This week’s podcast saw my forces of the Protectorate tangling with Adam’s Cryx once again. Last time this happened, I made a couple major blunders in the late game and lost the Harbinger to a couple boosted Venom shots… but before that point the game was definitely going in my favour. I was committed to not making the same mistake in this game… so instead, I made a bunch of brand new ones!
The scenario we were playing was Outflank (two 12″ diameter zones on the mid-line, 1 point for controlling and 2 for dominating), and I managed to win the Initiative (which is a happy, happy day for the Harbinger!). Give the battle a listen here or on iTunes, and let me know what you think!
My Harbinger list is still very sub-optimal due to a lack of infantry choices (the only thing I have remotely painted are my Errants…), but it was an *okay* list.
The Harbinger of Menoth (Harby)
– Officer and Standard
Exemplar Errant Seneschal
High Paladin Vilmon
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist
Covenant of Menoth
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord
Vassal of Menoth (x2)
Choir of Menoth (min)
Aiyana and Holt
There are many things I would change about this list, now that I’ve played it twice… first, the Errants are a solid option, but I don’t really like them with the Harbinger, at least without other supporting infantry. They’re a skrimishing/screening force, and without something else to stick around after the Errants have died off, it’s really hard to keep Harby alive. Bastions, I suspect, will be the answer I need (or maybe Cinerators, honestly, since they have heavier ARM and with Crusader’s Call can actually get respectable threat range on their charges…). Other than that, swapping one Vanquisher for a Reckoner would be a good idea… the general infantry-obliteratingness of the Vanquisher is excellent against Cryx, but being able to seriously threaten the warcaster from 22″ away is deserving of a place in the army. Gaspy2 in particular will need to prioritize keeping himself safe OR his army safe with those damnable clouds of his, which is an important decision to force your opponent into making! Also, the Wracks with Harbinger are nice… but a Vassal Mechanik would’ve been a much, much better decision. Oh well.
Adam’s list was a pretty standard Gaspy2 list:
Lich Lord Asphyxious (Gaspy2, eGaspy)
Bane Lord Tartarus (BLT)
Bane Thralls (max)
– Officer and Standard
Bane Knights (max)
Satyxis Blood Witches
– Sea Hag
War Witch Siren
Gorman di Wulfe
Bile Thralls (min)
No real surprises, and certainly a popular build with Gaspy. Lots of threat vectors, lots of infantry and armour obliterating potential, and behind it all the Lich Lord himself, denying ranged attacks and bringing back Banes on his Feat turn.
They’ve nerfed that Feat 3 times… and it’s still, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the 3 most powerful Feats in the game. The Harbinger’s is GOOD, but I’d put her Feat in only the Top 10…
Anyway, I set up the Harbinger in the middle of the table, flanked by her two Vanquishers and her Devout. Vilmon and the Allegiant were assigned to hold down the left zone, while the majority of my firepower went towards the right zone, including A&H.
Adam, for his part, set out his troops in a long single line: Blood Witches on the far left, then biles, then Bane Thralls, then Gaspy, Gorman, and the Pistol Wraith, then Bane Knights on the far right.
I set up my Errants across the table from the Knights, and we were good to go!
The Harbinger allocates 1 Focus to each of her warjacks and we’re off.
The Choir sings “No Spells”, the Vanquishers and Devout run forward (after making Harby also untargetable by spells), the Errants run up into the right zone, the Allegiant runs up into the left zone, Vilmon runs towards the left as well, and all my support staff shuffle up. Rhupert gives the Errants “Tough”, just because. The Book walks forward and declares “No Knockdowns” (I’ve run out of Menite religious holidays to use as a reason that my troops can’t be knocked down, sadly!). Aiyana and Holt move up behind the Errants, and my turn was finished.
Cryx Turn 1
Gaspy sat on all his Focus, and we were off.
Adam basically rushed his troops forward with reckless abandon. The Knights, Thralls, Biles, and Witches all ran, spreading out. BLT ran up behind cover next to the Pistol Wraith, which walked forward and shot one of my Errants: first shot failed to wound, second shot killed (but I Self-Sac’d the death off to deny Adam a soul), and then the third shot Death Chill’d the Errant.
