The Butcher had gone too far this time. He had to be dealt with. The Empress knew there was only one man for the job: Shaft.
But since he wasn’t available, she went with Kommander Strakhov.
Last night was one of the final nights of the Slow Grow League and thus we found ourselves in 35 point games. I came up against our Press Ganger, Brendon, and his tier 4 Butcher force, “The Black & Pinks.” I went with a more “combined arms” approach for my Strakhov list. TO THE ROSTERS!
Kommander Strakhov (*6pts)
* Destroyer (9pts)
* Torch (10pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Great Bears of Gallowswood (5pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard (2pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios (3pts)
Widowmaker Marksman (2pts)
The Butcher of Khardov (*6pts)
* Juggernaut (7pts)
* Juggernaut (7pts)
* Kodiak (8pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Man-o-war Demolition Corps (Leader and 2 Grunts) (6pts)
Man-o-war Shocktroopers (Leader and 2 Grunts) (5pts)
Yuri the Axe (3pts)
Will the Butcher be caught with a stray bullet? Will Strakhov be boiled alive? Can’t we all just get along?
Read on to find out!
Brendon won the roll off and elected that I go first. We set up and my Widowmakers and Eiryss advance deploy. His Manhunters AND Warjacks advance deploy (due to Tier bonus). I am the highly unfinished white Khador force and Brendon is the fully painted Black & Pinks, if you are just tuning in.
We are now officially underway…
Round 1! Both sides out for a stroll…
- one focus on the Destroyer who runs
- Torch walks, pops smoke bombs (and looks cool)
- Strakhov walks, casts Superiority on Torch & Sentry on Widowmaker Marksman
- Iron Fang Pikemen (IFP) walk and shield wall
- Widowmakers walk onto hill, do nothing
- Eiryss walks
- Great Bears advance
Going into the match, I was hoping to divide and conquer as you can see from my placement. I was trying to think of a way to neutralize Brendon’s ‘jacks while taking minimal damage/loses. I knew I could count on Torch and his Ripsaw to take out at least one and from what I’ve read about the Great Bears, they could too. The Manhunters were also a priority target in the beginning because I didn’t want one sneaking off and coming back to bite me in the ass later in the game.
- One focus to each Juggernaut, they run, triggering Sentry – which does one to column 4
- Kodiak runs for free
- Shocktroopers advance and shieldwall
- Demo Corp run
- Yuri and Manhunters advance and run
- Butcher casts Iron flesh on himself, Fury on the Demo Corp
- Dog heels
Butcher’s Theme is fantastic. My Shocktroopers were a point cheaper, my ‘jacks got AD, I could re-deploy solos and the Man-O-Wars got +2 SPD the first turn. It turns a very slow army into a quick one. Ron was running Strakhov, so I knew he’d have the maneuverability advantage, thus I made him go first. That nullified my ability to re-deploy solos, since my AD solos would be the last to deploy, but it let me choose the match-ups, and forced him to react to me.
The Shocktroopers would be nothing but a screen all game, so Butcher just parks behind them with the dog. Since the ‘jacks got AD, I just put ’em out there. I wanted the Kodiak to go after the Widowmakers, hoping the Vent Steam would just wipe them off the board. I then matched up a juggernaut to each of his other ‘jacks. The Manhunters and Demo Corp I matched up to the IFP and Eiryss. Eiryss needed to die ASAP, and I had no issue sacrificing a Manhunter or two to do it.
Ron mentioned that this was his first game at 35 points, and this was the first time for me using this list, so neither of were 100% what was going to happen.
Round 2! Let’s get it started in here…
- upkeeps Superiority, one focus to Destroyer
- Torch pops smoke bombs again
- Strakhov moves, puts Sentry on marksman, dog follows
- Widowmakers & Marksman carve rest of column 4 off wounded Juggernaut1
- Eiryss retreats, IFP advance and shield wall
- Great Bears charge Kodiak, but only one is in range
- First swing does 5 to column 4, second attack does the same
I held back a bit this round and waited for Brendon to trudge up the field to me. I was hoping he would cluster up and I could use AOEs to begin to soften him up. With the Great Bears I guessed incorrectly that they would all be able to reach the Kodiak on the charge, taking it out of the game early. As you’ll see, that mistake cost me.
