I’m just kinda going to go around the nerd world in a few minutes, there have been a ton of developmens I want to touch on that I’ve not been able to just sit down and rash out into a full post. It’d be perfect for a bite size nerd, If I wasn’t trying to paint every second I possibly could!

Warmachine Developments/Spoilers

Recently, there were released a number of excellent spoilers/previews from the next/last Privateer Press Anthology book.

From the already released Exigence:

The Skorne Aradus model.

Aradus Sentinal from Will Schick

Aradus Sentinal from Will Schick

The Gatorman Sacral Vault

Sacral Vault

The Doom that came to Infantry Armies

I think there is a ton of potential for both of these models to be in my armies. I really wish that I played either Circle or Legion, so that I could use the Sacral vault in that army as well, but thats not happening any time soon.  I really like the look of the Aradus, but the base-to-model ration is, as always, suitably Skorny. The guns it brings are a welcome addition to almost every Skorne army!

The Sacral Vault I am a little less thrilled about because I am gonna have to get a PG to paint that monstrosity up for me, and then trade them a painted model of equal value. Hopefully I can get this done before Lock and Load, where I play my gators.

There were also reveals, releases and spoilers on the jacks for three of the five factions that are going to be getting new character Jacks in the upcoming Reckoning book.

Dynamo, who’s just a monster from hell, was released, Moros was spoiled in the latest No Quarter, and Ruin has their rapid prototype model revealed. Honestly, Ruin determined my second Khadoran caster, and is allowing me to comfortably expand into a two list pair that is extremely cool to theory about. Moros is going to cause me no end of fits, when I play Skorne. For the vast majority of the time, however, I play Cryx, and I won’t need to worry about that little machine from hell. Dynamo is the model I am least enthused about, but that is probably because I don’t want to get shot in the face anymore. I just can’t take it.

Well, I probably can. I’m playing Fist.

Oh, Right. Pictures:

A really cool model, though in ret, so BOO!

A really cool model, though in ret, so BOO!

King Missile

King Missile

THE Khadoran Warjack of the Future.

THE Khadoran Warjack of the Future.

Seriously, look at that thing. He’s wearing a Warpwolf for a cloak!

The Complete Release of Infinity v. 3 or N3

When this initially came out, I was ecstatic, and I think I still am. This game has a ton of potential, and is a very, very well made game. That doesn’t mean its perfectly balanced or an extremely tight ruleset, though is it better than most.

They had originally said that Human Sphere and Campaign: Paradiso were going to be kept as is, but they have since recanted, in their own way. Now, with the release of the edited rules for the expansion books and all my models with new stats and rules again, I can feel the excitement creeping up on me.

Oh, and have I mentioned that all the rules are FREE

What you would need and want to assess the game are:
Basic Rulebook
Troop Profiles
Human Sphere Rules
Paradiso Rules

I really think its a game that most minis gamers will enjoy and find enjoyable, and you should try it out!

Malifaux Avatars

According to this post, Avatars are completely removed from the game of Malifaux. While there are various ways of saying it nicely, they are out. There are rules for using them in a campaign, which is adorable, and there are ways to use them as legal proxies, which I fail to see as a reason to purchase them, but they don’t mean anything. I think its a brave decision, but its even harder on me in the wake of the Infinity Profile Trim. Out of three games I play, only one has never removed a model willfully from the game. While it may be eclipsed by other models, I will always be able to field the models I purchased within the limits of the game. Infinity recently took some of the weapons and options away from certain troop profiles, removing some of my models from the game, and now Malifaux is doing the same. Thankfully, I’d never gotten my Perdita Avatar after the rules made her so derpy I never wanted her.

Going along with that, I understand their decision. Its 30+ models that need to be worked into their new style of game, and I don’t even think its possible, especially when your trying to get player feedback. Certian Players are going to want big, nasty, awesome centerpiece models, while others are going to want the choices of taking or not taking the model to be nearly automatic. I agree with the decision, but I don’t like it.

Conversions and Painting

After the success I had with my Bane Spartans, and the initial rush of the Ninja Nyss, I have expanded further outward with my desire to convert. Its not an overwhelming desire, but I do like the uniqueness it gives my army. The first thing I had decided was that I was going to turn my bane Knights into Samurai. That’s being done by a simple head and weapon swap, and I have actually built them and have em ready to go onto the new bodies when I get them. The second is the Bane Halberdiers. I use Steelhead Halberdiers from time to time in my  Cryx lists so I wanted them to match just a little. In order to accomplish that, I’ve decided to replace their halberd heads with Bane Axe heads and replace the Steelhead Bucket Helmet with Bane Knight heads. After I paint them up and get them matching the color scheme of the Cryx army, they’ll fit right in!

Painting is finally happening on my Skorne force. I’ve joined the Tale of Warmachine and Hordes Painting Group, and I have to paint five points of models every month in order to continue participating. To accomplish the monumental task, I’ve decided that I’m going to paint up the rest of my unpainted Skorne warlocks, and get using them on the table. First up is Rasheth, who I have to say, I am pretty proud of, for his spot. He’s sitting about 70% finished, and I look forward to having him finished!

You will also notice that my pictures suck less. Thankfully, the phone I have sucks less!

 

Nova Open and the ECR

Its about time for the NOVA Open and the East Coast Rumble to start getting ramped up, and I am looking forward to seeing a ton of people and getting some games in. Running and judging WMW qualifier events is no small task!

 

The NOVA open has come and gone, and with it a great burden off my shoulders. I didn’t manage to get my Cepahlyx painted in time, but I still threw down on the tabletop despite my constant judging. I managed to eke out wins in both games – one against Siege and one against Sorscha 2. It was great playing against Dan and Bill.

The events were packed all weekend, which amazed everyone involved. Here is the breakdown (from what I remember)

Thursday Tier Tournament: 37 players
Friday Team Tournament: 13 teams of 3 – 39 players
Friday Hardcore – 31 Players
Saturday SR2014 – 39 Players
Saturday Iron Gauntlet – 16 players
Sunday Masters – 16 players
Sunday Scrambles 21 players (of which 16 actually got to play, sad!)

That is a fantastic turnout for our fourth year, and a 100% year over year increase in attendance.

What really mattered, though, was that there were so few incidents. The players were, overall, excellent, and the level of competition was exceedingly good. We had pull from several states, and it really felt like it, as I saw lists that we just don’t see here in my meta. We pulled in over 80 players from around the region, and with an Official Iron Gauntlet Qualifier next year, I am thinking we can really become an excellent tournament.

That’s not to say that there weren’t hiccups. There are always things that can be done better, clearer and faster, and we are really looking into them but for the most part they were, while serious to the individual players, minor to the overall scheme. Tighten up communication about alternates, Make sure all the information is the same in the booklet, the primer, and the draft primer, and get the tournaments running in heats to save time.

