My choice ended up being Morvahna2, despite the hate she's been getting lately. I think that Kreuger2 would also be a good choice, though I'm not sure (as in, I just don't know enough to give an honest opinion) that he can really do everything he wants at 35 points. Morv2 at 35 points seems pretty strong, if you bring the right models. As such, I've been working to paint as many models as I can for the Morv2 list, and thought it would be nice to get in a few games before the tournament um, tomorrow.
First, my list:
Warpborn Skinwalkers (Max)
Wolves of Orboros (Max)
The idea behind the list is pretty much to just punch everything as hard as I can with my infantry, die a ton (healing Morvahna in the process) then regrow them and just grind attrition. My main weakness is busting up armor, though my hope is that most people won't be taking TOO much armor at 35.
I'm actually of the opinion that it is nearly impossible to make a take-all-comers (TAC) list in Warmachine at 35 points. My 50-point Morv2 list gets a lot better, proportionally. As such, I feel that having heavy armor as my weakness is acceptable, if not ideal.
Game 1: Circle (Morv2) vs. Nick's Menoth (Harbinger)
Exemplar Errants (Max)
Holy Zealots (Max)
Covenant of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Probably something else I'm forgetting
Two zones and two destroyable objectives. You can dominate "your" zone for 1 CP and control the enemy zone for 1 CP, dominate it for 2 CP. You can only dominate if you destroy the enemy objective. Destroying the Objective is worth 1 CP. First to 5 CP wins.
(this mission was the same for every game I played, and this is the only time I will mention it)
**He won the roll to go first and took it. (DOH!)
This would be my first time playing against the Harbinger, but I knew mostly what she could do. Namely, her feat is pretty brutal against my army. I would need to HOOF it to get to the objectives in my first turn, as she would almost surely pop her feat on turn 2 and I didn't necessarily feel like having him score a bunch of points right away.
Otherwise, I felt confident that I could grind his troopers down, though Nick had several auras that could prove troublesome. I wasn't really sure which infantry matchup would be better (i.e. should the Skinwalkers kill Errants or Zealots?) so I decided to just let fate decide it, putting each of my units on my "flank".
Finally, Nick's army is beautiful. I have never been able to get a shade of bright red like him, and his army is simply put, stunning. Pleasure to play against such a nice army - made me wish my Skinwalkers were done so that we could have played a fully-painted match.
|His Deployment - Errants are Advance Deploy too? Madness, they can do everything, haha!|
He ran up and threatened the zones immediately. Don't think that Harbinger casted anything. With 24 ARM, I doubted I would be able to kill her via assassination this turn.
|My whole army is painted, and only the Stones and Gorax are holdovers from before - the rest was all done last week! The one exception of course are the Skinwalkers. Obviously. :)|
Circle Turn 1:
I wanted to present a narrow front where Nick would be unable to kill more than a few of my infantry models. So, I ran them up, leaving the majority of them back to keep Nick from doing too much damage. I also 'toed' the zone with as many models as I could, as they would likely be unable to move next turn due to Harby's feat.
Morv put Carnivore on the Wolves and also cast Fog of War.
|How much damage can Nick do this turn? My Skinwalkers are all 'toeing' the hill for elevation vs. his ranged attacks.|
Menoth Turn 2:
Nick popped his feat, but declined to cast any powers. His Errants moved up some to shoot at my Skinwalkers, and the Zealots decided to rock out by throwing some AOE bombs at me.
Zealots killed about 4 Wolves, and the errants mostly missed their shots, though I believe they did kill one of my Skinwalkers, despite having DEF 16 from Fog of War + Elevation.
Significantly, the Zealots killed two of their own number with an errant blast, increasing their ARM to 16. :-/
|All in all, not a terrible turn for me. Still, he'll get another, since I will be unable to do much in return.|
Due to the 20" bubble of death Harby's feat represented (can't advance and end the advance closer to her, or you take a POW 14 hit, within her 20" control area, HA), I had few options but to remain mostly where I was.
I upkept Carnivore and Fog of War. Then, a Gallows Grove placed itself close to some Zealots, all excited to try out Death Knell.
