Another Mammoth battle report this week! the third caster in the alphabetical lineup is Lord Aribiter Hexeris. This is one of the casters that looks really really good with the Mammoth on paper. he's already a really strong answer to high def infantry swarms, so adding a Mammoth in for even more infantry domination seems good. also, black spot with a giant ROF 3 cannon is too good to pass up.
Of course, going through every caster in order doesn't let me pick my match-ups at all, so I wasn't necessarily going to get to try out an infantry heavy match like Khador, ret, or cryx. instead I played against an eVayl Tier 4 (when's the last time anyone's played against a non-tier eVayl? her tier is stupid good) list with a lot of heavies.
Max swordsmen + UA
And my opponent's list:
2 X Shepherds
max spawning vessel
max legionnaires with UA
+1 to starting game roll
+2 speed on flying beasts for a turn
1 point reduction for heavies
On to the game. we played chemical reaction from SR 2013. it's one of the more unique missions, so look it up if you're fuzzy on the details. it's hard to explain in a paragraph in a battle report. terrain was evenly spaced, with a large hill in the center, forests in two quarters (my close right and far left) and walls in the other two quadrants. Even with the tier benefit of +1 to the roll, I won the roll for first turn and elected to take it.
I deployed the Mammoth slightly towards my friendly zone, with Hexeris and the support right behind him. the raider and soulward went right, the krea and gladiator to the left. the swordsmen went out front. from my right to left, he placed the spell martyr, a shepherd, the Scythean, the ravagore, another shepherd, two angels, Vayl, Succubus and shredder center, then the afflictor and pasta pot out wide. the legionnaires went out front and center.
almost everything ran. the swordsmen spread out, the raider went towards the enemy zone, everything else moved up behind. the krea used his animus, hexeris put ashen veil on the swordsmen and 5 to the agonizer, and Marketh put arcane reckoning on Hexeris
His stuff ran up the field. the legionnaires got into defensive line formation. an Angel killed 3 legionnaires to feed the pot, which put out a harrier. the harrier killed a swordsman and sprinted back slightly. Vayl shot the harrier and actually did some damage, then arced a icy grip at the swordsmen but missed (rolled a 6 on 3 dice). the ravagore moved right up to his friendly objective and shot a swordsman with a scather.
the swordsmen ran/charged, with one going after the harrier (and leaving it with one hitpoint), and two charging legionnaires and missing. the rest ran, 4 spreading out in the enemy zone, the rest lining up behind the engaged swordsmen. the krea and hexeris both put up the krea animus, and hexeris sniped the Mammoth. the gladiator toed the closer zone to prevent any scoring next turn. the agonizer did his -2 damage cry. the Mammoth moved up and took 3 shots at the ravagore behind the enemy objective. they all missed due to RAT 3, but two happened to scatter over Vayl. two boosted damage rolls did 6 damage on one hit, and 4 or 5 that was transferred on the other. I didn't think about it too much at the time, but Vayl is squishier than I thought. only 9 damage left on her after one good blast damage roll. nothing else significant this turn, lots of getting into position.
the bottom of turn 2 is when stuff really got going. he started with Vayl, who purified off the Krea's animus (only from the Krea, Hexeris had it up still, covering the Mammoth), counterblast and ashen veil. she tagged one of the swordsmen with icy grip and refuged back a bit. the afflictor took out the swordsman that had almost killed the harrier, and spawned an incubus. the legionnaires moved up, killing 2 of the 4 swordsmen they went after (a 2 man CMA missed, and a lone swordsman failed to break armor on the last 2). they popped their mini feat and were all base to base, making them arm 20.
One of the lunch ladies got tossed in the pot, giving it enough for a lesser. the pot moved up to contest my zone and popped a stinger. next he charged my Krea with the harrier and the incubus, doing about half its damage grid. the stinger charged the Mammoth, doing a few boxes. the ravagore shot the mammoth, bringing the total damage up to 8 boxes done. the Scythean killed 2 swordsmen in the zone. the shepherds took care of fury, the angels moved up, and the succubus and shredder handed out tenacity to Vayl and an Angel.
