Get it Painted! (Jan 26, 2017)

That buffer of extra days really disappeared quickly. Things are picking up for me at school and I’ll probably have to slow down on painting or gaming (or both, which sucks because a number of things I’ve been eagerly awaiting are launching soon!). Anyways, I’ve only got a handful of models left to paint to actually complete this “Get it Painted!”…like 6 models.

So a week or so ago at this point, PP release the Skorne errata. I’ve already been poking around Skorne as my hordes faction (Everblight was too squishy and largely uninteresting, Circle has some game but I can’t find casters that I want to play, Trollbloods are universally on medium bases = expensive models, and the factional split in minions still exists between the casters and beasts so meh/meh there as well). Skorne on the other hand…mmm! I started looking at them and they struck me as “Protectorate sans denial with aggressive face smooshing”. With mkIII stripping a lot of the denial game and a lot of the buffing synergy Protectorate had in mkII, I’m seeing that sort of complex buffing synergies in Skorne (I like winning via silly Rube Goldberg machines of buffs). Plus some Skorne casters have debuffs! All of this really off topic rambling does have a point, let me introduce the five models that are going to bring home this painting challenge!

One Skorne Ancestral Guardian and four Scarabs! I was planning to split this into two posts but I’m too excited and all of these are ready for varnishing. Out of the Skorne errata came some buffs to the Immortal boat. The Guardians picked up a speed aura for the Immortals which enables a silly charging threat with them (something around 13″). When stacked with everything else, its really quick terrifying. Fluff-wise, the Ancestral Guardians and Immortals are how Skorne cheat death…they trap their souls in gems and implant those gems into stone statues. Those statues then come alive in times of dire need to help defeat the enemies of the Skorne Empire. I settled on a green color scheme for the Ancestral Guardians, something simple and striking and I think I got it about right. It matches the flag stone on the base quite well (and in the future, will match the ziggurat terrain/display piece I’m planning on building).

The small based models are a Skorne Scarab pack. These little guys are fairly useless when attacking, but are fabulous meat shields for a few different casters. I think they’re super cute and decided to paint them like potato beetles. Not my best work, but they’re done AND based (which is a step up from most everything else I’ve done…). Longer post than usual but hey, it is the final post for the 2017 January Get it Painted challenge! Go me!

Oh yeah, the bulb in the light I’ve been using for picture lighting burnt out and all I have is this dingy “soft daylight” build. It changes the colors somewhat in the pictures.

January Running Tally
Skorne Scarab Pack + Ancestral Guardian: 6
The “Strength” Slayer: 3
Acosta: 1
Old Crusader!!!: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 4+5: 2
Stormguard Captain + Grunt, Captain Finn: 3
Mobius + Bane Warrior Grunt: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 2 + 3: 2
Punch Monk: 1
Knight Exemplar Grunt (1/5): 1
Knight Exemplar Captain: 1
Major Beth Maddox: 1
Woldwyrd x2: 4
31/31

Get it Painted! (Jan 23, 2017)

A bright bit of news, there’s a few people that glance at my blog and like my posts and you guys have racked up 20 likes! It was happy little alert to get today!  Second piece of bright news, I painted an entire heavy from primer to completion in 6 hours in one session! Endurance was something I’ve been struggling with, longer sessions put a lot of strain on my eyes (my current eyeglass prescription is…off, something to do with the anti-glare coating and it makes long sessions rough). This is another Cryx model, a Slayer. Currently most of what one can find online about Cryx tries to convince one that the faction is a burning dumpster fire! They’re wrong (mostly just lazy people that find complaining easier than thinking and change). Enough of that though, onto the model itself!

This has been one of my favorite models to paint…ever. It has a lot of fun, small details that are easy to pick out. Overall, it’s a fairly good looking model and it accepted my thoughts quite easily. I’ve got a few other color schemes I’d like to try other than the blue and gold (white and gold I think would be very striking) and fortune smiles on me because I’ve got one more Slayer to paint! This also brings me 3 more bases closer to that magic 31! One last thing I wanted to ramble about, the rune. This rune is out of one of the Cryx fluff books, it means “Strength” and it was probably one of the easier runes to freehand. From the pictures you should be able to see that the rune is a wonderful example of my failure to adequately thin my paints, but in this case I don’t mind it (the raised nature of the rune helps define and separate it from the blue base). Doing freehand details and getting the paints sufficiently thin to avoid that build up, but thick enough to be controllable (read: to not run absolutely everywhere) is a massive pain. It’s the primary reason that I don’t do more freehand details. Overall I think this jack turned out rather nicely! (Also Deneghra1 is still a meta-defining powerhouse. Come at me!)