Morvahna went and shot a Death Knell that got SEVEN models under it. I destroyed the one guy under it, then I failed to roll a single 7 or greater on the other targets. The only other thing I damaged was the Book, which I spiked an "11" to kill, but then discovered that it could only ever take 1 damage from any given attack.
|I really should have used Morv's reroll mechanic here - I realized that fact directly after my huge fail. Ah well :)|
Some of my models shuffled up, but I mostly just kept where I was, afraid of his feat.
|In the end, I'm not really feeling very threatened by his models, though I know that I'll lose some of them this turn for sure. I just want to be in a position where I can do some damage next turn.|
|And another picture of the action!|
Nick advanced some with his models, though not too much. I think he was afraid to overextend, and instead lure my models into Harbinger's 10" aura that would reduce my damage by 2.
Harbinger used Purify to get rid of Carnivore and Fog of War.
His shots killed a few more of my models, though not too many. Skinwalkers lost another of their number. Wolves lost about 4 more, leaving them at 4 remaining. Heh.
|Not sure what he's waiting for with his Avatar. Also, my Grove on the left is still alive, since he only attacked it once with the Zealots. BTW, Zealots popped their mini-feat to be impervious to physical damage for a turn.|
I was still a little wary to pop my feat - the Skinwalkers weren't down very far, and the Wolves would probably live for another turn at least.
Wolves activated and just ran up to engage some Zealots, keeping my UA and the Standard back and just barely within formation.
Grove warped up closer to Harby.
Morv activated and put Carnivore on the Skinwalkers and shot another Death Knell on the Zealots, killing a few Zealots. However, Harby used Martyr to keep most of them alive.
Gorax charged one of the Errants and killed him.
Skinwalkers charged some more Errants, hitting a bunch and killing a ton, which Nick then used Martyr for on most of them. Still, a few died.
Stalker ran up onto the hill, and the Stones warped over to surround him, fearful of the Avatar messing with him. I needed to make sure the Stalker was fully intact in order to counter his Avatar. I figured maybe the Gorax would be a fitting target for the Avatar.
|Looks like I did next to nothing to Nick. However...|
|He had to use Martyr so much this turn that his Harbinger was nearly dead from it.|
Menoth Turn 4:
His Avatar only generated two Focus, and charged my objective, killing it and earning 1 CP.
Zealots killed the two Wolves they were close to, clearing the zone.
Harbinger walked up to the zone to dominate it, shooting some spells that didn't do much.
Errants managed to kill a single Skinwalker through poor rolling, and someone destroyed my poor leftmost Grove, which I didn't really mind.
Book did the "no magic within 10" power, and advanced pretty close to Morvanha.
Something random killed my Blackclad. Not sure what, haha!
One of his guys healed Harbinger for a couple points.
Harby dominated the zone for 2 CP, bringing Nick up to 3 CP.
Score: 3-0, Advantage Menoth
|Yikes, lots of my stuff is dead, and lots of his stuff is still alive, and he has 3 CP. Not a great position to be in, necessarily. Still, I had my feat left, which should never be underestimated.|
Circle Turn 4:
After hemming and hawing for a while (we were actually practicing with the deathclock, so I didn't want to take too long), I decided that Harbinger was currently weak enough that I could potentially just kill her this turn.
The problem was that the Book was blocking Morvahna's magic, and that it still had 4 life remaining, requiring 4 separate damage results to kill it.
Morv upkept Carnivore for fun.
Stones shifted the Stalker to B2B with the Book.
Gorax casted Primal on the Stalker, then killed a random Zealot who had wandered too close.
Because the Stalker had Primal, he went up to MAT 8, letting him hit the book on a "4".
Through my five attacks, the Stalker only managed to hit the book three times. Not sure what exactly happened there, heh.
OH YEAH, Harby used Martyr twice on the Book, getting back down to 2 life remaining.
Wolves activated, and the UA popped his mini-feat to ensure damage, and walked up and punched the Book for its final damage box, which Harby declined to Martyr herself for (d3 damage per Martyr attempt, remember)
With that, Morv was free to cast spells. First, she feated, bringing back all the Skinwalkers, the Blackclad, a Grove, and several Wolves, just in case my attempt failed.
Significantly, the Grove regrew close to Harby.
