Sunday, November 20, 2011 

Getting to Know You…

I was excited for Master Ascetic Naaresh from the first time I saw him, and over the last few weeks I’ve finally been able to put him on the table for a test drive.  Nihilators have been at the core of most of my lists since I started playing Skorne - I just love the idea of pain-loving berserker warmongers.   What could be better than a pain-loving, berserker warmonger warlock?  Unfortunately I haven’t been having much luck with him.  The worst part is that I really, really want to like him.  I need to rethink my approach with him…

Naaresh is kind of a tricky dude, and it’s taking me a little while to figure out how to really use him. When you read his card, the first thing that stands out is the interaction between Pain Monger and Life Drinker: Every time Naaresh takes damage he gains a blood token that grants him +1 ARM and +1 STR (he can have up to 5).  Then, every time he kills a living enemy model, he heals d3 damage.  Taking the two together, it seems like he should be wading into enemy troopers and cutting them down, taking damage and then healing right back up. 

The only problem with this is that he’s lacking the tools to be an effective troop killer.  While his cyclone spell lets him get into combat and make an attack against every enemy in his melee range, his lack reach weapons means that, at best, he may get a shot at three enemies.  Add to that the lack of a reach weapon, or any kind of ability like Side Step or Overtake, and his ability to chain attacks together becomes extremely limited.  Compare that to a caster like Morghoul, who is a troop killing monster:  Anatomical Precision lets him avoid high armor, Overtake lets him chain kills together, Perfect Balance allows him to avoid free strikes, Double Strike gives him two attacks for each fury spent, and Sprint lets him get out of trouble when it’s all over.   Making that comparison, it’s pretty clear that Naaresh is a situational troop-killer at best.

Instead, I think Naaresh is meant to be the Skorne’s version of Lord Commander Stryker:  A cruise missile built to deliver a game ending kill from halfway across the board.   Pair Naaresh with the battle plans of a Tyrant Commander, and he can deliver the pain from 17 ½ inches away, with half of that movement immune to free strikes.  The way I see it, it goes something like this:

  • First, you have 5 pain giver beast handlers last Naaresh.  Thanks to his Flagellant rule, they automatically hit.  Remember, in MKII you still have to roll damage for anatomical precision – you can’t just choose to apply one damage point.  Much like eStryker, it is possible to severely damage Naaresh in the process of powering him up.  You want to be sitting at POW 15 and ARM 20 before you go in.
  • Next, you have the Tyrant Commander use him Press Forward battle plan on Naaresh to give him +2 SPD when making a full advance this turn. 
  • The best scenario would be to then find a gap opponent’s line and either cyclone through (up to eight inches thanks to Press Forward) avoiding free strikes, or kill couple of models and heal up a bit if need be. 
  • From there, charge in on the enemy caster and get it done.  If they are camping focus, you may want to open with a Combo Strike, which will deliver a POW 19 boosted damage roll.   For lower armor casters, the two POW 15 options may be the better solution –either way, you will have 6 focus left to get the job done after the initial attack.  Unfortunately, much like Epic Stryker, if you don’t get the job done, you are probably toast.  

Now I’m starting to play around with what else needs to be in a Naaresh army…  He needs a decent number of warbeasts to get the most out of his feat, so that needs to be considered.  The aformentioned Tyrant Commander is manditory for the +2 SPD boost, and he can also offer Patherfinder if the enemy caster has something like Inhospitable Ground in play.  On the turns he's not buffing Naaresh, he can be helping knocked down Nihilators stand back up.  As far as other models: The Cyclops Savage’s Prescience animus would allow Naaresh to boost after the fact, which would be really valuable on the assassination turn.   Marketh would be useful for casting Iron Flesh at the end of every turn so your units don’t take the speed penalty on their activation.

So, with a new appreciation, I think I’ll rebuild my lists and give him a try again this week.  I'll keep you posted on how it all works out. Hopefully this romance was meant to be…

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Saturday, November 05, 2011 

BCB Boise - 2011

I'm back.  It's been over four months since I posted last, mostly because right before PAX Prime I blew out my back - bad.  The good news is that four months (and a string of Cortisone injections) later, I seem to be getting back on my feet.  More importantly, I'm able to sit long enough to paint a model or play a game of Warmachine.  I must have a little trollblood running in my veins - if nothing else, I'm hard to kill.  But enough of my hardships - let's get on with things you might actually want to read about - this is, after all, still a blog about steam, iron, and little metal men.

