Friday, October 7, 2016


Before the WTC

My family and I had been planning a trip to visit Slovenia for a long time, and I had kept sporadic contact with my Warmachine friends in Slovenia since I had moved back to NZ. They had also been talking about going to the WTC for a year or two, but didn't quite have the numbers since their scene had shrunk quite a bit in the dying years of Mk2.

Early in 2016 however, we just decided to make the trip and time it around September so I could attend the WTC. I had more or less quit playing by this point so I had no hopes or aspirations whatsoever other than enjoy myself and hang out with old friends. Everyone was fine with this.

Our final team was thus decided:
  • Captain Baffo, of Muse on Minis conversion articles fame
  • S'tan, Slovenia's PG who had been living in the UK for the last 3 years or so
  • Weef, the only legit Warmachine player in the country
  • JS (me), the godfather of Slovenian Warmachine, now its pariah/traitor
  • Maks, a Slovene native who usually lives in Poland
  • EFEORA, the little Mazda that could
Here is a video that provides a summary of the team experience, despite many technical issues among the way:

My lists

The original plan was to have me play Lylyth2 cancer and Thag1 theme with Archangel cancer and put me up first round to draw out counters, then have fire-heavy lists (PoM/Circle/Trolls) as the other pairings.

Then Mk3 was announced and that plan went down the drain. The next plan was to have me play Cygnar, because they had a bunch of painted Cygnar (remember that I had sold my Gators by this point so I could only borrow models - besides I was travelling with family and wasn't going to waste valuable luggage allowance on carrying a shitload of metal figures - only brought a Guild Ball team with me).
Then the guy loaning me the Cygnar got a hard on for Caine2 in Mk3 and wanted to play him, so I said I'd play Protectorate, the other available list.

I played Durst and Kreoss1. Both the lists were shit and do not bear much discussing. Suffice to say that the model pool available to me was made up of things that were good in Mk2 but not so hot in Mk3.
In terms of casters, Durst is legit bad in this meta, although Kreoss1 is good as ever, if perhaps not skewy enough for what the game is these days.

Here is what we played in the end. Most of them were pretty shit, although mine were by far the worst.

The roadtrip

The plan from Day 1 had been to roadtrip from Ljubljana to Amsterdam, where we would meet up with Maks flying in from Poland. Stan drove us in his heavily modified Mazda RX-8, which managed to make good time driving a nice ~180-240 km/h in Germany while guzzling gas.

The main problem on my end was that I got food poisoning from ice cream a couple of hours before leaving Slovenia. Fortunately this only manifested in upper half of my body, or else the trip would have been a practical impossibility given the cramped conditions within the car. I threw up 5 times total on the way, completely emptying myself of all food and water.
At around 4am on the Friday, the crew stopped to sleep for an hour or two and get some McDicks. At this point I was a complete wreck, almost completely dehydrated and incapable of consuming any food or water without instantly throwing it back up violently.
In my pathetic state, I hobbled over to nearby gas station, bought a bottle of Gatorade (no pun intended), walked back to the car, and told them that if I threw up one more time, I should be taken to a hospital.

Fortunately from that point on, I fell asleep for a few hours and spent the next ~8 hours of the trip to the Netherlands slowly sipping my Gatorade and lamenting my predicament and the current state of Warmachine.

After some navigational correction and 19ish hours, we got to the venue and proceeded to check out the place and set ourselves up for tomorrow. I didn't get to do as much socializing as I had planned as I fell unconscious early evening and slept 11 hours straight.

The things I do for this game.....

The event

Not all that much to say about the event itself, other than it was amazing and I would gladly do it again. The loose schedule and social aspects easily make up for my negative feelings and general apathy towards Warmahordes. Of course no serious team would have someone like me around, but the WTC is majority non-serious teams (ie. teams that don't think they have a chance of a top 3 placing).

The venue was a massive resort with a water park, restaurant, stores... everything. It was pretty nice. The only huge complaint I have is that soap and towels were not provided by the resort, which at a nerd convention is a crime against humanity.
Apart from that, my sensitive stomach and general weak composure prevented me from enjoying some of the finer benefits of the Netherlands. Alas.

Some shots of the room:

Pond out back. Mosquitos were HUGE but seemingly harmless.

Fireplace, dishwasher, but no towels or soap.

Team Slovenia was the only team there without team shirts, which shows how prepared we were. Which is to say, not at all. I think between all of us we had less Mk3 games than any single member of Team Germany. I myself only had 6 games, tied for 4th on the team.