There was a lot I wanted to get done this turn, and I really ended up spreading myself too thin. but we'll get to that. First off, I got big eyes when I saw the legionnaires all bunched up and wanted to get off a big mini-feat turn with the swordsmen. I wanted to black spot the unit, but they have a banner that makes spells range -5. so I had to get the Mammoth real close to the unit to arc a black spot into them. unfortunately, the mammoth had a stinger in the way, and the krea was being tied down by 2 models. I decided I would come back to that. On the other side of the table (my right) I had the Radier snipe and aim at the Scythean, boosting damage for 6 or 7 damage. the soulward moved up and threw a boosted damage shot as well, but only rolled a 6 on 3 dice with straight damage.
Something moved up to kill the stinger, I think it was the gladiator maybe. he also put Rush on the Mammoth. Vayl took his fury, which surprised me. I had assumed he wasn't counting those 2 fury off of the free cruise missiles. this would be important later. the krea killed the incubi but failed on the harrier. the Mammoth moved up, just out of reach range with the swordsmen. he fired off 2 cannon shots at the pot, killing it with the second shot, boosting damage. unfortunately, it also killed 2 lunch ladies, giving the pot 3 corpses. when it died it used "Last Call" to pop out yet another stinger. the Mammoth finished off by using counter-blast. the agonizer tucked in behind him and did his damage debuff.
Next up, the willbreaker moved up and put Puppet Master on Hexeris. Hexeris activated, charging the harrier. he missed and switched to spells. he arced a black spot into the legionnaires hitting easily. then I took a look and thought Vayl might be within 10 inches. the Mammoth was on the hill so could see her over the legionnaires in the way. I declared a Hellfire on her, and sure enough she was in range. I boosted damage and hit, boosted damage and did about 13 damage that got transferred to the Ravagore, not quite knocking anything off. now, if Vayl hadn't thought to reave from that stinger, or if I had somehow not killed it, she would be out of fury. unfortunately she had 2 left at this point. I went ahead and feated, taking from the harrier, the mammoth and the gladiator. I shot another fully boosted hellfire at Vayl, using puppet master to reroll some bad dice on the damage roll. she transferred to the shredder, almost killing it. had she been out of fury it would have been enough to end the game right there. Then hexeris topped off the agonizer and camped 2, expecting a spell or two coming his way from Vayl.
Finally, the swordsmen activated and had a wonderful time with the legionnaires. 4 swordsmen (including the officer) with black spot and the mini feat took down everyone but one grunt and a wounded officer. the last swordsman charged the scythean, but couldn't combo strike. he just did his 2 boxes of damage.
That was a long turn 3 for me, and i ended up spread out a bit. He started on the far side, trampling the scythean over the swordsman that had attacked him, and bought enough attacks to kill the soulward. next he used the shredder and Afflictor to clear my 2 swordsmen that were engaging the last 2 legionnaires. the first Angel (with refuge up) activated and charged my Mammoth (the mammoth was back to full health due to vampiric harvest after all those legionnaires and assorted models had died). I got a perfect roll on counterblast and knocked out his body, so his attacks didn't do a ton. he used refuge to get behind the Mammoth and out of reach range. Vayl went next, shooting the Angel in the back and feating. she shot an icy grip at Hexeris, but forgot had forgotten that he needed to move the harrier first. icy grip missed due to melee and Vayl switch tactics. she ended up using two oblits to kill just the agonizer, refuged back and put admonition on herself. since she had nothing better to do with it, she tossed occultation on the objective.
Next he started going with everything after the Mammoth. in total, it got charged by the legionnaire UA, the incubus, the stinger, and the second Angel. after all that, he still had one box left (if he had managed to do damage to hexeris instead of killing my agonizer it would have had another 8 boxes. again, that agonizer is vital for the mammoth). the harrier moved up to try, but had to take a free strike from Hexeris, which killed it. finally the Ravagore shot and rolled snake eyes! for some reason he didn't boost since he only needed a 3 to hit. boosted blast damage still had a shot at doing one box, but failed.
Well. that was lucky. by all rights the Mammoth should be dead. I exposed him waaay too much. next time I think I need to bond something else. it's not worth exposing 20 points when you need that extra spell to get there.
Luckily, this time the dice were with me. time to unleash the mammoth. the Willbreaker gave him puppet master and the paingivers enraged him. the krea shot the wounded Angel, dropping its defense. Hexeris killed the angel with a few bought attacks and spent another few points healing the Mammoth. he camped 2 again. the Mammoth activated, knocking the remaining angel to 1 hit point and killing all the infantry around him. the last surviving swordsmen activated. the officer hit the Angel doing the last box of damage and the other one killed the succubus. The gladiator killed the afflictor. the raider took another chunk out of the Scythean but it was still fully operational. I scored my first control point.
