There is no glory in practice, but without practice, there is no glory.
Well, I managed to sneak a 75 point game on Spread the Net vs Rory's Gastone Crosse2 at Atomic Games West. I'm using a weird Old Witch 3 build. Rory is a great local player, and possibly the best list maker I know. I'm trying to practice for Champions and haven't had a chance to see Gastone till today.
Let's get into the lists, and I'll explain my opening thoughts. Now is as good of a time as any to declare I am running 1 proxy. The old witch is getting some conversion love, so the giant empty base is her.
Mercenary Army - 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Llaelese Resistance
(Crosse 2) Lieutenant Crosse, Resistance Fighter [+29]
- Rover  X2
- Talon  X2
- Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator [0(4)]
Eilish Garrity, the Occultist [0(5)]
Major Harrison Gibbs 
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord 
Taryn di la Rovissi, Llaelese Gun Mage [0(5)]
Sword Knights (max) 
- Sword Knight Officer & Standard 
Sword Knights (max) 
Thorn Gun Mages  X2
Theme: Bump in the Night
3 / 3 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army
Zevanna Agha, The Fate Keeper - WB: +27
- Cage Rager - PC: 14
- Frightmare - PC: 9
- Gorehound - PC: 6
Eilish Garrity, the Occultist - PC: 0
Lord Longfellow - PC: 0
Glimmer Imp - PC: 0
Dread Rots - Leader & 9 Grunts: 12
Mad Caps - Boss & 2 Grunts: 4
Hollowmen - Leader & 9 Grunts: 13
- Lantern Man - PC: 3
Murder Crows - Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
Neigh Slayers - Leader & 4 Grunts: 12 X2
Okay Gastone Crosse himself has a few really cool abilities. He gets souls if he kills people. He also has an upkeep spell, Lifebound which grants a unit Shield Guard. In addition if a model with Lifebound on it is killed by an enemy attack, Gastone gets the soul. So what does Gastone Crosse do with these souls? For starters he can spend one to get +3 def, bringing him to def 18. That's certainly annoying. While he has a soul on him, he rolls an additional die for attack and damage rolls discarding the lowest. Helps him do work for sure! The piece de resistance is that he can remove 3 soul tokens to make his gun, Soul Reaver ROF4 and boost all the attack and damage rolls. So it's a rat 6 caster shooting a rng 12 rof4 pow 12 magical gun with 4 dice to hit and dmg dropping the lowest. Basically he can get a ton of work done himself, and I need to respect that.
I think my list matches up well. Windstorm helps to calm Gastone Crosse down a little. I know that Gastone Crosse is SPD 6 range 12 with Firegroup to get to range 14. Basically he's got a 20 inch threat with his gun, or 15 with Windstorm. Pow 12's don't normally scare OW3, but his ability to shoot me "through" the forrest in the middle of this board with basic impunity has me worried. At dice minus 7 I shouldn't die to his 4 ROF burst into me if I have a transfer, but I won't be happy and I'd be hard pressed to live through future rounds.
I win the roll and want to go first. I want to ambush my Crows early, and I want OW to be in place with Windstorm. The table is pretty symmetrical (boo) but Rory takes the side he prefers. I deploy with the old witch slightly off center so I don't get "stuck" on that wall. The Rots will go up and ensure the Mad Caps can keep making scoring cask imps for me. Hollowmen up the middle and Neigh Slayers should control the right side of the board. Prey goes on the Sword Knights closest to the board edge after deployment, and we start it off.
Grymkin Turn 1
I run up as far as I can. Ow3 puts up windstorm, extends her control range, tosses respawn on the Cage Rager, and charges forward. I try to keep all my beasts safe. The Gorehound is going to have to tap my "rectangle zone" in case the Frighmare has to go cover the other side. The more I play this list the more I want one more beast. I'm tempted to drop the Murder Crows for another Frightmare...thoughts?
Mercs Turn 1
Lifebound goes up on the sword knights to the right, Dauntless Resolve on the ones on the right. Gastone is in the rubble with Taryn, and the Thorns are all hanging pretty far back. Both Rovers provide Gastone Crossewith shieldguards, and he has the talons set to run/charge anything they can next turn.
Grymkin Turn 2
Well we're going to ambush. I'm not counting on the Crows killing many, but hopefully it will slow down that flank and give me enough time to collapse the other. The Crows end up killing 2 which is slightly less than I was expecting.
In the middle the Hollowmen come up and kill 4 in the Lifebound unit of Sword Knights. It's almost like he wants me to kill them... (Note I totally space that Blood-Bound denies souls and corpses. This would have made the game a lot easier!) OW3 stays out of 15 knowing Gastone is going to be super charged. She extends her control range and windstorms. Due to her playing back a bit I know I'm not going to get as much value from Windstorm as I normally like. I run the Cage Rager up a bit, I feel safe as only one Sword Knight and a Talon can charge him...
