Syntherion Battle Report

Last Wednesday, during our open play Warmachine night at Rook’s Comics and Games, I played a Syntherion list against two opponents.  It was interesting, and I wanted to talk about the experience.

The List

This is a Tier 4 The Great Machine, which gives Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex solos Advanced Deployment, Syntherion’s spells are reduced by 1 on his first turn, the Corollary begins with 2 focus (one for each Optifex Directive unit in the list), and the Galvanizer is free.

  • Forge Master Syntherion (+6)
    • Prime Axiom (19)
    • Corollary (3)
    • Diffuser (3)
    • Diffuser (3)
    • Cipher (9)
    • Cipher (9)
    • Galvanizer (0)
    • Mitigator (4)
  • Optifex Directive (2)
  • Optifex Directive (2)
  • Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex (1)
  • Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex (1)

The goal of this list is pretty obvious – use Synergy to kill heavy things/high defense things, and use the PA and Mitigator in tandem for a kill shot (knockdown from the Mitigator, making the PA’s job of dragging/punching much easier).

Game 1

For my first game, I played against a Trollbloods player playing a fairly standard Borka list.  It was a tough matchup (see what I did there?) but he won on scenario.  Turns out, I wasn’t aggressive enough with Syntherion.  So, despite my learning from previous games, I needed to be more aggressive with him.

I was hoping to get a good feeling for the Prime Axiom in these games, and in this one it did well, but I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to have two Monitors or Inverters and another galvanizer for the points.  Bigger synergy growth, more chances to help use that sweet, sweet focus induction.  More bodies to kill the hordes of heavy infantry…

Game 2

I played against a Skarre2 list from one of our local Cryx players.  I will fully admit that I have a blind spot with Skarre2.  I find her to be the hardest matchup for me, no matter what I am playing.  That said – it was a relatively close game.

Syntherion’s grind was in good form, although missing 7s on boosted attack rolls (more than once!) made it hard to get the Synergy chain going.  In the end, a slight misplacement of Syntherion after Skarre’s feat turn meant that he could (barely) get Death Jack to me, and he (barely!) killed Syntherion (1 damage point of overkill).

Lessons Learned

Again, the Corollary makes this faction sing.  I am going to be writing up something about the Corollary and why it is so important, but it was easily the biggest help I had during the games.  An extra 2-3 focus every turn is HUGE.

The Prime Axiom continues to be somewhat underwhelming.  It is a cool piece, but with Syntherion, I would almost always rather have the extra ‘jacks to get the synergy chain built up larger.  I am going to continue to play with it, and try and get a better feel for it, but I am wondering if it is really better being replaced by more ‘jacks.

Aurora Battle Report

Last Sunday (the 2nd of March) during our usual open play at Rook’s Comics and Games, I played an Aurora list for two games.  I wanted to talk about some of my thoughts regarding this list, and some of the things I learned from the games.

The List

  • Aurora, Numen of Aerogenesis (+6)
    • Diffuser (3)
    • Diffuser (3)
    • Corollary (3)
    • Cipher (9)
  • Clockwork Angels (3)
  • Clockwork Angels (3)
  • Clockwork Angels (3)
  • 5 Eradicators (9)
  • 5 Perforators (9)
  • 5 Reciprocators (9)
  • Attunement Servitors (2)

The purpose behind this list is that the heavy infantry, with True Path and Transference, are able to move up relatively quickly (7″ walk with shield wall and pathfinder for the Reciprocators, for instance).  They hold the line and attrition while Aurora looks for an opening.  The Eradicators can deal with infantry swarms pretty well, while the perforators, with a 10″ assault, can do some serious damage on medium based infantry and lighter Warjacks/Warbeasts.  They are even a serious threat to some Warcasters.

Game 1

Opponent’s List

  • Thagrosh 2
    • Scythean
    • Angelius
    • Seraph
    • Naga
    • Rake
  • 5 Raptors
  • Forsaken
  • Forsaken
  • Death Stalker
  • Death Stalker

This list was an interesting matchup.  The heavy beast spam was tough to deal with, and he tied me up very effectively.  As my opponent mentioned, I need to work on my maneuvering of my medium-based infantry (I am used to playing medium base spam with Xerxis, where maneuvering matters WAY less).

My opponent used his feat to kill off my infantry and jam down my throat – I then countered back with Aurora, killing his Scythean, Angelius and Rake (which an Angel was engaging).  The fact that Aurora basically took them from full to dead in one turn was really impressive.

