For a certain segment of players, Lock and Load brought out a bunch of cool previews. Theme force Previews were among the largest, with Cryx, Legion, Khador, and Blindwater Congregation getting the most information regarding future themes. Additionally, it was revealed that each faction would be getting a model around Christmastime, hopefully every year, to ease a bit of the pain of not getting something on a regular basis. While many of these things were cool, I’m really excited about the Cryx stuff, because its what I am going to play. Lets take a look!  

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As I’ve mentioned more than a few times, Last weekend was the NOVA Open down in DC (5 minutes from the airport and IN a hotel. Check it out next year!). While I was busy leading most of the time, I attempted to get two games in. The first game on Thursday was a bust, but Saturday night I had some unexpected free time. Anthony from Frozen Kommander was walkin’ around looking for Iron Arena games, so we sat down and got to it!

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Its been a while.

I very much wanted to write something up before I left for NOVA, but it just wasn’t going to be. Between packing and verifying everything I would need to make sure WM and Hordes ran smoothly all weekend, I was unable to really get any solid train of thought rolling. I also knew I needed to get some sleep to buffer out the lack I was going to encounter shortly thereafter.

How did it all go? Well, keep reading! I’ll list all the winners at the bottom!

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The start of spring and the warmth that it brings also signals the commencement of my convention season. Admittedly, its a small season, with only three conventions on the list, but it’s something I look forward to every year as I get to see friends I only see a few times a year while traveling across the country.

The Convention season has always started, for me, with the ECR.

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Novaopenbanner

Nova open has come and gone and was, as predicted, a blast. We had exceptional turnout for the event, cresting 100 unique players for the second year in a row. There were some hiccups, as all conventions have, but we look to better ourselves and make next year even better. 

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Novaopenbanner

Nova open has come and gone and was, as predicted, a blast. We had exceptional turnout for the event, cresting 100 unique players for the second year in a row. There were some hiccups, as all conventions have, but we look to better ourselves and make next year even better. 

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Now, I am finally back and into the swing of things again, writing about warmachine on Tuesdays and Miscellaneous topics on Thursdays. This weeks Thursday post is going to be particularly packed, with the bevy of information coming out of E3 this week about a pile of my favorite video games.

Lock and Load

I had such an amazing time at Lock and Load! Every day of the convention was a blast, and I was able to meet up with old friends and get games in with people across the country and around the world. I was also lucky enough to hang out with a number of people that I only get to see at LnL, and it was a blast to catch up with all of them.

Thursday

The PG invitational was Thursday, and true to form, I broke out Rasheth with his Titans. However, I was pretty foolhardy and put him through the ringer: I jumped into a pod of Spelldrafters. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to play the game at 35 points, and I just wan’t prepared for the task.

My 35 point list that I played throughout the Con is as Follows.

Rasheth
-Cannoneer
-Bronzeback
-Bronzeback
-Gladiator
-Paingivers (x6)
-Agonizer
-Farrow Bone Grinders (x4)

This list ended up needing a ton of help in spelldraft, and I just didn’t get it. With animus and spells all going away, I had slow, pathfinderless Titans that were just as quick as Rasheth himself. Unable to lead from the rear, he was instead on the front lines. From there, he was quickly ejected by Abby 2, Severious 1 and Haley 2.

Abby 2 was a simple game of Shrednado, where he launched extremely long threat range Shredder at the Dominar to devour him on the top of turn 2.

Stupid 17″ Threat Shredders!

Severious 1 was a rough game of back and forth with me trying to get a bead on Blessing of Vengeance, and him raining Arcane bolts into Rasheths plentiful head until he dropped of exhaustion

See that forest on the Left. Blessing of Vengeance did…

Haley 2 is a game I really, really enjoyed. While the other two were extremely fun as well, this one gave me a taste of what it is going to be to have to face Haley 3, as I was constantly having to try and get rid of Storm Lances that were being revived. Though Both Bronzebacks survived rounds against the Stormwall, it just wasn’t enough and I ate three charged to the face from Stormlances, and called it a day.

