Wednesday, October 22, 2014

50pts Bradigus (Circle) vs. Madrak2 (Trollbloods) Circle's new theme sucks. Bonus Calandra vs. Bradigus game also.

Sucks for everyone else, I mean. Except maybe Legion. Legion's beasts won't care much, but that's about it. There's been a bunch of discussion on Bradigus's new tier. It's janky, but it presents some pretty difficult issues. For starters, he only brings Wolds, with or without theme. Oddly enough, his theme does not allow Megalith. What his theme does allow is 3 units of stones, 3 units of Sentry Mannikins, can redeploy a model or unit, and the Sentry Stones starts with 3 fury. This allows Bradigus to push hard turn one, and with the Mannikins, create 9 forests across the board in a solid line. This creates some obvious LOS issues, which makes getting the charge off against hi-armor Wolds pretty difficult.

The Trollbloods forum/facebook group has been struggling with the Bradigus theme since Exigence dropped, trying to figure out how to deal with it, and my argument was for Madrak2. Both Grims have answers for the LOS, but neither really has the damage output to deal with four to six Wold Watchers at ARM21. Assassinating Bradigus at range is pretty impossible as well because of the Flesh of Clay animus that the Wold Guardian brings (one less dice damage for ranged attacks against target)

On top of that, Bradigus can assassinate pretty well. This Theme brings 3 units of stones, which can launch a Wold a long ways. There's a specific assassination tactic that involves a specific stone formation for the three units. I think Party Foul has it up on Youtube. The stones go up, one unit to launch a stone, the second unit to launch the guardian into formation with the stone that just got launched, and the third unit that the previous stone belonged to launches a Wold into your AD lines. It's brutal.

My argument for that has been Madrak2. With his feat, my dudes can just flat out run through the woods with pathfinder, feat, and swing at everything with blood fury as if they got the charge. Seems legit. So the guy that has been killing me with Cryx, and just recently switched back to Circle, brought Bradigus, and we set up.

Bradigus Tier III
*Wold Guardian
*Wold Guardian
*Wold Watcher
*Wold Watcher
*Wold Watcher
*Wold Watcher
Blackclad Wayfarer
Sentry Stone w/ Mannikins
Sentry Stone w/ Mannikins
Sentry Stone w/ Mannikins
Shifting Stones w/UA
Shifting Stones
Shifting Stones

My Madrak2 list is not specifically tailored for this matchup, and is my normal anti-ARM list.

Max Fenns w/UA
Max Warders
Max Burrowers
Min KSB w/UA
Fell Caller

I won the rolloff and elected to go first, trying to get farther up the board. I deployed, opting for splitting the Fenns up to either side of the BG and dropping the Warders to the right. My opponent's deployement is pretty straightforward. Fairly symmetrical.

A bonus shot, showing off my banners. I actually forgot to add the Warder's banner to the lineup in this shot, but it doesn't have the white decor yet.

Stuff runs. Chronicler gets Tale of Mists on the Fenns for some extra DEF but that's about it. Most of the ranged attacks are going to be sprays later on, so it's not a big deal. Chronicler's really just an extra model this game.

So, Sentry Stones started with 3 fury, right? They run up, all of them, and drop forests. This is pretty annoying. Everything else moves up behind the woods, and he tries to position his stones so I can't catch them in my pseudo alpha. Bradigus gets Synergy out there. All of the Wold Watchers animus for free (Basically Roots of the Earth, no pushing, pulling, knocking down and can't be made stationary), and do Stone Form for a fury each. This gets them to ARM21 at the price of DEF5. Their base DEF is 10, so fairly easily hit anyways by most things, so it's not a big deal. My burrowers are happy though. My fell caller wonders what his purpose in life is.

So, options here. Burrowers are not going to be able to pop up on his side of the forest. That hurts a little. He kept back that far at least. He told me after the game that he'd of been more concerned if I had run them. Popping them up top of 3 behind his woods would have been bad, so he feels that he would have needed to engage them turn 1, which means he wouldn't have gotten as many forests down. I didn't do that though, so my burrowers pop up outside of his forests. I decide to push them into the woods as much as I can without pathfinder, and elect to leave them outside of melee range. Point Blank (the thing that makes Burrowers super cool with Madrak2, moreso than most casters) doesn't actually get a chance to happen during his feat because Point Blank is something that can only happen during their activation. Madrak's feat is during his activation, so that can't happen. I decide to just shoot with them, for two reasons. 1) The Burrowers are RAT4, and are relishing the chance to shoot something without needing help (DEF5 Wold Watchers), and 2) Madrak2's feat also grants an extra shot for ranged attacks. This means that I can get another round of POW14s out there from the Burrowers if I don't engage with them.

So they fire away, and do some damage. Nothing super crazy, but we're just getting started. The highlight, however, was the one dude that I engaged his Blackclad with. That guy pulled his weight, rolled a 10 on the gun, and one-shotted the Blackclad. I don't even think the Druid saw him. I just imagine this guy walking through the woods, steps on something that suddenly squirms, and lo! a firearm! Blam. Just blows this druid away. Anyways. Runebearer minifeats and gets Blood Fury on the Fenns, who proceed to minifeat as well, somewhat pointlessly. They cause Terror, and gain 2'' of movement on a the charge. They can't charge though, and there's now only 2 models that can possibly be affected by terror. So basically, I'm expecting to get these Fenns murdered on the counterpunch, and I'd like them to not fail their CMD. They run in there and engage a bunch of stuff.

