With the first game being over so quickly, we decided to go for another. This time we swapped sides and who went first to see how that affected the dynamics of the matchup.
:: Lists ::
Lord General Coleman Stryker - WJ: +5Opponent:
- Stormwall - PC: 19
- Lightning Pod
- Thunderhead - PC: 12
Journeyman Warcaster - PC: 3
Ragman - PC: 2
Gastone Crosse - PC: 3
Stormsmith Stormcaller - PC: 1
Stormsmith Stormcaller - PC: 1
Stormsmith Stormcaller - PC: 1
Storm Lances - Leader & 4 Grunts: 11
Thyra, Flame of Sorrow - WJ: +6
- Vigilant - PC: 4
- Reckoner - PC: 8
Avatar of Menoth - PC: 11
Vassal of Menoth - PC: 2
The Covenant of Menoth - PC: 2
Saxon Orrik - PC: 2
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord - PC: 2
Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan - PC: 2
Nicia, Tear of Vengeance - PC: 3
Choir of Menoth - Leader & 3 Grunts: 2
Daughters of the Flame - Leader & 5 Grunts: 5
Daughters of the Flame - Leader & 5 Grunts: 5
Temple Flameguard - Leader and 9 Grunts: 6
- Temple Flameguard Officer & Standard - Temple Flameguard Officer & Standard 2
:: Pre-Battle Thoughts & Deployment ::
One of the reasons I find Stryker3 interesting is because Reform on Storm Lances brings me hope that they are useful outside of super-caster Haley3 where Revive just makes them godlike. The general problem I have with them is that they go in and then die. Can't have a unit to 11 point just die like that. Reform might not be enough - I don't know - but it's worth a shot at least.
For this game we had both learned basics about eachother's tricks so I was hoping for a longer game. Boy, was I right...
:: Game ::
The for this game was to draw out an attrition play. Let him have a lead on scenario and then jam both zones when needed. I put 2 Stormcallers on one flank with Gastone and the rest of my army on the other flank. I'm thinking I can triangulate to death whatever comes in on the left zone and have Storm Lances + Thunderhead force him to commit to the other. I move stuff up with Arcane Shield on Lances and Iron Aggression on Stormwall. Escort goes up.
Daughters jam both zones, the majority of his army moves towards the right zone, as expected, with Thyra, Nicia, Avatar and Vigilant moving towards the Stormwall.
Avatar with feat is a bit of an issue. I decide to let him have the alpha on the Stormwall. A bit risky without Arcane Shield (which I should of course have cast on it instead of the Lances because the Lances + Thunderhead cleared shop in the right zone. Mistakes were made). Ok, so: For the right zone I didn't want to commit Thunderhead to get the Pulse attack because with Feat he can get both Avatar and Reckoner into it which means a dead Thunderhead and he'll still have enough TFG to prevent Lances from charging them in return (with assault + fury + feat I can trade Thunderhead if I can get both heavy jacks exposed). Thundehread instead moves back and elects to shoot a TFG or two. I also Assault with a couple of Lances and do a ton of damage with e-leaps before Reform ends up taking me back to a rather comfortable position. With Arcane Shield up on the Lances the guy in front is actually a bit of a pain for him to deal with. On the left flank I elect to have him feat if he wants to and alpha the Stormwall with Avatar. I accept this because doing so allows me to pod 2 Daughters -and- create a triangulation attack for the 2nd Stormcaller after the 1st runs up. This, combined with Gastone, clears out the Daughters on the left. Stryker moves back a bit, as does Ragman.
Thyra feats to deliver an Enlivened+Battle Avatar into Stormwall. I lose 30-35 boxes or so, about average. On the right a single Lance dies. 0-1. Nicia kills the Stormcaller on the left.
The clue is triggering Enliven before Stormwall activates because Covenant prevents me from headbutting the Avatar. Gastone gets the job and manages to put a few boxes on him. Enliven takes him back past the fence. With the Stormwall being low on boxes I have to protect myself against a Thyra-move on him and as such I put Stryker3 behind him. This forces Thunderhead to come a little closer to be in control and the Lances pretty much just hold their position as TFG are mini-feated and in Shield wall.
TFG run to jam, Nicia moves into the left zone, Thyra casts pursuit on Stormwall and have Vigilant beat it up a bit.
I am super wary of Pursuit enabling Vigilant to move away and keep contesting me. I really want to score 2 points this turn because he's really thin on my left flank and I'm slowly losing the ability to contest him on the right. Because of this Stryker charges Vigilant with feat following Ragman moving up with Death Field. To reliably take him out I have to ditch Escort and cast Fury on myself but this means that the Stormwall can no longer reach Nicia. Fuck... Pursuit is spent to bring Thyra within charge range of Stryker. Brilliant, just brilliant. At the time I took it for granted that she had Pathfinder because of the nature of her stats and abilities so even though Stryker was behind the Vigilant wreck marker I ran a Stormcaller up to physically prevent her from landing next to him. 1 box isn't a lot but with the Trench he was DEF17 at least and Nicia couldn't have gotten an angle on him either I think.
