Warbeasts/jacks in Mark III

Mark III has been a whirlwind so far and I don’t know what other player’s experiences have been but I have seen a slew of lists featuring very heavy battle groups. I think everyone expected more jacks with the new power up rule but I’ve also come up against and played quite a few beast heavy lists. I don’t know how much of this is people still holding on to old mentalities, especially with Skorne or Legion, or if the new edition boosts them as well as it does jacks. It seems like Skorne and Legion took a huge hit to their ability to run lots of beasts with the changes to the condition rule and Trolls didn’t really gain anything new to help. There was a decrease in fury and threshold stats almost across the board. I would love to hear player’s theories on this phenomenon or if maybe what I’ve been seeing is an outlier to the true new meta. For now I’m going to focus on some of the jacks/beasts that have stood out to me for better or worse.

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Touring the Iron Kingdoms – Khador

A special thank-you to Jason Hobbs (ZeeWulf) for sending me a copy of his notes he took during this seminar.  With his and my notes, I reconstructed the seminar.

Our mercenary company has been captured by the Khadorans, implicated in a plot to kill a Khadoran commander.  They are being transported through Khador along the rail system

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On Multiple Factions

I get a good deal of good-natured ribbing from people for the amount of factions I am, and have, played.  I currently own three factions (Khador, Cryx, Protectorate of Menoth), and I have previously owned two others (Circle and Legion; I guess Hordes doesn’t suit me).  Whereas many of the other players I know will amass hundreds and hundreds of points in a single faction (and be able to run any tier list), I have found that having a smaler force in multiple factions suits me much more.  Not that I don’t see the appeal in owning a full FA of every model a faction has to offer, but I have preferred the ability to easily move among largely different mechanics by way of playing many.

For me, much of the appeal in the game originally were the warjacks.  Mistakenly, I thought Khador packed the best ‘jacks, and that is what originally drew me to the faction.  I now have around 220 points of Khador, but I rarely field more than 1 or 2 jacks, for reasons I am sure any seasoned player could tell you.  However, the real joy in playing Khador for me is in the infantry.  The sheer destructive power of Great Bears, the unique threat posed by Doom Reavers, the endless and varied threat that fully buffed Winterguard bring.  These and others (don’t even get me started on my love of Iron Fang Pikemen) are the real gems of Khador.  I love the faction, yet I will be the first to admit that, relatively speaking, it is a shallow faction.  I knew that I wouldn’t be happy playing the Motherland exclusively.  I still wanted to keep playing Khador, but my heart was already wandering…

Cryx was a good fit for me because they bring a bag of tricks very different from Khador, and that juxtaposition was very refreshing for me.  Immediately what I liked about the switch was obvious:  the speed of Cryxian warjacks (especially Bonejacks), the debuffing mechanic of their casters, and the stacking tricks you can pull off (Parasite on a model during Deneghra’s feat turn with a Bane Thrall standing near the model).  The game was new to me again, because I saw it through a very different set of eyes.  I once again had to relearn how to solve the myriad of problems my opponent could present because Cryx’s methodologies differ greatly from that of Khador.  Now a year after starting them, I have enough Cryx to plan an Unbound game if I wanted, and I regularly break out the faction.  However, one need was still unfulfilled :  where Khador rocked the elite infantry, and Cryx packed a great bag of assassination tricks with their warcasters, I still hadn’t had my original warjack itch properly scratched, and by now I knew where to turn.

The Protectorate of Menoth.  Early in my playing days, I didn’t understand how this was the ‘jack faction’.  I regularly played a Menoth player, but he was new to the game as well, and I couldn’t comprehend the power of speed 5 versus speed 4, and reach on a warjack, and a song of battle; I didn’t see the immense significance in those numbers.  About 3 months ago though, I knew I had finally learned enough and decided to dive into a new faction once more.  My early purchases were all those things I had seen used to great effect against me (Temple Flameguard, Vanquisher, Vassal, Daughters of the Flame, etc).  But the big reason I picked Protectorate were the Choir; I wanted my jacks to charge in at MAT 8 with an insane POW.  I quickly purchased a full unit of choir and some SPD 5 reach jacks.  In a recent game, I had Blessing of Vengeance, a Sanctifier, and a Reckoner all wreck face repeatedly with the help of their reclaimer, choir, and vassal friends.  This was the game I originally wanted to play years ago, and I finally was playing it.  Of course, my record hasn’t been as good, because once again I am having to learn the game anew.  Where I am used to throwing a full unit of Pikemen or a trio of Stygian Abyss’s, now I have to think about delivering a payload of warjack fun.

