Running the Gauntlet (Part 1)
So I’m sitting down at a Starbucks in the Westfield shopping centre at Chermside as I am won’t to do on a friday afternoon and in my head I am recounting last nights bout of War machine…
The Gauntlet is the penultimate event on the Australian Warmachine calender being the last chance qualifier into the Super Series final. The SS final is equivocal to the Warmachine weekend masters in that it is a strictly invitational event. This is the second year it’s been run and the first was a great success in my opinion with this year set to eclipse it not least of which because it has been granted Masters status from PP.
Last year i was able to qualify in the first heat, and broke even in the main event, this year however, due to work I wasn’t able to enter my home state qualifier, luckily though i had enough frequent flyer points to travel to two of the other heats, and just missed out both times.
So the foundation laid, this is about my Gauntlet approach and how I intend to beat it, and subsequently to duke it out for the ultimate prize :).
I spoke about thursday nights, which is typically gaming night in sunny Queensland. It’s the one night a weeke where I get to test lists and ratify alterations or try new combinations. One of the problems that I am currently facing though, is that my expectations are not translating into performance. This is leaving me with something of a disenfranchised taste towards my faction, which for those of you unfamiliar with me is – Retribution.
One of the problems I think I am having with this respect is that Retribution has this incredible upper potential, with abysmal lower potentials. Essentially, whilst they are capable of performing excellent feats they are almost entirely unreliable and to my mind have a very low degree of reproducability with their results. Key to this is generally that their prime attacking traits are a pip lower than would make them reliably dangerous. Key examples include the MHA (Mage Hunter Assassin), MHSF(Mage Hunter Strike Force), BM (Battle Mages) and non unique heavies.
As far as the Mage Hunters are concerned I personally feel that whilst the MHA would be unbalanced at 8 MAT, at 7 it is too unreliable to achieve consistent goals. Retribution, pays far more for the prevalence of arcane assassin than it would with the presence of applicable buffs. The problem though is that there is so much ‘buffage’ which is non magical that the presence of arcane assassin, doesn’t account for base traits that are creeping ever higher and non-magical buffs.
The other great problem that I find with retribution is they have almost no staying power. Despite what the Internet may say, whilst being great Halberdiers are neither an excellent attrition piece, nor are they particularly tough and hard to move. Our other line infantry fall into the trap of having what I think i heard referred to as ‘murder stats’, that is 12/15. There are only a smidgen of ways to buff those defensive traits and more often than not (In my experience) the bridge between 13 and 15 defense for a unit dedicated to attacking you is almost negligible. Perhaps it is just my meta, but near every other person i play against has an abundance of Mat/Rat buffs from money shot and dead eye, to gang and carnage. Further to this lacking tough or any ability to keep pieces on the field Ret’s line crumbles under almost any dedicated or competent assault. The jacks universally having 12 defense also does not help this.
So, that is an epic laundry list of griping, whyfore dost though playeth Retribution i hear the ask? Well, I love my elves! Further to this High Elves were my first ever army back in 1994 and I was never really able to do them justice so I love the reinvention of them through the Retribution, who are a lot like the High Elves arrayed in white and all haughty taughty. Aside from nostalgic and Aesthetic arguments I do genuinely enjoy playing them, I moved on from Skorne in 2009 and have really enjoyed the play style since.
What is that style?
Well, I feel that Retribution has to be taken in light of their strengths nd weaknesses. As with all Elves ad infinitum – they are fragile, and so need to be protected, they are expensive and so need to be applied intelligently. They also have access to shenanigans, in a way that comes close to Circle. They have independently functioning elements with competitive (but unremarkable) base integers, with great assassination elements.
So my style boils into something that really wants to play an evade and strike that culminated with assassination, much like a Mongoose. unassuming and fluffy, unless you’re a snake.
That being said, i Don’t necessarily feel comfortable taking three dedicated assassination lists into the Gauntlet (A three list D/C event). The disappointing thing for me personally is that it takes place the week before EVyros is released, and whilst i love PVyros I think EVyros is incredibly good mostly because he presents a reliable method of over coming one of Rets biggest downsides – MAT6 jacks.
The casters That at this point i have elected to use are (Lists are due on the 24th of November): Kaelyssa, Rahn, and Ossyan. Further to this Ravyn is competing for Ossyans spot – except that I find despite her feat for some reason we don’t work well together.
