I got another game of Warmachine in with Frazer, this time trying out some Mercenaries. Partly I’m keen to play them as I have had a bunch of Mercenary models sitting in my house in various states of painting for several years, and partly I keep getting trounced by them with Joe at the helm and felt like trying this out. Wartable continues to be my outlet for gaming while face-to-face is impossible so I might as well make full use of being able to try out any options that I come up with.
Game 1 – Recon 2 (scenario 6) vs Frazer’s Protectorate of Menoth
[Theme] Soldiers of Fortune
[Fiona 1] Fiona the Black [+27]
– Blockader 
– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker 
Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire [0(7)]
Anastasia di Bray 
Sergeant Nicolas Verendrye 
Stannis Brocker [0(7)]
Steelhead Arcanist 
Steelhead Arcanist 
Steelhead Cannon Crew [0(6)]
Steelhead Cannon Crew 
Steelhead Halberdiers (max) 
Steelhead Halberdiers (max) 
Steelhead Heavy Cavalry (max) 
I like Steelheads, and I particularly like the idea of dead Steelhead Halberdiers being recycled back into living Halberdiers plus Thrall Warriors with Mark Target so both Alexia2 and Sgt Nick go in the list. Since I have Mark Target I might as well take Steelhead Cannons, and since I have Halberdiers, I want to take some Steelhead Cavalry to actually hit hard. Having all those Steelheads means that Tactician is going to be really handy, so I took Stannis. Fiona and a Blockader are my choice of Warcaster and battlegroup since they look fun. I looked to Joe for advice on the rest of the list and went with his suggestion of Sylys, Dez and Anastasia. Time to see how this all hangs together.
[Theme] Guardians of the Temple
[Feora 1] Feora, Priestess of the Flame [+31]
– Blood of Martyrs 
– Judicator 
Menite Archon 
Pyrrhus, Flameguard Hero [0(5)]
Choir of Menoth (min) 
Flame Bringers (max) 
Flameguard Cleansers (max) 
– Flameguard Cleanser Officer [0(4)]
Temple Flameguard (max) 
– Temple Flameguard Officer & Standard [0(4)]
So Frazer’s list came about because he couldn’t decide what to play, and asked me what I fancied. I don’t know anything much about the Protectorate so I arbitrarily picked a Warcaster and Theme and let him have it. I think that I accidentally picked the weakest of both, but again the advantage of Wartable is that there is no financial commitment to bad models. Nonetheless, both a Menite Archon and the Judicator are in the list since, as Frazer said, ‘Just because I am playing the bad theme doesn’t mean I can’t take the great models.’
Frazer wins the roll-off and chooses to move first. I give him the top side as I seem to remember slightly preferring the bottom; however now that I look at the screenshots I don’t really remember why. I put a unit of Halberdiers and Cannons on each side but I back up the right with Cavalry as I have some kind of vague idea that they might want to get stuck into the Judicator. The Blockader and Fiona are slightly more on the left, and my recursion team are in the middle along with the majority of the solos. The left unit of Halberdiers are Fiona’s Cultists.
Turn 1: Protectorate of Menoth
Everything races at me. Feora casts Ignite on the Flamebringers and the Choir sing Shielding on the Warjacks. The Judicator fires some rockets into the distance but they don’t scatter anywhere interesting.
Turn 1: Mercenaries
All my stuff runs forward too. Fiona gets Arcane Secrets from Sylys but still manages to miss a Soulfire at the lead Flamebringer. She does Chasten off Ignite but rolls low on damage and doesn’t even get the kill.
Turn 2: Protectorate of Menoth
The Judicator is Allocated two Focus. The Flameguard use Iron Zeal and kill a couple of Halberdiers; the Judicator kills a couple more. Feora reapplies Ignite to the Flamebringers and puts a Flame Wall in the right zone. The Cleansers kill another Halberdier. Two of the Flamebringers wreck the entire right side of the Blockader with some rather hot dice and the Choir put Shielding back on the Warjacks.
