Sunday, September 29, 2013

35pt, Magnus the Warlord vs. Lord Commander Coleman Stryker

I played Sevensins awhile back, a buddy from Europe that I met through the forums.  He brought a dwarf list against me if I remember correctly.  I'm slowly coming to like Dwarf lists.  Generally, they can't handle the speed that either my Kraye or eStryker list can dish out, so I get a lot of shooting in before we meet, and I get to pick my lanes and whatnot.  I don't think I've lost to dwarves yet.

  However, we joked that our next matchup, since he's playing Mercs and I play eStryker, should be a lengendary Magnus vs. Stryker game.  Well, we ran into eachother on Vassal today, and decided to run with it.  35pts, since Vassal takes for bloody ever.  That being said though, this is a pretty fluffy match.  There's a lot of background to enjoy in this game and two casters like this, so driven in their passions and convictions, we've got to enjoy it.  So this Batrep will have definitely a more fanfic element to it.

  Some of you have no interest in that, which I completely understand.  So, to simplify things, story will be Bold and Batrep will not be.  Fair enough?  I'm not the kinda guy to tell the whole batrep through the story though, because that's annoying, so we'll have a regular batrep in here as well.

  I've got a pretty comfortable eStryker list.  It's as follows:

Lord Commander Stryker
*1 Gunner
Stormblade Captain
Nyss Hunters
*Jonas Murdoch

  I've been playing this one pretty consistently, and I don't tweak it very often except on the board, where I own a full unit of Boomhowlers, and not Nyss.  So tabletop wise, I don't get to play this as much.  On Vassal, that's not an issue.

  Sevensins brings Magnus the Warlord, of course.

Magnus the Warlord
Croes Cuthroats
Nyss Hunters
eAlexia (The one on the horse)
Wrongeye and Snapjaw

  I told Sevensins I hated Nyss, and he laughed when I deployed my own.  Seriously though, I bring DEF19 Nyss, with Jonas, and he brings one of the few units that can counter that with Hunter.

  Moar Nyss.  Figures.  Here we go.  We roll off, and I get to go first.  Mainly because I lost the dice roll.

  The last rays of a waning sun skittered across the pavement leaving shadows in the weaves of the stone used to pave the bridge.  The sound of moving water calmly whispered below as the ever constant waves pushed their way towards the ocean.

  Towards the ocean, in fact, from which the enemy came.  A relentless and dangerous enemy.  With a limp and a patch and an army of paid warriors, he would come.

  And here, on this bridge.  Lord Commander Coleman Stryker would meet him.  He spun his blade in his hands, relishing in it's familiar grip.  He caught it and slung it behind him.  A clasp on the shoulder caught his attention and Archduke Runewood met his gaze.  "He's not far away, Commander."  

  Coleman nodded.  "How are the Nyss?" he asked.

  "Rhupert's with them now.  He says they're steady, and willing to fight their own kind." He said.  "They usually are."

  "That's a good thing, I suppose." the warcaster acknowledged.  "Pull them back well ahead of our enemy." He ordered.  "Captain Dest?"

  A Stormblade nearby turned and responded.  "Here, Commander."

  "Garalein, send your men forward first." Stryker ordered.  "Give yourselves a headstart.  You need to be moving as the Nyss pass you.  They'll do what they can to slow the enemy.  Assemble on my right flank.  The jack and I will be right behind you.  We'll communicate orders through Rhupert's tunes, as usual."

  "Understood." The Captain saluted and turned back to his men.  Quickly, they moved onto the bridge.  The Centurion Warjack stood slowly from it's sitting position on the base of the bridge.  He looked to the Warcaster, who motioned him forward.  He imagined the spot on the bridge beside the Stormblade brigade and waited for the small pulse of acknowledgement from the Warjack.  It hefted it's shield and lumbered along behind Captain Garalein.

  Runewood spoke again.  "Are you ready for this?" He asked.

  "As much as I can be." decided Coleman.  "It's fascinating to me, to be fighting the hero of my youth.  To be considering all the times I read the news of his battles and learned all I could from them long before I joined the military.  Now I go back to them and I study them as I would a Khador foe.  To kill him.  I fear that his age, and experience, will trump the rashness of my youth."

  "It might." The Archduke agreed.  "That's why you bring age and experience with you.  We'll give you all the help you can, and Jonas and I will toast drinks to your success while the rashness of youth runs off to do the hard work."

