Monday, 6 April 2015

Sticky fruit.

Its feijoa season! I love these tasty little fruit grenades, and the feijoa season typically coincides with me having very regular bowel movements. Fancy THAT.

My sweet little bowel fairies

I used to be quite ambivalent about this fruit growing up however. There was a period of a few years where I'd alternate between having a season where I gorged myself on them, and a season where I refused to touch the fuckers.

I realise the above lead-in for this post is a bit of a stretch, but I'm drawing a link here to a topic that's been doing the rounds among my friends and in head, and that is to do with a certain ambivalence towards units in WM/H. Particularly those units that have a reputation in the broader global WM/H community as being 'must-haves' for their respective factions.

These thoughts have come about as I've deliberately locked horns with people on the Skorne boards, looking to challenge the perceived conventional wisdom of the players there (and to troll to some extent :3). So I'm actually going through a process, like the feijoas, for hating on these 'must-have' units. But unlike the feijoa situation, much of these opinions I have are born from the interactions of other players, the weighing of multiple opinions with my own play time experience. There seems to be a real attachment, particularly among Skorne players, with certain units/beasts, and part of me is wants to go against the tide to be antagonistic, but also part of me is resentful for these group-think for influencing my own thinking into rigid patterns of list-creation.

Much Skorne advice demands players reach for the Gladiator and Krea. I'm currently of the opinion that this is flawed advice. The Gladiator is taken largely because of his animus, and while Rush is great, it only pushes many Skorne warbeasts up to a modest threat-range from an utterly crap one. It is a modest beat-stick in its own right, but I've just found that people can anticipate its threat range all too well, and it either gets taken off trivially, or is never given the opportunity to hit anything of value. In which case I'm left with an 8pt animus. The Krea herself is another animus-bot, where Paralytic Aura is taken mainly for its defensive capabilities - a problem when the enemy doesn't bring guns, or chooses not to shoot the stuff effected by the aura. Otherwise the Krea has little battlefield influence, with a gun that does no damage and a singular nibbly bite. I guess at least its only a 4pt animus.

Now I want to be reflective that these thoughts are both born from my own games and so are very much flavoured by subjective experience. There's also the factor of what is going on in my gaming group and tournaments in general that leads to many of these units or pieces not living up to the hype generated by those on the other side of the world. This last point seems well illustrated by Chas' refusal to take Gun Mages in any of his Cygnar lists; they just did not lift enough weight, and would trade poorly. After being told constantly that they were essential, he decided to go his own way and has subsequently had a far more effective gaming experience.

And while I want to actively challenge consensus that particular units are vital for competitive play, the danger of trying different shit is obviously attempting to be a snowflake just for the sake of being different. And this can lead to negative play experiences too. But that's just another process to be aware of, and to not become too entangled with. Becoming 'unstuck' (psychological terminology here) from a particular thinking process allows one to be more fluid in the way with which they approach particular problems, and in the world of Warmachine and Hordes (where the meta shifts constantly due to player influence as well as the appearance of new units being released) I can see a fluid approach to the game can be beneficial on several levels. Can I see instances where I'd take the Gladiator and Krea? Heck yeah! Those beasts are great! But I refuse to take them simply out of habit.

One more stray thought before I bury this post; relying on internet consensus does mean you get to use someone else's playbook. Mr JS Imbeau pointed out that while developing my Xerxis2 list, I was going to play it heaps to be able to use it effectively and develop the list's game. Using another tried-and-true list does allow one access to the established tricks, which begs the question; how much of the power of these casters/lists is the result of unbalanced rules or of people just having played that list a vastly larger amount of times?


  1. Yay wisdom!

    I'd like to see Praetorian Swordsman with UA more often. They do cool stuff but die to all the usual anti-infantry stuff, but perhaps in Makeda1 they could do some great things. That theme force....

    1. ah balls: I got too caught up in dissing the conventional wisdom I neglected to mention the units I actually use inspite of what the internet tells me I should use - and that would be the Keltarii. Boy that unit is so money.

      I'll be keen to give the Swordsmen another spin some time too, I just still haven't quite seen how I would want to play them. Though your mention of Makeda1 is getting my brain juices flowing