Announced on Saturday with the incredably short video below, Corvus Belli announced that they will be releasing a 3rd edition of their Game Infinity this year. 

With the success that was both MK II Warmachine edition and Malifaux 2e, I am cautiously excited. While I have been burned before on bad rules, the more modern redesign concept of miniatures games has in both cases I experienced, expanded the game and made for a better, more enjoyable rules set.

That will be no comfort for some, however.

Infinity is an interesting game, and occupies its own niche in the miniatures game world, both in rules and in theme. The game is set in the near future. Mankind has tamed space, and this has allowed great nations to rise to meet the great challenges. The ‘net has expanded ina great data Sphere, as has humanities influence among the starts. Until recently, there had been very little interaction with aliens of any type.  PanOceana, Yu Jing, and  Haqqiaslam fought wars of influence and stealth while the Nomads traveled the edges of civilization, purposely cutting themselves off from Aleph, the AI and controller of the Data Sphere and international politics. The discovered the first Colony from earth, lost and abandoned, and the Ariadnans joined the interstellar playing field. Eventually, however, they were contacted buy the Combined Armies of the EI – The Evolved Intelligence, seeking to engulf Humanity into its hegemonic empire. The newly discovered Tohaa, great enemies of the EI, have joined humanities fight against absorption.

The setting is good, but its not particularly mobile. Much of the background is exactly that. Like Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Fantasy, the Fluff bits, generally, define the world more thoroughly.

The visual niche is nothing to be dismissed, either. They make very fine and delicate 28mm true scale models. They are extremely detailed, and generally stay in scale with each other, with very few divergences. Its also very anime inspired in its models, both pose and overall design. its not for everyone, to be sure. I do like that it maintains the flavor, though, and has some of those super-futuristic developments in body armor and defensive weaponry, while maintaining a semi-modern offensive parallel. It definitely seems that defense has outpaced offense in the wars of the future.

But what will N3 bring us? Right now its speculation only, but there are a number of very good theories out there. Theories, though, because CB is not going to do, at least as it seems from here, a public beta or field test. I don’t know how I feel about this. Both Malifaux and WM/H did public field tests, and while there were some hiccups, there was a lot of good dialogue that came out between the creators of the game and the fans. There was also, in Warmachine, a sense of entitlement afterwards that made many people feel that they could engender change in the game, even after the field test. This has gotten much less, now, but it has taken a number of years.

My Faction, the Haqqislam

My Faction, the Haqqislam

CB looks to avoid the entitlement of players, but also will probably disenfranchise many. No edition change goes off perfectly, and no matter the changes, some people will always abandon the new in favor of the old. Some people are really resistant to change and can’t handle when things move forward: Though I will admit that forward is not always good.

I think, though, that CB is doing the right thing. They have grown up from a local game in Spain and Europe to a worldwide game. They have to see their growth and realize that the rules ambiguities and strangeness that they have had in the past need to be streamlined into a good, solid rules set.

Note: This does not necessitate simple.

To be honest, Infinity is one of the most complex games out on the market. It has a plethora of rules, a steep learning curve, is written in a foreign language, and can suffer from balance issues. Combined, it makes the game very difficult to learn, but a rewarding task when you finally do. Its one of the few games that truly leverages the battle of wits between to commanders. They can easily clarify the rules, clean up the language, and make combine redundant scenarios into single, understood concepts without loosing the feeling of the game.

Among the things I really want changed is the Loss of Lieutenant rule. The game has changed a lot in the years since they started running tournaments, with four turns becoming the normal length of a game. Given that time constraint, losing 25% of your game time to a Loss of Lieutenant situation is damning. While it is possible to guard against it with deployment, I think its an unnecessary complication to an already hard game. I think that there should be some detriment, but loosing your whole turn is extraordinarily brutal.

 

My extreme hope is that something is done with the link team rules. I’ve never personally liked them, and never enjoyed fighting against them. This is definitely the time to change them!  I don’t need them eliminated, but I’d really like them to be less overbearing.

Other things I’d like to see changed:
– Model profiles are “non-contextual” I would like to see even brief descriptions of rules along with the models.
-Weapons Damage matter more. Right now Burst is king
-Retreat and Impetuous made less weird
-Scatter. Right now its a strange setup.
-Surprise attacks codified
-True LOS  – I would love it if this was killed.
– CC has a Burst of 1. This lowers its value extremely, considering the danger you have to get into in order to actually fight in CC.

Well, thats about it. I’m really Looking forward to N3, and can’t wait until January. I know it’ll be out by then!

 

Follow me on Twitter! @Seethingginger! 

 

9 months ago we got our first taste of each of the Novice Warcasters that were going to be included the recently released Warmachine: Vengeance. Last week, my batch arrived. I got Allison Jakes and Commander Sturgis for my small Cygnar army and picked up Sturgis the Corrupted and Aiakos for my Cryx army. I’ve never really been one to really dwell on a model that’s not in my hands, and it takes painting a model to really get me to want to use it. Now that Aiakos is in my hands and painted, I’m really ready to get into trying to get him to work.

