Crucible: For anyone who hasn’t heard of it. Crucible is an annual event held in Orlando, Florida. It has been running since 2012 and it’s our largest table-top gaming convention. Leading up to the event we have four “Crucible Carnage” tournaments. These events are one day tournaments with a prize of free entry to Crucible and a spot in the Sunday masters finale. The events are held all over Florida with the four “qualifiers” being held in Miami, Palm Bay, Orlando, and of course our LGS in St. Petersburg. This event keeps our state-wide meta sharp and aware of one another’s shenanigans. It’s an amazing event and I encourage everyone to check it out. The next Crucible is scheduled for October 6th, 2017 the organizers are moving the event to later in the year to avoid Adepticon and we couldn’t be more excited for it.
Cryx: So it was all a joke and now it has become a thing. If I hadn’t made it official before I guess I will now; I’m a disgusting Cryx player… sorry dad. For Saturdays qualifier I opted to play PSkarre and Terminus ghost fleet. I wasn’t particularly afraid of losing my games as I’d qualified for masters already by winning the St.Pete “Crucible Carnage” qualifier event. So for me this was just a practice run with PSkarre and I really wanted to play Terminus again… even though he’s kind of a dip shit.
Qualifier round 1: Max Lammon – ESeverius
Max is good friend of mine, a solid player and an all around sweet dude. Which is why I’m excited to tell this story! Because Max got rekt top of 2 by a stalker. There was a large forest in front of his deployment zone and I ran a stalker in to receive concealment. I knew he could land a reckoner shot using awareness and Rhoven for eyeless sight. I kept my jack just out of aiming range and figured I could threaten Severius if he missed the 10 on 3 dice. His middle reckoner moved forward and missed the shot into my stalker. The rest of his army ran short of the zone with the Idrians falling back from my left wraith engine. No point in wasting time I feated on my stalker and other important models. Cast dark guidance and walked seven inches and leapt onto his caster. Despite having one focus for oracular vision, Severius had no real shot of surviving and died to the stalker in three hits.
Max was obviously blown away by his misplay and forgetting (or not knowing) the stalker had bounding leap. This was a really obvious case of Cryx rust… where people simply forget how some things work because no one is playing them anymore.
Max is fully aware that he owes me a game and I expect the next one to deliver.
Qualifier round 2: Kurt Lintner – Wurmwood
Kurt is a close friend of mind, a pretty good Wurmwood player and a die-hard fan of Copenhagen smokeless tobacco products. With tons of testing against my armies and a really solid anti Cryx drop I knew this game would be an uphill battle. After reviewing the pictures for this battle report I’ve questioned my choice of deploying the stalkers together on the left flank. Obviously the pit scenario forces casters to camp their own flag and you’ll see that I quickly re position them to threaten the enemy flag… which is essentially where his caster should be. My lapse of judgement can be blamed on Kurt’s alluring eyes or his lack of teeth… take your pick.
Going second gave me the ability to score first and Kurt positions his army just outside of the central zone with the usual mannikin threat to either flank. I don’t see any way for my army to advance and not die so I commit the ultimate sin: turn 1 defensive feat. I feat on my army and move Skarre into walk range of my flag. With the wraith engines moving the middle line of the board. Darragh, shrike and an inflictor hold the wall between them. The black banes stay back to avoid mannikin sprays and the stalkers reposition to the right flank (where they should’ve been from the start.)
Board state isn’t perfect but I have a plan. I’ve taken the zone from him and I’m expecting him to fill the zone with sacrificial models like stones and manikins. Once he does I’ll clear the zone out easily and dominate my own flag for 2 control points. This move should also force him to feat.
Kurt sprays for minimal damage on a stalker and removes some ghost pirates with magic. He feats as predicted, toes the top of the zone with Loki and casts his animus for dodge. I never expected Kurt to sacrifice Loki this turn and his decision to hold the zone with a durable heavy instead of easy to kill models turned out to be a great one. He was careful and kept the black wraith engine out of walking threat while the feat prevented me from charging his models.
