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.

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