The Big Decision
Walt and Wesley the Warrior Worms of Wellington will … not be making an appearance. It was a heart-rending decision, but in the end it simply came down to my inability to make further lists that grew into them serving a useful purpose later in the league. Two Titan Gladiators on the other hand, I could do anything else I wanted with the list including swapping to just about any caster and they would fit right in, so a 2nd Titan Gladiator was officially added to the roster. Additionally, my battlebox turned up the day before week 2 started, so I was able to spend the evening constructing Xekaar and his battlegroup to remove the last of the proxied models from my force.
Lashings of Legion
Or should that read Lashings to Legion thanks to Xekaar’s choice of personal weapons? Well, in case it wasn’t obvious my first game was against Chris, playing Legion of Everblight with an added Seraph.
Turns out that things did not progress to plan for me in this game. Was very much a “Welcome to Legion” match and I got to truly appreciate how difficult it can be to predict beast movement when up against a caster who has Slipstream and Quickness available to them. Kryssa was able to advance 9 inches while throwing up spells on Chris’s first turn, and could have pushed that to 11 if needed. I was coloured impressed considering she’s a SPD 5 warlock.
Thanks to all these movement tricks, I got caught out a few times thinking I was outside some threat ranges when really, I wasn’t. The Bolt Thrower caused me no end of problems boosting into criticals and either slowing me up, or burning through my fury. Despite all this, I did manage to get an alpha strike of sorts into the Legion lines with rushed Cyclopses, and kept them mostly safe from reprisal with Xekaar’s feat. Non-fatal damage on his Seraph wasn’t enough however as Chris had the ranged game sewn up early, baiting me into being the aggressor and manipulating the field well as a result. Being unable to see through the forest and obstructions that his Neraph/Seraph were hiding behind, I was unable to declare charges and suffered a fair bit just trying to get close enough to fight.
In the wash, last turn of the game saw Xekaar and a Gladiator in a forest and a clear line to get to Kryssa on a 0 camp with Xekaar for an assassination. Gladiator throws the Bolt Thrower into Kryssa knocking her down. I’m all set to give this a go and then Chris asks if Xekaar has pathfinder. Damn. Xekaars lack of pathfinder gums me up again. After this, Chris is close enough to walk his entire force into Xekaar and the damaged Gladiator so I resign from the field, conceding the match.
Another welcome learning experience, although of all the games I’ve played so far Legion has been the hardest for me to point at any one thing afterwards and say “I should have done this differently.” Well, other than move a warlock without pathfinder into a forest against an enemy that sees through concealment anyway that is.
Later in the week I got to play my 2nd week 2 match against Sean L. and his Retribution of Scyrah. I felt somewhat prepared for this having already faced off against Chris F’s Retribution last week, and have a few positioning tricks up my sleve for dealing with Helynna and her push-gun. Sean had added Moros, a character light jack worth 11 points, so I had the advantage in heavies but Moros was was bringing a lot of paralysis which affects my entire battlegroup.
Things got chaotic very quickly and the match saw plenty of power attacks on both sides, and several frenzies on mine. (NB: Throws are either at another model or directly away from the thrower.) I even had the pleasure of using Grand Slam and Follow Up on my own Raider to be able to reach Sean’s Manticore who he thought was safe. I felt I ‘leveled up’ in my Warmachine ability after spotting that play, and it generated a few laughs as I almost wiped out my Raider with no help from Sean. After a few turns of headbuts, slams, and throws, I was loosing on attrition with my only achievement being that I had managed to cripple the Manticore’s cortex. All I had to work with was a paralysed Gladiator with 10 boxes left, a Raider with 3 boxes left (all damage done by myself…) and my Savage with 13. A very grim position. At this point I expect to lose if I keep playing the Mangled Metal scenario objective.
Not for the first time I spot an assassination opening, especially as Helynna is on 0 camp. My track record with assassination attempts isn’t the most lustrous of things so I discuss some of what I’m seeing with Sean. Being the awesome sport that he is, and helping me learn to be a better player, he points out an opening throw that I hadn’t considered before starting my run. Although it does prompt a free strike from the Manticore onto my Gladiator, with nothing to lose I get started.
