Wednesday, 29 April 2015

ToMB2 Month 3: Dirty Rotten Cheater

NOTE: I actually thought I'd posted this up a few weeks ago, but apparently not! So here's what I was up to, ToMB-wise at around the beginning of April. :P Give me another week or two and I'll have my Month Three painting for ToMB2 to show you!

Okay, so first off, I have a confession to make. You know that tournament I ran a month back, where I played as the Ringer and won 3/4 games with my McMourning crew? Well after looking at the crew I took I recently realised something. Including the 7SS cache it's 9SS over the limit. Nine Soulstones. Holy crap. I don't think I've messed up my math in any game quite as bady as this. I mean, how the hell did I screw up so completely?!

Needless to say I'm not happy about that and have set about apologizing to all my opponents. I guess it's fortunate that I at least wasn't in the running for any prizes, and that I was handing prizes out to everyone like candy anyway. Still, if nothing else it means I'll be much more careful about building my crews in the future. :(

Anyway, what this also means is that those games I played with McMourning aren't really a good measure of how he's supposed to perform. So it's back to square one, this time with the recently added Nurse and Canine Remains!

Just in case you forgot what my crew looks like...

A Game in Which I Don't Cheat...

So my latest game with McMourning was against Kyle and his Guild. Unfortunately I didn't manage to take photos so you'll have to deal with some walls of text instead. Sorry, I'll make up for it next time. :(

50SS, Standard Deployment

Line in the Sand
Deliver the Message
Take Prisoner

This was a really interesting set of objectives - Reckoning required you to kill stuff while most of the schemes involved not keeping your opponents models alive!

My own crew was basically everything I had;

- Evidence Tampering 2
- Plastic Surgery 1
- Corpse Bloat 2
Sebastian 7
- Transfusion 1
Zombie Chihuahua 2
Student of Sinew 7
Nurse 5
Rotten Belle 5
Canine Remains 4
3x Guild Autopsies 12 (=48SS)

Not a great crew at all for the objectives involved, but as above I was using what I had, so I didn't really have a choice!

Kyles crew was basically Sonnia with Judge, Samuael, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Witchling Handler and an Austringer.It was a crew well suited to the objectives on hand, so I wasn't expecting to score alot of VPs!

Turn 1 began with the usual advancement and positioning. Sonnia did some initial damage to the Student and I was able to Lure in a Witckling Stalker, who was subsequently Poisoned at range by the Guild Autopsies and Killed with an Expunge from McMourning. The Nurse primed McMourning with Poison +8 from her Syringe attack and McMourning himself advanced to a safe position behind a building. The Guild Austringer also took a shot at the Canine Remains, dealing 3 damage and almost killing it!

Turn 2 saw the Judge walk around a corner and into melee with McMourning to deal a few points of damage. McMourning dealt a pile of damage in return but thanks to some well burn soulstones failed to kill him completely. Kyle figure Judge was safe for at least that turn... until the Rotten Belle lured McMourning out of melee, enabling Sebastian to charge Judge and finish him off.
Some surprisingly great shooting by the Guild Autopsies dealt enough damage and Poison to the Witchling Handler to kill her at the end of turn. Seeing its inevitable demise the Canine Remains used it's (1) action to charge the Witchling Stalker anyway, but failed to do any damage. With no better targets, Sonnia finished off the Student of Sinew and placed down a few Flame Pillars to keep anyone getting too close. I did manage to engage her with a double walk from an Autopsy, with the intent of delivering the message next turn. 

Unfortunately Kyle activated first for Turn 3 and killed off my engaged Autopsy with Sonnia, removing any hope I had of completing that scheme. McMourning didn't do much better, with Corpse Bloat failing to do any damage to the clumped up (kind of) Austringer, Witchling Stalker and Samael. Not much else of note happened, although I did push McMourning into melee with Sonnia at the end of turn. 

Turn 4 saw the inevitable showdown between McMourning and Sonnia, with McMourning's scalpels proving too much for Sonnia. After that Kyle declared Bodyguard on Samael, but made the critical mistake of running him back toward his board edge to keep him alive. Being within 8" of his deployment zone prevented him scoring any points for Bodyguard so he finished the game with 3VP for Reckoning. Meanwhile I scored nothing for Reckoning, but managed to finish the game with McMourning next to the Guild Austringer to score 3VP for Take Prisoner and ending the game in a 3-3 Draw.
Both Kyle and I completely failed to score any points for distract (stuff died too quickly, and often too far away), and I never got close enough with a non-Master to Sonnia for Deliver a Message.

