Saturday, March 31, 2012

More people should quit the hobby!

... and sell me their models. I've been looking for a deal on a Legion list for a while now, since I can't justify blowing a lot of cash on a... what is it now... fifth faction.

I own your ass now!
I spotted a deal and grabbed a couple of fellow gamers that had expressed an interest in some models in the pile (but the seller wasn't interested in splitting up the sale), and short of divine intervention I now own:
Legion - Forces of Hordes (Softcover) - MKII
2x Forsaken
3x Spell Martyrs
Blighted Archers
- Archer & Ammo Porter
2x Striders Units
- 2x Striders Officer & Musician
2x Harrier
4x Shredder
2x Stinger
Raptors (3)
Lylyth the Shadow
Thagrosh the Messiah
Absylonia Terror
Thagrosh Prophet
Vayl Disciple of Everblight
Lylyth Herald
That's what's left after the boys got their share, and what did I end up paying for this lot then? 130 dollars... that about 520 dollars worth of models with the current Danish prices. If you're not in a rush there's some really great deals out there.


Quite Interesting: Taking away the doubt

This little article about dice is worth your time. It mirrors something I've been saying for years and while we can all succumb to the aptly named "dice rape", most games can be won in spite of it.
By removing any possible idea your dice are rolling high/low due to imperfections, superstition or any other related issue.  By removing the doubt from your mind, you are increasing your ability to look at a situation logically and objectively.  To succeed in Hordes/Warmachine or any other miniature game  strategic planning and logical thought processes are required.  If anything is distracting you from this then your success outcome is lessened.  Dice doubt is one of these issues that often goes unappreciated and put under the ‘dice are dice’ phrase – as if that eases the blow.
- Rich Loxam

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Game Theory: Opponents

It's always worth considering what kind of player you're facing. An opponent might look aggressive but be easily intimidated, or look disorganized while setting three layers of traps for you.

Treat your mother right!
I've stolen the definitions from an article I read about poker players a while back and it places everyone on a tight/loose and passive/aggressive scale.
Tight players
A tight player calculates odds and determine his chances. Rarely will a tight player commit to the Hail Mary attempt unless there's absolutely no other options available to him. This makes a tight player dangerous but predictable.
Loose players
A loose player goes on instinct and gut feeling. The loose player is unpredictable and defending against him is incredibly hard. Loose players tend to do poorly in tournaments because their crazy plans inevitably blow up in their faces.

Opponent types

Combined with the Passive/Aggressive scale this produces four types of players. Recognizing these types will help determining the best ways to apply pressure in a game, but like most things in the Game Theory section this is just a tool that might give you a little edge, and not the answer to every question in the book.
Tight Passive
This is me. I run math and scenarios in my head and never play the long odds unless I'm forced to. I design my lists to absorb an impact and then sucker punch him when he fails to do me any real harm. The weakness is that an opponent that knows me can rely on being safe from long shot attempts, and that frees up some resources he can use to hit me harder. I wish I could play Tight Aggressive and I'm working on getting better at it.
Tight Aggressive
This is probably the strongest type of player. They calculate and apply pressure where it hurts the most, and a good TA will keep you off balance until it's to late. TA players are usually highly skilled because it takes a lot of mental resources to dictate how an entire game plays out, which makes them incredibly dangerous opponents.
Loose Passive
I think these are the weakest types of players. They never really get into the game and usually end up doing something silly with no real chance of success. There are very few successful LP players and they're complete cakewalks for a TA player.
Loose Aggressive
These guys will come for you without much planning, cannot be reliably predicted and it only takes one of them to knock you out of the top five in a tournament. It bothers me that they throw away game after game and then luck out and nuke someone. Recognizing a LA player is vital because you can dedicate a mountain of resources to defense and hope they mess up.

Spotting the types

The easiest to spot is the Loose Passive player. Look for sloppy deployment and lists with no offensive tools, no thought given to activation sequences, and an army of questionable choices. Don't let your guard down as they might still have teeth or be Tight Aggressive players in disguise, but unless you're also a LP player you're in for an easy ride. The one exception to this rule is a LP Menoth player, as several of their builds can pull a LP player through.
  • Low offensive power.
  • Key models/units missing.
  • Sloppy deployment.
  • Sloppy activations.
The Loose Aggressive player is next up, and sloppy deployment is key here as well. The LA player usually brings "up in your face" models with lots of power and very few tricks, but make no mistakes because these guys will come straight for you. The LA player is also marked by his sloppy advances and lackluster defense of their casters.
  • Very high offensive power.
  • Little thought given to survival.
  • Sloppy deployment.
  • Extremely aggressive advances.
The Tight Passive players are nearly impossible to spot before they deploy, but impossible to miss when they do. TP players often have systems they adhere to and I've even seen a guy with a sheet full of little formations (I've made them but never brought them).
  • Armored and Tough lists.
  • Lists with many deterrents.
  • Organized deployment.
  • Calculated advances. 
The Tight Aggressive player is a right bastard because he often disguises himself as a Loose player. There's a system you're probably not seeing and when the hammer drops it's to late to act. I've worked really hard on identifying these guys but so far the only thing I've come up with is to look for discrepancies.
  • Streamlined lists with what looks like sloppy deployment.
  • Balanced lists playing very aggressively or building castles.
  • Cards, dice, tokens etc. are ordered and prepared.
The second part of this article will be up soon (I hope) and will deal with the best way of taking on the different types of players.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An avalanche of models

