Monday, 21 October 2013

Warmachine: Butcher Battle Reports

I've got a tournament coming up later this week, so Luke came over for some practice games at the weekend. It's a "beginner friendly" Steamroller tournament. 35 points, two lists. 12 minute turns. Thanks to a trade with Lord Siwoc, I now have a decent amount of Khador miniatures. I'm still painting some of them, but, combined with the Khador miniatures in Luke's collection, I'll be able to put together two lists. Neither list will be entirely brilliant. One of them is almost every miniature that Lord Siwoc sent me with a few tweaks. The only is very, very thrown together. The Lord Siwoc list features eButcher, and would have been brutal in mki but, in Steamroller 2013 tournament rules, suffers badly from limited mobility.

PButcher and Co
Still, it's going to be my main list for the time being, so I decided to get some practice games in with it, using prime Butcher rather than the epic version. Because it's "beginner friendly" I'm hoping that that tournament organizer will let me use the eButcher model as p Butcher. I've asked, but haven't heard back yet.

These games are my tenth and eleventh games of Warmachine mkii. I played my ninth game on Vassal the night before.

Anyway, on to the lists:

eCaine list

My List:
Widowmaker Marksman
Max Uhlans
Max Shocktroopers
Saxon Orrick

Luke's List:
Gun Mages and UA
Stormblades and 2WA
Ayanna and Holt

Game One: Scenario 8

Game One Deployment

I chose to go first. Luke surprised me by taking the left hand table edge. I thought he'd have benefited more by taking the other table edge for the clearer lines of fire. I suspect that he just really liked the idea of being able to teleport his 'Caster in and out of a forest. 

My turn one consisted of putting Iron Flesh on the Uhlans (two of them are represented by Proxy Bases because Luke forgot to bring his Uhlans to pad out my own) and Fury on the Shocktroopers. Saxon Orrick gave the Uhlans Pathfinder. Everything Ran.

Luke put Blur on the Stormblades and eCaine's shooting buff (Dead Eye? True Shot? Snipe?) on the Gun Mages. His shooting was pretty ineffectual, only ticking off a few boxes from my multi-wound infantry here and there and killing a Widowmaker. Even eCaine didn't manage to do much. Ayanna and Holt were out of range.

In turn two, I dropped Iron Flesh on the Uhlans. My Widowmakers gunned down a number of Stormblades and withdrew bakwards. My Shocktrooper hugged the very edge of my control zone to stay out of charge and shooting range of the Stormblades. Orrick gave the Uhlans pathfinder and they charged the Gun Mages, killing a few (including the UA thanks to reach) but failing to do more than scratch the Defender. My Widowmakers picked off another Stormblade or two.

Uhlan's Charge Home

My Berserker with three focus failed to charge the Stormcad (half inch out) but as he hadn't actually spent any focus I didn't have to worry about him blowing up.

I looked at the board before moving Butcher and, knowing that eCaine would HAVE to go for an assassination run soon before his Gun Mage flank collapsed, decided to entice him into trying it too early, when the chances were poor. I moved Butcher (with just two focus) up so that only the War Dog was between him, the StormBlades and eCaine. 

Madness? Not really. I'd been counting inches and knew that Ayanna would be out of range to Harm and the Holt would be too. Plus I was fairly sure that only two Stormblades would be getting a shot in, and one Stormrifle. I expected the other would be killed the WarDog and that the second would be shooting the Dog to ensure it was dead before eCaine activated. Finally,  I'd worked out that, even with pathfinder from Rhpuert, eCaine would be an inch out with his pistols. I knew he'd just teleport away once he realised that he was out of range, but that would be thin.  I'd pop Butcher's feat. Massacre his over-committed Stormblades with the Widowmakers and Shocktroopers, kill or engage A+H with the Berkerker and remaining Shocktroopers, destroy the objective and control his zone with the Uhlans (I was confident the Defender and Gun Mages wouldn't kill them all) and claim a third control point with Butcher (safely behind a good number of medium bases and camping on six focus). That would force eCaine to go for the assassination again, which he'd fail. After that I'd wrack up one more control point on his zone and on my next turn after that, either kill Caine or score the 5th CP anyway.

I smiled at Luke and dared him to come get me.

Luke activates, drops his upkeeps, and camps everything on eCaine. I try not to smile. His Gun Mages activate and kill one of the Uhlans and Saxon Orrik. Fine. His Defender activates and kills an Uhlan. Fine. 
The Stomrblades move into range of Butcher. Also Fine. The Wardog doesn't kill the first rifleman (a little unexpected, but still fine) and runs back to Butcher. The first Rifleman doesn't kill it (but hit's it) the first Stormblade kills it. The second Rifleman hits Butcher for two boxes (fine, I'd expected at least one hit from the Stormblades) the second Stormblade hits automatically but does no damage. Ayanna advances and casts Harm. Out of range (as expected). Holt advances and shoots. Out of range (as expected). e Caine advances and shoots (fine). Wait.... what.... he' within range. 10" you say? But I counted  inches. He's out of range by a good inch. It should be 13". Even with a 1" margin of error, you should be out. What's that? Speed 7 you say?

