I thought I’d share some of the fantastic model painting performed by our gaming group at Clockwork Comics, CT. I will post more pictures as space allows…. stay tuned!
Apologies to my loyal readers! I’ve been very busy and pre-occupied with non-gaming life; with the year ending, I’ve been catching up on many work and home-related things. Since I still have things to do today, including an incoming family gathering, I’ll summarize.
On December 22nd, on a blustery winter day, at Clockwork Comics, Orange, CT, I and another press ganger organized a Steamroller 2013 beta tournament. We had 9 participants who by all accounts had a good time. We had a few surprises and some very exciting games. The format was 35 points, character restricted, with the optional two lists variant (if you register with two lists, you must play both lists during the event). The deathclock was set at 40 minutes per player.
The overall first place winner ran a 35pt Menoth list with a single army list with Reznik. Second place was Cryx. Third place was Skorne.
We ran three scenarios from the Steamroller 2013 beta rules released Dec 18th, 2012.
- Scenario #1 was “Close Quarters”
- Scenario #2 was “Incursion”
- Scenario #3 was “Into The Breach”
My impression of the scenarios was that they were fair and promoted a depth of play that was exciting and very interesting to watch. Compared with the SR2012 scenarios, I think SR2013 simplified the gameplay while allowing a complexity of tactical options that allowed players with very different list compositions to do well. Scoring rules changed significantly compared with SR2012, including an increase in the number of control points required to be victorious, as well as preventing warcasters/warlocks from contesting objectives/zones/flags.
On a topline level, this really allowed the “lower” tiered casters and models a chance to see play and be effective. In my opinion, there appeared from my observations a more apparent “back-and-forth” between army clashes. Games “felt” closer and more exciting: anybody could win up until the last dice roll. As a press ganger, watching from afar, seeing the mechanics of games played was intriguing and almost as fun as playing a game myself.
…. More thoughts to come.
I had a very busy week. It is nice to know that I can fall back on a fun hobby to take some of the hectic out of life. I enjoy painting a lot.
I finally finished painting my choir models, a full unit. I’ve owned them for nearly a year, but hesitated to paint them because of their small scale and detail. Also, in my mind, they are cheap point-wise, which in some weird reasoning devalued their need for a good paint job.
My brief thought on choir. At first glance, I never thought them really important. Then, as I started playing more competitively, I realized how much oomph they give warjacks. Some might argue that I should have known this a long time ago, but I’m the kind of player who needs to discover things. My appreciation of the choir took some time to emerge.
It’s weird: If I read it in a book, it doesn’t truly belong to me unless I apply it somehow. Given that my actual hourly playtime is somewhat less than your average player, it took me some time to appreciate the sheer power of good support pieces with Menoth. Slowly, I’m adding to my understanding of how each model works within the whole army.
Choir are more than good, of course; they are fantastic for their point cost. And for what they do, they can turn the tide of the game. Early turns, warjacks that become immune to targeted ranged attacks is so incredible. Against high DEF or ARM targets, adding to attack and damage rolls with warjacks takes your threat a notch or two up the victory ladder.
One of my favorite opponents, Eric F., has become fond (and quite effective) of surgically destroying my choir in our recent games. This strategy of removing my support pieces has shown me how reliant Menoth can become on support. Unlike Cygnar, where models can standalone, for the most part, Menoth almost needs good army support to excel.
In our store’s meta, Menoth is a relatively common sight. I would say that because of the strong denial tactics of the Menoth faction, many of the games played are strongly attrition based. Whilst a scenario can force more aggressive play, and perhaps a quicker game, my recent games have been long and drawn-out. It’s a good time, of course, just that somedays…. it can drain.
So, to the question of whether to field choir or not, generally speaking: Yes, always save those last two or three points of your army to include the choir.
A brief annecdote on my attitude of a bad match up. You get ready to play a game. You pull out the models, place them on the table, ready to go. There’s a thrill of anticipation knowing that you’ll have a good game no matter the outcome.
