Beginning picture was in fact an omen about the game to come.
We happened to roll for start with different dice so the dice were actually lying around in there so we could place them next to each other. Three times in a row we rolled same number for starting and only at fourth roll the starting the game fell on me.
Well, it was a 35 point game and lists involved were:
Maximum unit of Bane Thralls + Unit Attachment
Minimum unit of Bile Thralls
Bane Lord Tartarus
Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Maximum unit of Winterguard Infantry (as this particular opponent builds love for them I have a firm foundation of dread, hatred and loathing of them + Unit Attachment
Minimum unit of Man-o-War demolition corps
Drakhun (with dismount)
Yuri the Axe + 2x Manhunters
Eiryss, Mage hunter of Ios
I had given a fair warning that I would be playing epic Asphyxious. In my opinion it is the Right Thing To Do in casual games because he really is a pain. Epic Vlad nicely counters on of the most annoying defensive mechanics of Asphyxious - the Caustic Mists.
But anyway, on with the game.
Winterguard Infantry were again on one flank and I was thinking of trying to ignore them again. This time I didn't have anything terribly fast in my list that could easily tie them up. I wrote in the picture some of the models that are either hiding from camera or too blurry. Eiryss tried to shoot Nightwretch with disruptor bolt but missed.
I begin my next turn from earlier picture by moving up my Nightwretch. There was less than half an inch too much so that counter charge from Drakhun didn't activate. I didn't know if that was good or bad. I tried to move close enough to give opponent the choice.
Withershadow gave Asphyxious the reroll and after that I activated Asphyxious. With Tremulus' reroll I was able to one-shot Drakhun to dismounted version with Excarnate. Losing the threat of counter charge I moved Cankerworm to kill one manhunter. With Asphyxious' affinity I then moved Cankerworm behind Eiryss. With everything else I advance cautiously, trying to stay far enough from Winterguard.
Yet I underestimated 6" move and 8" spray again. All except one Bile Thrall was destroyed by the sprays. Dismounted Drakhun tried to save Eiryss and actually hit Cankerworm and dealt loads of damage in. But would have needed one damage point more to destroy the armor piercing head.
Drago failed its charge for good which was a kind of a turning point in the game in a way. Man-o-Wars charged my Nightwretch and managed to destroy everything else except movement system.
Vlad moved then to position you can see him in and launched Razor Wind at the last remaining bile thrall. Had it survived there would have been quite a bit of sticky goo that formerly had been Winterguard.
I tried to charge with Bane Thralls but only one got to contact with Winterguard. One did go to the Man-o-Wars though. One failed its charge and rest just ran. Cankerworm made some lucky rolls and killed Eiryss.
Slayer advanced a bit and started beating Drago who was left with less than eight damage boxes after Slayer was done with it.
Enter Withershadow Combine. I actually managed to pull off Dark Industries on Drago and promptly got Harrower to deal with Winterguard. My joy wasn't long lasting, though.
I would have pretty much been Game Over there and then for me if I would've had any other warcaster in play. Did I mention I hate Winterguard Infantry?
Yuri killed one Bane Thrall.
Then body count for Winterguard Infantry for one turn: Admonia, Maelovus, Bane Thrall Officer & Standard Bearer, 8x Bane Thralls, 1x Winterguard Infantry, some scrap damages to my warjacks. Horrible. Absolutely horrible.
Just as things were going nice and smooth.
Also, dismounted Drakhun charged Tartarus and killed him.
Vlad used his feat and made remaining Man-O-Wars killing machines, one Manhunter and the War Dog.
War Dogs movement was enough to dodge Harrower and still go bite Tremulus. Tremulus was left with one hit point.
Man-o-Wars killed few remaining Bane Thralls and the Nightwretch.
On my turn I allocated focus to Cankerworm and Slayer. Cankerworm moved in and bit the dismounted Drakhun in half in scuttled next to Man-o-War.
Slayer one-shotted one Man-o-War with Combo-Strike. Remaining focuses were spent on trying to buy attacks against def 14 Man-o-War but all missed. But most importantly, Harrower was free now.
It moved as far as it could next to Winterguard and treshered its melee range empty.
Asphyxious was brave enough to charge the War Dog himself. Dog would've been killed but it passed its tough roll. Then Asphyxious teleported to safety.
Necrotech finished the bleeding puppy.
Tremulus then charged the remaining Man-o-War and managed to hit because he had gaind the war dogs soul and was able to boost his attack. Man-o-War didn't die, however.
Opponent was then hell-bent on killing the Harrower. All the Winterguard tried to shoot it and did damage. One Winterguard did kill the Necrotech, though. Remaining Man-o-War destroyed the Cankerworm with few good rolls.
Manhunter tried to charge Harrower but fell short. Yuri did the same and didn't fall short. Only his attack wasn't enough. How ironic - autonomous Harrower lost it's cortex and nothing else. It still had on damage box left in left and right arm and movement. Exactly everything that was needed.
Asphyxious himself charged remaining Man-o-War, killed him and teleported to where you can see him in pictures second part.
So, Harrower moved a bit forward and treshered Yuri, Manhunter and Winterguard officer to death. That warjack is a walking nightmare. Almost more so than the actual Nightmare. Slayer charged two winterguards and promptly killed them.
And the remaining winterguard bastards managed to wreck my precious Harrower!
Their death count for the game was staggering. But maybe my pain is eased by the fact that the Harrower wasn't actually originally in my army list.
I moved Slayer a bit to kill the winterguard standard bearer. I really wanted the two remaining to be killed too so I moved as near as I could with Asphyxious and launched Excarnate on one of them. I shot another one at the last guard standing and spent the last focus on boosting to hit because the last one was in cover to me.
Then Vlad himself came and did short work of my last model, the Slayer helljack. So it was Vlad & Kovnik Josef against Asphyxious alone.
Well, on my turn Asphyxious charged Kovnik Joe. I boosted to hit and Joe was killed. Asphyxious had 6 focus remaining. For a short moment it was two epic casters face-to-face.
Asphyxious boosted to hit and Parasite hit home with boosted hit. Vlad was behind my wreck marker so he was in cover but luckily for me, attack roll was high enough.
Then it was time to use Asphyxious' feat.
And then brave brave sir Asphyxious teleported away.
Tartarus cursed Vlad and charged in.
Attack roll was succesfull and enough damage sank in to leave Vlad crippled with 5 damage boxes remaining.
However, then the real challenge began, as now Vladimir was sitting at a nice defense of 18. My resurrected Bane Thrall officer had two MAT 7 attacks and the remaining had MAT 6. Because of Tartarus' Curse officer needed "only" 9's to hit. Missed both.
Then the little grunts started pouring in and I needed 10's to hit.
One bit home.
And rolled enough to make Vlad join the Spectral Legion.
End of a very cool game!
(Oh, and if you're wondering about the bane thralls in the close-up picture they were placed a bit shoddily there and Vlad's cloak messed up the placing of thrall officer.)