Sunday, October 27, 2013

Deathspur Assassination

I have this ideology, or bias (depending on point of view), to try something new with almost every list I play. Something has to be different, even if the change is a very little one. Only during tournaments I play with exactly same lists, and sometimes if I get to play two games in a row I may play with the same list to save some time.

It's probably not very wise thing to do, as chances are I will never actually "master" any list I play. But that's the way I want to roll, so to say.

Well, this time I was going to play a 50 point game. I chose Kaya as my warlock, and this "new" thing in my list was, well... they were the Druids of Orboros with Overseer. As I was thinking what I wanted to include in my list, I realised that I had never used the staple of many Circle armies with Kaya - the Druids of Orboros.

So, my list turned out to be:

Kaya the Wildborne
- Warpwolf Stalker
- Gnarlhorn Satyr
- Scarsfell Griffon
- Argus
- Gorax

Tharn Bloodweavers
Shifting Stones + Stone Keeper
Druids of Orboros + Overseer
Lord of the Feast
Blackclad Wayfarer
Druid Wilder

I didn't exactly know what to expect, since I had not played this particular opponent for ages. I knew the possibilities were Protectorate of Menoth, Khador and Legion of Everblight.

What I faced was a thing out of my darkest nightmares - Saeryn.

So, enemy list:

- 2x Scythean
- Ravagore
- 2x Angelius
- Shredder

2x Shepherd
3x Spell Martyrs

The nightmarish thing here was that I had two heavy warbeasts and opponent had five. In a situation like this even Lord of the Feast loses a lot of his potential, and while Druids of Orboros are always nice, they're a bit less so when their cloud effects are completely ignored and there are no real targets for Devouring and even if you manage to pull one or even two heavy hitters to your army's charge range, enemy still has 3-4 heavy beasts, or maybe even more if one of them had Respawn. At least Elemental Protection was there to offer them some survivability, but there was this nasty problem of Blight Bringer being corrosion type damage. Damn, damn, damn.

Luckily I had brought my mainstay unit of Bloodweavers with me. They're very capable of taking out one heavy warbeast per round if they get to charge.

Anyway, this time I forgot my camera back at home. I tried to take some pictures with my phone, but most of them are just rubbish. I'm still uploading them here just to illustrate, but if my photoshooting skills haven't been entirely agreeable in the past, now they're even less so.

Scenario was randomised to be the trusty old "Incursion", and the usual flag disappeared, that is, the middle one.

Legion started the game, and first picture is from the end of Circle turn 2. What has happened so far: One of the Scytheans had advanced far enough for Druids to try to pull the thing within charge range. And... it succeeded. Blackclad Wayfarer cast Hunter's Mark on the Scythean, and Gnarlhorn Satyr charged in. For the first time in ages it did something good: it killed the dragonspawn without actually failing at everything.

The reason why Legion hadn't advanced more was probably the fact that I sacrificed Lord of the Feast right on turn 1. After all there were so few good targets for it that I thought trying to destroy some beast support was the best it could ever do. It killed the Forsaken and one Spell Martyr. And of course it slowed down the advance. Worth it? Maybe...

It's a shame I had positioned Argus so sloppishly, since it was less than an inch away after a full 14" run from the flag on the left. I had been too busy in arranging the destruction of Scythean to have a clear, straight path for Argus to run.

Anyway, I had to charge with Scarsfell Griffon to one of the Angelius' that was contesting rightmost flag. Had I not done that, opponent would have easily started scoring points during next turn. Shifting Stones and Stone Keeper with them had started to slowly move themselves to contest rightmost flag, it started to look like that the only thing I could do on that front was to contest the flag as long as I could with a couple of stones. Looking back now, I see that opponent did start scoring points no matter what. Oh well...

Gnarlhorn had been placed back to safety with Spirit Door, and the Scythean had been killed around the spot where is the cog template that represents a scather shot from Ravagore.

And then it just had to happen, the dreaded feat of Saeryn.

Luckily the only real casualties for me were Blackclad Wayfarer, four Druids of Orboros (along with their Overseer - so much for the beastmaster) and the Scarsfell Griffon. By "real" casualty here I mean models that were removed from the board. Kaya was set on fire via blast from Ravagore, the excessive damage roll was transfered to Gorax, and a charging Angelius nearly brought Warpwolf Stalker to its grave. And next turn there was absolutely nothing I could do to any of the enemy warbeasts.

