Gaming

Crispy’s Custom Active Duty Roster – Fall 2016

With the release of Privateer Press’ third installment of Warmachine and Hordes, I find myself disappointed with the reset of the Active Duty Roster. I was looking forward to playing the last four casters in Cygnar: Siege, Haley2, Stryker3, and Darius. One warcaster I love, one I hate, and two I’ve never before played.

My solution? Play them anyway as my own custom roster. This won’t help me during an ADR tournament although hopefully I’ll get some practice and “git gud” with them. Or, hopefully, not lose all my games.

Let us review the 2016 Fall Roster.

Captain E. Dominic Darius: I have no experience playing with or against Darius. He looks like a lot fun. Hopefully with the mark III rule set he’ll be a strong pick.

Lord General Coleman Stryker: I’ve been on the receiving end of Stryker3 a few times. As a melee focused caster he doesn’t win points with my ranged preference but Stryker2 started to grow on me. Maybe Stryker3 will too.

Major Victoria Haley: I’ve never got the hang of Haley2. Before her mark II feat nerf, I hated playing with her. I just wasn’t a fun game. She is my least liked caster in all of Cygnar. I hope her and I find some common ground.

Major Markus “Siege” Brisbane: Siege is my rock. A badass rocket launcher wielding rock. I’ve had some of my best games with him. He is the caster I have the most table time. I’m look forward to playing him again.

During this season, I will also be playing Major Beth Maddox in the Journeyman League and Captain Allison Jakes when she is released at GenCon 2016.

I’m much more excited to play this line-up as opposed to the standard ADR this season. Wish me luck.

 

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Gaming, Review

Cygnar Active Duty Roster – Season 3

Cue Joan Jett because this season of casters is all about reputation. I can’t count the number of times my opponents saw my selection of casters and audibly groaned. Even people who have played against me dozen of times showed signs of worry despite my reputation of bad dice and goofy list builds.

Captain Victoria Haley aka Haley1 aka Ms. Feats-Every-Round

Haley doesn’t have the same universal hate that her epic version does but melee focused armies know the pain of slowly advancing into her wall of gun fire.When they can’t run or charge every turn it can seem your opponent’s army will never reach Haley’s lines.

Haley1 is a solid caster. She makes Cygnar’s accurate firepower even more so and keeps her enemies from advancing as fast as they like. Her only drawback is she can be pigeon holed into casting temporal barrier every turn. Which is sad because her spell list makes her a great support caster. The range of option gives her flexible of how to build and play her lists but temporary barrier is powerful enough and expensive enough to overshadow those options in most cases.

Her feat is great for the alpha strike to maximizing damage output but in the competitive environment it can also eat a lot of your clock time if you are not careful.

I really enjoyed playing Haley throughout the season. My favorite list was a Oceans like list; including a Stormwall, a Lancer (or Thorn), Black 13th and a handful of Mercenary solos.

Lord Commander Stryker aka Stryker2 aka The Butcher of Cygnar

Stryker got buff, a bigger sword, and new bad attitude. If they gave him a leather jacket and a pair of shades it would have been fitting. His new found threat is deadly enough no caster really wants to stand toe to toe with him. Except maybe Zoktavir. Stryker can eat a colossal on his own; slice down two heavies, or one shot most casters. All because of his signature ability Overload.

Stryker2 is a missile on two legs (and the husk of a Protectorate jack). His ability to support his army has drastically changed from his original version. While sitting in the back waiting for an opening to assassinate their caster, he can rebuke a few enemy units or buff the unit armor against shooting and magic. His army and him take turns playing delivery method for each other. They Stryker finishes the job.

With the kind of power Stryker wields there will always be risks. In a handful of games, I’ve had Stryker kill himself with Overload. Which can be sad when you were winning and I was just being greedy but totally worth it when I was losing and Stryker – capital m – Murders the opponent’s caster.

I like taking Stryker with Ol’Rowdy and a ton of Storm Nouns. Plus a few lane clearing pieces like Black 13th or Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers.

Captain Allister Caine aka Caine2 aka The Gate Crasher

With a non-linear threat and the power to kills most casters and heavies. Enemy casters hiding as players play cagey to not accidentally open an unseen assassination vector. Caine is a killer and everyone knows it.

Like I talked about previously, I originally didn’t like the Caine’s play style but after getting some quality time with his prime iteration I’ve become a fan. Unlike Caine1, Caine2 is more about himself and the epic threat he provides. With virtual no support for his army they must survive on their own merits and support each other.

