Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jarl (Trollbloods) vs. eCaine (Cygnar) 50pts

  This last Saturday I got the chance to take my table from my previous post down to our FLGS and get a few games in.  I managed to get 50pts vs. Trollbloods, then went after a Khador Harkevitch list with eStryker.  Haven't gotten to play eStryker a whole lot lately.  I've been on a Kraye kick and have been fleshing out eCaine after having recently purchased him.  eStryker did great.  I didn't actually take pictures of that one, so I won't batrep it.  I should have.  The guy I was playing normally rolls with Vlad3, and Harkevitch is a sudden change for him.  I managed to assault with the Boomies early on and at RAT4, needing 9s, killed 6 Iron Fang Pikemen.  My dice were on fire.  After that, it was just a slow game of attrition with the Centurion Stryker creeping in while Harkevitch tried to clear out the Boomies while my Stormblades weakly contested the left flank.  By turn three or four, he left a hole in his front line, daring Stryker to take three or four free strikes to make the charge.  I manage to kill one IFP, and squeeze past all but one, who hit but only did one damage.  Then Stryker rolled for +17 STR and only like, 8 damage.  It was awesome.  Hit Harkevitch twice and killed him.  Got fairly lucky.  The Boomhowlers toughing pretty consistently and shooting down 6 IFP early on pretty much forced an uphill battle for everything else.

  That's all besides the point.  The actual batrep has me up against Jarl with Trollbloods vs. eCaine and Cygnar.  I took the table down, unfolded it, and garnered a game.  Let's run through the table real quick.  Left, we have elevation dead center, two forests opposite of eachother, and a building on the left as well.  The building is simply a square of linear obstacles.  No LOS blockage or anything.  The road is nothing, just board decor.  The water tower towards the back is an obstruction, and the tiled pad next to it is elevation, with both shallow water (the irrigation drain) and then there's the building on it too.  Also linear obstacles.  

  Now, keep in mind that +4 Cover and +2 Elevation normally stack, but for ease of balance and playability, it's one or the other.  It hasn't come up as far as LOS issues are concerned, but I assume that being behind the door frame would give +4 cover, and LOS as well, but not the +2 DEF for elevation.  That's not technically following the rules exactly, but when was the last time you saw cover on top of a hill?  You haven't, because it's messed up.  As the builder of this board, it would be assumed almost immediately that this is so I can park eCaine behind the wall at Base DEF17 +6 for elevation/cover and then camping Blur too.  That's DEF26.  Laying down, He'd still be DEF16.  I don't care what Marx says, High DEF is going to stop you from shooting my caster in this case.  So, elevation is not factored into the cover.  This may change in the future, but I doubt it.  

  Lastly, the field is rough terrain.  Nothing crazy, no cover, extra DEF, just needs pathfinder.  The goal of the board was to make it Not symmetrical, but not skewed either.  The woods are a bit symmetrical obviously, but everything else works pretty well.  The two armies I wanted to run on it were Trolls and Cygnar, just so I could see how medium based trolls do on this map, and Cygnar's shooting.  Happily, that was the first match.

  So!  Lists.  I bought eCaine last week because I'm tired of getting murdered by eMorvahna.  Plain and simple.  pCaine's a blast, I love Kraye, eStryker is still winning me games, but I'm tired of eMorvahna just pretty nearly dominating me every time.  At the same time, I grabbed Sylys, Reinholdt, and Taryn.  Yes, I'm going all out with this guy.  

Trencher Master Gunner
Nyss Hunters
Taryn de la Rovissi.  
Black 13th

  I just realized it, but I think that list is like, 98% painted...  Wait, no, the ATGM aren't completely based, and the Avenger doesn't have highlights.  Everything else is done though.  My wonderful wife painted the Nyss, Taryn, Sylys and Reinholdt too, so a lot of my painting credit goes to her as well.

  The goal here is to try and convince myself that I have 12 pts of Hunters for a reason.  On eCaine, they seem like they might make sense, because they don't need a whole lot of focus.  The other option is Rowdy.

  The ATGM because... eCaine loves ATGM. The Avenger because I like RNG14 POW14 KD AOEs, that don't need any help from eCaine.  Nyss because Nyss are awesome and capable of so much, and Boomhowlers because medium based guys with 50% chance of tough with no knockdown from Heightened Reflexes.  That's just messed up.  Anyways, this is a lot of stuff to tie up pretty nearly anything.  Lots of Hi-ARM might be an issue, but hopefully I can just attrition it out, and if there's actually a few beasts or jacks out there that really are an issue, between 2 hunters and eCaine's feat, I can handle them.  We'll see though.

  I went up against Trollbloods.

*Runebearer (The Moses guy)
Fell Caller
Trollkin Champions
*Skaldi Bonehammer

...I think that's all of them.  We rolled off, I won it, and took second, because I actually wanted a specific side of the board.  Either one would have worked, but I wanted the less open one, which was great, because he wanted the open side.  He deployed with the brick on the center, all the support in behind them and the Longriders out on the flank where the Fell Caller (I think) could get them pathfinder for the rough terrain.

  My hunter sat opposite of the Longriders, Nyss went towards the woods, ATGM behind the building with Caine and Boomies took center.  The goal was to stop the Longriders with Hunters and tangle them with Boomies while the Nyss tied stuff up and helped the ATGM shoot things while the Rangers hang out in the woods and support everyone.  Taryn hung out towards the woods as well, and the B13 forgot to get deployed, but would end up on the right to support the Hunters and/or Boomies.

  We actually got a scenario, incidentally.  Fairly simple.  I think it was Incoming, but we had to flip the zones because of terrain.  Objectives across from eachother to be destroyed for one point, zones that can be friendly dominated for 1, controlled for 2, and dominated by the enemy for 3.  

  So, game begins.  I don't remember the OOA, but I think Jarl activates... Or Moses.  Runebearer activates, hangs out, and makes one spell cheaper for Jarl.  Jarl puts Quicken on the Fenns for a SPD/DEF bonus, and Tactical Supremacy which gives an extra 3'' movement after all of the unit has activated.  Lastly, he puts Weald Secrets on the Longriders for Pathfinder and camouflage, and moves up.  The Chronicler puts "Feign Death" on the Fenns, so that they gain +2DEF and can't be targeted while KD.  the Fenns run forward, because that's what Fenns do.  I love those models and that unit.  Those guys are awesome.

