Rambles, stories and thoughts from a finnish wargamer.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

List building for Feora

I'm in quite good shape with my prime Severius side of Menoth. I can field good variation of lists for him with painted models. So now I'm planning a list for prime Feora. My goal is to get 35 point list painted for her that is fun and decently effective.

Everything starts with a battlegroup. Unlike with Severius, there is not that much focus to run with. So I'm reaching for something simple and what i've found to be effective with Feora.

Feora (-6)
 Crusader +6
 Reckoner +8

Crusader will be hanging closer to Feora, fitting to a role of backup heavy and bodyguard. Reckoner will be right in my opponents face, shooting with it's long range cannon. Reckoner brings some much needed long range firepower to my list and also has one nice synergy with Feora. Biggest weakness of her flamers is the pitiful rat, but with debuff from the reckoner they suddenly become boostable rat 7. One fully boosted Reckoner shot and two fully boosted flamers kill many casters quite easily and are surprisingly easy to land in my experience. Spd 6 + 8 inch spray with such front line caster is hard to hide from and Reckoners threat range is really good.

So lets go to the full list, shall we?

Feora (-6)
  Crusader +6
  Reckoner +8

min Choir of Menoth +2
max Cinerators +8
min Errants and UA +7
Knights Exemplar +5
High Exemplar Gravus +5

Total = 35

So to the battlegroup we add choir and huge load of Exemplars. :D With this we reach quite good balance of anti-infantry and anti-armor, I think. Gravus is kind of a gamble, but with such a high amount of Exemplars I think he is nice. He also brings something fast to this army, which is priceless against fast or shooty opponents.

I had couple of ideas that I was juggling with. One was to take out Cinerators and upgrade Crusader to a Fire of Salvation and add a second unit of Knights Exemplars. But I ended up taking the Cinerators so I could play a nice scenario game with them and Errants. Without Defenders Ward for errants I really lacked a good unit to hold objectives.

I'm also thinking about just dropping Errants. They are nice, but I think defenders ward is the thing that pushes them to the next level.

From this particular list, I'll still have to finish Knights Exemplars unit, Gravus and the Cinerators. If you have some suggestions or thoughts about the list, post a comment! After I'm finished with Feoras list, I'll venture to paint the Legion of Everblight battlebox. Watch out for some Legion related rambling next year. ;)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pimp my Crusader!

This conversion started with a plastic crusader I had laying around. I split the two-player set with a friend and was saving that Crusader so I could build a Blood of Martyrs from it eventually. Then the realization came that I don't even like Thyra that much, so that Crusader was combined with some bits and this came out:

Basically I "skullified" the head, added some spikes, blade attached to the bottom of the arms, end of the smokestack replaced and made the mace a little beefier and spikier. :) There is still little cleaning up to do, but he is pretty much done.

I plan to use him both as Crusader and Fire of Salvation in friendly games. Running multiple Crusaders is fun. :)

During the holidays I plan to get Knights Exemplars and Gravus painted so I won't feel quilty when playing them. I'll probably post some thoughts about them in January, but now it's time for some rest.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

eFeora faces Searforge and manly Khador

I finally got to try out the new models that I ordered loooong time ago. I played against Searforge list that ran Gorten and a big bunch of Jacks + herne/jonne and a unit of forge guard. One 'jack was run by the forge guard, Gorten had two gun bunnies, Basher and Driller. This was my list:

Feora, Protector of the Flame (*6pts)
* Redeemer (6pts)
* Guardian (9pts)
* Reckoner (8pts)
* Vanquisher (8pts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Vassal of Menoth (2pts)

We rolled killbox for a scenario. He won the roll of, but decided to go second. I saw the scenario and a convenient rock wall on the other side of the board. After that, the game plan was clear. Park things in cover and shoot the heck out of him.

It turned to attrition game from the start. We both shot each other, used cover and tried to pick out the other guys mistakes. He didn't leave any openings for me to utilise the feat and I actually did not use it in the whole game! I was waiting for that one huge turn, but like I said, he wouldn't let me do that. I should have just used for couple of focus to sling one AOE spell or something, but I reserved it too much.

In the end I won when the board had only Gorten and one heavy rhul jack (the guy with the shield and cannon). I had Feora, Redeemer, reckoner, vassal and one choir boy. I backed up and shot him and even Gorten can't survive everything. My opponent (Tanan) said after the game that he might have played too cautiously and I kind of agree. But that scenario and board were rough for him and I think that was the most important factor in this game. I made some silly fumbles, mostly with Guardian, but mainly I just kept it simple and safe, picking the threatening parts of his army one-by-one. Left the shield jack alone for the whole game by choice. Shooting through armor 21 just did not seem like a good investment, so I just ate those cannon shots and bashed everything else. It was an entertaining game.

From the start I felt like I was running one jack too many. I'm going to drop it to three jacks in the future and see where that gets me. Escort is an amazing spell. Even in a game like this, where I did not charge much, it was amazing. eFeora seems like a really solid caster and I'm looking forward to fine tuning a list for her. I'm going to try running a more melee focused battlegroup for her and see where that gets me. Idea of this list was to force my opponent to close in to the charge range of my 'Jacks with the long range shooting.

I used Guardian poorly. Used him too much like a I would use a Revenger. His dual role is quite confusing and I have always had trouble with models like that. I focus too much on the one ability or the other, but I'm going to play him more. I want to learn. :P

Currently we are rolling scenarios from a table that has 8 scenarios. I'm probably going to compile a new table for local guys to use and we discussed about dropping killbox from it. It's a boring scenario and while today the game was fun, in the end it dulled down a bit to a me backing up and shooting a slower opponent. Despite it's name, it really does not force to be aggressive. Area in the middle is so big that it barely affects at all!

