Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pondering: Goreshade the Cursed

Or, 'NEED MORE BANE THRALLS!' I've recently stripped my Bane Thralls (didn't like the bloody back-spikes; they just got twisted) and repainted them. i finally hit a break-through on what to paint my Epic Goreshade up as (I mean, he's kinda the master of Bane Thralls, right?) and have been painting them in tandem. Mmm, red. I do my Cryx with a red glow, and decided to reflect that with my jolly little stealth weaponmasters.

Of course, now that I'm painting up Goreshade the Cursed, I'm going to have to use him. So, I'll break out my favorite rubric of judgment for warcasters.

Initial Questions
1) What's my vulnerability to assassinations?
Well, Goreshade may have a nice DEF15 base, but ARM16 is so-so. 17 boxes isn't bad, but the biggest issue you've got with the guy is the medium base; he's more difficult to hide. If you're worried about ranged assassination, though, you can always use Occultation on the man himself; it's Stealth for a focus a turn.

Ultimately, the biggest thing here is the medium base. You'll want things like Occultation, clouds (IE: Gorman di Wulf) or medium-based infantry to block LOS.

2) What's Goreshade's personal threat value?
MAT 7, PS15 and a sword with reach, stationary, and the ability to inflict Stationary is pretty sick for offensive talent. I suppose you could use this as a setup, but if you do you're going to want to camp focus and/or finish things off in a hurry; you've got no way to extricate yourself from the situation other than killing all the threats around you or ending the game.

Technically you also have a POW13 AoE 3 spell, but that's more of a backup weapon/sidearm than a primary. At least it can drop upkeeps/animi, right?

3) Spells/Utility
Now we're getting to the fun part. He's got a pair of special rules that help him play attrition and discourage spellcasting.

Elite Cadre: Bane Thralls. When a Bane Thrall kills a warrior, you get a new grunt for the Bane Thrall's unit. Huzzah! Join us. Buy a few more blisters of Banes, while you're at it. It's nice against living enemies, but bear in mind it is semi situational.

Arcane Consumption. Use magic near him, and eat a point of damage. Situational, but a nice way to make someone pay for using one-wound guys with magic ability.

Goreshade has a well-rounded spell list. You've got a nice ARM debuff; Curse of Shadows is only -2ARM but it does let you move around/through the target unit by denying them freestrikes and letting you literally walk the hell on through them.

Occultation is a nice ability for your non-stealth stuff; you're probably using Bane Thralls, so you might as well make sure another nice target doesn't eat all the gunfire. Or, use it on Goreshade himself.

Phantom Hunter is for ranged jacks, which probably means the Leviathan.

Sudden Death is an interesting little spell. I've seen free-countercharge stuff for jacks, but this is an upkeep for a warrior model. It lets an unengaged trooper model charge a model that comes within 6" and make a normal attack. Honestly, given that you'll probably have Bane Thralls (and the ability to replace them) I see it as softening up a warjack or heavy-hitter that comes in to do some damage, and if you lose the grunt in the process (by running out of formation) you can get 'him back. (Her? It? Do Banes in general have a gender)

4) Feat
Goreshade's feat is...interesting. You can remove warrior models to return non-character warrior models to play, so long as their unit still stands. Why is this interesting? Think about certain officers or unit attachments that you may want alive. Got any in mind? (Hint: Bane Thrall Officer/UA). Bring some Scrap Thralls or other cheapo expendables, and you can get them back. This might also let you do fun things like bring back Brute Thralls or Necrosurgeons, y'know...

Round 2
5) What Kind of Game does Goreshade Play?
Honestly, Goreshade doesn't have an overt sucker-punch open to him like some guys; his feat doesn't auto-kill the other dude on the spot or deny them some fun. It can bring back some important models for you, though.

Goreshade's more on the attrition side of things. Play the scenario, but don't rule out killing the other guy. Just realize you may need to chop up more of his army first.

