Set in stone

December 6, 2010

Captain Stompypants, Smasher of Hunger. He was going to be a one-off until I read the rules for Cassius the Oathkeeper.

It’s been another long lapse since the last post in this space. So when I received a request on Twitter to come up with a how-to for the sandstone I’m using for my burgeoning Circle Orboros army, I really couldn’t say no.

Out of the hundreds of minis I’ve painted, this really is one of my favorite color schemes. Very few of my armies follow the studio scheme; I’ve always gotta do something different. And Circle is no exception. No green or gray for me; sandstone and orange for the constructs, autumnal browns and oranges for forest/tree walkers. It’s a different palette for me and so far, it’s challenged me as a painter and forced me to come up with new ways to do things.

Since the one model I have in progress doesn’t have any stone work on it, I chose one of my resin bases for the tutorial. Four colors, one wash and about 5 minutes gets some pretty solid results.

Resin base, black primer

Basecoat the rock with Bloodstone. If you're painting a construct, you'll want to drybrush for a rougher, non-uniform look.

Drybrush the textured surface. You'll want to let the black primer shaded the recesses for you. Don't worry about being messy!

Drybrush everything with Gun Corps Brown. This is your first layer of highlight, so don't go too heavy. On a model with well-defined edges like a Wold Guardian, you'll want to make sure the highlights are visible, but not too heavy. Two more layers to go.

Drybrush with Moldy Ochre. Try not to completely cover the highlights you just did.

Final highlight: Menoth White Base. This should be your lightest, most well-defined edge.

Wash heavily with Citadel Ogryn Flesh wash. Yes, I realize this is a product from that “other company.” But since the wash is reddish, it's going to unify all four of those colors and blend everything together. We'll talk about other washes to use in a bit.

Final step: Paint the rim of the base black. Done!

If you didn’t want your stone to have a reddish hue, Citadel’s Gryphonne Sepia wash is a nice warm sepia (duh) tone. For a dirtier, grittier look, Devlan Mud is a fantastic wash that will dirty up the most pristine looking models. It’s actually what I washed all of my Cygnar with. We’ll have to revisit washes, inks and glazes in another installment. There are a lot of tips and tricks my buddies and I have discovered and they’re too good not to share.

As for the Circle force I’m working on, it’s mostly models that are a part of Cassius’ theme. I haven’t picked up everything I need to build it, so I had to substitute some models for painting purposes. The crew back in Boise is running a slow-grow painting league and I figured I’d paint along even though I won’t be able to get any league games in. If there’s one thing the 100-point painting challenge taught me, it’s the importance of structure and VERY attainable goals when painting an army.

So here’s what I’m working on for the next month or so:

Army Name: Circle SG 15
Circle Orboros
15+6 points, 12 models
Cassius the Oathkeeper  +6 points
* Wurmwood, Tree of Fate
* Gnarlhorn Satyr  8 points
Shifting Stones  2 points
* Stone Keeper  1 point
3 Warpborn Skinwalkers  5 points
Wolf Lord Morraig  5 points

The jump to 25 points will be an easy one — Megalith. He’ll be a good candidate for a step-by-step tutorial, assuming my train hasn’t jumped the tracks by then!

Wyatt, Doc, Virgil, Morgan and Stompypants. Still debating if the Shifting Stone crew will get fancy bases or not.

Wyatt. He regulated on some dwarves not too long ago. He should've killed more of the stunty bastards.

Doc? Is that you? Are you really gonna be my Huckleberry? Or is this Morgan or Virgil? Yeah, they all look alike...


Fair winds and following seas

May 22, 2010

I’m not sure what to say about the loss of a friend, an individual who was an enthusiastic volunteer I wanted to emulate when I joined the Press Gang. Or what to say about a man whose joy and passion about Warmachine and Hordes made me happy I accepted the job as Quartermaster.

