Monday, 9 January 2017

Meta Matters

This post is largely going to be a gripe. I'm one of those curmudgeonly types that is stickler for how language is used, e.g. you are not literally dead, though I wish you weren't wasting air. Granted, I get pretty loose with language at times, and enjoy the re-appropriate of colloquialisms and words into different contexts. So I'm a selective curmudgeon.

This brings me to the use of 'meta' within the context of Warmachine and Hordes, how I tense up and my ears bleed slightly when someone says it. Strictly speaking, the term 'meta' only indicates that something is being self-referential, describing a work that comments on the work itself.

So why is it used to describe gaming groups and trends? People will refer to how their "meta is different" from a "national meta", or the much maligned "shooting" and "all-jack metas". I can perceive a tenuous link that when describing a trend, it is a 'meta' because the discussion is about the trend that has arisen within the game and as I am typing this I am just going no this is not how the term works omg now I am cross eyed this is fucking dumb.

Potentially making any comment about the "meta-game" of Warmachine and Hordes, could conceivably refer to observing all trends that exist in context of one another. Or, by presenting other aspects of gaming the game, such as how discussion of list building is in itself a part of the game within the game.

But having a group of gamers out in the middle of bumfuck-nowhere does not a meta make.

I'm not even going to go into the hyperbolic statements of those saying the game is skewed towards a "shooting-meta" and a "jack-heavy", other than to say people need to step back from these statements and reassess what trends are actually existing. Because right now, these are comments on the game that continue to persist, and have at best situational supporting evidence. List construction is far more diverse than these statements may lead some to believe.

So yeah. Stop speak meta wrong.

Likely someone may have a differing point of view, an explanation for how meta is appropriate within the contexts its used on forums and in podcasts. Lay it on me.


I other news, I've wanted to make a brief comment on how my last post has been rendered irrelevant by the errata. Easy come easy go I guess. Its a pity PP sought to change this, because I actually thought allowing those charging options was quite elegant - an omission of information that allowed for unique moves and awarded inventive play, as well as allowing the rules to be simpler. Unfortunately simple seems to mean strangling the life out of in-game options, but games inherently require boundaries and rules to work within, so I can live with it.

Otherwise, I've been getting my festive fingers into Mercs, playing a lot of Gorten - so I've managed 4 games with him, and have had a range of outcomes; from getting absolutely pummeled by tricksy Ret, to showing how bat-shit dominant he can be on Incursion. Going to enjoy unlocking this guy the more I play him.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Charge angles, melee ranges and king hits

Just wanted to collate some brief thoughts about the changes on melee ranges and LOS and the like in relation to model placement and the opportunities to proc certain abilities.

Up until the ruling was made in October, I was adhering closely to Mk2 WMH conventions; ensuring models I charged into remained in line of sight, maintaining a tight eye on arcs, or at least accepting my opponent's correction when I would fuck this up, and pull models back to the appropriate position to make a 'legal' charge.

Initially, during my early days as a fledgling WMH player, I was getting whacky as heck charge angles, sending 2" reach models off in all sorts of directions to allow room to get more attacks in on a beast or warjack. That initial assumption, that seemed so natural at the time, has come back. Something seems to have been missing in my reading of the Mk3 ruleset, one of those cheeky re-wordings or omissions that I skipped over, because the clarification by Privateer Press was to confirm that the rules for melee ranges never actually were bound to a model's line-of-sight, and that several rules actually proc off the condition of the distance of a model's melee range, which seems to have been always intended to be applicable from any point on a model's base.

Now goofy charges and the like are opened up all over the show again. The implications of this was pretty apparent on the forums, with incorporeal models being able to charge through to reach opponents' back-arc. Other applications were noting effects such as Gang, Flank and Dark Shroud, all extend around the model's base. In my own games, lots of fun little interactions started to reveal themselves; playing Helga into Caine2 for example, I could charge a Slaughterhouser up past a Ranger to then slam it into Caine at the right angle.

The idea of Feralgeists charging through heavies to then slam them forward into my lines is another option I've been floating. In another game, it meant I could charge Gerlack past his target to position better for his overtake run, something that previously couldn't happen, particularly with his shorter melee range.

