The Wellington Journeyman League Begins

Disappointingly, I still have a battle report in draft that has not been posted. I have simply been procrastinating from doing the board state diagrams, as otherwise the whole report was written over a week ago… I will have that posted up within the next day or so as I can’t afford to put it off any longer, because…

The official Wellington Journeyman League started last night!

Still sticking with Skorne, but unfortunately my battlebox still hasn’t arrived. I ordered it on July 6, and the tracking ticket shows it is still making its way to me through the labyrinthine processes of USPS.

While Xekaar and cronies hadn’t arrived in time, being a local event I had options. The man running the league for the Wellington club, Chris F., offered me 2 options. Either run any ‘caster1’ warlock and a Battlegroup consisting of 1 heavy and lights up to the caster’s Warbeast Points, or proxy with appropriate models. As I had recently acquired a Cyclops Savage and Master Tormentor 2nd hand, I had a close approximation of the Xekaar battlegroup available and went with this choice. Then, as it happens, Chris F. had a Cyclops Raider he let me borrow for the night – the only proxy model I had to run was Xekaar himself.

The Breakdown

Anyone who adventures in the salt-mines of the Privateer Press faction forums, or the expansive salt-flats of the faction facebook groups, will probably be familiar with all the fist-shaking, my-faction-sucks-all-aboard-the-Khador-bandwagon noise. There’s also been a stack of “Rise of Warmachine, Fall of Hordes” claims with the Power Up and fury management changes. But how is the doom and gloom peddled by the internet soothsayers shaping up here in Wellington so far? At least as far as the current sign-ups for our Journeyman League is concerned:

1 Cryx
2 Retribution
2 Khador
2 Cygnar
1 Protectorate
1 Convergence

1 Trolls
1 Legion
1 Circle
2 Skorne

Well, I think that’s looking like a pretty healthy selection of armies. Almost every faction is currently represented, only missing Minions and Mercenaries representatives. I suspect that might be because they didn’t get a new battlebox with the release of Mk3 as all the others did. There are still a couple of people who are scheduled to sign up late, so will be interesting to see if the late joiners play factions that skew the current distribution, or round out the full set.

I greatly enjoyed walking around the other tables after each of my games and seeing the other faction models in play. With so many factions represented it was exciting as a new player like me to see such a diverse choice amongst the local player group. I look forward to relaxing a bit with my League choices week to week as I’m not feeling compelled to try and build something specifically to fight any one particular faction.

Day 1 Results

So how did I do, given my recent practice at the Battlebox and Battlebox+10 levels?

I got in 2 games on the opening night. First I was up against Iain, one of the Khador players. I had fought a battlebox Khador match in practice (my first battle report write-up) and so knew a fair bit about what Kozlov could do and how dangerous the Khador jacks were, especially under Kozlov’s Feat.

Everything was going well until my 3rd turn, where I activated Xekaar first and completed everything I needed to with him to get off the Alpha strike to kill the Khador Decimator. By the time I finished doing just that and looked at where all my pieces were, I was feeling pretty good about the match progress. Right up until I noticed my Feat marker was still sitting in my dice box that is. Yep, Forgot to Feat(tm). As a result, in trade for the Decimator I lost both the Savage and the Gladiator. One of them would have survived under Xekaars feat, with a chance both could have. Instead I was left with an assassination attempt available against Kozlov who was camping 2 focus, and had Unyielding from his feat. I still had a chance to win, even if it was relying on average rolls. I wanted to knock him down to get rid of the Unyielding bonus so that Xekaar could easily whip him to death with auto-hitting weapon master attacks. Raider went in for the headbutt, and needed to roll 9 on 3d6. That’s a 74% chance to knock him down. I roll an 8, followed closely by a series of laughed, despairing wails as I play out my turn of expressly below average rolls. Once all was said and done, I had dealt 1 damage to Kozlov who still had a focus left. So much for Xekaar being a “Weapon Master” this game. Final turn was Iain’s who had his Ironclad smear my Raider into paste for a scenario win.