January Running Tally
The “Strength” Slayer: 3
Acosta: 1
Old Crusader!!!: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 4+5: 2
Stormguard Captain + Grunt, Captain Finn: 3
Mobius + Bane Warrior Grunt: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 2 + 3: 2
Punch Monk: 1
Knight Exemplar Grunt (1/5): 1
Knight Exemplar Captain: 1
Major Beth Maddox: 1
Woldwyrd x2: 4
25/31

Get it Painted! (Jan 22, 2017)

A model that’s a little newer than my trusted and fully painted Crusader, Acosta. I haven’t had the opportunity and inclination to put him on the table yet (something that I’m looking forward to). I can’t decide if I want to just drop him into a Cygnar list and run him as a utility solo or if I want to build a merc list and actually be able to drop buffs on him. Anyways, this a post about painting, not a post about list strategy.

So I’ve got my red fabrics down to almost a science. I can replicate the techniques over and over (as evidenced on the Knight Exemplars recently and the Temple Flameguard not so recently). I don’t the right hues on hand for doing blue fabrics (or purples) so i had to cheat and do some mixing (something that isn’t advisable for multiple models because it’s difficult to match the color over and over and over). I’m fairly happy with the results but I don’t think I’ll do this again without a properly matched set of blues. Other than that, he’s matched fairly well with my other Cygnar.

January Running Tally
Acosta: 1
Old Crusader!!!: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 4+5: 2
Stormguard Captain + Grunt, Captain Finn: 3
Mobius + Bane Warrior Grunt: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 2 + 3: 2
Punch Monk: 1
Knight Exemplar Grunt (1/5): 1
Knight Exemplar Captain: 1
Major Beth Maddox: 1
Woldwyrd x2: 4
22/31

Dies Like a 10pt Jack

So I was listening to the Muse on Minis podcast (#295) and in the preamble bit of the cast, they started discussing what makes a heavy jack worth a premium points price. To quote Keith:

The ultimate reason [that I don’t want to play 18+ points jacks]  is that so often, especially when paying a premium price for a jack that doesn’t bring any additional survivability, it just adds to the burden of playing mistake free. When you bring a 20pt jack that dies like a 10pt jack, it can be removed for a huge advantage for your opponent.

This quote (and the surrounding discussion) provoked some thoughts that I’ve been chewing on and turning over and over in my head. The conclusion I’ve reached is that budget heavies are severely undercosted. This isn’t round 897 of Hordes vs Warmachine which is better, but within each faction, Warjacks are too cheap, too efficient for their points. Let’s take the Protectorate Crusader. 10 points, 32 boxes, armor 19. That’s 3.2 boxes per point on the table! Even chaff infantry (Temple Flameguard, ~1 box per point) can’t match that level of efficiency. Heavy infantry is a little better with Cinerators clocking in at 1.5 boxes per point (but they suffer from a different issue which makes those HP less effective than the TFG, but I digress). A Dervish edges out the Crusader with ~3.7 boxes per point, but again, that’s too cheap!

If the Crusader/Dervish is so efficient, why bring anything else? Utility. Sometimes I need my jacks to shoot, sometimes I need them to catch a charge, sometimes I need them to protect my caster from spells. This doesn’t help the infantry versus jack comparison any at all though. Largely, the only reason to take infantry is for the damage output, certain infantry can pack 10+ attacks and after buffs, abilities, and other support can rip the world to shreds.

Interestingly, if the Crusader was 18 points, the box efficency would drop to 1.7, which is rather interesting (note: I’m not advocating that the Crusader be 18 points, rather 18-point Protectorate heavies almost match the box:point ratio of heavy infantry).

