Monday, 19 December 2011

Headhunter

Trying out the wide variety of warlocks I have using the same template list has been... difficult.  Most of the time I'm finding them unusually exposed or a little counter-intuitive to how I want to play them.  I'm having particular difficulty with Grim Angus and the stupidly long range on his gun.  I'm not sure why, but he's just not playing how I'd like him to play.  I'll muddle through a few more games and see whether he opens up for me though.

For all the good the Impaler does, I think it's something of a trap.  You're taking a light warbeast that generates fury like it would end world poverty and has a 50% chance of doing almost nothing in the entire game.  I have a similar problem with the Bomber, I'm not getting production value out of the fury that's being generated.  It works with eDoomshaper, but that's due to Refuge and I honestly don't care if it frenzies most of the time or there are whelps being spawned left, right and centre.

I picked up eGrissel (or Grissel2?  With the next layer of epics I think the number terminology may finally come into effect) while I was Christmas shopping with Hannah on Saturday, she might be worth a spin.  I like the idea of taking her against Menoth to force their issues with pathfinder.  I'll certainly have a think about it before my game against Ricky's Retribution tomorrow.  Or just bring my Mercenaries and rocket him to death.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Drunken Antics

Well, Barry read my blog post before our game but didn't see the one I posted on Tuesday so he clearly wasn't expecting Borka and the Wall of Tough.  He brought along Reznik and pretty much an all warjack army, which I promptly jammed up with my tough, insanely hard to hit, high armour, medium bases and thus won on scenario without much hassle.  I'm still disappointed in the performance of the list in general however, and the number of cards I had out.  There were a LOT of cards.

As Family Reunion goes, it's good at jamming people up, but really...  if you don't destroy everything in your initial charges, you are well and truly boned.  The list feels very vulnerable to something like bile thralls.

My unit of champions did its job, but it wasn't quite all that I wanted.  My main problem is that Borka typically only leeches 3 fury off his warbeasts at the start of his turn.  This makes running multiple damage buffing warbeasts quite difficult as you end up with a massive excess on the table and can't leech enough to get the best performance out of your battlegroup.  I get away with this on Doomshaper/Calandra because I can usually drain off 5 fury and whatever else that happens to be near a whelp.  So that heavy I needed to smash something?  Totally fine with a 7 fury warlock, totally boned with a 5 fury one.

What does this mean?  Am I going to end up with Calandra/Doomshaper/Doomshaper as my trio of lists?  DAMN RIGHT I AM!  Maybe...  Next up for testing is eGrissel I think, with her single Axer and the Sons of Bragg.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Reinforced Concrete

So, the final stretches of the SR2012 draft document are underway apparently.  I've only glanced through it if I'm honest, but I'm not happy with the phrase 'artifices'.  'Supplemental Rules' or some such name which is easier to grasp might have been a better design decision, but I have faith in Hacksaw76, he has been tried and tested before and come out swinging.  Not many of you will remember the early days of Steamroller and the level of broken those scenarios brought to the table.  Those days were the Dark Ages.

Personally I dislike the idea that these artifices are mandatory, and it is optional to remove them, rather than the other way around.  My biggest gripe is Reinforcements.  These function basically as models with Ambush but only along a certain length of the board.  It just screams of additional paperwork to me, but I will admit that ambushing models/units are immensely fun.  Bad Seeds Saxon Orrik remains my hero.  That said, the rules are still in draft, and may change.  And like I said, I have faith in Hacksaw to produce a good scenario package.

I've come to realize that most of my Trollblood lists now all conform to the same basic layout.  There are some slight variations with each warlock, but the basic premise is the same:
1.) 3 heavies.  When I can manage it, never leave home without 3 heavies.  Certain lists get by with two, but those lists usually forgo a Bomber in favor of a War Wagon - pDoomshaper and eGrissel for example.
2.) 2 Axers.  Always, with only one exception - eGrissel since I was thinking about bringing the Sons of Bragg with her instead of the second Axer.
3.) KSB+UA.  There is never, ever, ever a reason NOT to take the Krielstone in a list.  Ever.
4.) Whelps.  With so many warbeasts, I'd be insane to leave home without them.

So my lists now look something like this:
Hoarluk Doomshaper, Shaman of the Gnarls (pDoomy)
+ Mulg the Ancient
+ Dire Troll Mauler
+ Troll Axer
+ Troll Axer
+ Troll Bouncer
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (min)
+ Stone Scribe Elder
Janissa Stonetide
War Wagon
Feralgeist
Reinforcement: Dire Troll Bomber

Borka is my notable exception, but his list has yet to be tested.  I think I'll use it tonight against Barry and his hogs.  It will be an exercise in making a grown man cry as I attempt to buff Boomhowler & Co to ludicrous levels.  I only wonder about the list's hitting power.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Axe Speaks, Just Once

I attended Alan Kennedy's Bitter Conflict tournament on Saturday, which was a nice change for me as I was there as a player, not a Press Ganger.  The tournament used a Divide & Conquer format (multiple lists each list must be used at least once) - in this case, two lists, each had to be used twice.  Seeing as I'm missing all the lovely Steelheads I'd need for Damiano, I opted to bring my Trollbloods instead.  Unfortunately I can't bring along a War Wagon (booooo!) but I fell back on my old favorite in both his forms anyway: Doomshaper.

Fairly recently I came to the conclusion that infantry is a waste of time, unless you're playing against other infantry.  All that happens is the infantry dies.  So I ditched all my infantry that wasn't the Krielstone Bearer & Friends and brought along extra warbeasts.  I'm not sure how I'm managed to muddle through for so long without using two Axers in all my lists.  In every game I've run dual Axers (and not been killed instantly) they've been rockstars, without exception.

My games in the tournament were pretty easy for the most part - I made a very risky gamble against Jim in game two in an attempt to kill his Stalker, but I failed miserably and Doomshaper was dead in about 10 minutes of game play.  Not exactly my finest moment.  Oh well.  I noticed a heavy proclivity towards clumping up infantry in the Livingston players, which did them no favors when my Axers or Bomber appeared.  I really must reiterate my warning about Shield Wall - don't use it.  Or maybe I'd change it to "why are you bringing infantry?"

Oh yes, I came second.  Go me.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Rawhide

The War Wagon.  It is awesome.

That is all.

Actually that would have been better off as a comment rather than a post of its own, I shall have to remedy this.

I got to test it out against Martin tonight and although it died horribly early on in the game due to Martin's insane dice, it still got to knockdown an obscene amount of stuff and generally reveal what it might possibly do if left to its own devices.  Finally I have a replacement for those bloody Nyss Hunters!  I suspect I'll still have problems against Satyxis Raiders but I'm going to have to figure out a way around them in some other fashion (hello Borka).  My pDoomshaper list is now complete.

Having had such a long hiatus from the game it was really fun to put pDoomshaper back on the table and have a list that rocked face.  Unfortunately Martin was very reluctant to shoot Mulg, which made Mulg sad.  Mulg comforted himself by smashing a Phoenix to bits and getting a critical smite on the last hit to slam it over Vyros for 12 damage.  I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.  It made up for my Mauler getting killed instantly by two Mage Hunter Assassins (max damage on both of them, wtf?) early in the game.

I have also concluded that my battlegroup with a Bouncer is MUCH better than my other battlegroup.  How did I live without the Bump animus?  It's just so incredibly useful, especially on something like the War Wagon. Trollbloods... we're back in business.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Lackadaisically Speaking

Lackadaisically.  I like that word.  Almost as much as I like 'flabbergasted'.  Unfortunately there is not often the opportunity to use both words in the same sentence.  Though I'm sure my grammatical nonsense is intriguing, it is not what this blog is here for.  I apologize to my (18) regular readers for my chronic lack of updates - this was unfortunately due to my utter disinterest in Warmachines and Hordes.  Luckily for this blog, I have regained my interest enough to put fingers to keyboard and craft another incredulously amazing blog post.