Some personal highlights:
  • Meeting and talking with Rickard from Sweden for a little bit, since we had talked Gators a lot back in the day and I've always liked hearing his insight on Minions. This time we mostly discussed Swedish linguistics and how much of a disappointment NZ is in reality vs fantasy.
  • The guy from Team Austria who was smoking outside the restaurant Saturday evening (sorry didn't catch your name, guessing Laszlo as the only Austrian Minions player?), and took the time to say he liked my writings and talk Minions for a bit.
  • Hugging Chad from Muse on Minis. You are a rainbow and a river, Chad. Also cheers to John for talking to me about the Guild Ball tokens they have in the works (looking good).
  • Meeting all the cool people and sharing thoughts about the future of the game, not just my opponents but also random people from all over Europe who just randomly fell into conversations that were happening.
  • Spending time with the awesome guys on my team and nerdgasming over matchups and stuff. It was a lot more fun than I expected, but then again Warmachine is well designed to be a fun game to talk about.
  • Playing a game of Guild Ball on the Saturday evening.
  • Not really a highlight or low point, but at a Warmachine event of this calibre I was quite surprised to hear the number of people that were generally apathetic about Mk3 (contrary to my expectations, but in line with my personal perspective). It's like you get tied into a community through the game and you just keep playing because of the people rather than because you derive enjoyment from the game.

Here's a summary of my games/opponents and other highlights:

Round 1 we played vs Australia Echidna (eventual winners). Being put up first, I got to pick to face either Tom Guan or some other name I didn't look at because it wasn't Tom Guan.

Either way it was a horrible matchup for everyone on my team so I played the role of the martyr, given how bad I am at this game. I dropped Durst, he dropped Wurmwood. I learned the Piper doesn't work on jacks anymore (errata from 4 months ago or something? I dunno.). I basically just turtled and dragged it out so I could talk about stuff that isn't Warmachine. In the end Durst got punched in the face by big things after his jacks were Hellmouthed away.

TL;DR - Got Tom Guanned.  Team goes 0 - 5.

Round 2 we played Greece Epic. I got dropped into Skorne because for some reason nobody in Slovenia plays Skorne and my whole team wanted to avoid them the whole tournament, which is odd because they are indeed quite weak as a faction.
It was Kreoss into Xerxis. I forgot to active the Choir before one of the heavies and failed to kill Tiberion by 4 boxes (including 3 attacks by that unbuffed jack), who then killed 2 heavies by himself and that was basically the game.

Good game anyway, cool opponent. Talked Guild Ball for a while.  Team loses 2 - 3.

Round 3 we played one of the Dutch teams. I got paired into Xerxis again. Pretty much the same list. I messed up something with facing and engaged something I shouldn't have so failed a pretty good assassination run and then lost. My opponent was getting pretty frustrated with his faction and himself, which we did turn into a laugh.

Good times .Team loses 2 - 3 again.

Round 4 (day 2) we played vs Czech White. I got paired into Haley3, who I had never played before. Basically I shoot some rockets past the smoke wall and get a few scatters, then he tries to assassinate me but screws something up and I pop and drop Haley.

Fun game, cool opponent. Also gave me his team shirt after hearing my sob story about food poisoning and travelling 6 million hours with infant twins to be here for my 3rd to last game of Warmachine.

Thank you Joza, I will treasure it forever. Team wins 3 - 2.

Round 5 we played vs one of the Welsh teams. Again I get put up first, and get given the choice of Bart Galleon (super hard counter to both my lists) or Ret. My team dislikes the Mercs more so I get given that. It's pretty much a 5% chance to win for me but we play it through anyway. I accidentally power attack throw with a broken fist, to my eternal shame. Basically nothing of interest happens otherwise.

After losing Kreoss I shook my opponent's hand and said "I won't say good game, but I will say well played". Which says it all really. Warmachine.

Team loses 2 - 3 with game 5 going down to sub 1min on deathclock.

Round 6, my last game of Warmachine for the foreseeable future, we played vs Czech Red. I didn't get dropped first this time, so got paired about midway through the process vs Madrak2. Basically I shot some Redeemer rockets that killed a few troopers, then he feated with Madrak and killed all my TFG and camped his zone, then I managed to assassinate Madrak as he made a mistake and didn't put enough guys around him (1 more would have done it I think). I only realized midway through the assassination that Madrak2 is even more survivable than in Mk2, which to be honest is complete horseshit. My opponent was pretty upset about his mistakes but was super cool to play against otherwise.

Team wins 4 - 1, with our only loss being Caine2 dying in like 5 mins to Issyria and 3 guns. S'tan - what a scrub.

In the end, we went 2 - 4, only getting wiped off the table by the #1 team, and several close losses. Basically if the team had a good player instead of me, they probably place in the top half. If they drop S'tan on top of that, they probably also place above the USA teams.

Here are my last 6 opponents of Warmachine, who each kindly indulged me in a picture for the memories: Tom Guan from "Australia" - The Alpha Meme, Andreas, Maarten, Josef, Scott and Lukas. Could not have picked better opponents to be honest.