Aiakos, Scourge of the Meredious

Aiakos, Scourge of the Meredius

Thankfully, Aiakos is amazing.

Aiakos stats

The statline is very good. RAT 5 is expected of most solos that aren’t focused on shooting, and ARM 14 is very good, especially when you consider he has 4 Focus that he can camp.

He also has Fearless, Stealth, Magical melee and ranged weapons, and Jump. Jump gives him some strange and very cool angles of attack and essentially an 11.5″ walking threat.  Drag, on the harpoon, gives him even more threat range against some very few targets. They have to be around 16 defense or less, not behind
impassible terrain or models, and not die from a POW 10 hit. While the selection of targets is limited, Warlocks and Warcasters are prime targets. While his pow 12 blade hits aren’t crazy impressive, this is Cryx, and we can change that very quickly.

He also has a pair of spells: Deathbringers and Escort, both of which provide benefits to his battlegroup, including himself. Aiakos Spells

 

So, that’s the rundown on the guy, and he is pretty good as is. As a three point solo, you can’t ask much more from him, and then they threw in four focus to boot.

His ability to boost to hit and damage and buy extra attacks cannot be overstated. I have been disappointed many times by a single roll of snakeyes on a target that must die. Aiakos can ensure that that target dies a horrible death from 16″ away, or from .5″. He also has stealth which, while not infallible, is a pretty good security blanket. With ARM 14 and 4 focus, plus the bonus from Escort, he can easily get to a very decent arm 19.

However, he still dies to anything that can get to him. There is this strange mid ground, around ARM 14, that changes the weapons that will be used to target and kill him. A pow 10 weapon is no longer in range, so you tend to go a bit bigger, and most of those larger guns can boost. A boosted pow 13 kills him on average dice, in the best of circumstances, and that is not even a particularly hard number to reach.

Whats really exciting about the Novice Warcasters is that they can bring a legitimate battlegroup the the table. In Warmachine this is especially useful as many jacks just tax their casters focus stat. In Cryx this is doubly so, as most casters need to toss spells around all over the board, or need to overboost just to survive, so Aiakos brings some interesting, non-taxing options to the table.

Jacks to Consider
Bonejacks:

Helldiver, Scavenger, Stalker, Cankerworm.

Helljacks:

Slayer, Seether, Reaper, Nighmare, Deathjack, Erebus,Corruptor, Malice, Harrower, Desecrator, Leviathan

Colossal:

Kraken.

I purged, immediately, the arc nodes. I didn’t even include them on the list. Of them, only the Ripjaw would really be desirous, and I’d rather take Cankerworm for the same price.

Most conventional wisdom has him running a ranged jack, and that makes sense. The Leviathan keeps him out of harms way, while also allowing the Levithan a SPD 7 and all three focus every turn. The Leviathan can then take advantage of many great Cryx spells including Marked for Death, Black Spot and Crippling Grasp. I don’t really see any issue with this, and it will likely be the best method of play for him. If the Levithan gets engaged or ends up in some serious bind he can be there to help clear the path to have him shoot again, and if the Leviathan ends up scrapped, he can start going all predator and collecting heads.

But most of that isn’t all to thrilling. I’ve been using the Leviathan for years. What I really want to try and do is make some neat, new things hum with him. Here are some of the more fanciful ideas I want to try out:

A pair of Stalkers and a pair of Scavengers. Ideally, he’d only bee feeding two of these a round. the stalkers would roam ahead of the group, clearing a path with up to three attacks each at MAT 7 POW 12. With stealth and Extended Control Area, they are able to roam ahead with relative impunity. DEF 16 will keep them safe from enemy reprisal as they go solo hunting. The scavengers and Aiakos would wait in the wings for an opportunity to try and take down big things, between speed 9 with flight and speed 6 with leap, they can get a surprising amount of distance from their starting point. While this mob suffers a bit from high armor, that’s not something that Cryx really worries about.

Harrower. I’ll run the numbers and rules here quickly. Speed 7, Pathfinder, Steady. Boostable RAT 5 gun with Ghost Shot, POW 14 and AOE 3. Reach, Thresher, Soul Taker. Its a simple setup with a ton of upside. On the turn the Harrower goes in, he will create a ton of havoc, and before that, a range 17 Ghost Shot gun is no joke. Anything that does not have stealth will explode either from the AOE or from the direct hit. The more I think about this combo, the more I want to paint up my plastic Harrower and get him out on the field.

Malice/Reaper: Normally, the problem with the Reaper, and to a lesser extent Malice, is that they are dependant on a pretty large sum of focus from the caster that could be wasted. Boosting to hit and damage to ensure the drag is a real drain on many casters, but not so much with Aiakos. He also grants them a boost to their threat ranges, and makes them a serious contender with his own Harpoon to drag things into the waiting maw of a friendly Terminus, Asphixious, or any other melee focused caster.

