This past weekend I traveled to Wisconsin for the America’s Team Championship for Warmachine and Hordes. My team, Iron City, is composed of players from here in the Pittsburgh meta, and I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn to say we all had a pretty great time–even with the -1 degree weather in lovely January Wisconsin.
Team Iron City for 2019. And if you’re not from Pittsburgh, and don’t know what Iron City is or means, this video is a pretty good start. Our team captain, Rob McCarty loves his conversion of the Skarre3 boat to have the full ship so much he carried it everywhere… even our team photo.
Our team focused on us bringing a combination of things we felt strong and comfortable with, as well as some anticipation of various lists. I have been playing Minions for the past few months, and have really felt that this is the faction for me for both fun and competitive play. Because I’m relatively recent to Minions, I don’t have a ton of practice under my belt–I got 42 games in with Minions in preparation for the event, though many of those were with Warlocks I didn’t end up taking as my final pairing. That definitely showed in my record and play, but it’s something I can work on.
I clearly wanted to bring a Maelok list, as I feel that’s one of the strongest in the faction right now (and one I enjoy playing). So the question was pairing. I finally settled on a Jaga-Jaga list to help me cover some specific match-ups that are bad for Maelok (tho I bungled one in my time at the ATC, see below). In particular, things that brought high defense infantry and massed weaponmaster infantry were a concern. Maelok’s gators have strong armor, but not that strong. I made my Maelok list around two Wrastlers to crack armor, so I didn’t have quite the problem with hitting power that some Maelok builds can have. All in all, I felt like it was a good pair for me at least, and it definitely improved my match-ups chart over the other Warlocks I had been considering.
The event ended up being a good one for the Iron City team, as we finished 4-1 for record and in 5th place overall as a team out of a field of 32. Not too shabby. My aim was to go 3-2 for the event, and I didn’t quite get there, ending 2-3. I’m probably the weakest player on the team in terms of experience and preparation (again, only started Minions recently), so that wasn’t entirely surprising for me. I did feel good about how I did overall, when considering the matchups and the games.
It was a great event, and huge thanks to Travis Marg and Nathan Hoffman for running a smooth and effective tournament. Was fun to see all the games, all the great armies, and to play some seriously great opponents.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of my games in each round, for those interested in a bit of underwhelming battle reporting. I’ll discuss the pairing options, outcomes for our team, and how my game went with each.
First round my pairing sheet was kind of ugly, because I don’t have a ton of readiness for some of the Skorne drops and their team had double Skorne. Both Maelok and Jaga-Jaga are iffy at best into them, tho the fewer heavy hitters the more Maelok may shine. Unfortunately first round I got paired against a player running a Xerxis1 Immortals list with Tiberion and double Supreme Guardians Certainly qualify as too many heavy hitters. I took Jaga-Jaga and hoped it would be enough shooting. It wasn’t. The list projects Tiberion far faster than you ever expect, and having a better plan for it than I had is critical. The shield guard solo was a huge deal, making me have to oil twice against targets often. My opponent was Phil, from the Bottom of Three, Grab a Brewski team from California. He was a great opponent to play against, and we had a good discussion of just how effective Xerxis1 can be–kudos for him for a good list piloted well. Even though I lost, my team ended up winning the round 4-1.
Second round we faced Florida Meta, a great team, and my opponent was Rean and his Retribution (Goreshade4). I felt like my Jaga-Jaga list would just be diced by either of his Dawnmowers, so I went for Maelok even though I also didn’t care for him into this particular matchup. This was a tough match from the start for me, as the shooting of the Dawnmower was well applied, and I was just coming a bit short on some of my distances in both the relative threat range and the positioning I was using. There was a large woods and a building that made a narrow corridor, and while on my feat turn I could use it that gap turned out to be a bit of a pain for the rest of the game–I definitely played my starting positioning wrong on this scenario/matchup. With a scenario that was hard to score points on and a great player running a solid list, it ended pretty ugly for me. Still had a fun game, but starting 0-2 wasn’t the look I was hoping for. This time our team just narrowly was beaten. We won 2 of our games (Iona over Vlad2 and Goreshade4 over High Reclaimer), but our Gaspy3 player lost him to an assassination that was pretty streaky on dice. If one of Holt’s two damage rolls weren’t 10’s or better on two dice Gaspy3 would have survived. So a pretty close round.
Third round we faced our first cold-weather team, The Trolls from Felix’s Basement from the Chicago area. I had some good match-ups and bad into this team, and got one I was at least confident into: Magnus2 (run by Ben). He could only catch 4 lead gators and the Totem Hunter with his feat, which meant the ones behind them on my feat turn could get into the action with ease, and it was a reasonably quick scenario for points to be scored. I wasn’t locked out of stopping his scoring, but he couldn’t stop mine as easily. That meant I got the gradual lead, and was able to just keep re-filling my units to grind his force down. It was a scenario victory for me, and what I needed that weekend–that first win makes everything feel a lot better when playing on a team event. Our team also won this round 4-1, so we kept the pace on the positive side of things.
