Monday, January 30, 2012

Masters Day 2

Wow what a weekend! With over $1200 in prizes given away, 39 unique players at the two events, and near 40degree celsius temperature it was a big one! Above you can see the standings of the main Masters event, in order of placing with wins, SoS, CP, AP, caster kill time and faction. It was a heavy lean on Legion, Cryx, Circle and Khador this year as predicted, but every faction was represented.

Round five went off with a bang as several players misread or ignored key parts of the first scenario, Incoming! I got to play this one later in the day against the bye in round 4 of the Escalation side event, and boy it's a doozy. I don't have a photo on my phone of that round, but Michael Blyth and Ben French won their games and went ahead to the pictured final round six.

Adrian Stakula and Daniel Schmidt duked it out for third and fourth in a hectic game. Every time I looked at the table the shoe had switched feet, but in the end Menoth willed it harder than Everblight to get Staks third place, and Schmidt fourth. Each of the finalists got best in faction, so going the whole hog meant they walked away with a great prize.

The final round of the day was Diversion, with control zones and flags on opposite sides to normal thanks to an impatient Blythy, who was bouncing off the walls and ready to go 45 minutes before the round started. Unlike Round 5, Frenchy wasn't going to catch this opponent unaware of the perils of Dygmies, and it was a hard fought match. Again a scenario misread cost dearly though, French thinking the far zone had to be controlled rather than contested, and with a throw from Nightmare and careful attack vectors from other models Blythy was able to steal the second control point needed to win.

The Dygmies in this photo were the only thing not caught in Epic Deneghra's feat, but they were easy to deal with. Now champion of Arcanacon and Australian Master Michael Blyth, who it should be mentioned personally donated around $500 in prize support, awaits delivery of a well earnt Jackhammer. This is the second Championship title I've had the pleasure of handing to the man, so consider this a chllenge Mister Moorhouse - come to Adelaide in September and give him a run for his money!

Back to the star of this show, myself, I managed to get a pair of games with Kara Sloan friday during setup, and one more testerday afternoon against Justin Taylor - a blighted Journeyman of considerable painting talent. Honourable mentions go to Justins dad, who's name escapes me, for dashing home during Masters round 1 to grab a third warlock for his lad who'd come assuming a two list standard.

As you can see here, Justins army is simply amazing. We were given an extra set of painting trophies and it speaks highly of the youth in our scene when the day two best painted award went to someone too young to vote or drink (I believe he's 17?), but moreover he'd built a solid list, made some beautiful effort on character, and gave me a run for my money that had me gunning on the back foot with a low percentage shot at scenario victory that failed. Kara Sloan's remains were left in a puddle of Typhons unpleasant stonach acids, just in time for the award ceremony.

I'm having great deals of fun with my Cygnar, and managed to pick up a Triumph kit and the Cygnar army book to make my collection complete. The Trenchers are going strong, although I'm finding Commandos work better in a small flanking squad while I want a maxed outsquad of Trencher Infantry in my centre, and the Grenadier is proving a little expensive in a meta that's showing less and less infantry. The Cyclone was great fun, as was the Defender, but I'm also going off the Trencher Chaingun - not being able to do covering fire after moving is making them very hard to use.

Right, that's my weekend done, time to go watch Kate Beckinsale do her thing for Vampire and Corset justice everywhere!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Masters Day 1

Yesterday was the Australian Masters, 4 rounds of 50pt action at Arcanacon in Melbourne. 38 brave men and women (soul tokens) stood proud in a fairly warm school deep in Collingwood to make the top four for the finals that will be held today. Here we see Melbourne Pressganger Morsla, aka Ben Leong finally getting to play after 8 years of running the show.

Some gorgeous models hit the tables in the hotly contested best painted contest, while others (includingly seemingly ALL the Ravagores in Australia) may have sported a tad more grey metal look just duking it out Page 5 style.

