It Looms!

Tuesday, I sat with a friend over lunch, and we chatted about Skorne, Warmachine, and the state of affairs of the edition. I would be lying if I said the topic was all sunshine and rainbows. There were a few salient points in the discussion, and it was not simply unworthy bitching. However, I mentioned that, and I believe this is verbatim, “every day that [PP] is silent, they loose the goodwill they built up,” and I don’t think that it was an unfounded sentiment. They needed to do something to stem the tide of anger and resentment, especially with Skorne, and partly with Cryx.

Well, they went and did it, and in such a way that they garnered back a lot of the good will they were loosing. Come, lets chat a little bit about it!

Prelude

Lets break this down a little bit. I know its been talked about on the forums and Facebook groups to death, but there is still plenty to dissect here.

First off, the post is by Will Shick. Initially it did not give me warm and fuzzies. Will has become the whipping boy of PP’s 3rd edition, and had a pretty bad track record towards the end of 2nd. He gave us the opinion that the Rhinodon was solid, that Xerxis 2 had Escort, that the Mountain King was the only gargantuan with MAT 5, and that Thyron had Tactician. I’m sure that there are gaffs like this among staffers all around, but his gets brought up the most often as the most consistent. It cannot be easy to have multiple versions of a unit in your head. That said, his Insiders back when MK 3 Started read more like Hype-machine posts than the Inside the Developers Head peek that we all wanted, and that were hinted at with Jason’s Cryx Insider. Seeing him writing the prelude update was a bit of an instant downer.

However, pulling it all back from the brink, the insider was excellent! The wording was straight forward and didn’t have many hype words or eyeroll marketing moments. Instead, it was down to earth, with facts, numbers and core concepts. Warmachine players are a special breed of straight shooting gamer, and we really, really appreciate it when we are given hard nuggets like this.

He does still use way to many over the top or amazingly incorrect adverbs and adjectives, but its hard to convey the level of excitement I am sure he feels with finally revealing the news.

What really makes the post shine, though, a few lines.

” … information is useless if we don’t analyze it and put it into practice”

” … it has stung as we’ve learned where we missed the mark.”

“… an equal amount of trepidation about the next errata document”

” … we will be working to maintain the twice-yearly errata cycle that players of Mk II are familiar with”

each of these is specific, direct and great to hear from the company. I am extremely grateful to look into the developers eyes and see the same disappointment, resolve, and hunger for a balanced game that we, the players have mirrored back. While I think it has always been there, I think the release of this edition had, for a while, left to much to the players imagination for too long.

Twice a year, though. 

Lets talk about that for a minute. This is one thought I think they still missed the boat with.

Dynamic, as they are using it, seems to be all wrong. Maybe I’m pedantic, but I think that means what they think it means. In a number of discussions, the concept that Dynamic has given off is that the errata will be more often, and more in tune with the tournament play. Dynamic, specifically, has given the impetus behind much of the complaining, and served to fuel the debate about what and how models and rules are being looked at.

Honestly, I think they should have used Comprehensive.  Where in the past, the errata was a small scale, restrained and extremely calculated affair, I believe that what we will have now is something larger scale, affecting more models and creating a better play environment. I think the last part is important because prior to 3rd I’m not convinced that creating a better environment was extremely high on their list.

Briefcase full of Guts

Ok. Lets unpack this.

There are four main topics of the forthcoming errata. Remember, though, that each of these is still in flux, and can change in both application and execution. We, as we have asked, simply know what PP will be addressing.

1 – Exploitation of Throws.

  • This is a big one to me. This type of dumb shenanigan was one of the reasons I was not disappointed to see MKI dead and gone. Having this specific tactic left alone and unaddressed for so long lead me to believe, rightfully or not, that this is the type of play that they wanted to see in the game, and that we were back to the bad old days of MKI. I’m thrilled to see that they are looking at this.

2 – Cryx and its ability to handle Gunlines

  • This, if anyone has been paying attention, has been a huge grievance of mine. I completely understand that the Stayxis Riaders from MKII were so terrifying to guns that they effectively removed them from the game altogether, but I also understand that they were, in effect, needed by Cryx to prevent their army from getting removed from the board. I think this also points to a lack of prediction that Gunlines were going to take over as the main boogeyman. I do think that guns, being a large part of the Iron Kingdoms, needed something to put them on track and make them viable, but Cryx needs something so that its generally slow, victim stat infantry can get across the board.
  • I don’t know what can be done here, really. Removing true sight from Kara Sloan (Including Field Marshal) and Caine 2 would help, but I don’t know that it wouldn’t just completely infuriate all the Cygnar players. It seems to be working well against everyone else, it just blows through all of Cryx’s good caster defenses (Stealth, Clouds)I think I could deal with Truesight ignoring Clouds and Concealment, but still falling victim to stealth, but that might be still too much. That concentration of fire, man. Its soooo good!

3 – Close examination of the top and bottom 5%.

  • Gonna come back to this at the next header. Stay tuned.