Then, you glance over at your opponent’s side of the table. You eye his models and you make check marks on an imaginary list in your head. To your horror, you realize that mathematically, experientially, empirically, that on-paper, you’re about to encounter the bad match up.
Think Terminus versus Constance Blaize (Tier 4)….
You know that no matter how brilliant your strategy, how lucky your dice rolls, how epically-bad your opponent is, your army cannot in your wildest imagination beat your opponent’s. You might as well play the game with both hands tied behind your back.
But then (if you were me), you’d think to yourself: hmm…maybe, it’s possible.
Truly, you have no idea where that voice comes from, because it walks smack into the stonewall of reality. But, either stupidity or sheer need for adventure and excitement, you continue with the game without changing your army list. Obviously, you know that this-that-this-that will happen and you’ll have no control over the massive causalities your army will suffer.
Yet, you play on.
By turn 2, your opponent tries his best to hide the brilliant glow on his face. It’s the blush of victory soon-at-hand. It’s maddening. This isn’t a game. This is just a huge piling stack of poo. It stinks. Doesn’t he realize that you’re in a bad match-up?
Yet, you play anyway. For another 20 minutes, you endure. You persevere.
Then, that magical incandescent lightbulb appears above your head. Ding! There’s an opening. How it appeared, you don’t know. Did Moses actually know how the Red Sea parted? No. But, on your tabletop, there was a parting of models, nonetheless: a pathway appears before you through a valley of wreck markers.
You’re walking on clouds! Yes, clouds. This is the crest of the rolling coaster, and you’re about to go weeeee!
It’s your turn. You measure your warcaster’s control area. You can make it. No free strikes and beeline to the enemy ‘caster. You activate full of focus with a quick glance at our opponent. The glow is gone.
In melee, you have four swings to make victory in the bad match-up.
Miss, miss, no damage, oh-crap last roll.
What?! Nothing?! After all that, you fail to even paper-cut the enemy? How is that fair? That’s not normal. Come on, the models parted for you! Your opponent promptly dispatches your caster. You lose.
“Good game,” your opponent says.
Seriously? you think.
But with your final declaration, you say: “I want a re-match….same lists.”
Here’s a game filled with adversity, yet filled with courage.
Reznik- Crusader|Vanquisher|Repenter|Vessel of Judgement|Vassal Mechanik|Wracks|min Choir|Knights Errants|Covenant of Menoth|Gorman DeWulfe (played by Andrew)
Kaya the Moonhunter & Laris - Winter Argus|Warpwolf Stalker|Feral Warpwolf|Argus|Druid Wilder|Shifting Stones|Stone Keeper|Gorax (played by Shane)
As a killbox scenario, I allow my opponent to go first. I want to see how he deploys. My thought is to counter-deploy to match my strengths against his weaknesses. I also control more models and so I spread my army over a longer length of the starting zone.
On turn 1 the entire circle army advances up the field. They have reached the center of the board, essentially. Menoth plods forward, slow as they are, and tries to position on the flanks. An errant takes a pot-shot at Laris and kills it with a decent dice roll.
At the outset, I should mention to those wondering why I took the Vessel of Judgement battle engine with Reznik. They don’t jive well on paper, and perhaps the 9pts could have been spent better.
Here’s my after-game thinking….I choose to take the battle engine because 1) it was painted, 2) I’d never played it before, and 3) I know that I would have to design a novel strategy around this meta. It might surprise my opponent, as well as provide me with new and fun opportunities to exploit.
Some of the best strategies emerge from experimentation. Where is the fun in playing lists that have been tested and tried over and over? Only in winning….a thrill that dies fast.
So, anyway, as you’ll see, Shane is great opponent because he has a way of adapting quickly on a turn-by-turn basis. As you’ll see, he doesn’t lock himself into a set strategy, but drives forward based on the ever-developing situation on the table. While some call this impulsive, I say this is a virtuous talent. Maybe one I have yet to master. After all, was not Anakin Skywalker talented and impulsive, and did he not conquer the Empire?