You can deny the enemy chances to kill your important stuff, bring some of it back, and get the odd out-of-activation hit in with Sudden Death. You've got a nice ARM debuff that can help get you through harder targets, or kill lighter ones that much faster. At the end of the day, Goreshade feels like a utility kind of guy with a variety of tools (sadly, you won't use them all on any given Sunday, which can make you feel like you're wasting something). Remember that with Dark Shroud AND Curse of Shadows, Bane Thralls hit something at ARM -4. Friggin' Ouch.

6) Win Condition
No built-in win condition. As I mentioned previously, look into attrition, especially if the other guy has lots of living models. There's nothing as fun as just screwing over the other guy with 20-30 bane thralls. If you can kill a lot of their warriors with Bane Thralls, you can get a numerical advantage with weaponmasters. The problem is, of course, in OWNING that many Banes.

This part is also subject to change, assuming more practice with him than I currently have.

7) Army Composition
I'll start with three points for the army composition.
I) Elite Cadre
II) Feat
III) Spell List.

The Elite Cadre means I want to look into Bane Thralls. A full unit with UA is a nice 11 points, Bane Lord Tartarus is another 4. That gives me a solid anti-armor starting point.

I'll probably throw in Scrap Thralls; it's 1 point fo Feat Fodder. They stay in the back until needed, then do something fun like turn into Bane Thralls or whatnot.

The spell list tells me two things: first, I want an arc node to sling debuffs through. Figure on four points for a cheap node. Then, look at Phantom Hunter. This ability is just short of Eyeless Sight (doesn't ignore Stealth). It goes great on a ranged jack. Cryx doesn't have a lot of ranged jacks. You can try the Corrupter (and hope it can pull Arc Node Grabbing duty as well, but there are issues with that*), the Reaper (which is shorter-ranged), or the Leviathan. (technically the Harrower has a long-ranged gun and can be reasonably self-sufficient, but it ALSO more or less has Phantom Hunter on the gun).

I favor the Leviathan. Why? You have a solid range (13") and solid POW that only improves against larger targets (POW13 is plenty vs small bases; POW14 is nice on medium and POW15 on large means stuff gets hurt). Phantom Hunter helps negate the RAT5 by ignoring concealment/cover, and with the range you can always look for the aiming bonus as well. As a side bonus, it's immune to knockdown so it could always screen for Goreshade.

So, with Goreshade's 5 jack points, I'm looking at:
Goreshade (-5)
-Nightwretch 4
-Leviathan 9
10 Bane Thralls 8
-Officer/Standard 3
Bane Lord Tarturs 4
3 Scrap Thralls 1
Total: 24 points

Not a bad start for a basic kit. From here, thoughts:

Occultation + UA for Satyxis Raiders does several things.
a) Unless they ignore stealth, you're GOING to get there in melee. You are immune to blast damage, and with Stealth you're immune to direct-fire weaponry for the most part
b) You have Combined Melee Attack, for killing higher-def targets
c) You can always bring back the sea witch
d) If you take the Captain solo, you can use them as a first wave to tie up the other guy, and get your Banes into position.

Occultation + Bile Thralls can help with infantry; who needs to hit high DEF when a POW12 and corrosion probably kill?

Black Ogrun Boarding Party: hey, medium bases for screening, right?

Bloodgorgers: good for hunting down living models, as they have a 10" charge, MAT6, gang, and a pair of hand weapons.

Satyxis Blood Witches + UA: gang and MAT6 help them clear out infantry; if you throw Occultation on them along with the UA's mini-feat, well, it's hard to kill a bunch of incorporeal stealth models at range...

Soul Hunters would love Stealth, and give you an early element of disruption. Probably means you'll take Darragh Wrathe, too.

Withershadow Combine: you're gonna have 1-3 upkeeps out, and they're generally solid anyway. Too bad the feat can't help them.

Skarlock: probably not necessary; while you COULD use the guy as a means of getting a free upkeep, you don't exactly have a buff spell you'd want to cycle out of activation unless you're trying to roll TWO bloody heavies.

