Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Battle of Effigies

Last Tuesday I played a 50 point Warmachine game.

My list was:

Lich Lord Venethrax
- Seether

Minimum unit of Bane Thralls + Unit Attachment
Maximum unit of Nyss Hunters
Maximum unit of Satyxis Raiders + Sea Witch
Withershadow Combine
Warwitch Siren
Ogrun Bokur (Venethrax client)
Wrong Eye & Snapjaw

Objective: Effigy of Valor

I was against:

Ravens of War tier 4
Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight
- Naga Nightlurker
- 3x Ravagore

Strider Rangers
Strider Rangers + free Unit Attachment
4x Strider Deathstalker

Objective: Effigy of Valor

Scenario was Destruction and Cryx started game. First picture is from the end of Legion turn 1, and things are already happening on the board. While Strider and Deathstalker shooting was less than impressive and Ravagores didn't get good deviations on top of Satyxis, the Scather templates neutralized Satyxis from doing anything too useful next turn.

Turn 2 was Venethrax's feat turn. Thanks to those nasty templates I couldn't make such an onslaught of cloud effect as I had originally wanted. But Venethrax was the very first model to activate, and he advanced closer to the middle and used feat. Not a single focus was spent that turn. Admonia even upkept the Dragon Slayer.

Also here I learned enemy was 100% stealthed. That made Nyss Hunter shooting all but non-existent. So they charged and killed a couple of Striders.

Warwitch Siren advanced and cast her Venom, but missed every model caught by the template. My own Nyss included, at least.

Wrong Eye advanced and forgot to throw Fury away. Then Snapjaw charged in to Striders. It managed to miss initial attack, and I really wanted two clouds to the middle. That meant Snapjaw went to full capacity on Fury, so Wrong Eye wouldn't be transfering anything if something tried to kill him.

Satyxis Raiders ran to engage enemy infantry and tried to place themselves so that if opponent attacked them I'd get nice cloud coverage.

Seether ran to block line of sight to Venethrax.

Then it's Legion. Lylyth used her feat, too. I guess Venethraxs' clouds did limit targets Legion had. But thanks to my blunder with Wrong Eye & Snapjaw, Wrongeye died to a couple of Ravagore shots. Possibly to just one.

If my math is right six Satyxis and six Nyss Hunters die to the feat, as well as Ogrun Bokur who took one shot that wanted to wreck Seether.

Turn 3 I thought that damn... I'm going to start dominating right here and right now. Tremulus gave Puppet Master for Satyxis Raiders, who then moved out of way of Bane Thralls and killed two Strider Deathstalkers.

Then it looked like 6" might be enough to get Seether to contact with one, hopefully two Striders close to the enemy objective. Well... perspective and desperate hope can lie to you harshly sometimes. Seether's advance fell short almost a quarter of an inch from the closer Strider.

Here I stopped trying to play scenario this turn at all. Well, sure, Bane Thralls charged the objective dead, but that's it. Venethrax advanced to the zone, but missed attack against a Strider Deathstalker, and didn't have guts to buy additional attacks.

One Ravagore frenzies. Lylyth2's tier list doesn't allow any kind of fury management, so I guess the turn after Lylyth's feat is always a little exciting. This time it cost one Deathstalker for Legion.

What's left of Striders kill Nyss Hunters. A Ravagore enters melee with Seether but fails to deliver the killling blow. Seether has only movement left.

Turn 4 the very same Seether hits with both hands against Ravagore. That's 4+ on one die! And both attacks dealt a minimum of two points of damage with one die. The jaws killed a Strider. Pretty good performance from a brutally mauled wreckage.

Satyxis ran to engage the back line Ravagores.

Venethrax advances to melee with Ravagore and provokes a free strike from Strider. Whee. Now that I think of it... only triple sixes would have dealt one damage point in. But it wasn't even a hit. I planned around on spending Fury enough so that once Venethrax cut down Ravagore, he would be at seven focus points again. And that succeeded.

Bane Thralls then charge around. One Bane goes for a Strider next to Venethrax and another for Ravagore in the back.

Legion then wrecks Seether and kills all remaining Satyxis plus most of the Bane Thralls. I think there were two left from the unit and the standard.

I don't entirely remember what Lylyth herself did here, but the end result was that opponent lost on Deathclock. We had been practising for a tournament. Otherwise I doubt I'd even mention that, but this was a special case that put me in a personal dilemma, distress, tragedy and you name it. Lylyth had been the last model to activate, and the clock ran out during last attack Lylyth was making. So there was no easy agreement of continuing game after dying to the clock.

Now. I have no problem of trying to play "as if" the clock would end the game. If I don't have much time left and we already have agreement of continuing game even after clock, I'm often willing to put myself in vulnerable position if there is a real-but-unlikely chance of pulling off an assassination or something during last few minutes of soft deathclock.


I also had only a few minutes left on my clock when my turn would have started. There were two options here - to continue playing as normal, though game would have most definitely devolved into a slow-grind where Venethrax camps full focus every turn and kills any and all beasts that wandered too close to contest the zone. I felt like I had a strong position even if my forces were dwindling, but from that point either player might have emerged victorious.

Another possibility would have been to continue playing with clock as the most pressing imperative. But that would force me into a very silly position with game ending certain doom if failed and I might run out of clock during the attempt. I also didn't have the time to maximize my chances with the forces I still had left that turn, making it feel like I would basically give the game to opponent when the bell had already tolled for him.

This time the options were completely excluding each other out. Usually they aren't this extreme - especially in a situation where I'm running out of clock but opponent still has some. But in the end for the sake of authentic tournament practice we ended the game, but I still hastily activated Venethrax just to see if the few minutes would have been enough.

Now, this is my usual trick to make peace with my conscience. End the game, but still look forward a bit to see if end result would have been any different either way.

This time it would have made all the difference. Venethrax missed boosted charge attack against Lylyth, and all in total got only two hits out of four (boosted) tries and one unboosted try.

This sucks. I didn't even get a consolation for a tainted and cheap, hollow "victory".

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