This year I played for team United Nations, which was composed of myself (with my standard Brad/Krueger lists), Bubba from Canada (with Runes/EE), Dom from England (with Haley2/Siege), Russ from Australia (with Vayl2 croaks/Thags2), and Lutzi from Germany (who looked like a freaking genius for taking Denny1/Skarre2).
Round 1: Finland Blue
Yes, the team that ended up winning this year. We picked tables, but matchups looked pretty good for us – Bubba and I ended up in positive matchups, Russ got thrown under the bus, and we had two mirror matches (Denny1 v. Denny1 and Haley2 v. Haley2).
I got paired against Mikko (who had Madrak2 and EE), and the scenario was outflank. I knew he absolutely had to drop Madrak2, so my plan was to drop Krueger2, ignore the attrition game, and just win on scenario.
I went first so that I could take more of the board (although, I probably should have gone second so I could start scoring earlier, but whatever). He had Fennblades covering one zone, Warders covering another, and everything else in-between. My first two turns I advanced to the center of the table as if I was going to play an attrition game, even triggering vengeance on the Fenns so that they would run in closer (they managed to kill 4~5 of my infantry models with the entire unit). On my third turn I pulled the rug out from under him: I ported Ghetorix into a pond in order to clear a couple models, feated and/or killed the rest, scored 2 points and contested his zone with 2 Druids.
He somehow failed to kill my contesting Druids, and his Speed 2~3 army just bumbled around, doing nothing (although he did manage to get a Warder into my zone, so I didn’t just automatically win). I very nearly got the Krielstone inside Gallows Grove range, but I didn’t quite make it, so I had to kill all its little friends first. A Primaled Stalker killed 3 Warders, and Ghetorix killed another one (even though his stupid non-Pathfinding ass couldn’t make it out of the pond), thus scoring another 2 points. My opponent basically had no shot at winning at this point (since Speed 4 Mulg and Warders wouldn’t even come close to making it to my zone, and I had Stormwall up just so that he couldn’t even try to Rathrok me to death), so he contests with a couple of random models that I kill pretty easily, and I win on scenario. Interesting note: apparently this was the only game that Finland lost on scenario in any of the 30 games they played at the WTC.
The result of the round was pretty gut-wrenching, unfortunately. We had judged this to be a midrange team, and Bubba and I easily got our two wins (he apparently killed Butcher on the bottom of turn two, through 4-focus camp), but neither of our mirror matches could pull out a win, so we ended up losing the round 2-3.
Round 2: Norway Blue
Leif’s Team! Matchups turn out really well this time, even though they won the roll and gave us tables. Hilariously, they said they wanted matchups, then put a player out first, so Bubba and I very politely informed them that they had accidentally taken tables, instead – so they fixed it, and we got tables, which is what team UN wanted in the first place. 3 positive matchups, a playable matchup for Russ (one of his few), and Ravyn into Siege for a bad one.
I end up with a Cygnar player with Siege/Haley3, so I play Bradigus since neither of those casters have a chance against him, and I haven’t tried Krueger2 into Haley3 yet. This matchup is horrifically one sided, especially after he advances his Trencher line within 5” of my Woldwatchers – so I just slowly terminator walk forward (only contesting the central zone on recon), kill all but one of his Trenchers, and manage to roll the boosted 12 to hit and kill Jakes . . . who was running a Dynamo. He didn’t have enough experience against Brad to realize how to get around Mystic Wards, so I showed him how he could have set up an assassination run on that turn after the game was concluded. During the game though he went after the Wolds, and barely scratched their paint. I got a Woldguardian onto his caster, and that was that.
We managed to go 4-1, and won this round.
Round 3: Italy Michelangelo
This had just come off a VERY close loss to the very strong Scotland Irn team. The matchup process went horribly wrong here, and I don’t remember why – but at least we got to choose tables. I got the only positive matchup of the group, although Lutzi promised us that he had never lost to Harbinger at a tournament.
I got matched up against Kreoss2 and Sevvy2, and the scenario was Two Fronts. I have played Brad into the Kreoss2 tier several times before, and I judge that to be really favorable for Brad. I think I went first, and after I misremembered the size of his deployment zone several times, he correctly placed a line of Errants on the far edge of his zone, and his Daughters ran and engaged the Watchers in my zone. My Mannikins decide to be heroes on my first turn, and the first spray rolls like four 8s out of six. I kill a ton of Errants, which breaks the line enough that I can advance my Woldwatchers into the zone, and kill the rest of the Errants (though he used self-Sac very cleverly, and I only managed to create 1 forest). Then I killed 3 of the Daughters and feated the Woldguardian 1” forward to kill the Fire of Salvation, in one of the weakest Brad feats of all time.
