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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
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Monday, May 21, 2012

The Deathclock and Sportsmanship

Now I know that many of you are expecting another article about the Old Witch of Khador but I thought I would throw something a bit random.

Deathclock is a timed turn variant for SteamRoller 2012 (the official competitive ruleset for Warmachine/Hordes), which has been gaining popularity in both local and national metas. Deathclock is the same as using a chessclock to keep track of time. At the end of each turn you hit the button and it swaps over to your opponents time; this is an advantage over regular timed turns since it keeps you from having to worry about how long things like your feat turn is going to go and if your opponent has to make tough checks or out of activation movements during your time. 

I personally enjoy it because it validates casters like Epic Butcher and Epic Madrak who suffered for having to take two turns in one effectively when they use their feat. Also you are forced to play aggressively because if you run out of time you lose the game.

So, I'm sure you are asking "Well Sam now that I've heard you talk about Deathclock what inspired this little piece?" And I guess you do deserve an answer for that. In an attempt to help the game grow I run tournaments every other month at the LGS and we had one yesterday with deathclock. During the last round we had a match where one player had his Warlock and three Warbeasts and his opponent with his Caster and 2 Warjacks. The Hordes player had 11 seconds on the clock when his turn started and elected to have all of his models stand still and forfeit their actions. His turn took a total of 4 seconds. The Warmachine player had a total of 2 seconds left when his turn started and lost the game due to clocking out.

Now as the TO I was called over to see if what he did was a legal move or not since it would affect the outcome of the event. I was forced to rule that it was technically a legal move since I was unfamiliar with the rules for this scenario even though I personally felt it was cheap. After I got home I did some research and posted following on the Facebook page we use to set up Warmachine events and gatherings:

"So at my event yesterday the definition of "meaningful turns" was called into question. I made a call that I am not comfortable with but I will not redact since it would change standings at my event.

For future events "meaningful activations" will be defined as something that will help you win the game either on scenario or by caster kill. For example if you have pCaine with two longgunners and your opponent has 2 juggernauts and butcher having the longgunners charge into melee is in no way "meaningful", especially if you are only doing it to stall time. Also having your entire army forfeit action when they are in range of attacking the enemy to win on time is not allowed either.

The point of the Deathclock variant is that it forces you to engage and to win the game. As PG_Hacksaw said "Deathclock is all about encouraging a real win." I find this to be precisely in line with Page 5; which we all know is a guide to sportsmanship for this game.

Should this come up again it will result in a warning or depending on the situation an automatic loss. If it happens several times I will ask the person in question to leave my event and I may consider asking that they do not return to any future events."

On the PP forum boards one of the Infernals (volunteers who clarify and correct rulings) stated that while there is nothing saying if such would be legal or not it is up the TO since it ultimately comes down to sportsmanship and respect for the other player.

Ultimately I just wanted to let you guys know whats going on with the game and to bring up something that I felt should be said so that you are forewarned should this come up with you.

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