It’s been a while since we’ve been playing any Warmachine / Hordes games here at Chateau Argentbadger; I think that many of my friends had been hoping that face-to-face wargaming might become an option again soon. Gareth and I did find a bit of time to throw down last night, so I decided to try something new (to me); part of the appeal was that rather surprisingly none of the Archons got any rules adjustment in the dynamic change yasterday.
Game 29 – King of the Hill (scenario 1) vs Gareth’s Cygnar
[Theme] Will Work For Food
[Azazello 1] Azazello, the Castellan [+29]
– Road Hog 
– War Hog 
Boomhowler, Solo Artist [0(6)]
Dhunian Archon [0(6)]
Dhunian Archon [0(6)]
Flugwug the Filcher 
Hermit of Henge Hold 
Primal Archon 
Primal Archon 
The Wastelander 
Void Archon 
Void Archon 
Farrow Valkyries 
Farrow Valkyries 
Farrow Valkyries 
(Note that Azazello isn’t in Conflict Chamber yet so the link uses Helga1 instead as she has the same number of Warbeast points)
So this is Azazello, the Castellan. He doesn’t seem to do a lot for Warbeasts so I took a Road Hog for the Lightning Strike animus, and then a War Hog in case I actually want to smash things. The neatly fills up his entire Warbeast points so the rest of the army was filled up with all six Archons and three units of Valkyries to catch bullets for them. Finally, I added all the cool solos that I always fancied including but somehow never quite manage to fit into a list. The plan is to skirmish a bit with Void Archons and Valkyries, then abuse Counter Charge from the Primal Archons to knock things down before mopping up with a wave of solos and finally my Warbeasts. If I play carefully I should be able to get some work done with Azazello each turn between Storm Rager, Wind Rush, Sprint and Special Orders.
Yes, that’s right: six Archons. You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain.
[Brisbane 1] Major Markus “Siege” Brisbane [+28]
– Ironclad 
– Minuteman 
– Triumph 
Captain Maxwell Finn [0(6)]
Grand Master Gabriel Throne 
Patrol Dog 
Trench Buster [0(5)]
Trench Buster [0(5)]
Trencher Master Gunner 
Trencher Commandos (min) 
– Trencher Commando Officer 
– Trencher Commando Scattergunner (3) 
Trencher Express Team 
Trencher Express Team 
Trencher Infantry (max) 
– Trencher Infantry Officer & Sniper 
Gareth is trying Brisbane1 in Gravediggers. I assume that the plan is to gum me up with cheap Trenchers, then shoot all my stuff dead with Triumph, the Express Teams and Trench Busters under Brisbane’s Feat. This might be a favourable match-up for me as I have three units of Valkyries plus the Wastelander to deal with all this ranged firepower.
Gareth wins the roll-off and opts for the first move. I lumber him with the top side of the map where he’ll have to worry about that massive forest. I end up going for a somewhat symmetrical deployment (my standard approach for when I don’t know what to do) with a unit of Valkyries and one of each Archon for each flank, and my Battlegroup and most of the utility solos in the centre. The central Valkyries are Azazello’s Henchwomen and are marked with purple bases accordingly. JAIMS picks the Trencher Infantry as her Prey on the basis that they’re going to have to engage and die if Gareth is going to make anything of the scenario, and once they’re gone I can start threatening whatever else needs to afraid of her. I choose the Eyeless Sight Objective in case Gareth has anything cheeky that he can do with that massive cloud on the right.
Turn 1: Cygnar
Throne tells the Trencher Infantry to March so that they can get through that forest and then things run up to take board space; everyone seems very keen to avoid being in threat range of the Void Archons though, which sets the line a bit further back than I expected.. Brisbane puts Explosivo on himself and then makes a Foxhole in the middle of the open ground on the right. We didn’t notice until later that he should have cast this before things moved into it but it had no impact on the game as Gareth could easily have activated in a different order.
