Thursday, 25 October 2012

Warmachine for beginners - Warhahordes Journeyman League

Last week saw the beginning of our club’s Journeyman league. It’s a league designed to get you to try Warmachine/Hordes with a starter box and build up from there. You even get points if your models started off unpainted and you paint them over the course of the league. I’d played Warmachine a couple of times in the current edition and found it a bit of an uphill struggle so this league seemed perfect to get to grips with things.

For those who aren’t familiar with Warmachine; it’s a game where you are a Warcaster (kind of a nasty wizard) who controls a small skirmish scale force consisting of a handful of mechanical monstrosities a bit like steam powered dreadnoughts, some infantry (if you want) and solo characters. The aim of the game is to kill your opponents Warcaster.

Your warcaster gets focus points which allow you to cast spells. Some spells do damage, some do buffs to your stuff or debuffs to the enemy and some do more exotic things like make one of your models ghostly and able to walk through other models and terrain, even out of combat. Warcasters also each get a Feat, which is a once per game ability that usually has a game wide effect. You normally pop your Feat on the turn in which you expect to make a big push.

Warjacks can be allocated some of your caster’s focus so that they can boost their to hit rolls or damage rolls or do other things like charge or run. Boosting means you get to roll an extra dice to hit or to wound.

Basics of how combat works in Warmachine

Your model’s basic statline consists of a move speed, MAT (melee attack), RAT (ranged attack), Strength, Defence (Def) and armour. There are other stats like Focus or Cmd but I won’t go into this.

When you declare an attack on a model you compare your MAT if in melee or RAT if shooting to your opponents Def, normally your MAT will be a fair bit lower than the Def. You then roll 2 d6 (or 3d6 if boosting) and add your MAT, if you equal or beat the Def then you have hit.

Then to damage your opponent you compare the strength of your weapon you’re hitting with to their armour. The weapon’s strength is represented by P+S on your models stats. You roll 2d6 (3d6 if boosted) and add your P+S. How much you beat their armour by is how much damage you’ve done. E.g. a P+S weapon with strength of 16 hits a jack with armour 20, you roll 12 so the jack takes 8 damage.

The League

I’ve already got a Cryx army, I just don’t know how to use it. To start in the league I needed to buy the starter Cryx box anyway as I didn’t have those models. My starter set consisted of Denegra as my warcaster, a slayer jack, 2 ripper jacks (death chickens) and a defiler. I’ve never used Denegra before so I went into the league pretty much as a new player. The 3 little chicken jacks act as arc nodes, meaning I can cast spells as if they’re coming from the jack instead of my caster.

Looking at the spells that Denegra could cast for the first time, I found she does some nasty stuff. She has an ability called Crippling Grasp which can nerf a heap of an enemy’s stats by 2, making it a lot easier to kill. She can cast Ghost Walk on one of your models which lets them move through terrain or models without problems. Her Feat is amazing, all enemies within her control area (14 inches around her) suffer from -2 to their speed, MAT, RAT, strength, armour, Focus and they can’t charge.

Week 1 – Starter boxes only

Game 1
My first game of the league was against Dave Bartley and his Menoth. I won this but can’t actually remember what I did lol. It was a learning experience to get to grips with my caster. I do remember using a combo strike with my slayer jack to great effect.

Game 2
This game was against David Copperwheat’s Skorne hordes army. We had a building in the middle of the table and both of our forces moved up and hid on opposite sides of it. With my arc nodes though I had the advantage of casting spells round corners. I won by using crippling grasp on his caster and Ghost walk on one of my jacks so that it could charge through his big beasty and straight into combat with his caster to squish it.

Week 2 – 15 points but must include starter box

For most players the 15 points allowed them to add a solo or small squad. For my Cryx I only had 1 point to play with and only 1 model that costs 1 point, so I added a machine wraith to my list.

Game 3
This time I was against Martin Copperwheat’s Khador, basically a caster, 2 big jacks and some sniper dudes. I managed to get my shooty death chicken to vomit acid on his caster and rolled a 12 for damage leaving him with only 4 health. In the next turn I again Ghost Walked one of my jacks to charge straight through and squish his caster. He made a mistake in moving his caster nearer to me and running away his big jack that wasn’t stuck in combat.

Game 4
Barry Wardle used a bunch of Hordes crocodile things against me. This bunch just walked all over me. He had a buff on his big beasty that made it nigh on impossible for me to hurt it and I took D3 damage whent I tried, it moved up and I charged it but couldn’t scratch it. My Crippling grasp failed to work twice due to high Def stats.

He cast his feat which knocked down everything I had, he then shot my caster who’s Def was reduced significantly due to being knocked down, my caster nearly died. He then didn’t something beyond what I thought was possible. He charged his other large beast into combat with the first one, he then picked it up and threw it at my caster and she died. It was dirty, very dirty lol. :(

After much thought I think the only way of countering his force is to spread everything far apart and try to pick things off individually, maybe even just ignoring the big beasts as they’re so hard to hurt.

Now I just need to get my stuff painted to get some journeyman points for the league. I know who my opponents are next week. Ian is using his trollbloods and Carl is using Cryx. I expect some dirty shenanigans from Carl as he’s very experienced in doing hard and nasty things in whatever game.
I have to work out how best to spend my 11 points, so many choices.

Edit: I found out that the feat-puddle combo can't work as you can't place them on top of other models. It would have been increadibly overpowered otherwise.

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