Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Gaming Blog: The Virtues of Camping Focus

Jim couldn't make it tonight, it being Carrie's (I may have spelt her name wrong - she's his wife) birthday and all (Happy Birthday Carrie) so instead I played a 350 'practice' game against Dermot and his Trollbloods. Dermot will be playing in the fully-painted 350 tournament in Glasgow at the end of the month. Details to be found here. I won't be playing in that one since I'm going to a wedding the day before. I hope to achieve new heights of revelry mixed with ceilidh dancing.

Dermot's List:
Grim Angus

My List:
Magnus the Traitor
Renegade x2
Gorman di Wulfe

The Mangler appears to be suffering some sort of malaise. It dies so damn often and early it's stupid. It didn't help that I have instructed Dermot in the ways of using Mantarp (yes, ManTARP). So anyway, the Mangler died... again... The renegades performed somewhat sub-par, I just didn't have a way to drop the troll armour down to a level where I could reliably do horrible amounts of damage with the shredders. With the death of the Mangler however Magnus had the opportunity to sit on lots and lots of focus. I took the opportunity to use black oil on Dermot's champions every turn that Gorman was alive (so twice) and killed a champion pretty much every turn once Magnus got stuck in. Dermot managed to kill everything in my army except Magnus with his 20+ armour. I managed to kill... 4 champions before the opportunity for a caster kill arrived.

As wins go, this one was very cheesey, and I'll admit that if the game had a time limit of any sort, Dermot would have probably won. Instead, I sat on lots of focus every turn, killed a champion and then laughed off all but two of the damage done to Magnus. This did serve to point out a critical weakness in Dermot's list - he has no way to deal with high armour targets (except the Mangler, but that thing's cursed by Satan or something). Eventually Dermot forgot to move Angus out of Magnus' charge range, so I ate two free strikes (laughing one off and taking a lot of damage from the second, though it was too late by then) and beat Angus to death with Foecleaver. Magnus pretty much won this one himself. Go Traitor go!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Gaming Blog: The Tricks Jim Taught You

Got in another game tonight at Johanna's flat and played against Ron (professor!) and his Khador. He's a self-admitted Behemoth fan, and I think that his troop choice was a bit weak but it was a fun game.

Ron's List:
Old Witch + Scrappy
Man'o'War Shocktroopers x4

I was running my usual Magnus and Steelheads (it's very handy just having one list). The terrain was a bit sparse and I stupidly cast Frenzy on the Mangler in the first turn instead of Blur on the Steelheads AGAIN. It was a 'pound head on desk' moment really. Luckily I've played so many games against Jim now I've picked up a good number of useful habits - such as the way I place my troops once they leave my deployment zone. Using this cunning placement I only lost a few halberdiers each turn to the Behemoth and Destroyer bombards. My Mangler performed appallingly, it only killed a single Man'o'War before it died to the SCRAPJACK. I'd wanted to use the Mangler to pin down the Shocktroopers for a while, ideally killing them through a couple of turns of circular strike, but alas it was not meant to be.

Using the Obliterators to knock down his Shocktroopers and the Behemoth (I should have just saved the second rocket actually, it did bugger all) I managed to make Ron activate his feat early to stop me charging first - which I did anyway (well, I advanced), the Mangler laughs off POW 14 hits! Unfortunately no one told me the stupid feat means you can't charge, the Old Witch was sitting so temptingly within charge range of the Mangler at the time. Ron then proceeded to whittle down my Steelheads and I used Magnus' feat to move my Renegades to either side of the forest the Old Witch was lurking in. I left Magnus facing the crow template thing Ron had left in the middle of the table. Strangely Ron felt threatened by the advancing Renegades and teleported the Old Witch to her crow template - though on the other side so Magnus couldn't see her through the concealment.

Unfortunately for Ron it was easily within my last remaining cavalryman's 16" run range. Taking a page from Jim's list of sneaky tricks (I'd heard of Jim doing this to the Old Witch using Gorman and eButcher at a tourney, otherwise it would have never occurred to me) I moved the cavalryman into the crow template (I should really look up what it's actually called) next to the Old Witch but still visible to Magnus outside. I then charged the cavalryman with Magnus, the cavalryman had turned around due to failing his command check, which meant Magnus backstabbed him on the charge attack. Many, many damage dice were rolled and the Steelhead took one for the team. Magnus proceeded to knock down the Old Witch and minced her with the bundles of focus I was camping. It was a thing of beauty... almost as if I had planned the whole thing...

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Gaming Blog: Victory is Mine! Sort of...

My opponent this evening was Jim (as if anyone reading this blog is surprised by that anymore) but the game had a slight twist - we swapped armies. I used his Cryx and he used my Magnus list. It was an interesting game, but much longer than I was expecting - we were almost the last people to leave G3 tonight. I used Deneghra and was under the sad delusion that she would swoop down the table and assassinate Magnus in a flurry of spells. Instead the game turned into a brutal slugfest until we only had about 4 miniatures each left.

