Blitzkrieg!

Like most Saturdays, a few friends and I invaded Battlegound Games and Hobbies. For the last few weeks, we’ve been preparing for their first MkII Steamroller tournament. Everyone has been throwing a number of lists around, trying to find something they’re comfortable with that will also be good against a varied field. A large number of players we seldom have the opportunity to play will be in attendance, bringing factions we never really see in our area. After some work, I think I have two lists capable of bringing home the win.

I’ve decided to use my two lists to give myself a solid game against both Warmachine and Hordes. While this isn’t always the best idea, I kind of fell into it after putting together an eSorcha list that well… steamrolls, I guess… Hordes.

35pt Epic Sorcha

Foward Kommander Sorcha (+6)

* Devastator (bonded) (9)

* War Dog (1)

Fenris (5)

Gorman Di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2)

Great Bears of Gallowswood (5)

Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich (2)

Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4)

Saxon Orrik (2)

10 Winter Guard Infantry (6)

* 3 Rocketeers (3)

* Officer and Standard Bearer (2)

The list is fairly single minded: Kill warbeasts quickly and efficiently. eSorcha’s feat, doubling all damage exceeding armor to all enemies within her control area, effectively cuts hit points in half. Using this feat early lets me eliminate my opponents heavy hitters and cause some fury issues. Once things are disrupted, I can fairly easily ride my superior synergy to victory either through scenario or by grinding my way to their warlock. Here’s an explanation of all the choices I made in the list:

Devastator: High armor values can be a nightmare for Hordes to deal with and you don’t get higher armor than this guy’s. eSorcha has a bond that makes all models ending their activation within two inches of this ‘jack stationary. Given how hard he is to kill, this turns him into the ultimate objective holder and roadblock. His Reign of Death aoe is fantastic to clear out infantry and can even drop some harder targets like Trollkin Champions on the feat turn.

War Dog: In order to use her feat properly, Sorcha is often tossed up towards the front lines. The increased defense in melee and immunity to free strikes gives her some security. He’s also a great speed bump.

Fenris: The latest addition to the list, Fenris brings some very mobile weapon master attacks to the table. We really want to maximize the damage that is put out on Sorcha’s feat turn and Fenris’ high movement value ensures that he will be in melee when needed. P+S 13 with weapon master is a big hit. Two attacks like that can drop a heavy warbeast under the effects of the feat without any help. Being a dragoon with tough, he is also pretty survivable, making him another solid objective holder. What’s been really fantastic in testing is the ability to charge over small based models. This makes it very difficult for opponents to protect their beasts from him.

Gorman Di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist: Gorman does here what he does in every list. Aside from providing concealment when necessary and black oiling anyone who gets too close, Sorcha makes his rust bomb even better (making it in effect -4 armor on her feat turn) if for some reason I feel like I need to take this list against a Warmachine opponent.

Great Bears of Gallowswood: The Greatbears do whatever is necessary. Most often, the end up acting as a deterrent, hiding behind my lines as a counter charge unit. Like Fenris, they are also capable weapon masters who can devastate warbeasts on the feat turn. They mostly add some redundancy to the list, as well as give me an independent threatening unit who can act as a diversion.

Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich: Buffs the crap out of the Winter Guard. And hides.

Lady Aiyana and Master Holt: Harm gets absolutely silly on the feat turn. The +2 damage is like +4 damage! This makes the Winter Guard absolutely mow through heavy infantry and lets them pair their CRA’s and drop heavies after a few volleys. Giving my Winter Guard magic attacks is also fantastic utility, even if its overshadowed by Harm. Worth noting, Holt’s attacks benefit from Sorcha’s feat, as well. That one has caught some of my opponents off guard.

Saxon Orrik: He makes sure units get where they need to be by tossing around Pathfinder. Whether he’s getting the Winter Guard through rough terrain or letting Fenris charge over a Rock Wall template, he keeps the army moving regardless of the terrain.

Winter Guard Deathstar: These fuckers are like Voltron. After all buffs are accounted for, they have defense 17, boosted attack rolls, and rerollable CRAs. Firing in pairs, they are rolling 7+3d6 to hit and are P+S 14. With 18 being a fairly standard heavy warbeast armor, they average 3 points of damage each pairing; 6 on the feat turn. Harm brings that to an average of 10 damage per pair. The unit can do this 7 times (with the last being a 3 man CRA). Amazing hitting power and a nightmare to deal with. This unit really makes the list work as well as it does.