I ended up playing one 50 pointer that day, against Judge Prime, Boots himself. He’d warned me the night before that he had a ton of fun killing Hordes ‘Casters with Thrown Grievous Wounds attacks from Madrak 2. As it turns out, there is no difference with the weapon that Madrak 1 has, and I should have seen it coming. A single Grievous Wounds  toss followed by Crusher, and Mulg was able to drop the Rasheth in a single swing.

For those keeping score, that is 0 wins over the course of the day. Its been a long, long time since that happened.

Friday

I pulled an idiot stunt and somehow managed to sign up to Judge both Masters events Friday, running from 10:00am to 12:00am. It was a brutal slog, though fun, that was extremely exhausting. Me being me, however, I compounded stupid on stupid and decided that yes, I wanted to do the Team Tournament right after the second masters ended. Another 35 point series of games that I really wasn’t prepared to play in, that I teamed up with some random people and decided to give it a go.

I did better in this one than I did in spelldraft, which is good, leading me to believe it was less that 35 points sucks, and more that Rasheth needs his whole toolkit to be good.

I played four games, and the tournament took just over 7 hours. I stuck it out to the bitter end and played Rasheth in all but the one game required of me, Taking games from Goreshade 3, Makeda 2 and Vyros 2, while loosing a giant uphill slog against Asphyxious 3.

I started out against Gorshade 3, who I initially thought was a terrible draw for me. However, my opponent hadn’t ever played him before, so I had the upper hand in what I assumed he would do. The game ended with a Bronzeback surviving a fully loaded Desecrator and 5 attacks from a charging Goreshade. Shaking off the Stationary and healing two points later, I was able to put the Eldritch in the dirt, again, with boxcars.

Goreshade 3 Just couldn’t get it done.

 

My next match was against Cryx, again, and I should have known better. When Asphyxious 3 is in the lineup, don’t go beast heavy. Sadly, I didn’t even think about it, being late as it was, and dropped into one of the worst matchups possible. With almost no feat and little to protect Rasheth from a post-feat Asphyxious, I was unable to stem the tide against an incursion win.

 

Next, I took on Alex Smith, an opponent and all around good man I had played against two years earlier in the Masters. Last time we both had Cryx on the board, this time we both had Skorne. And, much like last time, it was a damned slog. Makeda 2 with Karn isn’t the most comforting thing to see across the table. I tossed down Fist because I thought I could out-grind it, and I was mostly correct. Karn whittled the army down while staying safe and all I could do was push forward. In the end, it wasn’t enough, and with one box left after rolling damage, Karn forced for an extra damage die and took me out…. But! I’d forgotten about the feat! I had 7 hp, not 1! Neither of us had moved models, so we just continued playing, with Alex leading off. He rolled another attack with Karn, instead of boosting, and missed, leaving me with just enough. Somehow, I was able to claw my way back to victory, and beat Makeda to death after dealing with Karn and surviving another assassination run by Makeda herself.

My final Game was against a gentleman playing Vyros 2, who, thanks to two local guys, I am very familiar with. I picked up Rasheth again and was able to put Vyros in awkward positions with Bronzebacks counter-charging feat-move Griffons and other nasty shenanigans. I was able to make some cool moves in one zone to try and clear it with a trample, Slam and Throw, but the Titan Cannoneer missed the boosted slam into Imperatus and called it a day.  In the end, however, I was able to maneuver a Bronzeback into Vyros, because he had to commit to a zone, and punching him down to size.

We didn’t come in last place, and played to the bitter end, so I take that a win. Our team name, Friends, was completely unoriginal, but we were too tired to actually get anything useful. However, our first opponent was “Off Constantly” so I had to report to the judges that “Friends Beat Off Constantly.”

Saturday

After a quick nap from 7:00 – 12:00 I was back up and at it! I was determined to play more 50 pointers, and I got off to a good start. I was discussing the desire to play 50 point games with another PG, and the guy behind me stopped and asked if I wanted to get a game in.

