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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Henchman Hardcore Success!

It was in my

Hello internet!

So the tournament on 7/23/16 was a success with a first place win!

Granted, it was a small tourney with only 5 participants, but I'll take what I can get. The list I used seemed very successful in tackling the problems I anticipated.

As stated before, I took Hannah with Survivalist as my leader, with Sue, Big Jake and Johana in tow.

Sorry I didn't take any pictures, it was a small tournament and since the rounds are supposed to only be 30 minutes I didn't feel like I had the time to take photos.

The first game was against Paul, a brand spanking new player and first time player at Montag's. He declared Neverborn, using Hungering Darkness as his leader and a Bloodwretch, Convict Gunslinger and Illuminated with no upgrades. Overall it was a fun game, and it went a tad slower since I made sure to let him know exactly what my models were doing and what was going on, but this had no impact on enjoyment whatsoever.

I started by moving in Sue slightly to use his Man in Black ability, this way it neuters Huggy as all his attacks are Ca actions. Paul then moved his Convict in and blasted Sue down to 3 wounds remaining! Hannah came in immediately to block LOS to him as well as provide protection from Huggy's Ca attacks. It proved to be a very good deterrent, as Huggy was hesitant to get locked in with Hannah with no suits in his attacks at a negative flip from Sue. Huggy ends up moving on the outside perimeter of the Turf circle. Johana then runs to engage both the Illuminated and Convict but with her 3" melee she made it where each one would have to spend an AP to get in their ranges. He swings and misses with an Illuminated, then Big Jake walks the inside perimeter of the Turf circle as an anchor model for scoring. He sends his Blood Wretch in to attack and gets him down to 3 wounds.

Through Johana and Hannah the rest of the game lead to no enemies alive, coupled with Sue this attrition was very successful. Incorporeal and a high soulstone cache for Huggy made it hard to get Assassinate on him, leading to only get 2 VP since I was unable to kill him early on. I ended up winning with a high differential that, once again, I don't have my notes to say exactly how much.

My second game pitted me against Travis, Malifaux player extraordinaire, using his Ten Thunders. He brought Kang as his leader, with a Dawn Serpent, Kamaitachi and Fermented River Monk. It was an intense and crazy game, as he eliminated Hannah early in the second turn, with hardly any damage on his crew - most of which healed up due to the Dawn Serpent being in range of so many models with Ca actions.

I never gave up though, as I've seen plenty of games swing the other way due to determination - a lot of those examples were in games I've lost. I steadily chipped away using Johana and Sue, with both of them using minimum damage 3 to pile on damage and Sue's Ring of Fire finishing off any stragglers. Big Jake was used as a last resort for damage and possible movement shenanigans, but as long as he was around I would be getting Turf VP. I ended up squeaking by a win by 1 VP!

My last game was agains Mike, our resident grumpy Gremlin player. He used McTavish as a leader, with Trixie, a Stuffed Piglet and the Sow as his crew. Much like Travis he was able to eliminate Hannah early in the second turn - McTavish just melts models sometimes, and the Sow follow up wasn't something she could handle anymore. Luckily, I kept a cool head and systematically chipped the models down once more. Johan and Sue took down the Sow, with Big Jake continuously getting pushed 12" back from Trixie. With a smart use of cards I was able to withstand the brunt of McTavish's shots. Mike used his piglet to blow up for one damage on Sue and Johana and Sue succumbed to all the damage. Johana attacked McTavish to get him low on wounds and used her push trigger to move him out of LOS for shooting and range of the Turf marker. Eventually Big Jake was able to catch Trixie when she used her push on Johana instead and killed her. Since he counts as two models for the Strategy Johan was free to pursue a running McTavish and got the assassination. I ended up winning that one by 1 VP as well!

So I consider this a great success! I got $15 in store credit and used it to purchase another Phantom for my Imperials in X Wing. I also got an alternate card for Hamelin, nothing fancy but I love exclusives I can use. One day I should put together my Hamelin box and see how it works on the table. Mike got an alternate sculpt for the Katanaka Sniper and gave it to me, as last time I gave him my alternate Bayou Gator, which is extremely appreciated as it's something I know I'll need for my Ten Thunders - those snipers are a staple in Ten Thunders crews.

When we came back I played a 50ss game against Karl, a Ten Thunders player. We pointed out that we have yet to ever be matched against each other, despite being at 5 tournaments in a row together. We hadn't played each other in over a year even though we regularly see each other.

From memory, the strategy was Extraction, one that I love. Convict Labor, Show of Force, Exhaust their Forces, A Quick Murder and something else were the schemes. I decided to use Leve for the first time since his recent Nerf (MAKE CHANNEL GREAT AGAIN) now that my sodium levels have subsided and I've had enough time to consider how my game will change. Due to him losing a stone in his cache I also had to downgrade Ashes and Dust to having no upgrades.

