Friday, October 28, 2011

Battle Report: Play It Out

As I hoped, painting progress last night was suspended in order to get a game in! 25pts of experimental mayhem always makes for a fun time. I hadn't tried Rhyas yet despite her being painted and ready to go for weeks now.

The Lists (25pts):
Me: Rhyas, Carnivean, Protector, Harrier, Shredder, 10 Legionnaires, 5 Incubi
Lance: Venethrax, Nightmare, 10 Mechanithrals w/ 3 Brute Thralls, 10 Blood Witches w/ Blood Hag, Necrosurgeon, Necrotech, Bloat Thrall

This was my first time fielding Rhyas, so I wasn't really going in with a game plan. I just wanted to put Rapport on the Carnivean and see it go to town. I was also hopeful to leverage her feat to drop the Carnivean on my opponent's caster. When we actually deployed and I saw the sea of infantry and read Venethrax's abilities, I nearly surrendered right out of the gate.

The Throwdown:
I tried to make effective use of the terrain in the middle to mitigate part of the Cryx flood by keeping the rough terrain and building between my forces and the Nightmare and Blood Witches. This really helped me out and let me concentrate on clearing out Mechanithralls. My Legionnaires performed admirably all things considered, but Venethrax's feat is brutal. At some point during the feat round I think there were 15 clouds on the table. That feat was challenging for 2 reasons. First, it brought my troops to a screeching halt pretty quickly. There was some timing I could exploit so that my Legionnaires/Incubi were able to start their activation in key clouds, but it still held them back pretty dramatically. Second, it blocks LOS even for my beasts. If it wasn't for that, I could have probably dropped the Carnivean on Venethrax and killed him. Instead I was forced into an attrition battle. Using my own feat I was able to sneak the Carnivean around and destroy the Nightmare with relative ease thanks to Rapport, but at the cost of Venethrax swooping in and taking out the Carnivean quite easily.

It was at this point that I looked at the battlefield and stated that it looked like it was a foregone conclusion that I was screwed, but let's play it out anyway for kicks. I had Rhyas, the Protector, the Shredder, 2 Legionnaires and 3 Incubi left, whereas Lance had Venethrax, 4 Mechanithralls, 2 Brutes, the Necrosurgeon, full Blood Witches and the Blood hag left. I was outnumbered 2 to 1, but we played it out.

The Endgame:
Somehow I pulled out a victory. After discussing the battle with Lance afterwards, there were a couple key factors that swung the battle back in my favor. First was I had time to reform my forces and make some key strikes to finish off critical targets like the Necrosurgeon. Second, Venethrax switched to using Lamentation instead of Draconic Blessing. This meant Venethrax was walking around with lower arm, but causing problems for Rhyas casting. If Venethrax had just left the bonus armor on and camped focus (putting him at arm 25) which would have been nearly impenetrable for Rhyas and the rest of her forces. Instead I was able to lure him into going for an assassination run but with Rapport it gave me enough transfers to survive. In the end Rhyas had 1 point of damage left when her Shredder took out Venethrax.

Thoughts on Rhyas: Wow 5 fury is hard to work with! Such a small control area. Rhyas is mildly amusing, but not especially flexible from my perspective. She needs to keep her forces pretty tightly together. Still though, it was something new to try and she does provide good support to troops. Between her feat and Dash she gave great support to the Legionnaires.

Also, once again, I have to say that it's always good to play out a game. I've sort of found that my late game is better than my early game. Probably because I go into a game with a "plan" to try to execute and when that play fails I have to start improvising and making more effective use of the forces I have.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

From the Desk: Last In-Progress Update for Hex Hunters

This will be my last update on the Hex Hunters before final pictures of them in a completed state. They are in various states of near completion. Bayal is completely done (as pictured) except for sealer. Most of the others are just down to touch-ups, with about half needing the metal edging/dots painted (which is a really obnoxiously tedious task). These pictures make them look like they need a lot of touch ups, but it isn't really that bad. I really want this project done given that I started on these over a month ago now. I'm hoping to be done by the end of the weekend, but I've got multiple WM/H games lined up, so they may not get done until next week.

Although I generally really like these models, they are tedious. Squads are always rough to do, but highly detailed squads like these make it especially hard. It's one of the big reasons I haven't gotten Knights Exemplar yet. Doing final details on these guys on an individual basis still seems like the best plan.

Next on the desk is Bethayne and Belphagore, but (amazingly) they are still sitting there with just primer and no paint on them. I nearly started them the other night but somehow mustered enough willpower to stay focused on the Hex Hunters. In any case, it will be a refreshing change to start them. In the mean time, assuming all goes well, there should be a whole slew of photos of recent games showing up in the next couple days.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crushing Theorymachine: Kallus

For the first time in over 3 months, I played a game of Hordes/Warmachine! Talk about a long dry spell. It was great to actually throwdown again and especially to field a bunch of models that I'd painted but never played with. Since I'm going to end up writing this post over the course of the day during breaks at work, it's going to be a hodgepodge of random thoughts. So, let's get started!