Domination.  I have perused the various spoilers being bandied about the internet, having not had time to purchase a copy of the book yet.  I'm still mystified as to why people want their new bathrooms in this very specific time period before Christmas, but who can argue with increased work?  Being a Trollblood player I of course blatantly ignored all other spoilers as clearly inferior to any information concerning my faction.

War Wagon.  I am most pleased with this model and its rules.  I would have liked an additional spray, but having played against the Khador Gun Carriage a few times now, I can see the potential for Great Things from the War Wagon.  I'm planning to proxy it tomorrow (a CD with a cart and 2 long rider models Blu-Tac'd to it) to see how it performs in place of my Nyss Hunters in my pDoomshaper list.

Other Stuff.  Honestly, I'm not fussed about anything else.  I am quite content with my War Wagon - as long as it does fairly well tomorrow.  I've come to the conclusion that most of my infantry choices are a waste of time.  Winterguard and boosted sprays are of no concern when my entire army is ARM 20 and has 22 damage boxes.  Unless the infantry serves a very specific function, I have replaced it with a warbeast of the appropriate point cost.  I can hear cries of despair already, shouts promoting the use of Dygmies and boosting them to broken levels.  Well, they suck.  I'll take the Axer please.

Borka's new themed force has some VERY intriguing possibilities, and I don't mean 3 units of champions.  I speak of Boomhowler & Co.  As faction models.  A unit with Iron Flesh, ARM 18, 4+ Tough, and Feign Death.  Now that's a unit that demands respect, I sense a truly rage inducing unit.  Putting that unit and all the support Trollbloods bring to the table should come with a health warning for your opponent.  Do not use against opponents with high blood pressure.

After my dismal showing at the UK Masters last year, my faction choice this coming year purely revolves around how fantastical I find the War Wagon.  If it's awesomesauce on toast, then I'll bring my Trollbloods, otherwise it's time to improve my street cred (commonly referred to (once upon a time) as 'kudos') by taking Mercenaries.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Character Restrictions

Having heard some feedback from the GenCon Masters utilizing character restrictions across multiple army lists, I'm really quite intrigued.  Currently the restrictions don't change any of my Mercenaries lists - though I'm still deciding on the third list - but I'm hearing reports of people switching faction at the requirement.  Just think, you won't see Nyss Hunters or Kovnik Joe or Tartarus or the Deathjack in every single list...  It sounds a little bit like heaven.

With the standard 3 list format, that means I'm looking at 3 ways to get damage boosts.  So... Gorten, eMagnus, Durgen, Aiyana & Holt, and the Ragman form the choices for Mercenaries.  Of those, I'm of course taking eMagnus, he's my favorite warcaster and I've pretty much tuned my Bad Seeds list to run as well as it can.  There's currently a two point slot to fill but I'd like to see if my Chain Gun Crew can work first.  Otherwise I'll fill it with... something...

So, that leaves four choices more.  Gorten I'll discard right away due to his small focus stat.  It would only drive me up the wall, regardless of how great his feat is.  Durgen... well I have the miniature, I have Kayazy Assassins, I even have Reinholdt.  His list does lack pathfinder though.  A possible issue.  I'd also have to stock up on Rhulic heavies as I currently have... none.  As for Aiyana & Holt, I dislike their miniatures intensely, but I'd be willing to use them in a Shae themed force.  That themed force is extremely tempting, but does require buying a LOT of pirates.  If I had money to burn, I'd like to pick it up.  Finally we come to the Ragman.  He frees up every other caster available really.  I'd really like a good, Thamarite themed army but I'm afraid I'd be stuck with Fiona and her stupid canon cultists.

Meanwhile however, I'll be testing out Constance Blaize in all her infantry swarming/warded glory over the next few weeks to see if she can stand up on her own.  That army list certainly punishes casters who like upkeep spells, and has a large portion that cannot be targeted by spells.  I'm a bit wary of anti-infantry casters or models, but we'll have to see what the first few tests unveil.  At least all but 2 models have arrived and are now assembled!  I'm missing Rocinante and the Precursor Knight leader model at this point.  I can't wait to see my entire army rampage across the board with Crusader's Call going.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Brawltastic

I'd normally run the yearly two day event during Conflagration but as the QMU is not attached to a shop and I just don't see GUGS outside of university time I believe it's much easier if I just keep going with the Tartan Brawl.  I'm going to attempt to book the second Tartan Brawl on the 10th and 11th of March 2012.  Saying that, I'll have to pick up prize support much quicker this time around.

Not happy with the way Constance's armour has turned out, I think she may be in the queue for some paint stripper.  Then again she looks fine from a distance, so I might just do her at tabletop quality for now and pick up a new Constance once the rest of my army is painted.  I'll just console myself by painting another Sword Knight.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Weapons of Mass Constuction

I've discovered a very useful offline army constructor - mkII FCU (Force Constructor Utility).  It's pretty sleek, though there are a couple of issues when you attempt to add attachments or warjacks and haven't selected what you're adding it to.  What is best about it though is that it seems to be constantly updated.  It already has the new eHaley and pSkarre themed forces from the latest No Quarter in it.  It can't print your army lists out unfortunately but it can export all the information into a text format (or HTML or BBL) that you could paste into a word processor.  It's certainly on a par with iBodger, though it isn't as mobile, but it's nice to have available while I work on other projects online (like my impending GW2 journal/blog).

Constance Blaize and Damiano have now both been assembled, though my bajillion other models are still ahead of them in the painting queue.  Unfortunately neither of their lists are quite ready yet as some things just weren't in stock or I forgot to order them.  I'll try to rectify that later this week.  As for assembling these two warcasters though:
Damiano is easy to assemble and has a surprising range of poses you can use.  I'm really quite pleased with how the miniature is built and how solidly it all sticks together.  Constance on the other hand is something of a nightmare.  She's no Mortenebra but honestly, what hassle.  All the joins are tiny and nigh-unpinnable.  I've done the best I can with green stuff and superglue, but realistically she's going to have bits break off at some point in the future.

As I've *finally* managed to get my friends in Aberdeen interested in the game, I'm assembling the Warmachine battle boxes for them.  So far I've built the Protectorate and Khador ones, with the Cygnar one lurking conspicuously in the background.  The plastic warcasters are actually really nice - at least Sorscha and Kreoss are - and the heavies are simple to build.  Not so for the light warjacks.  Goodness gracious (I never thought I'd say that) they are a royal pain in the arse.  Go metal for lights people!  Ignore that plastic stuff, it's such a hassle.  Or pin it like it was metal.  That would probably work better.  The lights also appear to be made of several thousand pieces each - buyer beware!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Constant Variables

I've now ordered my complete Constance Blaize army list for 50 points except for a Cygnar heavy warjack box that will be Gallant, Harlan Versh and Rocinante.  I'm really looking forward to trying this list out, it combines lots of anti-magic with Steelheads and being able to boost attacks in strange places.  It also fits my Cygnaries theme.  However, it is infantry heavy and I'm already having a hard time painting through my Bad Seeds force.

Meanwhile I'm tweaking away at my Bad Seeds list.  I get the feeling it needs another melee heavy or that I need to be able to prevent the Nomad from dying... ever...  I could drop all the 'extras' I bring to support the list - the Trencher Master Gunner, the Sentinel, and shrink the Sword Knights down to a minimum unit and then bring along a Mangler.  It's very tempting as I've been sorely missing thresher attacks lately, but then again I could also just shrink the Sword Knights down to a minimum unit to bring along my shiny, new Trencher Chain Gun to keep my warjacks free of non-Reach infantry.  Time for some experiments.