Of course I did! So, we picked a table and threw down! He brought out Ossrum, Earthbreaker and Company, playing a Searforge list, and I dropped… 6 titans. This game was something I thought I would be able to do a good job in, but I somehow forgot that an earthbreaker and just a little support can bring down a bronzeback in a single go. After running two bronzebacks pel-mel at the damned thing, he straight up removed one from the board on the top of turn 2. Seeing what folly it would be if I were to maintain the course, I switched over to scenario and ran my Bronzeback fully across the board to join my army again.

Formation AFTER running stupidly at the Earthbreaker

I was able to slow-grind him out, feeding the Earthbreaker his choice of Titans each turn, but otherwise keeping him occupied. I managed to get a Bronzeback into his Forgeguard, blowing most of them away, and a nicely placed BoC popped about 6 Highshields. Between the two, I was able to turn the game in my favor and forced a Bronzeback onto Ossrum for the MAT 9 Carnivore Kill. Victory #1 of the day!

after the first game, there was someone camping one of the scenario tables, the one from NQ 60 with the water tower and the Cactus Patches. He had a sign up for a game, and I dropped down to play him.

This guy was pumped to play this game!

The Scenario was a defenders-game, and he was on the attackers side. Rasheth and his 6 Titans has to hold the line. If, by the end of the 7th turn he had not assassinated me or made me flee from the Water Tower, I won. I had to survive 7 rounds against whatever he had hidden in his bag. Axis, Tier 4. The waves of Recursion against the wall of Titanflesh! It was an epic battle, with waves of infantry crashing into my lines, killing titans while I retaliated with as much death as possible. I did, however, make judicious attacks whenever possible, fueling only what foundries I was forced to and not making extra attacks just because I could. It was a knifes edge to tread, but I did it well enough and long enough to make the end 7 rounds with only Rasheth and a Bronzeback left when the Skorne Reinforcements showed up and secured my victory!

After those two games and some dinner, I played the final game of the night against a pair of friends from out here in Baltimore that have moved to Seattle. We played a 35 point Team Mosh pit and it was completely insane. His TEP Put a hurting on Her Circle, and I put a hurt on his Convergence. My Titans got beat up by the circle. In the end, being around 3:00am, she finished him off, and I was able to take her out of the zone and win the game. 3-0 for the day wasn’t to shabby!

Sunday

So, Sunday was a lazy day of me getting games in and then heading out to an awesome local PG’s house to crash and head home Monday, the first of which was against a fellow who was trying out Goreshade 3. He plopped down a very dangerous list, with the Kraken, Soulhunters and Blackbanes leading the charge for Goreshade 3. Sadly, at the top of turn 2 in a killbox game, he had to go for it, as he realized that he was never going to be able to push through all of the titans and get to Rasheth safely.

This was the board state when I knew something went wrong.

 

Instead he put it all on the line, and with Goreshade simply inches from a pile of frozen titans, piled it all into Rasheth. He survived the volley of Siphon Bolts only to be dropped in short order by the Krakens Main Gun, the last possible weapon in the army that could fire, with the smaller gun on the Colossal about an inch out. First loss of the day.

 

My second Loss of this tragic day was handed to my by the new Ret Caster, Thyron. With Hyperion and Imperatus, I just had to much beef to chew through, but on his terms. He was faster, more aggressive and had the upper hand with reach weapon masters. I wasn’t able to, after a number of tries with a number of Titans, to take down either Hyperion OR Imperatus, and it was just the end of the game once he got Hyperion to Rasheth.

This is right before I lost three titans: Bronzeback, Sentry and Gladiator

 

The final game of the day, of the weekend, and of the con, for me, was by far my favorite. I had the privilege and honor to have my ass kicked by Michael Plummer using the brand spanking new Haley 3, on the Livestream for all to see. It was Glorious!  However, instead of regaling you with the tales, I can let you go watch yourself. It was a close and fantastic game, and I loved being able to end the convention and the day on such a high note!

I love Lock and Load, and I cannot wait to go back again!

 

 

 

 

 

On the Horizon

Every year, I head out to Lock and Load, where I hope to hang out with some of the staff and Warmachine personalities from around the globe. I’ve been every year except the first, and I intend on going as many years as is possible.

