Thursday, December 29, 2016

WM Tactics Let's Play Pt. 3 - Erratapocalypse Edition!!!

Holiday edition of WM Tactics, featuring festive hats, celebration of the birth of Victoria Haley and some talk about the first Mk3 balance errata!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Erratapocalypse 2016 - The End of the World As We Know It?

It happened.  Christmas came early and the big jolly red fellow brought with him a bag of gifts for everyone who doesn't play Skorne or Mad Dogs.  Cygnar only saw a handful of changes; a lot fewer than I was steeling myself for and seeing that made my whole day!  Let's talk about what the big changes mean for our mighty Faction!

These never get old
Caine2 (assuming Empowered Shot works how everyone thinks it works) - Dude's gotta pay full-price for his rune shots.
I was already not a huge fan of this 'caster; he does a lot of work himself... but only because he doesn't actually help his army do any of it.  This change cuts his personal damage output down significantly.  Knocks his number of attacks in half if he actually wants to trick shot, significantly reduces the overall power of his feat turn if he wants to Grevious Wounds, etc.  Overnight he's gone from one of Cygnar's most popular and powerful 'casters to probably the bottom 1/3 of the Faction, if not worse.
Does this change our overall matchups significantly?  Not particularly; Caine was good at being an all-rounder with decent Menoth and Retribution matchups and without him one of our other strong options will just have to rise to the occasion.
Is this sad and depressing?  Absolutely; Caine is a cool character and one of the popular favorites with a great model and awesome theme.  In my opinion the negative press he received because of his Mk3 reinvention is what really did him in, and he was caught in the crossfire of PP's new NPE witch hunt.  Hopefully he'll still see some table time in his upcoming third incarnation.

She's looking a lot less happy now

Haley1 - Barrier's SPD reduction debuff isn't worth the paper bag I now have to put over Haley's head.
Another casualty of the crusade against NPE (but one that's arguably better deserved) is the ball-bustingiest of Captain Haley's ball-busting spell list.  Haley wasn't exactly tearing up the meta in the same way that people thought Caine2 was for some reason, but she was still occasionally unfun to play against and phenomenal in some matchups.  Overall, the meta of high ARM, hyper-gunlines and lack of Haley's favorite food (low ARM infantry swarms) curbed her inclusion in many pairings... which was why a kneecapping by the croquet mallet of justice was so flabbergasting.  Another wild swing of the mallet resulted in a broken pinky tow and -1 WJP, ostensibly because losing any more meant that people might've made the mistake of thinking she still had good rules.
That said; she's not quite as bad as I initially knee-jerked towards.  Barrier still reduces DEF and Haley boasts one of the strongest support spell-lists in the Faction, especially against high-model count lists that suffer against her feat.  All these strengths she can take time to consider during her lonely vigil on the shelf, waiting for the fabled end times when her new position as poster child for "solves problems we don't have" is needed most.

No silly emote heads for this lovely lady

Haley2 - Long live the queen!
Everyone knew (or at least should have known) another Haley2 nerf was coming.  I played about 2 months assuming Haley2 would be reduced to a mass of non-complementary game mechanics in preparation... so having her survive relatively untouched is like getting a whole new 'caster added to the stable!
Losing Deflection is the biggest change and does hurt quite a bit; it removes Haley's protection for moderately-high DEF 'jacks and solos that I generally built my lists around and forces her towards a slightly more heavily armored build; no huge deal.  While it's not nearly as useful, Force Field is no joke of a spell and will keep Haley safe from a lot of last-ditch or unexpected assassination runs while not being vital enough to represent an actual drain on resources. 
The Time Bomb change isn't nearly as relevant as many folks are making it out to be; it obviously removes the possibility of debuffing spell-immune models or catching multiple enemies with its effects... but since the edition change allowed models to charge under it I found the spell to be not particularly useful to begin with.  Since the start of Mk3 I've only cast it a handful of times, mostly as a DEF debuff to ensure an assassination or the death of a particularly tough heavy... all of which it still does just fine.
All told; Haley certainly dropped a couple of pegs losing almost all her defence against enemy gunlines, but those were never the matchups in which she shined anyhow.

So alongside some core rules changes and minor buff to the Minuteman (wooo...), that's the errata for Cygnar; just 3 major hits.  Seems like a lot of strikes from that croquet mallet; but how did the Faction make out in the grand scheme of things?


I can't express how excited I am about these changes without the criminally excessive use of emojis which I will demonstrate now.

Thank you for your patience.  Here's a monkey:

Haley2 survived still playable, Khador (and Karchev especially) took the mallet of justice so many times to the bollocks that they don't even know which Warjacks to take; Ossyan, while still strong, is slightly less of a threat (although his absence may bring other, equally unfun Ret matchups to the table but we'll see) and Wurmwood can no longer hide behind his wussy forest to deny the SWEET LIGHTNING VENGEANCE THAT WILL BE WREAKED UPON HIM!!!!11!!!1!!