  The Longriders run as well, pushing as far up on the flank as they can, while taking advantage of the cover to be had in the shed.  The Stormtroll runs, and riles, and so does the Impaler.  The Champions run as well, and Skaldi right with them.  Fell Caller runs too.  I was trying to remember if he got pathfinder to the Long riders, but I think he does that later.  Horthol charges way down the opposite flank from the Longriders.

  Then it's my turn.  Caine hands a focus to each hunter and keeps the rest.  Rangers move up, and one gets within 5'' of Horthol, and that one shoots a Fenn, who fails his tough.  The other five rangers shoot at Horthol, and take him down a few damage, but nothing crazy.  I briefly consider CRAing the Nyss, but there's no way they'll have Range I don't think, so I run them instead and fill the woods up.  The Avenger moves up, and takes a shot, but doesn't have range (even with snipe) to hit a clump of troops like I'd like to, so he only hits one, who toughs.

  The hunters activate, and one aims, and the other moves up.  The one that aims is just out, and the other rolls snakeeyes to miss.  Waste of focus, and 2 Longriders live because of it.  That'll hurt.  The B13 pop a few shots off at them, and throw a Magestorm out to stymy them a little.

  The Boomhowlers roll with Fell Call and run forward in two lines.  I'm starting to learn how to actually tarpit and not lose the whole unit on turn one.  Caine moves up, puts Blur on the ATGM and Heightened Reflexes on the Boomhowlers.  Reinholdt tucks in behind him and Sylys follows.  Taryn takes a couple of potshots at Horthol, but fails to finish him off.

Action shot!

  Jarl's turn.  He drops Weald Secrets, I believe, but keeps Tactical Supremacy on the Fenns.  The Fell Caller shuffles over, get Pathfinder onto the Longriders, who charge.  One hits a hunter, and shuts down his gun, while the other cleans out a Boomhowler.  The other three run around engaging things because my Magestorm messed up their charge lane.  I probably would have chanced it.  ARM17 vs. POW12... I'd have to roll 13 to kill, so they should have been safe, but he ran around it.  I'm ok with that.

  Then the Fenns mini-feat and come at me.  They bring Terror with them, but the ATGM, Boomies AND Nyss all pass CMD, which I couldn't believe.  Then the Fenns proceed to shred my Boomies, EXCEPT, I have a 50% chance to Tough.  At the end of his turn, I lose 5 of them altogether.  So far, a Long Rider gets one, and I think of the seven or eight Fenn attacks I take, I tough all but 3 of them.  It was awesome.  Even better, Heightened Reflexes didn't allow the Boomies to go KD, so they just kept tanking it.  It was amazing.  I loved it.  One Boomie, in particular, toughed 3 times with 3 Fenns tucked in around him.  So, the Stormtroll activates, and shoots/throws at this engaged Boomy.  Boosts to hit, going up against DEF16, and... misses...

  He then hits his own guy in the back, and rolls 3 electro leaps, that chain leap and kill the three Fenns engaging that one Boomy.  Heh.  The Impaler then kills him in a fit of rage though, so he still dies, but he caused a lot of problems.  In fact, he causes problems for me too.  That last boomy takes me to half a unit, and they fail their cmd check...  

  Random side note, I almost died here, because Caine's positioning left him open to Magic Bullet which Jarl hilariously has alongside eCaine.  I figured he was safe at DEF21, but magic bullet careth not, but my opponent decided it wasn't a good option, so he passed.

  Anyways, the Fenns killed a few Nyss too, so there was that.  The Champions run forward and clump into 2 3man groups for the ARM bonus, and then Horthol charges his own Fenn in the back and slams him forward over like, three Nyss and a Ranger, killing all four.  Heads up, if you see Long Riders, and put medium based infantry in front of your small based infantry, you're going to have a bad time.  D6'' Slam with like, POW14 collateral damage?  POW12?   Either way, it's auto dead for more light infantry, and anything but snake eyes will kill wannabe medium based infantry like Stormblades.  "We're really little but we're ARM15!  Blast Damage... well, it MIGHT kill us.  We seriously doubt it though."

  Anyways.  The Chronicler puts Feign Death (Important!) on Jarl, who shoots a Ranger I think, and feats, and manages to put 6 cloud templates down.  These all go within his control, block LOS, and put -2MAT or RAT on enemy models inside the template.  Kinda nifty, but a very defensive feat.  On the downside, it works great against eCaine.

    So, I upkeep Heightened Reflexes, drop Blur on the ATGM because that was kind of silly, give the black Hunter a focus, and keep the rest.  The Boomies rally, which is something, but meh.  I can't see much, in fact, I can only see the models that are actually in the clouds, or the Longriders on the far right.  While I'd like more shooting, this lets me focus quite a bit, and in retrospect, outside of an assassination, I don't know that I would have shot at anything else.  

  However, Reinholdt opens the ball and gives an extra shot to Caine, and the Trencher Master Gunner gives +2 RAT to the Avenger.

  Side note:  Every time this warjack shows up at the shoppe, someone looks at it and goes "Is that an Avenger?"  The warjack never sees any use.  Ever.  I think if it wasn't part of the Centurion kit, most people wouldn't even own one.  I love mine.  He's completely negated any use for the Defender for me (I'd rather take a hunter *gasp*) and his KD shot is incredibly handy.  On the ATGM, I lose the ability to use him in melee but I don't think he's ever gotten into melee because he's standing 14'' away from his target.  Avengers never get to do that.  Maybe my opinion will change.  Quite possibly.  I love mine though.  I love catching people unaware when they sidle a little hi-def model up near a warjack to screen themselves.  Thank you, so much.  On top of that, the ATGM have pushed models for me before that weren't within KD range of what I actually wanted to KD, and that's awesome too.  Anyways.  Let's do some math.

  Horthol needs to go away.  He's really the biggest priority target I can see, and he's only got about 21 guns looking at him.  I want him dead, and saluted all at the same time.  The Avenger goes first.  Horthol is A) Engaged, and B) in a cloud.  This leaves him at DEF 18, which is pretty daunting for a RAT4 jack.

