Friday, June 26

GenCon & Magnus

Alright, I'm prepping for GenCon, playing a SR 4.0 and Hardcore. The 750 SR is true Magnus Agenda, but for Hardcore, I need something a little more...time friendly. So I tried out this list last night:

-2x Renegades
Dirty Meg
8x Nyss Hunters

My theory is to do the old Obliterate from afar. Dougal helps tremendously and the Mariner adds a follow-up punch should I need to take on a model in front or deviation for the KD. The Mule was added for the hell of it for another follow up, although I suspected it'd be overkill. Dirty Meg is always useful. A&H was there to throw up Harm, Lusynar's Touch, and other utilities (like, a null magic/feat zone). Nyss are always useful and with eMagnus, they're actually a hidden melee gem. Weapon Master, Lethargy to gain decent Mat and decent Strength, and Piper giving them March for that 2nd melee attack....priceless. eEiryss as a debuff and fun way to chock out damage to the caster... even as minor of damage.

My assassination would run into serious issues with Hordes and a Warlocks ability to transfer damage with fury. As a result, I decided to alter my playstyle, go for the kill in hopes that he transfers damage out. Alten is there to help wipe beasts off the table. After that was all said and done, I realized I had a lot of points left over, but didn't particularly care for the choices I dropped one Nyss in favor of Kell, who I've always found useful.

The reality:

Nyss were fine, however I acknowledge my need for Melee. The Mule was definitely overkill and didn't do anything. For the range of the gun, it has to be up-in-front or with add'l boosts in RNG, more than just what Dougal provides. A&H were fine. eEiryss was a winner.

To give an idea, I played a Highborn Durgen list:

2x 8 man units of Steelheads
3 Steelhead Cav
8x Nyss Hunters
It's important to note that I was borrowing Piper from my opponent, otherwise Piper would normally be in this list vs Gorman.

He won first turn, set up Durgen behind a Gunner and Driller. Steelheads took my right flank, Nyss and Alexia took left. Gorman somewhere in the back.

I set up my Nyss counter to his, set up Renegades, Mariner, Mule in center, Dougal, eMags, and Dirty Meg in back. A&H to the right. Piper behind Nyss. Eiryss up center, Alten up right, and Kell mid center. There's a shallow water pool in the center of the table.

His turn, throws Prime on the Nyss, Bump&Grind on Thor's Gunner. Runs EVERYTHING up. Tries to Assault Alten, but misses.

My turn, I concentrate volley against his Nyss, and they blow each other up too. Piper gave them March. Run the Mule up into the water. A&H move up, go invis, pop some Steelheads. Eiryss unravels Prime, does a point and kills Cylenna. Alten takes a pot shot against Stannis in hopes of rolling well...which I did, but that's it. Magnus cast Mobilize. Mariner and Renegades run up.

His turn, tries to hit Eiryss...hits...and does 3 pts. Swarm of Risen moving up field. Durgen pops feat. Steelhead unit A receives Furious Charge and strikes Mule...destroying him. As in, dealing a good 5-6 points of damage each Steelhead. Stannis kills Alten, Cav kill Kell, try to engage A&H. Everything else moves up.

Okay, so Durgen is still hiding behind a Gunner and Driller. Gorman threw a cloud blocking LoS on one side. So I give 1 Focus to Renegades and Mariner. Dougal activates, pops feat, gives Artillerist to Renegade A. Renegade A hits Driller, knocks Gunner, Driller, and Durgen down, but Durgen gets a focus (4 now). eEiryss moves up and shoots Durgen. Strips him of all focus. Mariner activates, moves into BtB with Eiryss (note that Eiryss' intolerance prevents focus), fires, and whops Durgen down to 5 HP, boosting damage. 2nd Renegade shoots and kills Durgen.

So Dirty Meg and Mule weren't important. I need Melee blockers, but want to avoid Steelheads (painting reasons). I'm thinking Bokurs, 2 of them. Client it to Kell or Alten. Alternatively, I could go and use Croe's...but that's just too much I think. Add in more Nyss.

Any suggestions?

