Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Church League Round 5

With EvilFuzzyDoom

These posts document the NEW CHURCH LEAGUE (named after our regular gaming venue, affectionately nicknamed "the Church"). The NCL has ten participants, and will take place over nine two-week, Round Robin rounds with elimination finals for the top four players. Each player picks two casters for the duration of the League. The match-ups, scenarios and any special rules are posted at the outset. Scenarios are from the PP Official Steamroller 2011 Rules. We should be wrapping by about mid-march.

My Warlocks for the League are pMadrak & pGrissel.

This Round, I played against Menoth with fully-painted armies!

Round Five of the New Church League

This round took place between 17 December and 13 January.

For the Fifth Round, we are playing Overrun, one caster, 25 points, Paint to Win (If your army is fully painted, have 5 extra points!).


My opponent is the quite-savvy Beaumains, who is currently top of the league and resepectably good at this game. He only plays with painted miniatures, so he's already got an advantage on me since no matter what I take I'm going to have to do some painting to be able to get the 5 bonus points for this round.

With that under consideration, I write off an infantry-heavy list - have a look at my collection count and you'll understand why! Only my Fennblades, casters and some beasts were painted when I started thinking about this match, so I always knew I had work to do. After a couple of friendly matches, I decided that the thing I really wouldn't be able to deal with (if I fielded a take-all comers list) would be a 'jack-heavy list led by Harbinger. On the other hand, if I took a list tailored to beat this then I'd have a decent shot at winning no matter what Beaumains took.

So, I line up a serious beast-action list. Madrak goes in, because Grissel isn't a good beast caster. Then Mulg and the Earthborn make the cut, since they are big and mean and awesome. I flag the Pyre troll for inclusion if I can get the bonus points - immunity to fire is great against both of Beaumains' casters and being able to charge on Harbinger's feat turn is hilariously fun. I round out the list with minimum Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes with Unit Attachment, Janissa and Whelps. I toss up taking Runebearer or Lanyssa Ryssyl instead of the Whelps, but some theorycrafting shows me that I can get away without minifeating Surefoot, I might face the Covenant of Menoth (so the runebearer's out). I also realise that while Hunter's Mark is good, Madrak only has a 10" control range and charging out of it would be dumb. The Whelps go in so that I can run my beasts hot and keep them alive. This seems like a good plan.

It's also a list I know I can paint - the Krielstone gets done on my painting weekend, while the Earthborn & Janissa are done a few nights before the game. I finish painting the Pyre Troll the night before the game at 3.30am... for a 10.30 game!

Chief Madrak Ironhide (*6pts)
* Pyre Troll (5pts)
* Earthborn Dire Troll (10pts)
* Mulg the Ancient (12pts)
Krielstone Bearer and 3 Stone Scribes (3pts)
* Krielstone Stone Scribe Elder (1pts)
Janissa Stonetide (3pts)
Troll Whelps (2pts)

When I arive we compare lists and set up the table. Beaumains' list actually looks similar to mine, with Jacks to do the heavy lifting and some support to help them out. He hasn't run that Jack-heavy though, so I reckon I'm in with a chance:

Harbinger of Menoth (*5pts)
* Reckoner (8pts)
Avatar of Menoth (11pts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Daughters of the Flame (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Visgoth Juviah Rhoven & 2 Honor Guard (4pts)
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord (2pts)
The Covenant of Menoth (2pts)
Vassal Mechanik (1pts)

Battle Report:

I take second setup, figuring I can brick up in a way that will let me veer off to a flank on Harbinger's feat turn. My opponent sets up in the middle of the field with an open stretch towards me through the capture point. There's a couple of walls which help funnel the fight into the middle as well, and a nice piece of rough terrain for me to set up near. I drop a brick, with Janissa slightly off to my right flank to help encourage me to use her for something other than her wall. The Advance-Deploying Daughters of the Flame go right near the front edge of the long central control zone.

Round One, the Daughters sprint across the center, spreading out in a pretty textbook tarpit formation. Everything else moves up behind them.

The very first thing i do is attack! Janissa shoots & kills the centre Daughter with her Rock Hammer attack. The Earthborn goes next, charging & killing one Daughter at a price of 5 Fury (I rolled really, really poorly!) Madrak and the Pyre Troll both take out one each from shooting, I put up Surefoot and lay some spare Fury on the Krielstone, then everything else moves up.

Round Two, the Daughters get a buff or two and charge Janissa! I'm surprised since they have a clear charge lane to Madrak, but it makes sense since Janissa's wall and movement shenanigans could potentially screw up Menoth's plans righteously. They kill her fairly easily. Everything else moves up, Beaumains using the Covenant in particular very aggressively to deny my spellcasting. Rhoven and one of his buddies charge the Earthborn, doing a fair bit of damage and taking out his Mind and Spirit. Then he feats!

