Hey all, I’m Jamie. For those who I haven’t met yet, I’ve been playing Warmachine for nearly 10 years now, currently a regular with the Walsall Warmasters. I used to write a Legion blog in 2015/16 so I thought I’d be unoriginal and use the same name for my articles here.
Anyway, battle report time. I had the pleasure of playing against Rob, our Khador player who has put a mixture of excellent Khador analysis and Old Grim fan fiction on the site already. I brought Bethayne1 and Absylonia2 versus his Malakov2 and Karchev2(Deathchev? Karjack?) pairing. I dropped Bethayne for her shooting resistance to Malakov and the damage swing into Karchev, and he dropped Karjack. Our lists were as follows:
Bethayne1 – Oracles of Annihilation
– Naga Nightlurker
Virtue Champion x2
Spell Martyr x2
Hex Hunters (min)
Karchev2 – Jaws of the Wolf
– Juggernaut x2
– Marauder x5
Kayazy Eliminators x2
We rolled up King of the Hill and Legion won the roll. Pretty critical as even though Karchev doesn’t get that far up the board, the massive forest in the middle was the perfect hiding place for his jacks to threaten my Archangel.
I deployed centrally with my Archangel with Typhon on the left and the Naga on the right. The Virtue Champs took the flanks along with spell martyrs. In response, Karchev deployed centrally with his Juggernauts centrally and his Kayazy on the flanks. He placed his 5″ AoE forest on the right flank. I then put my hex hunters up aggressively with their AD. Lets go!
Legion Turn 1 – Fairly straightforward turn here, the Hex Hunters ran up to be able to go through the forest next turn and the Virtues went up the flanks. The Archangel ran up with Blood Thorn on it and Thagrosh put up Fog of War and the free animus mutation for an Excessive Healing.
Khador Turn 1 – Bethayne has a very credible assassination threat even on a model as durable as Karchev, which had to be respected. The Jacks all ran up their full distance into a line blocking sight to Karchev, who cast Onslaught, Locked Horns, Death Ward on the purple Juggernaut and moved up. The Kayazy hid further back to avoid drifting AoEs and the Death Archon used Mortal Feat from behind the wall of Jacks.
I forgot to take a photo of the end of Turn 1, but for context here’s a spoiler free version of the Khadoran cunning defensive formation…
Legion Turn 2 – Well, here’s 8 Arm 24 jacks threatening 14″… I figured this was my best chance at a big hit so I began by apparating my hex hunters into walk and Hex Bolt range. The Ice Witches handed out Puppet Master to Bethayne, the Archangel and Typhon. I made a pretty critical error here as I thought Disintegration was an AoE3, so I thought I could tag like 6 jacks with -2 Arm. As such I didn’t realise until I’d ran up both Spell Martyrs to tag the whole line. I pressed on anyway and feated, putting two decent disintegrates into the inside left Marauder and the purple Marauder on the right. I apparated the Hex Hunters and in for fully boosted Hex Bolts into both, but with the Death Archon’s aura they didn’t take out any systems.
I then charged in both Virtue Champs on the disintegrated jacks, but at Arm 24 they couldn’t do meaningful damage. The Archangel moved up to apply its animus and put in two boosted shots into the right side Disintegrated marauder, taking out its Cortex and Movement. I put my last shot into the engaged Marauder the Virtue Champion on the right had charged, but missed despite Puppet Master. The Archangel repositioned to avoid all but the right side jacks threat ranges, or at least force Sorscha to cast multiple Boundless charges.
I had originally intended on using Typhon to spray down the disintegrated Jack on the left, but realising this would be throwing him away and recognising that my Archangel was going to get charged by several jacks I ran him and Yssyla over to block some landing zones. The Naga moved to contest and the Blackfrost Shard (who had been out of effective range to contribute) hid behind the forest for a counter attack. Concerned for the left flank, I pushed up Belphagor and used his animus to block the route towards Bethayne who was camping nothing.
Khador Turn 2 – Having survived the Legion alpha strike it was time for payback. Karchev upkept Deathward and Onslaught, then handed out a focus to the right side Marauder. He cast Full Throttle, Locked Horns and feated before moving back to toe just the right side of the kill box. The Rager received Guidance from the Adjunct and moved back to shoot down a Hex Hunter, critically giving the Death Archon a corpse token. This let it use Divine Inspiration to take down the Virtue Champion and two Hex Hunters blocking the way, applying Mortal Fear and moving out of charge lanes. Sorscha cast Boundless Charge on the purple Juggernaut and then the pain began…
The right side Marauder charged the Archangel, gaining its third focus on arrival. With some cold rolls the Archangel was left on 20 boxes The Marauders on the left side cleared the Virtue Champion and the rest of the Hex Hunters to let the purple Juggernaut charge onto the Archangel. After a good initial hit, he then killed Yssyla with the fist to trigger Abatoir with Meat for the Beast, giving every jack another (Full Throttled) attack… ouch! This finished off the Archangel and put a chunk of damage onto Belphagor, who was charged by a Kayazy shortly after. The right side Kayazy charged the Objective for some damage and to engage the Naga. The final Juggernaut having been cruelly denied anything to kill just ran up into the forest to be a pain.