The other big thing was the corollary/Diffuser combo.  The corollary can completely power two diffusers (boosted shots, and damage) every turn, and have a focus floating around during that for the Cipher to get a second shot.  As long as all four of them ran near each other, I could end with a focus on the corollary, which meant it was allocating 2 the next turn (to a diffuser), inducting one (to the other diffuser), and getting one back from the Cipher (or second diffuser) after they were all done with the focus.

I ended up winning on Scenario because he just couldn’t get enough into the zone once I killed all of his heavies (the remnants of the Eradicators finished off the Seraph the same turn that Aurora finished off the other three beasts, leaving only a Naga).

Game 2

In game 2 I played a newer player in the local meta, so I made a point of calling out Aurora’s tricks to him.  Specifically, the feat/refuge/flashing blade assassination trick.  He did a very good job of not giving me an avenue to Morvahana 2 the whole game.

I feel I did much better with my heavy infantry maneuvering that game, and did a good job keeping things tied up in the right spots.  Beyond that, it was a pretty tough matchup for the opponent (given that I had no living models other than Aurora), so lots of Morvahna’s tricks just didn’t come into play.

Lessons Learned

Aurora in this list was a blast to play.  Transference made it so that I could boost key rolls (in game 2, it allowed me to wipe out the last of his units, reducing his ability to respond effectively).

I will say that keeping her back is key (as I have mentioned previously about CoC casters), but I will say that her ridiculous feat threat range makes that OK.  The Corollary adding to her CTRL area helps that out too, increasing the range of True Path and Transference.

I cannot say enough good about the Corollary, way more than I can fit into this report.  That said – I cannot wait for it to come out in April.

I will say that Aurora is a very effective ‘caster, in or out of her theme force, and gives us some super maneuverable armies in a faction not as known for quick movement.

CoC Tournament Report

Last Saturday (the 22nd of February, 2014) I had the pleasure of joining in on a steamroller at the Game Empire in Pasadena.  Since I was traveling via air, and didn’t want to take a ton of stuff, I brought my (unpainted) Convergence of Cyriss with me.

The tournament was a fairly standard steam roller – 50 points, 55 minute death clock, Divide and Conquer 1 (play each list at least once).  It was a blast, and I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in playing competitively in the area to head down there.  The players were all very nice, and respectful, despite my abysmal showing.  I learned a lot, saw some things I don’t ever see locally, and got to play some games even when traveling, which was fun.

The lists I ran, which were not exactly optimal, but were what I had put together, were the following

List 1 – Tier 1 The Great Machine

  • Syntherion (+6)
    • Cipher (9)
    • Cipher (9)
    • Diffuser (3)
    • Diffuser (3)
    • Galvanizer (3)
    • Galvanizer (3)
    • Mitigator (4)
    • Monitor (8)
    • Monitor (8)
  • Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex (1)
  • Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex (1)
  • Optifex Directive (2)
  • Optifex Directive (2)

This list is a pretty standard Syntherion list.  I really like how it plays, although I am going to be playing around with a Prime Axiom, and once the Corollary comes out, it will obviously enter the list (taking it to tier 4 as it stands, as the galvanizer is free at that point).

List 2

  • Axis (+6)
    • Diffuser (3)
    • Galvanizer (3)
    • Inverter (8)
    • Inverter (8)
    • Galvanizer (3)
  • Attunement Servitors (2)
  • 5 Perforators (9)
  • 5 Reciprocators (9)
  • 5 Eradicators (9)
  • Optifex Directive (2)

This list is not the Axis list I would play with normally – it is closer to an Aurora list I have been kicking around.  BUT – it was what I had together that I could transport, and it was still a lot of fun to play.

Round 1

I played against a Khador player who was running Butcher 3.  I chose my Axis list to try and get it out of the way.

The game boiled down to me making a tiny mistake in my eradicator placement, which meant he could get butcher near me, killed the stuff in the way, moved closer, and killed Axis without having to feat.  So, that game was quickly over.

Lesson learned?  KEEP AXIS BACK!

Round 2

I played against a Retribution player playing Vyros 2.  I chose to play Syntherion against him, which was the right choice.

This matchup was brutal – lots of dead bodies on the ground, and was easily the longest matchup I had all day.  In the end, he got a Griffon to me and barely killed me, after one failed assassination attempt earlier.  The earlier assassination attempt should have never happend, but I forgot to KEEP SYNTHERION BACK.

Lesson learned?  KEEP THE WARCASTER BACK!