Also played a game against some extremely manly Khador list, which had Strakhov with Destroyer, full unit of Man'o'War shock troopers and Kovnik. I had pFeora, Crusader, Repenter, Knights Exemplar, minChoir and a paladin. Might have had a reclaimer? I'm too tired to go over the whole game now, but strakhov pulled off some quite impressive movement shenanigans. Crusader then bashed him with the mace after some bad rolling from his part. This time we rolled a scenario called Close Quarters and I felt that I got to take a lot of advantage from the scenario and board. Also I think he played Strakhov for the first time, maybe even Khador for the first time and I'm quite experienced with all of the models I fielded. But I think Strakhov has a lot of potential and I think the list was very cool, so I hope Niko keeps playing them, gets some more experience with them and comes back to beat my face. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Headswap for cinerators

I had a huge inspiration (lost one of the heads) and decided to swap heads for my cinerators! Here is a picture:

I couldn't post the picture straight at the blog, because the size of the picture would screw everything up. :P

So I got the two-player box. It's very nice, but these models seem to have quite a lot of mold lines to remove. It's not the worst I've seen in models, but definitely in the worse part.

However, the models themselves are great! Cinerators are damn cool.

Currently I'm completely swamped under school, painting, assembling and other stuff... So much to do, so little time! I'm quite satisfied of the headswaps, hopefully I'll get to painting these guys soon!

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's time for some random thoughts!

These days I get to play Warmachine regularly, which is awesome. So, after bunch of games, It's time to write random thoughts and experiences!

On Cryx: This is the faction that gives me the most struggle. I play Menoth myself and seems that my lists and style just don't keep up with the movement shenanigans, tricks and alpha strike that Cryx brings. I need a LOT more practise against Cryx to keep up with their trickery. :P I've only played against eGhaspy and pDeneghra, as these are the casters that two local Cryx players use. It's a welcome challenge however. I'm going to try out Redeemer and Sunburst to bring me more ranged threat, so they won't be able to just dance around the board so freely!

And I learned the hard way that you should NOT forget slams, those chickens can do it from miles away! :D

On hordes: I'm hoping to get more experience of hordes. I've read the rulebook couple of times, but haven't managed to play against hordes more than a couple times. There are only two guys who play hordes locally and I have matched against just one of them! I feel that Menoth has great tools against hordes, but we'll see in the future. ;)

On Menoth: There are FOUR Menoth players, including me. That's quite ridiculous when you consider that there are just barely over ten players here! :D Swore in the beginning that I would not succumb to faction add, but seems that I'll have to. U know, to reduce mirror matches. ;)

On pFeora: This girl has seen a lot of play time recently. She is a good caster, but I'm going to move away for a while. She gives barely anything to either 'Jacks or infantry, she is a focus hog and has only one buff! One powerful babe, but I always feel that she leaves rest of my army hanging. I've had about an equal amount of flame thrower and melee assassinations with her, which was a little surprising. Two fully boosted flamers on a spd 8 (eod cast) caster is a powerful thing. One thing I don't like is the unpredictability of her feat. It can be devastating against infantry heavy lists, but you just can't depend on it to damage anything you want. I like the pKreoss and pSeverius feats more, they are so easily controlled.

I have eFeora coming in the mail and I'm quite excited to try her out. She seems like a proper 'Jack caster and those extra inches on Menoth heavies seem quite ridiculous! :)

On pKreoss: I have the old metal model and I'm waiting for the new plastic one, before this old fella gets some more board time. Dw, Lamentation and the feat are just awesome.

On Reckoner: Awesome 'Jack. It's gun is quite nasty with choir. Boostable pow 15 is nothing to sneeze at. I've pulled off some funny things with assault and even without it rng 12 is great! Add in p+s 17 reach weapon, spd 5 and a good special ability, you end up with a good and versatile 'Jack! For me it has been pretty much the only model with a high range shooting attack. I'm looking forward to trying out Redeemer and Sunburst with pKreoss/pSeverius/eFeora and show those damn heretics that we can shoot back! :)

I have been pushing back buying a Vanquisher, when I heard that it's included in the two-player box. I'll get my box next week and then it's time to burn some shit! :D

On Crusader: One of my "default" 'jacks. He has been in almost every one of my lists. Slow as hell, but hits VERY hard. Couple of times I have loaded him full of focus and charged an enemy heavy, just to see it wreck the enemy before using more than one focus! P+S 20 (with choir) is just ridiculous! I usually hang him close to my caster, to protect him. Then in the late game he charges in and destroys anything he wants. He might be good with eFeora, for that extra speed.

That's all I have to say tonight, I might continue this tomorrow. Now it's time to sleep.

Update: Added a couple lines of text after a good night of sleep.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Terrain, terrain, terrain, all over my apartment

I've been working at some terrain lately. I host some games at the cellar of my building, so I was suddenly hit with a need for four tables. I'm almost finished with three forests and here is picture of them!

I will add some more flock to the trees, but otherwise these are ready. I'm not 100 % satisfied of how they look, but considering how quick they were to make, I'm happy! When I get rest of the terrain and boards ready, this blog will see some better pictures of them, so prepare for that! ;)

Also got a package from mail. It contained a lot of terrain from Games Workshop.

Now I have the Chapel, Temple of Skulls, Walls and Fences and Garden of Morr boxes. I finished putting them together and now they are waiting for a black primer. It's really nice terrain, but the garden and chapel have just ridiculous amount of skulls in them. I know it's a cemetery, but come on! :)

Overall, I'm really pleased with the Citadel terrain. I definitely will buy some more when a suitable sale becomes available. :)

The minor negative side is that there is some fiddling to get those buildings together without gaps. I'll might have to get my green stuff out, but I have a feeling that laziness will win. :P

Oh yeah, it's only a week before next round of the league! We will have timed turns next time and I'll have to finish the scenario list next week. I'm really excited to try out my pFeora list!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Video review of the Grand Scrutator!

So, i've been trying out some simple video editing lately and decided to do my next piece of Thoughts about Protectorate as a video!


So it's a review of our favourite old man, Grand Scrutator Severius. I go through his stats, abilites and so forth, to give a feel of what he is like. It's not about how "tournament effective" he is, it's about what he is like, what he can do and basic tips about how to use him.