  Stryker chuckled, enjoying the lightness of the man in the tenseness before the battle.  "Well, let's be at it then, shall we?  To the bridge.  He's mad enough that we recovered the cortexes.  I'd rather face him here where I know he's coming, rather than watching our backs as we run for home."

  Ok, for all the fancy writing, it made for a fairly simple turn.  I ran everything.  I actually remembered to move the Stormblades with eStryker's Elite Cadre, so they actually got to move 15'' this turn, which is awesome.  The Nyss ran, Jonas gave them Go to Ground, and Rhupert toughed them, but not in that order.  DEF19.  Too bad Sevensins has Hunter, right?  Stryker drops Deflection and that's turn for me.

    Croe glanced back, and Magnus nodded.  The mercenaries doubled low, creeping across the bridge ahead of the main force, using the arc of the bridge to stay out of sight.  His warjack, a much smaller one than what Coleman was bringing, ran forward while he concentrated on it, watching it's steps and avoiding the gardens on the bridge.

  Sylys touched fingers to his forehead.  "His Nyss are leading, sir."

  Magnus nodded again.  "I assumed they would be.  I doubt Croe's crossbows will be enough.  I don't know that I care about that.  I wouldn't mind paying a few less salaries for that bunch.  Sylys, reach out for bullets.  The Nyss are what worry me.  Do what you can to make sure our shots are true." He ordered.

  Sylys nodded.  The Warcaster's brow furrowed and he reached out, feeling through the air as Cylena led her hunters forward using the garden for covered.  The opened up, and Magnus could nearly feel the metal of the arrowheads.  Eyes closed, his arm reached out slowly as he twisted the polarity within the metal to pull the direction he wanted to.  It suddenly became easier as Sylys took over for him, and Magnus opened his eyes.

  The Nyss of the Cygnar could be seen over the hill.  One stood to take a shot, but an arrow tore through her shoulder and dropped her.  Three more fell that Magnus could see, but one seemed to do it more out of reflex than anything.  She came back up to a knee and fired back, and an arrow blazed harmlessly by Cylena.

  Alexia wasn't far behind, and she shouldered through the Nyss, already reaching for the forces of undead within her grasp.  Magnuss wasn't worried about her.  

  Wrongeye rasped behind him.  "You're about to lose a lot of cutthroats." he commented as they opened fire on the Stormblades moving past the crates.

  Magnus shrugged.  "More's the better.  Keep your pet back." he ordered.  "Let them come to us.  Coleman's the excitable kind.  Maybe we can even recover those cortexes."

  Pretty much the same thing.  The Renegade runs, Magnus moves up, gives the Nyss Calamity, and they put the hurt to my Nyss.  Four got hit, one toughed.  The Croe's did next to nothing, with the exception of killing one Stormblade.  Sevensins averages were nuts too.  He rolled 5,6 on pretty nearly everything.  It was crazy.  Alexia collected two souls I think and that was turn.

  The Centurion knelt behind the shield as arrows bounced off.  Runewood leveled off and fired back at a Nyss in the gardens.  "Four Nyss are down, Sir." he called.

  Stryker started moving.  He fired two shots and waved at Rhupert.  "Call a charge!" he ordered.  The tunes turned shrill.  Garalein turned, glanced at Stryker, and swung his blade in excitement.  He stabbed it into the air and called a charge.

  Stryker was pretty sure he did anyways, he couldn't hear over the roar of fire as the Stormblades opened up.  They broke from a job into a full run.  Their stabbed high and forward, held double-handed at the top of their right shoulder while the buckler on the other arm covered their torso.  The Stormgunner opened up, sizzling energy across the bridge into the Croe.  The timing was perfect as the unit, as a whole, short-circuited their blades and released the pent-up energy stored within the suit.  The normally shorter-ranged bursts tied into the path of least resistance as the Gunner sustained his fire.

  The arc was incredibly bright, and Stryker could see as Runewood shielded his eyes.  The Warcaster's goggles were in place already.  He watched as his men reached their targets.  The burst of voltage tore into the Cutthroats and exploded in several directions searching for the path of least resistance into the bridge.  Several of the thugs collapsed in burns, smoke and convulsions.  The few who were properly ground weakly stood as the Cygnarians reached them in a roar and smashed through, cleaving them apart.  

  Stryker stood from his crouch, moving forward at a light jog.  He relaxed, and looked to Magnus.