A slew of prizes will be given out in this afternoons prize ceremony, thanks to fantastic sponsors like Defiant Gaming, Michael Blyth, Realm of Legends, the Antipodean Thralls, and as always Privateer Press.

Michael Blyth with his Cryx, Adrian Stakula with Menoth, Ben French with Trollbloods, and scene newcomer Daniel Schmidt with Legion are already paired off respectively for Round 5 of Masters, and are ready to rock out.

The 100+ photos I took yesterday will have to wait until tomorrow or the day after as they're on a camera that's not attached to my phone, but lastly I can't help but mention our youngest player Jake, who fielded his Throne of Everblight in every match yesterday. At 1/5th his size, it's damn impressive, and fantastic to see.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mastering Masters

Yesterday was Australia Day (or Invasion day as the indiginous population calls it), meaning that this weekend is Arcanacon in Melbourne, and CanCon in Canberra. Controversy, angst, and an unfair share of drama has flown in the leadup to what is often forgotten to be the big weekend of Australian Warmachine and Hordes.

Contrary to my earlier tweet, this is NOT a kangaroo skeleton, but a random sculpture photographed this morning at 0530 in Adelaide Airport before I flew over to Melbourne to run Aus Masters. I'm sitting in Morsla's loungeroom spread on the couch while Samuel L Jackson says blatant copisms in SWAT, but naturally I can't shake the worry waiting for tomorrow and the last minute running of the buggest event I've touched.

It's not that it's last minute, but more there's always been drama in our scene, all the way back to our first nationals many years ago. Then there was the GenCon Nationals fiasco, and the eventual crumbling of that awesome event causing a last minute venue change amidst attempts to hijack the event itself. Fast forward to around three weeks ago and yet more shit hits the fan with a TO drop out and the AU PG (aka Antipodean Thralls flying into an organisational frenzy.

This is Morsla's year off, but here his arm holds aloft part of that last minute effort. Player packs won't be quite the 2009 Nationals level (although I plan to wear my '09 shirt sunday), with some of the PP loot held back by yet more incredible snowstorms in Seattle this year, but it's all coming together. Badvolks got the terrain sorted, and I'm reasonably sure I didn't forget anything bar the phone charger - so why the nerves?

Who knows, so let's talk about what we DO know, sorta.

I'm workin on Cygnar lately, having assumed I'd take my Conny T4 list to GenCon Indy in August. I decided to give Kara Sloan a try with my trenchers, after a few flops with Haley2, and here's where I'm at.

Army Name: 50 Kara
50+6 points, 24 models

Captain Kara Sloan +6 points
* Cyclone 9 points
* Defender 9 points
* Grenadier 5 points
* Sentinel 4 points
* Squire 2 points

Ogrun Bokur 3 points
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator 1 point
10 Trenchers 10 points
* Trencher Officer & Sharpshooter 3 points
* 3 Trencher Rifle Grenadiers 3 points
** Ironclad 7 points

Holy crap, it's not a theme list! I know, right, totally out of character, but what can I say - I DON'T really like long gunners, and this girl just screams for Reinholdt. I'm converting him to a trencher, that much is decided and inevitable, but what else to take with her?

The Ironclad is there to take objectives (Morsla's first question), while Kara's battlegroup is there to do what she does best - Blam-tha-fuk-ko. The trenchers are a love of mine, having as heavy an influence on my paint schemes now as my Morrowans have, but are there to use and abuse Deadeye, Kara's feat, and keep those lovely smoke templates up after my shooting.

This yet to be named beauty is my new favourite girl, with 12" range POW12 covering fire templates proving incredibly fun already. That's the logo of my grandfathers Commando unit on her shoulder, the 2/3rd Commando Squadron, and she's taking a prideful place by Stargazer in the list.