Monday, June 22

The Art of Going 2nd

Well, after this weekend's NE Team Championship Tournament and going 2-1 (either 3rd or 4th - there were no kit coins so nothing was awarded), I have to ask:

Is there a special strategy for going 2nd?

In reviewing my performance, 2 games I went 2nd and performed subpar to my usual standard of play. It doesn't help that I usually get lucky and take first turn. It suites my hyper-aggressive play style. But going 2nd definitely throws a wrench in my plans. So I've been reviewing how I will handle the "last man to move".

In reviewing tournament play, we're looking at either Hardcore/Casterkill or SR/Scenario conditions. SR format throws an additional wrench in that I have to contest the scenario conditions, to promote aggressive play. So...

1. Cautious advancement. Not full moves or moving under cover, which happens normally. I typically make full advances with all out running, but there are lists out there that can provide a brutal 2nd turn (case in point, eLylyth, Saeryn, eVlad, etc). Full steam ahead gets me into the conflict faster but sees devestation of the army faster. Piper and AD units also provide rough & tumble. A cautious/partial move would see me in line to contest SOME scenarios on turn two. Others could present a problem.

In the end, I believe it depends on the caster, amount of AD, and support. Kreoss, Gorten, eMagnus, eDenny all need full advancement, b/c I may not get the chance to move up there 2nd turn. Holding back Cav as well to help contest or running in a jack is best case. Just need to be a little more careful. But being super aggressive with certain units can throw opponents' plans.

2. Altering deployment. Certain armies have the capability to wreck havoc on armies still in their deployment zone 1st turn. Pulling back off the line (deploying 8") can wreck those with mathematical minds. However, that's not going to stop a bunch of Deathstalkers/Striders or Piper/Idrians. That in mind, is it better to deploy in a corner/corners or better to split and deploy in both corners. Again, I think it depends on scenario/caster, but not sure how to operate.

3. Feat Turn, when to pop it? Is it 2nd turn, or 3rd turn. Definitely situational based on caster's, but typically 2nd turn is best. But what about 1st turn? If you're up there, it throws a wrench in the opponent's plan, but certain feats respond better.

4. AD. Go aggressive or not? Sometimes it helps to go aggressive; contest and just act as roadblocks.

What are people's thoughts? I'm going to exclusively try to go 2nd for the next few weeks to get something down on my own, but help could be provided.

On a side note, I think I've gone 2nd 12 times in my tournament history.

Wednesday, June 17

How to Attract the Masses

Well, NJ Con is officially over, but our group has been discussing the venue site and whether or not it's worth hosting a tournament with NJ Con again next year.

Problems with NJ Con and PP Tournament:
1. Not generating revenue for the Con. The Con organizers were great in purchasing the really nice trophy set, but we had only 8 people show (9 if you include our Pressganger). The superb trophy kit costs $75 - essentially we paid for the kit ourselves and not for the Con overhead cost. Also, to run a tournament requires a lot of space and tables - which could go to running other games for the Con.

2. Location. This year the Con was hosted at Ft Dix, NJ, instead of Kennilworth, NJ. For those with no knowledge of NJ geography, Ft. Dix is South/Central NJ and Kennilworth is North NJ, towards Manhatten. We lost a fair number of players that might have been able to come out from NYC or NY. We should have gained players from southern NJ, but that didn't happen. And the PA guys we spar with couldn't make it out for one reason or another.

3. Demands of PP events vs what the Con can provide. Honestly, PP Tournaments require more events than just one SR 4.0. However, to generate that, we need a hotel where we can have that kind of feel for. On the flip side, NJ Con is only Fri-Sat, which presents problems for many individuals. Had it been Fri-Sun or Sat-Sun, I think we might have been able to do two tournaments, attracting more people. It's not an easy drive or location, so we need to make it worth people's while.

What could we have done differently?

1. Marketing. The Con organizers marketed very heavily with flyers, etc. However, I'm not sure about our own marketing. We made announcements on various forums, but very few of us traveled to other game stores and made these announcements ourselves. Last year we were blessed with being a stop for a Templecon promotion, but that didn't happen this year. Additionally, I now know of several gamers in S. Jersey who are looking to branch out but missed the tournament. Why didn't we reach them? More over, there's a gaming club in N. Jersey that I know we don't ever interact with (HQ the Club), but they've made it out to open gaming days at several stores.