The Lists:
Me: Kallus, Nephilim Protector, Nephilim Bolt Thrower, Nephilim Soldier, Shredder, 5 Raptors, Anyssa, Forsaken, Blackfrost Shard, 1 Spell Martyr.
Lance: Jarl Skuld, Mauler, Earthborn, Impaler, Runebearer, Horthol, 3 Longriders, 4 Krielstones.

My list didn't really have a solid plan to it. Kallus, the 3 Nephilim, Spell Martyr and the Blackfrost Shard were all models I'd painted but hadn't played on the table since painting them so I wanted to give them all a try. The Raptors and Anyssa were in there simply because I wanted more practice with them. The rest was just logical additions to round out the list. There was a bit of poor planning in terms of leveraging Kallus' stronger features, but I'll talk more about that later.

The Battlefield:
I'm a huge fan of using the random battlefield generator for making maps so that's what I did. (If only there was an iPhone app for random battlefields!) The end result was a clump of rough terrain, water and walls near the middle, and a big forest on the side. I won the initiative and after careful consideration figured that it would be good to go first and position myself near the forest for cover. This also meant that the Earthborn would have to move away from the juicy terrain near the middle in order to engage me, and I certainly didn't want to meet him near that mess.

The Throwdown:
The battle was unfortuantely a bit one-sided. I made effective use of the forest and worked down the longriders while delaying the heavy beasts. This was pretty key, and eventually Anyssa was in the troll backfield causing some additional chaos. This was hugely useful because she was easily in LOS of the Raptors to grant them the bonus and together they took down the remaining Longriders, Krielstones and the Impaler. The Soldier was highly effective as well, with the combination of flight, eyeless sight, and Kallus' Ignite, it made him a fun cruise missile to launch out of the forest and into the Mauler. Unfortunately he wasn't able to take out the Mauler entirely and got snacked. Next round though, the Forsaken managed to blight bomb the Mauler into extinction (one of the first times I've pulled off this maneuver on a beast actually). At this point the troll force was down to Jarl, the Mauler, and a couple Krielstones, whereas my Legion force was only really down

The Endgame:
Eventually the Earthborn came crashing in on my flank into the Protector but failed to kill him. However despite the Protector, Kallus, a rapid Shredder an Incubi and a bonus 2 dice blight bomb from the Forsaken, the Earthborn still lived! However without reach he was pinned back away from Kallus by the Shredder and Protector and was left with few options. Kallus had 2 fury on him for transfers, had tenacity up and was engaged (putting him at def 15, arm 19) and was undamaged. Jarl tried to scoot around and drop a couple shots on Kallus and then the Earthborn trampled over the Shredder to get to Kallus but in the end it wasn't enough. After that it was just mop-up.

Thoughts on Kallus:
I should first point out that I don't generally read the forums at all. Lance told me that the general consensus about Kallus seems to be somewhat negative which I was surprised to hear. I tend to ignore all that groupthink anyway and find what works for me so this battle was a fun test to see if Kallus was really more of an infantry-oriented warlock like I thought he would be. What did I come away with?

1) First, Kallus is pretty amusing to play since he's so darn tough. Between unyielding and tenacity he gets pretty chunky to deal with. This gave me a lot more confidence to just roll him in. I probably would have been far braver with him in this game except that the darn Earthborn was able to steal the POW of his sword and that made things substantially more dangerous.
2) Having Kallus hanging back to provide specific support and then roll in as a hammer afterwards worked pretty well. There was a natural tendancy to push him right up front, but he and the Soldier have the same damage output. Holding Kallus back to throw Ignite and Massacre on the Soldier made more effective use of the damage output overall.
3) Most of his "key" features didn't come up in this game for a variety of reasons. Dark Guidance really eats a lot of his fury for a turn, and with so much ranged support in the Raptors I just didn't have a need for it. However if things had gotten to melee, having the option of throwing up DG could have made a huge difference.
4) The feat is amusing. It means that clearing charge lanes just gets twice as hard on that round. It's sort of like having a backup tarpit. Certainly though, it's a defensive and/or delaying tool and not a smash-your-face tool and I often have trouble leveraging the more defensive feats. This one in particular I found tricky becauase I was never really sure when to expect that the troll line would crash into mine. Against ranged lists it would be even harder to decide on the timing since there's a danger of just getting plinked to death. This leads me to my final thought...
5) When I first read Kallus I immediately though "Oh awesome! I'll want Swordsmen!" However I don't own Swordsmen so I fielded what I had. In hindsight, I think an all-melee list with Kallus could be a real danger. Unyielding only helps if the target is engaged, and a ranged list could just take an all-melee Kallus list apart. Having some ranged options (or something to tie up ranged attackers) is pretty key.

