Like the last two years before it, NOVA comes to my neck of the woods with great fanfare. The largest convention I am part of running, the Press Gang has put a swath of events that I am excited to run. With players from all over the world coming in to play at their massive GT, it is great to have players from all over the US come and play in the WM and Hordes events that are put on.
This is gonna sound dumb, but there isn’t gonna be a post here today, because I harvested peaches from my peach tree and made a cobbler out of them. My own peaches, and my own peach tree. Yes!
I’m also up to my neck in NOVA open awesomeness, getting ready for my biggest judging and coordinating effort of the year, and stuck doing a ton of other things. I’ll likely get one out on friday, which I guess is better late than never?
As some of you may have noticed, I’ve not posted here this last week. Life, of the most unfortunate type, sometimes happens, and I am glad to be writing again.
Not this Saturday, but the one previous, I went to a tournament, one of the Store Wars series that I’ve been participating in for some 5 months. Our Team, the Titanic Bastards, has been doing Ok, winning the first tournament and nipping at the heals of the winners ever since. I Captained the first event, and then was out for the next three. This month, though, the first real tournament of 3rd edition, I was looking forward to some solid, competitive games.
Before that, though! Lets take a look at some errata!
moving has been much more tedious than I expected. Many complications have prevented me from writing, notably loosing the power cord for my monitor and the entirety of my mouse. I’ll be writing again as soon as I can, hopefully for Thursday!
Every year, I head out to lock and load, and this year is no different. I’ll be playing in the final games of MKII masters, the last MKII spelldraft, and a late night Team Tournament as well. I look forward to playing a whole pile of games to round out the end of one edition and the start of another.
I’ll be posting to Instagram and Twitter as I get the chance! I’ll have an article on my experience and first thoughts of MK II on the 16th!
One of the most enjoyable aspects of playing XCOM, at least for me, is the punishing difficulty levels. Unlike my initial fears, this game is turning out to be at least as challenging as its predecessor, and will quite likely outstrip it as either Retaliation/Second Wave or Expansion packs come out for it. What I initially took for soft is, instead the plush outer coating of a grenade wrapped in velvet, and once you’ve cut off the skin, there is no going back.
What happened to my second game is testament to this concept, and one of the key reasons I keep coming back to this and Enemy within. Amusingly enough I keep having the voice of Illidan run through my head.
You are not prepared.
Be forewarned. There may be light spoilers ahead, but mostly about gameplay, less about story.
Four years ago I joined the Privateer Press Gang, and the first day of work as a PG was at the NOVA open. Each year it marks both the end of my convention season and my anniversary as a PG. This year, and many others, will also mark the anniversary of my first Convention as an official PP Judge. As you can see, NOVA means a lot to me, and I love watching the Warmachine and Hordes population there explode, as well as the population of the convention as a whole.
This year, for the first time, the Convention is set to sell over 1000 tickets, and Warmachine and Hordes are extremely likely to sell over 100 individual tickets. While some places see this as a slow year, I’m extremely excited. each year has nearly doubled its attendance, and this year, while a stretch, could do the same. It blows my mind to see the players from the Norther Virginia, Baltimore, Philly, NYC, New Jersey metas and even beyond make the trip to DC to throw down.
The Brawltimore Tournament Circuit has been going for about 6th months now, and I could not be happier with the results. We’ve had over a hundred people attend more than a score of events run by nearly a dozen different pressgangers. Attendance at tournaments has increased, and most stores are seeing a sizable increase in the warmachine playing community on a weekly basis.
And, because I’m a great big nerd, I’ve been grabbing and analyzing the data from the events all along.
So, without further ado, I present an analysis of the Brawltimore Meta.
Well. Thats a big chart.
That is ever caster, in every list, from every Podium Tournament (ie one that grants bigger points for 1st -3rd), broken down by how many lists were written. Now, I know its not a graphical representation of how many times each list was used, but I do think that its a good way to see what is big, by Faction.
Things of note here, that I find interesting.
Each faction has around 13 casters, now. of those nearly half a represented for every faction.
