So every once in a while, Luke likes to challenge someone to a large 100+ points game, so people have a chance to get all their toys out. Now that I pause to think about it, he's the only I know that bothers to rabble-rouse people into playing games of this size. With the space that I have and still being relatively care-free (fingers crossed that doesn't change too drastically once my internship starts), I should be able to hustle some others into playing a massive meat-grinder.
I understand people's hesitance to take this on though. For many, the appeal of WM/H is that the game actually can be played within a couple of hours, a time allotment that people can generally organise around. Playing these games really does require the sacrifice of a good chunk of the day, as well as a fair amount of patience to wait on your opponent during their turns. But with a bit of organisation and discussion between the two players, there's no reason this can't work.
The lists are long rambling documents that I won't bother recounting here; you can probably gauge what we had by examining the photo above. Basically we chucked in everything we could stuff into 200pts, and our Warlock choices were pMorvhanna, eKaya, Kromac, and Bradigus for Luke, and Rasheth, Zaal, pMakeda, and eXerxis for moi. Initially, Luke wanted to try play a 150pt game, but I think he hadn't realised how many Skorne models I had squirreled away. And placing the lion's share of my models into a 7" deployment zone highlighted a quality of the Skorne faction; our dearth of Advance-Deploy models. I had to mush everything in there and account for potential traffic jamming. A problem not shared by the opposing Circle force. While we could have played on a larger table, I don't believe this has actually ever really been a problem in previous high-point games. There's actually a sort of simple elegance to how the forces tend to establish themselves into different waves that you send in, rather than peeling off warlocks away from the conflict and essentially having to just play 4 regular 50pt games simultaneously.
Anyways; we agreed on an amended version of Outflank for the scenario, where we could only score 1CP per turn max, for dominating the zones. We started with a 3hr deathclock each, but that graduated to a 4hr deathclock during the course of the game. Setting that time limit is important, else we could play on into the night quite easily. There was just so much shit going on. From the relative orderliness of the above photo, things descended into a messy mash of troops scrambling through rift templates and druid clouds, Circle beasts yo-yo-ing around, and the Skorne military complex slowly trundling forward.
Having pushed up into the middle I thought it was a good time to pop Makeda's feat.
I netted a grand total of two Nihilators to bring back ಠ_ಠ
I netted a grand total of two Nihilators to bring back ಠ_ಠ
You notice that wee under-coated Nihilator in the foreground?
They need to label some sort of disorder for warmachine players
who forget to move models turn-after-turn.
More photos and Luke's synopsis of the game can be watched on the youtubes here. I recommend losing yourself in the smooth silky tones of the VaulSC commentary. Go chuck that stuff into your earholes.
Instead of running through a blow-by-blow of the game, I'll just share some highlights and observations. I'm also reusing Luke's photos that he has posted elsewhere, mainly as ways to illustrate the clutch moments of the game, as well as to actually have pics of models from my actual games for once.
- Probably old hat for everyone else, but Regrowth on Zombified Bloodtrackers is fucking obscene. Those ladies were responsible for eroding my left flank, and got so much work done. I think by the end they were back to full strength, sans Nuala. Nuts. I would have thought that alone would be reason enough to use Morvhanna1.
- Even without the Sentry Stone bullshit of the Bradigus tier, that boy still has a decent denial game; in the instance there isn't easy access to pathfinder, Rifts can really shut units down.
- Remembering your medium based models block LOS from your Gargantuan to small based models is a thing. Also making sure you examine the board to see if there's other targets of opportunity helps. Still the Mammoth got to gat some fools. I'm loving that model more every day.
- My Mammoth getting stalled by a Muzzle from Kaya, plinking him for a point despite having Inviolable Resolve on him and being at ARM22. hmph.
- Xerxis feat is pretty ridiculous at this level. I popped it in a turn I though I needed to grind things down a bit, so it wasn't like it was used totally optimally, but it still accounted for a lot of stray shots to hit things they had no right hitting and damaging. I think I also got the chance to "choose which dice to discard" in cases where my own Nihilators missed their mates in the middle of berserking.
- Once Makeda's feat was done, Stalkers with Blessed mowed through the Cetrati like they were nothing. Not really used to that :s
- More love to the Gatorman Bokur and Swamp Shamblers. Chucking Ignite onto him, Pain-Driving the unit and slapping on a Blood Mark (arc-ed through the Bokur no less), saw the end to Megalith, in revenge for the Circle heavy fisting Tiberion from behind. After Tibbers had bonked both a Wold Guardian and Wold Warden. Such trade. Much exchange. wow.
Tibbers just after bopping a Wold, but before the Megalith MegafistingTM.
- Bradigus' sweet moves to slam Molik back and open a landing zone for the Wold Wrath to put an end to his shenanigans. That'll serve me to get excited maxing him out on attacks, and forget Fate Walker.
- Mammoth getting revenge for Molik, netting himself a Stalker, Celestial Fulcrim, and the Wold Wrath, under both Rasheth's and Zaal's feat. I forget the Mammoth has Assault yet again. Note to self; Zaal's feat is as nuts as you can imagine at this points level.
- I try to pull off the Krea assault on Ghetorix, having her flank with the Drake under Zaal's feat. That flops spectacularly. Kreas now join Gladiators as being the most over-rated beasts in the Skorne stable. At least the Gladiator redeemed itself by pummeling Ghetorix into the dirt.
- Kromac gets Blessed and charges a Defender's Warded Makeda I had stupidly moved up for no good reason. He hacks into her with reckless abandon, and with no transfer targets and with DW ignored, the Skorne empire loses its Big Cheese. Whoops.
Sorry guys, the invasion is cancelled.
- In retaliation, Rasheth pops Paralytic Aura, moves into range of Kromac, and sticks him with a Blood Mark, leaving Xerxis to go to town him. A knockdown impact attack and two initials gets it done.
- Stacking feats is fun.
That last note deserves a bit more discussion; If you've watched the video, Luke discusses how this match up wasn't very balanced in terms of Warlock-choice. We tried to mitigate this, where we went through a process of sharing our lists before hand and gauging what sort of game we wanted to play with our respective forces. We either didn't have the foresight, or didn't actually examine closely enough our choices to actually realise what they brought to the table. On his side, he had feats with rather mild movement or denial effects at best. On my side I had feats that stacked hitting accuracy and power, and played into the Skorne attrition game of taking a hit and hitting back harder. This is a format where I guess the latter approach shines as well, something that is making me consider Skorne's relevance at events such as Iron Gauntlet; 75pts for a Zaal or eXerxis list? mmmmmmmmm. NZ pls haz IG and Masters ADR. I digress: the point on our caster-choices shows the importance of communication and openness in approaching games of this size.
Ultimately, I lost the game when I clocked out. My 4 hour timer was up, it was around 7 at night, and we had been at it for about 7 hours and change. However, I was up several control points and was definitely up attritionally. A lot of fruity stuff had happened throughout the game, and I guess that's the point of it all. Afterwards, Luke and I had another discussion about how playing like this will benefit from having several win conditions to simultaneously work towards, instead of just winning by whoever hits a particular win condition first. Instead of waiting for someone to score their 5th CP, or for their clock to run out, you just time the game, and at the end tally up all those points. It still gives the game a direction, and moves the action into the center of the table, but takes the pressure off trying to 'win'. Hard, competitive win factors mean little in this context, when all you're doing is taking all your models out for a spin, and to spend a day with a pal.
Ahhh bromance <3.