Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cryx Rebirth

As the post title gives away, I'm taking a break from my Legion to go back to my roots: Cryx.

At current, I've got the following back up and in tabletop condition:

Ready To Rock
10 Bane Thralls, UA, Tartarus
10 Satyxis Raiders, UA, Captain
10 Blackbane's Ghost Raiders
2ea of the light Arc Nodes (1 Defiler, though)
both Skarres
2 Bloat Thralls
2 Pistol Wraiths

Coming Up
Bile Thralls (min)
2 Helldivers
3 Scavengers

Things To Look Forward To
1) Rocking Terminus dual-Leviathan style like Gangbusters
2) Rocking eSkarre, period.
3) Getting some pGaspy + Wraith Engine on
4) Kraken + whatever

And Some Words
This is actually a heap of re-work for me in some degree, as I've decided to revert to a green glow (never COULD get the red to look like I wanted it...) and upgrade to the plastic nodes (...because, let's be honest, the old metal ones looked kinda dinky).

On the flip side, once I get a functional camera, I'll have to throw pictures up.

I'm also just waiting to get my Terminus conversion up and painted.  Bigger wings, reposed, and on an elevated base?  Aw, yeah.  I've got the Crabjacks up and coming to go with him.  I always have liked them, especially the Leviathan.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cryx's Kraken - Initial Thoughts

So, I laid hands on the Colossals book and the Kraken up at Lock 'n' Load, and I gotta say I'm looking forward to painting and fielding the thing.  After I finish up the Extreme Carnivean and Throne and futz around with them for a bit, I'm gonna dive back into the Cryx.

I'm going to devote at least two posts to the Kraken; first off I'm going to evaluate it on its own here and see what it can do, and scratch the surface of what it can do with some casters.  After some practice and/or more thinking, I'll start discussing it in the context of an actual list.

Kraken Basics
First off, it's a colossal. (Yarrgh! I be Captain Obvious!)  This has a few implications.  First off, you deploy this thing first off; it MUST be pre-deployed.  Second, the enemy can't control or disrupt it, or move it.  The only time it's going anywhere is during its activation.  Also, pathfinder.  Which is fun.

Third, it's bloody big and durable and hard to hide.  Like battle engines, it's never gonna hide behind anything or get ANY defensive buffs, and being in melee is no refuge from combined ranged attacks. It's also got 54 boxes on ARM19, so it can absorb some abuse.

Kraken on the Offense
This thing brings a pair of guns - the Hellblaster and the Flayer. Both guns can fire through the entire front arc. They're tied to an average RAT5, and the Flayer is spec'ed out as an anti-infantry gun whereas the Hellblaster is a sizeable high-powered blast weapon.  The Flayer's good for d3+1 POW12s out to 12 inches, and Rapid Fire means it can spray those from one end to the other of its range.  The Hellblaster is a POW14, RNG16 AOE4 gun that can go up to POW17 with a full load of corpse tokens (and due to the wording of Doom Driver, the blast damage can get up to an effective POW10).

Also of note is the new rule 'Killshot', which allows you to make a single ranged attack ignoring ROF if you take out something in melee.  Note that colossals can make their ranged attacks while in melee.

This thing starts with a pair of PS18 'Harvesters', which are Chain Weapons with Chain Strike on 'em, so you can reach out and punch enemies out to 4" away.  With SPD5, you have a base charge range of 12", and you end up 4" away from the target without engaging it at the end of your activation (at least, in theory and in a vacuum).

This model has Collector and Meat-Fueled, which are some of its 'flavor' rules.  If it KO's a living model in melee, corpse token.  +1STR for corpse tokens, to a max of 3.  ALSO, you can remove corpse tokens to give it focus at a cost of one per focus.  It lets you trade off hitting power for self-sufficiency.

Also, note colossals have a few extra power attacks, like the no-move slam and perhaps more amusingly, the 'sweep', which tags everything in 2" of one melee weapon.  Hilarity can ensue, as a good sweep will KO infantry, help with meat-fueled, AND activate killshot.

