Readers, Romans, I am a day late!
Let this dire portent settle upon you as we begin. Got it? Great! Comfy? Excellent. I spent my free hours yesterday playing with a damage simulator posted by Reik of Muse on Minis. It’s a nifty little excel sheet which runs calculations on average damage over a few identical attacks. It has an extra function where it calculates how likely you are to actually kill the model.
As a person who frequently falls short when primalled warpwolves need to kill heavies or Woldwraths don’t pound Angels into the ground, this is something I have been trying to figure out since very early in my Warmachine career.
How does this relate to today’s article which is supposedly about Morvahna2 assassinations? One thing she won’t be doing is making 3-4 identical attacks. You’ll have CRAs and lightning blasts and sunders spirits, oh my. You’ll remember, as I remind you, last week that I mentioned how she turns what you feel is a 30%er into a much better assassination. In fact, many reports mention the scales of fate spiking that kills their beloved caster. Intercessor Kreoss, R.I.P.
So I wanted to create a spreadsheet that would take the input of lots of data, so that we could compute the likelihood of an assassination run. It’s one thing to go, on average damage, I do this. My proposed function would simulate and calculate the likelihood of the assassination sticking if you pull the trigger. It’s a much bigger project than one days work though! Consider it in development.
The Coefficient of Murder approaches 1 mutha-flipper!
I’m Winning! I’m Winning, I-
-are assassinated. Not to mention possessed of a poor grasp of grammar and basic sportsmanship. Morvahna2 will change between 3 modes of play as the game rolls out. A good Morvahna player focuses on the avenue which is most likely to win the game. If it looks like you still have the steam to power through skinwalkers when they return, and you’re a point or two up, prepare for the trigger to be pulled. I’m going to continue under the assumption she can’t charge you.
Morvahna2 has a considerable assassination threat with just her feat and a destroyed Gallow’s Grove. She can kill it herself, so RFP is not a likely counter. It goes as follows: Morvahna moves up so she is probably within 12” of your caster. She’s speed 8, and often has shifting stones. So the range at which she can do this about 25” or so inches. I hope you’re in the opposite end of the Killbox. She will feat and place a Gallows Grove
in your casters back arc. It has come to my attention that you don’t get back strikes with the Groves because the Tree isn’t in the enemy’s back arc for Morvahna’s entire activation.
For Whom The Grove Tolls…
She will then do one of two things. She will surround your caster with small based models, and cast death knell, if she’s not worried about engaging you (you have def14, etc) this can add up to a large number of models. She’ll then cast death knell, boosting to hit with re-rolls. Can your caster survive a boosted pow 20? If you are base Def 16 or above your much safer, implying higher arm. Which is my problem with this method.
A less convoluted approach is to feat back the Gallows, and cast two sunder spirits. With 3 boosts to share out! Def 16 is the sweet spot for forcing two boosts to hit. Which is great thanks to scales! This spell assassination is obviously rarely going to kill a warlock on its own. Unlikely to kill a warcaster camping 2-4, or with a defensive buff, etc. It’s very reliably going to put damage on most casters, though which opens up any other assassination options.
But surely that buff can be purified? True. But that costs 3 focus, taking death knell mostly of the table, and meaning only one sunder spirit can land. If your caster was going to die to a single boosted pow 12 with a good roll, you were probably already damaged, squishy, or very unlucky.
Some rules of thumb: When planning against these runs, assume she hits. Can you survive two boosted pow 12s? Assumes they do 23 damage a pop. If you die you are in serious danger, Morvahna assassinations exceed on average dice rolls. My metric is that you want to still have 5+ health left on average. For an Arm 14 caster, that means camping 4! In general Arm 18 is the sweet spot, she’ll get ~10 on average, and thus need very good re-rolls to spike enough to kill you.
Obviously this means that an Arm buff, or indeed a Def buff on your caster can really take the teeth out if. It’s never a bad idea to have Junior cast arcane shield on Nemo, etc. While it’s still potentially on, so are many dice spiking situations against any caster. Most players won’t go for it unless it’s there only option. Good for you! Morv players usually have some options, even if they won’t win that player the game. See you’re lucky she’s great!
There’s gotta be a Bark pun here…
That’s where we want to start. The next ‘trick’ to watch out for is War Wolves! If at all possible, never be within walk and shoot range on two or more Reeves of Orboros. The Sic ‘Em allows War Wolves to charge a target hit by a Reeve of Orboros. The War Wolf will have boosted attack rolls, so this is deadly for casters. They also have gang fighter so once one is engaging you they will be Mat 8, Pow 13. Tactics to defend against this include putting models behind your warcaster, but not so close they will cause a big death knell. Blocking the possible charge lanes for the War Wolves can make it hard to execute, assuming your hanging back.
A simple, but very effective tactic is to give the reeves something to do. Either be shooting them yourself, or running at them with infantry. The infantry may die, but Reeves often hang as far back as Morvahna, get your caster opposite to them, and keep them occupied, and they simply won’t be able to get to you without moving forward to set up for a turn, at which point they can be killed. No reeves, no Sic ‘Em, they are the weak link. And most Morv players will aim for attrition, which again stresses Reeves staying way back.
This assassination angle is fatal to all but very resilient models. It can be deadly to warlocks camping 3 or less, easily combined with a pair of sunder spirits to make that a sure thing. It’s her most powerful assassination trick, and you need to be wary of it. Don’t rely on a wall! Reeves ignore cover, and the Gallows grove and wolves will often appear behind you.
