Warmachine – Relasine’s WAR Games CON Report

WAR Games Con has come and gone.  After having a few days to recover my wits, I suppose it’s time I debriefed.
Friday – 

I ran demos for Warmachine from 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM.  Every person who played a demo walked away with a free starter for Warmachine or Hordes courtesy of Privateer Press.  That’s pretty awesome. I talked to a lot of folks who seemed genuinely excited about the game, many of which subsequently ending up purchasing rulebooks or more miniatures from the two stores that had retail presence at the convention.

I know lots of Press Gangers.  Many of them live for running tournaments, but I’ve never really found it as exciting as running demos for new players.  By trade, I teach 10-12 year-olds, and there’s a special kind of crazy enthusiasm that I find is advantageous for that practice, an enthusiasm that apparently translates well to selling people on what effectively amounts to tea parties with man-dollies.  Consequently, I had a blast, and I like to think that the people that I ran demos for did as well, but that could be my ego talking.

I finished the evening out by hanging out and watching Houston virtuoso, Will Pagani, aka skillt, trounce people with his Harkevich/Double-Conquest list.  Then I had a casual game with BoLS regular, Lux, him running Saeryn, me with Nemo 3.



His list basically consisted of Saeryn, a pair of Angelii, a pair of Scytheans, and a little bit of support.  It was built around the concept of having to tangle with a pair of Colossals, the consequence of witnessing Mr. Pagani’s ruinous stampede that largely reminded me of watching people line up to lose to the local Street Fighter II master back when arcades were a thing.  


My Nemo 3 list consisted of:



Artificer General Nemo – +3
– Storm Chaser Adept Finch
– Stormwall – 19
– Thunderhead – 12
– Stormclad – 10
Black 13th Gun Mage Strick Force – 4
Arlan Strangeways – 2
Journeyman Warcaster – 3
2x Stormsmith Stormcallers – 2
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator – 1

We ran Incursion.  I quickly discovered that Nemo 3 has teeth, and should not be trifled with.  The combined ranged threat of my three warjacks, the Black 13th, and Nemo’s gun managed to take out one of his Scytheans on Saeryn’s feat turn before he could close on me, which pretty much set the tone for the rest of the game.  Nemo’s ability to take out support models was glorious, as his did not last particularly long.  I ended up piece trading my Stormclad for another heavy, but then managed to crush him favorably in return since I still had the Thunderhead and Stormwall, which easily outclassed his remaining two.  Lux and I both made some sloppy moves with the scenario, but I was still able to pull it out in the end.  The Big Guns on Stormwall continued to punish my opponents throughout my games, and Nemo 3 runs warjacks almost like he were a warlock running beasts.  


Saturday –


This was to be a busy day.  There were two qualifiers for Sunday’s Masters Tournament, but I decided that I would only play in the first one since I didn’t want to be playing in tournaments until midnight.  Also, I really wanted to get in a game with Privateer Press Marketing Manager, Lyle Lowry and get in an interview with Lyle and Privateer Press Volunteer Coordinator/Organized Play Manager Will Hungerford.

For the qualifier, I ran the two lists (with a slight adjustment to the Haley 1 list) that I mentioned in my last article on Stormwall.  For the uninitiated, they were:

Major Victoria Haley (+5)
– Stormwall – 19pts
– Thorn – 8pts
– Squire – 2pts
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages – 6pts
– Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer – 2pts
Boomhowler and Co. (Full) – 9pts
– Captain Jonas Murdoch – 2pts
Journeyman Warcaster – 3pts
Arlan Strangeways – 2pts
2x Stormsmith Stormcall – 2pts
Reinforcements – Stormclad – 10

Captain Victoria Haley (+5)
– Stormwall – 19pts
– Squire – 2pts
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages – 6pts
– Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer – 2pts
— Grenadier – 5pts
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team – 4pts
Trencher Chain Gun Crew – 2pts
Journeyman Warcaster – 3pts
– Hunter – 6pts
2x Stormsmith Stormcallers – 2pts
Trencher Master Gunner – 2pts
Gorman Di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist – 2pts

Reinforcements – 2x Minuteman – 10

My first game was against Sam, who was a relatively new player running a pair of melee-heavy Khador armies, which prompted me to take my Haley 1 list.  He ended up running his Butcher 1 list consisting of:

The Butcher of Khardov
– Kodiak
– Devastator
– War Dog
10 Assault Kommados
– 1 Assault Kommado Flame Thrower
Doom Reavers
– Greylord Escort
Fenris
Man-O-War Drakhun w/ dismount
Manhunter
Widowmakers
Widowmaker Marksmen
Yuri the Axe

This was my first time running this list, and I quickly learned the danger of running Haley 1 in a deathclock format.  The volume of attack rolls, particularly on her feat turn, means that she runs the clock down fast.  Regardless, continuous casting of Temporal Barrier, Dead Eye to the Gun Mages, and the quartet of covering fire templates from the Stormwall, Black 13th, and the Chain Gun Crew kept his entire army at-bay, eventually tabling him.  To Sam’s credit, he took the whole thing in-stride and graciously accepted my apologies for exposing him to Haley in such a terrible fashion.

