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Category: Cryx

Warmahordes Battle Report: Menoth vs Cryx

We’ve got a pretty strange battle report for you today. The two sides are not the traditional, balanced builds but very heavily focused lists coming from the extreme ends of the infantry/warjack spectrum. This wasn’t deliberate, we both brought secret lists and revealed them simultaneously to mutual confusion and dismay.

The Cryx player, who we will shall codename Lady-Boy, has brought an infantry spam list, based on large squads of troops. When supported by the caster’s abilities/feat, they can smash up heavies with ease. But if they fail, the light troops will find themselves trapped in a battle of attrition against heavy armour.

Standing against the ravening horde, a Protectorate warjack spam list commanded by yours truly and some floating teenaged bint. If the jacks can survive the initial assault or weather it without fatal damage, then they are likely to grind out a victory. Their ace in the hole is their caster’s feat which will prevent the enemy from advancing for a turn.

Neither player were quite certain of the likely outcome of this odd clash. Or as my propaganda wing would have it, despite being outnumbered by more than four to one, the Brave and Heroic Menites were totally confident of Final Victory.

You can look over both lists above. The Protectorate list has four heavy jacks in a 35 point list. The support units have been stripped to a minimum and there is no infantry support. I could have replaced the Choir and Vassal with a light jack but that would have been crazy.

The Cryx player has three large units of infantry and the ever-menacing Stalker light warjacks. They are extremely dangerous flanking units. He has a hard hitting solo in Gerlak Slaughterborn and a focus battery in Skarlock and the Scrap Thralls. There’s also a small selection of support pieces. All in all, a lot of toys.

On to the scenario, no.15 in the 2012 Steamroller rules, Restoration. Some scenarios are quite challenging and people are forced to focus on assassination or attrition strategies but in this case, the scenario is quite winnable. The central zone is small and easily cleared.

If you can control this zone and an objective (most likely to be your own), you can begin scoring points. The only real risk is that it requires that the caster moves up to claim the objective, personally. The Harbinger is not suited to that style of play. Skarre is not particularly fond of it but stands a better chance in no man’s land.

The Cryx have the first turn. With the Harbinger’s feat likely to stall his advance, Lady-Boy must prepare for that and immediately clog the control zone with Satyxis Raiders. He is hoping that they cannot be cleared out within two turns and thus they will contest the zone until help arrives. 

On his right, the Bloodwitches move into the shadow of the woods, ready to move up once the feat has lapsed. They do have the speed to strike from great distances so they can afford to hang well back.

Lumbering Mechanithralls swarm over the hill on his left. They are supported by a Necrosurgeon, which is annoying. I could waste all of my fire here and any casualties inflicted will simply be revived next turn. This makes them a low priority target.

The Menites immediately hone in on the targets in range. The enemy have attempted to spread out but our guns do make very large explosions. However, the Raiders are enchanted to ignore any shots that do not hit them directly. This means that our usual tactic of lobbing shots in and hoping for lucky scatters is slightly doomed.

Even that little buff cannot save them from the sheer number of high-powered cannon blazing away. One five shot volley later, the Raiders are down just over half their numbers and they break, refusing to advance. The feat is popped, delaying the opposing army for a turn. The gathered crowd (not pictured) cheers wildly at my tactical cunning.

In a display of blistering Cryx pace, a Stalker is already jockeying for an assassination run while staying outside the range of the feat. Hate that.

With the hapless Scrap Thralls at the back of the army being ritually sacrificed to give her strength, Skarre sits on a pile of focus almost as tall as herself.

Which is nice but not quite useful here. With the Harbinger’s feat active, the infantry cannot advance without bursting into flames. They must sit and wait for the magical firestorm to die down.

The enemy have been delayed but with few targets in range and Stalkers closing on both flanks, the Menites find that they cannot take full advantage of the lull. They press forward, exterminating the remaining Raiders and positioning themselves to receive the charge.

Once the feat fades, the Bloodwitches move forward preparing for their own feat turn. They try to lock the heavy jacks with brave volunteers while the others line up their attacks. It is not enough to smash one jack, they need to strike at all four.

The Mechanithralls do likewise, two unlucky sods run in to lock down the Vanquishers, while the rest move into position. If they can keep the Menites bogged down on their next turn, the damage on the feat turn will be immense.

The Menites have to try and cripple the two units closing in while also covering both Stalkers and Gerlak. With five threats and only four combat units, this will be very difficult. The Reckoner moves to cover a flank as a choirboy sacrifices himself by moving to deny a charge lane for one Stalker.

