Friday, May 3, 2013

Shambling Shamblers

I took the opportunity of my weekly game evening to proxy some Shamblers and see what they provide to your old Blindwater Posse spam.

The Lists:

Tier: 3
Maelok, the Dreadbound (*6pts)
* Bull Snapper (3pts)
* Blackhide Wrastler (9pts)
Gatorman Bokor and Bog Trog Shamblers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Gatormen Posse (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Gatormen Posse (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Feralgeist (1pts)
Gatorman Witch Doctor (2pts)
Gatorman Witch Doctor (2pts)

After acquiring a second Witch Doctor a few weeks backs, I find it difficult to play Maelok outside of tier. You basically sacrifice the Totem Hunter (a character) for 2pt Witch Doctors, Incorporeal first turn and advance move on Maelok and a Feralgeist (or a Boneswarm if you have one). Seems like a pretty good deal.

I'd probably never go Tier 4 because three Boneswarms is the biggest trap of all time, but the first 3 tiers are very easy to achieve.

Rask (*6pts)
* Bull Snapper (3pts)
* Swamp Horror (8pts)
Gatorman Bokor and Bog Trog Shamblers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Gatormen Posse (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Gatormen Posse (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Gatorman Witch Doctor (3pts)
Totem Hunter (3pts)

Nothing spectacular there. I put a Witch Doctor in because I wanted to try tough spamming with single-wound infantry, which by all accounts is a high-skill, high-risk strategy employed only at the highest levels of play.

As tends to be the usual these days, I played against Retribution, a faction against which you should always use either Barnabas or Rask - unkillable warlock + shooting immunity gives Ret fits.

The Games

First game was Maelok playing Outflank, a legitimate scenario. The list was Rahn with a Phoenix, some Halberdiers, Mittens, MHSF, Stormfall and annoying as hell solos (including Skyreth - Mk1 Vilmon on a horse).

This was a really good game I feel. Maelok is probably the only Gator caster you can play against Ret to have a really good game, as long as its not Ossyan (where you will get your entire army shot off the table turn two). I deployed with the Shamblers in the middle, flanked by Posse and Maelok heading for the left zone. I put Death Pact on the Wrastler, which combined with Spiny Growth is really pretty amazing (ARM 23). The Shamblers mostly got shot off the table early and did nothing.
I ended up with the upper hand on attrition and lost on scenario 4pts to 5pts. I had thrown everything I had into the right zone except Maelok and a single Gatorman, and he simply managed to toe a solo into the left zone and TK the Gatorman out to win. Tricky Rahn.

Second game was Rask playing Into the Breach, a mostly non-scenario. This time he chose to play Ravyn with ful MHSF and Mage Hunter Infiltrators, a Banshee, and other stuff I kill easily. 

As you may have gathered from my earlier posts, Mage Hunters are really really crap against Gators. I had a feeling he had a secret plan and this would be the day that he finally beats Rask, but instead I feated turn 2 and then killed almost everything (yay Fury cycling). Ravyn then proceeded to go all ninja and do some crap I didn't understand that resulted in 4 dead Posse and her halfway across the table. So I shot her with a Paralysis bolt, missed, charged in with a Swamp Horror and rolled fire for the tentacle damage, followed by Fury-ed Posse. The Shamblers did nothing all game but draw fire and make tough rolls.

The Observations 

Tough one-wound infantry indeed has the high skill-cap I foresaw. It has a lot of potential. 2pt Witch Doctors in Maelok's tier are really good... strange that they would be cheaper in the one place where they are most effective. Minion tax? Yep.

Shamblers die to nothing without good ranged protection. In both the games, they got sniped out pretty easy by MHSF, a unit which is usually terrible against Blindwater and for which I have little to no respect. With Stealth or Swamp Pits to get them up (or Rask's feat if you go second), they could reasonably be used as a front line jam unit with tough, and you can potentially keep the Bokur alive quite easily with Spiny Growth, terrain and said anti-range tech. 

With Rask, they add a little bit of a grind potential, but I am not sure they are strictly better than a min unit of Ambushers as Sacrifice fodder. Ambushers usually stay alive most of the game due to the Camouflage + Gobber cloud, and in the last game make pretty awesome Fury targets since they charge at MAT 8 and can CMA.  More playtesting to be had.

The main issue I was having, partially due to the match-up and partially due to my inexperience, was generating more Shamblers. I think over both games, I generated a total of 5 extra Shamblers. Maybe I just have to play more agressively with the Bokur, but from those two games it appears that the 8" CMD makes a huge difference relative to Alexia's CMD9. With CMD9 I would have easily picked up double the number of corpse tokens.

The Future  

 More games with Shamblers! They are by all accounts just a straight-up worse version of Alexia and the Risen for more points, but they seem to have potential. I feel that they will probably end up being more useful for other Hordes factions than they will for Blindwater, and I'd rather we had gotten a unit of trogs with blowguns or some ranged options, but I'll take it.


  1. Try Malifaux. No tough there, only hard to wound, slow to die, hard to kill... :D

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