I also received a bunch of new models for my Trollbloods from Firestorm Games this week.  I've become somewhat addicted to ambush so I picked up a minimum unit of Bog Trogs, along with a Feralgeist, another Axer and Grim Angus.  Unfortunately I'm not going to be playing my Trollbloods in a good while as I test out the Mercenaries.  I'm really looking forward to trying out Constance.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Apple Seeds

All the testing for my Bad Seeds force is pretty much done now, it's just on with the painting.  I got a few more games out of it and discovered it's all about the Obliterator Rocket assassination.  Any time the enemy warcaster sticks their head out - unless they have a truly monumental DEF (>18) - you can typically blat them.  The Trencher Master Gunner and a Ranger easily pushes the Renegades into a realm where a model's DEF is mostly irrelevant.  I killed a DEF 18 pKreoss (Defender's Ward and on a hill) with the rockets and my Defender while he couldn't be knocked down (Covenant).

I've also figured out how the list deals with heavies - eMagnus stabs them.  It's just setting things up so that he can swoop in, hit something with Calamity and then cripple some systems with the armor piercing attack.  It's focus intensive and it takes a bit of work to keep eMagnus safe from the aftermath of such an assault, but it works.  Even the Behemoth went down, I was most chuffed with that.  Granted that eMagnus prompted died after that, but the technique was pioneered!

Now it's time to just get on with the painting and see which caster to test out next (*cough* Damiano *cough*) and then which models to pick up for them.  I think Gun Mages are probably a safe bet regardless of caster though.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Painting Schedule

My Trencher Commandos and Saxon Orrik arrived this weekend, so I'm a happy camper.  The Commandos are surprisingly few pieces - half the unit consists of single piece miniatures!  Saxon Orrik comes in a mere 2 parts, so I'm planning to build all of those on Sunday and get the Defender base coated.

On the painting front, the Rangers look to be ludicrously easy to get painted, I'm discovering a new-found love of cloaks - they cover up those three thousand pouches and bags other models have.  The first base coat is already on them and I expect to plough through them pretty quickly.  Kell Bailoch's face has some issues, it reminds me of Freddy Kruger for some reason but I'm not sure why the face doesn't respond to shading or pretty much any painting technique; it's just a big pink blob.  The Sword Knights are easy enough to paint but are time consuming, I've only properly finished one so far and another 3 are in the early stages of painting.

So that's the Bad Seeds painting list so far, I've still got miles to go but it's slowly getting there.  Once that list is done, then I'm on to rebasing and finishing all the Steelhead models I possess.  As I mentioned in some blog post back in yonder time, I was rebasing my Mercenaries from a grass/snow base to a desert theme.  Unfortunately I never got around to redo-ing all the Steelhead stuff, but at least I only have to paint 1.5 halberdiers and 1.5 cavalry figures to have the basic Steelhead tactical group finished.  I'm working on giving Stannis Brocker a base that's more dramatic than the normal bases, if only I could get hold of Kraye's rock on the cheap...

I'm still thinking on my third Mercenary warcaster after eMagnus and Damiano, and I remain rather stumped.  I keep thinking one of the Rhulic warcasters would be really nice to have, but what I REALLY want is a warjack caster.  I know (or at least I saw a post by Jason Soles) saying that we could expect a new Rhulic warcaster before the end of the year, but I don't know what we're going to get with that.  It will probably take that long for me to pick up all the Steelhead models I need anyway, so I may as well adopt a wait-and-see stance.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Temporal Issues

More testing of Bad Seeds I'm afraid, not much else has been going on at my end.  I'm currently house/dog-sitting for Jim and the dog requires an awful lot of walks.  It seems that every time I sit down to do something, I need to be somewhere else or get back to the house to walk the dog.  At least I've done a fair amount of painting across both my armies - though actually completing models has been somewhat lax.  Janissa is almost done and I finished Orin Midwinter.  I'm pretty sure Kell Bailoch and Janissa could be done in a single sitting, it's just finding the time right now.

As for Bad Seeds testing, the list controls the flanks like nothing else I've seen, but I'm still having trouble with heavy armour.  Normally I'd swap out a Renegade and the Trencher Master Gunner for a Mangler (and thus run 3 heavies - Nomad, Mangle, and a Defender) but the dual Renegade threat seems to have undue influence on my opponents.  Casters like pVlad do nothing but cast Wind Wall all day while the Obliterator Rockets are available.  I think I may have to adopt a technique of concentrated firepower with all that ranged infantry the list carts around.  Hit a target with Calamity, fill it full of holes.  A bit focus heavy, but I think it could work.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Such a Slag

Once again I tried out the Bad Seeds list, and it proved pretty good at what it does - shooting things.  Continued problems with dealing with heavy armour though (except Kell Bailoch, he rocked up the box cars on damage) and the Defender continues to be utterly useless except as a damage soak.  Perhaps it only really works against lists with 'soft' heavies?  So, factions like Circle or Cryx maybe?  I think I'm going to attempt to use the Mangler on Tuesday in place of the Defender and see if it performs better.

I've also been looking at my Trollbloods and what sort of lists with surprises could be made.  Burrowers just give me a headache when it comes to scenario play, and I need some sort of ranged options that aren't the Nyss Hunters.  So I thought I'd build up my pDoomshaper themed force once Magnus and his Bad Seeds are finished.  All I need to get is 3 units of Runeshapers and a Slag Troll.

Why a Slag Troll?  Of all the light warbeasts in Trollbloods (besides the Axer), the Slag Troll can really perform quite well in melee.  If I lose a heavy, the Slag Troll can actually step up to the plate.  Why not a Pyre Troll?  I found that having immunity to fire to be strangely debilitating.  My opponents wouldn't come forward and we'd engage in a staring competition between my force (with next to no ranged attacks) and their's (with all sorts of ranged attacks).  Without such immunity I've found my opponents more willing to come forward and eat a Mulg to the face.

Runeshapers.  I like them but the list does suffer badly against Circle and certain anti-magic lists.  I'd probably have to cater a second list to deal with any armies that bring anti-magic to the table.  There's something really quite pleasant about ARM 15/17, Steady, 5 damage infantry with Pathfinder.  The extra walls in the themed force don't hurt either.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Rotten Apples

eMagnus' Bad Seeds themed force gets the sticker of approval.  I'm not entirely sold on the Defender in my list, it's very tempting to swap it to a Mangler, but I *know* I'm going to get an Obliterator assassination run off and require a third ranged attack to finish off the enemy caster, at which point my Mangler will be wallowing in a vast pool of useless.  On the other hand, the Defender has been mostly useless in every game so far...  I'll try it out a couple more times for good measure, and then swap it over to the Mangler and see how things work out.  Not sure what to do with the extra point either, an extra Scattergunner?

The AMBUSHING SWORD KNIGHTS (which shall forever be mentioned with capitals) certainly do what they say on the tin.  They both ambush and sword stuff.  They do seem to be lacking in knightly chivalry however, but I don't hold that against them.  It's surprisingly easy to get Flank off, I'm not sure why but there's always a Renegade on hand when they appear.  It's never planned, it just happens to work like that.

What the list doesn't deal with is masses of heavy armour and it has a distinct power dip in radial scenarios due to way ambush works in those.  In dual and certain centre scenarios, the list rocks.  AMBUSHING SWORD KNIGHTS and Saxon Orrik can easily jam up or steal an objective, even more so when combined with Kill Box (the feat, not the scenario).

My goal is to have the list completely painted (and rebased where applicable) by the end of September.  My main worry is the trencher models as they have a million extra pouches and miscellaneous random items (I'm surprised the 10' pole isn't in there) strewn about their bodies.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Eat Your Spinage

My Bad Seeds list is soooo close to completion that I can taste the metal filings already.  I've just ordered my Commandos and Saxon Orrik, everything else is assembled and based.  There are ranks upon ranks of small based models lined up in orderly rows on my undercoating tray.  I can't say how much of a pleasure it is to paint small based miniatures again, especially ones that wear lots of armour.  Once the entire force is painted I'm going to take new pictures of everything for the photo album - though my painting techniques have improved drastically since my early Mercenary stuff.

