When it comes to the judgement we make about our little toy soldiers, Miniatures gamers sometimes can get a little bit feisty. Every stat, every ability, every rule is scrutinized to try and glean the greatest advantages, the sickest combos and the most powerful synergies. This desire to rank, categorize and break down the game into its very base parts extends even beyond the miniatures themselves and into the game as a whole, trying to quantify the conceptual amalgamations of the factions into a quantifiable rank.
Miniatures game by Privateer Press
This one is gonna be short. I’ve got fallout on the brain, but I still want to keep putting posts out there, keeping up with Warmachine, D&D and whatever else I’ve been up to. Recently, its just been the two and a little bit of painting, but Fallout has co-opted that, ruining my Iron Man streak of painting a Warcaster every month for the whole year. Sacrifices were made!
In Warmachine I’ve been examining my Skorne lists, pulling up Hexy 2 and In D&D I’ve been working on killing my players. Well, not actively killing, but making sure they know who’s boss.
Last time, I talked about the Long Grind that I feel i have put myself through the last few months. While I enjoyed the games, I rarely felt like I was really playing Skorne. With Zaal 1 and Zaal 2 I felt very close to Cryx, and with Morghoul 2 I felt like I was playing Minions. Both of those lists really don’t have the same type of power that Skorne emanates. I needed something bolder, something that hits hard and lays its targets low.
As I left the tournament Saturday, I was a little agitated. My last game has not gone well, though I’d won, and the entire day was spent tirelessly working towards what I felt was a pedestrian 2-2 showing. Both victories seemed hollow, and both defeats seemed felt self-inflicted. This isn’t to say that the person who won shouldn’t have – they did, but I could defenitly see where I made it much harder on myself than I should have. Above all I felt my main caster throughout the tournament, Zaal 2, was working uphill. I’d spent the last two months playing him, and though it was fun, I’m tired of using a caster that feels like he has one hand tied behind his back.
The Final Preparations
In just a few days, I’ll be going to only the third tournament I have made it to all year. I had much higher aspirations (6) at the start of the year, but life throws its vagaries at us as it chooses, not as we determine. neither tournament was a rousing success, though I managed to peel away with 2 wins in each outing. This weekend looks to be a big one as well, with 16 players signed up currently. We may once again hit the fabled 5th round! What am I taking this weekend? Well, lets take a look!
Three and Out
Since moving on from Zaal 2 a few weeks ago, I’ve picked up our second-newest caster and started messing with lists for him, and even getting a few games in. Thats right, I’m playing Hit Squad. I’ve talked a little bit about what I envisioned and how I was going to play him, as well as the first battle report. I’ve gotten two more games in with him now, and even though I’ve won all of them, I don’t think I’m actually going to play him much longer.
Spoilers, book releases and No Quarter previews, for years, have been part of what the forums like to call the “Doom Cycle.” There is a picture, but I won’t bore you with it. Google it yourself. Suffice it to say their are four steps:
- Pronouncements of Doom.
- Pronouncements of Glee. at which time we go back to step 1.
The time we dwell in each portion of the cycle depends on a number of factors, none of which seem either controllable or predictable. Today is the start of the Release portion of the cycle, which is blending, as it does every time, the Doom and Glee. I’m going to go over each release, fairly quickly, and give it a once over.
After 7 games with Zaal 2, I had settled on a list that was flexible, resourceful, and applied pressure to the opponents army with a method that I could employ. Once I get to that point with a caster or list, I like to set it aside, especially with a limited time frame left for the faction (come on Denny 3!), and pick up another caster or list and try to get a grip on what their approach to the game is. This time around, I reached for Hit Squad Morghoul 2’s new theme force, released in Forces of Distinction and available in Warroom.
Zaal 2, Ancestral Advocate
Since a friend picked me up Zaal 2 at Gencon, I’ve been playing him exclusively, with strong results. Part of that is the inevitable surprise that new casters bring to the table, but a substantial portion of his success is due to the fact that he’s a solid ‘Caster. I know better than to believe that he will become one of the staple top 3 caster in the faction, but I do think he will get some solid play. His army list is constructed differently enough to engender a different play experience, but it is still the experience that is to be expected from the Skorne Faction. Skorne players have the same issue that Khadoran players have with their Warcasters, and I really don’t think that the issue is ever going to vanish. Both factions, at their core, leverage the melee potential in their army to finish the game. Zaal 2 does this with troopers, using the inevitable losses that an army sustains to guide and enable that which remainse remaining models to be more effective individually. Most Skorne casters rely heavily on their beasts. Zaal, in both incarnations, does not.
No Bar to my Call
Whenever I see a new caster come out for my faction, I start poking and stabbing at them to see what makes them tick. Each new caster brings their own method of playing the game, and though each my not be terribly different from the others, almost every one of them requires you to think differently in order to bring the best models to bear with them. In some factions, like Skorne, there main difference is not what each caster brings, but how you apply what the faction does. Skorne beats face with almost every single caster, and each of them does it a bit differently. Zaal 2 brings a completely different tack than I am used to with Skorne – he feels like he was ripped out of the Cryx section.