CID. No this isn’t a Final Fantasy post.

Tho I do like those games, especially FFXIV, I’m time poor so no MMO’s for me at the moment. Warning: Long post ahead.

Hataitai Hustle

One of our local Cygnar players hosted a day of fantastic WMH gaming for those brave souls who would fare the Wellington weather forecast. A total of 5 of us attended the day, and leading up to it we decided to take the opportunity to partake in the CID program Privateer Press now has running. CID, for anyone who is not aware, is Privateer Press’s Community Integrated Development program, which is in a nutshell the public Beta Testing phase of rules development for the game. We took the opportunity to test both the Steam Roller 2017 packet, and the proposed Battle Engine profiles. Turned into the most fun I’ve had on a Sunday all year.

We had 5 attendees, and 2 tables. As we were aiming to stress-test the Steam Roller rules, we did away with deathclock, allowed take-backs and I-forgot-to-change-facing-earliers. In general anything that was a minor order of activation error, or movement/effect that could be corrected immediately without altering the outcome of anything else prior in the turn was let through. Controlling players discretion applied, sometimes honest misplays were made and they were lamented audibly, but let ride when appropriate. We felt that taking this very lenient approah gave us a better opportunity to interact with the scenario in the most meaningful way without play errors impacting too heavily upon the outcome or opinions of the scenario. Well, that was the intention. More on that later.

I was playing an odd-ball Makeda3 list, ostenstibly designed to be Anti-Infantry, and to try out the Siege Animantarax CID rules. My general plan for the day was to do my best to play to score on scenario and see how the SR2017 set influenced my ability to do so. I commonly look to be quite aggressive on scoring, and often find myself trading down in order to score more, and I’m worried these habits are going to put me back to square 1 in SR2017. Only one way to find out.

Steam Roller 2017 Objective: Stockpile
Makeda and the Exalted Court
– Titan Gladiator
– Molik Karn
– Cyclops Raider
– Cyclops Shaman
Siege Animantarax
Willbreaker
Extoller Soulward
Swamp Gobber Chef
Max Praetorian Karax
– Command Attachment
Max Paingiver Beast Handlers

Round 1 – The Pit II and Standoff

The opening battles were for Scenarios 1 and 2 in the SR2017 packet.

Table 1:
Cygnar-Siege1-Heavy Metal vs Minions-Rask1-Blindwater Congregation
Standoff with Cluster terrain deployment
Table 2:
Skorne-Makeda3 vs Circle-Kromac2
The Pit II with Cluster terrain deployment

Table 1 results:

Siege settled in for the attrition game, looking to shoot the gators down. Things seemed to be going well, but a well timed feat from Rask pulled Siege a bit too close who then ended up paralyzed. Not squandering the opportunity, the Swamp Horror promptly hugged Siege to death in his tentacly embrace.

Cygnar felt that the centralised zones kept his gunline pulled slightly further forward than ideal for his guns, but the fact that the scenario needed a “score 6+ more than opponent” to win meant that he could sacrifice some things gradually to stop a shock-loss on scenario. This then buys more time for his attrition plan to play out, and counter-balances the need to push closer to the mid-line of the table to stop the scenario loss.

Combination of all elements here lead to an extended game that took longer to resolve than it would have under SR2016 rules, and favoured the list that could push up on attrition. Assassination was the counter play that this time worked due to good list design and play, and scenario elements keeping the armies together.

As an aside, there was a Sacral Vault being tested in the Rask list, which reportedly did nothing of note the entire game, and was ignored by Siege as unimportant.

Table 2 detailed report:

For the first game of the day, I got to play into a Circle Orboros Kromac2 list. NB: my objective marker had a painted Armory on it, but I am testing Stockpile this game.

Cluster terrain deployed:
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The opposing Circle list:
Steam Roller 2017 Objective: Stockpile
Kromac, Champion of the Wurm
– Loki
– Ghetorix
– Gnarlhorn Satyr
– Warpwolf Stalker
Druid Wilder
Lord of the Feast
Blackclad Wayfarer
Swamp Gobber Chef
Death Wolves
Sentry Stone & Mannikins
Shifting Stones

Circle won the roll and chose to go first. I picked the side that had heftier forests planning to use Rush to move through them easily, and angles to cover zones with the Evil Eye or Siege Animantarax barrages.

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Turn 1:
Circle runs everything towards the battle lines, confidently limiting shooting options thanks to the large number of trees in the middle of the table. Kromac2 casts some upkeeps and gets a bit of extra movement thanks to being able to charge at the huge based Siege Animantarax even while it’s screened by a forest.

Skorne’s turn one sees the big turtle whipped and healed by the Paingiver Beast Handlers to get his 3 rage tokens, but doing so leaves the PGBH unit stuck in it’s starting position on the first turn. The tortoise then tramples into range of the Gnarlhorn, generates an average 3 shots and after missing all of them, repositions back to a safer distance. The Shaman is able to advance, put Far Strike on himself and winks a fully boosted Evil Eye at a Standing Stone on the opposite side of the forest, melting it into slag. Everything else advances forwards in the center and towards the friendly objective on the right, nothing runs. Makeda decides to put Hand of Death on Molik Karn and Vortex of Destruction on herself.

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Turn 2:
The Sentry Stone leaps (well, teleports) into action, popping up its own personal forest and sending a Mannequin forward to spray the Karax, but the spray cannot penetrate their armour in shield wall. The rest of the Circle force advances to control both the rectangle zones, and threaten my objective next turn, being careful to stay out of a Rush-walk threat from Molik through the forest on the right.

Having no LOS through the forest on the right side made it impossible to safely engage the Stalker and its Gnarlhorn counter-slamming protector with a charge attack. I decided to take the risky move to offer up the objective as bait to get a a better position for next turn as I couldn’t clear the zone to score on it because of the forest. Molik moved into b2b with the objective to get the heal if he was attacked but it was not, and the Gladiator got ready to support next turn. Animantarax and Raider both aim and chip out the Gnarlhorn’s Mind. Karax advance to contest the center zone and Exalted guardian block charge lanes. Shaman tries his luck again this time against the Sentry Stone who hadn’t generated a forest to stealth in this turn, but only gets 5 damage, leaving it standing. Circle scores for only their home rectangle zone on the left thanks to Skorne’s contesting objective.

Score 1-0 to Circle

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Turn 3:
I receive an education on Blackclad Wayfarers. They have a spray too. A powerful one. 3 Karax die, and while 1 Karax toughed thanks to supporting play from the Willbreaker, this wasn’t enough as the flanking Lord of the Feast got into the Karax back arcs with his teleport move and easily cleared the back of the zone. Kromac gets his Bloodlust on and feats for both offense and defense. The Gnarlhorn takes care of the blocking Exalted completely clearing the center zone, the Stalker has a go at Molik but only manages to knock out Body and Mind thanks to some unlucky attack dice even under Carnage. Circle scores on center and left zones, the right zone is still contested by my objective.