As Caine is a ranged assassination caster my lists included models that helped clear up line of sight issues. Taryn di la Rovissi, Eiryss, and Rangers were a main stay. Gun Mages and an Avenger became very useful a few games.

Artificer General Nemo aka Nemo3 aka Sparky-sparky-boom-man

Out of all the casters listed here, Nemo3 has very little reputation. Most people I throw him at have little or no idea what he is capable. Those that do underestimate his potential threat and put themselves out there for a striking revelation.

Sparky sparky boom man, like his predecessors, is all about the lightning and warjacks. Nemo and Caitlyn can tune up a decent size battlegroup with two focus each turn and still upkeep and cast. On feat turn he becomes a weird assassination caster. Looking for ways to bounce lightning into a caster putting pow 10 plus 4d6 electrical damage into them.

My Nemo3 lists usually came with a lot of lightning rods, the Stormwall being the most reliable one. Stormblades played double duty as serious damage dealers and lightning rods. I played around with Thunderhead and Dynamo but never got them to work well with the rest of the army. Reinholdt was probably the most useful model in any of his lists.

Going forward…

The march to Mark III is also “resetting” the active duty roster. So this is my last ADR review for now but I will be doing Mark III reviews of Cygnar casters as I get some quality time with them.

Gaming

ScotaFest V: Endgame – Battle Report

This may be the last year for ScotaFest and what a way to go out. ScotaFest is always the highlight of the local meta each year. This year was the biggest turn out ever with 34 players. The format was interesting too. An escalating list starting at 20 points first round and increasing ever round until 50 points. Last round you add a second list; 10 points of any faction with caster.

I went for Stryker2 for my main caster. I figured if I needed to I could suicide run to kill their caster or just take out as many heavy hitter as possible. Nemo3 as my second caster for electric nonsense on the last round.

Round 1
Stryker2
– Ol’Rowdy
– Sentinel
Black 13th
Storm Lances (min)
Stormblade Captain
Round 2 add
Storm Lances (upgrade to max)
Journeyman Warcaster
Eiryss2
Round 3 add
Aiyana & Holt
Stormblades Infantry
– Storm Gunner
Round 4 add
– Stormblade Officer
– Storm Gunner
– Storm Gunner
Reinholdt
Rhupert
Stormblade Captain
Round 5 add
Nemo3
– Dynamo
Stormsmith Stormcaller x3

Quick and dirty battle reports after break…

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Gaming, Theory

An Argument for Playing Unpainted

A lot of my Cygnar army is currently unpainted and recently I came to the conclusion that may be okay. Not to say I will never paint my whole army only that I’m not in hurry to paint freshly constructed models. I can already hear the wave of “play it painted” advocates but hear me out.

I’m relatively new to miniature war games. I’ve only been playing Warmachine for the past three years and I’ve never played any other miniature war game before starting Warmachine. In the past, the only miniatures I would paint were the handful of player characters for role-playing games. During that time, the most heart breaking thing to happen to any mini was to have a fully paint, sealed, and based mini fall apart during play. The wizard’s staff hand pops off. The warrior’s shield falls to the table. The cleric would drop their holy symbol. Gluing the pieces back never fully hid the scars of the damage. These kinds of structural failures help to motivate me to learn about pinning and other useful construction techniques.

When I took the leap from RPGs to war gaming there was a push from more established players to get my army to fully painted as quickly as possibly. I enjoy painting models but I’m not a great painter and not a very quick one either. And aside from my painting issues, I was still learning the mechanics and deciding on which units I enjoyed running. I didn’t want to sink what little bit of hobby time I have into painting models I didn’t want to play. Also a part of me knew, “these models are going to be touched a lot and will fall apart if I’m not careful.” I wanted that eventuality to happen while they were still unpainted. At almost every tournament and convention I’ve attend there has been an instance of someone’s models falling apart during events. The most heart breaking moment is a tray with two fully painted lists crashing to the ground from elbow bumps. The more common are just arms falls off while moving a model. When those models are painted I feel my heart break just a little bit for the owner.

Three years later more than half of my Cygnar models are unpainted, bare metal even. While experimenting with new units I’ll construct them with hopefully enough glue, pins, and green stuff that they don’t fall apart just as I charge an enemy caster. After a few rounds of play testing and I feel comfortable they won’t fall part without extreme conditions, they will get put in the long line to be painted.

 

Gaming

Cygnar Active Duty Roster – Season Two

Active Duty Roster Season two is at an end and my opinions on its line up are all but completed.

