed an option against Sorcha and her wind rushing insane defense, and having something able to prevent transfers should keep a lot of the Warlocks hiding in the back.

    Master Necrotech Mortenebra
    - Deryliss
    - Harrower
    - Deathjack
    - Slayer
    - Slayer
    - Stalker
    Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
    Warwitch Siren
    Warwitch Siren

    So that will be a T4 list, and now I just have to remember the benefits I gain from it, because I forgot that last time in the panic attack I had when I faced the dice legend and Danish Master. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Danish Masters 2011

    Now I'm no new kid on the block when it comes to miniature boardgames, and until a couple of moths ago I was playing wh40k, and had been doing so since back in 2nd edition. Pay particular notice to the "had" in that sentence, because since I picked up Warmachine, my 20.000+ points of Imperial Guard & Orks have seen no table time.

    Warmachine is a superior system with very few flaws, and I love it. Now I've never played any tournaments in my many years with Warhammer, and to be frank I never really thought I would, but since all my friends suddenly began reproducing I lost most of my local gaming group, and something had to be done: I joined my local club, and had some major success there despite my lack of experience. (

    Now initially I was very nervous being out of my little pond, but after a couple of games I realized that I could roll with the best of them, even with my lack of experience. Now I've participated in two casual tournaments, and I even won one of them. Admittedly I brought the toughest army I could find, and I had some luck, but this makes me think I have a shot at avoiding total humiliation at a serious tournament, and so I decided to go.

    The qualification tournaments begin in a couple of weeks, so I'm getting some games in with the two Warcasters I've decided to run with, and I'll let you know how it goes. I have game nights every Monday, and the first qualifiers are April 16th, so I've got precious little time.

    Hope you'll enjoy this Blog, and if not I get to think things through while writing them, so I still win.