What I heard that made me the happiest, though, was the direct, honest feedback from the players of the game. It ranged from effluent praise to frustrated critisism, but for the most part it was suggestions on how to make next year better and run smoothly. I got suggestions on what events to pair against each other, what sizes everyone liked, and how to get the most out of every tournament. Its great to know that the people you run these events for, the players of the tournaments, are just as invested as you are in an event. I can’t wait to see who makes it out for next years Iron Gauntlet and Warmachine Weekend Qualifiers!

But I’d be hard pressed not to include my favorite moment of the weekend, which happened not to be Warmachine, somehow. Instead it was when I saw Gutier from Corvus Belli sitting at the cafe and sat down to have a chat with him.  He was pleasant, energetic and extremely cool to talk to. Its good to know that I’m not the only one who gets so immersed in their own worlds that they become real.

I have to give a tip of my hat to both the Infinity guys and the Malifaux guys, who seemed to be running some awesome tournaments where everyone was enjoying themselves. I was sad to see the infinity guys pushed out and into their own small room, but they had some really awesome terrain. The Malifaux guys were just so exceedingly friendly and pleasant – though I knew nothing about their tournaments – that they were a blast to share space with.

Finally, I want to mention Greenman Designs, who make some really cool acrylic measuring templates and other tools. He was extremely enthusiastic and mentioned getting a whole line of warmachine stuff up and running, including some omni-measuring tools as well as sliding scatter template. My buddy has the first Cygnar Flavored one, and its really awesome. He even takes whatever custom design and can cut it out in whatever color you want – Color is independent of product, so you can always get what you want. His prices were reasonable, as well. Give him a look if you have a chance!

Till next time,

Jonathon

Gencon is like Nerd Christmas, and boy was it fun this year. Information poured in from every direction about every game I play and it was a glorious Thursday and Friday. Honestly, I am still trying to digest it, and some of the information still will be in its raw form.

Malifuax had the pre-release of its Crossroads book, which has both the Wave 2 models from the edition conversion, and some new models here and there. This is the one I’ve spent the least time Digesting. Gmort on the forum loaded up these daily congregations of pics, which I’ll just link here.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

There is some really cool art in there, and when the book and decks finally release, I look forward to playing some more Malifaux. The Beta wore me out just reading about it, so its nice to have that joy creeping backin.

Infinity, with its coming 3rd edition, had a ton of information to share as well. Almost all of it was revealed in a video Here.

I do like the Japanese dude on a bike, showing off the the new style bikes and the larger 55″ footprint

Yojimbo, I assume?

There is also an awesome pic of Bostria giving out one of the changes:

adding 15% to the retreat threshold for 3rd

We’ve also got some fantastic concept and 3d sculpts, and a ton of pictures of them, that they are working on.

Of course I focused my attention, though, on the Haqqialam, because its my faction, and I have to say: When I first saw the Jannisary model, I cried out that the jannisaries were fine. When I saw the HMG model, I was instantly corrected, that model is freaking great.

This guy!

I look forward to the new Hassassin with a Missile Launcher

One day, I'll play a Hassassin army

One day, I’ll play a Hassassin army

A new Kum Character

to go with the thousand bikes I am going to buy

to go with the thousand bikes I am going to buy

And  a resculpt of the Maghariba Guard

A bad ass machine, here

A bad ass machine, here

 

Finally, there are the Warmachine Gencon pre-releases, which came out like a flood last Thursday, as the store opened and the pre-release cards were unboxed.

Overall, I like them all. They have their own flavor and I really think that they will stand on their own once the Doom Cycle shakes out.

Bradigus is a caster after my own heart. He is a druid that plays well with wolds, which is the only thing I want in a Circle caster. One day, I’ll probably build an army for him.

Absylonia 2 is an intriguing model to me, with a host of strange spells and abilities. Most of the time when that happens its because I just don’t get it, and get suckered on the table. I look forward to facing her.

Helga is crazy-fun. I initially thought that Cyclone was Twister, and was exceedingly unimpressed. Simply changing that one spell makes her 1000% more fun. I approve!

Jaga Jaga is freaking bonkers! I really like both her new spells, Gravewind and Spellpiercer. Her feat, as well, is completely awesome, and I look forward to using it one day here soon.

Xerxis 2, being that I play Skorne, is going to be a blast to play. Mobility is a ton of fun, and his beast bond is exceedingly good. 13/19 with transfers and 19 HP is nothing to scoff at either. Ignite is good, but is nothing extra special, as Skorne has a ton of high end damage buffs. I do look forward to sending Tiberion some 11″ and outside 10″ of Xerxis area during the feat. Who knows, maybe I even use Fate Walker to get him back in his standard control area after the turn ends.

Till Next time!

Every year during con season, and especially before Gencon, there is a  storm of information around  each company, and what they are going to release. With Gencon right around the corner, we are starting to become overloaded with cool things coming out.

I’ll start with a game that I don’t follow at all, but I have heard has a huge following, some game called X-wing. They are releasing an Epic Scale, if you will, game called Armada, and it looks potentially really cool. I like the concept of spaceship naval and dogfighting, and I would really like a game that enables me to play out that type of fleet action. The starter box is pretty cool, I’m not going to lie, with three capital ships, one of which is a Star Destroyer, and a quartet of fighter squadrons, but if the game really doesn’t get past that size, I’ll loose interest exceedingly fast. I want something big, massive, and fun. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one!

Next, Malifaux has released its list of box sets, Nightmare model, and Miss-model that it will be releasing this year.

Lookit alla that!

Lookit alla that!

Wyrd has been converting its entire product line over to plastic since the introduction of M2E, and this is yet another step along the way, with new, plastic, sculpts and crew boxes for Lucius, Zorida, Kirai, Von Schill, the Dreamer, and Ophelia. Also, for each Gencon, they produce a nightmare model that is a huge, alternate sculpt of one of their current models. This year they’ve decided to go with the Whiskey Golem, and I can’t really blame them! It is huge, awesome, and completely insane. Finally, as a treat for all the people picking up these models as pre-releases, every year they have a Miss-model – something you get free at a certian threshold of dollars spent. This year, they have a fantastic looking Alt. Teddy, Miss Ery.

BadTeddyRender If I played anyone who could use Teddy, I’d be all over that. Instead, there is nothing that really grabs me this year, so I’ll just wait for neat things to come out for my limited palette of models.

Infinity, too, is releasing a convention model, though I don’t know whether or not its their first time. Its gaining a lot of talk about its appropriateness, which I don’t care one way or the other about, but the model is at least passable. I don’t think the model looks particularly like the model. I also don’t play a faction that can field her, so her view on my radar is small.