The Bomber runs. No pitching bombs. Too many burrowers out there. Impaler runs. KSB runs. Madrak charges.... something. Possibly my impaler. Something. I needed the extra 3'' really bad. I think I kill a burrower actually, that I left behind on purpose. I wipe him out, and Madrak feats.

So all of the Burrower and Fenns that I just finished activating go again. This is not a timed-turn list. When the dust settles though, even with above average damage rolls, all four Wold Watchers stand. I took out spirit and mind on two of them, that that's it. I leave Madrak on 3 fury and move on.

Madrak is way up forward, so I push Janissa up, but she's nowhere close enough to put a wall in front of him. I debate about putting the wall just behind Madrak so nothing can push him backwards, but the way is pretty clogged up in front of him, and I don't think he can get anything behind Madrak, so Janissa just drops the wall in front of herself. Warders run, trying to be relevant. Kithkar runs, having the same struggle. And that's turn.

My opponent pulls in all his fury, and debates about how to get his synergy chain rolling. He wants all 6 wolds to hit, but 2 of them are in pretty dire shape. The two important guys though, the Guardians, are undamaged, which is good. So, the Mannikins activate first. They spray some stuff, and my Fenns start toughing. Couple of them tough pretty reliably. Part of this is cool because he's trying to clear lanes, but part of it is bad because now he's building Synergy really easy. So the Mannikins spray stuff, and the two beat up Watchers both hit things. One moves across and kills a Warder, believe it or not. Synergy, yo. Overall though, they pretty much wipe out all but 5 Fenns, 3 burrowers, and 4 Warders, which is pretty solid. However, the main problem suddenly becomes clear when the stones activate, and double teleport a Guardian into Madrak's back arc.

Yeah. I keep misjudging this freaking stones and their threat ranges.

I think the teleport happened pretty early, actually, and Bradigus got up there and started the synergy chain, feating most of his stuff forward. The other Guardian teleports across, hoping that the first Guardian can push Madrak into range of him. The back Guardian activates, and sure enough, starts wailing away. I've got 3 transfers and 2 Grim Salvation targets, and the Guardian goes through all 5. When the second Guardian gets to him, he hits once and I fail the tough.

Note that Madrak2 is off to the side by the Warders, but where he belongs is actually in between the two Guardians.

Thoughts on the game:

1. This tier sucks to play against. I see a lot of people racking their brains on how to deal with it, and there's just really not many good options. I think Trolls have some of the best chances against it, honestly, and even then it's limited. Grim1 or 2 comes to mind with their ability to ignore forests, but most people don't bring Armor cracking lists with those guys. No LOS, High ARM, almost impossible ranged assassination, and serious assassination threat ranges of its own are 4 huge challenges you don't normally see all in the same list. Grim2 might be ok with Magesight and Mortality. He can soften stuff up with Mortality, but he's still going to have a very difficult time, and there's going to be a turn where you just send everything in and take the counter-attack on the chin just to open up the forests. My normal circle drop is Jarl, and he's just toast against this list.

2. I do think Madrak2 has game against the list. For sure. Not as much as I had hoped, but it can be done. For starters, I definitely should have pushed in the Burrowers with a run. Secondly, I so badly screwed up not putting the wall behind Madrak. I would have won if I had. Bradigus was in the open, the feat was spent, and the Warders would have started one-rounding what was left of the Wolds.

3. What Bradigus looks like he's going to struggle against are:

-1) Dudespam. He doesn't have a lot of fury. The Watchers are going to use their initials, and that's it. The Guardians are where it's at. If you can fill up his lines with dudes, he's going to have a very long and hard game trying to clear things out. A couple of Troll tiers, most Cryx lists, stuff like that will be ok I think. They'll take the forest on the chin, but once you get past that, you're golden.

-2) Removing stones. Sure, that's always key against Circle, but it's a pretty huge part of Bradigus's plan. Dropping a stone early on is a huge thing if you can do it.

-3) Killing Mannikins. The Mannikins are the problem early on, dropping forests everywhere. If you can get to them somehow, and drop them the turn before you alpha, you're really hurting him. Grim2 would help with this again with a Bomber/Dozer and Magesight.

-4) Guardians/Wardens. Some lists have just 1 Guardian to benefit from the end of the Synergy chain. Others have two. Either way, especially if there's just one, focus on it. A Wold Watcher with +7 MAT and STR is pretty neat, but he still doesn't do what a Guardian can do.

-5) Wide lists/ flank attacks. Centralized scenarios and brick lists are stuff that Bradigus excels in because he can block LOS super easy. Once you start spreading out and get stuff coming in from crazy angles, he has a hard time stopping you.

3. Stuff that Bradigus can do to you.

-1) Assassinate you. He can put a Guardian in your AD zone bottom of 1, top of 2 if you don't watch what you're doing.

