Tuesday, July 10, 2012

So There's a Colossal/Gargantuan Across The Table From You...

I'm sure there are plenty of people doing the OMGWTFBBQLOL!!!1!!21! dance at the thought of having to face a 120mm-based monstrosity.

Some people are probably crying "BROKEN!"

Some people are saying "BRING IT ON! I KEEL EET!"

And some are saying "Whatevs, I'll work around it"

Teh Borken?!
Personally, I'm not convinced they're broken.  Not at this point.  Frankly, they're expensive (both in $$ and points) so that limits availability. 

They are durable, that's for sure.  Figure on ~ARM19 and about 54 boxes as a yardstick.  Figure on SPD5 and reach.  Other than the 50+ boxes, this is kind of like a nasty heavy with a pretty reasonable 10" threat range.  This threat range (which is only extended by SPD/movement buffs applied during activation) isn't new.  Thus far, the Kraken has the top threat range at 12" (SPD5, 4" melee range during activation).

Honestly, the one really novel thing that Colossals/Gargantuans bring is a concentration of power.  These things hit monstrously hard and can absorb a beating.  Personal opinion - Warmachine's focus mechanic gets a little more mileage out of these than Hordes fury, as 3 focus on something that hits at PS20 (or, y'know, hits a half-dozen infantry at PS15 and closethlines a jack or two in the bargain) can go a ways.  On the flip side, while Colossals are doubtlessly trailed by mechanics, Gargantuans can still heal readily.

Honestly, they're just big, expensive jacks with some neat tricks and an immunity to a number of normal stopping effects (knockdown, stationary, disruption...)

Ah, the page 5 approach...there's a certain elegant simplicity to this.  People will doubtless point to the ARM19 base and 50+ boxes you'll see on a gargantuan. 

On the flip side, these things are doing good to hit DEF10, and they're pretty much NEVER gonna get a DEF buff outside of a spell.  What you really ought to worry about on a colossal is an ARM buff, as these things are going to takea number of hits to kill, and the more hits you tank the more you benefit from an ARM buff, y'know?

That aside, you kill regular heavies with massed weaponmasters and/or hard-hitting heavies.  Given the DEF value on these things, hitting isn't hard unless your dice decide to yahtzee on one's.  The most you might have to worry about is finding a way to knock off any ARM buffs on the things.  The biggest difference is that you'll have to worry about making sure the thing actually gets DEAD; there WILL be repair nearby and a single focus can fuel a sweep attack and potentially ruin a fair number of those pissed-off weaponmasters.  Similarly, PS20ish fists will ruin jacks they can hit, but most of these things are MAT6 base.

So, honestly, can your list deal with some heavies?  If so, this thing costs about as much as 2-2.5 heavies, and takes about as much abuse.  Bring a way to drop ARM buffs, then commit as many heavy hitters to it as you can to make sure it dies, because if it survives it WILL make you pay for your temerity (or bad dice).  It's big, it's not going to hide.  It's almost daring you to kill it.

Soft style - avoid the thing
This is also a bit of page 5, because avoiding the enemy heavy hitter is potentially another way of saying "I think I'll kill the juicy center of the army", or, y'know, you can maybe try scenario.  Maybe, because colossals/gargantuans DO have staying power (as, y'know, previously mentioned).

The biggest asset of a colossal/gargantuan is it's a huge concentration of power.  There's a lotta ARM, a lotta boxes/circles, and some high-powered attacks on one package.  They can dish out and take a huge amount of abuse.  HOWEVER, it's also just one model.  It will probably get deployed centrally, and at the end of the day there's only so much room one can cover.  If you have multiple threats (IE: not colossals) then you can potentially threaten the caster even if it's hiding behind the big guy.

Alternatively, anyone with Phantom Hunter might just be able to shoot THROUGH the colossal.

As another note, anyone that can cut the SPD on a colossal or otherwise inhibit its movement (IE: Locker animus, Gorgon, a bunch of medium bases it can't trample through / good placement to avoid giving it a trample landing zone) is in a potentially good spot - you don't HAVE to kill the Colossal to win.

You just have to kill the caster.

That being said, if it's a scenario about holding raw territory, a colossal is even nastier than a heavy for holding territory as it can take up a lot of real estate, AND you don't have the option of slamming/throwing it out of the way.

Yes, they're new.  Yes, you may have to adjust your playstyle.  No, they're not broken - their main defense is being able to absorb a lot of abuse while being able to dish it out again, and strategically they can take and hold real estate just about better than anything else in the game.

If you know how to kill heavies, you know how to kill colossals.

If you know how to work around heavies, you have an idea about how to work around colossals.

It's not rocket science.  Back when I started this game (and when I inculcate new people) I tell them that novelty kills in this game.  The first time you see something new and don't fully appreciate what it can do, there's every chance it will smoke you.  That's part of the learning curve.  Take a deep breath, look back at what happened, and move from there.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Terminus Returneth - Cryx Retakes the Table

In honor of all the Cryx painting I've done in the past month, I elected to drag the bad boys out for a run on the table.  To be honest, one of the casters that drew me to Cryx was good ol' Lich Lord Terminus, and I'd just finished up my crabjack repaints (1 Harrower, 1 Leviathan, 1 magnetized plastic chassis) and said 'what the 'ell'.

