Tally recording wins and loses, from games recorded on blog, since september 2014 and from certain memory over the last 3 years. (Beyond 3 years I just dont remember any games out of a 5 year history) of course its not ALL of my games but as much stunning victories and crushing defeats as I care to remember.

pVyros, W11 -L4 -. Assassin 10.
eVyros, W4 - L5. Assassin 3.
Rahn, W8 -L8. Assassin 6.
Garyth, W11 - L3-. Assassin 7.
Ravyn, W9 - L3-. Assassin 9.
Kaelyssa, W9 - L4- Assassin 6.
Ossyan, W13-L10-. Assassin 6.
Issyria,W15 - L1-. Assassin 9.
Thyron, W1 - L0 Assassin 1.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Soulless Escort, Retribution weapon attachment.

Google can't find stock art of the Soulless. So this is the next best thing.

All jokes aside.

It's too easy to make jokes about gingers, prostitutes, Julia Roberts or Keanu Reeves, emos and everything else that a soulless escort could be. 

The truth is the soulless are one of the coolest and most interesting things about the entire Iron Kingdoms universe and especially the elves.

They are it is conjectured, the greatest threat to Elven society since... well probably since ever. I mean the rivening was pretty awesome and terrible but that was a once off. Then there was that whole dragon business, dragons on the scale of things are pretty terrible. But at least you can see a dragon, you can fight it. 
Having your population slowly being born souless and euthanized,  you slowly start to look like modern Japan.

Soulless are like a horrible genetic disease. It's like... downs syndrome for nazi elves.

Maybe I'm just feeling particularly nice today but I still don't want to make fun of window lickers.  Retards are usually pretty nice people and having personally known quite a few they are generally not as bad as the people who I would openly call retards.

 Complicating things further.

As much as it is too easy to make fun of Soulless escorts, it's just as hard to explain them effectively in application.

A particular rule they possess or a couple of them make them, an oddity not only in fiction but in reality.

It is said that Iosan units generally disdain the presence of a Souless attachment, like most people generally disdain gingers who shave themselves to hide the fact they are ginger... (oh dammit let that slip)

Tag along: This guy does not gain the abilities of the unit to which he is attached.

But the presence of one in a unit has the certain benefit of mysteriously being able to absorb or inhibit the ambitions or motivations of others much like any other emo teenager. . .
What I mean to say is they inhibit the abilities of others around them to effect them magically. In the same way Julia Roberts magically inhibits the ability of romantic movies to be romantic...  or what I mean is much like an escort gifted to young men inhibits their ability to have a magical romantic experience later in life... wait no.  

Mage static: Enemy magic attacks targeting the group this guy is escorting have reduced range.
Thanks to her pimp summoning powers she can keep other whores out of effective range.
Disbinding: When this guy does Disbinding enemy up keeps on this guy's group expire.
Just when you hope you will get what you paid for, extra charges are incurred. 

Thankfully they not only bring this gaping mystical yaw of apathy but also in the same way as Keanu Reeves, they possess great ability in martial prowess without actually being able to express any emotion at all.

Flank: This guy is good at fighting alongside people he is in a group with.
Look at him go.

They have the special oddity to be able to take orders or advance deploy or even be effected by mini feats, yet can't perform simple tasks the rest of the unit could.

This kind of autism leads them into strange situations where, for example: they could receive the shield wall order and go into shield wall, yet won't reform. However they will get the teamwork bonus from the mini feat yet still won't be able to have beers with the squad after training. 

Tag along: This guy gets to hang out with other groups, he does what he's told but can never really be one of the guys.
Character soulless unit concept art.
Also when Souless die no one much cares, except for those people who make a habit of collecting souls. Generally what they find are collections of dark angst poetry, piles of black clothes and Smashing Pumpkin albums.

What can be said about a Souless Escort unit attachment is this

  • Much like japanese school girls they will come in groups of up to but not exceeding 3.
  • They will attach themselves to any Retribution unit.
  • They have magical swords. When your own species has the habit of killing you on sight at childbirth and no other species is particularly fond of you, it's in your best interest to have a magical sword.
Because of this it raises an interesting point about the future of Retribution war caster releases. If the Retribution gets a War caster unit, you could possibly attach Soulless to it.

However Souless can amusingly be attached to these things:

  • Battle Mages.  Having defense 15 to shooting and immunity to blast isn't enough, why not give them pseudo anti magic stealth too.
  • Halberdiers, because when they mini feat they turn into mat 9 p+s 11 weapon masters. 
  • Heavy rifle teams. Because it's funny.
  • Every other Retribution unit, because you are net decking against your opponents magic heavy list.

The Bottom line.

A soulless is one point, a magical weapon and some handy defense tech. More specifically a Souless is one point, so if you're full up on Arcanists might as well grab a Souless. 

This is because there are basically no 3 point solos in Retribution that you would upgrade a 2 point solo to become. There is however one 2 point solo you should downgrade to be 2 Soulless. 

They are not always directly useful for their passive ability. Their *action is almost a joke, if someone goes to the length of putting an upkeep on the unit in the first place it's probably the kind that stops you from using abilities, or your opponent is a moron.

That aside they are still good little solos for what they do, if you already have the other essentials like Artificers, Arcanists, Magister then you could consider putting in a Soulless Escort.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Mage Hunter Assassin, Retribution solo.

You can't see it, but she's totally about to mess with that bunnies head.

