Friday, September 26, 2014

Highly Limited Jaga Jaga play experiences

It seems my playgroup has pretty much died in terms of Warmahordes, given the really slow pace of change in the game/meta and the many entertainment alternatives available in geekdom, but regardless here are some play experiences and thoughts I have managed to get together with Jaga-Jaga before doing my "proper" write-up:

Game 1 vs Helga
2 Slaughterhouser units, 1 War Hog, 1 Road Hog, few Razorboards, some support stuff and manly solos
  • My Wrastler charged (could have walked - I was thinking SPD 6 rather than 7) a Death Shrouded Road Hog and only brought it to half health. Sad face. My damage rolls against beasts were pretty atrocious the whole game.
  • Dash is a pretty hard counter to Jaga's feat, but nevertheless the jamming aspect of it caused some minor issues.
  • SPD 6 turtles are nice but still suck horribly in melee. SPD 7 Wrastlers being able to walk and Death Roll however - serious business.
  • I would have lost on scenario over turns 3/4/5 if he'd just jammed me out of my zone after I had a series of mediocre rolls and an underwhelming feat turn (thanks Dash). But we kept playing as if that wasn't an option. As a result, I tried to get a Deadweight on Helga by killing a nearby Bonegrinder and rolled snake eyes on the damage (boo) and then decided to use my last 2 fury for Grave Wind. Jaga was left alive on 2 boxes, cut to 1, managed to make her way to Helga using transfers and killed her on my last attack. Poison + reach snake = MVP. 

Lessons learned - Basically no reason I'd drop Jaga Jaga vs the current Pig meta. Jaga Jaga not as good as Rask against Pigs. Getting the alpha + hitting really hard wins... a lot.
I hope to be able to test her against Circle (especially Kromac), Cryx and likely also Khador/Legion, as those are matchups were Rask isn't the bee's knees.

Game 2 vs Scaverous
Full Bane Thralls + UA, Full Croes, Deathjack, Min Biles, Tartarus, arc node, Gorman, Withershadow
  • New opponent for me, I unfortunately forgot his name (Peter?) but he agreed that DotA was a sweet game so he's cool in my book. The scenario was Supply and Demand.
  • Feat did ok - held up the Bane countercharge for a turn so I traded evenly on that flank and got Dark Shroud on the Deathjack on the other flank, allowing me to finish him off with a charging Gatorman (he had been brought low previously by a charging Wrastler and almost killed due to Spiny Growth - good trade for me).
  •  Really wish I had Witch Doctors vs Cryx. It would have helped significantly vs Deathjack's healing and Croe's poison weapons. Will probably always take at least 1 with her from now on, even though the benefits aren't as steep as with Maelok.
  • Scenario win in the end, thanks largely to the forest in the dead middle of the zone I just hid behind the whole game and dominated twice over 3 rounds after killing his objective. Ghost Walk came in handy to get a charging Spitter through to the relevant models to clear the zone.
Lessons learned - take Witch Doctors whenever you have 3 Posse. The Undead is extremely useful vs Cryx, and having another ranged nuke is pretty useful in general to take out the support and crutch solos. Plus Tough is potentially neat.

Game 3 vs Constance Blaize (Highborn Covenant)
Gallant, Nomad, Gastone + Vanguard, Full Precursors + UA, Max Steelhead Cav, Min Halberdiers, Gun Mages + UA, Harlan Versh

This time I brought my "Cryx" list, with 3 Posse and 2 Witch Doctors. Also had the Spitter, Wrastler and Snapper, together with Pendrake.

  • Scenario was Incursion - there was a house between my deployment and the right flag, and a forest roughly midway between the center and the left flag slightly on his side of the table. He deployed heavily to the left flag where I deployed more centrally with a Posse dedicated to each flag, a Wrastler to the left flag and the rest pretty central. Only the Gun Mages were within reach of the right flag.
  • The left flag disappeared, which means I ended up in a highly favourable position, and won by rushing the right flag, just killing whatever gun mages I needed to score each turn. Basically, he deployed poorly and luck didn't reward him.
  • Jaga-Jaga did two useful things in the game -
    1) Cast Ghost Walk on the central Posse unit so get 2 more into combat by ignoring freestrikes and walking through impassable terrain.
    2) Use her feat, which against an infantry swarm like the one I was facing was as sweet, as you'd expect. It was a very effective jamfest and the Dark Shroud helped Posse make short work of the Steelhead Cav with their second attacks. The one major downside is that it is annoying and takes a long time to administer.
    After the feat turn, she healed a beast and ran over to the right flag to win me the game.... so I guess that was useful too (SPD 6 = sweet).
  • Witch Doctors did functionally nothing, but Pendrake did manage to KD Gallant so that my Wrastler with a missing Mind could walk 7" up to it and 2-hand throw it away from the flag to get a CP.
Lessons learned - Jaga-Jaga is a super passive caster. It's almost like I'm playing Warmachine instead of the dynamic system that is Hordes. I guess Maelok plays the same if you're a sissy and never use Malediction (the optimal but definitely most boring way to play).
Also SPD 6 Spitters are really neat, but we knew that with Barnabas/Warpath anyway. I keep considering bring a Swamp Horror instead of a Wrastler, but the SPD 7 Wrastler with Grave Wind/Spiny Growth keeps doing so much work that I never follow through on it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Runes of War of Minions

Non Gator news I'm afraid, but given that I have only managed to get in two games with Jaga-Jaga since she was revealed (she is alright), this is the best I have at the moment.

