My second game Saturday was against a guy who just recently switched to Cygnar. He'd been playing Khador, and in fact, his Harkevich list with 4 clamjacks and Black Ivan had given me serious fits. However, he's recently started picking up swans, and we set up for a game after I got smashed by the last Khador player.
So, Stryker2 vs. Madrak2. Something of a mirror match. One guy gives everyone a post-turn 3'' move and an attack, and the other guy gives everyone attacks to everything in their melee simultaneously. Some differences, but certainly more similarities. Both casters rely on a high volume of attacks, and try to get their guys to hit harder, but I think Madrak does it better. Stryker requires a jack, preferably with Reach, to get in there and make Positive charge work, whereas Madrak just adds a dice to his favorite unit and sends them in. As far as Positive Charge goes, Trollbloods basically has it on a stick with the Chronicler, and I haven't used it at all. Me and my two months of Trollbloods experience...
Min KSB w/UA
The list continues to change. I had the Champions originally, and dropped them because I thought they were too slow, and got the Long Riders instead. I still like the Long Riders, but I playtested the Champ Hero and Skaldi a bit more, and I really like what the Hero and Skaldi to for the Champs. I also dropped the Sons of Bragg, because they're amazing, and need to go in lists that need amazing help, without feeding them support (Jarl, Grim, even eDoomy).
The Battlegroup is also evolving. I originally had the Impaler and Slag for some ranged anti-jack goodness, plus some +2 damage for Madrak or the Kithkar (maybe the Hero now), but at the end of the day, I was struggling against Hi-DEF infantry, and not against Warjacks. Fenns on Blood Fury don't need a Slag to soften up a jack before they hit it. So out with the Slag, in with the Bomber. Or the War Wagon. In this case, the Bomber. I'm debating between 2 AOE4s that I can boost damage on, vs 1 AOE5 and 1 Spray 8 template, plus a bunch of impacts. It's an interesting trade. The other problem with the War wagon is that I need a second beast to pull fury from, so while the wagon is cheaper than the Bomber, the 5pt beast I'd need to bring counterbalances it considerably. So the Bomber makes more sense at the moment.
My opponent's list had a familiar format, but with some changes. The Stryker/Maddie/Squire concept was all the same. The Stormblade Deathstar (Heh) was there as well, along with Runewood, Rhupert, SB Captain and Jr. for support. However, where I take Nyss, he took Forgeguard with Jonas, and Swordknights.
Stormblades w/ UA and max WA
Sword Knights w/ UA
Some differences, but it's a caster I've played a lot, and am pretty familiar with what he can do. He can easily box eMadrak, but he can't do that, AND remove all grim salvation targets, especially over a wall that's taking Madrak to DEF16 against Melee.
We rolled off and he won, so he deployed first. SKs went to the right, Forgeguard to the left. Stormblades were scattered behind, Harlan on the right flank, Eiryss on the left. Rowdy, Stryker and support hung out in the center.
I dropped Fenns on the left against Forgeguard. Not only was I pretty much guaranteed the alpha against them, between POW12 and Blood Fury, I wouldn't have any problems breaking their ARM. The Champions, on the other hand, went opposite of the Sword Knights, which meant that I could pretty much ignore them and penetrate as deep as I could into the flank and start cutting apart Stormblades.
To support that was the Bomber/Impaler combo, there to clear out Swordknights/Stormblades. The KSB went center, the Fell Caller hung out behind them, Janissa, Runebearer, all that great stuff.
Cygnar leads off. Everything runs/moves up. Stryker drops Deflection and camps, and Jr. puts Arcane Shield on Rowdy. Jonas probably minifeated, making the dwarves immune to blast damage, but I had better targets for that anyways. The kicker in this mess is Runewood, who put pathfinder on the Swordknights, who then activated and ran forward, clumping into 3man groups for Defensive line. Unfortunately, this left runewood in everyone else's way.
First off. Fenns run forward. Moses does Harmonious Exaltation on Madrak. Champions run forward. Impaler moves up, puts Farstrike on the Bomber and hangs out. Bomber moves up and throws a bomb. It drifts the right way, lands squarely on a clump of Swordknights. I boost the damage three times and kill all three, and pass on buying a second shot. Chances are I'd drift the wrong way, and on top of that, I'd be running hot, and would be out of fury anyways with which to boost blast damage.
Fell Caller shuffles along. Madrak presses forward, drops Warpath and dumps the rest to the stone. Janissa presses forward and drops a wall. KSB moves in, and auras, catching all but a few of the champions, several fenns, and all of the brick. The Fennblade Kithkar and Champion Hero run to support their respective dudes and it's my opponent's turn.
More of the same now. Jr. drops Arcane Shield on Rowdy and moves up. Everyone runs forward a bit more. The Forgeguard spread out, getting ready to take the alpha from the Fenns and countercharge. Stryker moves forward near Rowdy, toes onto the hill, casts Deceleration again and camps. Eriyss sneaks closer to my left flank, and Harlan sprints to flank my Champions. The Swordknights run forward and clump again, with the exception of one lone brave soldier who runs to engage my Champions, and triggers Countercharge from Skaldi, who crushes the little guy.
Looking at the pics, I think 2 sword knights engaged, and Skaldi killed one of them. That left one more to deal with.