Shits and giggles was the phrase on the concept design panel for this one.

  1. deriving pleasure from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.
    "she took a sadistic pleasure in tormenting him"

Deriving pleasure from inflicting on others...

  1. Pain
  2. Suffering
  3. Humiliation

Mage Hunter Assassins specialize in...

  • Humiliation

It's an odd fact that being trained in the martial discipline of chain weaponry has a detrimental affect on the students disposition.

There are 2 important things to know about people using chain weapons and or flails.

  1. There is always a chance they could fuck up and kill themselves
  2. Because they are so highly trained and obviously still alive, the first point obviously didn't happen to them yet. Because of this they are probably extremely confident in their own skill and are about to either murder you horribly or fuck up and kill themselves in a spectacular way.
It is likely that because they are either aware that they don't know what they are doing and gambling with their lives and the lives of the people around them,  or are extremely skilled murdering machines that this is why they are generally not nice people to be around.

There are also 4 very important things to know about the Mage Hunter assassins of the Retribution of Scyrah.
  1. They are extremely good at what they do.
  2. Their chain weapons are exceptionally sharp and nasty
  3. They are the most sadistic creatures in existence.
  4. They are all women, some may argue that stating this is irrelevant because women are naturally sadistic when it comes to messing with people's heads, however Mage Hunter Assassins can mess with people's heads in whole new ways.

Evil, evil women.

Now many people would be saying, "hey hold on a second, I'm pretty sure the Skorne factions whole style is built up around kinky S&M stuff." To which you are right,  Pat yourself on the back.
However no one in the entire Skorne empire or indeed Immoren either has the ability to kill almost any other thing, man, beast or machine with a single flick of its chain. No other single man sized creature wields the power of a Mage Hunter Assassin.
Because of this, they are quite rightly mad.

You see a Mage hunters power complex, which feeds their sadistic tendencies doesn't come from the fact that they will kill you in the blink of a rather fortunate eye, but rather that they could.

They are extremely good, at what they do.

Mage Hunter Assassin training begins in hidden Retribution training camps in the forests of Ios. Here they are taught to stalk and mercilessly slaughter baby deer, bunnies, hedgehogs, mice, wild piglettes particularly cute or pleasant sounding birds. Also to generally trod on anything slightly enjoyable such as toad stools and saplings and generally treat life with the same contempt as cancer. This is the first stage.

We are not talking about some kind of life enriching spiritual rebirth social experiment behind the liquor shop malarkey here.
The second stage (and this is the real doozy). They learn with utter control, to stare manically,  cold heartedly, unflinchingly into the face of their victims. As if into the face of death itself and not blink, or wince but gently smile. As the terror and helplessness in their prey rises to defecating effect ...
they miss, not only do they miss but they give it a cuddle and a kiss and a pat on the bum, giggle like a lunatic and then slope off to torment another soul.

What we are talking about, is utter bastards.

Mage Hunter assassins are trained and employed by the Retribution because they CAN horribly murder things. The problem the Retribution has with Mage Hunter Assassins is that sometimes they simply choose to mess their targets up psychologically in stead.


Because of their training on woodland creatures Mage Hunter Assassins have the pathfinding ability, they also have stealth and advanced deployment. How else are you going to get the jump on that baby badger.

Mage Hunter assassins love to mess with people's heads. Whether it's wrapping a razor blade embedded chain around them and ripping them off or its getting inside them and psychologically tormenting them.

Mage Hunter Assassins are sadists. Just because a Mage Hunter Assassin missed it's charge on its target it doesn't mean it's not messing with someone else's head, more often yours.

Because of this you can never rely on them not to be fucking with you in some way.

In order to use a Mage Hunter Assassin within the Retribution you must:

  1. Be comfortable gambling, there is no telling what way the dice will fall and a 2 point investment might be worthless or net you a 10 point Warpwolf, it's all in the dice.
  2. Be ballsy and have fun. It's only 2 points. You could save it for late game and try to kill the enemy war caster with it but they have stealth, advanced deployment and a 14 inch charge range for a reason. It's much more fun to deliver 30 points of damage to Tiberion or the Avatar, or watch you opponent poop his pants when your Mage Hunter Assassin comes screaming out of the woods for their war caster. 
  3. Be able to laugh it off when it misses.

Mage Hunter Assassins work well with:

Seriously there is little reason not to fit at least one in every list you can.

Mage Hunter Assassins love to target:

  1. Shifting stones, they genuinely hate those things and delight in killing them
  2. Heavy or light beasts or jacks equipped with shields or bucklers. 
  3. Enemy warcasters when they are not looking
  4. Enemy warlocks when they are not looking and when they are not camping fury.

Mage Hunter Assassins should not be used to target:

  1. Most infantry, unless they really can't do anything else.
  2. High defense solos unless they are the only viable target or you can lower the defense. 

Special tricks to mastering these vindictive sadists:

Don't leave them within an enemy models melee range after you have finished moving, before you have made your attack, if you can help it. If they do decide to mess with you and miss or better yet leave Ghettorix on one box they at least have the decency to withdraw their chain and leave themselves un engaged, so you can shoot the target.

Chain weapon is 4" reach only during your activation.

As much as they love to mess with the heads of cute woodland creatures and us, they also mess with the heads of your opponents and sometimes the psychological stress of seeing one across the table will lead your enemy into panicked thoughtless actions to kill something that might just otherwise have done nothing but delivered self defecation, hugs and giggled like a lunatic.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Arcanist, Retribution solo.