Turn 1: Minions
I don’t think that I can get anything much done here and I’m going to have to accept a bit of shooting before I can get to grips in melee; even the Void Archons can’t spray anything. Boomhowler puts a Covering Fire template in the way of the Trenchers and then gives Azazello some Special Orders. The latter casts Storm Rager on himself and boosts Distraction into the Trencher Infantry before repositioning back a bit. This does leave him on zero camp but between the Valkyries, the Hermit and the Wastelander I think he is probably safe.
Turn 2: Cygnar
Triumph guns down a Valkyrie on the right with Rapid Fire and Brisbane upkeeps both spells. The Commandos use their mini-Feat on the right Primal Archon and pull it down on the last attack which is a bit awkward. The Express Team on the right helpfully misses the Dhunian Archon; the team on the left fares just as badly, missing the Void Archon once and having the second shot (courtesy of the Master Gunner) Shield Guarded onto a Valkyrie and then stopped by the Dhunian Archon. Finally Triumph blows away Flugwug; it turns out that it has True Sight. Oh well, I had been looking forward to some shenanigans with Flugwug.
Turn 2: Minions
I don’t think that I can score anything here so I want to make some progress with attrition. Ideally I would get Azazello to Feat, charge in and kill some Trenchers then Sprint back to safety but due to my poor positioning I’ve blocked him in and it’ll be an order-of-activation nightmare to get anything useful done with him. Azazello upkeeps Storm Rager. The left Void Archon sprays down some Trencher Infantry, Void Walks to the Express team and kills the Ogrun, then slaps the Objective. The Primal Archon smites a random Trencher since there is nothing really exciting to kill and I want it as far forward as possible to be annoying with Counter Charge. Over on the right, the Void Archon flies over the building and sprays to kill the Patrol dog, the other Express Team gunner and a couple of Commandos, then Void Walks to the far corner of the zone and kills some more. The surviving Valkyries on that side drop a couple more but can’t get in the zone so I’ve just got the Archon contesting it once the Objective inevitably goes down. Over on the left, the Valkyries jam the midfield and put a bit more damage onto the Objective. The Road Hog lights a few Trenchers up and Sprints back before Azazello recasts Distraction on the Trencher Infantry and Feats in a rather half-hearted, defensive manner. Most of my solos mill around uselessly as I’ve positioned them too far back to be relevant. Neither of us score.
Turn 3: Cygnar
Triumph starts us off with a tasty shot into the Objective. Brisbane drops all his spells and allocates two Focus to the Minuteman. The Trenchers in the middle try to stab some Valkyries to no effect (actually I forgot that Azazello grants them all Riposte but I guess that Gareth wouldn’t have even bothered to make the attacks if we remembered). The surviving Commandos drop another Valkyrie from the unit on the right and Finn zooms over to one-shot Boomhowler. The Ironclad wrecks my Objective in a single swing but I get lucky as the Minuteman leaves the Void Archon on a single box. Various other things with ranged attacks try to finish it off but only Triumph is able to hit and the last Valkyrie jumps in front of that bullet so that I can contest the zone for one more turn. Back on the left, Throne gives the Trench Buster March and they both charge into the Void Archon, killing it easily. Gareth scores for destroying my Objective; 1 – 0.
Turn 3: Minions
Time to clear up the left and centre; I’ll just need to try to hang on for the right zone. The Void Archon sprays various Commandos and boosts to hit and damage the Trench Buster (but only does two points of damage anyway), then Void Walks behind the Minuteman and leaves it on a couple of points in one arm. The Dhunian Archon also charges in to contest the zone and bop another Commando on his noggin. The War Hog kills Finn and a nearby Trencher; the Wastelander clears the one jamming the Road Hog and Sprints forward. The Road Hog then sets most of the remaining Trenchers ablaze before the central Valkyries finish them off to clear the zone and the flag for my Hermit. JAIMS swaps Prey to the Trench Buster on the left, kills him, swaps Prey to Throne and side steps into him for a second swing; the Primal Archon kills Throne and Prey moves to Brisbane. The left unit of Valkyries clears up the remaining pieces over there and takes out the Objective. Azazello once again find himself without any particular targets so uses Wind Rush and sits in a forest in the centre to threaten for next turn. I score the Flag, Objective and centre zone; 3 – 1 to me.
