I'm a firm believer that if you want to play a game competitively, you need to understand how everything in the game works, not just your own rules/army. This is especially true in Warmachine, as some combos will just jump out and kill you. Gotta know every caster, and what most of the (multiple) special rules do too, and how they can make your opponent's units much better than "normal".
I know, I'm preaching to the choir - if you're reading this, you probably either love the game and are therefore much better at it than I am at this point, or you play 40k (because this has traditionally always been a 40k blog) and hate WM/H because of those ridiculous combos.
Well, I've been watching a ton of live games by "top" players at various prestigious tournaments at endgamegaming.net, and what I've observed is that while sometimes there's a "GOTCHA" move that someone doesn't expect, the top players are generally aware of the capabilities of the other armies. Top-level play doesn't include surprises other than crap luck.
And, while this may seem to be a very bold/cocky claim, I hope that one day I'll be one of those top players. I've already shown myself to be a successful tournament player in 40k who often stumbles into the top places at big tournaments, and I believe I'm capable of at least having a few good showings in Warmachine if I put enough effort in. And, due to the dubious 7th edition rumors currently circling around, it's looking more and more likely that I'll just keep playing lots of WM/H.
All that said, there's a grow league at my LGS, and I wanted to get in on it. Week 1 is battle boxes, and since Arguses (Argii?) and Kaya1 BORE THE SHIT OUT OF ME, I decided to go with Baldur1 and his massive "alternate" force.
Here's the list:
AND THAT'S IT.
I got in a game against Craig, who is currently working on his fifth Cryx army. As in, he's owned four other Cryx armies before this, and just loves the faction so much that he keeps starting new ones. I know from experience they'll look very nice once he's done. So, you'll have to forgive his "only primed" models :)
-Ripjaw(? he was a melee arc node)
Apparently Craig is a good enough player that the local PG disallowed him to take the Denny1 force. While this was appreciated to some degree, I believe that I'm much more likely to find myself across the table from Denny1 than Gaspy1.
Tournament preparation-wise I would prefer to play against Denny1, but as you'll see, I'm still in the phases of trying not to trip over my own clumsy self with these weird game mechanics I'm not used to. I could play against Paperbag1 and still lose.
The mission was simple: Kill either the caster or all the beasts/jacks of the opponent.
Craig won the roll off to go first, and decided to hand it to me so that his crazy shooting/magic could do some work on Turn 1.
|Here's Craig's Deployment.|
|My deployment is *very* nuanced, as you can see.|
I wasn't sure how to play, honestly. I knew that he was much faster than me, but I also knew that I was much (MUCH) more resilient than him. I had lots of spells which would negate his shooting and magic.
I also knew that if I could get close enough, my guys would rip his guys to shreds somewhat easily. But how to do so?
I decided that using forests would be a good start, since he couldn't see through them.
So, I moved my guys up (riled then ran), and cast Solid Ground so that I could upkeep it later, and also put Stone Skin on the Guardian to make any potshots he sent my way unlikely to hurt him.
Then I grew a forest and handed the turn over.
|Yay for not owning any 4" templates yet!|
Craig gave his guys each a Focus and ran everyone up. He then shot (way outside his range) Breath of Corruption, which scattered. That's what the metal ring is - the AOE from it.
|Note his Nightwretch hunkered behind the building there.|
I upkept Solid Ground, but dropped Stone Skin and the forest AOE.
The Guardian advanced his full 4" and cast Flesh of Clay to reduce ranged damage on himself.
Warden activated and was initially going to cast Earth Spikes at his Nightwretch when Craig informed me that he would be getting +2 (or even +4?) DEF from being in cover by the building. I was foolish and didn't immediately realize that Earth Spikes ignores concealment bonuses. (I did remember it later in the game though).
Instead, Warden cast Stone Skin on himself and hunkered behind the building.
