[WM/H] Death In The Thornwood: Army Lists and Opening Moves

Five miles west of what had been Fisherbrook, deep in the murky, knotted Thornwood forest, the ground was shaking.  The heavy iron feet of warjacks stamped out their steady rhythm, and the crooked trees trembled to the root as the iron warriors passed by.  Banners fluttered, flames licked, and the very armour of Menoth’s Interdiction of Judgment cut a thin line through the gloom of the deepwood.  It was only fitting.  Judgment did not come like a thief in the night.  Judgment came proudly.

The tread of the Menite warjacks did more than shake the trees.  They rippled out, off the narrow pathway the Grand Scrutator had chosen, and the surface of the foul marshes quivered with every footfall.  Something stirred now, as the Interdiction marched slowly on.  Dead eyes flickered.  Soulfires burned in metal cages.  A fiendish intelligence focused itself on the advancing Menites – they were close, too close.  The cold, dead mind reached out to stir what a sentimental soul might call its children, and stirred them into readiness.

The living would not be suffered here. 

Took me long enough to get around to writing this up – we only played the game two weeks ago, after all – but since I’m off work due to a bad case of no speaking voice worth speaking of, I find myself suitably disposed to tell you about the biggest game of Warmachine I’ve played in quite some time. The report itself has pictures (okay, so they’re mobile phone pictures, but they’re pictures!), and it’s also quite a beast, so I’m going to split it up: deployment and turn one in this entry, turn two in the next, and turn three


Army: Neal’s Pink Menites
Type: Skirmish (1 caster, 50pts)
Points: 50

Grand Scrutator Severius (*6pts)
* Blessing of Vengeance (7pts)
* Repenter (4pts)
* Castigator (8pts)
* Templar (8pts)
* Hierophant (2pts)
Avatar of Menoth (11pts)

Choir of Menoth (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Flameguard Cleansers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)

High Paladin Dartan Vilmon (3pts)
Knight Exemplar Seneschal (3pts)
The Wrack (3 wracks) (1pts)
Vassal Mechanik (1pts)

Army: Von’s… Experimental Cryx
Type: Skirmish (1 caster, 50pts)
Points: 50

Master Necrotech Mortenebra (*4pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Helldiver (3pts)
* Deathjack (12pts)
* Reaper (7pts)
* Slayer (6pts)

Bile Thralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (5pts)
* 2 Brute Thrall (2pts)

Bloat Thrall (2pts)
Bloat Thrall (2pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
3 Scrap Thrall (1pts)

Both of us were playing rather more ‘jack heavy than is our wont.  I’ve recently been dabbling with epic Skarre lists that run on solos, and Neal’s expressed a bias toward infantry swarms and the High Reclaimer, but he had a Severius list he wanted to take out for a spin and I couldn’t make Solo Spam stretch to 50 points, so it was time for plan B – a Mortenebra list that used some of my favourite things and might, with a bit of luck, help me use some pieces I don’t normally have much luck with.

Scrap Thralls and I have had issues in the past – I love the idea of them and being upgraded to solo status and thus enabled to run has in theory been good for them in Mark II.  I just can’t make the blighters cover ground fast enough – they find themselves lost among other Cryxians, and then shot down in short order, often taking out other pieces with them.  The hilarious daisy-chain incidents of an early game with Shiny were particularly embarrassing, with Bloat Thralls and Scrap Thralls blowing each other up left, right and centre.  However, since my collection pretty much fits Mortenebra’s Tier list exactly (Sirens notwithstanding), I decided to play around with Tier 1 and see how they did with Advance Deployment available as an option.  I also had a profound urge to try not to lose with Mortenebra; my track record with her is somewhat less than competent (witness – Exhibit A, Exhibit B), largely due to my hands moving faster than my brain on Big Damn Turns.

This rather shaky image indicates both the relevant terrain and the deployment of my bucket o’ Cryx.  Note the cunningly placed supply of vile, necrotite-based stimulants on the top right; vitally important to the effective function of a Cryx army, those are.  Note line of advance deployed Scrap Thralls in prime ‘it’s us or nobody’ position, and the Deathjack in the woods.

By contrast, Neal’s deployment was somewhat more restrained:

It is, in point of fact, a big pink wall.  I tell myself it’s an Interdiction of Judgment army, that’s how I get to sleep at night.  The truth is, he painted it pink for a Breast Cancer Brawl a few years back and decided to do the whole army that way.  It’s become something of a Thing now.  The Cleansers were off on the left flank, ready to advance over the hill and burninate some Bile Thralls, and the Wracks were off on the right, set up along the edge of the hill because, well, it looked ace.

I had the first turn, and most of my army advanced pretty speedily, like so:

Out on the right flank, I used Arcane Extension to run the Slayer forward, ran the Bile Thralls forward, and shuffled Deryliss up behind them to keep the Slayer within Arcane Extension range and also be able to cast Pursuit on the Deathjack next turn if he needed to.

The Deathjack used Spectral Steel on itself and advanced through the woods, the Helldivers burrowed underneath the woods, and Mortenebra hunkered down behind the Reaper and the two Brute Thralls, thusly:

The minions of Menoth also advanced at speed, although not as much speed as the Cryxians (obviously).

Severius moved up, cast Eye of Menoth, and took out three Mechanithralls with Ashes to Ashes, arced through the Blessing of Vengeance.

The Cleansers advanced and Incinerated, killing a Scrap Thrall and creating an area which the Slayer and Deryliss were less than keen on moving into. While this did lock down my right flank somewhat, I had high hopes for the left, as you shall soon see

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