We shared two common factions — Protectorate of Menoth and Trollbloods. Last year, we played Trolls together at the Invitational, the first time I met Matt Randy and got to know the beard behind the avatar. He rattled off tricks with Trolls I had never thought of, and couldn’t remember by the time I made it back to Boise after Theater of War Live. Both of us ran detachments — warlock-less forces led by a solo — and both of us had a blast. We told each other throughout the day that we didn’t need a warlock to run our armies, and we were right. We fought off a Cryxian invasion, made nice with Skorne and did what we could to keep our territories safe.

This year, we both brought Protectorate to the Invitational — the main difference being I was now on staff instead of flying in for the weekend. I got to met Larb’s Brother, a.k.a. Mike. I learned that despite having less facial hair, Mike was the elder of the two. And I liked him, despite the fact he played Cryx. 😉 We had exchanged several emails after he became a PG and I was looking forward to meeting him. I really liked the idea of two brothers being PGs having a good time at the Invitational. Matt was a return visitor, whereas last weekend’s festivities were the first for Mike.

I’m sad I didn’t spend more time with Matt, or get to see his converted Cleansers for his Reznik force. He had emailed me about getting his PG order early so he could put the models together and get them painted. I wrote back I wasn’t sure if the warehouse would have everything packed in time. But they did, and he got his models Thursday afternoon. He was excited about playing against Doug Seacat’s Circle force on a scenario table and I checked in on them a few times to see how the battle was going. Laughs and smiles on both sides of the table…

There’s so much more to say, but I can’t find the words. Matt will be greatly missed as a friend. I will miss his posts and insights and emails. I will miss his smile and his great big bushy beard — the beard so epic we decided it was the character and he was the attachment…

Now they’ve both gone epic.

Fair winds and followings seas and long may your big jib draw. Godspeed, Matt.

Peeps vs. pewter

April 1, 2010

Thanks to April Fool’s Day, Privateer Press introduced a new Hordes faction. In keeping with the spirit of the Uniherd and Rainbo, I proposed that Peeps be included as minions for this finest of new factions. And with a first warlock that looks like this, why not?

Rainbo's feat, Sparklepocalypse, will leave your foes crying for mercy.

However, PPS_Alex refuted my suggestion with the following:

Since you don’t understand….


Once, long ago — it was after the Before Time — at the Old New Place, the Privateer Press production department decided to celebrate the spring holidays of Easter and Ostara and whatsuch in a proper way for a band of buccaneers: with unspeakable violence. Thus, we decided to hold a contest between packing, casting, and moldmaking to see who could come up with the most gruesome Peep death, and install the savaged Peep corpses into shadow boxes for display.

Peeps were stabbed with X-acto knives. Peeps were smashed in (cold) vulcanizers. Peeps met many unfortunate fates. We in casting, though, looked upon this contest, and laughed. For, truly, what could the other teams bring that would even approach the Peep destroying fury of MOLTEN PEWTER. This was going to be a slam-dunk victory for us.

We received our sacrificial Peep, and gathered around a casting table. As the then-Caster Prime, it was my honor to unleash the burning melty death upon this hapless Peep. All leaned in, hungry with anticipation, as I drew forth a ladle of the hottest metal from the crucible, and poured it upon the doomed Peep.

The metal rolled off the Peep like the proverbial water off the duck. It lay there, unconcerned, unsinged, UNBROWNED as we stared in horror. Even another ladle full of pewter applied again accomplished little more, carmelizing a bit of its sugar coating, but certainly not breaching its yellow surface, to say nothing of the complete lack of Peep destruction. If you were to walk in upon that moment, it looked as though had done nothing more than pour the pewter upon the table, and rested the Peep atop it as it cooled, unfazed.

Fear the Peep, for it fears not the molten pewter.

Naturally, I needed to make some forum banners to celebrate the Sparklepocalypse and the indestructible nature of Peeps.