I believe that just posting on the forums is flawed. Very few of us actually patrol the Events forums. I do, just to find a group to game with etc. But that's just it. It also requires constant readership and consistent contact.

2. Offer to drive people. NYC folks need to take a train or drive. Driving into and out of NYC is a hassle. Offering a pick up might be a good idea.

3. Two tournaments? There's also another crowd out there, one we don't deal with. Monpoc. Maybe we should start involving that a bit more?

How is this not our fault or the Con's fault?
1. Some close proximity LGS decided to run a tournament on the same day. We possibly lost some PA guys because of the double-up on dates. Why come out to NJ Con when the LGS is closer? Also, some of the PA guys just saw the closest store to them close, so supporting the tournament venue was possible a huge motivation. I don't blame them. It's closer and you're supporting a local gaming spot.

2. We actually have more than 8 players in our LGS. We have close to 20. Problem is most players are fresh into the game - less than 1 tournament under their belt and only 6 months of playing. It's intimidating for them to come out to compete against us when consistently 5 of us take home top, 2nd and 3rd. We have JWC Tournaments for that - hosting a 2nd one before NJ Con might have been an idea, but timidity came into play.

How to solve this problem and what is the solution?

I don't think we should abandon NJ Con. From what I hear, the Con organisers want to have it at a hotel next year in central NJ (such a place does exist), although Ft. Dix wasn't a bad venue. However, they're not sure about the logistics next year. Apparently they grew about 10-20% and were able to save money for next year.

For us, we'll have 16 players hopefully coming out to NJ Con next year who aren't afraid to compete. Most of us veterans are actively trying to improve the games of the rookies.

Also, maybe give out free passes by traveling to different tournament spots as a marketing tool. It's an incentive to at least get someone there, who may or may not bring his/her posse. Winners of the tournaments get a free pass, etc. etc. TempleCon does it.

Finally, in discussion with the NYC and Philly folks, we were talking about creating a trophy that would entice people to come out and try to take it back. Promote an already healthy rivalry.

Any other suggestions?

Sunday, June 14

NJCon Report

Well, NJCon came and went today. A whole lot less fanfare this time around. Last year, we had 16 people show, a nice grouping from MA, upstate NY, and NYC, along with the core group from my LGS.

This year, we had 8. The only out-of-state person was Nick, who just moved down to NJ from MA. I blame the location for some (Ft. Dix is south of Kennilworth, making it harder for NYC'ers and NY'ers to make it down.

However, no game felt like a dud to me. Each game was hard fought, despite having played against everyone multiple times (save Nick of course).

Quick recap of my list:

-2x Renegades
10x Croe's
9x Idrians + UA
6x Trenchers

This list is super aggressive, with the bulk of the army AD'ing and the rest moving quickly up to catch up as a 2nd wave. The idea is to contest scenario as well. I had a 2nd list, but it's not worth mentioning.

Game 1: Rematch against eLylyth.
Our pressganger felt some sort of sick sadistic satisfaction in the pairings - I was paired against Jeremy's eLylyth, the very same warlock I lost disastrously to two days ago. Well, I went about to make sure that didn't happen again. I forget the scenario name - it involves with controling two of three area's on your side and one of your opponent's.

I won first turn, deployed eMags, Gorman, & Nomad in the center, Stannis to my right, Saxon to my left and the Renegades slightly out from there. He deployed Seraphs in a similar fashon, Typhon center with eLylyth, Bonegrinders, gobbers, and the Shepard Raptors took the hard left flank. Shredder was somewhere...I didn't notice. AD consisted me being very aggressive, everything forward line. Croe's on the left flank again, Trenchers and Idrians interwoven. Kell was placed in a forest to the right. His AD saw a Deathstalker on the left, Striders and Deathstalker on the right, back towards his normal deployment zone. Gudrun was placed in the forest that Kell was in. Important to note that I claimed a hill in the center of the board by ADing.