All of this isn’t to pitch these three factions in particular – I wanted to speak a bit about why having faction choices is so much fun.  Even though I am a jack fan, there are times when bringing 50 pts of infantry with Irusk is great fun, and I still love to trot out Bane Thralls on almost any opponent.  High defense, high armor, jack lists, infantry swarms, melee, ranged, magic – I can play it all, and I often do.  I feel that the game for me is so much more rewarding when I can, from a first person perspective, experience that  large a range of the possible play styles and mechanics.  Single-faction players miss out on that breadth.  Sure, they get a depth of the faction that I might not appreciate, but I guess that approach just isn’t for me.  So, if you are thinking that buying that 3rd unit of Doom Reavers to hit eButcher’s tier list seems wrong, then open yourself up to another faction and see what it can do for you.

Painting Pictures: Karchev

So, in order to get some painting picture up on this first weekend, I decided to put up some pictures of the Karchev I recently did to enter in the Lock & Load painting competition.  Two caveats:

  1. I didn’t expect to win; I enjoy painting and I wanted to try and put something together I could be proud of, regardless
  2. I am still figuring out how to take miniature pictures, so these are a work in progress

I had a great time doing this model.  Warjacks are always fun, and Karchev brought and extra dimension to the miniature; how awesome is a man entombed in a warjack?  It probably took me somewhere in the 6-8 hour neighborhood, and then another hour or so for the base work.  So, here he is.  Comments and criticism is welcome!

On Faction Choices

In this thread on the Privateer Press Cryx faction forum, forum goer TheSanityAssassin asked “Why do YOU serve the Dragonfather”.  It was an interesting question gauged to see why people who play Cryx picked that faction over the others.  The answers are plenty, and diverse, and it got me thinking about why I chose the factions I have (Khador, Cryx, & Legion of Everblight) over all the other choices.  I thought it would be interesting to discuss that, and see if anyone else wants to say why they run the factions they do as well.

Khador

In the beginning, I got into the game with a couple of friends, and we all chose Warmachine factions to begin with.  I was the last of the group to actual throw my money down, and at that stage we already had a Protectorate, Cygnar, and Cryx player amongst us.  My approach to games with friends has always to try to pick up what aspect is needed, whether that was in video games or RPGs, so I started investigating Khador since it hadn’t yet been claimed.  Given that Warmachine is a financial investment, I was going to pick something I wanted to play even if it wasn’t ‘vacant’ as such, but I was fortunate.  Khador turned out to be both necessary and desirable, as far as I was concerned.

The image of the shocktroopers originally did it for me:  the image of a country too resource-strapped to risk their precious cortices in lightly armored jacks and forced to turn to placing men in steam-powered armor instead.  That particular piece of fluff, especially given the in-game ramification of no light warjacks, was what made me really begin to like Khador as a choice.  Combined with the design of their heavily-armored warjacks for the same reason (to protect said cortices), the faction really spoke to me as a determined and resolute people.  While I enjoy multiple play styles with Khador today, I still love returning to a list defined by Shocktroopers, Iron Fang Pikemen, and multiple heavy warjacks.  The image, in ‘Wrath’, of the unconquerable 2nd Army of Khador, flooding across the fields to conquer Point Bourne, was an image that made me giddy; Devastators at the nose, surrounded by Man o’ War and Pikemen.

I still get indignant when I find a thread in the Khador forums complaining that we don’t have light warjacks.  I, for one, don’t want Khador to have any lights jacks!

Cryx

After a little over a year with Khador, I started to look for a 2nd faction to get into.  I had a slight foray into some Circle Orboros, but ended up selling them as they were just not my style.  I decided that I didn’t want to adopt a Hordes faction yet; the image of steam and smoke still sounded too appealing.  I needed more warjacks, but it was time for something with a little less axe and a little more corrosion; sometime a little evil was needed.  In the local shop’s Journeyman league, I started my Cryx army.