Anyway, it was all irrelevant because she doesn't have Pathfinder and Saxon was too far away. Nicia makes a ballsy move: Charging Gastone! I was so waiting for that 6- to show up to dodge away and leave her stranded. Instead she makes the hit and kills him, even quick work to take out the Stormcaller (sac. pawned from Ragman). On the right zone he fails to clear the Lances and the game is still 0-1. Crazy, given the carnage on the table.
Stryker puts 3 focus on the Stormwall and upkeeps Iron Aggression so he has 3 himself and the Stormwall gets boosted attack rolls. I figure this will allow me to boost and buy + boost vs Nicia to ensure her demise. The Stormwall would thus be tasked with clearing the rest of the zone so I could finally start scoring. Stryker can't charge Nicia because of the Stormwall being in the way. I should probably have moved the Stormwall first, also to trigger pursuit before Stryker activates, but mainly to get +2 MAT from cavalry charge. AAAAnyway I move Stryker first and miss both attacks. Fuck. My. Life. This means it's more or less impossible to score unless the Stormwall can kill Rhupert with e-leaps. It moves up, hits Nicia and kills her (at long last she is dead!), buys on the Choir which I'm hoping will pass its tough roll. It does not and there's only 1 e-leap on Rhupert. He survives on 1 box. Lighting Pod system is crippled. Sigh. On the right flank I put the Arcane Shielded Thunderhead in harm's way and start running my solos to contest throughout the later turns. Still 0-1.
Reckoner moves to start bashing Thunderhead. It loses ~20 boxes or so with Thyra helping out as well.
Stormwall activates first, for a change. Thyra moves towards it. I finally clear my zone and score 2 points. On top of this the Thunderhead crits the Reckoner for Disruption! 2-1. Go, boy!
One thing I completely forgot about was that if the Stormwall dies, I have nothing to contest the -left- zone. Thyra however did not forget this and finds a huge opening in doing so. Stormwall dies, score goes to 2-3. Instead of camping or casting Strangehold however Thyra casts Pursuit on Stryker. For some reason, said Stryker wasn't in cover. DEF15 is sad and she hits.
My only chance to win this on scenario is wipe out everything he has except for Thyra, camp 6 with Stryker and hope she cannot kill me. With Reckoner on 16 boxes or so left that's highly unlikely. It's thus down to assassination and luckily for me, Ride By Attack is a thing. I do this to prevent pursuit, hit 2 of my attacks and boost damage to kill her.
Victory to the Swans!
:: Evaluation ::
Mistakes were surely made in this game! On both sides of the table we had a lot of brainfarts but these are fairly new lists for the both of us so not exactly surprising.
My first and biggest mistake was probably not having junior closer to the center. I could really have used Arcane on the Stormwall on multiple occasions. I'm usually very aware of where I have junior and what I want him to do, always looking for openings for a boosted hand cannon shot and always trying to think a turn ahead. This game I failed -miserably- at that. Furthermore, deciding to expose the Stormwall to Avatar without Arcane Shield was a bad idea. Clearing the Daughters was indeed important because they threaten so much with feat + acrobatics, but the Avatar deals too much damage to me if I don't have Shield. It ripples down the ensuing turns as this game made very clear to me.
On the right flank I played very well early game and got a lot of work done with Lances. My problem was not having a Lance or two in the middle of the zone or so when he managed to push up and jam me shut, preventing Thunderhead from getting into a juicy spot. TFG with mini-feat is a pain. I was looking for openings for the Thunderhead but I never got one before it was too late.
Towards the end of the game I made activation order mistakes such as when I didn't kill Nicia. 9+ boosted, 2 attacks though. Missing both is roughly 1 in 15, which in turn is roughly equivalent to failing a 4+ roll on 2d6. Dice happen for sure and indeed I would've hit if I had charged her (rolled an 8) with the Stormwall activating first.
The very last game-breaking mistake was to run -all- my solos into his zone. By having one left in mine, for example Ragman who could actually do meaningful work with his missile and Death Field, I would not open up for Thyra dominating like she did to be the first to move to those crucial 3 control points. In return however Thyra brainfarted on her spell priority, as throwing Pursuit is a poor choice against a Cavalry model. In my opponent's defense though he was down to 2 minutes on the clock. Given the amount of rounds we played both fatigue, frustration ("why won't this game end and why won't my dice -ever- collaborate?") and time were issues. It's a part of Warmahordes for sure and this time I was slightly ahead in time (8-10 minutes left to his 2), which probably was a deciding factor.
A bit of a mess of a game but a great one still. Unlike the first one this was also full of learning points. Iron Aggression is great without a doubt but Arcane Shield is actually more important when it all comes down to it. If I need Iron Aggression I can simply move Stryker first. I also think the list worked ok, about what I thought it would on paper. Thunderhead might not be Cygnar's most efficient deal for his 12 points but he has a lot of synergy in this list with so many models being immune to electrical damage and him being a combo-threat with the Lances (either with fury + feat is devastating).