The luck o' the dice were a bit strange this game, Jim started off very well and my luck wasn't that great at the start. As the game progressed though it got to the stage when Jim couldn't hit the broad side of a whale and my rolls got better and better. I did beseech the Dice Gods on the last dice roll of the game though and they pulled through for me, giving me easily enough damage to take down Magnus.

Though I won I have to say my tactics were a bit poor, I lost the soul hunters almost immediately and could have lost my machine wraith very early if not for some poor dice on Jim's part. If I'm honest though I was using the machine wraith as a board denial piece to stop the Frenzied Mangler from churning through all my mechanithralls. Jim said I didn't use it aggressively enough and that I could have used it to deny him focus, but he didn't use any focus to do anything except launch the Obliterator Rockets to blow up my soul hunters and a bonejack. On most turns Jim probably had enough focus to detonate my machine wraith with no hassle. As a board denial piece it was a pretty useful tool. Definitely something to remember for next time (if ever) I play Cryx.

Fighting against Steelheads with expendable infantry is rather intimidating, their slew of useful abilities meant that getting my McThralls near them was asking for trouble. I foolishly charged a couple of the Steelhead Halberdiers with my McThralls, only to remember that the Halberdiers have Set Defense ('defence' has a C in it you foolish Americans!). Poor McThralls have a hard time hitting things with that high a defence. Forfend didn't help either.

My MVP was Darragh Wrathe and his Hellfire spamming. Even without his soul hunter buddies Darragh did an awful lot of damage. On Deneghra's feat turn he wrecked the Mangler (thus relieving me of one of my major problems). He should have died on the second last turn of the game when Jim charged him with Magnus and had a Renegade ready to kill the dismount but the luck was all stacked on my side of the table by then.

This is my first victory against Jim though I wasn't using my normal army. He did remark afterwards that Magnus seems to run out of juice once all his self-sufficient troops are dead - this is something I've come to to know when I was running a single specialist unit: once it's all gone, you're boned. Of course we've scheduled another game next week, regular armies however. I'll have to come up with some way to counter Vlad...

Friday, 16 January 2009

Painting Blog: Stannis Brocker

Ghenghis Khan Stannis Brocker is now complete - or at least he will be once the base has dried and I can varnish him. I took a number of short cuts painting Stannis, but this is the first time I've tried painting a horse or cavalry figure. I missed a fairly large mold line early on, which was really annoying since I had to scrape a whole load of paint off. Stannis looks pretty good though, I'm very happy with how Gorebrute (the horse) turned out. Next time I'm at my sister's I'll borrow the digital camera and add him to my gallery.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Gaming Blog: Oh dear, more Morvahna

Jim had a rather hectic day today so couldn't make it to the game, instead I played against Tom (the one who plays Mercs) and his Circle list. Tom opted for Morvahna, Tharn Ravagers, Druids, a Pureblood and a Satyr. Oh yes, and a wayfarer who did next to nothing the entire game (no shifting stones really). Overall the game went pretty much my way except for a miss with an Obliterator rocket that deviated on to half my Steelheads - luckily it only killed one Halberdier.

The first turn was mostly moving into position but Tom moved his druids too far forward and I managed to channel a Rain of Steel (Magnus' AOE 5 spell) at them. It was slightly short but didn't deviate enough to be a problem. That promptly killed the Druid's leader so I no longer had to worry about the Devouring killing all my precious troops. The Steelheads almost wiped out the Tharn Ravagers in one turn, the last Ravager having one health and was out of charge range of my Mangler (very frustrating). Next turn the Ravagers were all back and they managed to get about half my Steelheads before I killed them all again. Having the cavalry in there mixing it up definitely helps matters - not like my game against Jim where they sat behind a wall almost the entire game.

With those out of the way only the Pureblood stood between me and Morvahna and I managed to get 3 halberdiers past the Pureblood to give Morvahna a few pokes (ooo er) with their halberds - I love reach, everything in my army has it except for Magnus and the Renegades. Tom transferred the damage to the Pureblood, taking out about half its health. Then I charge Morvahna with my last cavalryman and Tom transferred to the Pureblood again - the Satyr being undamaged at this time - which killed it. Perfect time for Magnus' feat and lo' Morvahna was surrounded by Steelheads and warjacks with a little space for Magnus to charge into next turn.

The coup de grace was accomplished by Magnus charging Morvahna and punching her in a distinctly ungentlemanly fashion. Knocked down Morvahna next to a Renegade... Game over man, game over.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Upcoming Games and Stag Nights

This coming week I'm playing Jim (who'd have guessed?) but this time we're switching factions. I'll be using his Cryx and he'll be using my mercs - though he asked for my kayazy, but Tom (Thom?) is still putting little green stuff hats on them for me. I thought I'd try out Deneghra and a mixed force of cheap ass infantry and some soul hunters. I thought about swapping out the soul hunters for a slayer but I need more practice with cavalry as a whole.