My desk was covered with packages today (I receive them at work to make things easier): Ghetorix, Woldstalkers, Woldstalkers, Wold Guardian, Megalith, and more Gallows Groves. I'm really looking forward to trying that ranged Mohsar list with dual Woldstalkers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Garlghast Girl Power: 1

I've been considering what I learned from last nights game. The first thing is to stay more than five inches away from anywhere anything in my opponents army can reach by walking. That means I need ranged threats, and Duskern suggested Leviathans so I'm interested in seeing what his list looks like.

My new list sadly has no room for the Terror birds, and Eggy being on a medium base is still a problem I haven't addressed. It looks interesting though very vulnerable to massed infantry and at some point I'll cave in and include the Bile Thralls.
The Witch Coven of Garlghast
- Deathripper
- Deathripper
- Leviathan
- Leviathan
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts)
The Withershadow Combine
Gorman di Wulfe
Pistol Wraith
Pistol Wraith
Skarlock Thrall
Warwitch Siren
Warwitch Siren
Stealth Nyss Hunters sounds like fun. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Coven Vs. eHaley

I've actually had a game with The Coven before, back about a month after I discovered the game, but I still felt like a virgin going in. To make matters worse I was going up against an ETC team partner and he was fielding eHaley: Trial by fire bitches, let's roll!
Major Victoria Haley
- Thorn
- Ol' Rowdy
- Stormclad
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts)
- Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts)
- Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard
Archduke Alain Runewood
Stormsmith Stormcaller
Stormsmith Stormcaller
Stormsmith Stormcaller
I decided I had to force him to feat, so I ran up and deployed in a way I felt would force him to advance and feat, allowing me to counter feat and negate the worst of it.

Cryx round one.
The Scavenger to the right had Infernal Machine up and being an idiot I put the Skarlock on the other side of my army, but more on that later.

Thinking cap engaged!
Saxon Orrik survives B13: Epic!
Then he advanced and didn't feat. Then I looked back at him and declared the game over. Infernal Machine on a Deathripper, Power booster on the Deathripper, then run the Deathripper 18" and spell assassinate eHaley with Stygians. The upside is that my opponent now knows how that works in case he meets a Coven list at ETC, but the downside was a game that took about ten minutes.

I decided not to do it so we could have an actual game, but in hindsight we should have reset the game completely because I was lined up to force that feat round, and when it didn't come and I couldn't end it because it would suck, I was left stranded. Instead I advanced Malice and promptly missed Rowdy with a drag which would have resulted in a Seether (sigh). Damage control time!

I told you that wouldn't work!
I ran up Eggy and popped feat, then flew the Terror-Bird through his lines of non-fearless troops, but CMD 10 and rerolls meant that didn't do anything. The Seagull flew up to threaten Haley as well, and the other Seagull placed itself to block Thorn and Rowdy, but since I needed Infernal Machine to threaten Haley it was out of range to completely block their path, which ended up being a really bad thing.

Rowdy goes to town!
Rowdy waddles in though he got beaked for six damage when doing so. Then the Stormclad is frigging speed seven (damn cheating Haley, I missed that!), and waddles down to Malice but Nightfall and defense thirteen keeps him alive. Sadly the one hit electro leaps to a witch and takes her down to three boxes (damn they're fragile).

Malice wrecks the Stormclad but since WSC was forced to go first: No Seether!
Then eHaley feats and Thorn comes out to Arc a bomb on Eggy, which brought down the already damaged Witch and I lost the game right there. It took him another round to bring me down with Gun Mages and he was severely mauled by that time, but the game was over when the first Witch died (though the Seagull threatening Haley beaked her for ten damage when she had to move in order to avoid death by beaking the following round). I'm not sure exactly what I learned so I'll think about it for a few days before drawing any conclusions.


Asphyxious the Hellbringer

Holy mother hellcrap. We all knew this was coming but seriously... I'm buying this one even if it has swamp gobber stats and no feat.

Somebody bring me my spare pants!

Garlghast Girl Power

I've been threatening you with The Witch Coven of Garlghast for a while now, but I could never really put together a list that would work with the way I usually play (Hjelmen calls it defensive and reactive, which is a pretty good description). I usually design my lists to withstand whatever my opponent throws at me, and then sucker punch him when he overextends, and that probably won't work with the bondage girls.