  Magnus the traitor, the warlord.  The betrayer of Cygnar.  The man who even now sought their ruin.

  Runewood stepped back.  Stryker was indeed young, and rash.  He fed off of his rage, he dwelt in it.  It was times such as these he struggled to remain with his Lord and Commander, when all the world seemed to be nothing to the young Warcaster, and his rage dictated his every move.

  Yet it was addicting.  He could feel the release of energy from the talented young warrior.  The drive that filled him to do more.  Stryker broke into a run for the garden behind the Centurion that even now plodded to protect it's Warcaster.  Runewood was perplexed for moment, then realized that the Renegade was preparing to fire.

  Jonas realized it too.  The Officer mounted the barricade between him and Alexia and raised his blade high.  Beneath him, the Nyss surged forward into the enemy Warjack and Alexia, swarming her horse and the gun of the small steam-powered robot.  The Nyss before them stepped back, perturbed by the ferociousness of their brethren, but soon stepped forward to the fight.  

  The Archduke glanced to Rhupert, who shrugged, crouching behind the gardens.  "You should get down, sir."

  The officer shook his head.  "No, age and experience tell me that I want to see what happens next."

  Ooooh, the story segments are getting longer.  Long story short, the Nyss and Stormblades both assaulted.  I've fought renegades before, and those guys terrify me.  I gambled on Rhupert, and debated on Toughing the Nyss, or giving them Terror, hoping to force the Cutthroats and Nyss both to fail CMD.  Then I tied him up best as I could with the Nyss, but failed to do more than a few points of damage, and did little more to Alexia.  The Stormblades were far more successful and pretty nearly annihilated the Cutthroats.  Everybody passed CMD though, including the Cutthroats that did it twice, once from Terror on the Nyss and getting cut to half.

  The Centurion ran forward, since I was still pretty wary of that Renegade, and protected Stryker from him.  I dropped deflection again, and feated, which got everyone a bit further, but still failed to kill Alexia.  

  Wrongeye started muttering.  Magnus growled at him as he ran forward.  "What is it?"

  "The Cutthroats are less of a drain on your coffers now, aren't they?" he cackled.  

  "Nevermind that." Magnus countered.  "Send your beast forward." He ordered, pointing.  "The blades are all yours."  Twisting, he glanced to Sylys, who was still concentrating on aiding the Nyss.  Fair enough.  He moved forward with Cylena as they tore into the Nyss.  He was worried they'd fail to fight their own kind, but that was proving to not be the case they killed most of them.  Using the moment of distraction, he stepped forward and shouldered his firearm.  The sights lined up with his eye and he opened fire, blowing two Nyss away.  A few pellets bounced off of the the hull of the renegade harmlessly.  Excellent.  He put his fingers to his brow and reached into it's cortex. 

  Alexia laughed.  Three warriors of her own creation surged forward.  

  Magnus spared a moment to glance to Snapjaw.  He'd pretty nearly cleared out the Stormblades.  They lay in shambles about him, but one still fearlessly fended him off and Cutthroat both.  A Captain was out on the flank, pacing two more cutthroats easily, waiting for a moment to kill them both.  The Warlord grimaced.  That one captain was plenty to worry about.  Even with Snapjaw on the left flank, he might be in trouble.  He doubted it though.

  The Renegade, his creation and work of his own hands, shuddered forward and broke loose of the Nyss bodies before it.  He could see the Centurion across the way regrip it's spear, waiting for the Jack, but it never came.  It stopped at the barricade and fired at the young warcaster across the bridge.

  No luck.  The Renegade's movement carried the barrel too far out of line, and while both the Centurion and Stryker fell forward with the concussion, neither seemed to put out by it.  The Thralls of Alexia's reached them though, and Stryker stood, blocking the first attack with ease.

  The Nyss moved forward once more, making the best of the situation.  Jonas fell back, and arrow through his chest, but the one Nyss commanding Coleman's mercenaries remained unperterbed by the carnage and continued to fight.

  Sylys called out.  "He's got to run!  It's just a Jack and him left!"

  He wouldn't though.  Magnus smiled.  He knew this boy.