  However, my Jack is A) RAT 4, B) aiming for +2 RAT, C) Got Artillerist for another +2 RAT), D) Preparing to shoot at a target that is under Mark Target from the Rangers for another +2 RAT.  My Avenger is RAT10 right now.  Against DEF18.  The thing here is that I really want Horthol dismounted.  Really badly.  I want to put that Jackmarshal point to Damage, not Boosting.  I debate about it for awhile.  If this was Vassal, I'd of boosted.  Heck, I'd of boosted if I needed a 6.  On tabletop....

  I roll it, and roll a 9.  Boost damage, and easily kill Horthol's mount.  The troll is dismounted and KD.  Haha.  My ATGM all aim at this point, and half shoot at Horthol and finish him, and the other half plink bullets off of the Champions and Skaldi.  My Nyss then activate, shuffle around, kill some Fenns, though I'm not quite able to finish the UA who's unseen on the other side of the building.

  The Rangers push forward into the zone, and two shoot Moses, who toughs both times, dangit.  The other three plink a few wounds into Jarl, but nothing crazy.  Really, they're just being annoying.  I should have run one into the woods to be Reeeally annoying, but I wanted Moses dead.

  I still have a few things left.  The hunter that's engaged swings his axe and misses the Longrider.  The other one aims, and oneshots a Longrider.  Bout time.  It also ensures that at least one Longrider will be out of CMD range next turn.  The new leader becomes the central one, leaving the far right rider out of CMD.  The b13 pop a few shots at the one on the far left who can put the hurt to my Boomies, but don't kill him.  Caine activates, shoots him, kills him easily (Hot dice), then empties the last two shot into Bonehammer for little to no damage.  He then gatecrashes into the woods and calls it a turn.

  My opponent opens his turn by deciding that his Storm troll is on the wrong side of the board.  ARM16 Boomies don't mind electro leaping nearly as much as Nyss do.  So.  Moses... does something, I think he minifeats and casts a spell for Jarl, but I don't remember what it was.  Magic Bullet on Jarl, I think maybe.  The longriders activate, and one charges the Boomy in front of him, and rams him through Lynch and Ryan behind him, killing all three of them.  Those Longriders are handy.  Watts... passes CMD I think.  He's used to dieing.  Doesn't even scare him anymore.  The other longrider knocks out the axe on my hunter too, and the third one runs to be in CMD.  I would have walked the Hunter away with Parry, but the gun was gone after the first charge, so meh.

  The Fell Caller moves up and gives War Cry (+2MAT) to the Champions.  I think.  Skaldi and 2 champions charge while the other three shuffle around to protect Jarl.  Skaldi crushes the objective, because that's what you do when you're playing scenario, and the other two get into the Boomies, and utterly smash them.  The Boomies tough and remain standing because Sylys has been upkeeping Heightened Reflexes.  Go Sylys!

  The Impaler activates, aims, boosts to hit, and murders a Ranger, and puts his animus on Jarl.  Jarl activates shuffles into the edge of the zone, boosts to hit, hits a ranger, magic bullets another one, buys, boosts and kills the last one.  That leaves me with no Rangers in the zone, and he's dominating it.  With nothing contesting either zone, and an objective gone, we're at 4 CPs to 0.  The Chronicler throws Feign Death back onto Jarl and calls it turn.

  It's an all or nothing turn for me, which is fine.  I have eCaine, and it's feat turn.  I decide that I can either use Taryn to open LOS to Jarl, knock Jarl over with the Avenger, and murder him with eCaine, or use the ATGM to thunderbolt a Champion back into Jarl, and KD them both.  The Avenger is going to hit.  I don't have my rangers, but the Avenger is still RAT8 considering everything, and a 1, 1, 2 will hit (I'd probably TB the Champion back, seems like the safer bet).

  Then my opponent reminds me that Feign Death means that Jarl can't be targeted while knocked down.

  This pretty nearly ruins my fool-proof plans.  Little did either of us know (I should have, I've been playing the Chronicler and KNOW this), that the Chronicler's buffs are Units only.  Not warrior models, and much less casters.

  I don't realize this though.  This makes life a lot more difficult.  Factor in that Jarl has an ability that gives him 2'' of movement if he's missed by a ranged attack.  This sucks.  But it's all I've got. I realize at this point that the Axer is at full fury as well (Animus on Jarl, and boosted to hit), and that I might still have this.

  Taryn activates, and shoots two champions.  One hits, and opens LOS.  The Hunter moves up from the right flank, and is way out of range, so I wasted that.  I should have shot the Storm troll.  Watts sends a Brutal into the Stormtroll, and does like, 10 damage.  A Nyss opens fire at Jarl, through the hole Taryn opened, and does a handy amount of damage, but Jarl keeps it.  The ATGM activate, and a few throw shots at the Troll, and a few shoot Jarl.  One hits Jarl, and the other misses, so Jarl moves closer to the Champions so I can't shoot them with the Avenger and open up more LOS.  So I shoot the Troll with the Avenger, and pretty nearly finish him.

  So Caine, here we go.  He activates, moves forward, shoots Jarl.  Jarl transfers, and kills the Stormtroll.  I fire again, and miss.  Jarl moves to the right, out of LOS, with an engaged Fenn and an unengaged Champion between Caine and Jarl.  Caine handily kills them both and opens fire on Jarl again.  At this point, my opponent realizes that he misread the Chronicler's card, and that Jarl would probably be KD right now.  This is frustrating, but we've already moved on.  I keep shooting.

  Comes down to the very last shot.  I have two focus left, and Jarl has 3 health.  I'm at dice even at this point I think, if not dice plus one.  I buy and boost to hit, and roll triple ones to miss.

  ...  We didn't even play it out.  He felt pretty bad for misreading the rules, and I was kind of frustrated with trip ones missing what should have been an easy shot.  But, he won, definitely.  All he had to do was move Jarl back into his zone to dominate it, and he was done.  Wasn't really any need.

  Victory to Trollbloods!