To the bondage mobile! Power up the greenish floating reactor!
Then I tried figuring out what they needed from an army to, which turned out to be a damn long list of things to include so that didn't work either (not a great caster for a sudoko list attempt). I gave up and found some advice in posts from Vermithrax & Ressurection so I think I'll be trying this tonight (ns = non stealth).
The Witch Coven of Garlghast
- Deathripper (ns)
- Deathripper (ns)
- Scavenger (ns)
- Scavenger (ns)
- Malice
Bane Thralls (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- Bane Thrall Officer & Standard
The Withershadow Combine
Bane Lord Tartarus
Gorman di Wulfe
Saxon Orrik
Skarlock Thrall (ns)
Warwitch Siren
Warwitch Siren
I wanted to include the Scavengers because I rarely get to field them, and with Infernal Machine they could do some damage. In case my opponent brings a lot of non-fearless models there's also the Terror-bird tactic to consider (Ghost Walk + Infernal Machine Scavengers can run 18" inflicting Terror on anything they encounter). I also see some potential in using Nightfall very offensively after running two Terror Birds around his army and planting them both on his caster when they're done.

Screw you puppy, I'm a TERROR bird!
Two Deathrippers because the Coven sadly needs Arc Nodes, but I like the option of killing people with speed nine melee lights if the Arc Node falls off. Malice should have Occultation to keep it safe. Bane Thralls, because I need a train to keep my opponent busy while the tricky parts do their job, and with twelve Bane Thralls coming at him the options to maneuver becomes limited and mistakes occur (hopefully). Sprinkle on stealth support models and it's done but I have no idea how this will play out.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Better late than never!

I finally got around to introducing myself! Hjelmen is my usual nick' on all the gaming forums I frequent, so you might have seen me around. Ye have been warned!

I've been playing Warmachine/Hordes since, I think, mid-2007, but have been involved in miniatures gaming for much, much longer. I started out playing Blood Bowl, then moved on to Warhammer 40.000, and after the long dark tea-time of miniatures gaming that is the late teens, I picked up a Legion of Everblight army for Hordes in Mk1. After a while, I picked up a Searforge army.

Suddenly! Mk2! I tested Searforge extensively during the field test, and once the Hordes Mk2 field test came around I had totally lost contact with LoE, so I sold them off. And until recently, I had never looked back from the Searforge Commission.

I've had Cryx as well, but I couldn't figure out how to handle all those tricks, so they went too. Lately I have been prepping a Thornfall Alliance army, a Khador army (lovingly referenced by Lamoron as the "Gun Carriages at Dawn"-list), a Blindwater Congregation army, and expanding my Mercenaries quite aggressively. Some of that will probably get sold off again, as I come to terms with the facts of life and that there just isn't time for everything!

I hope to be able to provide some quality articles for The Overseer, and while I do have a tendency to ramble on a bit, there is usually some sensible stuff in there somewhere!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tournament: What a mess

I drank a little last night, so when I turned up at the tournament I had... issues... but I brought the Warwitch Deneghra list I had a lot of success with a while back, and then forgot to bring a second list. That proved symptomatic for the day as a whole, but my first battle was against The Couch, as we were an uneven number of players due to a cancellation.

The second game was against a Menoth player and Harbinger took the field. Self sacrifice and that feat against a living infantry horde... blergh. I might do a battle report later but to be perfectly honest that feat cost me the game, and not because it did any damage. In retrospect I should have gone "these guys don't move" and "these guys don't move either", but I didn't and it took more than twenty minutes to measure, move, and re-measure my entire army. Then I rolled the worst dice I've had in fifteen years of miniature wargaming (The rest of the game was just crappy dice, but that round... Jesus)

Messed up deployment + damn annoying feat
The game is the closest game I've ever had, period, and I began my last turn with 1.47 left on the clock, then I killed Harbinger with feedback and looked at the clock maybe 5 seconds later (after getting my arms down): 00.00 and the alarm hadn't sounded. A spectator then told us I hadn't made it in time (missing by maybe 20 seconds) and I had no choice but to believe him.

I can't blame my opponent one bit but it was all a bit fishy and I felt a cheated by nobody in particular. He won his next game the exact same way, and the rules don't support making those measurements on his time, so I'll have to think up a way to avoid repeating that nightmare. Interestingly enough I was so focused on winning that my wife stood behind me for fifteen minutes with a hot sandwich and sodas, talking to the spectators without me ever noticing her (until some of the guys thought it was getting ridiculous and poked me).

