Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reznik v Stryker, Thoughts

I got another training match in, this time dialing it back to 25pts for my cohort.

The lists were:
-Ol' Rowdy
10 Sword Knights
Rhupert the Piper
Arlan Strangeways


6 Exemplar Errants
-Officer, Standard
4-man Choir
2 Vassals of Menoth
The Book

The scenario was Mosh Pit, with a hill in the middle and me going first.  There was a hell of a scrum, and at the end, there were a few Errants, a few choir boys, a vassal, and a dead Reznik.  I had Stryker, Rowdy, Arlan, and a depleted Squire on the board with Rowdy presiding over Reznik's spaghetti-sauce-like remains.

Thoughts On...
On paper, I wasn't too impressed with him; he struck me as a buff-bot.  With the bloody Witch Hound and immunity to knockdown book in the back, Earthquake didn't feel like a hell of an option.  Still, Arcane Shield was an MVP on Rowdy, and Snipe on a Charger makes it a hell of an assassination threat.  Stryker's major contribution, other than a timely Earthquake when he switched over to the Continuous Fire passage during my feat turn, was repeatedly disrupting things with his sidearm.

Ol' Rowdy
Arcane Shield and Rowdy's natural ARM19+1 make him stupidly durable.  Past that, the focus efficiency and Grudge make him nice.  He basically did ALL the heavy lifting for jack-killing, and was able to go after both of them thanks to Stryker disrupting both of them.

I'd grabbed him because of Earthquake, and because Sword Knights + Reach Jack = Happy Stabbing Action, in theory.  In fact, this guy almost knocked the cortex off of the Reckoner (...then a Vanquisher boosted a hit on him and ripped the shield off...).  He did boost one Earthquake onto a knocked-down sword knight, knocking both of the guy's jacks over.

This guy was ALMOST the star.  Add snipe, and hilarity ensues for potential assassination attempts.  He almost nailed Reznik TWICE; the first round he had a full focus load and knocked about 10 boxes off with the first shot, then...wiffed.  Then, wiffed again.  Then, took one more shot, missed, and Reznik went ARRGH ENGINE OF DESTRUCTION and I didn't have a Charger any more...

Sword Knights
Cheap bodies FTW.  I might've buffed them, but Blessed on the crossbows of the Errants (and that 'fire' thing from the Vanquisher) meant they ran up, killed some Errants, and then pretty much died.

Arlan Strangeways
All things considered, this guy was workable enough.  He's gold when, y'know, you have a caster without a ton of focus.

Um.  Why WOULDN'T you bring this?

The Piper
Fearless + Tough for the win.  I like the Pathfinder option, but fearless + tough is always useful and makes the Knights last a little longer.

Engine of Destruction is painful.  Iron Aggression is stupidly efficient, and if your battle plan involved upkeeping spells or allocating focus, he can screw it over. Hell, casting spells on warjacks is a bad idea period with this guy.  I forgot how nasty Engine of Destruction could be, and if he'd had a way to give Reznik pathfinder, I might very well have lost this game as he would've gotten the jump on Rowdy and possible killed him.

Reckoner & Vanquisher
Honestly, disrupting one of these all game long and beating the other to death kinda neutralized them. Well, then Rowdy beat the CRAP out of them.

They spent the game killing Sword Knights.

Choir, Vassals, Book
It's solid Menoth support.  Shocked?  Shouldn't be.

I'm impressed with both Stryker and Reznik.  Are either of them top-tier?  Not necessarily.  Still, I'm impressed with Reznik's ability to seal the deal himself; if he's within a foot of you and has a charge lane, you're probably going to die.  Stryker's pistol was one of the bloody MVPs of the game, allowing me to get 'jack superiority in the mosh pit and let an ARM23 Ol' Rowdy go through a pair of heavies.  Past that, infantry died/was irrelevant.  All things considered, it was fun just because it was one of those epic slug-fests.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Joy of Madhammer

I've been introducing another new player to the wonder of the hobby, and part of my aim towards levelling the playing field is running an army I'm not personally familiar with.  So, I grabbed Durgen Madhammer, and threw some stuff with him that looked like it would go: Ogrun Assault Corps, Reinhold,t Hernne & John, and Dougalle MacNaile.

The First Shot
I had not thought too much about what his feat would do to an infantry-heavy army.  The full 35pt list was:

Durgen Madhammer
-Wroughthammer Rockram
5-man Ogrun Assault Corps
6-man Steelhead Halberdiers
Herne & John
The Piper
The Epic Elf Lady That Everyone Loves
Thor Steinhammer
-Ghordson Basher

The very first time I tried this at 50, I wasn't fully aware of what I was doing, and my feat turn involved a ton of POW7 feat blasts on Invictors that resulted in about 17/20 rolls on 3d6 that were below 10.  Even so, I almost managed an assassination between arcing fire and boosted blast damage rolls.

Madhammer Himself
The Spell List
IF you want to blow stuff up, he'll enable you to do it.  CAn he do it with magic?  Kinda.  Technically he's got Powder Keg, but at 4 out of 6 focus, it's expensive and unless you crit, your gun is the same bloody thing, with an AoE 4 instead of the spell's AoE 5.

But, blowing stuff can make your guy's guns do it with Explosivo.  This gets fun on the feat, since it lets you basically hand out boosted shots to ANYTHING with a bog-standard gun.