I used Leve with his usual 3 upgrades, two free Waifs, Ashes and Dust, Mechanical Rider, two Flesh Constructs and a Necropunk. Karl used Lynch with a returning Hungering Darkness, Katanaka Sniper, two Illuminated, two Depleted and Sue from what I remember.

It was a good practice game, especially for what I have to adjust to with the new Leve. I just had to keep in mind that he's not the same model melter he was before, but potentially could be against lower level minions. I'd have to finish heavier models using something else, so I actively engaged Ashes and Dust more than I usually do.

Throughout the game I would have Leve either kill or severely wound a minion like Depleted or Illuminated. I also concentrated on eliminating Sue as fast as possible whenever the chance would come, which gave me A Quick Murder on turn two since I got attacks in before he could use his (0) ability. He got A Quick Murder within the first turn as Ashes and Dust practically give it away - this is something I have to keep in mind for the future, as it could be a way to deny VP should a player think it's easy. The last couple games I've done a different opening move than usual, using Ashes to move up twice and lay a marker down ensuring he's around 10" away from the edge. Leve then sacrifices him to move extremely far forward in base contact, getting more activations from Ashen Core and Dust Storm and being in range for shooting. This leaves him vulnerable though, so he has to do this last when there isn't much retaliation available, and he'll be down in wounds at the start of the next turn. The payoff is that you can kill a model on turn one easily, and set up your initiative for turn two by already being in position. You'll need to anticipate losing him though and potentially losing your offensive pressure for a round, but usually you can withstand one activation with damage prevention and smart use of cards. Once you get through it you melt another model before slipping away. If you're gone for the turn, well you've still got Ashes to add some damage, not to mention your other models being able to get a swing in.

In the end I won by 1 VP. Leve feels a bit different, but you can mitigate the change by focusing on melting smaller models rather than opening up big ones. I essentially ignored Huggy throughout the game, and fed him models that could get a damage here and there for someone to kill at the best moment when needed. With every turn resulting in one or two dead models on his side I was able to attrition away the victory. Every AP spent on Ashes would end up wasted, as I brought him back a few times, and the Mechanical Rider proved to be enough of an anchor for the Waifs that the Flesh Constructs didn't need to be held back. Losing the Necropunk early proved to be hurtful, though, as since I shifted focus for Ashes to damage instead of schemes he was my only reliable marker maker. After that I was hard pressed to get my Convict Labor going.

Leve still is able to put the hurt on big models, but the payoff is a bit later. Going after a fresh henchman with 12 wounds can still be beneficial for Leve, as he can still do 6-10 wounds before damage prevention reliably. Just don't expect him to melt them in one go without good cards, and plan on only doing 2 damage per shot without triggers. Essentially his "flowchart" tends to be this now:
  1. Buy a suit
    • Rams for heavy targets
  2. Channel
  3. Attack for 4 damage or higher
  4. Attack for 2 damage
    • Buy a tome if it's a henchman/master
  5. Attack for 2 damage.
    • Save severe cards for last attack to ensure hit
    • Buy a crow if target is a minion with 2 damage left
    • Buy a tome if it's a henchman/master
There are a few alterations depending on every situation, but he's still a reliable source of damage, and you can anticipate around 8 damage on average and 6 in worst case scenarios. You just have to save a severe card for the damage you get when you channel, but if you're using the ram to open up a model then you don't need to use it. It's going to be hard to use a severe card for damage now outside of your only Channel attack. 

Another use that's come up with his new nerf is his ability to give Slow to models. This doesn't usually come up since he almost always kills what he shoots, but it will definitely become useful now that he's not guaranteed anything on heavy targets. Getting rid of that 1 AP may be what it takes to lessen the retaliation and ensure a kill next turn, especially if they can't walk to get in range.

I also tried using Ice Gamin summons for the Mechanical Rider instead of Metal Gamin. I figured with her ability being able to summon different models depending on the situation I should use Ice/Fire ones when there aren't constructs on the board. Their ability to explode for damage when they die can be very useful as a road block, and I can detonate them myself if I need pseudo-blast damage or an attack against high defense. It will be a great trick to pull on say, Lilith with 2 damage left for some reason. I did learn that I shouldn't use them against models with Obey abilities, as Huggy was sending them back to the Rider and blowing them up - her damage reduction does not work against this and she took a lot of damage from it. It's still useful, I just have to be more discerning as to which one I use.

Anyway, I'll leave you with my WIP on Sue. The pictures were hastily taken, so it's not the best ones of him. He also hasn't been matte varnished yet, so it's reflecting a lot of light that I won't have when I'm done. I essentially got him to tabletop standard before the tourney.

See ya!