Infinity Cosplay Model

Infinity Cosplay Model

 

In addition to this model, they will also have a Penthesilea Bootleg for prerelease. The bootleg line of models are supposed to be a botique style model that is made in the sculptors spare time, with an eye towards fun and beauty. The new Kum bike on her is pretty awesome, but again its not a model I can use, so it sits in the realm of neat, but not to interested

PenthesileaBootleg

Bootleg model for Gencon

Not to be left out, Relic Knights, in conjunction with Secret Weapon Miniatures, is releasing a line of colored Esper crystals. While I think they are cool, and people will definitely find a use for them, I just can’t.

Espers!

Espers!

Honestly, I think they are really, really cool, I just won’t ever use ’em

Finally, we come to the game I’ve been concentrating on for the greater part of a year now, Warmachine and Hordes. They have a trend of having big releases at Gencon, and this year the rumor mill is churning that the new Hordes book, Exigence, will be available for the purchasing, and there are tons of whispers about what it will contain. As the event comes closer and closer, we get more and more information about the next work, and even have a few tidbits from the mouth of PP itself, and with PP abandoning its long-used concurrent release concept for a more asymmetric style anything is possible.  We’ve already been privy to a pile of rules: Lesser Warlocks Zaadesh, Una, and Horgle; the Moonhound Argus and Rotterhorn Griffon, Dozer and Smigg, Borka, Vengeance of the Rimeshaws, and Fyanna the Lash. We’ve seen a combination of model, art, and concept sketch on Bradigus Thorle, A Character Satyr, Xerxis on a Rhino, a Strange Skorne Bug, Beetle Warbeast Pack, Epic Absylonia, Zuriel, Wasp Warbeast Pack, Jagga Jagga, Maximus, Meat Grinder, Sacral Vault, Swamp Gobber River Pirates,  Helga the Conquerer,  Brightblades, Neraph, and unpainted models of Troll Bandits.

Thats a TON of models with no rules or even hints, and I think that’s really, really cool. There were a ton of models that we knew everything about before the book even came out for Vengeance, and a lot of people were upset, almost as many as were exceedingly happy! Leading up to Gencon, as I said, we have some spoilers as well that have appeared. Some are substantiated, and others, well, believe for yourself

  • New Skorne Unit, Praetorian Keltarii, hinted at buy the Exigence Cover, and revealed in a Picture

    New Skorne Unit!

    New Skorne Unit!

  • Bradigus Thorle has Synergy and Wold-only Battlegroup
  • an enormous pastebin of crazy rules
  • Helga the Conqueror has Dash and Defenders Ward

Even Privateer, though, can’t resist releasing limited edition miniatures for Gencon, and just a few days ago revealed that they will have their pinup model this year as well. The Blighted Bather, a blighted Nyss bathing in a Spawning vessel. I do have to say the Shredder duckie is awesomely cute!

Blood Bath!

Blood Bath!

We’ll see what else comes out at Gencon, and whats proved unfounded. I look forward to it, and all the insanity it brings!

Every year about this time, I start gearing up for one of the larger events I run, the NOVA Open, a 4 day gaming convention in Crystal City, VA, just north of DC.

I’ve been Pressganging for almost three complete years now, and NOVA holds a special place in my heart, because its my Pressgang anniversary. Each year I’ve stepped up my involvement with running the events, and this year, I’ve been given the privilege of running the whole show. If I seem to come off as selling this years event, don’t worry, I am shamelessly.

the NOVA Open, as its name implies, is open to all sorts of gaming. There are 40k, Warhammer Fantasy, Bloodbowl, Flames of War, X-Wing, Infinity and Malifaux events going on all weekend as well as workshops and seminars to boot. Justin from Secret Weapon Miniatures has attended multiple years, as has Dan Cotrupe from Tectonic Craft Studios.Justin from Malifaux 2e will be on hand this year as well!

One of the things that makes the NOVA Open unique is the load of what they call Lemonade Raffles – Prizes for loosing games. For every game you loose, you get your name put into the drawing for the Lemonade Raffle, and if your name is picked you get a prize. Sometimes, its a fantastic price worth over a hundred dollars (I think, I seem to remember someone winning a colossal last year). This makes Warmachine, Malifaux and Infinity players extremely happy, as we play, and loose, many games over the course of the day.

Speaking of those games, there will be tons of tournaments to attend in every shape and style you can think of. While the official schedule is here, I’ll break down the Warmachine events.

Thursday:

4:00pm – Midnight : Tierany Tournament
– A 32 slot, 50 point,  Theme list tournament, requiring your army to be qualified for at least Tier 1 of the Warcaster or Warlocks Theme force. One list is required, with a second list optional, using the Top Table variant.This event uses the Deathclock timer, and will qualify the top 2 players for the masters on Sunday.

Friday

8:00am – 3:00pm:  NOVA Team Tournament
– a  35 point, 3 person team tournament. Each team will have designated themselves, however they desire, into Captain, First Lt., and Second Lt.. Each round, each Team will play the other team member of the same rank. Once during the tournament, the Captain can use the team feat and swap two players on his teams rank for the rest of the tournament. This Tournament uses the Top Table and Deathclock variants, and will qualify the entirety of the top 2 teams for Masters.

5:00pm – Midnight: Hardcore Tournament
-a 50 (corrected from the earlier 35) point, out of the book Hardcore tournament. That mweans 1 list, fully painted, Timed turns, Deathmatch Scenario tournament! Bring you’re A game and shoot for the Commendations: Vanquisher – Best Overall Record,  Master Craftsman – Best Painted Army (as judged by the NOVA Open Judges), Executioner – Most Army Points Destroyed, and Mage Hunter – Most Efficient Caster Kill. The top 2 players, determined by record and SOS will Qualify for masters.

Saturday

8:00am – 6:00pm – Steamroller 2014
– a 50 Point Steamroller with just a few variants. Deathclock Timing, Divide and Conquer (1) and Finals Table. The top 3 Players, as determined by record and SOS, will qualify for masters.

10:00am – 8:00pm – NOVA Open METAL FIST

An unofficial Iron Gauntlet event, following all the iron gauntlet rules.

7:00pm-Midnight – Who’s The Boss!
– Everyone favorite broken format! build a 41 point list and spin the wheel every round to see who the leader of your army is! Deathclock and Finals Table Variant! Other special rules are

The caster becomes a Friendly Faction model and gains all the benefits of being a caster of that game system. Focus and Fury manipulation of the caster will change as part of the army’s parent game system.
– Warjack and Warbeast text on the casters card will change as part of the army’s parent game system with the exception of offensive spells or offensive abilities. Offensive spells or abilities wording remains unchanged on the card.