Although I think he is good caster for a tournament. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Memory list for Menoth (+ WM in general)

I played couple games today. First one I won and second I lost. Both were great games, but I learned more from the loss than from the win. That's how it is usually. Few of my mistakes were forgetting and not thinking through some things, but I lost because of my tactical choices, not forgetfulness. Still I thought it would be a good thing to write down a memory list for the future. ;)

1. For Menoths sake, remember his eye! That +1 can be critical!
2. Remember to plan your activation order so that your support pieces can be utilised. Activating 'jacks before choir sings battle hymn is a bad mistake, but easy one to happen in the heat of battle.
3. Wrecked 'Jacks leave wreck markers! Those ARE going to hamper your movement in the future, so include that in your plans! /Edit: They also provide cover! (Thanks Pseudok!)
4. You can still shoot with destroyed arm systems. You just roll one dice to hit and damage.
5. Remember that you have an array of power attacks for your 'Jacks, especially those with open fists. This brings a lot of versatility.
6. Never forget the scenario objectives!
7. Remember damage types and models immunities, both yours and the opponents.

Those are the ones that I can think up with this sitting, if you have something to add, post a comment! I'm going to update this list when new things come up. It might just help me to remember these better.

I feel that my game is getting better and steadier all the time, but I still have so much to learn about this game. That's what makes it interesting. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First round of SteamLeague!

Text translated to English: "SteamLeague of Oulu"

So first round is over! It was a really nice gaming night. My board projects are unfinished, so I borrowed a board and some terrain from Hannu and Seraphi. Thanks guys! I plan to finish four boards next month and that should be enough for our gaming nights. I did not remember to take pictures this month, but I'll have to take some next time!

I learned few things. First, we need some kind of time limit for our rounds. Some of us took way too long time for our rounds. A lot of jokes about that were directed towards one player. He admittedly took a long time, but so took almost every one of us. So let's face it guys, we were all to blame for the fact that our two 10 point games took all day! :D

So for my personal gaming experiences, here is the list I played with:

pSeverius -6
Crusader 6
Revenger 6
Repenter 4

It is quite basic and worked quite nice. I won both games, but felt that both of those caster kills would have been much more reliable with just one or two more focus. I desperately need wracks and hierophant for future. Lack of choir was also a bummer, but I really could not fit them here. Feat of Severius is awesome. In both games it let me take a superior position without the fear of his caster and jacks retaliating effectively. Neither of those victories came easily, but the feat was a big part of both victories.

Like I said before, I need some caster support pieces to my next list. I tend to run Severius with quite many jacks and always feel like I have one or two focus too little. It also makes those crazy assassination runs with Revenger so much more likely to pull through. I've never felt so starved for focus with Kreoss or Feora

Here are the results for the first round:

(Games, Wins, Losses, Draws, Win Percentage)

Fitim:     G2, W2, L0, D0, WP 100%
Walz:      G2, W2, L0, D0, WP 100%
Hannu:    G2, W0, L0, D2, WP 50%
Tanan:    G1, W0, L0, D1, WP 50%
Antti:      G2, W0, L1, D1, W
P 25%

Seraphi:  G2, W0, L2, D0, WP 0%
Niko:      G1, W0, L1, D0, WP 0%

First draw was because a player made an honest mistake with his list and took few too many points. We changed his close victory to a draw because of that. He was really honest with it and told me immediately when he noticed. Second draw was because we ran out of time and they agreed for a draw. Like I said, we need some kind of timed turns. :P

There are two players who have only one game, Tanan played on the first round but had to leave before the second. Niko took his place with borrowed Cygnar from Seraphi.

It was a great night, but I'm looking forward to playing with bigger lists. 10 points is very small, it's hard to fit anything. :) Next month is 15 points, I better start to paint figures!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scenario: Arcane Ruins

I had an idea for a scenario and decided to post it. It's likely not a final version, but you get the idea. It's a relaxed and pretty random scenario, so it might not be a best fit for competitive play.

Scenario: Arcane Ruins

When making scenery, place three arcane ruins within 4 inches of the center line of the board and with at least 12 inches between the ruins. You can also deploy woods or buildings instead of ruins.

You control a arcane ruin if your model ends it activation within the scenery piece or within 2 inches of a building or a ruin that cannot be moved into. Model that flees, has lower cmd than 3, inert warjacks, wild beasts and incorporeal models cannot hold objectives. Model contests an objective, if it is within a forest or within 2 inches of a building or a ruin that cannot be moved into. If there is a enemy model contesting the objective, neither of you gain control. You remain in control of the point even if you move out of the scenery piece, until your opponent contests or captures it.

In the maintenance phase, after allocating focus, roll d3 for each objective you control. This is the amount of Arcane Rage tokens you can then allocate to units, warjacks/warbeasts, warcasters/warlocks or solos. No unit/model can have more than three arcane tokens. In the next turn, before allocating focus, remove every arcane rage token you allocated last turn. Unit gets a bonus depending of the number of tokens it has. Note that these are not cumulative. For example, if you allocate three tokens to a unit, it gets only the third bonus, not all of them.

1 token: 1+ str, mat, rat and ranged damage rolls. -1 def
2 tokens: 2+ str, mat, rat and ranged damage rolls. -1 def and -1 arm
3 tokens: 2+ str, mat, rat and ranged damage rolls, +1 spd, -2 def and -1 arm. Warjacks may charge for free and units get fearless. Warcasters get +2 rng for spells and may once in turn cast one spell for one less focus.

You can win this scenario by caster kill. Starting from the first players third turn, player can also win by controlling all of the objectives in the end of his turn.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Few games and damn those cleansers!

Today me and my friend visited few Wargamers to talk about Warmachine and to borrow armies for them to play with. Demoing part was kind of easy, because they have already played a few games so they had pretty good grasp of the rules. As a hindsight, maybe I should have paid more attention to their game, but luckily Seraphi was there to explain some rules while I was busy talking about videogames. ;)

They seemed quite interested and it's a really welcome thing to have more players!

I also played one game with Seraphi. He played Retribution with Vyros and I had Menoth with pFeora. It was a close win for me, but I'll have to say that he played a better game than I did. He got more out his feat than I did of mine and forced me to try a sloppy assassination as my army was getting it's butt kicked. After a few failed attack rolls, my attempt failed. To be honest, I would have needed better than average rolls to succeed. Not crazy rolls, but slightly better than average. It just happened that he rolled really bad on his most important damage roll against feora and she was left with one damage box when my turn started. Vyros was slaughtered by Feora after that.