Special Consideration to Trollbloods, Skorne Convergeance and Retribution, who each have only one caster left off the list (Borka 1, Makeda 3, Aurora and Vyros 1)
Skorne seems to have the flattest curve, bolstered by the greatest number (56) of lists being represented
Butcher 3 represents nearly 40% of all written Khador Lists
There are more Pig Casters Used (4) than Gator (3)
Cygnar is the least diverse faction.
Really, I see that pretty much every faction comse at this with a greater than 50% stable, so I have to be prepared for pretty much anything, from Butcher 3 all the way down the line to Morghoul 2
But lets take that a little bit further. Lets see what I am most likely to face, overall.
well, if I am looking to prepare lists, I really, really want to make sure I have an answer for Butcher 3. He’s a menace to society, and also to the Baltimore Region. I’ve also got to prepare for Kreuger2, Bradigus, Asphyxious 2, Skarre 1, Damiano and Harbinger. I have to prepare for tons upon tons of troopers. I don’t think the top contenders here are really a surprise to anyone, except that maybe Deneghra 2 (6 instances) and Calandra ( 4 instances) are not as popular.
Its an interesting digest of who is being played, and how often, at the tournaments in the area. 438 lists in 6 months.
But, beyond that, though, there are two interlinked graphs:
This is how many players, and how many times those players have shown up to a tournament. There have been 15 tournaments, so its telling me that I have a fair shot of seeing 2 or more of Circle, Khador, Skorne and Cryx, and a decent chance of one of each of the rest. However, It could be any of a multitude of players for the top factions. Minions, however, are almost always represented, and will only be one of two players. Knowing who you’re gonna play against can be an edge!
This next one intruges me, because it shows me the popularity of the above factions over time.
There has been a recent surge in Trollbloods, after a pretty anemic start, and a winding down of Circle after a pretty strong showing throughout. Khador, while remaining strong, has started to wane a bit, though I’d expect that that’ll tick up as soon as Zerkova and Ruin are released. Ret, though, you almost never see, and Convergence is very hit or miss.
Finally, I have the per-tournament attendance, by faction. While its interesting data, I’m not sure its very useful. people availability really can cramp a single tournaments attendance. But there are solid masses of Red (Khador and Skorne) and Green (Cryx and Circle) in ever pole. It simply reenforces what I’ve learned prior: Plan for Butcher 3, Asphyxious 2, Kreuger 2, and Bradigus,
What other type of data would you like to see on our meta? What do you think of what’s up here?
While I was out at Lock and Load, I was able to pick up a box of Croak Raiders to bolster both my Minions force, and to potentially play with a Skorne caster or two.
These Bad Boys
Acquiring these became even more beneficial when I left the whole of my Skorne army in Seattle, and needed to have it shipped home, something its in the process of as I write this. Without Skorne, which I have been focusing on this year, to purloin my time, I needed something else to play for last weeks game night. With the Croak Raiders in my bag, I pulled them out and hastily assembled them, dojoing lists for them in my head over and over.
They all kept coming back to the same place: Barnabus. He’s got a knockdown feat, and there isn’t anything a ranged unit cavorts gleefully at than a caster who’s got knockdown on tap. Here, though, I run into trouble. The list I built was something like this:
Bog Trog Ambushers (min)
Bog Trog Ambushers (min)
Gatorman Posse (max)
Gatorman Posse (max)
Croak Raiders (max)
Croak Hunters (3)
Gatorman Witch Doctor
The Concept here was to have the Gatorman Posse take the brunt of the action until the Trogs come in, have the Trogs overwhelm the edges, and get an assassination via knockdown with the Croak Hunters, and the Raiders. Lurking in the back would be Barnabus and the Spitter, looking to finish out anything causing problems.
I was really confident of the concept when I built the list, and though I thought it has some weaknesses, I was willing to move forward into the testing phase of list design. My first opponent was scheduled to be Cryx, which is fine, as I’ve played them myself for an extremely long period of time. There was a predicament, though, in that I know the guy likes to run Incorporeal models, and the list above has no solution ready for them.
I pondered the issue for a bit before realizing that I might want to try a bit stronger list against Incorp against Cryx, and that list would be steered by none other than our Gator Queen, Jaga-Jaga. I felt like I was teching, though, and that made me sad. In the end, he and I decided that we were going to bring 2 lists from now on, get better at list-selection.