–  Abilities and Spell effects on the caster cards that add Focus will remove Fury in a Hordes army.
–  Abilities and Spell effects on the caster cards that remove Fury will add Focus in a Warmachine army.
– Elite Cadre and similar abilities of the Warcaster/warlock are lost unless the defined models exist in the army they are playing for.
-Abilities/spells that heal/repair will change as part of the army’s parent game system.
– Animosity and Abilities that specify caster battlegroup types are removed from their card.

Sunday
10:00am onwards – Scrambles!
Fast moving 4 or 8 man tournaments, meant to be quick and have players perhaps play people that you’ve not played yet at NOVA. Submit your list and when we get the requisite number of people, we’ll start the tournament! Deathclock will be required to keep the tournaments moving, and we will be giving out prizes for each scrambles event!

10:00am – 6:00pm – Nova Masters
The culmination of the NOVA open, pitting the qualifiying winners from tournaments all weekend long against each other for the title of NOVA Master. Be prepared to play by the Masters Rule set: 3 lists, Divide and Conquer 1 and Deathclock timing.
The Qualifiers are as follows.

  • Tierany: 2
  • SR2014: 3
  • Team Tournament: Top Two Teams (6 players)
  • Hardcore: 2
  • Metal Fist: 3

There will be alternates, as described in the primer, so even if you don’t qualify, make sure to note that you could get in if someone doesn’t show!

We also will have a Kingmaker Tournament on Sunday for the High Command players, and will be having Iron Arena and all sorts of goodies to win via playing open games!

Caveat: We are still hammering out the final details, so there might be some minor changes here and there, once the final Primer comes out, that supersedes anything I’ve written here (which shouldn’t change much, honestly, if at all)

So, if you have the weekend of August 28th-30th free, consider taking a trip down to DC and playing awesome games of whatever system you play. Stop down by the Warmachine area, and we’ll give a demo to you if you’ve never played, or challenge a PG or anyone else. I’ll have my Cephalyx and hope to have them fully painted, looking for games between running events.  It’ll be an amazing time!

Feedback is encouraged, either through Twitter or Comments! Let me know what you think of the schedule!

 

 

During Lock and Load Whitemoon Dreams had a number of computers set up for people to demo up the versus mode of Warmachine: Tactics. The tables were packed until about 8 pm every night, but I was lucky enough to play the game twice, but I also got to spend a ton of time talking to Jay Koottarappallil, the CEO of the Whitemoon Dreams. He was a fantastic guy, taking feedback and suggestions all weekend, jotting them down and paying attention to what people said. It was really and amazing sight to see the top end of the company interacting with the exact target demographic like that. I work for a 20,000 employee global corporation, and I’ve never heard of the CEO talking to the professionals who use our products.

I enjoyed both experiences with the game,, but I know I am a least common denominator type of player. I like things to act reasonably well, I like the game to flow logically, and I don’t ask it to be 100% perfect. Tactics hit all those spots dead on. The effects have some small concerns, but Jay was already aware of them and is working on getting them cleaned up by launch.

Warmachine Tactic

The Demo is Cygnar v. Khador, and its a pretty fair fight. Khador is Lead by Sorcha with a Juggernaut and a Destroyer along with some 6 or so Winter Guard Infantry. Cygnar is lead by Stryker with a Lancer, Charger and Ironclad, along with an amount of Trenchers equal to the Winterguard. Deployment was minimal, but thats slated to be tweaked as well. Each turn starts with a Control Phase, fairly similar to Warmachine. You can allocate up to 3 focus to each ‘Jack, Upkeep Spells, and Shake Effects on Jacks and Casters. Your activation phase is just like you would expect if your familiar with the table top, with each model completing its action before moving onto the next. There is a small difference, though, in definition of a model. Each Winter Guard or Trencher is activated individually, and it not connected to any of the others. More importantly, spells (like Stryker’s Arcane Shield) do not flow over to all the models. I actually really like this. Especially in a video game like Tactics, putting the focus onto Warjacks will be paramount, and this one change will really make a difference. The return on investment that you normally get from unit buffs just won’t exist. Along with the change to solos, your Winter Guard and Trencher Infantry are extremely durable, potentially too much so. If I remember correctly, the Trenchers had 17 HP and the Winter Guard 16. This made the infantry survive attacks I’d not thought possible, including both attacks from assaulting Trencher Infantry, A Destroyer and a Juggernauts axe, and being shot in the face by a hand Cannon. Warjacks, too, are more Durable, with pounds of HP and, listen to this, no systems. I don’t know that I’m a fan of them not having systems, but it works well int he context of the games that I played. Effects like Disruption, Amputation, and the Shock Shield won’t be in the game in the way we remember from the tabletop. Disruption, for instance, simply prevents you from being able to allocate a single focus per instance to an affected Warjack, and can stack! Critical Amputation does a temporary (from what I remember) armor debuff, and the Shock Shield simply has the Disruption effect. I’m slightly concerned about the balance of the Cryx Bonejacks, because their DEF 15 is something that crippling the movement really helps alleviate. reducing a jacks movement to scrap, and therefore making it easier to hit, isn’t possible. This could have dire consequences.

Speaking of Stats: The game has been broken down into a star Rating for each stat, in the range of 1-5 stars. Fpr armor this roughly represents 4 points per star.  Other stats have each star vaguely representing 2 points each. When rolling dice, though,  this is translated directly, using a 2d6 system.  This can be disconcerting at first, like seeing that Sorcha under Wind Rush only has a 12 defense, but it all equals out, with winterguard only have a 2 or 3 for Melee attack.

The Warcaster plays exactly like you’d expect them too, with their entire spell list, weapons and feat available. You have your control area visible at all times on the field, and there is realistically nothing you can’t do that you’d expect to be able to do normally. Its a really interesting that they decided to translate so directly, because Warcasters are so vital to the tabletop experience, you’ve got to make them work. It feels, and I think this is the proper move from Whitemoon Dreams: Don’t fix whats not broke.

When I first sat down to play Tactics, Jay was there to walk me through the interface. I seem to remember him saying that it was a down and dirty, very simplified beta interface, which is fine because there are plenty of refinements to make to it, and I have every confidence that they will, based simply on feedback I gave then and there.

The game plays sleek and swift, and I didn’t notice any slowdown – now, its a dedicated box, so I expect that, but it still needs saying. The models looked great, but I’m not a judge of art, They looked true to their models on the tabletop, and that was fantastic. They even acted like it, with Trenchers having Bayonet Charge, the destroyers gun was horribly inaccurate, and the Charger even had Powerful Attack.

Models have indicators for where they can move, where they can run, and you even get LOS + range indicators from the spot you’d want to stop in.

