I went to Jim Lawrence's house to play a couple of rounds of Warmachine today. The first day was a quick 500 point punch up between Magnus the Traitor and Siege. It was an intensely exciting game, with me chasing Siege around the board on his feeble single point of health, which I could just not knock off before he won by scenario.
The second game was a larger 1000 point brawl with two people on each team - Jim and Gordie playing Cryx, Thom and myself playing Khador with Mercenaries. It was also wildly exciting. There was a moment when I needed something stupid to hit the Deathjack (in melee, behind cover, with a strong lateral wind) with Disruptor from Magnus, so I closed my eyes, mumbled a prayer to the Dice Gods and proceeded to make the Deathjack my prison bitch. Unfortunately I also blew out its movement previously so the odds of it eating Mortenebra were low. I did hope I could lure Jim into bringing her in to repair it, but he popped a helldiver on Magnus so I didn't have enough focus to hit it with another Disruptor spell.
Unfortunately Thom lost eVlad in turn two to a ghostly Deathjack appearing on the other side of eVlad's cover. Thom has a weakness in his play style in that he exposes his warcaster. In my first game against him he left Irusk out in the open field so I dropped Obliterators on him. If he can get used to keeping his warcaster in cover for longer, then Thom's game should improve a lot. Don't mistake me thinking I'm better than Thom, I'm not (at least not yet) but his weakness is very easy to see since it's something of a game-ender.
Back to the game however, it was a game of a great many ups and downs. Despite losing eVlad (and thus Drago) we proceeded to stomp in the entire Cryx army (except for the Deathjack, some bonejacks and the respective warcasters). I managed to lure Gordie into leaving his bane knights clumped up together after they'd killed my Steelheads - a bit of tactical genius I'm particularly happy with. Then my Mangler with Frenzy charged in and ate the grouped up bane knights for breakfast.
In the end we lost however, I couldn't quite deal with the helldiver that appeared next to Magnus as well as killing the Leviathan Mortenebra brought back. It was just a little too much of a juggling act and Magnus finally bit the dust.
All in all, despite losing these games - I would have won the first one given more time or if I'd given a renegade one more focus - I feel I've learnt a great deal today. Jim said I was "scarily good" for someone who's played less than 20 games, which is a good sign for future improvement.
Things I've Learnt from this Game:
Stop giving my opponents good advice.
ALWAYS mumble prayers to the Dice Gods. Other people should not hear your prayers, they are for the Dice Gods only. Other people should be wondering what Higher Power you are tapping into for your stupendous rolls.
NEVER say the word "Average" in relation to the number you need to roll on the dice. This displeases the Dice Gods and you will forever wallow in the world of mediocre rolls. Or they will mock you and always make you roll a single point less than what is needed every time.
The Steelheads Holy Trinity - Halberdiers, Heavy Cavalry, and Stannis Brocker - are amazing. I finally have an expendable unit, a force that hits like a truck and a commander who appears to do damn near everything I need. Stannis Brocker was definitely the MVP of the 1000 point game. He even shot a bonejack to death. He's almost Chuck Norris!
Cast Blur on the Steelhead Halberdiers, you'll get another chance to cast Frenzy on the Mangler later... Forgetting to put Blur on the Halberdiers leads to dead Steelheads.
The opponent can be baited. Do not be afraid to sacrifice something to draw your opponent in. Once they're where you want them, destroy them utterly. If you fail to do so, you're more than likely screwed.
Play with a plan. Forming a plan on the fly is all well and good for some people, but having a rough idea of how to deal with specific problems helps greatly.
Watch the opponent. Find out if they are defensive or aggressive in their play style. Exploit weaknesses - defensive players may be out-maneuvered, aggressive players can be baited.