So all of this post I’ve been ignoring the effect that DEF and ARM have on a model’s boxes. I’ve avoided discussing DEF and ARM because it muddles the point I’m attempting to make. DEF and ARM serve to define a model’s role almost more than the special rules on a card. A model with low defensive stats isn’t going to be a frontliner while it’s a waste to hide DEF/ARM skewed models away where your opponent can’t spend attacks on them. Part of the problem with discussing DEF and ARM simultaneously is the fact that they are inherently different. DEF is a binary check, did this attack hit? Yes/No. Done. ARM can be binary (single wound models) but it also serves as a non-linear mitigation factor for damage (yay 2d6 probability curves!) which makes it a much more complex topic for discussion. Quick example for this, ARM17 Temple Flameguard resist roughly 60% of all POW10 attacks (I have a picture somewhere that charts average expected damage between various POWs and ARMs. Short version is 2d6 average to 7, if a model’s ARM is POW+7 higher it’ll won’t take damage roughly 60% of the time). As soon as that damage roll creeps up to 8 or more, dead flameguard. Cinerators also have ARM17, however they die to a single POW10 around 3% of the time. Each time they take damage from, their ability to not die to further POW10s drops drastically (1 box of damage more than doubled the likelihood that a POW10 damage roll will kill a Cinerator).  Why this is a problem is that POW10s are less common than POW12s (or POW15s, etc). If the attack instantly kills the model, ARM stops being important. The fact of the matter is that TFG are more resilient to high POW attacks because there 10 of them (compared to 3 Cinerators). Thats 10 attacks that have to hit the TFG. Now that we’re discussing instant death, having a higher DEF to lower the odds that the binary comes up “YES” is far more important.

The short version of all of this is, if you’re easy to hit and don’t have a ridiculous armor, you have to have a lot of boxes to be more efficient than having more bases. ~8ish boxes makes you largely immune to single instances of damage below POW16 at ARM17. The Crusader has 4 times that number at a higher ARM…

In summary, I’ve noticed that the budget heavy jacks don’t fall along the same box:point efficiency curve as infantry, heavy infantry and more expensive heavy jacks. This is probably not okay (and easiest fix would be a point cost increase of the budget heavies).

Get it Painted! (Jan 20, 2017)

Well today is a special day, one of the first Warmachine models I ever acquired,  the 2-Player Battlebox Crusader, just got painted! I’m not completely happy with the paint job (I need more practice painting Warjacks) but its done! I decided a weapon called “Inferno Mace” should be a touch more fiery as well. Again, not completely happy, I need to go create better streaking between the different colors (I did a decent job blending orange to red which I think is working against me in this instance). One of the things that really kept me from finishing this jack is how many times I’ve started and stopped before. I really probably should’ve stripped it down but…I’m ready to be done with it. On another happy note, I’ve gotten a little ahead of where I should be!

January Running Tally
Old Crusader!!!: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 4+5: 2
Stormguard Captain + Grunt, Captain Finn: 3
Mobius + Bane Warrior Grunt: 3
Knight Exemplar Grunts 2 + 3: 2
Punch Monk: 1
Knight Exemplar Grunt (1/5): 1
Knight Exemplar Captain: 1
Major Beth Maddox: 1
Woldwyrd x2: 4
21/31

Harby Build Log, Part 1 – The Plan

I love me some cheap models. I commonly will scrounge around the internet for cheap deals on Warmachine minis and I’m frequently successful (my most recent acquisition was 3 Skorne Lights (Savage, Brute, Raider) for $20, which is something of deal since normally Raiders and Brutes start at $17 before shipping…). This Harbinger of Menoth was no exception. Now I’m excited about this model for a few reasons, its one of the better looking sculpts in the game, she’s a fairly potent caster and there’s a huge opportunity for me to flex my old kit bashing skills.

So I’ve already done my initial unboxing and decided on a few things. I don’t care for the minions pulling her around like a party balloon. I’m thinking of reforming the chains to be trailing behind her, but the minions clutter the base and I want them gone. I don’t like the flag! I’m currently being terrorized by Irusk2 and his massive flag-based balance issues (I swear, the flag alone has the rest of the model matched for weight, including the rocky base) and the prospect of another such experience was unappealing. When I got my Harby, the flag stick was bent 180-degrees and turned out to be a flimsy thin piece of metal (a clear recipe for disaster). I’ve seen some beautiful Harby conversions with wings and shield and I think that’s definitely the direction I want to take my party balloon in.

So to clearly summarize my objectives:
ADDING:
-Wings.
-Off-hand shield.
-Reasonably sized pauldrons.

REMOVING:
-Goon squad.
-Unreasonably sized pauldrons.
-Obnoxiously shipped flag.

From my 40k days I’ve got a decent stockpile of random interesting bits. One of my little hobby drawers has 5 pairs of wings from these guys. They’re about the right scale and are clearly wings. I’m not 100% on using them, a quick google search displays some impressive alternatives to consider (I’m just not certain I have the tools and the kit bashing chops to get the multi-wing arrays to work properly, most of these demand extensive pinning). Some examples of what I’m talking about.

Long story short, I don’t think the Harbinger will survive as a usable model without pinning (her waist joint has me wincing already…) so I’ve got a pinning kit ordered. More on this when that kit arrives!