It seems that it's easy to build Warcaster kill opportunities that have a decent rate of success, but it takes real skill to pull off reliable assassinations. Lot, I mean LOT of our games have ended to retaliation after a failed caster kill attempt.

After quite a few games with Cleanser, I'll have to say that I still like them, but they are not very good. One guy at the PP forums described their main issue well, they are anti-infantry unit that has big problems hitting infantry. I've had most success with them when I play pKreoss as my caster. His feat turns them to monsters for one turn. +1 to hit that pSeverius offers does not seem to be quite enough... Their combined ranged attack is decent, but not great. It's cloud effect is also decent, but because it's a ranged attack with rng 8, placing it to gain most out of the cloud is not that easy. You could get quite powerful combined ranged attack from them if you play a full unit, but for 8 pts and rng 8... Nah. Also, their spd and defensive stats suck ass. But their gun is awesome. This makes up a lot. Pow is great, spray is great and continuous fire is both cool and effective. ;)

They are not horrible, but it seems to me that Repenter is a better deal for less points. I will keep playing them as flame throwers are pretty much the coolest thing ever and hopefully I will learn more about using them effectively.

It's weird how they seem to end up shooting the opposing caster. It's often not my goal at the start of the game, as with their range warcasters are hard to reach, but somehow they just end up getting that combined ranged attack to opponents caster. pSorscha met a painful end this way a while back. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

League will start soon! (+ random thoughts)

Our slow grow league now has whopping FIVE participants! Plan is to play first round 28th day! Because we now have uneven number of players, I had to change the scenario system a little. Old system was that every players first game would be predetermined scenario and second would be thrown from the book. New system is that I make a new table of scenarios for each round and the players roll from it for both games. This way we can have uneven number of players without problems and we don't have to always play scenarios from the book. SteamRoller 2011 rules has some good scenarios and I'm going to search the internet for more.

When I started playing Warmachine, there were two local players and one that lives a small drive farther. Me and few friends then started some serious marketing. ;) I build a board and terrain to play on and we posted about Warmachine to out citys section on Finnish forum. We have grown to six players so far and this sunday we will have a demo game with two (or was it three?) interested players. I also will demo Warmachine to one player next week, so the local player base seems to grow fast! I talked with the people who manage our building (I don't know what they are called in english) and they promised that we can play on the cellar of the building I live in. There is a hobby room, which has some exercising equipment, tables and table tennis in it. It's perfect for us. I will borrow another board from my friend until I build two more boards. Then six people can play at once (eight if we borrow my friends board too), which will be enough most of the time. Warmachine games don't take forever, so even if we have more players, everyone gets to play! Yay! :)

It would be awesome to reach 10 players!

Currently I have painted pSeverius, Repenter, Revenger, Crusader and min unit of cleansers for the league. I'm currently working my way through choir. Everything seemed to go wrong when painting Severius and I'm not happy with him. I'm probably going to strip his paint later and paint him again, but for a while, current paint has to do. It's table top worthy, but not what I would want it to be. :P

I tried taking pictures, but they were pretty terrible. I'm not a good photographer and a decent camera can't fix that...

So, I will post pictures and rambles when the league starts and maybe I'll finally start writing next part of the "Thoughts about Protectorate" series. Until then, happy gaming!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Preparation for the league and momentary silence

Like I have mentioned before, our slow grow league is going to start soon. We will start at 10 points and currently I have painted (with my new red scheme) min unit of cleansers, Crusader, Revenger, Repenter and one choir boy. I'll start with a list of pSeverius and the battlebox jacks. It's simple and effective enough. Absence of choir is annoying with this amount of jacks, but obviously fitting them in would be problem. Considered changing repenter to a paladin and choir, but I don't want to play a list with no flamethrowers. ;)

After I finish a second choirboy, pSeverius will be next. It will take a little while as I'll start a five day lan-gaming session with a friend this wednesday. Then I will travel to my sisters house to watch over all the animals (quite a lot of 'em) while she is away. I will bring my camera and painting equipment there, so you might see the first pics at this blog soon. ;) Actual painting might not happen much, as there is lot to do at that trip, but I'm determined to get at least something done!

I will also continue my Thoughts about Protectorate series with an article about either Repenter or Revenger. You will find my texts about pKreoss and Crusader earlier on this blog. They won't be hard to find as there are not that many entries.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Few games and thoughts of eGhaspy

Today few of my friends visited for some Warmachine madness. I played one game with Hannu who plays Cryx. We rolled throwdown for scenario and he won the roll for starting player. I'm going to tell what happened, as it got kinda weird. :)

When we deployed, I knew it was going to be a hard game. He had Bane Thrall bomb with tartarus, eGhaspy and one cheap melee warjack. I had pFeora, min unit of cleansers, min choir, Reckoner and Crusader. He set up with Ghaspy and his jack on one flank, Banethralls kind of in the middle with tartarus. I deployed cleansers on the left flank and everything else to the right flank. My plan was to run and grab one objective with everything else and keep the other with cleansers. I knew that he would not run Tartarus or Bane Thralls to take that objective as Cleansers have those nasty flame throwers and he would have only one target there to kill. In his first turn he ran everything closer to the objective on my right. That is when I knew that I have the left objective and my plan was to just commit everything to hold that other one in round three. I went closer, Feora did not run as she cast Fire Wall to hamper movement of the thralls. Next turn he ran closer to the objective and covered his forces with cloud effects.

I took position and used fire wall to stop his thralls from charging. I had to leave reckoner open to charge from his jack as I knew that objective was my biggest chance for winning. His next turn he ran everything close to the objective, charged and hurt my Reckoner really bad with his jack. Ghaspy threw clouds. After his movement I noticed that I calculated his movement wrong. He had enough Thralls close to objective and in such positions that killing them and his jack on the objective would be really difficult. That's when I came up with a crazy plan. My plan was to throw Feora with Crusader, get up with one focus, cast engine of destruction and unleash a can of whoop-ass on Ghaspy! I couldn't charge him because of his spell, but with 8 spd, I figured that I could reach him.

