League Practice – Battle Report

For those that have been reading the blog to date, to prevent the development of ongoing confusion be aware that henceforth, any time I discuss actual Journeyman League games I will be referring to the league run by the Khandallah club.

With my annual use of the word henceforth now out of the way, I can now catch up on finally posting the battle report from July 6.

Skorne vs Cygnar, Week 2 default JML Rules

  • 10 Points
  • Battlegroup Only
  • Mangled Metal Scenario

I pulled off a win vs Cygnar last time, so let’s try for a repeat.

Forces

Skorne:

  • Xekaar
  • Titan Gladiator
  • Cyclops Savage
  • Cyclops Raider
  • + Cyclops Brute

Cygnar:

  • Beth Maddox
  • Ironclad
  • Lancer
  • Firefly
  • + Charger

Deployment

Jimmy wins the roll, and opts to go 2nd, choosing his preferred side. I deploy in a somewhat central formation without much thought to order of activation, but it looks neat on the table. Jimmy sets up in a much looser line, with the Firefly on the far left flank backed up by the Charger, and the Ironclad holding his far right with the Lancer to help.

Deployment lg

Turn 1 – Dice Spike

Skorne:

It didn’t take long to figure out my deployment was not what I needed to support the actions I actually want to take in this match. Decided to get a little cute with the activations as a result to try and fix this, but this meant I spent a while longer pondering my turn 1 moves than I really should have.

The Savage ran forward angling towards the ranged jacks. The Brute runs forward maximum distance, moving to the center of the board. The Raider runs to where I think the Cygnar ranged jacks will move to within 14″ range. Xekaar activates and casts Rush onto the Gladiator, drops 2 fury then advances left around the Titan as there’s too much meat in the way to move forward directly. Titan finishes up by running to the rear of the Savage.

Cygnar:

After Power-Up, Beth allocates 1 focus to the Charger. The Firefly runs forwards to the cover of the wall to it’s front left. Beth activates and casts Assail on Ironclad, then Snipe on the Charger and advances slightly. Ironclad and Lancer run forward on their flank, checking still well short of any charge range from the Brute. Because I had not checked the Charger’s card prior to the match beginning, I failed to account for a base range of 12″ on its gun, and assumed it was like the Firefly and was base range 10″. My Savage was therefore in its 22″ threat range on its first turn. Thanks to the efficiency of Powerful Attack, and being ROF 2, the Charger was able to advance its normal 6 and take 2 double-boosted shots onto my Savage. First damage roll of the game spiked out with 12 damage from dice-4. The second roll was a more average 6 damage, leaving the Savage on 4 boxes on Turn 1, with no Body or Mind.

Turn 1 lg

Turn 2 – Baiting the Hook

Skorne:

I was already in disarray having not even started my first turn with an actual game-plan in mind and having a Savage who was not going to live through the next turn. I decided to look for advantage on my left flank by hanging my Brute out front to absorb a charge from the Ironclad and/or Lancer, then use the Gladiator to pick up the trade in the other direction.

The Brute advances slightly next to the centre wall, and casts Safeguard. Xekaar casts Psycho Surgery and removes the maximum possible damage of 4 from the Savage, restoring all aspects and doubling his remaining health. He then casts Rush on the Gladiator, activates his Feat and advances to cover the Brute with it.Gladiator runs way left to stay clear of Ironclad’s threat, but can charge himself if it engages the Brute.
Raider advances to the rear of the Brute and seeing Beth with 0 focus camp, casts Far Strike and double boosts getting 3 damage through. Savage moves to block LOS from the Firefly to the Raider. 1 more fury on the table than I can leech on my next turn.

Cygnar:

Power-Up occurs, then Beth upkeeps both Snipe and Assail, allocates 1 to Charger, and 1 to the Firefly. By now I have realised I’ve completely misplayed my first two turns. Oh well, let’s see what happens next.

Firefly takes aim at the Savage, and knocks off 7 of the 8 remaining boxes with a boosted damage shot. Lightning bounces but fails to cause damage to the Raider. The Charger takes aim at the Raider, who being more than 1″ from the wall gets no cover benefit. First hit is shield-guarded by the Brute, who takes another damage spike of 10 on dice-6, losing his Mind. 2nd shot is taken at the Savage to finish his last few boxes, which it handily does. Beth advances to the center of the table and shoots her Storm Strike at the Brute, boosting to hit, which she does. Brute is forced to use Intuition, and Beth re-rolls, keeping the hit. Brute forces for intuition again and Jimmy is now really letting me know what he thinks of having to re-roll hits. He didn’t need to worry, shot still gets through, and he boots damage for another 6 on dice-5, thankfully failing to knock out any further aspects. His dice skill has been exceptional this game. The majority of the work now done, the Lancer advances normally into the Brute to deny the Set Defence bonus, and hits with a boosted attack, but thanks to Xekaar’s feat fails to do any damage. The Ironclad grabs a toothpick and cleans his teeth while he waits for an opening on another turn.

