For me, I just wanted to deal with Triple Posse and the Sacral Vault at once, and I felt like Madrak2 could do it. Grim2 could struggle through it a bit more (mainly through mortality and bypassing Unyielding by doing the work with ranged attacks), and I think Borka2 might have an ok shot at it, but overall, Madrak2 just crushes ARM skews so well. So we rematched.
He traded his list up a little, mainly with a caster change, which in Gators, doesn't do a great deal. It changes the way the list is played a little, but not the list itself.
*Spiny Growth Bot
*Spiny Growth Bot
Witch Doc Croc
Witch Doc Croc
The main changes to the list is a slightly different BG, the inclusion of Pendrake which worries me not at all, and the double Witch Doc Crocs because of Maelok's feat, oh and the Totem Hunter, which worries my Fire Eaters a little. This means the everlasting supply of Shamblers is gone, which makes me super happy. On top of that, incorporeal on feat turn is super pointless when I have a stone in my list.
Which, because it's Madrak2, I do.
Max Fenns w/UA
Min Scats w/UA
Min KSB w/UA
Fell Caller (Kithkar proxy)
Stone Scribe Chronicler
Major changes to this list? Very little. I dumped the Kriel Warriors though and dropped in the Scattergunners. I don't expect this to make any major differences, but I definitely feel like I'll get more out of the Scats than I do Kriels. 'Clear!' lets me do a bit more work, and can definitely touch the Vault a little safer, but for the most part, I'm just to a point where I hate Kriel Warriors. Other options are the Sons of Bragg, but the Scats get me 8 models for I think 7 pts, instead of 3 for 6. I'm considering purchasing Shamblers for Madrak2, but haven't done it yet. I used to run Warders, and I may go back to that, but meh. So, we roll off, and I lose, but take the more open side, hoping to pin him in a bit with the forest and the obstruction in the middle.
The Scenario is also a much better option this time than Incursion. Madrak and his 10'' control radius prefers central zones much more than things like Incursion or Outflank. The sweet thing about this one is that unlike Destruction, and it being a game of who can hold 1 zone and who can't (Sacral Vault becomes a must-kill object), this one has flags off to the side that people can dominate for 1 point instead.
So we deploy. Because this scenario has objectives, we actually get to pick some. Arcane Wonder goes to Maelok, and I pick Effigy of Valor because I failed probably 5 CMD checks last game. So it's pretty key in this list.
The Fire Eaters on the left land Prey, and the Totem hunter moves through the woods towards them. I figure 4pts vs. 3pts is fairly ok, especially when it's the Totem Hunter. Everything else pushes forward. Death Pact goes on the center gators for +2ARM and undead. I don't remember if Malediction does down or not. I don't think so.
My stuff runs. Fenns spread way out. The Scattergunners fill in behind. Burrowers burrow. Madrak dumps fury to the stone and moves forward. KSB pushes hard and pops aura. Beast rile up to 5, and Fire Eaters do nonchalant things and pretend they're not going to wreck the whole army next turn. Maybe. The left guys move away from the Fire Eater though. Hero's Tragedy goes on the Fenns in an attempt to stave off the Gators getting a solid alpha.
Maelok upkeeps Death Pact. The Totem Hunter walks in and hops over the first rank, landing in the Scats. He hits one that toughs, and kills the other. Then sprints away because he's a turd. The Crocs all run, some farther than others trying to engage and cause problems, trying to force me to feat early to clear them. The Witch Doc Crocs (WDC hereon out) get Zombify out there so that Undead is on all three units, and that's pretty much it.
Burrowers emerge in pairs and hang out, one specifically within four of the objective.
So right off the bat, the Fire Eaters on the left assault the Totem hunter and toast him easily. I position the two big guys in melee and slam the little guy into the back, failing the charge but getting the assault off and lighting the other two on fire. The Totem Hunter died in flames.
Right Pyre throws an AOE into the right Fire Eaters, lights them up They walk forward and kill the Gator engaging my Fenn. Burrowers aim and fire, killing three, maybe four gators. Madrak activates, moves a little. I really want to get him into the zone, but I want Blood Fury on the Fenns, and they need to move out of his way. I could use the Runebearer, but I want to save his minifeat for the feat turn, which is not this turn. So he activates, shuffles forward a little, lands Blood Fury on the Fenns and fills the stone. Fell Caller warcries the fenns and the Fenns charge, and kill another three gators.