I then threw Feora. Rolled for scatter. Rolled straight back to Crusader! Dang, it was so close! But I did not throw the towel in. She has two flame throwers and I had some focus on me. Flamed on, hit him with first flamethrower. Rolled triple sixes for damage! Then I rolled the next flamethrower and sadly, missed. But he was still on fire. On the opponents turn, he rolled that the fire kept on burning. I rolled for damage. He was left with ONE box! I came so close! Obviously he would have been on trouble if I had reached close combat, but when you take a risk, it's no use to go "if....". He brutally murdered Feora on his turn, obviously.

It was a risky move, but it came so close. I could have just moved crusader in and cast Blazing Effigy on him to kill those banes. But then I would have had only two focus for Feora and Reckoner to kill that slayer. I could have also murdered slayer with my two jacks and flamed those thralls, but I don't think I had the chance to move to such a position that feora would have catched all contesting thralls with her flamers. I thought it would be tons more fun to try this and I think that plan had almost the same chance of success.

I could have left that objective and retreated, but I already made a huge investment to hold the other objective with cleansers and I knew that he would just murder me with thralls and then his feat on the other corner. Cleansers would have not been fast enough to reach combat anymore, especially when he could just cast his clouds to hamper their movement.

eGhaspy and thralls are really nasty, but I welcome the challenge. The hardest part of it is that I don't see any glaring weaknesses that I could focus on. Obviously he doesn't have much room for shooting, but with the clouds and stealth as a delivery system, he rarely needs any. One local player is getting little frustrated with them and even I kinda hope that Hannu does not use them in every game he plays in our slow grow-challenge. ;)

But like I said, it's a welcome challenge.

Edit/ DarkLegacy corrected me on the rules for shaking knockdown, you can do it in the control phase only. That made the Feora assassination attempt an illegal move as I used a focus to shake her knockdown on her activation phase. I had misunderstood the rule. I'll remember that in the future, thank you for the correction!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thoughts about Protectorate: Crusader

Today I'm going to talk about a warjack that has bashed it's way straight to my heart. I've used this warjack in almost every game since I got the old metal version in a trade. I'm talking about the Crusader. Lets start with stats and equipment.

Most important thing first, the Inferno Mace. This mace is brutal. P+S 18 is awesome, choir will buff this to ridiculous! 20 is enough to threaten Khador jacks and well, anything. It also has Critical Fire that is not that useful as anything that cares about fire just dies when you hit it with this mace. It can be useful when the target is left just a few boxes, but in nine out of ten games it won't matter.

Open fist is also surprisingly potent with his high strength. With choir it is enough to put few boxes on a cygnar heavy. With it's heavy warjack status and open fist, Crusader has almost all power attacks available to it. This grants some versatility, even though it does not have any special abilities. His high strength compliments those throws and locks quite well.

Mat is good, but it really needs choir. With choir you can hit heavy targets reliably without boosting, so you can just keep buying attacks. Choir also brings high def targets to a level where you can hit them with boosting.  Any solo or warcaster you hit is in trouble. However, his poor speed and lack of reach means that you will rarely catch anything else than other heavies.

His def is pitiful, arm is good. With it and heavy warjacks damage boxes, you can take a hit. Choir can also stop opponent from shooting him, which is nice for getting him into combat. I can't stress this enough: like all menoth jacks, he really needs choir to shine.

He looks like a frontline Warjack, but he really is not. If you just run him in front, his lack of speed, reach and ranged weapons means that your opponent will get the first charge. Arm 19 is good, but it's not really enough to just throw him out there and expect to survive. I've used him as a second wave jack, who protects your warcaster and charges any enemies that dare to attack your front lines. If you give him two or three focus, he can destroy anything. ANYTHING. Even khador heavies have to think twice about moving into his charge range.

Crusader is really cheap. Six points for a heavy warjack is great. Don't be fooled by his cost, he is not an cheap copy of a heavy. He hits really hard, his cheapness comes from two things: lack of versatility, special abilities and speed. He specializes in killing one target in one turn. You can block infantry movement or trample them, but not much else. He can kill some infantry, but using him for that is not efficient use of points or focus, Repenter is made for that.  He is good for blocking los, as he is cheap and has a large base.

Who to get with him? He will do fine with just about any warcaster, but really benefits from any ability that grants him extra mobility. If you manage to boost his threat range to 10 or more inches, you create a rather large area around him that other heavies don't want to enter. Then you can use him as a frontline Warjack. He is kind in the middle with focus efficiency. He will most likely need one focus almost every turn to run/charge and 2-3 focus when he gets to melee. You can finish a damaged jack without focus, but when you want to scrap a undamaged heavy, give him 3. With three focus and choir, he will reliable destroy his target.

Lot of people will tell you the following sentence: invest two more point and buy a Reckoner. This is good advice. That's not because Crusader is a bad jack, that is because Reckoner is that awesome. However, if you are bored of the Reckoner or want a second heavy, Crusader is great for his points. If your list lacks punch to kill heavies, Crusader is a cheap solution. You just have to deal with his slow speed and pitiful threat range, as that is his biggest weakness.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Warmachine and 40k, differences and which is better for you?

This next text will be about 40k and Warmachine. However, it will NOT be a rant how much GW sucks or anything like that, it will be a text from a 40k veteran that has expanded to Warmachine. I will not talk about Games Workshop as a business, only about the games. I think it will be useful for people who are familiar with 40k and are thinking about trying Warmachine. I like 40k ,but Warmachine might be a better fit for me and I will discuss why.

First difference I would like to discuss is scale. In a typical 40k game you are going to have a LOT more models than in a typical Warmachine game. Only a rare few non-vehicle models work as individuals in 40k. Most of the time even those will join a unit! A unit of 10 models is not a large unit and especially in the newest edition, there will be a lot of vehicles on the board. But Warmachine is skirmish scale. There are units, but even in units every model will function as a individual. Every model can shoot at it's own target and hit's another model, not a unit. Every model will also roll it's attacks separately. There will be a lot of models that are purchased alone, which are called solos. Also, full units are quite pricy, so list with three full units of 10 models are quite rare in a normal sized game. It's possible and can work quite nicely too, but it's rare. Because every model is treated this way and every attack is rolled separately, Warmachine is not a good game for you if you want to see two huge armies clash together. But if you want more detailed rules for every model and like smaller scale games, it's perfect for you.

