Thursday, April 28, 2011

Page 5...

So got in my first and second games of Hordes. One at 26 points (basically random assortment of models on hand) and one at 35 points (my Tier 4 eKaya list which I hope to actually practice and get good with).

The first game I got torn apart by a Menoth list, tried for an assassination run and failed because of rules fail.

The second game was much more interesting, so here's a brief (man, nothing I ever write is short) writeup.

I was running the following list:

Gnarlhorn Satyr
Feral Warpwolf
Pureblood Warpwolf
Warpborn Skinwalkers x 3
Druids of Orboros
Shifting Stones w/Unit Attachment

35 on the nose.

All in all I think it's a fine list though I'm sure some would suggest throwing in a Stalker instead of the Feral. Dunnoh yet how I feel about that.

I love the Feral.

Anyways, we were both playing Tier 4 theme lists. My understanding is that most of the themed lists are really not all that competitive but apparently eKaya's is one of the better ones. My opponent was running Menoth with the following:

Grand Exemplar Kreoss
Devout Light Warjack
Fires of Salvation Heavy Warjack
Knights Exemplar
Knights Exemplar
Knights Exemplar
Exemplar Bastions
Knight Exemplar Seneschal
Knight Exemplar Seneschal

So he had 34 points.

I got to deploy first, but my Heavies and Shifting Stones were advanced deploying. My Warpwolves deployed pretty centrally, with Kaya and Laris to their left. The Druids got into some cover on the center right.

My opponent deployed across his deployment zone. He had a lot of models so was spread out pretty good. Most of the Exemplars went over to my right side, his caster and warjacks were in the center and his bastions and seneschals went to my left.

I deployed my Warbeasts to my left and pretty far forward directly across from his bastions. I deployed the Shifting stones in formation around the Warbeasts.

He used his Advanced Movement to push his Examplars forward and I used my Advanced Movement on my Skinwalkers to push them up into midfield.

On my first turn I moved my three Warbeasts up into terrain on the left side. I ran Laris out just to their right and in the open. Kaya ran up behind them to keep them all in control range for next turn. My Warpwolves moved further forward but kept out of counter-charge range. My druids moved further forward into cover on the right.

My opponent ran everything up into my grille. He was in next turn charge range for my Druids and my Skinwalkers.

My Warpborn Skinwalkers charged from their position in centerfield, engaging the two Seneschals and the third one failed his charge and was left out in the open. whiffed on both attacks but now had two Armor 18 dudes with reach weapon master weapons in his grille, which he could not ignore.

Laris ran up and hid behind the leftmost Skinwalker. Kaya activated and used Laris as a channeler to put Dogpile on one of the Bastions on the far left. This let my Warbeasts charge this model with Pathfinder, +2 speed and regardless of Line of Sight. I then used the Gnarlhorn's animus as a spell from Kaya on my Feral, which granted him another +2 inches of speed as well as +2 to hit on his Charge Attack. I then activated the Gnarlhorn and used his animus to put bounding on the Pureblood as well.

I activated the Feral and charged him 13 inches (6 + 2 + 2 + 3) onto the Bastion. He hit with his charge attack and did some reasonable damage with his claw. He then used the follow-up claw and bite attack on a next-door model because I didn't want the target Bastion to die (the Bastions can allocate their damage among the entire unit like a super cheesed out Nob-biker squad from hell). My opponent probably should have just let that targetted Bastion die, but he lived and so then my Pureblood came charging in from 13 inches away and laid another smack on the target and another claw and bite attack on others in the Bastion unit. I think I did pull a model or two from the six attacks combined, so not a terrible start.

My opponent prepared for the counter-smack. He used his caster's feat hoping to destroy my two heavies in one round. His Fire of Salvation Heavy couldn't get a charge off on my Pureblood, but did have a clear charge on my left-most Skinwalker (the one that Laris was hiding behind). He easily killed the Skinwalker. He then killed the other two Skinwalkers with his Seneschals (they are nasty, especially when auto-hitting and getting a bonus attack... grrr).

His bastions moved in with their auto-hits (taking away the best protection from my Heavies, their high defense). He got extra attacks too with weapon master. He proceeded to beat the ever-living snot out of both of my Heavies, but couldn't quite kill either of them. They were SEVERELY injured, however.