In testing, this strategy has been extremely powerful. Very few armies are capable of recovering from losing several warbeasts in one turn, especially when they are not expecting such heavy hitting from my units. The Winter Guard are true all-arounders, doing whatever needs to be done. I have never felt like I wasn’t in control or couldn’t easily regain it. This thing is like a momentum vampire. A warbeast leafblower. God damn.

So, apparently Hordes is all set. Nothing to worry about there. However, this strategy really doesn’t work as well against Warmachine. Yeah, nuking their ‘jacks is nice and all, but it doesn’t cripple the army. In fact, a lot of armies just don’t care. I needed a new strategy. With one list geared for grinding out a win (with a focus on Hordes), I wanted something fast and capable of unexpected assassination threats. Enter my good friend Kommandant Strakhov!

35pt Strakhov

Kommandant Strakhov (+6)

* Beast 09 9(11)

* War Dog (1)

Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3)

Fenris (5)

Gorman Di Wulfe (2)

Great Bears of Gallowswood (5)

10 Kayazy Assassins (8)

* Underboss (2)

Widowmakers (4)

Speed and threat saturation! That is what this list is all about. Between the Kayazy, Fenris, Beast 09, and the Great Bears, this list excels at catapulting beat sticks. The downside? GLASSCANNON. Seriously. Live through my initial attack and I’m boned. Well, you know what they say…

What? No, I did not use that cliche just to post a Bolt Thrower video.

Probably.

Kommandant Strakhov: He specializes in BLITZKRIEG. His feat makes everyone charge super far, and his spells Superiority and Overrun can throw the Beast out up to 19″. He has other useful spells, but seriously, its all about the cruise missiles.

Beast 09: Best warhead for a ‘jackmissile. Reach. Thresher. Focus efficient. He’s a candidate for the best warjack in the game. Why not slingshot him!?

War Dog: Same as Sorcha. He needs to be close to the front to do his dirty work. The dog keeps him alive a little better.

Eiryss, Angel of Redemption: Like in my Butcher list, she’s utility. For this list, she drops nonsense like Crippling Grasp from my units or, if lucky, focus from warcasters. Mostly, she’s on dispelling duty and arc node disruption.

Fenris: He has two jobs: Clear out infantry to let Beast put AXE 2 FACE or, in the event that he has a lane or Beast got dropped, be a back-up missile. On the feat turn, he has a 17″ threat range and can charge over small based models. Very solid.

Gorman Di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist: Same old Gorman stuff. Strakhov tends to expose himself to fire so the cloud effect is very nice!

Great Bears of Gallowswood: Just like in Sorcha, these guys do whatever is necessary. Redundancy and efficiency.

Kayazy Assassins with Underboss: They are fantastic. They are amazing at tying up units by running to engage them. With defense 16 and backstab, there isn’t any great way to deal with them at that point. Kill Stroke is icing on the cake, letting them charge through the opponent’s army the next turn. I think of these guys kind of like a timer. Deal with them in 2 turns or the game is probably over. Strakhov’s feat gives them a lot of reach on the Kill Stroke turn.

Widowmakers: They kill annoying solos and open up charge lanes. Always good. Plus, they can deter an entire flank. Extra awesome.

So, yeah. If Sorcha is a scalpel, this is a rail gun. I wish I had some more insight into the list, but it really is as simple as throwing big fat guys across the table really, really fast. There are some neat tricks, though. My favorite is to load up Beast with 3 focus, pop Strakov’s feat, and cast Overrun on the ‘jack. Now, Beast can charge a squishy enemy model within 8″ of the enemy ‘caster and punch it in the face, triggering Overrun, which lets him move 6″ to engage the ‘caster. This trick is amazing for “charging around” warjacks or other walls blocking warcasters. Most of my wins come from this.

Speed is definitely the name of the game. I usually win on the second or third turn. Any later and the list struggles as its speed becomes less and less of an advantage.

I’ve played a number of great games with these but have lacked the foresight to take notes for accurate battle reports. This Thursday, I will line up a game with Strakhov and get a full report up! Hopefully, I can do the same with eSorcha on Saturday.

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