This is part two of last week's Mammoth games. I managed to squeeze in two test games with the Mammoth, trying him with 2 different casters. Following the Lord Assassin, we have Lord Tyrant Hexeris. pHexeris is a neat caster, and one I feel like I haven't been using enough lately. He was my second caster right after pMorghoul battlebox games, and was a favorite for a long time. eHex kind of stole the spotlight for a while, but pHex has some awesome answers to some hard matchups, particularly eGaspy.
This game was against one of our local Menoth players, though lately he's been playing around with Retribution, along with a bit of Skorne on the side. This week he had his Ret, and was playing with an interesting Garryth list. Since we both at least own models from both Skorne and Ret, we both knew each others tricks and stats... for the most part
* Razor Worm
Max swordsmen + ua
And my opponent's list:
Arcantrik Force Generator
Max Sentinals + UA
* Marshalled Sphinx
Aiyana & Holt
mage hunter assassin
max MHSF + UA
I actually really like this list, and may try something similar when I get around to running Garryth (minus the cricket, since I don't own one and probably won't be buying one anytime in the real near future). After talking about the game, I do like the idea of a sphinx with the sentinels as a much hardier replacement for a Griffon.
The table was the same one I played on for my last report, with a wall, forest and hill on each side of the table and a building near the center-line offset to my left. This time we playing Into the Breach, with a circle zone that give 1 point for control, 2 for domination and a flag that gives 1 point for domination.
My opponent took first turn. he deployed the cricket in the middle of his deployment zone, with Garryth, the Phoenix A&H, and the arcanist on the zone side (my right), and the sentinels and their sphinx slightly towards the flag. the assassin went out in front of the sentinels in a forest, and the MHSF went in front of his main group, almost in the zone already.
I deployed my Mammoth centrally as far up as possible. swordsmen crowded in on either side ready to run and screen. Hexeris and the remaining beasts and support staff lined up across from his main group, with a wall in line with Hexeris. The totem hunter was in the forest to my right. he chose the strike force as his prey. The razor worm was deployed across from the strike force.
He started running things. Garryth kept everything and put mirage on the Sentinels. the sentinels used pronto on the jack and ran, splitting up a bit to get around the forest. most were on the zone side of the forest, with 2 or 3 on the other side. the sphinx ran to be right near the flag. A&H went stealthy and the strike force ran and spread out in the zone, running one or two pretty close to me and keeping most back.
my swordsmen ran up the field and spread out a bunch. Marketh put Soul Slave on the razor worm. the gladiator trampled to the wall and put rush on the razor worm. the worm charged the closest MHSF member and killed him, using drag below to get within 5" of the assassin. Hexeris moved up tot he wall and arced a fully boosted soulfire out of the razor worm, killing the assassin. he then put Death march on the swordsmen and dropped only one onto the agonizer. The agonizer wasn't going to be a big help in this game with only one enemy jack and access to power booster.
Finally the Mammoth ran and the krea got between him and Hexeris, putting them both in his protective aura. the willbreak moved up and used ancillary attack to lob a shell at the MHSF, killing 2 with a nice scatter. the paingivers ran.
He started with the strike force, moving even further into the zone. they weren't going to be a threat to my heavies, so he had to move up as far as possible to try to snipe some support. he tried a shot at the willbreaker but was out by an inch or so. he also missed a paingiver by a much smaller margin. the remaining strike force killed 4 swordsmen. the sentinels pronto'd the sphinx and got a run/charge order. one of the far left ones killed a swordsman, 3 charged the worm and left him with 4 boxes, and one tried a long charge on the mammtoh but was out. the rest ran, pairing up for defensive line. the sphinx moved up pretty far and took a shot at marketh. he was just in range. Marketh had 3 souls from swordsmen, so the sphinx needed an 8 to hit and an 8 on damage to kill. he ended up hitting the hard 8, then boosted damage rolling a 9.
