Learning the Agathon Assassination

I’ve played four games with Agathon so far. Three into Dessa’s Crucible Guard Locke list, and once into a Protectorate of Menoth list with Amon, and the last into a Retribution list. The first two games were complete shut-downs. Dessa’s Crucible Guard proved too much for my Agathon list. The Protectorate list didn’t get finished, so who knows how that could have gone? The Retribution game also ended early, but looked more like an Agathon win. The third and fourth games against Locke proved much more successful, ending in a straight up assassination.

The first games into Locke

Is Agathon handicapped by lack of souls?

The first two games were rough. Agathon couldn’t seem to gain any souls, due to the high number of warjacks and lack of souls. In the first game, the horrors seemed to die easily to the Toros. In the second game, I tried the colossal to see if it could survive a little better than the heavy horrors. Dessa’s been learning how to effectively employ Locke’s Jackhammer spell, to devastating effect. Despite my best efforts, she was able to take down both the colossal and gate with minimal effort.

Did a lack of souls impact Agathon? I don’t think so. Most turns, I had essence on him, but a lack of targets. I did make the Mentalist attack a mechanik, and kill him. That was neat. I think it was merely a teaser, and a taste of what Agathon and Regna are capable of together.

If not souls, then what’s the problem?

In both games, I struggled to decide what to summon and when. What marked souls could I let go in favor of a horror? Which horrors would be more effective? I learned that poor Saxon Orrik had the least impact on the games. His advanced deployment can place him in a spot where a summoned horror would be protected by terrain. For a first turn summoning, he is probably the best option. It’s the second and third turn summonings that become more problematic.

I get very little work from Eilish Garrity, the Dark Seeker, so if he is included, he is also a good target for a summoning in turns two or three. Same with the original Eilish. Puppet master is helpful, and the Gate can pop him back after casting, which places Eilish in a favorable position for a transformation into a horror. Move, cast, gate, and reposition for placement near enough to Agathon to summon something awful.

Wretches are also good candidates. They are helpful in the first two turns, preventing most ranged attacks with their Invocation of Bitterest Night handing out stealth. The Ancillary Attack is helpful as well, serving as a poor version of Jackhammer. I like to use the Ancillary Attack with the Tormenter’s ranged attack. If I get lucky, armor drops. Again, order of activation matters. It’s sometimes better to try to get work out of the marked soul before summoning a horror.

Lord Roget D’Vyaros could be a turn two or three summoning, if Agathon needs essence for casting spells. The trick here is to use Harmonious Exaltation first, or maybe even Spell Slave, then activate Agathon, cast spells, and summon a horror on top of D’Vyaros without spending essence for the summoning.

A game into Protectorate

This was a game into Amon, with lots of jacks and a few dudes. I don’t like the archons, keeping souls safe and all, so I had Croe’s Cutthroats prey the Menite Archon. The archon was easily slain, due to Agathon’s debuff spell also enabling the Cutthroats to sneak past and get at least one backstab on the archon. The three goons nearby, providing two shield guards (Visgoth Juviah Rhoven & Honor Guard) were easily dispatched prior to hitting the archon. Agathon used Dark Seduction on one of the Honor Guard, preying on his doubt and fear, binding him to a short-term contract with immediate terms. The guard walked back to his master, Visgoth Rhoven, and slew him. The other guard also walked away, blocking a warjack. With the unit no longer a threat, the cutthroats finished off the archon.

The Protectorate warjacks were very effective, pushing deep, and relying on Synergy to get work done. I should have used my feat to force Amon to spend more focus on his Synergy spell. I also should have cast Censure. I forgot Amon’s two upkeeps were in play, and that he would need to re-cast if I removed them. It could have prevented some of the shenanigans with Mobility, or at least made Amon decide which spells to use.

I also forgot about the stupid double-bladed light warjacks. I hate those side-stepping things. It seems like a little much. I also neglected to summon each turn, slinging spells instead. I don’t know if that was a good option, or a fatal error. If there had been another Tormentor, maybe I could have prevented the Dervish from getting too close.

I also pulled of a Dark Seduction on the side with all the bastions. Regna had one walk out of the zone, behind another, and land a fatal blow. The next bit, we played incorrectly. I allowed the bastions to distribute damage across the unit, including the model I had seduced. The seduced model died, and the rest took a point each. The error was in allowing the seduced bastion to take damage. That model was no longer part of the unit, so it should not have been allowed to receive damage via Sanguine Bond. There is an Infernal ruling (lol) on that interaction. The error could have cost me the game, if we had a full time to play.

It’s hard to say how the game was going to end. I was down on points, and unable to assassinate, due to the Devout. Possibly a quick death to the Devout, followed by an attempt on Amon. I also hadn’t cast Hellmouth the whole game either. That’s too bad. POW 12 into ARM 16 on the Bastions could have hurt. I should have used that to clump them and route them. Their weaponmaster attacks could have wrecked some jacks too.