I’m really not keen on taking any of the Novice Warcasters with a colossal, and Aiakos is no different. Tying up 19 points into a three point, fairly squishy solo really makes me nervous.

As always, we’ll rate him with every caster. below is my rating scale for a model/unit, respective to the caster I am talking about.
Scale:
0 – I’d never bring this unit with this warcaster, and the unit has heavy negative synergy
1 – I’d bring this only in a gimmicky list centered on this model/units and its in game interactions.
2 – I consider bringing this model/unit with this warcaster, with the proper support units and as a points filler
3- When taking this caster I  debate bringing this model/unit every time
4- When taking this caster, I find it hard to leave home without this model/unit
5- This model/unit is an Auto-include for this caster.

Asphyxious I – Parasite is pretty much the only spell that is really going to benefit Aiakos and his battlegroup. While its not terrible to put scything touch on him, its just as well to go on Asphyxious. There is the added benefit of having a couple drags around to move casters into position so that Asphyxious can float in there an kill them, but overall, not particularly impressive.(3)

Asphyxious II – Again, Parasite is the only spell around that will really increase their usefulness, and Asphyxious II generally needs less dragging around in order to get work done. The clouds can cover for Aiakos and his battlegroup, but being jacks and/or stealth, they rarely need it. (1)

Asphyxious III – Carnage is a real boon to Aiakos and I’d definitely consider the Harrower combo here. Other than that, there isn’t much to write home about.  (4)

Deneghra I – Deneghra I makes everything better, and Aiakos is no exception. Her ability to lock down opponents for a round with her feat, and completely cripple them on the same turn with Crippling Grasp really helps Aiakos make his way into the guts of the enemy. Ghost Walk is sometimes useful but I’d rather not waste three focus on a solo. He works amazingly well in a Denegrha shooting list, toting the Leviathan and taking the place of a Pistol Wraith himself.   (3)

Deneghra II – Deneghra II takes the awesome of Deneghra I to this model and rachets it up to 11. Between Marked for Death and her feat, Aiakos can give the Leviathan 3 RAT 10 pow 13+ shots, with one of them boosted to damage. Just glorious with a Leviathan, and pretty good with a Harrower too. (4)

Skarre I – Aiakos under Skarre I’s feat and Dark Guidance is a monster from hell. He could possibly get 5 attacks, at Mat 6+3d6 at P+S 17 is jut pure glory. Anyone stupid enough to be within 11″ with a landing zone for Aiakos is in for a real treat, Cryx style, and he doesn’t even need any ‘Jacks (5)

Skarre II –Between Black Spot on a target unit for the Harrower or  Leviathan, and Death Ward on either Aiakos or his pet jack, there is a non-zero chance you’ll see this combo pop up. I really like my current Skarre II army, but it is going to have to make room for Aiakos (5)

Goreshade I – Goreshade I does nothign for Aiakos. They cannot be friends. There might be room for a self powered jack, but no, never-mind.   (2)

Gorhshade II –Phantom Hunter is battlegroup only, but I find the thought of Sudden Death on Aiakos to be hilarious.  (3)

Goreshade III – Nothing in Goreshade’s kit beyond his feat turning Aiakos’ target stationary really benefits him. I’d try and avoid this pairing.  (2)

Terminus – Ravager is battlegroup only, but I find the concept of Aiakos helping his big brother Terminus out by fishing for warlocks and Warcasters increasingly compelling. Aiakos trying to use a Harrower to deliver a pile of souls won’t particularly work, so there is some small anti-synergy there.  (1)

The Witch Coven –The feat should ensure the delivery of his payload, curse of shadows allows him to pick targets, and veil of mists allows him to get there. The Coven have a ton of focus, but want to use it all every turn. He relives that burden while also providing a nice fire support base with the Leviathan.  (4)

Mortenebra – Mortenebra wants the jacks to herself. Terminal Velocity, Spectral Steel, Overrun, Interface and Jump start are all battlegroup spells. Sorry Aiakos.  (0)

Venethrax – As a selfish caster, he give a whole lot to Aiakos, however in a Venethrax list, Aiakos is very self sufficient, allowing Venethrax to keep more of his focus as Aiakos wither vaults into the enemy or clears a path.  (3)

Scaverous – Aiakos can use feast of worms and his buddy the leviathan to shoot heavies at POW 17 three times a round. That’s not a terrible move! With Telekinesis and Freezing grip, he really helps Ol’ Scaverous with the focus efficiency he wants while also getting a ranged presence in as well.  (4)

Best Caster: Skarre I. When he runs out of jacks to toss at the enemy to solve problems, he becomes a super solo of unimaginable proportions, and on the Feat turn can really just burn it up.
Worst Caster: Mortenebra. Everything he brings is a detriment to our favorite necrotech, and I can’t really see being that desperate to hamstring myself.

 

Until next time!

Follow me on twitter @SeethingGinger!

