Friday, April 12, 2013

We can Rebuild Him! Mercenary theme list league and painting blog. Part 2: First three League games

League Games 1-3
First, 15 point game, no limitations other than your theme.

I was going to shoot my minis for this, but, some mixed feelings on the beginning of this league have me kind of at loose ends, so I wanted to get this down.



1: The Galleon Experiment
Well, umm, this wasn't a very pleasant game.

I played
pMagnus
-(half-painted) Galleon
-Buccaneer

vs.

eVayl
-Shredder
-Angelius
-Ravagore

This game was really quite boring. I cast Snipe on the big guy and ran him, Iron Aggression on the Buccaneer. He eventually just about crippled the Buccaneer, but that didn't matter. Snipe and three focus meant that it took two turns of attacking to take out two heavies, and I killed the shredder with random cannon fire w/o focus-- enough shots and some hit. I got lucky with some damage rolls, but it probably would have just taken another turn.

Neither of us felt very good about it. This highlighted some of my complaints with the game

1- the game isn't balanced at 15 points. Not isn't well balanced, just isn't balanced. There are a ton of casters alone that can break 15 point games. At least standard journeyman rules give it some semblance of balance (non-character, non-huge, no infantry), but this threw that out the window.

2- colossals make all-comers lists obsolete. You need to have enough powerful attacks to take out something big, and that makes the game even more rock-paper-scissors-y than usual, since you have no room to choose anything to shore up weaknesses in 15 points.

I really do still feel the Colossals are bad for the game. Concentration of points in single pieces like that will just swing the game more steeply in one direction or the other.

I wouldn't run this list again, except if I was against someone being hypercompetitive or if we both knew what we were getting in to, and apologized because it wasn't a balanced game at all.

We talked about it a bit, and we kind of dejectedly decided there wasn't anything he could have done. I felt bad winning, and I'm sure he didn't feel good that the guy across him with the shiniest toy won because it was shiniest.

2: Battlegroup vs. Battlegroup
Rematch, since no one else was there for WM yet.

I played
pMagnus
-Renegade
-Rover
-Mule

He played the same thing.

This game was much more balanced. My Mule's arms were crippled early on, I eventually set it up to block a critical charge. The Rover did well with Iron Aggression up- MVP, nearly taking both heavies out, himself. I eventually finished off the second heavy with an aimed boosted obliterator shot into melee. We called it at this point.

I felt that this was actually a strategic game, and my opponent seemed to feel better, too. This was the only game I liked that evening.


3: Merc vs. Merc
I ended up playing vs. MacBain.

First, we talked about what we could have run: Galleon & Buccaneer vs. Galleon & Blythe/Bull. We decided this would be really stupid. I'd snipe mine, get the first volley, stick up Temper Metal. He'd stick Fail Safe on his. There'd be no strategy, just luck on damage rolls and where the damage went on mine.

Then, we actually played a game.

I ran the same second list.

He ran

Macbain
-Vanguard
-Nomad
Devil dogs
-Buccaneer
Blythe & Bull (prey: Magnus)

He got the initiative, we both later agreed that this singly let him control the board for the whole game.

He got in my face with his feat and Countermeasure. I feated and flanked him. He eventually ran Magnus down with a Nomad.

I rolled terribly to hit him, and he got some great damage rolls exactly where he needed them (Mule's cortex only, two hits on Magnus that matched exactly and did high damage), but I think that he'd still have likely outplayed me in the end: I needed to be on the defensive most game. Either way, he certainly ran a better list than I did.

In retrospect, as he pointed out, the Mangler can work just as well as the Rover or better in just about every situation, and the Mangler does better with infantry. I'd have swapped those out, or gone with a Nomad and Kell, or two Nomads and minimum halberdiers.

I also might have been able to sacrifice the Rover for a better position, but I don't think it ultimately would have made a great impact, considering that I would have been down to one light warjack at that point.

Again, this match highlighted the imbalance of small games.

Like the first game, we talked a bit about this one afterwards, and it was another kind of disappointed discussion that quickly concluded "there wasn't much you could do," just with my role reversed.

Learning experiences
Well, about all I learned was that I don't really like the Rover. It's fine in a Mangled Metal context, because it's effectively a slightly tougher and more flexible Mangler or kind of an upgraded Nomad, but, otherwise, it's not going in a lot of lists.

I'm glad I magnetized it as a Nomad and Rover, and made it out of scrap kits, because the Rover isn't showing a lot of promise. It's the only (human) Merc heavy without Reach, and that hurts a lot, considering that you also either give up thresher or a better gun if you're taking it over an equivalently costed model.

Conclusions
After the previous league's energy, the night was pretty underwhelming, and really didn't make me want to play Warmachine much. During the last league, I had a good time trying new stuff out, and experimenting on how I could do what I did but better.

In short, I felt I was learning and strategizing. The best played army won, I felt, in every game.

This time around, it felt that it was three games of Rock-Paper-Scissors, where one game happened to be Scissors vs. Scissors, so we needed to settle it with a miniatures game.

Here's hoping that the next night feels a bit more like strategy.