I had a notion to give pSorscha another go:
Alexia & the Risen
Aiyana & Holt
Beanpole ran Makeda again:
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)
Beanpole won the roll and chose to go first. I picked the side with the forest in the zone. He chose Arcane Wonder and I chose Fuel Cache.
He put the Nihilators on my left with the Drake and the Incendiarii behind them. The Immortals went on my right with Hakaar and the Krea.
I wanted Sorscha right in the center for maximum feat potential. I wanted the Nyss to stay central, so I spread them amongst my front line. Alexia was the "second wave". I do not know why both my jacks went on the left, I think it was in response to Tiberion's position. I put the Cutthroats on the left since I didn't think they'd do much against the Immortals.
He moved forwards, spreading out his infantry.
I advanced cautiously, trying not to leave myself too exposed. Interesting fact: it seems you can't target (and therefore can't charge) objectives until scoring starts. The Nyss hid behind the forest and the Cutthroats half-heartedly tried to jam the Nihilators.
Makeda feated, cast Carnage, and camped 2 Fury behind a line-of-sight blocking wall of models to protect her from the feat. Incendiarii cleared out my jamming Cutthroats (not sure if we remembered that they had Stealth), allowing the Nihilators to charge my lines and kill some stuff. The Immortals walked forwards 13" (Savagery + Press Forwards + 2 from whatever Hakaar has) to kill Holt and a couple of Nyss. Marketh cycled Defender's Ward onto the Immortals.
So... I saw a potential assassination. I knew it was a bad idea before I even thought of it, but... I went for it anyway. Damn you young Sorscha, with your seductive siren-song of assassination! Alexia dropped a bunch of Thralls to get backstrike attacks to clear out some of the jam. Aiyana tried to Kiss an Immortal, but whiffed. Reinholdt gave Sorscha some delicious sugary cereal, while Sylyss just ran forwards a bit so she wouldn't leave him behind.
Preparations complete, Sorscha Windrushed around the Decimator then walked forwards, taking 5 damage from a couple of freestrikes. I cold have walked around the Decimator then Windrushed forwards to avoid it, but I hadn't been sure of my distance and thought I might have to charge something to make range. Finally Sorscha feated, freezing a bunch of stuff, and cast Tempest at the Incendiarii in front of Makeda. This killed the Incendiarii, knocked down Makeda and the Krea, and did 5 damage to Makeda herself. Stupidly I used the Lucky Charms on the attack roll (I did NOT want to roll 2s), instead of saving it for the damage roll on Makeda. Finally Sorscha took an unboosted handcanon shot, doing another 5 damage.
The Spriggan killed a non-frozen Nihilator with a lucky 7. The Risen killed a couple of Nihilators and whiffed on the Immortal (which might have been a big deal as it turned out), the Alexia crafted a Thrall and charged him into Makeda; I figured there was slightly more damage potential and slightly less chance of missing. He did another 5 damage, which Makeda transferred to the Krea.
Koldun Lord gave the Decimator a point of focus. The Decimator then walked as far forwards as he could to try to get into range of Makeda, but by measuring my control area I estimated that he was at 11". I might have been able to beat-back into range and get her with my second shot, but I had forgotten that the Immortal I was standing next to (the one that the Risen had failed to kill) was not frozen, so I couldn't shoot anything and I wasn't even close enough to try to kill the immortal. So that was a huge waste.
The Cutthroats activated; Croe tried to shoot at Makeda but I just couldn't quite draw line of sight around the Thrall I had sent at her, so that was a wash. Sigh. Another Cutthroat was out of range, and the last one did a few points of damage.
Finally it was the Nyss Hunters' turn. I used Zephyr to try to move them forwards without taking free strikes, but I just couldn't get line of sight with most of them. By the time I had taken my final shot, Makeda was down to just one box and no transfers.
Makeda side-stepped off the Thrall to get out of Alexia's Arcane Disjunction range, while keeping Sorscha in range of Carnage. Feated-back Nihilators killed some stuff. The Drake rolled some hot dice and killed Sorscha with a perfect damage roll on a spray before Tiberion could even activate.
The thing about Sorscha is that, between her feat, spells, and mobility, she's good at creating assassination opportunities, and I haven't been able to resist going for them even when I know that they aren't good odds.
I've noticed recently that I seem to do much better in games when I go first; I don't know if it's my army specifically or just my playstyle, but when I go second the distances just feel all wrong to me. Plus it hurts my scenario game a lot. Because of this, I decided that I would aim to go second this game if I won the roll, to get the practice in. I think that needs to be my goal for a bit: try to figure out why going second is so bad for me and how to deal with it.
I clearly misjudged his threat range on the second turn, losing more than half my Cutthroats to Nihilators and Incendiarii. SPD 4 models that can walk 13" and have reach are just ridiculous; it's funny to think how much longer their melee threat range is than my SPD 7 Nyss Hunters; losing Holt was annoying, though I'm not sure I could have done as much with him as I would have liked even if I hadn't lost him since I was so jammed in.
I said that Makeda was left with just one box and no transfers, but it wasn't actually as close as it sounded; Beanpole was a little bit unlucky with his choice of damage rolls to transfer, but if I had rolled higher damage rolls he might actually have ended the turn in better shape because he could have transferred the right attacks, if that makes sense. On the other hand, if the Decimator had been able to get a shot in I'm pretty sure I would have won (only just though; his last transfer was for a single damage box, which would have been just enough to kill Makeda if he'd had to burn the transfer on a Decimator shot). Shame I didn't bring the Destroyer instead.
Makeda's feat kinda counter's Sorscha's somewhat; if I kill any living models they aren't frozen next turn and can pop up in annoying places, so I kind of end up not wanting to kill the models that I've frozen. What I probably should have done was focus on freezing and killing Immortals (Aiyana wouldn't have missed if I had frozen them first), and simply left the Nihilators for a turn, then switched my attention to them later. I might have needed to feed Tibbers a warjack to keep him busy or something. Eh, I still just can't see the positions in my head; my army just turned into such a messy jam.
Why doest he Khador counter pack come with only six stationary tokens? Does PP not know what Sorscha's feat does? It's quite easy to freeze twenty models or more on her feat turn. I pulled out some more tokens to use, but decided it wasn't worth the effort of handing them out since Sorscha couldn't move after feating. I know, lazy and careless, and it did prove to be a bit of an annoyance.
I just took for granted before that when replacing a Risen with a Thrall I can face the Thrall in any direction that I want, but it occurs to me now that might not be the case; I need to look into this, because I had placed all my forward Risen facing away from Makeda, so charging her with the Thrall might actually have been an illegal move. I've probably done this before without thinking about it.
I really think I would have done better with eSorscha; I could have jammed the Immortals with Iron Fleshed Nyss and frozen the Nihilators with Freezing Grip then taken (some of) them off the table with Shatterstorm on the Cutthroats (with a little intelligence and an Arcane Wonder it might even be possible to swap Shatterstorm around to get more RFP attacks on them). The older, wiser Sorscha just seems to play better for me I think; at least I feel happier with her tools than the younger version's.