Fiona the Pink
We just wrapped up our local Breast Cancer Brawl event, and it was a great time as usual.  We did a little different format this year, as many of our locals have a strong dislike for the "pay-to-cheat" format.  We wanted to still raise money, but we wanted to find a way to keep the actual game (mostly) pure.  Our PG Dicewraith came up with a completely different format - it was basically an Iron Arena-style open play event, where you earned points for each game played, each new player played, each new faction played, each caster you used, etc.  It was a great format, as it let people set their own schedule, it encouraged experimentation, and kept things social and fun, which really fits that mood of event.

To raise money, there were certain scenario tables you could pay to play on, you could buy the use of league models from any of the previous leagues, you could buy special rules (like lady models are tough, or advanced deploy for certain models, etc).  We definitely mixed it up, but the one thing we stayed away from was paying to force re-rolls, as that is the one mechanic that everyone seems to hate.

The amazing Storm Strider with an actual
pink lightning generator
Also, because less money was being spent trying to win games, more money was available to go the the auction of some really beautiful models that some of locals (and non-locals) volunteered to paint.  We had many models go for $50, some as high as $150, and an amazing Storm Strider modification by Faultie that had an actual pink plamsa ball in place of the normal lighting generator.  I ended up walking away with that one, for a sum landed me both the largest donor award and long conversation with my wife on how much money is okay to spend on toy soldiers.  I'd do it again - that thing is awesome!

One of our scenario tables was a scratch-built Grind board built by Brotherscott that ended up sucking me in for the last half of the day.  I ended up starting my own little grind league on that table in the afternoon, and we had an complete blast.  The way it was scored, each Grind goal scored gave you tournament points, but killing the caster gave you none, so you had no motivation to end the game early.  My grind team was made up of Xerxis, a Bronzeback, a Gladiator, a Rhinodon and Savage, and they ended up being pretty effective with all those open fists, slams and chain attacks.  (Although in hindsight, I would drop the Rhino and the Savage, and take another Gladiator and a Krea to use it's paralytic aura on defense.)  It ended up being a ridiculous amount of fun, and with a little tuning on the rules, I can see running a Grindball league as a great diversion.

My Grindball Gladitors press the offense against Baldur and his constructs!

I ended up taking the tournament title, which had less to do with any skill and more to do with 12 hours of straight gaming and all of the tournament points I racked up playing Grind.  I scored a couple of coins as well as a special pink Morghoul card from PP.   The Fiona I painted for the auction sold for $50, and I came home with a killer Storm Strider and a beautiful Runewood painted by my good friend Schmitty.  Best of all, we raised a few thousand dollars to help support our local "mobile mammography" truck, which is a critical service in a rural state like Idaho.  At least when my wife asked me how I could spend so much in one day, I could look her in the eyes and say with a straight face, "I did it for the boobies."

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Monday, June 27, 2011 

Painting Update

I have hardly had any time to sit down since I've got back from Lock and Load, so I was happy to finally get some time to sit down at my painting table tonight.  I used it to finish up a couple of units that I had mostly done right before I left for Seattle.  They are the last of the units I need to fill out my (slightly unconventional) Tier 4 Rasheth list, and I wanted to get them out of the way.


The Ventators found their way into my collection because I can use them in Tier lists for all of the warlocks I'm most interested in:  Makeda, Xerxis and Rasheth.  Without the UA, their RAT 5 makes them pretty lackluster, although CRA and damage that goes up with the base size is nice.  With the UA, however, they get a lot more interesting, gaining Reform and a mini-feat that gives them +4 RNG for one turn.  I've used them in a couple of games now, and while not that impressive, they make a decent harassment/flanking force. I'll have to get a few more games in to figure how to get the most out of them.


For the Rasheth list, I decided to go against the grain and use Slaughterhousers instead of the Gatormen Posse to fill out the minion unit requirement.  I like the idea of effectively boosted damage against injured models and the ability to ignore tough, and at 6 points the price is right.  Plus, the fact that they are wearing armor makes it easy for me to paint them up to fit right into my Skorne list.  Yeah, I make decision for my armies based on what looks cool.  Sue me.

So, I continue to make good progress, but unfortunately now I'm feeling the pull of the pre-release models I brought back from Lock and Load...  I'm considering taking a break to paint up Blaize, Gallant and the Storm Strider.  What good is standing in line for a pre-release if you don't do anything with them until they are already out at retail, right?

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