Gunnbjorn vs Bloody Barnabas

Overview

A difficult battle for my semi-ranged army, made more difficult by not using Gunnbjorn’s feat.  Here is another example of how not to play Warmachine.

The Lists

Trollbloods

War Room Army

Trollblood – RFP (bombers)

Theme: Band of Heroes
2 / 2 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army

Captain Gunnbjorn – WB: +28
– Dozer & Smigg – PC: 18 (Battlegroup Points Used: 18)
– Dire Troll Bomber – PC: 19 (Battlegroup Points Used: 10)
– Dire Troll Bomber – PC: 19

Fell Caller Hero – PC: 0

Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
– Stone Scribe Elder – PC: 3
Kriel Warriors – Leader & 9 Grunts: 11
– Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower – PC: 2
– Kriel Warrior Standard & Piper – Standard & Piper: 3
– Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower – PC: 2
– Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower – PC: 2
Trollkin Fennblades – Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
– Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer – Officer & Drummer: 0

This version of Gunnbjorn’s list runs two bombers instead of the Sea King.  I tried it out because someone suggested that I needed more AOEs to deal with massive troops, and POW 16s to put the hurt on heavies at a distance.

Minions

War Room Army

Minions – Reference Army (copy)

Theme: No Theme Selected
75 / 75 Army

Bloody Barnabas – WB: +28
– Blackhide Wrastler – PC: 16 (Battlegroup Points Used: 16)
– Ironback Spitter – PC: 15 (Battlegroup Points Used: 12)

Efaarit Scouts – PC: 6
Efaarit Scouts – PC: 6
Viktor Pendrake – PC: 4
Totem Hunter – PC: 6
Thrullg – PC: 6
Thrullg – PC: 6

Farrow Brigands – Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
– Farrow Brigand Warlord – PC: 4
Farrow Brigands – Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
– Farrow Brigand Warlord – PC: 4

An interesting list, with the Gator Warlock running zero gator units.  My opponent had been talking up the utility of the Brigands for some time now, and I have to admit that they are really proficient at killing other infantry.

The Game

Setup

Spread the Net still poses problems for me.  I guess I haven’t really adjusted how I want to play to how the game should be played to effect a win.  The quadrant method of terrain placement provided a few choke points, and some water (represented by an ice hill) in which amphibious things could hide.

Minions got initiative and chose the side with water.  I had rubble to my right and a building to the left of the circle, near my flag.

I placed my Kriel Warriors to take the right rectangle, backed up by a Bomber for scoring.  I intended for the Fennblades to rush through the circle to the rectangle on the opposite side.  The Fell Caller was to give warriors pathfinder and jog over to my flag.

Minions set up with a Farrow unit preying each of my units and positioning opposite to my guys.  Efaarit flank on either side.  Totem Hunter on my right, preying Kriel Warriors.

Turn 1

I ran most everything, except for the Krielstone, which generated 1 point.  Miserable start.  Gunny had to fill the stone the rest of the way, and didn’t get his upkeeps out.

Barnabas puts Death March on the Farrow opposite my Fennblades,  then drops a swamp pit to sit in.  He parks there with the Wrastler.  Farrow advance, dig in and wait.  One of the Kriel Warriors die to a shot from an Efaarit.

Turn 2

Fennblades swarm the circle, running, and one of their dudes takes off to the rectangle in an effort to block up the Efaarit and Pendrake.  In retrospect, I should have ran two.

Warriors push to just beyond my rectangle, and the bomber enters.  I can’t really shoot anything, due to the magic water and dug in.  So I throw around snipe and lucky shot.  I intended to feat this turn, but I get distracted by someone stopping by to chat.  After the chat, I return to the game, but… forget to feat.

The bomber activates, killing a dude.  Dozer figures out he can’t see the Gator, so launches an attack on the turtle to little effect.

Minions retaliate by killing the lone Fennblade with Pendrake on a charge.  Barnabas thinkers down in his swamp pit, but pops his feat, knocking down most all the trolls in the circle.