On his turn, he obviously decides to feat (since all of his Exemplars and many of his Bastions can charge), and he decides to put some damage on Brad while he can. We both forgot about the forests I made of the Daughters, but he’s still able to get two Daughters on Bradigus, and deals about 6 damage after a transfer or two. He also manages to kill 2 Woldwatchers and the Guardian, but is within 14” of Bradigus, and only camping five Focus, so I decide to go for the assassination. My dice go a little bit cold, and a Synergy +4 and Synergy +5 Woldwatcher only manage to kill one Bastion apiece (I needed the Bastions to die so that Bradigus could actually kill the other Bastion blocking his way to Kreoss). I eventually get to Kreoss with four attacks hitting on 3’s and dice minus two for damage (which should kill him with 2 boxes to spare, especially after I roll an unboosted 12 on my first damage roll); I manage to kill him to the box.
Bubba actually managed to beat Ossyan with Runes of War, because we gave him a table with water, and a Def 17/Arm 23 Mulg apparently tanked an entire army, but Lutzi lost his game because he forgot to feat, so our team lost the round 2-3.
At the end of day one I was feeling a little disappointed with our team’s record; we had clearly misjudged the skill of the teams we played against. But I was obviously happy about my record, at least.
Round 4: Wales Storm
They gave us tables, and we came out pretty well in the matchup process, with 3 positive matchups, 1 decent one, and Russ thrown under the bus again.
I was paired against a Runes of War player, and this round really revealed the power of choosing tables. Every round that we got to choose tables (which was every round, since we won the die roll 4 times, and the other 2 times, they gave us tables), Bubba and I would go to each table and measure them for their compatibility with Runes. This round, I got a table where, no matter which side he chose, he wouldn’t be able to put the theme force walls in any relevant (or even horizontal) positions. In my opinion, this turns the Bradigus. v Runes matchup from a VERY difficult one (~40% for Bradigus if the Runes player hasn’t played it before, or ~0% if they have) to a complete walkover for Bradigus (>80%). The scenario was Incoming, but that had almost no affect on the matchup.
This game was decided in exactly one turn – I made some forests in front of his heavies, but left clear LoS for them to charge. He took the bait, and rushed all three of his heavies, sending them into my Woldwatcher wall . . . and killed exactly 1 light. In response I got a full Synergy chain (except for Bradigus, who ran backwards), ripped a Fury off of the Krielstone (which meant that it didn’t cover Mulg or the Mauler), and killed all three of his heavies. That was essentially game, and I just carefully kept Bradigus safe, eventually winning on scenario.
We went 4-1 here, and won the round.
Round 5: Ireland Craic
We won tables, and this matchup process went incredibly well for us. I chose to take the Legion player, because it helped the rest of the team’s matchups.
So, I manage to win list chicken, and drop Krueger2 into Thagrosh2. The scenario was Close Quarters, but was fairly irrelevant. I went second, and eventually send a Primalled Ghetorix into his Seraph (this was actually my first failed assassination run on Thagrosh2; he ended up being an inch or so short, so I just took Slipstream off the table instead). I tried to drag in and kill a Scythean, but he got stuck in a wreck marker and I couldn’t hit him anymore, so I ended up just pushing him back to where he started. I feated and cleared the flag, mostly to scare my opponent into committing to the scenario so that I could kill his army. He killed Ghetorix, but couldn’t do much else because of the feat. On my turn I go for another assassination, but (despite measuring my control area a dozen times) I couldn’t place the Stalker in the right spot, so I try to kill two Scytheans instead. I end up short, and he manages to kill basically everything relevant in my army. I go for yet another assassination run, this time with 2 Druids, Krueger’s gun, and Una. I get him down to 1 box and 2 transfers, but Una only has 2 shots left, and he has plenty of transfer targets, so I shake his hand instead.
Fortunately, my team bailed me out here, and we managed to win the round 4-1.
Round 6: Russia Wolves
We won tables again, and my team put me out first (I think I ended up going out first four times, and Bubba went out first the other two times), and I was given the choice between Skorne and Mercs. I didn’t really read the Merc lists (and a good thing too, since the WTC website messed up his Gorten list, and the Bull Snapper wasn’t printed on it, even though it’s correct on the Discountgames version. It really freaked me out when he put it on the table. How the hell did he get to Round 6 with nobody noticing that his printed list was 3 points down?), but I play against a local Merc player fairly frequently, so I just assumed the matchup would go down exactly like it would against his Ossrum/Thexus pair. With that in mind, I chose the Merc player in order to help my team’s matchups.
