Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bring on 2014!

the holidays are over and the new years is ramping up! Time to jump back into blogging after not really doing much at all with the blog or warmachine in the past couple months. I have finally hit 100 posts on this blog! I couldn't really think of anything cool to do for the 100th post that would be different or exciting, so instead I'm just going to look at how things went last year and what's coming up in 2014.

For those that don't know, 2014 is going to be a big year for my wife and I. This fall we will be packing our bags and leaving the great USA and moving overseas for an indefinite amount of time. That means this year is likely going to be the last year in quite some time that I will be playing Warmachine face-to-face or on a regular basis. I am going to be figuring out Vassal in the next few months and will keep playing with friends back home via the internet, but my tournament hopping days may be over. So that means this year is going to be something of a final lap through the great Texas 'cons that I've enjoyed over the last few years.

This past year I got to go to a lot of great events. We finally made it up to Seattle for Lock and Load, back down to Texas for Wargamescon the very next weekend, along with Clash for the Cure, a journeyman league with Xerxis and a bunch of local (and semi-local) steamrollers. This year I will likely be doing 3 big events: Mayhem Cup down in Houston in March, Coal and Claw in Dallas in May, and Texas Games Con (formerly Wargamescon, formerly BoLScon). Of course supplemented by as many Steamrollers as I can get to. The closer we get to our move date the less time I'll have for hobbies and the more time we'll be spending getting things ready to leave. But I should hopefully be able to make it to those 3 big events.

I sort of expected that when I got to the last year here I would want to go out with a bang and try to be extra competitive for my last year. Instead I find myself just wanting to play the lists that I have the most fun with and not care so much about trying to win a big event. Last year that was big on my priority list, to go to something big and win. It's looking more likely that I will not have any large event wins under my belt other than my brief flash with eMorghoul in hardcore. I've decided not to worry about that this time and be happy just making my fun lists work for me.

2013 in review

I had a really good run last year. I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I started using an app called Iron Grudge. Again I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to improve their game by analyzing past gameplay. now that I have a full year of games logged I can start to see some interesting stats. My overall record with Skorne over the period Jan 1 2013 to Jan 1 2014 was 88-20, just over 100 games. From there, Iron Grudge lets me look at a few different breakdowns. the two I find most interesting are breaking it down by opponent's faction and by my caster. the other fun one is by opponent, but that one is less interesting for anyone reading this who doesn't know my gaming group. I will give a shout-out to Rob/SpiderBite (our Cryx guy) who gave me my worst record of 7-5 over the year.

Looking at the faction breakdown, my worst record by percentage was actually against other Skorne players with a record of 4-4. 3 of those 4 losses were at Lock and Load, 1 during the journeyman league. we have so few Skorne players here that i just don't practice against my own faction enough. next is Legion with a 7-5 win/loss record. I came out ahead on that, but lost when it counted, losing 2 games vs Legion in the one Masters event i qualified for. Surprisingly Cryx is all the way down at number 3 with 10-6. I think this is largely due to the awesome anti-cryx tech we got in the incindiarii, and the fact that one list in every event is geared for fighting Cryx.

Best record is split percentage-wise between several factions that i had 0 losses to. in order of number of wins, first is Retribution with a record of 15-0, followed by Khador at 8-0 and Cygnar with 5-0. I'm not really sure why I do so well vs Retribution. it might be because of my limited experience playing the faction, or it might just be because my eHexeris list is really really good against Ret in general.

Looking at my casters used, I used every caster at least once during the year. Rasheth and eMorghoul were each used only once, both during my Mammoth testing cycle. My most used casters, in order, are Tyrant Xerxis (19-5, almost entirely journeyman league), Makeda3 (16-4) and Zaal (16-1). my worst win percentages came very surprisingly from eMakeda (5-3) and eHexeris (8-3). I had 100% win rates with pMorghoul (2), pMakeda (5) and Naaresh (4).

what to play in 2014

So how does that affect what i play in 2014? honestly it's not going to change a ton. I have obviously found my favorite casters and found what works for me with them. If i was trying my hardest to win as much as possible I might be crunching those numbers a bit more. as it is, it looks like I will likely continue playing a ton of Zaal (my all-time favorite caster) and Makeda (I love all 3 Makedas. they will be on rotation as second list, though weighted towards Makeda 1 and 3). I was surprised at the end of the year to see how well Zaal did for me. I knew i liked him, but wow. he was 16-1 even though he was one of my lists in almost every big tournament during the year. the one loss was a casual game where my opponent was running eVayl with a proxied Bloodseer and blew my away with a double Oblit. but L&L and Wargamescon, Zaal anchored the team for me. he's earned his spot and will likely be in every big tournament and at least half my local steamrollers. if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Makeda is a great companion for Zaal, bringing a ton of mobility, survivability and a beast-heavy counterpart to Zaal's infantry-based approach. I've gushed plenty last year about Makeda3, but I'm getting back to basics with her prime version lately, winning 3 of my 4 rounds using her this month in a 26-person steamroller. both have their place, and both will see play.

The big open question is who will fill in that 3rd slot for 3-list events? Most of my casual games in the next few months will be trying to answer that question. kind of like list tryouts for the big game. I have a lot of contenders, so i won't write up full lists yet (I'll have more lists to share once I narrow down the field). I want something that's going to be different than the main 2 lists. It also needs to be fairly self-sufficient since i have a ton of characters tied up in my main lists (molik, tiberion, marketh, orin are all taken). some possibilities:

* Xerxis with 2 units of heavy infantry, nihilators and a limited beast core of 3 lights and 1 heavy. the journeyman league really brought this guy's stock up in my mind. he's fun and I think his slow armor-buffing, armor-breaking army may be a good fit for the main lists to use for list-chicken

* The Mammoth. there are 3 potential candidates for running the Mammoth, I'm grouping them together for now. Again, Xerxis 'cause Def Ward on a Mammoth that hits like 20 trucks at once is pretty sweet. pMorghoul because Mammoths are even better when they're also fast. and eMakeda because I think a list with a mammoth and a bunch of infantry will be very different than the eMakeda people usually see (no Molik Missile here!)

* eHexeris. Why doesn't this guy click for me? he's supposed to be so good! and the list runs well, I have no further changes to a nicely tuned eHex list. it's just not as fun or strong as some of my other lists. it does have incindiarii + black spot fun which is always nice. I'm going to keep trying him.

* pHexeris. not really an option if timed turns is the rule, but I have a RfP spam list i want to try with him vs Morvhanna and Lich. void spirits, reptile hounds, Despoiler, soulfire and the feat. it's cute but probably not competetive. good thing I'm playing for fun this year!

* Mordikaar. as soon as the Despoiler comes out in April this will be more likely. I've been loving him in my limited run of test games so far. record of 4 void spirits on the table at once so far. he's also fun without Despoiler, if I choose to run him at Mayhem Cup.

I'll post some more once I start really play-testing those lists. I'm going to play nothing but these at casual nights for the next few weeks and see what happens. 

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