Seeing as I have a long term plan to go again and again, I have a goal of splitting my years evenly between Iron Arena and Tournaments. The first year was an Iron Arena year, where I brought my White and Orange Cygnar with me to try and meet some new people. The year after I tried a masters tournament and got kinda stomped. That meant I only had Lich 2, Terminus and Skarre 1 with me, so it wasn’t the best year to make friends. I did get a ton of games in, though, with the staff, which was awesome, and I got to play in the very first demo game of Level 7 [Escape]! Last year was a little insane, with my eardrum rupturing on the way out to Seattle kinda putting a damper on any and everything I did. I did get to see some of my favorite Seattalites, however, and That more than made up for it. I played in a single tournament, the inaugural Spelldraft, which was 6 rounds and took for freakin’ ever to finish. So, even though this year is supposed to be a tournament year, I lost last year to ear infections, blown eardrums and spelldraft. This year, I am going to be deep in Iron Arena the whole time. Well, Maybe not. I have to do one thing.

Flights out and Getting there. 

often, people tell me that its too expensive to fly out, and I get that, but I take as much as possible off the shelf in that regard as possible. I signed up for a Southwest credit card, and I use that for everything, and I mean everything. Each dollar I spend gets me a point, and its about 20,000 points to fly out. With the 6000 anniversary points, I don’t really have to spend a ton of money on the card – just my standard bills, gas, food. It all goes on the card, filling up my points total. At the end of the cycle, when it comes time to buy my Airfare (February, I’ll have racked up a huge total of points. There may be some deficits, but I’ll pay the 100 or so bucks to make up the difference: Paying 100 bucks for round trip tickets ain’t nothin’

I also make sure to get direct flights. They aren’t notably more expensive, but they are a hell of a lot swifter. Taking a 5 hour tris and ratcheting it up to 10 or more is just absurd. Layovers, strange flight patters and other flight weirdness makes me reticent to actually try any of it, though it might be fun to meet a friend at a local airport, sometime.

Because I’m a volunteer for the company, I get to add an extra day to the convention, with the PP invitational on Thursday. This means I want to arrive pretty early Wednesday and actually get settled in. This has, historically, been the hardest day to get a room on. My roomies, a bunch of awesome Canadians from BC, who I now plan on meeting up with every year that is possible, don’t get in until Thursday morning. But, They didn’t mind my random coming and goings, and gave me a place to sleep while also being exceedingly nice. What more can be asked of a host!

Its easy enough to bunk with them for the four days, and then try and find a room on Sunday Night. It seems that many of the participants leave Sunday night. I, however, cannot find a good flight out on Sunday after the awards ceremony and dinner but before my eyes bleed from being awake 20 hours a day. I take the day and sleep late, get on a plane, and roll out to be home by the end of the day. I’ve historically gone to work on Tuesday, but we’ll see how that works out in future years.

The Gameplan

Getting in on Wednesday gives me a little breathing room, and I’ll be up bright and early on Thursday. Do to me being a PG, Thursday I’ll play some games with some awesome PGs, Staff, and other volunteers at the PP Invitational. and then probably roll over to the Mox Boarding House for even more fun and games, including the first ever Mox Invitational, at least as a spectator.

Friday I’ve got planned a tournament, but for once I’ll not be playing in it. I am going to be adjudicating the morning Master Tournament which should be a ton of fun. Honestly, I’m nervous as shit. I know that there will be people who play this game competitively and seriously there, and I’m worried that, in my nervousness, I’ll make the wrong call. I know its dumb and will go away once I am there, but its one of those things that just sits in my gut. fortunately I’ll have someone I know with me adjudicating as well and that should cut down on the nerves. Afterward, I’ll be going to grab a dinner and then Heading back into the hall for the Team Tournament. Sadly, were on the waitlist, but the plan is to either play in it, or play a few games and call it a night. I’ll get about 4-5 hours of sleep, grab a shower and then hit the arena with Zeal.

To that end, I’ll be bringing with me, as I’ve mentioned, the Tier 2 Rasheth Chain Gang. This list has so many permutations and concepts that I really think playing it over and over again will be a ton of fun all weekend. With a fully painted T2 list, I should be making some awesome points to try and snag some sweet swag, whatever happens to be there.