Check back in this space for Peeps Vivisection Theater, in which the difference between “normal” Peeps and chocolate-covered Peeps are compared. We’ll also attempt to see how Peeps deal with explosives. 🙂

Painting T-head

March 15, 2010

I love the Thunderhead.

I have loved that warjack since the first time I saw the artwork and I have loved it every time I put it on the board. (Well, except that one time T-head got pinned for 3 rounds by the (s)Crapjack, but we don’t talk about that.)

This is the second T-head I’ve painted up. The first one was right after it came out in Apotheosis, which was shortly after I started playing Warmachine back in 2005. I slaved over that model, spent countless hours on it, and at the time, it was the best ‘jack I had ever painted.

Then my painting skills improved and I hated the paint job. But it was one of those painting milestones and there was no way he was heading for the dip. Thus, Thunderhead Mk II was born — long before I knew Privateer Press was going to make Warmachine Mk II. This was the “improved” version of the ‘jack I imagined Nemo building after its fight at the Orgoth temple. He’d be bigger and better.

T-head Mk II had been assembled for maybe two years until I decided it was time to paint him. The opportunity arose thanks to Gdaybloke’s Go Big series over at Lost Hemisphere. Coincidentally, the article I wrote for over there went up today.

Enough talk. Here’s what I did.


Thunderhead with metallics inked and base colors blocked in.

I put the T-head on a metal base for added stability. As I’ve done with all of my Cygnar, I used black primer. Metals were dry brushed first — Cold Steel for the silvery bits and Vallejo Model Color Bronze for the non-silvery bits. Metals were wash with Citadel Gryphonne Sepia and Badab Black.

Non-metallics were blocked in with Citadel Foundation paints — Mordian Blue, Iyanden Darksun and Astronimicon Grey. The biggest thing with the foundations is they are *very* thick and can leave brush lines if you’re not careful. A smooth primer coat is important if you’re putting down foundations. Applying the foundations in thin layers seems to work the best for me. Then again, I tend to lay down several thin layers rather than a single thick coat. It’s a tough lesson to learn.

Punchy fist! Note the extra coils on the shoulder.

Part of what makes him “Mk II” are the extra coils I added to each shoulder. Looks cool, but man, what a pain in the ass to paint.

Baby got back! Lots of bronze on those coils.

I wish I could remember what I used to block in the coils — it might have been a foundation like Fenris Grey, or it might be Arcane Blue with a wash. That’s what I get for not taking notes.

I mention “blocking in” — for me, this is mapping out the model so I have a sense of direction and I’m not sitting and staring at it when I should be layering highlights or some such. I know of other painters who start from the inside and work out, or others who paint their favorite parts first. I’ve tried that, and it doesn’t work for me. I like a little bit more order to my chaos. Once I have a model blocked out, I can start thinking a few steps ahead about which parts get inked/washed, shading, highlighting and final detailing. For a character or large model, this is a big deal.

The other reason I do it this way is if I make a mistake, I don’t have to back track as far, at least in theory. If I’ve highlighted the coils and got them where I want them and I’m inking metals and it bleeds over my highlights, chances are that model is going to be airborne because I was an idiot. Thus, a game plan so models and painters don’t get harmed. 😉

thunderhead mod

Pistons? We don't need no steenkin' pistons!

One of the other things that makes my T-head Mk II is the addition of hydraulics instead of pistons. The real reason? I effed up converting the pistons since I have ‘jack turned farther than the studio sculpt. Nothing like some old bass guitar strings cut to fix my modeling miscue.

thunderhead mod

Punchy fist — with paint!

I call my Cygnar the Electric Blues because they’re brighter than the studio scheme. I use Vallejo Game Color Magic Blue as my main color. Biggest difference from when I started is that this was my first real attempt with shading. Normally, it’s a wash, highlight with the basecoat color and another highlight — if that. Since the Magic Blue is a shade or two brighter than Cygnar Blue Highlight, I used Cygnar Blue Base to shade in the recesses, rivets and any place there might be a line. Then I layered Magic Blue over it and did a final highlight with a mix of Magic Blue and VMC Deep Blue.