Score 3-0 to Circle

Stockpile special rule kicks in but only gives 1 box back to Molik, restoring his Mind. After a lot of careful thinking, Makeda decides it’s time to feat, expecting to get a couple of fury points this turn, and burns some fury to restore Molik to full working order. The Soulward double boosts a shot into the Gnarlhorn doing dice+1 damage thanks to Kromac’s feat, severely hurting it, and the Animantarax generates 3 chippy hits for a handful of damage, repositioning slightly afterwards. The Gladiator is tasked with taking out the Stalker and decides the best way to do this at MAT6 vs DEF14 is with a headbutt in the backside. Taking a feat-empowered freestrike from the Stalker on his way there, he loses a chunk of 11 boxes that leaves all his aspects intact. A boosted headbutt hits, and knocks the Stalker down, letting him cripple it to almost dead. Molik is then clear to charge into the back-arc of the Gnarlhorn avoiding the counter slam, and kills it, using sidestep and overtake to get back in range of the Stalker via the Sentry Stone. After then overtaking the Stone and the Stalker, a Fate Walker cast later and he’s positioned safely at the back of the right zone. Makeda clears the Mannequins around her, and the Raider on the hill aims to ignore the Blackclad’s prowl and then smote him motily. Karax move their remaining members into the center zone and activate Iron Zeal hoping it will help with long term contesting. We both score on the rectangle zones.

Score 4-1 to Circle

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Turn 4:
Loki and Ghetorix finally leave the left zone they’ve been camping and combo up a charge for Ghetorix. Loki drags the Raider in across the hill til it is stopped by the Shaman. Ghetorix can then charge and kill it handily, putting the last hits he can into the Shaman. More (un)lucky attack rolls leaves the Shaman with 11 boxes left, but no Body. One of the Death Wolves and the Lord clean up the Karax despite Iron Zeal, collecting some corpses for posterity. The other Death Wolf with 1 corpse, and the last Standing Stone move to block charge lanes from Molik. Circle scores left and center, Skorne scores on the right.

Score 6-2 to Circle

Stockpile now restores another 1 this time to the Gladiator, but as he had no missing aspects this had no real impact. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Beast Handlers get out of dodge and start running to the right to take part in the end game. The Soulward shifts across and puts a chunk of damage into Loki. The Siege Animantarax generates only 2 shots and aims at the Death Wolf but misses with both, proving to be of no help to Molik, and I fail to reposition correctly not backing far enough away from the oncoming heavies, but instead just a touch towards the zones. Molik goes on his final mission to clear the center zone, but it takes all his fury to do that and Fate Walk back towards Makeda. Taking a page out of Kromac’s book, Makeda moves to toe both center and right hand zones. Circle scores on the left, and Skorne scores center and right zones.

Score 7-4 to Circle

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Turn 5:
Circle continues to push for the removal of as much of Skorne as possible. The last Death Wolf retreats to guard Kromac and contest the center. Lord of the Feast teleports to the far side of the Animantarax and eliminates the Willbreaker. Ghetorix takes a feeble freestrike from the Shaman and charges into the Siege Animantarax. After one P+S16 initial and 4 axe attacks at P+S19 the Siege Animantarax has 4 boxes left, dying to the 5th and final axe blow from Ghetorix. Kromac pumps a Primal Shock through Loki into the Soulward evaporating him into mist, then Loki impales Molik with his harpoon and chops his weakened form apart with fury to spare. Circle scores on left and center zones, Skorne scores on the right.

Score 9-5 to Circle

The Beast Handlers continue through the forest and into contest/control opportunity positions. Makeda isn’t shy about getting involved, charges Ghetorix and Vortexes away his life, casting Ground Zero using Blood Boon which kills the Lord of the Feast. The Shaman moves to block Loki from getting to Makeda. I make two crucial mistakes, forgetting to measure Loki’s drag range for the Gladiator’s positioning, and I forget the Death Wolf has pathfinder so I advance the Beast Handler far too far into the center zone.

Score 10-6 to Circle

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Turn 6:
The Death Wolf skips merrily through the forest and lops the Beast Handler’s head from his shoulders with ease. Loki then steps forward, and drags the Gladiator to his doom. With none of Skorne’s models contesting the center zone or scoring on the right, Circle ends their turn and scores of the left and in the center.

Score 12-6 to Circle

Circle Victory.

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What a game. Circle had Kromac, Skoll, and Loki left. Skorne had Makeda, a Shaman, and 4 Beast Handlers, and both objectives were unharmed. I thought I was on track to have a Makeda vs Kromac showdown on turn 7, but it was not to be. Circle proved that the forests were their home and no invading Skorne would be enslaving anyone under their watch today.

 

Round 2 – Spread the Net and Breakdown

Moving on to Scenarios 3 and 4 for SR2017

Table 1:
Skorne-Zaal1 vs Minions-Rask1-Blindwater Congregation
Breakdown with unchanged terrain
Table 2:
Skorne-Makeda3 vs Cygnar-Siege1-Heavy Metal
Spread the Net with Scatter terrain deployment

Table 1 results:

A pure attrition-at-the-expense-of-scenario game on table 1 occurred, with both players mostly ignoring the scenario scoring elements all game long focusing on the slug-fest. Quite an even match played out for some time, with Zaal ultimately winning out with a ranged assassination victory.

This match flavour swung a lot towards the Skorne list thanks to the soul mechanics fully under Zaal’s control all game, and the limited number of living models on offer for the gators to munch on. Both players felt the scenario was rather redundant, and while they fought around and in the zones all game, neither was compelled to take risks to try and score more than they did.

This game saw an overall result similar to games seen in SR2016. A heavy attrition game that the dominating player closed out with an assassination, with a final scenario score of 3-2 in Skorne’s favour. This game was played in a similar timeframe to a comparable one under SR2016

As an aside, this was the same Minions list with the Sacral Vault being tested, which again reportedly did nothing of note the entire game, and was ignored by Zaal as unimportant.

Table 2 detailed report:

For the final pairs of the day, I got to face my anti-infantry list against Cygnar Heavy Metal on Spread the Net.

Scatter terrain deployed:
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The opposing Cygnar list:
Theme – Heavy Metal
Major Markus ‘Siege’ Brisbane
– Defender
– Stormwall
– Triumph
– Squire [free]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [free]
Journeyman Warcaster [free]
– Hunter
Lieutenant Allison Jakes [free]
– Charger
– Firefly

Cygnar won the roll and chose the side with the wall so I got to go first.

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Turn 1:
Skorne buffs Animantarax to full range and heals it back with a single PGBH activation, leaving them stuck on the start line as before. Turtle runs to threaten flag/back of circle zone. Molik and Gladiator run towards the left zone while everything else advanced up the middle behind the forest. As there’s no infantry and Stormwall is not subject to grievous wounds Makeda decides to Vortex of Destruction herself and forego Hand of Death to keep more fury for personal use.

