Theorycraft

All posts tagged Theorycraft

So, what I’ve learned from this year, is that since I’m only going to be playing in Iron Arena, there are things I need to consider to make life a little easier.

Thunderdome is a thing

I need three warcasters that play well together for Thunderdome.  I hadn’t considered this, but Thunderdome easily hits several of the “easy points” parts of Iron Arewna: New Opponents, New Opponent Locations, Fully Painted, and Multiplayer.

At just three models, it’s a gimme for fully painted, too.

Since multi-caster games are so rare these days, playing Saeryn and Rhyas could be really fun.  They become arc nodes for eachother, meaning Saeryn has access to the front line from a safe spot, and Rhyas can move Rapport around as needed.

Alternatively, running all three incarnations of Butcher could be entertaining, but it’s not allowed.

Now, I do have Sorscha1 and Butcher1 painted.  Boundless Charge increases the Butcher’s range and Fog of War combined with Iron Flesh pushes her defense to ridiculous levels.  Maybe throw in Vlad1 for the Primal tri-fecta, and toss Signs & Portents / Wind Wall into the mix?

Scalable Armies

Iron Arena tends to see most games at 35 and 50, and I spent most of my games at 50.  This means I got an extra point, but it also means that games took longer.  Now, this year, 25 and 35 point games were worth the same amount, so playing 35 was a bit pointless, but that may change next year.  The point is, I need to be able to throw down up to 75 points of whatever I bring, and be able to feel comfortable at every size below that.

My Khador this year didn’t really scale well, usually leaving something important home.  The Spriggan is a tad expendable, but cutting the max WGI to min hurts.  They take break checks sooner, and all that support I’m paying for does less work and is thus less “efficient”.

The other big thing that this consideration means is that I should really focus on limiting myself to one faction.  I took both KHador and Cygnar this year, and the Cygnar only came out for two games, and I still played Khador for them!

Between the Absylonia2 art and this guy, I’m itching to play Legion of Everblight, too…

Legion_Warbeast_Pack

Portability & Speed

One of the things I did not like about the WGI was that I had to setup 16 models for deployment, cleanup, etc. It’s just a lot of attacks and a lot of damage rolls, and it takes up a lot of space on the tray.

If possible, I’d like to go with a lower model count next year.  Something with lots of ‘jacks or beasts, maybe one 10-man unit and some solos.  This is another thing that’s pushing me towards Legion for next year.

Conclusions

Here’s what I came up with for some lists:

Faction: Thagrosh – New Blood (NQ50)
Casters: 1/1
Points: 25/25
Tiers: 2
Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight (*5pts)
* Carnivean (11pts)
* Scythean (9pts)
Spawning Vessel (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Beast Mistress (3pts)
* Harrier (2pts)
* Shredder (2pts)

This is great, because it fits all the requirements and has a decent chance.  Both big beasties will be a pain when it comes back under Thagrosh’s feat, and the Beast Mistress has some beasties to play with.

An alternative list reduces the effectiveness of Thagrosh’ tank, but boosts to Tier 3, and puts more models on the board:

Faction: Thagrosh – New Blood (NQ50)
Casters: 1/1
Points: 25/25
Tiers: 3
Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight (*5pts)
* Angelius (9pts)
* Scythean (9pts)
Spawning Vessel (Leader and 3 Grunts) (2pts)
Beast Mistress (3pts)
* Harrier (0pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
Beast Mistress (3pts)
* Harrier (0pts)
* Shredder (2pts)

I think both could be a load of fun.

At 35 points, I like Abyslonia’s theme force:

Faction: Absylonia – Winds of Change
Casters: 1/1
Points: 35/35
Tiers: 4
Absylonia, Terror of Everblight (*5pts)
* Harrier (2pts)
* Raek (4pts)
* Raek (4pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Angelius (8pts)
* Carnivean (10pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
The Forsaken (2pts)
The Forsaken (2pts)
The Forsaken (2pts)

I’ve loved the Raek for a long time, and putting Playing God on it so it can jump behind the enemy warcaster and double-handed throw it towards my army for the Angel to AP it just sounds like fun.