  I don't know about you guys, but I'm having more fun with the story than I am the batrep.  But yeah, this turn went badly for me.  The Renegade got two focus, Alexia had three souls.  Sevensins led off with Snapjaw pretty nearly annihilated my Blades.  Magnus used his spray on the Nyss engaging his Renegade and between him and the Nyss, they pretty nearly annihilated them.  He also feated, and chose the front and back table edges, so only sideways movements for my troops.  Happily, both the Cent and Stryker were out of his control range.  The Renegage moved up to let LOS to Stryker past the Centurion.  Boosting to hit, he shot at Stryker, but DEF20 (In the woods) sucks to hit, .  The deviation wasn't much though, and the AOE caught both the Centurion and Stryker, KDing them.  No damage, which is nice.  For me.

  The thralls were more of a problem though, engaging Stryker.  One charged Jonas and killed him, the other two moved to engage the Cent and Stryker, and Corbeau, one by charging the courtesan.  He happily missed.  At first I was really excited to use seduction, but since the Thrall is dead... No luck there.  Corbeau's charms apparently don't work on dead men.  What's the new Zombie romance movie?  It wasn't here.

  I'm in bad shape though.  Stormblades and Nyss both pass CMD (No failed CMD checks, all game) which is nice, but I'm down to one blade, the captain, a Nyss, Corbeau, Runewood, Rhupert, and the Centurion.  Not bad, but not much against a mostly full unit of Nyss, Snapjaw, Renegade and what's left of the Croes.

  Stryker watched as the Nyss were obliterated.  Runewood winced, as the Warcaster stood up and looked at him.  The young man drew his sword.  The Warjack dug it's shield into the ground and stood up, in spite of the Thrall swinging at it.  

  Garalein stepped into a strike from the Croe and ran him through.  Turning, he spun the friction-created energy in the blade and shorted it.  The resulting arc fried the Cutthroat behind him and he turned to Coleman, gauging the next move.  Run?  Stay?  It didn't matter.  The other Stormblade was on his own against the crocodile, of all things, and he charged into it.

  Stryker spun his blade.  Runewood grimaced and broke into a run.  The warcaster was going to be brash again.  He called out to the lone Nyss remaining.  "Take the Thrall!" He called.  She spun, realizing the threat behind her.  The bow came level and she drew the arrow back to her ear.  Flying true, the undead warrior in front of the Centurion collapsed, dead once more.

  The Centurion stepped past the body, as meekly as any automaton could and ignored the other warrior beside it.  It seemed to know that it didn't want between it's Caster and his man.  Runewood, still moving, leveled his handgun and fired, and the opponent fell.

  Stryker pushed the body back and started moving.  He stepped out of the gardens at an easy pace, almost daring Magnus to look at him.

  The older Warcaster smiled at him and Wrongeye cackled.  "He's not the brightest."

  Runewood called out once more.  "Go get him!"

  Stryker started moving.  Focus was on him entirely, which was probably the point.  He gripped Quicksilver with his right hand as he gathered speed.  

  The Renegade turned to swing at him, but the Warcaster was already past, clearing the barricade with a jump.  He came in and Wrongeye stepped forward.

  The Warcaster dropped, sliding in on his armor.  Spinning, Quicksilver twisted in his grip and deflected back the blade of the beastmaster.  The Cygnarian kicked him back and turned to Magnus, who shoved him away.

  "You're going to die today, boy."

  He swung, his mechanical arm whirring to keep up.  Coleman rolled left and missed the strike entirely.  He ended the movement in a crouch and stood, clubbing the one-eyed mercenary across the face with the butt end of Quicksilver.  "Is that what age and experience is telling you?" he asked.

  The next strike was for the kill, and he started high, swinging at the neck.  The suit sparked and glowed as Stryker shorted it for more power, crying out as the surge burned him.  Magnus blocked the blow, but was pounded into the ground.  His arm snapped, the metal warping into his own torso and crushing the armor.  He called out in pain and Stryker's blade whirled, cutting him across the cheek.

  "What's that, old man?" Taunted the younger man.  Then Snapjaw hit him.  The Crocodile launched into him, landing on all fours and throwing him back.  Wrongeye grasped Magnus.  "Come lord!" he said, pushing off. 

  Snapjaw rolled back to his feet, snarling and backing away.  Stryker stepped in, slinging his blade.  It caught the croc across the mouth, and it hissed in pain but backed up.  The Nyss beside him reformed, pulling away and shielding Magnus.  

  A blast shorted into the reptile, frying a spot on it's left shoulder as Garalein reached him.  Stryker stepped forward, but Runewood caught him, breathing hard from the run and the Centurion not far behind.  "Leave them, my Lord!" he gasped.  "Let them be, we've won this and we don't have what it takes to handle both them and the crew.  We have what we asked for, let them go."