Uh oh.

Farrow go hog wild and annihilate the Fennblades.  They took their vengeance during maintenance, moving up.  They shoot, RAT 7 POW 14!  Prey is legit!

They kill the front line and charge the second.  Auto hit and no tough, since we’re knocked down.  P&S 12 on a charge means they only need a 5 to kill on 3 dice.  The other Farrow move in, without shooting first, but are clogging up the Kriel Warriors now.

We both gain one point for the rectangles.

Turn 3

Fell Caller stands up, sacrificing movement.  Reveille wakes up my trolls in the circle.  I’m down to 3 fennblades,  including the officer and drummer.  I take out half the Farrow, but don’t advance much.

Warriors and bomber take down half the other unit.  He makes some tough rolls.  Gunnbjorn takes some damage from casting spells.  He feats now.

We both gain another point.

Minions counter by pushing into the circle and into the Kriel Warriors.  Prey is giving then the edge they need to take my ARM 19 dudes out (only ARM 17 vs guns, but now the feat is preventing gunfire and knockdown).

The totem kills a guy and walks his whole SPD into my rectangle to contest.  Efaarit takes a shot on Fell Caller.  Pendrake engages fell caller, blocking him in, and cutting him off from the flag.  Wrassler and turtle take out bomber.

Minions go up 1.

Score is 3/2 Minions.

Turn 4

My go. I’m thinking I can push in.

I have to deal with (stealth) totem Hunter.  So bomber chucks one, kills him, then chucks another at the Farrow.  The kriel warriors try to make a difference.  They don’t do much.  The 1d3″ slam is a little lackluster.  Again, it is strange that the thrower doesn’t throw anything.  Maybe it should throw the small or medium model it hits?  How cool would that be?

We both gain a point.  4/3 Minions.

I don’t get enough work done.  The gator gets smacked hard, and loses its body, but Barnabas heals it up.  The fenns die off, a stone scribe bites it, and some warriors die.  Some Farrow make it into my rectangle.  Dozer dies.

The turtle and Wrassler threaten Gunnbjorn.  Minions earn 1.  5/3 Minions.

Turn 5

I trample some Farrow with the bomber and take a kill shot to little effect.   Fell Caller kills Pendrake and the Efaarit.  Gunnbjorn plants a wall in the path of the gator and turtle.

Score goes to 6/4 Minions.

Barnabas drops his water in front of the bomber, moves the wrassler inside and attacks the bomber, who survives on 9 boxes.  The warriors are mostly gone.  The Farrow are in the rectangle.

7/4 Minions.

Turn 6

Assassination run is possible.  Gunnbjorn tries a shot on Barnabas.  Does poorly for damage.  Bomber moves in, takes a big hit from the wrassler, and bomber loses body.  I take the chance and try shots anyway.  Fell Caller tries to finish Barnabas, rolls miserably, but sits on the edge of the rectangle. Nobody scores.

Barnabas kills the caller.  The Thrullg takes the flag. Minions earn 2 points, going up to 9 and winning by 5.

Lessons learned

Feat.  When your models can’t handle getting shot, feat!

Barnabas can pretty much sit in his hole all game.  Dozer is named Dozer for a reason.  Use his BULLDOZE ability to bust through enemy lines.  He is a melee beast with a gun (I’ve said that before, but for some reason forget), so use him as such.

I would like Gunnbjorn to work outside of Power of Dhunia, but don’t fully feel like Band of Heroes is the answer.  Maybe a few more tests is needed.  I still feel limited in terms of points and how far my trolls can safely spread themselves.

After some discussion,  I think minions in the Band of Heroes may work.  I lose out on some RFP warriors, but pick up a hard hitting unit with prey, dig in and tough.  They could theoretically hold down a zone on their own, much like they did against me.

An alternate version of the Gunnbjorn double bomber would lose the Fennblades, two caber throwers and pick up the full Farrow Brigand unit with Warlord.