Cygnar advances the Hunter slightly and takes 10 boxes off of Molik. Stormwall gets its Arcane Shield and advances, while Siege and most of his jacks bunch up behind the cover of the wall.

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Turn 2:
If I close with both Molik and Glad again, then Molik dies and Gladiator ‘might’ but probably cannot kill the hunter in return my following turn. 2 Heavies for a Hunter is not worth even an attempt. So I start to move centrally with the idea to heal Molik back up and then use the forest mid- table to get right on-top of the walled up jacks. A Puppet Mastered Shaman advances to where it can Evil Eye the Squire through the forest, and spikes damage onto the shield-guarding Triumph doing 6 damage. Skorne shuffle of the Karax due to a brain melt thinking they’d be more useful contesting zones than jamming jacks and guns…

Before the turn begins proper, Triumph hits the Gladiator for 4 with its out of activation shot as he has a sliver of LOS past the edge of the forest. Cygnar moves a tiny bit – Seemed to be about half SPD on most of the jacks, then opens fire on the Gladiator. Hunter knocks out its spirit, Stormwall hits the Gladiator but kills the Exalted Guardian shield guard and drops a storm pod to contest middle zone, Triumph does the same killing the other shield guard, and after a couple more shots chipping away at the Gladiator he finally dies to the Journeyman’s hand cannon. We both score home rectangle zones each.

Score 1-1

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Turn 3:
One opportunity to get a few scenario points so I give it a go. Karax and Shaman shuffle to make room for the Siege Animantarax who runs across the table to shield Makeda while she scores the flag. Molik uses Side Step and Fate Walker to clear out the storm pod and still get to safety behind the forest, and the Raider runs to control the right zone under the Willbreaker’s watchful eye. Soulward moves into a blind spot on the circle zone so it can be scored because there’s no where near enough infantry in the zone… Skorne get Flag, Mid and Right zones, Cygnar gets the Left.

Score 2-4 to Skorne

Hunters can move at a fair clip, so does so and gets 7 damage into Makeda. Siege feats and the Tortoise takes a tear-inducing 18 damage from Brisbane himself, and the Stormwall charges in to finish it off bouncing an electro leap harmlessly off of Makeda, and doing no damage with a storm pod in her back. Shooting on the other side of the board takes Raider from full to 0, then a Firefly runs and toes the right zone.

Score 4-5 to Skorne

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Turn 4:
Beast Handlers heal Molik to full and enrage him. Makeda runs center of the board and camps 5. Molik charges for free into the Firefly, killing it with both initials and side-stepping as far away from the Cygnar guns as he can. After the brain melts with infantry placement, they finally make their way through the forest without pathfinder and get into their zone far, far too late to make it to jamming positions in time. We both score home rectangle zones each.

Score 5-6 to Skorne

Cygnar asks what else worthwhile is there to shoot but Molik? And proceeds to do so. After a gentle soak in Cygnar regular guns, Molik dies to the first of the Stormwall’s shots, who then puts another 6 damage into the Shaman and the final storm pod has a go at killing Karax, but their high armour and tough only sees a couple of them die. Cygnar scores their home zone.

Score 6-6

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Turn 5:
Shaman runs to toe Skorne’s home zone on the right, and the Beast Handlers surround him, medicating back to full. The writing is on the wall well and truly here and instead of a constant retreat under a Shaman transfer battery (not likely to last even with 6 medicates a turn) Makeda takes a glorious last stand and walks up to the Stormwall and teach it what-for! On the off-chance some bad rolls were coming Cygnar’s way, I saved 1 transfer, and managed to reduce the Stormwall’s right side to only 4 boxes left in the process.

Score 7-7

Stormwall swings twice. First hit sees transfer of 11 damage to the Shaman, second hit kills Makeda.

Cygnar victory.

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So that happened. There was opportunity to do a lot better, but I was flustered by the matchup with unfavourable terrain, on an unfavourable scenario. Cygnar secret psychological warfare by playing their fagnambled Heavy Metal through loud speakers at the refined classical music loving Skorne found good purchase here. Upon reflection I would have far preferred going second, let alone choosing the table side, but in the end I feel it was the overall lack of central terrain that flustered me the most.

 

The Trouble with Terrain, but not Tribbles.

Only 2 methods were tried. Cluster, and Scatter. Scatter ended with a similar board to the ad-hoc terrain setups I’ve been seeing under SR2016 already, but worse. Cluster made for a new and fascinating board on my table at least, that caused a number of interesting game moments both to my advantage and chagrin. Observations and feelings:

Cluster:
One person misread the rules and thought the LOS blocking terrain had to be placed touching the center line, not the center point. This meant table 1 had the main cluster further to one side than table 2 did, where the terrain was placed as per the rules.

The results created a fascinating table that neither I nor my opponent had seen before, and we were both very excited to play on a table with 2 forests that interfered with the scenario zones. During play they both interfered with game-plans, and were integral to them for both players on different turns.

Overall, this created a very exciting table to play on, where abilities like pathfinder etc were very relevant but not strictly necessary. Care needed to be taken to ensure the first central piece of terrain was not exactly in the middle, allowing for the 2nd cluster to actually fit in an interesting way on the board so that it would have a chance of coming in to play. It didn’t for us, but with ambushing units it would have. If the first cluster had been right in the middle of the table, the 2nd cluster would have been at great risk of being forced to be irrelevant. This would be dependent on the types of terrain pieces used in each cluster.

Scatter:
There was no ‘rule’ for direction to place the scatter template. We elected for the “direction” to be towards the centre point of the table, then rolled mostly 4’s for the scatter directions resulting in most pieces moving further to the outside edges.The result was a very good table for a gunline despite the central forest, and whoever won the roll would get not a decent, but significant advantage over the other player.

The table looked fairly bland and evenly spaced, and there were huge empty areas of table in the battlefield that were uninteresting areas to stand in or move through.

Overall, I strongly dislike Scatter as written. It is possible a better table could be generated if we had placed the 4 pieces that were touching center of each quadrant such that the were all as far towards the actual center of the table as possible before scattering. Placing them more-or-less centered on the quadrant-centers created an uninspired table.

Scenario Scrapyards and Gamified Graveyards.

Some of these are really interesting, but more than anything the terrain layout as mentioned above impacts the most on how enjoyable these are to interact with.

The Pit II:
Great scenario that really mixed things up from the traditional formations of beasts middle, infantry flanks. Was a fun puzzle to mentally address having the zones split as they were. The layout encouraged getting things on the left/right sides of the circle to control/contest 2 zones at once, giving definitive goal locations for the lategame which both Kromac and Makeda achieved.

