New naming convention: from now on all battle report posts featuring Sorscha will use horrible "cold" jokes from Batman & Robin. That should save me from having to think up my own stupid jokes for a good while.
It'd been so long since my last game (a whole six weeks) that I'd forgotten how to play. Either that or I just hadn't been getting enough sleep. Luckily I had a list all ready written up since before my last game, so at least I didn't need to waste any precious brain juice on that.
Aiyana & Holt
That's right, no Alexia. MADNESS!!! It was difficult and slightly painful, but I decided to take her out of rotation for a while as I wanted to try Harlan Versh; he's supposed to be good when you can freeze whole units. Beanpole has announced his intention to play Makeda I through the rest of 2nd edition; I think he might not be particularly enthusiastic about some of the leaked changes that will effect her in MkIII.
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)
We played the scenario with three flags. I won the roll and chose to go first; I decided today was not a day to make things harder for myself than they needed to be. Beanpole picked the side with less rough terrain. By the way, I had actually forgotten to bond a warjack to eSorscha, so we played without it.
I put one unit on each side, with Sorscha and my solos in the middle sandwiched by my jacks. Beanpole basically did the same, but in a tighter brick.
First thing I did... was make my first mistake and forget to allocate focus. Second thing I did... was make my second mistake and forget to leave anything close enough to Sorscha to put Iron Flesh on. So my jacks got Boundless Charge instead (I even forgot that I could use Power Booster...), and everything spread out, with my solos running unprotected down the middle.
Beanpole put Savagery on the Cetrati, who moved up in Shield Wall, then swapped Defender's Ward onto them and moved Savagery over to Immortals. The Krea put up it's animus to protect some of the Immortals.
Well, I didn't want to have to deal with DEF 14 ARM 22 Cetrati in my face, so I decided to jam them away from the flag with Iron Fleshed Nyss. I decided that Sorscha would focus on the left flag, so I moved her posse towards it while running the Koldun Lord over to the other side to support the Spriggan.
Meanwhile, I wanted to start whittling down the Immortals as quickly as possible, so Aiyana moved up and Kissed them. Holt killed one but whiffed on another, and Versh gunned a couple down as well (Savagery is an upkeep...); sadly the 2" limitation on his quad-iron coupled with poor target acquisition on my part kept him from killing more. The Spriggan killed one with hot dice on a grenade, and the Cutthroats killed one or two and I think put a few boxes of damage on the Krea. At this point it occurred to me that Karn might be able to reach my Spriggan, so I ran the Eliminators forwards to try to help keep him safe.
The Krea moved up and used it's animus to reduce the DEF of my Eliminators. The Immortals and Ancestral Guardian jammed forwards and killed a bunch of Cutthroats and one Eliminator. Molik Karn walked up and cut down Aiyana, Holt, and Versh. The Cetrati moved up a bit and killed an Eliminator but missed their attacks on the other. Finally Karn used Fate Walker to move over and help shield Makeda. I think I might have had a chance to trigger Versh's Witch Hunter shot on Makeda this round, but I forgot until later and I doubt it would have done anything anyway since she didn't have any upkeeps on her.
The Cetrati had killed one Nyss but missed the other, which was slightly annoying because it actually meant that most of them were engaged, making them harder to hit with Freezing Grip. So Sorscha took all the help she could get, moved up and boosted the roll, luckily landing the hit. However, she didn't have enough focus left to move back now, so I tried to form a wall in front of her with Nyss Hunters, spending their actions on CRAs into Molik Karn. I had planned to move the frontmost Eliminator in front of the Cyclops as well, but for some reason I didn't. The Decimator walked two inches into the forest, then shot a Cetrati and used Beat-Back to move the extra half-inch needed to base the flag and score me a point.
Over on my right, I decided to use my two Greylords to spray the bunched up Immortals rather than casting support spells - they would ignore engagement and the Krea's animus after all. Their attacks whiffed horribly and didn't do any damage at all. The Cutthroats killed, like, one Immortal, then the Spriggan hit the Krea a couple of times. The remaining Eliminator charged at Molik Karn, mainly to make it harder for him to get to Sorscha.
It seems I can't judge Molik Karn's threat range very well, because my "Nyss Wall" wasn't very good. Makeda moved around the well and killed the Eliminator, clearing his path, and he charged the Nyss. With Carnage up he needed 9's, and luckily for me his first attack missed even boosting. His second attack killed the Nyss Hunter and allowed him to Side Step closer, but it turned out he was about a quarter of an inch out, so he used FateWalker to move back and base the central flag.
Something (probably an Immortal) killed the Koldun Lord, and my Cutthroats were cut down to just two men, who failed their command check. The Ancestral Guardian and the Krea put a bit of damage on the Spriggan. I scored a second point on the left flag, while Beanpole scored a point in the center.
I had to decide whether to freeze the Cetrati again, or to focus on Molik Karn - I might be able to kill him without freezing him, but it improved my chances. Ultimately I decided that Karn was by far the bigger threat. So Sorscha hit him with a boosted Freezing Grip, the popped her feat to catch him, the Gladiator, and the Cetrati, before walking away and camping a point of focus. The Decimator then hit him with a POW 15 shot, rolling 1 damage (which was doubled to 2). Three Nyss Hunters walked up to jam the Cetrati, managing to kill one (no shield wall this turn thanks to Freezing Grip last turn, and the feat helped of course), while the remaining five put a POW 15 CRA into Karn, rolling 8 damage. Doubled to 16, this was enough to finish him off. I was planning to walk the Spriggan up and stab him if he survived, but looking at the photos now I don't think I had the range, so I was lucky I got that big damage roll. Instead the Spriggan finished off the Krea, and the Cutthroats rallied. I scored a third point.