Gaspy moved forward and dropped a line of Caustic Mists between his Bane Thralls and my Errants and Vanquishers… and I remember again one of the many reasons I hate playing against Gaspy2! Gah.
The Nightwretch gets a Focus from the War Witch, and Cankerworm walks and then takes his free follow-up move from his Imprint. With that, Adam’s turn was done!
Those mists… man, I hate not being able to even shoot. But I can at least buy myself some time… the Harbinger assigns 1 Focus to each warjack, and we’re off.
Rhupert goes first, giving the Errants “Tough” again. The Book also moves up and says “No Knockdown” again.
The Errants go next, with the majority heading towards the Knights and a few curling around the Caustic Mists towards the Blood Witches. A flurry of crossbow bolts later, and 4 Knights have died. The Seneschal moves up and takes a shot at BLT, who is well out of Stealth range.
My Choir activates and sings “Battle”.
The right-side Vanquisher activates, moves forwards, and takes a shot at BLT… he’s just out of range, but it only scatters an inch, hitting the mighty Bane Lord, the Pistol Wraith underneath him, and 2 more Knights… I boost damage on BLT and inflict 7 points (so close!), manage to wipe out the Pistol Wraith, and kill another Knight! Woo!
I give that Vanquisher an Ancillary attack, but it scatters back towards my Errants… it fails to kill, but it does light my Errant on fire. Curses!
Vilmon toes into the zone and drops into +5 ARM (since the Witches all have magic weapons anyway).
The Allegiant charges at the Nightwretch to tie it up… the Charge attack misses (of course), but his 2nd attack hits… and only inflicts 3 points of damage. Bleh.
The Vanquisher on that side moves up, but can’t see past the Caustic mists. I give it Enliven, just in case.
The Harbinger moves up as far as she can and pops her Feat. She camps the rest of her Focus.
Holt moves up and takes a couple shots at Knights… he kills one more, leaving Adam with 5 total remaining (not bad, not bad…).
Lastly, the Devout moves into B2B with Harby and says “No Spells” on my warcaster.
With that, my turn is finished… if I can hold Adam off for a turn, I can start scoring on his turn, but with Cankerworm near the zone, I suspect he’ll rush him in to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Cryx Turn 2
So Adam has to struggle against my Feat, which is not an envious position to be in. Still, he’s got some options. Sadly (for him), his Knights have to forfeit their Vengeance moves due to the Feat, since they would be obliterated if they move forward.
Additionally, we roll for the fire on BLT and 1 Bane Thrall that were caught by my Vanquisher… neither fire goes out, but equally neither kills. Damnit!
We start with Gorman, who walks forward and lobs an Acid grenade at my Errants… it hits 1 and tags 2 in the blast damage, killing the directly hit one but only putting Corrosion on the other 2.
The Blood Witches shift slightly away from the Harbinger (I kill one that wandered a little too close), and then pop their mini-Feat. The Withershadow tries to move parallel, but Admonina also stumbles forward a half inch and is vapourized by the Feat, as is Adam’s War Witch Siren… three kills, but I’m okay with that!
The Nightwretch tries to bite the Allegiant, but misses.
Gaspy moves up (camping a huge stack of Focus, so shrugs off the Feat damage), casts 3 more Caustic Mists, and dropping his Soul Reaver AoE on top of my Errants.
Lastly, Cankerworm does walk up into the zone, taking a few points of damage from the Feat, but denying me control points. Curses!
The rest of his army stands still, and it’s back over to Menoth!
Okay, so I’ve bought myself some time, but those damnable mists are still blocking my guns… again… really should’ve had my Vanquishers further apart so he could only block LoS to 1 of them, not both.
But whatever. First, we roll for the Fire and Corrosion on my Errants… both Corrosion go out, but the fire stays… and fails to wound! Woo!
1 Focus to each warjack again, and we’re off again.
The Allegiant goes first, dropping into Shifting Sands and taking 2 swings at the Nightwretch. Only one hits, and I inflict a few points of damage.
Vilmon goes next, dropping into both +5ARM and immunity to non-magic attacks. No reason to make Adam’s job any easier than it needs to be…
My Errants shuffle back towards the right zone, opening up a charge lane for my Seneschal and shooting 4 more Bane Knights to death.
