Its been a while since I’ve had a game – more than I like, honestly, and I am gearing up for a tournament this weekend so I figured I would go through and start looking at the casters I expect to see on the board. While I might not hit every point, I do want to have in my mind what type of matchups I’m looking at, even though I know i’ll just as likely discard them the day of. So, lets take a look! 

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This Saturday, I’ll be going to play in my first tournament in four months. The fantastic John Spencer has picked this one up for me so I can play, and I intend to make the most of it. My real hope is that we have enough players for 4 rounds, though getting there will be tricky: The East Coast is experiencing a but of burnout from New England to Virginia.

That said, Lets take a look at what I’m thinking of bringing. I know it can’t possibly bite me in the ass, right?

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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.

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This past Saturday I made it out, finally, to a Warmachine tournament in my area. With the local area all hyped up for Brawltimore this coming year, there was a fair amount of interest in the 2015 beta that was being run. As I mentioned a bit ago, I would be bringing my Goreshade 1 list and my Deneghra Gun Line List. I thought that these two lists would compliment each other and ask some hard questions.

In the 9 days that passed, though, I started to second guess myself. I looked at the big matchups and wondered what could I do against them. I know the area fairly well: Meat Mountain, Fist of Halaak, Father Lucant, High Reclaimer, Bradigus, Butcher 3. There were the lists I would have to make sure I had answers to. I felt pretty confident against MMM and Fist, and Father Lucant I had game against, depending on which way he went – med. based recursion and I drop Goreshade, Small based dudders, I drop Deneghra. Butcher 3 I have Mage Blight and Orin Midwinter. High Reclaimer I spent a while mulling over, but at the end of the day, I figured I’d just try and punch him until he stopped moving if It came down to it. Layer my infantry, clean up with jacks, call it a day.

Bradigus, though, gave my brain a complete conniption. I hemmed and hawed and thought about it nearly constantly for three days, trying to figure out how I’d do anything against him. In the end, I decided to either dodge, or drop the Denny list, because Nyss can at least see through the trees, and could possibly assassinate Bradigus if he got to bold, but at the end of the day, the only thing I managed to change out of the lists was swapping a Deathripper and Pistol Wraith for Min Bile Thralls and a second Warwitch siren in order to spray my own Nyss, if need be, to get through the forest wall.

The day of the event, I was nervous as hell about Bradigus, but resigned that I would just deal with it if I came across it.

The field ended up being something like this:

Khador: Oceans 18/B3
Circle: Kreuger 2/Bradigus
Trollbloods: Some Version of Miserable Meat Mountain
Protectorate:  Harby/Sevy 1
Protectorate: Thrya/High Reclaimer
Skorne: Chain Gang and somethin’ Else
Trollbloods: Grim 2/Madrak 2 MMM
Retribution: Vyros 2 and some other caster
Cryx: Denny/Gaspy 1(?)
Convergence: 2 Axioms and another army
Cygnar: Stryker 3 and Nemo 2
Circle: Kreuger 2/Bradigus
Minoins: Gatormen!
Me: Cryx: Deneghra 1/Goreshade 1
With Four games played, I’m not going to go through a complete play by play, but I am going to go over the general pre-game thoughts and overall meta-thoughts I had. I’ll pick out the highlights, of course, but its going to be a lot less than a full battle report.
With my enormous fear of Bradigus and two circle players, I just hopped to dodge them all day and try and make it to the end. Sadly, that was not to be the case. First round I was paired up against one of the guys that had traveled up from VA. I was terrified he was gonna drop Bradigus, but with the scenario Being the new 2015 Destruction, he took Kreuger.
Krueger the Stormwrath
* Gorax
* Megalith
* Warpwolf Stalker
Druids of Orboros
* Druid of Orboros Overseer
Shifting Stones
* Stone keeper
Shifting Stones
Blackclad Wayfarer
Blackclad Wayfarer
Druid Wilder
Gallows Grove
Una the Falconer
* Rotterhorn Griffon
* Rotterhorn Griffon
Unfortunately, that meant that my Bradigus pick, Deneghra, was out high and dry. Stormwall, druids and stones were gonna ruin my day! Knowing that his feat can straight up win games if poorly planned for, and being handed the second turn, I took the side of the board with a wall on it and shot up the board on turn 1, nearly reaching the zone. His second turn was brutal, though, and I loss most of my Nyss, and was about to loose my Leviathan, whom he had pulled nearly into the zone from its first turn 17″ position on the board,  when he mistimed his feat after double teleporting his stalker into combat and pushed the leviathan out of melee range. I had very few models that could now get into and contest the zone, but I had to make the push. I went in with everything that could get there, and took down the Stalker in the process. I used my feat that turn, but it was an utter waste: I was expecting to Scourge Kreuger, but with the druids around, I wasn’t able to. I was, however, able to forestall him a turn, and due to my feat he had a fairly subdued turn, except for Una’s Rotterhorns who were able to come up and just mow down a pile of infantry I had in the zone. Thankfully, I had nudged one of my arc nodes in, and getting rid of Def 15 models isn’t easy. The following three turns, eating up nearly all of our clocks, was spent Scourging targets near Keruger and laying everything into him. Pistol Wraiths, Warwitch sirens, everything. On my final turn of the game, I even dropped Megalith completely through transfers. The hero of the game, though, was Aiakos, who’d jumped through the Circle lines on a critical turn to be able to shank the Druid leader chanting Counter Magic and turn if off long enough to eliminate both it and him from the game. The game ended with concession as Keruger and his whole army charged Deneghra but could’t hit her def 16 and left her with a pile of HP and Focus in front of Kreuger, who had 2 HP left.
I’d managed to dodge Bradigus and take down one of the best Circle casters out there. It was a hell of a game that left us with under 3 minutes combined between us on the deathclock. I’d not enjoyed a game of Warmachine so thouroghly in, I do believe, years. It was back and forth, it had glorious moments, and the opponent was a blast to play against!
Next up, almost immidiatly afterward, was a friend of mine playing Protectorate and High Reclaimer. With both the High Reclaimer (clouds) and his Thyra list (Book) preventing Deneghra assassinations, I knew I had to go Goreshade. He picked High Reclaimer:
The High Reclaimer
* Reckoner
* Vanquisher
Choir of Menoth (Full)
Daughters of the Flame
Exemplar Bastions (full)
Holy Zealots (Full)
* Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt
* Attendant Priest
Visgoth Juviah Rhoven & 2 Honor Guard
The Wrack (3 wracks)
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Saxon Orrick
He also got first, so I made him eat the forest just outside of his deployment zone. I had buildings to hid behind and models that ignored them so it was the natural choice. This game was a bit of a grind as well, though I feel it was more one sided. Goreshade was able to protect himself for most of the game through Shadowmancer, though he got a bit of a scare through Rhoven, who gave the Reckoner the ability to ignore stealth and tried to drop two shots into Goreshade himself. The first one popped him for a pile, but the second one did much less. However, he still had to deal with drifting vanquisher shots, which lit him on fire. Thankfully, with ARM 16 and 7 wounds left, it was unlikely that I’d die to fire, but it went out, and I didn’t need to worry. The Bane Riders held the front line while the Banes went around the side, took down as many of the Bastions as they could, and started to threaten the jacks. Goreshades feat brought in Bane Thralls to deal with the irritating Reckoner. The High Reclaimer was pinned between Nightmare, a slayer and a full unit of Bane Knights and deathclocked himself trying to dig out of his hole. Afterward, my friend admitted he got into his own head a bit and could have played the game a lot better. There was a specific point that comes to mind for both of us, where he assumed that Roven let models see through trees, and that just wasn’t the case. He definitely would have deployed and played differently!
Next up, after a quick lunch, was a Trollblood player. Finally, a list that I can 100% drop my Goreshade list against. He picked his anti-Cryx list, Grimm 2, and took to town destroying my models.
Hunters Grim
* Slag Troll
* Troll Impaler
* Dire Troll Bomber
* Trollkin Runebearer
Pyg Burrowers (Full)
Trollkin Runeshapers
Trollkin Runeshapers
Trollkin Scattergunners (Min)
* Trollkin Scattergunner Officer & Drummer
Fell Caller Hero
Janissa Stonetide
Professor Victor Pendrake
Stone Scribe Chronicler
This list was scary, but with the ability to deter ranged attacks through Vengeance and Stealth, I thought it would be ok. Instead, on turn 2, he removed both Nightmare and the full unit of Bane Riders from the board. He traded his entire unit of Digmies for that, but it is what it had to be. He also Ran his Runeshapers into place to engage some of the Bane Knights, but it didn’t truly slow them down as they ate all but two of them, causing the other to flee. He then, seeing that the Bane Knights were about to roll up his flank, committed to killing them, which left both Slayers up and kicking. One slayer, fully loaded and under Shadowmancer, brought down the Bomber and did significant damage to the Slag Troll. Goreshades feat summoned reinforcements, and the slag was torn apart. At the same time, I was able to get my Bane Knights into the Impaler and remove it, too, from the board. With all his beasts in the dirt, it was just a matter of time as I sat in the scenario zone and took it. Grim was on a hill, away from most of the game and I just wasn’t going to catch him.
So, my first tournament in many months lands me at the top table. The opponent was locked into his anti Cryx list, and I was ready to rumble. Every game so far this tournament, if I remember correctly, was against a NOVA Masters Qualifier. I can never have an easy path, but what path worth walking is!
Grand Scrutator Severius
* Blessing of Vengeance
* Reckoner
* Reckoner
* Hierophant
Choir of Menoth (Min)
Daughters of the Flame
Exemplar Errants (Full)
* Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard Bearer
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt
Anastasia di Bray
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
Exemplar Errant Seneschal
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord
The Wrack (3 wracks)
Seeing the list, and knowing that Sevy has old man stats, I thought this was the perfect list for Deneghra. This list has a stupidly surprising amount of pop, though, and was able to start pulling my models off the board on the bottom of turn 1. While I was able to pop a few models on my feat turn, I traded it for a turn that didn’t do a whole lot – Deneghra and Aiakos being forced back in order to not be completely mutilated the next turn. I sacrificed my Leviathan for a stupid shot, while disrupted from Eiryss 2 that while it worked, wasn’t worth the sacrifice. I was able to determine the line of engagement, but it wasn’t enough as he slowly blew apart my army with Reckoner shots and a massive Ashes to Ashes that caught 7 models in its radius, removing 5 of them completely. I was able to secure the far right flag of the incursion scenario we were playing with a Warwitch, who even dispatched di Bray after she showed up, but the center was completely given up. The battle, it turned out, hinged on my far right flag. With both of us up to 3 points, and each of us controlling a single flag, it was do or die time. Within 4″ of this flag was Aiyanna and Holt who were fleeing in terror of the Withershadow, two Daughters of the Flame, and Rhupert who had given them tough. On The Cryx side was Deneghra, Malevolus, and Tremulous. Rhupert took two Black Fires to the face and failed to die, While a Daughter of the Flame took three Venoms and yet still lived. That was the game, then and there. I scored one, bringing me to 4, as did my opponent. all they needed to do at that point was nothing, and they score the center flag and win the game.
All in all, it was an amazing tournament. I was able to come out with second place and really had a blast doing it. For my first tournament back in so long, I couldn’t have hopped for more.
Next time, I’ll be breaking down my Skorne games from this weekend! Looking forward to changing gears to a more brutal style!

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