The Grenadier/Chain Gun Crew/Master Gunner module ended up working great, taking out his Widowmakers, a Manhunter, and Fenris with relative ease.  I was curious to see how this worked out, and I have to admit that I was pleased.

My second game was against a Protectorate player running Reznik and Thyra.  Not wanting to risk running Boomhowler in a list with Silence of Death, I took Haley 1 again with him running his Reznik list:

Reznik
– Castigator
– Vanquisher
Choir of Menoth
2x Deliverer Sunburst Crew
Kell Bailoch
10 Steelhead Halberdiers
– Attendent Priest

10 Steelhead Halberdiers
– Attendent Priest
3 Steelhead Heavy Cavalry
2x Vassal of Menoth

This game did not go long, thankfully for me.  Despite the withering volume of fire I could produce, his AOEs from the Vanquisher and Sunburst Crew would have easily taken apart my Gun Mages given enough time.  Unfortunately for my opponent, he moved Reznik up just a little too far, who was scalpeled out by my Hunter and Stormwall with Haley’s feat up, putting me at 2-0.

My third game was against Randy, a Circle player with Kreuger 1 and Baldur 1.  I was stuck having to run my Haley 2 list since I hadn’t played with her yet and this was to be the last round for reducing the total number of undefeated players to six or fewer.  Randy ended up running Kreuger:

Kreuger the Stormwrath
– Feral Warpwolf
– Ghetorix
– Woldwarden
– Gorax
Druids of Orboros
– Overseer
Shifting Stones
Shifting Stones
– Stone Keeper
3x Gallows Groves
Blackclad Wayfarer
Feralgeist

Reinforcements – 5 Tharn Wolfriders

The scenario used flank deployment and the reinforcement artifice.  I ran my Boomhowler and Co. to tie up his front line while my Gun Mages and Stormwall moved up the center of the board.  Fortunately, use of my feat stopped him from being able to put clouds in front of Kreuger or advance his heavies to threaten anything other than Boomhowler and Co., so Kreuger ended up dangerously exposed to Stormwall’s guns.  Use of Dead Eye, Temporal Acceleration, and four focus to Stormwall allowed me to get several shots with those Big Guns on Kreuger, but the dice just weren’t with me for the first round of shots.  Fortunately, Boomhowler and Co. stopped his advance long enough and killed enough of the Druids to leave Kreuger exposed for another turn, who was again shot up by Stormwall with Temporal Acceleration, Dead Eye, and four focus, finally delivering the final hit needed to kill him.

The combination of Epic Haley and Stormwall continues to prove strong.  Getting three shots with those Big Guns, effective SPD 7, and access to four focus make that pairing a winner.

This left me undefeated and in the top 6 so that I qualified for Sunday’s Masters Tournament.

I spent the rest of the day walking the convention floor, seeing some fantastic-looking 40k armies, getting in a game with Lyle Lowry from Privateer Press, and doing an interview with Lyle and Will which should go up soon if it hasn’t as of the time of this writing.

Sunday –

Things started early with the Masters Tournament.  I took small deviations from my previous two lists in addition to a Nemo 3 list.

Major Victoria Haley (+5)
– Stormwall – 19pts
– Thorn – 8pts
– Squire – 2pts
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages – 6pts
– Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer – 2pts
Boomhowler and Co. (Full) – 9pts
– Captain Jonas Murdoch – 2pts
Journeyman Warcaster – 3pts
Gorman di Wulfe – 2pts
2x Stormsmith Stormcall – 2pts
Reinforcements – Stormclad – 10

Captain Victoria Haley (+5)
– Stormwall – 19pts
– Squire – 2pts
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages – 6pts
– Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer – 2pts
— Grenadier – 5pts
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team – 4pts
Trencher Chain Gun Crew – 2pts
Journeyman Warcaster – 3pts
– Hunter – 6pts
2x Stormsmith Stormcallers – 2pts
Trencher Master Gunner – 2pts
Victor Pendrake – 2pts

Reinforcements – 2x Minuteman – 10

Artificer General Nemo – +3
– Storm Chaser Adept Finch
– Stormwall – 19
– Thunderhead – 12
– Stormclad – 10
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution – 3
Arlan Strangeways – 2
Journeyman Warcaster – 3
3x Stormsmith Stormcallers – 3
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator – 1


Reinforcements – 2x Minuteman – 10

My first game was against a Protectorate player running Feora 2 with me taking Nemo.  I felt really good going into this game but made a huge early mistake.  Nemo has super-long threat range on his Lightning Generator, but for reasons unbeknownst to me, I put him way too far forward so that I could kill a few Temple Flameguard, ending up in range of his two Vanquishers and Reckoner.  I knew that he was going to take some damage, but with camped focus and Arcane Shield, I was confident that he would be able to weather the storm at ARM 21.  I was unfortunately very wrong, as Nemo died to an assassination on the bottom of turn two, and I brought shame upon my family, all so that I could kill a few Flameguard…

In retrospect, I don’t really feel that Strangeways was necessary for the list, and that it would have been better served with Gorman in his place with Strangeways in my Haley 2 list.  Gorman would have saved my hide from the ranged assassination via his smoke cloud, so that really makes two errors.

