Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Tuesday, August 16, 2011



So, VT2 put up a really stupid post a long while back. I feel I should clear the air. First thing's first (this really, really irritated me, so I'm just going to get it out the way). In Warmachine, you get this thing called a Tier list. Tzeentchling's article explains this particularly well, however, I'm going to rant about it quickly. Basically, a Tier army is a fluffy army, that mirrors the caster's preferred forces in the lore. However, they are not mandatory. In most circumstances, you do not have to take them. So basically, if you're going to bitch about Tier armies, you may as well bitch about people running fluffy armies in 40k. I feel that after that last post about this stuff, that people might have the wrong idea about how they worked. For example, of all the army lists I've ever made (easily more than 40 different casters with multiple lists, I've been playing a while) I think I played 3 tier lists. So yeah, they're really a fun and fluffy option.

Ok, so Warmachine. I'm going to explain how this game plays. Here's a link to the Scenarios.

So, lets take Outflank, Outfight, Outlast. It's a pretty easy Scenario to get your head around. Basically, there's 2 circles 12" in the middle of the board. You get points for controlling (having models in it while no enemy models are inside them). First person to 3 points wins. Scoring starts at the end of the second player's second turn. So, what does this mean, from a gaming perspective? Well, as you probably know in Warmachine, your average ranged weapon has around a 10" range. This isn't even the size of those circles. This means people have to play towards the centre of the board. The effect this has on the unit selection you bring to a game is massive. For example, if you bring an army with pHaley, and then then 50 points on shooty units, you will very much struggle to take ground from your opponent. Yes, you might win the attrition game, in that your opponent cannot get to your army without being blown to bits, but you'll lose because he's going to just stop you getting to the objectives and win by the mission.

Now, this isn't to say that melee is the way to play this game (although it is very important, I'll get to it in a minute) because ranged power and the ability to apply spot removal to models on objectives is very powerful, as is the ability to clear charge lanes. I think it was a wise decision on PP's part to make it so that killing a heavy with ranged firepower is a very difficult thing to do. Even the most powerful ranged weapons will struggle to be rolling any better than dice -2 for damage. This means most factions need to bring some melee threat to kill off heavies. This doesn't relate to scenarios so much, but it's an important fundamental to get your head around early. This is the reason my Cygnar bring along a Stormclad. So he can punch other heavies in the mouth. [=

Ok, so so far we know that:
Games take place at very short ranges at the centre of the table.
Spot removal of models from objectives is very powerful, but hard to apply to anything other than infantry.
Melee heavies are usually a necessity to deal with opposing heavies.*

*the exception to this is Weapon Master infantry, or excessive armour debuffs, both a totally valid solution, especially the former (just as Cryx and those damn bane thralls).

So, what else is important? Well, based on the short ranges of this game, I'm sure you can imagine turn one tends to revolve around running into position. Now, as someone's who's not been playing competitive Warmachine all that long, I've been told that this is the most important part of the game, but I don't quite yet appreciate the intricacies of this. However, something I have picked up is that a lot of units with a ranged attack are better running on the first turn than chancing some sporadic fire, so as to be in position in later turns to better affect the game.

Ok, so, this melee thing I mentioned earlier. I'll get round to that. Probably in a future post, it's a topic all it's own. The jist of it is basically that I feel it was a design decision by PP to make it so that it is much harder to down a heavy with shooting that it is in melee (don't get me wrong though, it's doable, just takes more effort, or casino dice). I think this is a good thing, as it doesn't turn into a game of gunlining. (:

So, this close ranged game. Well, what does it mean? Basically, if you want your caster to influence the game, you need to have them up in the front lines (most of the time). This means that you are playing a risk reward game (within a game, within a taco, within a dream) that's on a sort of sliding scale. Now there are exceptions (called Arc Nodes), but we'll cover those in a later article. Generally most casters tend to stick around in your "2nd wave", so they can influence the game, and the only thing they tend to be in front of is the true support units (Kovnik Joe, Aptimus Marketh etc) or long long ranged firepower (mortars).

However, you need to play this risk/reward game smart. You can't for example, expect to have your caster played forwards against Cryx or Legion (or Molik Karn) and survive to tell the tale. Unless your caster is something like Butcher with IF and 6 focus, or camping 7 fury. However if you're playing against something like Khador or Trolls, you can probably play more forward, as they're slow, and the only shooting that will really scare your caster from both factions are WGI CRAs and Bombers. Which are rng8. So, yeah :D, sliding scale, risk reward. Remember this. Generally if you're new though (lookin at you Kirby) you're going to lose your caster a lot. Why? Well, you'll overextend. WM/H is very much a learning curve, and you learn the hard way.

Ok, This article has ended up being a lot A) Harder to write and B) I may have bitten off a much, much larger bite than I first thought. Because what I'm basically trying to do is say "this is how WM/H is played", but that's a massive massive topic, with a lot of variations and exceptions. So, future posts ho.

Call this part one. I'll be back :3

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