What Would the Kraken Like?
I can think offhand of two things the Kraken would like:
1) help hitting
2) help not dying

As we're Cryx, we have access to DEF debuffs.  The 'not dying' is very often up to the player to provide by not doing dumb stuff, and also by bringing Necrotechs for repair.  There's nothing quite as obnoxious as the enemy dog-piling the thing and failing to kill it, only for a pair of necrotechs to bring it back up turn after turn.

What Casters Can Offer What Benefits?
ARM debuff, damage buff...not bad, but a to-hit buff would be nice.

Much the same as Gaspy1, but with more desire for infantry.  'eh'.

Hey, we have a to-hit buff and a damage buff.  This guy could make it work.

Debuff queen to the rescue.  Also, a good feat turn with Scourge and parasite?  Yeah, the Kraken can basically auto-hit with 2-4 POW12s and a POW14+, while the enemy's at -5 ARM.  That will probably do the trick.

You have a DEF and/or ARM debuff, and a feat for more DEF debuff/positioning fun.  Sadly, Pursuit doesn't work on the Colossal.

You have a DEF debuff against the living via the Deathwalker, and you can grant it Dark Shroud via Shadowmancer.  Sadly, Soul Gate is unlikely to be much use hwere, and you probably won't cast Mage Blight either.

You get an ARM debuff, and in a pinch Curse of Shadows can help you disengage.  Perhaps more amusing is Phantom Hunter; now you can't HIDE from the big damn guns.  There's potential here, one supposes.

She can provide boosted attack rolls vs the living AND +2ARM.  Bring in focus-efficient lights to take advantage of the free slams/charges, and add a unit or two...there's potential here, I think.  And Morty's Repair[10] is solid as well, and in a pinch you can burn through her focus via Interface.

Dark Guidance and the feat are neat, but I think pSkarre still gets more mileage out of melee troopers.  Not saying she couldn't run the Kraken, but I don't think it's optimal, and you're kinda hoping for good Ritual Sacrifice roles to make the most out of it.

At first glance, there are a handful of things that just don't work with the Colossal - Admonition and Perdition are out-of-activation movement that it can't use, and it cannot be directly protected by the feat.  On the OTHER hand, Black Spot can let you rack up a HIDEOUS number of attacks and help them hit, while Seas of Fate helps you make the most out of the focus invested in the Kraken.  Finally, Death Ward gets it up to ARM21 and can help preserve important systems.

He can hide behind it and give it Berserk.  Downside is it's expensive, but can make good use of focus Terminus gives it, and let's face it - you have this thing called 'Sacrifical Pawn' AND a CD-sized base to hide behind.  Do you need to camp focus if you'll never get shot?  Plus, berserk on a 4" melee range is hilarious.

Lich Lord Venethrax
Um.  Yeah.  Moving along...all Venethrax likes is hiding behind it, I guess.

Witch Coven
Going up to MAT8 SPD7 is nothing short of hilarious.  Veil of mists can help with traffic control, curse of shadows can debuff ARM, and Nightfall can even protect this thing.  The Coven can also generally feed it AND cycle Infernal Machine with their 9 focus.  There's potential here.

ARM buff?  Check.  ARM debuff?  Check.  DEF debuff?  Check.  You have just about everything you'd want to support the Kraken, it's just a matter of using it at the right time and fueling the colossal.

On paper, I like the Kraken.  I've played against a couple of colossals and don't find them broken; they're not THAT tough and melee heavies can still sort them out.  Keep repair support near them, and keep away units of weaponmaster infantry.

I plan on trying the Kraken with eSkarre first up, and going from there.  I'm pretty sure the Dennys will be fine, and so will Scaverous.  The Goreshades seem marginal, and Venethrax and Gaspy are just kinda 'eh' for me.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lock 'n' Load 2012 Roundup

First off, there's nothing like travel to make you appreciate sleeping in your own, comfy bed.