 

 

 

 

Since the release of the Thralls of the Blackship Exhumation and the Umber Guard lists in Mark I theme lists have been an option in Warmachine. Personally, I don’t even think I tried one in MK I, and I in no way regret it. Those two were strange, bizarre abominations, and I’d finally gotten competent enough in Cryx to feel comfortable testing the waters right around when MK II hit the ground, so I was still struggling to get my Cryx feat under me.

MK II, coincidentally, brought some viable theme lists. Instead of being faction based, though, they were tailored to each caster, and for the whole of the MK II release cycle, people wondered what they were going to get in their theme lists, and how their favorite ‘Caster or ‘Lock was going to be represented.

Unfortunately, this lead to heaps of anticipation that could not ever be matched. With MK II just coming out and Privateer in its cautious release phase, many of the theme lists were doomed to underwhelm. Each book was greeted with less and less overall enthusiasm for the Theme lists printed within, though prior to each book the furor would build all over again.

There are some tier lists in each book that still see serious tabletime. Each of these does something so brutal, and fits so powerfully with both the caster and the theme of the army being portrayed that it just sticks. Most of them, to further compound the issue, are spam lists, enabling multitudes of powerful units that are normally restricted or allowing multiple restricted UA’s where you would only get one.
Noteable examples:
Goreshade II: Heresy of Shadows
Butcher II: Mad Dogs of War
Mortenebra: Infernal Machines
Epic Keoss: Crusaders of Sul
Zaal: Immortal Host

Each of these allows you to toss as many of some of the highest value models in the faction at your opponent as you can fit in a list. Who can resist more Bane Thralls, Doomreavers, Heavy Warjacks, Knights Exemplar and Immortals!

The problem with many of the other lists is that they suffer from one of two seriously problematic issues that cause the faction balance to snap. Either the list lacks a crucial model or unit that causes the faction to function correctly, or they suffer from lack of hitting power. Those that aren’t suffering from list composition issues suffer from the additional problem of limited bonuses for adhering to the lists. There are only four bonuses to give out, and they come with increasingly stringent restrictions. Sometimes its worth it, but most of the time, it is not. The reason spam lists work is because instead of limiting your options, it opens certain options up, and this can lead to some very powerful synergies.

Most theme lists, therefore, end up on the wayside. The age of the colossal has amplified that, as many people look for way to cope with these giant masters of the battlefield. Most theme lists don’t allow you the tools that you need to deal with these beasts.

which leads my to my decision to take another look at the theme lists of Cryx through different lens. Ones that I have specifically discarded due to lacking in ways to deal with heavy armor have a large, powerful friend: The Kraken.

Kraken

Sometimes, you have to fight fire with fire.

The Kraken is an interesting Cryx option in lists where the standard heavy hitters might not be available. We tend to rely on Bane Thralls, Deathjack, and layered spells to get the job done, with the odd mercenary here and there to make it go. The problem was that both the Bane Thralls and the Deathjack can, and do, easily get scooped out of theme lists. One is a character, and the other is many times not in theme. The Kraken is, with one exception, available to tier lists. It is a massive points investment, but its a seriously strong piece that I love in the Cryx arsenal. Its also self sufficient in many ways, fueling itself while killing infantry, and saving those tokens to kill heavies when needed. Its guns, though, are the cherry in the cheesecake. Just having that ranged presence in Cryx is phenomenal.

The list that really has me considering the Kraken in theme lists as a problem solver, albeit an expensive one, is the The Witch Coven of Garlghast: Auguries of War.

I originally played this list, with its FA:2 Soulhunters, before Wrath released. At that time, I found it to be a little light on the smash, if you will. With Bane Knights, Soul Hunters, and Blood Witches, it could really get around the army, but if they brought an army that was not possible to get around, it was kind of stalled out. The Kraken is the biggest can opener I have in the faction.

The list I have come up with is probably going to fail horribly, but I feel it brings a Trio of threats to the table that just have to be dealt with.

First, the list:

The Witch Coven of Garlghast

The Witch Coven of Garlghast +5
-Kraken19
-Nightwretch4
-Nightwretch4
-Scarlock Thrall2
Soulhunters (5)9
Soulhunters (5)9
Darragh Wrathe4
Warwitch Siren2
Warwitch Siren2
Total: 50

The first thing I notice about the list is that everything, baring 4 models, is speed 7 or faster, with the application of Infernal Machine on the Kraken. This gives me incredible speed advantage going first, and counter-deploy options and scenario presence on turn 2. This is also a list that will make a mockery of anything that specifically tries to deny its maneuverability. The Kraken has pathfinder, the Coven has Ghostwalk, and the Soulhunters are incorporeal during their activation. The Coven can also toss out Curse of Shadows, Occultation,  Veil of Mists, and Stygian Abyss to make sure I get into position with whatever resources I need to get the win.