My plan was centered around clearing the zone as we’d both used our feats to prevent major loss. I committed to killing Loki with anything that could reach him and despite the yellow wraith engine, 2 fully loaded stalkers and a shrike getting to him. He would not die. Honestly it’s not all that crazy as the stalkers are only pow 14 with dark shroud and the shrike is a sad pow 13. This is where a Skarre player starts missing their feat. My left wraith engine was able to draw line of sight to a sentry stone. I scooped up one squad and ran the rest of my army up behind the wraith engines. I needed my inflictor to bail me out next turn as not killing Loki put me in an awful position. But hey, at least I had 1 control point!
Kurt is a careful player and he efficiently removed my models piece by piece. The combination of Ghetorix, the pureblood’s spray and the wold wyrd shots killed my entire front line. I lost both wraith engines, both stalkers, Darragh, and my shrike was left with 1 box in movement. He ended the turn with control points going to 2-1 my favor as Wurmwood teleported to his flag.
With some luck I saw an opportunity to still win. My inflictor came forward to remove Ghetorix and my broken shrike trampled (for free) into contest range of his flag. The black bane’s and machine wraith were unable to finish off Loki (again) so the zone remained neutral. With so few models I should’ve moved Skarre to a more threatening position in the zone – no guts no glory. I opted to dominate my flag making CP’s 3-1 in my favor.
Kurt wasn’t letting me off the hook in this game. He spell warded and ran his pureblood to contest my flag then ran his closest woldwyrd (also spell warded) into contest range as well. When the turn ended I had Skarre and a few ghost pirates left. Kurt was camping fury and had wurmwood in a forest template for prowl. So I went for the hail mary and skarlock ritual sacrificed himself rolling a 6. With 12 focus I hellfired his sentry stone, lanyssa, and a shifting stone which left no contesting models on his flag. My last few attacks came up short (long shot) of killing his guys in the zone. So I ran my machine wraith into his flag and ended my turn 4-2 before Skarre was eaten by a warpwolf.
This ended up being one of my best games into Wurmwood and Kurt is a good player that knows my tricks and has good taste in chewing tobacco. I was happy to lose a close(ish) game to a friend as he ended up qualifying for the masters with a 4-1 record.
Qualifier round 3: Jeff Jahr – 3Kreoss
Jeff is a local legend, a great opponent and a pretty alright guy. Luckily… he is out of practice these days and has essentially become the old man in the rocking chair that tells you about old times he was the best at Warmachine. I’m kidding, Jeff can probably beat me up but since I have the height advantage I’ll take my chances here on the internet.
I got first turn with my sweet ghost fleet initiative bonus and ran my wraith engine up the left flank at his vengers. Vengers murder incorporeal models so if he didn’t come into my threat range I was going to run to the right flank next turn. If he did wank into threat I’d happily take three vengers with the wraith engine. I kept only a few preyed pirates in threat range of his idrians and my army advanced cautiously. I knew he had the crevasse spell for removing my revenant leaders from play. Cautiously advancing is not how you normally play ghost fleet Terminus but I was happy with my positioning. I was hoping he’d take the bait on the right flank and feed me some living models for a strong feat.
Jeff advanced Kreoss up behind his objective and crevassed my machine wraith. I was lucky to only lose one as the spray portion of the attack missed my second wraith. He ran the vengers into threat of my wraith engine but Blood of Martyrs was waiting behind them as a counter. His idrians shot a few pirates and the daughters followed the reckoner up next to Kreoss.