Lieutenant Allister Caine aka Caine1

Both Caine’s incarnations have been my least favorite casters since I started playing Cygnar. I think it has a lot to do with them always being knocked over and the oh-so-might defense meaning absolutely nothing. When Caine hit ADR I avoided him like the plague but when the local Journeymen League started I decided I’d give him a chance for the league. The league first few weeks were painful but once the 35 point games started I found Caine’s stride.

Caine1 is a support caster and plays that role well with most of Cygnar’s high defense ranged models like the Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers. He himself can eliminate most individual targets that get into his range. His high speed and teleport allows him to get into and out of trouble quickly. Although the high defense is nice it can’t be relied upon to save him. If he is unfortunate enough to be knocked down, by the many ways that is possible, he dies.

I found I started to begrudgingly like Caine. He more than once let me look at the board differently then I would with other casters. Everything became attack vectors and hiding spots. A complex game of cat and mouse where Caine was both.

Although I probably won’t be playing him for a while, I will be dusting him off again. I’m cautiously looking forward to his epic version next season.

Commander Dalin Sturgis

The infamous Sturgis is interesting addition to the Cygnar warcaster lineup. He moves like Caine. He supports like Stryker1 and fights like Stryker2. But even with the similarities, he brings a set of unique abilities to Cygnar.

The dream with Sturgis is to camp focus, feat drag a low defense model into charge range, charge and flash into melee with a caster, and take twelve to fourteen attacks in the new corpse of the opponents caster. I’ve pulled this off once and the non linear threat is impressive.

Aside from the dream Sturgis is a lead from the front caster. Enough of a melee threat to get work done. Using his defensive abilities and teleport from getting squished too easily. A mixer of covering fire and his feat makes quick work of infantry and solos. He doesn’t want to spend too many resources on his army so self sufficient units are a must for list building.

I enjoyed playing Sturgis so much I might replace him for my Styker2 tournament list. He is something different in Cygnar but not too far off to need anything to be good.

General Adept Nemo aka Nemo2

Nemo went through a midlife crisis where he thought jacks were cooler than lightning and became Nemo2. His mid life crisis passed and he regained his senses to become Nemo3. Although is the younger female assistant a sign of its continuation? As with most men that point in their life, he got some new clothes, meet a few juiced up buddies, and became obsession with fast machines.

I was first introduced to Nemo2 by Dennis and Mike from Rage Quit Radio and their speed machine list for the old man. Nemo2 and six Minutemen, the Son’s of Liberty. It’s a fun list. Super quick and perfect for Nemo2 feat and spell list. When I started playing him in standard formats I began with that list as my base. I quickly found I needed more.

Nemo2 is a jack caster. Most of his spell are for his warjacks. Polarity Shield is great for protecting a screening unit. Force Field is awesome against those knockdown casters and lucky deviations. Physically Nemo is still squishy and slow. The addition of Power Attack means he can attack a little better than before and it is his best option for attack.

The most notable ability is Elite Cabre [Stormsmith Stormcallers]. That ability made sure every list I made had three Stormcallers in it. Pow 12 skill checks were hilarious for scalping out solos and clearing up jamming units.

Nemo was my warmachine drop for most pairings. My lists were usually jack heavy with three heavies or Stormwall and a heavy plus some gun mages, stormblades or stormguard, and stormcallers. Add in some support for flavor: squire, junior.

In the end, I found Nemo2 fun but too focused to be a caster I’d use a lot.

Captain Kara Sloan

Sloan has been by far my favorite caster in the game. Even before she hit ADR I would find any reason to play her. Her play style coincides with mine so well. Sloan is single target death and the target is most likely your caster.

Now she isn’t prefect. She is commonly thought of as a mid to low tier caster. I might disagree with her given ranking but I do understand she has a few glaring weakness. First and foremost she is awful is melee. She should never be there, she has a sword but if she is using it something has gone horrible wrong. Sloan is also not great at support. Having the spell Dead Eye does make a good choice to support ranged units but with low armor and average focus, she is usually using that focus herself.

My Sloan list plays to her exceptional range. Either going for the early assassination or crippling heavy targets before they can reach my mostly ranged army. Sloan runs two defenders to make good use of her feat turn and play melee body guards to boot. Blazers, Gun mages, and Rangers. Taryn and Reinholdt are Sloan’s besties giving an extra shot and line of sight as needed. With ADR magic I was able to switch in and out Hunters, more guns, and random support which made the list able to handle lots of match ups. I built it to take on horde match and surprisingly I’ve given good games against Calandra, Doomy, Bradigus, and Thagrosh with a mix of luck and practice.

With season two over, I’ll be putting Sloan to the side lines but she is still one of my favorite casters.

