By Norbert Brunhuber, aka, Dr_Norbert
They don’t come around very often, but we had an amazing sunny and warm weekend here in London and luckily enough, one of the Cross Gaming Club‘s members, Toby Nathan, had some of us over for a backyard BBQ. Toby’s got a sweet garden area and enough table space for 2 games to go on at the same time, so we did some rare, outdoor gaming. Here’s some shots of our afternoon.
Now on to the 2 battle reports! I played the same 2 lists I had at the ETC, which I reported on in an earlier blog post. In these pictures, the Vlad 1 Winter Guard Kommand list has some Winter Guard Infantry standing in for Rifle Corps, whilst the Strakov 2 Legion of Steel list has some Black Dragons standing in for ordinary Iron Fang Pikemen. The real models are at home on the painting desk. Got to get fully painted for the WTC (and Iron Moot)!
Another note is that we were using the last known beta rules for Steamroller 2017 for these games.
Game 1: Vlad 1 vs. Calandra in Standoff
Toby is a master at Trolls and tries to find new ways to play them. In this game, he was looking to revive the strengths of Mark 2’s old Evolutionary Elementalism theme list. This means, he had loads of light trolls, notably loads of Storm Trolls which he is fondest of. His other list was Ragnor along with a Mountain King.
Seeing as I’d need heavy hitting power if he took Ragnor and seeing as I’d need some dice fixers to help mitigate Star Crossed if he took Calandra, I decided to take my Vlad 1 list. I have a feeling the Strakov 2 list could also work, but am less comfortable with it.
I went 2nd and chose the table edge with more LOS blocking terrain so he’d have less to hide behind. Toby weighted his beasts a bit more heavily on my left. I felt that I needed to keep my infantry way back because of his electroleaps and lead with my jacks. The terrain placement wasn’t ideal for this and so I bunched up a lot which I knew was going to hurt me. Here is where we stood at the top of Turn 2.
Toby started to shoot my jacks on the left, as predicted and this led to the dreaded electroleaps. Fortunately he didn’t roll high on the number of leaps and I also Toughed a few, so I didn’t lose that many models at all. He did quite a bit of damage onto one of my jacks with shooting though and that concerned me quite a bit.
I shot back a bit, but many of the beasts in range were hiding behind a wall and so were hard to shoot at. I decided I didn’t want to have another round of him shooting me and then charging in on my jacks, so I popped my feat and charged my jacks into his front lines, mostly to try to jam his line back so I could continue to shoot more later in the game. Worryingly, my jacks didn’t do much against his light beasts and in fact, the fully loaded Juggernaut attacking his Dire Troll Mauler didn’t roll well at all (even with Signs & Portents) and so didn’t kill him. Ugh. Here’s where things stood at the top of Turn 3.
Because I left Vlad up to make sure I got maximum Signs and Portents coverage, Toby saw his chance to go in for an assassination. He could do this because of the many tricks Calandra, Janissa, and the Shamans have to move my jacks around. It was pretty eyeopening how many things he could move out of his way. After moving things to leave Calandra a path forward, she cast the spell which knocks the target down and did some damage.
Unfortunately, Toby had forgotten that my Theme List gives me the Sacrificial Pawn ability to Winter Guard infantry and I had some excellent coverage around me via the artillery units. I’m still getting used to how electroleaps behave though and so could have positioned the artillery further back so that they were closer to the Rifle Corps near there and not touching Vlad. Toby poured in as many shots as he could and even though I took a fair amount of damage from the electroleaps (down to 4 hit boxes), he couldn’t seal the deal. I finished off the game by comboslamming Calandra down from behind and having the Juggernaut finishing her off. Here’s the final table state:
Toby and I agreed afterwards that the better play was for him to go for the attrition win. His list hits remarkably hard and he could have critically disabled probably all of my jacks. The following turns he could focus on easily wiping out my infantry with his electroleaps and I wouldn’t do enough damage back to him in return. I’d like to replay this game with Strakov 2 and play for attrition to see if that would be a more reliable approach.
