Grymkin Announcement Video

Last updated 2/20/17.

So, this video released at Smogcon today. Figured a quick tl;dr style post would be appropriate. Not every model in the new faction was detailed but we’ve got some delicious pictures, some serious spoilers and some new models that weren’t discussed.

First, big mechanic shift. Grymkin are warlocks without feats. As far as I can tell, they still use fury and have spell lists. Instead of feats, they have a new mechanic called, Arcana. Each warlock has one “Trump Arcana” and two additional arcanas that are selected by the player. Each arcana has a specified “trigger” that causes a feat-tier effect on the board. These are voluntary, the trigger occurs (such as killing models), then the Defiler player can choose whether to pop the arcana or not. Each Defilier has their own unique trump arcana and chooses 2 more (from a common list of 10 shared between the 5) after the opponent has revealed their list.

Spoiled example of an Arcana.

The Shadow.
Trigger: A model of yours is engaged by a model with a larger base size.
Effect: Put a brand new warbeast in to play in melee range of the triggering model. It can’t move but is otherwise a fully functional warbeast in the casters BG. After one round it is removed from play.

Warlocks (4 Spoiled, 2 Mentioned)

So there’s some fluff, 5 of these warlocks are ancient creatures that spurned Menoth when he brought civilization and laws to the world. In response, Menoth chucked these 5 into the most hellish depths of Ur-Cain (the “spirit world”). The Old Witch has set things in motion by freeing them, oopsies. These 5 are known as “Defilers”.
the-child

The Child
An embodiment of anger and wrath, has a personal heavy bodyguard/warbeast called “Dolly”. Her trump arcana says that when you kill her battlegroup, she sets all enemies on fire. From what the narrator in the video said, it seems that she’ll have some sort of field marshal that is conducive to constant aggression (counter charge or hyper-aggressive maybe, perhaps something new). The video card types The Child as a “front line brawler”. Apparently she’s a large based caster with Dolly on the same base as The Child.

the-dreamer

The Dreamer
This model looks incredible. She apparently embodies “Deception and Trickery”. Her two gimmicks that were mentioned seem to be split between control and attrition. Models that kill her friendly models are knocked down and she clones enemies that are killed with “figments” or “ghosts” (she comes with a small, medium and large based model for these, a mouse, a pumpkin snowman and a “Titan Pinata”). The narrator also mentioned briefly that she’s so powerful that she transforms her enemies into forms that they are more suited to (the video had a Man-o-War Shocktrooper being turned into a pile of pumpkins…).

the-heretic

The Heretic
An ex-Priest King from the time when Menoth was busy passing out law, order and walls to the human population, apparently this guy recognized that each person had a spark of divine power within them and that spark could be used to power divine magic. So this guy stole some of Menoth’s power and started to use it against Menoth (I’m not sure how this guy walks around). Billed as an infantry caster, his trump arcana reads as Synergy for troops that stacks based on you killing his troops. Narrator also seemed to imply that he’ll also be waving some sort of anti-magic tech around. Probably my favorite based on fluff (but we’re still missing details on the other two). He’s on a medium base and sounds like he has steady. Either fury 6 or 7.

the-wanderer-and-the-king-of-nothing

The Wanderer
Star Crossed, Fog of War, Fury 6
The King of Nothing

Fury 8, debuff caster. Has an aura of -2 arm to everything around him.

the-old-witch-2The Old Witch
The last warlock detailed was none other than the Old Witch herself! Its been a while since we’ve seen a battle engine sized caster…and this is a pretty model (she turned Scrapjack into a Baba-Yaga style witch hut)! She has a traditional feat (narrator said that she was the only one with a traditional feat) and probably more exciting for people, she’s also cross faction, a Warlock for the Grymkin and a Warcaster for Khador. Her stated gimmicks were “summoning Grymkin” and “enhancing her magic”, whether this was her feat or just mechanics was unclear. It’ll be cool to see what exactly she brings to the table (and I’m absolutely digging the this model and its styling). Confirmed to have Scourge and Boundless Charge as spells, and a “pick 1 of 3 each turn” style ability, one of which is reduce a spell or spells costs by 1 for the turn. Still some nonsense with the faction identitiy. Old Witch2 is a Grymkin warlock. Old Witch3 is a Khador caster.

Spoiled along with these guys were 3 beasts (2 heavies, 1 light), 3 infantry selections (2 small based, 1 medium) and 1 large based solo. These had a lot less information given and a lot less screen time was spent on them. In the video, there were several models shown that were talked about (a solo and a warbeast). I can’t get pictures to format nicely (I’ve gotta run out the door in about 6 minutes so speed is of the essence).

