So this was a game of first for me. First time running Hark, first time on vassal for a while and first time running lots of jacks (I’ve always tended towards infantry builds). It was not a first against my opponent (Michael Dick) who is a member of the Chamber of Wargaming Scholars – this is a group of exceptional players that are legendary in their ability to kick my teeth in and be really nice about it (spoilers – he’s still a member).
I missed some screen shots on this so will outline the key points.
So on to lists
Kodiak x 3
Marauder x 1
Kaya 2 and puppy
Pureblood x 2
Stones x 2
Sentry stones x2
Swamp gobber chefs x2
I won the roll to go first and went first. Then plan was to run at him turn 1 then advance under clouds and then kill everything with an invincible wall of Khador steel (that’s what warjacks do right?)
Mobility goes up, stuff runs up the board
He runs Laris to within 10 of a kodiak and puts up dog pile. Forced evo goes on loki. Stones port to each flank and sentry stones/chefs form a bunker around his flag.
Destroyers get 1 each. They go and shoot stones, hark advance to be within 5 of the flag and broadsides. By the time the shooting has stopped I’ve taken out a stone from each unit, and put damage onto the left sentry stone. Unfortunately I didn’t clear the left stones. Dogpile is an issue for me as it negates the cloud wall – I strip it with ruin and do 6 damage to the kodiak. Kodiaks cloud wall.
Forced evo upkept, reave furry and then the pain starts. Sentry stones advance and sprays down orin. Laris runs into clouds. Kaya advances, dogpiles the kodiak again and feats. Ghettorix now has range a billion and charges through the clouds, he puts initial attacks on the charge target then buys on the other kodiak. Loki does the same and they both port back to safety. After the dust has settled, 2 kodiaks are dead.
So I need to hit back and kill some stuff. Destroyers get focus. kodiak charges Ghetto and boost both initials to go for the chain attack smash and grab into loki before the destroyers open up. He misses the second initial… Destroyers now look at what is possible and go for stones and the gobber chef. I left one alive thinking that the chef can only do the comfort food for one beast giving him massive fury issues but I got that wrong (spoilers: on his turn his beasts eat stone and fury issues are no more). Marauder kills Laris. Ruin position to be in range of wrecking face next turn.
His turn – stones get eaten – beasts are happy. Forced evo upkept. Gorax primals Ghetto and Ghetto goes to town on the kodiak – even with feat he makes short work of him. Kaya swaps it to Loki, primals, who hooks in ruin and does the same – 2 jacks down on Harks feat turn. His purebloods spray etc and he flips the clock.
So I have one jack in range – it goes for a charge on the pureblood and misses attack rolls again. At this point, even though he is frenzying he clears jacks easily and can grind he game out so we call it (it was getting late).
I would lose a marauder next turn so I’m left with 2x Destroyers against all of his army. Sad times.
Loss/Stomping/Humiliating defeat for Khador
Awakening the next day after the restless sleep that this type of beating gives you (thanks Mike) with a steely resolve to look at why this went so wrong. No short answer. many reasons. Regardless of the outputs, doing this type of analysis has been amazing – even over 2 games I’ve seen so much more by writing up and looking through photos etc than I ever got from just thinking about it casually/ on the drive back from the store.
My list was a first build and it was tech’d more towards cygnar. As this would probably need to be a circle drop as well I thought i’d test it in to that as well. The support solos are trivially removed with the sentry stones or are not relevant. The speed advantage that Hark brings as well is negated somewhat due to the kodiaks not having advance move. If I get 3 advance moves, kodiak cloud wall can be 20” up that table top of 1. It also means the rest of the force can get max movement and stay behind the cloud wall as the Kodiaks have space to reposition back.
I’d change this and drop ruin to get in theme – add in another marauder and some WG/mechs/Artillerist etc
The destroyers where solid even if they were not applied that well in this game. An artillerist would be amazing with them as the boosted 11’s going to boosted 9’s makes a massive difference in terms of reliability. Artillerists aren’t out till the end of May (WHY!!!!!) so I need to plan without them if this list is going to WTC tryouts and Welsh. I’ve got one planned which I shall share with you as part of the article series on list building.
Wow, where to start?!
I had no idea what Kaya2 did and didn’t spend as much time as I should have looking through her list and figuring out what to do. Vassal on a laptop wasn’t great for this and it had been a 14 hour day at work but it’s no excuse – even a few mins on my clock would have helped think through the game plan. What would have been apparent is that the cloud wall could be countered and if I run at him he could pick apart my army which is what happened.
My game plan was terrible – I ran right into an ambush and turned a 7 vs 4 into 3 rounds of 2 vs 4 – Eugh.
What could I have done differently?
So lets start with the matchup:
- I am out threatened every turn, even with mobility
- Its very difficult to stop circle getting at least 2 heavies free on feat turn.