Turn one. Well, no quick killing of the Idrians this time. Move up the Trenchers, smoke. Move up the Idrians, intercept. eMag's cast Mobilize, charges up. Nomad and Renegades run. Saxon Runs. Stannis Runs. Kell moves out of a forest by a wall to benefit from Cover (not concealment). More importantly, he's a lone defender of one of my territories. Croe cautiously advances, but has a subtle Renegade support.

Jeremy's turn one. Deathstalkers move around, don't do a whole lot. Raptors run up, bunch up, by a forest, with the Deaststalker1 by them. Strider muscian mini-feats...which gets annoying. Otherwise not a whole lot else happens. He moves up Typhon and 2 Seraphs, which kill one model each. Gudrun runs into combat with Trenchers and Idrians, countercharge and not a whole lot happens.

My turn two - Smoke is laid down again, Idrians form a wall on the outside. Stannis runs to engage the striders from a deadly feat turn. Idrians kill Gudrun. Magnus casts Mobilize, feats and catches the three beasts and a knockeddown Gudrun. Nice. I pick the left and my table edge. Renegade moves up, fires its obliterator at the clumped Raptors...hits and kills one. Croe's finishes off the rest and a lucky shot on the Deathstalker. Which means I control solidly one of my opponents table edge. Gorman throws smoke on Magnus.

And then I realize I failed to cast Misdirection or Bullet Dodger. And then I remember that Lylyth's feat also gives +4 range. The measly trencher isn't going to provide enough screening...unlike the Nomad, which is next, not in front. Plus Gorman's smoke should have been thrown in front of Magnus.

Short story is Lylyth comes up and manages to get a few shots onto Magnus, but fails Pincushion. The Seraph slip streams Typhon forward. Strafes, gets 6 shots, and hits once. Typhon sprays and blasts Magnus. The 2nd Seraph hits, strafes 6 times, and uh...kills Magnus.

But that was it. Had he failed to hit that last one, it would have been game. I made serious mistakes, but so did he. Jer & I were both shaking...but he won, and I concede that this was a game that he did actually win against my better playing. Although not best.

Game 2:
Well that mistake wasn't going to happen again. And there comes a time when a Merc faces another Merc on the battlefield. Game 2 was against a guy in my group (George) who plays Merc contracts. He had played eMags game one, but brought out Gorten for Mosh Pit.

His list looked like:
-Bunnies of sorts
3 Bokurs, one cliented on Gudrun, one on Brun, and one on Gorten
Brun & Lug
2x Highshields, one min unit on by 8x
Hammerforge 8x

I won first turn, deployed eMags center, along with everything else. AD saw Croe on the right this time, Idrians on the left, Trenchers center. Highshields were deployed behind walls, Gudrun and a Bokur on the right.

Turn one. Smokes, moved the Idrians into the smoke, took some pot shots againt the 2 units of Highshields. I kill one. Croe's don't do a whole lot against the Bokur but knockdown Gudrun. Run everything else up.

George's turn one saw Shieldwall formations, the Bear and Lug move up on my right. Gudrun kills one Croe on a charge, but exposes his back to several others. The Bokur kills another 2. Hammers run up on the left, along with Gorten, bunnies, Driller & Bokur. Highshields take some shots...not a lot happens from what I remember.

Turn 2, I notice that I could attempt to snipe Gorten by removing to hammers. Trenchers CRA, kill both. First Obliterator hits Gorten, but does only 2 damage. 2nd one missed by one. I'm very annoyed. However, I reap my retribution on Gudrun and the Bokur single handedly with Croe's. Idrians charge the Hammers, bunnies and do some mild damage. Not a lot. Kell plinks off two Highshields. Saxon kills another. Stannis kills a third. Gorman blinds a unit directly behind the wall, Nomad walks up. Magnus feats, catches everyone except for the Bokur and Brun. I chose Left & My table edge.

George's turn 2 saw the dwarf toss. Hammers run out of the way, Driller tosses the dwarf and Gorten lands smack in front of the unit of trenchers. Landslides everything towards his deployment zone. Which means there's a charge lane for Brun and Brun's Bokur to get to Magnus. Brun charges and does 9 points of damage with three attacks. Even Stannis' forefend doesn't stop Brun with that crazy spell that reduces the damage dice by one. Fortunately I had Misdirection, so the Nomad bore the brunt of the attack. His assassination run over...