So in application, this wee rule clarification has opened up to me further options that would otherwise not be present, or at the very least be extremely limited. It is these sorts of changes and shifts in the game system that I've grown to enjoy in WMH, where some times the refining or adjusting of the rules opens up a slew of play options and experiences on the table

Thursday, 10 November 2016


Another post, another tourney report; the past weekend was spent in Christchurch at the annual Conquest event. The title of this post is perhaps more disrespectful than intended, and simply reflects the level of maturity we're cultivating around these parts; the event itself was a smoothly managed 6-round steamroller, run by retiring PG Adam Oaky-Doaky Oakson. The pressures of working in the brutal Cantabrian salt-mines had got to the poor guy, and after years of battling chlorine allergies while scraping together a living for his wife and seven kids, he's decided its time to hang up his press-ganger shirt following this event, to focus on his other passion - macrame.

Glad I could attend Adam, its always been a pleasure having you Chch fellas up in Auckland events, so it was good to come down and see how you southern boys do it.

As for games themselves, I'll just run through some stray thoughts and observations I gleaned from my experience; I ran with Cryx due to my chronic faction ADD and desire to suss out what Scaverous could do. It was an exercise of dipping my toes back into the pool of the undead following the beating they took transitioning into MK3. With a 3-3 record, I think my toes got a bit chilly in said pool.

Going through a few dojo ideas, I concocted a couple of combos that I wanted to test out. This included recognising the interactions between Bloodgorgers, Gerlack, Telekinesis, Soul Harvester and Knowledge of the Damned. Theoretically, I could set up some decent soul-trains, hurtling either Gerlack or a single Bloodgorger a distance of 13" to pacman through units, gathering souls for Scaverous, and off-setting misses and fail damage rolls with KotD. In testing, this worked beautifully, where Gerlack whiffed his first attack (typical), landed the re-roll, and then promptly ate a unit of Sentinels and Lanyssa. I decided on a min unit of Bloodgorgers and Gerlack for pulling off these tricks, and managed to get it off a couple of times over the course of the tournament.

The other package was the jack-marshalled Seether - this little guy was so much fun, and always surprised people. Over the course of the weekend, he ate over half an Arcane Shielded Stormwall, two Drillers and a Gun bunny, and 1.5 Menoth jacks. He usually has to do this over the course of a turn, before opponents scramble to end this ridiculousness, but its fun.

I filled out the rest of the list with misc stuff - Satyxis Raiders, Deathjack, Withershadow, that sort of noise.

I paired this list with a Skarre1 concoction, with the idea I could potentially muscle through gunlines with a feated Kraken and choice models. I put the Aiakos1 and double Stalker package into  this, and had a great assassination package running around. Again filling out my points with Raiders and Soulhunters to taste. Playing the list, I think the Soulhunters were a wasted inclusion - they never seemed to have the opportunity to face against their ideal targets, and I found myself mis-using them as jam/interference. Would have prefered Blood Witches instead. I also left the Skarlock at home, determined to try and make Ritual Sacrifice work off the back of Skarre alone. It didn't. Or rather, I had to choose to cast the spell at times, which I suppose does not necessarily mean the lack of Skarlock is a mistake. It still feels a crime to spend points on something that casts one spell a turn, and often it wasn't that Skarre was particularly in danger anyway. Will mull this over some more.

Notable moments with this list, included assassinating Ossyan with a feated Stalker top of 2. Not bad. I also attempted a two-attack, 4-dice-to-hit Kraken assassination on Caine2 after I got ground out on attrition. Landed the first attack to put Caine to 2 boxes, whiffed the second attack by 1. Ouch.

Then there was this:

In that nice open space where Skarre is situated in front of is where a Mountain King used to be. My kraken isonly sitting on 4 boxes after getting its shit pushed in (completely blanked about the Axer and rush, when I was trying to gauge threat distances from a Mountain King). So Skarre up the front there just one-rounded the Mountain King on her lonesome. Pushing through that glass-ceiling. Toruk, equal-opportunities employer, making Immoren great again.