Example – Your considering moving your Winter Guard, but you don’t know whether he should run or walk and attack, because you don’t know if he’d be in range. You move your mouse to the area indicated at the farthest he can move up, and thin yellow two lines appear – one to the Charger and one to a Trencher Infantry. You know that from that position, you’d be able to make an attack on either target. You move the cursor a single box to the left, and the Charger vanishes from LOS behind a ruin – and your yellow line is gone with it.

There are  differences with boosting that come off wrong at first, especially to one so used to playing the game, that just flow eventually into the game. First off, you choose your boosts before you make your attack – both to hit and to damage. Second, all damage is boosted from an attack, and that is VERY cool on the destroyer.

Each game ended exactly as I’d expect a standard Warmachine game to end, and the stories told about them will sound familiar. Game 1, Sorcha Wind Rushed and froze both Warjacks, but a shake and two lucky 10’s later, the Ironclad had pasted Sorcha. Game 2 I used my Quake Hammer to knock down both jacks shielding Sorcha, moved the now disengaged Lancer over and to her and headbutt her to the ground, and took Shots at her with two Trencher Infantry, Strykers Pistol, and an Arcane Bolt, all of which she survived. She then took a free strike after shaking the headbutt and died to the Lancers spear.

The stories are the same, but the game is different, and in the right ways given the medium that the IP is being expressed in. I don’t expect, and don’t really even want, a tabletop clone. What I want, and what they are giving me, is a new way to explore the same game.

I am not looking forward to this man.

I am not looking forward to this man.

Talking to Jay about the vision of how they want to explore the game was really inspiring as well. They have 3 casters for each of the four factions ready to go, along with a pile of characters and a release schedule that will continually add unit choices to the game. Again, he was super-receptive to feedback, jotting down things I said in passing as good ideas and further tweaks.

Closed beta starts here in just a few weeks, with open beta shortly thereafter and an on-time release of the game in August. I honestly won’t be playing a ton of Multiplayer, as I enjoy the tabletop so much, but I will definitely be playing through the campaign mode, and you can bet you’ll hear about it!

 

When I took off from Baltimore on Wednesday, I was more excited for Lock and Load than I’d been last two years. That doesn’t mean a whole lot because I’m not one to get terribly excited in general. The excitement came from a number of related factors:  I was going to see my friends Sarah and Jonathan who I’d not seen in almost a year, I was going to attend the invitational and then Lock and Load itself,  I was going to hang with John DeMaris, a stellar fellow I met three years ago, I was going to  get games in with Aeryn Rudel, Lyle Lowrey, and Doug Hamilton, and, I discovered at the last minute, meet another set of friends I’d not seen in quite some time. I was also rooming with a bunch of Canadians, only one of which I’d ever met.

Not everything turned out as I expected, both for good and Ill, but it was a splendid time all around. What did I do you say?

Flying in Wednesday, I managed to have dinner with my friends from Maryland, now Seattle, and it was awesome just seeing them again. They gave me a room to crash in – The only bed I’d sleep in all weekend, good food and good company. Sadly, it was cut short by my stupid east coast brain. I took the train in super-early to get over to the Seattle Westin on Thursday to check in before the Invitational, and from there, met John for breakfast with the Canadians. Check in for the Invitational was super swift, and we got Lock and Load dice, too! Well, the ones I got were “miss printed” with a dark purple on black, but I love ’em, with the color scheme of the Ravens and my Cryx being the same. They are Q workshop dice, but I think they are much easier to read than the standard ones. I’m pleased.

Zaal's Immortal Host v. Barnabus

Zaal’s Immortal Host v. Barnabus

My first opponent of the day is Aeryn, who I’d played last year, but he’d been given the wrong warlock by Will Schick, so it wasn’t really a fair game. This year, however, he brought a tier 4 Immortal Host list painted by Charles Foster III, and it was a beautiful army. I was Playing my Exchange Gators, and had finally gotten my Swamptopus from Devilsquid and my Wrong Eye from Endgame. I put down my typical Barnabus list, and we set off on a caster kill. I don’t remember much from this game, other than realizing that the Witch Doc Croc can control the Kovass, and never making the roll. I’m sure the game ended with Zaal in the dirt, and I’m fairly sure it was my Maryland Terrapin that did him in, but hell if I could validate any of that. 1-0 on the weekend so far!

Barnabus V. Kreoss 3

Barnabus V. Kreoss 3

The next game was against Kreoss III, who brought along an Indictor, which I’d not seen proxied before. He used the avatar, and that made me very pleased, because who doesn’t want the Avatar to not be the Avatar! I ended up changing the list up (and for the rest of the con, really) by swapping out the Ironback for the Swamptopus. It was a fantastic move that made for some really cool games later on. This one, specifically, I managed to drag Fires of Salvation from engaging two Gators, allowing them to break out and take down some Exemplar Vengers. The Swamptopus, though, Nearly cleaned out fires all by himself, which was pretty epic, getting a 4 point Critical Catastrophic Damage off, making the total 15 points of damage! in the end, Kreoss took three turns of beatings by a Blackhide Wrastler before being put in the ground, but it was finished! 2-0 baby!

During the invitational, there was a raffle of sorts, and I was lucky enough to win all the Standard Sculpt Juniors and Lessers, which is a pretty big deal to me. I Have Cygnar, Mercs, Skorne and Cryx, which is just shy of half of them. But now I have to find out reasons to make a Trollblood, Ret, Khador, Protectorate and Circle lists that have them in it. Like I needed more factions.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to get in any more games during the invitational, but it was a blast playing Aeryn, which I am going to make a tradition, and my Kreoss Opponent was a great guy. I passed out early, knowing that I had Spelldraft the next day.

Well, I Spelldrafted Friday, Which I’ve already wrote about, so I won’t go over it again, but suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I also got to see the keynote/Staff Panel, which was pretty OK. I like the information on Level 7 and Warmachine: Tactics, and the Monsternomicon stuff was just off the hook, I just couldn’t help but be disappointed in the lack of Warmachine and Tactics stuff. There were four slides:

starting off with a non-character Beserker Chassis Jack called the Mad Dog, ripped straight from High Command:

Khadoran Mad Dog

Then, a picture of some unknown Protectorate jack, with a mace, flamethrower, and what seems to be an arc node.

Protectorate Jack

Next, Concept art for a Ret Character Warjack. They mentioned if you want to see who’s character jack it is, pay attention to the weapons – looks like Garryth to me.

Garreth JackAnd finally, they showed this still, which could be either Pirates or Cryx.

Pirate Unit

While this slide was up, they mentioned that they were doing characters in Reckoning like they had done before in Apotheosis, supposedly to that type of power level. Its only fair, seeing as Imperatus just released, to keep Ret one step behind! They’d also mentioned that we were going to see some character units, if I remember correctly, and that’s something I’d really love to see. While the Withershadow Combine are freaking amazing, I think Cryx needs another bite at the Black 13th apple!