- upkeeps both spells, 3 focus to Kodiak, 1 to the healthy Juggernaut
- Kodiak walks, vents steam on Bears killing one, wounding others
- Wounded Juggernaut1 walks, triggers Sentry, takes 1 to 5
- Juggernaut2 runs into woods, Shocktroopers advance and shield wall
- Butcher advances, dog heels
- Demo Corp run
- Yuri charges, catches two IFP, they die
- Manhunters run, manhuntress catches up with Eiryss
Whew, those Great Bears coming up a tad short really saved the Kodiak. His return Vent Steam attack wasn’t spectacular, but it did enough. Yuri finally saw some action which was awesome, but He was left in a really bad position. I was pretty happy that Eiryss retreated – that meant she was plenty far away from my ‘jacks and Butcher. Other than that, Round 2 was almost the same as Round 1 – everything runs. Again. *trudge trudge trudge*
Round 3! FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!
- upkeeps Superiority (surprise, surprise), 3 focus to Torch
- Widowmakers shoot damaged Juggernaut1, finishing col 5
- Great Bears work on Kodiak
- 4 to 5, 4 to 6, 5 to 1, and nothing
- Strakhov advances a tad, casts Overrun on Torch, chucks a bomb and puts smoke in middle of table, pops feat.
- Torch charges clean Juggernaut2, hits with initial attack with Spiked Fist, does 6 to 3.
- Spray hits, puts jack on fire, as well as one Shocktrooper
- Ripsaw hits, does 4 to 6, buys 3 more, does 9 to 3, 3 to 2, and 6 to 5
- Dog charges Juggernaut2, does 3 to 5, and returns
- Eiryss moves, shoots engaged Juggernaut2 with Death Bolt, hits, and finishes it.
- IFP charge Yuri and Manhunter. They miss Yuri but hit the Manhunter, killing him
- Destroyer charges Yuri and misses
I continued to use the Widowmakers to whittle down the life of the warjacks. Without any infantry in Brendon’s list, I couldn’t really take advantage of Swift Hunter, so they were kind of stuck. The Kodiak’s Vent Steam really did a number on my Great Bears and I was hoping they would pay it back, but alas, the dice had other intentions. I felt like if I didn’t pop my feat this round, I was going to be in trouble. Butcher still had his feat and if he popped it, it could take a good chunk out of my force. My only chance was to try and take out as many of his guys first to lessen the effect. The outcome was…less than ideal for me.
- all Warjacks are cortexless, Butcher keeps 4 focus after upkeeping his spells
- Manhuntress runs to tie up Eiryss
- Shocktroopers advance and shieldwall
- Butcher advances, casts Full throttle and pops feat
- Kodiak kills remaining Great Bears
- Juggernaut2 charges Torch, taking out cortex and ripsaw.
- Yuri adjusts and threshers, killing 4 IFP and doing 8 to 6 on Destroyer
- Demo Corp charge IFP, kill one, the remaining IFP pass flee check
Man, the Widowmakers can put out the hurting on a ‘jack. Most people write off the single point, but when you add in a marksman for a 5th point, and Sentry for one more (out of turn), they’re cutting a column off each turn. I was not expecting that.
I started this turn and realized I had no cortexes, and the two remaining ‘jacks each were missing an arm system. If I wanted them to do anything at all, they needed help. Most of my stuff was in bad positions or half dead, so I absolutely had to get one more good turn out of them before they died.
Luckily, Butcher has loads of battlegroup abilities, and Full Throttle + Feat effectively gave my ‘jacks free charges and boosted initial attacks. I would have liked to keep my feat for the Butcher murderation turn, but the ‘jacks were too important to let Ron just whittle them down again.