An auspicious start.

Second game was against League organiser Chris F. and his Retribution of Scyrah battlebox. First time fighting against a Retribution force for me, although I had seen some practice matches with them in action so knew a little about what I was up against.

Knowing to expect Helynna’s push-pull shennanigans to really mess with my ability to get an Alpha Strike off, I set about puzzling how to approach this issue. I opted to use a piece of forest terrain and my access to pathfinder to minimise any ability to push me out of position and gain a def advantage in the ranged attrition turns. However, I spectacularly underestimated how fast (and strong) the Griffon is having just played Khador, and missed that it had pathfinder on my review of his warjacks. When I thought I was out of his threat range, I was very much in, and his Griffon entered my forest and hacked the Raider to death in a single round. It all went downhill from there and I never really found myself gaining board advantage. I no longer had any ranged support and catching or bypassing his Rythm of War’d battlegroup was too tricky a puzzle to solve before I lost all my beasts, loosing on scenario again. At least this time I didn’t forget to Feat, even tho it only slowed the game by a turn. My losing mistake was not keeping the Raider safe at the start of the match. As there were no other scenario objectives I could leverage to apply pressure back onto Chris, the Raider was my most critical asset.

Current League record stands at 0-2

Even so, I had a great first day and it should be noted that I didn’t feel then, and don’t feel now that I lost “because Skorne” – I was simply outplayed.

Where Next?

Chris F. informed us that after discussions at the club we will be swapping the points increases for weeks 2 and 3. So it’s another 15 points of warbeasts next week, and then 10 points of anything the following week. Unfortunately this doesn’t work with my existing plans so I need to carefully consider how I will approach this new progression instead. I was going to add a 2nd Savage to my battlegroup in week 2, but that leaves me with a 7 point gap that has to be filled to be no more than 4 short, and I wasn’t planning to take any of my 7 point lights in this league.

So I’m starting the process of planning my progression all over again and am narrowing in on my week 2 choice based on models that I currently own.

Titan Gladiator – A second Gladiator is currently the strongest contender for my week 2 choice. The massive drawback is that I have no means to manage the Fury on my beasts in week 2 (other than Xekaar’s maltreatment) so will need to be very careful about when it’s worth running super hot and committing both at once, in full. The biggest draw card for me personally lies in his Grand Slam and Follow Up, especially considering the week 3 and 4 scenarios.

Titan Sentry – At 15 points, he’s a perfect fit. An effective DEF13 ARM24 against melee while under Xekaar’s feat is certainly tempting. Doesn’t offer much in the way of counter-punch normally but again Xekaar’s Mortality is an effective MAT/STR fixer able to push him to effective MAT7 and POW20 if needed. Lots of people complain on the forums about only 3 Fury, but that’s the same amount of focus an equivalent Jack would have. Combine this with Brace for Impact, Steady, and Shield Guard, he’s pretty strong on scenario presence for weeks 3 and 4.

Basilisk Krea and Drake – A 15 point combo that tunes the Krea into one hell of a nasty little lady under Xekaar (up to effective MAT8 POW16 Weapon Master), not forgetting that Mortality boosts the effect of the Drake’s spray too. Krea’s animus has a little game on the Cyclops making them DEF15 vs shooting and magic. Being a bit poor in the defense market both in stat-line and number of boxes is keeping my frown upside-down for the moment. Even so, I am more tempted by this than I am by the Sentry for some reason.

2 Razor Worms – The first Skorne model I purchased, and I liked him so much I now have 2. What more perfect place is there to field 2 Razor Worms in a list, than in a Journeyman League? They work well with a few strategies, especially ones that involve a caster change in week 4. Mostly, I’m really keen to run them because I want to tell my opponent that Walt and Wesley, the Worm Warriors of Wellington are coming to get them.

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