I challenged Lars from last week to a rematch, since his pButcher list gave me all sorts of nightmares and I might as well face them. We were playing a simple scenario without reinforcements, and I was using Skillts Kromac list.
Kromac the Ravenous
– Feral Warpwolf
– Warpwolf Stalker
– Stone keeper
Stoneward and 5 Woldstalkers
Stoneward and 5 Woldstalkers
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (Leader and 1 Grunt)
Lars was using the same pButcher list he did last week. I don’t understand why pButcher is so rarely seen internationally because played like a support caster he’s crazy, and if all goes to hell in a basket he can always try a camp’n’kill after removing the most dangerous enemy models. I knew there was no way to attrition this but this game was supposed to be about Shifting Stones, Sprint, and Kromac so it was fine.
The Butcher of Khardov
Battle Mechaniks (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Great Bears of Gallowswood
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts)
– Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Winter Guard Infantry (Leader and 9 Grunts)
– Winter Guard Infantry Officer & Standard
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich
Man-o-war Drakhun (without dismount)
I won the roll to go first and elected to do so. I’m not entirely sure how I would go about playing the first turn if I’m the second player, since playing defense with Kromac seems counter-productive and I can only think of one way of getting all his upkeeps in play and surviving: First turn feat.
Woldstalkers on either flank to increase my odds of having some survive to activate Warpath, the Stalker where it could use the woods to activate Prowl, and the stones set in two triangles interlocking (it’s a bit hard to see which stones are which so I’ll mark them on the next image where it matters). The images are a bit blurry again since the same light was still out.
I ran up the center trying hard to push down my feeling of unease, and placed the Shifting Stones so I could double teleport either Ghetorix (Hyper Aggressive, Inviolable Resolve) or the Feral (Armor). The Stalker (Prowl, Wild Aggression) ran up up to the edge of the forest where it was joined by Woldstalkers and a Grove that also liked prowling. On my right flank I had to hide the Woldstalkers because his Widowmakers could do horrible things to them (another lesson learned), and the Gorax ran up behind the Feral.
Then I made my first mistake (I think) and advanced Kromac while putting up all his upkeep spells and running him dry on FURY. I think I should have been more aggressive here and failed charged him up the field since that would have allowed me some more room in my activation sequence the following turn, and he wasn’t really in any danger since enemy long range fire was on the other flank.
The two Widowmakers on the right flank miss the Woldstalkers due to cover from the building, and the rest of his army runs up in a defensive position since he’s the second player and controls the scenario with his grind list and ability to counter punch. This means I get to practice hit and run for a round so it’s not all bad. WG bob and weave and get Iron Flesh (surprise there… oh wait… not really) and it’s my turn.
I have a hard look at my options and appreciate that this is not a timed game.I upkeep all three spells and here’s why I think I should have fail-charged Kromac in the first round, because I need to advance him up to get Warpath in range and that means not knowing how low I needed to get on Fury so I kept two more than I should have expecting to get shot at.
Ghetorix is ported by Shifting Stones (2), then the Wilder applies Lightning Strike, then Ghetorix is ported by Shifting Stones (1) and placed where he can hit the Juggernaut since I deemed that the most obvious target I had where I could safely retreat afterwards. Ghetorix (STR) then fails miserably and takes the Juggernaut to 66% with two FURY remaining. Since I hadn’t activated sprint I used my last two FURY to buy a boosted attack on the WG nearby, needing a 10+ to hit and needing him to fail Tough, which he does so Ghetorix can Warpath and Sprint away: saved by luck.
I’m not sure going for the Juggernaut was the right decision, and maybe I should have sent in the stalker after the WG, but I couldn’t do both and especially not since I kept so much FURY and if I ran both beasts hot I would most certainly “lose” one to Frenzy and then I might as well have Primalled Ghetorix and killed the Juggernaut. On the right flank the Woldstalkers aim and Zephyr up to kill a Widowmaker but the rest are out of range. The left flank Woldstalkers take a few shots at the WG but it’s fairly hopeless and I just placed them up there to tempt him to spend a couple of sprays since his WG Deathstar during feat round is insane. Then it was his turn and I noticed that I might have given him some scenario points by leaving my zone open with just a tree and two stones protecting it.