-2) Mystic Ward. Didn't bother Madrak, but it'll bother a lot of stuff you have.

-3) We've beat the LOS problem to death.

-4) You can't assassinate him by ranged very well. Flesh of Clay is an animus he will definitely have up any time there's a threat of it. If you've got Eiryss, sweet. If not, think of something else. Oh, and heads up, all of the Wold Watchers have Shieldguard, so the one shot from Eiryss that you REALLY need to hit with? It's going to hit a Wold Watcher instead.

-5) Armor skew similar to what Baldur2 can put out. Cygnar is going to hate this list so much. Stryker3 got all excited. "Armor skew?! I got this! Wait, I can't see anything? Dangit. I'm going back to my better incarnation. Somebody take this stupid horse away."

GAME 2. Oh yeah. Bonus game. Full batrep? No. Basically, we had time left, and I had my new caster that I have vassaled, but never played, Calandra. I won her as my 3rd place prize in an SR event, so I was kinda excited to play her, even on her unfinished base.

The other option was her upside down, breakdancing, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

My Calandra list was pretty simple. I don't ever get to play Mulg, so I brought him, and I like the new Highwaymen, a lot, so I brought them. Calandra can do the Befuddle thing, so I wanted to see what Highwaymen and Opportunist (granted by the HWM Solo) could do to backwards wolds. It wasn't a good matchup for Calandra at all, her only damage buff being her reroll ability, but sometimes that's not bad.

I learned a few things from my first game. I spread out considerably wider, for starters.

Forcing him to back up, instead of pushing up. Because he's not a nice person.

I engaged him with everything again, and most stuff did pretty well. I focused a bit more on a few Watchers, instead of all four, and I think I killed one. I even got lucky and shot out a stone with a burrower, and a Highwaymen one-rounded the Blackclad, again. However, I befuddled a Guardian, and got Opportunist, but because he had Flesh of Clay, I wasn't going to get 3 dice damage with the Highwaymen, and because I'm an idiot, and I didn't leave Calandra enough Fury to use Runebreaker from Mulg, and I didn't leave a charge lane for Mulg himself to get in there and do the work. In fact, I shot a Highwayman in the back 4 times trying to clear a lane, and he toughed, four times. Was very frustrating. The game ended much the same as the first one, except that Bradigus did the assassination himself, and when I was trying to fill up spaces around Calandra so nothing could teleport to be next to her, I blocked Mulg from being able to reach Bradigus. I don't feel like this game was unwinnable either, though certainly more difficult. Most of my issues were unfamiliarity with Mulg and Calandra though. Believe it or not, Mulg isn't a staple in my lists yet. Yet.

So yeah. That was that. Hopefully this has been some insight to the Bradigus Tier III, and what it can bring. I've got another 2 batreps like this that I'll blend into one, Grim2 vs. Ossrum. My first time dealing with the Dwarf colossal, the Earthbreaker. It's also one of the games I get to break out the Highwaymen again, and don't screw it all up with them like I did with Calandra.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Exigence! Highwaymen playtested and Fennblades Painted

  Fennblades are finished!  Took me forever.  I base-coated them back when I did the champions, but never went anywhere else with them.  I've had them on the table a lot of times since then, but never actually went anywhere with them.  Everytime I looked at them, I had something else cooler to paint.  They're in 98% of my lists, so it's not like I can leave them home one week either.  

  I don't know how I ever got through Warhammer 40k miniatures, all those units.  One unit of Fennblades and I'm done.  I still have Scattergunners to do, but with the advent of the Highwaymen, those guys got pushed waaaaay down on the list for me. 

  If you saw one of the previous posts on doing a NMM/Metal paint blend, that's what I did with these guys but for silver/chrome.  I really like how it turned out, and I think it can be seen best on the UA's leg armor.  I'm going to do the rest of that tutorial on the Fell Caller still, and do his silver before too long.

  The leaf mix is the exact same bag I had for the Nyss.  I wanted something to offset the blue, and tried this and I like it quite a bit.  I may go back through some of my other models and add some leaves here and there.  Idk yet.


  We've been waiting for it, and unlike Vengeance, we really didn't know what all we were going to get with this book until about 2 days prior.  The lack of more beasts outside of Dozer is probably the most disappointing thing about the book, but that's small potatoes for me.  I'm really happy with Dozer, and our current assortment of heavies is already rightly feared.

  There's a lot introduced in this book.  I think the only real loser in the book is Cryx.  Between the Highwaymen, Braylen, the Meat Thresher, the Sacral Vault, Legion's Wasps, or character heavy, there's about a half dozen new ways to wipe out single-wound infantry.  The infantry-machine side of the game took a hit this round, but Sacral Vault and Highwaymen specifically really put the screws to Cryx I think.

  The Sacral Vault isn't available to Trolls unfortunately, but I'm not too worried.  Legion and Skorne can both take it, and Minions is going to start showing up to tournaments a bit more with it.  That alone will change the meta and get away from the "Banes with Gaspy or Banes with Denny" list pairing.  Mortenebra's picking up stock right now.

  Let's look at trolls though.  I'm excited for the AP solo and Maximus, but really, most lists already have a bunch of solos or support, so you won't see as much of those in Trolls as you will other armies.

