|My Two All Stars|
The last two games were playing a master which with I wasn’t familiar: Jack Daw. But the tables I was to play on featured something I don’t usually encounter, namely Hazardous Terrain. And as Joe Girard mentioned in this month’s Wyrd Chronicles (out today!), Hazardous Terrain adds a whole new dimension to your games. It was a dimension that dear old Jack is more than interested to explore, as he is a master of positioning and pushing, with the ability to maneuver his and his enemy’s models via Writhing Torment.
The first game put me up against a Leviticus crew in a game of Headhunter, one of the 2015 Gaining Grounds scenarios. Essentially, every significant model that dies due to enemy action drops a head marker, and a (1) interact picks that head up. There are other rules, but the nitty-gritty doesn’t matter, and I trust you, gentle reader, to be capable of the research needed to delve into the strategy’s finer details. Needless to say, engagement ranges factor into your ability to interact, and it’s tough to collect scalps when a Teddy is trying to eat your face. Speaking of Teddy, I was facing a finely tuned Leviticus crew being run by “Jesus Ian.” Our battleground was a town square with large buildings on the flanks, a central gallows, and hazardous terrain in the form of choking smoke.
I took Daw with Writhing Torment, Betrayer, and all the Curses, Ama no Zako with Oathkeeper, Lady Liegia, 2 Drowned, 2 Crooked Men, and, last, but not least, Jaakuna Ubume.
Ian brought Levi, with Pariah of Iron, Rusty Alyce, two Waifs, Abominations, a Teddy, and possibly more, but since I have no pictures (round times were short), I don’t recall.
It was Standard Deployment, Head Hunter, and I took Breakthrough (undeclared) along with a declared Plant Evidence. Ian took Line in the Sand declared, and Breakthrough undeclared. As for my choice of schemes, it seemed to make sense. I know Daw isn’t that kill-oriented, but is the great wall of frustration. Crooked Men are great at protecting and accomplishing schemes, and with Hazardous terrain built into the board, Drowned seem ideal. It was my plan to hook left with Daw and the main crew, and send a Crooked Man and Ama on the right flank to accomplish schemes as a team. To that end, I moved most of my models hard left at first, drawing Ian towards that side. When it came to my second to last model, I activated Daw, cursing Ama with the Guillotine curse. That, of course, does nothing to a Henchmen like Ama, but it does provide her with a permanent Tormented Characteristic. So, she was able to push an additional 3 inches on her initial movement, moving her an amazing 15 inches on the first turn. Ian played Levi brilliantly, using the Teddy with its Regen 2 as a card draw engine and using the soon to be disposable aboms for the same actions. Second turn saw Ian with a summoned Desolation Engine, and ready to tear the heart out of my crew. I had gotten lucky with some lures, and I ended up killing off Alyce before she became too great a threat, but with a Teddy and a Desolation Engine in my face, with a Drowned and Jaakuna already dead, things were looking grim.
It was at that point that I realized that Lady L is amazing. She does so much by denying the enemy the ability to cheat. Terrifying goes from being an annoyance to being an actual threat. Card drawing doesn’t really matter. Lady L and Jack’s terrifying shut down the Desolation Engine and Teddy both. It was great. I was able to get the Firing Squad curse off on the Engine, and I was able to push him around, mostly into the hazardous terrain and out of combat. Levi moved to my right to attempt to kill Ama, but I was saving high cards, and she escaped wounded, but otherwise functional. The Crooked Man on the right also was dropping and protecting markers with his zero, as was the crooked Man on the left, who was sneaking around a building and was unable to be assailed. The Lady/Daw bubble just absorbed a ton of flips, and kept upright because of the no cheating lock down. Because of Daw’s and the remaining Drowned’s melee range, Ian had no way of picking up heads, and I was able to push out of combat, after forcing the Engine to abandon ideas of killing me. I picked up a head marker with a Drowned, dropped scheme markers enough to get my six, and had enough movement with Daw to kill one of his scheme markers for Line in the Sand, denying him the points.
It ended up 7-5 in my favor.