Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Game Theory: Announcement

In a recent discussion I found myself defending the idea that list construction matters. A player was repeatedly told that his lists were fine, and his lack of experience with it, was his only problem.

I can't blame the player, because the people who told him this are amongst the best players in the country, so why would he question that particular piece of advice? These are players that teach me important lessons on a weekly basis, and players that are responsible for my greatest defeats, but nobody can know everything.

The player in question was on a six game losing streak, and whenever he actually won it was against poor opponents, or due to favorable dice. The thing that caught my attention was, that he kept telling people he made to many mistakes, and they kept agreeing. I had faced him before, and I just couldn't recognize him in the picture they put together.

We argued back and forth for a few weeks, but in the end he took my advice. Personally I would have chosen another unit, but he caught the idea behind the tool, and gave it his own personal touch. The player won his next five games, and is now an opponent I hope to avoid during the masters. Update: With the Masters done, I can safely say, that he turned out to be a great player. I managed a fifth place, and using just that one little change to his army, he came in fourth.

I'm not going to argue that knowing your list isn't important, or even tell you that you can win any game without knowing your army, because that would be nothing short of stupid. I am going to tell you, that constructing the right list is important, and having the right tool is more important than you know.

Now before I begin this project, I'll be honest and tell you that it might take a while. These are complex tools to be explained, and I'm not even sure I've named/mastered them all yet. Many of them tamper with the Warmahordes doxa, and will need some detailed articles in order to avoid confusion as well. Using these tools will not make you a fantastic unbeatable player, but they will make it easier to become one.

Obvious Tools:
  • Screens
  • Defenses
  • Counters
  • Assassins
Less obvious Tools:
Obscure Tools:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


With the wedding out of the way, honeymoon done, apartment refurbished (the kitchen is from the early thirties, so while it's not actually antique, it's damn close), and me back at work, I can get some regular updates done again. Updates also require some actual games, and since I've had very few of those during the last two months, I've had very little to write about.

Look ma! I caught me one of them good ones!
In last nights game I had some time to think about the fate of my Satyxis Raiders, and how my entire squad was wiped out by Gudrun (assumption is the mother of all fuckups, and I assumed he was an inch slower). That little mistake left me with just the Captain and UA alive, and the captain promptly took some boosted blast damage and died.

The Sea Witch power swelled and took out Gudrun in return (and that got her killed as well due to being parked in front of an entire army), but that one model cost me nine points worth of army, and my entire first line of assault/pressure. That's when I realized how much my army relies on that unit, and that's something I'll have to keep in mind in a week.

I actually feel rather good about the list, though I would have liked another Arc Node in there. It's got a fair amount of short/medium range firepower (potentially six 8" sprays, two Pistol Wraiths, Withershadow Combine, and a Captain/Witch in theory), great flow with Pathfinder, Incorporeal, and Ghost Walk available, and it hit's very hard with weapon masters and power swell (combined with pDenny the debuff queen).

One of the things I've learned from my two games is, that this army actually likes going second. With Advance Deploy Satyxis Raiders threatening 30" from my table edge in turn one, I can staunch the flow of fast or AD units before my turn even begins. My stealth and incorporeal units need to deploy across from their prime targets anyway, and depending on the amount of terrain on the board, I can spread out more when I know where the threats are located.

When going second, my Arc Nodes can reach his units on turn one, and throw Crippling Grasp on a prime target. This allows my Satyxis Raiders to severely damage almost anything in the game. When I go first, I can't reach anything in turn one, which means my Satyxis will probably be engaging before that CG ever lands (and it's a lot harder to find an unengaged model to target, when a melee of reach models clog everything up).

Warwitch Deneghra
- Deathripper
- Deathripper
- Skarlock
Bane Thralls (Leader & 5 Grunts)
- Officer & Standard
Bane Lord Tartarus
Satyxis Raiders (Leader & 5 Grunts)
- Sea Witch
Satyxis Raider Captain
Blackbane's Ghost Raiders (Blackbane & 9 Grunts)
The Withershadow Combine
Pistol Wraith
Pistol Wraith
Warwitch Siren
Warwitch Siren

pDenny 50, second game.

