Monday, August 31, 2015

Venethrax Doesn't Bother with Small Print

Last Saturday I played a 50 point game of Warmachine.

I thought to toy around with Venethrax since he's up in Active Duty Roster. If some sort of tournament comes around later this year, I might take part with Venethrax/Asphyxious1 list pair.

So this was my list:

- Seether

Minimum unit of Bane Thralls + Unit Attachment
Maximum unit of Nyss Hunters
Withershadow Combine
Maximum unit of Satyxis Raiders + Sea Witch
Satyxis Raider Captain
Ogrun Bokur
Wrong Eye & Snapjaw

Opponent was playing:

Northern Crusade tier 2
Hierarch Severius
- Judicator
- Reckoner
- Blessing of Vengeance

Maximum unit of Temple Flameguard + Unit Attachment
Rhoven & Honor guard
Covenant of Menoth
Vassal Mechanic
2x Vassal of Menoth

Scenario was Outflank and Protectorate started game. First picture is from the end of Cryx turn 1.

Turn 2 Blessing of Vengeance enters the... uh... right side? Upper? scenario zone, and Severius starts flinging spells. Most notably he just cast Influence repeatedly on Ogrun Bokur, who, as it looks like, still retains client bonuses even if he is controlled by the enemy. I guess Ogrun Bokur hastily showed up some sort of contract to Venethrax, who didn't even bother to read who had signed the contract. I bet he could have seen the shaky handwriting of the old man Severius on that paper.

Well, Ogrun Bokur single-handedly killed Snapjaw. Then Severius cast Fear of God on Seether, which came as a bit of a surprise. Somehow you'd think you can only cast that spell on units, but no, there is no such requirement.

I don't remember who eventually killed Ogrun Bokur, but its only use for me was to Shield Guard a shot against Wrong Eye. Wow. I didn't realise it then, but that Bokur truly was such a jerk. He shielded Wrong-Eye from damage all the while beating the crap out of Wrong Eye's pet alligator.

Temple Flameguard charge to engage Satyxis. They use their minifeat as Satyxis would ignore Shield Wall anyway. Satyxis passed their Command check.

Venethrax had cast Soul Harvester on Satyxis, and this was one of the first times for a long, long time where that spell was actually useful. But I'm getting ahead of things.

First Bane Thralls charge Blessing of Vengeance, but only two get into contact with it. Defensive Strike downs the other one, but it passes Tough check. I was thinking of using Admonia to get rid of Fear of God and possibly even Holy Ward on Temple Flameguard, but 6" move and 5" range fell about a quarter of an inch short from disbinding Seether, and almost two inches short of cleansing Flameguard. What a waste.

Now Seether could only go and punch Blessing of Vengeance once with no serious damage being done instead of performing a double handed throw and starting to score control points.

Venethrax advanced forward and camped some focus. He also had Dragon Slayer on. I wanted him mid-field to use his Feat.

Then Satyxis activated and used Power Swell. I should have probably saved that one for later, but somehow I was thinking the Sea Witch could die next turn somehow. Well, this yielded four souls for Venethrax and quite a few cloud effects.

Nyss Hunters sacrificed one of their own to cause a cloud effect close to Venethrax. They also shot one or two additional Flameguards, but that was all.

Wrong Eye advanced so that if it died next turn, he'd explode into a cloud that hopefully would block Line of Sight to Venethrax.

Turn 3 Severius used his feat and chose to kill Bane Thralls with it. Only Bane Thrall Officer died, though. Everybody else passed their Tough rolls. Next Severius casts enough Influences on a Bane Thrall so that it wrecks Seether. So now I had lost 18 points worth of models to attacks made by my own models. Oh well. At least Bane Thralls continued to roll Tough rolls like crazy - Bane Casualties for that turn were only the Officer and one other Grunt - and three that were knocked down.

I think only one Satyxis died to Flameguard, and Wrong Eye got pasted by Judicator.

But I needed to take some drastic actions now to stay in the game. Both Seether and Snapjaw were gone, and most of Bane Thralls wouldn't be charging this turn.

But the Banes that are able to charge, charge Blessing of Vengeance, and even Judicator. I thought I might as well try to bring -2 ARM for Judicator, even if the chances were really low as the thrall in question needed to survive a free strike from Blessing of Vengeance. Didn't make it, as expected.

