Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Valleycon – A how to lose at Warmachine special edition!

Valleycon – A how to lose at Warmachine special edition!

Apologies in advance to anyone whose names I forget or spell wrong

Well this is not going to be a short post, but I’m not going to recount every detail of every game. I’ll settle for a healthy middle ground of talking about the highlights… and low lights.

First off, cheers to Chris Otton for both organizing the event and getting my wallet back after I left it at the venue. Also, cheers to Craig for a lift to and from the event; many thanks to you two.

Overall, I think I played relatively well, I dealt with the clock better than I expected and only got totally pantsed in one round (By the eventually tournament winner no less). I still had to ask a fair few questions, but I didn’t drag too many games down into a morass of “how does this work again”…. At least I think I didn’t

I ended up tied for the sportsmanship award, so at least a few people didn’t find me annoying to play against. (The winner of that was Craig, winning a roll off)

Most importantly, I missed out on winning the title of Swamp Gobber! Yes my intrepid readers, someone had a worse time of it than I did! The winner of that esteemed prize is my old friend Boyd.

Boyd may be swamp gobber, but his Menoth looked good!
Every 35-point or higher game of Warmachine MKII I have ever played is documented on this site. I headed into my first tournament with a stunning 7 games experience, and a 2-5 record (1-1 vs Warmachine, 1-4 vs Hordes. more on that later)

One regret is that I didn't take more photos

The Lists

I took two lists to play, one is the siege list as seen here

The second list was a pStryker list consisting of

10 Long Gunners, Standard and Officer
6 Trencher, 3 trencher Grenadiers, Sniper and Officer
Journeyman Warcaster

It’s a simple list. Lancers get arcane shield and act like heavy arc nodes. Stryker hangs out buffing troops and launching earth quakes. And the damage is done mostly from large combined range attacks.

Round One!  Stryker vs. Menoth (Josh)

The tournament was full of scenario play, something it appears I am very very bad at. I managed to get one scenario point all weekend, so if I forget what mission was being played…. It’s probably because it didn’t make much difference to the result.

First up was Josh, a nice young fellow from Napier who had come all the way to Wellington to represent! Josh fielded pKreoss against Stryker and the game instantly had an old school feeling to it, two starter casters going up against each other.

The mission had two control areas in the middle of the board.

Josh outplayed me and he set up very well. His trio of jacks set up against my long gunners… and were made immune to ranged attacks. This made my long gunners useless for a good chunk of the game. He also set up his unit with hunter opposite my trenchers; this allowed his guys to ignore the fact my boys were dug in. Kreoss hid at the back of the army, right behind his wall of heavy jacks

My new Lancer!
His infantry dealt to my trenchers, and would have smashed through if not for a few earthquakes slowing him down. By half way he had slammed my ironclad out of the objective area and had scored a point. His heavy jacks kept coming and his infantry was about to sweep through, Stryker’s feat turn (Bonus armour for the win) bought me some time, but he held one objective and was about to claim the other.

Then Kreoss moved out from the wall he had been hiding behind.

Immediately after this my Lancer disengaged from his infantry, giving up the 2nd objective and ran across the board. One earthquake later and the heavy jack wall is down. Long gunners move and shoot Kreoss crippling him and the journeyman warcaster finishes him off with a boosted shot.

A win by assassination! One round, one win. I’m feeling pretty good about now.

Round Two!  Siege vs. Khador (Mike)

Battle lines are drawn, here comes the Khador juggers!

Right, so the way the tournament works is if your doing well, you play others doing well. So by winning the first round I got to play against someone else who had won. Ok, I thought, this should be interesting

This mission had some complicated rules involving an artillery piece and multiple control areas… I mention this in passing because they didn’t come into play.

Mike, the older of the two visitors from Napier was another good chap to play against. We both had a bit of a laugh while we were playing, and after playing him and Josh I’m tempted to go up to the Napier event.

Mike played Karchev the terrible, supported by two heavy jacks and the super heavy Behemoth. I took Siege, as I figured the only way to do anything would be to crack that heavy armour with Sieges feat and the Defenders.

