Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Counter-Seduction, and other modern warfare tactics

Last Thursday I played a 50 point game of Warmachine.

I was going to try out Iron Lich Asphyxious from my possible Asphyxious/Venethrax ADR pairing for an upcoming tournament.

List was:

Iron Lich Asphyxious
- 2x Slayer
- Nightwretch
- Ripjaw

Maximum unit of Mechanithralls + 2x Brute Thralls + Skarlock Commander
Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls
Aiakos, Scourge of Meredius
- Harrower
Pistol Wraith
Warwitch Siren
Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Gorman diWulfe
Saxon Orrik

Opponent played:

Harbinger of Menoth
- Devout

Maximum unit of Temple Flameguard + Unit Attachment
Daughters of the Flame
Knights Exemplar
Maximum unit of Exemplar Bastions
Maximum unit of Horgenhold Forge Guard + Attendant Priest
Knight Exemplar Seneschal
Covenant of Menoth

Scenario was Incursion, and Cryx started game. First picture is from the end of Protectorate turn 1. Harbinger has already activated her feat. Damn. Hard decisions would need to be made now.

Turn 2 Nightwretch advanced to contest western flag and took a POW 14. One of the Slayers advanced to contest middle flag and took a POW 14. Harrower tried to act as some sort of a nuisance and charged to Knights Exemplar and Horgendhold Forge Guard. The charge was a bit of a failure, as I had hoped to get three Forge Guards and one Exemplar within thresher range. Only the Exemplar and one Forge Guard were there even when the charge was aided by Escort.

Not much else happened. Asphyxious tried to cast some Breath of Corruptions to discourage possible charges by Daughters of the Flame and with a good deviation instantly kill them. There were no good deviations, however. Both shots fell in front of Bastions, who just laughed at the green clouds.

Protectorate charged in with Daughters of the Flame. Only one actually got to make attacks, but those attacks were against Gorman diWulfe, who perished under the blade. No, actually two Daughters made a real charge. There is one attacking Slayer. And now I remember. Those were the damage that Necrotech promptly failed to fix on the following turn... Well at least no systems had been broken by a lone Daughter and Harbinger's feat.

Vilmon charges and wrecks Nightwretch, but luckily opponent couldn't bring anyone to control the flag.

Then I don't quite understand what happened there with the Harrower. I mean... it survived five Forge Guard attacks and one Knights Exemplar. I think it still had Cortex left and possibly the ranged weapon. Not that either one mattered much since it was out of Aiakos' control area.

Turn 3 I needed to make some sort of a real move. The best I could think of was to not back up at all and move Asphyxious forward with full focus camp. He possibly allocated a couple of focus points to various Slayers, and advanced to cast Parasite on Daughters of the Flame. Then after he had spent all of his focus he used feat to bring him back to seven.

The feat didn't even kill that many Daughters. Boo. And Temple Flameguard were under Iron Zeal that turn, so feat wouldn't even be able to damage them. Boo.

But Mechanithralls did. Astounding number of 10+ were rolled for hits. I vaguely hoped Harbinger would overuse her Martyrdom ability, but that didn't really happen. Only one Daughter was left alive, who then was being Martyrdomed for all eternity.

Harrower killed one or two Forge Guards. Probably one, which was enough to cause rage in the Seneschal close by. Pistol Wraith tried to shoot Death Chill to the Seneschal, which was when I learned that Covenant with that pesky passage in that dusty old tome prevents Stationary as well as Knocked Down. Activation well spent.

Warwitch Siren gave focus for Ripjaw, who marched to attack an Exemplar Bastion. I don't remember the damage any longer, or even if Siren actually gave that focus for Ripjaw and not, for example, a Slayer.

A Stitch Thrall valiantly entered to contest Vilmon's flag.

Then it was Protectorate's turn. Forge Guards destroy Harrower wreck, but Knights Exemplars make an astounding job of not being able to hit Pistol Wraith with even two tries. Third Exemplar misses Slayer. To make up for the poor performance of his brethren last Exemplar scored a hit against Ripjaw and took off it's arc node.

Knight Exemplar Seneschal is about to charge Slayer, but remembers that "oh crap, I don't have long enough swords", so he just comes to hang around, trying to look casual and cool.

Temple Flameguard charge in and set Asphyxious on fire. One also kills Necrosurgeon, which was a blow, but a deserved one. I had placed her in such a bad position. Scenario goes 1-0 to Protectorate.

Turn 4 Pistol Wraith shot both Exemplars who had charged it. Go figure.