Turn 2: Mercenaries
The Arcanists power up what is left of the Blockader. Alexia brings a trio of Thrall Warriors into existence, they run up and stab a couple of things but mainly I’m looking to get some Mark Target out there. On the right, my Halberdiers fail to do anything useful to the Flameguard; they do try to make sure that the zone will be hard to score. The Cannon on that side does take out a Flameguard as I need to whittle them down a bit. Dez misses her shot but does at least sit on my flag. The Halberdiers on the left stab a few Flamebringers but annoyingly are unable to finish off the one engaging the Blockader; in the end Fiona has to kill her with a Soulfire channelled through one of the Cannon crew. To continue my run of good dice, she then misses a Curse of Veils into the Menite Archon (I was going to put it on Blood of Martyrs, but Frazer reminded me that the Choir said ‘no’). Fiona does at least use her Feat to make things awkward for Frazer next turn. The Blockader charges across the field and smashes the Menite Archon and slamming its corpse across three unlucky Cleansers. It punches Blood of Martyrs and pushes the heavy Warjack back out of Feora’s control range which was certainly rather lucky. Dez scores my flag; 1 – 0.
Turn 3: Protectorate of Menoth
Feora upkeeps Ignite and Allocates the usual two Focus the Judicator. The remaining Flamebringers kill one of my Thrall Warriors but bounce off the Blockader. The Choir since Battle on the Warjacks this time and Judicator leaves my Blockader on two boxes; the Cleansers finish it off. It also kills a couple of Halberdiers and an unlucky Flamebringer with an amusing rocket scatter. Over on the right the Flameguard contest my flag and engage the Cannon; Feora puts up a Flame Wall to protect the second wave. Neither of us score; 1 – 0 to me.
Turn 3: Mercenaries
I’ve lost my Blockader and I am not sure that I have enough punch to deal with the Judicator any more so it’s time to focus on scenario and not getting Fiona killed. Anastasia run in from the left and kills a Flamebringer. The Arcanists run forward to apply Mark Target as needed. The Cannon on the left knocks down the Blood of Martyrs; eventually the Steelheads and a couple of Thrall Warriors finish it off. Unfortunately I need to use the last Thrall Warrior to kill the Warjack as I had hoped to run it to the flag instead. Over on the right, the Halberdiers and Cavalry clear my Flag and the Cannon, killing a handful of the Flameguard and Cleansers in the process. Dez and the Cannon take out Frazer’s Objective. Fiona walks into the now-cleared left zone and kills a few Cleansers who were standing too close to each other with Soulfires. I score my flag, the left zone and for killing the Objective; 4 – 0.
Turn 4: Protectorate of Menoth
Feora drops her Flame Wall and, of course, Allocates two to the Judicator. Pyrrhus kills the jamming Halberdier and Cavalry. The Choir sing Battle again and contest the left zone and flag. The Judicator strolls into the right zone, finishes off the Halberdiers on that side and kills Sgt Nick with a handy scatter; however the Cannon survives the onslaught. The Cleansers use their mini-feat but there are only two left; even so they kill four Halberdiers, an Arcanist and one of my Thrall Warriors. Feora casts Engine of Destruction and sprays the Cannon to clear the right zone; she also Feats to get what’s left of the right side of my army. Finally, the Flameguard kill Dez. Frazer scores the right zone; 4 – 1 to me.
Turn 4: Mercenaries
On the one hand, Feora is right up in my face and I feel like she’s quite killable from here. But I can just clear off the left zone and one of the flags and win on scenario instead, so that is much easier. Firstly though, fire kills a Thrall and another one of my Cavalry which seems pretty uninspiring for a Feat. Stannis kills a Flameguard and repositions to score the right flag, so that is one thing down. Anastasia, the Steelheads and a Thrall clear out the left zone and I end my turn to go to 6 – 1. Mercenaries win on scenario.
I really enjoyed playing this list; many thanks to Frazer for being a fun opponent and gamely playing the terrible option that I had suggested for him. I was pleased that my strategy worked broadly as I had planned though of course there were plenty of tactical and positioning errors that I should work on. In particular, the combination of Sgt Nick and Alexia2 recycling Halberdiers into more Halberdiers plus Thrall Warriors was every bit as satisfying as I had hoped. I do recognise that, list-wise at least, this game was a pretty easy ride.
Things I learned:
- My positional play continues to be too clumped up behind the front lines which allows sprays and blast weapons to be highly effective. In particular I need to find a way to keep the Cavalry relevant while there are enough Halberdiers left alive to trigger Flank, but without just getting them killed.
- Since I can upkeep two spells for free each turn (Cultists and Sylys) I might as well have cast them on turn 1. Occultation might not have been much use in this match-up but I’m sure that I could have had some value from putting Roth’s Mercy on some Halberdiers at least.
- I’m normally terrible at recognising scenario options so I have to continue to have this in mind. Especially with the option for Bulldoze on the Cavalry and Dez’s Momentum weapon I should look to clear zones without even needing to attack many things.