Baldur moved up and cast Rapid Growth (forest AOE) in front of the Guardian, and then cast the 4" forest animus of the Warden's on himself, just for fun.
|Doing some massive damage here. Still, I'm slowly plodding my way over to Craig. He'll have to make a move if he doesn't want me to get into his lines behind extreme forest cover.|
His Nightwretch moved up into my 4" forest, and shot the Guardian, doing no damage.
His other arc node moved up as well.
Gaspy then shot me via arc node with Hellfire once (boosted), then popped his feat (giving him another 7 focus) and shooting me with it two more times. Took the Guardian down a few HP, and took out one of his spirals.
|So, now the time is here for me to kill one of his models finally!|
Baldur activated first and healed the Guardian for 1, dropping all his other upkeeps. He put Flesh of Clay on himself and found a way to spend another focus somewhere.
I then popped my feat, as I didn't want Leviathan charging me next turn, and the Ripjaw had some melee damage upkeep spell on him that I didn't want to deal with either.
Guardian went next and got a free charge from Baldur. He boosted the hit on the Nightwretch, hit, and nearly killed the poor dude in one punch. Knocked him down, could have (but didn't) push him 1" up. His second swing auto-hit the Wretch, and killed it. He used his remaining Fury to cast Flesh of Clay on himself, as the Leviathan would certainly be shooting him next turn.
Hooray first blood!
The Warden then stepped out from behind the building and cast Earth Spikes on his Ripjaw and knocked out its cortex.
Not an awful turn.
|Just wish I had put a forest somewhere, lol.|
Craig allocated 3 Focus to the Leviathan.
He then shot the Guardian lots, and took out another spiral. Man, Flesh of Clay is SO NASTY against shooting. That Leviathan should have ended me THAT turn. Wasn't really even very close though :)
|Notice my awful Fury-management skills. Baldur can't take all 6 of them, heh...|
I needed to heal the Guardian, have him kill the last arc node, and bait either Gaspy or the Leviathan to charge him so the Warden could counter-charge and end the game.
Baldur went first and... cast some really inconsequential spells and FORGOT to heal the Guardian!! Wow, SO DUMB of me!
Warden tried to hit the Ripjaw with Earth Spikes but missed even after boosting. I forgot that it was an AOE so might have still hit him. Ah well.
The Guardian then activated, got the free charge on the Ripjaw, and suddenly discovered that he needed a 9 to hit, and couldn't be forced, because his spirals were gone. He whiffed both attacks, and just stood there stupidly.
Really, just an awful job on my part. I had the game set up so well, and ... failed.
|So here you can see that I'm far too overexposed, and that the Warden is out of position to counter-charge anyways. *sigh*|
Leviathan charged the Guardian and killed it. Craig did a couple hits to the Warden.
Our turns were getting much faster.
Circle Turn 5:
Warden charged the Leviathan and hit + hit + combo-smite(ed) the damn thing into a wall, taking out one gun in the process. Wasn't sure what to expect, but I was mildly surprised it was still alive. A warp wolf the Warden 'ain't. :)
After the charge, I did remember to cast Stone Skin on the Warden. Hopefully it would keep him alive...
|If he kills my Warden this turn, he wins.|
He allocated Focus to the Leviathan, who just barely failed to kill the Warden.
|Now I need to kill his wounded Leviathan and Ripjaw. Can the Warden do it on his own?|
Circle Turn 6:
I started by upkeeping Stone Skin on the Warden, also healing him for two (two spirals had been knocked out). Then Baldur grew a forest behind the Ripjaw, Forest Walked through it, and whacked the arc node to death with his boosted attack.
The Warden then stomped the Leviathan into the ground, and the game was over!
|Is this considered a scenario win then?|
Haha, well, that was about as fun as a game can be when you only have a couple models on the table.
Lots of stuff I need to learn, and not forget, and stuff. Balur1 seems pretty good, and damn if this force isn't stupidly resilient for a "starter set".
Next week is our "original" force + whatever points we need to expend to get to 15 points. I have three points, which I figure will be a perfect opportunity to get some Shifting Stones with the UA. It will help with Fury management as well as healing my constructs and giving them a MUCH larger threat radius.