Or, the day I realized how much I still need to learn about playing Skorne. This week I played another 2 games with the Mammoth, and with 2 of the casters I was most looking forward to using it with: eMakeda and Xerxis. Unfortunately, I was having one of those days where for one reason or another I just wasn't able to concentrate on my games like I normally can.
How bad was it? well, bad enough that I considered for a moment just scrapping this game and trying again next week with the same caster. But I already decided I was going to do a write-up for each game I played while play-testing the Mammoth, so I'm going to write it up anyways. There were a few interesting things that came up in this game, so hopefully it's still worth a read even if it makes me look like a terrible Skorne player.
for this game I brought eMakeda with the same package I've been using. I really like the Mammoth package, and when I do have a mammoth, it will likely always be run with this same group of models. they just work together really well. eMakeda has 9 points left after the Package, so she took and Archdidon and a Soulward. My opponent this time was our group's main Cryx player (known as SpiderBite on the forums), and one of our top 3 or 4 players in the group. He was running a slightly different version of the Mortenebra Tier 4 list (has anyone reading this ever played against Mortenebra outside of her tier? I sure haven't)
Max swordsmen + UA
And the Cryx brought:
* 2X Scavengers
* 2X Stalkers
* 3X Slayers
2X Warwitch Siren
6X Scrap Thralls (2 pods of 3)
Note: I am very unfamiliar with Cryx jacks outside of arc nodes and deathjack/nightmare (as will be apprent in this report). I reconstructed this list from memory, and I may have gotten some of the jacks wrong. hopefully if I missed any, SpiderBite will correct me.
We played Fire Support as our scenario. the only terrain that effected the game were two forests, one outside each deployment zone in the middle of the board. there were a few walls and a building as well, but they were more to the edges and didn't get used by anything. I won the roll and went first. My deployment had the Mammoth and Krea going towards the right flag, makeda in the middle, and the Archidon and Gladiator slightly more towards the left flag. swordsmen were spread out in front (10" command bubble is really nice for spreading out), and support piled up in back (willbreaker towards the mammoth, soulward behind the archidon and the majority of the unit).
His deployment was spread out, and included a ton of jacks. from my right, he deployed a scavenger, a slayer, a second scavenger, the desecrator, Mortenebra, Helldiver, Reaper, Slayers and stalkers. the warwitches were central, and the scrap thralls on the AD line all on my left side away from the mammoth.
things ran. Slightly further than normal thanks to Road to War. the archidon got Leashed and ended up more centrally than he started. everything else just moved up, Krea did her animus to protect Makeda and the Agonizer (who had one fury).
he allocated some focus out and everything moved up. I believe Spectral Steel went on the Desecrator. lots of jacks ran, the scrap thralls all tried to get in the way. Mortenebra went into her forest.
It's been a while since I've used eMakeda, but looking at the board I thought I could jump in and get an awesome top of 2 assassination. Mortenebra had moved up quite a bit to be in the forest (plus she had a larger deployment zone than normal). looking at the table, I thought if Makeda charged up the field, her control range would be far enough to get at Mortenebra. with Leash, the Archidon should be almost on top of Makeda, and with a 14" threat range he should have range for a charge. So the swordsmen ran/charged, killing 4 scrap thralls (and losing 3 swordsmen) and engaging 2 jacks of some variety. Makeda did Road to War and Rushed the Mammoth then charged a swordsman. I measured control, and my 12" was just short of Mortenebra, which should be plenty to catch the back of an Archidon in melee with her. I went ahead and declared my Feat. Notice anything missing? yeah, I didn't either.
I moved on to the gladiator, tossing Rush on to the Archidon. paingivers activated and went to enrage my beasts, and I suddenly realized I hadn't used Leash to move the Archidon up! how did I miss that? now there was no way the Archidon was in range of Mortenebra, but I had already feated, so i needed to make the most of it. The archidon went, and instead of going for Mortenebra it went for the Desecrator in front of her. somehow I failed the charge. thinking about it later, I must have made a mistake. I think I forgot just how long that guy can threat with eMakeda. pretty sure I measured his threat range as 11.5" and fell just short. of course, for those better at math than me, the Archidon is SPEED 11, making it a 14.5" threat. so that was sad. Next the Mammoth went, charging a slayer. two initial fists did a ton of damage, then the initial tusk attack got a crit and threw it into the Desecrator. that killed the Slayer, and knocked out the melee arm on the Desecrator. I thought it was knocked down, and didn't realize it was steady. somehow I wasn't clear enough on that, and my opponent didn't really say that it wasn't knocked down he just didn't put a marker on it. so to finish the turn, I ran my agonizer up and did no focus so that supposedly that knocked down jack wouldn't be shaking. and as a final mistake on one of the worst turns I have ever had, the Mammoth didn't even put up counterblast under eMakeda's feat turn.
