Got in a fun, fairly relaxed evening at the Dueling Grounds last night. Played three hands of Magic vs. ernieR, followed by a 23.5 point game of WarmaHordes (I brought models for 25 points, and shaved down to 22 to go up against the 23 points ernieR had on hand).
I ran pHexeris, a Gladiator, a Savage, a Krea, a Rhinodon, a min unit of Beast Handlers, and an Extoller. ernieR ran pMadrak, with 2 Impallers, an Axer, full Fenblades with UA, and a Fellcaller. We rolled off, set up, and as I recall, I went first.
Terrain was dominated by two small forests on either flank, and a largish swamp in the middle. The latter would become a defining feature of the game, as it clogged up charge lanes for anything without access to Rush (the animus on the Gladiator and Axer - select models could navigate the swamp each turn, but not all of them).
Festivities commenced when I completely misjudged the effective range of the Impaler's ranged attack (even though it's been a while, I really should know better), and ernieR shot, hit, got the crit, and slammed the Gladiator back into the Krea. While it wasn't a crippling issue, it was a pretty rude introduction ;) I got both back on their feet, popped the Krea's animus (a turn later than I should have), and used the Rhinodon and an Obliteration spell from Hexeris to knock out several of the Fennblades, who had moved up on my flank. They failed their morale check, which effectively took them out of action for the following turn, buying me some breathing space.
ernieR closed in with his Axer, getting in some decent hits on the Savage and Gladiator, and more ranged attacks from the Impalers, along with an axe throw from Madrak tore up my beasts some more. All but the Rhinodon were down at least one branch (i.e., their in-game effectiveness had been compromised due to accumulated damage). On my turn, the effects of failed threshold checks, and the secondary effects of Madrak's axe, rather hampered my ability to push back at ernieR. My Rhinodon and a few well placed spells cleared out the left flank, but in the centre and on the right, things were looking rocky.
ernieR then had himself a pretty big turn. He took out the Savage, Gladiator (!), and Extoller in one fell swoop, leaving me without much beef on the table. I still had enough beasts to fuel Hexeris, but the loss of Rush compromised my mobility, and the Krea wasn't going to hold off the Trolls for long.
On the plus side, ernieR had left Madrak with no (or possibly 1?) Fury, and earlier in the game, had already used his "ignore one damage roll" ability to shrug off a hit. I saw an angle with Hexeris, moved him to take advantage of it, and started tossing spells. Hexeris got in two solid, boosted hits, taking Madrak's health down to dangerously low levels, and then the Krea closed in. A boosted attack hit, and a boosted damage roll finished the job.
Man that was a tight game. It wasn't until later in the evening that we realized we'd both gotten so caught up in what was going on, we'd both forgotten to use our Warcasters feat!
We reset the table, and I loaned out my Skorne to one of the newer players at the club, G.. He'd heard of the game before, but I think this was his first time playing. It gave me a chance to catch my breath, and take some pictures of the Skorne from the front for a change ;)
In terms of game play, ernieR tried a jamming move with his Fenblades this game, running them to engage from pretty much the maximum distance. G. used a combination of spells, melee, and Hexeris' feat to clear them out, leaving ernieR wondering at the utility of the move. In a casual assassination game like this, I think he might be right, but in a scenario game, the ability to hold up the opposition's movement for a turn or two can be key to gaining board control.
As the lines closed, ernieR opened up with his Impalers again, but had less luck with crits this time around. He sent in his beef, and things started to get a little hairy.
In the end, a few well-placed spells, plus a nicely timed "gazer beam" from the Extoller, were enough to finish off Madrak (psst, ernieR! keep some Fury on him!). I'm hoping we've hooked G. on the game - the more playing, the better.
This weekend we've got a big club day - a Normandy mini-campaign that's running most of Saturday. I'll be in attendance, playing all but the last game, so should have some good eye candy for a Sunday post. Until then, happy gaming.