I've been examining Rociante's artwork and I think I can duplicate everything except for his head.  I have an antediluvian Mariner that is in pieces and if I chop the cannon a bit shorter and remove the existing Mariner hand, I should be able to attach it to a Nomad's shield hand (sans shield) and then put some fine chain on it.  Voila, instant Rociante!  Almost.  Rociante's head is a bit harder to duplicate, but I'm looking into it.  I think it's going to be a job for the green stuff.

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Riddle of Steel

Right, Damiano it is.  He's more Merc-centric, and I have a bunch of mostly painted Steelheads (including my infamous half-done cavalry), and his themed force is ludicrously easy to get as I have almost everything in it already.  However, I do need double of everything I already own.  Of course, having two sets of the Steelhead Trinity (Halberdiers, Heavy Cavalry, and Riflemen in this case) does make those scenarios with split objectives rather easy.  Half the army to one objective, other half to the other objective; stomp face as needed.  Time to start running some extra events methinks!

Once the Steelheads are all done, I'm not quite sure what to move onto next.  I'd like something very thematic, preferably themed, so it might be time to wander into a Rhulic army.  Gorten and a pair of Drillers would be nice to have, and probably Brun & Lug...  All in good time however, getting all these new Mercenaries is going to take a while.  Meanwhile, what is best in life?

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Feel My Wroth

My copy of Wrath arrived this morning, and I accepted it with a truly astounding bedhead.  After a few more hours of rest I actually read the thing and it's a pretty unusual update as far as the normal books go.  Firstly, there are almost no new units.  I think there's one, for Khador, and that's a 2 man (woman in this case) unit.  Everything else is basically new warjacks and new solos.  Since I like warjacks, this pleased me greatly.

However, seeing a Cryx warcaster with Telekinesis displeased me greatly.  One could say I was disgusted.  Scaverous appears to be insanely broken - though not quite on eDeneghra's scale of utterly broken, he's certainly in close attendance.  His themed force is crazily easy to get as well.

Constance is certainly interesting, and I'd like to at least get her as one of my casters.  She seems to be much like a Cygnaran defensive version of Terminus.  She collects friendly souls during her feat turn and like Big T the feat effectively gives her two turns of invulnerability - provided she isn't shot to death by mage hunters and your opponent is willing to kill some stuff for you.  She's also a big fan of Precursor Knights, as if that was a surprise.

I'm also liking the look of Damiano.  Unfortunately both he and Constance both want to run lots of infantry - Precursors in her case, and Steelheads in his.  There are certainly advantages to either style of play, it's just deciding which is more to my liking that is the problem.  Do I go with Precursors and a Highborn list, or utilize the Steelheads I already own and are painted?  Even their feats function in a similar manner for Mercenaries.  Damiano's is more straight forward, but with Transference in her spell list Constance could have 5 dice weapon master damage rolls on some of her infantry.  ARRGGG.  I'll try out both on Vassal I think and see which one I prefer.

So... my Bad Seeds force is now all build, assembled and based - barring the 8 models I haven't yet got.  I tried it briefly on Vassal and promptly crowded myself badly and totally fluffed up part of my feat turn with the Ambushing Sword Knights.  On the whole however, the list was performing quite well despite my blundering. It certainly needs a couple more games to iron out the workings of it.  It has potential anyway.

Seeing that Mercenaries once again failed to break the P+S 17 roof (even with Gallant) I'm looking wistfully back at my Trollbloods already.  Sneaky tricks may not abound, but being able to wreck anything I point at is massively tempting.  I think I'll paint what I have anyway, it's better than pulling out multiple silver/white/black armies.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Brooding Horses

My brooding mass of Mercnar models is coming together now, in a most literal fashion.  Orin Midwinter has a very nice scenic base and is on his way to being fully painted in record time, the Sword Knights are assembled, and luckily the rangers are pretty much single piece miniatures.  This means that the Trencher Commandos are clearly going to be 9 piece models each, just to balance things out.  Now I need to get working on the basing.

I'm not sure what other casters to get for Cynaries, I was thinking Constance but I have no idea what Constance does.  Hopefully Ashlynn will get a resculpt in the near future - if pNemo got one, then she deserves one! - and I'll start using her once again.  Or perhaps it's time to pick up some dwarves, there's not a lot that beats the fully boosted sprays of the blastbunnies.  I do like the look of Damiano though, and I already have the basic set of Steelheads - though it would mean having to paint those 2 cavalry models...  Oh the choices!  As long as there are no pirate models, I'm all good with the Mercenaries.

Wrath is only a week away!  Though the lack of deduction of my PG points has left me somewhat mystified, will my copy of Wrath arrive in a timely fashion or will I be the last horse in the race?

Monday, 6 June 2011

Tent Peg

Well, I got humped.  Not a good showing at all this UK Masters, I hang my head in shame.  I didn't particularly enjoy this one unfortunately, but I believe that's due to non-gaming factors in my life rather than the event.  Once again, all the players were great, there were some 'technical' faults in the way it was run, but nothing that wasn't understandable (except for the whole laptop+mobile/Richard Jennings freezing issue - that's a complete mystery).  I got to speak to the other PGs more this time around, and it's more and more tempting to just sit out the tournament and help run it.  When I'm not in the running for one of the top spots (and I wasn't as I lost my first game), my overall enjoyment certainly dips, but getting games in was good.  All the training with time was for naught, as the games ran the standard length of time - which did cost me my first game as I committed to the zones a turn early as I thought time was going to get called.  My own fault, and full credit to Ben Josling for crushing my army (4th tiebreaker though) for my temerity.

Lots and lots of Trollblood players this time around, so I think it's time to put them to one side except for the odd game for fun.  That and I got hammered like a tent peg this UK Masters...  There wasn't anything that surprised anyone in my lists, no sneaky tricks, no cunning tactics or connivery I could pull out to shock them, everyone's played against Trollbloods now and have already seen what's coming.  Oh well.

Instead I'm going to pick up Mercnar, or Cercs, or perhaps Mygnar.  I shall first do this by completing my eMagnus Bad Seeds themed force, for like all problems that can be solved by application of Mulg, I feel a similar solution to problem solving can be utilized with the use of ambushing Sword Knights.  And Saxon.  Oh yes, I loves me some ambush.  That, and no one really takes Mercenaries seriously.  That's okay though, my lists are basically stripped down Cygnar lists.  I really want to test out the RAT 12 Sentinel with a full strafe attack...  Of course I have to hit the target with Calamity first, but that's a MINOR problem!  All I need at the moment are my Trencher Commandos, a Defender, and Saxon Orrik - as these were not available at the stand apart from the Defender and quite simply, I forgot about it.

After eMagnus' list is sorted, I'll check out Constance Blaize and see if a Precursor/Highborn Covenant themed list could actually work.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Final Hurdle

So... testing out my third list has ground to a halt with the noted absence of Grim Angus... anywhere.  Static Games didn't have the gimp in stock.  On the other hand the PG points for my last 3 tournaments have been approved.  Free Wrath and Constance Blaize here I come!  Or I could get more Trollbloods stuff.  Perhaps it's time for a eMagnus Bad Seeds themed list.  Hello Ambushing Sword Knights!

Having played about with my Mercenaries at the Welsh Open during a bye round I've come to appreciate Orin Midwinter and his infantry clearing potential.  I spent a few turns running around spamming Arc Lightning into the back of my own Renegade and hey presto, Eiryss and lots of the Nyss Hunters were electrocuted.  Score one for the Inquisition.  If only I could duplicate the success in other games...

Back to the Trollbloods however.  I've decided to use the Earthborn Dire Troll and the Pyre Troll instead of the Bouncer and Mauler in pDoomshaper's list.  The primary reason for this is that my Mauler keeps dying and then I have no damage buff.  This makes me a very sad panda.  Also, I become immune to a significant amount of Legion and Protectorate attacks by virtue of being immune to fire.  Much hilarity will ensue I'm sure.