The flagship jack hits the largest threat. The Avatar’s charge reaps a heavy toll on the Bloodwitches as he kills every single one he can reach. He then triggers the Gaze of Menoth, forcing all nearby units to charge him. This is a serious problem for the Cryx player as if he is forced to waste either of his surviving two units on the Avatar, he will not be able to deal a fatal blow to the other jacks.

The Vanquishers move to neutralise the threat on the right, killing a host of Mechanithralls. More importantly, they manage to explode the Necrosurgeon’s lackies. Without their help, she will not be able to resurrect the thralls enmasse. They have done all they can, over to the enemy.

With his surviving units battered, it is time to see what Lady-Boy can do. It should only take three or four models to kill each heavy, the troops are available but the order of activation is important. The Avatar must be destroyed and neither of the units can be used to do so.

Behind the lines, the ritual sacrifice proves favourable and Skarre gains the maximum amount of focus available. With that surplus of energy, she sweeps in and tears apart the Avatar. This frees the Bloodwitches to pile on one Vanquisher and the Mechanithralls to pile on the other. They fall just short of killing either but both are very, very, crippled.

The Reckoner comes through unscathed but he is engaged by Gerlak and will find it difficult to disengage.

The damage boxes of the jacks tell the story. One jack is completely dead, the other untouched. The Vanquishers are on the bottom row. One has two hitpoints left but has lost both combat arms, the other has six hitpoints but his only remaining weapon is ranged and cannot be used in melee.

The Cryx assault has fallen short but not by much, the battered heavies will fall to any above average dice roll and there are enough enemies about to achieve this through sheer number of attacks. Only one jack is combat effective and things look dire.

Luckily, the objective has a special rule which allows one Vanquisher to be slightly repaired, the right-hand Vanquisher gains the use of his arms and smashes some Mechanithralls. It might be possible to recover this. The Bloodwitches are trapped, the Mechanithralls are too few to damage a heavy. Neither Gerlak or the Stalkers can stand up to the Reckoner if he can get another turn of attacks. I begin to smirk.

The Cryx player has to free up some assets, Gerlak successfully evades the Reckoner’s clumsy swing and attempts to finish off the Vanquisher engaging the Bloodwitches, letting them swarm all over the Harbinger. He fails, falling slightly short. The Stalker runs in to keep the Reckoner busy. I continue to smirk at his desperate efforts, which I find reminiscent of a rat caught in a trap.

My gloating may be a little premature. There’s a look of rekindled hope in the enemy’s eyes which suggests that he has a cunning plan. It must revolve around the last Stalker who has made his way behind my entire force. But there’s yet another choirboy blocking his path. Killing him would be easy but then the Harbinger will simply revive him. And she could easily do so seven or eight times.

But Lady-Boy is undaunted, he has seen his chance. The only option is to get the Blood Hag out of combat with the Vanquisher and into a position where her aura will prevent the offending choirboy from being healed. But even if he can sneak her across the front line, he will still have to find a way to fry the choirboy without using the Stalker.

The Cryx player delicately disengages the Blood Hag, while the Mechnithralls throw themselves out of Skarre’s path. With the Hag in position, Skarre manages to slip to just within range of the choirboy, kills one of her own troops for the magical juice and splatters the errant choirboy over the landscape.

This clears a path for the Stalker to the Harbinger and he charges in. The Stalker is designed to ignore magical defensive buffs, this is an optimal target and he chops up the Harbinger without any difficulty.

 Aftermath

High-risk, high-reward tactics on both sides. Skarre had a feat which would allow her troops to smash heavies easily, the Harbinger had a feat to slow the infantry. In both cases, you could argue that the feats were slightly mistimed.

The early game saw the Menoth player focusing on reducing the number of possible chargers. He knew that if two heavies could come through intact, he could win through attrition. The Cryx player focused on force preservation and pushing up on the flanks. With six distinct threats and only four opposing units, there was a strong chance of slipping an assassin through to the caster. The Harbinger’s feat was popped a turn too early. The only unit in charge range was crippled and the remainder of the army was happy to sit off for a turn. Had it been popped a turn later, fresh units would have been trapped under the guns.

The Cryx player’s feat turn was somewhat ragged as losses had begun to mount but he managed to deal enough damage to the heavies to stall any Menite push on the caster or a scenario victory. That said, he faced slow, certain defeat unless he could get to the caster promptly. It was not an easy task, both sides were heavily committed and key assets were trapped out of position. But he took his chances, unlocked the defence and managed a last-ditch attack while he still had suitable units left in his arsenal.