As you can see, I’m also re-using lots of models from the Thagrosh list in the lessers and the heavies.  They all come back again for the 50 and 75 point Vayl2 lists:

Faction: epic Vayl – Machinations of Shadow
Casters: 1/1
Points: 50/50
Tiers: 4
Vayl, Consul of Everblight (*6pts)
* Harrier (2pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Angelius (8pts)
* Angelius (8pts)
* Ravagore (9pts)
* Scythean (8pts)
Blackfrost Shard (5pts)
Blighted Nyss Legionnaires (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Spawning Vessel (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
1 Spell Martyr (1pts)
Succubus (2pts)

Faction: epic Vayl – Machinations of Shadow
Casters: 1/1
Points: 75/75
Tiers: 4
Vayl, Consul of Everblight (*6pts)
* Harrier (2pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Angelius (8pts)
* Angelius (8pts)
* Carnivean (10pts)
* Ravagore (9pts)
* Scythean (8pts)
Blackfrost Shard (5pts)
Blighted Nyss Hex Hunters (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Bayal, Hound of Everblight (3pts)
Blighted Nyss Legionnaires (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Captain Farilor & Standard (3pts)
Spawning Vessel (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
2 Spell Martyrs (2pts)
Succubus (2pts)

Conclusion

There’s a lot to do, but when broken down, a lot of it doubles up:

Warcasters:

  • Thagrosh 1
  • Absylonia
  • Vayl 2
  • Re-paint Lylyth1?

Warbeasts:

  • Carnivean
  • Ravagore
  • Scythean
  • 2x Angels
  • 2x Raeks
  • 2x Shredders
  • 2x Harriers

Units:

  • Legionnaires
    • Unit Attachment
  • Stew Pot & Attendants
  • Hex Hunters
    • Bayal

Solos:

  • 2x Beast Mistress
  • 2x Shepherd
  • 3x Forsaken

Ok, that’s still a lot.

Thoughts?

So, I’m not going to make the Khador deadline I had set for Templecon 2014.  I think it was a relatively unrealistic to begin with, and I’m currently focused on the Titan’s Exchange models, which are more important.  At this point, I’ve accepted the fact that whatever I get done for my Khador before Templecon is just a bonus.  The Exchange models should be done by the end of the week, so If I can, I’m going to try and finish off the Winterguard unit for the full deathstar.  We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, as I work on finishing up these exchange models and aiming for the last 6 models I need for the full deathstar, I want to pick your collective brains over what I’ll be working on after Templecon.

templecon_logo

Our journeyman league is kicking off early this year, so I need to figure out just what I’m going to do. We’re running it a little differently than usual.  Each player pledges a 50-pt army and paints that to completion, rather than painting as much as possible and feeling completely swamped.

I’ve been collecting ideas for armies for a while now, and I’m looking at this opportunity as a chance to finally take one of these and see them through to completion.  The problem is, there are so many great ones to pick from!

Baldur1, Rock of Orboros Tier 4

72045_WoldGuardian_WEBBaldur the Stonecleaver (*6pts)
* Woldwatcher (5pts)
* Woldwatcher (5pts)
* Megalith (10pts)
* Woldguardian (8pts)
* Woldwarden (8pts)
Sentry Stone (Leader and 3 Manikins) (3pts)
Sentry Stone (Leader and 3 Manikins) (3pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
Stoneward and 5 Woldstalkers (5pts)
Stoneward and 5 Woldstalkers (5pts)

This list has been a long time coming.  I already own all of it, most was a gift to myself after all the work I put into the first NOVA Open.  It’s a fun, tanky list that puts the opponent between a rock and a hard place.  It’s also a paint scheme that can be done with an airbrush for the most part, but has lots of nutty details that could be a pain under such a tight time schedule.

Kreoss Pop ‘n’ Drop

32026_DelivererSunburstCrew_WEBHigh Exemplar Kreoss (*5pts)
* Redeemer (6pts)
* Fire of Salvation (9pts)
* Reckoner (8pts)
* Vanquisher (8pts)
* Hierophant (2pts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Deliverer Sunburst Crew (Leader and 2 Grunts) (3pts)
Exemplar Errants (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard Bearer (2pts)
Paladin of the Order of the Wall (2pts)
The Covenant of Menoth (2pts)
Vassal of Menoth (2pts)

This list is another super fun list, it’s all about capitalizing on Kreoss’ feat.  There’s a ton of ranged firepower, all the classic Protectorate pieces, and all the stuff I really want to paint.  Like the Paladin.  Don’t judge me.  I’m also interested in seeing the look on people’s faces when the Sunburst Crew hits the table.