Whites were done in Menoth White Base, Gryphonne Sepia wash and highlighted back out with MWB. Final highlight was with Menoth White Highlight. Yellow started with Hearfire and thin layers of Cygnus Yellow to give it the gradient effect.

thunderhead mod

Measuring for that punch in the facehole.

Coils were done mostly to the studio scheme, though my Turquoise ink is diluted with Future Floor Wax and not water. I got really impatient highlighting these — it was near the end — but I know I can go back and clean up at a later date. Arcane Blue, turquoise ink, Arcane Blue, AB mixed with MWH and final highlight with MWH. Tedious and I lost patience. 😛

nemo enemo thunderhead

My favorite Cygnar casters with my favorite 'jack.

Overall, I’m happy with how the ‘jack turned out. There are some very annoying mold lines on the tops of the coils on T-head’s wrists that I didn’t file off before the primer coat. So it’s not as perfect as I’d like it to be. Still, it’ll go into the foam and be ready to go whenever I field my Cygnar, whenever that is. 😛

What’s that do?? Trollbloods and Cygnar

March 10, 2010

As mentioned at Lost Hemisphere, MenothJohn came up with the idea of letting his 6-year-old son pick out an army for him to play. The members of our emailing group grabbed the idea and ran with it like a Dire Troll Mauler running home for dinner.

The idea of having non-gamers pick out an army to play with is novel and challenging; it’s been suggested I have my mom pick out a list for me. I’ve got some friends on Facebook who will get asked, not the least of which is one-eyed cat named Grommitt (totally serious about this :)). There’s also Brotherscott’s soon-to-be 7-year-old niece, who has known about our “models” and “toys” since we’ve been playing.

Here are the rules, and the goodies:

  • The list must total 25 pts.
  • The list must have one leader model. Leader models are actually worth negative points, so will add to the total value. These points, if spent, must be spent on robots.
  • The list should have (but is not required to have) at least one or two robot dudes.
  • Some units have a split cost (eg, 6/10). These units can come in one of two size; the smaller group costs the lower amount, the larger group costs the higher amount.


Noble Savages, the Trollbloods are a species of large, noseless humanoids that combine a significant splash of Celtic flavour, a sprinkle of Native American and just a hint of  Nordic seasoning. A tragic people forced out of their own lands by expanding “civilisation” and under assault on all sides by things even wilder than they are, the Trollbloods hit back with the raw unchecked power of full-blood Trolls and the united strength of their clans (kriels) as they struggle to reclaim their lands in the face of the treachery of mankind.

-5 Borka Kegslayer – A wintery shaman devoted to beer and the love of battle
-5 Calandra Truthsayer, Oracle of Glimmerwood – Gypsy queen with more booty than a pirate fleet
-6 Grim Angus – Hunter, tracker, sniper. If you spot him, chances are you’re already in his sights.
-5 Grissel Bloodsong, Fell Caller – Xena: Warrior Princess meets Celine Dion and adds a dirty great hammer.
-7 Hoarluk Doomshaper, Shaman of the Gnarls – Grumpy old human-hating shaman who thwarts magic
-6 Hoarluk Doomshaper, Rage of Dhunia – Grumpy old human-hating shaman who really likes dire trolls
-6  Madrak Ironhide, Thornwood Chieftain – Unifying leader of the kriels with a cursed axe
-5 Madrak Ironhide, World Ender – Unifying leader of the kriels destined to either save his people or end the world

Big beasts:
9  Dire Troll Blitzer – Hulking monstrosity with a midget and a machine gun on its back
9  Dire Troll Mauler – Hulking monstrosity that pulls arms off and eats them
10 Earthborn Dire Troll – Hulking monstrosity that takes on properties of the surrounding terrain
12 Mulg the Ancient – A walking rune-carved mountain with a tree as a club