  Thoughts on the game.  We talked about it for awhile, and I think I'm ok with.  Technically, he won it, and tournament wise, he would have moved forward.  As a friendly game between to guys at an FLGS though, I'm pretty ok with how I played it.  Everything did what it needed to, and with the exception of horrible dice at the very end, everything went pretty decent.  Actual points though:

1.  I love this table.  I'm really really happy with how this table played out.  I didn't want to have too much cover, but I wanted it to be a good looking board too.  I also didn't want it to look like I stacked the deck in Cygnar's favor.  I've played as Trollbloods enough recently to know how frustrating that much cover is.  Trollbloods was actually the army I had in mind to counterbalance Cygnar's playstyle as I tried to design an accommodating board, and I was lucky enough to have Trollbloods as my first opponent.  I'm reeeallly happy how it turned out, and how it played.  Very excited with the board.

2.  This is the... third?  I think third time I've played eCaine, 2nd time on tabletop.  The first game, I narrowly lost as well with lousy dice (eCaine vs. Circle's cassius.  Rolled 1,1 and 1,2 damage a few times on feat turn), and the second time, well, here.  But I won the vassal game with him, and the game right after this one.  I like him.  He's not as addicting as Kraye, or eStryker, or even pCaine but he's fun.  Heightened Reflexes on Boomies is hilarious.  All that being said, my list building with him needs work yet.  I got a lot of recommendations for Ol' Rowdy, so that might happen.  I think I may drop the Hunters for him.  The B13 were also 4pt filler.  I have Ayaina and Holt on the way to replace them.  That still leaves me 3 pts.  I also need to trade the Nyss out, because depending on my second list, I think they'll be in there.  If it's eStryker, they'll Definitely be in there, and maaaaybe in my Kraye list.  So I need to figure out 10pts for eCaine.  Silverline might be fun, but I don't have them yet.  I really don't actually have much infantry.  Generally, it's my Nyss, Boomies, or Stormblades.  Some Forgeguard might be nice at this point though, but it's not the time of year to put 70$ down on a 10 model unit.  And I don't have Ol' Rowdy either.  A Centurion will probably have to do for him for awhile, and maybe a Journeyman.  Idk.  Or Eiryss.

  So I need to figure out how to replace 10pts of Nyss.  Stormblades could be ok, especially with Rangers already in the mix.  Jr. would definitely be a good idea in that case, because if AS isn't on Rowdy/Cent, then it's on the blades.  10pts of Stormblades is everything but 1 Stormgunner, and I'm ok with that.  So that might be an option.  Any suggestions, comments.

3.  Gameplay.  I should have shot the Storm Troll with my Hunter.  That would have won me the game I think.  That's the one shot I really wuffed.  Like, nvm that I could have KDed Jarl.  That's besides the point.  I almost gaurantee a win there.  Going the direction we did, I think the Hunter shot was the key failure here.  That almost definitely would have killed the Troll sooner, and at 3 boxes left on Jarl, that would have been enough.

My opponent also realized that he definitely didn't need all 4 CPs.  He told me he should have pushed Jarl behind the water tower, and I agree, that would have kept him alive.  At that point though, I think I would have killed his army.  The Boomies were back in commission at that point too.  ATGM and Nyss would have killed as many Fenns and Champions as they could, while Caine would kill what was left of the champions, and hopefully get a Longrider too so that they couldn't score.  It would have been close, and he would have had the upper hand at that point I think, but it would have been a good feat turn for me.  Overall though, I'm pretty happy with how everything went, and thoroughly enjoyed the game.  I chalk it up as a pseudo win.  The official record shows a loss, but that last turn was solidly in my hands and it wasn't like I just threw it away, it just got the rules messed up and rolled trip 1s when I needed just trip 2s.

  Comments!  Insults!  Bring them on!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

4x4 Folding Desert Farming table Finished

An earlier post saw a folding 4x4 table built, but devoid of terrain except for the normal tabletop pieces I dropped in.

Nothing really awesome, but functional at least. This last week, I pulled all the stops, and built terrain into the board. First off though, I stained it. Here it is, sitting under a futon from my bachelorhood.

Threw some felt on the bottom to protect whatever surface it's sitting on, gluing it on with some 3M adhesive spray. Nvm the random pieces of terrain I have on top. All prototypes. They look good, but definitely prototypes.

It turned out pretty decent. The basis for it is half inch foam insulation that I brushed down with acrylic, then brushed in watered down glue at which point I threw on the ballast rocks. In the future, know that 1) The Acrylic is pointless, since you're spraypainting it, and does Not seal the foam against spraypaint, and 2) spraypaint before you add ballast so that you'll avoid the foam peeking through the rocks when they break loose as thousands of the millions you put down will.

Elevation, forests and a road. The hill was easy. More half-inch foam board, cut the edges every which direction and tear out random bits until it looks pretty beat up, seal, spraypaint, add ballast, dry brush. Tada.

The road was kind of the same concept. Drag something through in the direction of the road so that it rips up the foam, and then do it a lot. Eventually, you'll have a lot of ruts and rises and it'll look pretty beat up. Paint it dark brown (Or tan, depends on the road you want), add way more ballast to it than you did anywhere else, paint it again, wash it as best you can (I advise making your own wash, using walmart acrylic and a paint/water mix of about 40/60), then drybrush a little. Not a lot, but just some. The wash did most of the work, and unlike everything else you paint, gravel roads don't actually have any wear to them. The rocks shift, go away, whatever, so don't drybrush like crazy, just enough to highlight them a little bit in the sunlight.

The forests, I basepainted in some dark brown (Walmart stuff, not the good paint.) then stabbed a bunch of little trees I got at hobby lobby. They were on sale, my wife made fun of me, and we've used them in everything. Our Nyss have them, Taryn has one, they'll be in a lot of places. JTT Scenery Products, apparently, is the company we got them from. We've used maybe a third of the trees that came in the package, and we've used about 20 trees. Well worth the like, 6 bucks I spent on it.

After you've poked the trees in and glued them, I scattered in a lot of Red Pepper flakes from Walmart's seasoning aisle. The other two ideas were more expensive terrain-dedicated options, or crushed eggshells and food dye. This was way easier than eggshells and cheaper than the other option.

The dock was constructed out of craft sticks from walmart, washed and drybrushed for the mud. The little grass tufts you see here and randomly throughout the board are from Army Painter. The water effects are from Hobby Lobby. 90% of any dedicated terrain products we grabbed for the table are from Hobby Lobby. They've got a daily coupon online that will get you one product, any product, for 40% off. That takes 20$ water effect bottles down to around 14$ with tax. It takes Air Compressors and Air Brushes way down, it helps with regular brushes, paint modifiers, you name it. It's awesome.