While Borka is certainly fun, I think pMadrak is what I'm after.  He's more proactive about doing horrible, horrible things to my opponent (apply axe to face liberally.  If symptoms persist, apply additional dosage) whereas Borka seems to be about farting about with ludicrously high DEF guys.  Anyone who gets around Iron Flesh tends to get over Borka in a hurry.  I also like the way that pMadrak doesn't give a monkey's uncle about casualties as long as his feat is still up and he has a big conga line of things to kill.  Another cool thing is that I can ignore any of these feeble effects that cause a single point of damage for the most part as the entire army is multi-wound.

Finally, I'd like to run Grim Angus as my last caster - if I can find him anyway.  He's got a nice denial feat, and a gun (well, 2 actually).  My only problem with him at the moment is that I haven't had the time to figure out exactly how he works.  I get the impression I'm supposed to put Return Fire on him most of the time so that I can shoot back at people with my Snare Gun.  Also, Burrowers continue to give me a headache.  Trying to get them to hold zones is a real head-scratcher at times.  I'll just have to use him early on, gub some poor, poor simpleton and then go on my merry way with my other lists.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Erratatata

Yes, it's here and it's fairly controversial as these things go.  eGaspy's feat and Side Step have been hit with the nerf bat.  There's some minor wording changes to Eyeless Sight and a few other abilities, and weapon/head locks have been changed (again).  The changes to the weapon/head locks now means that even if you can't attack with a weapon (i.e. I headlocked your Devastator) you can still attempt to break the lock during your combat action.  I'd suggest reading the wording exactly rather than relying on my explanation however, as there's a little more to it.

I tried out the Pygmy Burrowers with my pDoomshaper list and I was distinctly not impressed.  The Nyss Hunters perform much better in that particular list, but it was worth seeing how the Burrowers function.  Having the Burrowers on one side of the board, and my Scouts on the other, my support wanted to be in both places at once.  Also, the Burrowers don't shoot and have problems with high DEF.  Tunneling also gives me a headache when trying to hold scenario zones - the Burrowers aren't on the table half the game, so figuring out how to stop my opponent scoring in a major pain.  Definitely using the Nyss Hunters in that list.

So that's two lists tried and tested, now to figure out what to take for my third list...  Something to deal with the infantry-swarm meat-grinder, or something to bring that extra level of denial: pMadrak or Grim Angus are my choices, I've tested out the pMadrak list before and it certain chews through infantry swarms like no tomorrow, but Grim Angus brings more options to the table I feel.  Unfortunately the shop didn't have a Grim Angus in stock, I'll need to run around like a mad man to find one in the next couple of days.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Drunken Mayhem

Borka = Fun.  A surprisingly easy equation.  I tried out his themed force, and he's very simple to play: spend 5 fury on Iron Flesh+Mosh Pit/Wind Wall (or use Animi), Keg Carrier tops up.  Next turn Borka leeches 3 Fury, repeat as needed.  I like using AD on my Bomber, it lets me throw templates into the opponent's front line nice and early with a couple of good deviations.

My only worry about the list is the giant unit of Fennblades (I have stooped to using them).  With the UA, it's a 12 model unit and it is very hard to score scenario points with such a large unit footprint.  It also doesn't help that the unit often misleads me as to how much of it is actually contesting a zone.  I took my eye off a zone earlier today and totally missed the fact that only two Fennblades were in the zone, the rest were beating up Bane Knights.

I discovered that Champions and Scouts make an excellent combination.  The Scouts are fast with AD and quickly engage the enemy long enough for the Champions to get into position and ready to smash face.  Of course, Skaldi is pretty awesome.  So far he's been fairly legendary in every game I've used him in.  It's tempting to see if I could find a way to squeeze him in to my pDoomshaper list, but I think my pDoomshaper list is almost set in stone at this point - I just need to test it out using Burrowers instead of the Nyss Hunters.

I'm set on Borka and pDoomshaper now.  Borka is simple, fast, and nigh unkillable - that alone allows me a great luxury.  As for pDoomshaper, I'm sure this blog may be some sort of digital shrine to his use.  For my final caster I'm going to test out Calandra and Grim Angus, hopefully I'll be able to find something simple and easy in a hurry.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Under the Boot

If you aren't a Rules Forum lurker like I am, then you may have missed the recent ruling of Trample.  If you end your movement in base-to-base with a small based model, you no longer get to make a Trample attack against them - well, if they're in your front arc at the end of the Trample.  Apparently now you must move over their base now.  As a giant can of worms, this is pretty big.  Does that mean all the way over?  Can I stop halfway across a base, get reset to my last valid position and then still get my Trample attack?  Why is this being implemented now after we've played with Trample as it was for over a year?

There are a lot of questions being asked now in the Rules Forum, which implies there has been a change in a core mechanic - which there has.  I don't view that as a good thing: if it isn't broken, don't fix it.  All this came about because someone asked "what happens if I'm in base-to-base with a bunch of small bases and I trample 0"?"  Given that the game has 0.5" melee range on all models, the odds of getting more than 2-3 small based models with this technique was nearly non-existent.

But alas, strange rulings and impending errata are not my providence.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Zap Zap Pow!

Spoilers for the Cygnar Storm Strider have appeared on the Cygnar forums!  It's really quite good in my opinion, particularly in a storm army as it can run around hosing things with lightning left, right and centre.  I'd be tempted to take one or two with pNemo and the Thunderhead to see how much lightning spam I could fling around before being shot to death by MHSF+UA during Ravyn's feat turn.

Still no sign of the PG order, nor can I log into the PG section of Privateer Press' website to see if my points have been deducted.  I remain a sad panda.  I suppose I could show up on the Friday night with my bajillion PG points and spend them right there and then if Mike allows it (and has his laptop on hand).  However, I'd miss out on the pre-tournament chat and banter that usually goes on at the Duck as I assembled all my toy soldiers.  I wish the US Quartermaster would update the order forms too, being able to pre-order Wrath would be awesomesauce - though I wouldn't be able to read it on the way back as I'd be the one driving.

News!
My PG points have been deducted, I am a happy panda now.  Models should be arriving at some point  between Friday and next Tuesday.  Woot!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Like a Remora

Well, that was a short-lived job.  I had a job for about half a week doing what essentially boils down to door-to-door sales.  It's not particularly hard, but it does feel incredibly impolite to bother people in their homes when they haven't requested it or it isn't an emergency.  At least I picked up some free training in sales techniques and suspicious corporate infrastructures (multi-layered marketing... hmmm).  Also, one of the head guys in the office seems particularly interested in Warmachine and Hordes, so I dropped off my MKi copies of Prime Remix and Primal at the same time I informed them I was quitting (though, the position is technically self-employed, I'm not sure I can quit, nor that they can fire me).  Either way, he seemed like a pleasant enough person, I hope he turns up at the gaming club to get into the game.

In tournament news, don't forget the tournament in Perth this weekend.  It's a 25 point one, with all the usual bells and whistles.  I'm thinking I might make the trip up to Dundee to visit Hannah while I'm vaguely in that part of Scotland.

Lists for the UK Masters are due in at the end of next week, if you don't send your lists in, then you're liable to be delayed in your first game with the Press Gangers having to check your lists and assign you an opponent - after all, same faction match-ups suck.  Don't be a remora, get the lists in early.

Speaking of the UK Masters, I'm still twiddling my thumbs waiting for my PG order to arrive, but at least Mike W knows I have an order now - as confirmed on the PG forums.  If it's not here by this weekend however, I'm going to ditch my ticket and go head referee instead.  Maybe I can have a throw-down against Vish, I hear he's the business.  If I do withdraw from the tournament (booooo) then I'll have to flog the ticket to some other UK Masters hopeful, luckily I have these new-fangled sales skills...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Wrong Ideas

I'm not entirely sure what Google is thinking with my adverts.  For a while it had the right idea, but now it's just well off the beaten track.  Maybe I should mention Firestorm Games and Maelstrom more often.  After all, this is a blog about Warmachine and Hordes, perhaps I need to mention Privateer Press in every blog post too, just to be on the safe side.