Small beasts:
4  Pyre Troll – A troll with burning fists that spits napalm
6  Slag Troll – A troll with corrodes (and eats) metals it comes into contact with
6  Troll Axer – A troll swinging a huge axe
5  Troll Bouncer – An armoured troll that shoves things around
5  Troll Impaler – A troll lobbing 10′ long spears
5  Winter Troll – A troll that freezes opponents with its breath

4/6 Kriel Warriors – The grunts of the kriels
1  – Caber Thrower – A grunt holding a 9′ tall stone collumn to drop on foes
2  – Piper & Standard – Make the Kriel Warriors better
3/4 Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes – One guy carrying a magic rock, and his attendants
1  – Stone Scribe Elder – A veteran attendant who’s worked out how to get more out of the rock
4/6 Pyg Burrowers – Midgets with shovels who dig under the battlefield, pop up and yell “Surprise!”
5/8 Pyg Bushwhackers – Midgets with rifles
3  Thumper Crew – A cannon that slams targets away
6/10    Trollkin Champions – Veteran warriors with thick armour and two weapons each
5/8 Trollkin Fellblades – Specialised anti-cavalry warriors with really long swords
7/11    Trollkin Long Riders – Trollblood warriors riding bison
4  Trollkin Runeshapers – Earth shamans slinging rocks everywhere
5/8 Trollkin Scattergunners – Warriors with blunderbusses

3  Fell Caller Hero – Tom Jones with a pair of swords
5  Horthol, Long Rider Champion – A veteran bison rider who inspires his pals
2  Stone Scribe Chronicler – Reads stories in the battlefield to inspire the troops
2  Troll Whelps – Chopped-off bits of fullblood Troll that have regenerated into autonomous minitrolls
3  Trollkin Champion Hero – An even more veteran veteran warrior


This faction is Cygnar, the crown jewel of the Iron Kingdoms. They’re technologically advanced and their army fights with a combination of magic and science. They can harness the power of lightning to zap their foes and they try to be just and right — Cygnar is what passes for “good guys” in the game world, but they’re bastards just like everyone else. Just with official army ranks and such.

-5 Maj. Markus “Siege” Brisbane – He’s got a big hammer. He’s the Samuel L. Jackson of the Iron Kingdoms.
-6 Lt. Allister Caine – Gunslinging wizard with a bad attitude and a love of fine drink.
-5 Capt. Allister Caine – Gunslinging wizard with a bad attitude and a love of fine drink — recently promoted.
-5 Capt. E. Dominic Darius – Master mechanic in a big metal suit.
-5 Capt. Vicoria Haley – Young up-and-coming wizard with powerful magic.
-5 Maj. Victoria Haley – More powerful and seasoned wizard.
-6 Capt. Jeremiah Kraye – Wizard on horseback who likes his robots.
-6 Commander Adept Nemo – Inventive wizard who likes electricity.
-6 General Adept Nemo – Grizzled and inventive wizard who likes electricity.
-6 Capt. Kara Sloan – Annie Oakley in wizard form.
-6 Commander Coleman Stryker – Arrogant army commander who likes to knock things down.
-6 Lord Commander Coleman Stryker – Arrogant army commander who inspires his dudes.

Smaller robots:
4 Charger – Smaller robot with a hammer and gun that can shoot twice.
5 Firefly – Smaller robot with a poky stick and gun that shoots lightning.
5 Grenadier – Smaller robot with a pick axe and grenade launcher.
6 Hunter – Smaller robot with armor-piercing gun.
6 Lancer – Smaller robot with poky stick and shield that leaders can cast spells through.
4 Sentinel – Smaller robot with big shield and gatling gun.
8 Thorn – A character Lancer with bigger spear and shield.