Savage shakes his knockdown from the previous turn for 1. Gladiator walks away from the Manticore and over to the Griffon. Manticore’s free strike connects and through the miracle of dice-rolls-do-sometimes-go-your-way-when-you-really-need-them-to the Gladiator takes 7 damage, leaving him with 2 boxes of body and 1 box of spirit left. I force to throw the Griffon into the Chimera, boost to hit and connect, win the strength check, but miss the melee attack for the throw itself. Scatter result easily still lets me hit the Chimera with the Griffon, knocking them both down. This now frees my Savage from taking a freestrike when going for Helynna. Xekaar’s part of the run is up next. He charges into B2B with the Chimera, putting him just within 8 inches of Helynna. After putting my initials onto the Chimera, I boost to hit a Mortality onto the concealed Helynna and the dice stay with me, getting the hit. Xekaar then maltreats the Savage removing his fury and the Savage loses another 2 health down to 11 boxes left, but all aspects are still intact thanks to Psycho Surgery the prior turn. Xekaar attempts to throw a Dead Weight into Helynna, but misses. Everything has gone according to plan so far, so I begin the final activation of my turn. Savage walks into melee with Helynna, and starts swinging. Future sight really helps here as I wasn’t tempted to boost early. 6’s to hit, straight dice in damage. First swing hits for 8. 2nd misses and as I need a 3 on the boost dice I buy a whole attack instead (72% chance of 6+ on 2d6 vs 66% chance of 3+ on d6). 3rd swing connects and the Savage lets out a bellow in triumph as I roll a 9 on the damage.
It is an exhilarating way to win when making a last-gasp play like that, and one of the mechanics about the game that makes it so intriguing. The whole run was such that averages were on my side with each individual roll, but the more rolls you require to achieve something, the more sweat that runs down the back of your neck. My first win of the league, thanks largely to Sean L. for coaching me about how a paralysed Gladiator can still do a 2-handed throw.
My league record is now 1-3.
Crafting the Corps
Up until now, I had been somewhat uncertain of how I would approach each week’s addition to my list. I picked a 2nd Gladiator precisely to leave my options open for week 3 onwards as at that time I still had no clear plan on how I wanted to proceed. I’ve made dozens of lists and progression ideas in Warroom, narrowing in on the combos that capture my imagination the most, and uses models I own (or that are still in the post…) Every list made during this process was referenced against the week 3 and 4 scenario of Trial by Fire, the weeks 5 and 6 scenario of Journey’s End, and the expectation of an end-of-league tournament. That was a lot to consider, and I was happy to be lost in the puzzle.
Even as recently as last night I was going to build into a Xerxis1 swap at week 4, as he is one of the 3 casters I want to focus on while I develop my skills. Then while on the way to work this morning, I was tinkering with ideas in Warroom (as one does when a carpool passenger in rush hour traffic) and Xerxis has found himself hanging his Pillars back on the wall, while Mordikaar frantically packs and tries to get someone to feed his Razorworms while he’s away. I kept the core of my planned Xerxis1 progression, but a few changes puts Mordikaar firmly in charge and I am so looking forward to getting table time with ol’ Stoopy.
+ add Titan Gladiator
14/15 points used
+ add max Beast Handlers
+ add Void Spirit
25/25 points used
Week 4: swap Xekaar for Mordikaar
– decrease Beast Handlers to min
+ add Void Spirit
+ add max Ferox
50/50 points used
+ add min Karax
+ add Cyclops Shaman
65/65 points used
+ increase Karax to max
+ add Tyrant Commander
75/75 points used
I expect some people will be curious as to why there is no Despoiler in there. The blasé answer is “Mad Science.” The long version would involve a convoluted discussion on opportunity costs and my list tactics. I’m not going to get into it here mostly because I made these decisions in the vacuum of inexperience. Looks fun to me tho. That counts for a lot in my book.