The Mighty Surt

When all are gone of the old world
A new one will arise

-Amon Amarth, Destroyer of the Universe

Ok. I have to stop cruising the internet. Facebook, Twitter, PP forums. Email.

Its everywhere. The news.

The New Edition of Warmachine is coming.

There is a deluge of information, but nothing measurably substantive, when it comes to this new edition – Egg Roll, as it should be called.

Personally, there is a little bit of every emotion I can feel churning within. It is strange that the announcement came at this, specific, time. See, Saturday I went to a tournament. I enjoyed myself, but when I finally stepped into my car, after the dinner and the cider and the reverberations of both victory and defeat has long passed, I was left with a strange feeling. After most days, I would be elated but this time I felt worn. I had just played Goreshade 3 and Denny 3 for what felt like the millionth time, but really was only 18 between the two of them. Looming ahead was the heavy blade of Lock and Load, and the (what felt at the time) was 6 months of playing until then, with the same casters and models. The repetition would get to me, I could see it. The thought of it was cutting into me.

As I dwelt on that, I realized there was little left to explore in the faction, Caster wise. Each of them I had taken over at some point for a significant period of time except 3. That was it. For the foreseeable Future, I had three ‘casters I could explore.

I was bored with Cryx, I thought to myself, and I have over a year to go.

Salvation has come in the form of the Next Edition (they seem to be straying away from calling it MKIII). A rejuvenating wind hit me this afternoon with the announcement, and the ideas just came pouring out. All different types of theories about what possibly would have, or could be, adjusted to make the game better started whirling around. Then, the Primecast released. If you can’t listen,these are the condensed notes:

 

Rebalanced every model in the game

• Each Warcaster has a unique spell or ability (outside of their feat)

• Doubled point scale of game to make game more granular when assign point costs (no more undercosted/overtaxed)

• Adjusting focus/fury mechanic

• (new jack rule) Power Up: jacks gain a free focus for being in Warcaster’s control area in Control Phase

• (new beast rule) Spirit Bond: as warlocks lose Warbeasts during the game they may gain a fury during Control Phase (to represent their essence from beyond the grave)

• Big increase in bonus points for battle group points to encourage more jacks/beasts (average 20-30, new Battle Boxes will be 0 effectively)

• Premeasuring is now in the game

• No more fear/terror checks. (Said they’re making rule changes to remove negative play experiences like failing command checks)

• Colossal / Gargantuan will cost roughly 4x as much as a baseline jack, but will be 4x as powerful to better reflect their scale and power (comparison Juggernaut to Conquest)

• Fluff is being moved out of rule books and exclusively through Skull Island Expeditions. (The “safety net” of characters not dying has been removed, so major characters can and will die. Won’t be “Game of Thrones” level, but gradual)

• Hordes is getting a new faction to be released at 2017 Lock and Load (some concept art this year)

With all of that information, I want to take a few minutes and go over my thoughts and Ideas. I know its an XCOM day, but man. Big News.

 

All New War – Next Edition of Warmachine

  • Rebalancing every model in the game – This is something I didn’t expect. I had a core feeling that we would get a 2.5/ remix version of the game well before they came to a Third Edition. Strangely, that leaves me in a position of being behind more than I expected. With every model getting a tweak, of some sort, it can really open up some maligned units to get a subtle, or even unsubtle, buff and some of the more favored units to get a small downscale. The evidence of recent model releases (Butcher 3, Bradigus, Croak Raiders, ect) leads me to believe that the game is going into a stronger direction, not a weaker one. I would expect more tweaks to bring factions in line with the power and scope of the High-Middle tier than I would a Great Debuffing.
  • Points scale doubling – This I never expected in a million years. Not once would I have said that the points costs would change. This allows a lot of granularity, but I thought that was one of the larger problems in MKI Warmachine. With that level of granularity points costs comparisons have the distinct possibility of getting extremely complex, sometimes for no reason. I welcome our new points system, but I truly didn’t think it was needed.
  • Unique spells or abilities – Now, here is something That I very much like. One of the things in MK I that fells lost now, 6 years into the edition, was the signature spell. I was one of the people who really didn’t care at the start of MK II that there was going to be overlap in spells. I had decided that the variety of spells and their combination would more than make up for the lack of uniqueness. I will admit when I am wrong, and boy was I wrong here.  Here are the Cryx Casters Signature spells/Abilities in MK II.
      • Asphyxious 1 – None
      • Asphyxious 2 – Soul Reaper, Hellbound
      • Asphyxious 3 -Vociferon?
      • Deneghra 1 – None… 
      • Deneghra 2 – Wraith Walker, Dark Banishment,
      • Deneghra 3 – Soul Weaver/Soul Mastery
      • Skarre 1 – Ritual Sacrifice
      • Skarre 2 – Seas of Fate (?)
      • Goreshade 1 – Deathwalk
      • Goreshade 2 – Elite Cadre, Banes (?), Arcane Consumption, Sudden Death
      • Goreshade 3 – Spell Vortex, Mockery of Life
      • Coven – Arcane Nexus, Coven, Perfect Conjunction, Stygian Abyss
      • Venethrax – Dragon Slayer, Soul Harvester
      • Terminus – Shadow of Death,
      • Scaverous – Feast of Worms
      • Mortenebra – Interface, Doom Spiral, Terminal Velocity, Void Gate, Spectral Steel
      • Sturgis 2 – Chain Attack: Dark Shroud, Snap Strike, Soul Eater,

     

    One of the things I noticed here was that many of the Cryx Casters already touch into this territory heavily, with Mortenebra getting really creative alongside the Coven and Sturgis 2. What I didn’t like, though, was the lack of Unique spells. That’s pretty low for the necromantic armies that use magic no one else seems to want to. Additionally, I was shocked to see the two casters that will definitely see changes are Asphyxious 1 and Denny 1. Neither caster is bad, but they don’t have a single non-feat point of uniqueness to them. Something is going to have to change.