I had just managed to get Ghetorix out of charge range of the heavy hitters down back but I was still expecting to be manhandled by the WG on feat turn. I had stupidly placed the Swamp Gobber cloud where the Stalker wasn’t it in (must remember to place the damn cloud first) so he’d be taking more damage (sigh). The Widowmakers and solos on his flank take some random shots at my stones but fail to damage, and the WG rolls poorly and leave all my important models alive and kicking.
The left flank Woldstalkers did what they were supposed to and died, and Butcher left an opening I might be able to use. Luckily his dice were in a foul mood this turn or it could have been a very different game. The Stalker should have been dead because I forgot to activate his Prowl, and the only things that died were of little consequence (a stone in the rear set of shifting stones and my Groves). Then it was my turn and I was left deciding between caster kill or attrition.
The first was option was to wipe 60-70% of the IFP with the Stalker, kill the Juggernaut with Ghetorix (would need Primal since it was fixed up by Mechanics), kill the Drakhun and Marauder with a Primal Feral and the Gorax, and then hope for the best. It might have worked but I would have lost Ghetorix to the Great Bears, I would have lost the Feral to Butcher, and the Stalker was not feeling all that well after taking WG shots to face all day so it would have gone down to the remaining IFP, and that would have left me in a situation with no heavies on the table and him having the better caster and infantry. I decided I would try and play Circle instead since I’ve heard all sorts of good things about it!
I upkeep all my spells again since I know I won’t be using that FURY for anything else. I activate Kromac and cast Bestial just in case, then I feat into beast form so I can jump, walk up and jump over to the Drakhun and kills him. The Drakhun could have counter charged which would just have made it certain that I removed him instead of almost certain, but I think he just forgot. Kromac then one-shots the Drakhun with a boosted damage roll just to spite him, and I’m done since I’m not allowed to cast spells in Beat Form (forgot about that).
Not a big deal since I’m fairly sure I’ve cleared enough to land him, but the right flank Woldstalkers move up and Zephyr into range to kill an IFP just to make sure, and in hindsight that kill was vital because I wouldn’t have made it otherwise. I put Primal on the Stalker with the Wilder, and then port him up there. Now I just have to activate Warpath in order to move him on range of an defense 16 armor 21 Butcher, so I walk in Ghetorix. Ghetorix then fails to kill even a single WG. Then my Woldstalkers fail to kill a single WG and I get nervous but the Gorax is within range of the IFP and since I’ve moved up Kromac already they’re within Warpath range. The Gorax charges in and kills an IFP, allowing me to move the Stalker (Wild Aggression, Primal, STR) into melee with Butcher.
Wild Aggression, Primal, Warp Strength, no bad dice = Butcher shaped meat pile. It was nice winning of course but it still felt a lot like the battle reports I usually see Circle winning because he could have avoided it by staying another two inches backwards and I would have been forced to go with the attrition plan. I’ve since then seen that I might have been able to pull another play and sent in the feral with Inviolable Resolve and warped for armor since he had already used his feat, while making hit and runs with the two reach beasts instead, and it might have worked.
I’m at a complete loss on how to play this list against heavy ranged armies so I’ve been thinking about borrowing eKaya and some Druids from Roar and bringing her as a second list. I’ll have very little time to train because next Monday is my wedding day, and the two Mondays after that will see me sunbathing somewhere nice, but it’s not like I’m taking home the tournament anyway. It’s nice to know that I can win, and Kromac didn’t feel anywhere near as clumsy as the other Circle Warlocks I’ve tried, but it’s still very much an all or nothing thing list.