I have two ADR lists I really need to try out before my tournament in a week and a half. 80% of the units I need for Grim2 is in the mail... so... I played what I wanted to last week, and I really like Borka2.
My opponent is my friend that plays Legion, and he's breaking out Bethayne and Thags1 for ADR. Normally, my drop would be Jarl w/ Long Riders, but that list also has Fire Eaters for ADR, and they're not even released yet (Wednesday!). I really like Borka2, and I don't know what he looks like against Legion based on first hand experience. So that's what we rolled with.
My opponent'sI list looks like:
Striders w/ UA
Pretty simple. My opponent had a bunch of new stuff and wanted to play it. I've not played against the wasps yet, or Maximus, so that was going to be a treat. He's got ways to deal with infantry spam between Striders, Wasps and Zuriel. Maybe not a Grissel1 tier infantry spam, but definitely a unit or two. Then of course there's three solid heavies in the list, four if you count Thags bringing back his favorite one. Happily, I have snacking, so I'm not terribly worried.
Min KSB w/UA
I love this list. Borka2 brings an ability to me to play the game, all game through. When I push the button on the clock, I'm still holding my dice because I have 6 countercharges available to me, and all but one of them have reach, and he compensates by having a spray that ignores EVERYTHING on my team (except KSB, but they're in the back). Building Borka2 lists is a game of bringing as many beasts as possible for countercharges, and debating what the best tarpit unit is. For me, it's Highwaymen. Fenns or Kriels are a major consideration, but HWM are 8pts, and go to DEF16 with Borka's Snow Shroud spell. That's pretty decent. In this case, Striders had hunter, so DEF16 didn't happen, but in most other cases, it's an issue. On top of that, they bring a lot of ranged attacks, and CRAs into stationary beasts are always cool. Especially ARM17 Legion ones. The KSB is great because it means that basically every beast is ARM20. It's not a 3M list, but it's definitely got some ARM to it. The kicker is getting there without getting hit by something else en-route, and doing it on any other turn but feat turn. Quite frankly, Borka2 is a blast to play, and I think he has a higher skill cap than one would think simply because of Battlecharged. The feat is killer too. Most of the time, it just turns out to be a turn where I don't get attacked much. However, if timed correctly, (e.g., I get first turn), it can force some pretty challenging questions.
I won the rolloff, and elected to go first, because of that. I'm ok with second, but it usually forces me to feat defensively with Borka2. My HWM get split up, beasts on all sides, and my lights on the flanks. Unpacking this mess and allowing countercharges simultaneously is a nightmare I haven't figured out yet.
My stuff moves up. Because the Striders have Hunter, I opt not to cast Snow Shroud, and I do nothing but fill the stone with fury and run with Borka2. He only runs about 11 inches up because I don't want to find out that there's a Legion trick I don't know about with Zuriel. A full CRA is possible from the Striders, but Borka will be ARM20 under the stone, so I'm pretty sure he can't be one-shotted. I basically baiting my opponent into giving Mulg an extra 4'' move on my turn.
HWM move up, and my beasts push as hard as they can forward. I effectively box Rok in unfortunately, but my KSB gets up there and pops aura. Everything but two HWM way out on the left flank.
My opponent opens the ball with the Striders who move up and CRA in two man groups into the HWM. He seriously considered the CRA option into Borka, but felt like he would accomplish more killing HWM. Oddly enough, he didn't, rolling snake eyes twice, and only forcing one tough before reforming back. The Scythean gets Draconic Blessing, Fog of War comes up, and everything pushes forward, with the Wasps really getting out near the front.
Having gone first, I'm a decent range up the board for the scenario (Close Quarters, incidentally). I feel like I'm in a decent position to push up into my opponent's face and cause problems feating. I want to get Borka into range of dominating on my next turn, and I want to deal with Maximus before he gets in my face. I also need to set up charge lanes for my beasts to countercharge.
What happens is I lead off with my Highwaymen. I get them going, but I'm out of range on the right for Maximus. I've got three or four in range of the Wasps though, and I need hard eights to hit without CRAing. The Striders are DEF17 with everything considered. I decide to stick with the Wasps, and go for hard eights. I crank the next couple of attack rolls and my Highwaymen kill two of them. I hit the one in the center of the group of Striders, but I only hit him once, and leave him for Borka.
Then my Axer on the right casts his animus on himself for 2, and charges Maximus for a third fury, needing a 7 to hit. That doesn't happen, and the Axer sits there full on fury and glares at the pig.
Borka feats, casts Battle Charged, and assaults the closest Wasp, boosts to hit, hits and kills the Wasp and all three Striders around it. He's now sitting way up the board, pretty much alone, and out of control range of the two left light warbeasts. They proceed to walk into control range, Mulg and Rok run. I can't get Rok into a decent position, but Mulg is set up with a pretty clear lane forward. The KSB ends up packed around Rok, getting the aura to most of the army. The Runebearer minifeats and gets Snow Shroud onto the Highwaymen so they can be a part of the feat.
This leaves Borka stealthed at DEF14, ARM20 with 2 transfers.
So, my beasts and more importantly, my caster, are wide open, but under the feat they only get one melee attack before they're stationary. Also, because I have Mulg, I have protective fit. For every bit of damage, Mulg is going to move 4''.
Draconic Blessing gets upkept, Fog of War goes away. Maximus charges in and hits the Axer for pretty decent damage. I think one spiral goes down. Then Max becomes Stationary.