Then, Morvanha used the Grove to cast Sunder Spirit on the Harbinger, boosting to hit, boosting damage, and killing her immediately.
|Overview of the game - should I have activated my Skinwalkers first to clear the zone and get a point as well if this was a tournament?|
|Gallows Grove FTW! Harby, consider your spirit SUNDERED.|
Results: Win for Circle Orboros via Assassination!
Nick played it pretty cautiously, which I think is the requisite approach in most minis games. I think his play was good, with the one exception of the seemingly-hapless Avatar. He didn't really put much pressure on me right away, which I thought was probably warranted. Still, he may have been out of position had he done that - my plan was to initially try to place models behind him with my feat so that he couldn't use his pseudo-admonition move (full advance if he gets damaged), then kill him with the Stalker.
At any rate, I was very happy to beat one of the top casters in the game in my first attempt. Sunder Spirit doesn't seem very strong, but it's pretty powerful when combined with my Feat + Gallows Groves + Morv hurting herself for rerolls when necessary.
Nick should be at the tournament tomorrow, so perhaps he'll get his revenge then :)
Game 2: Circle (Morv2) vs. Joseph's Circle Orboros (Kaya1)
Kaya the Wildborn
**I won the roll to go first and took it.
Well, I knew that Joseph was a new player, and operating out of the 2-player box due to lack of models. As such, I was interested to see what sorts of shenanigans someone who had been playing with Kaya1 could pull against a list he had a much better chance of understanding than others he'd played in the past (as he plays Circle, he's bound to know my stat lines and rules better.
I took first turn because I knew I needed to pressure the zones and make his models commit. Kaya has a great hit-and-run game, but if I can force her models to stay in the box, then I can charge the ones she commits, or score.
As such, it was imperative that I kill his objective, and probably also one of his Stones. I was going for scenario 100% at this point.
|Here's our deployments. Pretty much the same as last time for me. His Pureblood is the unprimed (so, gray) one on the right.|
I ran everything up the full 10-12" they were capable of. Morv put Carnivore on the Skinwalkers, and for some reason went for Fog of War, which was useless against nearly his entire army. Heh.
|This way, his models will have to get into the zones, and if they do, I will be able to get the first charge.|
His Circle Turn 1:
He also ran forward. Surprise!
My Circle Turn 2:
Morv upkept Carnivore on my Skinwalkers.
I started with Morv this turn, casting Lightning Strike on the Stalker, and camping the rest.
Stones teleported the Stalker into range of a Stone, the Stone Keeper, and the Argus.
Stalker activated, killed the Stone, killed the Stone Keeper, and did one hit on the Argus for like 16 points, then Lightning Struck away 6".
|Stones are no longer fully functional!|
Everyone else just kind of hung out, waiting to see what would happen.
|My Skinwalkers are safe this turn because his own Skinwalkers are hiding in the forest and don't have LOS to me. Goes both ways I guess.|
First, he cast "Amuck" on the Feral with his Griffon. Then, he trample-attacked two of my Wolves engaging the Feral, killing them, then swinging at another WolfofO, killing him. Nice little beast there!
Argus walked up and used its spray on a Skinwalker I had wandered over to close to the Stalker to give me a freestrike should his Feral manage to get free of its WolvesofO jailers and try to charge the Stalker. He hit and paralyzed the Skinwalker, but missed the Stalker.
Pureblood went, warped for Ghostly, and did a small amount of damage to my Stalker, also killing a Stone and doing some damage to the Skinwalker.
Feral went and decided to throw my WolfofO at my damaged Skinwalker. It succeeded, and ... it was awesome. Best moment in any of my games that night. He threw it (boosted with "Amuck") and just SPLATTERED both models. Stupidly high rolls, like, unnecessarily high rolls, and both models disappeared. Pretty damn cool :)
|No more screening Skinwalker :-/|
Stones then healed the Argus and Warpwolf for 3 each.
|His Skinwalkers walked up a little bit too. Heh.|
My Circle Turn 3:
He had a lot of exposed models, and I figured I'd try to make him pay for it.
Morv upkept Carnivore on the Skinwalkers.
First, the Skinwalkers charged the Pureblood. I only managed to get 4 into it, but with my high number of attacks, I easily killed the Pureblood and actually even had enough attacks left over to damage his objective a little bit.
