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.


  1. Because all the Bradigus players were playing at another event at the same time, I'm interested to see how that influenced the top tables. With that sort of vacuum, there may be other strange things going on, where people's anti-Brad tech went unused, or that other factions were perhaps drawn to the tier event as well (like eDenny Body + Soul).

    But my overall opinion is this all comes down to the calibre of player, where you saw a bunch of players who knew their factions and the game, and were able to grind it out appropriately.

    (as an aside, Trent Dennison is claiming credit for coming up with the Butch3 multi- jack list. It looks so freaking legit, I got hungry eyes for it)

    1. I don't think Bradigus skews IG as much as he would regular SR because of 3-list DNC, and it not filtering amazingly into 75pts. But yes, player skill and well-rounded lists is a big deal.

      Also I'm pretty sure Australians have never actually come up with anything. Except Destroyer 666, who (wisely) are no longer based in Australia.