  1.  Borka2.  Borka took a lot of flak on release, and I don't know that it will change.  He is not a meta-changing caster.  That being said, he's one of the more fun casters I've had the privilege of playing, and I'd like to get him into a matchup sometime.  His theme really makes him shine, I think.  I like playing him with four or five axers/bouncers and Rok, and that makes for a ton of snow drifts.  Add in my favorite unit of Longriders, and you have no idea what your army is going to look like in a turn.  Countercharge keeps you guessing.  You can't tie my forces up because of Rok and Borka himself.  You don't want to anyways because of stationary.  And I'm going to have snowdrifts everywhere.  Lastly, I'll be slamming stuff everywhere with Longriders.  I think his tier has solid game.  Not meta changing, but definitely fun.

  2.  Dozer and Smiggs.  Not an every list kind of beast, which is good design on PP's part.  I love him in Grim2 lists, and he's been gold every game, wiping out UAs, banners, solos, you name it.  I like him a lot.  His melee power is lacking, but by the time the Pyre animus gets on him, and hopefully Mortality, he's PS19, with a POW14 attached.  Not bad.  I've really liked him.  Grim2 doesn't seem like a beast caster to me, and Dozer augments that just fine.

  3.  Northkin Fire Eaters.  Why people are trying to build lists around setting them on fire, I don't know.  First World Troll problems.  Face value, it's a 4pt unit with 3 RAT6 sprays.  For everyone that pays 6pts for the Sons of Bragg, and knows that really, you're just paying 6pts for a POW14 SP8 with two bodyguards, these guys are 4pts for 3 POW12s.  On top of that, they're a huge wrench in the plans for anyone with a fire AOE.  Legion?  Menoth?  Suddenly, they're not as sure about this as they were a minute ago.  People are adding a pyre to their point cost automatically, as if no one takes Pyres already.  Drop these dudes in with a list that has a Pyre, and when push comes to shove and you need things to die, flaming fists, and shoot the dude in the back next to his buddies.  Bam.  Problem solved.  You traded 1 POW12 AOE3 for 3 SP6 boosted RAT6 POW12s with boosted damage.  This isn't hard.  The forums are having a heart attack.

  4.  Horgle.  This has been done to death.  I don't have him in any of my lists.  I don't run beast heavy in anything I have right now, and if I did, he'd be an auto-include.  I like him a lot, but he's not my style.

  5.  Sorcerer.  I use him.  When I have a point left over, it's a Feralgeist or Sorcerer, and the Sorcerer has more game for my lists.  He hasn't done much yet, but he's a cool model, and the first time something gets freezing gripped, I'll be super happy to have him.

  6.  The main point.  Wanderheart and the Highwaymen.  So, forget Wanderheart for a minute.  The toughest matchup for Trolls is Cryx in general.  Faction to Faction, Cryx shanks us.  So many Banes, the ability to bring so many back, the debuffs, you name it.  The amount of Banes that can be brought to bear though, that's the killer.  Goreshade2 just keeps bringing them.  The Highwaymen annihilate this problem.  On average dice, these dudes kill 20 Bane Thralls.  With Grim1, Grim2, Calandra or even Gunny, these guys are accurate, and RNG12.  Even if you CRA everything to POW12 RAT7, they're better than a full unit of ATGM w/ UA for the same cost.  Think about that.  Swift Hunter lets them back up out of the fight even.  These guys are amazing.  DEF16 against shooting because we know they're going to have the Chronicler.  You could even put Quicken on these dudes, and now they're DEF18.  Without that, these guys have pretty surviveable stats.  Very little is going to be able to shoot them directly, and ARM13/15 is pretty solid against blast damage.

  These guys are fantastic.  They aren't Fenns.  They don't replace them.  They don't replace anything except maybe Scattergunners.  Now we add Braylen.  Braylen, I personally think, is the worst release in this book for TBs, and she's still pretty solid.  People are preaching her as spot removal.  I personally disagree.  I probably won't use her in any list without the Highwaymen.  At 3pts, RAT6 RNG8, I'd rather have the Totem Hunter.  The Highwaymen will go in lists with the Grims, Jarl, or Calandra, and 3 of those casters do spot removal just fine without.  Calandra's the only one that might make use of Braylen for that.  With the Highwaymen though, she's able to get in there, maybe clear a couple of them up, and grant Opportunist.  Opportunist is interesting.  It doesn't require you to start in the Back arc, but to simply get in there.  Grim2 specifically is amazing for this with Mirage.  Even without that though, they're SPD6, and if played as the midline unit I think they're supposed to be, they're going to be semi-engaged anyways.  And if you're CRAing, you only need 1 in the Back arc.  I don't think Opportunist is going to be a consistent feature in the fight, but I bet you'll use it a couple of times every game.

  In short, these dudes shaft the Cryx matchup, they put the hurt to any infantry matchup, and if there's not that much infantry, fine, 4 POW15s every turn is cool too.  That's better than any warjack you'll ever bring.

  I fielded them Saturday in my Grim2 list, and loved them.  Basically, they swapped out the Scattergunners, and I left Braylen out because I want to see how these guys do by themselves.