That aside, I had a blast at Lock 'n' Load 2012.

First Off...
I want to put out a huge thanks to all the folks that busted their butts to make this happen, from PP staff to the small army of volunteers, to the folks in production who were busting their humps over the weekend to box up Mountain Kings.

I arrived Thursday, as my buddies were doing the same.  Sadly for them, I left Thursday morning, they left Wednesday; I got there an hour after them.  Whoops.  Apparently Dallas Fort Worth got absolutely SLAMMED by weather.

As an aside, fresh seafood is AWESOME.

This was store day / From Concept To Tabletop Panel day, and State of the Faction address.  Store spoils included a Kraken, Ashlynn resculpt, extreme Carnivean, and some smaller odds and ends like a metal base for the extreme Carni.  Oh, and Farilor.

The Concept-to-tabletop panel was pretty interesting.  I did not know the Iosan names were actually pulled from Welsh; I kinda thought they jammed the alphabet into a blender, removed vowels and added apostrophes.  The entertainment ended with brainstorms on league models.  Some of these included:

1) Borka's Wingmen
Originally the Kriel Stone Mosher, this turned into the Caber Tosser solo with 8 wounds, 12/14 defensive stats, MAT6, Smite and Stumbling Drunk with the FA:3.  This was one of the most entertaining designs we did.

2) Suneater the something-or-other
Bane Lord Tartarus got chopped into a 3pt Bane Knight UA.  Trade stealth for Sac Pawn, add a to-hit buff, and Death Toll for knights.  There were some other things, but it was otherwise interesting to watch the process.

3) Melee-based Mage Hunter Assassins
Tweak the UA.  This was the center of some discussion; Phantom Hunter is HUGE for these guys, so they need something pretty s olid to increase their melee skill.  We kicked around Gang and a few other options, and ended up thinking about making them Big Game Hunters with an additional dice in damage to warbeasts, just to make 'em hidious.  Maybe add Gang for the to-hit bonus.  This was still on the drawing board when we broke.

So, I ended up getting into both Blood, Sweat & Tiers AND Speedmachine.  Cliff bars and a canteen were my friends on this day, and some hot subs from around the corner.

Blood, Sweat, Tiers roundup -
I brought eVayl T4 (triple Angelius, spawning vessel, Hex Hunters + Bayal, Shepherds) and Saeryn T4 (double Angelius, double bolt throwers, Neph soldier, protector, and double Shepherds).

Round 1 was Vlad2.  Turns out there were just too many Pikemen to get through, and I clocked out after failing to kill Vlad.  He suffered massive casualties and I kept my battlegroup alive, but just could not bring Vlad down with Angels and since he went first, he locked down his scenario.  Shield Wall on IFP means Hex Hunters are kinda sad.

Round 2 was closer, with eVayl versus Nemo2 and a handful of heavies.  I took an early shot at Nemo with a Refuged Angelius, missed, and then watched him feat, shoot and spell it to death.  I know Nemo2 can DO that, but it's rare to see that.  I managed to get several hex hunters and Bayal into position to hurl a buncha magic at Nemo, but only managed to carve him halfway down.  I screwed up, paied the price.

Round 3, I swapped over to Saeryn against a Swedish fellow playing Kaya2.  We had reinforcements; his was a Satyr of some sort while I cracked out a Harrier and another Nephilim Soldier.  My feat bought me another turn of stabbing him to death...and then I failed to hit with armor-piercing attacks.  Whoops.  He took an assassination run at me, failed.  Saeryn pegs Kaya with a Deathspur and Hellfire, and then...nothing else hits.  Death ensues for Saeryn, but at least I scored a control point.

Round 4 was my one win against a Garryth tier.  I saw five Mage Hunter Assassins and decided that it's a good time to play Saeryn against all that, as a few lucky roles would see my beasts dead.  He lost his battlegroup to Angelius charges (...a Griffin and Aspis, so yeah, not that hard) and the Mage Hunters had issues dragging down the beasts, though he still managed to KO a couple Nephilim and an Angel.  Garryth bought it to a couple Blight Bringers and melee stabs.