I was exhausted Friday, but I wanted to get my Cephalyx assembled, so I got up fairly early and started on them after a brief breakfast. I took some shots as I was assembling them:

monstrosity bits

monstrosity bits

Pre-Magnetized Monstrosities

Pre-Magnetized Monstrosities

Dominator

Cephalyx Dominator

Cephalyx Agitators

Cephalyx Agitators

Mind bender

Mind Bender and Drudges Unit


Sadly, the only model I didn’t get a picture of as I was doing all this was the enormous Thexus himself.

But lets get to that now!

Thexus v. Borka 2

Thexus v. Borka 2

The first game of the day was against Borka II, who had been assembled at the same table while I was assembling my Cephalyx. He is not a nice man. We were both, however, playing the caster for the first time, and neither of us really knew what to expect. I managed to win on scenario, but mostly because I could spray everything of his off the board. Overlords, Agitators, Mind Benders and Mind Slavers all have spray attacks that are extremely good. What I couldn’t spray, I could TK, and the feat was just Icing on top. I will say, someones going to figure out something insane with Borka II, and I’m just not gonna like it. 8-1 (yes, I am counting Spelldraft games!)

Thexus v. Goreshade III

Thexus v. Goreshade III

The second game was against Goreshade III, playing a massive, very cool, Tier list. He’d also decided to go for Cephalyx, and wanted to see how they play out on the tabletop. He’d played his Goreshade III list some 60+ times, and man, did it show. While I gave him a run for his money, I just didn’t know my list as well as he did his. The Wrecker, though, did his job and walked through 6 or 7 bane riders in a single activation, momentarily swinging the game. He had, however, picked off both my Dominator and my Mind Bender with magic attacks, and Croe’s never rallied. Playing 11 points down just wasn’t going to help my cause. I could have tied up or even killed the arc node had they been around, but it just wasn’t in the cards. It takes a total of two Siphon bolts onto Thexus and the game ends. 8-2

Me and Doug v. Martin and Max

Me and Doug v. Martin and Max

The third game I played was a team game with Doug Hamilton against Team France. They brought Skorne and Cryx, with Doug and I bringing Cephalyx and Convergence. It was a brutal game, and I rolled my fair share of hard 8’s to bring down most of the Satyxis with the Mind benders. The Drudge unit didn’t last long to the reprisal, and the Warden, when given a chance on Skarre failed to complete the job. Thankfully, He did it on a free strike that saved Thexus’ bacon, allowing us to call the game there up one caster to 0. I even got to use Doug’s Hulk Monstrosities because mine were.. well.. criticized for not being recognizable. I will say, though, that using the feat to clump up all the Venetor Slingers into a nice 5″ aoe bubble and then having the stupid Bloat Thrall miss his shot and sail 6″ right was a real bummer. 9-2!

Thexus 4

Cygnar and Cephlyx v. Cryx and Trolls

The last game of the day was again a team game against a couple of friends who were standing behind me in line reporting games. It was starting to get late, and I was getting loopy, and the scenario table didn’t help. We played Hold the Gates, with 25 points each of Thexus  and Cygnar v. 50 points each of Cryx and Trolls. It was BRUTAL. We held the gates, with Stormwall taking down Deathjack, and a million tough rolls on both Boomhowler and the Mind Bender Drudges holding down the fort long enough to eek out a win. 10-2

Barnabus v. Grissel 2

Barnabus v. Grissel 2

Sunday was not so kind to me. I got up early, and grabbed my first opponent about 7am after just about 4 hours of sleep. He slapped down the Mini Meat Mountain – 35 points of Pure Pain. I was playing gators, so I had no idea were this was going. Turns out, It went about as good as it could. Toward the end of the game, the Swamptopus got over to Grissel II and flailed about at her right good, but even with 8 attacks he couldn’t put the finishing touch on her. One of my Gatormen, eager to finish the fight, took a free strike from a warder, survived, and smacked the knocked down Warlock in the face. I needed High rolls, at ARM 19, but dice -3 isn’t terrible. But, as they always do, my dice pulled the law of averages on my face and rolled snake eyes, sealing the game, as Barnabas was beat to a pulp, just barely, by Mulg. 10-3

Barnabus v. Harbinger

Barnabus v. Harbinger

My next game was not something I was thrilled about once I saw what Frka had dropped on the table. Harbinger. I wasn’t sure what I’d do about it, but it wasn’t going to be OK. I lost my feat due to the book, and was really struggling from then on out. I made a decent play for it, with Barnabus forcing Harbinger to Martyr down to 4 hp, but in the end, I couldn’t clear the flag, and ended up loosing on control points. I probably sacrificed my Two big beasts a touch early, but I didn’t think it could be helped. Submerge being purified off is just rotten. 10-4

Sadly, my last game of the day I didn’t get a picture of, though it would have been epic. A friend I’ve known for a while but never got a game in against was also at Lock and Load, so we threw down. In the vein of all my Sunday Matchups, he tosses out a legit caster – Saeryn, with a pretty brutal list including a Scythian and two Angels. Standard fare, I’ve been told. Barnabus is good, But I don’t think he’s good enough to tangle with the big boys. Thankfully, I’m able to weather the storm, and make it through the feat turn by blocking LOS to Barnabus with big models in a swamp pit. I’m finally able to pop my feat, use Croak Hunter thrown spears to trigger Warpath, and get the Swamptopus on Searyn. Turns out, no girl likes being stuffed into the mouth of Pink Octopus. 11-4!

I really enjoyed getting a ton of games in. I couldn’t think of a better way to do it. The food was good, the people were awesome, and the staff was a blast to play against.

But there’s more!

In addition to the games, there was also a Privateer hobby area where the Concept artist, Digital and Traditional Sculptors, Painters and Terrain builders were all hanging out. They had concept art of the Sacral Vault and the actual model for Helga, which I tragically didn’t get pictures for. But they did also have Trollkin bandits

Painting Bandits Trollkin Bandits

and also the model, albeit primed, for Jaga Jaga.

Jaga Jaga

Finally, they also had someone sculpting the Swamp Gobber River pirates, with concept art there as well:

River Pirates

 

I had a blast at Lock and Load, and look forward to making the trip out next year. Maybe this time, I can somehow magic my way into an Iron Gauntlet and get beat by the best int he business!

 

Man, what a format! Spelldraft lived up to my lofty expectations, and I really enjoyed the whole 63 man tournament. I will say that I liked the format better than Who’s the Boss, specifically because I don’t have to be terrified of breaking someone else’s models.