Images Cited
Six Fiery Wings + Red Scheme – https://boardgamegeek.com/image/303353/warmachine
Six Gold-Silver Wings + Dudes by Yonin – http://yon1n.deviantart.com/art/The-Kite-365444461
Six Silver Wings + Lava Base by dragonesskirra  – http://privateerpressforums.com/showthread.php?137846-My-Harbinger-of-Menoth-lt-3

Indestructible Skorne

(I strongly urge you listen to this track while reading this post!)

So the Skorne errata is out and I’m criminally excited! I may have spent my entertainment budget for the next month and a half on Skorne models this evening but I have no regrets! Skorne is no longer a slightly unoptimized, un-synergistic and unfun faction ladies and gents! So a while back now, I discussed a couple of Skorne lists (Ghost Sniper Skorne and Skorne Beast Bullets) and I’m happy to report that the theory behind those lists is largely unchanged. But this post is about a new breed of Skorne, the type of Skorne that leverage stone statues and ancestral power to bludgeon their enemies into submission,  #Statue_Power2017, I give you Indestructible Makeda!

Indestructible Makeda

50 / 50 Army

Archdomina Makeda – WB: +29
– Basilisk Krea – PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
– Cyclops Savage – PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
– Cyclops Savage – PC: 7 (Battlegroup Points Used: 7)
– Archidon – PC: 10 (Battlegroup Points Used: 8)

Ancestral Guardian – PC: 5
Ancestral Guardian – PC: 5

Hakaar the Destroyer – PC: 7

Immortals – Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
Praetorian Karax – Leader & 9 Grunts: 11
Paingiver Beast Handlers – Leader & 3 Grunts: 5

So I suppose I should explain a little about this list. The main goal of this list is to run the Immortals down my opponent’s throat until they beg for mercy. Immortals are SPD 4, Quicken brings that to SPD 6 and the Ancestral Guardian pushes it to 8. Combined with reach, the immortals threaten a tremendous 13″ on the charge! 10 P+S 13, MAT 7 models is going to leave a fairly hefty dent in anything they run into.

The Guardian and Hakaar’s presence is fairly self explanatory, they’re fairly terrifying solos by themselves and will vaccum up the souls for a vicious second wave charge.

The Karax are in the list for three reasons, first to provide a screen/catchers mitt for the Immortals. Second, to jam/run-to-engage anything dangerous that might threaten the Immortal boat. Third, as a source of souls for Hakaar and the Guardians.

This just leaves the beasts. The Krea is a beautiful anti-shooting piece that’ll be critical for games where I need to brick up and “crawl” across the table (Karax are a SPD 8, DEF 16, ARM 21 wall) and parked on a flag otherwise. The Cyclops are cheap shield guards that also can threaten heavies (P+S15 with 4 attacks after the Beast Handlers isn’t shabby). They’re in the list to provide a third wave of charging or to handle flanks. The lone Archidon is coming along to be my “problem solver”. With a tremendous control range, this flappy T-Rex can scalpel out important pieces (artillery, support, etc) or I can buff it up and spend it in to chew on a heavy.

The last point of debate, why Makeda1? Why not Zaal1/2 or Xerxis1? Why not Makeda2? Honestly, I don’t know. Gut instinct maybe? I have a feeling that Jack Hammer is going to be key to solving heavy targets. The combination of Carnage and Quicken does a lot to support the list. To briefly discuss the other possibilities.

Xerxis1 – He wouldn’t be a bad choice, but I can’t help but recoil at the thought of running a Fury 5 caster. Xerxis1 would probably be my second choice to run this list, he can duplicate the high speed brick and fixes the issue of armor cracking quite nicely (feat + damage order). Also Tactician is one of the strongest rules in the game. He’d need a different beast selection (30 points gets something like Krea, Brute, Sentry).

Zaal1/2 – I have zero experience with how useful Soul Manipulation is. Zaal1 is probably stronger than Zaal2 (2’s spell list is…uninspiring) and Zaal1 can turn 1 Fury into 4 souls (3 Guardians and Hakaar). Zaal1 has some potential, but except for the soul shennanigans everything he does is better done by Xerxis or Makeda.

Makeda2 – Really she does about the same job as Makeda1, Stay Death covers the feat, Dash and Deflection cover Quicken and her feat covers Carnage. Overall I feel that both Makeda1 and Makeda2 have similar roles just achieved with different tools. I personally how Makeda1 achieves the list.