Warbeasts

Skin and Moans
Heavy, looks like 2 initials (one weapon on each hand). Collects corpse tokens, gains +Strength and +Armor for corpse tokens (probably the same rule that Boneswarms have, Death-Powered).

Cage Rager
Upkeep assitance, Channeling, Arcane Vortex. From what the narrator said, it sounds like all of these mechanics are powered by soul collection (that this beast does).

Rattler
Billed as the anti-infantry choice, from what the narrator said it has Berserk. Range 1.

Unmentioned Light Beast
Some sort of hellhound, it has the night troll’s crazy tongue and hands for paws.

“Horse Head Light”
Ranged light.

Crabbits
Lesser warbeast with Leap and Shieldguard. There’s a theme that grants them for free. 2 for 7 points.

Troops

Hollowmen + Laternmen (CA or WA)
Small based infantry, appear to be based on trenchers (lookwise). They have eyeless sight, some sort of ranged attack and the laternmen CA/WA seemed to allow the unit “strong recursion”.

Dread Rot
Small based infantry, Weaponmasters, Tough. They collect corpse tokens and can donate them to other friendly model/units. They are Jack-o-Latern themed farm murderers.

Piggyback
Medium based infantry. Snacking, Impervious Flesh, Shield Wall, Tough. Not much more to say. Arm 15 base (Shield Wall to 19, 21 with battle engine).

Neighsayers
Small based, single wound cav with Armor Piercing lances.

Murder Crows
Small based infantry. Stealth and maybe prey.

Mad Caps
Artillery, makes “Cask Gimps” and might have Stumbling Drunk.

Twilight Sisters
Character Unit. Returns 2 models a turn, any infantry.

Solos

Witchwood
Larged based, amazing model. The video said that it teleports, has POW15 attacks and some sort of ability that bewitches warrior models. Has prowl, no drag and “unspoiled things”.

Glimmer Imps
On hit blind. 5″ -2 DEF aura.

Trapper Kin
Burrows. Back arc bonuses and sprint.

Lady Karianna Rose
Character. Only form of fury management. Enrage. If killed +1 to hit/damage for entire army.

Lord Longfellow
This guy was shown again. During the ARG, we got a spoiler video that matched this release video coupled with a backwards voice that mentioned black penny. Spiderman is apparently a gunmage. He also showed up in some of the pan shots (around 14:15 in the video, right side, pans into view/focus briefly). Finisher. Spider in clothes. Gains bonus dice against characters. RAT 7. 2/4 shots.

Battle Engines

Deathnail
Battle Engine. Fuels a Krielstone style +ARM aura with corspes. Costs somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 points (which is…cheap for a huge base…)

That’s all for the moment, I’ll try to keep this post (or another similar one) updated as a reference as we go through the next couple months.

Meta-Benders

In contrast to my last post (which was a hybrid monstrosity of critiquing Privateer Press, reviewing Durant2 and redesigning Durant2), this post is going to be largely positive. Its also about Una2 (and meta-benders in general), so bear with me.

What is a “meta-bender”? Put simply, a meta-bender is a release that causes established meta to shift. A “meta” (actually M.E.T.A.) is “most effective tactic available”. Its slang that has grown to describe the common game environment in which we theory-machine/compete in.

Humans are extremely efficient problem solvers (read: lazy). Once we find a solution to a problem, we’re unlikely to change that solution unless something else changes. One of the desired results of playing and participating in a game is to win and because humans are lazy, we’ll gravitate to the path of least resistance. For a tabletop wargame, this results in the development of the “meta gamestate”. While a meta is not an inherently bad thing to have in a game, it is quite easy for a meta to become toxic and stale.

After the initial release frenzy had died down, mkIII Warmachine settled into a fairly stale meta with surprising speed. Competitive players brought two archetypes of lists to tournaments, gunlines and armor spam (there were a few outliers here, but the majority were gunlines or armor spam). The online communities, the groups of people looking for their meta solution to Warmachine (i.e. a win with the least possibility of loss), latched onto the competitive meta. In factions where the models no longer supported the meta, morale plummeted and positivity vanished (hi Cryx players!). It turns out that thinking is hard and complaining is easy (6 months in people are starting to discover that Cryx has some pretty potent game, but I digress). What was most shocking to me is exactly how quickly the meta crystallized. Any discussion with players basically got the same answers and nobody wanted to try new things. Partially this is on PP, as I’ve mentioned previously the first two waves of Warcasters were incredibly bland, timid in scope and uninspired (I understand their timidity and I’m not advocating that it was unreasonable, I’m just saying that the first 6 months of mkIII didn’t live up to the hype). Basically, by not releasing powerful, dynamic casters that force people to think about the meta, PP doomed the meta to its state of rapid stagnation.