Max Fenns w/UA
Max Highwaymen
Max Burrowers
Max Warders
Fell Caller
Stone Scribe Chronicler

  I was happy to get a Cryx matchup, but it was actually against Mortenebra, who I think is one of the few Cryx casters that brings a list that naturally doesn't fit it with what the Highwaymen are there to deal with.

  I won't post the whole batrep.  The guy playing had some lousy dice, and wasn't sure what all to do with Mortenebra.  He had 3 Scavengers, Deathjack, a Leviathan and the little stealth jack, and a max unit of Banes w/ UA.  The Combine was in there too.

  Grim failed for 2 turns to get Mortality on Deathjack, who sat in my front lines and caused problems all game.  Dozer finally put paid to him, but it took all game.  The kicker though were the Highwaymen. They were putting POW20 CRAs into Deathjack, POW15s into the Leviathan or Scavengers.  On Grim2's feat turn, they wiped out the Banes easily, and had shots left over to put all over the place.  The finished off three jacks throughout the game, and the Fenns really didn't have much work left to do.

  The deployement and gameplay will take some work.  I like the Fenns up front, and the Highwaymen mixed up behind them.  The Fenns Vengeance, and Mirage out of Melee.  Highwaymen shoot what's left, and clear out what's in front of the Fenns.  Fenns charge and annihilate something else.  There's going to be games where the Highwaymen get Mirage, for Opportunist purposes, but right now, I like them just supporting Fenns, and they did it beautifully.

  At the end of the game, I had half my fenns, three or four burrowers, seven or eight Highwaymen, Dozer, Pyre, four warders (That contested the other zone all turn, trading blows with two light jacks), and most of my support.  It was pretty onesided since the Highwaymen murdered the tarpit, and just started putting POW15-17s into whatever they wanted to that wasn't engaged.

  I really like these guys, and I'll be waiting in line when they hit the stores.

EDIT:  Oh yeah!  The real meta changer this book?  Plastic Kriels.  Plastic Runeshapers.  That Blood of Bragg list you've been wanting to play without a 2nd Mortgage is available now.  Runes of War can now be fielded without twice-monthly blood plasma donations.  That's more metachanging than Borka2 ever will be.

  I'm excited for these dudes, but I don't want to paint any more units....  They'll probably be primer grey for two years.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

50pts Calandra vs. Madrak2. Evolutionary Elementalism vs. Blood Fury

In the nearly year that I've been playing trolls, I've not had any mirror matchups. Another gamer just switched from Khador and his infuriating Harkevich list (seriously), to Trollbloods, and an infuriating Calandra list (Starcrossed. Infuriating by nature). Not only is it Calandra, it's Calandra's NQ theme, Evolutionary Elementalism. It's a tier I've been wanting to play on the table for awhile, and have only vassaled. I don't know if it's got quite the power that Runes of War does, but it's a brutal theme non the less, and pairs well with RoW, as if Trolls needed another powerhouse theme force.

The kicker is all elemental lights (Winter, Storm, Pyre and Slag), and you can bring Warders, the KSB, Runeshapers, and whelps. Tier IV is to bring a Mountain King, but we don't talk about that. Most players hang out at Tier III, which grants cheaper warbeasts, AD warbeasts and for every unit of Runeshapers, you get a fury in the stone, all of which ammounts to a 4pt Pyre troll that starts 13-16'' up the board with +2 ARM. The downsides to this is a lot of fury ends up on the board, you can't bring most Troll support (Fell Caller, Chronicler), and I don't know how well this list would handle 2 stormwalls.

I don't have 2 stormwalls. I have Madrak2, my answer for any high-armor skews, which 10+ light trolls at ARM18-19 definitely is.

My opponent's list was:

Max KSB w/UA

Incidentally, this is an awesomely well painted force, and I was excited to get pics of it.

My list is my standard Madrak2 one. It's seen very little change over the last several months. I'd really like to be able to drop the Bomber and Impaler combo for two lights, but everytime I do that, someone brings Kayazy or Nyss, and My Fenns just swing hopelessly for four turns.

Max Fenns w/UA
Max Warders
Min KSB w/UA
Max Burrowers
Stone Scribe Chronicler
Fell Caller

We rolled off, I won, and chose second so I could pick sides of the actually fairly symmetrical map. Deployment was pretty straightforward since his stuff was pretty symmetrical, and mine ends up stacked anyways. I put Warders behind the woods because I could get them path finder and run them through. I do spread out the Burrowers though because this particular opponent is 2 for 2 for drifting AOEs into them on the top of Turn 1 and killing at least half.

It makes me sad.

His stuff moves up, the stone pops aura, yeah. My stuff runs, SSC gets Concealment on the Fenns, and the Bomber tries to drift into the other KSB. No luck. Burrowers burrow. KSB pops aura, and says no continuous effects.