In this picture we can see our typical Iosan artificer. First note the coffee. Arcanists spend little time in military training after they leave arcaneering school and spend most of their time hanging out in clicks sketching new jack designs and drinking and brewing coffee.  Because of this Arcanists all throughout the Retribution are master barristas.  Secondly notice the haggard cigarette. Arcanists are not paid well, thus they tend to buy tobacco and roll their own, compounding this is the stress of being extremely vulnerable while making battle field repairs. Smoking rates among Arcanists increase 100% once they enter the ranks of the Retribution. Finally please pay attention to the various jack heat sinks on his person and the fact that he is scavenging spare parts shows that Arcanists in the services of the Retribution are often under equipped for their task and frequently have troubles to successfully repair myrmidons during the stress of battle. 

Subject file: correspondence from Arcanist Arthyr Tyndyll. 

Hi mum and dad,
It has now been two weeks since I finished Arcanist basic training. I am currently on the move to a Retribution training facility.  The lads back at the Vyre workshops let me keep my multi tool, which is nice of them. Soon I will get to meet my first Shyeel myrmidon. Anyway write to you soon.


 1. Arcanists are not particularly special at anything. They have the most basic military training. If you are lucky and in really dire straits they might hit something with their multi tool. If your even luckier they might kill it

So I have been in advanced training now for 3 days. Already they have taught me how to power booster a myrmidon. My mate Byll power boostered a construction myrm over in the dynamics department, thing nearly burnt a hole right through the steel plates it was welding. Also we have learnt to Concentrate Power on the jacks. Wow what a difference it makes that additional strength, we tried it on the coffee machine but it just burnt the beans. 

2. Arcanists have 2 primary abilities. Power booster and Concentrated power. Either of these options  is usually infinitely better than using their multi tool to hit things. This is because using their multi tool aggressively will usually result in death. Whenever a jack is going to hit something an Arcanist should concentrated power it. 

A general rule is if you are at dice + (X) and it doesn't have extra focus, power booster it, the extra attack or boosted damage roll should be more effective. If it has extra focus or you are at dice - (X) then concentrated power it.

Obviously you can't power booster something that already has focus on it, but we all knew that. 

Also sometimes hitting with one attack is more important than doing damage,  at these times a power booster will save a focus on your war caster and achieve the same effect.

Hi mum, dad. I had some interesting news this week, I don't  know if I like it. Apparently it's common for the enemies of the Retribution to have their Arcanists (mechanics they call them) go through advanced battle training. So far all I have learnt to do is power booster, concentrated power and repair them. They say these mechanics come in whole units of their own sometimes. Sometimes they are taught how to use the warjack for extra protection or even make it attack and in some cases they can even shoot bolts of magic! Why can't I do any of that? It's just me and Byll! They haven't taught us any of these abilities and yet we are still expected to make repairs in the field.

3. Arcanists are delicate flowers. Treasure them. Keep them as far from harm as is practically possible and only use them to repair when the situation absolutely requires it. They have the least defense,  armor, hit points and defensive tech (none) out of all of their contemporaries in other factions.

It's been 3 months now. My training was over 2 months ago. I make an amazing coffee. The same can't be said for Byll. We had an engagement the other week and he was standing too close to a Banshee when a mortar hit it. Then this insane horseman came crashing through the woods duel wielding Orgoth fell blades. Well I'm not paid enough to deal with that so as soon as he got too close I ran for it. My commanders were not happy about it, they said I had a prerogative to hold the line. But I made them some pretty awesome coffee and they said I am re assigned. 

4. You only get 2 Arcanists use them wisely. Arcanists are not stupid, thus they are not fearless. Most things in Retribution are not fearless. Be careful.

Dear Mr and Mrs Tyndyll.  It is our duty and great misfortune to inform you that your son Arthyr was killed in action. A Retribution cell was engaging a known Cryx threat where he was cut down by a Bane Thrall. Your son died with honor attempting to secure a point of control long enough for reinforcements to arrive. The surrounding unit had been wiped out and the myrmidon which he was attending was wrecked, with great courage Arthyr bravely fought on. It is with great pride we wish to tell you his sacrifice was not in vain and reinforcements came to secure victory. Arthyr Tyndyll will always be remembered as a hero who gave his all for his country and his goddess Scyrah. 

5.  Although a pansy and a wimp, Arcanists have been known to do great things. When the jacks are down and they have no remaining task, sometimes if things are getting to the wire, sometimes they can do amazing things. Like kill a bane thrall and contest a zone long enough for you to counter attack. Or simply make a sweet final cup of joe and wait for oblivion, directly in front of something that would otherwise charge and smash your war caster to tiny bits, if it were not for a rather annoying, complacent looking elf wielding a menacing cup of coffee that is now parked in his way.

The beans of his brew, now scattered and lost like our gods.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dahlia Hallyr and Skarath. Retribution minions.

"Whistle while you work." 

Walt Disney.

Dahlia Hallyr. 

Dahlia was or is an elf and a member of Iosan high society. But she was weird.

Dahlia was so weird that she was shunned from Iosan society, probably as much as she shunned Iosan society herself and set out into the world to make her own way.

Like so many pretty wayward girls she ended up in the entertainment industry.