Big robots: (much bigger than humans)
9 Centurion – Big robot with large poky stick and shield that keeps enemies away.
9 Cyclone – Big robot with a gatling gun on each arm.
9 Defender –  Big robot with a cannon on one arm and big hammer on the other.
8 Hammersmith – Big robot with two smashy hammers.
7 Ironclad – Big robot with a smashy hammer.
10 Stormclad – Big robot with an electrical sword, makes Stormblades better.
9 Ol’ Rowdy – Character Ironclad that can attack its foes first.
12 Thunderhead – Special robot that zaps lightning at everything.

6 Arcane Tempest Gun Mages – Six gun-toting wizards with magic bullets.
2 Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer – Helps gun-toting wizards shoot better.
6/10 Long Gunner Infantry – Basic troops with long rifles, groups of 6 or 10.
2 Long Gunner Infantry Officer & Standard – Makes Long Gunners better.
5/8 Precursor Knights – Holy knights who can’t be attacked with magic, groups of 6 0r 10.
2 Precursor Knight Officer & Standard – Makes Precusor Knights betteer.
5 Rangers – Group of 6 dudes who can scout the enemy.
7/11 Storm Lances – Cavalry with electrical lances. Groups of 3 or 5.
5 Stormblade Infantry – Heavily armored dudes with big electrical swords. Group of 6.
3 Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard – Makes Stormblades better.
1 Stormblade Infantry Gunner – Stormblade with a big electrical cannon.
6/9 Stormguard – Heavily armored dudes with electrical pole arms, group of 6 or 10.
4/6 Sword Knights – Knights who are good at attacking robots, group of 6 or 10.
2 Sword Knight Officer & Standard – Makes Sword Knights better.
6/10 Trencher Infantry – Soldiers who can dig fox holes and shoot, group of 6 or 10.
3 Trencher Infantry Officer & Sniper – Makes Trenchers better.
3 Trencher Cannon Crew – Cannon that blasts enemies from afar.
2 Trencher Chain Gun Crew – Big gatling gun manned by Trenchers.
6/10 Trencher Commandos – Stealthy dudes with guns, knives and grenades, group of 6 or 10
1 Trencher Commander Scattergunner – Hangs out with Trencher Commandos, has a shotgun.
1 Trencher Infantry Rifle Grenadier – Hangs out with Trenchers, has grenade launcher.
2/3 Field Mechaniks – Mechanic and his helpers fix robots, group of 4 or 6.
4 Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team – Group of three character gun-toting wizards.

2 Gun Mage Captain Adept – Gun-toting wizard who runs off on his own.
3 Journeyman Warcaster – Leader in training, can also control robots; accident prone.
1 Stormsmith Stormcaller – Wizard who calls down lightning to zap enemies.
2 Stormsmith Storm Tower – Wizard with a helper who shoots lightning at his foes.
2 Squire – Brave Little Toaster that helps leaders.
2 Trencher Master Gunner – Helps Trenchers.
3 Capt. Maxwell Finn – Inspires Trenchers and makes them better.
5 Maj. Katherine Laddermore – Cavalry leader, makes Storm Lances better, can fight if she gets knocked off her horse.
2 Capt. Arlan Strangeways – Master mechanik, can make robots better.

Lending a hand

February 24, 2010

A friend posted a link on Facebook late Tuesday night that reminded me why I love the Warmachine/Privateer Press community.

I’ve met several people through the Intarblagnet I consider good friends as a result of Warmachine and Privateer Press — I’ve met some of you in person and still need to meet the rest of you. My standing as a member of the Press Gang and my ability to travel last year allowed me to meet some of the fantastic folks at Privateer Press who make the game many of us love.

Chris Walton didn’t ask me to write this post, he won’t know it exists until I send him the link. Tuesday night, he posted a link to his deviantART journal explaining a near-tragic event for his girlfriend’s two cats. Read his journal, and then go bid on this:

Not Everyone Dies by Chris Walton

"Not Everyone Dies" — original artwork by Chris Walton from No Quarter Magazine #28.