As it turns out, this was a HORRIBLE choice – not only is Gorten/Thexus significantly different matchup-wise (namely, my local doesn’t drop Ossrum into Bradigus, so it usually ends up being a close Bradigus v Thexus game), but also the Gorten list absolutely crushes Bradigus, and I totally should have dropped Krueger2. I didn’t and, to make matters worse, I completely mess up my first turn. I always say that Bradigus plays better if you just don’t look at the other side of the table, and just advance 5” and forest wall no matter what. But I didn’t take my own advice, and ran instead (I didn’t even animus and charge like I should have). Ugh, I felt like such an idiot when he started his turn, measured his control range, and then I realized that my Watchers were absolutely in feat range. He feats, drags three lights in, and kills two of them. Not an auspicious start, especially after he puts down a rock wall and I realize that I have no chance of ever killing his Earthbreaker, nor of shooting Gorten to death.
At this point, I try not to think about how horribly behind I am in attrition, and I instead try to think about what advantages I do have – namely, that my Woldwatcher line has pushed extremely far forward, and that, without the feat, Bradigus is really safe from the Earthbreaker as long as he keeps LoS blocked. So I advance even further forward, and manage to turn a bunch of Kayazy into forests. He responds by mini-feating and charging stones with his Kayazy, breaking two sets of them, while the Earthbreaker shoots down another Woldwatcher. At this point, I’m finally able to start playing the scenario game I set up last turn by advancing so far forward. Two Woldwatchers kill the objective and then Bradigus charges forward, kills one of the kayazy contesting the flag, and gets teleported onto his flag (and I use Flesh of Clay and set up two forests in front of him so that he doesn’t just die to Earthbreaker). I score three points, pass the clock, and tell my opponent to kill me. He manages to get 2 Kayazy and Snapjaw onto Bradigus, which barely do any damage, especially after he correctly assesses that with two transfers he just needs to roll a bunch of unboosted 8’s in a row to kill me . . . and then misses all of them.
Now I just need to dominate his flag one more time to win, and he’s only contesting with two Kayazy, a spiny growth’ed Bull Snapper, and Snapjaw. One of my Woldwatchers throws the Bull Snapper out of contestation range, and the Mannikins kill both the Kayazy, but the Underboss Toughs through the damage. My +5 Synergy Bradigus kills Snapjaw with 3 Fury to spare, and thankfully he fails a Tough check on the very first Bradigus attack, so I score another 2 points and win.
This game ended up being the most contentious of all my games, not because my opponent was rude or anything, just that we ended up in a really loud area and I couldn’t understand a single word he was saying, sometimes even after he repeated it loudly. Sorry, Yaroslav, hopefully we’ll get to play again in quieter circumstances. If it makes you feel better, I’m extremely impressed with your Gorten list, and I’m trying to convince my local Merc player to give it a shot.
Oh, and after the game he goes to put away his cards, and I notice him pull out his own Bradigus card – which explains both why his list was so good against Bradigus, and why he was so familiar both with how the matchup goes, and all of my stats and strategies.
We end up winning the round 4-1, and Team UN ended up 4-2 overall, resulting in an extremely impressive 12th place out of 50. Personally, I ended up going a very respectable 5-1, and congrats to Bubba who went an incredibly solid 6-0.
- Bring an extremely well-rounded list pair to WTC. In most of the team matchups, several of our players would say that they could only play against 2 or 3 of the opponents, but my matchups were broad enough that I was usually able to play against 4 or 5.
- Always take tables! Especially for our team (which had a Bradigus player, a Runes player, and a Legion player, all of whom are extremely terrain-dependent). Matchups generally don’t end up that badly (we usually managed to get 2 or 3 positive matchups anyways), especially if you think carefully about whom you send out first beforehand.
- The Bradigus v. Runes game is completely different with dense terrain – if you can find a table that doesn’t let the Runes player place walls in perfect position, the matchup changes from heavily favoring Runes to HEAVILY favoring Bradigus.
- Teams (especially teams from different continents) do NOT think about matchups the same way you do. It’s really hard to predict what they’ll find favorable or not, so sometimes you’ll end up with BOTH teams thinking they ended up with all positive matchups. Specifically for me, I didn’t look closely enough at the Merc player’s lists in the last round, and I thought it was similar to my local Merc player’s pairing – but it ended up being completely different.
- Lastly, and most importantly – if you haven’t gone to the WTC, GO TO THE WTC. Let’s leave aside that the team format is incredibly interesting, and that all games are more fun with teammates – Warmachine included. Let’s leave aside that I had six high-level games with extremely fun and gracious opponents. It’d be worth it for the trip alone – going to a foreign country, meeting a ton of fellow gamers from around the world, and talking Warmachine with them is so much fun! The venue was amazing, and I swear that there was Warmachine talk going on at all hours of night for the entire weekend. Seriously – if you get a chance, apply for your country’s WTC team (even team USA – next year is going to be the most wide-open to new faces yet), and if you don’t make it, just come for the solo masters and cheer your team on!