Frazer and I got together virtually to play Warmachine / Hordes (or, more accurately, just Hordes) via Wartable. Frazer is going back to Trollbloods, apparently his main faction throughout MK2, which everyone seemed to find quite exciting.
Game 27 – Invasion (scenario 4) vs Frazer’s Trollbloods
[Theme] Will Work For Food
[Jaga-Jaga 1] Jaga-Jaga, the Death Charmer [+27]
– Blackhide Wrastler 
– Swamp Horror 
– Swamp Horror 
– Gatorman Soul Slave [0(5)]
Dhunian Archon [0(6)]
Dhunian Archon [0(6)]
Swamp Gobber Chef 
Void Archon 
Void Archon 
Farrow Valkyries 
Farrow Valkyries 
Farrow Valkyries 
This is the same Jaga-Jaga list I’ve been playing separately. I theorise that Dr Arkadius would be a better option into Trollbloods but I’m way out of practice with him and didn’t fancy putting Frazer through the tedium of watching my Feat turn take about an hour.
[Theme] Band of Heroes
[Ragnor 1] Ragnor Skysplitter, the Runemaster [+30]
– Dire Troll Bomber 
– Dire Troll Brawler 
– Pyre Troll 
– Trollkin Runebearer [0(5)]
Trollkin Champion Hero [0(5)]
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (max) 
– Stone Scribe Elder 
Trollkin Champions (max) 
– Skaldi Bonehammer [0(5)]
Trollkin Fennblades (max) 
– Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer 
Trollkin Warders (min) 
Plus or minus a couple of points for CID changes, plus Boomhowler3. None of this is live in Conflict Chamber yet.
Frazer is using some of the final CID rules so I guess that they are still subject to change before release. My knowledge of Trollbloods is no more than cursory anyway so I’m not likely to get tripped up on a minor rules change now. The Band Of Heroes theme benefit cancelling my Dhunian Archons’ Mother’s Embrace ability will be quite annoying.
Frazer wins the roll-off and eventually opts to take the first turn. I give him the bottom side where he can hopefully feel safe hiding behind a house that I can eventually Ghost Walk something through to kill Ragnor. My battlegroup goes centrally with the idea that I can try to take that zone; I’m looking to clear on the right with the Void Archon and Rorsh. On the left I just want to contest in a fairly cursory manner by running the Swamp Gobber Chef around that house while the Benny Hill theme plays in the background.
Turn 1: Trollbloods
Ragnor casts Chosen Ground and puts Pulveriser on the Fennblades, then moves through the corrosion pool. The Krielstone choses Combat Warding to avoid any awkwardness with the Corrosion. The Runebearer casts Earth’s Sanctuary on the Krielstone, though I’m not sure what Frazer thought I was going to do to get to it at this range. Everything else runs full-tilt at me.
Turn 1: Minions
I do my usual turn 1 stuff; Pig Pen on Rorsh, Battle Host on Jaga-Jaga and Grave Wind on the left Void Archon. I run up as far as I can, though I do make sure to keep everything out of charge range.
Turn 2: Trollbloods
Ragnor upkeeps Chosen Ground and Pulvreiser. The Bomber chips away at the Dhunian Archon on the right. Ragnor uses his Feat and digs in. The Fennblades, not having anyone to charge, flood the right zone and jam where they can. Boomhowler gives the Bomber Hoof It so it can retreat behind a carpet of Fennblades.
Turn 2: Minions
With good dice I could possibly take out the Champion Hero and score the left zone but I think that my main objective here is to stay in the game while I ride out Ragnor’s Feat and not give too much away in Frazer’s next turn. Jaga-Jaga upkeeps her spells and casts Signs and Portents. On the right, the combination of the Valkyries, Dhunian Archon (who removes Pulveriser too) and Void Archon pick off a good number of Fennblades; one Valkyrie gets a fortunate critical knockdown on Boomhowler to make Frazer rather sad. Rorsh guns down a couple more. The left Void Archon gets Ghost Walk from the Soul Slave then misses both attacks into the Champion Hero (5s to hit under Signs and Portents turns out to be surprisingly hard) then sprays a couple of members of the Krielstone unit to Void Walk into the most annoying place I can find in Frazer’s backfield. I still expect to lose it but hopefully it’ll be enough of a distraction that I can buy myself some more time to handle the Champions. Speaking of the Champions, one Swamp Horror gets Rage from the Wrastler and between the two Horrors and the Valkyries I manage to polish off a couple of Champions and spread out some damage across the rest of the unit. Neither of us score.
Turn 3: Trollbloods
Ragnor upkeeps Chosen Ground and Vengeance achieves nothing. Skaldi gets Eyeless Sight from the Objective. Boomhowler sighs, stands up and misses a Valkyrie then uses Shout Down on the right-most Valkyries. The Krielstone uses Stone Strength and the Runebearer puts Harmonious Exaltation on Ragnor. The Champion Hero takes a swing at the Valkyrie engaging a Champion so I stop it with the Dhunian Archon. The Pyre Troll puts Flaming Fists on the Brawler then misses the Void Archon and gets pushed away; Ragnor puts Flaming Fists on a couple of Champions and Pulveriser on the unit. They charge forwards (spreading out a nice free-strike from the Valkyrie across Sanguine Bond) and drop the Dhunian Archon and one of the Swamp Horrors, leaving the other on 5 boxes. The Brawler makes short works of the Void Archon on the left. On the right, the Fennblades use their mini-feat and charge in with the Warders but only end up dropping a single Valkyrie. The Bomber Toughs the Dhunian Archon. Again, neither of us score.