Round 3

Played against a Legion player who chose a fairly standard Thagrosh 1 list.  Lots of warspears, two ravagores, a naga, striders with UA.  I am sure there was other stuff, but that was the stuff that mattered.  He took two potshots at Syntherion with his ravagores, at dice-3 on each.  He rolled a 17 and a 14 for damage, killing him outright.  Lesson learned?  You can’t beat hot dice, I guess?

I honestly don’t know what I could have done differently there, since I was back quite a ways with Synth, and he was going to get a round of shooting on me before I could close well.  And with dice rolls like that, well…

I should note – this is NOT to say he would not have won anyway – it is just to state that I have no idea, given those kinds of rolls.  :)

Lesson learned?  Well, there is a theme here – KEEP THE WARCASTER BACK!

Round 4

Played against another Retribution player who chose Issyria against me.  I chose Axis, and he used the Mage Hunter Strike Force on her feat turn to gun him down.  *sigh*  In this case, it was a killbox, so I don’t know how much more back I could have kept him, but…

KEEP THE WARCASTER BACK!

Conclusion

Even though I went 0-4, I had a ton of fun.  Everyone there was really competitive, but in a good, fun way.  In that way that makes you want to play better, to learn better, to strive for more.  I never felt like anyone was being disrespectful, and everyone was very nice to me, even when they found out they probably wouldn’t ever see me again.

Would Play Again?

Yes.  Hell yes.  If you have a chance, and are in the SoCal area, I strongly recommend attending one of their Warmachine tournaments.  They occur every 4th Saturday, I believe (although you can call the store for more information, I am sure).  The staff was super nice as well, so that was a huge bonus for me too.

Lessons Learned

Well, the first one is, as always, KEEP THE WARCASTER BACK!  I cannot emphasize that enough for me.  I have been playing primarily Hordes for the last 2 years, and the switch to Warmachine – and how relatively squishy Warcasters are – is taking me a bit of getting used to.

I need a LOT more practice with CoC if I am going to try and compete with them this year.  Also, I really felt the absence of the Corollary.  Needing to use Syntherion’s focus to get people moving, as well as needing to use it to cast his upkeeps at full price on the first turn, means he generally can’t camp anything on the first turn.  While it wouldn’t have stopped the Legion assassination in round 3 (because, let’s face it, hot dice), it would have made it less palatable, and he might not have even gone for it, instead opting to try and take down one of my lights or heavies.

Biggest thing?  I need LOTS of practice with CoC, and I need people to try and kill me more, so I can have it beaten into my head that I need to KEEP THE WARCASTER BACK!

Thanks to everyone at Game Empire in Pasadena – it was a blast.  Next time I am in SoCal, I will be coming there for a tournament if I have the time.

Thoughts on Cyriss

If you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you may have missed the big news from Templecon: Privateer Press is releasing a new faction; the Convergence of Criss. The new faction will initially release at this years’s Lock & Load, and will start with 5 warcasters, 5 units, several jacks, and a battle engine.

There are a lot of opinions floating around the Internet, especially on PiP’s forums, about this move, and I wanted to take a minute to comment on a few things.

  • I think this is really great news.  I know some people are disappointed, but I am really excited.  I think there is room in the game for a new faction, and going for something that has played a role in the fluff before excites players like me.  Whether or not I play them (and the jury is still out on that one), I am excited to see them in my games.
  • I don’t think Retribution is getting the screw job, as has been alleged.  While they technically have less options than the other Warmachine factions, their options are very versatile, and we always knew they would lag behind since the released so long after the ‘big four’.  Cyriss will not overtake Retribution.  Just as Ret has always lagged behind the other factions, so will Cyriss lag behind Ret.
  • I also don’t think that PiP obligated to keep the number of Hordes and Warmachines factions balanced.  It is their world, and they can augment it as they deem necessary.  I think anyone who complains that Hordes is falling behind is, just lie the bullet point above, actually just complaining.
  • Vectors (Cyriss Warjacks) are really amazing looking models.  I am all for the artistic style and the virtually all metal construction.  I really think the aesthetic is different and adds a new flair to the table.

I am very excited to get a look at full abilities and stats.  Since I am going to Lock & Load this year, I should be able to check these guys out early (I am going for Press Ganger day).  As of now, I don’t plan on picking them up, as I have found I start to get unhappy with four factions; I can’t play them enough.  However, I am very jazzed to face some Cyriss models at Lock & Load and to hear how everyone reacts to them.  All in all, I am quite pleased with this announcement, and it just has me more excited to play the game I enjoy so much.