S**t. Could have sworn he was speed 6.

What follows is very tense. First shot hits. Second shot hits, third shot... and every time the damage modifier gets better and better. Critically, eCaine actually misses a shot and by the time shot number nine rings out, eCaine is now sitting squarely in melee threat range of a very angry, 4 box Butcher who hasn't yet popped his feat. Knowing he's about to face a 5d6 Pow 16 hit damage roll followed by 6 more 4D6 damage rolls, Luke extends his hand across the table.

Butcher gives eCaine the chop.

Whew. Talk about close.

Game Two:

Game 2 Deployment
We decide to do a straight re-fight of the game, with the exception that Luke wants to switch table edges. Our deployments essentially mirror the first game in almost every respect. The first turn plays out exactly the same. In my turn two, I drop Ironflesh on the Uhlans with the intention of casting Fury prior to their pathfinder charge through the woods. But I make a mistake, Butcher is too far away to cast it without having to move towards them and away from the friendly zone. Deciding that his Stormblades aren't going to be able to threaten my own zone, I chose getting a control point myself (because I'm still first player) over stopping eCaine from getting his and don't cast the spell. But when I come to activate the Uhlans, I'm suddenly second guessing myself. Are those Gun Mages and the Stormclad even in charge range. I make a stupid decision and keep them where they are, in the woods, even knowing that the Gun Mages ignore concealment and that they might as well be out in the open contesting the zone.

It costs me the game. In Luke's second turn, the Gun Mages, eCaine, Ayanna and Holt combine to murder all my Uhlans. That's right, my mobile element -the only really mobile element in my list- is gone. I suggest re-starting as well still have time to fit in another game. Luke thinks I still have a chance. I can't see it, but I'm still feeling kinda bad about winning the last game by a fluke and decide that Luke deserves the satisfaction of taking me down. So I play on and break his Stormblades with shooting and two charging Berskers. See? Says Luke? You can still win this.

I physically can't, because I've nothing that can contest his zones in time (except the Berserkers, but I've still got the Mkii prime scenario rules in my head that say 'Jacks can score). But I grunt and play on regardless.

So his Stormclad charges my right-most Berserker and kills it (plus two Shocktroopers with lucky eleaps). His Stormblades rally but can't do anything. ECaine destroys his objective and teleports back into the zone and at the end of his turn three Luke is sitting on 3CP.
No Chance. End of Lukes turn 3
My turn four, I kill the Stormclad with the second Berserker (actually, it dies when the 'Zerker blows up from focus overload) and kill all but two Stormblades. The dog can't reach his zone to contest. He's on 4CP. He'll get number five just by ending his turn. I extend the hand.

Final Thoughts:

Two very bittersweet games tonight. My Victory in game one wasn't really earned, as I'd miscalculated how far Caine had moved forward and by rights I should have lost. I won the game due to a fluke of bad dice rolling on Luke's part more than anything else. Secondly, I lost the second game when I stupidly didn't upkeep Iron Flesh on the Uhlans in turn 2. I had intended to Fury them instead, decided they wouldn't be in charge range of the Stormclad and then instead of casting Iron Flesh on them again, I moved Butcher to the other side of the table looking to score a control point by dominating my zone. Then I compounded the error by leaving them in the woods (which wouldn't give them cover from the Gun Mages anyway) rather than at least moving them up to contest the zone. Major brain fart. 

I even suggested we re-start the game there and then, explaining to Luke what I thought would happen in the next couple of turns. Instead, he convinced me I still had a chance and then the game played out exactly the way I said it would, with the sole exception that I had one less Shocktrooper left than I'd anticipated. I'm kicking myself because we would have had time to get a third game in that might have actually been of benefit to both of us, rather than simply playing out a lost cause. Of course, if I could have just ditched the mkii prime thinking that Berserkers can't contest the game would have turned out....exactly the same. Buying me an extra turn until the Berkserkers were killed wouldn't have given me enough time to get the Shocktroopers across without running them. And it was a shot from the Shocktroopers that broke the Stormblades. If I'd ran them, that wouldn't have happened and they'd have been tied down for a turn in melee with the 'Blades. Same result.

I've learned a few lessons from this game, and I've tweaked my pButcher list accordingly, removing one of the Berserkes and replacing it with some Men O'War demi corps (I know, I know, my list needs more mobility, not more so slow units, but Luke and I don't have a single small-based Khador infantry unit between us yet. A major gap in my tool-box. It's like not having a screw-driver.

Lessons Learned:

1: It's all very well making your opponent dance to your tune. Just make sure he doesn't know something you don't.
2: eCaine is Speed 7
3: Saxon Orrick can only grant Pathfinder to WARRIOR models.
4: Be more aggressive with those Uhlans.
5: Be more aggressive with Butcher.


  1. Butcher needs to be agressive. That is what he does and he does that so very good!

    Good to see the miniatures being used again! Good luck on the tournament!

    1. Thanks Johnny. I've been swamped with work recently, but I plan to start work on your zombies soon :D