The objectives however felt fairly irrelevant all game. I had 1 opportunity to use Stockpile and in the heat of the moment I forgot to (inconsequential) so in this situation either of the objectives that have a buff-bubble (the 4″ area) would have been far preferrable. In that situation a piece standing on the zone edge so could potentially have been used the objective more than once. The selected objectives in this scenario proved uninteresting (both of us took Stockpile) and both remained intact the entire game, not something I have seen happen before under SR2016.

The terrain layout played a big part in this scenario and ultimately Circle won on scenario 12 points to 6 thanks to me completely forgetting to check infantry walking, and Loki drag threat ranges. 12-6 was reached after an almost 4 hour social game, on the first player’s 6th turn. Even if we were playing faster, that game would still have ended on clock with a Circle victory thanks to scenario score. If I had played smarter, it’s possible we could have played down to a Makeda3 vs Kromac2 punch up on turn 7, as that’s probably all that would have been left on the table!

The scenario (while huge fun and being very relevant all game) slowed the game down chronically while I kept nudging up my score to buy time to carve out an attrition advantage. On the clock in a tournament much more aggressive play would have been needed.

I like The Pit II, more please.

Spread the Net:
So… sadly I went into this scenario with a fairly average Makeda3 list designed against infantry and to shut down healing with grievous wounds. I ended up playing against Heavy Metal mostly behind a wall, and a Stormwall.

I know the matchup was a huge factor in this game, but the scenario I still felt was terrible. The rectangle zones were so far back that the ranged list of Cygnar just stood a few inches out of deployment scoring and shooting, while contesting the middle zone. This is all the Cygnar list needed as it was an extremely safe way to keep a narrow gap on the score-board and buy time for the guns to do their work.

While I completely misplayed my list adding to the match-skew, I still tried have a game over his back zone, and get Makeda onto the flag. The zone was so far back that running Molik and a Gladiator straight at it was exposing me to 2 full turns of shooting from most of the Cygnar list before I could guarantee the charge. After Cygnar killed my unharmed Gladiator and both shield guards in a single turn of shooting it was clearly just too big a distance to be able to push through against the guns without a lot more than a single LOS blocking piece near the midfield.

Facing death-by-metal I tried to find a way to push for a scenario win, and managed to go up to 3-1 early. As the game wore down, we passed the point where I could have won under SR2016 rules (score was 5-4 to Skorne at end of Cygnar turn 3) and ended with Makeda dying to assassination with 7-7 points on the board. I could have dragged out the game by constantly retreating Makeda along the zones to my right, but as I was destined to lose anyway Makeda went solo vs Stormwall and it was game over next turn.

This was a faster game than the first one, but much less of a game. The rectangle zones are too far back, and the flags might be in the right place for late-game use but were horribly exposed to the enemy rectangle zones to really be a meaningful element without terrain nearby to make them interesting.

I don’t want to play that Spread the Net ever again.

Blue Blistering Battle Engines!

Ahhh the War Tortoise aka Siege Animantarax. This is a really fun model to field. It is an imposing model, and the rule set it comes with gives Skorne something they have no where else – a rapidly mobile gun platform that can crank it for a turn in melee. Well, in theory. It’s clearly not supposed to be a shooty battle engine, but one that just happens to have a decent gun for the early game. Perhaps to its detriment, the gun is too good, and I could not help but put a lot of focus on trying to use the gun and its melee capability was a distant 2nd in my mind.

Two games make for a hard bow to draw on definitive statements but my observations and feelings on using the CID version:

  • Unwieldy as a stand-alone add, but still can be usable. Base size means that unless list designed to support it, normal model placement interferes with its ability to leverage its speed 8 for uses other than charge distance, or first turn position.
  • Easy to overextend with a 16″ Run first turn, but number of boxes mitigates the risk. 35 boxes, with unbuffed arm of 19 took a full activation of a buffed Ghetorix under Kromac2 to kill. Math of averages suggests that with +2 ARM spell or an Agonizer bubble he would survive the same charge. This feels about right.
  • Volume Fire rule giving the +1 to attack as well as damage makes it great using it against heavies, especially the Circle ones. But it is odd that it is harder to use against infantry which normally have higher defense than large bases.
  • ROF d3+1 is frustrating. Why should one activation be twice as good as another? Makes it extremely difficult to use both strategically and tactically. A fixed ROF# please.
  • When the field is just right, being able to switch sides of the table could be fun and powerful. I tried this in the wrong situation, but it looks like one of the most fun things about it being SPD 8.
  • Reposition works just right to protect from incoming charges, however it is hard to reposition correctly if surrounded by friendlies due to the base size.
  • Meaningful threat on the charge is 12″ for the Club Tail which is an ok place to be, despite the fact I was facing 13-16+” threats most of the day (Circle charges, Cygnar guns) and failed to engineer a charge myself. This could stay as a 12″ threat, but I would prefer 2″ on the tail to match the spears so that it moves to an even more cavalry-like 13″ threat (matching the Ferox on the charge).
  • The 2″ spears interfere with it being able to take any meaningful free strike. I’m not sure this will come up very often, but for an engine that should be focused towards melee, this is another feature that prompts trying to use it as a ranged piece.

Enter, The Errata

Several inconsequential factors have stopped any progress on this blog, but we are now back on track, with a heading that looks weirdly out of place so far from the event itself.

On the 17th of January, 2017, Privateer Press finally issued the long anticipated Skorne Errata. That’s right, an errata solely for a single faction. I will quote Jason Soles from the Privateer Press Insider which accompanied the release of the errata documents for some context as to how big a deal this was:

In all we made nearly a hundred changes to nearly fifty models. We reevaluated virtually every warlock to make sure each had a distinct play style. We strove to make sure each warbeast was worth its point cost, and we sought to distinguish the role of every unit and solo in the Faction.

Privateer Press had acknowledged they fell short of even their own expectations with Mk3 Skorne and that the faction lacked identity, power, and entertainment. They committed to fixing their mistakes, and the overwhelming reception from the community when the errata released was that they had done just that. Personally, I didn’t have as much of a problem with the state Skorne was in as others did, but I’m certainly enjoying like post-errata even more than I was pre-errata.

Privateer Press have really hit the mark for me with Skorne. There is a huge amount of interesting options now throughout the entire faction and I have been churning out lists on paper (well, in tablet memory) at a voracious rate. I’ve barely played any of them, but the fires of my imagination have been stoked to greater heights and I’m loving the agony of assembling efficient lists. I simply need to get them fighting on the table.

Of my main-line warlocks: Xerxis1, Mordikaar1, and Makeda3, only Xerxis1 was changed by swapping out the spell Rift for his new beast-catapult, Lurch.

The New Shinies

The full list of changes, along with developer’s notes, is available from Privateer Press here: http://privateerpress.com/january-skorne-errata-developers-notes

It made for very gratifying reading.

I’ve had some time to try my hand at a few of the tweaked beasts and units, and I’d like to go into a few of the options I’m enjoying the most or am exited to try in the near future.