Snake charming in the iron kingdoms is small beans. She had a fair proficiency with the flute but with warlocks bounding around controlling Warp wolves and mountain kings Dahlia was more than a little out of her league.

So she did what any little girl with daddy issues would do, got the biggest, meanest, most intimidating, nastiest thing she could possibly find and started dating it.

Skarath is an appreciator of fine flute music. When he was not busy melting faces with acid spit or swallowing people whole he was working in his death thrash metal band Solid Snake. However Dahlias specific charm was enough to persuade him to launch a career in performing arts, dancing to Dahlias flute music.

Many Solid Snake fans bitterly hate Dahlia for this treachery,  which is fortunate for Dahlia as all of Skarath fans reside in Ios and Dahlia has no interest in that place.

Except that is for the Retribution of Scyrah.  Dahlia is an artist, as an artist she is sensitive and attune to the deeper rhythms of urcean and being an elf just compounds this. Because of this she cares greatly for endangered species and Noble causes. The most of which is the endangered species of her gods which is a very noble cause.

So whenever the Retribution ask her to do a gig for the forces she is always willing to accept. What Dahlia doesn't understand is why these performances are always arranged at the front lines of battle...

This is not so bad however as Dahlia and the artist formerly known as Skarath have a huge following outside of Ios. You can guarantee that when they show up on the front lines trolls and humans and elves alike all stop to applaud and wolf whistle Dahlia and dance with Skarath. Dancing with Skarath however is an exceptionally dangerous activity as he is after all an extremely jealous Grey tatzl wurm. Tatzl wurms themselves are not known for their affability and Skarath is exceptionally un affable.  It's a good thing he's so good at what he does.

The Artist Formerly Known as Skarath.

Haunting Melody hits charts at number 1.

Haunting Melody is Dahlias signature tune. It is actually her only tune. However she has been so successful with this piece of music that she hasn't yet needed to write a new one.

When Dahlia is playing Haunting Melody Skarath whips himself up and starts flailing about, teeth gnashing and acid spray spurting all over the place. It's quite a show. 

The crowed is almost always too enthralled with Dahlia or entrancingly terrified with Skarath to do much more than walk around, any attempts at ordered cohesion are useless. 

  1. Haunting Melody stops people from hurting you.
  2. Haunting Melody limits people's ability to run away from you, many have conjectured that this attribute is exactly why the song is so popular.
  3. Never stop playing Haunting Melody. 

Move with the music.

The key to a successful performance with Skarath is not to limit him. Dahlia needs to keep close so he can follow her prompts but other than this its pretty much do as he likes. The good thing about interpretive dance is Skarath is free to engage with the crowd as he sees fit. It's important that he doesn't get too worked up, he does tend to accumulate some fury but if you keep him just below his threshold he will not tire out and be useless to Dahlia. Or if he does get over excited or bursts out in a frenzied fit of jealousy Dahlia at least has developed a charming way to reel him in.

Ultimately Skarath is just a distraction, Dahlia loves crowed surfing and once she has her song going she is likely to run full tilt at the crowd and bob up and down in front of them while Skarath gets to work.

Unfortunately with any amount of extreme popularity there are those that don't like Dahlias art. Specifically these are the kind of people who are good at hurling magical rocks, lightening or fireballs at people. Thankfully Dahlia likes to perform for the Retribution and the people who don't like her, the Retribution exceptionally hates.

  1. Skarath likes to kill people or things that don't appreciate Dahlias music out of a sense of pride. Some might call this thuggery however he maintains it is out of a sense of romantic love.
  2. Skarath is exceptionally pussy whipped and will do whatever his darling Dahlia requests of him, this includes foot rubs buying sanity pads and not biting people's faces off in fits of rage.
  3. He might have a mean venomous exterior but he's just a big softy deep down.

For a commander of the Retribution mastering Dahlia Hallyr and Skarath is a piece of snake.

As part of your forces line up.

First of all, make sure she is playing her song. Always, it's good for troop morale but even better that drivel stops anyone with ears dead in their tracks. For Scyrahs sake don't let her get near anything undead or those abominable robotic contraptions, they don't stop to listen and will just cut her down.

If the enemy is alive, and even better, heavily armored with shields or exceptionally organized and likes to give orders.  Tell her they are really big fans.

Don't worry about the snake, it will usually be eating something or wrecking whatever can't listen to her music.
If the snake is feeling particularly useful it may use serpent Strike. Dahlia practically never performs this animus, it's better to let her keep her fury for transfers than anything else.

Having Dahlia dance about in front of a living enemy, preferably in their scenario zone is exceptionally amusing and I greatly encourage any commander to laugh and enjoy the show. Not being able to remove her from the path of a fully enraged Bronze Back Titan or Dire Troll Mauler buys times and is good for a laugh.

There is not much to master skill wise with Dahlia. What it comes down to is positioning.  There are some corner cases where it's useful having the snake not be able to be knocked down. But for the most part she is just there for her music.
  • Against some opponents she is cripplingly annoying and will easily save you the game.
  • Her stage is the scenario zone, there is no reason ever... ever, ever, ever , ever that she should not be inside a scenario zone. Ever.
  • If she is not inside a scenario zone by turn 2 you are playing her wrong, unless your playing against Cryx, then you are still playing her wrong. 
  • In case you are playing her wrong and are playing against Cryx,  she just tends to mope around the back line and hand out serpent strikes to people while Skarath spits acid in anger.