Now a wall isn’t a bad thing, but its better to hang back, than walk behind a wall and be further up. Especially if they reeves deploy across from a wall. Shield guards are important. Stop the reeves shot, stop the wolves. However if 4 or more get a chance to shoot, they can CRA in to pairs. They do start at Rat 5, so even with re-rolls 2-mans miss casters, but you have to be aware of it. Reeves walk 6” and shoot 12”.
Purifiable defenses are less good against this angle aswell, as she is often happy to purify, hit you with one sunder and let the wolves finish you off. The best counter is stealth of course, but LoS blocking works, as does maintaining distance from the reeves. Terror can be massive against CMD 7 war wolves. The Reeve solo can also trigger Sic ‘Em, so be wary of his position, and kill him when you can. Be wary of camping enough to survive the gallows, and staying away from the reeves.
There may be other guns, bloodpack, woldwrath, wold watcher, but they work like any other high quality gun. If you keep safe, and hide they won’t get you. If they get a bead though, prepare as if they were +2 to hit, and +1 to damage and you’ll be okay.
Seriously, a tree then a wolf, there’s gotta be a Bark joke in there…
Cygnar: Arcane shield your caster! Be wary with Haley2 about spending all your focus to have a big feat turn, catch Morvahna while on 0 and you will die. Blur on Caine is very effective, though a spiked sunder spirit can roll 15 and one shot you! Or get 10 damage on him reliably followed by a re-rollable electro leap from the woldwrath. Big guns can keep her honest, but more on that later. Siege is in particular danger once foxhole and AS are purified, as he usually comes forward to feat, and reeves and sunder spirit will finish him off. She usually camps so much that I don’t like him in the match, even though he does remove skinwalkers very fast.
Khador: If you stationary the skinwalkers, you are very advantaged, and wind rush and tactical arcanist corps make it hard to get anything other than sunder spirit. However, if you force it, and the woldwrath can get within 10”, you are in huge mortal danger. Butchers are very resistant to the assassination, kill skins easily, and often themselves, and often cause terror checks to charging war wolves. Butcher3, in my opinions is very strong against Morvahna, as he threatens her regardless of her transfers, easily kills the skinwalkers himself any number of times, and IFP are happy to reduce them first time anyway, and if he has the feat two stalkers or a woldwrath are never safe.
Cryx: You’re fine! Ware ye no focus Denny’s, but Lich2 is a nightmare for her, and Terminus is proof from the assassinations. Blood witches rfp, as do Goreshade banes and Tartarus. RFP is not magic against her, but doing it anyway is really nice!
Menoth: I don’t like Harby vs. Morvahna, its very dangerous from an assassination standpoint. Devouts are huge, providing both a shield guard AND spell ward for your caster. Reznik is tough, terror, and can strip Morvahna’s camp letting one assaulting reckoner put her in her place. A big thing in the menoth matchup is that feated back war wolves, regular sic ’ems, big CRAs and woldwrath shots can really tear up reckoners, and even shield jacks with back arc charges. So you want passage on your jacks. But it then becomes difficult to shoot away the skinwalkers fast enough. Sev1 lets you passage and still have effective offensive output, he also lets you put an enormous amount of firepower into the woldwrath if she has it. No woldwrath tends to be much better for Menoth, but you still have to be careful. Play all heavy Arm Feora leaves you susceptible to jamming, but fairly safe from assassination. Again, the Devout is a godsend.
Circle: The mirror is a complicated topic that deserves its own article. I like her against Kromac, not against Kreuger2. Cassius is very interesting, the mirror depends on who has what models and Gator Witch Docs.
Skorne: Morvahna is excellent against Skorne. She strips their defense, the heavies are like Menoth heavies with no passage, the infantry are easy to kill with both skins and reeves. Rasheth is your strongest matchup, with carnivore Gators and lots and lots of beef. However, you are susceptible to magic attacks, and need to camp plenty, and your feat may be ineffective against a woldwrath, Croc Doc build. Xerxis tier with all the cataphract is also strong, and he’s quite hard to kill.
Legion: I like the woldwrath build of Morvahna against Legion. Lylyth2 can shoot the battle group of the table early and gun for Morvahna which is strong. Vayl has her own potent assassination, but can also be caught out at risk by Morvahna. It’s a delicate game. Usually played out with camping ‘locks and lots of back and forth attrition. Thags1 is not a bad drop, just because he’s excellent against other Circle and though reduced, not an auto lose against Morvahna, especially woldwrath builds. Saeryn is a delicate game based around whether you lose Angels early, and during the feat. She is often safe but like Vayl, no infantry can mean reeves walk towards her easily.
Trollbloods: An interesting matchup I haven’t gotten the hang off. Doomy is good against her, but also often vulnerable and behind a wall. Madrak2 is resilient, but she’s happy to play against Troll infantry most of the time. I’d love some feedback here.
Other: Lucant and many Convergence casters are very hard to assassinate. Lucant is virtually untouchable and an excellent counter when released. As for Mercs and Minions? I have virtually no experience and would love to hear more.
God himself didn’t have a bitchin’ goat.
Okay campers! I’m running long this week! Next week we’ll talk about the game that actually occurs unless you let her kill your caster! Implying that it’s your fault and not at all because she’s a bit bananas… >_>
-Eoin aka VagrantPoet
If a Gallows Grove is a Bark node does tha His Bark, is feated back with his bite 80%er? You better be-reeve it
If a Tree Falls behind your ‘Caster…