Also, to clarify some information about the Gathering of the Clans in Edinburgh: I am not Andy Meechan, nor is Andy Meechan me.  Therefore I am not involved in any way in the running of any events at the Gathering.  It may prove surprising to many people, but I am not innately connected in some way to all the other Andies.  To rectify this I have decided to once again start calling myself Lee (and if my old friends turn out to know my new friends again, I may end up as Andy-Lee).  I'm not sure where the rumour that I was running the tournament at the Gathering came from, but it certainly wasn't me - if it turns out some imposter has said they're me, I suppose I may have to visit the Gathering in order to subject them to a Sockmulg.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Welsh Open Postscript

The Welsh Open is now concluded.  Huzzah.  While entertaining and useful in creating contacts, I wouldn't say I'll be going back - at least not as a TO or referee.  I believe my opinion would be more respected if I school the other TOs with my 'mad skillz yo' than the validity of any opinion or point I make.  Bring on the UK Masters!

As a referee I saw and heard about several things that bug me.  These don't detract from the event, as it was a spectacular event, there's no denying that, but are things that make me want to slap some sense into some people.

Tokens, players MUST put tokens on the table that clearly represent effects in the game.  This was distinctly lacking on several tables and I think next time I will administer some Singapore Justice to one and all who fail to do this if I'm ever called over to a table.  No clear token means no effect.  I'd even stop all the players in a given area of the room to point this out.  It's harsh, but not having the token both misleads your opponent and wastes their time.

Themed force discounts.  A larger number of players than expected could not figure out that your opponent is awarded the full points for the model/unit they destroyed, even if it is discounted by a themed force tier.  Just because you get it cheaper doesn't mean your opponent has to make any less effort in destroying it.

Flags.  The radius is 4 inches.  Yes, FOUR.  Please pick up the latest version of Steamroller and READ IT.  This was perhaps the most common rules query I was asked.  Please do not consult Prime MKii for the radius from a flag, Steamroller 2011 came out more recently.

Overall the event was great fun for the players.  The community is very pleasant on the whole, the barbecues were a great idea (if only we could do that here in Glasgow...) and the background organisation of the event was spectacular.  The planning for the scenarios was pretty awful (a lonely bead in the middle of a circular zone instead of marked circles?!) but the prize support was on a scale I can only dream of.  It's almost incomprehensible how much stuff Martyn and Sam got hold of to give away.  I can safely say I'm extremely jealous of what they managed to achieve.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Welsh Open Incoming

As the Welsh Open is happening this weekend I find myself staring at my Nyss Hunters and wondering if I should perhaps swap them to Dygmies.  Both have different virtues, though it basically comes down to: which unit causes more problems for my opponent?  So... Nyss Hunters or Dygmies + Champion Hero?

I won't be competing in the Welsh Open, I'm one of the (two) referees so I've been living in the Rules Forums to find any crazy new exceptions of rulings that I need to be aware of before we head south.  I've also got to remember to pack the Monsternomicon Vol. 1 that I promised to Jon Webb (of Boosted Damage).  Wrapping it feels a bit metrosexual however, so I think I'll just stick it in a plastic cover to prevent damage.

The pairings for the first round can be found here.  The list is about two-thirds down the page.

Friday, 29 April 2011

UK Masters Preparation: Part 3 - So Much Anger

Tested Kris' eDoomshaper list and I found it generates stupid amounts of Fury very quickly.  Not quite my thing unfortunately.  Maybe if I had an additional helping of Whelps I'd consider it.  So... time to consider other options, and I'm wondering if I can cancel my PG order as it hasn't been processed (still - that may turn out to be a blessing in disguise).  Grim Angus or Gunnbjorn seem to be viable options, I'm leaning more towards Grim at the moment.  I'm rather impressed by the Bomber though, those 4" AoEs are great for blowing up random infantry, especially since I can boost the important blast damage rolls.

I'm testing out pMadrak again tomorrow with a couple of tweaks, what I like about his list is that my casualties are large irrelevant; as long as pMadrak is still alive and the enemy has models I can chew through then I'm still on for a possible assassination run.  However, just how it performs against denial lists is a mystery at the moment.  It has some bad match ups (lots of VERY high ARM models) and some great match ups (lots of infantry) but at the very least I need to play it a couple of times to get my turn time down.

Also noticed I've been playing terribly the last few games.  Definitely need to sort out my game.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Like a Fox

Another Quarterly Win against Jim.  Woot.  Though Mulg did go flying back and forth over 2 turns, courtesy of a Pureblood Warpwolf and then my Dire Troll Mauler.  The basics of what happened was that Jim's Primal'ed Stalker flubbed up damaging Mulg before I wiped out its Mind though pDoomshaper's feat damage.  So the Pureblood came in and threw Mulg, then eKrueger feated and pushed him further back.  In return I used Rage on my Dire Troll Mauler and threw Mulg back at the Stalker before using my Fell Caller to stand everything back up and commence Death by Tree.  I'm so cunning!  Like a fox.  Strangely my own throw did more damage than all the attacks from the Stalker.

My Saturday game also went well, but that was more due to my tremendous dice against Sean Murchie than any tactical brilliant on either part.  When your opponent can't stop rolling massive damage, there's not a lot you can do about it.  I just pasted all his Titans and Gatormen in record speed with my damage rolls.

Anyhow, that's my pDoomshaper list finely tuned and working, I just need my PG order to get processed...  I'm still missing tons of stuff from my other two lists.  Come on Mike, it's only a public holiday, miniatures needs posting!  Slacker.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Intarwebbing

I thought I'd include some Google ads in the blog and then link it up to Maelstrom Games and Firestorm Games or other wargaming related (and thus, useful) links.  Unfortunately Google appears to have other ideas on this, but I'm willing to let it slide for now - apparently it's supposed to sort itself out.  If it's still made of failcake after a fortnight, it's going to get the axe.

Good news however, Martyn Jenkins has finally figured out how to post the Dragon-storm podcast on iTunes and the episodes are now available for download.  Apparently Jim will be on the next episode, which means I'm probably going to be asked to set up a mic for him.

I've ordered all the pieces I need for my remaining lists, but with parts of the Privateer Press site down and with Salute just this last weekend, I'm not sure the Quartermaster will be able to process my order any time soon.  At least Vassal has no such qualms about models, so I'm sure I'll be able to test out the lists over the next few days.  That or resort to using proxies (blerg).

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

UK Masters Tickets Sold Out

These things sell like hot cakes, all 100 tickets are now sold.  Myself, Jim, and Martin have secured our tickets, so I better get my car fixed.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

UK Masters Tickets Available

Yes, the waiting is over, the tickets are available!

Just follow these easy steps:
1.) Register with the Games Expo.
2.) Confirm the e-mail they send you.
3.) Sign in.
4.) Go to the Tickets -> Entrance Tickets drop down menu.
5.) Choose whichever ticket applies to you.  The UK Masters is a 2 day event on the Saturday and Sunday, so I'd pick Weekend Adult personally.
6.) Go to the Events -> Miniatures drop down menu.
7.) Select War-Machines Hordes UK Masters tickets.
8.) Pay for it all.
9.) You're done.

Tickets are selling VERY quickly (at the time of this writing there are 47 left - after being on sale for 3 hours) so get into gear and get those tickets!

Information and the rules pack is available on the Privateer Press forums here.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Concentrated Firepower

So... after three games with my new pDoomshaper list I have come full circle and gone back to the list I used last year, this time using Scouts instead of a minimum unit of Fennblades.  The new list just didn't seem to perform as expected (or I was playing terribly - probably more likely), but I'm happy with how last year's list performs with the Scouts replacement - this morning they blitzed a Scythean and an Angelius (though they'd have done more if they hadn't failed a terrifying entity check).  There's no Janissa, but I think she may have been promoting lazy play rather than smarter play.  The only thing I'm not happy with is using the Nyss Hunters as they've become too popular these days, they're not the dark horse entry they seemed to be last year.