Every opponent I had was a top-notch guy, and I’d play any of them again in a standard tournament, though I’d likely not do as well.

I ended up playing against,  in order:

Rhan with Ashes to ashes
Kromack with Rage, Fury, and Defenders Ward
Epic Skarre with Savagery and Iron Flesh
Epic Haley with Signs and Portents
Epic Morvanna with Arcane Bolt
Epic Skarre with Ashes to Ashes

The format is not balanced against the rest of Warmachine, but it is internally balanced with itself. It has a pre-selected set of 64 cards, organized into  8 pre-sorted card pools that are all crafted to create choice within the packs. In the pack I opened there were both Signs and Portents and Boneshaker. It was a tough choice to make, but I went with Bone Shaker.  I didn’t think that the capacity to remove up to 18 models in a turn was going to come around again, and I could spam it more than Signs and Portents. I also  didn’t know what was in the rest of the packs, and was hoping for another global buff. In the end, I don’t think I did so bad, though I didn’t end up with a single CTRL buff.

Spell draft Cards

I had focused on making the most out of the random spells, but some players went with straight up high focus casters, some had no-frills casters who worked without spells, and other still focused on the feat with spells to enable it. While there was a huge variety, I was legitimately surprised at the lack of Harbingers and Kreoss 3’s, maybe that is just me. My biggest fear, though, was assuaged when they defaulted to Deathclock. I was a very happy camper seeing the chess clocks on the tables instead of timers. I was convinced that if we used timed turns, they would be the death of me.

Every games, as I mentioned, was a blast, so let me run down the highlights, for those of you who weren’t on my twitter.

Game 1: Austin brings a fairly standard Rhan list, with two units of Battle Mages, Sentinels, and a Phoenix. Thankfully, I got lucky Chain lighting rolls and erased his Battle Mages on the top of turn 2 before I could get engaged. Rhan ends up Spirit Fanged to death Turn 3.

Game 2: James Brings a brutal list of Kromack, twin stalkers, Ghetorix, and double shifting stones. Thankfully, last Masters I saw this terrible thing, and ended up nullifying one set of stones early on. I’d also dropped a ton of damage, but not enough to kill, into Kromack on turn 2, forcing him to play cautious. Though I hate to win this way, he ran out of time while making attacks on the Egregore with Ghetorix. He’d have won, no doubt, given infinite time.

Game 3: A very exuberant cryx player, who I forget the poor dudes name, brings an Epic Skarre list, with Satyxis, Bane Knights, Deathjack and Tartarus. He starts out debasing himself and how terrible he is, but I jovially call him out on his tactic, and we get along for the rest of the game. He forgets to feat at the only time he needed it, and I Spirit Fang Skarre off the board, again getting me out of the game on luck.

Not all those Banes make it.

Not all those Banes make it.

Game 4 was against a terrifying Epic Haley list run by Adam with a Stormwall and Blazers. Thanks to Quagmire, the Satyxis were able to tie up the Blazers for the majority of the game, making them less relevant, but still potent. What really swung the game, though, was my 5 Primed Bane Thralls miraculously dropping the Stormwall, freeing me to go for scenario.

Game 5 was an epic debacle against Colin Hill, and his Epic Morvanna list. He ended up killing his own Gallows Grove, Feating for it, and dropping it next to the Coven. Two shots and a re-roll later, he’s killed two of the coven and a focus 3 caster just can’t get it done.If I’d have been better prepared for it, I had crevasse, and could have forced a longer game, though I did get to see the Staff Panel, so it wasn’t all bad.

Game 6 was against Craig, another Epic Skarre player who had full units of Thralls and Knights, along with Tartarus and Deathjack. I took Tartarus off the board with Bone Shakered Bane Knights, and then I was able to get the terrible Bone Shaker train to go off. I took almost the entire Bane Knight unit off at once. . At the end of the day, Spirit Fang shots into Skarre ended the match, after I survived her feat.

Ultimately, I think it was both spell selection and the list that made the Army hum. I was familiar with the Scenario, I had practiced using the caster, and though I had fiddled with the list a bit, I kept the basic parts strong and enabled my arcnodes to get into place to deliver the tons of POW 12’s to the casters face.

Arm 14 – 45 damage.
Arm 15 – 36 damage
Arm 16 – 27 damage
Arm 17 – 18 damage
Arm 18 – 9 Damage ( 17  if boosting damage)

The three arc nodes, though I’d been cautioned against it,  meant I could easily sacrifice one to take out all his troops, one to drop damage into the caster, and have a third ready to finish the game.  Biles kept troops and casters out of zones, with MAT 8/pow 13 Bane Thralls keeping heavies in check.

It was an amazing, insane tournament that lasted for almost 12 hours, and I look forward to the PDF and rules coming out post-gencon. While the Static set of 64 spells could possibly get old, I spoke with both D.C. and Hungerford, who both mentioned that there are plans to change up the lists every year. I think that’ll do wonders to keeping the format fresh, though I can’t see the staples being replaced anytime soon, but thats the same with every format, Masters and Iron Gauntlet Included. There has also been talk of limiting or banning casters, and I can see why. The top four were: Witch Coven, Witch Coven, Epic Skarre, and Morvanna 2. Seems like there might be a bit of an unbalance there, With the Witch Coven represented well, Cryx represented well, and only the eventual winner with Epic Morvanna to break up the monotony. I look forward to it next year!

I’m writing this before even heading out to lock and load, but I am scheduling this to show up on Thursday, at noon, right about the time I’ll be getting breakfast with a friend from Muse on Minis on the other coast, gearing up for a day of PG gaming. I’ll also be looking to get a first bite at a Cephalyx army. I’ve been chomping at the bit to get these guys and put them on the table as often as possible between then and August as I can. I’ll probably even be playing them at NOVA, so if your coming down, find me and see if we can get a game in!

The list I’ve put together to put together is a simple tasters choice affair, in order to let me get a feel for all the models in the range

Exulon Thexus+5
-Subduer7
-Warden6
-Wrecker7
Mind Slaver and Drudges (10)6
Mind Bender and Drudges (10)6
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Cephalyx Agitator2
Croes Cutthroats (10)10
-Cephalyx Dominator1
Bloat Thrall2
Cephalyx Overlords4
55

mind bender

I’m considering cutting the Croes down to 7 and adding a Pistol Wraith, or even cutting them down to the Tactical Arcansit Corps, and adding two of em. Either way, I feel I’ve done right by the army.

I’m worried that the amount of Officers, the vulnerability of them, and the reliance the army has on them will end up making it completely worthless, but Deceleration makes them just hardy enough I’m not clenching my buttcheeks in terror, just worry. I really wish I had more to go off of, though, but having no play time fills me with trepidation about making any sort of predictions.