Steamroller 2012: February (50 points)

Steamroller Sunday

This was the second tournament of the 2012 season and the first 50 point event run in the Irish calendar. All ten attendees enjoyed themselves but the turnout was a little poor.

I suspect that the higher points limit scared off some players. Players with large collections were most likely to play. But this also meant an abundance of veteran players which meant that there were few soft matchups available. Spare a thought for tournament virgin, Eoin, who found himself walking into a buzzsaw of a tournament.

Aiming for victory, I had gone with expanded versions of my Harbinger and High Exemplar Kreoss lists. Both have been quite solid in the past and as I was lacking in practice, I reverted to the lists I knew best. The extra fifteen points was used to convert the Harbie’s list into a true Heavy Jack force while Kreoss grabbed a hodge-podge band of mercenaries and an extra Vanquisher.

Harbinger
-Avatar
-Reckoner
-Vanquisher
-Vanquisher
Choir of Menoth (Max)
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Hierophant
Holy Zealots (Max)
Monolith Bearer
Knights Exemplar Seneschal

The Avatar performed extremely well across the tournament and the four heavies simply overwhelmed the opposition. The Knights Exemplar Seneschal only struck once but did so to great effect. The weak link in the list was the Zealots, they proved a little unsuited to most of my match-ups.

High Exemplar Kreoss
-Reckoner
-Vanquisher
-Vanquisher
Choir of Menoth (Max)
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Covenant of Menoth
Holy Zealots (Max)
Monolith Bearer
Daughters of the Flame
Madelyn Corbeau
Keil Bailoch
Eiryss, Mage Hunter

The Kreoss list might as well have been played at 35 points. Both in the tournament and my practice game, the original list did all the work while the additional points sat around waiting to be called into action. Madelyn was particularly poor as with Kroess safely tucked in behind his jacks, her ability could only be used to move him slightly left or right.

Game 1: Conor’s Cygnar (eHaley, Incoming)

With five Cygnar players in the mix, I was hoping to run into at least one. The fates provided. I’ve had long experience against their lists and I was confident of my chances. Kreoss tends to do horrible things to Cygnar and the game went on auto-pilot. The Daughters tied down the right flank, pinning a unit of Gun Mages and a Cyclone. On the left, Keil Bailoch got splattered by Gun Mage Adepts while I marched up the centre. The Zealots cut into the Sword Knights, the Lancer was fragged and before long Haley was forced into an assassination run.

It came close to succeeding as her Domination spell came up just short of my Reckoner, which might have been able to land a killing blow on my caster. She was now horribly exposed, a Vanquisher shot targeting one of my own zealots clipped Haley and finished her in a blaze of fire.

Game 2: Neil’s Retribution (Vyros, Demolition)

New opponent, new list. I admit that I’ve never run into a jack-heavy Retribution list. His ability to shoot through intervening models forced me to keep well back with the Harbinger. He spread out to cover the zones and objective. His lunge around the central objective brought him into range of my jack-line and managed to put a few points of damage on the Harbinger.

But that was the high point of his advance. The Avatar smashed home to demolish the damaged Manticore and Hydra. The Zealots, covered by the Harbinger’s feat began to eat through the Halberdiers. Despite racking up some scenario points, the Retribution were slowly ground away in a slow rolling advance towards the central objective, losing all of their jacks and most the Sentinels in a delaying action. Once my jacks finally arrived, the position was secure, I was down 2-0 on scenario points but only the round timing out could lose me the game.

With his entire army eliminated, the remaining jacks closed in on Vyros. He managed to smash one on the charge but then the others gathered to beat him down. Neil can console himself with the thought that he was the only player to kill any of my jacks through the three rounds of the tournament.

Game 3: Phil’s Cryx (Terminus, Incursion)

After two wins, I find myself in the final against a Terminus list. My last game against it ended in a bloody massacre but with four heavy jacks, I expected a little more time to get a feel for the list and hopefully win out. The disappearance of the left-hand flag left the battle focused on the centre and right. The unit of Zealots managed to contest the righthand objective for several turns but couldn’t hold out against a sustained press of enemy troops. The scenario points racked up on this front would eventually cost me the game.