My other two lists have also fallen into place strangely.  One is a list Kris Tannahill came up with and the other one appeared while I was pressing random buttons on Forward Kommander.  Both use a double Axer setup for Thresher spamming, and Mulg to deal with anything tougher than normal.  My pMadrak list utilises the theory of an almighty punch and is almost exclusively multi-wound.  Kris' eDoomshaper list brings the tools to deal with infantry spam while allowing me to use eDoomshaper's 14" death bubble.  It looks fun.  I'm going to have one more game with my pDoomshaper list, then begin testing on lists 2 and 3.  Their ludicrously low model counts bodes well.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

UK Masters Preparation: Part 2 - The Doom Song

Moving back into regular games I'm quite pleased with my modified pDoomshaper list - though I'd still like to use his theme... one day it will happen!  I played against Martin's Fiona list and managed to dominate the centre zone (radial scenario) but I ran out of time on one of my turns without managing to get Janissa's wall down to protect Doomshaper.  So he ate a bajillion Long Gunner shots.

Kriel Warriors are superior to Fennblades.  This is a fact.  Do not be fooled by anyone telling you otherwise.  Unless you're utterly desperate to get the long range charge off, the Kriel Warriors perform much more consistently - and have Steady.  Fennblades may have Reach, but having effectively MAT 9 basic infantry solves more problems than Reach.  That and Caber Throwers are awesome.

I've noticed that people are taking big shooting units these days.  On Vassal I see the giant unit of Errants generally being knob-ends and trying to shoot pDoomshaper.  Unfortunately for them most people seem to forget about Mulg and he just wanders up into melee range and prevents lots of shooting - or he blocks LoS.  Sadly this is not an option against Fiona and her Nonokrion Brand, but I'm sure I can come up with something that works just as well (like moving away from the Long Gunners...).

Fortunately I can pinpoint the two things that could have prevented (well three if you count moving away from the Long Gunners (the wimpy choice!)) pDoomshaper's death, and they're something I'll have to incorporate into my battle plan each turn: activate Janissa immediately after I'm done with pDoomy and put that wall down - this takes priority over killing stuff; try to  have Transmute up on pDoomy as much as possible.  It's not too hard to do, I just need to get through my turns faster.

Here's the final version of my first list:
Hoarluk Doomshaper, Shaman of the Gnarls
*Mulg the Ancient
*Earthborn Dire Troll
*Pyre Troll
*Troll Axer
Kriel Warriors (min)
+Standard & Piper
+2 Caber Throwers
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (min)
+Stone Scribe Elder
Trollkin Runeshapers
Fell Caller Hero
Janissa Stonetide
Whelps

Now to cut my turn times down so that I have time to spare.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Lumberjacking

Yesterday I had two highly enjoyable games (even if I did use the Fennblades...) using pMadrak against Jim.  Both times I came ludicrously close to assassinating Jim's warlock (Cassius) and warcaster (Strahkov) during my feat turn.  Cassius was left on 3 damage, Strahkov on 2.  Cries of "There's no justice!" were heard.

pMadrak during his feat turn functions in a very similar fashion to Mulg under Doomshaper's control: Madrak/Hero/Skaldi can chew their way through an army to get at that sweet, tasty, squishy centre in the middle.  Of course we'll have to see how the army fairs against a denial caster,  but pMadrak is proving to be a lot of fun.  My army list is somewhat less than optimal (damn you Fennblades!) at the moment, but I'm hoping to sort that out with copious use of PG points. What I'd like to do is have the Champion Hero do all the blitzing, but I've been using him to deal with problems around my flanks.  Unfortunately it's all very time consuming, so I'm unsure about using pMadrak as one of my lists - Grim Angus and Calandra offer better options in tournament play.

I've been hearing a lot about tournament tactics lately and offered a large amount of Sage Advice (hmm, maybe I should write a column under that name...) on the subject.  I get to observe a lot of tournament games and I see a lot of the same mistakes happen over and over again.

High DEF Models
Every army has them or can make them high DEF with spells - Khador is especially infamous for this.  Have some way to deal with fast DEF 14+ models - it could be Chain Lightning, it could be MAT 9 Kriel Warriors.  If you can't cope with these models, your army is going to get pinned down and out manoeuvred.

Denial Feats
Denial style casters dominate the tournament scene.  If you get caught outside scenario zones by a denial feat, it will often cost you the game.  Don't think to yourself "Next turn I'll charge that thingy with X Y Z."; consider instead what will happen when you don't get to take your turn at all.  Play each game with the thought that at some point you will lose a turn, don't be surprised by this or gnash your teeth that your carefully arranged charge has been denied, it was never going to happen in the first place.

Unit Formations
For the love of all that is holy, TRY to get either entire units or use solos to capture flags and zones.  If you look up and games are being finished, then it's probably time to rush into the scenario zones with your entire units.  Many games have been lost because one grunt in a unit wasn't in the zone when tiebreakers are being counted.  Many scenario points have been missed because there are no models in base to base contact with a flag.  Crowding large units around a flag is generally nigh-impossible (ever tried to get 15 Kriel Warriors around a flag?) so bring along a solo or two just in case.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Of Tartan and Brawls

The Tartan Brawl is now over, and it feels like a great weight has been lifted.  Matt Reid's terrain was fantastic, the attendance was good even with all the feeble people who cancelled at the last minute, and the tournament software I'm using is incredible.  Overall, I'd say it went very smoothly, possibly 8/10.  Better arrangements need to be made with the QMU to let us in earlier instead so we don't freeze our balls off in the freakishly cold weather - an earlier start also means an earlier finish, or a more relaxed finish anyway.  I'd also like to have a laptop so I don't have to lug my entire PC back and forth from my flat to my car to the QMU and back.

Anyway, here's the final rankings for the main 50 point event - best of factions in bold:

1.) Jim Lawrence - Circle Orboros
2.) Ross Silvers - Khador
3.) Richard McHale - Trollbloods
4.) Adam Davies - Minions
5.) Iain Adair - Trollbloods
6.) Jeff Barrass - Trollbloods
7.) Mark McKinlay - Cryx
8.) Martin Casey - Mercenaries
9.) Alastair Johnstone - Cryx
10.) Matt Reid - Cygnar
11.) Tom McCandlish - Retribution of Scyrah
12.) Colin McNeil - Cygnar
13.) Scott Burry - Circle Orboros
14.) Sean Murchie - Skorne
15.) Barry Kelly - Protectorate of Menoth
16.) Tom Rolland - Retribution of Scyrah / Mark Bonatti - Cryx
17.) John Sinclair - Cryx
18.) Michael Murray - Cryx

Since we ended somewhat early, I ran a quick 35 point Hardcore style event (dropping the painting requirement) which went down pretty well with the players.  The rankings for that are - minus anyone who dropped out:
1.) Ross Silvers - Khador
2.) Martin Casey - Mercenaries
3.) Michael Murray - Cryx
4.) Jim Lawrence - Protectorate of Menoth
5.) Alastair Johnstone - Cryx
6.) Barry Kelly - Protectorate of Menoth
7.) Matt Reid - Cygnar
8.) Richard McHale - Trollbloods
9.) John Sinclair - Cryx
10.) Jeff Barrass - Trollbloods
11.) Mark Bonatti - Cryx
12.) Colin McNeil - Cygnar
13.) Tom McCandlish - Retribution of Scyrah
14.) Mark McKinlay - Cryx

The dog tags went down well, so they're something I'm going to keep in for next year.  I actually had the perfect number of them for the number of attendees, though I have no tag for myself, but alas, such is the life of the Press Ganger.  It is an existence of great sacrifice.  I'm quite proud of finding the Mallet of Shame, which Murray won, much to everyone else's mirth.