The trolls move up. The Winter troll sprays the warders and tries to get the first two, but only hits the first. That crits though, and freezes him in place, essentially blocking my warders for a turn. The Storms and Pyres move up and force toughs on the four leading Fenns, boosting the shots on the guys behind the wall, needing 11s to hit, both of which hit. One may have used a reroll from Calandra, but I don't think so. One eleap hits Grim and forces a Grim Salvation, which takes a KSB dude. The Slags run around, and Calandra tucks in behind the wall on her side casts Soothing song (removing a point of fury from all beasts) and Starcrossed (Extra dice on my attacks, remove the highest) and the KSB spread out, popping aura.

Burrowers emerge. Fenns move up 3'' with Vengeance, including the Kithkar who moves 5. Fell Caller puts WarCry (+2 to hit in melee) Runebearer moves over, minifeats and puts Blood Fury on the Burrowers. Burrowers charge into three trolls, and under starcrossed, fail to kill a single light warbeast. I think I miiiiggggght have gotten half on one, but yeah. The Kithkar charges in, engaging three lights. He misses both times, needing just 5s to hit. So the Fenns charge, needing sixes to hit. Under Starcrossed, maybe four hit. As the light warbeasts are hit, they pop whelps, adding annoyance into the issue, which essentially ups my opponent's light warbeasts to DEF13. Trying to get sevens under starcrossed with the dice I had yesterday was pretty rough. I saw double ones out of three dice way more than I'd like to admit.

It's way to early to feat, but I'm going to lose most of these models in the next turn, and everything's really engaged except the Warders which are still locked behind Mr. Freeze. So the Impaler moves up, puts Farstrike on the Bomber and he puts two shots into the KSB, hitting both times, and it toughs both times. I shuffle warders, and one makes a run trying to engage stuff, but doesn't. Madrak moves up, feats. Bomber tosses another one, and I actually kill the KSB Bearer, and it self sacs to another dude. But at least the Aura is down.

Everything swings again, except the Burrowers who don't get to use their gun in the feat (Learned that one yesterday. Point-Blank is during activation only), and I kill one storm troll, leave the purple Pyre on 1 box, and the Kithkar misses everything except the DEF13 whelp. I needed fives. Fives, people, and I missed 5 times. Starcrossed and less-than-average dice are rage inducing. I kill one out of each Runeshaper unit, and they both pass CMD from Terror on the Fenns.

KSB moves up, pops aura. Janissa drops a wall. SSC runs and realizes he's pretty much useless in this matchup.

My opponent looks over his list, and realizes that he has two undamaged Storm trolls, and that he'd been putting all the damage from 2 trolls onto 1. So I probably shouldn't have even killed the one that I did. Calandra activates, loads the stone, casts Starcrossed, feats, and hangs out. The Runeshapers on the right activate, and one shoots the Winter in the back, doing no damage, but killing two of the Burrowers engaged with it, and toughing the third. The Winter aims and puts a spray right down my front lines, and kills most of my burrowers and Fenns right there.

Slag on the left moves up, puts two solid shots into my Bomber, but destroys no aspects. The Storm kills the useless Kithkar. The left Runeshapers free up the Pyres, and the Pyres put another shot into the Bomber, and the other drifts onto Janissa for no damage, Madrak tanks decent at ARM19 and 1 grunt dies. .

At the end of the turn, I have three Burrowers (One is a Khador arc node in the back), 2 Fenns, and all of my Warders. Calandra has forced maybe 2 rerolls, but for the most part, her feat has done the rest. A couple of whelps run up to block warder charge lanes and that's it.

Alright. Warder are what are left. The Fenns vengeance, and one tries to hit a Whelp in the back, needing a five, and misses. I drop upkeeps. The Fenns go. One stands up, misses the pyre, and the other kills the whelp. The two Burrowers that have been passing CMD great both miss the Pyre four times between the two of them. The Fell Caller put Warcry on the Warders. Madrak moves up, boosts to hit and puts his axe into what's left of the Pyre. He then puts Blood Fury on the Warders. Janissa drops a wall, and what's left of the KSB push in behind them and pop aura for +1 STR.

Impaler crit slams the Right slag all of 1'' back, and does no damage. The Bomber kills the KSB bearer, and I think leaves it at that. The Warders try to charge, but because they have no pathfinder, I only get one into charge range of the half-dead winter troll, and he actually hits, but fails to kill it. The rest of the Warders just run around. The SSC charges the black Slag, and misses.

So far, my opponent's fury management has been fantastic, between all of the whelps and soothing song, which is exactly how the list is supposed to run. The Pyre walks up, puts Flaming Fists on the Slag, and after the other Pyre and white Storm shoot the bomber (which arcs, kills another KSB grunt, and I think Janissa too finally), Slag charges in and kills him. The other slag puts more shots into Madrak, which may have actually killed Janissa (I know Grim Salvation took her, not actual damage). The Runeshapers work on Warders, and force tough on two of them, and kill another. One Fenn gets hit in there somewhere too and toughs. Starcrossed comes back out, since Calandra is perfectly safe behind her wall. Oh, and the Winter Troll sprays the Impaler and Madrak, and manages to get a crit freeze on Madrak. Of course.