Getting the win, it turns out, can come in a few simple packages. The first is what I will call “The Soulhunter Surprise.” Soulhunters, as mentioned, under Darragh Wrathe are incorporeal during their activation. Cavalry has Tall in the Saddle, allowing them to ignore small based models when declaring a charge. The Coven has Curse of Shadows, allowing models to move through units, but also nullifying anything that has magic weapons from making free strikes. Finally, the tier list benefit is a free soul token on each of the Soul Hunters at the start of the game. Given that Soulhunters have an 11″ charge range, with a 13″ threat from reach and an additional +1″ from Darragh, I can foreseeable get at a target (say, the Warcaster/Warlock) well behind the front lines, and not even worry about the front lines. The soulhunters, due to Cavalry rules and the soul bonus, will be at MAT 8 + 3d6 and doing 13+3d6 damage with the charge, and 11+2d6 if in 1/2″ melee, and another POW 10 from the mount.  If I can get an arc node back to the caster, I can drop Stygian Abyss on the target, Follow it up with Curse of Shadows, and bring that up to MAT 11 +3d6 and pow 15+3d6. I don’t think many casters will survive 3-4 of those. Back it up with a Stygian Abyss hit or two, and a shot or three from the Kraken, and your really looking at some serious assassination potential.

The second option for victory is control points. There are certain armies that will just not be fast enough to challenge this list, and with everything up 14″ or greater past my deployment zone, I can really push the scenario hard. Jamming with def 14, arm 15 large bases with 5 wounds might not always work, but with the Kraken and the spell slingers right behind, I’m betting its going to be seriously in contention. I can dominate with a single Coven Member, and control with Warwitch Sirens if that is the plan. The Kraken at MAT 8 with speed 7 as a second wave can be extremely scary to face off against.

The last opportunity for victory is the the traditional Stygian Abyss method. Get three boosted to hit/damage pow 12’s on the caster and either pin them in place, or kill them out right. Either one works and can allow the Kraken or the Soulhunters to finish the job.

As much as I like my newly painted Aiakos, this list is going to have to get at least a run through this weekend when I get to roll out and play some games!

 

Back when I began painting 10 years or more ago, I knew very little about color and shade. Instead, I made up for my skill with shear determination. I learned a number of things along the way, but I’d never really mastered the correct shading of colors, and highlighting eluded me as well. I the last year, I’ve learned a lot about shading and highlighting, and its really made a difference in my painting. I figured I’d share most of what I’d learned!

Part of the things I’d wished I’d known when I began painting was a touch of color theory. I’ wanted just enough to be dangerous with a paintbrush and to make good, solid color choices on models. I threw my hands up in both fear and terror anytime someone tried to teach me, though, because it seemed that it was some sort of esoteric wizardry. Now, having overcome that ridiculous fear, I can break miniature painting that I do into three major tips.

1- Mix your paints
2- Shade to Brown, not black.
3- Each color leans towards two other colors.

Sadly, I have neither the Photoshop or photographic skills needed for this task, so you’ll have to deal with pictures and small guidance. 

One of the first steps for me towards painting better was using mixed paints. It allowed me a relatively easy transition to a number of more difficult painting concepts, including two brush blending and washing, and its much easier than I thought it would be.

This is going to be a theme, by the way: each of the three here seem hard and they sound hard and and they read hard;  but aren’t, actually, hard.  Most times I was able to get the concept within minutes of putting brush to model.

Mixing paints allows you a smooth transition of colors, even if its not blended in any way, as it creates a gradient that pre-mixed paints just don’t provide, both in highlighting and shading a color or colors. Mixing is vital to create colors that are the foundation of the other two tips, which allow a greater flexibility while creating our models colors.

The first of those two techniques is shading towards brown. When you shade towards a dark, colorful brown, you’ll really make a model much more lively. There are very few truly black things in this world, and the use of black as a final shade will give your model a very different effect than when you shade towards brown. Most of the time, shading towards brown involves very little shading with the prebottled browns that companies provide.  Instead, it involves making a brown from the color you start with.

For example, purple. Its a hard color to shade no matter what your doing, and black simple gets the color darker. This may not be, in all cases, what you are going for. If you instead use a yellow, you will move the purple towards brown naturally, creating a pleasant gradient. Why yellow? Because good browns have all the primary colors represented, just to different degrees. Purple, made up of red and blue, lacks only yellow to turn it to a brown. adding increasing amounts of yellow will take that purple color towards a deeper and deeper brown, eventually hitting a nice, solid shade tone. For this shade, I would avoid a yellow that is too green or too orange, as that will add either more blue (for green) or more red (for orange) that will ultimately unbalance the brown.

See what I mean about reading hard? I am even trying to be simple! Really, don’t be afraid. Try it a few times.  How do you know what color to use, though, when your at your desk painting? Simple! The color wheel!

color-wheel-2

 

The color you want to use will always lie directly across from the color your using!

We are going to use a similar principal when we create highlights. This, though, involves seeing the color for its two part components. First, take a paint pot, any paint pot, and stare at it. You should be able to figure out what the main color is, and what its secondary color is. Most pots are not simply a single pure color, though there are some exceptions when it comes to blue and yellow. Red is especially hard to find in a simply red form, and will lean (bias) towards blueish or orangish.