Warwitch Siren: useful for a Magic Ability 7 spray to kill troopers, AND fueling your warjacks for a run. Probably not a bad idea.

Ogrun Bokur: for when you're just not screened enough and you worry about an Eiryss shot to the face.

Gorman di Wulf: as above, but also for lowering the DEF of some targets.

Cylena Raefyl and the Nyss Hunters: worth a mention as they CAN do combine ranged attacks, and with Hunter, they're roughly comparable in roles to that Phantom-Seeker'ed Leviathan. You sit behind a forest and dare a non-Everblight guy to come near.

Saxon Orrick: you have Bane Thralls. They are not pathfinders. Pathfinder is their buddy.

So, I would probably consider rocking this in 35:
Goreshade (-5)
-Nightwretch 4
-Leviathan 9
10 Bane Thralls 8
-Officer/Standard 3
10 Nyss Hunters 10
Bane Lord Tartarus 4
Saxon Orrick 2

This gives you a decent ranged firebase, a melee compliment, and a fair amount of mobility; Saxon can hand out Pathfinder and that really leaves you with either Goreshade or Banes that aren't hoofing it through whatever.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Abilities and Ways you can Counter Them

This will probably not be exhaustive, but when you get down to it, there are a lot of nasty abilities in WarmaHordes. Part of the game is finding a work-around for them.
The way I see it, there are usually two types of counters to any given ability:

1) Hard Counter
You explicitly deny the enemy the use of their rule, usually with a special rule of your own.

2) Soft Counter
You find a work-around for the problem. Your work-around does not explicitly say 'ability X that I hate does not work' but you nonetheless achieve the desired result. That being said, I'm going to start a rundown of some of the common abilities I know folks hate.

Nya! You automatically miss me with your puny ranged attacks over 5" away! Man, is this bloody annoying when you brought a lotta guns to the fight. Suddenly, they're not so useful. What do you do?

Hard Counters
There are a few things that explicitly ignore stealth, among them:
-Eyeless Sight (Legion FTW)
-True Sight
-Spray Attacks (one of the MANY things they ignore...)
Soft Counters
-AoE Attacks work against lower-ARM troops, which are usually the things with stealth. Even a POW7 blast damage roll has a good chance of killing ARM11-13 guys
-Melee doesn't CARE about stealth at all
When you get down to it, the easiest way to soft-counter stealth troops tends to be just lobbing lots of explosives in their general direction. If you didn't bring a lot of guns, then honestly you don't much care about stealth, and it becomes an ability the enemy paid for and isn't using. The problem lies in dealing with high-ARM stealth models; you either need a hard counter or melee as the blast damage won't cut it.

High Defense
Face it, sometimes you'll just run into models that you can't friggin' hit. DEF10-12 models tend to be very easy to hit. DEF 13-14 starts getting rougher and requiring higher-level MAT/RAT. Once you start seeing DEF15-16+, you're running into problems. DEF17 casters simply REQUIRE specialist kit to realiably deal with, assuming a high-end RAT/MAT of 7. Your average 2d6 roll is a 7.5; your average on 3d6 is an 11.5.

The other issue to consider with defense is the source of it. Is it a natural defense? Is it granted by a spell? Is it something that comes from terrain? This also tells you how you counter it.

Hard Counter
-Defensive Debuffs. Not the easiest thing to find outside of Cryx
-Knockdown. You can get knockdown by throwing things at high-def targets, slamming models through them (incluidng your own), or various weapons WITH knockdown effects. You only need one good hit to reduce them to DEF5 versus ranged and bypass an attack roll altogether in melee.
-Stationary. Sorcha's on to something there...
-Sustained attack. Hit a harder-to-hit target with this once, and then you move straight to damage rolls on later attacks. You do have to hit the first time, though, but if you can hit hard enough you tend to do just fine later on. Or, you just buy a bunch of damage rolls and hope the job gets done.