Turn 3 Go for broke. Except I have nothing to retaliate against Gorten with. Magnus is engaged and I don't have the models to launch a successful attack against Brun. Brun has no fury and is out of transfer range. Trenchers are scattered all over the place, but there's a Renegade and Trencher engaged with Gorten. Idrians suffer the same fate. Only Croe isn't tied up, but he's too far away to help. Gorman is engaged...the only way for me to get to Gorten is to move the Nomad under Mobilize to Gortens back arc. I do try to kill Brun without eMagnus' help...but eventually eMagnus has to do the job himself. Nomad moves 4", and swings. And Swings again. And swings a third time. The first two times it dealt 5 damage...10 total + 2 from the failed Obliterator assassination run. Finally, the third blow connects for serious damage and kills Gorten.

Good game and I really thought I was screwed on that one.

Game 3-
Awesome, No Man's Land against Cryx (Nick). He's brought:
-2 Nightwretches
-2 Deathrippers
2x Min Unit Biles
Min unit BK's.
2x Pistol Wraiths

I'm not going to mention how the battle went, except it was wholesale slaughter of my army. I play super aggressive...which may not have been the best for going 2nd (Read all AD units 12" into AD zone). By turn 3, we were looking at a Renegade, Nomad, Kell, & eMagnus left. I spent my feat turn and had boosted against a Deathripper that was 1" away from Gaspy, hitting both. However, the 2nd Obliterator did minimal impact damage, but enough to make Nick sweat.

So after positioning himself for the death of Mags next turn, he had ran up BLT into combat with one renegade, positioned Gaspy behind a small wood (4" diameter I believe), and pistol wraiths on the left. Canker was in the forest. eMags was in charge range of BLT...but I needed to spell.

I made the decision to take a freestrike from BLT, run the Renegade out. BLT connects, 8 points to column 3...but the Renegade runs 10" to Gaspy's back Arc. eMagnus casts the Bigger-They-Are, boosts damage since I hit...and knock Gaspy down to 3 life (he had 10). 2nd time, dies.

I didn't bother writing up the third game because I wanted to highlight more how importantly it is to play like you got a pair and go for the win...even in hopeless situations. There was a good chance (highly probable) that I would have lost. But my gamble payed off this time. I've seen far too many games where people hide their caster or run away. It's a viable strategy...but how does it make the game any more fun for either of you?

It's come down to the last few moments. All games I felt pressue, none more than the first game. But it's possible to come back. It's also highly possible to lose it all. But you have to go for it, because it may be your last.

Last NJCon I went 1-2 due to forgetting to Feat on my game with Hacksaw and then misinterpreting a rule. It was my 2nd tournament and I will never forget it. This NJCon, I played with a sort-of sub-optimal list (Agenda vs 4-Star). Idrians and Trenchers are never sub-optimal, but Magnus doesn't bring to the table the same kind of competition eVlad does. I'm 2-1 for the day and happy how the list played. We'll be seeing it in the future.

As for the winners:
theOreo (Henry) took third, losing to Jeremy in the 2nd round
Jeremy took 2nd
Norbert beat out Jeremy accidentally by scenario on the final game. I wasn't paying attention, just that I heard, "Oh sh*t! I have scenario don't I?" Very anti-climatic. Very eVlad.

Friday, June 12

Bringing back the True King

So I played a practice game against eLylyth with my eMagnus list. We decided to practice with the scenario Process of Elimination. My opponent, Jeremy, is a great guy and I always learn a lot. He's the better player of the two of us, but I tend to get luckier.

But not this time. More on that later.

Anyway, he took the following:
2x Seraphs
2x Deathstalkers
Blighted Archers x6 + UA
Raptors x3
Bonegrinders x6

I won first turn. Knowing that Lylyth brings a whole load of ranged fire and pain, I needed to be very aggressive. I deployed my Nomad, 2 Renegade, eMagnus center. Stannis was slightly to my right flank, Saxon slightly to the left. His deployment, saw Seraphs center-right and center-left, Typhon, eLylyth, Shredder, and Shepard center, Raptors to the left. AD: Croe's on the left, Trenchers & Idrians Center, and Kell on the right. His AD: Deathstalkers behind obstruction to the right, Gudrun to the left, and Archers right in front of eLylyth.