I’m also negotiating a trade with a friend of mine, so I’ll be able to repaint my Cephalyx models in a deep red color, one I think goes with my Cryx army, but apart from it.

I know its short as hell, but its a Convention update, and I expect to be tweeting and facebooking updates starting at 11:00 PST, so stay tuned anyway!! I’ll also be doing a wrap up on Tuesday, writing it on my flight on my tablet, so we will see how that goes!

 

Recently, if it has not been clear, I’ve been playing the Witch Coven, trying to get a handle on them as I intend to play them at the Spell Draft event at lock and load. There isn’t much practice on can really do to prepare, other than make sure that you know the caster inside and out, allowing you to make do with a new spell list.

I managed to get 8 games in before the trip out to Seattle, Going 6-2 in that time. Granted, its 50 point games instead of 35, but the core of the list is staying very much the same.

Coven v. Kaelyssa – Loss: Assassination – List v. 1
Coven v. Butcher – Loss: Assassination  – List v. 2
Coven v. Iron Mother – Win: Scenario – List v. 3
Coven v. Reznik 2 – Win: Assassination – List v. 4
Coven v. Sturgis – Win: Scenario – List v. 3.1
Coven v. Morvanna 2 – Win: Scenario – List v. 3.2
Coven v. Kreoss 3 – Win: Scenario – List v. 3.3
Coven v. Rhan – Win: Assassination – List v. 3.3

The list that I’ve settled on looks like this:

The Witch Coven of Gharlghast+5
-Egregore-
-Deathripper4
-Nightwretch4
-Nightwretch4
Bane Thralls (10)8
-Bane Thrall Officer3
Satyxis Raiders (10)8
-Satyxis Sea Witch2
Bile Thralls (6)5
Warwitch Siren2
35

That is the core of list 3. I’ve messed around with some of the support staff, and at 50 I add a second Warwitch Siren, A Scarlock, and a full unit of Bane Riders. I really like this list. It can handle massed infantry, heavy armor and High Defense. Its durable against shooting and has some peculiar scalpel elements. I think its as close to a take on all comers list that I can write.

Now, with my list down, I’ve started to look at all the casters and see what spells they have and what would be nice to see get passed to me. There are some very nice ones out there, and while I still have some questions as to what spells are in the packs, I have some really cool plans. They did, however, say that they’ve removes spells that would “break the game. ” That is a bit of an opinion statement though, as I know plenty of people that feel that Purification breaks the game even now. That said there are some particular spell categories that I will be looking to grab:
Army Support – ex: Carnage,Signs and Portents,Transference, Mockery of Life. Arcane Shield
These are spells that will allow my normally average stat troopers to step up a notch. An 18″ control area really pushes spells like Signs and Portents and Carnage through the roof, while the Focus 9 will really give transference a boost.

Speed Buff – ex: Road to War,Dash,Superiority,Killing Ground, Crusaders Call, Coup de Main, True Path, Tactical Supremacy, Unstoppable Force, Quickening
These spells either give a single unit or my whole army a speed boost. Superiority is a specifically desired spell, as having a def 17, speed 9 Arc node would be magnificent. I really think that the scenario is ripe for Jamming, and I want to exploit that if at all possible. Besides, Satyxis with a +4 movement would be glorious, right?

Defense- ex:Fog of War, Temporal Barrier, Storm Wall, Star Crossed, Solid Ground, Caustic Mist, Rapid Growth, Pillars of Salt, Ashen Cloud, Deflection, Deceleration, Castigate, Lamentation, Bestial
These allow the Coven to capitalize on their main game: Army delivery. I’m fairly sure that this is going to be critical to getting a good Spell list. Fortunately, there are a ton to choose from. My personal favorite would be the 9 1cost Caustic Mists, but I’ll take pretty much everything on this list, and I could even double up. Star crossed + Ashen Cloud? Fog of War + Pillars of Salt?

Chain Lighting

Nuke- ex: Soulfire, Siphon Bolt, Razor Wind, Bone Shaker (probably the best 2 cost Nuke I could grab, netting me up to 18 dead models a turn), Chain Lighting, Sunder Spirit, Convection, Excarnate
This is the bread and butter of my concept. If I can grab just one 2 point nuke, I can eliminate units a a time. I’d need only 8’s to hit DEF 17, and at cost 1, boosting is easy. Most of them are POW 12 allowing great flexibility in the targets that it can kill.

Defense or Speed Debuffs – ex: Crippling Grasp, Quagmire (Imagine, if you will, Satyxis), Inhospitable Ground, Freezing Grasp, Black Spot.
With a pile of Banes and Satyxis, I could use a bit of help against some of the higher defense models. Yes, I have Biles, but I landing an extra shot or two on some of the Iron Fleshed Gunmages, Daughters of the Flame or other problematic models would be pretty useful.

Other- ex: Telekinesis, Ritual Sacrifice
There isn’t a ton to say here, really. I want both of these spells.

While looking through the spells, there were many that I really wouldn’t want, and while that will make the first few picks a lot of fun, it can make some of the later spells that no one else wants very damning. I’ve drafted a lot of M:TG, and the last few picks are whatever everyone rejected from the pool. I know I can end up with a pretty dead slot of I have Unearthly Rage or Positive Charge, but I can make do. There are very few spells I don’t want at all, or couldn’t use, especially at -1 cost. I’d really like to get as close as I can to keeping the Delivery Caster mentality, with some extra “pop” that would make the Coven really hum.

What I am really excited about is that I can use multiple Self-Upkeep spells in a round, due to the multiple activations that the coven has. The thought of starting the turn off with Signs and Portents, pushing the middle of the pack up with Road to War and then ending with Both Deflection and Fog of War really makes me giddy.

evayl

While I have all these grand plans, I expect there to be a ton of Vayle 2, Kreoss 3, Harbinger, Haley 2 and Coven. Each of them has a ton of focus and a back breaking feat. I even expect there to be a few Rogue casters looking to get one in – Casters that run Jacks well and will pick all the jack spells to make themselves super-powered: Absylonia, Darius and Magnus come to mind right away. While each of these casters can cause a massive amount of damage on their own, what I am really worries about is Timed Turns. I’m not particularly good at them, and prefer the deathclock variant overall, so I am worries that I’ll end up busting my turns by waiting to get that last move in.

No matter what happens, I expect Friday to be a ton of fun. Its an exceptionally long tournament with 6 rounds and the draft itself taking us all the way to the Staff Panel. I will have almost no time to play Iron Arena games that day, but I’m OK giving that up to play in the first Sanctioned Spell Draft Event.

I’ll be trying to update via facebook and twitter the coolest things I see at Lock and Load, so find me and follow!

Coven Art By Dan Roman