In some ways, Cryx is just Khador with more melee.  Yet that isn’t what drew me to the faction.  What drew me to Cryx primarily was the generic idea of debuffing.  Winning via weakening my enemy instead of by augmenting my own forces seemed like a great change of pace.  And although Khador is a great faction, they aren’t assassination kings.  There too I wanted to have new threats to wield.  So I wanted a change, and originally it was the Witch Coven of Gharlghast that really got me looking at Cryx.  The idea of 3 warcasters, Perfect Conjunction, the Egregore, and 9 focus was all very new and very exciting.  They may still be my favorite Cryx caster to play; to this day my favorites are all the ladies of Cryx.  I can do without  Asphyxious, Terminus, Goreshade, and Venethrax; give me the Coven, Deneghra, and Skarre any day.  Perhaps the blight is hot, although for that, Cryx has nothing on…

Legion of Everblight

Legion was not something I really intended to get into, at least not now.  Originally when I investigated the game, and I didn’t have much to spent, the Legion battlebox looked like a good deal.  It took me a while to decide between Legion and Khador.  When Red Manatee decided to sell his Legion; I immediately jumped on it.  What drew me to Legion?  Honestly the primary factor is the outstanding story behind the faction.  Everblight’s ability to control his blight, and the way he exercises he power like some kind of scientist.  The brilliance in hiding throughout the bodies of his Warlock’s, refusing to reform his draconic form, is really excellent.  Everblight, and those willing to house a shard of his athanc inside them, are fascinating and wonderfully written characters.  The aesthetics of the beasts was the 2nd thing; I really enjoy the eyeless faces and proliferation of sharp, chitinous coverings.  Unfortunately, I have been less than thrilled by the recent emergence of tentacles, but I like to think that is the remnants of Pyromalfic’s personality, and that soon Everblight will have the fully repressed.  Finally, there has to be something to the fact that (other than Thagrosh and Kallus) all of the Legion warlocks are female.  There is something I enjoy about imagining these women running the battlefield.

As for the rest of the factions, what can I see myself playing someday?  Well, I think three may be the limit for this player; it is pretty hard to keep up with the releases for anything more.  Even if money was no issue, there are still things about most of the other factions I just don’t like.  Skorne infantry and beasts are almost universally ugly to me.  I already tried Circle and it didn’t work out well for me.  Trollbloods have to be the least interesting faction in the game, in my opinion.  Minions present species of sentient animals that I just find silly.  As for warmachine:  Protectorate of Menoth looks like it would be great fun to paint, but is far too involved for my playstyle.  Cygnar has never interested me; the warjacks just come off bland and the stories are definitely not my favorite.  The Retribution does present some great combined arms strategies, but the styling of the warjack’s leaves me ambivalent.  Mercenaries?  Well, with all the Mercs I own for Khador and Cryx, a Merc army is probably in the cards.

What about you?  Why do you play the factions you do?  What about those you don’t; what turns you off?  I look forward to what everybody else has to add.

Not My Work, But Awesome

Before you assume it was my handiwork below, let me just say that these two jacks are the work of my children, a 7 year old girl and a 4 year old boy.  I will leave it to you to guess which kid painted which jack.  Painting these models was one of the many things we did for Father’s Day this year, and I had a blast.  I will happily field both models, for what they lack in outright artistic skill they make up for with heaps of heart and imagination.  The pink and purple one on the left was dubbed ‘Polka Dot’, while the one on the right was honorably named ‘Robot Wrecker’.

Perhaps the most creative bit of genius came up when I asked the kids how they wanted to base them.  While my daughter opted for simple bushes around Polka Dot, my son said ‘Wrecker needs pieces of other robots around him, since he wrecks them!’.  So, the idea to sprinkle the wreckage of Cryxian technology came straight from a 4 year old.

Yes, that’s my boy!

Battle Report: War Witch Deneghra vs Zavanna Agha, the Old Witch of Khador

So, for my first game in our local game shop’s Bodger Bowl, I was paired against one of our friendly Khador players.  The first week of the league was a little disorganized, so we got to choose lists once we saw our opponent (although, in all subsequent weeks, we must bring two prepared lists).  I chose Deneghra because she is brutal at grinding scary Khador jacks to a halt, between her feat and Crippling Grasp.  In addition, between Parasite, Dark Shroud from Bane Thralls, and Gorman’s Rust, I could get that heavy Khador armor down 7 pts anytime I wanted (-9 on her feat turn).  That means a Slayer can be doing dice +2 to 4 on a Behemoth or Spriggan.  I liked the sound of that.