All in. I've got four Warders left, my Impaler, Madrak2, and a smattering of other stuff. The KSB is completely gone. Madrak spends a fury to shake stationary. I figure if I can Blood Fury the Warders, get Warcry onto them, and get Madrak into the fight, I can kill maybe two trolls this turn, and make it difficult to kill Madrak, which if that happens, it's probably my game still. So Moses gets Harmonious Exaltation onto him, the Fell Caller Warcries the Warders. Madrak charges the Slag, hits him and does decent damage. He puts Blood Fury on the the Warders, and buys another attack on the Slag, which I believe misses (Starcrossed. The Table Flipper of the 21st century).

The Blood Furied Warders get two charges, and the other two just move to inconvenient locations. The one that charged the Storm troll... misses? Or something? I don't remember. The other one charged the winter troll and kills him. But that's the only troll that dies this turn.

The Storm troll walks into Madrak, picks him and throws him... into the Runeshaper to the left of the white Storm troll. Not very far. Doesn't do damage. The Runeshapers shoot Madrak for damage and I transfer both, expecting that the POW14s from the guns will be worse than what POW12 trolls will do. The yellow storm tries to walk over and punch a KD madrak in the face, but my Warder that gets a free strike and is still under blood fury while my opponent has not popped his KSB aura yet. On 5 dice, I oneshot the troll. I don't think he had damage before that, if he did, it wasn't much.

That's what should have been happening all game, dangit.

The Slag walks up though, and finishes Madrak, who does not tough.

And I forgot the picture...

Thoughts on the game:

1. I own Calandra. I actually bought her with my 3rd place cash prize I won two weeks ago at a small Steamroller. I've played her on Vassal some, but I really need to put her on the table. This game definitely cements that idea. I can't wait to get her out there with Highwaymen.

2. This was a terrible map. I had a wall and forest on either side, and Calandra had her own little bunker. That's acceptable with Janissa. Janissa wasn't here for Calandra. This map was built before I or my opponent got to it and played on it, but you can't tell. Calandra was pretty happy at DEF friggin 20 all game.

3. I botched a lot in this game. For starters, my Bomber should have been shooting trolls all game, not KSB. Although, it would have helped if he hadn't toughed three times, but still, my Bomber was outside of Starcrossed, and should have been doing boosted POW16s into ARM18 trolls.

4. I should have used Madrak to cast Killing Ground (Relentless Charge for faction models), and let more Warders charge. That at least would have got 2 warders into the Winter troll, and probably kill it, which would have not made for a stationary Madrak next turn, which would have helped a bit.

5. I needed to play Madrak more agressively. Janissa shouldn't be within an inch of him. Not till late game. If I had managed to keep her alive that last turn, she was charging with her AP attack everyone forgets she has. She'd of probably missed it, but ok.

I really don't think this was a horrible matchup for me. It wasn't amazing, and anytime there's Stormtrolls, any support is in jeapordy, but there was so many activation issues I had where I could have gotten +1 STR out there with the stone for the feat turn, and I didn't. That'd of been a dead Pyre. Maybe other stuff. I should have been using Moses as a Grim Salvation target later on in the game, and I never did. The Fell Caller is completely capable of doing work, but I wasn't able to squeeze him through the woods with the Warders in the way most of the game.

Overall, it was a good game, and I had a glimmer of hope there at the end, but it just wasn't meant to be. I definitely should have just done reville with the Fell Caller and let the Warders all stand up, maybe get more charges in, but I was so frustrated with missing when I just needed 5s and 4s that I couldn't see doing anything BUT warcry.

Incidentally, the rumors about GF9 dice being hot are all lies, and I'll be buying dice this week I think.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Painting metals with a cross between NMM and regular metal flake paints. Part I: Gold/Bronze

  I'm pushing through my Trollbloods, listening to Chain Attack and deciding whether or not I like the taste of coke mixed with the paint on my tongue.  I think the coke still wins out.  Coke, as in coca-cola, you people.

  Painting metals is interesting.  Quite often as a new painter, we see a paint that has the flakes in it, and we go "Oh, that's obviously for metals" and we use it, and we're very happy with how it turns out because the flakes mixed into the paint do their very best to reflect the light wherever you are, accurate to how real metal acts.

  That works ok the first couple of times you do it, but after you start shading things, you notice that the metal is rather flat.  So you buy 2 more shades of steel out of the 5 that so and so company offer, and you attempt some metal shading.  See my axer's blade and armor below.

 Couple different shades of metal, touch of highlights, a wash, highlights again.  Some guys can do this really well, and it's where most of us hang out when painting metal.  We catch what we know is going to be brighter, and hope that the paint does the rest for us.  The other side of the coin is:

  NMM, or Non-Metal Metalics.  The reflection and lighting is still there, but it's painted based off of the artist's preference, and generally looks very clean.  There's two sub-categories to NMM.  The first is realistic looking NMM, or a paintstyle that is looking for the same realistic (ish) quality the rest of your model is looking for.

  This is from Arthur Nicholson's blog, which is still being updated.  Last update was the 16th, so if you're looking for a painter to watch, here's a guy.  His NMM is beautiful, and just destroys our perception of regular metalics. 

  The second version of NMM is a non-realistic version that Arizona_Troll on the Privateer forums is known for.