Blackclad walked up and tried Hunters Mark on the Feral, missing the first time and taking a Morv reroll for a hit.
Morvahna went and cycled Carnivore onto the Stalker.
Then, the Stalker warped for STR and charged the Feral and killed him with fury to spare. As in, I actually think he 2-shotted the Feral, not using a Fury at all.
Wolves of Orboros then charged the Griffon, but the UA charged Kaya, and popped his mini-feat (making them Weapon Masters for a turn).
WoO crushed the Griffon with two or three attacks (rerolls on a "bad" 4-dice roll is ridiculous!), and the UA took a swing at Kaya, hitting her with his MAT 9 and doing enough damage (again, with a 4-dice reroll) that her transfer killed the Argus and also killed her.
|That was... brutal.|
|I don't even really have words, honestly. Shouldn't have killed Kaya that easily.|
Results: Win for MY Circle Orboros via Assassination!!
Well, that was disgusting. I guess it wasn't altogether unexpected in some ways - Joseph is much newer to this game overall than I am, and with my going first, Kaya was going to really struggle against my list, as I did most of the things she does well, better than her.
I figured I'd probably kill both Warpwolves, but killing the Griffon with the WoO and then somehow one-shotting Kaya was way over the top. Joseph did say that this game was his favorite loss he's ever had, which I guess is cool... right? We had some good hard laughs while we played - it was fun!
Game 3: Circle vs. Josh's Bart + Galleon
His List (roughly):
Aiyanna & Holt
Gorman Di Wulfe
Some Solo to give Bart a free upkeep
*He won the roll to go first and took it.
Ah, gamer apathy. I knew the forest on his side was really good, but I was firmly entrenched in my seat, and really didn't feel like moving. So I kept my same side.
This would be a difficult game, but I knew that if I could kill his support models, the Galleon wouldn't be able to win him the game all by itself... could it?
I was curious to see what it could do. Really, my plan was to take whichever zone his Galleon decided not to contest, and just win through attrition/scenario.
|Here's our deployments!|
Mercs Turn 1:
He ran up a bunch. Woo*!
*not to be confused with WoO
|The Galleon is said to be good and also difficult to kill. Would that be the case here?|
Circle Turn 1:
I ran some WoO up to bait his Trolls to charge me, opening the counter-assault for myself.
Morv put Carnivore on the WoO, and also cast Fog of War, upkeeping it every single turn of the game.
|Stalker is in position to shift with the stones and kill the objective or beat on the Galleon.|
|More of an action shot! Heh|
His Trolls came in and killed a couple WoO, and the Galleon got 6 shots, killing a couple Skinwalkers, despite elevation + Fog of War.
He then used Bart's Feat, which will knock models ending their movement in control range down, limiting what I could do to his Galleon this turn.
|Bart is behind the Galleon, FYI.|
Circle Turn 2:
I can't do anything about his Galleon, so I decide to focus on the Boomhowlers.
Morv upkept Carnivore (and did nearly every turn - I'll tell you when she doesn't)
Gallows Grove teleported in between two Trolls.
Stalker walked up and killed one of the Trolls, then Lightning Struck back into the stones.
WoO charged the Boomhowlers, killing another 3 or 4.
Morvanha shot Boomhowler with Sunder Spirit, causing 6 damage.
Blackclad Wayfarer killed one or two Boomhowlers.
That was about it - Boomhowlers were down to 4 models. Not a terrible turn for me, really, given the Feat.
|Skinwalkers, toeing the hill!|
|Action shot! WoO are doing some work!|
Mercs Turn 3:
3 Focus to the Galleon (this and every other turn)
Galleon killed 3 Skinwalkers from really good rolls.
Boomhowlers kill the Grove and do some damage to my Stalker.
|Galleon getting boosted damage rolls is so ridiculous with how many shots he gets!|
Circle Turn 3:
This was my chance to start getting some points.
First, I charge my single Skinwalker at the Galleon, doing zero damage.
Then, Stones warp my Stalker up into range of either Aiyanna or Holt, and the objective.
Stalker warps for STR and kills the objective, then takes his last swing at one of the Duo, killing them.
Morv goes, and feats, bringing back all of the Skinwalkers (all in B2B with the Galleon), a couple WoO, and both Gallows Groves (both had died, I believe). GG went in between his two clumps of Trolls.