Good gigs within the Ret.

She doesn't really care who she performs for. On our side at least. 

  • Ravyn has been good at giving her a smoke and lazers show. 
  • Ossyan likes to quicken her advance towards her adoring fans. 
  • Vyros in no form is particularly fond of her. 
  • Rahn however doesn't mind her. 
  • Garyth however is particularly fond of her and she has a bit of a soft spot for the old prick himself. 
Garyth doesn't mind getting a little freaky with 3 some snake action and is a massive fan of flute jazz and interpretive dance.

Garyth likes to keep his focus on himself, he loves a little distraction while he gets to work, so Dahlia and Skarath work in nicely. Even better Garyth has a spell and a feat that keeps Dahlia safe from her haters, usually with head popping efficiency.

Why you would want Dahlia and Skarath at your next party.

The old "snake in the engine so there is no reason not to drink tonight" excuse. 
Dahlia is an attrition piece in an army that doesn't do attrition so well. Most things in the game are either problems or answers. Dahlia is a problem, a really big problem in the right places. This is exceptionally valuable in the Retribution because it is more a faction with answers than problems, subjectively speaking. Literally speaking you could say they have lots of problems what with dead and missing gods and all that and no answers much at all.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The House Shyeel Artificer.

The best damned elf out there.

"He's an elf in a Gator suit"

Wikipedia has this to say about the word Artificer:

An artificer is a member of an armed-forces service who is skilled in making devices as needed in the field. The specific term "artificer" for this function is typical of the armed forces of countries that are or have been in the British Commonwealth.

From this we can infer 2 things. 

1: Ios probably is or was a member of the British Commonwealth. Rule Brittania.

2: One can expect an Artificer to potentially provide a solution to an otherwise sticky situation. Much like liquid soap.

An online dictionary says this about the word Artificer:


1. a skilled craftsman
2. a clever or inventive designer
3. (Military) a serviceman trained in mechanics

From this we can further understand that:

An Artificer is someone that uses skill or creativity. An artificer builds things.

In this way an Artificer is three things to a Retribution player.

  1. Soap
  1. Skills
  1. Structures

Structures require plans, with the right plan an Artificer can enable victory. Artificers are not trained to float around and fart out Force walls. Artificers are highly trained Shyeel Battle Mages, Mages who have gone through many rigorous years of discipline and structure. Thus an Artificer understands structure, he understands your army structure and his role in it. An artificer understands that he is part of the fundamental structure of your success, like he understands the fundamental structure of the universe. Great generals will know that the Artificer is an integral pillar of support for the structure of his list design and army composition. Lastly without structure there is no strength, no learning. The Artificer understands there is no learning without pain, and there is no pain without damage and if you don't have a good learning and training structure the damage you sustain will not be supported. Thus through structure the Artificer is your ultimate support.

Soap. Like many sticky situations, the best way to fix them is with the wanton application of soap. It's surprising how just a little soap can turn a shitty disaster into a mere memory. Also Soap should be your best friend. Soap gets you paid, soap gets you laid. Soap is the catalyst for modern civilization. Never drop your soap, keep your soap near you at all times at least within 3 inches. Soap works because it has 2 parts, a hydrophobic part and a hydrophilic part. Just like your artificer part of it wants to be in the shit and part of it wants to be out of it. This is why your artificer floats, to keep out of the shit. Because he keeps his feet out of the shit he can be where you need him to be, getting stuck into the shit with his shit loving fists when you want him to be. Just like soap your Artificer loves to attach himself to shit and push it away. Finally if you have ever played call of duty, you know soap is your talented and reliable friend.

Skills. The Artificer has 3 fundamental skills. The value of these skills is calculated through the exchange of your mind. None of these skills are worth anything if you are unable to apply them meaningfully. The Artificer is the master of his skills, you are not. The Artificer realizes he is a soldier in your army, like he realizes he is a weapon in your arsenal. If you don't know which end of the sword to hold, it's not his fault. If you wear your shield on your wrist and not your arm it's not his fault. If you place your eye socket on the sight before you fire, it's not his fault. You must learn to utilize the full extent of the Artificers skills. Then like anything that requires great skill to wield successfully, 2 things will happen.

1. You will look like and be a bad ass.
2. You will out maneuver, out wit and out play your opponent.

With these three S's you can begin to master the art of fully applying your Artificer to the face of adversity. 

Throughout fantasy culture, Artificers are steel fisted bad asses.

Firstly the magnificent flying suit that our wonderful Artificers adorn gives them a built in advantage in 4 ways.

1. Pathfinder, see Soap.

2. Force Barrier. The Artificer is the Duck to the Rain of your opponents artillery. While a direct hit will still take him out, he completely ignores blast damage. Think of a duck in a flack jacket. While the shotgun blast will effortlessly bounce off from far away, a direct hit will still see him stuffed.

3. Power Gauntlets, Beat Back, see Soap.

4. Beefy Stats. 2 high power fists, good armor respectable defense 8 boxes and a very solid mat make this guy an Iosan Iron man. Or as a Minion player once said with great respect. An elf in a Gator suit.

Packed into this already awesome member of elven society are the skills with which you may use to artifice victory.

The problem here is that the Artificers magic ability is 6. This doesn't mean he is bad, it just means you as a player need to use your skill to roll good dice, or pick a target where a skill of 6 has a good chance of hitting, like rocks and giant hunks of metal or dwarves.