Anyways, make sure you seal where this water goes! I didn't do it right the first time and assumed the elmers would get it all (Normally it would, but there were some serious gaps), and happily, the felt soaked all of what drained up, and not my carpet, but heads up.

The little water pump, and piping is plasticard or plasticard piping from Hobby Town (not Lobby, gasp). The basis of it was one of my wife's bead cylinders that I repurposed and added edges and exhaust to. The paint is bronze stuff from Vallejo with pigments added in on top. The goal here is for the water pump to pull water from this resevouir, irrigate the little field, and then dump what's left back into the irrigation drainage pit to be sent back into the resevouir.

Speaking of fields, this be it. I dragged a row through the foam, then came back in and cut at an angle on both sides, then sanded the whole thing to get rid of the rough edges. There's used tea grounds in there, used coffee grounds, and a little bit of dark green turf as well. Turned out ok. I didn't want it to be a field in the spring, but rather, fresh after planting, or maybe late fall after the havest has been done for a few months. I would have loved to have had dried cornstalks up everywhere, but that's completely impractical for wargaming. As it is, it functions as rough terrain.

I love this pool, I could care less about the pad. I don't like how the tile turned out, and you can see some spraypaint errosion as well. The water, however, looks awesome. I put plasticard on the bottom, sealed it with elmers glue and green stuff, added in a plasticard grate that I made and poured in the water.

The building is foamboard with the edges sealed in watered down glue, and some sweet vines I got from Hobby Town.

Another building, more foamboard, vines and craft sticks. I really liked the looks of this one though.

The other side of the board was pretty empty, and I wanted to break that up, so I built a water tower. More craft sticks. The basin is the bottom of a disposable moutwash cup with a reinforced plasticard rim. I threw leaves in the bottom for character and water effects. Makes for a fantastic obstruction. One of the goals with this table was to make it Not symmetrical, and give a benefit to going second. One side favors shooting, the other favors melee armies. Makes you actually pick.

First game! Jarl's Trollbloods vs. eCaine's Cygnar! Actually was exactly the two armies I wanted to put on this table to test it out, and it was a blast. Very playable, very enjoyable, had a great time.

So that's it for the table. I'm really excited it turned out, and I'll be doing a few tutorials in the near future on specific aspects of it. Chime in if you want to see something in particular.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


  This post originally was going to have 3 solos and a full blown folding table full of terrain, and then my wife and I were beset by the ever terrible painting mood where we simply want to sit down, let Pandora make sure we're still alive ocassionally, and paint.  It's a pretty awesome past time that we've discovered we thoroughly enjoy doing together.  So much, in fact, that my wife now has her own Khador army, not because she wants to play them, but because she enjoys painting so much.  However, I didn't get pics of them yet, so I'll show off the six single models we did instead.

  Taryn.  This gal got super popular overnight with the recent errata.  I bought her early last week along with Reinholdt, eCaine and Sylys (No idea what's happening there...  All of them are painted below though) and my wife decided she needed to look like Robin Hood.  I had actually not looked at this model too close, and suddenly realized why she can't seem to get rid of Rutger Shaw.  Two reasons, really.  I'm pretty sure that someone was on a Tomb Raider Game playing marathon when they modelled her.  My wife did pretty awesome with her though, and I reeeaallly like how she turned out.  The tree hides a lot of the detail, but keeps her kinda modest too.  

  I love this terrain, incidentally.  It's super easy.  Little trees from Hobby Lobby that were on sale.  I've used probably... 20 of them, and I don't think I've even used half of the package.  The Chile Pepper Flakes that you see as the fall leaves are also awesome, cheap, and I have tons of them.  

  Next we've got a model I painted.  I didn't know what to do with this guy.  I've owned Rhupert for probably three months now, and haven't known what to paint the guy.  He's just such a weird model.  But brown seemed to suit him, and I knew I kinda wanted to do a tartan on the bagpipe, so I ran with it.  I actually really like how this turned out, and I believe he's in my top 10 favorite models that I own now.

  My wife then tackled Sylys.  She didn't really know what to do with him either, and actually kind of went with a theme much closer to her Khador ice/blue theme.  That's perfectly fine, because I half expect her to use him more than I do.

  She also did Reinholdt, deciding he needed to be a bit more of a city slicker kind of dude.  I hate this model, she's ok with it, and I like her paintjob.  I forgot to actually base him though.

  I'm not proud of this guy below.  I love Runewood's model, but I don't know how to handle that much metal.  I am not happy of how he turned out, but don't hit the back button yet.  Just skip to eCaine.

  Ok, so eCaine.  The pCaine alt-sculpt is a few posts behind this one, and I love that model, and like how it turned out.  This guy already comes with a base, and I actually really like it, so didn't really want to change it up any.  Added some flakes to it, and called it good.

  That's all I've got for today, folks.  The painting table is still crowded.  I've got a Harlan Versh and Gorman both to finish, on top of ATGM, Stormblades, a second unit of Rangers, and my Avenger and Hunter.  The Blades, Hunter and Avenger have all been base coated for... six months now.  Need to finish them.  Tomorrow, however, I'll have my table posted.  It was too much for one post, so I wanted to catch a few more pictures of it, assemble it a bit better, and present it all in one post.  Tune back in tomorrow!  I've also got a Batrep with eCaine vs. trollblood's Jarl here in the next few days on the new table too, so heads up for that.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Realizing you're not any good as a player

  Ever play like, twenty games in three weeks, and win 80% of them?  You roll the last three dice against the enemy caster on Sunday evening before work starts up Monday morning, and you kill him with a few dice points to spare.  You look at the board and it's a fairly decent win.  You pushed hard, forced his hand, pressured the right weak points of his army, controlled the map, made use of the terrain, and won the game.  The dice had it's ups and downs, but that's normal.

  Then all of the sudden that quits and you lose 80% of the games.  The lists you carved out aren't working, in fact, they almost seem to hamper you more than they seem to help.  Bad matchups are prevalent, you drop the wrong list in a tournament, and you get caught by all the tricks each caster has to offer.

  I started off with Kraye, and really quick, I figured out that I could launch a Minuteman 17'' Turn 1, and do it again with Stormclad later on for the assassination, and I pushed that strategy a long ways.  I focused on Kraye completely, and built his lists with one purpose in mind.  To open a lane for a stormclad and make it as easy as possible for him to kill the target.  Most of my game wins are by assassination because of this.