Soft Counter
-AoEs. They don't roll to hit; they roll to damage. If the high-DEF target is within the blast radius for a direct hit on a low-DEF target, then you can solve the problem (especially if you can boost the blast damage on a target with wounds)
-Boosts. Not always the most reliable or available ways to do it, but rolling 3d6 versus 2d6 DOES help you. However, it means you'll have fewer attacks available to get the job done, and means you're generally looking at warjacks, warbeasts, casters, or rarer abilities.
-Combined ranged/melee attacks. This requires getting enough of the unit into a position where they can exploit the ability, though.

-Setting them on fire/corroding them. It may take a hit the first time, but next time around there's a 66% chance they'll eat an automatic point of damage from corrosion or a POW12 from fire.

Honestly, I don't think high DEF counters break down as cleanly as others might into 'hard' and 'soft' counters, but I'm pretty sure the preceding are all viable ways to get around it.
High Armor
Sometimes, it's just bloody hard to scratch the other guy. High ARM is a pain in the butt, and sometimes a strength of the other guy. There are many sources for it, from raw stats, to buffs, to orders like Shield Wall.
Hard Counters
-Debuffs. Again, not something you often see outside of Cryx and Everblight, but it's there.
-High POW attacks of your own. Power on through to them.
-Boosts. Like high POW, just batter your way through their defenses.
-Damage buffs of your own
-Armor-piercing attacks. Even a Hunter's POW7 gets nasty when a Khadoran jack has ARM10 against it. Throw a boost in there and suddenly that's a column and change off of a hefty target.
-the Decapitation special ability. Double your damage that exceeds the armor? Ouch.

Soft Counters
-Effects do not require a damage roll, like 'Sniper' special rules. Tends to be more effective against single-wound infantry.
-continuous effects like Corrosion (good for single-wound models) and Fire (can get around Shield Wall and other effects that require an activation to bring up)
-ask yourself if you really and truly have to engage and kill the target. If it's in a place you don't want it to be, you can always try to throw/slam it. Or, you can always go for the scenario win or caster-kill
All that hard work you did is for nothing on a 5+, at the cost of the target getting kncoked down. Granted, this gets more annoying when the enemy has a workaround for the knockdown.

Hard Counters
You need a specifically-worded rule (IE: Take Down, Decapitation, Grievous Wounds) or something that denies healing. Tough explicitly states that the disabled target is healed one damage box and knocked down.
Soft Counters
-Volume of attacks. Hit 'em 'til they fail the tough checks.
-Continuous effects like fire and corrosion. Put 'em down this turn, then make them take the check AGAIN next turn.
-Another way to confound a unit with Tough is to try to force tough checks on all of them in the front rank (assuming they can't work around the knockdown effect). Force the enemy to waste time moving around them, or get spread out after having to move around their slow-poke buddies.
Honestly, Tough falls more into an 'annoying' ability than a 'OH GOD' ability. Frankly, it's got a 33% chance of working, which isn't that hot. Sometimes the enemy has good dice, sometimes they don't.
At this point, I think I'd call this a work in progress. I'm sure there are other nasty things people would love to know how to counter, but I'm not sure what they are at this particular moment in time. That being said, I would love some comments/feedback on what I've missed here, since this one is incomplete for the moment.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Legion Reflections on Various Models

This will just be some general thoughts on stuff from the last couple of games with Legion. I'm currently playing them in a map league. We have our forces dictated to us by what territories we control.

I had access to 32 points as well as a Faction Solo and two Merc Solos (limit of 3 points each on those solos for sake of balance). So, I could potentially run a 41pt army, with the constraints about solos.

Epic Lylyth
Ok, you really only need to read 'Shadow Pack' to realize that it's a disgusting spell and makes her a hard counter to enemies that like direct-fire weapons. Most stealth stuff is infantry with ARM11-15, and you can use AoEs on that. Not too hard, right? Well, ARM18+ with a damage spiral is significantly more difficult to kill at range. Shadow pack does nothing vs. melee, but if you planned on softening up everyone before you got in there, well, that's cute and all but wrong.