Knowing that I can't spam Flaming Fists and just ignore Harby's feat, I take a bit of time to think about this turn. I can't let the Daughters hang out behind my lines, and I know that if I take too long killing them and Rhoven then things will go badly for me. I sacrifice a Whelp and a Fury to heal the Earthborn and get him fighting fit again, then Trample through Rhoven and his buddy to get in touch with the Avatar. Neither goes down, but I'm fortunate enough that everything lines up properly for me to not take any freestrikes. Earthborn deals some damage to the Avatar but doesn't take out any systems. That's Mulg's job, and he scraps the Avatar with extreme prejudice. The Pyre Troll uses the lines of sight that the Heavies' absence opens up, and spews flaming oil all over the three remaining Daughters of the Flame. In a gout of amazing irony, they are burnt to horrible crispy bits because I boost the hit and both the blast damage rolls. I decide to be clever with the KSB and move most of them to the side and no closer to the Harbinger; the stone itself moves forward, takes feat damage and I sacrifice one of the Scribes. I am pleased with this gambit!

Round Three, Beaumains loads up the Reckoner with Focus and charges Mulg, dealing a fair whack of damage but not quite finishing him off. He's sitting pretty with four boxes left... 

 Yeah, not really that pretty after all! Rhoven and his buddies charge Madrak, but Beaumains' luck starts to go against him and between a transfer and the Scroll they don't do enough for him to really be worried. The Covenant moves up again and keeps up the anti-spellcasting tech (still no Flaming Fists spam, which makes me sad). Then the harbinger blows up Mulg and a nearby whelp just to put icing on the turn. 

Since I needed that whelp for Fury management purposes, the Pyre Troll Frenzies and charges the Covenant. Again I'm faced with the problem of having minor threats in my face, in the way of me getting where I want. I charge Rhoven and his buddies with the Stone Scribes (making sure to give them the +1 STR buff) and in an amazing series of rolls, the nerdy trolls in the robes beat the everliving snot out of all three of them. This frees up Madrak, but some unthinking misplacement (I got to sleep at 4am, go easy!) means that the KSB is in his way and I can't charge the Reckoner. I chuck the axe at it instead, and because it's in combat with the EBDT and a whelp, I kill the whelp when I miss. Never mind. It's not like I needed that Fury management... Sigh. I pop my feat just in case the Earthborn can kill the otherwise-unharmed Reckoner, which proves to be wishful thinking when I miss a couple of times and max-out my Fury.

Round Four, Beaumains decides it's do or die time. The Reckoner can't take any serious punishment anymore, so he brings the Menofixer up and does a little bit of repair work, then shifts Harbinger around to smash the Earthborn's head in. This is... facepalmingly ineffectual. Some really poor dice rolls and a nearby wall mean that the Earthborn still has two boxes by the time Harby runs out of Focus. The Reckoner charges Madrak anyway, hits with the assault and misses with the Charge attack. Beaumains extends his hand in surrender, since the Harbinger's power field is down and a teenage girl can't take a beating from a 12-foot tall Dire Troll.


Well! Amazingly, I remain undefeated over the course of the League. This is a continual surprise to me because I tend to lose friendly games. It was a great game, and I think I played really tightly. The Whelps came in really handy (even though I had to leave them behind on Harbinger's Feat turn) for healing and Fury management. If I had to pick one reason I won (aside from the dice gods favouring me) it would be running all my beasts hot. Maxing out Fury on a couple of Beasts most turns meant that I had to make a couple of Frenzy checks (one on the Pyre Troll, which I failed when I had to charge the Covenant and one on the EBDT which I passed in Round Three), but it also meant that I could kill the Avatar of Menoth in Round Two before it could get the party started. While I took some damage on both my heavies, they spent almost the entire game within four inches of my opponent's caster, which meant that Beaumains' resources had to focus on them and that I could have Madrak pay attention to other things.

I also think that I'm learning the art of the Alpha Strike. I keep telling myself after lost games that I should have hit my opponent's strongest point as hard as I can, early. Apparently this tactic has a name and it WORKS! I was most worried about the Avatar this game, and throwing both my heavies directly at it really early on meant I simply did not have to deal with it. 

In post-game discussion, we both were guilty of slightly sloppy placement; leaving Rhoven and a bodyguard in a position where I could trample both of them and get to the Avatar was a mistake by Beaumains, my placement of the KSB in round Three was a facepalm mistake and a couple of times I didn't pay attention to the KSB's aura radius and things were just outside it (Mulg was out by millimetres when he was mashed by the Reckoner & Harbinger).

So yeah, good game, close game. Victory through recklessness and good luck is a victory nonetheless.

Another caster-kill victory puts me at eleven points at the end of the Fifth round and still equal second!

Next round, I am facing Cygnar (Commander Stryker or Captain Jeremiah Kraye), playing Sacrifice, one caster, 35 points, Go For the Throat (This round, caster-Kill victories count for 4 league points, while scenario victories count for 2 league points).

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