With a week to go, I finally had my second game with my backup list. I decided to go with the exact same pDenny list as last time, and I had the best match-up I could possibly imagine (or so I thought). I faced a Searforge list under Madhammer, and I was told it would be a free win.

Bane Lord Tartarus, 3 Bane Thralls, 6 Satyxis Raiders, my Raider Captain, and one of my Arc nodes disagreed with that statement after his first round, but at least it made the game a bit more interesting. After loosing 16/55 points in one round of shooting I was reeling, but as always Blackbane's Ghost Raiders saved the day.

I engaged his lines in a way, that would force him to blast his own troops to smithereens if he wanted to get rid of them. He only had one choice (since it was killbox and he couldn't retreat), which was to move up Madhammer and wipe the Ghost Raiders, but this left him open to Withering + Crippling, and after a Warwitch Siren hit him with Shadow Bind, he was a DEF 7 ARM 14 Warcaster, in range of a Bane Thrall.

I made such a mess of this game, but in the end the list took care of it. My opponent and I agreed, that he was fighting a hard uphill battle, and even the massive casualties in the first round, didn't count for much as the Ghost Raiders could basically win the game by themselves. I did however learn one thing from the game, and that is that my army is by no means immune to blast damage, even if they're all stealth or Incorporeal.

Monday, August 8, 2011

pDenny Vs. Damiano

Like a boss...

I took the list out for a spin, and since I've faced Skorne the last three games, I had a crisis of faith when I saw nothing but Skorne at the tables. In the end a Merc player found me, and we had us a game of infantry-machine. Damiano Vs. pDenny, with a combined total of one heavy jack, and two light jacks on the table.

I felt pretty confident about the game, and lined up my hordes of infantry, only to realize that I was outnumbered. I won the roll to go first, and advanced everything up the field. the Ghost Raiders and Pistol Wraiths had a nice building to hide behind, across from Nyss Hunters and Steelhead Riflemen, and the Satyxis Raiders found another building further up the field on the other flank. The Bane Thralls took the center, facing up against a unit of Halberdiers. Gorman & Eyriss took out a few of the Satyxis (I forgot his grenade wasn't blast damage and ran to close), but then my turn two came around and the slaughter began.

Gorman was slain by the Raider Captain, and while Eyriss did survive she was locked down by Satyxis, Captain, and a Warwitch. The Pistol Wraiths began gunning down Nyss Hunters, and after the first hit, the boosted shots took care of any Nyss Hunter in the open. Ghost Raiders ran through the buildings and engaged the Nyss Hunters, Riflemen, and Halberdiers, and then my Bane Thralls charged. This is where I should have been paying attention, because due to Hawk with Sure Foot, Set defense (I was close enough to walk in, but noooooo I had to charge), and a couple of other effects, my Bane Thralls were rolling against DEF 18 and failed miserably.

In order to survive I charged a Bane Thrall in the back with Deneghra, and locked his army down with The Withering (also, that's the only Tough check I made in that game). Since Admonia then took care of his Vengeance upkeep, the center was more or less intact after his retaliation (lost about half the Bane Thralls though), and while the Nyss Hunters was magicked up by A&H, the Ghost Raiders scraped by with around half their numbers intact.

Yeah that's right... we're nine points biaaaatch!

From there it was all down hill for him, and while it took me forever to grind through those Halberdiers, his flanks vanished to the Incorporeal horde on the left, and the Satyxis on the right. The Ghost Raiders were back up to eight members by turn four, but the Withershadow Combine sealed the deal. Disbinding from Admonia, Puppet Master on Maelovus, and since Damiano was within walking range (he came up to nuke Tartarus, to keep me from turning more Halberdiers), it was time to say goodbye.

I can reroll that "1", and keep the "5" you know...