Worldly Warriors

Beast Handlers – One subtle change to talk about here, and that’s the addition of the Prodding rule. Free charges are back, so long as the beast starts the charge while in base-to-base with a Beast Handler. This synergies nicely with Medicate, and I have used this ability in every game since the Errata. I didn’t think it would be possible to like this unit more than I did already, but I do.

Swordsman + Command Attachment – The soldiers themselves are now master swordsmen with a MAT of 7. I’m still surprised at how much of a difference this single point of MAT has made to their hit rates. The Command Attachment got the same +1 MAT buff, and has kept all of his passive goodies. For the mini-feat, he has swapped the situationally useful Show of Force (extra attack dice) for the ubiquitously useful Power Swell (extra damage dice). Under Xerxis1, they can murder anything they can get to. Combo-strike, Stir the Blood, Power Swell, and Feat is MAT 7 POW 14 + 5d6 charge, with pathfinder and side-step. Unfortunately too many people know what they can do and I don’t normally get into the enemy with more than 3 or so swordsmen left. That’s still enough.

Legends of Halaak – Everything about this unit has solidified. All passives now apply regardless of which model is alive so the bookkeeping got a lot easier. More importantly they became SPD 7 MAT 8 Weaponmasters. Now not only do I really like the personality of the unit, they do their job against both jacks and infantry, together or separate. Fun, versatile, dangerous, and a bargain at 8 points when using our solos as a benchmark.

Terracotta Army – My shorthand way of saying All the Exalted. Immortals have got resonance with Ancestral Guardians, Hakaar gives +1 MAT all around, and Advocates can spend souls on rerolls. The whole package is a big investment, but it’s top-notch fun hurtling buffed up Immortals across the table like a tidal wave of obsidian and stone.

Mighty Monsters

Archidon – Long Leash and a drop to 10 points has seen me include the Archidon in most of my lists ever since. It’s a lot easier to see him as a premium light warbeast, than the heavy he is actually classified as. He’s got such great range and speed that he’s always keeping an opponent on their toes regarding the threat he represents to their support models, and Lightning Strike is half the cost of Fate Walker for when Makeda3 or Xerxis1 want to get stuck in for themselves.

Molik Karn – Everyone(tm) says Molik is a shadow of his former self. While I know empirically that is true looking at the Mk2 to Mk3 transition, after the Errata he’s become my favourite Heavy. A points drop to 19, and a STR increase putting him at P+S14 Weapon Master sees him annihilate everything within reach. He’s got inbuilt intuition and future sight making him not only dangerous with raw stats, but efficient with his fury usage.

Hydra – Less related to the Errata itself, and almost entirely due to the model released, the Hydra will be my first Gargantuan (one day.) The rules simply solidified that choice as worthwhile for army composition. RAT 6 sprays, so I hear, are a thing. And the animus Sand Storm is some unique and very useful ranged defensive tech for Skorne. On it’s own, it doesn’t boost resilience to enemy shooting, but with a -3″ range on enemy guns, it’ll help pull them solidly into retaliation range if they take those shots.

Animatarax – I hadn’t really given this one much thought until a couple of weeks ago where I got to face one in a Skorne mirror match. Xerxis1 vs Xerxis2 in a temporal battle for supremacy! That Animatarax was amazing. Once he’s properly riled up with Rage tokens, he hits SPD 8 with a 12″ d3+1 ROF gun and Reposition 3″ !! And he only gets proper scary in melee. For the same cost as a Titan Cannoneer he’s going to see a lot of table time once I get him.

A Table Tale. Part 2 -Gathering Inspiration

The last couple of weeks I’ve spent researching other attempts at building custom game tables. There’s a glut of inspiration to be found on Google, and after sketching out a few ideas I find I am only a touch closer to deciding on a feature set than I was 2 weeks ago. As I actively play a variety of game systems including pen and paper RPGs, I’m going to take the feature ideas to my next few game sessions, do some “market research” and see if I can narrow the list down and avoid unnecessary scope-creep.

As it’s possible to over-engineer a game table and fill it with too many clever gadgets and features (http://www.geekchichq.com/products/sultan-deposit) this is a pitfall I am actively seeking to avoid in my own design. Once I decide upon the features actually needed, I’ll start looking for existing plans for both core construction methods, and finishing ideas. I’ve heard some good things about http://www.sketchup.com/ and that there are several game table designs available through this software I am keen to examine. Otherwise I have a to-do list to find some well resourced home carpentry forums to plumb for information. (And there’s always youtube…)

Obligatory links to several tables that are currently giving me inspiration:

 

A Table Tale. Part 1 – History and Concept

In the Beginning

I’ve come a long way from my earliest (school) days of tabletop wargaming, which for my group of friends didn’t even involve a table. We used string and push-pins to mark out the battle zone in the middle of the carpeted lounge floors we played on. Our terrain was 50% Necromunda box set terrain and 50% books, soda cans, coasters, and random ornaments from whoever’s parents house we were at.

As time progressed, we graduated from the floor to an under-sized dining table recently purchased by one set of parents. Reduce the deployment zones and the dimension issue was easily solved. The books, coasters, and random ornaments were gradually replaced over this period to include assorted cardboard or polystyrene packaging that were easily imagined to represent hills, bunkers, pumping stations, observation towers, or shuttle landing pads.

As we left secondary school (college in these parts, high school in others) and moved out of home, most of us got jobs or went to university and the next evolution in playing surfaces arose. Sheets of customwood MDF were purchased (in our frustratingly metric country) across the group and each built their custom table for their house.

The most simple was the guy who bought a full sheet of MDF at 2400 by 1200 (that’s 94.488″ by 47.244″ – see, frustratingly metric) and stored it behind his couch. Come game time, we would just put the sheet on top of the dining table and away we went.

Another guy went with the “easy to transport in the small japanese car table” where a half sheet was cut into 4 strips of 1200 by 300, and assembled into 2 hinged pieces that when expanded and laid out on top of his collapsible dog pen, formed the pinnacle of our mobile table technology.

One of the flats (apartments) even had a pine-frame-reinforced full sheet of MDF which was attached by ropes and pulleys to their garage ceiling. We simply manned the ropes on either side of the garage and lowered it to a playable height, or raised it out of the way at the end. Cool? Very. It was however ridiculously unstable and prone to swinging if you leaned against the “table” by mistake. It certainly wasn’t without its drawbacks. Like the time we were all a little drunk on Saturday afternoon and someone tried to reach a particularly far away model. There may have been a significant seismic event which swallowed both armies and terrain in spectacular fashion. A redesign of the pulley system followed.

All of these tables were just plain wood however. Never painted or stained, these were simply surfaces upon which to game.

Model A

Fast-forward another interval until several years ago. After a long gaming dry-spell resulting from the original group all either moving on, overseas, or across the country, my gaming was picking back up and it seemed the perfect time to create my own custom table. As my gaming systems at this time were still heavily of the BattleMallet:VeryBigNumber variety, I set to designing a 6′ by 4′ table. (Or for those playing at home, 1800 by 1200.)