I like the idea, but I still feel I lack something when fighting other heavy Warbeasts.  The POW 14, 15, 16 hits did okay, but I didn’t have enough attacks to make it matter.  It could be that this isn’t the list to throw down with minions.

I would really like to stick Gunnbjorn in with the Sea King, but it’s just so expensive.  Two bombers aren’t much better.  And kill shot doesn’t happen for a Bomber if they’re next to a bad guy.

What if we add a Mauler, to bring P&S to 18 on the fists, and find a way to make the kill shot a thing?  Dozer pushes through on a charge, smashes something, then lobs a shot at something else.  Blitzer can do the same, with 1-3 shots at POW 13, so maybe…

War Room Army

Trollblood – Gunnbjorn no king

Theme: Band of Heroes
1 / 1 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army

Captain Gunnbjorn – WB: +28
– Dozer & Smigg – PC: 18 (Battlegroup Points Used: 18)
– Dire Troll Mauler – PC: 15 (Battlegroup Points Used: 10)
– Dire Troll Blitzer – PC: 16
– Winter Troll – PC: 8

Fell Caller Hero – PC: 0
Stone Scribe Chronicler – PC: 4

Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
– Stone Scribe Elder – PC: 3
Farrow Brigands – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
– Farrow Brigand Warlord – PC: 4
Kriel Warriors – Leader & 9 Grunts: 11
– Trollkin Sorcerer – PC: 3
– Kriel Warrior Standard & Piper – Standard & Piper: 3

And with the Sea King and fennblades

War Room Army

Trollblood – Gunnbjorn Sea King fennblades

Theme: Band of Heroes
1 / 1 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army

Captain Gunnbjorn – WB: +28
– Sea King – PC: 36 (Battlegroup Points Used: 28)
– Dozer & Smigg – PC: 18

Fell Caller Hero – PC: 0
Fennblade Kithkar – PC: 4

Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
– Stone Scribe Elder – PC: 3
Farrow Brigands – Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
– Farrow Brigand Warlord – PC: 4
Trollkin Fennblades – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
– Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer – Officer & Drummer: 5

And with warriors instead.  Note, the chronicler to boost damage and if needed, make hitting them questionable.

So now I have a few different strategies, each using the Farrow Brigands as a zone contesting piece outside of Gunnbjorn’s influence.  I’m leaning toward having at least two solos in my army for flag grabbing, and two combat units for zone control.  From what I observed on various blogs, you need to be able to threat or be present in two zones.  Either you’re throwing away models to keep people from scoring or you’re doing scoring yourself.

My hope is that as I play with these lists, I’ll figure out how to position and actually win games before next year’s steamroller update.  I wish I had more time to play, so that I could redo a game after a defeat.  To that end, I’m going to stick with Gunnbjorn.  I think his game is strong.  I toyed with Grim 1 and Grim 2, and I really like Mortality,  but feel like his feat does not really play well with Band of Heroes.  Grim 1 has a lot of potential, can screw with an opponent’s alpha, but doesn’t help defend the Kriel against gunlines.  Gunnbjorn prevents gunfire, reduces spell effectiveness and prevents knockdown.  I think that’s really strong.  I would like to take Borka 2 with him, but am not sure how they balance each other out.  Bearka probably has more raw damage potential, and might be the answer to jack spam, where Gunnbjorn is the anti-artillery army.  With a combined arms approach, he’s really strong.  And again, although I’d like to run him with Sea King, the no-king list is probably stronger in scenario.

Conclusion.

To maximize scenario presence, I am leaning on the independence of a minion unit, the Farrow Brigands.  To maximize kill shot capability and get some use of the auto boosted attack rolls on ranged attacks, I’m switching to a Dozer/Blitzer/Winter troll, and giving them a boost on damage rolls via Mauler.  Time will tell if this is a smart shift for my Grymkin/Cryx/live zone answer.