Nemo3’s Lightning Battery

31093_Nemo_FinchWEBArtificer General Nemo (*3pts)
* Storm Chaser Adept Caitlin Finch
* Lancer (6pts)
* Sentinel (4pts)
* Stormclad (10pts)
Storm Strider (9pts)
Silver Line Stormguard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (9pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard (3pts)
* 3 Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (3pts)
Stormblade Captain (2pts)
Stormblade Captain (2pts)

This list is pure zappy goodness.  I’ll finally get to paint my Stormclad conversion, along with nearly every Storm Knight model I own.  That’s a lot of work, but there it is.  I think this list would be incredibly fun to play, but I am not looking forward to painting it.

Vayl2, Machinations of Shadow Tier 4

73008_CarniveanClassic_WEBVayl, Consul of Everblight (*6pts)
* Harrier (2pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Angelius (8pts)
* Angelius (8pts)
* Carnivean (10pts)
* Ravagore (9pts)
Blackfrost Shard (5pts)
Blighted Nyss Legionnaires (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Spawning Vessel (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
Succubus (2pts)

Vayl2 is the new hotness, and her theme list combines everything I love about this game: big nasty beasts and lots of spell-slingin’.  I also love a good tar-pit, and the Legionnaires and Spawning Vessel do that in spades.  The best part about this list is that I get to revisit the Aquablight theme.

Charge of the Battlemittens!

35012_HouseShyeelBattleMages_WEBAdeptis Rahn Shyeel (*6pts)
* Discordia (10pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
* Phoenix (10pts)
House Shyeel Battle Mages (5pts)
House Shyeel Battle Mages (5pts)
Houseguard Halberdiers (Full Unit) (7pts)
* Halberdiers Officer & Standard (2pts)
Arcanist (0pts)
Arcanist (1pts)
House Shyeel Magister (2pts)
House Shyeel Magister (2pts)
House Shyeel Magister (2pts)

This is one I’ve had on the shelf for a long time.  I’ve had plans to do this in a TRON style theme, for a long time, including potential scratch-built bikes for Destor Thanes.  This is an extension of the 35pt version which drops a Phoenix and a unit of Mittens.  I could put in three Mittens units for four total and hit T4, but that’s a lot of Mittens that’ll probably never see the table top afterwards.

Harkevich’s Assault & Battery

33036_BehemothWEB (1)Kommander Harkevich, the Iron Wolf (*5pts)
* Behemoth (13pts)
* Black Ivan (10pts)
* Destroyer (9pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Greylord Outriders (Full Unit) (9pts)
Winter Guard Infantry (Full Unit) (6pts)
* WGI Officer & Standard (2pts)
* 3 Rocketeers (3pts)
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich (2pts)

This would utilize a few models I already have painted, but would let me build my Extremoth.  All the parts are here, I just haven’t had a good enough excuse to build it and see it through.  One of the big advantages to this list is that there would be very few models to paint, albeit Large based ones.

So, which should it be?

There’s a Poll up top, on the left hand side.  Please vote!

If you have comments about the lists, leave them below!

We have a Journeyman League starting up in a few weeks, and the first tier is a 15pt Highlander army.  For those unfamiliar with the format, it requires an army to have one unit, one solo, a warcaster and then you can fill with Warjacks/ Warbeasts, but they’re all FA:1, so no duplicates (like twin Hunters or Berserkers).

It’s a great way to start off a Journeyman league, since it forces participants to have a unit and solo painted, and with the 15 pt restriction, it also usually comes down to a Heavy and a Light Warjack.  Overall, it’s a nice, rounded format.

As I bet you can tell, I’m focused on Cygnar at the moment, so I’m looking at what I want to do.  Painted models must be used, but they can be painted at any time.  Only models painted since Jan 1, 2013 count for painting points, though, so right now, only the Black 13th and Reinholdt count for me.