My second game was against Robert, an Austin local who had openly admitted to being terrified of my Haley 1/Stormwall list.  Since he was running Cryx, I felt that the Haley 1 list was my best shot, so I ran it, much to his apparent terror.  He ended up running a Terminus list:

Lich Lord Terminus
– Ripjaw
10 Bane Thralls
– Bane Thrall Officer and Standard
10 Bane Knights
10 Mechanithralls
– 3 Brute Thralls
Necrosurgeon and 3 Stitch Thralls
The Withershadow Combine
Darragh Wrathe
Madelyn Corbeau
Saxon Orrik

This was a radial scenario, which meant that his army had a long way to travel to close on mine.  In horror, I realized that Thorn was on the board during the bottom of turn two when he was not in the army list.  Since Robert did activate parts of his army in order to respond to Thorn, I pulled the model off the board and conceded the game without him having to say a word.  It was a really stupid mistake, but consequently led to the most fun I had all weekend when Robert insisted that we play the rest of the game out.  It was a bloodbath.  The Grenadier/Trencher module was fantastic that game, largely being responsible for killing his Necrosurgeon before she could bring back any models, taking out the entire Mechanithrall unit, eliminating most of the Bile Thralls, killing Wrathe, and knocking off a few Bane Knights.  I love that module, and highly suggest other people try it out.  My Gun Mages made a mess of the Bane Thralls and only suffered a few casualties to his Biles.

Anyway, Temporal Barrier pretty much kept him at bay most of the game until he was finally able to get Terminus to close on my Stormwall after Arcane Shield was taken down by Admonia of the Withershadow Combine, who I unfortunately did not manage to kill with the deluge of ranged fire I sent at her.  After taking my Colossal apart (the first time it died in the ten games I played with it), I put every shot in my army into Terminus, but I just didn’t have the damage rolls to make it happen despite having most of my army still remaining.  After that, he continued his slow, inexorable advance towards Haley while killing the rest of my army and sitting pretty at ARM 24+, eventually leading to me clocking out.  Robert wasn’t so scared of my list anymore.  This game has prompted me to remove a Stormsmith and Pendrake to fit either Eiryss in there for focus stripping.


My last game was against a Cryx player running Epic Deneghra:



Wraithwitch Deneghra
– Deathripper
– Deathripper
– Scavenger
– Nightmare
– Harrower
– Reaper
– Skarlock Thrall
10 Satyxis Raiders
– Satyxis Raider Sea Witch
6 Bile Thralls
Warwitch Siren
Satyxis Sea Raider Captain
Gorman di Wulfe


Now that I point this Cryx list up, it looks like his list was six points over, but I may be remembering it incorrectly.  It was a long weekend…


Anyway, I took my Haley 2 list so that the last round would remain open to me for choice.  My opponent underestimated just how far Stormwall’s threat range was with Temporal Acceleration and Haley’s bond, and he ended up losing his Nightmare and a Scavenger to a charging Stormwall on the top of turn two who was able to crank 12″ up the field with Reach.  This marked the first time I actually made melee attacks with Stormwall, and suffice it to say, I was pretty pleased.  Boomhowler and Co. held his Satyxis at bay while I feated to stop his other heavy warjacks from being able to respond to the loss of Nightmare to my Stormwall.  My opponent responded by feating defensively and killing a few of my trolls with his already-engaging Satyxis.

What followed next was some pretty terrible rolling, as I couldn’t manage to hit his DEF 12 Harrower more than once with a fully-loaded Stormwall, but I did keep his Satyxis tied up and bonejacks disrupted.  Stormwall ended up losing his entire right damage grid and was blinded by Gorman on the following turn while his Satyxis finished off Boomhowler and friends.

Fortunately for me, he didn’t have much left to protect Deneghra, who went Incorporeal during the previous round, so she could not do so again.  Stormwall took a single focus point and dropped a Lightning Pod behind her, boosting the damage roll for decent damage despite suffering Blind.  My remaining Stormsmith Surged into the Deneghra with the Lightning Pod for more damage, then the Gun Mages finished her off under Dead Eye from Haley.

Since the tournament was running behind, the organizers appropriately decided that the only fourth-round game would be between the players competing for first, which suited me fine as I was exhausted and would have liked to see them play, anyway.

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend.  The crew from Houston that ran the Warmachine events did a bang-up job and were super-professional about everything.  It was great to see company support, not only in form of prize support, but actual personnel with Will and Lyle coming down to run demos, hang out, and drop a few spoilers from Gargantuans on us.  The new convention location is fantastic, and the WAR Games Con crew were great as well.

Goatboy even drew Nu (for those who remember Chrono Trigger as fondly as I do) all over my Battlefoam Bag.

My Stormwall continues to be fantastic and Nemo 3 has me intrigued as well, but I’ll have more to say about them specifically in later articles.

If you’re a Warmachine/Hordes player, and you haven’t been to WAR Games Con yet, next year would be a great time to come.  

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