So my list was:

  • Deneghra
  • 10 x Bane Thralls
  • Bane Thrall UA
  • 6 x Bile Thralls
  • Gorman De Wulfe
  • 2 Slayers
  • 1 Deathripper
  • Skarlock thrall
  • Bane Lord Tartarus

And my opponent was fielding:

  • The Old Witch
  • Scrapjack
  • Behemoth
  • Sylys Wyshnalyrr
  • 6 x Doom Reavers
  • Greylord Escort
  • Great Bears of Gallowswood
  • Fenris
  • Yuri the Axe
  • 1 x Manhunter

We were doing a radial deployment for the scenario Command & Control.  Neither one of us did anything special for deployment, although seeing the Doom Reavers, Yuri, and the Manhunter deploy near the center at 23 inches was no fun.  My opponent went first, and essentially ran everything up the middle of the field, but he did Iron Flesh his Great Bears.   The one big loss was an errant shot from Behemoth, which killed Gorman outright.  Knowing how important my feat would be, I decided to forego the scenario entirely (which is usually not how I play), so I also sent the vast majority of my army forward.  I did run my deathripper to about 7 inches from the Great Bears, and Deneghra missed influence on them before I settled for throwing Crippling Grasp on them.  With the Bears unable to charge or backswing; they were out of the picture.  I could have feated now, but there was a good chunk of the army I would not have caught, so I waited – I thought I had my Banes spread out in a way that the Doom Reavers couldn’t get too many.  Oh, how I was wrong.

Oh his second turn, my opponent charged with his Doom Reavers (damn you spell ward!) and ate quite a few Bane Thralls.  The tough rolls failed me for sure.  Behemoth also took out some with drifting AOEs.  The Great Bears wandered up slowing, as their speed was only a 3 due to Iron Flesh and Crippling Grasp, and they couldn’t run.  The Old Witch considered feating this turn, but she didn’t.  I really think that was a big mistake on the part of my opponent, as I think it would have stopped the advance of my Thralls.  He wanted to save it though.  When turn 2 came to me, Tartarus cursed the Doom Reavers and charged, and only managed to make 1 new Thrall; I so misjudged the distance it wasn’t even funny.  The few Banes I had left also charged Doom Reavers and ran into some good tough rolling, which left 2 Reavers alive.  My two Slayers moved into the control points (by now some Reavers had already killed the Deathripper – that is the price of Crippling Grasp) and I knew Behemoth would get to one for sure.  The Bile Thralls finally got around a forest and a few of them popped to clean up the remaining Doom Reavers and UA.  Deneghra advanced and feated – I was forced to use it mostly defensively as I was falling behind, and it was my opponents turn.

Before I fast forward here and get to what made this game one of the best ones I ever played, I do need to comment on one epic moment in the game.  On my third turn, after Behemoth had beat one of my slayers to a pulp and the other one was running pretty low, I managed to get parasite on Behemoth, and I ran my last Bane Thrall up to him, so he was sitting at armor 16.  This meant my last lowly warjack was doing dice on every hit, and he scrapped Behemoth with 2 focus to spare.  That was a pretty awesome move to pull off.  Other than that, up until the end, it was a pretty typical attrition fest.

In the end, we were down to Deneghra and a Skarlock against the Old Witch and Sylys.  We both scored one point, and in those turns Deneghra landed a Venom on Sylys to kill him, and the Old Witch hit a def 18 Skarlock on a wreck marker to take him out as well.  At this stage, we couldn’t score any more scenario pts (Command & Control is interesting), so it became caster kill, and it was my turn.  The Old Witch was behind her Murder of Crows, so I couldn’t hit her with spells, charge, etc.  Until I realized that Deneghra was spd 7 and could walk just into the cloud.  She did so, and took a few wounds from the pow 8.  Now she had 7 focus against an Iron Fleshed caster at def 18.  I cast Venom (as it ignored the cover from the wreck the Witch was on), boosted, and hit!  I needed 8 damage to finish the Crone, but I only got 7.  I had enough to cast and boost one more venom, but I missed.  So The Old Witch would win… until I remembered that Venom causes ongoing corrosion.

I know had a 66% chance to win on an effect that has mostly seemed like fluff up until now.  My opponent grabbed his die and rolled a 6.  That 1 wound was enough to put the Old Witch in her grave!  I will never speak poorly of corrosion again…

The only thing that made the victory sweeter was that (using the ‘injury’ rules from the league) Yuri and the Great Beats cannot play in his next game, but both Tartarus and Gorman escape unscathed!