Luckily for me, Butcher’s feat is an aura, so Yuri was able to take a step back into Butcher’s control and gain the 4th die on damage. That combined with thresher on MAT 8 meant lots of dead IFP. Sweeeeet.
Round 4! Ouch…
- upkeeps Superiority
- Torch maneuvers, and sprays. Setting Juggernaut on fire and a Shocktrooper on fire. Fist hits Juggernaut, but does nothing. Ripsaw hits and also does nothing.
- Ron promptly considers buying new dice.
- Dog charges Juggernaut, does 1 damage
- Destroyer swings and misses Yuri
- Eiryss swings at Manhuntress. She hits with her sabre, but does nothing. Also hits with her bayonet, this time deals 4 damage
- IFP attacks Yuri, misses
- Strakhov puts Sentry on Marksman, then casts Rift and it deviates horribly
- He shoots at middle Shocktrooper, but does nothing
- Widowmakers shoot Juggernaut, and do 2
- Fire does 2 to Shocktrooper
What I was worried about came to pass, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been thankfully. My IFP were slaughtered and reduced greatly, so they became almost a non-factor. I still had some plans I thought could work, but my dice had other ideas this round. I think I could have really evened the odds a bit if I had rolled better. Torch’s activation and subsequent limp-wristed attacks really hurt me. Oh, and if you are wondering why I cast Rift, it’s because the AOE would have tagged the Juggernaut and the 3 Shocktroopers. I don’t think it would have killed them, but it would then be rough terrain, slowing down their next advance. One glaring mistake I did make here was casting spells instead of giving the focus to my ‘jacks.
- Manhunteress attacks Eiryss, killing her
- Yuri hits Destroyer, does 2, and then kills last IFP
- Demo Corp charge Torch and Destroyer, dealing 11 to Destroyer, and then 14 to 2 on Torch, killing Torch
- Shocktroopers advance and shield wall, trigger Sentry, which deals 1 to middle trooper. They shoot at Widowmakers but miss all shots
- Kodiak walks up, vents steam and kills a Widowmaker and the Marksman.
- Juggernaut advances over Torch wreckage
- Butcher advances and camps his focus.
- Dog heels
This list is fairly blunt. There’s not a ton of strategy involved, and I think I was a bit too lax in my planning this turn because of that. I really should have moved the Juggernaut around Torch’s corpse before moving the Shocktroopers up, but I didn’t and boxed it in next to the wreck marker’s rough terrain. If I’d been able to walk around the wreck, it would have been in a better position to threaten Strakhov and the dog next turn. I knew it couldn’t charge, but it could certainly look scary…
Also, Fury on Demo Corp is disgusting, and must happen again.
Round 5! There’s so much blood…
- gives 3 focus to Destroyer, keeps 3 for Strakhov
- Widowmakers shoot at Kodiak, dealing total of 3 to 2
- Dog charges Kodiak, deals 4 to 4
- Strakhov charges Kodiak, finishing it off (with a freakin’ KNIFE!). Sprints away and camps his 3 focus
- Destroyer kills Yuri and barely kills a Demo Corpsmen
Things are starting to look bad as I have lost a lot of my heavy hitters while Brendon still has plenty. This has become an attrition game for me. A lop-sided one, but I’ll won’t go down without a fight!!
- Manhunter charges Destroyer in the back, dealing some damage. The Demo Corp take the opportunity to finish it
- Shocktroopers advance and kill nothing
- Butcher charges, boosts initial attacks and misses, buys two boosted hits, dealing 9 to Strakhov.
- Dog charges Dog, but Strakhov’s hound makes his tough roll
WTF. Widowmakers, the dog and Strakov team up on the Kodiak? Talk about death by a thousand cuts, sheesh.