  • Power Up – We all knew that Jacks were going to change in some way. WARMACHINE seems to always struggle to get jacks onto the tabletop. From the first days, there was a decrying of Infantry machine, and now it looks like we are working our way solidly into a balanced army phase. Hopefully it is here to stay. The Power up rule gives hope to the thought, with each jack simply generating focus on its own, as long as its in the ‘Casters Control area at the start of the turn. That seems like a good step. Things Like Accumulator, Soul Drive and Skulls of Hate still work, but it would be a significant hit to Power Booster. It would go from being an always useful ability to a conditional ability used to break disruption.
  • Spirit Bond – Man! this is really cool. one of the foundational balances between Warmachine and Hordes was that you could count on the Warmachine casters getting stronger as the game went along, and the need to assassinate them early, while the Hordes Locks got weaker as the game went on, so you had to survive the onslaught and wait them out to get the kill. This, combined with the Power up seems to even out the playing field just a bit.  Spirit Bond allowing warlocks to maintain a base amount of fury even after all their Warbeasts are gone won’t save them from assassination because they won’t have transfer targets, but will enable them to camp a few and get back into the game after an astonishing loss of all their beasts. This is a good change, much like Power Up.
  • More Warjack points – I’ve heard this is a lot. Nearly 30 points a lot. With the scale of the game increasing, though, it feels like its going to add but a single jack or beast to the free game. If the slayer is 6 points, he’s gonna double to 12, and then be adjusted to 11, because as he is he is a touch week. The Reaper is going to pop to 14, and then down to 13. The Defiler is pushed to 10, then stays just fine. That puts me at 34 jack points, which is about 4-6 points over the normal. as good as I can guess from the limited information I have. That’s an additional 2 jacks in the list that weren’t there prior.
  • Premeasuring – Whoooo Boy. pre-measuring is something that I don’t like, at first taste, but I understand. knowing your charge distances, your weapon ranges, and being able to judge threat ranges was an awesome part of the game, a skill I very much enjoyed developing even though I was bad at it. There were other complications that kept on cropping up:
    – Can you measure part of your melee range, or just the whole thing?
    – If you cannot measure part, how do you deal with tape measures that aren’t widgets?
    -Can you measure the exact distance, like with a blast widget, to make sure your exactly out of 3 or 4 ” blast.
    -If I walk something up next to Eiryss and shoot the target I want her to shoot, i get to know the exact distance because I have to know my guns range.
    – The 5″ bubble around stealth.
    -Using command range to measure distances.
    – Killbox, Controlling/Contesting a Flag, Zones on the ground, center line scenarios.
    There are so many things that need to be measured, while other things that cannot that it eventually devolves. the solution can’t be to never measure anything. Instead, it is an inevitability of complexity. it removes the facade. It also and the lame moments where your eye can’t tell a 1/16 of an inch and it looses you a colossal, or the game.
    I was, and probably still am If I allow myself not to get caught up in the joy around it, against the concept of pre-measuring, , but I understand from a gameplayability factor, why it is being done, and can’t see a different or better solution.
  • Removal of Fleeing and command checks – This is 100% better, and I love it. I will be sad to see my Deathjack and Bloodgorgers loose a bit of their luster and fear, and will especially be bummed out that my Barathrum lost his one point to exist, but I give it all up to run the (hopefully) Denny 3 list I have without an effigy of Valor and still feel I don’t have to worry about the game breaking on one of a handful of die rolls I will inevitably have to take because the game needs to be played, not just theories in the house.
  • Huge based rebalance – God Damn. I hope they get this one right. My Wraith Engine has been sitting on the shelf, in the case, waiting for the day that I can return to the tabletop. Over time, I thought it would be errataed to be made significantly better, but it took a whole edition to give him another chance. They admitted they were a bit cautious when making some of the Huge Based models, and I am in favor of giving the design and Dev team getting a second attempt. Many of those models are bad ass, with great intended rules that are just overshadowed by other versions of themselves – Colossals and Gargantuans
  • Fluff Changes –  This is interesting. I don’t know what it portends, but having a different, and more aggressive, leader of Cygnar that is pushing forward really should make a difference in the fluff. It also seems to allow a number of characters to be slain, to mature, and certain stories to progress beyond the point that they were allowed to exist in within this one-ish year. Removing the plot armor of many of the main characters will be interesting. There was a pretty solid undercurrent backlash at the “Death” of Victoria Haley from the subculture of warmachine fiction fans that really want to see characters killed.
  • New Hordes Faction  The final note today is on the announcement that we will finally see the Hordes faction at lock and load this year. There will be teasers this year, and next year it will finally be released. Its dark, I suppose that means pretty evil, and is like nothing we have ever seen before, supposedly. I’m guessing Infernals, but that’s only because its the only reference point I have. Maybe its Zu or Orgoth. I covered the three favorites, right?

I’ll be taking a look over the next few weeks about what might change, predictions and trying to digest all of the spoilers that will inevitably come out. Two months is both forever and tomorrow. Until then.

PS: That Awesome Cryx army in the 5 minute Promo: that’s mine. Sweet!

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