Natetehaggresar Goes to the Mayhem Cup Practice Tourney Part I – The Lists
This is Natetehaggresar, long time contributor, with no recent articles written. This weekend (2/9/13), I played in the Mayhem Cup practice tourney at Mayhem Collectibles in Des Moines, Iowa. The event was 2013 steamroller, 2 list required, divide and conquer 1, with character restrictions. The event went five rounds, and I managed to eek out a first place showing for Khador. I believe there were 24 entrants.
I rarely travel for tournaments, but I really enjoy playing in them. I spend a long time working out lists, and theorymachining known bad matchups to try and create solutions. I have given a great deal of thought to my potential pairings and have come up with the following lists.
Max Nyss Hunters + Valachev 12
Max Iron Fang Pikemen + Black Dragon UA 10
Min Kayazi Assassins + Underboss 7
Great Bears 5
Saxon Orrick 2
This list is my all comers list. It has the potential to out attrition most lists out there. It’s a modification of my steamroller 2012 list. The changes made for this year have been to move Ayanna and Holt, eEyriss to my other list, and the Kayazi are now a Min unit. I spent those points on Iron Fang Pikemen with the Black Dragon UA. The old version of this list was trying to do too many things, and eating too many valuable characters. The old version still struggled versus Cryx even with eEyriss and A&H. For this year I have decided to make one list exclusively to deal with my Cryx matchup, this allows me to add more tools to play to this lists strength, slow attrition play.
The Black Dragons have significantly improved the list in a number of matchups, and have 3 powerful play options. I tend to place the Pikemen centrally then have the Nyss on one flank and the Kayazi on the other. The Pikemen, Behemoth and Irusk take center, with the Bears as a countercharging unit.
The Pikemen’s first power play is to be steady for two consecutive turns with Iron Zeal on one turn and Undying Loyalty on the other. This is very useful against the likes of Bart, Kreoss or any other pop and drop sort of caster. The Pikemen will continue to remain effective during those casters main push, and they will also continue to block LOS to Irusk. Between the Pikemen and the Behemoth you can have a lot of beef between the enemy’s guns and your caster. This is of course even more valuable with the prevalence of kill box scenarios.
The second power play that the Black Dragons open up is a potential solution to covering fire templates put down by Stormwall. The combination of Iron Zeal and Undying Loyalty give the Pikemen about a 75% survival rate when charging through a template. If you can get enough of them into a charge position under Battle Lust it will go a long way towards solving Stormwall problems. Their higher base arm, and shield wall also does a lot to get them there alive versus pow 10 shooting an electricity. It at least makes it a game.
The third power play the Pikemen can do is to stack shield wall and Iron Zeal. This give the unit an impressive armor of 22, which can be further enhanced with Undying Loyalty and/or Iron Flesh. This gives the Pikemen an ability to withstand punishment the likes of which makes Boomie look like a putz. The key to using this unit is experience. All of their power plays involve the use of once per game abilities, and they only get to use one of their three power plays per game. You need to be able to predict you opponent’s threats and tempo to make use of their abilities appropriately.
I’ve written at length in the past of the virtues of Nyss + Valachev. I think that they are one of the most amazing units in the game. If they get the combo of Aim + Zephyr + Undying Loyalty they each shoot at rat 10, ignoring concealment, camouflage, cover, and forests for LOS. Nyss + Iron Flesh are nearly immune to direct attacks. They’re amazing. Oh yeah, and they’re speed 7 pathfinder weaponmasters too.
Widowmakers are simply the worst best four point unit in the game. They’re rat 9 under undying loyalty, 11 if they aim, try to hunt solos under Irusk’s feat.
Bears, Orrick, and Gorman are amazing. The Behemoth is my favorite warjack. The wardog is nice for the def buff and counter charge, but what I love best about him is speed 7. His ability to control the scoring geometry is invaluable.
My second list is an attempt to cover the weaknesses of my first list. Specifically both breeds of Satyxis. My utter hatred of both those units knows no end. The Raiders were bad enough. They’re a 12 point module which includes a solo to desperate pace them, and a UA that grants them force barrier and a mini feat for an additional die of damage. They’re also speed 7, with pathfinder, advance deploy, def 14, cma, feedback, two attacks, chain weapon, crit knockdown and reach. Bleh.