Saturday night is a bit in flux. if I wasn’t able to play in the Team tournament, I want to play in Token Aggression. If I played in it, I want to make sure I get out and get some good food and sample a local place or two, then get a game or two in before crashing out.

Sunday has the same plan as Saturday, grinding out points and getting some cool goodies before the hall closes and calling it quits for the weekend.

If you plan on being at Lock and Load, let me know, and we’ll get some sort of game in! I’d love to meet some fellow gamers, get some games in, and maybe have a few beers while we are at it!

I’m really looking forward to Seattle and Lock and Load this year. Here is hoping that I don’t have to wear the Hoodie I’ll pack.

Like I have had to every other year.

In June!

 

See you at There!

Good Afternoon, and a tired one it will still be.

Over the past weekend, I had the honor and privilege to adjudicate and assist in running the East Coast Rumble in Clark NJ. It was a complete blast, and I was glad I stayed for every match.

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This morning, the Templecon Keynote Presentation was held. The Templecon keynote tends to set the tone for the rest of the year of Privateer Press Releases, and is one of the coolest parts of the Con. Its like Warmachine Christmas. I don’t remember, though, how often it was this early in the morning. Maybe its always been at 10:00est, and I’ve just somehow not paid attention, but it was a really inconvenient time to try and pay attention to a Keynote. I’m not taking off work, but I sure as shit want to pay attention. I don’t know that there is a good time to really present these things, maybe 9:00pm est, but who wants that?

While there were previews, and they were neat, they are not what I paid attention to. While I can understand spreading the brand out through multiple outlets, I feel its really starting to dilute the product. The only secondary brand I don’t mind is the IKRPG: Its where the company started and I understand their desire to continue in that field. Books, cardgames, boardgames and other periphery just aren’t my desire for this game – I am not the target market.

The keynote is available here for anyone who wants to watch it and my summary isn’t good enough for.

This years big news for Warmachine are New Colossals. Much like the Heavy Warjack before it, there are a variety of colossals sharing the same basic body-build. These colossals vary slightly from their predecessors and have some interesting abilities and weapons.

Starting with Cygnar:

We have the Hurricane, what I expect to be a strong and powerful piece, seeing the stormwall before it was a fantastic centerpiece to many an army.

The art above shows what look to be direct fire guns replacing the miniguns of the stormwall, as well as the storm accumulators replacing the Big Guns. Also, as we learn below, the Storm Pod Launcher and storage bays have been replaced with new and greater tech.

The First arc node on a colossal! Yay? I’m not sure how I feel about this. Also, with two Storm Emitters at P+S  16, he hits harder from range, and thats not making me feel all warm and fuzzy. It sure as hell doesn’t make me feel any better that he has a push effect, though I am ok that it is away. I expect this to be some sort of riff on thunderbolt. They don’t explain what the Turbulence generator does, though I expect to see some sort of Stormwall (from Kreuger 2) effect. I expect this jack to see a ton of play with Nemo 3, and probably Haley 2, because everything is good with Haley 2.

Next up, Protectorate.

The Revelator hopefully has a bit less of the one-‘caster friend symptom that the Judicator before it has had. Something that is relevant in many instances yet still retains that aspect of choice would be, well, choice.

We do get a look at art again, and it looks like its not replaced the flame throwers, they definitly look like fire hoses, and I expect them to spew flame everywhere. The innacurate rocket-pods, however, have been replaced with enormous what look to be flame belchers. With the flame belchers being range 10 AOE 4, I expect range 10 AOE 5. And it probably has auto-fire. This looks like it could be rather good, though.

Sadly, this thing removes stealth. from pretty much anything. Its not explained how it does this or for what, and even if its conditional, but it does it. Even if it just saw through stealth for itself, it would bring a huge pile of pain for its opponents. Relying on stealth is becoming harder and harder these days, though I don’t really fault anyone for it. Its hard to have fun when you can’t reach out and touch anyone!

Next Up, Khador!

The Conquest is a solid Colossal that forgets to excel in a number of roles. I have heard it said that when another colossal is on the board, Conquest is the best, but when there is not, he is the worst. Let us hope that Victor can bring us some pleasantness!