What I hadn't used prior to these last couple of games, though, was Lylyth's own bow. The occasion hadn't really arisen, but with two shots, RAT 8, POW12 and base RNG12, she's readily capable of KO'ing 4 light infantry in a turn and then getting a 2" swift hunter. On Feat turn, it's a RNG16 bow with the ability to KO up to 6 guys. Disgusting? Yep.

I've still yet to actually use her spells outside of Shadow Pack, as turn one is usually Shadow Pack and run everything. Turn two is her usually handing out the Ravagore's animus to folks for the continuous fire giggles.

Nephilim Bolt Thrower
Honestly, with eLylyth, his big gig is pushing two enemy heavies back d3 inches and hoping for crit knockdown. Still, it's bascially 6 points and a fury to hope for a crit to throw a heavy back, and that's some stupid potential denial. The POW14 is nice, and one even got lucky and hurt Behemoth some once, but that's icing on the cake.

Anyssa Ryvaal
I grabbed this solo as I knew I was going to be facing a Magnus list (ok, not knew, but had a pretty good idea) and that means AoEs. So, bringing units? He'll just blow my Striders to hell (I'd figured I'd go with eLylyth to deny him direct use of those fraggin' thermo-nukes, which was a good idea, but there's bound to be a mule there too). So, I took a pair of Deathstalkers, Anyssa, and a shepherd instead.

Anyssa is disgusting.

People might compare her to two Striders, but she's got a few things on 'em.
1) Mobility.
SPD 9, light cav, and Pathfinder mean she's where she wants to be, and can often back out of threat range. OR, run screaming across the field another 4 inches.
2) Lethality.
She's not got Sniper, but she's got the same RAT8, RNG12, POW10 statline. The bow's also poison, and with the Prey bonus she's RAT10, POW12+3d6, which usually kills single-wound infantry and also has a solid chance of killing enemy solos, as well. Or, y'know, hunting a character unit.

Basically, she's a bloody hard-to-pin-down homing weapon, and with Snap Fire sending her after a unit isn't a total loss. In the first game, she managed to wander behind the Devil Dogs, kill a grunt, then snap-fire Sam McHorne herself to death. No more pronto, which is a positive in my book.

I wouldn't call her an auto-include at lower point levels, but I think I can start looking for room for her around 35 or so. You don't need her with Raptors, but remember that veteran leader just wants LOS, so your regular raptors can be on the other flank and wave to her for the bonuses to attack rolls.

The Totem Hunter
Frankly, if you're talking about long threat ranges and Prey, this guy comes up. I started out with free merc solos, and I picked up this guy, Gudrun, and a Croak Hunter. This guy's been in all the games so far, and never fails to make an impact.

Add in reach and leap, and he's got a bloody 14" move to engage with the reach death-stick. With Prey, he's perfectly capable of offing solos (MAT10 PS16 and PS13 usually do the job...) and can also harry units.

Given the speed, stealth, and ARM15 + 8 boxes, the enemy really has to either dedicate sprays or charges to take him out rapidly (or True Sight/Eyeless Sight). AoEs probably won't do it, and if the Hunter kills anything, its total movement for the turn is a whopping 21 inches. Try pinning THAT down. Doable? Sure, but it's a lotta area to cover.

Bottom line? This guy's wonderful on a flank. The only thing that would make him sicker would be Advance Deploy. Just be careful about Prey; you want to put it in something important that you're reasonably sure you can engage.

Gudrun the Wanderer
Honestly, this guy does a couple of things.

1) Take Up Space
This guy can take up to three rounds to kill with shooting. First turn, you shoot him dead, he falls down and you can't shoot him as he heals to full. Second turn, he can move and then voluntarily knock himself down (via Binge Drinking). Then, you can try to shoot him again on the third turn. If you just need a guy to hold down a control point, he's annoying and workable for that.

2) Threaten Berserk
Reach, PS15ish, and MAT7 mean he can meander his way through a decent number of infantry as well. Anyone running lower-DEF troops is gonna have to worry about that, and the POW15 is enough to threaten even shield walls.