Unfortunately that game was cancelled: I was violently ill and couldn’t make it out to the game store until Thursday, when I met up with some friends of mine at the shop in Bel Air. I was trying very hard to get two games in that day, and I may have pushed my luck a little far, as the first game intruded on the start time of the second much deeper than I would have liked, which made the end of the second game hurry-hurry itself. Next time, I do only one game.
First game of the night was against a the newly minted Cephalyx ‘Caster, Cyphon. I lent him both the models and the list, so it was based on the Cephalyx Army i built over the course of months of testing, just swapping out the caster and adding a Machine Wraith to cover the extra point.
The list was:
Machine Wraith x3
Pistol Wraith x2
Mind Benders (max)
Mind Slaver (max)
Tactical Arcanist Corps
I knew my second game was going to be against a friend of mine who plays the Protectorate, and has a huge love of both colossals and Feora 2. I knew, almost exactly, what was coming, due to the battle report against him last week.
Feora, Protector of the Flame
– Revelator [Bonded]
– Hand of Judgment
Choir of Menoth
– Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer
Vassal of Menoth
If you’re astute, you’ll have noticed what I noticed when I was thinking about the list I had conceived and how it was going to play out. All week, there was this sense of terror and foreboding as to how I was going to actually win these games using Barnabus:
Skarre + Incorp or Denny + Incorp will wreck everything I have, as the only Magical Weapons carried by the army are Barnabus’ Axe, Flesh Eater the spell, and the Gatorman Witch Doctors sacrificial Strike.
Cyphon Cannot be knocked down, and has both shield guard and sacrificial pawn to help him live through a withering barrage of Flaming Darts, bu I’ll have to be hitting him at his full def. 13 because he cannot be knocked down. Now, its not a stellar defense, but it is enough to make about 45% of the attacks miss, which’ll keep him alive.
Epic Feora is immune to fire, which is extremely good for making sure she survives against the ‘Raiders. Compound that with the Choirs Warding and the Hand of Judgments Immunity to Fire, and I have a caster that I’m not sure I can assassinate. Mostly, though, It was the Revelator, who I was unable to take off the the board without committing Barnabus, I wasn’t really looking forward to eating that one to the face.
though each game ended almost how I would have predicted it, the whole experience gave me a chance to sit down and dissect the army and how it works. Sadly, I don’t really know what that gained me in the end, as I feel that the inability of Barnabus to mitigate armor or wounds really created a situation where I was desperate from start to finish of both games.
There is a lot yet to figure out with the raiders, and I am pretty sure I am going to be taking them for another spin around the block tomorrow. We will see how that all pans out and whether or not Barnabus can fair any better.
The time is here! Wednesday I will be leaving to head out to Lock and Load, enjoying my one convention I get to go to and play each year.
I’ve not packed, as of yet, so once I’m done writing this, that’s exactly what I am going to do. I am extremely excited to go out there, see old friends and make new ones.
Well, maybe not make any. I’m not sure the Titan Train makes friends.
This does mean, however, that this post isn’t going to be a proper one, and I’m definitively not writing one for Thursday. I’ll Still be in Seattle on Sunday and flying back Monday, so the first real post I’m going to have is next Thursday. While there is a strong likelihood I’ll be gushing about LnL, there is also a significant chance I’ll have done all that I can for a number of days, and I’ll talk about something cool.
Like the Announcement of XCOM2, which has me frothing at the mouth. There may be other announcements and such, but we will see how well I keep up with them.
In addition to a wrap up post, I’ll be Tweeting all weekend about my wins, losses and the players I meet and hang out with, as well as any spoilers I come across.I’ll be trying to snatch up a book as soon as possible, and posting contents, spoilers and other awesomeness. Last year was a little lite, I am going to try and get a few more this time around.
Additionally, Some may have noticed that I am short a Mythology Monday post for the final God, Drakken. Getting players input on their character-turned god is something I want to get right, so we’ll see about that once I get back.
Alright, so, its short and sweet, but I’m excited to get out there, and in order to leave, I’ve got to pack, so I’m out!