søndag 31. januar 2016

Battle Report #80: Stryker2 vs Makeda2

:: Prologue ::

A very quick first match and we just instantly reset. Same turn and side etc. My main worry was setting up so that I wouldn't be free bait for Molik Karn and the Archidons. How did I do? Read on!

:: Lists ::

Lord Commander Stryker - WJ: +6
- Squire
- Ol' Rowdy - PC: 9
Captain Arlan Strangewayes - PC: 2
- Sentinel - PC: 4
Archduke Alain Runewood, Lord of Fharin - PC: 3
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan - PC: 2
Stormblade Infantry - Leader & 5 Grunts: 5
Sword Knights - Leader & 5 Grunts: 4
- Sword Knight Officer & Standard - PC: 2
- Stormclad - PC: 10
- Stormclad - PC: 10
Supreme Archdomina Makeda - WB: +5
- Archidon - PC: 7
- Archidon - PC: 7
- Molik Karn - PC: 11
- Titan Gladiator - PC: 8
Agonizer - PC: 2
Mortitheurge Willbreaker - PC: 2
Nihilators - Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
Paingiver Beast Handlers - Leader & 3 Grunts: 2
Praetorian Swordsmen - Leader & 9 Grunts: 6
- Praetorian Swordsman Officer & Standard - PC: 2

:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::

Same deployment as in the first game, pretty much! 

:: Game ::

I run up just as with the first game, only this time I fail the Drive check for the left Stormclad instead of the right one. Exciting!

Makeda camps 2 fury which means no leash for Molik Karn.

I'm at a crossroads. I think the position above highlights one of Stryker's main weaknesses. I am faced with superior speed and I my army is not particularly resilient. According to the Ping Pong Theory I need to either force a Ping Ping or a Ping Pon here and I don't see how I can do neither. What this essentially means is that it's hard for me to enter a game of attrition because I can't expect to get the alpha and Stryker's skillset isn't made to come back from one. What I do instead then is to try and force the issue: I camp 5 focus on Stryker + Arcane Shield and cast Positive Charge on a Stormclad which clears out a couple of models before being driven back. Ol' Rowdy goes B2B with Stryker because I'm pretty sure Molik Karn will make a run for it.The Sentinel, proxied for the time being, runs up to jam stuff. On my left flank I try and stagger my forces as best as I can, sending in a couple of dudes just to make sure he'll have a hard time running at me too hard.

The right-most Archidon charges Rowdy. In my experience Archidons aren't that hard. Well, this one isn't either but that wasn't the plan: The plan was to get a critical hit and throw Rowdy away. Wow. I did not see that coming. Luckily for me said Archidon is outside of Makeda's control area and it only gets 1 attack. It does roll 6, 6, 5 for the charge damage roll however and Rowdy loses his hammer.

The infantry moves up to the middle of the board, clearing a path for Molik Karn. Makeda kills the Sentinel, feats and gives Rush and +2M to Molik Karn. He charges Stryker with Enrage from the Beast Handlers but for all his power, DEF18 ARM24 is a thing. Stryker survives on ~8 boxes.

The last Archidon charges the center Stormclad and gets the critical hit to throw it towards Stryker. It deviates and lands on Molik Karn. Feat saves said Molik Karn from being knocked down. So my gamble with taunting out Molik Karn worked, but only because my opponent messed up his activation order. Had Rowdy been thrown, I'd be in deep trouble. I wonder if Stryker could perhaps have simply stood there on all 7 focus for DEF16 ARM26. Perhaps It's best I never found out.

Time to strike back and strike back hard! Stryker + Rowdy kill Molik Karn + Archidon. I feat. Infantry charge-runs up the middle. The SK officer uses his abilities to only deal 1 box to the Stormclad in a harmless column so he can drive both. By jamming up Makeda I reckon he can't kill the Stormclad without using Makeda herself, which means Stryker's safe. I'm afraid of losing the attrition game here so Stryker decides to take the point: Largely due to the fact that SK with Reform + Feat actually get enough work done to score -his- flag. Wow!

As expected my infantry takes a heavy toll. Makeda + infantry leaves the Stormclad on a single box, the sole remaining system is the shield arm.

Although I lost a lot of infantry my jacks are still, by and large, alive and well, so I send them in to completely jam Makeda shut. Stryker heals up and camps the flag with a physical wall of Alain, Squire and Junior in front of him.

Unable to contest my 3-0 lead, Skorne realizes that the game is over and concedes.

Victory to the Swans!

:: Evaluation ::

First of all, I'll be honest: Stryker's playstyle does not appeal to me. It seems largely reliant on one guy, a few rolls, and a very predictable approach. He has very little to set up with, little-to-nothing to control opponents with (unless they depend on orders) and not exceptionally strong defensive abilities. His feat is cool but it really only helps him jam. 

It is true that all of these things are obvious and thus something to consider at the list creation stage. As I wrote previously in this report I struggle to see how he can either deliver a powerful alpha strike or how he can prevent one. The man himself is a monster but again, his ability to deal damage is compeltely dependent on the Overload roll. A friend recently said to me that Haley2 "cheats" Warmahordes because many of the things she does is with such insane modifiers and/or amount of dice that the random factor is close to non-existant. I largely agree and that is one of the reasons I enjoy playing her. Regardless, Stryker2 appears to me to be the complete opposite. 

Molik Karn's Stryker-run should've succeeded with the proper play from the Archidons. It would also have been very hard for me, if at all possible, to deny him that angle on Rowdy assuming I'd want the +2DEF on Stryker. That said, if I could've found a setup to protect Stryker in that position with a good chance of keeping him alive I'd be fairly satisfied. The problem in return then would be if he had jammed me up and played for attrition himself: Sooner or later he'll get angles to take out enough jacks to force a Ping-Pon effect: I.e. my return strike would be insufficiently strong to stem his momentum. 

Part of me thinks this boils down to list creation. Part of me thinks that different lists will suffer from the same inherent problems that Stryker2 has, the lack of speed and control being the most vital ones. He appears to me to be a largely straight-forward caster which, additionally, relies on single dice rolls. I'll see if I can come up with some kind of list I enjoy playing with him but for now I'm not convinced. 

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