Honorable Mention

Major Prime Victoria Haley aka Haley3 aka Time Lady

Unfortunately I didn’t get much time to play Haley and her temporal selves. I will say the primary gimmick of this caster isn’t my favorite. Bring out future and past requires losing the initiative first round and against a fast opponent that could really hurt. I need more time with her before I make a call on if I enjoy playing her so, for now, they are nice looking models.

Next season look like it is going to be interesting with Stryker2, Caine2, Nemo3, and Haley1.

Gaming

Battle Report – Last Minute Carolina Invitational Qualifier (Round 2)

This past weekend I headed up to Cornelius, NC to play in an invitational qualifier at Parker Banner Kent & Wayne – Comics & Games. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough to fill the qualifier but the local guys were nice enough to play a couple tournament style games. No fussy pictures this time. I was playing my Sloan and Sturgis ADR pairing.

vs. Brian’s Khador

Brian was playing Butcher2’s Mad Dogs and a variant of Sorscha1’s Ocean Eleven. Neither of the lists I brought would have too much trouble clearing doom reavers but I’m not sure Sturgis would be a good drop into Sorscha. I picked Sloan and Brian picks Sorscha. I swap Pendrake, Long Gunners, and a Hunter for Blazers, Jr, and Rangers. I win the roll and choose to go first.

Deployment

The scenario was destruction. The board was covered in a lot of small hills. One forest on my side of the board on the left hand side and one forest on Brian’s side of the board on my right hand side.

Brian pre-deploys conquest center. I deploy Taryn, Sloan, Reinholdt, and two defender across from conquest behind a hill. Blazers and Jr on my left behind forest. Gunmage to my right. Brian deploys a group of merc solos (Harlan, Dougal, Gorman, Midwinter, Aiyana and Holt) and the Widowmaker Marksmen across from the Blazers. The Nyss deploy across from gun mages behind a forest. Sorscha stands next to Conquest. Mechanics behind. My rangers and Eiryss start in the forest in front of the blazers. Hunter in front of Gun mages. Brian’s Kell and widowmakers deploy in front of gun mages. Brian’s Eiryss deploys mostly center.

Round 1

I ran my forces forward. Gun mages run forward. The hunter takes a pot-shot at conquest; barely scratches it. Rangers stay in the forest and Blazers run to board center. Eiryss runs to left side hill. Sloan moves to center hill. Jr puts Arcane Shield on blazers.

Brian moves marksmen onto the hill within 5″ on Eiryss and misses the shot. Dougal mini feats. Harlan moves and shoots at Blazers. Killings one and misses next. Aiyana tries to kiss blazers; misses. Holt shoots at blazers injures it (thanks arcane shield) and misses next shot. Gorman advances and clouds on Aiyana and Holt. Widowmakers advance to edge of forest and kill a gun mage. Nyss advance in forest. Sorsha moves behind conquest, cast Boundless Charge, and wind rushes to the forest behind Nyss. Conquest charges my left side defender the charge is short. Mechanic run into Conquest.

Round 2

I waffle for a little while here. I have a very, very small change that I could see Sorsha and get enough shots in range to kill her but I’m really unsure if its worth the chance. So I start my turn with no real plan and allocate one focus to each defender. Eiryss aims and kills the marksmen. Then rangers advance and kill Dougal and trigger Holt’s quick draw. Blazers try and electro leap into Aiyana and Holt but miss every shot. At this point, I’m unsure of my next move. Hunter takes a shot into Conquest. Reinholdt reloads Sloan. Sloan moves forward on the hill and puts two shots into Conquest and Dead Eye on gun mages. Leaving her on a hill with no focus. Both Defender put boosted shots into Conquest, leaving him with a little less than half his boxes. Gun mages kill three of four widowmakers and they failed command check. Jr swaps Arcane Shield to Sloan. I ended my turn with Sloan on a hill with no LoS blocking.

Brian allocates three focus to conquest. Last widowmaker run to his deployment zone and Kell move make room for Sorsha. Reinholdt, that little traitor, reloads Sorsha. She walks forward and wind rushes up the board. She feat on everything dear to me. Shoots Sloan twice, one with boosted damage, putting about six damage on Sloan. The mechanic each roll repair and all four pass. They heal for 18 points on conquest. Conquest moves forward and fires the big gun. leaving Sloan at one box. The nipple gun finishes her off.

Khador victory!

I’m a little embarrassed to say I forgot the single most important thing to remember when fighting Sorsha1: block line of sight. If I had remembered and just had popped feat to kill conquest and used the blazers as LoS blockers. We might have gone on to a third round. Brian did a great job capitalizing on my mistake and hiding Sorsha from Sloan scary rifle.