The first power armored duck.

The Artificers abilities are:

Force wall. This turns every elf within 3 inches into a flack armored duck.

Mango Blast. This spell pushes war casters out of shield guard, infantry out of shield wall, something to be slammed into something else later on. It opens lanes and closes distances, it makes what looks un movable movable.

Polarity Field. This is your late game shit in the fan maneuver. Got an empty zone, have an enemy that needs to charge in to get somewhere? Needs to charge to do damage to respected armor 17? Pop up the polarity field and walk in.

Just like your game progresses through stages the Artificers abilities are useful at different stages through the battle.

Early on he will be providing Force Wall. To do this he will always be within 3 inches of your caster and potentially covering some other troop type, like sentinels or invictors. The Artificer loves to hang out with dawn guard, he thinks they are real cool guys. Unlike Mage hunters, when he hangs out with Mage hunters your war caster gets shot, this makes him sad, your dawnguard get shot, this also makes him sad. Mage hunters do not like the Artificer, Mage hunters expect to die, they are the Marines of the Retribution. Your artificer is a talented and skilled individual, he does not expect to die. Therefore he is in the rear with the gear.

As the game advances, opportunities will arise for you to make use of Mango Blast. Do not use this skill lightly, there are only 4 situations where Mango Blast should be used

1. To win a game.

2. To score a point.

3. To secure some other tactical objective, like removing the last point of health on a warbeast.

4. To break up shield wall.

Some times in situations 3 or 2 charging or entering melee may be better.

Situation 4 should occur only if there is no ranged or blast threat to your caster, or a large amount of your infantry.

In the case of situation 1, Mango Blast can be used effectively in the following situations.

Targeting a model with shield guard, to push what it is guarding out of its guard range. This will work with ranged assassination vectors that are enabled with a Banshee or Strike Force.

Targeting a nearby model to push or pull the War caster in to a threat range or out of melee engagement so it can be shot or slammed.

Targeting a model to push nearby models out of a zone.

Targeting an easier to hit model behind or near cover, on or near a hill to push or pull another harder to hit model away from its defensive position.

This spell should predominantly target: models defense 12 or lower. War jacks and war beasts, colossals and gargantuans. Something you couldn't otherwise charge for better results. Don't be fooled by the limited application of this ability. Through practice this skill can be learnt to be the first step in the sequence that leads to a victory.

Finally we have Polarity Field. The Artificer is structured, skilled and his mind is clear. Because of this the Artificer is in the zone, more so the Artificer needs to be in the zone, he lives in the zone. When he's not within 3 inches of your caster he's in the zone, it's just him.

Because of this when he is in the zone, it's probably late in the game and his skills have not been called upon for best effect, or he has been supporting as best he can and now things are on the wire. On the wire in the zone. On the wire in the zone where the Artificer loves to be.

But when the Artificer is in the zone, other opponents might want to be in the zone too. Being an elf of many talents the Artificer has a few way of keeping people out of the zone, his zone.

Prevention is better than cure, and Polarity Shield is all about prevention. If the Artificer can keep his enemy out of the zone simply by looking at him funny, then he is happy in a job well done.

Now there are few and far situations where polarity shield has value on a single solo, it is the rand of strategic currency. However he can at least make some use of it to try and slow down an otherwise inevitable situation.

The thing is if your Artificer uses polarity shield, one of 4 things are going to happen net turn.

1. You will lose on scenario

2. Your caster is about to die

3. Your Artificer is about to die.

4. You just didn't lose on scenario.

Because the use of Polarity Shield usually warrants imminent loss, the Artificer is naturally apprehensive to use this ability. It is for all intents and purposes a last ditch maneuver.

Thankfully more often than not the Artificer can use his fists late game and simply push out those annoying hard to kill pieces and let you score scenario.

This here comes the final and most important part about the Artificer.

noun: artifice; plural noun: artifices
  1. clever or cunning devices or expedients, especially as used to trick or deceive others.
    "an industry dominated by artifice"
    synonyms:trickery, deviousness, deceitdeceptiondishonesty, cheating,
    duplicityguilecunning, artfulness, wiliness, craft,craftiness, evasion,
    slyness, chicaneryintriguesubterfugestrategybluffpretence;

  2. An Artificer uses artifice to win. He may be big and obvious but it's his tricky little movements, a push here a pull there. He comes out when not expected to enable a game winning play. The number of times people don't expect a Magno Blast to or a simple beat back to win a game... I could probably count on both hands...

    Ask not what your Artificer can do for you, but what you can do with your Artificer.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Issyria vs pAsphyxious 50points batrep.

Here is some random Japanese picture to add flavor.
Actually not so random.

Fortune favors the air conditioned hobby store.

Hurray for war gaming in Japan. As I slowly get acquainted with the community I learn a little of the nuances of war gaming life. Such as it's almost un heard of to have a table and terrain in your own home. Also you always pay for the use of rental tables. Also you can book these tables ahead of time.

So one such new acquaintance a Spanish expatriate Carlos contacted me for a game over the weekend. At first I couldn't accommodate,  but then we arranged a time and set out for my LGS Arrows.  Arrows is great, in the heart of this sweltering city where the thunderstorms last 6 hours and its 30 degrees into the deep night, the small but air conditioned shop with excellent tables friendly staff and decent stock is the best a war gamer could ask for.

