By Bobb Beauchamp– May 9, 2012
Midway through week 3, and we’re deep into our first largish battles. 25 points can allow you to field a lot of figures, and every faction has a wide range of options in how to spend those points. I’m featuring my game against Phil this week…it’s our league’s first posted battle report, and it’s a doozy…an epic, 7 round battle pitting my Four Star Syndicate against Phil’s Cryx. I think it has some really great moments, some changing momentum, and an unclear finish right up until the end!
4 Star Points: 25/25
Magnus the Traitor (*6pts)
* Renegade (6pts)
* Talon (4pts)
* Mangler (8pts)
Steelhead Halberdiers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Steelhead Halberdiers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)
Cryx Points: 25/25
Warwitch Deneghra (*5pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Deathripper (4pts)
* Defiler (5pts)
* Slayer (6pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Revenant Crew (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
Captain Rengrave (2pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
The calm before the storm. Even the evil Cryx lines up in some semblance of order, a holdover from their past existence as living creatures, perhaps? Magnus has brought a huge army with him. This is a big change from the force I ran in week 2, where I added a single Ogrun Bokur to my list. Phil showed me just how powerful the corruption of Toruk can be when Deneghra used Influence on the Bokur, and I had to watch while it crippled one of my own ‘Jacks. The Bokur is clearly absent from the payroll this week, and in his place are no fewer than 20 Steelhead Halbadeers. These units are cheap, and their job for the most part is to get in the way, keep things from reaching the Battlegroup, and maybe take a few things down with them. They have the numbers, and combined melee attack gives them the hitting power they need to deal with just about anything that doesn’t kill them first. The things I have to watch out for are Influence…my Steelheads have Reach, so it’s going to be hard to keep them in any kind of formation that stops a Cryx advance but doesn’t expose them to Deneghra’s charm. On the plus side, they have below average MAT and decent DEF, so chances are, any Influence attacks will miss. The greater threat will be the Spray attacks from the Defiler and Deneghra’s Venom spell. And thanks to all the Bone Jacks (the Defiler and the two Deathrippers) having Arc Nodes, Deneghra will be able to place those sprays from just about anywhere Phil wants them.
The obligatory run up. All of my prior games have seen me try to get a lucky shot in with the Renegade’s Obliterator. Only against Gary’s Legion, with his Lesser warbeast shredders, has it really been an effective tactic. The Renegade sports a buckler shield on it’s left arm, and inside that shield is a single-shot, large explosive. It has very good range, which Magnus can boost with Snipe, nice RAT, a 4″ AOE, and really good POW. A good direct hit, Focus boosted, can cripple even a heavy, but I’d need a lucky shot to completely destroy a light. Still, I take the shot, land the hit, and the Deathripper Steve is crippled, and knocked down to boot. Which, true to past games, is mostly in vain. Since I didn’t outright destroy it, it’s free to scamper back to the Necrotech for a couple rounds of repairs. Still, those are turn where it’s not letting Deneghra channel through it’s arc node, so it’s not a complete waste. Meanwhile, my Steelheads have taken the field, and are preparing to receive the coming charge of undead pirates.
Phil doesn’t waste any time, and kills several Steelheads with various spray attacks, then charges with the Revenant Crew. The really nasty thing about the Revenant Crew is that they have Deathbound, which means that, unless you kill the unit leader, any grunts you kill will keep coming back. You can destroy several them in a turn, and if you also destroy the leader in the same turn, then all of them will stay dead. They don’t have great MAT, though, and the decent DEF of the Steelheads limits their loses. Phil’s not going to leave the unit leader out where I can get him easily, and while I’ve lost seven total Steelheads, I still have lucky 13 left. With Combined Melee Attack, they mange to take two crew down, but more importantly, they open up a lane for the Renegade to advance. With the Obliterator fired, the Renedage is still a formidable jack. Like the bone jacks, it also carries an Arc Node, and I use this to allow Magnus to zap the Revenant leader with an Arcantrik Bolt. With the leader down, I’ve cut his crew down to half size….for now.
Phil’s third turn, and my Halbadeers are about to earn their keep. And by that, I mean die really horrible deaths, and some of them won’t even be allowed that rest! Captain Rengrave has Death Toll, and when he kills a living enemy warrior figure, Rengrave can create an additional Revenant Crew figure. By the end, 12 of my last 13 Steelheads are down, and the Revenants are back up to four. But their sacrifice has not been in vain. While Phil’s been mopping them up, I’ve had Magnus take control of a very important feature on this map. The barrels he’s taken cover in are rough terrain, which tax his already sub-par speed. But they also provide concealment. Combined with his Blur spell, Magnus has +5 DEF against ranged and magic attacks. Phil’s force has a lot of those at his disposal, so Magnus really needs the boost. And on this turn, more than ever! While it may appear that Phil has left Deneghra exposed to some nasty attacks, in reality, she couldn’t be safer. Phil has used her feat…a special ability that can be used only once per game. Hers is called The Withering, and it reduces nearly every stat of all enemy figures in her control area by two, including Focus. On top of that, it stops Special Attacks, including all power attacks. My already slow force is rendered nearly immobile, and even if they could hit something, they’d have a hard time landing any damage.