I moved on to game three with a defeatist attitude and a hangover from hell, which was interesting because my opponent was looking as shitty as I was. It was a Gunnbjorn list, and my opponent kept entertaining himself (and me) by declaring random rules and happenings, since he enjoyed the look on my face every time my broken brain thought I had lost the game. It sounds really lame but it was pretty funny, especially since I took him down with a couple of available Raiders and won the game. We both went out to get some air, which cleared up my head for the final game against eNemo.

Game of the year!

Now this game was something else. I didn't get to take any pictures because I had enough to do with playing the game but wow... just... wow. I don't think I've ever had a game turn on me so many times, with fractions of an inch meaning life or death and the placement of every model having to be perfect. Dougal MacNaile rolled 8+ four times in a row and I was ahead, then eNemo rolled six leaps on a chain lightning and I was up shit creek.

Thunderhead couldn't pulse because of Crippling Grasp and I was back in the lead, then B13 wiped my Satyxis and I was screwed, and the game continued like that until we were both down to ten minutes on the clock in round six or so, and he finally made a mistake that allowed me to pop'n'drop him after removing his Arcane Shield.

I took fourth but the guy on third is automatically qualified since he took second in last years masters, so with a bit of luck I can put pDeneghra back in retirement and call it a day. If not I have some serious work to do on the list since I had way to many models to run in a Deathclock tournament with the speed I can manage.
Warwitch Deneghra
- Deathripper
- Deathripper
Croe's Cutthroats (Croe and 9 Grunts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- Satyxis Raider Sea Witch
The Withershadow Combine
Skarlock Thrall
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile
Satyxis Raider Captain
Warwitch Siren
Warwitch Siren


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tournament: War Witch Deneghra

Saturday is the first Danish Masters qualifier and I've been doing a little thinking. I'm not nearly good enough with Circle to really stand a chance at qualifying, and I don't feel like running Terminus since I've got quite a few games lined up with him over the next couple of months, so I think Warwitch Deneghra might come out of retirement for the weekend.
Warwitch Deneghra
- Deathripper
- Deathripper
Croe's Cutthroats (Croe and 9 Grunts)
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- Satyxis Raider Sea Witch
Gorman di Wulfe

Dougal MacNaile
Pistol Wraith

Pistol Wraith

- Brine

Satyxis Raider Captain

Skarlock Thrall

Warwitch Siren

Warwitch Siren
It's different from my old pDeneghra list and probably slightly less powerful. It has no access to Dark Shroud and relies completely on the Satyxis Raiders to push my opponent on turn one, and destroy him or his army on turn two with a massive feat round.

Two thirds of the list has Advanced Deploy, so if I go second my first turn could be very interesting indeed. It's been a while since I've had her on the table, and the list feels very vulnerable without Bane Thralls to make up for my mistakes by way of brutal violence, so it'll be interesting to see how it turns out.

Game Theory: Deterrents

This is one of my favorite tools and most people use it without ever giving it conscious thought. If an opponent looks at your line and decides there's no way he can engage without losing more resources than he would destroy by doing it, you've effectively deterred him.

Deterrents can be almost anything in the game that creates a huge problem for your opponent so in order to make things easier I've decided to split them up into two types: Active and Passive.
Active deterrents
These are things that require activations when your turn comes around, like Bile Thralls that can basically go "you charge my lines... dude... your army melts" or Tartarus that goes "Did you know that ganging up on my chicken puts you in perfect Thresher formation?". Active deterrents are easy to use and makes it impractical or dangerous to hit your army where it hurts.
  • Bile Thralls (Purge)
  • Withershadow Combine (Unbinding and Dark Industries)
  • Tartarus (Death Toll)
  • Machine Wraiths (Machine Meld)
Cryx is a faction with many active deterrents and I think that's why my Terminus list is so hard to beat. The list has deterrents everywhere and the ability to end a game with one charge if he doesn't commit, creating a no win situation for my opponent unless I mess up or he happens to be fielding one of the perfect counters to my deterrents.
Passive deterrents
These are hilarious but often harder to use well. The passive deterrents take effect in your opponents turn and makes his choices harder, his models die, or his actions fail. The Shadowhorn Satyr is a great example of a passive deterrent since missing him with a charge attack means getting knocked down. He has set defense so an charging heavy will need to hit defense fifteen (or be immune to knockdown) on his first attack to avoid the effect.
  • Defensive feats (Harbinger, Old Witch, etc.)
  • Defensive spells (Admonition/Enliven, Dragon's Blood, etc.)
  • Defensive abilities (Riposte, Retaliatory Strike, etc.)
  • Effects that trigger on hit/damage (Protective Fit, Hyper Aggressive, etc.)
The list of passive deterrents is pretty long and the more you stack them the better they become. If you have one model/unit with the ability to walk away or punish an attacker your opponent will attack something else. While the ability to decide his targets for him can be very useful, a couple of additional passive deterrents will force some very unpleasant choices on your opponent, and in some cases every possible choice is a bad one for him.
Combining deterrents
There's nothing that prevents you from stacking active and passive deterrents and it often ends up being some incredibly powerful options. Admonition (eSkarre) will prevent your Helljack from dying when an enemy Warjack comes gunning for it. Dark Industries (The Withershadow Combine) could turn an enemy heavy Warjack into a Seether after it destroyed your Helljack.