The central front saw a swarm of Revenant Crewmen crash against a wall of jacks.  The heavies didn’t really suffer much damage with only Terminus really capable of threatening them. Two Seethers got smashed for no real gain. I put my efforts into eliminating the crew to give me a chance of killing Terminus. Terminus himself got locked down by the Gaze of Menoth and was forced into melee with the Avatar to try and extract himself. In hindsight, focusing on the crewmen was a major error as I learnt afterwards that Sacrifical Pawn does not negate melee hits. So a handful of solid assassination attempts were overlooked in favour of splattering piles of humble troopers. The Avatar passed up at least two chances to trample through the crew and smash Terminus into goo. Bugger.

Unfortunately, my loss dropped me all the way into fourth once strength of schedule was taken into account. Two finals, two losses. Next time, next time. I’m consoled by the fact that those Cygnarian heretics were slapped around like red-headed stepchildren. (Hi, Stryker)

Phil takes the win with Stu and Neil rounding out the top three. Congratulations to them all.

 In other news, Stu reclaims his position as Anto-kryptonite.

Steamroller: December 2011

The final event of the 2011 Warmahordes series was a quiet tournament as many players chose to stand, sobbing, in toy-shop queues throughout Dublin. Its small size is reflected by the length of the tournament report. For those lucky souls who did attend, they had the opportunity to beta test the Steamroller 2012 rules. But first, the violence. I deployed my Menoth, bringing a pKroess Pop’n’Drop list and the Harbinger.

Game 1: vs Anto’s Cryx, eSkarre

Going into the game, I reflected on Anto’s limited intelligence and silly hair. I spent a good five minutes debating the relative merits of incessantly mocking his defeat for the rest of the day or simply sporting an insufferably smug look everytime he wandered nearby. That concluded, we diced off.

*draws breath* Hate, hate, hate. Die in a fire, eSkarre. *draws breath*

I regret to report I was rather nicely outplayed in a short, sharp shock. Having played this exact match-up recently, complacency had nested. My opponent reinforced this by going with what appeared to be his standard opening. Deathjack and Nightmare both postured for the assassination run and I decided to play defensively and lure him in for a failed attempt.

This caution left me unable to react when he completely reversed his normal game plan and made a bid for a scenario win. By turn 3, he was poised for victory. One futile attempt to gun down his caster and the Menites had crashed to a defeat.

Game 2: vs Steve’s Circle, Morvahna

This seemed somewhat familiar. Steve. Circle Orboros, that nameless mission. Looking at the large swarm of infantry, the Harbinger was the only choice. The mission suited me, the list composition suits me and the caster match-up suited me. Despite this, I still managed to make it far too close a match.

His army was a sight to behold, massive amounts of Tharn infantry filling the deployment zone. My slightly anemic force, hiding in a forest, may have wanted to run at that point. But a series of lucky scatters saw his caster, beasts and some druids lit on fire. With the tricksy assets being removed, I felt a little safer about the course of the game.

His caster was heavily dependent on upkeeps, my caster could cheaply and easily remove all upkeeps in a large zone. This rather simple course of action never occurred to me. But the Harbinger’s feat disrupted the tempo of his advance and the troops never really managed to hit home. By the time his flankers were in place, my warjacks were firing on Morvahna.

Game 3: vs Peter’s Cryx, pDeneghra

Well, it was something of a wash. There was a brutal bloodbath in the centre into which both sides fed most of their armies. We both felt rather pleased with ourselves by the end of the first hour. Peter felt he had the advantage in the endgame and I felt likewise. After several turns of slaughter, a trio of Bane Thralls and Nightmare faced off against a Reckoner and Vanquisher. We’ll never know what would have transpired as the game ended very early.

Peter took the win on tertiary tie-breaker with a Deathripper partially in the primary flag zone. Bad beta rules, bad. No reducing the time limit to an unfeasibly short amount of time. Admittedly, my dislike may be based on losing by time and the fact that we played ten minute rather than seven minute turns would skew the system but I really dislike the idea.

The games were fun, my final standing was disappointing.

But the beta test certainly reveals that next year’s tournaments will see some major changes. The shortened turns and potential for reduced match lengths make units with multiple AoEs unpalatable. In fact, even large infantry units threaten to use too much of your precious time limit. Warbeasts and warjacks will be tempting and those casters/locks which support them will see more play.

The character restrictions, however, will certainly shake up list design. The stronger builds will still see play but expect the alternate lists to be more focused, optimising a specific caster rather than being similar to the primary list, with a second choice caster. I’ll miss you, Covenant of Menoth.

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