Overall, I dig Kallus and I'm looking forward to fielding him a bunch more. I'm particularly keen to try out Warmongers with him. However all the theorymachine in the world doesn't amount to anything in comparison to actually playing a game.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

From the Desk: Why am I still awake?

It's nearly midnight, and I have to be awake at 6:30am. What the heck!?! Basically I got distracted with a bunch of tasks. My kitchen remodel is essentially complete now with just a couple minor things left to be resolved tomorrow. It will be nice to have the dining table back for playing Warmachine on again. So I spent a bunch of time moving stuff back into the kitchen. Then I was getting my freshly primed Bethayne and Belphagore onto painting cans and getting bases started for the Hex Hunters. And then I got distracted with updating my iPhone to iOS 5 which is taking far longer than I expected. If I don't watch out, I'll end up getting distracted with something else and staying up past midnight, and seriously, that's on my Murtaugh list! In any case, while I wait for this upgrade to finish, I figured I'd post my latest status. The Hex Hunters are really feeling like the end is in sight. My next step is to do all the spines. At that point I'm going to switch to doing individual models for final touch ups and detailing to get them to a level I'm more happy with. The back armor pieces really need more work, but I'm going to save that for the individual model work. As detailed and long of a project as these guys are, they are actually quite enjoyable to paint.

Friday, October 14, 2011

From the Desk: Not for the squeemish

So my plan to get a little work done on my Hex Hunters every night has fallen through pretty badly. Why? The typical "life is busy" reasons. I had a wisdom tooth pulled (as featured here) this last week. Plus the kitchen remodel in my house has been an ongoing fiasco. Advise to all you would-be home remodelers out there, make sure you have a solid contract with your contractor that has penalties to them if they aren't meeting the schedule. Anyway, that's another story that I won't get into here tonight. Instead I'll get on to the painting progress thus far.

The Hex Hunters are coming along well. At this point the basic work for everything is done except for the black leathers. There will be lots of detail work to do, but that's the next phase of my plan. I really like the process of doing the basecoating and majority of the shading/highlighting of each area (one at a time) before doing final detail work. In this way, I get the majority of the hard work done on the entire unit done at once. Then I move on to doing details on each model individually, which is easier for me to handle rather than trying to do all the details at once. Needless to say though, I still have another solid week of work before I'm done with the painting, and then some additional time for basing work.

And finally my desk update includes Kallus. He's getting a lot more attention than the Hex Hunters for obvious reasons. He's nearly done now except for some serious metal work and then some final contrast adjustments to bring everything together better. I should probably start working on a base as well so that he doesn't sit on my desk waiting for a base for a week. In any case, this is a pretty sweet model overall and I'm looking forward to having him on the table.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

From the Desk: And 3 Days Later...

It's ironic that when I get good motivation to work on a unit of models that life erupts into chaos and kills my painting time. In the last 3 days I just got enough time to do the basecoating of the red sashes. Well, actually I also got started on Kallus, but that's it. And there's more life about to erupt over the weekend, so progress is going far slower than I was hoping for. And now it's late, and I'm sleepy and... uh... ... ZzZZzZZzzzzzz.....

Monday, October 03, 2011

From the Desk: More Progress on Hex Hunters

Quick post, more for my own motivation than for information. I totally failed to get a post up yesterday, but it's just as well. All I did last night was do the basecoating for the green fabrics. Tonight I wrapped up most of that work, at least until the final cleanup work. Next up will be to work on the reds.

I have to admit, having the one model as a prototype with just basecoating done is actually quite helpful for the rest of the unit. It gives me a good reference point to work from. I'll have to consider doing this again next time I paint a unit.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

From the Desk: Staying on Task

One of the great benefits of blogging about painting is the motivation it can provide. Trying to post some progress each day can really keep your feet (or brush) to the fire. In order to get these Hex Hunters done, I'm going to use my blog as motivation. My goal is to post some progress each day, regardless of how small. So for those of you checking in each day, I'm sorry in advance for what will hopefully be many boring posts as I slowly get these guys done. Today I managed to get the skin mostly done on all 11 of them, which is a pretty decent accomplishment all things considered. My next step will probably be to do all of the green cloth since it's pretty isolated. On a different note I need to confess that my painting pace got sidetracked by more than just chaos in my house from a kitchen remodel. I've also been dabbling with app programming for iOS. I'm not really sure what I'm going to try building (map generator perhaps), but it's sort of interesting to play with.