Fortunately, Magnus comes prepared for this, and responds with his own feat, Hit and Run. It grants his battlegroup…himself and the jacks under his control…a free move at the conclusion of my turn. And they cannot be attacked during this move by free strikes. I make a few feeble attempts at attacks, but mostly I set my defenses and prepare to make a counter attack…assuming Magnus survives!
There’s one surefire way to deal with a caster hiding behind a warjack…slam that warjack back into the caster. This is exactly what Phil does, knocking the Renegade back into Magnus. I’d hoped that the rough terrain of the barrels would have slowed it enough, but the Slayer had a good head of steam on it and made a solid connection. Magnus was knocked down…which may have saved his life. Magnus has Feign Death, meaning that he cannot be targeted by spells or ranged attacks while he’s knocked down. Knocking a high DEF caster off their feet is a great way to allow your lower MAT/RAT figures to pile on the damage. But not in this case.
We’re now starting round 5, and things are still very much in the air. I’ve got a solid defensive position, but the Cryx forces are all around Magnus. There’s nowhere to run, but even if there was, he’s called Magnus the Traitor, not Magnus the Coward! And Phil’s having a hard time landing much damage on the high ARM of my battlegroup. The Talon sports a full shield, so has an effective ARM of 18, while the Mangler sports a natural ARM of 19. The Renegade, with a default ARM of 17, is already decent for a light Jack, but also has that Buckler, and Magnus case Temper Metal on it long ago. This not only bumps the ARM of the Renegade up 2 (for a total ARM of 20), it also prevents continuous effects from sticking to it. So while Magnus has to keep wiping the corrosive slime off his armor, it just sloughs off the Renegade.
But my Jacks aren’t just tough…they can dish out damage as well as take it. Free from Deneghra’s feat, the Mangler can make Thresher attacks, which allow it to strike everything it can engage. With Iron Aggression from Magnus, all of those attack rolls are boosted, and even with a Crippling Grasp placed on it by Deneghra, it’s still hitting at base POW of 15, enough to do serious damage to anything it can hobble close to. And the Renegade is proving very effective with it’s last weapon: The Shredder. Think giant chain-saw, and you have the idea. The Renegade saws through the repaired Steve, finally destroying the resilient bone jack, while the Talon manages to land a very low-damage, yet highly significant hit on the Slayer. The Talon carries a Stun Lance, and when it damages a warjack with it, the warjeck suffers stun. While stun deals no damage, it does make that warjack very easy to hit, and prevents it from running or charging. This also means it cannot slam while stunned. The Slayer is still formidable, however.
Phil continues to try and batter away at my defenses. Captain Rengrave, after spending much of the battle hanging back and taking shots with hand- cannon Misery, finally charges in, nearly destroying the Talon. With crippled systems galore, the Talon is easy pickings for the Revenant crew to finish off, freeing the Slayer. Even stunned, it can still manage a two handed throw on the Mangler. While this attack deals no damage, it does open up that flank, allowing the Defiler and Skarlock Thrall the chance to try for long-odds shots at Magnus. Blur and DEF boost from the barrels saves him yet again.
I respond with the move that sets up the final showdown. The Renegade, perhaps incensed in seeing Rengrave gun down the Talon, engages the Shredder. Rengrave does have Sacrificial Pawn, which allows him to force a nearby Revenant Crew to take any ranged or magic attacks that strike Rengrave. But the Shredder is very much a close, personal weapon, and the Renegade shows that once again, the undead are no match for a chainsaw. Meanwhile, the Mangler makes a good Wrecker attack, destroying the Defiler and the Skarlock Thrall in one swooping smash. Magnus steps out…just enough to still have Concealment, but not so much as to get in the way of a charge…and trusts in his higher ARM and high DEF to last through this final assault.
Phil literally throws everything he has left at Magnus. Deneghra lands the spell Parasite, which not only hits Magnus with a -3 ARM debuff, but also boost her own ARM by +1. Then the Slayer…still stalled…throws the Renegade at Magnus, dealing more damage. Now knocked down, Magnus is only vulnerable to melee attacks and blast damage…and the last Revenant is in charge range. It unleashes some furious hits, leaving Magnus with only 3 blocks left on his health track. But that’s all Phil has in range. The last Deathripper tries to engage the Mangler, but only succeeds in getting in the way.
Knowing that Magnus cannot take another round of anything, this has to be my last turn. The Renegade landed in just the right spot. All it has to do is stand to be able to hit the last Revenant Crew. The Shredder whirrs out one last time, and slices through the undead. Magnus now has a clear charge path to Deneghra, and he takes it. Instead of leading with his sword, Foecleaver, I choose instead to attack with his Mechanikal Arm. It won’t do as much damage, but it WILL knock Deneghra down if it does. I land the hit, deal some modest damage, but now she’s open multiple attacks from Foecleaver. Since she’s knocked down, all my melee attacks automatically hit, and after a couple focus-boosted hits from Foecleaver, and the battle is finished. Magnus is beaten and bruised, but victorious!