I have noticed a distinct difference in the downtime after tournaments as a Press Ganger lately though, as I don't play in the events there's this weird outsider feeling as people talk about their victories and defeats of the day.  People can tell all the stories and I find I have none myself.  So it's definitely time to badger the people in Perth and Dundee into getting a PG of their own so I can go forth to crush some hopes and dreams.

Monday, 7 March 2011

There Will Be Brawl

Having lost a good percentage of imported players to the Irish Masters the Tartan Brawl numbers are much lower than I'd like.  With the numbers much reduced (unless I get a whole load of surprise attendees) I may have to change the format to two separate events run on different days.  Emergency measures will have to be put into place.

Sadly, Timpson's wasn't happy to etch my dog tags, the man behind the counter looked at me like I was some species of axe murderer when I asked to do 30 tags with a custom graphic.  So I'm getting the standard embossing done, no fancy Iron Kingdoms fonts I'm afraid unless someone wants to fork out enough cash for me to order a minimum of 250 bespoke metal key rings from a promotions company.

Next year I think I'll put in a pre-pay option for the Tartan Brawl since those soft southerners seem to prefer that.  It also commits people to coming along, as it's a big hassle to get their cash back and hopefully reduce the number of last minute disappearing acts.  Finally, it gives me more predictable numbers.

I've also just heard that GUGS plans to run Conflagration in November this year.  Which I believe to be a blatant lie as that would involve having a different committee at the time.  Students being students, this means it's going to get fobbed off on a bunch of people who think the previous committee should have organised it, and in the end, very little (if anything) will have been done.  Seeing as students are my lowliest minions however, I'm sure I can whip them into action at least long enough to run some sort of event.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

UK Masters Preparation: Part 1

The UK Masters tickets will be on sale in mid-April.  The format has changed, requiring 3 army lists and each list being used at least once during the event.  This irks me greatly since I have to pick up more Trollblood stuff to have 3 viable lists.  Though I could just throw things onto the table and see how it all works out...  At the very least I need to pick up another warlock.

The Shopping List (so far):
pMadrak resculpt.
Runeshapers x3 (yes, 3 units)
Kriel Warriors - Either 2 blisters or another unit box.  Also, full UA and WA attachments.
Dire Troll Bomber
Pygmy Burrowers
Trollkin Scouts - maybe 2 units

I'll have to schedule a few random games in for next week - provided there isn't a plumbing disaster at the last minute like this week, I should be able to squeeze in some 50 point games.  Seeing as pDoomshaper is my favourite warlock, I'm sure it's hardly surprising to anyone that I'm planning to run his themed force as one of my lists.

I saw Mike Davies' pMadrak tier 2 themed force of massive Kriel Warrior spam and it's certainly impressive (though Vish did call it as soon as the Trollblood book came out - his "Get Outta My Office!" list).  I can't say I'd like to run it however, that's quite simply too much for me to paint and a whole load of Not Fun for my opponent.  pMadrak does offer me some very viable infantry clearing options though, so he's not totally discounted, and I hope the resculpt sorts out his tiny, tiny legs.  For my final list I may resort to using eDoomshaper.  If I'm honest though, I'd probably use him in the first round if I meet an unseeded player, then discard him for the rest of the tournament.  He is, unfortunately, a predictable monster.

Doors

Yes, as the title says: doors.  How does one get through a door in a possible IKRPG game?  Do you pick the lock or smash it down?  Smashing things is easy, you assign it DEF and ARM values, throw in some damage boxes and away you go.  Picking locks on the other hand, uses skill checks.  I use Repair for this.  The character in question makes a skill check using their repair skill, and if they 'repair' enough boxes on a separate grid, the lock is picked/done in/bypassed.  This makes doors behave as time obstacles for the most part.  It's going to take a group of adventurers X activations to get through that door, so someone's going to have to deal with all those Risen coming up the corridor.

I finally had a game of WM/H the other night against Mark Bonatti, though I lost because Mulg decided that hitting Kaya wasn't worth the hassle.  Having had today off too, my minimum unit of Kriel Warriors, Janissa and the Swamp Troll are all fully assembled and based.  If tomorrow morning's weather is mediocre then I should get them primed and ready for the first set of base coats.  Meanwhile, the KSB has migrated back onto my desk.  That's a unit I use in every game, so getting the five models in the unit done up is quite high on the priority list.

The Tartan Brawl is rapidly approaching, so there will be a lot of double checking and manic last-minute preparation taking place over the next week.  I wonder where I'm going to park my car...

Monday, 31 January 2011

Adventuring for Beginners

I'd like to say I've been busy, plugging away at my Trollbloods, but alas, I haven't.  I'd like to get to work on my Swamp Troll but so far I haven't had a day spare that wasn't windy or wet to undercoat the poor guy.  Tomorrow I'm going to stop by some engravers to find out the pricing for my Tartan Brawl dog tags.  Hopefully when Janissa arrives I can sit down and plug away for a week, get all my half-painted stuff finished.

Having delved into the crack-addictive World of Warcraft and sampled their boss mobs of almost all varieties, it got me thinking on how good RPG fights against villains are designed.  The PCs typically only get one chance at defeating a villain, so designing a complex encounter that requires puzzle solving may lead to an early demise for the adventurers.  Conversely, a straight beat-'em-up encounter is exceedingly dull; how is the encounter different to the minions the adventurers just ploughed through?  So, a successful and enjoyable encounter is one where the adventurers win (perhaps if only just) but the villain (of whatever rank) has some cool tricks that are blindingly obvious to solve.

That reminds me, will we see the IKRPG this year?  I'm saying Highly Unlikely, but it would be nice if it did appear.  I looked at the Warmachine/Hordes rules and realised both games are excessively deadly.  Stuff dies, and in vast quantities.  While this is a boon for adventurers killing monsters, this is not a good idea for monsters killing adventurers (unless you hate your adventurers).  Thus, the adventurers must have more health, and quite a lot of it.  They also need a way to recover health - healing is notoriously dismal in both games, a lack of health recovery once again leads to dead adventurers.  There's more to think about (skills and spell choices specifically) but otherwise the game mechanics are already in place.

Maybe I'll round up the lads for a couple of set-piece scenarios with pre-made characters to see how the system works out.  Worth a thought.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Escapism

So... I haven't updated this blog in forever as World of Warcraft ate my life.  When I play a game, I HAVE to complete it.  MMORPGs by their very nature are not supposed to be completed, so it's much like crack to me.  I played for about 5 weeks with the new expansion and it's done wonders for WoW, and I certainly did enjoy playing it.  However, I enjoyed it a little too much, and found myself become very unreliable in both my personal life and at work, so it is now uninstalled in the hopes that it never against rears its vicious and addictive head.

All my plans for the Tartan Brawl remain intact (just), as I set most of those into action before I was living in Azeroth.  However, I still haven't had a chance to sort out the dog tags, which isn't so much a matter of time as a matter of money (I literally have none at this moment in time).  I heard today that the Boosted Damage crew won't be visiting, heading to the Irish Masters instead.  That really annoys me.  Who kept asking us to run a two day event in Scotland?  It's not like I've been working at it, noooooooo.  Unfortunately, there have been other cancellations too, so I'll get a quick tally of numbers in the next week or so, if the numbers drop below 20 I'll probably cancel it, hang up my hat and call it a day.

On the plus side, Jamie P asked me to attend the ETC as a referee, which would be awesome.  The UK Masters was great fun even when we weren't playing games, and I expect the ETC to be more of the same, potentially with more foreigners (like me!) to spice things up.  This, in turn, dovetails nicely into my plot to seize the Head Referee position for the UK Masters, though the temptation to play and once again take Top Troll (or a placed position) is strong.  I suspect my final decision on the matter will be based on money.

In other news, I passed my driving test!  First time too!  Woohoo!  More exclamation marks!!!  Now all I need is a job with regular pay, give me a shout if anyone has a spare one.