Kaelyssa is a caster that i have over time built a good relationship with. At first I felt she did nothing meaningful for the faction or on the table, and that her attacking stats were too low, particularly the pow on her gun. Over time though i have come to realise that this is just a cunning facade and that she is indeed really good and has an element of reliability about her that is actually very appealing. Of course, the fact that she has true sight is a ridiculously big selling point in a faction otherwise devoid of it.
My list for Kaelyssa is designed with Cryx and Circle in mind. Both of these factions have elements that are resistant to shooting that need to be isolated and taken down prior to engagement to drastically improve your chances and diminish theirs. Things that come straight to mind are stones, GG, Tartarus, the Bane standard, and to an extent pistol wraiths, Nualla, and other enablers.
If you can quickly and efficiently isolate and dispatch these pieces – I feel that your chances greatly improve in the match up, partly because you force them to fight on your level. The rest of the list is designed to provide solid attacks and very dangerous hitting power should the opponent stray too close. With her feat it also allows you to get into position avoiding a certain degree of molestation. The Nyss have been my Kaelyssa reinforcements for a while now and I find that they perform that role very efficiently. Until recently I was using a Phoenix in place of the Chimera, I felt though that the main purpose of my arc was a single turn that allowed me to remove the pieces I wanted to and subseqently the arc node perished. A chimera can do that job just as well and give me four points into buying something else that can help to punish the enemy.
Sylas Wyshnallyr 2
Eiryss, Angel 3
Sentinels Max + UA + Soulless 12
MHSF Max + UA + Soulless 11
Lady Aiyana and Master Holt 4
total: 50 pts
Nyss Hunters Max 10
Total: 10 pts
The second list I have is Rahn, I love Rahn. I think he is an excellent caster with a lot of great tech and the ability to drastically manipulate the battlefield. That and its very hard to lose incursion with him. Typically I have liked to run Rahn as a theme force and contrary to some reportage only running two battle mage units along with both house guard units to present a very unified and adaptable front that deals with nearly everything effectively – barring EKruger and druids of course. That match up should be covered elsewhere though, so I am less worried about it now. The thrust of the list is mainly that it is very good at Scenario’s and has enough fire power to cover its bases. The Arcanist/Daemon reinforcements is something that I’ve tried a few times and it comes off pretty well. Being that it only really needs one focus for the hit it makes a nice sweeper for the flanks.
I have an alternate Rahn list that I’m trying with the colossal and possibly the new tier for the moment though this is in my comfort zone and that is worth a lot more than an untested surprise I feel.
Charge of the battle mages (Tier 3)
Advance move for all magisters/mages
Adeptis Rahn (+6)
House Shyeel Battle mages 5
House Shyeel battle mages 5
House guard Halberdiers Max +UA 9
House Guard Riflemen Max +UA 10
total: 50 pts
Total: 10 pts
The last list that I have is an Ossyan one. Ossyan and I have a very love hate relationship because when he came out I hated him and felt that he was very dysfunctional. Now I recognise his benefits and really want him to work – it’s just that half the time he seems to fall just short of the mark. This list I really wanted to force some choices on the opponent so it’s really all about fire saturation. With enough fire power it should be able to sweep away all the lightly armoured troops and then deal with armour as and when it needs to since Ossyan and his jacks should be controlling them for the most part. The Halberdiers provide a good line unit that should be able to hold up a bit with Quicken and force wall depending on what happens. The scyir is mostly there to provide some command redundancy since it seems to be a problem for me normally, so adding in his 10 CMD seems good, also he hits very reliably with flank and can help to clear off a jack, or stand in front of one at 15/17 to prevent non reachers getting into it.
Lord Arcanist Ossyan (+6)
Dawnguard Scyir 2
Storm fall archers 5
Storm fall archers 5
House guard Halberdiers Max +UA + Soulless 10
MHSF Max +UA 10
Total: 50 pts
Destor Thane 4
Destor Thane 4
So those are my three lists as they currently stand. With the exception of Rahn they all have considerable testing left to do, and the Rahn list might change if I get my Hyperion painted as well. The other piece I’d like to fit in is the AFG, for the stand off power and versatility it presents (mostly in ‘handling’ heavies), but it is very hard to find ten points to put it in anywhere.
I would really appreciate any comments and suggestions to hlep round out or tailor the lists and am certainly open to the idea that they might just be bad or not coordinate well with each other. Ossyan is possibly the black sheep in that respect as he can fall short, it’s jus tthat his potential benefits are quite dramatic and I really need a list that can just sweep a colossal off the board, something he is near unparalelled at.
Thanks very much for reading and I hope to keep you all appraised of my Super Series 2012 journey.