I’ve signed up for another Warmachine / Hordes tournament, so it felt like I should get organised enough to actually play a few more games. As usual, Joe was on hand to provide satisfaction.
Game 14, Scenario: King of the Hill
[Theme] Will Work For Food
[Arkadius 1] Dr. Arkadius [+32]
– Battle Boar 
– Gun Boar 
– Road Hog 
– Road Hog 
– War Hog 
– War Hog 
– War Hog 
Gatorman Witch Doctor [0(4)]
Hutchuk, Ogrun Bounty Hunter [0(6)]
Kwaak Slickspine & Gub, Croak Sorcerers [0(4)]
Underchief Mire 
– Blackhide Wrastler 
The only slight tweak to my Dr Arkadius list from last time was to drop Targ and replace him with Kwaak & Gub. I don’t feel like I’ve been getting much value out of Targ’s abilities (though this is more my failing that his, I imagine) and so I thought it would be good to try and learn how to use Kwaak’s interesting list of spells. In particular, I had an idea that I could perhaps do something amusing with Enliven although I will admit that it is a spell with possibilities far in excess of my capability to make use of it.
[Theme] Flame in the Darkness
!!! This army contains pre-release entries.
!!! This army contains CID entries.
[Fiona 1] Fiona the Black [+27]
– Blockader 
Grand Master Gabriel Throne 
Lieutenant Allison Jakes [0(4)]
– Charger 
– Charger 
Thamarite Advocate 
Thamarite Archon 
Alexia Ciannor & the Risen 
Field Mechaniks (min) 
Order of Illumination Vigilants (max) 
– Morrowan Battle Priest (3) [0(6)]
Order of Illumination Vigilants (max) 
– Morrowan Battle Priest (3) [0(6)]
Joe is playing Fiona again, this time with a load of (fresh from CID?) models in a theme I’ve never even heard of. There are proxies galore in here: Gun Mages are Vigilants, some random unpainted metal things that I don’t recognise are the gobbers in the mechanic crews, the Thamarite Archon is played by another Archon, Stannis Brocker is Gabriel Throne, the alt sculpt of Sylys is a Thamarite Advocate and Valkyries are playing as Thrall Warriors. This could have been confusing if I had already been familiar with any of their rules – score one for inexperience!
Joe wins the roll and picks to go first, which seems important in this match-up.
Turn 1: Mercenaries
Throne gives the Risen Pathfinder and everything moves up to claim as much board space as possible. The Priests kindly offer themselves as Vengeance bait in case I want to over-extend myself early on. Fiona puts Occultation on Jakes, who uses Energiser to speed up her own Battlegroup.
Turn 1: Minions
Surprisingly, almost everyone runs forward; I try to respect the shooting threat at least a little bit and make sure that anyone who wants to shoot me will at least have to move first. Dr Arkadius puts up Aggravator to stop any Befuddle shenanigans then casts Forced Evolution on the painted Road Hog. Mire casts Weald Secrets on the Blackhide Wrastler (because it is free to upkeep anyway) and extends the cloud wall a little to my right. I make sure that the Road Hogs will both be in range to get a nice little adrenaline needle from Dr Arkadius next turn.
Turn 2: Mercenaries
Fiona upkeeps Occulation (for free) and Allocates two to the Blockader and Jakes Allocates each Charger a single Focus. Fiona Feats and arcs Curse of Veils onto the central War Hog. The Vigilants on the right put a few shots into my poor Warbeast before the Blockader finishes the job. Jakes carefully stays out of range of Hutchuk ambushing and her Chargers pump shots into the War Hog on the left. I do avoid a couple of shots by using Hyper-Aggressive to move it into melee with one of the Priests though.