Here is why I want to talk about this list - it is ridiculously overpowered. Or would be, if the current lot of Pig beasts weren't so bad. This is basically PP acknowledging that the Gun Boar, Road Hog and War Hog have the value of steaming road apples at their current points cost.

Here is what you get in this theme force at each tier:

Tier 1 - Goraxes. Perhaps one of the best light beasts in the game, with a really good animus that is crazy good in Pigs, and especially with Arkadius. This is because guaranteed frenzy is not a disadvantage in Arkadius list - it is actually a sizable advantage. You want your beasts to frenzy after they go in and end up on full fury - that is the Farrow form of fury control. Arkadius does nothing for troops, and everything to keep beasts running as aggressively as possible at full efficiency with the use of Aggravator (Hyper Aggressive on everything), Psycho Surgery and his feat. Also you can stack it with Forced Evolution for a +4 damage swing because f*ck subtlety. Or +6 with Crippling Grasp... or +8 with the War Hog STR dial.

But wait - these Goraxes also have Shield Guard! Because the good Doctor has a tendency to get shot, they casually give him a super sweet, cheap Shield Guard that also happens to do lots of other stuff. Literally no downsides to this ability other than pissing off Circle players (which many would consider yet another benefit).

Tier 2 - 2" extention to your deployment zone. Sure, why not. It's not like your entire list is built entirely on the premise of running into your opponent's face as fast as your piggy legs will take you, frenzying everywhere and picking up the pieces afterwards.

Tier 3 - Free Razor Boar for each Gun Boar, Road Hog or War Hog in the list (1). In other words, a 2pt reduction on each of those. Put yet another way, your average 50pt list with 5-6 of the above beasts gives you a 10-12pt advantage over your opponent. 
TWELVE POINTS. That is almost a 25% points advantage over the whole list. It's like they looked at the 25% points reduction on Runeshapers in Runes of War and decided that going full retard wasn't enough - they had to go ludicrous speed.

That, dear readers, is how bad Pig beasts are at baseline, and what some would call a Carver tax. Except Razor Boars, which for 2pts are totally worth it in an Arkadius list with all the BG buffs you get and you would likely be bringing 3-4 anyway. And now you get 10pts to spend elsewhere.

4 - Running first turn without being forced. See Tier 2 above. Not as big a deal since you will probably be forcing a few beasts to make up for casting your upkeeps, but it sure as hell helps with all those Razor Boars you get for nothing.

Also you can take Bone Grinders AND Slaughterhousers, aka. the only two Farrow units I respect. And if by some direct intervention of God Himself, Farrows get a decent heavy in the next book, you can take that too! All you have to do is give up one of your free Razor Boars.

So what do you have to do to get the above goodies? Let me tell you:

Tier 1 - Don't take non-Farrow solos or Brigands.  Oh noes.

Tier 2 - Take the one solo you have that interacts with warbeasts.  The humanity.

Tier 3 - Take 5 warbeasts. With Arkadius? You poor, poor bastard. I am so sorry.

Tier 4 - Take 2 Super Goraxes. The horror.

Now, if you are willing to make the above sacrifices, you can play the Arkadius theme list, stop asking for an arc node and play this caster as intended with your 20% points advantage. I mean, even if you have a massive incurable hard-on for Crippling Grasp and must absolutely try to cast it every game, you now have access to excellent Shield Guards to significantly reduce the chances of almost certain death!

It won't make Pigs into a legit faction by itself (like Rask almost did for Gatormans), and it does have some glaring issues (lack of pathfinder, for one) but it does finally give you a skewy as f*ck, extremely characterful list that refines Arkadius into doing what he does even better via a sizable across the board points reduction on your overcosted Pig beasts, some Shield Guard beasts, the Primal animus, and moar speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed. And the best part is that you actually have to know what you're doing with the list, because Arkadius is not that easy to play with his wussy defensive stats and highly chaotic beast-heavy playstyle.

TL;DR: Another caster you will never play out of tier ever again. Literally the best thing released for Pigs since Lord Carver.

(1) I know the tier requirement above uses the word 'and' but DC more or less confirmed in this post that PP is not really that swell at logical analysis and use of the English language.