WoO charged in and finished off the Boomhowlers.
It was only then that I realized my mistake: I had forgotten to use Morvahna's "leap" or whatever move into my zone to Dominate it for 1 CP! Ah man, really really poor move on my part.
Score: 1-0, Advantage Circle
|Well, I killed a lot of stuff this turn! Could I keep it up?|
He just kind of swatted at my Skinwalkers with his big guns, but then shot his Grapple at the Stalker, hit, and dragged the Stalker into B2B, using his melee attacks to kill it. Damn that thing is powerful!
I was pretty angry at myself - he didn't have to commit any of his guys to my zone, because Morv wasn't in the zone. Sigh.
Score: 1-0, Advantage Circle
|Still looking okay for me - the Galleon is taking a while to re-kill my Skinwalkers.|
Circle Turn 4:
Blackclad walked up and used rerolls to hit and kill both Holt/Aiyanna and Ducal.
Skinwalkers caused like 3 damage to the Galleon.
Morv jumped into the Zone, and the WoO ran over to start threatening his support units.
Score: 2-0, Advantage Circle
|This is going to take a while...|
Mercs Turn 5:
Galleon shifted over and killed a bunch of WoO, giving Alexia souls.
Alexia summoned some weaponmaster creatures, who charged me and contested the Zone. Doh, didn't see that coming, actually!
|Damn Alexia - she's pretty good!|
Circle Turn 5:
This was a telling turn for me.
First, the Skinwalkers moved around a little bit and hit the Galleon, belatedly realizing they had CMA. One of them even got a hit at Bart and did some damage.
Next, the WoO charged both Alexia and one of the ghoul things Alexia had summoned.
They popped their mini-feat
They failed their command check on a 9.
They rerolled and failed it again, unable to do a single thing for the next two turns, and critically not killing either Alexia OR (even more importantly) the stupid weapon master thing contesting the zone.
Morvanha was able to kill the other two weapon master things.
Score: 2-0, Advantage Circle
|Really tragic turn for Circle...|
|Damn terror checks and rolling the equivalent of snakeyes on the most important roll of the game up til then!|
Galleon killed more of my Skinwalkers, who were really starting to dwindle. He also shifted over so that if he wanted to run, he could get into my own zone.
Alexia got herself into the zone and summoned another weapon master thing.
|Things are looking grim still, but I think I can pull it out... or something?|
Circle Turn 6:
WoO rallied. One ran out of combat and was slain, but let Morv potentially shoot him down.
Gorax killed a guy.
Morv charged Alexia, killing her, then shot a Sunder Spirit at the last guy, clearing the Zone. She then used her Goatmove to toe the hill and get outside the Galleon's range.
Score: 3-0, Advantage Circle
|See... the Stones should have moved over to block the Galleon's movement. Sigh.|
He killed my final Skinwalker.
Galleon ran into my zone to contest it.
Score: 3-0, Advantage Circle
|We're both down to about 2 minutes on our deathclocks at this point, lol.|
I ran Morvanha over to a hill. Gorax charged the Galleon, doing nothing.
Score: 3-0, Advantage Circle
|Such a long game! Gorax AND the stones should have jumped over to block Galleon's movement.|
Mercs Turn 8:
His Galleon charged Morvanha, hit her, and did a silly amount of damage to her, killing her.
|Haha, poor girl.|
Results: Loss for Circle via Assassination!!
Well, that was a bummer. I really had a couple of opportunities there where I could have prevented the loss. Morv toeing the hill was DEF19 vs. shooting, which meant she was probably safe from his RAT 5.
That said, I just failed to move the things I should have moved.
Most of all, the WoO failed leadership couldn't have come at a worse time. They had a reasonable chance to kill Alexia and the spirit thing, giving me another point and making it impossible for Josh to contest my zone, potentially winning me the game.
As it happened, I just failed, and lost. Thing is, I could have still won despite the bad rolls, and just played poorly. I need to be more thoughtful about things like blocking charges/running of important models. Josh brought a really tough list, and played it well. Congrats to him - he deserved to win :)
and... that's it folks!
I have a tournament to play tomorrow. Wish me luck!