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Cancon 2014 in Review

I’ve finally recovered enough from Cancon 2014 to be able to put some thoughts down on paper. For those not in the know, Cancon is an annual 3-day celebration of gaming and gaming culture; everything from board games, miniature games, role-playing games and cosplay is there to be enjoyed and bought. It has been around for years and years and is arguable the premier convention in Australia.

This year Warmachine & Hordes had it’s biggest ever presence with approximately 130 registrations; we even qualified for an Iron Gauntlet qualifier and a Masters tournament. As a local Pressganger, I offered my services to help the tournaments run smoothly; which involved 2 x 12 hour days of administration, clean-up and the occasional game in the Iron Arena. I would have been there for all 3 days, but I was distracted by Meg Maples’ painting class.

Rather than give a blow-by-blow, I thought I’d pull out some of the memorable events.

TL;DR version - I had a blast!

Iron Arena

This was an idea that we tried last year; but went off this year. As well as participating in tournaments, players were able to play pick-up-games against anyone, at any points level, and they could take as long as they wanted. Each game earned you points that you could spent on prizes such as dice, tokens, posters, alternate sculpts, painting services and so forth. It was so popular that I was actually asked if someone could use an unused tournament table because there was not enough space!

Among the crowd of patient (at one point I recorded game results for 30mins straight because of the queue) and fabulous players, three people stood out for me. Ian Bennett worked tirelessly to collect as many achievements he could get to earn an Extreme Juggernaut, and I believe he got it. Josh Bates squeezed in games whenever he could; between tournament rounds, in the mornings, etc to earn enough points for 20 black focus tokens for his Nemo2 list. And Zach Jones worked like a dog to get enough points to earn himself a Bombardier Bombshell – it was a pleasure to hand it over to him as he was super excited to get it.

Painting

My skills have steadily been improving and I thought this year I had a good chance of placing. Little did I know that not only was Meg Maples’ entering in some models, but that a bunch of OzPainter forum guys were also entering! Take a look at some of these… (make with the clicky to embiggen them)

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I was blown away by the strength of the competition this year. Fortunately I was able to place second with my Archangel (first placed Hyperion was super cool); and scored a nifty shirt from The Sound of Machines. Kate was super nice and when my shirt did not fit she game me some dice as compensation. Even better, she liked my model enough to want a couple of extra shots of it!

Meg

I’d be remiss if I did not mention Meg‘s painting class. Plenty has been said before about the other classes she’d held around the world and I won’t reiterate the praise here. Suffice to say, this time around two-brush blending “clicked” with me and I learned to get over my fear of painting eyes with Meg’s “6 easy steps to painting eyes”. I even got some great colour theory out of the other classmates and will be working on that part of my game this year.

I took two models, but this is the one I did the most work on.

Dwarf Lord

I want to call out Mark Soley from OzPainters for bouncing both colour theory and base design off me (I’m sure I’ll translate his advice with some more experience) and for Elena Petrou in independently supporting the colour theory from Mark.

Bring on next year!

 

 

Raven Eyes of the War Dragon

I think it’s established that I enjoy theme forces. Quite a few years ago I posted an idea on the Lost Hemisphere forums about how “well” Lylyth2′s theme force (Ravens of War) gels with her Shard from the faction book (Eyes of the Dragon).

As I look at my mountain of models, it re-occurs to me that finishing off the theme force that actually got me interested in the faction may be an excellent way to re-invigorate the faction, add focus to my painting, and get a list that I would like to play for a while.

Lylyth, Shadow of Everblight (painted)
- Seraph (painted)
- Seraph (painted)
- Stinger (painted)
Blighted Nyss Striders + UA (painted)
Blighted Nyss Striders + UA
Strider Deathstalker (Fysel) (painted)
Strider Deathstalker (Kaevan) (painted)
Strider Deathstalker (Shaness)
Strider Deathstalker (Treyfal)
Blighted Nyss Raptors
Annyssa Ryvaall, Talon of Everblight (painted)

I have 2 Deathstalkers, Raptors and a unit of Striders to paint – should be doable by May (given I have other things on my plate in Jan/Feb/March
Right?