We arrive right on time and head up to pay for a table to which the response is. "Do you have a booking" to which our response is "... wot?"
Anyway we spent about an hour checking out spots in Akihabara for a place to play, return to Arrows and sweet talked the store manager into letting us use a table for just one game.

And a great game it was...


Lanyssa Ryssyl
Elfylyn Cyrbyu (Madelin Corbeau, my elf version) 
2 Arcanists
2 Mage Hunter Assassins
Full unit of Infiltrators with 3yriss
Full Strike Force with UA

Scenario: Supply and Demand

He wins dice and chooses second.


Iron Lich Asphyxious
2 Death Rippers
2 Hell Divers
2 Machine wraiths
2 pistol wraiths
War Witch Siren
Madelin Corbeau
Saxon Orrick
2 Bloat thralls
Unit of Mechthralls
Sephalyx mind drudge? 
Sephalyx Overlord marshaling...
Some crab jack with a row 3 pow 15 gun that puts Ret jacks to shame.

Retribution turn 1

I run forward
Issyria Inviolable Resolves the Strike Force.
Discordia imprints and runs to try and save 3yriss from the near certain aoes coming her way.

In theorymachine...

This is quite an interesting match up. While it's probably the last time I turn Infiltrators with Issyria they still had plenty of spell caster targets to go for, and not much spam so lots of charge lanes. The Strike Force also had plenty of light jacks to mess up. However from his side he had nice big fat aoes to drop on everything and of course his feat, power 5s for everyone, yay. 

Cryx turn 1

Saxon advances and shoots an Infiltrator with his Lucky Bow.
A couple of corrosive mist clouds go down and his army shambles into position.
The machine wraith on the right flank runs up and engages an Infiltrator.
Pistol wraith on the left kills a Mage Hunter.
Between the Skarlock and a Sephalyx in the center they kill 2 more Infiltrators

The wayward aoes drifting about were quite worry some,  however there must have been a favorable wind.  

Retribution turn 2

I'm not sure if this should have been the feat turn, but it was.
I think my plan was to take out all his stealth stuff with shooting.

Activation order.

Discordia activates, positions to not block a charge lane for Eyriss and then sprays down a mech thrall. 
The plan being now to activate Issyria, ancillary attack spray over my Infiltrator engaged with the machine wraith and use the feat to let me hit and miss the right targets.
Issyria activates and feats. Casts admonition on herself and ancillary attacks Discordia. Which misses the machine wraith and the Infiltrator.
She then casts crusaders call and laments.
The Mage Hunter Assassins activate, the first charges Saxon Orrick and pink mists him.
The second charges the death ripper and is 1/4 inch out of range.
The Infiltrators go next, 3yriss leads the charge on a mech thrall. From this she quick works a shot into the bile thrall and pops it.
One Infiltrator runs through the machine wraith triggering a free Strike which it takes, then the 2 further behind charge into it and kill it.
The others skirmish into the Cryx front line, killing a Cephalyx and a couple more thralls.
Then the Strike Force open up on the left flank. 3 Mage hunters hit and put about 12 damage on the death ripper. The rest fire on to the crab jack and despite the feat only about half hit, taking off its right arm.
Lanyssa ambles around the edge of the forest and ice bolts the lone pistol wraith.
A pretty bad feat turn all over, the Phoenix tried to shoot at the clump of thralls with Madelin and missed everything.

Cryx turn 2

Hell diver on the left pops up and slams the Phoenix knocking it over the Arcanist,  killing him and knocking the Phoenix down.
The marshaled jack puts 3 shots on the Phoenix with help from the Overseer and the war Witch.  This drops it's shield and does about 4 damage on its grid. 
What doesn't happen is the pistol wraith doesn't shoot the knocked down Phoenix twice and make it stationary,  this could have been game changing
I don't remember the activation order, but Gasp feats and kills a handful of Mage Hunters. Well placed corrosive mists clear out some more and my Mage hunter assassins.

Retribution turn 3

Elfelyn senses the time of action is nigh, then remembers it doesn't work like that.

With Admonition up Issyria leaves the comfort of her fence to dominate the zone.
Lanyssa advances into the forest and tries to Ice Bolt the Machine wraith but misses. 
The Magister combo smites the Hell diver away knocking it down, allowing the Phoenix to put it in the dirt, oh wait...
I tried to Intrigue Discordia with Elfylyn and then my opponent pointed out I was cheating. So Discordia just charged the objective and killed it. 
An ancillary attack happened somewhere and did nothing as far as I know.
The Mage Hunters charged the crab jack and still couldn't kill it.

However it didn't matter as I had now for all intents cleared the zone, killed the objective and scored 3 points.

Cryx turn 3

Asphyxious was in the kill box and was looking for a good way to get out, charging Discordia seemed decent.
After which he teleported to the safety of the fence.
Asphyxious didn't do much damage to Discordia. One deathripper came barelling down off the hill but then didn't arc any spells.
The crab jack and thralls mop up most of the Mage Hunters but forget to contest the zone.
The Hell Diver pops up but can't pin down Issyria with Admonition up.
However the second machine wraith happily walks away from Lanyssa and her magical sword and inhabits my Phoenix. 

Not impressed.

Retribution turn 4

Thankfully Issyria is an eight focus caster so she could mind wrestle the wraith out of my Phoenix,  who which with some Arcanist focus goes and kills it.