Gone are the little guns and the Main Guns and replacing them are what look to be auto-cannons and a giant mortar. While I expect he is slight of range and high of power with those shoulder guns, That big ol’ gun makes me a little nervous.

Oh, Right. Because it should. By the way, its a 5″ AOE, because they mention, during the attack types (no, you don’t get all of them at once) that you can “make a 5″ area of difficult terrain.” They also mention that is is both long range and inaccurate, which leads me to believe that its range 20ish. God, thats gonna drive me nuts!

Next up, Cryx!

Sepulcher seems to be pretty straightforward, a place where the dead are set to rest. Unlike the other factions, Cryx is not given a lowdown of its abilities and concept art, instead they are treated to the actual model!

As you can tell, this is almost completely cribbed from the Kraken. It seems a slight bit more squat, but it has some neat features. First, it has what appear to be tentacle-guns in addition to its Kraken-weapons. I assume this means that it has the 4″ reach from the primary chassis on its close combat weapons, and they look like they would have the same rules. The big gun on the forehead and the arm guns look like this could be a fairly awesome ranged support platform, especially given that they talk about its ability to pop out both mechanithralls and brute thralls. I don’t know if this means that they will create solos, or if you will need to have Mechanithralls on the board to add to them. It would create a kind of synergy, as no one likes to have bodies in the way of the enemy than a colossal!

Next up, and Retribution.

Helios is a strange and enigmatic House Shyeel adaptation of the Hyperion. Its been developed to evoke and supplement the Magisters of its house.

It has massive fists, larger than I remember the Hyperion having, and it looks like it could crush a car, but the strangest thing is its gun. Out of every colossal that has been created, this is the first with a gun that causes no damage.

Instead, with the tractor beam in its force Gate abilities, it can augment any battle plan that the Retribution can bring to bear, or so it seems. I do not look forward to this bugger comin’ out!

Finally (yes, no Mercs) The Convergence of Cyriss

The prime conflux is going to be a hard sell to all those Axiom players. The Tow Cables are going to be extremely hard to beat, and the auto-hitting melee weapons are pretty damned impressive.

And this thing may do it. It looks like its come loaded for bear, with a new, giant forehead cannon and two shoulder mounted electric guns, along with grappling fists that seem purpose built for holding things in place. How do I know they are electric guns? Because they mention that this whole colossal is about electric damage.

To boot, instead of firing off just any old servitor, which seemed good enough, this Colossal shoots out servitors that help it be more effective.

Gut Reaction

Honestly, I couldn’t have feel more underwhelmed when I saw the original Keynote. Colossals are not a thing I wanted in the game, honestly, and I was happy enough with the battle engines, even though they seem to have almost completely failed. Outside of the Storm Tower, the Vessel of Judgement and the rare Force Generator, I don’t see them nearly anywhere, and I would have loved to see that space explored so much more than I wanted additional colossls. What really gets my psyched up about a release is the warcaster information. I would have loved to see information on some new warcaster or, failing that, what epic versions there would be around in the next book.

I think the FA:2 of the original colossals was the biggest mistake that PP has ever made, and that includes MKI Vlad 2! its just an unmitigated mess when your opponent has two colossals and your not prepared to deal with them somehow or another. I play both Skorne and Cryx, and thankfully, I have solid ways of just removing colossals from the board whenever I want. I can only imagine what it would be like to play any of the other factions. I wish that these colossals will introduce a rule that shares the FA among the two colossals, something like a “colossal FA” I know they won’t because it just makes more sense to allow two to be fielded, and honestly, what would it change? Outside of the 75 point IG gauntlet rounds, there is nothing that rule is going to do to change the way any of the 35 or 50 point games will be played.

Time Heals All Wounds

And sometimes, its not all that long. While I would have wished for something else for warmachine, I can’t undo what has been done. I’ll take the Sepulcher and see what I can do with it, and I’ll learn to fight against each and every colossal that exists, with every faction I have. The beating heart and soul of Warmachine has been the same since Hordes: Evolution was printed.

Adapt, or Die.

 

Till next time!