If you combine the two your Helljack survives and you get a Seether on top, gaining a massive lead in the war of attrition. There are several combinations out there, or deterrents that can be increased in power with the application of the right spell or ability, so keep an eye out for possible synergies when constructing your next list.


Mulling on Mohsar: 6

I've come to the conclusion that I like Shadowhorns. I don't know what it is about them, but a giant jumping goat just makes sense to me. They've also been vital to almost every win I've had with Circle so far, so I've bought another one. Attrition isn't working for me, and every time I try it I fail miserably.

I've also come to the conclusion that ranged attacks are lovely. I should probably change my caster but Mohsar just talks to me (no, not the straight jacket, away, AWAY I TELL YA!).
Mohsar the Desertwalker
- Gorax
- Megalith
- Shadowhorn Satyr
- Shadowhorn Satyr
Druids of Orboros (Leader and 5 Grunts)
- Druid of Orboros Overseer
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (Leader and 1 Grunt)
Tharn Bloodtrackers (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- Nuala the Huntress
Gallows Grove
Gallows Grove
Reeve Hunter
Reeve Hunter
Attrition, I don't think so... should I buy some shrimps... probably.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rant: War Room

I'll keep it short. The War Room annoys me. It annoys me because PPS_Will said: When reviewing a constructed list, all items which break FA or point allotments will be flagged for easy viewing by your opponent. These flags will also be present on any emailed list. These exceptions may then checked against the appropriate theme force card.

Excuse me for being a lazy bum, but that's unnecessarily complicated. We shouldn't be forced to open new rules, find documents elsewhere on the War Room, search the forums for current rulings on theme lists, and then finally returning to look at annoyingly flagged options I know are correct, and THEN explain them to my opponent again (who by that time should be turning red and venting steam). Privateer Press closed down iBodger and I was down with that (competing product and all that), but then decides not to put out a competing product.

IF the rules and cards in War Room are always correct and up to date, we could just as well trust a complete list construction tool, that took theme lists into consideration and just couldn't create illegal lists unless you actively marked that option (with flags and all).


Monday, March 19, 2012

Never give up! Never surrender!

Just a little update before I crash. It was a long game, though my opponent tried quitting at the end of turn two when he was hopelessly behind. I refused to accept his surrender because no game is ever truly lost, and he beat the snot out of me. I've seen it so many times, and I've pulled my share of wins out of thin air, so no matter how hopeless it looks: Never give up! Never surrender!

Also... I suck at running beasts... more infantry!

In addition I was challenged to put my Terminus list up against a pButcher list with at least three heavies, since I dared declare it hopeless because of the threat range issues. There's nothing like declaring something completely hopeless and then having it steamroll you, but even though pButcher is an awesome caster I just can't see how he's going to manage it unless the dice completely violate me.


Mulling on Mohsar: 5

I've received my models, and tonight will feature just a single proxy model (Megalith). The Bloodtrackers will take a break while I try running beast heavy, but the Wolves of Orboros will stay to swell the ranks for the time being.
Mohsar the Desertwalker
- Gorax
- Megalith
- Warpwolf Stalker
- Warpwolf Stalker
Shifting Stones
- Stone keeper
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (Leader and 1 Grunt)
Wolves of Orboros (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- Wolf of Orboros Officer & Standard
Blackclad Wayfarer
Blackclad Wayfarer
Gallows Grove
Gallows Grove
Professor Victor Pendrake
It's tiny at just below thirty models but still larger than a lot of Circle armies out there. I'm unsure about Pendrake, but I find myself unable to respond to the high defense Circle/Legion heavies without Primal, and Beast Lore on the WoO will sort them out (hitting defense 18 on average dice). Beast Lore can be applied to a lot of different models when I really need that boost, from the Stone Keeper to the Blackclad, or even Mohsar himself if he can't spare the Focus to boost that Curse of Shadows.

Finally Pendrake brings a possible knockdown to the table, which can be a game winner. If there's a defense thirteen Warjack I'll have to use Primal to guarantee a kill, but with one 7+ roll he'll be flat on his behind and I can kill it with a Stalker and sprint away.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Game Theory: Buffers

It's been a while since I've worked on the game theory section, but my last game got me thinking about Buffers again. A buffer is something that: cushions the impact of objects against each other, or keeps two or more objects distant from one another. There are several types of buffers, and of course some that fit in more than one category.