The Seneschal Assaults forward on Cankerworm… the Assault shot hits but fails to damage, and his Charge attack… misses! Damn!
Rhupert sings “Tough”, the Book sings “No Knockdown”, the Hierophant sings “Harmonious Exaltation”, and the Choir sings “Battle”. I’m not sure if it would be harmonious or cacophonous, but either way, lots of singing!
My right-flank Vanquisher moves up and takes a shot at BLT, which only scatters an inch and catches the undead noble… and with a boosted damage roll, manages to kill him! Nice.
The other Vanquisher moves forward and fires a shot at the Blood Witches, forgetting that they were immune to due Incorporeal from their Mini-feat… gah. Should’ve used Aiyana first! Oh well… I give it Enliven again.
The Harbinger moves forward a bit, keeping both Vilmon and the Allegiant 10″ away (if I had been thinking, I would’ve had the Allegiant only 8.5″ away, so that any of Adam’s Blood Witches engaging him would have had to deal with the -2 Attack Rolls from Awe… but oh well). She casts “Cataclysm” on Gorman, catching him at exactly 10″ away and boosting damage, and obliterates the alchemist! Take that, ya acid-slinging bastard…
Lastly, Holt moves over a little but can’t hit anything due to mists and stealth. Aiyana snuggles up to the Harbinger, and my turn is done!
With Cankerworm stubbornly refusing to die (although with only 1 Seneschal on him, I’m not exactly sure why I thought he WOULD die…), the score is still 0-0, and Adam has only 2 models to contend with in his zone… things are starting to look a little (lot) grim.
Regardless, the last Bane Knight takes his Vengeance attack, killing an Errant that fails his Tough.
Gaspy camps his full stack, and we’re off.
The Blood Witches go first. 3 of them Charge Vilmon, 3 other charge the Allegiant, and the rest just run up. The first takes a swing at the Allegiant, and needing a 9 to hit (DEF17 against MAT6 with +2 from Gang)… hits! Damnit… he missed that first attack, and my monk gets to just walk away… sadly, no such luck, and the blow hits hard enough to slay the Allegiant, who also can’t Tough because of the Hag. Gah! The Witches turn my monk into a cloud…
The charges against Vilmon go a bit better for me… Adam hits all three times, but only does a total of 4 damage! Vilmon yet stands! Phew!
The Bane Thralls charge my Errants… Adam misses a few attacks but hits several others, causing several Tough checks and a few Martyr’s to deny any deaths to Adam’s forces. 2 Bane Thralls charge my Vanquisher, but the first hits and inflicts enough damage to wipe out column 6, column 1, and half way through column 2… nothing is crippled, but I’m down to 2 boxes on my cannon. Either way, I trigger Enliven and walk up behind the Bane Thralls to safety and towards Gaspy.
The Cankerworm, bereft of Focus, swings at my Seneschal but misses twice.
The Bile Thralls shuffle up a bit, as does the remaining Withershadow, and then Gaspy moves up and drops some Caustic Mists on his Bane Thralls and several of my Errants, blocking LoS and threatening to kill my Errants (they can either stay and die from the Caustic Mist, or they can move and die from Free Strikes! Gah!). He then, of course, drops the 5″ Soul-sucking AoE on the Errants.
With that, his turn is over and the score stays tied at 0!
I can see a route… it’s not “safe”, but it is pretty solid… Gaspy is within 10″ of the back of those clouds. If I can walk the Vanquisher through the Caustic mists, he can get LoS to the warcaster, boost to hit and damage, and with a lucky roll (and possibly an Ancillary Attack), drop the lich lord… I assign 3 Focus to that Vanquisher, 1 to the Devout, and camp the rest.
The Choir activates and sings Battle on my warjacks.
The Vanquisher activates and walks through the 2 Caustic mists. Adam has a 25% chance of crippling my cannon… he needs to roll a 1, 2, or 6 for column both times.
The first roll… is a 6! Damnit.
The second roll… is a 6! DAMNIT!