This was the shortest match I played during the weekend. No sooner had the march of the Khador heavy jacks begun it was over. In round two, in order to attack my commandos who had snuck forward and killed his mages, mike decided to advance his beasty tough warcaster over to attack them.

I couldn’t believe he just parked his undefended warcaster, no matter how tough, in front of Siege and two defenders. One feat and two boosted shots later and Karchev was toast.

Mike lost this game, I didn’t win it, by marching out in front of the big guns he gave me a target I couldn’t ignore. After the game that’s all I could tell him really, he acknowledged that he just didn’t think it through.

Credit to the commandos for being a juicy target I guess!

So my all time record is now 4-5 and 3-1 vs. Warmachine!

Mikes Khador, I love the banners!

Round Three!  Siege vs. Legion.  (Chris P)

“Ah Crap!”

That’s what I said after hearing the draw for round three. I was up against someone else who had won two rounds and it was Chris P (the P stands for “I’m gonna pants you in this game)

I still have no answers for the Legion of Everblight apparently.

This will be a short report as all I did was flail around like a muppet while Chris tore my force to bits. He managed to wipe out half my commandos before my first turn, and things didn’t get better. I totally underestimate just how far his threat range is, and those big beasts have a nasty attack that will damage people dug in…. not cool!

Chris used the cover way better than I did, his force was more mobile, and generally he was on top of me before I could do anything and I played like a pinned down force all game.

Thanks to Absylonnia, his warlock, I managed a grand total of killing one light beast and a forsaken. He cured all the rest of the damage.

Chris lays the smack down!

I do have some small comfort in the fact Chris went on to win the whole tournament though. He plays very very well and one of my goals in Warmachine is to get good enough to play him on even terms. A lofty goal, because he’s yet to make anything resembling a mistake in the games we have played.

If you want to read more about me losing to Chris P and his legion, see the previous episode of How to lose at Warmachine

Round Four!  Stryker vs.  Cryx.  (Sean)

Ah Sean, the smiling assassin! He’s a Great guy to play against especially if you’re a new player. Always helpful in game and will give you very good advice in the post game breakdown. He will however, cheerfully smash your forces if you give him half a chance.

This was a bad match up for me. Sean picked eDenegra and an army made up of a fair number of incorporeal models. I had two magic weapons in pStrykers force so this was not gonna be an easy match.

I messed up by deploying my gunners in a forest that prevented them shooting in the first turn. That being said the game was closer than it probably should have been. Sean had the control points pretty early on, and I just couldn’t deal with his ghosts.

However, my ARM 21 Lancers proved to be very difficult for him to dislodge, and the whole game was played out with a small chance of one of them breaking loose to arc node Denegra in the face with magic blasts from Stryker.

Sadly for me, this didn’t eventuate and as resilient as my guys proved to the undead advance, Sean had the control points locked down early on.

Sean went on to come 3rd in the tournament, well played that man!
Denegra is a dirty coward! Come get some I say!

Round Five!  Siege vs. Menoth.  (Nic)

This was the one game I thought I had pretty early on. Nic was fielding a very heavy melee centric Menoth force that didn’t have choirs due to tier limits. EKroess is all exemplars, all the time and the force was two units of knights, one cavalry, bastions and 3 big warjacks. For my siege list for this was nearly a perfect match up.

The commandos had anatomical precision which is a perfect foil for the Knights ability to increase their armour. The warjacks and bastions are slow, so the cannons and siege could pound them and Sieges feat could spell doom for either heavy unit.

His cavalry fell early to Siege and the Defenders heavy barrels. His Jacks advanced to cover off one of the objectives. My commados managed to run to his side of the board forcing him to commit a unit of knights to defend against them, who got bogged down in forest and sprayed with scatter guns.

The end came swiftly when he advanced Kreoss behind his wall of exemplar bastions. Siege dropped his foxhole on the Bastions, giving the Defenders and Siege a clear shot at Kreoss. One feat and 3 shots later Kreoss was toast.