B13th_front_small

As tempting as it is to use them, I don’t have a great way to protect them in such a small army.  They really want a cloud to stay in, so Swamp Gobbers are a great 1 pt attachment for them, being able to drop a 5″ cloud to hide inside (and provide Stealth, since they all have Prowl).  Unfortunately, being a unit, I can’t use them and the Black 13th.  Gorman would work, though, but putting him and the Black 13th out there would just be far too juicy of a target.

So, I’m entertaining the idea of running a different unit, despite the fact I’ll have to paint it.  Before I get into that, though, let me discuss the warcaster I’ll be taking.  I’m 100% set on using Commander Coleman Stryker (stryker1).  He’s my favorite Cygnar warcaster, and brings a lot to the table.  Snipe, Blur and Arcane Shield are all great, his Earthquake provides an answer to many tough situations, and his feat lets me ignore the enemy’s attacks for one round, letting me be brash and bold with tactics.

Also, I have the alternate sculpt, which just looks fabulous.  It needs to be painted up, though.

Ok, back to unit choices.  UAs and WAs are allowed, so Stormblades come to mind, but at 15pts, 8 would be required to plop down the unit + UA, since they really, really need the Assault to function properly.  Plus, I’d like to give them Arcane Shield, some Stormgunners, and perhaps Tough from Rhupert, but…  Well, they just need too much support for this format.

Sword Knights, though, would be great.  I will undoubtedly have a jack or two, so their Flank [Faction Warjack] will get some use, and they’re cheap – 4 pts for six dudes.  They love reach ‘jacks because of Flank, and Stryker likes a Lancer for arcing Earthquake and shuffling buffs, so that’s a nice match.

Long Gunners would also work well.  I wouldn’t have considered them, but I recently watched a Battle Report that had them in a 25 pt army, and they filled a nice role.  They’re considerably more expensive, at a point a piece, but with Snipe, they could easily out-range anything on the board.  They can take out the enemy tar pit, or CRA into harder targets.  Coupling a few ranged focused ‘jacks and solo with them could be a very nice start to a gunline.

Overall, I think the 15pt size of the army requires it to be specialized.  I have to pour everything into melee or ranged – I can’t afford to try and be balanced.   So, I need an all melee or all ranged army.  Luckily, Stryker can play both those games.

Melee List 1

Commander Coleman Stryker (*6pts)
* Lancer (6pts)
* Centurion (9pts)
Sword Knights (Leader and 5 Grunts)(4pts)
Captain Arlan Strangeways (2pts)

This list has two ‘jacks with reach, and loads of armor.  The Centurion is ARM 21 with it’s shield, and a whopping 29 under Arcane Shield and Stryker’s feat.  The six Sword Knights shouldn’t have trouble finding targets that let them utilize their Flank ability.  Strangeways’ Power Booster won’t really be necessary, but his spray attack, Evasive ability and Repair skill will all be very useful in keeping the ‘jacks alive long enough to close the distance.

Melee List 2

Commander Coleman Stryker (*6pts)
* Firefly (5pts)
* Centurion (9pts)
Sword Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Stormsmith Stormcaller (1pts)

Still two ‘jacks for reach, but four more Sword Knights this time.  The Firefly helps the Stormsmith solo drop lines, and offers some added anti-infantry with Electro-Leap on the gun.  While more interesting, I feel this list is really only string against Warmachine, since the Disruption effects are lost on Hordes models.

005_New_Barrel

Ranged List 1

Commander Coleman Stryker (*6pts)
* Sentinel (4pts)
* Defender (9pts)
* Squire (2pts)
Long Gunner Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)

This list forms a decent start to a gunline.  The Sentinel protects Stryker from enemy shots, and can cut loose up to 6 shots of its own.  The Long Gunners can aide in taking out infantry with solo or 2-man CRAs, or assist the Defender in taking out harder targets.  The Squire helps Stryker manage his upkeeps and feed focus to the ‘jacks, lets him spread out more with 2″ added to his Control Area, and lets him re-roll missed spell attacks when he lets lose with that occassional Earthquake.  The only problem is that there’s nothing to help defend the Long Gunners, so they’ll be dependent on terrain for cover / concealment, since they can’t benefit from Snipe and Blur / Arcane Shield.