Nyss Hunters charge next, and five get to Judicator. The rest just try to look like they're doing something, even if they are not. Damage against Judicator is a bit on the poor side, but luckily they are not the only models I've got reserved for charging the colossal!

Then I activate Satyxis Raiders. I get four of them to charge Judicator, and the rest attack what's left of Temple Flameguard. It was a risk, since Satyxis would need to make another Command check. But I didn't want to waste, what, four or five Satyxis and their attacks just becauseI was afraid to engage Temple Flameguard. So... instead I wasted the whole activation of Satyxis Raiders. yup. Command check was double fives. Why, Toruk... Just why??

This time Admonia succeeded in bringing down Holy Ward, and Tremulus gave Puppet Master for Venethrax.

Would P+S 16 Venethrax bring down a lightly injured Judicator with 10 Focus?

Nope. Even with Puppet Master he leaves Judicator to two hit boxes. Two hit boxes... Such a low number was the dice gods truly rubbing it in my face with Satyxis failing their command check. After all, four P+S 9 +3d6 attacks, with possibility for a couple of horns + lacerator Combined Melee Attacks would have most likely scored at least two damage. Cortex and Movement were the systems that were still fully functional for Judicator.

Turn 4 and it was Protectorate's time to repair Judicator just one point and end the game. Choir sang hymns of battle, and Vassal Mechanic proceeded to roll the repair check. This time the Mechanic was as skilled in his craft as Satyxis were in their leadership - the check failed. Was there a glimmer of hope I see, now?

Probably not, since Severius cast Awareness, and started removing Bane Thralls with help from Blessing of Vengeance. Bane Thralls had passed approximately around 60% of Tough rolls they had needed to make during the game. So this is how it goes. Pass a maximum of 2 Tough rolls for three games, and then balance it with being right next to immune to damage for one game.

Reckoner takes aiming bonus and tries to shoot Venethrax. Intervening models are no problem thanks to Awareness. RAT 9 vs DEF 19. About 50% chance of spelling doom for Venethrax - and the roll fails. Imporant bit here is that Venethrax didn't suffer Flare penalties. MAT 7 Judicator tried to punch Venethrax next. It needed 8+ to hit the Lich Lord, but since its weapon systems were broken, a boost meant it had only two dice to try and reach that elusive 8+. Which never came.

But I couldn't sigh from relief just yet. Rhoven & Honor Guard charged Venethrax. Though only Gius or Cassian got into contact with him, that tiny knight had Blessed on his halberd. One swing took nine points off from Venethrax.

And last but not least, even the Temple Flameguard officer charged Venethrax and survived a free strike by some random Satyxis. He scored a hit, but dealt only two additional points. But worst part here was that Venethrax was now set on fire...

Well then.

Looks like I still have a turn to play.

Venethrax backs off like the powerful and fearless supervillain he is. But not before the Nyss butcher up Judicator, and Satyxis Captain takes care of Gius or Cassian. Last Bane Thralls and two charging Nyss finally wreck Blessing of Vengeance. Shame that I got no solos nearby to run to the zone and start controlling.

Turn 5 Severius seizes scenario game. Bane Thralls had finally stopped passing Tough rolls, but not before Severius had expended his last focus point in clearing the zone.

Because game had already lasted for quite a while, and control points were 0-2 in the favor of Protectorate, I thought it'd be best to try and assassinate the hierarch once and for all, and not try to whittle down enemy troops and hopefully contest enemy zone for many turns to come.

Five Nyss get to shoot Severius, but fail to kill him. He had been left with, what, two or three damage boxes?

Tremulus had one soul from earlier kills and he used that one for attack boost against Severius. It's a hit. Five or six for damage and Severius would be dead. It would have fit the big picture if that damage roll would have failed, but it didn't. Tremulus exchanged the soul of Vassal of Menoth to that of Severius.

Had that failed I guess I would have tried to charge Venethrax as far as possible and hope for a good deviation from Blood Rain. But that would have been quite a stretch.

Yet again a very close and very awkward game. So many game changing moments, where dice just went awry or critical distances were misjudged by quarter of an inch.

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