This difference in scale means two additional things that are not directly connected to the rules. It's far cheaper to buy a 'normal' sized army for Warmachine.  It's also good news to slow painters. It's actually possible for me to get my army fully painted. The downside is that you won't get to play with huge armies. Privateer Press has published rules addition called "Unbound" which let's you play larger armies more effectively. However, it's not a real expansion like Apocalypse for 40k and you still won't reach even near to the scale of Apocalypse. I like the skirmish scale a lot, but it's up to you to decide whether you like it.

The way the lists are build are completely different too. In 40k, you decide your army and build an army from a codex. Every unit is categorized and every category has a limit of how many units of that type you can get. Also, you have to get two troops and one HQ. In Warmachine, you decide a 'caster. Then you can get any unit/solo/warjack of that casters faction and any mercenary unit that works for that faction. You have to take a Warcaster and that Warcaster grants a certain amount of Warjack points that you can only use on Warjacks. You won't actually pay for a Warcaster, but stronger 'casters will provide less warjack points. Every model has a FA, which determines how many of that unit you can take. There is a lot more freedom for list building in Warmachine. Only thing you MUST buy is a Warcaster and only the faction and FA limit your choices. There are faction books which include most stats and background for your faction, but these are not the same as codexes of 40k. You don't actually have to buy this, as the stats and special rules for a model comes with the miniature. New units get revealed all the time, for all of the factions and you can add them to your list immediately.

This has the good side, that new solos, units, warjacks and even warcasters arrive on a steady pace. You also have a huge amount of options for list building. But it has a downside too. Rules for the models are updated very slowly. When the game changed from mk1 to mk2 every unit got new mk2 rules. But since then, rules for the old mk2 models have stayed the same. It's going to be a long time before they publish mk3, so you are stuck with the same rules on a model for a significant time. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that (at least in my opinion) Privateer Press has done a better job at balancing the rules. There are few units that are considered very powerful, (banethrall bomb, eGaspy and Reckoner comes to mind) but there are far less models that plain suck. Most models have at least one Warcaster or solo that makes them work.

That brings me to the next difference, Warcasters. These are way different from your HQ models from 40k. In 40k, you need to bring one and they are powerful, but losing your leader is not catastrophic. Warmachine games are won by either scenario objective or 'caster kill. It's literally a lost game when you lose your Warcaster. Warcasters are not only leaders of your army, they are controllers of Warjacks. Warjacks are steampowered robots that are controlled by accessing their magical cortexes. This is where the Warcasters come in, they are people with magical skills who can control these metal beasts. If you assume they are all stereotypical DnD mages, look at the Butcher from Khador and think again.

You have to base your army around the warcaster. It would be silly to pick only shooting models for a warcaster that boosts melee efficiency of your army.

Warjacks are big part of the game. Like I said before, your warcaster has rules for controlling Warjacks. They can also be controlled by jack marshalls, less powerful models who can also control them. Every Warcaster has a limited amount of Focus, which is used for controlling Warjacks and casting spells. So if you plan to field many Warjacks, it's a good idea to bring some jack marshalls to lighten your Warcasters burden.

If you don't like steampunk theme and playing with huge steampowered robots led by a powerful hero this is not a game for you. However, if you find that idea totally rocking, this is perfect for you!

There is one more difference that has caught my eye. There are LOT more special rules, weapons and spells for models in Warmachine than in 40k. This means that your models are really going to feel unique and there is great difference between units. This also means that it's going to take a longer time to really learn to use your models. It also means that sometimes it's hard to remember all of your opponents special rules, especially when playing against certain army for a first time. Luckily the cards make checking units a lot faster than going through a book.

The way your turn flows is different. In 40k, you have phases in which every unit will do one part of their turn. In the shooting phase, everyone will shoot and then you move in to a assault phase, where everyone will melee etc. In Warmachine, there is a maintenance phase in which you allocate focus to Warjacks and other smaller stuff happens. Then in activation phase, you will activate your units/models one by one. Every model will do their WHOLE activation before you move on the to next one. So for example, you can charge a model with a warjack and destroy him, opening line of sight for other units who can then shoot his Warcaster. The way this game works not only makes huge amount of combos and synergies possible, it makes them necessary for a win.

This is all I had to say for tonight, if you think there is another major difference I did not talk about, drop a comment below!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tried out pSeverius

Tonight I met with few of my friends to play some Warmachine. I played one game with pKreoss and two games with a new caster I bought recently, pSeverius. He was quite nice, but I'll have to make some adjustments to my list and maybe a few purchases to really make him shine.

First we played a straightforward battlebox game, my Menoth vs Seraphis Cygnar. It went quite nicely, got rid of Charger but had to sacrifice my Repenter to get it. In the late game I moved into a good position for next turn but exposed pKreoss a little in the process. I had Lamentation up so I knew he could only fire me with one low power damage spell through his Lancer and would have to move it in a really bad position to do so. I took the risk that he would do so and he took the risk that it would not succeed. He hit and rolled 6, 6 and 5 for damage, nearly taking Kreoss out in one hit! Next turn I smashed Lancer to pieces so he had only Ironclad and Stryker left and my Revenger was flanking nicely to put some immolations to Stryker. He charged my Crusader with Ironclad and did the knockdown special attack, which hit both Crusader and Kreoss behind hit. Then he moved and shot just enough damage with Strykers pistol to kill Kreoss. It was a really close and fun game. There was some bad luck on my part, but I can't really blame the dice. I took a risk and paid for it.

Then I played 10 point game against Fitimis Khador with Severius. Beginning of the game went in my favor and I got overconfident. He nearly destroyed me with his feat, but in the end Sorscha was killed by Immolations and a incinerate order from Cleansers. I did some stupid mistakes and he nearly got me, despite of the fact that I got a good start. Learned a lesson from this and pulled it off in the end, barely.