Spring Rampage

On Saturday just gone a local store held its latest in a series of Spring Rampage events. The idea of the rampage was to start small and work up to 50pt events over the course of spring. Rather than having prizes for each event, you would earn tickets for a raffle to be held during the final event. You’d get tickets for playing, but also for doing things like killing all solos, playing fully painted, playing tiered, etc.

I took two lists:

Vayl1 – 2x Ravagore, Angelius, Scythean, Legionnaires, Spawning Vessel, 2x Forsaken

Thagrosh2 – 2x Scythean, Seraph, Carnivean, 5x Shredder, 2x Forsaken

I have not played a lot of 50pt games, let alone 50pt tournament games, so this was going to be very interesting. There was an incentive to alternate lists, so that is what I did.

Round 1 - Morvahna the Autumblade (0-1)

For a definition of recursion, see recursion.
if I didn’t already think that zealots were the cockroaches of the Warmachine universe, my next bet would be Bloodtrackers with Witch Doctor and Morvahna. I was woefully under-prepared for this list and it tore me a new one. Out of spite, and with spiked dice, I one-rounded the Stalker with Ravagore shots.
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Round 2 – Archdomina Makeda (0-2)

Nothing good can come of leaving a straight line between yourself and Molik Khan. I over-committed heavies to the Cetrati, hoping to clear them quickly and then pressure Makeda with sprays and two beasts. They were too hard to kill and it left me with little to block Molik from walking across the zone and stabbing Thagrosh with pointy things. Archidon finished him off.

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Round 3 – Feora, Protector of the Flame (1-2)

Brett and I always have great games. This one went to dice down, and we both were surprised. A grindy game where aggressive Ravagores helped clear off the opposing Reckoners. Spawning Vessel was left in the open and got taken out early which meant I had to play more conservatively. Legionnaires tied up the Temple Flameguard long enough for me to clear the left flank. 

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Round 4 - Warwitch Deneghra (1-3)

Who, in their right mind, brings 53 infantry models! Madness!

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This was a long, tough game. Incorporeal models are hard to remove, so I just got up there and did what I could. I was coming back well, with most of the banes destroyed as Thagrosh got busy, but I was tied down for most of the game and locked out of the zones. Deneghra was running scared (that’s what I tell myself) before dice down was called.

 

Painting Progress

I’ve been looking at my back-log of painting and thinking about the best way to tackle it in 2014.

Thanks to Forward Kommander I now have an accurate way to track my faction breakdown, and here it is:

Warmachine

  • Cygnar – 53% (of 15 models)
  • Cryx – 0% (of 0 models)
  • Protectorate of Menoth – 100% (of 5 models)
  • Khador – 100% (of 17 models)
  • Retribution of Scyrah – 50% (of 36 models)
  • Convergence of Cyriss – 100% (of 2 models)
  • Mercenaries – 40% (of 5 models)

Hordes

  • Circle Orboros – 90% (of 10 models)
  • Legion of Everblight – 70% (of 124 models)
  • Trollbloods – 88% (of 9 models)
  • Skorne – 83% (of 53 models)
  • Minions – 57% (of 14 models)

What to tackle first? I want to finish off Cygnar first; that gets me my full Operation Stormy Seas 50pts completed and means I can put that scheme to bed (as tempted as I am to expand it!). I think I’ll then knock off Circle and maybe Skorne to get those ones to bed. After that, it gets fuzzy. Retribution is caught between a scheme that works, and a scheme that I like. They may be stripped yet and re-painted, I have over Christmas to decide. Legion has some second-hand models in it which I need to strip properly before I can start them – and I’m a bit over the scheme right now. Trollbloods has a Mountain King to do, and I’m leaving that for now since I want to try and come up with a scheme for them. I like the one I did for the battle-box, but I think it’s a bit passive when scaled right up to a gargantuan (that, and it’s very similar to my Legion skin tones).