The aftermath

I am thus officially retired from Warmachine after god knows how many years. It's been fun, but all things come to an end. And to end it on the best note possible leaves me with no regrets.
My only minis game at the moment is realistically Guild Ball, as I don't really have the time nor money to commit to other interesting games at the moment. It is my hope that the game will do well here in New Zealand or RIP my social life.

Final shot - the World Trade Center in Almere, just outside Amsterdam, as seen just before I got on the train for the airport:

Friday, July 22, 2016

Post Mortem

Like all good death metal, a post from beyond the grave.

No, I haven't started playing again. Well, sort of.

Here's a summary:
  • I sold all my Gator stuff a little while before Mk3 was announced. No regrets.
  • I got pretty hyped about Mk3 release, almost entirely because of the super fresh memes that were created, including leading the Memesider Committee. Good times. Also Hungerford is single-handedly carrying that company on his back in terms of PR. What a boss.
  • Upon release, I was pretty disappointed, and didn't have my hopes up too high to begin with. Mk3 addresses the stale meta issue and the living updates issue (both pretty well, in theory anyway) but not the other problems I have with the game . Circumstances around the release have also made me generally pessimistic for the mid to long-term health of the game. 
  • I've played maybe 5 games of Mk3 now, and it is very much the same game. Needless to say I didn't really enjoy any of them.
  • If you really liked Warmachine before and have lots of disposable income, you'll love Mk3. If you're like me and that bus has passed you by, then you look elsewhere.

No matter. There are plenty of fun minis games out there to play, and my life is plenty busy between family, work and other hobbies.

In terms of minis games to use up my limited free time, I've picked up Guild Ball (to the best of my knowledge the best competitive minis game on the market at the moment) and Infinity (perhaps the best mass-produced models out there, and a fun and cinematic albeit not super tight/competitive game experience). IMO both have significantly better quality models and fluff on average than present day Warmachine, and produce fun gameplay experiences for entirely different reasons.


The main reason I am posting here is to say that I will be playing in the WM/H World Team Championship with my old friends on Team Slovenia. I am borrowing some Menoth for the event and fully expect to go 0-6. Given that I started playing in Slovenia with these same guys almost 10 years ago, I thought it a fitting end to my almost decade-long Warmachine "career".

So if you happen to come by this post AND you're going to be in Amsterdam for the WTC, drop by and say 'hello', maybe buy me a quality european beer or six. I can regale you with nostalgic tales of old, salty tales of the present, and nihilistic tales of the future.


PS - I think Minions are one of the better Hordes faction in Mk3. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Soles no longer has power over me, and I can fly free once again.

It seems my last post was on 20 October 2015, just over 5 months ago. According to Iron Grudge (great little app), the last game of Warmachine I played was on 22 October 2015 using Calaban and a proxied Blindwalker against Shae and a Galleon. I remember I won the game convincingly, even considering the extra unit of Swamp Shamblers I'd placed on the table...

What I do remember however is how much of a negative play experience this game was. It was maybe my 3rd proxy game with the Blindwalker and my first game with Calaban in a long time. I wrote up a large, very negative article about the Blindwalker following this game, as well as a "Calaban 2.0 - Post Blindwalker" article.
However I can't bring myself to post them. I don't know whether it's because I don't want to be crushingly negative without some follow-up in terms of constructive or positive thought, or because I just don't really care about Warmahordes Mk2 anymore.

The Mist Weaver spoilers made it quite clear to me that I am not going to be playing Warmachine again until at least Mk3 (with one notable exception).

There are a lot of deep systemic and meta issues in both the game and Privateer's game development/growth model that has finally reached a boiling point for me after seething for so many years, as anyone who has read this blog can attest. While I think rage and whining are part of the lifeblood of competitive gaming, there is cause to pause for thought when passion turns to apathy.

Coming back to the Mist Weaver, ignoring the fact that it is a very weak Minion model outside Gators (the ever-present Minion power problem), it has also put the nail in the coffin of Gator design and given me late-Mk1 Skorne flashbacks, when Skorne went from slowest grind/denial faction with no pathfinder and limited ranged power to fastest faction with great assassination tools and pathfinder everywhere in the space of a single book.
I started Gators when power attacks were necessary, when they had basically no guns and made up for it with some anti-ranged tech. Now you have almost no power attacks, and you have a gunline to rival Legion/Cygnar as a legit list build featuring arguably the best ranged unit in the game and arguably the best battle engine in the game, all backed by a bevvy of Eyeless Sight/Magical shooting. I loved the Sacral Vault as a game piece, but with the Croaks and now this Mist Weaver (plus that useless medium based Bog Trog guy), we're too far gone. This approach to PvP games design is not for me.

There remains little flavour (thematic or strategic) in the game's design - just skews and SKUs, and a game which has meant so much to me over the last 10 years running on auto pilot.

See you on the pitch.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Blindwalker Sculpt preview

Trapped in a box!

Hopefully the final model looks less derpy.

EDIT: It doesn't.