I really messed up here. I should have had my dog charge Ron’s dog. It has tough, so it may not have died, but at least I could have dropped his DEF by 2. I also should have dropped Fury off the Demo Corp for the 6th focus point. Needing 8 to hit meant I really needed to boost to make sure the hits connected. Butcher just couldn’t land a solid hit on the slippery little $#!). That left Butcher out in the open with no focus and no Iron Flesh, which was less than ideal.
Round 6! Mmm…this Axe tastes like death.
- Widowmakers put 1 on Butcher
- Dog chomps dog, takes it to 1 hitbox
- Strakhov backs out, shoots Butcher’s dog, hits and kills dog (Sorry PETA)
- Tries to hit Butcher with remaining shots of Riot gun, misses, then misses own dog (PHEW)
Arrrgh! Why didn’t I move Strakhov back more?! I had a plan and it was to move out of Butcher’s charge range and hope to last one more round to charge him and buy attacks until hopefully he cracked. But I stupidly confused myself (or collapsed under pressure) and didn’t make the right move.
- Juggernaut hits Strakhov’s wardog, who makes his tough AGAIN!
- Shocktroopers take out the Widowmaker Kapitan
- They also tag the wardog who makes (yet) another tough roll!
- Butcher charges Strakhov, takes two swings with Lola and off in the distance a rather rotund lady is heard…
Don’t try to run from the Butcher. You just die tired. Unless you’re Ron’s War Dog, who made 4(?) tough checks.
Post match commentary!
I picked my army with the idea of having a large “toolbox” from which to work with, so that I would have options when I faced the various factions we have in our store. I did not expect to face this mountain of armor Brendon brought. I knew I was going to have an uphill climb from the beginning, but I was hoping to play a little defensively and bait him into a bad position. I really hoped Butcher would pop himself into the open somehow, probably by getting overzealous with Lola.
I am still learning to use the Great Bears and the Widowmakers effectively. Last I used the Great Bears, I was really defensive with them because I didn’t want to lose them. This time I played them a little more recklessly. I think in this game however, the Widowmakers more than paid their dues, so I would have them share my MVP honors with…drum roll…the Wardog. Yup, that dog got in there, mixed it up, and would not go down.
I still made some mistakes (like forgetting about the IFP’s mini-feat) and such, but that can be expected at my low level of skill and with this being my first 35-point game. I feel like I am starting to get the hang of playing Strakhov overall and it’s only a matter of time until things “click” for me.
I made Brendon work for this win and that’s all I could ask for 😉 This was an epically fun game, it really kept me on my toes. I definitely look forward to facing Brendon for a rematch in the future!
The more I play this army, the more I’m certain that it’s all about putting the opponent in a bad position with no good choices. Most people consider any Butcher list so be a delivery system for the man himself, but Butcher’s Full Throttle spell is fantastic with 3 ‘jacks. I used it when I only had two, but it got around the lack of cortexes, and when combined with the feat, effectively nullified crippled systems. Sure, it cost me my feat, but it bought me another round of attacks from the ‘jacks as if they had no damage on them.
I was not expecting the Widowmakers to be as potent as they were. I did not remember that they could pick the column for damage, so I just figured they’d pepper the hull boxes and then die a steamy death. Boy was I wrong. Entire columns, just gone. That was… enlightening.
Oh man, that damn dog just wouldn’t die! Few things survive a charge by the Butcher, but somehow Strakhov managed it. The first time 🙂
Overall, a fantastic game, and I look forward to the next encounter with Ron.
Welp, that does it for this Battle Report. A very special thanks to Brendon for showing me the ropes, getting me hooked on Warmachine, and providing this battle report and photos.
If you are interested in seeing more of his Pink Khador force (I know y’all are based on the pageviews of a past image I posted [and I don’t blame you, they’re friggin’ awesome] ), just hop on over to his site, www.plarzoid.com. He has tons of useful and interesting content, including a tutorial on how he achieved his Pink paint job. What are you waiting for?
Oh and as always, don’t forget to sound off in the comments!