Friday, April 8, 2011

WARMACHINE Tournament Journal: Part 3

So now I've stated my intention to enter this tournament, and I've described briefly (and not very thoroughly) the nature of the Master's Tournament; what I will attend to now is my army list: The Retribution of Scyrah.

As regular readers of this blog can attest, I love elves. Therefore it was a no-brainer that when Privateer Press unleashed the Iosans onto the Iron Kingdoms I'd take up their quest to rid the world of human wizards. As soon as the army was released I knew it would be my new favorite faction. The models look cool, the Mymidons look cool (keep your damn Gundam/Tau comments to yourselves, dammit!), and the backstory is rad as well.

So for the tournament I'm called upon to make three 50-point lists each with a different warcaster. To begin I think I'll draw from my existing collection of models for this faction:
+ Chimera
+ Griffon
+ Phoenix
+ Discordia
+ Manticore
+ Full unit of Mage Hunters (with UA)
+ Full unit of Dawnguard Invictors (with UA)
+ Ghost Sniper
+ House Shyeel Magister
+ Nayl
+ Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios (No Quarter exclusive, thankyouverymuch!)
+ Arcanist
+ Mage Hunter Assassin
+ Dahlia Hallyr and Skarath
+ Kaylissa
+ Dawnlord Vyros
+ Garryth

What a list! So now I need to make three lists out of that. Well, primarily out of that; I'm not opposed to adding and subtracting things from that list.

How about this for starters:
++ Chimera
++ Griffon
++ Manticore
+Dahlia Hallyr
+ 10 Dawnguard Invictors
++ Invictor Officer & Standard
+ 10 Mage Hunter Strike Force
++ Mage Hunter Commander
+ Arcanist
+ House Shyeel Magister
+Mage Hunter Assassin
+ Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios

That brings us to 57pts before Kaylissa's bonus.

I've always liked Kaylissa's huge amount of focus she brings, and her feat. She's my main caster for sure, and I'll probably use this list as my fall-back dependable list. The Manticore can pack a punch with its multiple shots and its high armor (especially for the points cost), and the Griffon is also nothing to sneeze at, what with its shield, reach and ability to add to its movement with focus. The Chimera, I've always liked because of a sneaky little plan I have (which actually doesn't come into play as much as you'd think) which involves the Chimera getting into combat with a medium-based figure and using its ability at the beginning of the following turn to move to the target's rear and make back attacks!

Mage Hunters I love, but have always had gripes about the lack of a combined range attack. However, I can't complain a lot about being able to shoot through stuff and ignoring all sorts of focus-based buffs on my target. They're squishy but they are pretty stealthy and can get where I wanted to be thanks to pathfinder and advance deploy.

I'm thinking for my 2nd list I'll use Garryth as my main caster and throw either the Griffon or the Chimera in with the Invictors to be marshaled. I'm not too keen on either, as they both make use of focus pretty well, but I'm leaning towards the Griffon as it would still allow me to do my sneaky tactic with the Chimera.

I don't know what I'll do with my third caster, but I'm tempted to get some House Shyeel Battle Mages and take Rahn as my main caster. I love his eight focus, but I'm not convinced by the Battle Mages… I could always opt for another unit of Mage Hunters as redundancies are always a good thing to have in case something backfires. I've always been temped by Houseguard units but I don't know if I can paint enough of them in time for the tournament.

The key (I figure) to understanding the Retribution and using them well is to get comfortable with the fact that they're going to be outnumbered. It's a sad fact of life, that I need to maximize the opportunities I'm given and try and avoid being surrounded. Before you mention it, spreading out isn't a good idea either; it can lead to the loss of flanks super-quickly as the unit that was dutifully guarding your right flank got eaten by some dumb Skorne elephant-beast, or crushed by some Khadorian brute!

This is my initial list. I'm going to paint it and play a whack-ton of games with it, weighing any advice given me with things I learn from my games in order to hone the list. After I'm relatively comfortable with what I have I'll begin to sub out some 'casters here and there.