  The rage in Stryker subsided slightly, but not much.  Garalein held his blade ready still, but he relented.  "He's right, I believe.  My men..." his assertion quieted to a whisper.  "My men need me.  What's left of them." 

  Lord Commander Coleman Stryker watched the battered warcaster reach the docks.  "So be it.  We let them go.  They'll be back, Runewood."

  "I know, my Lord.  I understand.  My age and experience will be here for you then too."

  Who saw that coming?  Someone did.  "Ooooh, Jedi pulls out the assassination... again..."  Yeah, yeah.  The main problem I think was Sevensins pushed too far up with Magnus.  I think I only velocitied for 2 and had all kinds of room on him.  I used Corebeau's skill to move the remaining Nyss (Cylena, incidentally), who aimed and shot the Thrall engaging her after she ran away.

  The Centurion backed up, taking a free strike for no damage, but then, like an idiot, I turned him around and engaged the Thrall engaging Stryker, which was dumb, because the whole point was to unengage him so Runewood could shoot him.  At DEF15, Runewood takes the shot, moving to be in range of Pathfinder on Stryker.

  Guess who pulls through on Vassal dice?  I rolled 4,5 and hit the Thrall, killing him.  With everything out of the way, it was pretty simple at that point.  Stryker overcharged for 3,6,6, and only took twelve damage.  Boosting to hit on Magnus, I oneshotted him.  Game over, victory to Cygnar.

  Thoughts on the game:

  1.  I hate fighting Nyss with Nyss.  Look, I have DEF19.  Look!  Nobody cares!
  2.  I think this is the first time I've fought Croe's Cutthroats, and I don't think Cygnar's missing out.  Stealth was nice, and bushwack is neat, but their RAT still sucks.  To be fair, my rolls on the Nyss attacks were bloody horrible, but the rolls from the Stormblades were phenomenal.  Annhilated the Croes.
  3.  I uh... didn't do anything for scenario.  Again.  I pretty nearly could have started fighting for Sevensins zone, but the one Croe that survived the original onslaught put a hamper in that, and then Snapjaw came in and obliterated any opportunity of it.
  4.  My major mistake that I can think of was the Stormblades.  I killed most of the Croe in the assault (which is awesome), and when I had the Feat from Stryker, I should have moved them back, and maybe had them another round.  I didn't, I moved them all forward, and then realized my mistake, which was too late at that point, and then the Croc pretty nearly killed all of them.  The Croe got a few I think, but most of it was Snapjaw, who is crazy.
  5.  I played a game right after this.  Seraph watched me and Sevensins duke it out, and asked to play Circle's assassination caster against eStryker.  My wife was in the mood for cooking supper and watching Avengers, so I got to get a second game in.  I traded out my Stormblade Captain.  I really like his model, and I really like his pathfinder, but quite frankly, I never use any of it.  He's just 2pts of other things I think I'd rather have.  Rhupert and Runewood both give pathfinder, I don't really need relentless charge from the Captain, and he doesn't ever get to do anything really.  I think I've got him too far back, for one, trying to protect him, but he never gets into the action.  This was one time I could actually do something with him.  Sevensins though he had him boxed up, but I was really looking forward to beating down the Croe engaging him and getting to shoot something with quickwork.  All that being said, I dropped him for the next game, and traded the Nyss for the Boomhowlers and Jr.  I think that might be a good trade.  The Boomies still get assault, and yeah, it's only RAT5 (Stormblades are like "Meh"), but it's POW12, and then the axe is POW12, which is essentially a Weaponmaster Nyss always rolling one dice at 3, which I'll take.  Plus, I get tough inherently, and the ability to stand up.  That leaves Runewood and Rhupert to focus on the blades entirely.  On top of that, Jr is involved now, so either the Boomies get AS, or the blades do.  DEF17, ARM what, 18? and Tough on a 4, 5, or 6?  Have fun with that.  
  6.  I don't ever use my Centurion.  I have yet to get positive charge on him.  He mainly just sits back there and eStryker hides behind him.  Is this a good idea?  Am I mishandling 9pts here?
  Really good game though, overall.  I hope you all enjoyed both the Batrep, and the story.  Comments, questions, rule checks, you name it.  Throw it out there.  

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