Cash Johnson once again with a totally different report this time. After telling myself and others I would not get involved with Warmachine, I ended up getting involved with Warmachine - but only because a good friend decided to just give me a complete Retribution army. Every caster, 5 units, 6 solos, and one of each heavy Myrmidon: I pay him back over time when I get extra moneys. But I digress.
The problem with getting involved in a new game after being in GW mode for so long, and especially when you have a complete army at your disposal, is that you have too many new options to experiment with. I am proud to say, however, that after slogging through many lists, both theirs and mine, I have finally managed to score a victory with a list that works.
At 35 points I took Ravyn with a Hydra (punch battery), a full Mage Hunter Strike Force with Commander, a full unit of Dawnguard Invictors, Stormfall Archers, two Mage Hunter Assassins, and Narn. I went up against Khador, with Beast as the only 'Jack, and Epic Sorscha as caster, some snipers with sniper solo, some big guys with hammers, a mortar team, and Winter Guard with Command attachment. I let him setup first, because I had me a plan. As expected, he threw everything in the middle and the big hammer guys to one flank.
I, on the other hand, had an army with quite a bit of Advance Deployment so I placed the archers, Invictors, Hydra and Ravyn in the middle, screening her and he Hydra from view. Then he placed his snipers on the other flank, but still near the middle of the table. Good, thought I, as I placed my Strike Force opposite the big hammer guys, then put both Assassins and Narn to the extreme right side of the table, literally hugging the edge in one case.
Turn one, he moved up. Then I cast Snipe on the archers and moved them up. Unfortunately, they were a couple inches shy of his line so that was a flop. My three solos ran up the right side while my Strike Force advanced normally to the edge of the forested hill they were in. The rest of my turn was spent running the Invictors up, then moving the Hydra and Ravyn to follow.
Turn two, his snipers managed to kill my archers, but it took every shot to do it, allowing my killer trio to survive another turn - yes, he could have walked over and shot me, overruling my Stealth, but didnt. But more about that later on. My turn two consisted of casting Snipe on my Strike Force and unloading into the big hammer guys, killing one outright (they have 8 Damage each, and Armor 16, so it's kind of a big deal). The Invictors took out two of the Winter Guard with combined fire. Narn and the two assassins proceeded to run even more, getting across the table and in a position to sweep the back field.
Turn three saw several casualties on my end, his snipers managing to kill quite a few of my Invictors with this explodey-kill spell he was upkeeping on them since the first turn. Then he tried to shoot at my Strike Force with his Winter Guard and missed because they were in trees on a hill (yay, Defense 18). Then came my turn three. My Invictors, of which only 3 of the original 10 remained passed their Command Check, charged the Winter Guard and did no damage whatsoever. My Strike Force decided to go in for the kill and Charge the hammer guys, doing even more damage to two of them and killing a second. Narn and the twins kept running, this time behind the mortar team, which so far had missed its shots every turn. Ravyn started to disengage behind a wooded hill, and the Hydra charged into the Winter Guard, killing two of them.
Turn four was where things started going wrong for my opponent. The Winter Guard failed to kill the Invictors, the big hammer guys only killed two of the Strike Force, Beast was still behind the Winter Guard and unable to do anything about it, and Sorscha + her dog were advancing around the side. Then I struck - Narn killed the mortar team outright, both assassins moved into covering positions for next turn, a third hammer guy was killed, the Hydra turned slightly and punched two more Winter Guard into paste. Ravyn moved even more behind the hill, and the trap was one turn from being sprung...
Turn five saw another chunk of my Strike Force taken out, but still alive. Snipers killed another Strike Force member, the hammer guy missed again, the remainder of the Winter Guard finally won out against the remaining Invictors, Beast began to move up into the fray , and Sorscha kept moving with her dog to put as much of her own forces in the way of the sodomy that was to come. My turn began with one assassin murdering the last hammer bearer. Then Ravyn walked up, killed a sniper with a melee attack, fired at Beast, fired again at Beast with her normal ranged attack, then I remembered to pop my feat (stupid me). My Strike Force, however, did some mighty fine work, using Ravyn's feat against Beast, obliterating 4 of his 6 columns with 10+4d6 Damage per shot. My Hydra, now unengaged, walked over to the snipers and killed two.
Turn six saw everything come to an end (as the store was 10 minutes from closing). Sorscha cast Boundless Charge on Beast, who immediately used Thresher on the Strike Force, killing all but the Commander and three others. The snipers were useless now, missing everything they shot at. The Winter Guard were huddling in a small circle now, and missed with their shots. Then I went and the trap closed completely. The remainder of the Strike Force shot up Beast some more, then the assassin charged, then Narn struck the fatal killing blows against it. Ravyn cast Snipe on herself, then used her last focus to turn her only ranged shot into an AOE, which hit the Winter Guard and killed all six of them. The other assassin charged Sorscha's dog and killed it without difficulty. This left the Hydra to charge at Sorscha, who took a free strike from a sniper (no damage) and proceeded to pound 10 Damage out of her with a single punch.
The game ended there as we had to clean up, so we agreed that since I damaged his caster, and would have killed her had we gone into another turn (Hydra still in combat, assassin and Narn in charge range), I won. Impressions? Well, now that I have a fast moving, far shooting list, I need to test it against other armies. Now I just need to work on a solid melee list... I'm thinking Vyros and a lot of Sentinels...