The dead pile is looking good for a non-feat turn. I'm reasonably ok with this. The Scattergunners move around a bit, put some more damage on more gators, and pile around Madrak for Grim Salvation. The Stone moves forward, tries to block LOS to the stone as much as possible because I fully expect Maelok's feat. My stone will shut it down for the most part, but the Vault is going to try to shoot it. Or Maelok will revive gators into it and kill it. It's probably going to die, but I'm still trying.
My storm moves up and looks mean. That's pretty much it for now.
So this is probably Maelok's feat turn. If you haven't been caught by that particular gotcha, everything that is undead gains Incorporeal. This means Maelok brings lots of Croc Docs, and between them and his upkeep, three units of Gators are undead. They also gain +2 ARM. Against a lot of trollblood lists, the Incorporeal doesn't bother us at all because the KSB Elder gets rid of Incorporeal in the Stone aura.
So my opponent needs to kill the Stone. I've blocked LOS halfway decent, but there's a few tricks Maelok is known for. First off, the Vault can probably get LOS, but there's one Fenn, maybe two in the way. I've only got one Self-Sac target nearby for the stone, so he's only got to kill it twice, unless he toughs. I don't want him to tough, because then he's KD and the Aura is down.
So the Vault opens fire. I think it hangs out where it's at, and rolls a D3 for shots. It gets two shots I think. He wanted three, but he'll take two. There's one Fennblade , right behind the burrowers, in the way blocking LOS, and he shoots it. I tough, but now it's KD. The second shot goes into the stone, shoots it, and I self sac the one guy I have within 3''.
Maelok activates, feats, and revives three gators out of the right most unit, keeping them in command and getting one within charge range of the stone. They pray for rerolls, charge and the one that gets to the stone misses everything or fails to break arm. The dice absolutely abandon him. He doesn't fare much better against the Fire Eaters he charged with the other two outside of tieing them up. So for the most part, the feat does nothing because of the stone.
Gators on the left move up and kill burrowers. Croc Docs do Croc Doc things.
It's feat turn for me. I need all his stuff to die. I'm not too worried about the Sacral Vault, even though it's going to contest the zone every turn. However, I can start pushing right to dominate the flag. I really want my Fire Eaters to go to town on the right though, but they're tied up. Fenns Vengeance and kill a few things, nothing crazy. The Fell Caller gives himself +2 to hit, and charges into the Gator on the far right, killing him easily.
The Pyre troll charges into the gator still engaging those Fire Eaters, and fails to kill him with Tough, and being crazy hi-ARM. The Chronicler does Charge of the Trolls, and fails to kill him. The Fenn Blades activate, move and and one charges him and HE FAILS TOO. So the Scats go, and they shuffle around. The leader moves way over and sprays across. That doesn't work either. The stone pops aura, shuffles around, and Madrak activates, feats. Everything tries again, and still cannot kill him. I end up using one of the Fire Eaters, who's still on fire miraculously, to spray across, and he kills the Gator, which finally fails tough, and I kill the Chronicler too. The fenns all swing at stuff again, the Scats spray stuff, and all the Burrowers kill some things in the feat too. There's one gator left on the far left side. I think the Center unit is dead completely, and right unit still has a few models. There were three gators dead Center that I really wanted the Fire Eaters to kill, but by the time the eaters are free, I've actually killed all of those gators. So they assault into the ones left in the back and kill one, but not the other. The Sacral Vault is down a few boxes from a Blood Fury Fennblade UA going after him, but it's still largely ok.
Maelok's grasping for strings at this point. He revives a gator on the right, revives two on the left and kills all the Fire Eaters. The two beasts get involved, but that's largely it. The Stormtroll on the left is an issue for him because he wants to get the Vault further into the zone, but the Fennblade UA hangs on with Tough and the Stormtroll won't die even though it's waaaaaaaay out of Madrak's control.
Fenns Vengeance around a bit. The Burrowers are mostly dead. The Scats focus on clearing Gators out of the zone so they can't revive towards the flag that Madrak is headed towards. I fail to kill one, and the Storm troll is really struggling at MAT5 to kill the other. Blood Furied Fennblades kill the Bull Snapper, and Madrak personally charges the other two on the right, annihilates them and uses the 1'' movement after each kill to move base to base with the flag. I score 1CP I think.... I don't think it's 2 for some reason to do with the Scenario. Otherwise this game would have ended quickly after this.