It's a shitty job, so use a spell
These are Caustic Mists, Storm Ravager templates, Scather Templates, Covering Fire templates, and the many other options the game offers to put down patches of damage dealing ground. We can use these buffers to deny an opponent access to vital areas on the table with a part of his army, depending on the nature of the buffer in question (Corrosion, Fire, Lightning, how powerful the damage etc. etc.).
Line of Sight
Blocking Line of Sight makes for a wonderful buffer effect. The ability to declare a charge is vital for the threat and hitting power of many models in the game, and removing that option severely limits the options a model has available. A Warjack/Warbeast could trample through the cloud but it will cost it a Focus/Fury and all it's initial attacks, thus cushioning the impact it has on your army.
Rough Terrain
This type of buffer is heavily dependent on your opponents list. In some games they will be completely irrelevant and in other games they can win you the entire game with one application. A well placed patch of Rough Terrain can take entire units or heavies out of the game for a turn or two while they struggle to get into position.
These buffers create artificial obstacles or obstructions. These can be used to stop non-reach models from physically reaching your army, granting cover, or blocking lines of effect. These are some of the hardest buffers to use correctly but also some of the powerful buffers in the game.


Many buffers have more than one buffer ability, making them much more powerful. The most common combination is Line of Sight combined with Damage, which we find with Caustic Mist (Lich Lord Asphyxious), Mage Storm (Black 13th), and many more. Pillars of Salt (Mohsar) combines Line of Sight with Obstacles. Rapid Growth (pBaldur) combines Rough Terrain and Line of Sight, and a select few buffers combine three aspects like Eruption (Karchev) which blocks Line of Sight, deals Damage, and is considered Rough Terrain.


It's impossible to determine the correct way to apply buffers to a battlefield, as the best way is always determined by the battlefield and positioning of models on it, but there are some basic guidelines that should be considered when you have access to buffers.
  • Use what is already there.
If your opponent is caught in a choke point between two pieces of terrain, buffer templates can completely shut down a large part of his advance (assuming he's dealing with obstructions or has no pathfinder). In one game with pKrueger I used his feat to block my opponents Nyss Hunters from advancing, and they never made it to the fight after being forced to run around several rock formations.
  • Know what you're up against.
You'll be sad when the the models with fire immunity and Pathfinder completely ignore your buffer and destroy you. Some buffers can be removed/destroyed, so make sure you take that into consideration when placing them.

Dealing with buffers

Being on the receiving end of a buffer zone is brutal, and most of them can't be moved or ignored. The only thing you can do is to acknowledge the possibility that buffers will impede your advance and try to position accordingly. This means spreading out, flanking, and generally attempting to avoid situations where you'll need a lane since you know it will be blocked if you do.

Another way to deal with buffers is to put pressure on his caster, as this will often force him to use the buffers to defend his caster. If you're facing Lich Lord Asphyxious and he's surrounded by Caustic Mists then you're doing it right. You might not be getting him down, but he's not impeding your movements and dictating the flow of the game.


Buffers are incredibly powerful tools, and even access to a single buffer template is something that makes a caster very impressive. These are also one of the hardest tools to be up against because it mostly depends on your opponents ability to place them, and if he's good there's very little you can do about it. There are very few things you can do to counter them, and there's no easy solution to be found unless you happen to play one of the few casters that can manipulate or ignore cloud effects, in which case you have a tool against maybe half the buffers in the game.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ramblings: learning more from losing?

You can learn a lot from the occasional defeat, but only if you work hard at it, and in most situations winning is simply better. Winning is better because it pushes you forward while losing makes you question where you are.

Some of you will be familiar with the Khador player I helped a while back, but repeating the story probably won't hurt anyone. This guy was on a massive losing streak with his pButcher and pIrusk lists when I met him, and the ever helpful and well meaning friends were telling him to stick with his list and learn everything about it.

I could see his love for the game dying a little bit every time he lost, so I took one look at his list, suggested a screen unit, and he won the next five games in a row. Six months later he took fourth in the Danish Masters, just ahead of me actually, so maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. Losing promotes doubts in everyone, and doubts inhibit learning. This game is about finding your own path and style, and the fear of failure will prevent the experiments and growth a player needs to achieve his potential.

Always winning isn't much better though, since if a player wins a lot of games he's likely to conclude that his talents/strategy is flawless. Success is a good thing but too much of it can make us believe we don’t need to change anything, and then we stop asking the tough questions that would help us expand our knowledge or alter our assumptions about how the game works. This means that losing every once in a while is a good thing, but only if you work hard on taking the lessons to heart.

If you are...

Winning: If you always win you don't grow as a player, which is fine if you happen to always win against the best players in the world, in which case this probably isn't challenging enough and you should go play the Rybka chess engine instead. If you consistently win against everyone in your meta then it's time to let them grow and go play international tournaments instead.

