Saturday, February 21, 2015

Next HORDES book! New stuff! Gargantuans for everyone! Yay!


The much-hyped Smogcon announcement was put up on Youtube today, and as everyone and their dog expected following the Colossals announcement, Hordes is getting more Gargantuans.

To be fair, they do look sort of interesting from a design perspective (both model and rules), with a stronger support element in the Troll and Legion ones especially. I won't go into too much detail, you can get all that speculation from someone who thinks Gargossals aren't the worse thing to happen to Warmachine so far :)

On the Minion side of things, we got the following info:

1) We are not getting a Gargantuan. If you expected one, you clearly have not been playing Minions long enough.

2) This:

What this is exactly, only PP and its playtesters know. It looks a lot like Maelok except has a chain of human tiny skulls around its neck, indicating that it is much bigger than Maelok. Thus it is likely a large-based warbeast of some kind. That could potentially be the perfect release for Blindwater, perhaps leading to a plastic Wrastler kit.

It is quite likely to be Undead, or at the very least something to do with passage to the world of the dead. I would then speculate that it has some kind of douchy Cryxian ability like anti-magic, making Feralgeists, magical weapons, going incorporeal, Dark Shroud.... any of that BS. Or probably all of it. That would be sweet, and not completely unreasonable following the Sacral Vault.

I also suspect that it'll have an affinity with Calaban, just to piss me off......

Monday, February 9, 2015

Minions win Templecon Iron Gauntlet

Suck it, real factions.

Äntligen, svensk krokodil powerhouse Rickard Nilsson traverses the Atlantic Ocean to take home one of the biggest warmachine tournaments in the world with Minions, the game's bastard stepchild faction. Stort gratis!

 Rickard's qualifier lists as per his PP forum post:

^Swamp Horror
Posse max
Posse max

Maelok with three of everything
(3 Snappers, 3 Posse, 3 Croctors, WE + Snapjaw + Pendrake + filler)

^Road Hog
Brigands max
Brigands max
Rorsh & Brine

Stockpile objectives all around. Matchups were Rask against Siege, Carver against Zaal and Maelok against Butcher1 claw theme."

I am a big fan of all 3 lists actually. 
  • Rask with 3 heavies and 2 Posse is IMO the best way to run him at present. Shamblers take up a lot of real estate and the Bokur is practically another heavy late game.
  • Maelok with 3 of everything is pretty standard Rickard and a good example of Gatoring harder.
  • The Pig list is a great choice since it offers the ONE thing in Minions Gators don't have access to, which is anti-tough (also reliable RFP). Between all the Slaughterhousers and Carver's feat it's got plenty of ARM cracking. AND it features Saxon.You can take pretty much every model you could possibly want in a 75pt Gator list in two lists anyway, so having a 3rd list full of models you can't use in the Gauntlet rounds is not really a big issue.
There were no Sacral Vaults as IG is fully-painted and the model was only pre-released on the day. I don't know if it would have changed the lists, most likely would have taken one instead of a Spitter with Rask and dropped the Gobbers.

Stockpile is the objective that removes KD, which is great for Gators because getting KD on Gators sucks and you only have so much Rise to go around. I guess he learned a valuable lesson from Flanzer's Runes of War list.

Both Gauntlet (75pt) rounds were against Skorne, and both times Rask was (wisely) chosen. I'm not sure exactly what was in the 75pt list in either game, but it was similar to the Rask 50pt list + WE&Snapjaw, some Croctors, and probably another Posse.

Rickard won the first game vs Rasheth tier Titan Spam by assassination (his opponent was about to deathclock himself so took a risk and got killed), and the second game vs Xerxis' Fist of Molik list on scenario over 6 rounds (dominating his own Close Quarters flag by playing very cautiously), despite losing 2 and a half Spiny Growth-ed Gator heavies to a single Molik activation and then dedicated 2 heavies and a Snapper to kill him (with the Snapper doing most of the damage).

Meta Analysis

So how does this come to happen, other than a player who stubbornly sticks to one faction for years and masters it as good as anyone can?

Zooming on from the IG final a little bit, we can look at the 4 IG finalists at Templecon: Skorne, Skorne, Minions and PoM. 3 factions that runs medium-based infantry and tanky heavies, and one of the two WM factions that runs a good number of jacks effectively (along with having potentially the best multiwound WM infantry which is not taken anywhere near as often as I would think).

Zooming out further, looking at what is "in the meta" at the moment:  Bradigus tier, Warder Meat Mountains, and as always the typical Legion beast lists. Even Cryx is shifting away from MOAR BANEZ/STATISTIX RAIDERS/MCTHRALLS to playing cavalry and one heavy/huge warjack.

Here's how I think we got there:

1 - PP releases an increasing number of of single-wound infantry shred to most factions (ie. Colossals, AoE spamming, Ravagore scathers, Lich clouds Sacral Vault, etc.)

2 - WM players get their Banes/Kayazy/whatever increasingly shredded and/or get bored after 4 years of the same list and decide to mix it up a bit.

3 - WM players don't really play jacks more (because for the most part, jacks are still inneficient relative to infantry), they just play different infantry. Ok, and maybe one more jack. But jacks are still not great (1).

4 - People start playing multi-wound infantry to not die to mass-low POW attacks and indescriminate auto-plink.

5 - Hordes multiwound infantry is better (Skorne, Gators, Trolls... even Circle (eMorvahna's Skinwalkers) and Legion (warspears+ UA) compared to Boomhowlers & Bastions (the best WM factions have). On top of that, you have beasts instead of jacks (which are on the whole better).

TL;DR: countering small-based infantry counters more Warmachine, and pushes the game to a space where Hordes does it better. Also, Rask is just bonkers.

That's my theory anyway. Banes still OP. Also, Bradigus.

I think this shift is heavily accentuated in the IG format because of the qualifier rounds requiring 3 lists, each of which must be dropped once. This pushes list building away from skews and punishes character dependency - you are almost certainly going to be locked into a list and you don't want that list to be a skew with a gaping weakness.
In a 2-list Steamroller (or ADR Masters) event, this meta shift isn't as clear cut because you can pick your matchups better and tailor lists to deal with problems as they arise, rather than just building 3 relatively solid all-rounder lists.

(1) This is mostly why Khador is in the hole in terms of interesting builds - most of the jacks are bad and their multi-wound infantry is not especially explosive or statistically superior in terms of damage, speed or ARM. 
Except for that Finnish guy that ran Butcher3 with 4 Devastators at WTC 2014 aka. the Perkelinator list. What a hero.