I'm excited to see how the meta develops from here, but it looks to be a strong start for the new year.  I'm interested to put models on the table and see how things shake out in the end, but in my opinion the worthless lives of two mediocre 'casters and a drop of blood from the finger of one of our greats is a small sacrifice to the great dev gods of Immoren for the blessing of better matchups across the board.  So say we all or whatever.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

WM: Tactics Let's Play pt. 2

This past week's live stream, including lots of epic Trencher action, name calling Brickhouse, talking about the new and exciting spoilers that we got this week and playing the same mission twice.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rampant Speculation - Change We Can Believe In!

Warmachine is in a weird place right now.  With the errata looming over the heads of the congregated masses like a proverbial and infinitely less intimidating sword of Damocles, designing list pairings or practicing for next year's 4circuit is more difficult than ever.  This period of uncertainty has lead many players (myself included!) to bury our heads so deep in the jank tank that we've forgotten what the sun looks like.  In the downtime before we drown; let's play a little game and try to predict what the post-errata game will look like for the mighty nation of Cygnar!

First some ground rules; no kissing on the mouth and even if you get tagged on the arm it still counts.  Let's pretend that the top 'casters in our Faction got bumped on the head so hard by the nerf bat that they can't remember their own first names.  I think it's reasonable to expect that Haley2, Caine2 for getting arguably the most negative publicity out of any Cygnar 'caster, Kara and Haley3 might see some changes.  I can't speculate on what those changes are or whether they're even going to happen but for this thought exercise we can make believe that they've left the realm of competitive viability and live in the squalor of Blaize's little hovel on the outskirts of things people care about.

Let's also pretend that big-game metabenders got whacked along the way; so no (or reduced) Tree, Karchev+Mad Dog spam, Reclaimer and Madrak2.  I'd like to include Ossyan in that lot, but I'm fairly certain that Retribution is one of the designer's shiny new toys and they'll do they're best to make sure it doesn't get any dirt on it.  With the impending Hellmouth nerf that has to happen, I doubt any Legion 'casters, even prevalent ones like Lylyth3 are uber enough to deserve a hit... and who even knows what Skorne is going to look like after its lobotomy?


So what starts to rise to the top after a healthy paradigm shift?  The archetypes that are currently seen are still going to pop up; e.g. super heavy 'jack spams and hyper gunlines.  Within the faction of Cygnar the Strykers immediately come to mind.  Stryker1 can ARM buff to deliver his models through hails of bullets and both Stryker2 and 3 powder heavily armored bricks.  One of the biggest arguments against an infantry-heavy approach is the possibility of hitting Wurmwood and having infantry stuck in a forest and scooped up by Hellmouths; but if that becomes less of an issue, infantry-centric builds with these 'casters could see a resurgence, perhaps bringing along previously unused units like Sword Knights.  Other Warcasters that could see an uptick are Darius, who brings another answer to gunlines in heavy armor and repair as well as Nemo1, who can play a similar control game to Haley2 against Warjack bricks and pump his own 'jacks to very respectable threat ranges.

What will be our toughest opponent's if this fever dream of a future should come to pass!?  Retribution will always be a tough counter, bringing lots of ranged superiority tech to the table.  Circle's latest releases promise to be very strong; even without Tree on their side, Una2 and Kaya3 as well as old staples like Baldur2 ask questions that are difficult but not overpowering.  Menoth and Khador Warjack bricks will also always be a contender and with less tough matchups for infantry like Tree, Caine2 or Karchev we could even see a resurgence in oldschool infantry swarms, going back to the Mk2 archetype of heavily armored troops like Dawnguard, Forge Guard and Iron Fangs.

This fantasy scenario seems pretty far fetched and I honestly don't think things will get shaken up to the extent that I'm painting here, but if these errata documents do end up being nearly as impactful as PP would have us believe, we'll have to be ready for a significant shift once or twice a year.  One little PSA; let's keep our lids on about this whole thing and not go crazy ape-shit bonkers over the changes to our Faction.  It's so easy to focus on sweet stuff that we don't get anymore to the point that we forget that other people don't get their sweet stuff anymore or that we still have sweet stuff.

I for one, am as excited for this document as a toddler on Christmas eve; I'm even filling my spare time jumping up and down in my reindeer onsie and forgetting to go to sleep.  My fingers are crossed for some fun changes to our bottom tier 'casters but at the very least a brand new metagame to wake up to will be an exciting time.  Now excuse me as a go put out milk and cookies for the overweight burglar about to break into my home.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

WM: Tactics Let's Play pt. 1

This weekend I decided to try something new and do a sweet live-streamed Q&A sesh with a twist; an exciting Warmachine Tactics let's play!  This time we level up Bandit, name our tiny Trencher friends and talk lots of Cygnar tech.