- Laris/dogpile shuts down the cloud wall.
- He has stealth on demand if need be
- High def beasts
In my favour I have:
- more heavies/boxes
- a feat that can force him to spend a lot of fury/primal which then takes
- some heavies out of the game for a turn
- a cloud wall
- ranged output
So how do I play this?
I think I have a few different game plans here.
The first is the ranged attrition and potentially scenario. I can get to my flag and keep the cloud wall 12” away from Laris. At that point he can’t get into the clouds to arc however I can shoot 2 fully boosted shots and 2 non boosted into his line every turn. What this will probably do is kill the stones and gobber chefs – if it is hurting his beasts then he will shadow pack which means he is pretty focused strapped each turn. The blast damage will start hurting (dice off of 7 on Kaya – it will start hurting!) but it may take too long; on this scenario he can contest my flag with the right hand sentry stone easily every turn and he can also score first. If I sent a jack off to the right stone then it could be pretty good for me as the things he then contests with are worth more. Especially if this is my opening to the second plan….
The biggest issue I had with this list is that he can take it apart. So how do I stop that. Staying out of threat is a must and I was too laid back about where my jacks where. Just because I can be fast doesn’t mean I need to be and running into threat range is never good. I’ve notices this in 2 games now where I have put my jacks in danger – they need to be safe or achieving something by being in danger (if he takes that what do I get? etc)
If he has laris forward I can keep backing up, or be in range of Laris/dog pile but out of range of the 13” charge on the beasts. If he wants to dogpile then he gives me laris and I can give away scenario points and then advance under cloud in that case – it would mean I deliver everything to his lines.
One way to stop him using his feat to Alpha is to play safe and then when the support has been killed and some beasts weathered by blasts/shots, send everything in at once and feat. In the game I played when I committed it was still half hearted – some stayed back which fed right into this game plan. If I could have feated and then the turn after be in range of all of his beasts he has a problem, especially if he has had to use primal to get the STR up which then means his beasts are frenzying for a turn.
What would this look like?
Turn 1 cloud up to stop dogpile going up.
Turn 2 shoot and cloud – stay out of 13” of beasts and if there is a scoring opportunity take it. I think this is when it’s time to decide if I send a jack off to deal with the right sentry stone.
Turn 3/4 (depending on what had happened bottom of 2) Feat and run everything at him – I know he kills 2/3 jacks but then it’s 4 on 4 and he has 2 primal’d which means it is 4/2 over 2 rounds with me to trade first for 2 rounds in a row. This feels better already and takes a lot of the sting out of his attacks. I don’t know what happens if he backs up in this scenario. Possibly he’s in Killbox so I clear the flag and retreat to mine and look at scenario?
If he doesn’t primal I should still have some jacks left and at that point possibly some assassination angles as Kaya is going to be empty.
Loki tops out at P&S 18 without primal. That is dice off of 5 on a Khador jack. With 5 attacks that will do 10 damage.
Ghettorix is better – P&S 17 + 2 FE +2 Warping is 21 so dice off of 2. 5 attacks does 25 so between them they kill 1 heavy or ding up two.
Purebloods – P&S 14 – going to 16 – FE is already out so this isn’t available (or one of the other jacks is looking pristine) and primal gets an extra +2 before letting me ignore them the next turn.
That is assuming none of them miss an attack (it can happen when you are making 20+ attacks!)
There is then the issue with all the fury and no stones because I did my job and killed them earlier (joy!)
Don’t get me wrong – this feels messy but when you look at the math – Hark can take it? The jacks are running 12” so just need to get in range of threatening the edge of kill box which is definitely doable (they need to have moved 5” up the board over turn 1/2 to do this – 31 apart, 4 for kill box = 27 – 10 for threat after feat = 17”, 12 for the run before the feat = 5”. To make it work they need to be in a position where they threaten past it to give Kaya no where to hide for hit and run antics.
There is another way of doing this which is potentially to position so that one of my jacks is in 13” and also threatening something of his – this forces him to feat for a bad trade and then I can advance/cloud wall from there. I’m not sure how/if this is possible but I’ll think about it some more.
I also noted my target selection was poor – for good target selection you have to figure out what are the important things in the matchup. See my first point on not knowing the matchup.
With any jack heavy list your target selection has to be spot on – you have a small number of high value attacks and you have to put them in the right place. I think the destroyers should both be on the left flank opposite his flag/support etc so I could get shots in vs what is important (stones for healing, blast on kaya, chefs etc. They would have been jammed by manakins and if I had through about it, orin being behind these guys to clear off jam would be better – he would also be very safe (he was never going to live with multiple boostable sprays about each turn)
So that’s that – still loving being back with Khador and trying to find my pairings. Another rep coming soon – more vlad 2 goodness (man that guy is amazing)