Saturday, July 14, 2012

Never have I ever...

... witnessed such a failure from Basilisk Drake in my career as a Skorne player.

If I can name one model that has never left me feeling disappointed to function in battle versus point cost, it was Basilisk Drake until game I played yesterday.

I played with my Skorne, a 35 point game with caster kill scenario, but with Killbox artifice.

My list was:
Lord Arbiter Hexeris
- Rhinodon
- Bronzeback Titan
- Cyclops Shaman (bonded to Hexeris)
- Basilisk Drake

Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Maximum unit of Paingiver Beast Handlers
Venator Flayer Cannon Crew
Extoller Soulward

Opponent played:

Iron Lich Asphyxious
- Harrower
- Deathripper
- Defiler (proxied by one of the Deathrippers)
- Cankerworm

Minimum unit of Bane Knights
Minimum unit of Bile Thralls
Skarlock Thrall
Bane Lord Tartarus

We played the game in Fantasiapelit Jyväskylä, but somehow I forgot my camera home, though I do remember that I handled it just before leaving to the gaming shop... Luckily my opponent had some sort of phone, maybe one of those smart phones or something like that? with him, so he took some pictures during match and sent them to me. Big thanks for that!

I won the starting roll, and first pictures give a broad view of the playing area, though the picture is a bit blurry. My right hand has Concealment from passing over Praetorian Swordsmen, who have Ashen Veil on them.

First of all, now I wasn't playing against Hordes, and even more, I wasn't playing againt any living models at all. That completely negated the (arguably) best facet of Ashen Veil: -2 to attack rolls while within 2" of affected models.

Anyway. Opponent placed Scything Touch on Bane Knights, which wasn't actually a real suprise.

Next we have side-profiles of both armies. They look so nice that I wanted to include them here, though placed like that gives a wrong impression about distances between armies.

However, I was moving my infantry behind warbeasts because of bile thralls. Because opponent divided bile thralls and bane knights to different flanks, I was distressed on where I should try to concentrate Ashes to Ashes spam.

Next picture illustrates situation a little better:

There they are, Tartarus and Knights in the middle of ghost woods. Harrower had a lucky deviation and even more lucky damage rolls, when it nailed down a few Praetorians and a Beast Handler.

The row of linear obstacles looked rather... prohibiting for my very non-Pathfinder forces. Opponent could very well fortify the undead behind the fences and slowly spam Breath of Corruption to whittle down everything.

So this is what I did.

Cyclops Shaman moved forward to both lure out bile thralls, and also to take Evil Eye shot at Harrower. Then Hexeris casts Hellfire or two (don't remember any more, I played today two Warmachine games too so things mix up a little...) at Harrower.

Bronzeback pushes Rhinodon an inch forward, and then Beast Handlers enrage it.

Rhinodon charges Harrower, but it stops at the wall, obviously. Its claws don't reach the Harrower, but tail attack does. That must have been a curious sight, how the Rhinodon wrecks a heavy warjack with multiple smashes from its tail, but not engaging it for real...

Basilisk Drake shot a spray at Deathripper, I think it hit and fried its Cortex.

Then it's opponents turn. Skarlock cast Parasite on the poor Rhinodon.

Bane Knights charge it, but luckily only one of them actually has Line of Sight to it. So that one charging Bane Knight with Scything Touch took only something like 40% of Rhinodon's boxes away.

Bile Thralls advanced and sprayed around. This was suprising - there was not even a single purge! Probably because their placement was a little messed up, a single purge would have taken at least one other bile thrall with it.

Still, some sprays hit home. At least Cyclops Shaman took a devastating hit with horrible damage roll. Then Asphyxious activated and sneezed the Rhinodon down, claiming its soul.

Then we got a little blurry picture again after one full round I think.

I was Hexeris' time to use his feat. And two Ashes to Ashes actually did impressive job - all Bile Thralls were burned down, as well as Skarlock and a couple of Bane Knight. But that was only a couple of them, which was bad. Oh, and Asphyxious took one damage too, yippee.

Basilisk Drake went forward to be slaughtered. But I saw a possibility of getting rid of Bane Lord Tartarus. But it was not Drake's day. It missed Tartarus, but hit Cankerworm behind. Damage done is always nice, but it should be applied to right place, really...

A lucky hits from charging Praetorian Swordsmen wrecked Defiler. It was left with one point of damage, which was dealt in style: with Penetrating Strike.

Things looked quite nice at the end of my turn, actually. But then was Cryx turn with things like un-used feats involved.

The POW 5 hit from Asphhyxious' feat took down a couple of Beast Handlers. First, however, Asphyxious shot down Cyclops Shaman with a Hellfire and cast Parasite on Bronzeback. Then he was filled with focus, and he shot Bronzeback with Hellfire and teleported to safety.

Bane Lord Tartarus created three additional Bane Knights from cursed Praetorian Swordsmen, and then Bane Knights devastated the rest of Swordsmen. Only lucky thing was that Basilisk Drake didn't want to die just yet.

So after Cryxian turn, things looked just a little bit desperate, but not yet lost. It was a thrilling situation that was brewing up there.

It was annoying, how Asphyxious was sitting there within 7.5" of Bronzeback, but behind a wall. I fact 4.5" could have just been enough to bring Bronzeback to contact with Asphyxious if moved directly shortest route, but that would have left Bronzeback on top of a wall.

Well, needed to change plans then.

Hexeris activates and throws in his pair. He charges Bane Knights and casts Ashes to Ashes on them, killing two and casting Bronzeback's animus on Bronzeback. By the way, now as I'm writing this I realised that if I had cast the animus on Hexeris itself, I could have probably wiped out the entire unit of Knights. Oh well. Hindsight isn't as good as Eyeless Sight.

Bronzeback kills two more Bane Knights and wrecks Deathripper.

Well, Basilisk Drake had its last chance of winning me just a small moment of relief. It took one Free Strike from a Bane Knight, who missed. And then it shot Bane Lord Tartarus with boosted attack roll. Hit.

I calculated that Tartarus would die if Drake rolled 11 with three dice.

It rolled 6.

Opponents turn then looked like this:

Vengeance attack, Tartarus and activated Bane Knights kill Hexeris, who could not transfer damage, because both beasts were full on Fury.

Sweet and challenging game. Somehow Tartarus just didn't want to go down despite all I did to it. Managing my last turn a little better could have bought me another turn or not.

Using Bronzeback's animus on Hexeris and casting Black Spot on Bane Knights after charge instead of Ashes to Ashes might have worked better. Or then again, maybe not.


  1. This was a real blast to play. For some reason the raw killing power even one Bane Knight has still manages to surprise me every time. Tartarus really lived up to his title "Bane Lord" here - even though all he did during the battle amounted up to 3 or 4 curses and 2 treshers, he definitely was my MVP model on the field that day. My first game against an opponent with a majority of Living models, and also my introduction to the Fury mechanics of Hordes - both quite refreshing from the Cryx mirrors I have been facing in the past. Terrain was the major factor in this battle, I think, and I look forward to future games.

    1. Terrain set-up is really what makes every game different from each other. It's a curious thing, really, in miniatures games with enough terrain rules. Though dice obviously sets up miniature games different from Chess and the like, the one thing that even further differentiates outcomes is the terrain. Even if you play with exactly same lists many times over, the battles can look very different if board is changed in between. Unless one play Legion of Everblight, of course :P