Last game we played was a three player game, my Menoth vs Fitimis Khador vs Seraphis Cygnar. Again, ten points and scenario was mosh pit. In this game I took lot of risks and it did not pay off. Should have played more a conservative game, like Fitimi did. He let me and Seraphi duke it out and then in the end, moved in finished Seraphi off. It was a really hectic game that went all over the place, so really fun and chaotic.

So far, it's been about 50%/50% for wins and losses and 100% fun for me in Warmachine. Biggest problem I still have is taking huge risks and exposing my casters too much. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it does not. Also I have big problems in dealing with Cygnar with the lists I play. I desperately need to get a caster which helps to get my army into close combat without huge casualties. I got pFeora coming from a retailer, but she doesn't really help with that problem. I might try out eFeora or Thyra soon.

Well, maybe I will just learn the casters I already own before that. ;)

PS: I really need to get more ranged models for pKreoss and pSeverius.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thoughts about Protectorate: pKreoss

I'm going to talk about the caster I have most experience with, pKreoss. He is the caster people usually start with, as he comes in the battlebox. He is a good warcaster, especially for a beginner. That might be the reason he is in the battlebox. ;)

Lets get started with stats and equipment: His speed is little on the low side. It's usually enough, but not his strong point. Str is decent, this is complimented by a great weapon which I will get to later. Mat is great, he can hit stuff. Rat does not matter and def/arm is surprisingly low for a leader of knights. He has only one more arm and two boxes more than pSeverius, which is not much. Cmd is decent, but not great. He gets only five Warjack Points, which is one lower than average. At this point you might think: "what makes him great then?"

I will tell you.

His Focus is 7 which is a bit on the high side. His weapon is great, with reach, chain weapon and dispel. Reach is a great ability on a weapon, it extends his threat range and the area in which he can make free attacks. For a warcaster free attacks matter rarely, because models who get into combat with him rarely want to move out from his melee range. Chain Weapon is very situational, it's awesome against some models but most will not care. It's not something that changes the way you play him, but it's a nice bonus. Dispel is also situational. You can use it to hit your own models and get rid of those annoying debuffs. It would be great for a melee assassination caster but not that great for Kreoss, as he doesn't quite have the spd or movement shenanigans to reach other casters. P+S of this weapon is a good 14, enough to smash infantry but not quite enough to threaten heavy warjacks.Even though his model looks really 'knightly' and he has a huge flail, he is not a melee combat monster. He is not like Feora, Reznik or Butcher. He lacks the movement tricks and melee abilities to really kick ass. He is also quite frail, so you have to be really careful with charging. However, when really needed he can use his seven focus for some melee attacks and boosts, but it's rarely the most efficient way to use your focus. He is primarily a support/denial caster.

Spells: Cleansing fire is not used very often. It's quite pricy and with it's low range, you won't get that many places where it's a good buy. Immolation is similar, but it's not an AOE, slightly weaker but it's cheaper. You can use it with arc node to snipe those pesky solos and weakened warcasters. You can pull off a spell assassination with an arc node. If you pull out one focus from a wrack and get the arc node in range, you can put out four non-boosted immolations, three with some boosting or two fully boosted. High def/low arm warcasters have a good chance of dying from two fully boosted immolations, especially if you get the critical fire. Average boosted damage roll from immolation will deal 8.5 damage to a arm 14 warcaster. It's not something you can depend on to get a caster kill, but don't forget it. I would gladly sacrifice an arc node to get those immolations on his caster.

Defenders ward is just awesome. It makes units like Daughters of Flame or Errants really hard to get rid of. +2 does not seem that big, but jump from def 12 to 14 and arm 16 to 18 is huge. It makes errants shrug off most blast damage and even pow 12 (which is quite hefty for anti-infantry weapon) needs at least 7 with dice to kill them. And because you now don't care much about blast damage, your opponent also has to go through their buffed defense. 14 def is nothing remarkable, but it still jumps from easy to hit to "shit, I can actually miss these guys". Defenders Ward should be cast on start and upkeep from there on. Only drop it when that one focus is absolutely critical on somewhere else and recast it to another unit when the original target is down to a few models or destroyed.

Above I spoke mostly about units. That's because units are most of the time a better target for it. However, it does make 'jacks quite resilient. Ward on a Revenger makes one tough little arc node, heavy in cover with it can reach surprising def. Lot of people have commented on the forums that they use it on the Avatar. That's is definitely not a bad decision. Units just usually benefit more from both sides of the Ward, jump from 10 to 12 defense is not nearly as significant as jump from 13 to 15. It also protects from blast damage very well and blast damage is something units just hate.

Lamentation is great denial. This on Kreoss will create 14 inch zone where cost of spell casting is just crazy. It's also great against upkeep-heavy casters as it's also doubles the cost to upkeep spells. If you manage to get within 14 inches, they will have to make some tough decisions. Either pay two focus for each or drop them. They can still move out of your control range and cast spells at normal cost, but if they drop upkeeps, move out of the range and cast them again, they still have to pay the spells cost instead of just one focus to upkeep. Lamentation will mess a lot of plans, but you should not be overly aggressive with it. Your opponent can still just feed jacks with all of his focus and proceed to kick ass. Kreoss is also quite frail, so moving within 14 of enemy caster can be dangerous.

NOTE: Your opponent can use an arc node to avoid the double cost. The model actually casting the spell has to be within control range for this to work.

Purification: Highly situational. It will dispel your own upkeeps too, so don't upkeep them on a turn when you are planning to use this. It's great for getting rid of other players annoying buffs and debuffs, but the point cost is quite hefty. You have to balance this with how important you think your own upkeeps are and how much more effective your turn will be without his buffs. It's also great at dispelling those upkeeps that have a high cost to cast. Your opponent has to either stop casting it or waste a lot of focus every turn.

Last but definitely not least, the Feat. It sounds very simple. All enemy models in his control area are knocked down. You don't need LOS, it just knocks EVERY enemy model down in his control area. This is very powerful. It has both offensive and defensive side.