My needs were fairly simple. I wanted it to be collapsible for storage and transport, and I wanted it to be finished, not just plain wood. My existing, large coffee table was used as the base support structure, and I constructed a removable play-field that could be unbolted into 2 halves to fit in a car for transport. I succeeded well enough in my goals and had a great amount of highly satisfying gaming on my table. It had 2 major flaws that only became apparent with use.

As the table was essentially now an over-sized coffee table, a just-lower-than-knee-height afforded an amazing tactical and strategic perspective when viewing the field top-down. However, it was a lot more challenging to get a models-eye-view, which in certain systems (BM:VBN) can be an issue. More-over, the height also made it awkward when making large measurements for the… less nimble of my opponents.

The second issue was that of the textured surface I painted on. I made the mistake of using sand mixed into the paint to texture the table top. Visually this worked great. Practically I had made a 6′ by 4′ piece of rigid sand-paper. Leaning on the table was a natural tendency for first-timers due to its height. This was quite uncomfortable even when done with a fleshy palm, escalating into downright painful if you’re a knuckle-leaner. While it wasn’t difficult to break the habit of leaning on the table, the real kicker was knocking or dropping a painted model onto the surface. Paint chips and scratches could be mortifying and even with my average table-top level of painting skill my heart was in my mouth whenever an accident occurred.

It’s been a great run with my first custom-built table but time has come to sell it, and begin a fresh table project to create an even better one.

Early Concept Features and Design Thoughts

It is early days for this project, but to kick things off I’ll jot down my up-front thoughts.

Permanent furniture – I own my house now, and no longer need a portable table. Overall finish is important, and consideration to use as (shock horror) an “ordinary” table is needed.

Multi-system support – Playing area needs to accomodate popular playfield sizes. Research needed as I have limited knowledge of the wider gaming options available. I am also an avid RPG player, so suitability for classic pen and paper RPGs is vital.

Extra space – Gamers always need more space. Space for a death clock, casualties, reserve units, army lists, dice pools, rule books, tablets, phones, etc. Which ties in to:

Drawers and/or trays – These could be useful for any number of systems and general gaming reasons. Care needs to be taken to not over-fill a table edge with such gadgets. Will still need to reach the centre of the table.

No cup holders – You’ll see these on many bells-and-whistles custom tables online, but I have a kitchen bar right next to the gaming space. Just not needed, and borderline tacky.

Scoreboard – Traditionally I’ve used a whiteboard on the wall to track score or important game wide information. Can consider some table-side feature for score tracking. e.g. Victory Points track, turn counter, etc

More detailed ideas and rough designs are forthcoming. I’ll keep you posted.

Lords of Ruin

This post comes somewhat late. I have been in a gaming void due to recently purchasing a house and filling my free time with first-time-house-ownership related activity. Now that things are settling in to a more even keel, I have a great number of topics and projects to talk about. But first, what actually happened at the national Lords of Ruin tournament?

Sean and Jimmy put on a great 2 days for us all at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt, and from my perspective it all went without a hitch.

Final Prep

After a call out a few months back looking for a billet for one of the Auckland field marshals I had put my hand up, having a spare pallet on the floor. On the proviso they were ok with a dog in the house, mine was open to them. One Matt C took up the offer and we had an awesome time chatting about such intellectual topics as Horse Mountain transport challenges and how Skorne was so over-powered I was taking a single list instead of my original 2-list pair*. Eventually we discovered our mutual enthusiasm for science-fiction television, and seeing as I have all of Farscape on DVD, and Matt had never seen Farscape, we had our evening wind-down sorted for the weekend.

*I posted around 1 month out from this tournament that I had finalised my list-pair for the tournament as Xerxis1 and Mordikaar1 and detailed the contents of the list. I was really happy with how they had shaped up, with a planned tweak for the future. Because I had so many models to assemble before tournament day, as I was on the closing stretch the night before I realised I just could not get all the infantry I was going to use assembled in time. This was a big problem, and so I came up with a last minute solution. I took my two lists, smashed them together and played the resulting abomination list against all comers. Feast your eyes upon this masterpiece:

Void Seer Mordikaar – WB: +29
– Despoiler – PC: 18 (Battlegroup Points Used: 18)
– Titan Cannoneer – PC: 17 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)
– Cyclops Brute – PC: 8

Void Spirit – PC: 4
Void Spirit – PC: 4
Wrong Eye – Wrong Eye & Snapjaw: 17
– Snapjaw
Tyrant Rhadeim – PC: 9

Paingiver Beast Handlers – Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Paingiver Bloodrunners – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
Praetorian Karax – Leader & 9 Grunts: 11
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew – Leader & 1 Grunt: 2

Armory – Steamroller Objective

Day One

My day one pairings were… challenging, to say the least, and exhausting to be a touch more descriptive.

First up, I faced Chris playing his Cryx lead by Venethrax1. A good match, and I certainly enjoyed tackling the puzzle of Field Marshal: Counter Charge. End result was a loss on scenario, but I went down fighting. My first game playing with a death clock, so I was quite proud that I’d fought it out to a loss on scenario with 12 minutes still on my clock. I didn’t dither too long on my decisions and didn’t give away an easy win to Chris, although he was never pressured back in any meaningful way, I forced the longer game out. If nothing else, it gave me some measure of confidence that I wasn’t completely out of my depth for the tournament.

And then I played Mitch. I had the dubious pleasure of fighting a bunch of Mercs led by Bartolo1 riding his Galleon. Go check my list again for a hint as to how this game worked out. The Galleon was my swimming coach, and I was drowning. I spent most turns confused about what was going on, and trying to formulate a strategy without any knowledge of my enemy. Still, despite having absolutely no idea what I was up against, and being on the back foot the whole game again, I still felt pleased with myself fighting it out to another loss on scenario. So far, this was shaping up to be a ‘just don’t get assassinated’ tournament.

And then I played Mike and his Menoth. No hesitation, no doubts, Kreoss1 steps up to the plate. “I’ve heard of this jank” I think to myself, and proceed to set up a very clever defense and screen, with avenues to go up on scenario as the game progressed. At least, it would have been clever apart from at least 3 things. I forgot about Purification and so Mordikaar lost Safeguard. I didn’t see that Eiryss1 could remove all fury with Disruptor Bolt, so I had no transfers. It is a trivial matter to see a prone old man who is lying down on the far side of a likewise prone titan. Assassination victory to Kreoss on the final round of day 1, top of turn 2. Seeing as the game ended so fast, Mike and I went ahead with an immediate reset, and played a friendly rematch. I still lost, but at least it was on scenario this time after 4 turns each.

Day Two

I was excited going into the 2nd day. I learnt many things from the first day and felt confident that my list would… well, that I could play some more good games.