Link to the auction is here.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of Chris’ original work up close and personal. He does a fantastic job, and the art he did for the Butcher story is stunning.

I know that I have a special place in my heart for Chris after he donated the artwork for the Breast Cancer Brawl: Boise T-shirts and sent several pieces of concept art for us to use as prizes.

If you’re able, bid on the artwork. If you can’t, you can donate directly to the cause via Paypal by sending money to sizzlesays at gmail dot com.

Thanks for reading.

Against the odds

January 29, 2010

In his eyes I see the glory of our house reborn. He will carve a path by blade’s edge to our proper destiny.
— Consul Caelcyr Nyarr

Retribution cover by Andrea Uderzo

Do not displease the Dawnlord.

Dawnlord Vyros Nyarr was displeased with his scouts. A small Cryxian force lay in his path, thus slowing his advance. The news in and of itself wasn’t troubling; the fact his scouts had failed to accurately report the amount of filth accompanying that Warwitch Deneghra drew his ire. But Vyros had no time to discipline the Mage Hunter Strike Force. He had to act while initiative was his. The Strike Force was sent back to Ravyn, shamed without knowing why.

The Dawnlord ordered the Houseguard Halberdiers to take the front rank; they were closely followed by Dawnguard Invictors — a mainstay in any force Vyros led. With the red-tailed hawk Jyren on his arm, Vyros took his place behind the Invictors. He prodded Hylos, his Phoenix, to stand ready on his right. A Mage Hunter Assassin named Pryn covered the right flank.

Quickly, Vyros expanded his perspective through his hawk’s eyes. He saw the Warwitch at the rear of her battlegroup. Mechanithralls spread out in front of Deneghra, three bonejacks interspersed through their ranks. Bloated sacks on legs — bile thralls — waddled just outside of a wooded glen. A Seether Helljack was lined up opposite his heavy myrmidon. A shimmer on the left and right flanks alerted him to the presence of incorporeal beings. Pistol Wraiths, he thought.

Vyros smiled grimly. “These foul beings will not forestall our advance. Talons of Dawn, stand ready!”


It’s been several months since I’ve played with Dawnlord Vyros. I played him once after trying out Kaelyssa, then went back to Kaelyssa. Once I got my fill of Little Miss Phantom Hunter, it was off to learn Ravyn with a brief flirtation with Rahn.

I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on Ravyn despite being on a wicked losing streak, thanks to regular sparring partner, Dangerfish. There’s definitely something to be said about learning from your mistakes. In this case, I think it was a matter of me playing the same caster for well over a month and he got wise to my tricks.

Thursday night marked my return to Vyros, leader of the Dawnguard and the dude who went toe-to-toe with Goreshade when he went all Eldritch on his elven brethren.

Much like Kaelyssa, Vyros has some tricks that make his battle group shoot just about anything in range. Of course, I took one ’jack in tonight’s game since we were playing 25 points. At least I ran 25 points.

Here’s what I ran:

Army Name: Vryos
Retribution of Scyrah
31/31 points, 25 models
Dawnlord Vyros 6 points
* Phoenix 10 points
10 Dawnguard Invictors 10 points
* Invictor Officer & Standard 2 points
10 Houseguard Halberdiers 7 points
Mage Hunter Assassin 2 points

Dangerfish is not a cheater. iBodger proved to be his foil Thursday night; he named his list “Denny 25”. Only thing is, the 35-point army was selected when he made his list. No biggie; just helps my respect for Vyros and the Dawnguard grow that much more.

Mike ended up running:

40/40 points, 24 models
Warwitch Deneghra 5 points
* Deathripper 4 points
* Defiler 5 points
* Nightwretch 4 points
* Seether 9 points
* Skarlock Thrall 2 points
6 Bile Thralls 5 points
10 Mechanithralls 5 points
2x Pistol Wraith 3 points each

Oh, and did I mention the Cryx was fully painted and gorgeous and that this was his first time running the army? Yeah.