Aiakos either charges or advanced & leaps to attack Forge Guards, dispatching two of them and still camping three focus.

Mainly I had been hoping I'd find a way to charge Asphyxious (who's fire effect didn't continue, by the way) to Harbinger, but that required a lot of successful attacks by many models so that Harbinger wouldn't just martyrdom the ones who were in Ashpyxious' way. Mechanithralls did fine job again at landing solid hits, but Flameguard were not that bad at rolling Tough either. However, the model that screwed everything up was Skarlock. It advanced and cast Breath of Corruption so that it would land on all three Flameguards blocking Asphyxious. Obviously it missed and deviation landed the cloud effect so it completely blocked Asphyxious' line of sight to Harbinger. Not that it had been likely that I'd remove all three before it was Asphyxious' turn to activate, but now there was zero use in attempting that at all.

He camped eight focus instead, then.

Necrotech succeeded in repair roll and repaired one (1) point of damage. I just had to write that down. Their mechanical aptitude almost equals that of my own.

Slayer and Ripjaw punch holes into Bastions. Another Slayer and a Warwitch Siren kill Exemplar Seneschal.

Protectorate then. Flameguard sets Asphyxious on fire again, and quite a few Mechanithralls die to their spears. Exemplar Bastions wreck Ripjaw, but Slayer manages to dodge most of their attacks again.

Harbinger takes a run closer to lower flags. She camped nine focus points I think.

Vilmon kills contesting Stitch Thralls again and scenario goes 2-0 for Protectorate.

Turn 5 things start to look relatively good. Against all odds I had not lost Slayers yet, and Cryxian damage output this turn was enough to remove all but one Exemplar Bastion. Quite a few Flameguards die too and the very last Stitch Thrall advances trembling to sacrifice itself to altar of Vilmon. I bet that's not a battle story Vilmon tells to his paladin friends at a tavern table when they are bragging to each other about the greatest kills.

A slayer tries to beat the last remaining Knights Exemplar, but fails to do that. Aiakos has to advance and leap to make better work than a five ton construct build for battle. Pistol Wraith advances and shoots remaining Forge Guards.

To get the last model away that's contesting lowest flag Warwitch Siren advances to base contact with Exemplar Bastion, who then proceeds to take a swing at no other than Harbinger of Menoth. Unfortunately no damage was made.

Thanks to one extra focus from earlier soul token Asphyxious was ARM 24. And when things suddenly look good you have a high risk of becoming overconfident. That's exactly what happened here. Arm 24 Iron Lich Asphyxious advances to dominate middle flag, though there were enemy models near enough to contest. Either way, scenario went to 2-1 for Protectorate thanks to Pistol Wraith. Oh, I think Asphyxious had taken two points of damage from fire continuous effect.

So. Protectorate goes for the assassination. This turn Vilmon charges some other target than Stitch Thralls - he charged Asphyxious. And missed. Yup. Definitely not a tale to be told.

Then there was this funny moment when I got to taste my own medicine. My sweet medicine called Seduction. That... that sounds wrong. On purpose.

Just when Warwitch Siren had seduced Exemplar Bastion to attack Harbinger, Madelyn Corbeau advanced next to Warwitch Siren and seduced her. Somehow Madelyn convinced Siren to attack Necrotech. A hit was scored, but P+S 11 wasn't enough to kill the necromechanic.

Then literally everything charged Asphyxious. Except maybe for the Hierophant and Covenant of Menoth. Arm 24 was too much for all other models except for Harbinger, who charged in. And she got close enough to land two automatically hitting POW 20's with a damage boost. Darn. First roll is on the lower side, but one good roll would take Asphyxious out now. But it didn't. Asphyxious was at seven hit boxes remaining. But then we remember about such insignificant details as the actual charge attack.

It didn't kill Asphyxious, but it dealt two more points in. And Asphyxious was on fire. Rolling 9+ is, like, entire light years more likely to roll than 11+ on two dice.

So then.

I roll if fire expires. It doesn't.

Opponent rolls for damage, and first die to land is a six. Dice settle, and it's a six and a two. Asphyxious is at one hit box remaining.

Asphyxious stands there blinking for a while before realizes he isn't dead. Quickly he fixes his face and twirls his mustache and says: "Excellent! Everything is going according to my plan! What a skilled master-class caster bait yet again, old man Asphyxious... yet again! You're the best!"

And then he skewers Harbinger. Fun fact: Harbinger does still float even when impaled by soulsplitter.

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