I started playing late 2014, so the end of 2017 marks my 3rd full year playing warmachine and hordes. And what a 3 years its been. I only started war-gaming about a year before that (with 40k), and when I started playing Warmachine with my gaming club, I knew I’d found my game. So to celebrate that, I wanted to have a look back at what I’ve managed to achieve this year.
Because make no mistake, this has been my most successful year yet, with a bunch of achievements on my part that I’m very proud of. Some on the table top, some outside of that. Some social, some personal. This year was the first year where I have (and please forgive my immodesty) felt like a high ranked competitive player, where I was someone to beat. Lets have a look.
Blood and Oil 2016:
I’m cheating on the year in review thing a bit, but wanted to start with this event. Blood and Oil 2016 was the first major national tournament where I placed well, coming 3rd in a very difficult field. It was an eye opener of a tournament, with alot of tough match-ups and interesting lists, coming as it did before the advent of themes. I ran Strakhov 1, Vlad 1, and Zerkova 1 at that tournament, and felt that it was the first event where I really made a splash. Overall result had me coming 3rd and best in faction.
Smog – Con 2017:
The final Smog-Con was a blast, held in Birmingham. I actually didn’t end up doing that well at this one, being just pipped at the post in heat B for the finals (I came 3rd for that heat, 1 place short!). The greater impact of this event personally was a sense of becoming more integrated with the WMH community. There are a lot of great players in the UK and further abroad, and Smog Con was a great place to rub shoulders with them, as well as meeting a bunch of the PP staff. This was also where I was first invited by the Murder of Crows host, Lee Alpin, to appear on their podcast. This was also the event that revealed my current favourite Warcaster, OW2, who I have written about at length. Was overall a great event, that I look forward to attending in it’s new form this year.
WMH Invitational 2017:
Held in York, this event took me somewhat by surprise, and felt like the first community recognition that I received. Having qualified for it from the previous years Blood and Oil, I was invited to attend this invitation only tournament. The level of competition was intense, with me playing the likes of Richard Beech, Brett Wilkie and Andy McBirnie (Rask can eat a dick!). Having brought Strakhov 1 (I love that caster) and Irusk 2, I managed to just about scrape more wins than losses, and even made it to the final cut (the top 8 had their own bracket). An acheivement that I am very proud of, and the first 2 day tournament that saw me travel to it alone.
Murder Of Crows:
As aforementioned, I was invited by Lee to guest host on Murder of crows (link here for the podcast: http://handcannononline.com/blog/category/podcasting/murder-of-crows/), The first episode I appeared on was a blast, and I was invited back to be a regular host. This was and continues to be a huge deal for me (especially as a number of listeners have informed me that they enjoyed my contributions), as it was flattering to be invited on and enjoyable to know that people enjoyed listening to my contributions and opinions (and that people in other countries know who I am, which is…. bizarre to think about). The MOC podcast has been a real bright point of my life.
The release of Strakhov 2 and the initial 3 Khador themes:
Theme machine has been widely debated, some love it, some hate it, but it’s here and here to stay. Personally I love the themes, and the initial 3 themes blew my mind with possibilities. Whether it was running Jaws with Sorscha 2, or playing WGK with Butcher 3, I found the themes to be interesting and good. I struggled initially with Legion of Steel, but the release of Strakhov 2 tied it all together nicely. Suddenly, a 3 list event had a pretty ridiculous line up, and I absolutely loved playing them. Which leads me to….
The Starting of this Blog:
I had contemplated starting a blog in the past, but never really managed to commit to it. This one came about mainly as a way to create an archive of battle reports for myself for learning purposes. It wasn’t till I started sharing them on facebook later in the year that people actually started reading them, but I have massively enjoyed the work I have done on this blog. That people seem to enjoy reading it is a massive bonus and I appreciate every one who takes the time to read my disjointed ramblings
Welsh Masters 2017:
This was the event that really solidified my preferred style of pairings. With the list format allowing flexibility, and the wide pool of players, I got to really dive into my lists of Strakhov 2 LOS and Butcher 3 WGK. I won 6 out of 7 games at Welsh, and learned an absolute ton. This was probably the event this year where I improved the most in my gameplay, with me playing what seemed like bad (such as a pikeman spam into a Iron mother gunline), and adapting to it using tactics (running to engage and feating turn one in this case, check out my tournament report if you’re interested). I ended up coming 7th, and best in Faction, which was a fantastic result. On a side note, this was the first big tournament in the UK after Ghost Fleet started terrifying the meta. I played 3 of the 7 cryx players there, and didn’t play Ghost fleet once, a trend that persists today. When in doubt, dodge!
