Thursday, April 01, 2010

Highborn Tactics: Initial Battle Report

I was originally just going to write a battle report for a game I played on Tuesday night. However, the post quickly started to grow and take on a life of its own. So instead, I'm going to do a series of posts with my thoughts about the Highborn mercenary contract. This is sort of a departure from my normal painting posts since it deals specifically with the Warmachine game itself, so for any of you visitors out there looking for painting posts, don't fret, I'm still working on painting projects. This is just a cathartic exercise for myself. For this first post in the series, I'll focus specifically on the battle report. Regarding the photo: please note, there was a lot of proxying in this battle since we were both trying out some new stuff that we don't own yet.

The Setup:
Mission: Overrun
Khador (Lance): Zerkova (tier 4), 2 Berzerkers, Marauder, Doom Reavers (6+UA) x2, Greylords, 2 Koldun Lords
Mercs (me): Ashlynn, Mariner, Vanguard, Devil Dogs (10), Mangler (JM'd by Devil Dogs), Forgeguard (10), Dougal, Bokur

The Throwdown:
The Zerkova tier 4 list was crazy. Khador won the initiative and went first, which meant the Doomreavers were on my side of the table on round 1, and the jacks were already touching the control zone. Talk about being in my face. From there things went from bad to worse. The Doomreavers kept making tough rolls and destroying any plans I had to pronto the Mangler around and into the flank. On the other side, the Forgeguard went down like a house of cards. Eventually as I started to thin out the Doomreavers though, the jacks started rolling in and causing even more problems. In the battle of attrition, it wasn't going well for the mercs. However, Dougal and Ashlynn were the stars of the show, surviving long enough to clear out the left flank of Doomreavers and sneak around into the control zone. Eventually Ashlynn survived just long enough (by keeping Admonition up and camping 5 focus) to sneak around, ignoring the jacks, and get a run on Zerkova to finish the job. This was, however, a large piece of luck. At that point, only Ashlynn, Dougal and 1 Devil Dog were left for the mercs, while Khador still had 3 fully functional jacks, a Koldun Lord, a Doomreaver, and a Greylord. I have to point out that originally an abnormal dice roll finisher off Ashlynn beforehand, but we decided to ignore it and play it out, so it's actually a combination win/loss.

The Dice:
I think it important to note that Lance's dice rolling was on fire. On the Ashlynn feat round it was almost moot from the number of high dice rolls. Doomreavers were making lots of tough rolls, and generally the luck was with him. I on the other hand had medium to low luck on dice rolls. Not abysmal, but below average. However, the dice rolls alone were not what put the merc army through the meat grinder.

The Takeaway:
Zerkova is not a closer, and that's basically what kept me alive. Despite the amazing dice for Khador, that's not what crushed my army. The Forgeguard were completely outmatched by the Doomreavers, with their (at best) 18 arm not affording them any protection against pow 13 weaponmasters. The merc jacks were also pretty outclassed by the Doomreavers. And without enough ranged shooting, the Doomreavers were mostly left unchecked. In hindsight, I think that putting Quicken on the Devil Dogs would have been smarter than putting it on the Forgeguard, but even then the matchup was poor. I was at least hoping to pronto the Mangler into a good position and lay out some serious hurt, but that didn't work out either.

Next post: Units available to Highborn...

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