That being said I'm not sure I'd take him in ALL of my lists, but he's definitely workable. I also like my conversion of him, which looks a little more demonic/rebuilt.

All else fails, his rules are funny. WarmaHordes even has rules to describe someone who drinks excessively and has a temper: Berserk, Binge Drinking, Hangover, and Feign Death. You never know if he's dead or just passed out drunk after a rough night of drinking, but you know if you get close he'll mess you up.

Croak Hunter
I've taken one a few times, mostly with eLylyth. You don't really want to be that one guy without Stealth, because you'll get lit up.

He meshes reasonably well with Legion, between Hunter and Pathfinder. Immunity to Corrosion is nice as well, as a few of our attacks that might potentially tag him (IE: Scather, Blight Bringer, some sprays) won't hurt him.

Beyond that, his main purpose is to hunt living units. MAT/RAT6 and PS10 poison weapons mean he's essentially a weaponmaster, He can tag something from 14" away at more or less their base DEF, but he'll be in range of retaliation by then, and DEF13/ARM14 are probably NOT going to save him. Putting him in a forest might, though.

I'm honestly not sure I'd reach for him rapidly in a Legion army, unless I'm going Stealth-heavy and have already taken a couple of Deathstalkers and/or Anyssa. Mostly, I've had them move around for control points, as Stealth makes them annoying to ferret out of Breaking the Line/No Man's Land unless you run up to them and strike them.

Closing Word
Ok, I have a Gatorman Posse on order (...ok, back-order; apparently EVERYONE wants a couple of them now to start Minion armies.) and I'll eventually put some stuff in on that. I have a Thrullg I have not yet fielded. Why? I have been using Gudrun and the Totem Hunter, or the Totem Hunter and a Croak Hunter as I either want to hold points, or want stealth to fit in with eLylyth.

I also have Wrong Eye & Snapjaw, but have yet to feel the need to field them with a 32 point army as described in the initial post. I do believe they'd fit in nicely with eLylyth's MO, given the ability to deny shooting.

I've not really used the Swamp Gobber Bellows crew, but if I did, I'd use them to hide important support solos like Shepherds & Forsaken.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thoughts on Vyros after a few games

After doing a bit of a writeup on Vyros, I figured I'd put in some more test games. I've played a handful of games (one 50, the others 35) with this list:

10 Invictors w/ Officer, Standard
p/e Eiryss (depending on whether I know a Hordes/WM matchup is coming up)

Game 1: 50pts vs eStryker
I ran a slightly different list; in lieu of the Magister and Scyir there were a pair of MHAs; in lieu of a Phoenix there was a Manticore, and to make up the points I added another Manticore, a unit of Stormfall Archers, and probably one other solo.

Stryker hada heap of Stormknights (both varieties), Ol' Rowdy, a Stormclad, and a junior warcaster with a hunter.

He won the roll to go first, and with Advance move and a run, I had a bunch of ARM20 storm-things halfway across the board. (ARM15 + 3 for arcane shield + 2 for Deflection). I promptly wished for epic Eiryss as a means to knock 'em down to ARM17. As it was, Invictors advanced, mini-feated, and took down a couple of those guys, but not nearly enough. Manticores threw up covering fire, but it didn't do a lot since there was the good ol' Piper in the back ready to pass out pathfinder to counter the terrain.

The bright side? A Mage Hunter Assassin one-shotted the hunter; it was glorious. Then it died horribly, but it was a 2pt solo for a 6pt long-range sniper, so I'm down with that.

Past that, I botched the scenario and didn't get enough into the middle. One Manticore got in (another could have, but I botched a trample angle) and Striker promptly rolled +15 Strength on his overcharge roll. Myrmidons don't last long when the other guy rolls 2d6+13 base for damage, just sayin'.

Lessons Learned:
-2 Heavies is probably the limit with Vyros. A Griffin, points permitting, might be ok with the Invictors.
-Covering Fire helps SOME with the focus efficiency, but manticores are gonna get hungry when you go into melee.
-PAY ATTENTION TO THE SCENARIO. Not Vyros-related, but still.