On turn 2, I’m well aware of Circle’s movement capabilities, hitting and running, etc. So I’m prepared to lose models to make a solid counter-attack. And so this happens, but the attack that Circle forces on my army happens to do a lot more damage that I expected. The Warpwolf Stalker gets some awesome dice rolls (with some buffs to strength) and I lose both my crusader and vanquisher in one-fell swoop. I had hoped to keep one of them for another turn. Other minor things happen with Circle.
Maybe it was an error that I tried to bait with the Crusader, thinking the Vanquisher was safe…. I quickly put this thought behind me.
Reznik charges and kills the Stalker with three swings of his sword, under the spell Engine of Destruction. He camps two focus and I know he is safe from retaliation. He’s got the best defense: distance. The Vessel of Judgement advances and shoots the Stone Keeper (most everything else is stealth with shadow pack). The exemplar errants continue with their right-side flanking maneuver, as planned. They charge in killing nothing, but engage a few models. Unfortunately, the left flank isn’t doing so well with the loss the ‘jacks. The repenter shakes-off the stationary effect placed by the winter argus attack previously. The repenter advances and sprays and kills the Druid Wilder and sets the argus on fire.
Turn 3. At this point, my opponent mentions that he thinks he is in trouble. I’m a bit hopeful….
I can see why; despite my loss of two heavy warjacks I’m well positioned and still have many hard-hitting models left on the table within striking position of key pieces. For my opponent, he sees that he still has the model point advantage and the capability to pull off movement tactics to regain board control.
We’re both walking on the edge of a knife.
On Circle’s turn, the Warwolf does amazing damage to the Vessel of Judgement, kills it. My Errants fall to some sprays, but manage to put the hurt on many things. Reznik, the melee monster that he is, continues to advance to get within charge distance of the enemy warlock, Kaya. Reznik still has his feat and the opportunity to win the game is at hand.
I move the Convenent of Menoth within command range of Kaya, the warlock. I did not move the full distance; I didn’t have to. In hindsight (20/20!), I should have moved much closer to the Warlock. The Book uses Lawgiver’s Creed, whereby the enemy cannot cast spells while within 10″ of the model. I think this is enough to stop Kaya from using her spells to buff her Warbeasts for an assassination run on Reznik.
On Circle’s turn, Gorax tries to slam the Repenter to knockdown Reznik. I did not see this coming!
Fortunately, this slam power attack fails, epic triple ones, despite a boosted 3D6 roll. In exasperation, Circle continues with the attack. A bit shaken, Kaya moves back out of range of the “Book” just barely (if only I had moved the book further up to encompass Kaya’s movement so she couldn’t cast any spells). There was some movement wiggling, but it was absolutely outside the CMD of the book. Kaya just barely is able to cast a 6″ spell buff (primal) on his Warpwolf. This allows the Warpwolf the movement distance to get within melee with the still-standing Reznik.
The Warpwolf promptly dispatches Reznik. Ugh….so close. Reznik was within charge distance of Kaya, easily. With the failed slam, it was Reznik’s game to win. Just a bit more thought on a critical activation using the “Book” would have made all the difference.
This was a fantastic game of grit and nerve….Shane is a great opponent!
Check out his cool blog at Jestor’s Mini Playhouse.
Battle Report (25 pt) – Non-league game (with journeyman league Week-4 army restrictions)
Reznik - Crusader|Vanquisher|Repenter|Reclaimer|min Choir|Knights Exemplar|Covenant of Menoth|Gorman DeWulfe (played by Andrew)
Phinneus Shae - Buccaneer|Mariner|Freebooter| Sea Dog Crew full unit|Lord Rockbottom|Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile (played by Dan)
In this game, I learned a lot about how important decent dice rolls can make or break even the best of strategies. At the outset, I have to note that my opponent had horrendous dice rolls at critical points in this game.
My level of risk-taking is moderate-high. I generally don’t play it safe if my army and warcaster support an upfront, aggressive strategy. In contrast, I play it safe if I’m unaware of the rules/abilities of the enemy models.