How do you think I’ll go? I think I’ll likely buy more models tonight (Silver Line and a Stormtower is calling me for Cygnar).

Operation Stormy Seas

I grabbed a Stormwall over 12 months ago, but only recently unboxed it. Partially because I was not sure how I planned to paint it, partially because the model intimidated me a little. Once I decided to work on it, I thought about how much I would want to play it – and Operation Stormy Seas was born.

The scheme came out of a desire to try something more grey scale in an effort to work on my contrast, shading and highlighting. After using this scheme across a couple of models in this army, I have now started going darker with many of my shades on other models. I think I’ll also start going brighter too.

I use 11 paints in total.

  • Abaddon Black (GW)
  • Eshin Grey (GW)
  • Dawnstone (GW)
  • Administratum Grey (GW)
  • White (Vallejo)
  • Leadbelcher (GW)
  • Mithril Silver (GW)
  • Balthasar Gold (GW)
  • Armour Wash (P3) and/or Heavy Body Black Wash (Secret Weapon)
  • Agrax Earthshade (GW)
  • Cygnar Blue Highlight

Before we get to the pictures, this is the army that I will be using with the Stormwall – see if you can spot a theme. I’ll add the rest of the models as I paint them.

@ 25pts – General Adept Nemo, Stormwall, Centurion, 3x Stormsmith Stormcaller

@ 35pts - General Adept Nemo, Stormwall, Centurion, 3x Stormsmith Stormcaller, Stormclad

@ 50pts - General Adept Nemo, Stormwall, Centurion, 6x Stormsmith Stormcaller, Stormclad, Ironclad, Journeyman Warcaster

Stormwall CenturionGeneral Adept NemoLightning PodsStormsmith Stormcaller

WinterCon

(No photos with this post, I forgot to take any)

Today was Day 2 of WinterCon, the little sibling of CanCon. Day 1 was a more serious 50pt Steam Roller event and today was a more casual 25pt Mangled Metal / Tooth and Claw event. Despite knowing about this event for months, I’d never really given much thought going – the TO contacted me and one successful guilt trip later – I was registered.

My intention going in was to have some fun – its a casual-ish format, I knew most of the people who were playing and there was nothing at stake. Despite that I knew I wanted to take competitive lists and I flip-flopped for at least a week trying to come up with lists I liked. Lylyth3 was on the cards for a while, but I didn’t have a second Angelius painted. In the end I decided to make one list anti-Hordes, and the other list anti-Warmachine.

Vayl, Disciple of Everblight
- Carnivean
- 2x Scythean
- Shredder

This was my anti-Hordes lists, and the caster I am more familiar with. With Chiller and Incite I could dish out some serious damage and Rampager and Talion to add insult to injury.

Absylonia, Terror of Everblight
- Archangel
- Scythean

I like Abby with the Archangel, and I was hoping that Warmachine factions would not be able to 1-round it so that I could retaliate and heal afterwards. I didn’t have enough to take advantage of Carnivore and Playing God, but Blight Field would be useful.

Let’s see how I went …

Round 1 – General Adept Sebastian Nemo
- Thunderhead
- Centurion
- Stormclad

Sam played a really aggressive game – using Energiser and Polarity shield to get up there quickly and deny me the charge – something I really need to get. With nothing else to do, I had the Archangel take advantage of Nemo with no focus to strafe 4 shots into his scrawny hide. I scored a hit, applied Critical Fire and dug in to weather the counter-punch. Fire left Nemo on 1, and the Thunderhead threw the Scythean away to clear the charge lane for the Stormclad. Abby was parked on her flag, and within striking distance. Two charges and a transfer later, she was still alive. Archangel flew behind the Thunderhead and shot Nemo to make sure.