Round 4 was another Menoth match, this time against Alex who dropped Thyra1 onto the table. Alex was a brilliant opponent. He taught me many things, of which perhaps the most important was that Kicky Monks are the official name of … Kicky Monks. Sounded legit. The entire game was full of laughter and wild speculation. The Karax were described as riot police when dealing with the Kicky Monks by stoically standing behind their shields and watching the baldies do kung-fu moves while saying “come at me, bro.” There was some speculation as to what the Choir were actually singing as the Void Spirits set about eating most of the unit. This game went very well for me. I steadily increased my lead in attrition each turn, and was scoring on scenario. Match result: I lost. Damn death clock. (Best match of the tourney, thanks Alex.)

Next up for the penultimate game of the tournament I was against Kane, who was playing Cryx with a Skarre1 and Kraken flavour. This game was a bit of a rematch for us, as we had fought previously in my first tournament. Last time we fought, Kane assassinated my warlock with his Kraken and I was very keen not to let that happen again. The first couple of turns had us both playing around the edges trying to get a positioning advantage, which I managed to achieve, allowing me to jam Cryx out of the scenario, and score each turn. Kane wasn’t about to let this happen uncontested and had the most amazing assassination run onto Mordikaar. I learnt that Krakens can get 4″ reach on their melee weapons. In a nail biting finish, I think we both held our breaths as the Kraken made its attack rolls on Mordikaar. Old Stoopy proved to be too agile and used the moves he’d picked up from the Kicky Monks to dodge each swing. Skorne wins on scenario. 1-4 on the scoreboard!

Last round of the day put Phil and I head-to-head. I was up against my dream match-up, as Phil decided to drop his Khador jack spam with custom Harkevich1 fuel system against me. At least, I think dream is the right word. One of those things you wake up from in a cold sweat, screaming. This game did hold the single greatest moment of the tournament for me. Harkevich had a shot at Mordikaar who I was playing way up the board. Using his Kicky Monk inspired prowess once again, Mordikaar poltergeisted the shot and pushed Harkevich clear out of the kill box. I went from 0 to 4 control points before Phils next turn. Suddenly I had gone from seeking an assassination victory to only needing 1 CP to win. There was an unharmed Decimator toeing the zone I needed, and I couldn’t slam it off with my Cannoneer because a wall was in the way! I mucked around with some last ditch attempts at assassination which all failed, and passed turn to Phil who used said Decimator to saw Mordikaar in two. It was such a great game that Phil only just missed out on my sportsmanship vote. (The power of the Kicky Monks could not be denied.) P.S. I completely forgot Mordikaar could cast Host of Shadows, so this game had both my greatest moment, and my greatest mistake of the tournament.

Tournament Results

I didn’t donut like I did in my first tourney! (That’s scoring 0 wins, see how the 0 is shaped like a donut? I think it’s an official term. Kicky Monks probably eat them at the carnival.) The final standings can be found here, and you’ll see I improved from my dead-last position at my first tournament. (I’m the player listed as Kristofr D – it’s a Facebook thing) Well, you’ll see my improvement if you factor in kill points for my bracket. Otherwise….

I can’t speak highly enough of the experience. It was tiring, I didn’t always understand why I was losing, and my opponents were all great to play against. I experienced games that were somber and serious affairs until the final handshake, and others that were jocular and full of laughter and grandiose explanations about the actions the models were taking.

Lords of Ruin: Will play again.

Casualties

The Skorne empire suffered the following losses during the tournament:

  1. Cyclops Brute – 4
  2. Titan Cannoneer – 1
  3. Void Spirit – 13
  4. Praetorian Karax – 40
  5. Paingiver Bloodrunners – 36
  6. Tyrant Rhadeim – 4
  7. Despoiler – 5
  8. Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew – 4
  9. Wrong Eye – 2
  10. Paingiver Beast Handlers – 2

An Early End to my JML

Due to a string of both annoying and unfortunate events I completely missed weeks 5 and 6 of the Wellington Journeyman League. Bad timing for a lengthy work trip, almost immediately followed by an illness of which I’m at the tail end of now (9 days seems a lot longer than it actually is when unwell…) On top of all this – I completely forgot to post up about the week 4 game! Luckily, I have some sparse notes and a decent memory.

First however, a public service announcement: My win against Sean involved a bad play on my part. While I can freely slam my own models with my Gladiator and they get moved the additional 2″ from his Grand Slam ability, the ability Follow Up only triggers “When this model slams an enemy model…” In my haste and excitement I misread the Follow Up rule and used it in a way that might well have made all the difference to the end result of the game. At least I’ve learnt about this having only played it wrong once, and importantly before I tried to do it in a tournament!

Forcing the Ferox to Fit

As previously outlined, for week 4 I changed my caster out to Mordikaar along with the big addition of a full unit of Praetorian Ferox that arrived in the post just in time. I was up late on the Tuesday night getting them ready for the Wednesday game. A lot of time was spent carefully pinning the Ferox and riders, including a couple of emergency rider deconstructions as it was not at all obvious what arms went with which bodies to correctly fit on the Ferox once seated. As I really like these models, I’m going to paint the riders and Ferox separately and attach them later. I’m planning on using magnets for this, as it will also make transport options for them a lot better as well. Currently, blue-tac is the stand-in adhesive to keep them in place on the table while I source the appropriate magnets, and I’m hopeful to have these arrive and complete this mod by the end of the coming weekend.

For some odd reason, the Ferox box kit came with 8 extra Ferox legs and a couple of spare Praetorian heads. These have gone into my bits-box and will likely see some resurgence as basing material when (not if) I start working on a second faction.

Cygnar Smackdown

For my final game of the league (didn’t realise it would be at the time), I played against Bob and his Cygnar forces led by Beth Maddox. A recurrent theme across many of the players I observed was the inclusion of cavalry units and Bob was one of us bringing the Storm Lances making a nicely symmetrical issue for me across the table in the form of very fast large bases with non-trivial defenses.

I advanced cautiously trying to set myself up for some good counter-play into the objective zone. My general tactical plan for the match was one of attrition: use the several guns I had to thin out some key pieces, the Void Spirits to clean up infantry models, and my Ferox to hit hard into his warjacks before using my beasts to secure the zone from the mid game.

I parked my Ferox in a forest just outside of the zone, popping the Hollow upkeep onto them for effect in later turns. With their SPD, native pathfinder and leap they threatened almost the entirety of the zone area from there. I could see there were almost no magical weapons in the opposing Cygnarian force, so my Void Spirits were fairly safe unless Beth herself came after them and I positioned them first near, then within the zone to try and scare Bob from moving too far forwards.

Bob however had different ideas and wasn’t going to let a couple of paltry Void Spirits rattle his nerves. Over the first 2 turns, the entire Cygnar force very aggressively swamped the zone while Beth threw out all sorts of buffs and sitting on 0 camp behind his entire army, and with almost his entire force within the zone I was left little room to position any pieces in there myself. While I did manage to get a good cannon blast onto one of the Storm Lances, it subsequently made a tough roll and pulled the finger at my Cannoneer. At the start of my 3rd turn I had caused no casualties, but a quick bit of pre-measurement showed that Beth was in a lot more danger than Bob at first realised.