His Exemplars continued to chase my Druids down, getting right into their faces so they would need to either run or take a charge next turn.

On my turn I popped Kaya's feat, allowing me to force my Warbeasts out of my control range and then at the end teleport them back. Unfortunately, my Feral couldn't be forced as it's Spirit tree had been entirely destroyed. The Feral and the Pureblood (which could be forced), along with Laris did manage to destroy all of the Bastions but one (they are tough bastards). They then all teleported back to the safety of my shifting stones and got some much needed healing, getting ready for round 2.

Now here is where I screwed up badly. I should have had my druids in range to medicate them on that first turn, but I could only medicate one. Also, I stupidly sent my Gnarlhorn out on a mis-informed Trample attempt into the enemy Exemplars instead of holding him back. That would come back to bite me.

On his turn he EASILY destroyed the Gnarlhorn with a gang-raping from some very angry Weapon Master wielding Exemplars. Note to self: enough swings with Weapon Master will kill anything.

His Heavy moved up to threaten me and I now found myself in a corner getting pincered from both sides. This would have been fine if I hadn't lost my Gnarlhorn and left my Druids exposed and tied up.

On my turn I healed my Pureblood up as full as I could, healed up the Feral enough to get him "fully operational," and prepared to fight off the tide of attackers. My Feral got Forced Evolution from Kaya, Warped for strength, moved over to his Heavy Warjack (couldn't get a charge off), and proceeded to rip it completely apart from full health. Power and Strength 19 claws will do that to you, I guess.

The Pureblood dropped his Spray on the two Seneschals and managed to kill one, but then the Seneschal stood back up when I foolishly killed an Examplar closeby with my Shifting Stone's upgrade attachment's attack. Laris and Kaya had backed off a bit and my druids were partially tied up on the right flank with Exemplars (but were holding their own by hanging out in clouds and forcing a lot of missed to-hit rolls).

His turn he boffed one of my Druids, destroyed my Feral with his last Bastion, and moved up and Destroyed my Pureblood with his Caster. This was the game-changing play. He moved the Devout up next to his caster to protect him from my counter-attack, and cast Spell Shield on the caster making him immune to spells. He was also counting on the Devout using it's reach weapon to automatically make free strike attacks on anything that came close to try and off his caster, who only had one Focus left after destroying the Pureblood.

Unfortunately for him, while his caster was immune to spells, the Devout was not. I used the Druids to knock the Devout back and away from the caster, and charged him with Laris. Laris attacked, boosted and did some solid damage and got in another attack but didn't do anything. Then Kaya activated. I messed this up a bit. I used Laris' animus to teleport Kaya directly behind his caster, using two Fury and taking back-strike bonuses. Now, reading through the backstrike rules again, I don't think I should have gotten the bonuses for Backstrike. That being said, if I had known that I wouldn't get backstrike I could have simply charged Kaya and still gotten her into reach of the caster, and would have had two additional Fury to play with, so I would call that a wash. I really just got kinda caught up in the whole "spirit door... surprise I'm behind you!" thing.

Kaya is pretty damned dangerous when she gets her Flanking bonus, which gives her +2 to hit and an additional damage dice for every attack made against a target engaged by one of her warbeasts. I was able to use my 4 remaining Fury to tear down the caster for the win.

At the end of the day I think I got really lucky. I think that my basic strategy, while sound, was poorly executed. My druids were out of position and I threw away my Gnarlhorn on a faulty play that gained me little and cost me my untouched Heavy which could have really helped me out. I think if my opponent had not underestimated my ability to a) knock away his Devout leaving his caster exposed and b) underestimated the threat range of Laris and Kaya and the amount of damage they could do to him, he would have easily had the game. I literally had nothing left at this point but my half-dead Druid unit, my caster and Laris (who is a utility beast, not really a killy beast) and, gee, let's not forget my Shifting Stones!

Anyways, I had a great, fun game and feel I am really going to enjoy playing Warmahordes quite a bit. It seems they have really done a nice job with this game, and also support their tournament scene very well, which is a big deal for me.

Never fear, I'm not giving up on 40k, though I am trimming down my collection a bit to make room (space-wise and financially) for this new game.