This week I actually played 2 games with the same Naaresh list. For the first game, my opponent was trying out Lylyth3 for the first time, along with an Archangel. The Mammoth ended up doing almost nothing during the game, killing 3 striders then getting death chilled for a turn. he didn't have enough shooting to death chill other big targets, though, and Naaresh's feat cost him his Archangel and Angelius without the Mammoth doing anything. I decided that game wasn't going to be a very good representation of the Mammoth with Naaresh, especially considering it was the first time my opponent had even proxied Lylyth3.
So as soon as that game was over, I got a game with the same list, table and scenario against one of our local Circle players. for this game, he ended up going with epic Kaya and a full contingent of Warpwolves.
* Cyclops Brute
And my opponent's list:
druids + UA
stones + UA
I've seen several iterations of this player's Kaya list, and this one is one of my favorites. Having only one set of shifting stones with Kaya might be an issue, but otherwise it's a strong list that does what Kaya is designed to do well.
The scenario this time was Rally Point, which is the new replacement for Guidons. there are two zones and two objectives. you gain a point for dominating the closer zone or controlling the far zone, or two points for dominating the far zone. you can also gain a point for killing an objective. the objectives can be moved by dominating them. if they're dominated, they can be placed within 3" of their current location. We weren't real clear on when that move can begin. Scoring starts on the second player's second turn, so we reasoned you couldn't "dominate" the objective to move it until that time, but we could very well be wrong on that since it's not actually scoring points. If anyone has a good answer for that, leave it in the comments!
Terrain was a little spread out this time, with nothing in the center except a hill. around the edges of the board there were some forests, a linear obstacle and cygnar-looking terrain piece that never really came into play in this game. I won the roll and opted to go second. I pre-deployed the Mammoth a little to the right of my objective.
He deployed everything pretty centrally. Kaya was dead center, with Laris to my far right. the warpwolves went on either side of kaya, with the Feral on my right towards Laris and the other two to my left. the bloodweavers went to my left. for Advanced Deployment (i just put it here because it's easier), he put the shifting stones in front of the feral, almost touching the central hill, and the druids went directly in front of my friendly zone.
I deployed the gladiator and brute to my right, the krea, Naaresh and the agonizer centrally, the nihilators and totem hunter to my left near my zone, and the support in behind everything with the willbreaker directly behind the Mammoth and the paingivers spread out. Totem Hunter preyed the bloodweavers.
most everything ran. the beasts riled since they run for free. he ended up a bit clumped up with stuff on the hill. he had the shifting stones and the bloodweavers all pretty close together. the druids on the far left were the only ones who didn't run, they put up clouds and walked up.
my Mammoth wasn't really where I wanted him, so I tried to reposition a bit. the nihilators ran and spread out, still mostly to the left of my deployment, directly across from the druids. totem hunter hid in a forest, waiting for the bloodweavers to engage. the assorted Skorne animi went up with safeguard on Naaresh, the Krea bubble up and rush on the mammoth. the mammoth ran to get more centrally located. the willbreaker moved up and gave ancilary attack shooting towards that huge clump of models, but it fell at least 3 inches short and scattered the wrong way. Naaresh put Iron Flesh on the Nihilators and handed Fury to the Agonizer. the paingivers cleaned stuff up and the agonizer ran.
He started by targeting my nihilators. the bloodweavers charged in, killing 3 and dispelling iron flesh. the druids killed another 4 and knocked one down with tough. Totem hunter also took a point of damage from the Devouring. His beasts spread out, with Laris heading to his friendly zone and the big wolves moving into position. at this point he had nothing in his zone, as everything was squaring off around my zone and the center. the stones moved up on the hill a bit more and the wilder moved towards his zone.
with only 3 nihilators left, I was losing the infantry battle, and needed to try to bring it a bit more even and prepare for a big eKaya feat turn. I started with the willbreaker who gave the Mammoth an extra shot at a clump of 4 bloodweavers that had killed some nihilators. the shot missed but could only scatter a max of one inch, and hit all 4. they all died and the remaining two failed their cmd check. the Mammoth then moved up and lobbed some shots at the druids. 2 of the 3 shots hit without boosting anything, and the one scatter still clipped a druid. all but 2 druid grunts died, including the officer. The Mammoth then used Counterblast.