Well, here is what I tried to do.

Since Saeryn's battlegroup couldn't be targeted with melee attacks, Argus, probably for about the first time ever, got to use its spray attack! It yodled at Ravagore, and scored a hit. Then remaining Druids of Orboros tried to push it away, and they pushed quite nicely indeed. Now there was no worry of Ravagore running in and getting Blight Bringer on it.

Then Kaya activated and cast Spirit Fang on Scythean, and scored a couple of damage points in. Which was enough, since -2 SPD meant no charge for the beast. Kaya also used her feat, and healed a couple of beasts and cast Spirit Door on herself, moving to dominate a flag. On the right side Shifting Stones teleported to contest flag there.

Gorax and Gnarlhorn Satyr just positioned themselves to form a wall of flesh in between Legion of Everblight and Kaya. Looking back, again, their positioning was quite stupid. After all, Scythean could now easily get Bloodbath going on. Well, it didn't, because it missed one of its initial attacks, but that doesn't really change the fact that my positioning was bad.

Warpwolf Stalker just remained there, because I didn't want Angelius to charge anywhere. I was thinking of moving it with Spirit Door, but even with Kaya's feat she just didn't have the Fury for it.

Next few pictures are disturbingly shaken.

But thanks to the missed attack roll, both Gnarlhorn Satyr and Gorax survived the onslaught of the Scythean. Both were just about to die, though.

Saeryn tried to cast a Hellfire at Kaya through a Spell Martyr, and Ravagore tried to shoot her. Since she was already on fire, it didn't use its animus. One of them hit and one of them missed, I don't remember which did what. The damage was, however, transfered to Argus.

Well, then. Druid Wilder casts Gorax's animus on Gnarlhorn, and then Gnarlhorn proceeds to beat the snot out of Scythean (after druids of orboros had healed the broken branches, though). The Curse of the Gnarlhorn strikes again. Despite having MAT 10 and P+S 17 and two P+S 16 attacks and 4 Fury to use, it had to force itself to full 4 Fury to kill the Scythean. I don't think a single damage roll (except maybe the last?) was above 6 on two dice.

Argus has a lot better dice, since it manages to kill Shredder without breaking a sweat even with its Body branch destroyed (Argus had something like 4 damage boxes remaining from all the transfers).

Next Kaya tries something desperate. She charges the Ravagore, just hoping for astonishing damage rolls that maybe wouldn't kill the beast, but hopefully knock it down and maybe break a branch or two. None of that happened, the grand total with two attacks with damage boosts was about 3 or 4 damage in.

Then she cast Spirit Door to go back and dominate the flag. And now Circle was at 4 control points and Legion was at 1 control point. If that Argus just had had enough movement to bring itself to the flag on turn 2... A bitter, salty tear is shed here as I write.

Bloodweavers make amazing job, too. They all charge at Angelius who had Respawn on. First Bloodweaver used Dispel on its attacks, and the rest attacked with MAT 8, P+S 11 +4d6. Thanks to amazing damage rolls the last two Bloodweavers didn't even need to attack.

Well then it's Legion of Everblight's turn, and something very embarrassing happens. Since there isn't too many options for enemy either (and Kaya had one Fury left for transfering), my opponent decided the best course of action is to attack Kaya (who has about 6 damage boxes remaining from being on fire for three turns and cutting her for two Fury last turn) with Saeryn's ranged attack option, the Deathspur.

So... Saeryn advances and starts throwing about those stars. Kaya is behind a wall, and sits effectively at Def 20. First attack misses, but second does not. And with a damage boost later, Kaya just dies to the first damage roll she suffers from Saeryn's awe-inspiring P+S of 8. Deathspur has Grievous Wounds special ability on them, so Kaya couldn't transfer the damage away. But still... Kaya died to P+S 8 boosted damage roll, and not to P+S 15 boosted damage roll from Ravagore that she wouldn't be able to transfer away.

That is nearly as embarrassing(/awesome?) as inflicting the final wound on Madrak Ironhide with Anatomical Precision from Cephalyx Mind Slaver that I managed to do back in Mk1 edition of Warmachine.

So, all in all, a really close and exciting game. Looking back at the last round of the game, just by casting Occultation on Kaya and moving her a little farther away would've saved her bacon from Deathspur at least, since Saeryn doesn't have Eyeless Sight. But things like that are quite difficult to see before you know what happens.

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