Discordia turns around and easily smashes the Death Ripper to bits and the Artificer continues to prove what a fantastic elf he is by using beat back to push the Hell Diver out of the zone...

And Issyria wins on scenario.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Batrep Garyth vs Absylonia 50 points

Back at what must be what is called a FLGS. 

Had 3 games that afternoon. Now a week ago so exact details may be muddled, however no more than they usually are I'm sure.

Idle shitーchat.

After my 2 games with Issyria I needed to change things up, I find her a horribly limiting caster to play with.

Playing with Issyria is like being held captive in a straight jacket and tied to chair while a james bond villan wails on your nuts through a hole in said chair with a pillowcase full of rocks. Despite the efforts of all of your flailing and requests to scratch delicate itches in the face of adversity, you can't achieve anything. You are waiting for that one chance where your captor isn't paying attention to deliver an exceptionally devastating head butt in the hopes that this will give you enough time to escape.

In other words I find playing with her a painful and maddening struggle entwined with a plan to win in one maneuver, which if fails ends up all Casino Royale.

Anyway if casters were scenarios then Garyth is. A fine cigar, a fine cigar with a fine whisky with a fine shoulder rub from your super fine partner who is praising you after your excellent game of DOTA, wherein you sat in the forest farming for 40 minutes and then stomped face gratuitously without any skill or effort because your motherfucking AntimaGereth.

The lists.


Some Shredders. 4?
Blighted Ogrun Warspears and the UA.
Maybe one of those fury sucking succubus exploding things.
One of those dog thing light war beasts.


Motherfucking AntimaGereth.
Dahlia "Silencer" Hallyr & Skarath.
Elara Tyrio of the Third Chamber.
Sylys "giv me mana" Wyshnalyr of the light, of the light.
Aiyanna & Holt.
Full Infiltrators with 3yriss.
Battle Mages.
2 Arcanist
2 Griffons on Elara
Chimera on Gareth.

I go first.
Garyth calls mid lane, Elara top and Dahlia bottom.
Infiltrators run forward and spread out, preparing for the worst.
Elara sends her Griffons through the forest which 3yriss is lurking in.

Looking at the tables now I would say I had the terrain heavily in my favor. But then he is playing Legion so whatever.

Dahlia has Haunting Melody up.
Mirage is on the Infiltrators
Elara has battle charged set.

Reading the table correctly, my opponent sees my only heavy on the far flank, so he runs his beasts forward not fearing what my multitude of power 11 and 12s can do.
Forced evolution goes on the Angelius and, Carnage? Goes on to the Scythean. Proteus hangs back behind the ruins and tries to tentacle an Infiltrator.

I couldn't physically get more than 4 Infiltrators on the Angelius, which was my primary target.
Come to think of it I don't know why it was my primary target but it was.
Order of activation was something like this.
Chimera takes no focus but apparitions. 
Infiltrators also apparition with Mirage paid for by Sylys.
Sylys activates and whispers sweet nothings to Gareth.
Gareth activates, boosts a death sentence at the Angelius.
Shoots it twice for good measure.
Aiyanna and Holt activate, Aiyanna kisses the Ogrun and Holt shoots one in a fit of jealousy.
Infiltrators activate, thanks to 3yriss fearless leadership, from behind in the bush. They charge the beasts, only 4 make it on to the Angelius.
Despite only 4 Infiltrators charging the Angelius they kill it. However the 5 on the Scythean don't quite finish it off. That's ok I have Griffons. 
Arcanist activate and concentrated power the Griffons who have a focus each from Elara.
With Scythean on about 5 boxes this should be easy. 
First Griffon charges and whiffs. Second Griffons charges hits and whiffs damage.
Dahlia sings her Haunting Melody and runs towards the Ogrun. Skarath sprays over 3, kills the UA and tries to tag Absylonia behind them but misses. 
Battle Mages activate, one walks into engagement with the Scythean and with a well placed Force bolt puts it on one box. The rest pepper the Ogrun.

What really happened is Garyth called a gank on mid lane and with Elaras and Sylys' help and put their carry down. Then he buggered off to the Jungle and left the creeps to push with Sylys. Dahlia farmed.

This turn I forget his activation order.
But I do know Absylonia feats and saves the Scythean.
2 Shredders go rabid but actually fail to kill anything.
The Scythean wrecks one Griffon messes the other up and ruins a bunch of Infiltrators.
Proteus and the dog didn't manage to achieve much.
The Ogrun could not assault or charge thanks to Dahlia, so walk into combat.
Absylonia also put down a no focus aoe on the Griffons. The Ogrun mostly missed all their attacks, the only real hurt was put on by the Scythean.

On left scenario the Magister combo smites one shredder into the other, Killing the target.
So it's been about 40 minutes. Garyth is happily camping in the forest, keeping Mirage up.

The Infiltrators kill the Scythean and put some hurt on Proteus and kill the succubus thing. 

The left zone is cleared so Garyth can dominate. 

Aiyanna keeps flirting with the Ogrun and Holt keeps killing them, Skarath picks off a few. The Battle Mages get together and push what is still alive in the zone, out of the zone. I score 2.

Time is pressed so we forget the last photo. Absylonia can't get away from the Infiltrators and stay out of the kill box, so does a ballsy move. He hopes he will clear the zone and dominate it, but fails and Absylonia is left sitting in the zone. The Strike Force Mirage, Garyth death sentences Absylonia and puts on a couple shots and then the Infiltrators finish her off.