Turn 2 lg

Turn 3 – Playing Forward

Skorne:

Despite having totally messed this game up so far, I have spotted a path to victory. An assassination option is available because the Ironclad stayed hanging out at the back and wasn’t blocking a charge lane. First however, the Brute gets his highly ineffectual Frenzy out the way, doing a few boxes of damage to the Lancer. Then I proceed to explain my cunning plan to Jimmy: Gladiator charges the Lancer, throws lancer into Beth, collateral damage and knockdown busts her up, Raider puts a boosted shot in to finish her off! Brilliant! Jimmy sweats for all of the 7 seconds it takes to pre-measure the gap. Gladiator is 2mm short.

Nothing for it now, I’m so far down on attrition with no trades available on this turn that I may as well go down fighting, and see if something can survive to attempt an assassination next turn. Xekaar repositions to keep everyone in range and puts Rush on the Gladiator then casts Psycho Surgery, healing the Brute for 3 restoring his Mind and fortifying his Spirit. Raider aims, and turns up the Fury with a double boosted Far Strike shot into Beth, doing a paltry 4 damage.

Cygnar:

In what now feels familiar territory, Beth upkeeps both Assail and Snipe then allocates 1 to the Charger, and 2 to the Ironclad. The scent of victory is in the air for Cygnar and Jimmy makes his plays in quick succession. Firefly is up first, saves his focus to boost damage, aims at the Raider, but misses! Maybe Cygnar luck is beginning to wane? The Charger then has a go and puts the standard double boosted Dual Cannon nastiness into the Raider leaving him with 7 boxes. Next up is Beth. She Feats, and charges the Brute, who intuitively spends a lot of fury making her re-roll her hit 3 times, but it was all futile as Beth proves a highly capable soldier and strikes the Brute down with her Tempest. The Ironclad takes his free charge from Assail and smashes the Gladiator off his feet, who gets the thumbs down from the Emperor for his performance to which the Ironclad happily obliges. Finally, the momentum slows as there is a short debate about whether to charge the Raider, or boost to hit. Given the feat is active, the Lancer walks forward and boosts to hit, which he does easily. Now it’s straight dice to kill the Raider. Jimmy rolls the perfect 7 he needs and kills the last of Xekaar’s battlegroup.

Turn 3 lg

Cygnar wins on scenario.

Thoughts and Observations

I made far too many errors both at a strategic and tactical level, and it cost me the game. I failed to properly understand the implications of how the Charger swung the ranged game in his favour. Next time, I’m going to use the open information nature of Warmachine matches to actually read the rules on the enemy cards during the deployment phase. Strategically, I needed to focus on shutting down his ranged advantage asap, and leverage my melee offense and defense advantage. Instead I muddled about in the middle of the board and had no clear plan turn by turn. Tactically, by spending the game reacting each turn instead of acting, I gave Jimmy all the free board space and play he wanted. As a result, Beth was played up front a lot even camping 0 focus twice in almost perfect safety. By the time I finally made a correct move and played forward, it was too late. Feat was already blown, pieces started from out of position, I couldn’t reach anything (but oh, so close!) and consequently I immediately lost on the next turn.

Not all was bad news on the personal reflection front however, as one of my principle goals for this match was achieved. I played a far cleaner game than I did last week. There was only a single rules error apiece between Jimmy and I on our respective first turns, which we both allowed each other to correct being a friendly practice match. Mine was an activation error as after all the spell casting Xekaar made, I initially forgot to advance him around the Gladiator a few inches to keep the Cyclops’ in control range. Jimmy likewise made a small error forgetting to allocate a single focus after the power-up and before activating his first warjack. I do feel I’ll be experienced enough with the system soon that I’ll benefit more (well… learn more) from leaving pieces mis-played and roll with whatever results.

I am still struggling with order of activation calculations, but not usually from a spell/animus use order. During my first and second turns I have often blocked my own advance lanes etc and restricted my forward movement. Not a great idea for Skorne. For my next match, the area of improvement I’m going to focus on is with these activation issues. In this week’s prep, I’ll both consider the week 3 points increase and spend time thinking about some set-plays for the first turn or two, to really start to clean up those activations.

Lastly, to all you boys in blue, a Charger as your week 2 pick is really solid and I don’t think you can go wrong with it. That thing working alongside the Firefly had a lot of game even without the dice spiking like they did. At least, that holds true into lights.

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