Being incorporeal, the Void Spirits were both poised to put damage onto Beth, one even had a sliver of LOS between his intervening models and was within charge range. My Ferox were close enough that I could advance and jump 2 of them so Mordikaar could Essence Blast Beth as well. The first Void Spirit advanced through his lines and took a swipe at Beth from her back arc. Annihilator gave the ghost the additional die to hit and damage, and with needing 7’s to hit, and on dice-4 the ghost got only 2 damage through Beth’s armour. The second Void Spirit charged, and hit the needed roll of a 9 to rip her soul out through her chest with an impressive 14 damage spike, ending the game on my third turn with 2 activations.

I was extremely pleased to pull off an assassination this way, and really happy with the Void Spirits. On the negative side of things, the Ferox I was really looking forward to trying out only moved into a forest and watched from the side-lines.

Journey’s End

Despite the disappointing finish of being unable to get any week 5 and 6 games played, I really enjoyed my time in the Journeyman League. Perhaps the biggest impression I’ve been left with over this time is how little I can intuitively read the subtleties inherent in this game. I have a very long road ahead of me getting to better understand how to construct my lists to be fun and functional as well as what hard and soft counters I have within Skorne that can be applied to the varied opponents I will continue to face.

For the immediate future, I’m now hoping I will get the chance to play a couple of 75 point games before Lords of Ruin. At the rate I’m going, it’s entirely possible I’ll just be playing my lists into the tournament blind!

Lords of Ruin List Building

1 month from today, the Lords of Ruin tournament will be hosted in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. It is a national tournament and a fair number of players will be coming from across the country. Current count I believe places us at 39 players, 18 of these from out of town. This is essentially a Steamroller 2016 tournament, with the addition of the Active Duty Roster pack, 2 list maximum.

My recent taste at tournament play during the Full Steam event had left me hungry for more, so as soon as the opportunity arose I signed up for Lords of Ruin and paid the entry fee. This will likely prove to be another challenging experience as so far my only 75 point games have been the Full Steam games where I fielded only Titans. Not only is my experience at 75 points so limited it’s almost inconsequential, my experience with the array of models in other factions is tiny, AND the rounds are timed with a 60 minute death clock. Timed turns is another thing I’ve never done before.

So exciting.

Due to my participation in the Journeyman League, I’ve not taken opportunities to play outside of the league games at the 75 points level so far. I’m not concerned by this however as the league will have grown to 75 points by August 24, followed by a short-form tournament using our final week league lists. That gives me a whopping 2 weeks to play at the 75 points level and I’ll probably fit 5 to 6 games in during that window, counting the JML tournament. 1 or 2 of those games will even be with a list I’ll use at Lords of Ruin.

By the end of Lords of Ruin I’ll have doubled my experience with balanced lists at the 75 point level!

Design Methodology

aka Trust Me, I Have An Imagination

I’ve been through 3 phases of list building to get to where I am now. I had already decided some time ago on a stable of 3 Warlocks I will concentrate on, so I started just creating lists with them. Many, many lists.

Phase 1 – Abstract Art.
Some idea would pop into my head and I’d throw it into a list on a lunch break, or during the commute to work. As a couple of weeks went by, I started to see shapes appearing. Some go-to combinations that I was slotting into multiple lists over and over again. From this, I identified a handful of modules (collection of models/units taken all at once to achieve a desired interaction) that I was really digging in my head. This phase ended with me deleting every single list I’d made (well, except for my Journeyman League lists) for a fresh canvas in Warroom.

Phase 2 – Confirmation Bias.
As I don’t have the luxury of lots of games to test some theories on the table, I turned to the fathomless depths of google, the Privateer Press forums, and Facebook to see what the ‘word on the street’ was. There was also a lot of negativity to wade through, including some very strong opinions that a few of my ideas were built out of worthless pieces (what do they know!?) However, for some of the modules I had thought up, at least parts of them were supported by commentary I came across (see, I knew I was a genius all along!) I’m perfectly aware at this point that it is confirmation bias, but it’s better than nothing.

Phase 3 – Distillation.
Time to build lists again, but now I was doing so with gradual layers of refinement. I would start with what I will call the keystone module, the piece of my list (sometimes Warlock independent, sometimes not) that would be the star player the rest of the list would support on the field. Then I would find a support module or two that would directly support the keystone modules game plan, and finally fill any points gap at the end with something that made sense. This was an extremely interesting and varied exercise as that support didn’t have to be in the form of buffs/debuffs or other direct interactions. It could also be simply to fill a role that the keystone module did not. As I made these lists I swiftly gravitated to a strong core of 50 points for each one, and was most often spending the majority of my time finding a way to fill the remaining 25 or so in an efficient and logical manner. Eventually, I trimmed the lists that were proving to be ‘too hard’ a puzzle to solve for now, and picked my favourite 2, giving me my tournament list pair.

For better or worse, I put them up on the Privateer Press Skorne Forums to see if the community there would suggest any tweaks that I might not have considered. Sure enough, one came through pretty quickly but despite liking the suggestion and seeing a further improvement it would allow, I’m going to stick with my design for now because I don’t have the models necessary to make the change.

Current Pairing

Void Seer Mordikaar – WB: +29
– Despoiler – PC: 18 (Battlegroup Points Used: 18)
– Titan Gladiator – PC: 14 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)
– Cyclops Brute – PC: 8
– Cyclops Brute – PC: 8

Void Spirit – PC: 4
Void Spirit – PC: 4
Wrong Eye – Wrong Eye & Snapjaw: 17
– Snapjaw

Paingiver Beast Handlers – Leader & 3 Grunts: 5
Paingiver Bloodrunners – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
Praetorian Swordsmen – Leader & 9 Grunts: 13
– Praetorian Swordsman Officer & Standard – Officer & Standard: 4

Fuel Cache – Steamroller Objective

 

Tyrant Xerxis – WB: +28
– Titan Cannoneer – PC: 17 (Battlegroup Points Used: 17)
– Titan Cannoneer – PC: 17 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)

Mortitheurge Willbreaker – PC: 4
Hakaar the Destroyer – PC: 7
Extoller Soulward – PC: 3

Legends of Halaak – Valgesh, CIdaar & J’Deth: 8
Praetorian Ferox – Leader & 4 Grunts: 21
Paingiver Beast Handlers – Leader & 5 Grunts: 7
Praetorian Karax – Leader & 9 Grunts: 11
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer – Tyrant & Bearer: 6
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew – Leader & 1 Grunt: 2

Stockpile – Steamroller Objective

 

Disclaimer: These lists are still open to further tweaks, and I will likely discuss my sticking points and the variations available in a future post.