Turn 2: Minions
I upkeep all my spells. Fiona’s feat is really limiting for a melee army like mine and although I consider using my own Feat here I decide to hope that I can weather the storm and come back strong next turn. The Gun Boar starts off with a fully boosted shot into the Archon who is helpfully not standing close to a Shield Guard and takes off a good chunk of its health, along with a couple of careless Vigilants. Not bad considering I just wanted a Fury on the board to Maltreat back to Dr Arkadius. The Doctor then needles both Road Hogs in the back with adrenaline and casts Psycho Surgery to fix up some splash damage (mainly self-inflicted) across my Battlegroup. Both Road Hogs then make charges that keep them out of Fiona’s Feat and allow some nice sprays, taking out a good number of Vigilants and the lead Thrall Warrior but sadly failing to hit the Archon who gratefully Dodges back to relative safety. They use Sprint to get back out of range of big retaliation. I’m not getting anything useful done on the right under Fiona’s Feat so Kwaak puts Enliven on both the Wrastler and War Hog; the former eats another Priest and Overtakes back out of the clouds to be a little bit more annoying. I try to put them where the Blockader can’t just kill them both with a single activation. Finally the War Hog on the left kills the Priest and Objective without even using any Fury. I’m pretty sure he’s going to get exploded by Chargers next turn though. I score the Objective and left zone; 2 – 0 to me.
Turn 3: Mercenaries
Fiona and Jakes do exactly the same Allocation and upkeeps as last turn. Jakes takes a shot into the War Hog who uses Hyper Aggressive to move into melee with the nearer Charger. On the right, the Blockader walks into range of the Wrastler but rolls triple 1s for damage and my Warbeast gratefully Enlivens away (taking another load of damage and getting knocked down on a critical from the free strike, sadly). Instead, the Blockader casually beats my Objective into scrap. The Thrall Warrior follows up into the Wrastler but can’t do much damage. Joe throws pretty much everything he has at the big alligator and finally the nearer Charger gets it after Throne kills the War Hog in melee. Dang, I was really hoping to be able to use Rage next turn! Finally Fiona arcs Befuddle to move one Road Hog out of the central zone. Joe scores my Objective, the flag and the central and right zones; 4 – 2 to him.
Turn 3: Minions
Dr Arkadius upkeeps all his spells again. Hutchuk Ambushes in on the right (Joe is never going to give me Jakes and coming in to her and the Chargers would just be suicide), misses a grenade at the Blockader and misses his melee attack against a Vigilant. Good work Hutchuk. Mire, now that he’s reduced to being a super-solo, makes a total meal of killing off the Priest on the right. The Gun Boar comes good again though, finishing off the Archon and moving into the left zone. Dr Arkadius Maltreats a Fury off it again, casts Psycho Surgery to heal things and stabs the Road Hog facing him with adrenaline. He then puts Primal on the Battle Boar and Feats before scuttling off behind the forest. The Battle Boar takes his Feat attack into the Thrall; the main purpose is to get close enough to apply Primal to the War Hog. The latter uses the Feat to charge into the Blockader and scrapes a column or so off it and finally the Road Hog who is facing the right way dents the Charger. The Battle Boar applies Primal to the War Hog and uses its Dial, then does nothing useful against the mess of infantry just waiting to be eaten in front of it (I think it took out just one Vigilant). The adrenaline-d Road Hog walks up and sprays Alexia, killing a good number of Risen as she kept herself alive. The War Hog satisfyingly wrecks the Blockader with a Fury to spare and so Overtakes into a Vigilant and kills him too, while the Road Hog scraps the Charger. I score the left zone; 4 – 3 to Joe.
Turn 4: Mercenaries
Fiona upkeeps Occultation and Jakes Allocates a single Focus to the surviving Charger. On the right, the Vigilant tickles Hutchuk. Fiona Chastens Forced Evolution off my Road Hog and then lands Curse of Veils on it; Alexia burns through some more of her Risen to kill it. Everything else with a gun works together to kill my Gun Boar. No one scores; 4 – 3 to Joe.
Turn 4: Minions
I upkeep Aggravator as I figure that one Fury a turn is probably still worth it to avoid Befuddle shenanigans. Mire runs into the central zone to be a spray target for Kwaak’s Venom spell (he’s immune to Corrosion and I can’t target Alexia directly with spells); sadly Kwaak misses his first spray in her back anyway and I’m stupid and forget that he can do it twice. The Road Hog kills it her in the end. Dr Arkadius can clear the zone by killing both Risen but sadly misses one of the Primal Shocks (only needing a 3 to hit). Neither of us score this time either; 4 – 3 to Joe.