Maelok's down to one unit of Gators. He revives most of them and kills most of the Trolls in the Zone and starts working on the objective. He reeeaally needs to kill the Stormtroll though because that's what is blocking him from moving into the zone with the Vault and being relevant. However, between the Croc, the Croc Doc, the Vault and Maelok himself, his dice are not cooperating and the Stormtroll survives. He does not contest and I go to 2 CP.
Blood Fury is upkept on the Fenns. They wipe out the Objective, taking me to 3CP. Madrak moves Blood Fury to the Krielstone unit. The Pyre Troll shoots a Gator and kills it. Fell Caller lands War Cry on the KrielStone dudes, and they kill some gators, leaving just one. Again. Which the Storm Troll leaves alive, again. I dominate for a 4th CP.
The last Gator charges the two Fenns near the Vault, and Maelok kills the Stormtroll, then revives two more gators to contest the flag. The Vault moves in, kills everthing left in the zone, but does not score because my Objective contests.
Fell Caller puts War Cry on Maddy, who (with Harmonious Exhaltation from Moses) puts Blood Fury on himself. He kills both Gators easily, moves back to the Flag and dominates for the 5th and final CP, winning the game.
Thoughts on the game:
1. I felt like I did much better handling the Vault this game. As in, I didn't kill it, but didn't let it stop me too much either. I won with a slow CP victory, but overall was pretty content with everything. I kind of wish I had moved more central with Madrak2 and cleared the zone with him instead, but that would have been an even longer game. However, he could have killed the gators, got the Stormtroll back into range and cleaned up everything that was left, leaving Maelok and the Vault which is hardly enough to deal with Madrak2 and the number of models I had left.
2. Fire Eaters are stupid good. They didn't do much this game, but I don't think I've played a game since without them.
3. Revive is annoying.
Honestly, this game was two or three weeks ago. So many turns, so it took forever to write. I'm fuzzy on most of the details, but overall I'm pleased with Madrak2 as an answer to Gators in general. I'm pretty confident that the matchup, even with the Vault, is at least even and I can make a game of it. I'm liking the 2 lights intead of a heavy so far as well, and don't really feel like it needs to change atm.
Other news. I now have a twitter feed. It's here. I haven't decided if it's useful or not, but most Warmachine news seems like it trails in over Twitter faster than it does elsewhere, so I at least wanted to have an account to follow with. If you like my batreps/tutorials, follow me there for more instantaneous haranguing of my methods.
I'm also in the middle of a commission job for Soulhunters, Daragh Wrathe and Goreshade3, so expect them to pop up before too long.
I also bought Grissel2 finally. A friend of mine asked me a few weeks ago how shy I was of the full Troll army, and I'm actually only 6 models/units shy of the whole selection. I'm mostly ok with that. I bought Gunnbjorn (Next batrep I think, actually), Grissel2, and the only other purchases I'm liable to make are the Thumper (Grim2 shenanigans, maybe), and the Night Troll (Painting purposes only). I have no interest in Sluggers, Bushwackers, Scouts or Skinners. So I'm pretty happy with what I own trollwise now. I would like a few more minion units (Gators, Shamblers) but overall I'm pretty good.
That being said, I found out that I love playing Grissel2 with Highwaymen. Not quite meat mountain, but definitely 2 units of Warders. Dash is stupid. Expect to see more of that.
Anyways, that's it for now. Check out twitter. KingdomCon just happened, and that had some interesting results including a ton of Legion, Cryx and Cygnar in the finals, with Jeremy Lee taking Denny2 Body and Soul all the way. Last round was Haley2 vs. Denny2 in a pretty tight game. Another large tournament happened in Springfield, MO, with the local Omaha guys taking 1st and 3rd, Josh Carpentier with Trolls and Dan Sammons with Circle respectively. Sounds like EE and Grissel1 MMM for Josh and Brad/Krueger2 for Dan. Excited to see what the new Warmachine book will do to the meta. You guys enjoy the warmer weather and I'm going to put texture on a ceiling at home.