Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rallypoint 2013 - Preamble

Due to the absolute total lack of exciting Gatorman news, outside two Minion players getting crushed pretty badly at the WTC in Europe (which I assume is a function of the team format whereby the most logical strategy is to throw your crappiest faction at their Cryx/Legion list so that you can win your other 4 matchups, rather than a reflection of the actual players), I am again writing about a tournament that I am attending. Riveting to excess.

Rallypoint is a two-day tournament. Two-day tournaments are pretty common around these parts for two reasons:

1) Two days means more games

And more game supposedly means more reason to travel for out-of-towners since wargamers love to have sleepovers at their friends' houses. I don't particularly buy into this, but it seems to be the mindset amongst frequent tournament travelers.

To me, more days means more expenses and not that much a gain in gaming enjoyment. Especially if I do badly in the first few rounds, I am stuck hanging around with no hope for a prize or epeen or much desire to play after having already played a bunch of games but stick around anyway usually because I don't want to deprive other people who might want to play the opportunity or because I made travel arrangements or whatever. If I do happen to do well, I'd still rather be doing well in 4 rounds than in 7. Plus I like tournaments where first undefeated player wins. Less hassle.

For me, Warmachine is to the mind like sex is to the body - an enjoyable, healthy pursuit that results from challenging a worthy opponent in a safe environment with a good knowledge of dice risk statistics and no Cryxian spiky bits. It is a great thing to indulge in on a regular basis, practice at and get better, try new things, etc. But there is only a certain amount I can take within a given period, and at this stage of my life I prefer to focus on quality over quantity. 4 bouts per weekend is sufficient.

2) The legacy of WHFB

Warhammer Fantasy Battles is a cute hobby game. It's not a competitive game in itself, nor has it ever really been, largely because of the steep lack of balance both within and between armies as well as the lack of rules clarity due to slack errata, loose terminology, and a general apathy towards the whole competitive mindset. However, it has been shaped into a competitive game by the WHFB community with the addition of a complex tournament meta game featuring soft-scores like sportsmanship, painting and comp (army build) scores, a slew of "official/unofficial" errata, and a game/tournament points system to determine the 'winner' of each battle to make up for the lack of clear in-built victory conditions outside tabling your opponent. It is quite admirable what the WHFB community has achieved given what they had to work with on the ground floor.

As a result of all this, WHFB games take freaking ages and therefore the tournaments take freaking ages. And Warmachine, being the much younger game with a smaller (but rapidly growing!) following, has traditionally had to tack on to the bigger WHFB tournaments in NZ. I don't think this is actually the case for Rallypoint, but it has been the case for most large tabletop gaming tournaments on the calendar. Fortunately this seems to be changing. We've already had a handful of 1-day tournaments in Auckland that have had great attendance and worked out very well, so hopefully more will come.

Anyhow, Rallypoint:
  • 2 lists, 50pt Steamroller with all the standard restrictions
  • Deathclock, no specialists, and Kill Box all the time
  • 7 rounds over 2 days (have to leave Auckland at 6:30am each morning QQ)
  • Held in Hamiltron, City of the Future (a city I quite like)
  • Divide and Conquer, meaning you MUST play each list 3 times.
  • Cryxnoob Dave will be attending, meaning I potentially have to deal with another Cryx player using lists that auto-beat me worse than Rask auto-beats Ret (1).
  • No painting requirements - makes zero difference to me, but I always appreciate the opportunity for people who don't really like painting to participate.
  • Pizza party at the TO's place at the end of Day 1 - great initiative, but one which I will have to miss out on due to the aforementioned travel requirements.

This is a Gray Wolf. Wolves are sweet and take like 30
mins to kill their prey. Nothing romantic about it.
Just like Warmachine Gators. Kinda.

Barnabas vs Maelok in Divide & Conquer

I will be taking Rask (SURPRISE!) and probably Barnabas. Maybe Maelok. Many Gator players seem to have mega hard-ons for Maelok and his many fleshy holes but I don't really understand why.

Outside of Cryx, where mass Undead and recursion mechanics are very useful, I don't feel there is a  faction matchup where Maelok is better overall than Barnabas. Sure, there are lists like Bart/Galleon or Xerxis Cetrati Wall or super grindy lists like eMorvahna where Maelok is better at getting past the frontline to maximize your attacks and assassinate but since I will have to play each list at least 3 times, I'm going for broad application. I think the one thing that would bring Maelok up to Barnabas level consistently would be being able to put Malediction on a warbeast rather than just on himself. That gives a DEF/ARM debuff to my army without getting my caster killed next turn. Give that to Terminus as well, I wouldn't mind.

Basically, the number of good match-ups is about the same, maybe even a little bit in Maelok's favour - but in my experience Maelok has more bad matchups than Barnabas
I think Maelok was the operative choice in the past against Skorne, Protectorate and Trolls due to his ability to get some serious damage on support pieces and subsequently jam, but now Rask is just so much better at playing that game that it puts Maelok out of contention, at least in my book.

Assuming I play Barnabas, the lists will pretty much be the same as Choptober, except I will probably take my buddies Wrong Eye + Snapjaw in the Rask list instead of the 3rd Posse for a little more punch and matchup/scenario flexibility. There is always the question of the Totem Hunter, whether I put him with Rask to have some more assassination potential or whether I put him with Barnabas for some more "ranged" threat. First world Gator problems.

As far as expectations, I'll be perfectly happy to be in the top half of the field. Being in the bottom half would probably not make me want to come back for the second day even though I would have to anyway, so my travel buddies would have to listen to me bitch and moan for an hour and a half on the way down. Please let me win for their sakes.


(1) I mean, look at this shit! This is a borderline crime against human decency:

Wraith Witch Deneghra
- Deathripper
- Nightwretch
- Skarlock Thrall
Max Bane Knights
Max Blackbanes
Max Nyss Hunters
Max Blood Witches + UA
Min McThralls
Double Necrosurgeon
Warwitch Siren

How is this legal in Western society? People have been castrated and excommunicated for less.


  1. Wow... Aside from the fact that I play Cryx and am therefore inherently and irredeemably evil, what did I do to deserve that? :)

    Sweet eDenny list by the way, solid gold and A+ for effort and execution. Some serious genius list-building at work right there. I can only imagine how much an Incorporeal skew must upset Minions but I sincerely hope the answer is "a lot".

    I'm really looking forward to Rallypoint - there's so many people going that I've never played against!

  2. PS - I play you, take Maelok so that I can punch your face in with Scaverous and a max unit of totally not broken Stealth, Tough weapon-masters.


    1. My Barnabas list has like 4 guns in it so I can actually pretend to play the game under eDenny's feat turn rather than just flip the table. Surely you don't want your carefully assembled Cryx models totally broken, do you?

      Actually, no need to answer that.