The inception of CID:
I consider myself priviledged to have been around for the start of the CID, contributing my own opinions and thoughts to the melting pot that it has begun. It has been genuinely fascinating on multiple levels to watch as it has evolved. From Grymkin right through to the recent Cryx and Minions CIDs, it has displayed peoples biases and conceptions of models, and also revealed PP’s vision of their own game and models. It has been a fantastic process so far, and I look forward to future CIDs. Why doesn’t every tabletop game do this?
Steam Roller 2017:
The release of Steamroller 2017 was a momentous release for a number of reasons, from it being the first Steamroller packet to have heavy community involvement, to it doing away with rules I have been familiar with since I started playing warmachine. The more I play Steamroller 2017 scenarios, the more I feel that this packet is in the right direction for the game and that PP has some idea of what they’re doing (and willing to listen to the community when they don’t).
Irish Gauntlet 2017:
Though not my first tournament outside of the UK (I attended a little 16 man during a trip to Ottawa), the Irish Gauntlet was a high point for the year. Well run, well attended by the Irish and UK meta, it was a fantastic tournament that showed me a different meta and put me against alot of casters I’ve never played against (Durgen is pretty legit guys). It also saw me play some fantastic player, such as a casual game against the mighty Patrick Dunford, who was fresh off his Iron Gauntlet victory in Seattle.
While we were on tenterhooks for the release of the new themes, the UK nationals happened. This was a tournament where I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, (going 4:3). Mostly this was because I drew 3 WTC players in a row! Despite the losses, I came away from this tournament happy, as I had been playing on an international level, against players that are very good at this game. This was also the tournament that convinced me that the Cryx problem is solvable for Khador, and that the hotness lists of the time (Vlad 1, Butcher 3, etc) were not the way forward. Leading me quite comfortably to….
The big Theme drop:
This coincided pretty closely for me with the release of OW2, and damn if it didn’t set my mind alight. I had been missing a list type in my pairings, that being the control, harrassment style that plays well into the likes of Cryx and Grymkin (I felt this most keenly at UK Nationals as I had brought Butcher 3 and played him once, because I had to). With the release of the Themes, and particularly Wolves of Winter, I finally felt that I had the ability to create a 3 list set that could truly take all comers. OW2 cemented this by being the first truly great jack caster in the faction (in my opinion of course). This was probably my favourite event of the year, just due to the absolute wealth of options I felt I had.
Derby Worlds 2017:
A large 32 man tournament put on by local TO James Brown, this one was a big deal for me, as I won the damn thing. The first biggish tournament that I have won in my Warmachine career. On top of this, this event was an Iron Gauntlet Qualifier, so yeah…. I’m off to Seattle next year to get smashed by some of the best players in the world.
Blood and Oil 2017:
And things come full circle, with Blood and Oil being one of my favourite events of the year. This was also the first event I took OW2 to, cementing my opinions on her. Overall a great event, with a lot of hard games, coming 6th overall, though pipped at the post for best in faction (Gradwellllllllll!). My biggest takeaway from this event was the evolving meta. Things are changing boys and girls. Ghost fleet is on it’s way out, Skorne is rising up the ranks, and Cygnar has changed it’s face (damn Trenchers). It’s an exciting time to be alive and a Warmachine player.
So that was my Year in review. A fantastic year that saw me meet alot of great people, travel to different countries and beat up their warmachine players for their lunch money. A year that saw our faction expand and grow, and that saw me expand and grow with it. We’ll have a look at what I hope the new year brings next time.