I should also be playing Tom on Saturday. I haven't play Khador one on one for a while, so it should be fun. Hopefully he'll bring some of the kayazy with hats so I can... hmm... I'm going to be busy painting Steelheads for a while, I'll get around to painting the kayazy some day. I've managed to make myself a nice 750 list that only needs 3 more models, so I'll need the kayazy for that.

One of my best friends Dan is getting married at the end of the month (sucker!) and the stag night is going to meander down to Glasgow, which is great for me, I don't have to travel back to Aberdeen for it. I've been trying to get Chris, the best man, to play Warmachine for a while and Johanna is doing a painting workshop the day after the stag do. My Cunning Plan is to get Johanna to bring a few battle boxes and give Chris a couple of demo games.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Camping Focus

An epiphany came to me while I was playing some Left 4 Dead and snacking on a survivor's brain that the majority of the games I've lost have been have happened when Magnus had no focus. I think I'm going to have to start sitting on my focus and stop spamming all the spells I can. If I camp about half my focus Magnus should become a lot more durable.

Another aspect of my game that I've realised is a bit weak is that I easily get caught up in the current turn instead of sticking to my game plan and aiming for the caster kill or scenario object. This will be rectified.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Gaming Blog: Hmm, High Def and They Keep Coming Back?

Tonight I played against Jim (again) - so far I'm playing Jim almost every week, it's a good learning curve. He was using Circle though, with Morvahna as his warlock. Having no anti-upkeep abilities in my army made it slightly intimidating since I'm familiar with her recycling powers on units. I'm also aware that the best way to break Morvahna is to screw with her upkeeps.

I lost this game (as usual) but I'm getting much better at using the rockets on my renegades - though rolling poorly doesn't help, it's not like it can be avoided. My critical error was having my halberdiers strung out over too much of a front, so they died horribly while my cavalry were on the wrong side of a wall and I foolishly didn't give the cavalry the Furious Charge order from Stannis Brocker to get over it and get stuck in. My own fault really.

I'm definitely getting more bang for my buck using the Mangler these days, though Jim really knocked it up badly - all of the first three columns were wiped out by the Wolves of Orboros charging it with their mini-feat, I had one box left and that was the last point of movement. Because of that last box of movement being all that was left of the first three damage columns I passed on an opportunity to kill Jim's warpwolf (which didn't do anything the entire game anyway, I kept knocking it over). While POW 9 attacks probably wouldn't hurt the Mangler just a single point of damage would have really shafted my attempted rampage towards Morvahna.

As it was my Steelheads died horribly (Stannis Brocker being the exception) over several turns so I made a mad rush towards Morvahna with Magnus and his battle group. I tried to surround Magnus with his battle group so that he would be safe for another turn, but three warjacks don't surround a warcaster completely. Once I'd done all this there was much poking and prodding from the Wolves of Orboros and Tharn Ravagers until Magnus finally bit the dust.

Quite an enjoyable game, but I could really see the errors I was making building up. At least I'm getting to the stage where I can actually see the errors I'm making. Go me.

Things I learnt:
BLUR! Oh dear god, cast Blur on the halberdiers in the first turn, even if the only thing that shoots in the opposing army is a mannequin! Blur keeps halberdiers alive!
Three warjacks cannot surround Magnus and protect him on all sides.
Morvahna doesn't use Fury except to upkeep spells and bring back troops. Go kill other troops that don't come back instead. Use Magnus' feat to redeploy your warjacks if need be.
Increasing the carbohydrate intake of my diet may help my attempt to gain weight.

Belated Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone who actually looks at this blog - hahah, people look at this blog, like that's going to happen. Anyway, I didn't do anything exciting for New Year this year, I babysat for my sister. My nephew has started to play rugby (sort of) with me: he picks up a small fan-sized rugby ball and runs into my knees, I'm then expected to fall over and then let him jump up and down on me. It's all highly entertaining but Jamie has picked up some the strange idea that I shouldn't be allowed to be upright. When he sees me walking around he shoves my knees and cries when I don't fall over. Fun times are had by all.

Anyway, I've ordered the Steelhead Trinity now, I just need to wait for them to arrive, restock my washes and paints that I use in my army colour scheme and tada! 500 point mercenary army. The EU Frontdesk have also just e-mailed me telling me that they've posted the appropriate Steelhead halberdier arm.

Someone asked what paints I've been using for my colour scheme (though the scheme is a bit dark and flat, next time I'll use a brighter green I think). Here's a list:
GW Catachan Green
GW Bleached Bone (mix with Catachan Green to highlight)
GW Devlann Mud Wash (mix with Catachan Green to shade, apply over bronze metallics)
GW Badab Black Wash (apply over silver metallics - this is why everyone asks if I've been doing non-metallic metals on my models)
GW Boltgun Silver
GW Dwarf Bronze

Well that's all for now, I have to go get gubbed by Jim yet again at G3.