What is this blueish red, you scream at the computer! And rightfully so! (I just imagined this in Patrick Stewarts voice, BTW). Its a red that, if were to naturally extrapolate its color, would end up purple. Its what some would call red-violet. The orangeish red follows a same though process, though it would end in an orange color. Try it a few times, and it’ll start to click.

Let me point out some neat colors
Greatcoat Grey is blue-based
Coal Black is green based
Sanguine Base is a blue-red
I’d do some of the GW paints, but I just don’t own enough.

Now that you’ve identified the two colors, you can start  a highlight based on those two colors.

Purple is one of the main colors of my Cryx army, and has been since the very beginning. In the beginning, it was extremely hard to paint, especially as I had chosen dark purple. You don’t want to get into the pastel section of the palette, but you need some way to highlight the lines and make them pop. Here is where the two color method worked its magic.

Purple

 

Purple is the combination of red and blue, and the compliment (opposite) of yellow.  I realized I needed to figure out which direction the purple I wanted to get to was biased. It turns out, it was extremely blue! From there, it was simply choosing a bright blue with which to mix the purple to get a gradient of purples that didn’t move towards pastel.

SONY DSC

Bane 4

 

Instead, I mixed a color that was just a brighter version of what I was already using, and ended with a pale blue-violet highlight. It looks strange on the paint palette, but it worked extremely well on both Asphyxious and my Bane Spartans, though in different ways

 

 

One thing to remember here is that a color can never get brighter than it is when it comes out of the pot. it will always become more pale with the addition of another color. Make sure the brightest part of your model is one that is straight out of the pot!

Now, to go use this to paint Aiakos, first of the Tactics rewards to get painted!

I’ve been on a tear recently, painting a number of models in quick succession. I started out trying to catch my Cryx army up this year to fully painted, and I’m well on my way.

The list started out this year like this

Asphyxious III
Vociferon
Deneghra I
Erebus
Scavenger
Plastic Slayer Omnijack
Plastic Crab Omnijack
Revenant Crew Riflemen x3
Iron Lich Overseer
Bane Thrall UA
Bane Knights x10

I’ve now managed to Burn it down a bit

Asphyxious III
Vociferon
Deneghra I
Erebus
Scavenger
Plastic Slayer Omnijack
Plastic Crab Omnijack
Revenant Crew Riflemen x3
Iron Lich Overseer
Bane Thrall UA
Bane Knights x10

and while I’ve been painting It got me thinking about a number of things regarding painting itself that I really wished I’d have known back when I started that really, really helped me be a better painter. Some of these are going to come out of left field, but some of them should be helpful.

Lets start at the beginning, shall we.

Brushes! Everyone uses them, and the many people know what brushes the highest level painters use.
Ghool reviews them Here.

raphael-8404

But why use a good brush to begin with? I didn’t use one until I painted the Kraken two years ago, and only then because I had a specific purpose. First, because almost every synthetic brush will curl. This creates a huge problem when trying to be accurate while painting. Its very hard to stick to raised edges, hit eyes, and put on accurate highlights with a curved brush. I used to think it was a moderately helpful defect, but once I grabbed a Natural Hair brush, I was sold.
Additionally, most synthetic brushes you can get cheaply are water repellent, which means that the paint goes on the brush instead of in the brush. This results in a synthetic brush drying up quicker, as the water is exposed to the air instead of encapsulated in the brush. It also results in almost no control over the paint itself, as the water tension will work to release all the paint at once as soon as the brush touches the model. This adds into the first aspect, as you’ll tend to use less paint in the brush each time you go back to the paint. This in turn will result in a less smooth model as you constantly have to run back to the palette to get more paint. Additionally, synthetics tend to fray insanely fast, busting out in every direction as soon as you look at them. In a year and a half of constant use, I’ve had three individual hairs fray on my two natural brushes.
Finally, and this one applies only if you’re trying it, they don’t wet blend. I tried almost every brush with every tactic I had in order to get the wet blend to work on my Kraken, until Meg Maples told me to get actual, real, brushes. Lo and behold, it solved the problem.

Now, I always thought that the brushes were expensive, and they are, but they also last a lot longer, and perform better than most synthetics. I recommend Dick Blick for all you’re brush needs. I ordered mine a few days back, and they arrived 4 days before the expected delivery date!

Connected to the paint, is the palette. regardless of whether you use wet or dry, its extremely important that you paint with watered down paint. When I was trying to figure it out, the term they were trying to use was “consistency of whole milk” whatever that meant.  I don’t know a really good way to say it, but the right watered down consistency feels correct on the brush, its not runny, and applies right where you want it, without needing pressure. If its too runny, add more paint. If its too hard to apply, add more water. Its not a science, yet, but you eventually get used to it.

wet palette

Along these lines lies the scrubby brush, which is something that Meg Maples told me about. Its simply an old brush purposed to fix mistakes while painting. I’ll let Meg’s article explain. In all seriousness, this thing has saved more projects and more time than I could have ever expected!

