Sunday, June 19, 2011

Warmachine Batrep: pButcher vs pNemo

A week ago, Ben and I squared off for another match of Khador vs Cygnar.  Ben had a new strategy taking what he learned from our first game and created a "Death Ball" of Electricity with the Thunderhead and his Stormblades.  I usually write down what happens on a piece of paper but I lost it so this will be from memory.  His list was something like this:

Arlan Strangeways
Arcane Tempest Gunmages + UA
Stormblades + UA
Stormtower + Grunt

I was trying something different proxying Beast-09 and taking some Manhunters to go along with Yuri.  Not the usual "Strong Center" I usually have with 2+ 'Jacks but I wanted to get some experience with flankers.  My list:

Widowmaker Marksman
Mechaniks (4)
Great Bears
Kayazy Assassins (max + UA)
Manhunter x2

I won the roll and deployed first putting the Widowmakers behind the wall and Yuri and friends near that forest.  My plan was to get them in the trees where hopefully they could counter attack the center when Ben pushed forward.  Beast and the Mechaniks were front and center with Butcher and the Great Bears behind them.  On the right I had my Assassins.

Ben got his guys into a formation that he devised-- Thunderhead in the center with Stormblades in front to protect it.  He advanced deployed his hunter behind the house on the left and had his ATGM on the right with the Stormtower just behind his wall. 

Turn 1

Everyone runs for Khador-- Widowmakers hop over the wall to get some shooting lanes on the center.  Yuri and friends push and shove each other as they try to fit in the forest.  Everyone else moves up slowly and I shift the Great Bears behind the Assassins.

Ben moves everyone forward and puts Disruption Field on the Thunderhead and Electrify on the Stormblades-- if I hit them, I'll take a hit myself and get pushed back. 

Turn 2

My forces head for the center.  Widowmakers take down one or two Stormblades.  Ben counters with his Hunter who shoot two of my Widowmakers.  The forest on the right proves to be too small and Yuri gets shot to pieces while the two manhunters flee the trees heading back to the main Khador force.  Not sure but Beast could have taken some damage.  He's going to get shot up on the way to the Cygnar line.

Turn 3

From the look of the pics, it appears I went second.  Ben kills the remaining widowmakers leaving just the Marksman left.  At this point, I'm trying to figure out how to deal with the Thunderhead Ball of Doom.  If I charge it and attack the Stormblades, I'll get electrified and pushed back.  Then on the next turn Ben will Pulse with the Thunderhead and I'll lose all my infantry.  I decide to send a handful of Assassins forward as a sacrifice while I get my other forces in position to charge next turn.  I use Killstroke to get the Assassins deep into the Cygnar forces.

Turn 4

Ben takes care of my Assassins with his Stormblades and clears out the center with a Pulse from the Thunderhead.  Beast-09 goes down without contributing too much to the fight.  I also forgot to advance him after he took ranged hits TT.  Ben sends his ATGM all down my right flank and we've got a familiar sight-- the Khador force being slowly surrounded!   

I counter with everything that I have and leave just two Stormblades left.  Things look grim as I know that Ben is going to walk his Thunderhead down and pulse all of my infantry.  It isn't going to be pretty.

Turn 5

But wait!!  Ben decides to go for the jugular and sends his Thunderhead to charge Butcher!  Sitting on 5 focus he boosts his "to hit" rolls and boosts for damage.  By some miracle Butcher lives to fight on taking minimal damage.  With full focus camped Butcher was sitting at Armor 24.  Ben and I had to double check multiple times because that just didn't seem right.  In hindsight Ben said that he should have parried his Hunter out of melee with the Assassins and taken some armor piercing shots at the Butcher before the Thunderhead charged.  That would have been good.

I lose all my infantry in the center taking shots from the ATGM and the rest of the Cygnar army. 

On my turn I feat and Butcher rips apart the Thunderhead.  Over on the left near the house, two Assassins charge the Hunter and take it down while another Assassin charges Arlan. 

All I have left now is the three Assassins, the Widowmaker Marksman, and Butcher.  Will it be enough?

Turn 6

I lose all my Assassins to gunfire and the ATGM move towards the center.  Ben moves his Stormtower closer ready to attack next turn.  Nemo moves over to the right flank to safety.

At this point I'm considering putting Iron Flesh on Butcher to up his defense but I felt there wasn't time and he might take shots from the ATGM; better to have sick armor.  So I decide to go for broke and in glorious fashion run Butcher into the fray backed up by the Marksman. 

The Marksman takes a shot at the Stormtower taking out the operator; just one more shot needed next round to take that thing down. 

Turn 7

I never imagined I would be alive this long. 

Ben moves his ATGM more towards the center while the Marksman takes down the Stormtower.  One threat neutralized.  Meanwhile Ben has been taking shots at Butcher and needed to roll insanity with dice -14 for damage from his Gun Mages.  Holy Moly!  Slowly we both realize that nothing can penetrate Butcher's armor.  I run him right into the thick of the ATGM getting into melee and thinking that if he shoots at Butcher, he'll have to risk possibly shooting his own men! 

Turn 8

Ben takes down the Marksman and proceeds to surround Butcher and take shots at him.  Nothing is working and in the past few rounds have only taken 3 or 4 damage.  Ben runs Nemo behind a wall but leaves a charge lane for Butcher.  With reach he is able to attack and with 6 focus is able to clobber Nemo and win a suprising game for Khador.

Ben had the game won.  For me, it was one of those agonizing games where you know you're just going to lose.  Ben strategy of the Thunderhead Ball was really strong.  I had no easy was of assaulting it as whatever I sent at it would get Pulsed in the next round.

Ben cleared out the center of my formation and could have easily Pulsed the remainder of it but instead decided to go for the win with the charge against Butcher with the Thunderhead.  It looked good actually as the Thunderhead had 5 focus but wow, armor 24 is hard to beat!

The lesson I see in our game is knowing what to do when you have an advantage-- you don't have to take risks.  In fact, the other player is the one that has to take some risks (like an assassination run) because they're the one that's playing from behind.  What I think Ben should have done was Pulse what was left of my infantry and then go into the End Game with both the Thunderhead and the Hunter.

What we learned was that those two 'Jacks were the only things that could really threaten Butcher.  Nothing else could penetrate his armor easily.  So here's the strategy:

In this particular matchup, Khador wants to eliminate those things that can hurt Butcher in the end-- the Thunderhead and the Hunter.  Then, after the majority of the Cygnar forces are taken care of, he can come out and dominate the field. 

Cygnar on the other hand, wants to keep his anti-armor alive to threaten Butcher while they slowly pick apart the Khador force using their guns and tactics with the Thunderhead's Pulse. 

Ben will probably run this list again as we both feel it's really strong and next time I'm going to have to figure out a way to win and tackle the Thunderhead Ball.  GG Ben!

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