The Immortals killed another Cutthroat but left Croe alive. The Ancestral Guardian, Tyrant Commander, and some Immortals started focussing on the Spriggan. The Gladiator based the flag. Makeda killed a couple of Nyss Hunters, allowing two Cetrati to walk forwards and contest the flag. Beanpole scored another point for the central flag, bringing him up to 2.
Dammit, Shield-Walled Cetrati were contesting my flag! I gave the Decimator a point of focus. Sylyss gave Sorscha Arcane Secrets, then she froze the Cetrati again. The Decimator fired twice at the rear contesting model; sadly it bumped into Makeda while still in contesting range. Three Nyss Hunters killed his now unsupported buddy, but it wasn't enough to let me score. One Nyss Hunter moved up to contest the central flag, and Reinholdt joined him just to be extra annoying. The Spriggan finally finished off the Ancestral Guardian, and Croe killed the Immortals' UA.
Makeda put up Carnage. The Gladiator abandoned the flag and focussed on killing Nyss Hunters, managing to take two down. The Beast Handlers moved up to take his place, basing the flag and attacking Reinholdt; luckily for me they missed. The Immortals surrounded the Spriggan and started chipping away at his armour, while the Standard Bearer based the flag on the right - this would allow his unit to score if he could just take down the Spriggan.
I might have been able to get the Decimator into the Gladiator this turn, but that would mean spending my focus on that rather than keeping the Cetrati locked down. So I decided to take the chance that he could get to the Decimator and focus on scoring. Sorscha froze the Cetrati again. The Decimator killed the contesting Cetrati. The Nyss Hunters shot at the Beast Handlers, killing two, and formed a wall in front of the Decimator. The Spriggan rolled poorly and failed to kill the Tyrant Commander. I scored my fourth point.
Makeda came forwards and tried to open a path for the Gladiator to reach the Decimator, but whiffed both her initial attacks against the Nyss Hunters. So she just camped the rest of her fury. Marketh swapped Defender's Ward onto the Gladiator, who moved up to contest my flag, killing Cylena while he was there. The Immortals and Tyrant Commander spread out so the Spriggan couldn't get his shield attack without taking some free-strikes; he was probably down to a third of his boxes or less at this point. The Beast Handlers whiffed on Reinholdt again.
OK, I just needed to score one more point to win. The Decimator might be able to push the Gladiator far away enough to let me score, or I could go all in and try to kill it. Or I could try to kill Makeda, though with 4 fury I didn't think that was very likely. Ultimately I decided to try something else instead.
So I allocated one focus to the Decimator as a backup, and charged Sorscha at Makeda. I actually got the hit, doing 8 damage which was transferred to the Gladiator. Then I used Cyclone to move over and base the middle flag, killing one of the Beast Handlers. Unfortunately I had misjudged the distances and the second one was out of Sorscha's melee range. With three focus left, I cast a boosted Razor Wind and rolled high, killing the last Paingiver.
The Decimator whiffed both his shots against the Gladiator, the Nyss whiffed on Makeda, and the Spriggan whiffed on the Tyrant Commander, but none of that mattered as I scored my fifth point for the win.
That was a tense game! Even though I was technically in the lead the whole time, my position was always tenuous; many times a single good roll was all it would have taken to cost me the game.
Actually, Beanpole had some pretty poor dice on some pretty important rolls. Obviously Karn missing his attack on the Nyss Hunter was the only thing that saved Sorscha, but a single good Paingiver attack roll would have taken out Reinholdt and allowed Beanpole to start scoring the central flag, and a few good damage rolls against the Spriggan (he was rolling solidly below average on that side) could have freed up the flag on the right. Makeda missing the Nyss Hunters while trying to clear a path for the Gladiator to get to the Decimator was also crappy luck, but to be honest it wouldn't have changed anything since at that point I was already prepared to send Sorscha into the Paingivers and the Gladiator wouldn't have changed that.
Of course if I hadn't managed to kill the last Paingiver at the end, Sorscha would have been left high and dry with Makeda in her back arc. Well, even if Sorscha had missed Rienholdt could have moved out of engagement, giving my Nyss Hunters and perhaps even the Decimator (who had a focus on him) a chance to do it themselves (assuming they survived the free strikes, but at DEF 18 they had a decent chance).
Thinking about it, perhaps I should have tried to kill Rienholdt using the attack from Cyclone at the end? That way I would have had much better odds of hitting the last Paingiver with a Razor Wind since he wouldn't have been engaging anyone, and Sorscha could still score since she was basing the flag.
In retrospect, it would have been nice if the Spriggan had been bonded. Not for the focus, but because then I would have kept freezing Beanpole's models, which would have made a big difference on that side. Especially since the Spriggan missed several attacks. Also, I've been thinking that Beast 09 would have done more than the Spriggan in this game. Having less ARM would have been a factor, but Thresher and his higher MAT would have done a lot more work in that situation than the Spriggan did. Of course a Devastator would have worked too. Still, the Spriggan killed more than 8 points of models and held up that side for the entire game, so I certainly can't complain.
I was careless with my solos; losing Versh early was a shame on his first game, but that's pretty much normal for me; I think it happens to most models first time I put them down. Of course killing them kept Karn busy; otherwise he might have been able to reach the Spriggan, so it was a worthwhile sacrifice I would say. Maybe next game I'll do more with him. Losing the Koldun Lord was probably the stupider move; having some focus to put on the Spriggan would have been nice. Eh, Sorscha 2 doesn't really want to spend focus on jacks anyway so I probably shouldn't be taking two of them, but I don't really have anything else that isn't dependent on DEF to survive, and against the wrong army having too fragile a force is a problem, plus they are more dependable armour crackers than the Nyss or Cutthroats, so I like having them.