Once you’ve gotten a set of brushes, I usually go with a 1 and a 2, the palette and scrubby brush ready to go, Its time to get to actual model work. I am a firm believer that the right primer makes for the best model possible, and after trying a number of different ones, I’ve settled on the best. Dupli-Color Sandable Automotive Primer. Its amazing, is thin, and sticks like hell to the models. Without a clear coat, I’ve only had one chip on all the models I’ve painted with it so far, and that is on Gorman Di Sea Wulfe’s stiletto, a pointy and vulnerable part.

Lastly, before we even start painting, there are methods to holding your model so your oily, nasty skin doesn’t rub off the primer. I used to just try and hold the model, but that gets very nasty, very fast. Your hand can cramp right up, and your fingers tend to rub the primer off of places that you hold often: Head, weapons, etc. We’ve all seen pinning to a dowel, and that works for some, but what I really like it an old spray point lid. I’ll put double sided tape on the top, and just slap my model on it to paint. The hand has a lot more area to grip and I’ve painted models as large as Karchev this way, including tipping him upside-down to get some underparts. I will say that you can re-use the tape, but every part exposed to the air tends to get less and less sticky over time.

While this method is good, I can’t say that it works for large units or multiple models. What I have seen recently is an ingenious idea I have blatantly stolen. I saw a whole unit of Gunmages sticky-tacked to the top of the old GW paint bottles. The Hexagonal ones. just load up on the sticky tack and press them in. Voila, small based models ready to go!

The very last thing I’d like to point out is food and drink. Many people suffer from unstable or shaky hands, and this can partially be alleviated in some form by a few small steps. First, paint on a full stomach. Being hungry and low on sugar can cause your hands to shake, and it can be extremely distracting. Avoid high doses of caffeine while painting. I know its good for an up all nighter right before a con, but its a stimulant, and that can really exacerbate the shaking.  lastly, if your the type to partake in adult beverages, have a cocktail or beer while painting. Alcohol is a depressant, and it can really slow down the blood and quell the shaking. And, who doesn’t want to have a white Russian while painting Khador? I mean, really!

Next time out, probably next Thursday, I’ll be talking very basic color theory. Even just these little points have helped me immensely with difficult to shade and highlight colors.

Over the weekend, at Adepticon, Privateer pre-released the hordes equivalent of the journeyman warcasters for Hordes: Una the Falconer, Horgul Ironstrike, and Tyrant Zaadesh. Each of them brings different skills and abilities to their faction, some with more effect than others.

While I think Una and Ironstrike are neat, what I really want to talk about is Zaadesh. Skorne is my Primary Hordes faction, and I see a ton of really cool tactics with this guy.

So, who is he? Tyrant Zaadesh:

Zaadesh full

on the surface, he doesn’t look much like the other two Lesser Warlocks. He gives no discount on warbeasts, but he also has a battlegroup unlimited in selection. Both Una and Horgul have Their warbeast selection limited: Una to Warbeasts with flight (currently only the Rotterhorn Griffon, Scarsfell Griffon, and Razorwing Griffon) and Horgul to Pyre Trolls and Slag Trolls. Zaadesh’s greatest flexibility comes in his Warbeast selection.

Zaadesh is a fairly middle of the road fighter: MAT 6 and P+S 12 are nothing to get extremely giddy about. Magic Weapon is nice, of course, and reach is always welcome, especially with SPD 6.DEF 13 is good, but not great, and ARM 15 is durable enough, especially with 4 fury.

His card is nice and short: two spells and two rules. The first spell, perdition, is a pretty good one. Now, It’ll get a lot of hate from a lot of people. Its an offensive spell on a 4 fury caster, which means you’ve got an especially poor starting point for hitting your target. However, I will not be fooled. I originally though the same exact thing about Wrong Eyes Voodoo Doll, and I was proven horribly, terribly wrong repeatedly. Wrong eye doesn’t even shirk at going after high defense targets either. Boosting is an immensely powerful ability, turning the hit total of 11 into an average hit total of between 15 and 16. Choosing the right target helps of course, but you can reliably hit almost every infantry model in the game with Zaadesh’s Perdition. POW 10 isn’t anything to write home about either, but any infantry under arm 15 is most probably taking a dirt nap, and arm 16 is a good bet too. You can push the envelope by boosting to damage, but this would be extremely dangerous. Leaving him with no fury and only 5 wounds will likely end with a Zaadesh sized bloodstain. his range of targets for perdition, overall, is fairly good. You do have to know what your getting into when you cast it though. Pushing the Def 14 and/or arm 15 envelope is going to be a tricky proposition, and most times not worth it. The payoff, though, can be devastating. Moving a beast into position early is not to be underestimated.