Turn 1 "The Mistake":
So, I ran Croe's up, took some pot shots at Gudrun. Gudrun was behind cover, so I need boxcars to hit...and I hit once, dealing 6 damage. Not enough, but just enough to make it annoying. Trenchers walked up, smoke-screen. Idrians went up and because I could, I went to ground. Except I forgot to give them the Intercept order. I had some charge lanes sprinkled between the Trenchers, as I meant for it to happen, but it didn't. Given that the majority of units were center/left, Stannis redeployed and ran to the left. Saxon ran up in front of him. Gorman ran, as did everything else. Kell moved out and...killed a Deathstalker! I then threw Lethargy onto the Idrians.

His turn, the surviving Deathstalker kills Kell. Gudrun charges and kills a Croe, as do the Raptors. Bonegrinders extend eLylyths spell range, eLylyth pin cushions the Idrians (read moves into the clouds). eLylyth feats, and proceeds to start killing Trenchers and Idrians. All in all, all Idrians died from combined Lylyth + Archer doom as well as all but one lonely Trencher. No one flees, thanks to Stannis. Gobbers block LOS with a cloud.

Turn 2 "Gamble on the Dice":
Well, bugger. I forgot to Intercept and paid dearly for it. However, I could still pull a victory. Magnus casts Mobilize, moves up and...d'oh. Forgets to feat. Renegades have 1 and 2 focus. Gorman moves onto the hill and throws Black Oil, attempting to hit the Archer 1" in front of eLylyth. He misses, but I clip the Archer and a fellow member...good enough. Renegade moves up, boosts to hit with Obliterator...and it's a hit!. eLylyth is knocked down, suffers 3 points of damage (rolled slightly above avg). Well, that helps. The lone trencher marches forward, spurred to a call of duty, heroic deeds, and Magnus' selfish sacrifices, and shoot 5 damage!
Stannis moves up (no charge lane due to my misplacement of Saxon) and kills an archer that was blocking LOS to Lylyth from my left flank. Saxon moves up, finds out he's in range, takes a pot shot...and brings Lylyth down to 5 hp. Renegade moves up, just to have LOS and Arcing fire, shoots, hits, and...does a whopping 5 pts of damage. Lylyth, with one fury, transfers. Croe does not have LOS unfortunately.

Well, I decided against throwing in the towel. His turn 2 saw the death of Croe's Cutthroats, the lone Trencher, and the rest of the Solos. Turn three, with Magnus' battlegroup only left, I moved Magnus up, cast Blur on himself and scattergunned...missing. Nomad moved up and attempted to throw Typhon. On a boosted roll, I needed 8's, above avg chance of hitting. Nope. I missed. It would've been great as I could have knocked down Lylyth. Also, I missed on a boosted roll against an archer, needing avg. Good times.

Lessons learned:
Remember to feat (I do forget, as I usually play eGore nowadays or eDenny whom I never forget). Remember to declare Intercept. Lastly, and I think this was crucial - remember to cast Mobilize first turn. I've always debated if I wanted to or not...but this game, when Lylyth was knocked down, having those Renegades up 12 instead of 10 would have made a huge difference.

Besides that...not a whole lot else. Just better unit placement. Jeremy's list is solid, but a little beast heavy. However, I've seen him play it before and I know it works.

Tuesday, June 9

Breast Cancer Brawl

Well, as I start finishing my Agenda, I'm turning my sights to Breast Cancer Brawl weekend.

And I have no idea what I want to play/paint. Absolutely none. I want to avoid Cryx & Skorne - both I play and the latter is hellish to paint all at once. I also want relatively few models to paint up, as the time crunch is an issue. Ease of painting is too. $$ isn't a factor.

Based on the above information and my obsession with a certain list dubbed "Amon Surprise", I think I'll end up running Amon. Any hints besides what I read (aka not to take him)?

Sidenote: "Amon Surpise" was a running gag that I mentioned one day at a local tournament that my meta states over and over. Conversation went like this:
"What list are you running?"
"Amon Surprise"
"Wait...that's not Amon! That's [insert any other warcaster name here] !"