Gaming

Battle Report – Last Minute Carolina Invitational Qualifier (Round 1)

This past weekend I headed up to Cornelius, NC to play in an invitational qualifier at Parker Banner Kent & Wayne – Comics & Games. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough to fill the qualifier but the local guys were nice enough to play a couple tournament style games. No fussy pictures this time. I was playing my Sloan and Sturgis ADR pairing.

vs. David’s Retribution

Daivd was playing Vyros2 Griffin Spam and Ravyn’s Strike Force. David suggested we just roll randomly for fun and normally I’d be all for that but I do not like my odds if I get Sloan into Ravyn or Sturgis into Vyros. So I decline the fun today and go for the more tactical option: Sturgis. David chooses Ravyn. I win the roll and choose to go second. I swap the defender for a unit of stormblades, a stormblade captain and Rhupert.

Deployment

The scenario is two fronts. The board has a wall on my side on the left from center. Two small obstructions both middle of the board. One centered and other on my far left side. There is a fancy hill middle of the board my far right side.

I pre-deploy the Stormwall center. David deploys Ravyn center with Banshee and two min units of stormfall archer. One in front of each zone. I deploy Storm nouns on my right hand side. Gun mages on my left. Sturgis, the Black 13th, Lanyssa, and Sylys deploy near stormwall’s left side. David advance deploy. Infiltrators center. Two units of Strike force on my right and one on my left. Mage Hunter Assassin far left.

Round 1

David runs everything forward except the assassin and soulless, which he forgot. Ravyn caster snipe on red unit of strike force and charges the stormwall.

I move the gun mages forward and take snipe shots at the strike force but only kill one. Run the silverline up base to base but can’t engage anything. The rest of the storm nouns fill in behind silverline. Rhupert gives silverline fearless and tough. Stormwall walk forward drops a pod to kill one infiltrator and lays coverfire on both sides of the center obstruction. Black 13th moves in behind gun mages and Lanyssa advances. Sylys advances. Sturgis moves up a little and caster snipe on the stromwall.

Round 2

David’s horde of strike force takes a mix of moves and aims. They shoot dead all the stormblades, stormblade captain, two stormcallers, Lynch, Sylys, and three gun mages.The storm fall archers lite eight of the silverline on fire but miss the rest of the gun mages. Infiltrators run to engage lanyssa, and stormwall. Assassin runs to get into position. Ravyn swaps the snipe from red to blue of strike force in there some where and moves right into the center line of the stormwall. The Banshee advances.

The fire kills six out of the ten silverline. I put two focus on the stormwall and upkeep snipe. Stormwall aims and fires twice into Ravyn. Both shots hit but only 5 damage is dealt. I drop a pod on the other side of the board and put covering fire up again. Last stormsmith triangulates and kills three infiltrators including Eiryss. Lanyssa tries to kill the last infiltrator engaging the stormwall but misses. The four gun mages put shots into assassin and fail to kill. Siliverline charge to engage as many strike force as possible, killing two in process. Black 13th activate. Watts picks his nose as normal. Ryan mage storms the left hand pod. Sturgis moves forward feats and pulls a few models through cover and mage storm. Then teleports in between three strike force and one stormfall archer in the left zone. He is sitting on one focus.

Round 3

David drops snipe, allocates two to the Banshee. Ravyn activates, caste locomotion for two (Banshee moves), feats, and moves a little more to the left side. Banshee moves just barely into reach range of Sturgis. This is when David remember power attacks must be made at the 1/2″ mark and curses himself. He swings on Sturgis dealing a few points. The next few minutes are him trying to hit Def 20 Sturgis with range attacks. He does light him on fire but almost every attack misses including the assassin. He does kill all of his models surrounding Sturgis except the banshee. David kicks himself and switches the clock.

I dropped snipe and keep all my focus. Gun mages activate, thunderbolt banshee back a few inches, and kill the assassin. Black 13th move up. Watts kills a stormfall archer. Ryan shoots Ravyn twice with brutal. Spikes first damage roll and average second damage. Ryan does a magical 8 points total. Sturgis walks up to the banshee, swings with feedback and hits. At this point, I realize Ravyn has two boxes left. I swing my second initial and miss. No flash. Buy two attacks. Feedback hits. Electro leap misses. Buy two attacks. Boost hit with feedback. Ravyn dies to feedback.

Cygnar Victory!

That last round would have gone very differently if the Banshee hadn’t engaged Sturgis.