Especially with his second spell, Tag Team. A new spell, as far as I am aware, and a really good one at that. Granting Gang: Battlegroup is a pretty impressive ability for an upkeep spell. This is doubly true when a number of Skorne warbeast have reach: Molik Karn, Cyclops Savage, Cyclops Brute, Cyclops Shaman, Tiberion, Titan Sentry, Despoiler, and the Rhinodon. Enabling the gang bonus here is pretty simple. The real bonus, here, is the universal MAT bonus, something that Skorne on its own isn’t very capable of. Only three casters have any way to boost MAT: Carnage, Carnivore, and Death March. Having the ability to bring a Warbeast MAT buff is incredibly powerfull, and the capacity for warbeasts to boost on the fly really takes it up to 11.

The first of his two rules is the basic lesser warlock setup, stating that he is not, for rules purposes, a warlock. He does, however, have the capacity to act as one, with the following rules: Battlgroup Commander, Control Area, Damage Transference, Forcing, Fury Manipulation, Healing and Spellcaster. This makes a difference for a few of our models, but overall, is just clarifications.

The second rule, though, much like his second spell, has me a bit giddy. Protective Battlegroup gives every warbeast in his battlegroup an Improved Shield Guard rule. He can only activate it once a turn, no matter how many beasts are nearby, but a free transfer for Ranged or Magic attacks is pretty good.

Tyrant Zaadesh, Lesser Warlock

Tyrant Zaadesh, Lesser Warlock

All of the Hordes warlocks, however, are in a strange place in the game. Unlike in warmachine, hordes really doesn’t need to promote the use of their heavies and lights: the rules of the game require them. Therefore, Lesser warlocks, unlike Journeymen Warcasters, will not be reducing the load on the leader of the force and making them more effective. What they will be doing is taking the place of a unit or slew of solos. This makes evaluating them moderately tough, and their value must be gauged with that in mind. Sometimes, however, you want a few extra warbeasts on the board for their animus or for a specific task, and your warlock doesn’t have the fury capacity to run all the beasts you like. In steps the new Lesser warlocks. With the ability to control warbeasts, especially specialist ones, and allow your Warlock to focus on bringing more big bruisers, it could be just what the doctor ordered.

There are a number of curious interactions, as well, with some of our support models. Because he’s not a warlock, you cannot attach Marketh, and he cannot use either spellslave or Soul tap for Zaadesh. The Mortitheurge Willbreaker’s Beastmaster works just fine, as it is the Willbreaker himself who is forcing the beast. Ancillary attack works too as its targets friendly faction warbeast, which is exactly what Zaadesh brought along. Zaadesh Cannot move fury to, or leach from, an Agnoizer, as the rule explicitly states Warlock. Craft Talisman, either from a Cyclops Shaman or Farrow Bonegrinders, cannot be applied to Zaadesh or any of the lesser warlocks because they are not warlocks, as the rule specifically calls out.

 

Zaadesh has a number of interesting setups that I want to try out. Some of them are less tenable than others, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t rattling around in my head. I have three, specifically, I am looking to grab.

1: Zaadesh, Titan Sentry, Cyclops Brute – This is just the Pain Nugget. With the ability to shrug off three ranged attacks a turn before transfers, he should have no problem getting into the mix. Those same three shield guards will allow him to drop a perdition an a vulnerable target in order to launch the Brute into a target, setting up the titan for a MAT 7 P+S 20 turn, and then getting the Brutes activation on top. That is not gonna make anyone happy.

2: Zaadesh. Reptile Hound x4 – This is a crazy, just for chuckles event. Tag Team will allow up to 8 MAT 9 P+S 10+3d6 (4d6 when charging) attacks against the same target. That can really shred something, given the right opportunity.

3: Zaadesh, Cyclops Raider, Cyclops Shaman. – This is the support package with Teeth. Taking the burden of these models off of the Warlock and onto Zaadesh will enable them to take more of the beasts they love. And, if the enemy does break through the lines, there will be a surprisingly effective MAT 7 P+S 13 Shaman and Raider sitting behind the lines with Zaadesh.

 

Zaadesh brings some interesting play to the faction. He’s not going to be in every list, and sure isn’t going to be the first pick on the list, but he will be around often enough that it’ll really be useful knowing what he does and his strengths and weaknesses.

Oh, and speaking of knowing what they do: Una and Horgul!

Una full Ironstrike full

 

I hope I can punch this out in a timely manner, Battle reports seem to take a lot longer than I’d like.

Over the past two weeks I’ve managed to play two separate games of Warmachine, One against Circle, and the other Against Protectorate. I used the same list both times, Run by my good friend Deneghra

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I’ve been playing D&D for nearly 18 years now, and I’ve enjoyed all but a few times I’ve sat down to a table with my friends. I enjoy getting together with friends, shooting the shit, and playing monsters and heroes. I’ve been DMing for almost that entire time, and I’ve run my fair share of adventures, from years long campaigns to 15 hour one shot adventures. I’ve found different ways to turn tropes on their heads and I’ve built a huge mythology in my mind and in the players games that have affected the world I created.

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