So, Madrak pulls in fury. The Champion Hero charges, decides not to thresher for obvious reasons, and easily kills the Swordknight. The Impaler chucks a spear at someone, misses, but puts Farstrike on the Bomber, who again starts bombing Sword Knights and Stormblades. Needing 8s to kill, I fail to kill more than 2 of them.
The Champions proceed to charge, and tear into the Swordknights, killing most of them. They fail CMD, but pass it on the reroll since the banner is still in play. One champion gets countercharged by rowdy though, and gets boxed, but he toughs.
The Fell Caller shuffles over, puts War Cry on the Fenns for +2 to hit. Moses moves in and gets Blood fury on them with his minifeat. They charge in, minifeating also, and I distribute one for each of the forgeguard nearby (Which have tough on them from Rhupert) and four charge into Rowdy's back arc now, since he charged. The forgeguard are all boxed, but one toughs. Rowdy is taken down to 1 box on his cortex. All engaged units pass their terror checks as well, which is saddening.
I really debate about throwing an axe into rowdy, just to finish him off, but decide against it. Madrak moves up, casts warpath to burn fury, casts Blood Fury onto the Kithkar so I can get it off the Fenns and take them back up to DEF12 instead of DEF10, and then puts one more on the stone, leaving me at 1 fury, and capable of taking in everything from the warbeasts next turn.
KSB moves up and pops aura. I could have put fury to them, but I wanted warpath instead, whereas the stone would cover everything I needed it to.
Janissa drops a wall, Kithkar moves up, and that's turn.
Now the counter attack. Rowdy turns around and Tremors. We found out later that you can't do star actions with the systems missing that Rowdy was, but it doesn't change much. He rolls a 6 on one dice and knocks all four of the Fenns down engaging him. The Swordknights swing back, and damage a few Champions. Harlan shoots Skaldi in the back a bunch, but does just 1 box. The Stormblades assault, with Runewood's blessing, and kill a few, and finish off some of the Fenns that are KD behind Rowdy.
The forgeguard charge, and kill everything they reach. Eiryss shoots a Fenn too. Rhupert moves up and puts tough back on the Forgeguard. Jr. moves up to be within range of Stryker, and Stryker activates, hangs out, casts rebuke on what's left of my Fenns, and feats.
So, everything that survived the onslaught dies. The Stormblades and Swordknights move in and finish the champions, and every Fenn in melee range dies except 2. I'm down to four Fenns, the Kithkar, and my Hero Champion.
I pull in my fury, drop Warpath, and drop Blood Fury. The Fenns that can Vengeance can, and I don't think they have reach on anything. The Kithkar moves up and kills one of the Forgeguard at the edge of the hill.
The actual turn begins. The Champion hero charges into the place occupied by the champions last turn, and threshers, killing a few Sword knights, but missing the charge target, AND Rowdy, who I really wanted to finish. Double 1s for both those guys. I think Rowdy had a box of movement left, not Cortex, or I would have autohit.
The Bomber unleashes a few attacks, and clears out the Swordknight UA, banner, and a couple more SKs and a Stormblade or two. Not bad. Impaler drops a Stormblade on the hill. There's two near Stryker, but I'm leaving them as much as I can. Fenns move up and swing, since they can't charge. They kill a few Forgeguard, but it's not terribly important. I'm clearing a charge lane.
The KSB runs forward, up onto the hill near Rowdy, but leaving room for Madrak, and pops aura, and the Elder adds +1 STR.
The Fell Caller puts Warcry on Madrak, and the Runebearer gives him Harmonious Exaltation, and he charges the Stormblade in front of Stryker. He's 8.5'' from Madrak, and Stryker's a good 3'' beyond that. Madrak reaches him, feats, and essentially threshers, killing Rowdy, and both Stormblades. The Hero smashes what's left in his melee range, and that's pretty much it for things to do with the feat.
So, Madrak has 2 fury now from the feat, and 5 normal fury. He spends 1 to gain Blood Fury (Harmonious Exaltation) and spends the other to move forward and attack with Tide of Death. He hits Stryker, and does a few boxes at PS15, or Dice minus 5.
Buy. Hit. Two more boxes. This sucks. Blood fury is boosting every damage attack, but two boxes? Buy. Miss. Buy, hit, four or five more boxes. Buy, hit. Another two or three boxes. Buy my last one, swing, connect, and roll perfect damage to box Stryker.
At that point, I realized that I forgot to factor in the STR bonus from the Krielstone. That added 5 damage automatically for the attacks that hit, and did damage. So it wasn't as close as I was afraid. Had me worried, but it wasn't the perfect damage roll like I thought it was.
Thoughts on the game:
1. I played my Champions too hard. I could have charged one or two in, and let them take it, but I didn't. I have a problem playing Madrak where I see a bunch of targets, and I decide that I'm definitely going to feat, so I engage all my stuff in the enemy lines, and kill everything I engage... which means there's no reason to feat. Then my army sits there and takes the counterpunch. That's no good.
2. Jr. dropped Arcane Shield on Rowdy, and meant to put it on Stryker, and never did. That would have saved him. Easy. But he never did.
3. Maddie never really got used. Usually, Maddie, Runewood, Squire and Stryker is a surefire heads up that the assassination is coming, but it never did. In fact, he just sat up fairly close and never went anywhere. He attritioned well, but he's not impervious to assassination. It felt weird to assassinate my favorite assassination caster, but there it is.
4. I like my list. I enjoyed having a Bomber for a change... Where are those Kayazy now?