Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Butcher3 - First Two Games

After what feels like months of painting, I finished painting Butcher3 and his puppies this past week (probably would have gone a lot faster without Dark Souls 2 distracting me.) Part of that was to get him finished and in the case - I try very hard to not use unpainted models so that I stay motivated to paint the things I want to use - and part of that was because I was having some friends over that weekend and I wanted to use him in a couple of games back to back.

Here's a quick rundown of how those games went:

Game 1 - vs. Reznik2

Game 2 - vs. Directrix

Thanks for reading!

(Actual game reports and Butcher3 thoughts after the break)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Harkevich vs. Convergence - Robot Jox

I am deliciously close to finishing up painting Butcher3, so before I get him on the table and play in the sprinkler for awhile I wanted to sneak one more game in with Harkevich. There has been a bit of a surge in "warjack heavy Khador" discussion, which I think is a great direction to explore. As Jamie Perkins put it: it's not something every Khador list should be trying to do, but it's a very useful skew to have in the context of a 3 list format.

Of course, that discussion naturally led to some talk of Harkevich, and I was happy to see I wasn't alone in viewing Harkevich as a decent candidate for a 3 list set. Fellow long time Harkevich-er Mindless posted up a really interesting pair of lists, including one with a pair of Grolars that he tested out with positive results. That of course set me off on more Harkevich theorycrafting, and as luck would have it I had a game coming up that would let me try out whatever I came up with.

A rabbit hole approach to list construction and clash of the titans battle report after the jump.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


As I continue the slow process of painting up Butcher 3 - so many skulls...I'm having 40K painting flashbacks - my wife and I are keeping up with a few choice shows: Veep, Game of Thrones, and Hannibal.

Show thoughts (spoiler free, with a focus on Hannibal impressions) after the break.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Harkevich - End of Season Review

After playing Harkevich for awhile, I feel like its a good time to sum up my thoughts and findings before I rotate in some new blood. I've been focusing more on him in the past year, and I've been playing him off and on since he came out, and I feel like I've learned some very valuable lessons worth cataloging.

Big 'ol wall of text to follow, after the break.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Harkevich Debuffs vs. Sturgis Stormwall

A large part of my recent Harkevich theorycrafting was based on the need to be able to deal with a Stormwall (or equally dominating colossal.) Scenario play feels difficult-to-impossible without wrecking it, so I've been trying to come up with a Harkevich list that I feel can actually threaten (or god willing, actually kill) a Stormwall. I tried the list out against my friend running a Reznik2 list with a Judicator, which was a fair test, but I was interested to see how it worked out specifically against Cygnar and Stormwall (since they present very specific challenges.)

The good news is, my friend who has been running Sturgis has also recently painted his Stormwall, so he was all about putting the big guy on the table. That gave me a chance to test out my list (unchanged from last time):

Kommander Harkevich, the Iron Wolf (*5pts)
* Black Ivan (10pts)
* Demolisher (9pts)
* Demolisher (9pts)
* Juggernaut (7pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
* Koldun Kapitan Valachev (2pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Ragman (2pts)

Against this list:

Commander Dalin Sturgis (*6pts)
* Stormwall (19pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts)
Horgenhold Forge Guard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Captain Arlan Strangewayes (2pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Ragman (2pts)

(Note: my friend had converted this list over from his previous non-Stormwall Sturgis list, and due to a mix up he ended up playing the game with a Stormblade UA that he didn't have in his list. It didn't make much difference, but I'll be mentioning it in the report so it's worth pointing out now.)

Report and thoughts after the break.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Game Report - Harkevich + Debuffs

As mentioned in my last big 'ol post about Harkevich, I thought I might get the chance to put those ideas to the test this week. Thankfully, that panned out, and I managed to get a game in with the list idea of using debuffs to make clamjacks less terrible against enemy armor. Report and thoughts after the break.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma and Killer Instinct Season One Finale

Hey, remember those fighting games? The other half of the title? I forgot I play those sometimes too; Dark Souls 2 has been devouring my video gaming time, and Warmachine continues to permeate my thoughts. But I do still fire up the fight stick now and again, and I'm hoping to up the frequency a little more as I near the end of Dark Souls 2 (its going to be very difficult to not dive right in to NG+.)

Addendum: Clamjack Damage Thoughts

As a quick follow up to the post yesterday about clamjack melee damage math, I wanted to clarify a few things.

With all the damage fixer Merc solos thrown into a list, this is something you could do with technically any 'caster. I think some lend itself much more to it than others, with Harkevich being one of the better ones due to consistency: his movement buff is consistent (and passive, so no order of activation issues,) he gives all of his warjacks Pathfinder, and he frequently has plenty of Focus he can hand out (relative to his Focus stat, anyway) due to a lack of any really "must cast" spells turn-by-turn. That is to say: while I think this concept could work well in other places, I think (hope?) that Harkevich is uniquely suited to make it work well.

One thing I find remarkable is that there is someone that can accomplish something similar - Butcher1 - but I've never seen anyone really try it. Most Butcher1 lists seem to have a Reach warjack or a shooting warjack, and I totally understand the logic behind that (Butcher1 needs all the threat range extension he can get.)