Back when I first started playing Warmachine nearly 5 years ago, I played a lot of games against Cryx. Not so much in recent years — as much of an aversion toward some of the folks who ran the undead as the cheeky shenanigans they could pull off. But having faced Denny enough in the past, I knew the arc nodes had to die, and die fast.

After advancing the entire army, the Invictors popped Extended Fire to give them RNG 14. Two groups unleashed combined range attacks — a 6-man CRA (POW 18) knocked out all but movement and the arc node on one of the bonejacks. A 5-man CRA put a decent amount of damage on another bonejack.

Then there was all kinds of Cryx in my face. A Ghost Walked Seether charged Hylos, but very little damage got past the force field. Mechanithralls punched holes in the Halberdiers’ shield wall and the Bile Thralls trundled through the forest. Pistol Wraiths advanced and harassed things.

Concept art by Chris Walton

There was a delicious charge lane for Vyros to hammer the Seether. It was too good to pass up; didn’t want The Dawnlord angry. MAT 8 means he isn’t missing much — though I forgot about the +2 to hit from flank. I didn’t forget about the extra die and rolled POW14 + 4d6 on the charge. The was without movement and I think an arm after the first swing. I paid for another attack and rolled triple 6s to box the Helljack.

Still, at this point, I had no idea I was playing behind points wise. I just knew I didn’t need a Seether tromping through my lines.

Long story short, I lost the game. I didn’t shut down the arc nodes and I didn’t engage the Bile Thralls to keep them from purging. A 35-point incarnation of this list geared toward fighting Cryx would have added a full unit of Dawnguard Sentinels, Soulless and the Phoenix would’ve been swapped for a Manticore. As it stands, I think the list would have been solid against Cygnar.

Vyros is easily the Retribution’s best ’jack caster. Bird’s Eye affords everything in his battlegroup 360° front arcs; on top of that, when determining LOS, models ignore cloud effects, forest terrain and intervening models. Neat.

His feat, Perfect Execution, rewards the player who brings ’jacks to play: “While in Vyros’ control area this turn, when a friendly Faction model destroys an enemy model with an attack, allocate 1 focus point to a warjack in Vyros’ battlegroup in his control area.” Keyword here kids is allocate. You can’t exceed a ’jack’s focus stat from the feat. It’s still nifty if you want Vyros to hang onto his focus for some reason.

The Dawnlord has a short spell list, but it’s go decent support for ’jacks and troops.

  • Inviolable Resolve — Straight out of eKreoss’ playbook, this spell is awesome on shield wall units like the Houseguard Halberdiers. ARM 20 plus Fearless is nice, especially facing Cryx.
  • Mobility — Loved this spell with Amon, I need to cast it early and upkeep it. The +2 SPD it gives SPD 5 Vyros increases his thread range from 10″ on the charge to 12″ and gives models in his battlegroup Pathfinder. That means Hylos would’ve had an effective threat range of 14″ on the charge. Not bad for a heavy.
  • Hallowed Avenger — Yes, another PoM spell. I put it on the Phoenix for a turn but didn’t charge after a Halberdier was destroyed within 5″; he was engaged and I couldn’t remember if I’d have to incur a freestrike or not. Besides, he was where I needed him to be.
  • Eliminator — This is a brutal spell that bears some testing. “Immediately after this attack is resolved, this model can advance up to 2″ for each enemy destroyed by the attack.” It’s POW 13, AOE 3… I think it could have been useful at thinning out some of the Mechanithralls. Proper use can get Vyros set up for an assassination run in Turn 3, methinks…

Overall, my impressions of Vyros are favorable. I’m really getting excited about Dawnguard again — they’re just solid. They’re the elite of the Retribution and they play like it. I’ve been on a kick with the Halberdiers since I picked them up and now I want to put Sentinels back on the table. I’m also entertaining thoughts of a second Phoenix.

Hey, I’ve got a birthday coming up. 😉

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