The nihilators tried to get something going and charged. the one that had been knocked down just stood in front of the Mammoth, one charged the bloodweavers and one charged a shifting stone. the stone died, but the other nihilator missed the bloodweavers. Totem Hunter killed the last 2 druids. nothing else major happened. Naaresh put up Lamentation just in case it came up. the agonizer did his thing and hid behind the Mammoth. the brute and gladiator moved towards the enemy zone. I teleported my friendly objective towards my zone a bit. the krea tried to shoot the feral, but missed. All in all not a bad turn, killing most of his infantry. I knew the Mammoth might be in danger, but I thought I would be ok for one more turn even knowing Kaya's feat was coming.
Laris walked into his zone. the remaining 2 stones and keeper moved into the zone as well. Kaya feated, put forced evolution on the stalker, dogpile on the Mammoth and teleported to Laris. the gorax primaled the stalker and charged one of the 2 nihilators that were between the stalker and my Mammoth. he fell short by almost an inch, then flew over to Kaya. his 2 bloodweavers were also in the way of the stalker, so they ran and died to free strikes. the pureblood shot his spray, killing both nihilators who both failed to tough. he also teleported over to the zone with Kaya.
The stalker had plenty of range with dogpile to get to the Mammoth. even with the agonizer's -2 damage bubble, the Stalker was swinging at pow 20. I realize now we made a mistake on this, the Stalker still charged for free even though he was way out of Kaya's control at this point. The Mammoth took his counterblast swing, and connected with a 10! he also rolled really well on damage doing 12 points. unfortunately, I rolled the wrong column and left everything online, and the 10 was a 4,6 so no crit pitch. The stalker then rolled well on damage, doing 13 with the charge attack. the claw also did 4 damage followed by a 9, 9, and 7 on his next 3 bought attacks with the sword. at this point the Mammoth only had 8 boxes left (and I realize now he should have had to stop there because of not having the free charge). his last bought attack rolled another 9 for damage, killing the Mammoth. the stalker teleported away. finally he activated the Feral who trampled over my last Nihilator and got my Krea down to 2 boxes (again, with a free trample. Krea should have had a bit more left probably).
Well that turn hurt. a lot. I lost 20 points and wouldn't be getting anything back this turn. he also scored a control point with Kaya in his own zone. on the bright side, he had nothing left on my side of the table, with all his infantry dead and all his beasts turtled around Kaya.
I started my turn by teleporting the objective into the zone. Naaresh got whipped by the paingivers. next naaresh went, healing up the krea a bit and feating, then casting iron flesh on himself. the gladiator moved almost to the zone. the second set of paingivers went, enraging the krea and brute. the willbreaker gave puppet master to the krea. the Krea went next, charging the enemy objective. she was hitting automatically, and rolling dice -3 on damage. the charge attack did 6, her first buy did 4. her second buy did no damage on got re-rolled doing 5. her last attack did only 1 damage, leaving it alive. Worse, I didn't realize that the stalker now had line of sight to only the krea. had I waited another turn, the stalker would have frenzied into Laris instead. to finish the turn, the brute charged the remaining shifting stones and keeper, killing all 3. the agonizer did his thing and hid behind the gladiator. on the bright side, my objective in my own zone scored me a point, and I was contesting his zone.
he had a ton of fury from his last turn, and the stalker had to frenzy due to primal. he ended up with several on the Feral as well, who failed his frenzy check and hit the pureblood for 11 or so damage, but not enough to cripple anything. the stalker got to frenzy on my Krea since it was in LOS, and easily killed it with one fully boosted attack. his Wilder put Primal on the Gorax and got out of the way. the Gorax slammed the brute out of the zone, but did no damage. Kaya dogpiled the Gladiator and the pureblood charged it. with Arm 22 and an agonizer behind it, the Gladiator took very little damage (4 or 5 total). We both scored another control point, making it 2-2.
I realized after his turn that I had acted too quickly in response to losing my Mammoth. I should have held the krea back and just been in position, and held the feat as well. if the stalker had frenzied on his own model, he would have had very little that could come towards me (really just the gorax and pureblood), and they weren't a huge threat. oh well.
I forced my brute to stand up, and cut to upkeep iron flesh. the gladiator pulped the pureblood. the brute returned the favor and slammed the gorax (who only went 1") and bought another attack but did little damage. i used ancillary attack for another hit, again not doing much. Totem hunter charged the objective but left it on 1 box and tied down the stalker a little bit. the agonizer kept crying. one unit of paingivers ran into the enemy zone. I scored my 3rd point.
the gorax had to frenzy but was knocked down so he got up and walked over to my brute. his feral charged my brute, but didn't kill it. the stalker killed totem hunter. Kaya moved over and teleported the objective closer to her zone. Laris moved in front of her. the wilder killed a paingiver. We made a big mistake here and apparently forgot to count my 4th point. this should have been the end of the game, since I could just end my turn and score #5.
instead, I carried on, apparently either just tired or too focused on killing things. my brute again failed to kill the Gorax, missing 3 of his attacks this turn. the gladiator killed the stalker, and paingivers tried to crowd the zone again. Naaresh healed the gladiator a bit and walked back with 2 transfers and iron flesh. I counted my 4th point here.