Clamjacks seem to go together with Butcher1 like peanut butter and jelly:

 - He has two innate damage fixers with Fury and his feat.
 - Both clamjacks (Devastator and Demolisher) have the ability to generate a lot of damage rolls, which makes them potentially great models to have around on the feat turn.
 - Butcher1 has zero ways to increase the threat range of his warjacks, so traditionally the answer is to bring warjacks that don't need to close for melee (guns) or have some additional threat built-in (Reach.) Clamjacks offer an alternative: put a model forward that your opponent is going to have a hard time killing (or is only going to kill with a large investment of resources) and either kill whatever they send in using that clamjack or kill it with something set up to counter-charge (usually trivial with Butcher1's ability to ramp up damage.)
 - For as clumsy as it can be, Full Throttle can be a fantastic spell in the right situations. The one that immediately leaps to mind is when you're sending a warjack in to deal with a DEF 12-14+ heavy (most commonly found on the Hordes side of things.) MAT 6 is a problem in that range because then you start to miss as much or more than you hit; the boosted attack rolls from Full Throttle do a lot to help that, and the free charge gives you some Focus efficiency. It gets even better if you can send multiple warjacks in (though this doesn't come up often) and with Butcher1's feat that turn can actually be scary.
 - With absolutely everything going, you could have a clamjack charging in (for free) with boosted attack rolls, making P+S 19 melee attacks that are essentially Weaponmaster attacks. That takes all of Butcher1's resources, but even P+S 19 Weaponmaster is enough to dirt nap most things.

Some math, similar to the last post:

Demolisher charging w/ Fury and Blood Frenzy vs. Stormwall w/Arcane Shield:
11 (charge attack) + 8 (other initial) + 8 (buy attack) + 8 (buy attack) = 35 damage

Not bad at all, all things considered. Without Arcane Shield:

Demolisher charging w/ Fury and Blood Frenzy vs. Stormwall (no Arcane Shield):
14 (charge attack) + 11 (other initial) + 11 (buy attack) + 11 (buy attack) = 47 damage +/- 1 damage (Eiryss2 Snipe shot)

That's an 85% dead Stormwall on average from just the Demolisher's attacks. Just about anything else you can throw at it on Butcher1's feat turn should be able to take it off the table.

The important thing isn't the damage itself (Butcher1 is a walking avatar of doing loads of damage,) but of the reliability of delivering that damage. A Demolisher under Butcher1 is slower and doesn't have Pathfinder (compared to Harkevich,) but it's still ARM 25, and with Butcher1's damage supplements you don't need to feed character models into the list to try and make up for it. Or you can toss one of them into the list and make it so that the Demolisher nearly kills the Stormwall the turn it charges in (any +2 damage buff puts you at around 55 damage.)

I feel like you can be much more audacious with clamjacks than you can with other Khador warjacks due to their high base ARM, and when you combine that audacity with a damage buff (as Butcher1 does) I think it lets you put a very direct, harder to remove threat up against a key target. And since you're running Butcher1, it's not like the rest of your list isn't a massive threat to their stuff as well (assuming you can get to melee.)

To sum up: I'm always surprised to see so few Butcher1 lists making use of clamjacks. I don't think you'd want to spam them per se, but one or two certainly seems like it has potential.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Math and A Possible Harkevich Lightbulb Moment

As I continue to ponder Harkevich lists I keep running into one big problem: damage output. (Theory, maths, and findings after the break.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Captain America: Winter Soldier Review

I'm not a big comic book reader, but I do enjoy the characters and the stories. I pick up enough facts through my various nerd hobbies that I feel like I have a vague understanding of most of the popular characters (and even some of the not so popular ones.) Like most, I've enjoyed the recent boom in Marvel movies; in addition to being pretty solid comic-to-film adaptations, they're almost all pretty great action movies in general.

(As always, more thoughts after the break)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Games Round Up - Vlad2, Harkevich, and Sturgis Thoughts

This past week two fun things happened: I was able to play 100% more games of Warmachine than usual (i.e. two,) and both of those were against the new Cygnar warcaster from the Warmachine: Tactics Kickstarter: Dalin Sturgis.

I got the chance to try out two different lists for those games, and I have a few things I wanted to note/share for each game, along with a general overview of Sturgis based on my extremely limited experience playing against him. I'll be foregoing full or even abbreviated battle reports, but I will be sharing the lists used for each game and roughly how each game went. Details after the break.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vlad2 - Thoughts and Theory

I've been taking a bit of a break from Harkevich and, as may be evident from my recent Vlad nattering, I've cycled back around to playing everyone's favorite dark prince. More specifically: I've been working on lists for Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Champion (Epic Vlad, aka Vlad2.)

It's been an interesting readjustment. Vlad2 has always been one of my favorite warcasters, though I didn't use him often in Mk. 1 due how beastly he was back then. His approach to army construction and how you need to use your list components is interesting in the context of Khador, and although he's taken some hits due to the meta (not unlike a lot of Khador 'casters) he's still got some fantastic tools if you can build to take advantage of them.

(Note: I've realized that my posts get pretty damn long. In an effort to keep the blog from being just wall after wall of text I'm going to start breaking up my ramblings with page jumps with the majority of thoughts after the break. Starting.....now!)