Greetings and prostrations my fellow Tyrants,
Well I took the ol' girl for a spin in maybe 9 of the 12 games I played over the weekend in the Iron Arena. To put it broadly the only thing holding it back in battle was my inability to remember everything it could do, but this is a problem in casual play in general. So here is my report on it's performance in the field.
In my first game I played against a proxied E-Vyros with the Supply Depot scenario.
Had I remembered to use the SA's gun on the large based objectives I could potentially have blown the thing up for an early victory. Regardless Walking Death on P-Makeda held the line and ensured victory by scenario. The SA itself crumpled to a synergy chain in which Hypnos dealt it 16 points on the charge.
In another P-Makeda game the SA ate a charge from a Stormclad controlled by Kraye. This was its shinning moment for me. Between 4 gun shot and all the melee attacks improved under carnage the SA took the Stormclad down to 2 hit boxes. It was a perfect opportunity for a Praetorian to use that often ignored ability to inflict the final 2 points of damage. The game ended in Makeda's assassination.
Later with Rasheth I nearly got the assassination on Lord Carver. With Diminish and Plague Wind the SA was able to trade blows with a War Hog. On my following turn I finished the War Hog off with a combined arms effort which cleared a charge lane over a wall which thanks to pathfinder was no problem. 1 pig refused to free strike it after a comrade accidentally gave it a rage token. Bloodmark, a Cannoneer's shot and the clubtail did him in but he passed his tough check. Had I remembered to then shoot him the heavy reiver on top this would have been my game.
On Sunday the Siege Animantarax went 'a sieging on the Bunker Defense map vs. Raan. There wasn't much he could do as I deployed it on his weakest flank. As the attacker I got to set up 2nd and go 1st. The SA did very well but 2 turns of brutal shots and Battle Mage power fists took him down. I needed to inflict only a few more points of damage when Brine frenzied and decided the bunker looked a lot less important than a full unit of Houseguard Halberdiers.
My second to last game (last with the SA) was a real treat. It was Animantarax on Animantarax. My opponent was a newer player so my PG instincts kicked in and I instructed her on how to flank it with her Bronzeback. Do to the turn order I knew her SA would get the charge should they meet so I threw my brood of 4 Basalisks in the way. The resulting swarm chewed it up at the cost of only 1 drake.
Synopsis: The SA is a fine addition to an army but it was not usually the workhorse. When supported it does very well at distracting opponents from other valuable assets and when it does it gets the rage token you crave. It will continue to see the table for scenario games like the Bunker Battle. I could pretty much see the defender's defficating themselves as it was unrepellable. I enjoyed taking the charge from the Stormclad because I realized I could attack 1st with the spears and then boost the tail for maximum damage output. I also successfully used the gun to take out support models while engaged, namely Targ.
With Makeda I was throwing Defenders Ward on it constantly in addition to a Paralytic Aura from the Krea which Makeda sometime supplied herself. It ate a few alpha strikes and with shrewd use of Hyper Aggressive I could set I up to make one as well. The distraction generally allowed me to put off using Makeda's feat for another turn which was great for attrition.
With Rasheth it was more of a star. It took more damage and it dealt more damage. Being free from the tempting tier list enabled me to use incorporeal arc targets while I still brought and impressive mix of titans to form the SA's backup. Pathfinder and reach do a lot to make up for it's base size and and the reluctance to free-strike it was a nice touch.
On the negative side I refused to take it at games 50 points or less if I saw my opponent had a Colossal. At that level I fealt I could only rely on Titan power to get the job done since burst fire can't hurt them. Although all three of those game were against 3 Nemo who has trouble dealing with Savagery, Side Step and Beatback.
So there you have it. I'm not going to use it with every caster but I found a few I really like it with. I still haven't run it with Xerxis or Hexeris because I only brought painted models, but the tactics with them have already been thouroughly discussed. Believe it or not I may have left out a few details so if any one has any questions I will do my best to answer them.