10-man Winter Guard Infantry with Unit Attachment and 2 Rocketeers
Winter Guard Mortar Crew
This is a variant of a list I'd used before. Instead of Shocktroopers, I've opted for some more ranged fire support in the form of the Widowmakers (because I'm really rather pleased with how they turned out) and the Mortar Crew, because POW 16 and AOE 4 from 20" away is just fun.
And Johnny's Skorne:
4 Cataphract Cetrati with Tyrant Vorkesh
4 Cataphract Cetrati
4 Paingiver Beast Handlers
1 point short, by my reckoning...3 points short, had he used Xerxis' Tier 2 theme.
Here's a funny thing about the League games - we play for points, and the person with fewer points gets to pick a region in which to battle. Since I had fewer points (and a fairly shooty list) I picked a region with no terrain. As for the scenario, we were both too lazy to roll for whatever funky scenarios you get in the League, so we just went for a straightforward scrap - kill the caster. Here's how it went...
Khador: Nothing fancy here, just a standard Khadoran opening. Winter Guard run up into position. Joe makes them tough. The Widowmakers position themselves on the right flank, waiting for the foe to walk into their guns. The jacks run up, screening the Butcher, who puts Fury on the Drakhun and Iron Flesh on the Guard. The mortar moves up into a firing position. The Drakhun advances on the left.
Skorne: Without any ranged weapons, Johnny elected to swing his line quickly towards my right flank.
Khador: The Widowmakers moved up and started pinging away at the Gladiator, and disappointingly managed to miss 3 out of 4 shots, despite needing 5s to hit! The Marksman moved ahead a little and picked off a stray Beast Handler, then scooted back to avoid the Gladiator's possible charge. The mortar fired, hitting nothing. Joe advanced a little more, making the Guard tough again. The Winter Guard then moved up with Bob and Weave, firing a 4-man CRA into each of the Titans. The Bronzeback wasn't pleased, and Johnny used Hyper Aggressive to move him even closer to my lines. Still, my objective here was to move the Guard forward as a DEF 17, Tough screen to catch Johnny's charge so I could counter with the Butcher and my jacks. I figured that was the time for the Drakhun to get a charge in, but the damage roll was disappointingly low, even with 4 dice. I moved up my jacks side-by-side and moved the Butcher and his dog up behind.
Skorne: This turn really hurt! Xerxis charged into my Drakhun, popping his feat, and with 3 attacks, dismounted and killed him. The Cetrati on my left charged forward (I had sorely underestimated their charge range under Xerxis) into my jacks, and with massive damage rolls, wrecked my Kodiak and crippled one of the Berserker's arms. I did not see that coming. Things went better for the Winter Guard, though. The Titans and other Cetrati thundered into them, but DEF 17 made them absurdly hard to hit. Despite the trampling Bronzeback and other violence, only two of the Guard fell. Still, my position didn't look too good. Without my jacks, how was I to counterattack?
|So much for my jacks... Now what?|
Khador: Looking at the board position I knew I had to think very carefully what to do next. Xerxis was within easy charge range of the Butcher. In Warmachine, there are few things which guarantee death quite as completely as inviting a charge from the Butcher, but this was a Hordes army I was facing, and the trick all Hordes players have become veeery familiar with is that of redirecting damage. For those of you who don't know how this works: A warlock can spend a fury to transfer damage from a single source to a warbeast in his control area. By contrast, when a warcaster has focus on him, that focus adds to his ARM.
Xerxis had 3 Fury on him and 2 lightly wounded Titans in his control area. I knew the Butcher's brutality could well be wasted on Xerxis now. So I went for the Titans.
Joe moved back, taking a potshot with his hand cannon at Xerxis, but dealt no damage. The Butcher then charged the Bronzeback in the midst of the Winter Guard, popping his feat and dealing massive damage. I spent 1 more focus to buy an attack and finish the Titan, then stopped, leaving the Butcher sitting on 4 focus (1 was spent upkeeping the Iron Flesh on the Guard). The Berserker flailed away at the Cetrati, to no effect. The Winter Guard fired storms of grapeshot all over the place with their blunderbusses, killing the Beast Handlers and dealing a little damage here and there to Xerxis, both Cetrati groups and the Gladiator, but killed nothing. The Widowmakers pinged away at the Gladiator, dealing minimal damage.
Not quite as devastating as I'd hoped for a Butcher feat turn, but there were DEF 17, Tough Winter Guard all over the place and the Butcher was effectively DEF 16 (thanks to the dog) and ARM 22. Would it be enough to see the next turn?
Somewhere around here there should be a picture of the board position at the end of my 3rd turn, but in my excitement, I had forgotten to take a picture.
Skorne: Oh, man, things were tense this turn... First, the Cetrati on the left wrapped round my Berserker and shredded it. To the right, the other group of Cetrati sidled over to gang up on a Guardsman who happened to be between Xerxis and the Butcher. A CMA from 3 of them was quite enough to end the hapless Guardsman, who failed his Tough roll. The Gladiator, too, was put to work setting up Xerxis' charge, and it thundered through my lines, trampling away and maxed out on fury to take down the War Dog. It, too, failed its Tough roll. Things weren't looking good...
Only one thing for Johnny to do now. Xerxis charged the Butcher, with a full load of 5 fury. With MAT 8, Xerxis needed 6's to hit. The charge attack missed! And that pretty much ended it. With only P+S 14 attacks, the Butcher easily weathered the flurry of blows from Xerxis' with 12 boxes to spare. You could practically hear the Butcher growl, "Is that all?" Xerxis had no fury left...
Khador: Well, there's only one thing that can happen to any poor devil who tries and fails to take down the Butcher in close combat, right? You guessed it. Xerxis was minced into a fine paste with 3 focus leftover to gut the Titan Gladiator, and that was that. Victory to Khador! Cue appropriate-sounding music...
Afterthoughts: So was there any way I could have played that a little more efficiently? My first thought is that, seeing as Xerxis' own feat is very similar to my own, I really should have made more of an effort to pile my forces towards the right flank, thus drastically reducing the efficacy of his feat on my left flank. Looking back, I really think I squandered my Kodiak and Berserker needlessly, and could have put them to much better use had I kept them closer to the Butcher instead of allowing them to get charged by the Cetrati.
Would I change the list in any way? I think I can switch the Mortar out for something better. Next time, I think I'll take a shot at switching the mortar for a Manhunter and 1 more Rocketeer. I'll leave the mortar for Sorscha...