Post-game thoughts

Both Kyle and I were pretty happy with the draw. With the crew I had to take I was not expecting to score many VPs anyway, and Kyle was just happy not to lose!

The more I play with McMourning, the more he feels like a bit of a glass cannon. Under the right circumstances he's incredibly fast and can deal ALOT of damage, but he's also pretty easy to kill if your opponent can pin him down. Being able to recover wounds as he deals damage in melee helps keep him going, but between damage from your opponent and damage from Poison, he's really quite a "fly by the seat of your pants" guy. So he needs the Poison to stay mobile and getting killed, but he also needs to get stuck into melee to heal the damage he takes from both Poison and the enemy.

I've heard of (and seen) people using McMourning as a kind of suicide unit - load him up on poison, then watch him fly down the field and wipe out your opponents Master in the first or second turn with Transfusion and Expunge (usually losing McMourning in the retaliatory attacks). It seems to be an effective approach but I'm not convinced it's worth losing McMourning over. At the moment I'd rather use him more conservatively, taking out more isolated targets but making sure he can threaten key targets in my opponents crew as the need arises.

For this game I decided to swap out Decaying Aura for Corpse Bloat on McMourning and in all honesty, it's a decision I regretted. While I had more than enough Corpses available to blow up, my attempts to do so proved to be little more than a waste of AP. On reflection it's still great for draining cards, which it itself is powerful in a crew full of Embalmed models like the Guild Autopsy and (once I have them) the Flesh Constructs. My error, then, was in putting it on McMourning. He honestly has much better things to do than blow up corpses.

The Student of Sinew didn't do much this game, basically getting burnt to a crisp in short order by Sonnia. I guess someone had to feel her fiery wrath, but I'm thinking about swapping him out anyway. He's a respectable minion and all but I feel like he's a little too reliant on his synergy with McMourning's Plastic Surgery Upgrade. When he's close to McMourning it's great, but McMourning is way too mobile for the Student to reliably keep up with. Then again, he's the most resiliant model I have outside of McMourning, which does at least provide something for my opponent to focus on while the real threats do their business. So I might give him a few more tries, but he's on notice!

The fact that Guild Autopsies can Poison enemy models from range is just excellent. It allowed my Canine Remains to (1) charge a poisoned Witchling Handler and Expunge became that much easier when I could load up the Poison from range before the Good Doctor activated. So the more I see them in action, the more I'm convinced that they should be a staple of every McMourning crew that plans to do anything with Poison.

The Canine Remains almost met an early end in turn 1, thanks to 3 damage from the Guild Austringer's Raptor attack. Fortunately it got a second activation and as above, took advantage of a Poisoned Witchling Handler for a (1) Charge on her. Of course as it turns out, Df 6 on the Witchling Handler makes her a pretty tough target for the Canine Remains, especially when you forget about the -1 Df aura from Hunting Dogs! So the little guy wound up doing no damage for his efforts. But even if it was attacking something weaker, I'm still not convinced it has the damage potential of a Guild Autopsy. I suppose Hunting Dogs gives him utility when used to support other melee units (like McMourning?), but I'm not sure I'd take more than one. Especially when I could be taking Autopsies instead! 

My opinions on the Rotten Belle stand. Outside of a Seamus crew I'm not sure I'd take more than one, but just having her around gives you a powerful tool for both pulling enemy models into vulnerable positions (like the Witchling Stalker I killed turn 1) and getting your own models out of harms way (Like McMourning, which gave me the chance to charge and finish off Judge with Sebastian). As far as I'm concerned, the Rotten Belle remains an auto-include.

Speaking of auto-includes, the Nurse also debuted in my Bayou McMourning crew this game. In practice she didn't end up doing alot. She poisoned McMourning to get his push effects going and healed up a wounded Guild Autopsy because, well, she just could. ;) Still, it was nice having her around and even just the threat she represents with her Take Your Meds action means its a model your opponents can't ignore. Not to mention that she's the best option available for putting a pile of Poison on McMourning. For now then, she's a keeper.

Until next time,


Not part of my crew, but I will be converting/painting a replacement for this guy as my ToMB Month 3 project. ;)