  For my second caster, I got into eStryker.  Same strategy, except now I have 6 focus on my bullet, and he can get up to PS33.  Six focus and PS33 ends most problems, and I won a lot of games with him.  Then this all pretty much stopped.  Two things.

  1.  My meta changed.  I graduated from playing newer people and easier lists to people with experience and solid strategies, and worse, knew what my lists were capable of whereas I did not.  Legion kicked my butt the first five games I played against them, but anymore, I'm fairly confident against legion.  I know their tricks.

  2.  I got married, and my meta changed again and Player 3 entered the game, being Vassal.  Because I wasn't heading to the shoppe as often, I got into Vassal, and Vassal's a solid way to lose interest in this game.  I watched a guy roll  land a 1 in all of his dice rolls, 7 rolls in a row, and it wasn't surprising at all.  

  Between Vassal and the experience change, I'm getting my list handed to me in broken pieces, and mainly on Scenario issues.  Both assassination lists struggle against Scenario.  Also, with Vassal, I've been introduced to a lot more factions (It's not all just the program's fault)  My normal players in the meta were Legion, Khador, Menoth, sometimes Circle.  Once in a blue moon, I'd see Retribution.

  Vassal has changed that, and widened the casters considerably as well.  The level of experience is far higher as well.

  So is this something you've noticed as well?  It's fairly difficult to not be discouraged.  Part of you wants to blame the dice completely, and for some games, that's completely cool.  My average on Vassal is running around 4.5 right now.  If I need a 5, I'll boost.  Only on Vassal can I miss a KD troll with eCaine 3 times.

  For the most part though, I have nothing to blame but me.  Let's lay it out there.

  1.  I love assassinations.  I'm good at them, but they don't win tournaments because it doesn't get me any CPs.  This means that I suck at scenario, and SR2013 loves scenario.  Half the time I forget there is a killbox.

  2.  I don't know how to piece trade.  I play my Jacks way far back until it's time to roll and hate to lose one.  This means they're back too far to do me any good.  I finally figured out how to use tarpits, so this lets me play a bit tighter, but at the end of the day, I've usually tied my jacks up too far back to be of any good.

  3.  I don't know my opponents.  I generally chalk up my first game against a new caster as a loss.  After playing this game for a year, I should know them considerably better than I do right now.  This would also factor into my ability to pick a list when going down in tournaments.

  4.  I don't know my own cards half of the time.  I know my Hunters all have parry, and forget it, quite often.

  5.  General gameplay.  I quite frequently find my caster too far back when I need him forward, my jacks tied up, and my on-the-spot tactical decisions need work.


  1.  Batreps are great.  I've been reading, watching, listening to batreps, now podcasts, trying to watch people play scenario, and I always play scenario myself.  The problem is my lists aren't built for it and quite frequently, I give up on it very early in.  I need to rebuild my lists.  My 50pt Kraye list changed drastically this week when I decided to drop the blatant assassination gimmick and actually focus on taking scenario.  I may actually play Hunters and Stormwall in a Kraye list.  Who knew?

  2.  Piece trading is still a struggle for me.  I'm getting better with the Boomhowlers.  I love throwing them way out in the front with Fell Call and letting that 50% tough make life difficult.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it works really well.  The trick is getting the juicier targets into play.  This requires sacrificing a warjack or something to the opponent in the hopes that the dare will lure out his bigger tools so I can catch them in the counterattack.  This is way easier said than done, and still requires a lot of thinking and practice on my part.

  3.  I spend a lot of time on battlecollege, but even then, I really don't get what a caster can do until I see it on the table.  I think this is more or less me not putting spells together with units.  I don't know if simply reading cards is enough, battlecollege or what.  Or just time.  Next time I see Ret Sentinels though, I'm either killing all of them, or shooting at them.  Vengeance sucks.

  4.  This is just me clearing my brain and reading my own cards.  Fairly simple, probably the easiest solved.  I need to know my own guys.

  5.  I think the biggest problem here is List Building.  Everything in my Kraye list focused on making life easier for the Stormclad when he gets his moment to shine, never holding zones, playing attrition, nothing.  The other issue is that I have refused to play power casters, and as I move forward in the meta, this isn't going to work.  Yes, I'm fully aware that a good player can work with any caster.  That's great if you're a good player.  And the Good players are still bringing Butcher3, eHaley, Gaspy, eMorv, so on, so forth.  I got smashed by eMorvahna not once, but twice, last saturday.  Brutally and efficiently, for reasons all listed above.  I still need to post the batrep, it's depressing  I built lousy lists, tied up my own units, most importantly the stormwall, and derped it.  As awesome as All-cav lists look, they don't win games with pCaine.

  This also led me to make my eCaine purchase, who will probably be one of my main casters in the upcoming tournaments.

  The problem, at the end of the day, is me.  When it's all said and done, everyone can agree that Vassal is secretly the gaming module for Glados, and hates humankind, but everything else is my own fault.  I'm not playing people with 54pts of Khador anymore, I'm playing guys who have been to lock and load and placed.  It's different, and while the sudden shift is depressing, it also helps to look back and see where the problems are and work with it.

  Is this something you've gone through?  Going through?  I've seen people hit this stage and leave the game, and while I can't say that I don't blame them, I do enjoy this game.  At the very least, I love painting, and it's become a very enjoyable pasttime with my wife, so I doubt it's going anywhere.  If you've been there, done that, or are hitting that spot, chime in.

  Those are my thoughts.  Like every other brilliant American, I'm putting them on the internet, yay me.  On the plus side, in other news, I've got a few new models painted and the folding table is finished.  Pics tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Playing Kraye, Cygnar's cowboy

   I've got 2 batreps against Circle to get posted, including one 2 caster 75pt game in preparation for a friend taking his Circle to WMW in St. Louis.  That's a lot of pics though, and it's been a week or so since the last post.  Life, you know?  So let's hit a topic real quick.  I see a lot of posts on PPforums where someone decides they want to try Kraye.  General consensus is that he's a decent caster (E.G., better than Kara and Darius, but not as good as Siege), but doesn't do anything for infantry, and really struggles in the SR2013 format.  Let's look into him a bit, shall we?