This was a classic case of rock beating scissors. A slow moving, but very tough melee force will have difficulty against Siege and his big guns. A Choir, or some other Menoth buffs not allowed due to the tier restrictions would have made all the difference.

3 win, 2 losses. Going well!

Round Six!  Siege vs. Gators.  (Casey)

In my opinion this was the best game of the event, and the worst game of the event for me.

I was matched up against Casey and his Gatormen, an army he had made to deal with shooting forces. This was a dream draw for him, a gun centric force and he could make most of his force immune to shooting pretty easily with multiple 5” “immune to shooting” bubbles.

It was a complicated scenario with one control point, but a second area you had to sacrifice models in to score.

My initial plan worked very well, I spread my forces wide with the Trenchers, Maxwell and Grenadier to take the objective on the left, Siege and the defenders covering the middle and the commados and chain guns on the right ready for the sacrifice.

Swamp monsters!
This forced Casey to split his forces somewhat, allowing me to do some damage. Afetr the 2nd turn it looked like Casey was going to win hands down as my left flank looked like it was about to collapse.

Cue Sieges feat round.

Gatormen might have lots of health, but when their armour is halved any decent shot can take them out. And this happened in Sieges feat round.

All of a sudden I had the upper hand, I had cleared the control zone and Casey’s beasts were far away from taking it back. In order to reclaim it, they had to walk right past my warjacks.

Casey was forced to send his warlock in to take care of business. He was the only model left contesting the objective, if I removed him from the zone I would win on control points, or I could kill him and score a caster kill.

Siege slammed him with a spell, but due to placement of terrain it meant he didn’t fly back the 5 inches out of the control zone, he stopped where he was and contested on his back.

This was a matter of millimetres of terrain and angle. I was a little disappointed that the move hadn’t worked, and the rest of my force worked Barnabas over until he had 3 health left.

The next turn Casey got his turtles within striking range of Siege and killed him.

I think I played out of my skin in this game, while I didn’t win I think I played as well as I could. I took on an army built to deal with Cygnar and my play style and took it to the limit. If Siege could have moved one more inch to cast that spell to change the angle I would have won. This game nearly went to time, it was by far the longest game I played in the tournament.

But that’s Warmachine, it’s a game where small distances can mean worlds in the result of the game. 

Casey ended up coming 5th with his Gators and Farrow. It was especially good to see an army I haven’t faced before, there were many surprises and I really like the look and feel of the Gatormen.

Round Seven!  Strkyer vs. Circle  (Rikki)

Rikki was another one of the out of towners, from either Hamilton or Auckland (I forget sorry).

Rikki was a top drawer guy to play against, and I’m glad I had him in the last round. We both had a bit of a laugh while we played and the game never got tense at all.

Circle is another army that gives me issues, but I thought I played pretty well against this list. It was Baldur, many Wolds, some druids and those little floating laser shooting woldlettes.

Both of us had shooting and high defence, so it was a game of manoeuvre and a lot of misses. Difficult terrain, anti-magic and forests made my shooting tricky, and Rikki had similar issues with my armour buffs and dug in units.

The game was just getting close when time was called. Rikki had a wold on a charge into Stryker, who had popped his feat. My trenchers had engaged his druids and my lancers were closing on Baldur. My Ironclad was going toe to toe with Megalith and having got the first shot and under the feat may have stood a chance!

If the game had gone to its natural conclusion I think it would have been a classic. As it stands, the short time frame robbed us of a conclusion, which was a bit disappointing. Rikki had just score a control point, so he won the game.

Rikki, if you read this I’d like a rematch at some point J


I ended up on 3 win and 4 losses, not bad considering this was a tournament and I’m still a noob at this.

Interestingly my all time record is now 5-9 with 3-2 vs. Warmachine and 2-7 vs. Hordes. I think I need to seriously work on how I deal with the hordes factions, as they seem to have my number.

As for the event, it was very well run and I had a blast. Would do it again sometime, hopefully with more games under my belt. 

Additional Bonus Photos!
Matt, who I played in an early game and his Circle. I love the bases!
Scotts Legion, my vote for best painted force!
Seans other list, would love to have played this instead!

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