  I showed this the other day, and I think it's a perfect example.  The goal here is to represent the model in a more cartoonish style, as it's been described.  Wholesome colors, very well done gradients, subtle colors.  His thread is here if you missed it before.

  What we're going to talk about today is trying to blend the two styles.  I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I've had much better luck being able to blend metals when I have more control of the colors.  Especially with armor where I want a higher contrast, I can mix black into my base metal color, and have it primarily black with just a little bit of a sheen from the metalics in the paint.  I never particularly increase the sheen, but I lighten the color with each shade, until the very final highlight that is usually the brightest chrome/gold that I have.

  The paints and support I am using are Vallejo and a retarder from Golden Additives (I think I got it a hobby lobby).  The paints are:

Game Color Beasty Brown (My base color)
Game Color Glorious Gold (My base dark metal)
Model Color Desert Yellow (My highlight)
Game Color Polished Gold (My highlight metal)
Model Color Marron Chocolate (My wash color)
Thinner Medium

  If you haven't worked with Vallejo before, it's a miniature paint that comes in dropper bottles.  I find that I have to water down Vallejo the least, especially compared to GW's stuff.  I also like their range considerably, but it doesn't matter because since it comes in dropper bottles, I'm always going to be mixing it.  You'll notice I mentioned Game Color and Model Color.  The GC will have a wider range, your blues, reds, all that stuff.  It's designed for the wargaming world, be that 40k, Fantasy, WMH, Infinity, you name it.  MC is for your Historical model hobbyists.  The panoramic display stuff that focuses primarily on WWII tanks, planes, etc.  So if you're looking for very specific greens, tans, browns, greys, those are in the Model Color range.  I haven't noticed any difference in consistency from one to the other, but rather, where they are sold.  I can find the Model Color range at Hobby Lobby, or next to the Flames of War displays at the game shop, and I can find the Game Color range at most hobby stores.  So, let's paint.

  My base mix is a 1-1 Beasty Brown and Glorious Gold.  I add in a little retarder so it dries just a little slower. There's two reasons for this.  It adds a medium to the paint that's cheaper than just adding more paint, and secondly, it keeps from drying so quick.  This is cool for blending, but more importantly, it's cool to keep the paint in the pot wet while I'm changing podcasts, and taking pictures.  My Fell Caller is basecoated in black, which normally would be an issue for metal paints, but since we're mixed with a regular paint, that's not going to be as much of an issue.  I think it still took two coats, but I'm ok with that.

  You'll notice that the shade's are fairly similar to the leather brown stuff already on this model.  The wood barrel, the legs, that stuff is not being painted currently.  You're looking at the horn on the back, the armor scales, gauntlet and a little bit of the leg armor. 

  So the base coat is down, and despite the shadow on the horn in the left picture, it's not reflecting a whole lot.  A little, but not much.  I add some Desert Yellow and an equal amount of more Glorious Gold.  The entire amount of paint added is about a third of what is in there now.  I also add three or four drops of thinner.  You can use water for this.  I bought my thinner for my airbrush, and I like it for this application as well.  Brush everything that's not in a recess, except on the main horn.  I try to stay out of the cracks, and I'm not painting underneath the horn.

  I'm not liking these pics, so I change the background.

  Now I mix a wash.  That Marron Brown with water at a ratio of 1-4.  I used a number 2 liner brush (bristles about an inch long) and put a little bit of wash on it.  I washed all of the bronze, and took it off in excessive areas.  

  Now I add just a little desert yellow to the mix, and some of my lighter metal, the Polished Gold.  The ratio is probably 1-2, maybe 1-3.  There's already some desert tan in this paint, and the Polished Gold is going to lighten the mix already, so there's no need to bomb it with the Desert Yellow.  

  Don't be afraid to keep some paint on your brush instead of brushing off the excess.  You really struggle to build up any difference in shade, whereas if you leave paint on the brush, drop it on there where your first impulse is "Oh man, I just ruined this thing", but then spread it out with your brush, it will blend better, and you'll get a better contrast.  On this pic, you see the color transition best on the sword hilt.

  Keep adding Polished Gold as you continue layering/blending here.  You'll start seeing the light reflecting off your painted areas decently, but not nearly as mottled as it is normally, and you've got better control of the color.

  For the final step, just drop a little bit of the Polished Gold by itself on your tray somewhere, and do the final highlights.

  On the picture to the right, I can see where I failed to blend the upper side of the horn, so what I can do is bring some of my previous shade (the darker blend) and blend back up into the horn.

   Unfortunately in this picture, I can't show the reflectivity that I'm getting with this mix of paint.  Right here, it just looks like a brown.  Holding it in my hand, it looks like a well-blended bronze, which is what I want.  You can see it on the armor a bit more, but it's still not what I'm seeing.

  Overall, I like this style of painting, and I've been very happy with it's results.  In this case, I would have preferred more contrast, and I think I would have started with a darker metal, and the same brown.  Vallejo GC has a dark bronze called Tinny Tin, and then a reddish bronze called Hammered Copper, and the Hammered Copper would have been a good contrast to this I think.  Overall though, I'm very pleased with it.  Give it a shot on a solo, see what you think, and let me know.  Part II will be silver/grey, and should be here in the next couple of weeks.