  When I climbed out of 40k and dropped into the World of Warmachine, I watched some batreps, scrolled through the forums, realized I thought that Legion looked ugly as sin, and Khador are the badguys.  Cygnar looked pretty cool though, and rolling through their caster page on PrivateerPress, I saw this awesome looking guy riding a horse.

  Enter Captain Jeremiah Kraye.  The model sold me.  When I got into this game, I ordered a 2 Player Battle Box (the 2player kit with Games Workshop was always a good idea, I assumed it would be here too as well), the Cygnar Battlebox, because that's the faction I wanted, and Captain Jeremiah Kraye.  And a Squire.  Idk why I got a squire.  Someone said it was a good idea.  It was, but anyways.

  Kraye looked like fun.  He looked awesome, as a model, and I thoroughly enjoyed painting him.  In fact, I'm sorely temped to buy him again and apply new painting/modding/basing skills and paint him again.  As it is, I modded him with my first foray into greenstuff, and modeled him a wide flat-brimmed Australian Outback hat, and it turned out reasonably well.  The paintjob is dated, but I'm still proud of the hat.

  The first thing we'll notice is that he's one of Cygnar's large based casters, something we don't have many of.  This makes him really hard to hide.  Your first impulse is to bring a 4pt Sentinel to hide him behind for Shield Guard.  Try it, but generally, at ARM17 with 18 boxes, I find that Kraye weathers most ranged assassination attempts.  He's my go-to caster against eLylyth, in fact, though his ability to launch jackbullets into her early game assassination setups helps too.

  His stats are otherwise fairly normal outside of his SPD8.  He's fast for a caster, but he's riding a horse.  That's to be expected.  More on that in a minute.  RAT6 isn't amazing, MAT isn't inspiring either, DEF14 isn't bad for a large base, but against anyone determined to hit you at range, it's not going to convince them otherwise.  On a horse though, this gives him a lot of neat options.  Ride-by attacks.  Move up 4'', cast spells, get behind the wall.  SPD8 gets him where he needs to be pretty quick with some room.

  Pathfinder is neat too, helps him out.  Parry is fantastic.  When that melee assassination fails, you can walk away.  His gun's a POW11 ROF2, which is handy, and his sword is a PS13.  At MAT6, SPD8, he can get 11'' across the board on a charge, so in a pinch he can do some work, but you're going to want his Jacks to do that really.  

  His abilities are where it gets nice though.  It also makes using him a convoluted mess.  For one, it gives all light jacks light cav rules.  This gives them impact attacks and a 5'' move after their activation.  This is as handy as I'll get out.  Using hunters?  Hop the barricade, shoot, get back.  Easy peasy.  

  Heavy Jacks get heavy cav rules.  Now we're talking Ride Bys with Stormclads, impact attacks with Centurions, Tall in the Saddle (Melee attacks ignore intervening models.  Hello screened caster), and +2 to charge attacks because Heavy Cav has brutal charge.  MAT9 Stormclad with PS21 on the charge?  Yes, please.

  Feat turn is terrifying.  All Jacks stand up, can turn, charge for free, gain and extra 2+ SPD on the charge and all melee attacks are boosted.  This is incredible.  A fully loaded Stormclad can make 5 boosted-to-hit attacks, not including tramples, or impacts.  Factor this in with Full Tilt (Kraye's signature spell) which gives 2X base spd, we can put a Stormclad 15'' up the board with 2'' of Reach for a total of 17''.  This has caught a great deal of my opponents off guard.  

  Speaking of spells.  Full Tilt, we just touched on.  I like to cast it on a minuteman, turn 1.  It's an upkeep too, so keep that in mind.  I like to go second with Kraye usually, because my opponent will take the chance to run his infantry as far upfield as he can turn one.  A full tilted minuteman with a focus will go 17'', including the jump, and flakfield.  This puts a light jack in the middle of a group of infantry, and kills a good chunk of them.  Can't handle those Nyss?  Worried about that tarpit coming your way?  Autohitting POW12 handles a lot of that.  Light cav for another 5'' and you're 22'' farther on turn one than when you started.  Your opponent has to deal with your jack now, and that ties him up.

  Guided Fire.  All Jacks in the battle group gained boosted ranged attack rolls for a turn.  This is a neat spell, but doesn't mesh well with the rest of what Kraye can do.  At 6 focus, he doesn't have enough to smash things, AND shoot them.  It's one or the other.  If I'm running a Stormwall, Guided Fire happens a lot.  4-8 boosted POW12/15s?  Sure thing.  Otherwise, Guided fire doesn't see much use at 3 focus.

  Mage Sight.  2 focus to see 5'' of stealth, forest, whatever.  Neat, situational, and expensive.  It's nice to have, and I'm glad Kraye has it, but it's somewhat limited at Battlegroup only.

  Pursuit.  Situational, but handy.  Land it on a target warjack and a battlegroup model gets to move if the other model moves.  Kind of a poorman's admonition.  At RNG8 though, it doesn't see much use from me.  I wish eStryker had this spell though.  23'' threat range!  But no.  Maybe 3Stryker?

  Arcane Blast.  Bet you've never heard of this one.

  Easy Rider.  All friendly faction units in Kraye's control area gain Pathfinder for one turn.  Kinda neat, but most of what you bring with Kraye either doesn't care, or has it already.  And it's expensive.

  What we notice here is that Kraye likes his jacks.  General consensus is that he's Cygnar's best Warjack caster.  I don't doubt that.  Darius is probably the next best thing, but even then, I like Kraye.  The downside to all of this is that he has little to no support for infantry.  A case could be made for Easy Rider, but Cygnar already has plenty of options for getting Pathfinder to our troops if they don't have it already.

  This limits Kraye considerably as to what he can bring.  You'll never see me bring Stormblades with Kraye.  He just can't take care of them.  And they're slow.  Kraye's a fast moving battlegroup, and he needs his units to be two things.  A) Fast to keep up, and B) Self-sufficient.  If they can contribute, that's fantastic, but they need to be able to take care of themselves.

  Rangers and Kraye are a happy couple.  These guys will negate you ever needing to cast Guided Fire with their +2 RAT against targets within 5'' of them.  They have prowl (poorman's stealth), and on top of that, 5pts for a 6man unit with accurate POW11s is handy.  I'll take these guys toe to toe with MHSF any day.  