Turn 4: Cygnar
Brisbane allocates two to the Ironclad. The Minuteman drops the Void Archon at last but the Commandos mostly bounce off the now-enraged Dhunian Archon. One of them runs to engage the Wastelander and the Trench Buster rushes over to smite the ronin in a single blow thanks to Flank. Brisbane uses his Feat and drops a Ground Pounder between my Road Hog and Dhunian Archon. The latter manages a Tough Roll and the former takes massive damage but survives with a few boxes. All the Valkyries are missed due to the DEF bonus from being Henchmen. On the right, the Ironclad realises that it can’t quite make it to the War Hog so instead leaves the other Dhunian Archon on a single box. Triumph take a shot to finish the Road Hog but a Valkyrie takes the bullet; this also triggers Mother’s Embrace to heal the crippled aspects on the Road Hog. Neither of us score; 3 – 1 to me.
Turn 4: Minions
I think that I’m going to have to give up on the right zone as I’ll never get enough over there to contest it in without the Ironclad being able to pound it into the ground like a tent peg. I should be able finish Triumph and that might leave an opening for Azazello to assassinate Brisbane if I’m careful with positioning. Azazello continues to upkeep Storm Rager. The War Hog clears out the Trench Buster and Commando in the centre zone. My Hermit moves to cover Triumph and Brisbane with Whispers At The Gate, then the Valkyries and Road Hog go in. The second Valkyrie gets a handy critical knockdown which makes things easier but in the end Triumph remains alive, admittedly only with a couple of boxes in its gun arm and on fire. It seems pointless to send Azazello in at this stage and risk a long shot assassination so I just keep him a bit safer. I score the Flag; 4 – 1 to me.
Turn 5: Cygnar
Triumph rather helpfully burns to scrap. The Minuteman clears the Dhunian Archon out of the right zone but it’s too little, too late and Gareth recognises that Brisbane doesn’t have enough output to turn this game around (plus, it’s midnight by now) so he concedes. Minions win by concession.
Thanks, as always, to my best friend Gareth for fun game of WarmaHordes. As mentioned at the start, I think that perhaps this was a bit of a mis-match between Gareth’s shooting and my Shield Guards but he played it out gamely anyway. I really enjoyed this list and I look forward to playing it enough that I actually remember all the rules in one game. For now I think that I’ll just focus on a few things each game and try to get them right; everything will come together eventually.
Things I learned:
- Azazello has some nice potential for personal output and has good enough defensive stats to be able to stay safe against a lot of retaliation so I can afford to be a bit bolder with him. In this game I think that his personal threat really affected Gareth’s movement in the centre so in that sense Azazello was still contributing but it would be nice to actually make some attacks.
- I’m not quite sure what to do with Boomhowler. Reposition is quite good, of course, but he’s not cheap and his damage output isn’t too exciting. He’s definitely in consideration for being dropped, perhaps for Orin Midwinter or Eilish Garrity.
- I have to decide where to put the Warbeasts. I can’t really afford to lose the Road Hog early since I’m relying on it for Sprint, but the War Hog is so slow here that it’s not really threatening much. Having them as a third wave behind the Valkyries and combat solos seems like quite a lot of points just hanging around not doing much for a lot of the game. On the other hand, I suppose it worked OK here.
- The Wastelander didn’t look to have much of an effect but the worry of him batting a massive shot back an Express Team or something was definitely changing Gareth’s targetting priority. I enjoyed him a lot more than I expected since I figured that he was initially just a slightly janky combat solo.