On his turn, he was down to an almost dead shredder, Vayl, the scythean, the shepherds and a spell martyr that was just keeping me from scoring his zone. the shredder had a fury left and frenzied, killing the regular swordsman. the scythean killed my raider. vayl tried an obliteration on the Mammoth but did no damage. the ravagore shot it and did a few points, but vampiric harvest had healed a lot back.
He ended up calling the game at this point. it might have been a little premature, but the game was slipping from him. I had scored my second point at the end of his turn. on my next turn I would get another for dominating my zone, and the mammoth should have no trouble killing the objective, bringing me to 4. I thought he might have been able to make it difficult for me to get the final point, but he didn't want to play it out.
This was an interesting game to play. My wife, who was watching the game commented that my games with this particular opponent are always fun to watch because we both do some really different things to solve problems. We play each other pretty often, and our games are always very technical. There were a few mistakes during this game the swung things a bit.
My biggest mistake was bonding the Mammoth and then pushing him up way too far to get some spells off. Bonding the big guy seems like a good idea, but I don't think it's a good use of an expensive model. you really need a bonded beast that you can spend and then be ok with it dying the next turn. I got greedy with the black spot/minifeat on the legionnaires and pushed my Mammoth into range of basically an entire army. My second mistake was killing off the Stinger and giving Vayl enough fury to survive a hellfire assassination. I should have gone with a trample, hoping that I either missed the stinger or failed to kill it with an unboosted pow 15. I was really just surprised that he took that fury, but that was because I didn't count his fury properly.
On his side, he made two mistakes during his big turn. the first was leaving Hexeris engaged. I had transfers, so Hexy wasn't going to die to the double Obliteration. But with icy grip on Hexeris, he would have been easy enough to hit with 2 boosted damage Oblits, which would be dice -1. that would force some transfers that would hurt at least one of my beasts pretty badly. of course, had that happened, there's no telling how the rest of the turn might have played differently. the agonizer would have still been alive, so assuming the rest of his stuff charged the mammoth, it would have been left on 9 boxes instead of 1 (3 damaging attacks from the Angel, 1 from the stinger). and his other big mistake was not just boosting the hit with the ravagore shot to finish the Mammoth off. double 1s happen, and you have to plan for them to happen at the worst possible time.
All in all it was a good game. big lesson is to not bond the Mammoth anymore. I think the raider would serve as a good bond in this list. he can snipe the Mammoth for the first two turns, then I don't care as much if he dies, allowing him to run into position to get key spells off. Also, the Willbreaker was priceless. this is my second game with him, and I used him much better than in my last game. Puppet Master is really good. it helped a lot with the damage on the hellfires against Vayl, helped up the blast damage against vayl early on, and helped the mammoth get things finished off on his big turn. the willbrekaer also let me spread my raider wide right to get beasts in both zones while dominating one of them. even Hexeris' 14" control bubble wasn't enough to keep the raider working, but Beast Master made it work, and then paingivers cleared off the extra.
Thoughts on the Mammoth
Still amazing. I have nothing bad to say about him. boosted blast damage can still do work, especially against low arm casters like Vayl. he's good at shooting down objectives and low def models (like the pot, or anything the krea shoots). his shooting helped a lot more this game than the last few.
I finally used counterblast, and it was perfect. I got a bit lucky, but crippling an Angel's body before the big AP hit was a life-saver. it got purified off every other turn, but due to order of activation Vayl couldn't purify it off on the turn that she wanted to use that angel for arcing spells.
finally, in melee the Mammoth continues to impress me. the number of models he can engage at once is awesome, and he has the hitting power to clear multiple targets. everytime I've put him in a zone in the three practice games with him so far, he's waded in and cleared all or almost all of the models in the zone. bulldoze helps him get in there, and anything he bulldozed he can still hit with reach. It's like using a Bronzeback without having to use beat-back and some bad placement by the opponent to get to everything.
I'll have some more reports up soon. lately I've only been getting in one game a week, hopefully that won't be the case every time. This report was a bit late in writing, so the next game is coming up already. Tomorrow night I'll be bringing eMorghoul. there aren't a lot of obvious reasons to take him with eMorghoul, so this one might not be as exciting as the last few, but I'm wanting to give it a try. I have some ideas, let's see if any of them work out.