Round 2 – Goreshade the &%^&^%^%% Annoying
- Deathjack
- Defiler
- Reaper
- Slayer

So typical of Cryx to bring Banes to a Mangled Metal format!
In hindsight, I grabbed the wrong list. With 3 heavies in both of Jon’s lists, I should have looked to match up. I killed the Defiler early, but committed the Scythean to tease out the Reaper and Slayer. Deathjack took care of him, and in the counter-attack the Archangel only managed to do about 12pts of damage in 7 attacks. Yep, the dice were that horrid. I was really hoping to kill the Deathjack AND the Reaper that turn. Goreshade denied me my feat, and it was going to be uphill from here. Abby killed 3 of the Banes and kept enough to transfer – that was the plan before she took a Slayer in the face.

Round 3 – Kaya the Moonhunter
- Pureblood Warpwolf
- Feral Warpwolf
- Gorax
- Laris
- Winter Argus

Finally an opportunity to play Vayl!
Paris was super-aggressive, using his feat to get over the half-way line before the end of Turn 2. I knew what the plan was though, so unless the dice failed me, I knew I should be able to kill both heavies on the same turn. Chiller was up and I went for broke. Vayl cast Incite (god I love that spell), Rampagered the Pureblood (Paris has forgot to warp for Spell Ward) – who turned around and tried to attach Kaya – but she was sneaky and hard to hit. Scythean #1 put both Laris and the Feral under Chiller and all but killed both … dice were looking shaky. Carnivean, under Incite killed the Pureblood and left Laris on 1pt. With time running out, I used my extension and charged the Gorax with Scythean #2. 3 mins later, I’d killed the Gorax, killed the Feral and was just about to roll the chain-attack into Kaya when the timer went off!

Laris went for a “Hail Mary” play, and it looked promising when I missed the first free strike, but the second one smooshed the puppy and the game was done. Paris was a super-fun opponent and I wish him well for trying to build his local Geelong community.

Round 4 – Commander Coleman Stryker
- Ol’ Rowdy
- 2x Hunter
- Lancer
- Charger

Bobby is one of my favourite opponents, and he’d had a fantastic day going 2-1 with some really long and grinding matches. The key for this match was taking out Ol’ Rowdy, but I got so focused on clearing a path, I almost let Stryker achieve a scenario victory. The Hunters peppered Absylonia, so I shot one with the Archangel to teach it a lesson. Damn thing kept a cortex though, so I had to leave them alone while I focused on the Lancer and Charger and watched Rowdy skirt around the edge.

Stryker’s feat turn was non-eventful, but I did push my beasts a little hard in order to put a couple of boxes on the lights. The Scythean made two threshold checks this game – and the last one allowed him to get within 4 of the flag and stop the control points from accumulating. The Archangel abused a Blight Fielded Rowdy while Abby moved to dominate her own flag. Bobby moved the injured Hunter up to counter-contest, but Abby killed it next turn. With the Scythean in Stryker’s face but having an uphill battle to beat-face, I played the safer game and used the Archangel to fly at the remaining Hunter and get the alternate victory condition.

I finished the game at 3-1, and snuck into 3rd place!

Thanks to Andrew for running WinterCon, and all my opponents today. The vibe in the room was great, and there were some nail-biting battles, even at 25pts.

Destor Thane

20130708-165911.jpg

After painting up the battle box I wanted a change of pace and instead of painting up another myrmidon, chose the Destor Thane to do next. It would be a good test model for how the scheme would look for when I began painting Vyros2.

The scheme is the same as previously detailed (ad nauseum), what is worth detailing is how I painted the horse, as it was first attempt at this particular scheme. I knew that I wanted to try a pale horse to tie it back to the studio scheme, but didn’t know where to start. I primed white, as is my way, and choose to put down some Trollblood Highlight as the first shade. To darken it, I used a mix of Trollblood Base and Exile Blue, lightly applied. The darkest areas used a thin coat of Exile Blue to finish it off.

It looks a little icy, but I like how it came out.

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