Ranged List 2

Commander Coleman Stryker (*6pts)
* Charger (4pts)
* Hunter (6pts)
* Sentinel (4pts)
Long Gunner Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts)

This list doesn’t stand a chance against a heavily tanked force, but it has enough vectors that if I can land an Earthquake, it would be game over.

Something else entirely…

I could also do something completely different:

Baldur the Stonecleaver (*6pts)
* Woldwatcher (5pts)
* Woldwarden (9pts)
Stoneward and 5 Woldstalkers (5pts)
Druid Wilder (2pts)

or maybe…

Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight (*5pts)
* Harrier (2pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Carnivean (11pts)
Blighted Nyss Legionnaires (Leader and 5 Grunts) (4pts)

or…  or…

Working up a new paint scheme for an army is nearly as hard as picking a character for your D&D campaign. It’s something you’ll be stuck with for a long time, and it’ll be the most iconic and easily recognizable thing about you. For instance, when I think of some of the local guys, I think of Ron’s snow white Khador, or Mason’s purple Legion, and Chris’ bright green Retribution.

I don’t want to try to cover color theory today, that’s fairly easy to find information about. Primary colors, secondary colors, complementary or neighboring colors, tertiary and ismoetric, yadda yadda.

Science!

Instead, I want to cover what makes a good scheme, and how to then apply that scheme to a model.

Continue Reading

In an ongoing effort to play the game more, and play it better, I’m starting a new, alternative article series to the usual “How-to Tuesday” articles.  This new series will be mostly tactics and theory related, and will rely heavily on reader input.  Rather than discuss something I’ve learned and want to teach you, I’ll be talking about topics I’m interested in learning about, and asking you for input.

Deployment is the first thing you do in a game, and thus it’s usually where I screw up first.  In the last few games I’ve played, I’ve tried to put more thought into my deployments.  There have been too many times where something I needed to be front and center was stuck in the backfield, and all too often my flanking force spend the first half of the game running to engage.  Before we get into any of that, the first decision I often face is whether to go first of second.

Who’s on First, What’s on Second?

For the longest time, I always chose to go first, to dictate the battle.  I got to pick what terrain mattered, and where the fighting took place, and I essentially had an extra turn before combat (assuming combat begins Round 2).  Also, when I go first, it’s often my forces that are charging, dealing damage first.  That’s a big deal.  On the flip side, I’m not that great at judging distances on the table top, and I often come up short on my charges.

However, the more I play, the more I’m beginning to think that going second has more advantages.  You get to react to your opponent, making sure that you have ideal match-ups.  I also usually have some flanking unit, and going second lets me make sure they’re in a good place to affect the battle earlier rather than later.

I’ve come to the general conclusion that tank-y forces like going second.  They’re usually slower, so the enemy has to reach more than it should to get to them(increasing the chances for failed charges from bad distance judgement), which means that they can actually get the charge off on their second turn.  Also, since most tank-y armies are bricks, terrain and battle locations aren’t terribly important, so placement within the table isn’t a priority.

On the flip side, alpha strike armies tend to want to go first.  The trick is, you walk / move 1.5 your SPD the first turn.  That way, the likelihood of the enemy charging into you is slim, but you’re far enough up field that your forces can safely get the charge on Turn 2.

What dictates your choice when you win the initial roll off?

Rule 1

“Rule 1: Put your mans in all the best places.” – Faultie’s 3-step plan to victory

Most of the time, I put my caster front and center.  Getting buffs out first turn is too important to be flubbed by having models too far away.  I usually surround the warcaster with whatever models will be shielding or accompanying it (Shocktroopers, a tar pit, a shredder, etc).  After that, I usually put stuff down semi-randomly.

I’ve definitely learned that slow things go up front, faster things in the back.  Spawning Vessel front and center!  Man-O-War up front too.

Beyond those guidelines, I don’t have any secrets to deployment, but I’m hoping you do.

What tricks do you use to help with deployment?

Do you strategize and plan ahead, or do you just wing it?