For the offensive part, it has two effects. Knocked down models never block LOS and are really easy to hit. For ranged attacks, their defense is reduced to 5 and you hit automatically in melee. The LOS part is huge. Your opponent can't hide his caster behind his models as pKreoss can just knock them down and shoot straight at the caster! Also, many casters depend on their def to keep them safe, this feat reduces it to a pathetic level. This feat makes your charging weapon masters really devastating as they will hit with every attack! You can also nominate your charges with more freedom as you don't have to worry about free strikes. One possibility is to run right past his troops to prepare for next turn. He can't counter charge them as he has to get up next turn.

There are many things that you can't affect with his feat and experienced players will use them to shield their caster. These are cloud effects, terrain, camping focus and simple distance. But this forces his caster to hide and you can still use the feat to whoop his other models asses!

So we get to the defensive side. This revolves heavily around the fact that when you are knocked down, you have to get up! Models who get up, have to forfeit either their action or movement. This means that they don't get to charge, aim or run. It also means, if they are not in melee range when they activate, they don't get to attack with melee attacks. This can help you to get in melee, you can knock his troops down and move close to them, without the fear of them attacking at you in his turn. However, if possible, you should aim to charge in the feat turn as it grants you automatic hits.

Note that his Warjacks and Warcasters can just spend a focus to get up. It's not as devastating to them, but it's still one precious focus for each model who gets up. That's 3-4 focus for a normal battlegroup just to operate normally! His ranged 'jacks don't care so much, if they are in range they can just forfeit movement and blast away. But they won't get the aim bonus.

With all that said, offensive part of his feat is much more important than defensive. The fact that he can't operate on full efficiency for one is more like a insult to injury. It's still great feat for scenarios and helps you get to the right position.

Models immune to knock down are obviously big pain in the ass for him. However, it's rare that his whole army is immune to it. If they are, don't get depressed. He has plenty of other tools. There are some effects that stand up the models for free and in those situations you have to capitalize on the offensive side of his feat.

Quick list of things to remember when playing him:

- Feat, feat, feat. You should start planning your feat turn from the beginning. With Kreoss, the feat turn will usually determine whether you rise to victory or fall to defeat. In most games you have to decide whether you save the feat for assassination or use it to crush his army.

- Deny. Lamentation is awesome for ruining his plans and you have two tools for dispelling upkeeps. Often you can ruin his whole turn just by upkeeping lamentation and being close! Don't forget that he can still just feed his focus to jacks!

- Cast and upkeep that Defenders Ward! It's almost always worth it!

- You can snipe too! With an arc node and seven focus, immolation can get rid of those annoying solos!

- He is not a melee monster. He can melee, but he is no Feora.

- You are really frail.

So what to get with him? One surprise for me was that he synergizes pretty well with ranged troops, even if he has nothing else for them than his feat. On his feat turn, they are just plain nasty. We have many powerful shooters who just have trouble hitting. Redeemers, deliverers and cleansers destroy pretty much anything on his feat turn. Fully fed Redeemer is quite capable of ranged assassination alone on his feat turn. He can either fire three rockets with one boost or two with damage boosts. It's great range compliments this well.

Don't still forget melee models. Autohits are great. It also provides your melee troops one turn where they can move freely with less fear of counter charge.

Should you get an arc node with him? That's a hard one. He has only two spells that need arc node. Immolation and cleansing fire. I think that arc node brings a welcome versatility to the list and I find myself sniping solos or damaged casters quite often. Revenger is more than a arc node though, it's in fact a great little jack. But at a 6 point price tag, he has some very hefty competition. You can manage quite well without him, as the feat of Kreoss makes killing solos quite a lot easier. For a tournament, I would probably use the points for something else than a Revenger.

Edit:\ TheEmu reminded me of the Guardian, who I totally forgot. It is true that when you take him, you get a good melee beatstick and somewhat needed arc node in a same package. But it's still a really expensive package... 9 points is HUGE and he doesn't quite seem that good to me. Flame pike has reach which is really nice, especially for a spd 4 warjack. Critical pitch is situational and you can't depend for it to even happen. He is also slightly tougher than other heavy warjacks, as the arc node grants two boxes. But like I said, he is pricy. But even though I'm somewhat doubtful about him, I think he can be worth it with casters who need arc node only rarely and can really use a heavy warjack. Reznik comes to my mind at first. But for pKreoss, I'm not sure. For 8 points I would take him, but for 9 points... maybe.

To summarize, pKreoss is a great caster. Amazing feat, nice focus and spell list makes him a good support/denial caster, but he has some melee potential as well. If you learn to use his denial spells and feat, you are well equipped to face most of the challenges thrown at you.

Happy gaming!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Start of a new blog!

About six months ago I got a lot of new energy for Wargaming. Biggest reason for this is Warmachine. It's a great game. At first started it as a side project, but soon it swalloved me in completely. It's a great game and it's skirmish scale, so it's actually possible for me to get an army fully painted! Furthermore, what's not to love about giant steampowered robots which are controlled by trained battle-mages. There is infantry, powerful solos and other stuff too, but the Warjacks and Warcasters were the thing that really appealed to me.

After couple months of playing, I got an idea. To motivate local players to paint and play, Steamleague of Oulu was born. Currently I'm collecting participants and after summer is over, we will start.

Basicly, participants will pick a faction. Each month players will play two games. Between months, list sizes will grow by 5 points. There is a catch. All the models you put on the board HAVE to be painted. I won't go into more detail about the rules, as it's not really that interesting and I wrote them down in Finnish.

It's not a new idea and I took a lot of inspiration from others. These kind of things have been run on many different games and by lots of people. I think it's a great way to organize games and keep players interested. We will keep track of wins and losses, so in the end we can nominate the Steamchampion of Oulu!

Currently there are only four people who have signed in for this, but there is still time. Even if I can't find more people, four is enough for this kind of thing. Many of us are familiar with the "Tale of four gamers" things that popped up on the Games Workshop-website and this is quite similar to that. If this manages to get more people playing Warmachine, I'll be very happy as our group is currently quite small.

So, when this thing gets started after summer, I'll be posting reports of our battles and pictures of the armies! Tomorrow I'm planning to write about my experiences and thoughts about Protectorate of Menoth, the faction I'm playing and painting currently.

Happy gaming!