Now he had to make a push or the game really would end on his turn. kaya teleported the objective into the friendly zone. the gorax used a 2-handed throw to toss the Brute away from the feral. I made him re-roll it 3 times, but he got it anyways. the feral trampled to Naaresh, then bought 2 attacks and boosted to hit both times. they both missed Def 18. the wilder tried to kill the last paingiver in the zone, but missed. Laris ran into my zone to prevent scoring and Kaya teleported to him, touching my zone to dominate and in melee with Naaresh. she used her fury to make attacks on Naaresh but failed to kill him. she scored 2 points for dominating my zone, bringing her back to 4 (another side note question for the readers. objectives dominate the zone, can they still contest? should she have been able to dominate my zone that still had a friendly objective in it?).
On my turn the gladiator charged Laris, killing him and then bought an attack on Kaya and boosted the hit, killing her.
Despite a fairly sloppy ending with miscounting the points there and a few mistakes made during the game, this one was one of the closest I've played in a while. It was an incredibly fun game, and came down to the wire. had he been able to clear his friendly zone and score with the Guidon and with eKaya in my zone, he would have won the game right there. Losing the Mammoth to one beast (and then having it teleport out of range) was a huge swing. Luckily, we play with scenarios, so even losing a 20 point chunk of army doesn't make you lose automatically.
eKaya is a hard one to fight with any Collosal/Gargantuan. the damage output of a stalker of Gheotrix fully buffed up is crazy, and with the pureblood it can ignore spell effects for armor (at the cost of primal of course, but totally worth it vs Arcane Shield or a buffed up Galleon). Even if the stalker doesn't scrap anything it touches, it can teleport away on the feat turn and try again later. My opponent had a good list to exploit the feat as much as possible, and was well in control of the first half of the game.
Luckily, Naaresh is pretty decent at coming back from a deficit, making even light beasts hit like trucks. his frenzies cost him a good bit, and allowed me to come back on the attrition game. the disadvantage of the feat was that all his beasts were then bunched up very far from my zone, allowing me to pull ahead on CPs.
Thoughts on the Mammoth
Well, my first thought on the mammoth was that I finally saw exactly where the line is on Mammoth survivability. this was the first game I lost the big guy in my playtesting. I came close against eVayl and Doomshaper, but this time I actually lost him, even with the agonizer aura and full health. in the future, I'll need to play him much further back against anti-armor lists like eKaya.
One bright point was counterblast. again, that animus is just great on the Mammoth. it almost saved his life if things had worked just a little better. with the damage roll i got I had a good chance of killing an important aspect if the column had been better. one more point of damage would have crippled his body, even with the wrong column being rolled. I've also started rolling my counterblasts with the tusks in almost every case. rolling a crit on 2 dice isn't a high % move, but the potential gain seems to be worth the -1 pow from using fists. if you do get that lucky crit, you can do your damage AND get the enemy beast/jack away from you before it can attack. the one time it works could be well worth all the times it didn't work.
Finally, the Mammoth showed how good it can be vs infantry. he killed all but 2 bloodweavers and all but 2 druids in one turn of shooting. the bloodweavers ran, and the druids got finished off by totem hunter, leaving him with only beasts and Kaya for the rest of the game. those 2 units together don't pay the Mammoth's cost, but it goes a long way towards making back what I lost by losing the Mammoth.
With that, we're down to the last 5 casters (until Makeda3 comes out. I'll be adding her to the end of the roster, along with plenty of other test games with her I'm sure). Next up is the beast buddy himself, pMorghoul. He's known for taking any beast and taking it to the next level. adding Abuse on top of the already-powerful Mammoth seems like a good thing. Pow 23 fists and a 13" threat range is scary to most things in the game. if the test games go well, a Mammoth pMorghoul list is on my mind right now as my third list for tournaments as a compliment to one of the Makedas and Zaal. He would be pulled in against other Collosals or armor skew lists. I'm really looking forward to using him this coming week. stay tuned for another report!