Following that I expected to be continuously ground out. However, my opponent David Cameron Sir Lord Reagent Duke of the United Kingdoms, attempted an assassination trying to leverage off a knockdown on Skarre, not realising the Raider Captain was just up there preventing this from happening. Assasination foiled, the Stalkers truffle-shuffled over to Ragnor and put him in the dirt with spikey dice. Ole.

Anyways, other things I learnt over the course of this tournament:

  1. Don't engage with Constance Blaize's force on her feat turn. Or rather, identify the appropriate activation order of your stuff. I tried something new for me, where I marked out on tokens an order of activation, to try plan in a more efficient and timely manner. While this is cool, I got the order wrong, where I needed to get my Bloodgorgers with Soul Harvester going first, to give Scavs resources, and deny souls to Constance. Instead Gerlack and crew just bounced off the Percursor Knights like pinballs.
  2. Properly identify unit match ups - against Scott who was running Ossrum, my Raiders would have been better off facing his Nyss and Deathjack, going into his heavies. While I wasn't deployed appropriately, my first turn could have been a big ol switcheroo, which I don't mind doing. I could also take this lesson to consider the importance of deploying certain units (Raiders) more centrally, to be able to respond better to their chosen match up.
  3. Holy crap Cryx stuff is delicate. I had to coddle my pieces SO MUCH, to try and maintain threat, scenario relevance, and not just lose key pieces. This is a reason I see a lot of people not liking Deathjack, but it feels there's a lot of points that goes into building decent synergies and then something like a Charger can come along blow it the fuck away. I dunno, there's also space to just GIT GUD SCRUB, but sweet jeebus.
  4. Minions look so grand right about now.
So that's it for my thoughts right now on Conquest. It was an enjoyable event with fantastic games all-round (including my losses, the games against Josh and Scott were definitely two of my favs), and mad thanks go out again to Adam for hosting me. My goals are firmly set around developing my skill with Minions, particularly in prep for Cancon next year, and this will mean focusing on getting some painting done adn seeing what the heck I can wrangle with a Minions ADR. Rask plus Helga is looking pretty gas at the mo.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Reflections, Rallpoint, Rask, and Rebalancing

Yay alliteration! Usually I struggle to title my posts, so I'm feeling overly proud of this one.

The title does hold relevance to what I want to write about too; I feel just reviewing my games at Rallypoint would be a tedious exercise, though the setting and games do provide the context for what I want to muse over, which is what playing Rask is like. Rask I think presents a particular example of how the game mechanics interact, so by extension, hopefully my experience lends itself to concepts I would like to apply to the game in general.

First of all, the list I was using;

- Targ
- Wrastler
- Ironback Spitter
Mist Speaker
Dahlia & Skarrath
Rorsh & Brine
Wrongeye & Snapjaw
Bokor and Swamp Shamblers

This was by no means an original list, where it was hard to miss the general discussion on Rask running "all-the-lessers" and throwing snakes around etc. You have that basic concept in mind, and the list largely builds itself.

I paired this list with my own concoction of a Maelok list, which I was relatively proud of, because it felt largely a construction of my own design. I won't get into detail on it however, because I ended up only playing Rask all 6 rounds of Rallypoint; while I felt my Maelok list was decent and played a damn good game, Rask far out-stripped him.

Playing Rask also includes such benefits as;
finishing games early to goof around and pester teammates 

So what is it about Rask? Well, its obviously not just him, there's also the the multiple layers of play that the lesser warlocks now bring with them. But just focusing on him for a moment, one of my biggest lessons was that the damage swings he now brings easily mitigates one of the problems that tends to exist within the game today. The ease with which one can apply Rage & Fury to magically just add +6 meant most single heavy targets evaporated when I could get to them, and this has been discussed ad nauseum. Pointing this out though is to highlight that my in-game decisions then only had to focus on two things; making sure I could hit my targets, and how to deliver them.