Now we have Una the Skyhunter. A Circle warlock that does a fairly specific thing very well (which is running light warbeasts into an army and murdering everything dead) that is completely outside the scope of the current meta (gunlines and armor spam), she forces the meta to change (to gunlines, armor spam and Una2 counters). As players adjust their two list pairs, it causes new thoughts and ideas to occur. Because of these new thoughts and ideas, lists change even more and new strategies form. The meta warps irrevocably and we have a completely new environment to play in!

This is why I like Una2 and meta-benders in general. They represent new problems on the table, new puzzles to solve and new tactics to emerge. All of these things are signs of a healthy game (and it makes things far more interesting than any of the battle box casters or junior 2s have). So good on PP for releasing Una2, I look forward to more meta-benders and more puzzles in the future!

Afternote: I’m aware that Una2 is the last caster in the junior release cycle, she’s just so starkly different from the rest of them that she might as well be her own release cycle.

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

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.

Let’s Rumble!

Apparently I’m rather fond of starting post titles with “Let’s…”. Anyways, Privateer Press put out variant rules for playing small games of Warmahordes in the 2016 Steamroller document (link here). The basic idea is this is a 15-35 point game played on a 30×30″ board. There are some differences in deployment but it’s basically played the same as a full sized game.

The other important piece of this post is that I’ve been playing Star Wars: Armada recently (a good buddy of mine bought heavily into the game and was looking for someone to play against). One of the key features of that game is that the players take turns activating their models and it got me thinking:

“What would Warmachine play like if there were alternating activations?”

So I got together an interested opponent and we played a Rumble game with alternating activation…and it was a fantastic amount of fun! There were a few rules adjustments that we had to make on the fly in an attempt to maintain a little balance and fun.

  1. The player with the fewest activations gets to activate a model/unit first. This player is the “first player” for that round.
  2. The first player takes a maintenance phase, then the second player takes a maintenance phase.
  3. The first player takes a control phase, then the second player takes a control phase.
  4. A round is over when all models have activated.
  5. Models that are knocked down during an opponent’s activation behave as if they were knocked down during an opponent’s turn.
  6. Models that are made stationary during an opponent’s activation behave as if they were made stationary during an opponent’s turn.

That’s about it. I want to try this a few more times before formalizing some sort of document, but I think this idea has a lot of potential. If you try it and have some feedback, please let me know!

Woldwyrds and Consistancy (or How to Win Warmachine)

I have been thinking about how best to make use of the Woldwyrds I recently bought and painted. What it comes down to, is I need to apply their gun in the best way possible, a slightly difficult task because they’re RAT 6 (for giggles, here’s the card because I can totally do this now!)

woldwyrd-card

Clearly Woldwyrds have zero issues actually getting to where they need to be (7 inches of scoot coupled with pathfinder makes it super easy to go where you’re needed) but the RAT 6, it’s rough. Normally, I’d be unconcerned. It has three shots and can boost….but it only has 2 Fury with which to boost with and that’s a problem. There are a few easy ways to handle this, but the point I’m trying to make is this: Warmachine is won by maximizing your consistency and minimizing your opponent’s consistency.

We, as players, do this mainly though buffs and debuff. We want to make the process of removing out models as unlikely as possible while maximizing the chances we remove our opponent’s models. For the Woldwyrds specifically, there are three methods I can think of off the top of my head.

First and easiest, the green version of the Cygnar Rangers, an Argus Moonhound. +2 RAT to anything within 5″ and line of sight of the Moonhound.

Second, aim bonus! While not the easiest thing to apply due to their range, it is almost always an option.

Third, slams. Probably my favorite power attack and one that is largely captilized upon by attacks (instead of heavies), Circle has a beauty of a slambot at 12 points, the Gnarlhorn Satyr. Knocked down models have a DEF of 5, slammed models get knocked down. That’s typically a DEF of at least 7…plus Gnarlhorns have Counterslam which I suspect is just this side of amazing (since being knocked down on your own turn is horrendous).

Maybe I should just suck it up and make a list for this…I’m already 40% of the way there…

Get It Painted! (Jan 5, 2017)

I’m picky when it comes to my Warmahordes collecting. I prefer the visual or fluff aesthetics over sheer competitive power (typically this also means that I have fewer models to buy). One of the aesthetics I really appreciate is Circle’s Wold constructs, I’ve scooped up and painted the Woldshrimp (they were featured in the last round of Get It Painted!) and when I spotted that the Woldwyrds had gotten a decent buff and were on sale for $9 a pop, I couldn’t resist and bought two. Someday I might actually have enough Circle models to feel compelled to find a synergistic warlock to run them….until then…

January Running Tally
Major Beth Maddox: 1
Woldwyrd x2: 4
5/31