This game was more Agathon-friendly that I thought. Looking back, some errors in how we played Sanguine Bond, along with some bad choices on my part and my own unfamiliarity with Agathon’s spell list made this game seem difficult. It shouldn’t have been.

Another couple of games into Locke

By the time this game took place, I finally had the assassination figured out, or so I thought. More on that after the Ret game. Locke did fall to an assassination this game, but not with everything turned up to 11. Some things fell into place, but Agathon only started with one soul, thanks to Nicia’s gun.

I made a small change to the list, adding two more Foreboders, for a total of four in Agathon’s battlegroup at the start of the game. I think this was key to landing the assassination. I proxied two, using some Stormwall pods. Later, I asked Dessa to make some conversions, but now I wonder if I should have, as I’ve been told that they come two in a pack, and I should have had a total of four (I have three). I could be overlooking an unpainted one, in the pile of unpainted models.

Dessa deploys very centrally, with the battle engine serving as an anchor on one wing, usually dominating where a unit might want to be. Her death archon likes to hover near the main battlegroup in order to use that -2 STR debuff for living enemy models. My deployment (love advanced deploy) planned to eliminate Prospero, with Prey from Croe’s. Proxy Foreboders deployed as far out as possible.

The game went rather quickly, with Agathon being able to take an Essence from the hermit, reduce a spell via Harmonious Ex, and just blasting Locke, on like the second turn.

We re-racked, shuffled the terrain a little, and decided to play on the clock. Dessa deployed as normal, and promised to try to keep Locke more protected. Agathon deployed mostly centrally, and the cutthroats preyed on Prospero again.

Dessa played a little conservatively, but her fears lost her some ground. Luckily, with Road to War, Locke is able to make it up if needed.

Agathon summons properly again, and threatens the center of the board. By the end of turn two, I’m up a point. However, my clock performance is poor, and Dessa has a 20 minute advantage.

She’s able to clear a lot of stuff, and pick up some points of her own, but we end up almost even on time. While she is playing well, she is being lured into the center of the board, and leaving a Foreboder out in the wings, ready to run in and be used as an arcnode.

Agathon thinks an assassination is possible.

Turns out, feating, having a soul from Nicia, extra Essence, and blasting away at a well defended Locke is a way to win.

Two wins in a row means I’m feeling good about the assassination, even though Locke is jack heavy. My verdict is that I don’t need souls, but they’re helpful. Here’s why.

Into Retribution

The cutthroats made a mistake, trying to Prey the mage hunter strike force. They have better range, and their commander gives them Phantom Barrage, allowing them to ignore the forest. With their caster handing out snipe, the strike force easily outgunned the cutthroats.

Luckily for Agathon, a well-placed Hellmouth eliminated several of the elves, followed by an amazing trample from the tormenter. The entire unit was eliminated, and prey moved along to a closer group, near a soul stalker. The soul stalker is amazing here. It collected every one of the souls nearby, as the cutthroats cut down the elves, and sent those to Agathon. On the next turn, Agathon would have been able to turn all those into Essence, and he would have had 16 Essence at the beginning of his turn. Ridiculous. Even hiding in the trench, the elf caster was actually in danger.

We didn’t finish the game, but I think this was a win for Agathon. Not just in the game, but because I learned how well Agathon could behave when fed a bunch of souls.

What is the bottom line?

While souls are not necessary, they are amazingly helpful. The soul stalker can do work, simply providing Agathon with souls by being near something being killed. It’s possible to send in a soul stalker, drop a hellmouth on it, or near it, and just go nom nom nom on those delicious souls.

There are some lists I don’t want to see. Devouts are troublemakers, and tons of warjacks are problematic. I guess there’s an anti-magic legion list too, that I need to watch for. I’ll probably run a lot of Agathon lists until I figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Current list:

  • Agathon +28
    • Foreboder (4)
    • Foreboder (4)
    • Foreboder (4)
    • Foreboder (4)
    • Tormentor (12)
  • Great Princess Regna Gravnoy (6)
  • Lord Roget d’Vyaros (4)
  • Umbral Guardian (0)
  • Umbral Guardian (0)
  • Nicia, Hound of Abyss (4)
  • Saxon Orrik (4)
  • Alain Runewood, Lord of Ash (5)
  • Hermit of Hengehold (5)
  • The Wretch (4)
  • The Wretch (4)
  • Eilish Garrity, the Occultist (5)
  • Cultist Band (7)
    • Dark Sentinel (0)
    • Dark Sentinel (0)
    • Dark Sentinel (0)
    • Orin (4)
  • Cultist Band (7)
  • Croe’s Cutthroats (16)