Now Rask has solutions to both of these issues; with the afore-mentioned throw shenanigans (which I never got around to doing) and his paralysis shot gun on living targets to address the to-hit issue. His feat obviously helps deliver the army, as well as having Boundless Charge and Veil of Mists on his card. But its great that theses are mitigated due to his Fury stat, where his ability to hand out these abilities quickly becomes a matter of prioritising your resources. The damage-swings are exempt from this, due to the Wrastler being able to also hand out Rage itself, alleviating The pressure on Rasks's Fury.

Then the lessers and other elements of the list come to the foray; Wrongeye & Snapjaw present a package that can also deliver themselves due to Submerge, and them along with Rorsh & Brine also present their own solutions for threat-extension and delivery. Added to that, Dahlia & Skarrath also have in-built to-hit mitigation, and when it presents itself, Dahlia also serves as a control piece, denying infantry the charge, and essentially crippling certain units just by standing there (Iron Fang Uhlans are not happy about her). At times I was also able to use the Bokor and Swamp Shamblers as a control element, usually just to occupy board space and serve as blockers, but the cheeky stationary shot the Bokor can put out was sometimes clutch, where combined with a Disruptor shot from Rask, would switch off a warjack a turn. Even Lanyssa would get lucky, landing a crit-freeze on the occasional model (especially vs Legion, remember those double boosts).

Overall, playing the list 6 times was hugely rewarding, due to the continuous layers to explore in resolving the problems presented, when playing an attrition game. However, my initial statement about Rask solve for damage (combined with the feat to deliver pieces), also allows a pretty massive margin of error. As I explored the applications of Veil of Mists and Brine's movement tricks, I would often make mistakes in my games, but never felt that penalised for them. The ability to either mitigate mistakes, or even just ignore them, is what makes Rask and his list quite unfair. In one of my games I missed scoring opportunities on scenario that would have handily given me the game, yet I could shrug it off because I  YOLO-SMASH-FACE'd instead.

To me, there's something a bit off when that happens. This isn't to say I steam-rolled my opponents either; they played great-games, and I don't think there were too many instances where the game felt completely lop-sided. The layering of tools and options that Rask (plus lessers list) has makes for a fantastic play experience, and should stay that way. However being able to just negate armour the way he does tips things to a point I feel adjustment is required. For him, it may be to lose Fury. That can perhaps mean replacing it with an offensive debuff, where he needs to actually land the spell, and consider spending extra resources to secure it. Actually, just taking Fury off him may be fine too.

Rallypoint was a fun weekend spent with the boys in Hamilton. Shout-outs go to Casey for running the whole thing, and resolving last-minute technical hitches in a way that did not impede our play-time. Props also to him for running Rask, and killing my heavies by trampling through my feat. Cheers to my team-mates Pete and Dave, and thanks also to Dan for putting us up at his place, and providing sweet sleeping arrangements.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Rask is ok? I hear

Further to my faction hopping soiree, I got my hands on a bunch of Greg's Minions models. The idea was that I'd have a go at giving them a spin since people are raving on about them a bit, so with the existing minions I had bought for my Skorne, I could start adding the odd unit, beast or warlock to ease into yet another faction.

Instead I got handed all of Greg's pigs and gators and so I'm currently a kid in a candy shop full of options.

Naturally I start playing with Rask, because someone, somewhere, they mentioned, yeah, he's meant to be a thing. Playing around with lists, I went with the ideas that were bouncing around the interwebs with Rask running all the Lesser Warlocks, as he delivers them so damned well. I also thought Maximus would do great in there, being able to charge up under feat, standing at spitting distance from the opponent without fear of reprisal. It didn't quite work out that way though, and he got dropped for Targ, to bring some much needed healing and that juicy ancillary attack.

I also tried lists without Dahlia & Skarrath, lacking those models; I had a good time chucking the Swamp Horror around for a bit, beginning to learn how abusable the throwing rules are with him. But the control Dahlia could bring to the table was tempting me, and having run her now, I see how frustrating it can be to have her forced down the throat of a melee army, without any hope to respond. The accuracy of the snake also left me aghast.

Overall, I began to play with a list that felt all sorts of right. In it, I ran Rask with Targ, Wrastler and Ironback Spitter, with Wrongeye, Rorsh, and Dahlia bringing their respective beasts. As support I had the Bog Trog Mist Speaker, Lanyssa, and the Bog Trog Shamblers led by their Bokor.