The Blood Witches have 2 attacks and gang, after gang they are mat 8, with a magic weapon at PS 12, and an off hand at PS 10. Their UA gives them a round of incorporeal and has a 9 CMD bubble that denies the ability to heal, which includes tough.
The two units in tandem do a lot to shut down my Irusk list. The Blood Witch UA removes Irusk’s feat from a massive swath of the board. Irusk cannot easily snipe her out either, she has stealth and for 1 round incorporeal. Theoretically Irusk could Air Burst her out of the unit, but this requires a lot of focus, and playing him closer to the front than I deem good for his health. The combination of incorporeal and force barrier shuts down all of my shooting. The Raiders cannot be killed by blast damage until their UA is killed, def 16 from shooting and a 18 inch run and engage limits the Nyss and Widowmakers ability to aim and deal with them. All the while a tryxy Cryx player will be setting up ideal bile thrall purges or similarly bad scenarios while you struggle to deal with the Satyxis pinning the rest of your army. To try and deal with this problem I have looked a little outside the box and gone with pSorcha.
Sylas Wyshnallyr 2
Max Winterguard Infantry + UA + 3 WA 11
Kovink Joe 2
Lady Ayanna and Master Holt 4
Doom Reavers 6
Doom Reavers 6
Gun Carriage 9
Madelyn Corbeau 2
I’m still not sold on this list, but it has been fun and effective. In my practice games I have had problems unpacking the list. The list does provide solutions to Satyxis. Icey Gaze brings Raiders down from an impressive def 16 versus shooting to def 7, a hand cannon to the face normally kills the Sea Witch which then makes raiders vulnerable to blast damage. Incorporeal models are NEVER intervening models, which also means that if the Cryx player is trying to jam you too hard with Blood Witches and makes them incorporeal you can easily freeze that whole unit too.
Freezing Grip will probably be a mainstay during the mid game under arcane secrets it easily hits most Cryx infantry removing that unit for one round. (Pro Tip, in addition to all the ridiculous things that the Bane Thrall UA does that EVERYBODY knows about, it also shakes stationary from the unit, don’t count on stationary saving you from them). Between movement from Corbeau’s Intrigue, and Windrush, Sorcha can get to a lot of unexpected places, and retreat to safety. Finally Warcasters spend a lot of time in 2013 near def 5 objectives. Tempest knocks down all models in the AOE, and is a great spell for setting up caster kills.
Doom Reavers are a great numerical equalizer. If a unit is stationary they just walk up and auto hit and auto kill most infantry. They also can put a lot of pressure on objectives, and are the lists heaviest hitters. Another nice bonus is magic weapon and spell ward. Clever opponents can still “hit” them with spells, but you will make them work for it, and debuffs such as crippling grasp or parasite will never be an issue for them.
The winterguard package + Ayanna are another solution to incorporeal. Harm can help to kill opposing casters. eEyrisss is crippling grasp insurance, and can remove camp. The Spriggan runs first turn, then lies down flares and contests zones. The minimal focus requirement is a blessing since Sorcha tends to use all of it nearly every turn.
The Gun Carriage has been a bit of a dark horse in the list for me. The rough terrain it generates can really hose Mechanithralls, Bile Thralls, Blood Gorgers, and Bane Thralls if they’re playing a caster without Ghost Walk or Saxon Orrick. The combination of rough terrain, and the option to move shoot move, that ride by attacks give the Carriage allows for a lot of kiting potential. The cannons can do a lot of damage to knocked down casters, and at speed 7, or a 10 inch trample shoot it can really reach out and touch someone.
The whole list comes together and plays in a very un-Khador like manner. It is very control and denial heavy with Sorcha’s feat, spell list, and the ability to drop down a lot of rough terrain. The list has a surprisingly strong scenario game in my experience, and threatens caster kill easily. If your opponent gets greedy with their caster you can normally end the game. On the flip side, Sorcha is normally not camping anything so you need to be very careful about where you place her or she’ll be the caster getting killed.