This weekend I travelled 700 kilometers, mainly amidst darkness, rain, fog and assorted incidents of misery and terror, to attend a 6 player tournament in St. John's. Of course, this sort of journey makes perfect sense to any wargamer.
My list was as follows:
Vlad the Dark Prince of Umbrey
Great Bears of Gallowswood
Man of War Drakhun without dismount
Man of War Kovnik
Man of War Kovnik
Kayazy Assassins (6)
My pictures were not amongst my finer efforts of that kind. The first three below show Vlad's struggle with Asphyxious after two rounds of battle. Note in particular the placement of both Asphyxious and the Drakhun. In the third turn, Asphyxious came out and triggered the countercharge. But I whiffed on the damage roll and only did 13 points of damage on him.
In this picture you will notice the Widowmakers on the edge of the woods at the top. They have just taken out the only Cryx arc node on straight damage rolls with the help of Vlad's Signs and Portents. This was to severely limit the Cryx ability to interfere with the Khadoran plans. At 6 points each for the BoneJacks under Mark II the field has certainly changed for Cryx players. I would still think two of them are going to be required for casters like Gaspy, Dennie, the Coven and Skarre but that's just my opinion. The Widowmakers and Eyriss are always going to be able to lay the hurt on Cryx arcing from now on.
In this picture Vlad has charged up (using Boundless Charge) to get some cover from the BoneJack which had just run at the Widowmakers. As it turned out Vlad's impact on the battle was over.
This is where the battle was decided. The Assassins have lost stealth in Mark II so they need either cover or low MAT enemies to safely move across the battlefield into their threat range. A unit of Mechanithralls is perfectly suited for such a role. At MAT 4, they can only hit Assassins in melee on a roll of 12 (unless somehow aided by spells or other abilities). I believe the Cryx player rolled either 14 or 16 attacks here and missed every one.
Then, Asphyxious moved up, feated, killed 3 warriors, and then teleported back behind the Mechanithralls to get some healing from the NecroSurgeon. Then, the Assassin Underboss did his Killstrike mini-feat. Asphyxious died. Marc is a fell Cryx player. All I can say for sure is that nothing I did in this game will ever work against him again. Ever.
This is the second game against a Cygnar force led by Captain Stryker. In this picture both of my Kovniks have just been knocked down.
Practically speaking, the scenario conditions required that I destroy these two Cygnar jacks in the third round of the battle, as that would give me control of the 10" diameter area - surrounding the medal on the table - that they were located in.
The destruction of the two jacks is accomplished by Vlad's Signs and Portents used to buff shooting attacks from the Kovniks and melee attacks from the Great Bears, the Assassins, and the Juggernaut.
The final game was against a Trollblood force led by Madrak. The first two shots are views of the battlefield after turn 1. Madrak had a Mauler, an Axer, and a Pyre Troll. There was a unit of Champions, a Fell Caller, a unit of Pygs, and that particularly annoying solo - the Totem Hunter - that always ends up taking a few of my heads.
Now, this shot shows the location where, effectively, the battle was decided. I charged the Drakhun onto the Mauler. Basically, the Drakhun was killed by the Mauler and Madrak, who jumped over the wall to get at it. This allowed Vlad to use Boundless Charge and charge Madrak with 5 focus to spare. Madrak had only one fury, and thus with his scroll could only tranfer one lot of damage and ignore one lot. Before charging him I took a point off of him with a sniper shot, and I think 2-3 points with an AxeCannon shot from one of my Kovniks. I killed him on my last attack.
This is Vlad after Madrak's body was hauled off by his trusty Mauler. (In other words I screwed up the photo of the pivotal engagement.)
These are the rankings after the tournament. A win on Scenario condition got 1 point, a caster kill was worth 1, and VPs were calculated in the event of a tie. I had 4 points, from meeting 2 Scenario conditions plus 2 caster kills, in three games.
Thoughts on the Day
Vlad has been modified quite significantly in MK II, possibly more than most other Warcasters. His feat is restricted now to jacks in his battlegroup, rendering jack marshalling a non-issue for him. His Signs and Portents and Blood of Kings are both up to 4 points, making it impossible for him to cast both in the same turn. However, he can now cast Boundless Charge on himself during his activation. This is a huge benefit. I really liked Vlad before and I like him even better now. It's easy to complain that he's been nerfed, but I think he's as powerful as he could be while retaining game balance. Signs and Portents is one of the most powerful spells in the game. When cast to assist shooting and melee attacks from 3-4 units there is very little that can survive the onslaught that follows.
How do you say Awesome! in Khardic? This unit killed Asphyxious in game one, helped kill an Ironclad in Game two, and killed a Totem Hunter and a Fell Caller in game three, before mixing it up with the Champions until the big boys showed up. The Underboss is a must-have. Losing Stealth appears to be a drag but at Defence 14/Defence 16 to melee attacks the trick is to use the enemy units as cover.
Great Bears of Gallowswood
OMFG! These guys are giant killers. I will never play a Khador force without them again. They killed 3 out of 5 Troll Champions in one turn. Three Axe attacks finished off an Ironclad after it lost some points to a couple of AxeCannon shots and two Assassins. They have Tough. They can't be knocked down if Kolsk is still alive. They have 360 degree vision if Yaroslav is alive. Volkov gives them a charge with Pathfinder. They are death incarnate. I love them.
Man of War Drakhun
The Drak has lost the multiple attacks (Flying Steel). That said, his Dismount only costs 1 point. That's the best deal a Khador player can get. I didn't have a dismount this time. Doh! That will not happen again. I think it's a must have unit for my style of play. It's not for everyone, but it attracts way more attention than it deserves, and it deserves a shagging lot of attention.
The Blizzard spell was woeful for me all day, and in my game aginst JET's Caine list later that night I cast Blizzard twice on Vlad and both attempts missed as I rolled over 7 on each. While typical for that whole day, it didn't matter much earlier. It cost me the game against Caine. I'm not convinced these guys are first-stringers for me anymore. I think Ice Cage is still a very powerful spell that could well make them worth their points, but I just can't get them up the table fast enough to use it. I think I'm going to try the Koldun Lord instead of these guys. Okay, I/we was/were wrong about how the Ternion works in MK II. The Blizzards work automatically. This changes the landscape significantly for this unit. While pricey, the ability to automatically gain another +2 DEF against shooting attacks for Khador models trying to come to grips with the enemy makes this unit very attractive. The only issue then is simply keeping up with the models sought to be protected.
Still a must-have unit. With Signs and Portents you could well disable an aggressively played arc node on turn two every time. I can't see playing without them.
Man of War Kovnik
I really love these guys. I like to play with two. They are like offensive linemen. Most people don't notice them but they keep the QB from getting sacked and, occasionally, they get the big play in.
I won't be taking these guys again. My list doesn't really need support the way I play it and I won't be jack marshalling again with Vlad given the change to Forced March.
I still haven't figured out how to play this guy properly. This is after 4 years of trying. I think I'm going to look at another option.
Great jack. I didn't get one critical with it all day, which was a bit of a drag, and I have decided to finish painting up Drago for this list.
My final game that night at JET's house against his Lieutenant Caine list. This is a picture of the Cygnar battleline. A good game that I lost to a good man.