The Cyclone's a lot more fun AND punch than the chaingun crews I have, and I'm already thinking of retiring them in favour of more room in the list - sure, they're cheaper and do a ton when they do something, but thats so rare compared to their death to snipers or pocket rocket solos that I've just come to feel of them as dead weight. Cyclone it is in this list, but notice the magnets - she's my Omnijack girl, and a custom Stormclad dress is on the cards.

The Grenadier is in asalways, although it's in new girl's battlegroup rather than 'marshaled as usual, and the Sentinel has followed her in to give some Shield Guard, along with a Bokur for now. He might not stay, but gives me another objective/flag hunter if need be.

So. That's a Warmachine distraction for a Warmachine stress problem.

Hmm, didn't work a bit.

Monday, January 16, 2012

End of the Iron Kingdoms

This weekend saw two huge days of Warmachine & Hordes action for Infinity Games in their new location, with 16 players for our 2v2 Team Mangled Metal tournament saturday, and 13 players for the campaign even I put about 30 hours work into. For 2012, the year of apocalypse and ruin, what better theme than the End of the Iron Kindgoms?

Here you can see me fending off the evil Mitchell Chapman, blighted leader of the Doomsayer team, against Kristian Rusu, Supreme Kommandant of the Survivalist team.

It got hairy, with Kristian a bit hung over and skipping his lunch break to manically study the Captain's briefing for his round 2 face off with 'Bitchell', but it was a great day. Special characters of my own devising joined most armies, special tables with one off scrnarios and reinforcements were enjoyed if a little over complicated, and in the end a ton of prizes were given out to the highest scorer of the day and no less than three random participants.

Round one saw Legion assaulting a Morrowan village that had it's defence bolstered by Trollkin (Arcane Shield champions, anyone?), while nearby a force of Khadorans defended refugees from an assaulting Menoth force trying to release souls into Menoths embrace.

The objective marker, a holy Morrowan statue, prevented the use of souls or corpses while it was standing, so legion soon felled it but the trollkin proved too resilient. On the next table over Kreoss' force tore the Old Witchs defense to shreds, the exemplar fierce in unwavering dedication to their cause.

Here we see the campaign map and an inage from the start of round two. Captains took turn placing men and women to the front for battles, while they themselves were to duke it out in the streets of Corvis where a Blighted Katchev (gifted to Everblight by Cryxian allies) joined Absylonia for a subterranian assault that only Kapitan Natalya Steppenov and Forward Kommander Sorscha had a chance of repelling.

This time legion proved superior, the toll of the morning (and night before) taken on the Survivalist captain. With a simple mistake the scenario ended, the Forward Kommander not forward enough (see Killbox). Other games boded ill for the Survivalists, and indeed Corvis seemed to be well under their control - in round one of games Vinter had personally executed his brother on the field of battle in these very streets!

Round three saw us well behind schedule - if I run a campaign event again, we will definitely be using timers. With a snap decision and both captains in agreement, players took once more to the field to play Killbox and give us a fast and final third round, where I'd planned for five. Many scenarios, characters, and campaign rules will sit in the cupboard until next time, but highlights included:

Vinter executing Leto in the streets of Corvis, earning the Doomsayers a Sword relic that ended up in the hands of an exemplar seneschal for the day.

Skulltaker, the infamous Seether, tearing Grom Angus' head from his shoulders in one hit.

Stargazer, the Defender from Clad in Iron, sending bonejacks flying with her Imprint: Slam.

Blighted Rorsch & Blighted Brine tearing men apart thanks to the freshly learned Parasite spell.

Ashlyn earning the power over flame for her team, after sending the Supreme Kommandant himself flying through a Wall of Fire with a mule.

Victory went to the Doomsayers in the end, with the forces of darkness triumphant over the goody little teo shoes Survivalists. Corvis was reclaimed by trollkin against an exemplar defence by the mystery man Menoth Shark picture above, while said trolls went undefeated all day, but the totals added up to a heavy swing for Doom, and the city was soo burned to ashes anyway (or packed up and taken home by yours truly)