A few Neigh Slayers run into the sword knights remaining on the right. The others are positioned to kill anything that comes into me. The Gorehound moves up to charge anything that ends on the flag, but for some reason ends outside of my zone (stupid mistake). On the left the Madcaps start making Cask Imps and make sure one is on the flag.
Mercs Turn 2
He starts measuring and I think I goofed. With Ragman advancing, then repositioning from Gibbs he can get a Talon with Death Field (dark shroud) onto the Cage Rager. He goes ahead and does this hurting it solidly, then Gastone Crosse goes, feats, spends his soul stack and leaves the Cage Rager on 2 boxes. He Repo's the back of the middle zone.
On the left the Sword Knights and Thorn make short work of the Murder Crows. On the right Rhupert pipes tough and the sword knights start killing Hollowmen to clear out the center zone. A talon accompanies them and is able to clear the zone. Eilish ends up on the flag.
Mercs score 3 Grymkin scores 1 (why did I put the gorehound there?)
Grymkin Turn 3
I'm mad at myself for a few positioning faux pas. The Gorehound cost me a point. The Neigh Slayers I was too passive with and can't really do much this turn. They could easily have been further up, out of Thorn Gun Mage range but way more in the game. I need to score to alleviate some pressure from myself, and ensure that a grind attrition game is viable.
Hollowmen apparate and make some room. OW3 comes up, engages the talon and Sword Knight. I feat, miss with my crow shot twice. I heal the Cage Rager to functioning, bring back a few Neigh's and swing on the sword knight. I manage to kill one, I spring back for free taking a talon free strike, and put up windstorm. I really wanted the Carrion out there but thats ok.
The Cage Rager comes and kills the talon and the Sword Knight grabbing a corpse. LongFellow runs out of the way, Eilish comes up and unbinding's LifeBound off of the other Sword Knights. Hollowmen are able to kill most of the Sword Knights now, and bolster their numbers back up. The Gorehound kills Rory's Eilish, and sprints back to toe the zone. The Neigh Slayers finish the Knights, smack the Talon and end up where they should have been last turn. One Neigh is up far enough to contest Rory's flag so he has to deal with it.
On the left a lone DreadRot is able to charge and kill Ragman, which is a nice turn for me. I contest with another rot and make more Cask Imps.
Grymkin score 2, we're tied up and 3-3
Mercs turn 3
Windstorm is up and Gastone Crossedoesn't have his desired 4 soul train. He knows he's going to have to commit the Rovers, and feels like he needs to keep pushing for scenario while he has the pieces. Rover comes up and destroys the Cage Rager triggering respawn. I move the Cage Rager so he's partially hidden LOS wise by the forrest.
On the left the Sword Knights and Thorn Gun mages start killing off Dreadrots.
On the right the Thorn leave the gorehound on 2 boxes but he's on fire. Gibbs comes up drops a very nice high explosive AOE killing 5 models and repositions behind the wall. The Talon kills some more Hollowmen, and the Rover runs to contest since he can't kill the Gorehound.
Gastone walks into the middle of the forrest, kills the respawned cage rager, and another Neigh Slayer. He's just out of range to reposition so Gastone spends the corpse to go to def 18. Merc score 2 (I took the picture early Rhupert runs onto that flag).
Despite being down 5-3 I feel pretty good. OW3 can see Gastone, I ask Rory if there is anything that prevents Crosse from being knocked down, he says no. I clear out the blocking sword knights with the Hollowmen, Frightmare, and a dread rot. Old Witch charges Gastone, and actually his the charge attack (double 6's). I then scourge him, and buy a few more attacks. I win on assassination.
It's worth noting I could have casted Scourge between the charge move and the attack roll. I just can't cast between the to hit roll and the damage roll. Another silly mistake that I know better.
If I didn't have the assassination I felt pretty good about grinding. I could have contested everything and scored back to 6-5 advantage merc. I think dropping both heavies this turn would have been easy, and I could have started really bullying the table.
Old Witch kills Gastone Crosse
God mercs have a great ADR. This summer I sold my Mercs and my Minions and I'm regretting both a little. I have a rule about not using things for 3 months I need to dump them though. Gastone Crosse 2 seems good, and more importantly FUN! He gets a ton of work done himself, and I love that he has 2 mechanics for grabbing souls. I can't wait to see what Rory thinks up next for him.
I really like Old Witch 3, but I want to change it up and get some more beasts in there. Swapping the Murder Crows for the Frightmare makes the most sense. As I said earlier Rory is one of the best list creators I know so I asked what he thought. A few days later he sent me Ow3 with Double Pigs Double Neighs... I'm going to try it a little. Any else had any luck with it? I'm going to keep trying to grind as much champions practice as I can.