Game 2: Strakov 2 vs. High Reclaimer in Spread the Net
The second game I played was against Ben DB, another great player who is learning to play Protectorate of Menoth. He had a unit of Vengers plus the Daughters cavalry, the Idrians, a Reckoner, a Templar, Rhoven and Co., and the Choir. Knowing that this would be an attrition game because of his feat, and the fact that he can do a cloud wall against my shooting quite well, I decided to take my Strakov 2 list.
I lost this game but learned a lot about early positioning and especially got a better feel about how scoring adds up in the new SR2017 rules. I’m really grateful for this game in that respect.
I won the initiative roll and was worried about the Advance Deploying Idrians. I wanted to go 2nd on the theory that they couldn’t rush me over two turns and hold my line back. It was some faulty thinking, that’s for sure, not helped by the frosty ciders I was drinking and taking a quick break after Turn 1 for this:
Ben had his Venger’s on my right and had the Daughters and Idrians central. One jack was on either side of centre. I had to deal with an Obstruction in the middle of the table and so split my force around it. I used my Devastator on my left to eventually hold the far zone. I weighted my cavalry on my right thinking that they had enough movement to eventually range around the building and get into the centre of the table later in the game. I hid Strakov’s unit behind the building because I didn’t want to get shot at by the Reckoner. Here’s where we were at the top of Turn 2:
My deployment would have actually been OK, but my left side IFP took a double hit from the Idrians and the Daughters. I couldn’t avoid the Idrians, but I could have avoided the Daughters’ charge ranges. Furthermore, Ben was clever and ran a Daughter behind my counter-charging models, pinning them down so I couldn’t try to mitigate his unit’s charges. As you can see in this photo, my IFP unit was decimated down to just 2 models. The Vengers were less successful against my right IFP unit thanks to Inviolable Resolve on them.
I had a fairly good retaliation turn. I was able to eliminate the Daughter in my back field which freed up my other models there. All of them were able to charge up and clear away most of the Daughters and some Idrians. I moved the IFP Standard to my far backfield to prevent Prey from switching on to another set of models. Devastator ran up to contest the far zone. On my right I was able to wipe out the Vengers in range. Here’s the aftermath:
I was in good shape at this point. Going up on attrition and holding zones, but this is also where not having muscle memory on how points rack up in SR2017 that I started to go wrong. Ben got his Reckoner into my Juggernaut but only scratched it. Same for his attacks on my Devastator. He was successful at removing most of my infantry on the left hand side.
I, in turn, had the Juggernaut kill the Reckoner. I tried to get the Templar disabled by risking the Devastator attacking. He did decent damage but not enough to keep him safe next turn. Furthermore, I stupidly moved around an Idrian in the way to get to him which moved me out of the rectangle zone. I should have just bulldozed him out of the way and straddled both types of zones as I attacked the Templar. Bad move as this let Ben start to add CPs that went higher than I was collecting them from my rectangle zone. Here’s where we stood:
Ben at this point had very little work to do to win on scenario because he was able to run Rupert to a flag and score there, whilst scoring on the rectangle zone. He killed my Devastator as well. Then in the following turn, he just cleared the 2 infantry models in the circular zone, scoring two more points for the win (one for his rectangle zone and one from the circular zone). Here’s what the final table state looked like:
I made so many scenario errors in the late game, which is why I learned so much from this. I was thinking it would be easy to hold on by scoring a few points each turn and keeping the gap to less than 5 points behind on CPs as noted in SR2017. But the points can rack up quickly in the late game when there aren’t many models left on the table anymore and lots of ways to score. I also moved my Strakov unit out of zone trying to keep him safe when he could have been just as safe in the bottom rectangle zone and kept the scoring pressure up on Ben.
As a side note, I was comfortably up on time again with this list, but I decided not to use that win condition this game because we screwed up pausing the clock during lunch and also Ben was new to the list/faction and so wasn’t playing as quickly as he normally does in his competitive trim. But still, it was interesting to see that a non-Ghost Fleet game could also potentially be won on time.
Thanks for reading this report! If you have any questions for me about my games, catch me on Facebook or on Twitter @45caliberidea. Or better yet, if you are in London near Waterloo, come visit the Cross Gaming Club for a game! We move into our new pub location at the end of July.