You can make your OWN guys do it with Primed.  Bring an infantry unit that's either cheap & expendable (Steelheads) or carries a solid DEF (Kayazay, Nyss) as you lose some ARM with this spell.  It's good for +2 to attack/damage rolls, AND if the enemy pops you, you turn into an AoE3 that hands out a POW14 to everything under it.  Note the enemy has to kill you.  Frankly, this will probably blow up some of your guys, but it's funny to watch the enemy wonder if they really DO want to lose a few dudes.

You can even make you battlegroup do it with Redline.  Seriously.  Don't put this out until you need it, as it does burn d3 boxes off the jack.  You do get +2STR and an important +2SPD on a jack, and you get free runs/charges/slams/tramples.  Suddenly, your heavies have a respectable 9" charge move, and they'll be beating the crap out of something.

Oh, and MAdhammer can kind of blow himself up, too.  Ground Zero centers a 5" AoE on him that hands everything else with a POW13 and shoves them back if it damages them.

The only thing on the spell list that doesn't blow something up is Inhospitable Ground, though it's probably Madhammer temporarily blowing up his control area to screw up the enemy's footing.  It's half his focus, but if you need more time to shoot against someone that doesn't have pathfinder (or screw with their ability to get to an important spot) then, hey, you've got a tool for that.

The Gun
This one's part of the fun, and part of why I view the spell list as neat utility.  On the face of it, you've got a lovely dual-purpose weapon.  Got a heavy target?  You can go with a POW7 Armor-piercing shot.  Got infantry? Crap out three 4" AoEs with POW7 blast damage.

It gets worse.  Add Reinholdt for a second shot.  You get a lovely four pie plates to hand out, or you can dump a boosted POW7 AP shot, and a POW14 with a boost.

Then, for more fun, add the Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile.  First, the army's gonna love the whole +2 RNG on feat turn.  More importantly, Artillerist is ludicrous on someone crapping out that many AoEs.  You can put them where you need them.  If you need to not deviate that far, well, on a 1-2 you'll still tag your target and you've got a re-roll on distance.  Basically, it's almost silly to NOT take this guy.

The Hammer
Ok, technically he's got a HAMMER that creates AoEs as well, but given the joy of the gun and the fact he should be running a heavy (quite possibly with Redline active) I think there are other uses.  Just bear in mind you can pump a focus into a successful hit to make a 3" AoE on the target that hands out a POW10 to anyone in it.

The Army
Go ahead and grab a melee heavy (IE: Driller or Rockram).  I suppose you could always use an Avalancher as your sole heavy, since Redline kicks it up to PS16 in melee...but your other heavies go up to PS19-20 on that, which WILL maim up a target.  I favor a Rockram, as you DO have a gun in a pinch, and with a tune-up, you can hunt for some fun crits.

Gunbunnies?  I'd think about the gunner.  Frankly, both gun-bunny species are efficient, but this guy can use Explosivo and you can probably  handle infantry that aren't immune to blasts.

I would think long and hard about a target for Primed.  Steelheads are cheap and expendable if you're going with a contract other than Seaforge.  If you're going to rock 4-Star, I'd probably grab Kayazay, just because.  They become hideously accurate, with a base MAT9 and Gang.  If you're going Highborn, Nyss are pretty much it for a high-DEF target, but they're just plain sick, so yeah.  Just make sure you can spread them out.

IF you're going pure Rhulic?  Primed goes to backup mode; you put it on when you engage because the ARM value is more important in getting you there. (OAC like their wounds; ARM18 Forge Guard are different than ARM16 forge guard that kill their defensive line buddies automatically, and otherwise they evaporate).

Herne & Jonne are cheap and easy to include for that feat turn, just to get more AoEs out.

Also, if you're going Highborn, you can always grab some gun mages for a marashalled Mule, because, hey.  It's cool, right?

As mentioned earlier, if you're not going pure Rhulic, then Dougal and Reinholdt are as close to auto-includes as you'll find.  Even better, they work for either contract option and are just 3 points to make Durgen stupidly effective.

As you have at least one Rhulic jack, Thor Steinhammer is a viable option.  At the least, you can hand him a gun-bunny for efficiency.  At higher point levels, a Basher's certainly an option as there's nothing like knocking the target down, or shoving harder targets back.

The Piper is of course a solid idea, as pathfinder is your friend, and you may want some Tough on the guys that, y'know, blow up.

On the Field
Your ideal matchup involves being able to use your feat to gut the other guy's army.  Ideally, they have enemy infantry you can decimate with a crap-ton of AoEs.  Alternatively, you can give your direct-fire weapons Explosivo on the feat for the to-hit boost.  I like the Ogrun Assault Corps for the versatility here; you can get a solid shot in on the enemy (up to a lovely POW17 with the full squad tagging one target) with a boosted RAT10.

I wouldn't go too crazy on including too many AoEs.

Otherwise, go balanced, and your bad matchups include high-ARM stealth (you have one feat turn to do some damage) and if the enemy can otherwise shrug off blast have some work cut out for you.  Still, Madhammer's capable of leading a balanced force, and he's a nasty personal threat with the gun.  The other caster is going to want to camp focus and/or not get near Madhammer, as Artillerist's re-rolls on scatter can make anyone with medium/low armor worry about boosted blast damage.

All in all, this guy's certainly worth a look and bound to involve some fun.