So, I hit up my buddy, and packed the following:
Lich Lord Terminus
10 Bane Thralls
-Officer/Standard Bearer
6 Bile Thralls
Withershadow Combine
Bloat Thrall
Darragh Wrathe
Necrotech/Scrap Thrall
Saxon Orrick

My buddy brings:
Jarl Skuld
-Mountain King
10 Fennblades
5 Champions
-Skaldi Bonehammer
Champion Hero

Scenario - Mosh Pit., Trollbloods get turn one.

A Quick Overview
He slaps the King and Mulg in the middle; Fennblades go on one flank, the Champs go on the other.  Oh, joy, they're all gonna be real fast and pathfindery and STUFF, and the two beasts he has are, well, beastly.  That's ok, I'm Cryx, I've had plenty of sleep, and I'm pretty sure all the alcohol is out of my system by now. (Not that onlookers knew, but what the hell.)

I line up in the middle, Leviathans flanking Terminus, with some Banes in front, Tartarus opposite the Champs, Biles and Withershadow behind, and the Bloat opposite the Fennblades.

He starts out with Weald Secrets on the Fennblades (who promptly run screaming through terrain) and Quicken on the Champs (...because +2SPD isn't gonna make me a sad lil' zombie-panda), and jogs up the middle with the battlegroup.

My initial movement is pretty simple; Terminus hands out a focus to the Leviathans, pops Malediction, and charges up.  The Blob moves on up, Leviathans getting into firing position while Saxon somehow points the undead through a forest.  Biles take up defensive positions, and the Bloat takes up a firing position away from my lines.

On turn two, his champs sweep forward.  Mountain King moves up and tries to spray Tartarus, he's short by about an inch and I'm sweating a lot less.  Fennblades charge/run; I lose a couple Banes, and one Fennblade engages the Bloat Thrall.  Mulg tactical-supremacy's after a run, and Jarl moves up.

On my turn two, I figure it's time to start killing stuff.  Terminus loads the Leviathans up, and the Skarlock Maledicts him.  Terminus then advances, and proceeds to stab a couple Fennblades to death.  I'm gonna need souls, because Mulg is pretty close, and if I don't make an aggressive move he'll own the Mosh Pit and I'll lose. 

The Leviathans burn six focus between them and account for...ONE...kill.  Tartarus manages not to kill a champ on his advance, but reduces all the ones he touches to one box.  Banes charge up and wreck some infantry and champs.  By the time the killing stops, Terminus is sitting on 7 souls.  Darragh Wrathe looks up, sees Mulg a bit close, and decides this is a good time for some 'Beyond Death'.

Terminus is sitting at ARM25, effectively ARM27 against melee.

Jarl decides that it's time for MULG TO DA FACE!, but first, tries to clear some banes (HA! I ARE CAPABLE OF MAKIN' MA TOUCH CHECKS! Sort of...) and then tries to bounce some magic bullets into Wrathe.  His inability to hit with pistols is a bit of a downer, and then Mulg goes in.  Mulg maxes out his fury and puts Terminus down to 5 health.  The Mountain King is one inch away from making melee with Terminus.  I'm down to about 3-4 banes by now, and Tartarus got a case of the Death from champions.  Hardly a shock.

I've several champions still alive, a couple fennblades alive, and...oh yeah, a Mulg and a Mountain King in Terminus' face.  On the bright side, Terminus is sitting on 13 focus.  I do a quick measure, and find that Skuld is within 11" of Terminus.  HOWEVER, getting there involves a free strike from Mulg and the Mountain King.  And a random fennblade.  I activate the Banes, and they manage to crush Mulg's mind.  Saxon guides a Bile Thrall through the woods and he purges, killing a couple more champions that were on 1 health each.

I look at Mulg, I look at the Mountain king, and then a little voice in my head whispers to me:


I say 'hell with it' and throw Terminus at Skuld.  1d6+2 isn't enough for Mulg to hit Terminus.  The Mountain king connects, but fails to break Terminus' camp...and Skuld burned his fury trying to get rid of Wrathe. (in fairness, had Wrathe died I would have lost).

Terminus proceeds to rip Skuld in half with a single blow.

End Result
Cryx Win via Assassination

Casualties -
~7 Bane Thralls (who cares)
2 Bile Thralls (who cares)
Bloat Thrall (we can build another out of all the dead trolls)
Numerous woodland creatures from a Bile Thrall Purge
7 Fennblades
Skaldi Bonehammer
3 Champions
Jarl Skuld

Closing Thoughts
I think ignoring gigantic monstrosities like battle engines, colossals, and gargantuans is a reasonable tactic.  Gargantuans can be healed readily, and most people will dump another couple points to put a mechanic behind a colossal.  As such, you're going to have to commit a chunk of forces to kill one, so either go big or don't commit.  Half-arsing it is stupid.

Terminus is fun.  I like the list (could probably tighten it up a bit) and like Leviathans, even when the dice COMICALLY FAIL on them.  A lot.  Like, several times over.  God, I needed friggin' 5s.

The list involves a lot more traffic control than my Legion.  Then again, what DOESN'T run more models than beast-heavy Legion?

Tough is annoying as hell on feat turn.  I could've easily gotten another 3-4 souls, and been in much less danger.

MVP goes to Darragh Wrathe, because Beyond Death saved my friggin' bacon in this game.