Fourth round I was starting to drag just a bit as it was a long day, so of course it proved to be my most grind-y matchup. We were paired against the other Florida team: Snooty’s Chosen. Again, there were a couple of lists in this that I was comfortable at least playing, and a few I was less interested in facing, but I got set out early to help other match ups. I got paired against Jeff and his Protectorate of Menoth. He went for Harbinger, and I took Maelok. And it was exactly the slug-fest you expect it was. It came down to clock, during turn six of the game. I was up on scenario 3-0 thanks to protecting my flag and clearing the left zone once, but things were getting ugly. The faithful were definitely wearing through my force, and I was increasingly having to summon 1 heath gators with Revive back to block lanes of advance. The real advantage in this game was that Soul Harvester paid off in a big way. I was able to collect a lot of solos and infantry on my left flank thanks to it, after they eventually died. Harbinger used Martyrdom a lot–to the point where one turn she had only 3 health left (and the objective and the hierophant were healing her up). It was a fun game, and the only downside was that I bungled the clock once (passed to him for what I thought was him taking time to decide on a Martyrdom). We noted it about 2 minutes later, called a judge, and they luckily got it reset–bleeding an extra 2 minutes off my clock and adding 2 minutes back on his. Overall a great game, and my opponent played it really well. It was extra great as a game, because our team won that round 3-2. It’s a weird feeling being the final game to finish when the teams are 2-2, but good if you win.
Fifth round pairings were announced late that night, so we could discuss them the next morning over breakfast. In talking through my matchups, my teammates were insistent that I was wrong to think Jaga-Jaga was my choice into Grymkin, and that I use Maelok to grind for scenario (on a reasonably fast scenario). I have experience into Grymkin with other factions, and I was reasonably confident into the match regardless. My only problem was that I’ve never played against Grymkin with a Warlock so reliant upon specific rules Incorporeal, Undead, and Tough. Yeah. Totally spaced that there was an arcana that simply strips Maelok of everything that his force needs. Add that to the RFP effect on the heavies, and that will tell you what you need to know. I did get a scenario lead at the start, but soon it equalized and it ended with a scenario win for him and all but my Warlock and one unit of Gators dead. I chalk this one up to my inexperience with the faction more than anything else. Jaga-Jaga still may well have lost, as my opponent (Dan from Team: Faction Hoppers Inc. And Steve) was a very good player, far more experienced than me. So it was a major learning flub for me, and the worst possible time for such a flub (final round of a big event). Thankfully my teammates were effective, and we ended up winning the match 3-2.
Overall a good event, with more than few take-aways for me as a relatively novice Minions player. I think the critical things I learned were:
- Have a better answer to shooting and infantry than Maelok.
- Figure out what opponents’ abilities are simply back-breaking for your lists and your faction–don’t count on prior faction knowledge to give you a sense about what you’re currently playing. I even reviewed major arcana when doing my pairings sheet two weeks before, but totally spaced that the minor arcana held something that was a silver bullet against one of my lists–because it never came up with my Legion or Convergence in all the times they’ve faced Grymkin.
- I still need to work on my spacing. I’m getting much better, but there were moments where I’ve lost 3 rather than 2 gators, or 2 rather than 1, that could have been avoided if I conceptualize the battlefield a bit better.
- I definitely enjoy playing Minions as a faction more than any other I’ve tried in quite some time. I played 65 games with Legion last year, but it never clicked like this faction did almost immediately. I’m very excited to get better as a player with them.
I also managed to paint a bit more of my force when I got to the hotel on Friday night. Jaga-Jaga wasn’t finished but had enough colors to be fine, and I borrowed the two units of Croak Raiders and a min unit of Bog Trog ambushers from my teammate Justin. But I did finish some other stuff.
A Gobber Tinker, who is carrying the repair parts that would be appropriate for repairing the Sacral Vault (skulls and candles).
A Void Leech for my one unit of Croaks. Glad to have him done, as it means that I can swap in this one-point item in Blindwater lists as needed to make points work.
And finally, a Boil Master and Spirit Cauldron. I absolutely love that the crocodile has a little salt and pepper shakers set on his belt. Given that I wanted to keep the flame motif of the force, I didn’t want to do any magical bubbling liquid or anything, so I made the runny stuff coming out of the pot just skin tone–like boiling flesh.
365 Points Challenge Progress (2019):
Battles (Privateer Press):
Overall Totals 2019: 11 (Win/Loss 8/3); 2018: 129 (Win/Loss 78/51); 2017: 120 (Win/Loss 86/34): 2016: 123 (Win/Loss: 74/49); 2015: 43 (Win/Loss: 29/14)
8 Wins (Nemo1 x2, Irusk2, Helynna, Maddox, Thyron, Harbinger, Magnus2) / 3 Losses (Xerxis1, Goreshade4, Dreamer)