Game 2: 35pts vs Legion
Opponent's Army
-2x Shredder
2 Strider Deathstalkers

We rolled mosh pit (again) and I decided to not screw it up this time. Given the small model count, I figured my feat would be a bit 'eh'. Turn one here was mobility + Inviolable Resolve + Hallowed Avenger on the Phoenix. Focus to discordia (via arcanist) for imprint, and blammo! ARM21 vs ranged Invictors!

His turn one, he moved into position. and promptly shot down three Invictors with his lovely little deathstalkers. Screw you, Sniper.

Second turn? Advance, mobility, focus to Discordia, feat on Vyros. the Invictors advance and pop their mini-feat. They manage to rip up both Shredders and, importantly, pop the Shepherd. Eiyrss attempts to KO a Strider by walking into range and firing, only to pull a '3' on the dice. My dice do this for a bit, but since I got the Shepherd, I'm not caring too much. The Magister also manages a crit knockdown on the scythean after shoving it 3 inches back, so I'm down with that. The Phoenix kicks a boosted shot into the Carnivean, and knocks a chunk off.

...I promptly lose the Phoenix to a pissed-off Carnivean. Typhon munches on Eiryss, and the Scythean meanders back into position after forcing to stand up. However, my opponent has a HEAP of fury in the field. A couple more Dawnguard go away, thanks to the sniper. However, ARM21 dawnguard (thanks to discordia) discourage the sprays that I'm expecting in a list like this.

And here? It gets messy. I tie up the Scythean with a combo-smite, and then engage the Carnivean as best I can. Discordia charges Typhon and does some damage (and also engages the Deathstalker). I have Vyros with a couple focus, and think to myself "Ok, Lylyth's just behind Typhon; time to go for broke and try to get her. May not have another turn."

So, I charge Lylyth, miss...then realize Typhon's in flank range. Vyros crushes Typhon's face something bad, AND engages Lylyth.

His Carnivean frenzies and KOs a trooper something fierce, a shredder overloads and whiffs on another shredder. Lylyth dodges the free strike to move across the mosh pit, and the Scythean eats that pesky little Magister. Hey, the 2pt bugger tied up a 9pt heavy for a couple turns; it's a good price for me to pay.

Discordia gets Concentrated Power and has a word with the Carnivean; this word is DIE! Vyros eyes the Scythean, thinks a moment, then pops a Strangehold on the thing (I'd dropped Inviolable Resolve because by now, I had about 2-3 Invictors left, and one was the standard bearer. Some losses due to meandering away from the scythean and death via free strikes. Hey, same thing happed to his Deathstalker with Discordia).

So, he's got a scythean with nothing in melee reach and only a move OR action next turn.

Vyros streaks across the field and finishes off the Scythean after Discordia works it over, and engages Lylyth again. Lylyth tries to back away, gets one-shotted in a free strike.

Lessons Learned
-Other guy had WAY too much fury for pLylyth, and not enough fury management
-Vyros' feat has issues with smaller model-count lists (obviously)
-ARM21 vs ranged dawnguard shut down a lot of strategies
-Vyros is SICK in melee, if you do get to use him. MAT10, PS14+3d6 = WHEEE! Seriously, it's great fun.
-in a pinch, Invictors can do ok damage, but they are CRAP without flank vs. hard targets, like a Carnivean.

Round 3: Trollbloods
-Slag Troll
5x Trolls with the d3 shots each
Min Pygmy Snipers
Min Scouts

Scenario: 10" circles on either side of the middle

My comrade decided to grab his Trollbloods in lieu of his Khador. He ended up building a Gunnbjorn tier list, which was interesting. Those guys with multiple wounds and d3 POW13s on an aim are a bit worrisome.

Basically, in this game he opted not to do a lot of advancing, and that cost him. On the other hand, ARM20 warjacks and ARM21 infantry (combined with immunity to blasts) is pretty rough on a shooty list. Long story short: all he had that advanced were the scouts. The Scyir ran off to get one objective; the Invictors and Discordia cleared the scouts off the other.