This is what I have for now. I have a pretty good spread of opponents over most of the factions (Cryx and Protectorate will be hard to scrounge up), so I'll let you know what's up with my gaming. Of course, any advice you folks have for me will go a long way as well!


P.S. I'm not too worried about anyone seeing my list in advance before the tournament. In fact, if you recognize me by what list I have on here at the tourney, say "hi!" It's good to know that my ramblings aren't just sailing into the void.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WARMACHINE Tournament Journal: Part 2

So I've been prepping for the tournament at Lock and Load, and part of that prep is to know what the hell I'll be walking in to. To begin, I looked up the rules for the Steamroller Tournament, and man is it intimidating.

Thirty-four pages of rules on a tournament? Interesting. I feel that I need to give as much attention to this document as I do to the other forcebooks. In all seriousness, it is a little daunting the amount of work that goes into a tournament. For instance, the tournament demands three army lists (each with a different caster) and they specify what kind of appendix list they'll use by stating that it will be "divide and conquer." Well, let's take a look at what that means:

"Divide and Conquer – The TO will announce the expected number of rounds to be played at the beginning of the tournament. Divide the number of rounds to be played by the required number of lists for each player. The result (rounded down) is the number of times each list must be played during the tournament. Such events should also use the X-Round Event variant, so players know the number of rounds they have to use each list. 

For example, if a tournament requires that each player brings two army lists and has four rounds, then each player would have to play each list twice (4 divided by 2). In this variant a player must inform the opponent if he has no choice of which warcaster or warlock he must play prior to the match." (Steam Roller 2011, pg. 29)

As you can see, I'll need the practice. Now why do I find this strange? Well, I've never been involved in a tournament that tries to balance out the odds so much. Now this is a good thing, and fits in with Privateer's ethos of creating balanced games that award the highest skill but it does feel a bit like I'm preparing for something that's way over my head. 

On the other side of the coin, Games Workshop tournaments that I've been to have been very straightforward: Warhammer 40,000 tournament. 1500pts. These are the lists you can choose from. No special characters. No Forge World. Here's the scenarios we'll be playing. Go.

Now, again, don't get me wrong, I relish the chance to compete in the Master's Tournament at Lock and Load, and I think such a detailed tournament document is fully in line with Privateer Press' style. It just means that I'll have to work harder to prep for this tournament than I've ever had to before.

Friday I'll go into my initial lists for the tournament. I'll need three of 'em, and with three different casters. Here's hoping I can get all this done by June.


Monday, April 4, 2011

WARMACHINE Tournament Journal: Part 1

It all began on Friday, when I woke up early to register for events on the Lock and Load website. I noticed that after I had selected all I wanted to do, I still had a five-hour block on the Friday to fill. "Not a problem," I thought, "I'll just spend that time shopping or gaming at the open gaming area." Then it hit me: enter the tournament.

I had been hesitant to entering a WARMACHINE or HORDES tournament because I never thought myself good enough to even bother. After all, there are people out there who play every week, and know the combos in and out, and could probably wipe the tables with the remains of my pride and my models all the while laughing and moving on to the next opponent; another of his ilk. They will slap each other on the backs at the sight of my emotional de-pantsing and get to the sort of gaming of a calibre beyond my sight.

But I had been playing for just as long as anybody when it came to WARMACHINE. And besides, it's free. If I lose, I've still had some games. It's time to push the envelope.

So here begins my Tournament Journal, something I've wanted to do on this blog for a long time. It just so happens that most tournaments in the world are on weekends, and those are the days when I work. So what will be the makeup of this ongoing journal? It will chronicle the building, painting, and testing of the army I will bring to the tournament. It will also chronicle the re-building, extra painting, and further testing of that army as I refine its make-up and structure. It will take you on a journey from the beginnings of a tournament army, to its conclusion at the tournament, itself.

My army of choice: The Retribution of Scyrah. It's no secret that I love elves, and elves with giant robots, in one of my favorite miniatures games is a no-brainer. This is but an intro to what I hope to be an insightful and interesting set of articles on tournament gaming.

Stay tuned! Wednesday and Friday will reveal the particulars of the tournament and the army.