His turn 2 also involved a very complicated assassination attempt. But he wasn't trying to kill Makeda, he spent every trick he had trying to assassinate the Mammoth. Mortenebra went first, getting into base contact with the Desecrator and doing a repair, which healed 6 boxes. she then cast terminal velocity and feated. Deryliss cast overrun on a scavenger who killed a swordsman (note for later, this is one of those times when Stay Death would have been awesome. unfortunately, no more fury to use it this turn). Mortenebra herself used the overtake movement and stood in front of the Mammoth. the desecrator activated and charged the Mammoth, ending in B2B with Mortenebra. and here's where it got ugly. for those of you (like me) who have never once seen a Desecrator on the table, let me make it clear for you. the desecrator has Crit Shred, which gives it an additional attack if it crits with its melee weapon. there's no limit on these extra attacks, so a crit can generate another crit if one was lucky enough to get multiple crits. Mortenebra's feat lets him re-roll all his attacks, making crits twice as likely. and Terminal Velocity gives boosted attacks. and he was able to spend the 4 focus on Mortenebra to buy more attacks if and when he failed twice on 3 dice to crit. each attach was only doing 3 or 4 damage, but he rolled enough crits that (after spending all 4 focus on Mortenebra), the Mammoth was dead. Ouch.
To finish out the turn, he moved to the other flank. the scrap thralls finished off the objective, a Stalker did a bit of damage to the Gladiator and kept him tied down. a heavy based the flag. a warwitch siren sprayed down 3 swordsmen including the officer. the other warwitch used shadowbind on the archidon.
Well that was bad. I lost the Mammoth, and my other 2 heavies weren't going to be doing anything. he also had 2 points. on the plus side, Mortenebra was out of focus and far up the field. my turn was nice and quick. the Krea pushed Makeda into the correct lane. the willbreaker gave her puppet master. Makeda put on Engine of Destruction and charged Mortenebra. To get there she took a free strike from a scavenger and the dang Desecrator. together they did about 8 or 9 damage. the charge attack brought Mortenebra to 4 boxes, the second initial killed her
I don't know that I've ever felt so bad after winning a game! I had a terrible turn that failed to accomplish anything I set out to do. He followed it up by running a crazy series of events that managed to kill off my Mammoth in one round. After pulling that one off, he didn't care too much about losing his caster, his goal was just to see if that crit shred thing would work. and it did.
Of course, had my turn 2 actually gone off well, it wouldn't have made for a very interesting battle report, and I wouldn't have figured out anything about the Mammoth since it wouldn't have made a single attack before the game was over.
This game was a good demonstration of the danger of putting too many eggs in one basket. when an 8 point jack takes out 20 points of your army, it's never going to be a good thing.
Thoughts on the Mammoth
Well, the Mammoth didn't do a whole lot in this game. he did kill one jack, but with the Tier bonuses, I think it comes out to a whopping 5 points. he then got killed by a 8 point jack. 2 big lessons on this:
first, of course, I saw a new trick I need to watch out for in the future. normally that Desecrator wouldn't have been too scary, but when everything comes together like that, it can crit shred right through a hard target. I'll have to watch for that in the future. it shows another way the Mammoth can die, and why it shouldn't be played so far up the field until you can clear out the things that can hurt it.
Second, I really really need to remember counterblast. ESPECIALLY on eMakeda's feat round. he hadn't used his willbreaker re-roll that turn either, so when the desecrator moved in the Mammoth would have been able to use a boosted tusk attack and re-roll selected dice to make a crit more likely. if I got the crit, that would have ended the attempt on the mammoth right there. counterblast is normally good, but it's amazing when used with boosts and re-rolls.
I still like the idea of the Mammoth with eMakeda. I think she offers a lot with a universal speed buff and her feat. This game wasn't a good showing for the big guy, so eMakeda is currently at the top of the list of casters I want to try again with.
My next report will be on a matchup that has been getting an awful lot of talk on both sides on the forums. on one side, we have Xerxis with the Mammoth - possibly the biggest example of raw overkill in the game. On the other side, we have Captain Bart with not one, but TWO Galleons. which one will come out on top? Giant weaponmasters, or armor skew with 2D3?