  ATGM.  They don't need his help, they're plenty accurate on their own, and if you brought Rangers, they're really happy. On top of that you have an excellent Jackmarshal in the ATGM UA.  *Gasp* no, JM in a Kraye list?  Well, sure.  Does Kraye have Snipe?  Gee, no he doesn't...  Wouldn't it be nice to have a shooting jack that has Snipe?  I like the Avenger with his Knockdown ability on the ATGM.  18'' threat range can get anything that the 17'' Stormclad can threaten.  Boosted melee attacks are great, but DEF17 hordes caster laying down on the ground at DEF5 are even better.

  The Tempest Blazers.  These guys have breathed new life into this caster, especially since they are in tier.  They keep up, they don't need help, they can handle infantry by themselves, and take down bigger stuff if needed with the brutals.  These are also my counter to stealth usually.  They're fast enough to get in and get out and survive it.

  That's really the only units I bring.  The Nyss and Boomhowlers both are fairly self-sufficient, and need little to no support, especially the Boomhowlers.  If you really feel like you need a tarpit, these guys will work for you.  Outside of that, Kraye makes his money with his Jacks.

  Centurion.  Generally one of the favorite Jacks to take on Kraye.  With Full-Tilt, he'll move 8'', and then drop Polarity shield, which is mean.  He's got a threat range of 15'' on feat turn, so that's nice too.

  Ironclad.  Cheap 7pt Heavy jack that hits hard and goes 15.5'' on feat turn.  Nice for piece trading early on, setting up a tremor, or just generally having along.  I don't usually get one into my lists, but they're a decent option.  Spamming them might be a thing.  That's one of those things I want to try, but not by buying six of them and deciding I don't like it.

  Stormclad.  My go-to melee jack on Kraye.  17'' threat range on feat turn.  Unless you've played Kraye before, you don't see this guy coming.  On top of that, he's got a RNG8 POW14 gun that I've fried more than one warspear with.  Don't forget the eLeaps either.  I generally have this guy and blazers in my army.  My favorite thing to do to armies with a Hi-DEF/Lo-ARM caster and a colossal is shoot it with eleaping blazers and jackbullet the Stormclad into it.  10 autohitting pow10s (assuming the caster is the closest model.) ends most lo-arm casters fairly easily.  Number 1 reason I love the Archangel, right here.  DEFbillion caster hangs out next to her favorite dragon, who proceeds to ground out through her left leg and fry everything involved.

  Hammersmith.  If you're going to bring him, Kraye's the one to bring him on.  He's only got 13'' threat range, but with his follow-up attacks and chain attack, he can get considerably farther.  Decent for infantry mulching.

  Nomad.  No, I'm kidding.  I wish.  SPD5 with Reach and PS19 for 6pts?  I'd spam these guys all day.  Foodmachine tournaments are expensive for me.  "Yes, I brought 800 cans so that I can field 6 Nomads on Kraye."

  Gallant.  The only other SPD 5 with Reach.  The upsides to this are that you can bring Harlan Versh, and get a focus every turn on this jack, which helps out Kraye's reserves considerably, on top of providing Shieldguard.  He's also a point cheaper than the Stormclad.  Downsides are no ranged attack, no electro leap, and PS17.  I tried it, don't much care for it, but it's a neat option.  And Harlan Versh will pull his weight on his own too.

  That's the main ones for the melee jacks.  As far as shooting goes, there's a few solid options.  I love the Avenger for KD.  Makes for a surefire way to shut down enemy hordes casters for the assassination.  On Kraye, he does ok, but generally, I bring ATGM and marshal the Avenger to them for an 18'' KD threat.  Otherwise, on Kraye, he's a SPD4 jack that can get up to 13.5'' on feat turn.  At PS18, that's not a bad thing, and don't forget the psuedo-disruption Stall blade the Avenger has.  Works on Colossals too.

  Cyclones are fun.  They can Full-Tilt, AND do their covering fire, but generally, I don't have enough room for these guys.

  Hunters.  I'm a hit or miss kinda guy with these dudes.  I hate them on Vassal, respect them on the table lately.  They're fast, get the light cav move with Kraye, don't need a whole lot a help, and generally cause the opponent all kinds of problems.  They work fairly decent in pairs, but that's a 12pt commitment and that's the selling point I'm not quite into.

  Chargers.  Way too much focus needed for these guys on Kraye.  Move along.

  Sentinel.  Not bad.  4pt Shieldguard if you need it.  Don't count on the Strafe though.

  Minuteman.  We reveled in his glory a minute ago.  Take this jack.

  Stormwall.  I don't use the big guy on Kraye often, unless I'm going to run a shooting game and do guided fire every turn.  Otherwise, he ties up too many points for melee or shooting, when with two jacks, I could do both.  He's got a 17'' threat range for charging on feat turn with Kraye, and that's kinda scary, but it's not very often that you're going to have a clear charge lane for a base the size of the deathstar.  On the plus side,  he fits in Tier.

  There's a few solos out there to think about as well.  Squire is generally a must unless you're running tier.  Sylys is an option, but I find that I cycle full-tilt too much.  Generally, if solos tag along, it's a Squire, maybe a Journeyman, Harlan Versh occasionally, and more often than not, a Trencher Master Gunner for Artillerist on the Avenger.  Arlan's not bad, but really only for powerbooster or evasive.  Otherwise, it's not very often that he gets to fix a jack that charged 15'' up the field.  I tried Lanyssa, and using Hunter's Mark, trying to get a few more inches out of my Stormclad, and that hasn't happened yet, so I'll probably stop.  It's not very often I need a Stormclad to go 19'' anyways.

  In summary, Kraye's a solid jack caster with nearly 0 support for infantry.  If you want to run Warjacks, he's your man.  He'll play a solid gunline until you need to apply a jack to your opponent's face a long ways away.  Some play him as a gunline only, some play him as melee only.  I struggle with using him as a scenario caster, simply because he has a hard time filling zones up and hanging on to them.  I play him for more aggressively as an army, and do better that way.  At the end of the day though, it depends on you.  I hope I've pointed you in a decent direction to begin with and pointed out some decent synergies.  Otherwise, ignore everything I said and play eHaley.