The pic below shows me using an earlier iteration of the above list, where I still had Maximus durdling in the wings, missing his initial attacks. The pic also features Greg's stylish skull. Whomever it was, I'm sure they deserved it.

The game was against Caine2, and served to show how much flex the list had. I pretty much cleared out his army with ease, however Caine doesn't need an army to win, and has all the tech he needs to bypass Rask's defences so YOLO.

Still. Rask is stronk. I've loved playing this guy, and will write about my 6 games with him at a recent teams event, and probably muse some more about what I want to do next with Minions (probably something swine).

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Tournament report dumpipost

Its been a few weeks since I attended Lords of Ruin in Wellington so I better collate my thoughts before the whole event becomes even more of a distant memory. I'll just drop some photos I took, along with my thoughts of my games. The event overall was a straight out hoot, with about 45 attendees, and faced by the ever-effervescent Sean Lincoln and Jimmy Braid. Big ups to those guys, and to the Wellington gaming crew, its always a good time in the capital.

Especially considering how close butts were during the rounds

Overall I felt I had made a sort of break-through during this event, in terms of making plans for my lists and responding to what my opponents dropped into me. I find this kind of funny because a few days before the event I was telling my flatmate how I appraised my ability, where I tend to just throw shit at my opponent, and then work to dig myself out of whatever hole I found myself in.

My first game illustrates my feeling that I had progressed in some way:

Along with a pair of glorious thighs, my opponent Scott Avery sported a pair of Galleons in his own Magnus2 list. Instead of dropping into auto-pilot and sending off my Croes up a flank as per usual, I instead ran them up the middle, pushing a couple into each Galleon to force them to trample should they wish to advance further up the field. I was almost undone when Scott's Orin Midwinter tried to zap the butt of one Galleon, but he missed on a double 1, so yeah. Dice. From there I was able to take off one Galleon, and after a small to-and-fro I got a bead on the enemy warcaster with a Renegade rocket and Harlen Versh ended it.

My next game was into Chris Ford, who dropped Ossyan into my Thexus list. No photos to document the exchange, but I wrangled a scenario win in Outlast, feating to push models out of zones, tying up his troops with ambushing drudges, and slamming jacks around etc. He tried for an assassination attempt, getting dangerously close to ending Thexus with arced spell nukes into Thexus, but otherwise the amount of control and dude-swarm I had him stitched up.

The third round was against one of the local PGs Chris Otton, bringing his Coven list into Magnus. I got to say that Chris was an absolutely gracious opponent during our game, where it seemed there were instances where he forgot to make certain actions during activations, yet insisted we continue play. Bloody champ. For myself, this game provided me a lesson on threat ranges and scenario, where I wanted to remain out of range of an Infernal-Machine'd Kraken, but threaten the central flag on Incursion. With the Coven's feat denying LOS too, I wanted to make sure I could contest the flags, stay out of threat ranges, but also ensure that I had a walking threat into whatever he would send into to either claim the flag or contest it. Above, you can see Chris has pushed his Kraken into the Mangler I dangled out as bait, but forgot to feat afterwards allowing me to trade up significantly.

Day 2 and round 4 saw Richard drop Sorscha1. Below you can see where I got to, having cleared the zone on Recon, and have feated to prevent the juggernaut and iron fangs from coming into the zone. Richard spent some time figuring out how to draw a bead on Magnus, as assassination was his only out. After failing that, Richard only had 5 available Winterguard to rush the zone, which all got stomped on.

Round 5 was where all sense decided to leave me. I drew against Nikola, and as soon as he started describing what he needed to drop into me, and what I in turn had to drop into him. I had no clue. I pretty much followed what he said like some sort of Moccachino Pied Piper. I dropped Thexus, pushed my models forward without any real thought, and proceeded to get pulled apart by Nikola's Kallus list

I've included an obligatory photo to document my shame, and to remind myself of these instances where my thinking seizes up. Its happened a few times in the past, though this is the first time I really recognised it as it happened, so this is something to continue to reflect upon.