The drawbacks of playing Reznik are in my opinion his slow SPD 5, his medium-sized base, and his limited FOC 6, which gives him a pitiful 12″ control area to work with (as compared with my other Menoth casters, i.e., Harbingers, Kreoss, Severius). The advantages of playing Reznik balance out his gameplay weaknesses. He is a bundle O’ fun. So much fun in fact, I can’t contain my enthusiasm whenever I think about how I’m going pull off that Wrack-making maneuver (see link for the Excruciator wracking ability). String ‘em up!
So, I’m still working on improving my battle report visually.
It all begins with Reznik hiding behind his warjacks and Gorman’s cloud effect. This strategy appears to emerge in all my games; Reznik hiding. Then again, I was facing a horde of pirate-themed shooting craziness. The terrain was setup without any real concealment that I could advance Reznik behind. A dilemma I hope to remedy with the fielding of a more models at 35pts, or the addition of a massive based model, like a colossal. Reznik…. I hate playing him so cowardly!
My opponent takes his time to figure out a way to destroy my support pieces, including my choir members and Gorman. With all those Sea Dogs pinging away at my Choir, by turn 3 I’ve only got one left who flees in fear after the massive loss of his comrades. By turn 3, I’ve lost Gorman, effectively all my choir and somehow my opponent has run the Bucaneer behind my front lines to my rear flank. 3 out of 6 of my knights exemplar are dead from the Sea Dog shooting, which is mightly effective the entire game.
Reznik is exactly 7″ away from the Bucaneer and is able to walk up and, with Engine of Destruction, take down the Bucaneer. My Vanquisher and Repenter take free-strikes from Sea Dogs so they can disengage to fire their fire-based weapons. These two warjacks kill a number of Sea Dogs and set a few models on fire, including the Freebooter and Mariner. Although I splash McNaile with fire continuous effect for several turns, he doesn’t bite the dust until the last turn of the game. That is one tough cookie….Actually, the entire pirate infantry force is a really hard nut to crack. Tough, tough, tough. All those 5,6 dice rolls…. the bane of my game.
The Convent of Menoth lives to the latter stages of the game, prevents some of the most fearful of the power attacks, i.e., slam, throw, that I was expecting. Sure ‘jacks can get thrown or slammed, but immunity to knockdown takes the wind out using those strategies without extra-considerations by my opponent. This helped me a lot this game. The reclaimer did his job, reclaiming the souls of the dead knights and choir. Reclaimer for one turn had full soul tokens and was able to fuel the Vanquisher and Repenter, quite effectively.
My opponent slowly scraps my Vanquisher, then my repenter. The Sea Dogs advance up the field and engage most of my army and I’m forced to pull out all the stops. Reznik starts killing things, wracking up a few Sea Dogs. The wracks explode killing a model or two. I did this twice in the game, which was fun and uniquely interesting to work into a strategy.
The turning point in the game, in my favor, was the failure of the Freebooter to cripple or wreck my Crusader, which I had advanced up field. The poor dice rolls of my opponent only managed to take out the Crusader’s left open fist. You’ll note in the slideshow a lot of wreck markers on the table. During this game, we actually ran out of wreck markers!
At this point, I can’t remember how useful either of our feats worked for us. They were used up, but didn’t shift the game much. This is a good thing, in terms of fun-factor. Some feats can totally vaccum the enjoyment of playing…seriously.
Ultimately, Shae charged and wrecked the Crusader, a mighty feat on his own that I did not expect. I was impressed. The Crusader was pretty healthy. Boo. Anyway, Reznik somehow gets a charge lane that does not involve traversing rough terrain (i.e., the plethora of wreck markers) and it takes 4 swings fueled by Wrack-derived focus and Engine of Destruction to take the wound boxes to zero on Shae.
It was a much more contested game than I think I describe here, but it never seemed like I had easy decisions to make. I love games like these, despite their challenges. Last, I should say that my opponent’s army was beautifully (!!!) painted and looked fantastic on the table. I also enjoyed the thematic use of “Sea Pirates”. It was a very fun way to spend my Saturday afternoon.