Turn 3: Minions
I think that I can score the left zone (just need to drop the Champion Hero) and the centre zone since I need to pick off all the Champs anyway and I reckon that I can get something into the Objective with judicious use of Ghost Walk. Jaga-Jaga upkeeps Battle Host for free, heals the crippled aspect of the Swamp Horror and casts Signs and Portents. Apparently the Wrastler doesn’t get the message, missing all three initials into the Champs and finally filling up on Fury to eat them all apart from Skaldi. The Valkyries on the left get stuck into the Champion Hero, forcing a tough roll which he passes. Rorsh comes across and boosts two Pig Iron shots into him, both resulting in passed tough rolls. He also lands some dynamite on Skaldi which causes another successful tough roll; at least he doesn’thave Steady. On the right the Valkyries, Dhunian Archon and Void Archon take out all the Fennblades except the Drummer, two Warders and Boomhowler. The only downside is that I needed some awkward positioning from the Void Archon that leaves its back very exposed. The Soul Slave casts Ghost Walk on the Swamp Horror which strolls through the building and eats Skaldi, two members of the Krielstone unit and the Objective; I love Overtake. I score for the central zone and the Objective; 2 – 0 to me.
Turn 4: Trollbloods
The Bomber helpfully Frenzies into the last Warder, killing him. The Rune Bearer Hex Blasts the Swamp Horror and the Pyre Troll charges over and kills it. Ragnor charges my Void Archon in the back and one-shots it, then fires a Shockwave into the Valkyries, killing one of them. Neither of us score.
Turn 4: Minions
I’m still trying to deal with that Champion Hero since his death will let me score the left zone. I can clear the central zone but it will probably cost me the Wrastler next turn. Over on the right I have the choice of getting Brine onto the Bomber or Ragnor. Vengeance attacks on the Champion hero result in another pair of passed Tough rolls and the loss of another Valkyrie to Retaliatory Strike. Jaga Jaga upkeeps Battle Host again, casts Signs and Portents plus Rage onto Brine then shuffles into the central zone. Rorsh clears the blocking models from Brine, who receives Ghost Walk from the Soul Slave and goes into Ragnor. Even under Signs and Portents he misses his boosted charge attack, and both initials into the last Krielstone Bearer. A boosted final attack does some damage to Ragnor which of course is transferred. On the left, the last Valkyrie sidles into the Champion Hero’s back arc and causes another two passed Tough rolls. Getting desperate now I charge the Chef into the big chap’s back and finally kill him off. Now we know how he became a Hero in the first place – remarkable toughness. In the centre I dither over committing the Wrastler and eventually decide that it’s worth it for another point. Another round of poor rolling (charging bite in the back under Signs and Portent? Miss!) sees the Pyre Troll and Runebearer both dead but the Wrastler is maxed out on Fury again. I do score the left and centre zones, 4 – 0.
Turn 5: Trollbloods
I’m well up on scenario and I can probably hold it for long enough to grind out what’s left of my attrition and advantage so Frazer goes for the assassination. The Brawler uses Beat Back to push Brine off Ragnor, and he charges into the Wrastler. This gives range to land a pair of Shockwaves on the Objective to knock down Jaga-Jaga and do a bit of damage with boosted blast rolls. The Bomber then saunters away from the Dhunian Archon and kills Jaga-Jaga to the box with the first bomb. Minions lose by assassination.
That was a very fun game, as all my games with Frazer have been. I feel a little bit disappointed to have let a good position slip away at the end but Frazer played his pieces well and I made a couple of poor choices in turn 4 that cost me the game. In some ways, this is what I love about WarmaHordes – that you can be down in the game but turn it around with a good assassination – even if I will admit that I prefer it to be the other way round (i.e. that I play the last-gasp assassination rather than being its victim)!
Things I learned:
- First and most obviously, I got sloppy with positioning Jaga-Jaga in turn 4. I could have tucked her in behind the building so that the Bomber couldn’t even see her, or I could have been just far enough away from the Objective (and Soul Slave) to avoid the Shockwave. Both options would have been even better.
- Also in turn 4 I was too keen to send Brine into Ragnor. I still think that there was a possible kill on if the dice had been a bit kinder. But the better play would have been to finish off the Bomber instead, clearing the zone and letting me keep the Wrastler back far enough to bully the Brawler for another turn while I picked up points in the outside zones.
- Void Archons are fantastic into Trollblood infantry and, although I did lose them both I felt that I lost them in ways that were still positive overall for me. On the left the Void Archon tied up both the Brawler and Pyre Troll for a turn and left out of position for another turn, while on the right the Entropic Force aura made it much easier for me to deal with a large number of the infantry models.