It originally came from a cover of Archie & Jughead, but that's another story.

Monday, June 8

One Week Away: NJ Con

NJCon, held in Ft. Dix this year, is this upcoming Saturday. Our PG Stubbs (aka LavonYor) is hosting SR 4.0 750 tournament. With our gaming group bulging at 20 people (20 people for Leagues), I suspect at least a 14-24 group turn out. We benefit from healthy rilvaries with the NYC gamers and Conshohocken, PA guys. Sometimes we get folks from far aways showing up to - last year both Hugh and Hacksaw made it down from Boston, and Jestor from CT came down for our Foodmachine tournament.

I'm really excited about this tournament because 1) it's the first time I'm playing Mercenaries & 2) it's a good practice and rehersal for what I'll be saying at other tournaments, touting facts about water and how your average Joe can help. The latter means much more to me - the fact that I'm not playing Cryx in order to win those awesome trophies that we've acquired for the tournament may be testament to that. I don't expect to win, but I'm going to try anyway. Magnus Agenda may be just too challenging.

The two lists I plan to run are:

-2x Renegades
10x Croe's Cutthroats
9x Idrians + UA
6x Trenchers

This list performs very well. I love it against Hordes, as my Croe's get an additional die of damage. Everyone expects Lethargy on the Idrians; what is not expected is Lethargy on Croe's units. I typically run with: Lethargy on Idrians. Cast it the following turn on Croe's as appearing to cause my Idrians gain that +2 MAT & STR. Then, let it expire on Croe's. Usually this is done in a pincer move, to cause models backs to Croe. Because of the AD and speed, I can easily dictate where my opponent engages me. Additionally, Saxon & Kell move around on the flank, helping to take out would be roadblocks. eMagnus' feat is also just amazing for the SR 4.0 format and the Nomad can hold its own.

The 2nd list is a little different.

-2x Renegades
8x Croe's
8x Steelhead Halberdiers
4x Steelhead Heavy Cav
6x Trenchers

I wanted a mobile list. Since pMagnus operates independently of the rest of the army, the Steelhead bloc is the best bet. Each supports another, and Stannis is super helpful. Using Trenchers and Croe's to screen the advance is best too. Kell always has a spot and Gorman is simply too amazing to leave behind. Saxon would be very helpful, but I wanted to try something a little different. I find that this list is best for Warmachine. Croe can silence those pesky casters and the Steelheads hit hard.

Anyway, I do feel I do a disservice to the reader. Quite often I just link sites and mention my thoughts. Today I felt like blessing everyone with methods to conserve water:

1. Don't buy bottled water for your home. Use a water filter instead. You'll save $$ AND landfill space. Also bottled water takes water from one area and redistributes elsewhere. If your area isn't water hungry, then tap water is fine.

2. Never pour water down the drain when it can be used elsewhere. I reuse my aquarium water as water for the garden and plants.

3. Check the toilets to see how long they run for. Incessent runing could be wasting water and running up that water bill.

4. Try not keep the tap running when shaving or even doing the dishes. Fill up the basin, wash, finish, and drain. You waste less water and put more of it to use.

5. You don't need to water your lawn every day. Every 5-7 days in the summer or 10-14 in the winter.

6. When watering outside, try watering the lawn in the early morning. Winds usually have not picked up by then and loss to evaporation is less in the morning.

7. Believe it or not, a closely clipped lawn is thirstier. Taller grass allows roots to dig deeper, getting more water (thus requiring less for you to water). Also taller grass, even by 3/4 of an inch taller, adds more shade and thus keeps in the moisture better.

Just food for thought on ways to conserve locally. Helping international agencies is best when it comes to international means. My advice is if you want to help build a well, sanitation project, etc, do a little research on the agency. Look where donations go to - is it overhead or the actual project? How many projects are being state-funded versus donation funded? What is the salary income of the board and CEO? What you want to avoid is wasting your donation to some agency that isn't going to be using your money as you intended. More importantly, you the donor should be comfortable to whatever agency you give to - and believe me, this applies to all kinds of aid and research agencies and charities.