With my chances of taking first place being dashed (gratz to Peter Williamski taking first, and one-listing the whole event with Gorten), I was paired against Adam Oakson, one of Christchurch's brightest and finest. The match up was Vlad1 vs Magnus in Take and Hold. Here my brain decided to kick back in. Sort of. We started with mandatory running up the board on the first turn, and I measured to remain out of the 12" of Behemoth and one of his juggernauts, should be alright, we have the same threat ranges right? Not recognising Vlad has Boundless Charge saw me lose my Mangler and Nomad top of two. However, my feat meant I was able to hold things in place and take pieces back for no reprisal. I also recognised that a cheeky Black Oil from Gorman would also take Adam's battle engine out for a turn. The Croes also got to work chipping away at Adam's Riflecorps and the attrition battle started to swing my way. After I managed to get up on Control Points, and further piece trading, the board was pretty bare,and Vlad started to bully his way into the centre of the table with Blood of Kings up. In the end, Adam decided to push Vlad all the way in, and I was faced with either scoring my last two CPs to win, or live the dream charging Magnus into Vlad's back-arc.

Holy crap that was glorious. Even with Vlad being Def 18 I had 4 dice to hit, 4 to damage, the first attack being armour piercingffffffffuu

That was all a bit gratuitous, so massive thanks to Adam for humouring me in doing this.

And thus concluded my Lord of Ruin. A nice 5-1 run with Mercs. I learnt heaps in my games, and by running different lists and factions. Next, my faction ADHD leads me to Minions, so the next post or two will document my soirees with them. following that, there may need to be further divergences into Cryx again.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Oh Lawdy!

Hold on to your booties and ready your eyeholes, I'm writing yet another tournament prep post.
Come next weekend will be what I believe is the 4th annual Lords of Ruin, an annual steamroller event run in our country's great capital Wellington, held in one of its more infamous suburbs; the HUTT.

As the first proper steamroller run in NZ since the release of Warmachine and Hordes aka All New War aka #Mk3years aka #design-space, I wanted to approach things anew with Merca, as mentioned in my previous post. The motivation to pick up Mercs largely stems from my chronic SUSS, combined with paying too much attention to the opinions of podcasters. Particularly the mention of running a Bullet-Dodger Gallant with Magnus2, was all I apparently needed to trade a heap of Skorne for Mercs.

So I started working on practicing some lists, finally settling on the following: Magnus2 with Sylys, Renegade, Gallant, Mangler, Nomad and Vanguard, with Anastasia, Harlen Versh, Gorman, Croe's Cutthroats and Aiyanna + Holt in tow. I've been enjoying the list, with the odd variation here and there like running double Manglers when I hadn't got to the point of having a Gallant model. I've found that the Vanguard also makes a very decent Bullet-Dodger target, and its been fun looking for opportunities to use Magnus' FOECLEAVER X whenever possible, regardless of the usually abysmal consequences. The only real things I found I may want to change in the list, would be to trade out A+H for Eyriss2 and a Gobber Tinker. While she often dies turn 2, I've actually enjoyed running Eyriss2. I can't quite pinpoint her actual function, beyond being a particular type of combat-solo, so I'm keen to play with her some more. The amount of times I've wanted to repair my jacks means the Tinker feels more of a necessity, but there's little fat to trim at the moment, even for 2pts.

Croes just continue to feel like a great unit to occupy board space, disrupt, and act independently of the main force.

Paired with this list, I've chosen Exulon Thexus, running 2x Wreckers, Warden, dos Agitators, double Mind Benders, Mind Slavers, Croes, and Aiyanna + Holt. Yay no character restrictions. This list more floods the table with troops, acting I feel as a good counter to the BG-heavy Magnus list. Having 2 strong control effects in my pairing also feels neat, and the games I've played to date have been rewarding as all heck. The Thexus list chews through my clock like it was a Sunday dinner, and Magnus still feels a tad vulnerable for a caster that plays so far up, but getting in a solid few rounds over this weekend will really put things to the test, and I'm looking forward to it.