My Vanquisher emerges on the far side, its cannon no longer functional. I take the shot at Gaspy anyway, boosting to hit (getting me up to 2d6), but miss… the shot scatters only a little, hitting Gaspy (I boost damage again, inflicting a few points) and the closest Withershadow (boost damage again, killing it). Damn.
Rhupert activates and gives my Errants Tough.
The Book moves towards Gaspy and says “No Spells”, hoping that I can finally get a round of shooting without Caustic Mists everywhere!
My Errants activate, being Martyr’d by the Harbinger to ignore the mists they are standing in. They slay several Bane Thralls with both swings and Quick Work shots, but sadly can’t kill the officer.
The Seneschal swings at Cankerworm, hitting solidly and inflicting pretty heavy damage. I then realize that I’ve left the Seneschal in a place that blocks any other of my troops to charge in to maybe actually kill the stupid warjack. Gah!
Holt charges the last Bane Knight, killing him, and then shoots one Bane Thrall to death.
Vilmon drops into +5ARM and swings at a Witch, and splatters her.
My other Vanquisher moves towards Vilmon, and at this moment I realize that if I had just dropped Vilmon into both +5ARM AND Immunity to non-magic weapons, I could’ve just shot him and tagged all 4 of the Witches currently surrounding my noble paladin… gah! Instead, I shoot at the Nightwretch, missing and have the shot scatter away harmlessly.
I have a Vassal give it an Ancillary attack… it also scatters away pointlessly. Boo!
The Hierophant heals the Harbinger, bringing her back up to 12 health.
Next, the Harbinger moves up into the zone, and casts “Cataclysm” on the Cankerworm, boosting damage. I need to roll an 11 to destroy the warjack… and I roll an 8. Bah! I camp the last couple of Focus, draw one from a Wrack which does not explode.
Lastly, my Devout walks up near the Harbinger, makes her untargetable by spells, and I’m done.
Adam is starting to run very, very shy on time (about 12 minutes left to my 22). But, by the same token, I have only 1 model currently contesting his zone, and his Cankerworm has successfully denied me scoring for many, many turns now. So all he has to do is clear out Vilmon and start scoring, and he’ll get the game in a turn or two.
Or, you know, he can kill Harby.
Adam activates a Bile Thrall, which walks up and purges over my front line. It kills a Choir, damages the book, inflicts light wounds on both warjacks, kills an Errant (which I stupidly decline to Martyr… stupid, stupid, stupid), and inflicts 3 damage on the Harbinger herself.
Next, his Bane Thralls charge my damaged Vanquisher and obliterate it.
The Blood Witches activate. The ones currently engaging Vilmon all charge away from him (and all die from Free Strikes), and the surviving members charge forward. The first charge attack kills him, and Adam has successfully cleared his zone.
Gaspy goes next, moving forward into the zone and pops his Feat. He brings back 2 Bane Thralls and 8 Knights.
The first Bane Thrall charges 10″ at the Harbinger, hitting her with his attack, and rolls insane damage, killing my warcaster and landing the game for Cryx.
A couple really, really stupid mistakes on my part… the most significant of which was stupidly forgetting to Martyr that one Errant that was blocking the charge route to Harby. Still, even if that had happened and kept my warcaster safe, Adam was in a good position to destroy my other Vanquisher, the Book, and some of my Support staff… and start dominating his zone. Without a heavy warjack to kill Gaspy, it would’ve been very, very difficult to kill him on full-camp (he’s ARM 23, I believe, with 7 Focus), and I only had a few models I could use to contest efectively. Of course, a single Choir member would’ve been enough in a pinch if I could heal Harby up enough that she could Martyr him enough times, but that’s a sub-optimal solution.
Also, it should be noted that Adam charged his Bane Thrall 2″ too far, but he did realize it… the next day. He called me up and apologized, and we set up a rematch game to see how it would go… and it went basically the same (although I did MUCH better the 2nd time around… this list just isn’t good enough to deal with a top-notch list and Gaspy2… maybe with Bastions and/or Zealots… or both… but either way, it’s too difficult a fight for me to win with anything less than sub-optimal tools!).
Thanks for reading, and as always, comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome! And don’t forget about our contest… first person to guess the number of Sniffles that were in Podcast 019 (Khador vs Menoth) wins a free Small Based Solo!