Wednesday, June 3

Looking ahead to Breast Cancer Brawl and Peace Problems and Solutions

Right now I'm also looking ahead in the future for miniatures. I'm wrapping up the Magnus Agenda, but now have set my sights on Breast Cancer Brawl in October. I'm thinking Ashlynn and doing a "Ladies First" Army, to which I donate/auction in October. Which means I need to have Magnus done by end of June and wrap up Ashlynn at the end of September. And get some games in.

Thank god Merc's are my choice army for this year's summer rampage. Otherwise I'd have too many stats, strategies, & tactics to learn.

On a final note, I have to make the ultimate decision in the upcoming week - do I a) bring Cryx to NE Team Championship or b) bring Magnus Agenda, promote water awareness, and knowingly sacrifice my chance of helping the NJ SOB's retain the trophy this year...

There are two articles that I read, days apart from each other:

Westbank in Acute Humanitarian Crisis should be read first, followed by To Ease Israel's Grip, Farmers Try Old-New Methods.

Asides the finger pointing done by both the Israelis and the Palestinians and the blatant bias indicated in the news article, this is the solutions we need. With modern sanitation, agriculture, and comforts comes a price - heavy demand on water. The West Bank is dry and has to fight with Israel over use of what little water remains in the area. Agriculture, irrigation, and sanitation are all wonderful, but do people really need working toilets?

Perhaps these Britons have the correct answer. Use and re-use. Why waste dishwater when it can become water for the fields, which in turn act as a natural pollution remover. I'm not espousing that everyone should go out and go green, but eco-sustainable policies are necessary. I mean, a well is nice and all, but wells dry out over time. What then?

Tuesday, June 2

Why I enjoy the Merc Forum

Over at the Privateer Press forum, the Mercenary sub-boards consists of a fun loving group of gents and ladies. As a Cryx player, I enjoy the Merc boards just because it lacks the negative atmosphere that the main faction boards generate. I feel as if certain members troll the forums...not to incite or flame but to espouse their own dogma and theorymachine; a philosophy that often is biting and incendiary criticism that makes the poster feel like an idiot and puts forth self-doubt. Unfortunately self-doubt is the least of what I want. I post to improve, not question my own capabilities. I look at my wall and at work and see the achievements I've won - I have no need to question my own worth. But for a new player, it's the wrong move. We shouldn't question the person's worth, but rather help coach them HOW to use the pieces they want to get. Learning the game comes first. Competition second.

Case-in-point. I posted a list about eMagnus back in April at the end of the Mk II test run. No response for ages. If it was any of the larger boards, it might have been buried beneath the lists to be reviewed, never to have a reply again. Instead, this past week I noted recent responses that were insightful and helpful. Concerns over a Jack (Khador) rush, concerns on how Croe's cutthroats may perform, and tips and hints on how to overcome said concerns.

I guess there's that mentality among Merc players - we got to stick together because we don't count as a faction, because we're always the underdogs and have whacky rules, and we choose to play with models that are competitive enough but nothing broken like the main factions carry.

That I enjoy the most. A spirit of nurturing community. Maybe that's why I chose Merc's as the first army to run with while trying to raise awareness for water quality/scarcity.

Monday, June 1

A Bit Older News

Bio-fuel - Drink-Or-Drive Scenario?

An interesting article dated May 11th that raised the question of how sustainable and feasible Bio-fuels (Corn & Soy) really is, when you take into account the water demands to grow those crops as well as pollution from soil erosion/degradation. With corn, it's 50 gal of water for every mile driven. Soy jumps up to 150 gal of water.

While just numbers...but for crops grown in thirsty states (CA & CO) is this really a better alternative. The avg person should drink at least one gallon of water/day. We probably use more for showers/sanitation/cooking. Throw on top the increased demand required by these thirsty crops and you're crunching on the amount of water people will be able to access.

I've also been always a little skeptical about Bio-fuels. Running on peat or moss is one thing. Running on agricultural crops that have a demand as a food source is another. Mexico demonstrated not too long ago that increased demand in corn, like any good economy, will increase the prices. And for Mexico, corn is a staple food, used to make all sorts of commodities (tortillas for starters).

I'm on board about being green. I'm not on board making impoverished lives harsher and stripping food supply away.