Losing: If you always lose you will become the victim of doubts and fears that will stop your growth as a player, and when you keep losing games you will lose your interest in the game as well (unless you're a special kind of masochist). The occasional win will be labeled a fluke and you will learn very little from it, effectively locking you in a downward spiral. This is why many players suddenly find themselves invigorated and successful after switching factions, not because the new faction does anything substantially different from their old one, but because they've escaped the spiral and can start from scratch.

Mostly losing: If you win a couple of games here and there you will probably remain where you are, using what you know and the tactics that have worked for you so far, but never really growing. This is where a lot of players are at, and that's actually fine because most players enjoy the game when they know they can manage the occasional win. These guys are the players who will do well enough in casual games and fail miserably at tournaments where lists are tuned and high skilled players smell blood.

Mostly winning: This is the place to be. This is where you are confident in your ability to win a game against anyone, though obviously some players will be very hard or nearly impossible opponents. This is where you experiment and design your own lists concepts, and this is where losing will teach you valuable lessons and motivate you to do better.


I feel that "You learn more by losing" is a flawed statement, and even players I deeply respect repeat this ad infinitum. I understand that patting a losing player on the shoulder can be tempting but I think it makes the problem worse. If a player is losing and keeps losing you're basically telling him that he sucks, and then that he sucks even more because he should be learning to stop sucking.

A player caught in a downward spiral needs to know that there might just be one little thing wrong and, like the Khador player I talked about before, a single change in his list could allow him to start winning and growing as a player. It might not work, and he might just be hopeless, but "maybe you should try something new" is a lot better advice than "you learn more by losing".

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The new Warpwolf kits are out and they look like a dream to magnetize. You can see an unpacked kit here, and just look at those slots... it makes me all giddy inside.

DM qualifier the 24th

Time to break out Cryx again. It's a character unrestricted tournament using the Deathclock variant, which should prove interesting as I've never tried that before. There are a couple of possibilities since it's a non-painted tournament as well, though fielding painted models does feel better.

I've done some checking and the tournament will be sort of strange if all my guesses are correct. The main lists should be something like Circle (Kromac), Circle (eKaya), Cryx (eDeneghra), Cryx (eAsphyxious), Cygnar (Siege), Cygnar (eCaine), Cygnar (eHaley), Cygnar (Kraye), Legion (eThagrosh), Legion (unknown), Trollbloods (eDoomshaper), Trollbloods (eMadrak), two unknown and one slot open due to cancellation.

Kromac should be no problem for Terminus, and eKaya is problematic but not difficult. eDeneghra and eAsphyxious are tough dance partners depending on scenario, but the eDeneghra player is new to Cryx and eAsphyxious I can handle. Siege and Kraye should be pie depending on list composition, but eCaine and eHaley are bastards. Thagrosh is easy enough, but the other Legion player could well be running Saeryn.

Booo Cygnar, go home!
Doomshaper is a problem because of his insane threat ranges and my lack of trample-blocking models, though mostly because of the guy running them (one tournament he had five games and a grand total of 11 rounds played, winning all but one game in turn two, though he's out of practice which might help). eMadrak is a hard list to face, with cavalry and piles of infantry, but I should be able to pull through if I can block the worst damage with a few tough rolls here and there, and Machine Wraiths to to deny him space.

That leaves me with eDeneghra, eCaine, eHaley, and Saeryn to deal with. That sounds a lot like a pDenny ranged list, though Terminus will have to deal with eCaine as best he can. I do want to do something a little different from my regular pDeneghra lists, so maybe it's time to try the Boomhowlers setup I've been considering.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Mohsar Vs. Karchev

I got a game against Bitmatic from the Privateer Press forums, which was nice because I so rarely get to face him. He decided to try out Karchev for the first time
Karchev the Terrible
- Berserker
- Kodiak
- Spriggan
Battle Mechaniks (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Kayazy Assassins (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- Kayazy Assassin Underboss
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
Gorman di Wulfe
Koldun Lord
Man-o-war Drakhun (with dismount)
Not the most optimized list but Karchev on full camp is still a hard nut to crack, and then I noticed I didn't have my Megalith proxy. In order to avoid filling the table with really crazy proxies (I really really need my models soon) I switched in a Feral and bumped Lanyssa to a LoTF.
Mohsar the Desertwalker
- Gorax
- Feral Warpwolf
- Shadowhorn Satyr
- Shadowhorn Satyr
Tharn Bloodtrackers (Leader and 9 Grunts)
. Nuala the Huntress
Wolves of Orboros (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- Wolf of Orboros Officer & Standard
Blackclad Wayfarer
Blackclad Wayfarer
Gallows Grove
Gallows Grove
Lord of the Feast
I really missed my hordes of infantry, and lining up the full unit of Wolves felt really satisfying. I won the roll and terrain made it beneficial to go second since Karchev would have to split up his forces to avoid the giant tower placed right in front of his deployment zone.