Turn 5: Mercenaries
Same as before, Jakes Allocates a Focus to her Charger and Fiona upkeeps Occultation. Fiona, who is rapidly running out of underlings, puts Curse of Veils on the last Road Hog, the Charger and Jakes shoot it and Throne finally comes in to kill it in melee. The Charger finally makes it into the left zone; 5 – 3 to Joe.
Turn 5: Minions
I finally drop Aggravator on the basis that it’s probably no longer efficient for Joe to spend Focus Befuddling them instead of killing them in the first place. The Battle Boar casts Primal on itself and kills a Risen and a couple of Mechanics. Mire charges into Throne and helpfully misses four out his five attacks; Kwaak follows up with a couple of Venoms that also don’t kill him but do at least stick continuous Corrosion on. Thanks Mire. Dr Arkadius casts Psycho Surgery to shore up my ailing few Warbeasts and kills the Thamarite Advocate with Primal Shock. Finally the War Hog polishes off the last Vigilant. I score the right zone and Joe scores the left; 6 – 4 to Joe.
Turn 6: Mercenaries
Throne has no trouble at all killing Mire in return. Fiona arcs Curse of Veils and Chasten through Throne into Arkadius, spiking high on damage and making me rather nervous (and also doing as much damage to Throne in the process as Mire and Kwaak managed between them the last turn). The Charger moves out to shoot Dr Arkadius and I’m left on a couple of boxes when it gets Energiser-ed back into the left zone. We both score the outside zone again; 7 – 5 to Joe.
Turn 6: Minions
Time to run far away with Dr Arkadius so his old man stats don’t just randomly get him killed. The Battle Boar, Kwaak and the Witch Doctor combine to finally remove Throne’s last box and sit on the flag, but now I don’t have any attacks left to get into Jakes which I was really hoping for. Dr Arkadius scoots over to hide in the clouds, far out of range of that nasty Charger’s gun. I score the right zone and flag this turn while Joe gets the left zone; 8 – 7 to Joe.
Turn 7: Mercenaries
Fiona drops Curse of Veils from my Warlock. Jakes and the Charger neatly gun down all three of my solos in the centre (particularly galling considering how useless the lot of them had been all game) but Fiona doesn’t quite have the firepower to drop the Battle Boar. We both score the zones on the sides; 9 – 8 to Joe and it seems that I forgot to take a picture.
Turn 7: Minions
Dr Arkadius casts Psycho Surgery to get the Battle Boar up and running again and hopefully take out Jakes but before it even starts moving, he spikes a high damage Primal Shock into her. This scores me the right and centre zones and the inert Charger now does not score the left zone. Minions win 10 – 9 on scenario.
Well, that was certainly close. Thanks, as always, to Joe for a great fun game and for talking through my options to share his experience of the game. There were some rather odd rolls; notably Mire’s (and Kwaak’s) total failure to do anything to Throne in the late game; that alone could have won me the game if they’d killed him a turn, or even a couple of activations, earlier. On the other hand, I got lucky with the Blockader’s low damage roll against the Wrastler forcing Joe to waste much of his turn dealing with it. Things I learned:
- Timing Dr Arkadius’s Feat is hard when the other player has a denial Feat. On the one hand, I can wait it out and try again; clearly this is in my favour. But on the other hand, I feel that I’m giving up a lot of board presence if I back up and otherwise I’m letting a big part of my army take a beating if I don’t.
- The Gun Boar is a useful part of my list because it allows me to extend my threat without using Dr Arkadius’s Feat. Of course, the same applies to Road Hogs using the Assault / Sprint combination. I might consider a list where I drop the third War Hog for another Gun Boar and something else entertaining.
- I’m not getting good work out of my solos at all. I suspect that this game was a bit of an aberration for them dice-wise, but they just seem to get killed so easily after doing very little. Maybe I need to stop thinking of them as gaming pieces and more like single-use counters for specific tech (e.g. Ghost Walk from the Witch Doctor). Still, I won the game so I can’t really complain too much; I certainly had luck in other places.