Deneghra cast just one spell during the entire game, and it missed, so mostly she just hid behind as much terrain, and as many models as she could find, and allowed her army to demolish him. With the amount of stealth and Incorporeal on the table, A&H just couldn't keep up, and the Ghost Raiders had three units engaged the whole game. The Pistol Wraiths absolutely raped his Nyss Hunters, taking down all but two of them in three rounds of shooting. In the end they both died, when they had no more Nyss Hunters to hide behind, and Holt killed them both in one round, but engaging to make Nyss Hunters roll MAT 6 against DEF 14, and then leaving and gunning them down in the next round, was fun.

So, maybe some minor tweaks are in order, but in general I was happy with the way the army performed. I had more questions about the Ghost Raiders from my opponent, but the mobility they offer, and the chaos they cause, is just to good a thing to pass up. A&H gave the Nyss Hunters magical weapons, but since they were only engaged by three Ghost Raiders, the rest of them were annoying as hell, and safely hidden behind Riflemen and Halberdiers.

Warwitch Deneghra...

So I had my stag party... and the day long argument with the wife about the stripper is over, but the pathetic remains of my brain is going to work tonight. I've decided to go with Warwitch Deneghra, and I have tonight, and possibly one other game, to tweak the list.

My foot hurts, my neck feels like shit from the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu choke holds (almost had him... well not really...), my legs are busted from holding on to the damn mechanical bull, and someone peed on my brain, but if I don't go tonight I'll be flying blind in September.

Warwitch Deneghra
- Deathripper
- Deathripper
- Skarlock Thrall
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
- Officer & Standard
Blackbane's Ghost Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 5 Grunts)
- Satyxis Raider Sea Witch
The Withershadow Combine
Bane Lord Tartarus
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Pistol Wraith
Pistol Wraith
Warwitch Siren
Warwitch Siren

I would have liked another Arc Node, but a guy at the forum convinced me to try out a unit of Satyxis Raiders instead, so they'll hopefully be tying up whatever would be gunning down my nodes. It has thirty-eight models, and a crapload of denial and debuffs. It relies on stealth, Incorporeal, and high defense to keep it safe, so it has some really nasty match-ups, but it only has to work once.

I am considering switching Gorman for the Raider Captain, and I packed both models so I can change my mind before the game. So, if I don't crash to hard tonight, I'll post a little update afterward.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Scaverous fail... well, it should have been.

I took my army out for a spin last night, and what a nightmare.

I clogged up my lanes with Bloodgorgers, blocked in my own models, and got stuck behind walls (I couldn't pass them with Ghost Walk because I had models from different units, and a couple of solos/jacks behind it). Then I messed up activations, and I even began the game with first blood on my own models due to a mighty scattering Feast of Worms. An accurate portrayal of my army in turn two and beyond...

I couldn't get anything working, and I played like an ass, but as always the lord of dice intervened. The casualties inflicted by a full unit Nihilators on a charge... One... the casualties of the following round of attacks... Zero. So after having missed thirteen 5+ rolls in a row, he managed to land a few and get in some casualties, but by then it was to late. It was a total suck game, that only had two bright spots for me.

Croe: The man himself, clipped Molik Karn on a free strike, and inflicted nine points of damage on him, removing his spirit, and getting him stuck in a pile of pain. The round after that, he charged a Bronzeback in the rear arc, and inflicted fourteen damage on it.

Slaughterborn: Charged a Gladiator, and inflicted 17 damage on it with one hit. This was something quite new, as he usually doesn't do anything at all, but being able to keep him a bit back was nice.

So in general, while my army is fine, it just does not work in cramped fighting. I'm thinking I need a total army revamp for the masters, and then I can run my fancy army in friendly games. I'll still try and include some of the units/models I rarely use, so maybe Blackbane's Ghost Raiders should make an appearance. Croe's take to long, and require to much finesse, and Bloodgorgers simply take up to much space.

The game was against pMorghul by the way, and ended when Morghul tried for an assassination, just to find out he couldn't actually hurt Scaverous at all. I took a shot with Scaverous in melee, because I honestly felt he should have won the game, and he deserved a shot if Scaverous failed (11+ to hit in melee, so he easily could have). A quite tense finish to an otherwise ridiculous game, and it took frigging four hours and pissed of my wife-to-be at home :D