Every key I press while I write this report is struck with a sweaty finger - sweat that is composed of pure dread and horror, as well as the usual stuff. I shudder as I remember the moments from my 35 point game of Warmachine last Tuesday.
I wanted to take out Lord Arbiter Hexeris out for a spin, and I did. Hey, it's one of the most respected Skorne warlocks, what could go wrong?
My list was:
Lord Arbiter Hexeris
- Cyclops Shaman
- Basilisk Krea (bonded)
- 2x Reptile Hound
Minimum unit of Cataphract Cetrati
Minimum unit of Beast Handlers
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer
Well, once I took my army out of the transport foam I couldn't really believe that was all. Again I had just slapped models I wanted to play together without much consideration to anything else, and I was baffled once I actually saw my list on the table. So damn few models. But that wasn't a horrifying thing or anything like that, no. To some extent I've used to surprises like this.
Opponent was playing:
- Stormclad (bonded)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers + Officer
Storm Blades + Unit Attachment
Okay, epic Haley, that's bad news always. But still I wasn't suffering from terror and sudden panic attacks just yet.
Scenario we had was Close Quarters, and skorne won starting roll, and again I had a slow list, plus I was facing a serious scenario caster. No other option than to go first, and this time I ran as far as possible. This time there wasn't that much high powered long range shooting around than in last game.
Opponent did the same, and Rufus, my dear Reptile Hound who performs a wide variety of tricks during games, got to do its first trick in the first round of game: Play Dead. Haley cast a damage boosted Time Bomb on it.
Turn 2 I did start feeling these "oh no, whatever I do will bring me doom" -feelings that are quite commonplace when fighting against Haley2. Still nothing too bad.
Cataphract Cetrati shield walled themselves and advanced to definitely contest the friendly flag, and Basilisk Krea followed them with her animus.
Cyclops Shaman advanced and used Krea's animus, too. Hexeris cast a Hellfire on Stormclad through Basilisk Krea, since it was the only target in sight. Hexeris had quit upkeeping Ashen Veil on Cataphract Cetrati, and instead replaced it on Bronzeback Titan, who ran to a really bad position. I have Telekinesis on two of my own warlocks/warcasters, so I deserve what I got there, but still it hurts what happened next.
Thorn advances, Haley activates, casts Temporal Acceleratin on Stormclad and Telekinesis on Bronzeback, repositioning the beast both two inches closer and to direct charge lane. Yes, I had been thinking that Haley can get quite ridiculous threat ranges, but Stormclad wouldn't be able to charge Bronzeback in exact direct line - without reach the charge might have fallen short even with additional bonuses. Yeah, Stormclad has reach in reality, which is very different from my "rainbows and butterflies" make-believe world. I had mostly prepared for a charge from Storm Blades, and Stormclad possibly coming to wreck Cetrati.
So, even if Bronzeback does weather punishment fairly well, a P+S 19 warjack with four focus against Bronzeback's back arc was too much. It did take all four focus to kill it, though. As an added insult, the electro leaps killed last remaining Reptile Hound, meaning I wouldn't be able to do a full feat from my own beasts only.
Nothing else does much, though one of the black 13th rolls triple sixes for brutal damage shot against a Cetrati. And the Cetrati doesn't even die. These are the moments you almost want to raise your Krea from the table and lovingly caress it. Almost.
Turn 3 all but Aptimus Marketh is under Haley's feat.
And Haley makes Hexeris activate first. And this is the moment I will see nightmares about - at this point I realised how especially hopeless match-up epic Hexeris is against epic Haley. By activating Hexeris first there would be no feat for him this turn. Just moments prior I had been wondering if I should try to shoot Haley down with three Hellfires and probably fail, but at least there would have been a chance.
So Hexeris shoots Ashes to Ashes on a nearby Storm Blade instead just out of spite. Perhaps more than two additional hits might have affected the game somehow (which I doubt) but three hits was nothing, really. Then Hexeris tries to walk to relative safety of the rest of the army.
Then Beast Handlers activate, and do nothing, really.
Krea and Cetrati advance, both of which just advance to engage. Krea puts on her animus for no apparent reason.
Once Cyclops Shaman activates, I realize there is actually something I can do this turn - Cyclops Shaman can shoot with his eye! And it does. Twice, thanks to Ancillary Attack from Willbreaker. Both attacks kill a model, one of which was the officer. Sadly Storm Blades don't fail their command check.
Tyrant Commander and Standard Bearer advance to protect Hexeris, and Aptimus Marketh just casts Ashen Veil on Hexeris.
Hexeris has two Fury left for transfers, and only Basilisk Krea for transfers. Foolishly I had riled the Shaman once to get some Fury next turn. Storm Blades beat Krea down to four boxes remaining, and then Haley clears a clears a path for Stormclad with Telekinesis. Stormclad advances to Hexeris, and hits. And hits. And hits. And dead.
It was a brutal game. Also some critical miss here or there might have kept me in game, but opponent dared to miss only one attack roll during whole game (it was a Gun Mage against a Beast Handler). But I don't think I can actually blame the dice here - worse rolls for opponent might have given me a remote chance of winning by a hail mary assassination, but I don't think amazing rolls were directly responsible for anything in this game. It was a hard match up, and poor planning on my part.
Also, if I hadn't thrown the Bronzback away so haplessly, I might have navigated through Haley's feat turn somehow even without a feat next turn. Whole Bronzeback affair was just sub-par play from me.
A random thing comes into my mind right now for future matches of Hexeris2 vs Haley2 - since I'm not doing anything with my warbeasts anyway, why not leave them full Fury and leach fury from Hexeris himself, and get some sort of feat that way? Funnilly enough, given proper alignment of your beasts, you might actually get a charge in during Haley's feat! After all, frenzy happens before Haley starts playing your turn.