At the end of Turn 2 the score is 0-0.
Legion Turn 3 – Well this sucks! I went into the tank hard here, having only Typhon as a heavy hitter remaining. I spent some time looking for a way to assassinate Karchev (camping 0) but even if I could clear the Jacks I lacked the Pathfinder on Typhon for the sprays needed. After some time in the tank I decided to try and control the left side of the board now and clear off the right side. Thagrosh moved up and applied Blight Burst to the second Marauder from the left, allowing Bayal to Shadowbind him and block him from doing anything.
Beth got a Disintegration off into the Red Juggernaut and Blood Thorn onto Typhon before moving back to the kill box. The Naga missed the Kayazy contesting the zone rather helpfully, as did the Blackfrost Shard on the right. The remainder went into the purple Marauder but with Mortal Fear and Death Ward they didn’t finish anything off. Typhon went all out and managed to kill the Red Juggernaut but I had forgotten to get Blessed out on the Naga to try and damage the purple Juggernaut. Belphagor was a hero though and killed both Kayazy engaging him, Blood Booning his animus for the trouble.
Khador Turn 4 – Despite having lost a heavy, Karchev was ready to making a fighting comeback (sarcasm, I’m hilarious…). The Death Archon charged and killed the Objective and Blackfrost Shard member after the last Kayazy had combo-struck the Naga in the back and escaped away. Karchev cast Full Throttle, Locked Horns and Abatoir, the resulting attacks which killed a bunch of stuff and got Crit Stationary of Typhon. Despite this, Typhon survived just the continued attack from the Purple Juggernaut. However when Bayal was finished by the Shadowbound marauder, Meat for the Beast triggered Abattoir (its once per activation, not turn) again! The Marauders finished off Belphagor and Bayal and everything else just moved up to the centre to collect three CPs in total.
With just Beth, Thagrosh and three Ice Witches left I conceded leading to a Khador Victory by concession (probably scenario if we’d played it out).
So I considered whether to post this battle report up briefly as I don’t feel like it was a particularly good game to read about. And frankly, I was frustrated about it too. But after reflecting I decided it was important to share, for a number of reasons:
Firstly, we all have bad games where we get rolled over. It can be a really bad matchup, you might not know an interaction that swings the game, the terrain can heavily favour one player. Sometimes your opponent just gets very lucky (or vice versa) and it swings the game. If you want to play wargames, you have to accept that this will happen to you. Doesn’t matter what system. Probably many times through your hobby career. So what?
I would suggest pausing, getting a drink and then reflecting “What can I learn from the game I’ve just had?” Having written this up, I can see clear mistakes that I made that I can improve on next time. I misunderstood Disintegration, I threw away my Virtues and I got little value from my Blackfrost Shard, as some examples. These are all great lessons I can be better on for future games. I also now have experienced a potential meta monster when I’m not in a tournament. I can play my lists with Karchev in account, and I’ll know better how to play into him.
Secondly, I want to use this to showcase Karchev2. I won’t take anything away from Rob, he’s a great player and he piloted this list very skilfully. I had a lot of very powerful non-melee attacks that could have crippled his army over several turns as well as a potent threat to Karchev. He didn’t just walk up and press the win button. Warmachine doesn’t work like that.
That being said, Karchev2 is absolutely something you will want to think about if you are a competitive player. Whilst the internet has focused on the durability of his list (especially with Clamjacks), you have to respect the monstrous focus efficiency he brings. Full Throttle is a fantastic spell and synergises strongly with Abattoir, especially if he can live the dream and cast it multiple times. His feat is Vlad1’s feat that also hands out a focus to all jacks (effectively). which gives him an incredible offensive turn.
There’s a lot of noise on the internet asking for him to be nerfed. Whilst the general feeling in my community is that we’d like him dialled back, I want to treat him as a challenge to be overcome. He has weaknesses that similar lists (Mad Dogs, Slayer Spam, Vyros Griffons) haven’t had, most particularly about controlling his forces. I think most factions have responses they can bring to counter him through high powered guns, strong assassinations or powerful control effects. We’ve had many meta-benders before but the community have innovated solutions. Just ask Dan about his Saeryn1 list…
Quite a long post, so if you’ve made it this far thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed this one, I’ve got another Battle Report in the works which I intend to release soon.