4. Skorne.

  • They have a long paragraph here, but I’ll just spell out the best few lines.
    • Critical Fixes
    • Back in line with Power Level and Fun
    • Small
    • Measured
    • First Step
    • Foundation
  • What can they do here? This is, certainly, near and dear to my heart as both a Skorne player and a fan of hordes in general. I have never seen such a dearth of faction players of any kind across every single gaming event or function. Everything in the faction seems to be a half step below average, and that is extremely frustrating. Like many other things in 3rd, and even a bunch in MKII, it feels they overbalanced, and that they had abilities and rules moving at the same time, in different places. Often, it comes across as cutting 1″ off of both ends of a log to make it 1″ shorter, where simply the one cut would have been more effective.

So, lets go back to that 3rd point.

Five Percent

This 5% evaluation is really interesting. This seems like only a sliver of change, but in order to make Warmachine what it once was, to make it great, to make it the fair and balanced edition we need it to be, 5% seems right.

there are 73 circle entries. Lets up that to 75 entries per faction, just in case. Except Convergence, lets do about half that, 35. 860 model entries, give or take. 5% of that is 43. Divided among Solos/Attachments, Units, Warjacks/Warbeasts/Battle Engines and Warlocks/Warcasters, that is 10 entries (ish) per category. about one per faction.

 

So! with that said, lets see how accurate I can be with my assessment of what each faction may or may not get nuked. I might get to what gets buffed, but I think taking a look at what might be toned down in each faction might be more healthy.

Cygnar

Caine 2 – Beating out Kara Sloan, his ability to do anything makes him extremely irritating. Thorn – I don’t see a reason to take a lancer, ever, with the points disparity
GMCA – Shadowfire. Goddamn.
Storm Lances – In ever list, with every caster, all the time. Seems a good thing to fix.

 Khador

Karchev – Beats out Irusk 2 simply on the hideousness of spamming Mad Dogs, something I said wasn’t going to happen. Oh, how wrong I am.
Behemoth – Running 4 points down with this as your only jack is telling. Maybe he needs something to make him less appealing. I would put Mad Dog here, but that should be solved with Karchev.
Kovnick Joe – I don’t see how he made it out of MK II and into 3e this way.
Rifle Corps – Maybe. I don’t know, if Joe is fixed, that they need to be tweaked. One or the other.

Protectorate

High Reclaimer – Slightly out of wack feat, combines weirdly. I’d see him at the bottom of the top, and likely not changing.
Idrians – I see these boys all over the place. I think they get something.

I’m not sold on a solo or Unit. I think the factions fine

Cryx
Please don’t.

But, if anything.
I don’t see a single caster being to OP. Everyone uses coven because they have to, but it feels rough no matter what.
Barathrum might get a looksie, but I don’t think he’s too bad.
Darragh Wrathe, but again, I don’t know that when addressing the factions ability to eat bullets, that removing one of the ways to do it is quite fair.
Satyxis, either raiders or Blood Witches, overshadow almost the whole of the factions infantry options. They might get something.

Retribution

Ossyan – This guy is a monster from hell. Someone stop him, please!
Jacks, I just don’t know enough about. I’ve heard they are all good? Nerf em all?
Solos seem to be OK. I’ve not really felt completely outclassed.
Sentinels just seem to be everywhere, for every reason. I’d assume they get hit.

Convergence
Leave these guys alone. I’ve not heard anything from them since 3rd came out. Probably just less vocal than Skorne and Cryx as all the players went to their primary factions.

Trolls

Madrak 2. We all see this coming, somehow prevent his ability to bloodsurf an entire army
I don’t know any warbeast more than the others is overpowering, but I could be forgetting something
I don’t know of any unit or solo that is really lighting the world on fire.

Skorne

Nope.

Circle

Wormwood – I don’t know how, but they’ve gotta address the boogeyman!
I like all the jacks, I don’t think they need a big change.
Manakins. Someone fix those worthless monsters!
Solos seem good!

Legion
Abby 2, though I think she’s in the same ballpark as Coven, used because she’s the best they have.
I don’t know of Units, Solos or warbeasts that are really lighting it up.

Minions
I’ve heard that Calaban is a thing? Is that right? Even then, don’t see him getting a bat.
Road Hog Shooting across the board and lighting everyone everywhere on fire forever might be a problem
I don’t see any units, but I’ll take a stab at two solos: Wrong Eye and Snap Jaw, Lynyssa. Both of these could use a little tweaking, somewhere. Gonna have to get my WE + SJ on the field before then

Mercenaries

I don’t think much needs to be reworked except the Kingmaker Theme. They might take into account a few things here and there.

 

Realistically, I like that list, even though there are so many gaping holes in it. It feels much better to be able to list less than 5% of the game that feels over the top. I like and use powerful stuff, but there is also a pinnacle that needs not be crossed.

Here is hoping for a comprehensive, fun errata to make me just a little better at crossing the field while chewing bullets the whole way!