I still had three heavies, and this time I brought two Shadowhorn Satyrs. I've had so much fun with them when running Mohsar that I decided to try out two of them (The Gnarlhorn is standing in for the Second Satyr... I need those models). Trackers decided that Doom Reavers would be prey-of-the-day, and he began the running.

Ye old pile of jacks

The Assassins ran around the tower, and one of them ran within Abomination range which probably cost him the game when the dice failed him, but I was not immune to dumbass mistakes either, though mine came later.

He pulled away his Doom Reavers and ran them out on the flank with some plan in mind I couldn't quite grasp, but with them out of my hair I was free to focus on keeping the pile-o-jacks away, and Mohsar just happens to have the perfect tool: Pillars. Since I had no Megalith I was unable to put up a complete wall and had to settle for three while putting up Mirage on the Wolves, and I realized that my feat did exactly nothing in this match-up.

I wasn't going to get much out of the LoTF anyway so I decided to throw a wrench in his repair facility instead, and using the Spriggan as a raven target he whirled through half the mechanics but sadly they passed their terror test. Still, I had built a castle and I had trouble seeing how he was going to get out of receiving a charge. Turns out he wasn't, and he just lined up to take it. The Doom Reavers came running back in but the Trackers passed their check. I lost a couple of models and the LoTF got stomped but nothing of importance. I think he underestimated the Wolves so after I popped CoS on the Spriggan I activated them and charged, leaving Mohsar on four Fury and looking pretty stupid.

Woo boy I like Wolves of Orboros. I completely messed up placement and attempted to take on three heavies at once, which predictably didn't go well, but the Spriggan was down to a single functional system and the Berserker was so banged up that a primal Shadowhorn could finish the job. The Doom Reavers were wiped by the Trackers, and the Feral moved up to prepare for Karchev.

He used his feat and Unearthly Rage, mauled my Shadowhorn with the Kodiak, locked the other Shadowhorn down with Black Oil, and his Assassins took down some Trackers, but do you see the line going from Feral to Karchev, because he didn't. Finally after seven games I used Hunters Mark, and with speed warp the Feral got in. Curse of Shadows + Primal + Hunters Mark was enough to take Karchev down, and I really felt comfortable this time... Infantry rocks.
  • I don't need two Shadowhorn Satyrs.
  • I didn't miss the Shifting Stones much.
  • I missed Megalith a lot.
  • Wolves of Orboros are my new best friends.
  • Reach models are great with Mohsar.
  • Trackers are great, but I think I'll go with a minimum unit next time.
Mohsar is a real bastard for Cryx to face, and I think it's about time for a "know your enemy" article on him.


Mulling on Mohsar: 4

Right then, infantry Mohsar it is. I know Circle is known for it's great beasts, but I see some great potential in the infantry, and I've always been an infantry man. I figure running three heavies is a step up from 0-1, but the multiple activations and presence on the field I get from infantry is hard to ignore.
Mohsar the Desertwalker
- Gorax
- Megalith
- Shadowhorn Satyr
- Shadowhorn Satyr
Shifting Stones
- Stone keeper
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (Leader and 1 Grunt)
Tharn Bloodtrackers (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- Nuala the Huntress
Wolves of Orboros (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- Wolf of Orboros Officer & Standard
Blackclad Wayfarer
Blackclad Wayfarer
The idea is to become familiar with the rules for throwing, since that's one of the things I find very confusing. The fact that there's two different systems is just mind boggling, but this list should prove interesting.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


One thing I liked about moving was the opportunity to redesign the workspace. I mostly had my things in a big pile of boxes when I lived alone, and I did have to fight the wife for a bit until we found a solution we could both accept.

Wolves of Orboros lining up for duty
A workspace in the kitchen, with everything organized in little drawers. This was definitely not something I would have done a couple of years ago but I like it. The drawers on the left are all construction.

Paints, need new brushes
Base construction
Projects and stuff that wouldn't fit elsewhere
The drawers on the right are models, mostly Cryx and mercenary models as I don't own as much Circle and it still fits in the suitcase I have for it.

Padded so the models don't rattle around.
Rarely used these days
Terminus and his boys
Heavies and NIB stash
Then I attached some more storage space on top of them for easy access to projects and bits. This was something I should have done years ago, as my bits boxes were legendary in size, and people were known to get lost in them for days. They're a lot smaller in Warmachine, but still...

Top left will be Circle
Models that need fixing
Finally there's my current project which is to save  my Gorax and make him the bad boy he needs to be. I grabbed a new Gorax head when a buddy ordered from the bits department, and a couple of shoulder pads from Brine. It's just hardening so maybe some details tomorrow, but he's chilling out because he can't keep his arms up before the grey stuff hardens.

Arms... heavy... must... work out... more!
I do miss my eight foot table and my boxes of models, but realistically I know that has to wait until I have a garage at some point in the future.