Garryth moved up and boosted a shot at the engaged razor worm, needing a 10 and killed it. the phoenix got its toe into the zone. the space cricket moved up and shot a rift shot at the swordsmen killing one more and leaving some terrain. the swordsmen passed their cmd check.
I pulled my fury and started making plans for the turn. deathmarch was upkept and the last 5 swordsmen (plus the banner, but whatever) moved up a bit. I was about to live a dream this turn. in most situations, his turn would have been pretty good. he ended the turn with almost a full unit of sentinels and a full unit of MHSF intermingled and covering most of the surface area of the zone. against most armies that would be a really solid way to threaten anything dumb enough to get in there to contest the zone. but against pHexeris, it just made me happy. I think he just hadn't seen much of pHex since Domination and wasn't thinking about the feat.
I started with pHexeris, moving him up a bit past the wall to make sure the entire zone was in his control area. he feated and shot a soulfire at a sentinel that had tried to charge the mammoth. he hit but failed to break armor. he tried again and failed again. I camped the last 2 since Hexeris was flapping in the breeze at this point if things went badly. the swordsmen went next and mini-feated. I only had 5 guys left in the unit, but with Mat 8 and always doing 1 damage they did just fine. For once the feat worked perfectly. I didn't make my old mistakes with positioning the swordsmen and getting in each others' way. each one of them was able to kill 2 models, and those models killed more stuff. and some of those models killed even more stuff. when the swordsmen were done with their activation, all of the sentinels in the zone were dead (leaving 2 on my far left) and all of the strike force in the zone were dead (leaving 2 on my right and one far back). in addition, the sentinels had done a few boxes to the cricket and the phoenix also, his Mage Hunters failed their cmd check and fled.
To continue the turn, the gladiator got into the zone, and the krea moved up to protect Hexeris. totem hunter moved 9 and jumped, killing one more strike force member and the arcanist. he sprinted into an irritating spot right in front of the phoenix the paingivers enraged the mammoth and cleared fury from the krea. the Mammoth charged the sphinx, wrecking it pretty quickly and putting up counterblast. His Mage Hunters failed their cmd check
After that big feat turn, Garryth was running low on options. he saw an opportunity to maybe get some control points this turn since I didn't have much in the zone. he would need to clear 4 swordsmen, the gladiator and totem hunter to do it. he gave 2 to the phoenix and upkept mirage. the last 2 sentinels used mirage to get within reach range of the Mammoth to avoid being counterblasted to death. one failed to do damage, the other put 8 boxes on the big guy.
In the zone, A&H moved up. Lady A put harm on the Gladiator and Holt walked into melee with totem hunter. one blade attack and one pistol missed, the other blade failed to do damage so Totem hunter was left with 3 boxes. the cricket rolled up 4 shots with rapid fire and shot all four at the Gladiator, doing minimal damage after missing one shot and rolling low on the damage for the rest. Garryth had to move up to finish totem hunter. the phoenix charged the gladiator but missed the charge attack and his fist attack. he did a chunk of damage with his bought sword attack but nothing was seriously hurt.
He should have gotten a lot more done on his turn, but the dice were against him a bit. the gladiator should have been dead or at least close to it. as it was, the Mammoth didn't have to worry about having to get over to the zone to clean up, so he just sat still and killed the 2 sentinels. the willbreaker gave him an ancillary shot and killed aiyana with a good blast damage roll. the krea did his animus and the paingivers cleaned up the mammoth and krea and enraged the gladiator. the gladiator rolled horribly on all three initials, but buying attacks was plenty to kill the phoenix the swordsmen charged, killing one more MHSF and holt, and putting 3 or 4 damage onto Garryth. I don't really remember what Hexeris did this turn, other than hiding back behind his wall. since Garryth was the last thing in the zone, I scored my first point.
at this point he was down to a fleeing unit of 2 mhsf (they failed to rally in his last turn), the cricket and garryth. the cricket moved up and killed 3 or 4 swordsmen, including the officer. garryth charged the gladiator, ending up on a hill and in the phoenix wreck marker. he rolled decently, killing the gladiator with enough to camp 2.
