Rocky Mountain Rumble Round 2: Zaal2 Exalted vs. Deneghra1 Dark Host

We’re back again, for round 2!

If you would like to see my list pair, hit up the Round 1 Battle Report, as I don’t want to repost it every time.

Our scenario this round was Invasion, and I drew a fellow by the name of Andrew. He plays Cryx, and brought a Witch Coven Black Industries list paired with Deneghra1 in Dark Host. I felt like I could sort of drop either list here to a degree, but similar to my last round, Rasheth just seemed awkward into one of his lists, specifically the Coven Black Industries one, and against Deneghra it would be playable but extremely volatile, with my very low model count of de-buffable models. I opted for Zaal2 again, as I felt very comfortable dropping him into either list. My opponent chose Deneghra. I won our roll off and opted to go first.

He gave me a table side with a bunch of water and a wall, taking a side that had a wall and some rubble. Overall I don’t think either of us were terribly concerned about the terrain so it wasn’t the most meaningful choice, and aside from maybe a little awkward movement from my Mammoth, terrain didn’t really come up.

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Deployment

I didn’t take a picture of our deployment, but can go over it quickly.

My deployment was similar to last game; fairly symmetrical, Supreme Guardians on the outside. The Mammoth was slightly to the right, as he needed to be able to clear the wall, but there’s not a lot else to say here.

His deployment was more varied. To my far left were his Bane Riders, with the Wraith Engine next to them, and Bane Knights next to that. Denny and her Seether stood in the center, with the Bane Warriors taking my right. She put an arc node behind units on either side.

Skorne Turn 1

There’s also not a lot to say here; Vision went on my left side Supreme Guardian, since that is clearly the side that is going to see more action, and Aura of Power of course goes on my caster. Otherwise, everything basically just runs forward as far as it can. Picture is after he did his first activation, but you get the jist.

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Cryx Turn 1

Downside to going second, of course, is I already threaten a chunk of the table. Everything basically just runs, the Bane Knights staying in pods to keep their armor high. The Bane Warriors move up pretty aggressively, spreading out as far as possible. Bane Riders and Wraith Engine push the left side pretty hard; it’s clear he wants to take that side fast and start scoring on me.

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Skorne Turn 2

Not a ton I can reach, but can at least start getting some work done. I thought about surging forward and feating this turn, but decided I really wanted to hold it back for now and just rely on good positioning to move me into the next turn. The downside to this is it means I’m definitely conceding a CP on the left side, but… such is life. Immortals charge/run up, spreading out and positioning to eat an alpha, and between them and the Mammoth a couple of Bane Warriors die. Supreme Guardian on the left shoots an AOE at his Bane Knights, which comes back and lands on my own Immortal, lighting him on fire. He’s gonna be dead anyway so I’m not too worried about it. Otherwise, everything stays back a bit, Counterblast up on the Mammoth.

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Cryx Turn 2

He’s got a few decisions regarding how much to commit here. My hope was to force a feat this turn, but he decides he can’t quite reach enough things to justify it. Instead, Bane Knights charge up and clear the zone, and the Wraith Engine moves around behind them. The Bane Riders, which I thought were going to charge in on my Supreme Guardian, opt to go for an extreme flank instead. The Bane Warrior’s mini-feat to get back to full strength, then just run, not wanting to give me vengeance on that side. His Seether takes all four attacks to kill an Immortal (had Grave Mist up, he missed the 5 twice, then failed to break armor with his horns, and finally killed it on last attack. Irrelevant, but amusing.) Deneghra hangs out behind the big obstruction in the center (we played the entire base as an obstruction, just made life easier). He passes turn, but the way a couple Bane Knights charged means he doesn’t actually score the left zone.

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Skorne Turn 3

He has, unfortunately for him, left his Wraith Engine in range of my Supreme Guardian. All I have to do is kill one Bane Knight. I spent some time thinking it over and eventually opted to just have Zaal hit it with a Sunder Spirit, which happens easily enough. Zaal also feats. I have to be a little careful with my Immortals on the left, who are admittedly mostly dead, to not get in my own way. They also received Crippling Grasp on the prior turn, so they aren’t doing a whole lot. They do a few charges into random things they can reach. The Supreme gets Stones' Wrath and charges the Wraith Engine. After his Thresher and a couple bought attacks, he kills the Wraith Engine and 6 Bane Knights, as well as leaving the Seether on 2 boxes in its right arm.

On my right, the Supreme Guardian and Immortals clean up most of the Bane Warriors. Sadly, to do this I couldn’t put my unit in the zone to score. The Gobber Chef runs to stand in front of his front-most Bane Rider. Otherwise I just position for the incoming feat turn.

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Cryx Turn 3

My hope is he can’t actually kill the SG; it has one soul on it for Arcane Vortex. Deneghra activates, feats, and casts Parasite twice. With upkeeping Crippling Grasp, this leaves her on zero. This does mean, unfortunately, the SG received Parasite. He then spends a while trying to get Dark Shroud on it; he runs a Bane Warrior from the right side over into melee, but it received a Defensive Strike, and succeeds its tough check so it isn’t applying Dark Shroud, but is also in the way of any other Warriors. He’s forced to just run Tartarus to engage. Then the remaining Bane Knights, Darragh, and the busted up Seether are able to just barely clear the Supreme Guardian. The Bane Riders run, one charging the Chef and killing it, the rest very aggressively threatening Zaal. This turn he does actually score a point on the left, making it 1-0 in his favor. Sadly I missed a picture this turn.

Skorne Turn 4

Deneghra’s feat is up, but I’m still confident I can get some work done. A combination of Zaal himself, the Mammoth, the Ancestral Guardian, and my Extoller Soulward kill his entire unit of Bane Riders. Hakaar cleans up his Seether, but I actually fail to kill any Bane Knights (the Immortal unit on that side is VERY weak right now.) I kill every Bane Warrior except his banner, and do some considerable damage to one of his arc nodes, who was standing behind the objective to keep Deneghra safe from the Immortal unit on that side.

At this point, the game is basically over. He’s able to score a couple more points, Crippling Grasp the Immortal unit on the right, but I destroy his objective and start rushing down Deneghra with the remains of my army. He does good work keeping things contested initially, but once Darragh dies to the Mammoth and Zaal runs to the right side zone, I’m now scoring hand over fist and he has no contesting models left on the table. The game ends 10-5.

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Conclusion

I would have had to think a lot harder if this had been something like Deneghra1 Slaughter Fleet, but I’m very happy to drop Zaal2 into a melee brawl like this. Her feat is obviously hard on me, but Zaal’s ability to let my models do things like boost attack rolls and whatnot means I can kind of muddle through it. The Mammoth is also just such a nightmare when a game grinds down this long; he had taken no damage at any point. Obviously me getting the Wraith Engine was a big swing, but it would have been even better if I had killed one of my own Immortals to get a second soul onto the SG, as without Parasite I don’t think it dies, which would make the game far more one sided. Little things to remember for the future.

Thanks for reading everyone, I’ll be getting round 3 up soon!