Round 5 was against eVayl T4; he brought a pair of Angels, a Seraph, Shredder, Throne, and the requisite soup ladies.  I shrugged and brought Saeryn out, since I'd been having fun with her, and being 3-1 meant this was mostly going to be good experience against stuff I haven't run into before.  He went first and rammed the Throne down my throat; with Slipstream and Chain Strike that thing has a HELL of a threat range.  It almost totalled a Nephilim, and I had to commit my Angels to taking it down.  I managed a control point, but blanked on feating at the right time and took horrifying losses and couldn't push him out in time.

OVERALL: 1-4-0, though a couple were close.

I opted for one list - Thagrosh1, Carnivean, Scythean, Ravagore.

Round 1 - Harkevich, 3x Juggernauts, Decimator.  I managed an assassination thanks to some hot dice; the Ravagore managed a shot at Harkevich...missed, deviated an inch, set him on fire, and blew him half away.  The Carnivean managed an assault-spray and took out more; Harks burnt to death in a couple turns.

Round 2 - vs Kromac, same good Swedish sport as before.  It turned into an epic brawl in the middle, with him getting some hot dice on a Satyr and it soloing a Carnivean.  Losing Spiny Growth hurt.  A lot.  He managed a win with about four seconds left.  Comically, the Carnivean frenzied at the wrong time and ate the Ravagore.  Whoops.

Round 3 - Rahn, Griffin, Sphinx, Banshee, Phoenix.  I lost on scenario.  He took a look at what he was up against, and decided that capping out at dice minus 7 wasn't gonna work for him in a straight up fight.  HE threw a Griffin out early as a speed bump, then used Rahns' movement abilities and two-handed throws to chuck me out of the zone.  It was one of the most memorable and comical games, as I had Rahn down to one box when the fire went out, as the Ravagore kinda lit 'im up.

Round 4 - Nemo3, Stormwall, Hammersmith
Scenario win - those Colossals have some damage output.  Spiny Growth did a number on him, and he ate the carnivean.  The Scythean beat down a chunk of him (...after rolling snake-eyes and blowing a chance to chain attack Blood Bath the Stormwall and Hammersmith) and Thags cycled Draconic Blessing onto the Ravagore, which finished the job.  The Hammersmith didn't really have a prayer against what was left, and after it died, that was pretty much it.

Round 5 - Gorten, 3 Gun Bunnies, 2 Bashers, Rockram
I played against one of the writers from Hand Cannon Online (the bloke who did the Darius series).  I derped out and let gun bunnies shoot some health off Thagrosh early on, then engaged him in the zone.  Turns out his feat and his ability to slam anything that gets back into the zone makes Gorten a hell of a scenario caster in Overrun in Mangled metal.  He played a solid game with a good army for the format, and noted I was the first guy he'd had to shove OUT instead of reel in and crush.

Round 6 - eKaya, 2 Ferals, 1 Stalker
I pulled off Scenario on this, by killing Laris, the stalker, and pushing him back.  Spiny Growth and Death Shroud carried the day here.

Heavily fatigued, I managed to get up in time to get one of the last seven Mountain Kings in stock, and stay awake for the State of the Faction address.  Doug Seacat was pretty damned funny during this in an understated manner.  The Cygnar version of "...well, ok, we lost the Thornwood, but it had trees.  We have trees elsewhere.  And it turns out there were a lotta Cryx in there, so Khador can have it."  There was an interesting note about Ossyan finding Nyssor, 'almost like someone told him.'  Wonder if I'm reading too much into that...

I enjoyed it, and would certainly do this again.  I made a few mistakes in the tourney, and had some nasty dice every now and then, but everyone was pretty cordial, courteous, and in general pleasant to be around.  It went well, and I'd certainly do it again next year.