I started with the willbreaker putting puppet master on the krea. I didn't really think through how high the DEF on Garryth was at this point. the krea moved up and used its aura, dropping Garryth's defense by 2. it then tried to shoot him, but needed a 16. even with puppet master that wasn't going to happen. hexeris put soul slave on the krea and shot a boosted soulfire, hitting and doing 4 or 5 damage. the mammoth activated, charging garryth and boosting to hit. the charge attack connected and that was that.
First caster kill for the Mammoth! Really, though, this game wasn't about the Mammoth doing well. This game was one of those that make me really want to play prime Hexeris again. He's a very matchup-dependent caster, but when the right matchup presents itself he dominates the game.
This time I just happened to have pHexeris against an army with a big unit of Sentinels. Sentinels are one of the best targets for the feat, since they really like killing themselves. Had he remembered the feat during his second turn he probably wouldn't have given me such an easy shot at killing his entire unit of Sentinels, but on the other hand it's really hard to space them out enough to avoid the feat and still be relevant in the game. The feat almost single-handedly won the game for me, clearing out both of his big infantry units in one go.
The other big factor in the game was a run of bad dice on the turn right after my feat. he probably should have killed the gladiator, and likely would have had enough left over to get the 4 swordsmen out of the zone, giving him 2 points for dominating. at that point, the Mammoth would have had to get into the fight to clear the phoenix but would have had to deal with 2 sentinel free strikes (or maybe 1 if I used ancillary attack to get rid of the other one). once in the zone, the mammoth would have probably survived the few models left (A&H, Garryth, the Cricket), but it would have been a little closer.
Thoughts on the Mammoth
The mammoth didn't really feel like he did much in this game, but that was more because I didn't really need much out of him. he did end up scrapping a Sphinx, 2 sentinels and Garryth, plus 2 MHSF and Lady Aiyanna with some Ancillary shots. still, that doesn't make back a 22 point investment (not including paingivers, krea, etc).
The Krea and willbreaker both continue to impress as part of the Mammoth support staff. the krea dropping Garryth's defense for the Mammoth made it easy to get the kill, along with the nice buff against shooting that he provides turn after turn. I really don't see ever taking the Mammoth without a krea. And the willbreaker just seems built for the Mammoth. we really don't have any better targets for ancillary and puppet master works on the mammoth as well as any other model. these two have been star performers in every test game so far.
I do like the idea of running the Mammoth with pHexeris. I used to always run a Cannoneer with him to start some feat chains at range, and of course the Mammoth does that better. If I continue to play pHexeris with a Mammoth, I think I need to get a soulward in there since he would be my Cryx matchup. totem Hunter is the most likely drop to get a soulward in the list. that leaves me a point to either add Swamp Gobbers to keep Hexy safe or drop the Razor Worm for a Shaman (again for the Cryx matchup).
So far, both iterations of Hexeris look really good with the Mammoth. he adds some punch to their lists that they sometimes lack, and adds some powerful firepower at range which both of them really enjoy (for black spot with epic and feat chaining with prime). considering that a lot of my lists (outside of Practical Magic) included a bronzeback and cannoneer with either hexeris, the Mammoth makes a ton of sense.
That's all for this week, now that I finally have both reports up. Next up on the schedule is Naaresh. you thought the Mammoth was overkill at pow 21? how does a Arm 23, pow 24 Mammoth sound? The normal lists with Naaresh have multiple lights and 7 point heavies, so this is a bit of a departure from the norm. As always with this series, I'll be playing Naaresh regardless of what random opponent I pick up on Wednesday night. maybe I'll luck out and fight a colossal, maybe I'll fight Bane spam. stay tuned.