Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fun list: The Butcher and his Brutes

Having played quite a few games of Warmachine using the most solid (read: boring) lists I could build (mostly centred around the dreaded Winter Guard Deathstar), I decided it was time for some fun. It was during a game against Ian's Scyrah that I witnessed the sheer brutality of a Berserker with 3 focus under the influence of the Butcher's feat and Full Throttle. Despite having lost an arm, said Berserker hurtled forward to charge a nearby Phoenix, pound it into scrap, then explode, killing a nearby Stormfall Archer.

I decided then that I really like Full Throttle and since I don't have a Karchev to hand, here's a list I threw together and had some good fun with.

It's simple enough, yes? The Destroyer hangs with the Kovnik and slowly advances, dumping double boosted (by which I mean attack and damage rolls are both boosted) Bombard shots into the foe, while the Butcher advances behind a wall of Khador's most vicious melee jacks. Full Throttle makes sure they hit stuff, and Fury will let one jack hit absurdly hard. The wee doggy is there... well, just because.

I had a game using this list against a beast-heavy Circle Orboros list, with eKaya using her feat to hit my lines really hard, then bugger off out of my reach. A fairly close-ish game, I thought, but when my Kovnik failed to Drive 2 turns in a row, well, that when I knew the dice gods had turned their back on me. But hey, I'm not letting a little bad luck stop me. I'm gonna have a couple more games with this list and see how it rolls.  Read on for a dissection of each element of the list...

In a jack-heavy list, focus efficiency is paramount. As such, it really helps to have jacks that can do stuff that would usually require focus for free.  Kodiak runs for free, has Pathfinder and Vent Steam, making it an excellent choice for stomping into a forest and boiling alive any sneaky little high-DEF critters hiding in there. Having two POW 16 fists means it's no slouch in jack to jack combat. Add to that it's chain attack (any power attack, including the nasty double handed throw), and you've got a tremendously versatile jack weighing in at 8 pts.

The Berserker is another focus-friendly jack, running and charging for free. Like the Kodiak, it has a chain attack (a headbutt), giving it up to three attacks on the charge without any focus spent. Some might say it's unstable core makes it a liability. I say deliberately pumping a heavily damaged Berserker full of  focus and sending him hurtling into enemy lines is just damn good fun. Only downside is it's low MAT. A measly 5! Since giving him focus to boost his attack rolls early on is a bit risky (and potentially a waste of a good jack), you'll need some way of increasing his chances to hit without using focus. Some suggestions:

1) The Butcher's Full Throttle
2) pIrusk's or Strakhov's Superiority
3) Karchev's  Unearthly Rage
4) pVlad's Signs and Portents

All these spells can turn an otherwise mediocre jack like the Berserker into something your opponent should fear.  I'm sure there are other ways worth looking at, but it must be said that in a list like this, you need spells like Full Throttle or Unearthly Rage, with more bang for your buck, i.e. spells that affect the whole battlegroup, rather than target single jacks. Moving on...

Ideally, I'd have preferred more Berserkers or Kodiaks, but I settled for what models I had readily available. Both are still brutal under Full Throttle. The Juggernaut is an old Khador reliable and there's much to be said for the tactical options that open up with the Marauder's ability to slam at P+S 20. 

All four of the above melee jacks are meant to advance with the Butcher close behind. ARM 20 means there's no need to be shy about taking the enemy's charge head on. That said, it's also necessary to make sure the brutes catch the charge and are in position for a vicious counterattack. Turn on Full Throttle, give focus to the jack in a position to hit where it hurts, turn on the feat and make it count!

These two provide the ranged fire support of the list. A Destroyer is, like the Juggernaut, another old Khador staple. The thing is, it's awful RAT of 4 means it'll need some help actually hitting things with that Bombard. I figured the Butcher would be busy getting stuck in with the four close combat jacks and wouldn't have focus to spare. Enter the Man-O-War Kovnik. With it's Drive ability, the Destroyer can now march ahead with boosted attack and damage rolls every turn, without a single focus spent! Well, assuming the Kovnik makes the command check... Anyway, a big boosted gun is always handy. And if the enemy gets too close, they'll quickly find out, the Kovnik and his Destroyer don't just carry those axes for show... 

I'll see if I can get more mileage out of this list. Until then, it's time to catch up on some 40k...

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