The last wasp charges in, staying out of melee range of Borka, and charges Mulg, wedging into the left corner. This activates the Bouncer's countercharge. He charges, needing a 7, and misses. Between the wasp and the KSB on the right, Mulg can't move forward. This sucks.
Striders move in to shoot at Highwaymen, and the Axer on the left charges, missing. He engages about four of them though. The rest shoot at Highwaymen, but sitting at ARM16, only kill a couple of them.
Thags pushes in hard and tosses an obliteration at Borka, but because he's stealth, it deviates and kills one KSB guy and that's it. He forgets to use his spray and activates the pot. They push past Thags and pop a Stinger. It charges Borka, cranks the damage roll and does 10 boxes. I transfer to the bouncer. Mulg seethingly changes facing slightly.
The Carnivean assaults. The spray misses Borka, but hits two KSB and a Highwayman, and the Stinger. Kills the Highwayman, and both KSB, clearing up Mulg. Also kills the Stinger, giving another fury to Thags, bringing him up to four. The melee strike hits Borka for good damage and he transfers to the axer on the left. Now he's stationary too.
The Scythean decides to go in after Mulg and block him from Thags. He hits Mulg once for good damage, goes stationary, and Mulg drops a whelp in front of him trying to block a charge lane from Zuriel who has yet to activate.
Zuriel goes, moves in within an inch of the whelp and sprays everything. He's down 1 RAT because of the whelp, which he misses with his first spray. He boosts to hit on Borka, and hits. Fails to break ARM at -8. He sprays again, and gets three boxes of damage. And the whelp lives.
The Blackfrost shard move up and stealth.
So it worked. Blocking in Mulg just almost got me. I can either walk away from this and probably kill both the Scythean and Carnivean, then dominate for two, or I can try to clear a path to Thags and let Mulg do his thing. I'm pretty sure I can get to Thags by removing just two of the Spawning Vessel's acolytes, so I decide to see how that goes first. I drop all upkeeps, pull in all the fury I can. The Axer that Maximus hit eats the whelp he popped, and rolls a 5 for d3 boxes to heal. Mulg leaves the whelp he spawned alive because Zuriel at -1MAT/RAT is funny to me.
The Highwaymen activate, open fire and kill the two acolytes easily. They shoot the Striders and I think miss most of them. The Axer moves in and threshers, killing the one Blackfrost Shard he could reach, two more acolytes, and calls it a day. The Bouncer smushes the wasp. KSB moves up, pops aura for +1STR
Rok assaults in and misses Thags, but gets close enough to Primal Mulg. Mulg walks around the pot and starts swinging at Thags needing 5s to hit. He can reach with his mace, but not his fist. I swing 6 times, missing once on snake eyes. Thags uses all four transfers, killing the Carnivean and hurting both other heavies pretty severely. Mulg was rolling at PS19 -2 because of Thagrosh, +1 from the stone, +2 from Primal, so altogether +4 on Thags (I think). Every time he hit was at least 7 damage, if not 10 to 14. The carnivean dieing fed back two damage to Thags, but Mulg is out now. I think about running Borka for it, but realize that with the Carnivean gone, Borka's easily in range of walking around everything and reaching Thags. SPD7 cav casters with reach are awesome. So Borka moves up, boosts to hit, hits, does damage. Buys, boosts, does trip ones. Last attack, buys, boosts, and puts Thags in the ground.
Thoughts on the game:
1. I've been really wanting to throw Borka2 to the wolves like that and see what happens. Usually I'm trying to answer questions, and Borka2 actually poses some very serious ones. Things went bad when he boxed Mulg. Things went much better when he cleared Mulg off. The key mistakes in that were A) Obviously clearing Mulg B) Not spraying with Thags (he forgot to) and C) Not leaving room for the Scythean to hit him. Borka was down 3 boxes. One good solid melee hit from a heavy would have sealed it. Granted, the Bouncer missing the average roll needed to hit the wasp kinda stunk, but meh.
2. I have to figure out how to unpack this list. Rok is actually one of my key models because of his spray, and not having him close enough to the front line to really ever get it off on the countercharge hurt. The obstacle on the right kind of limited me, but it's still something I need to take into account. Unpacking this list is something I almost need to do on an empty table three or four times and figure it out before taking it into the field.
Overall, it was a fun game, and could have very easily gone either way. My dice were hot pretty early on (RAT5 POW10 trolls should not be one-shotting 5 box Legion wasps under Fog of War). They tried to abandon me later in the game, but held out. Borka2 is easily one of the most fun casters in Trolls to play. I can't say that he's as competitive an option as Madrak2, but I'm certainly a long ways from the skepticism I had when he first came out. Between his feat and countercharge, he poses some serios problems. An ARM20 warbeast skew that plays on your opponent's turn almost as much as it does on yours is awesome, and watching a player try to work out the order of activations in his head when he's trying to do anything to your list is hilarious. A single countercharge from you can ruin anything, everything, and a single countercharge could move your favorite warbeast into range of Ghetorix. It's a tight game to play and I really enjoy it.
Hope you enjoyed the read! I've got an ADR masters here in a few weeks, I'm taking Jarl and Grim2. We'll see how that goes.
In other news, I got my PG status, so I'm excited about that. I'm also somehow now a commission painter, and I have two Krakens to assemble and paint in the next couple of weeks. I'm not a huge Cryx fan, but I'm looking forward to these. I think. And hey, Gargs again! Another Mt. King to paint. I'm excited. I'll buy Zapdos for my wife too, but mainly so I can beg her to let me paint that guy too.