Lessons Learned
-Discordia (especially if it can cover most of your guys) and Inviolable Resolve are sick against ranged armies.
-Invictors are tidy for putting down multiple infantry, OR doing a massed CRA into hard targets. Nothing like a POW20 to the face...
-With a Reach jack alive, the invictors are bloody frightening

Round 4: eMadrak Trolls
-Dire Troll Mauler
Full unit of Kriel Warriors + Caber throws + UA
Full unit of Champions

Ok, this was a little more frightening. This was Break the Line against a crap-ton of melee troops and threat, and nil shooting. On the bright side, this freed up Discordia for more maneuvering.

Basically, he had beasts/Madrak in the middle, champs + hero on one flank, and warriors on the other. That's a LOT of medium bases and a lotta pain waiting to happen.

After he advanced, I moved up, mini-feated, popped feat, and shot up a bunch of Kriel Warriors. Terrain slowed his army a bit, and at least kept the champs from advancing too fast on a flank. i KO about half of the warriors, but not enough to cause a morale check. The Phoenix puts a dent in the Axer.

Then...the charge. Discordia eats three Kriel Warrior charges (AND Madrak's little 'get an extra d6 on damage rolls and lose some DEF and/or ARM) but remains standing. The phoenix eats a charge from the Axer, and a few troopers go down at the end of it.

The next turn, the Phoenix beats down the Axer and puts some damage on the Mauler. Flanking Invictors rip it apart and take down some guys, but it's not enough to pull out a scenario win for me.

I have no line of sight to Madrak (not with enough firepower, anyway...) and there's a unit of Champions bearing down on a flank. Honestly, I was a bit intimidated by all the bloody wounds (ARM18, weaponmasters, 8 wounds each...yeah, it's like a squad of killy solos.) and their firepower. He wipes out my guys in one flank, pulls Kriel warriors back, and his caster claims the other one on his side.

Lessons Learned
-I hate high-ARM, multi-wound infantry that kill you in melee
-Trolls and medim basers make it easier to line up shots
-Tough is annoying for Vyros' feat
-Medium bases cut out tramples (shock, I know) which cuts down options for the feat
-Focus on scenario

I think Vyros performs decently. His feat is no game-winner, but can get you a few extra focus for your 'jacks on a messy turn. It'll let vyros upkeep Inviolable Resolve, throw Mobility up, and maybe even get off a Stranglehold (which is very nice WHEN it happens, mind you...)

I do believe if you're going to run invictors, you need to commit to at least one reach warjack. The Phoenix is a solid choice here, and the arc ode may get some use. Mostly, though, the flank is solid. The Griffin is a backup choice here, points permitting.

If you're lighter on numbers (or like screwing with the other guy) a Magister is wonderful. Throwing enemy heavies back a few inches in this game can be sick for them to deal with. Considering that there's not always enough heavy-duty firepower to go around (well, with invictors; they're great for thinning enemy ranks) you'll want that to delay enemy plans, or for scenario purposes.

The Scyir...not so bad, as he can provide you with a nice homing missle to fire through your Dawnguard. Hitting something at POW12+4d6 and MAT10 on the charge is bloody nice, and being able to get through your Dawnguard is nice, too. I'm not sure I'd marshal to him (you might as well to it to the Dawnguard themselves) but he's also workable enough as a scenario grabber.

As we all knew, the Soulless is situational. The situation didn't arise, and another arcanist would've been nice.

Arcanists are nice. Full stop, end of story. They only become useless when you lose all your myrmidons.

Discordia + Invictors + Inviolable Resolve makes some players cry, hard, if they don't have access to fire or corrosion or snipers.

I think you can run Vyros with Sentinels just fine as well, but you'll need to take something for riot control, as you'll have less ability to thin out the hordes at range. I suspect that Stormfall Archers wouldn't be out of place for such a task.