The awkward formation of his vengers made the wraith engines landing spot bad and if I spawned a machine wraith it still would not bring Blood of Martyrs into my threat range. I gave up on the threat and decided to avoid damaging his vengers to keep them from gaining pathfinder. Wraith engine repositioned to the center of the board with the only magic weapon in threat range being Kreoss himself. From my vantage point it looked like Kreoss could not legally charge from where he’d ended his activation behind Jeff’s objective. Barathrum hugged the back of the wraith engine and the rest of my models ran to jam the middle of the board. The right flank pirates exchanged shots with the idrians killed one or two. Lastly my pistol wraith went forward and killed a flamebringer (was hoping for two.) My big goal here was to use the wraith engine like a “no fly zone” where he couldn’t place his models. Terminus and Barathrum were in great positio
Jeff proxy based the Kreoss charge into my wraith engine and it looked way easier than I’d envisioned. We agreed on it completely, he feated to move his buffs around and then went in guns blazing. Kreoss destroyed the wraith engine and repositioned backwards. The daughters jammed the pirates in front of him. I triggered counter charge with Barathrum to put my self closer to the action next turn and he ran the reckoner up in the mass of large bases. The idrians engaged my right flank with a few going to melee and the vengers charged into the left pirates.
I was happy to find the reckoner in charge range of Terminus. With good positioning I could land at max reach and feat for souls from either flank. I cleared the flamebringer that was blocking his landing spot (it took 4 pirates and Rengrave to kill her.) Terminus flew in and killed the reckoner and feated. The pirates on the right, Barathrum in the middle and pirates on the left all managed to kill a few models each giving Terminus 8 souls.
The game took an obvious turn in my favor and Jeff had very few models left that could threaten Terminus. The rest of the game was me jamming Blood of Martyrs with an inflictor and some pirates. I cleared the right zone and cracked his objective to win the game on five control points.
Final board state was rough but the army is quite strong into (most) Menoth. Jeff noted a few things he could’ve done better in the game. I liked his play to remove the wraith engine but jamming me with his models afterwords was pointless as my threat ranges are minimal and his caster was safer than he appeared. The fact that he opened up Terminus to a powerful feat turn was a sign of the times. People have no good experience against Terminus right now and that makes him a bit stronger when players don’t have a game plan or recent games to draw on. Jeff played a good game and with minimal experience into ghost fleet I expect his next attempt to pan out better.
Qualifier Round 4: Fernando Ricart – 2Zaal
Fernando and I had played this match once at a qualifying event and my army overwhelmed his with armor. With an updated list and the line breaker scenario this match would prove to be as close a game as you can possibly have.
My first turn was a general advance. Once he shipped his turn back to me I chose not to engage as his lines were not set up well for me. It’s hard for any player to stand still in Warmachine, even if it’s the right choice so I restrained my self and moved very carefully into charge range of a few immortals on his right flank. I wanted to draw his army in without losing any pieces. The hardest thing about fighting Epic Zaal is making good trades against his army. Most of the time when you kill his models it just helps him by providing souls and vengeance.
I can’t honestly say that Fernando “took the bait” or anything like that because his engagement was weak and calculated. The three immortals in range charged into my right wraith engine and did minimal damage. The right flank spread out well and the left flank ran forward into threat of my light jacks. He chose to advance and shield wall his Karax not allowing the ghost raiders to remove them for more bodies. His guns continued hitting me but the immunity to blast and well armored shield guard absorbed the damage.
In line breaker you have to take what your enemy gives you, so I responded to his aggression with everything I had. My primary goal for this turn was to overwhelm his army and kill as many models as possible. By keeping Skarre in a safe position where he could not walk and mage sight me I hoped to flood him in souls in a turn where they’d help him the least. The shrike and stalker killed as many immortals as they could reach on the left flank. The inflictor advanced through my right wraith engine and picked up 3-4 immortals. The right wraith engine charged and killed 3 while the yellow on remained incorporeal and moved up to support. My ghost raiders repositioned to the left flank where his magic weapons had dwindled. I was hunting for the karax and wanted him to bring them into a better position for me to kill. With his titans buried behind his army I settled with killing almost every immortal. Fernando ended my turn with like 20 souls and despite that I still felt like I hadn’t killed enough models.
Hakaar and the remaining immortals killed both my lights and quite a few ghost raiders. Despite the souls his right titan, karax and remaining immortals could only kill a stalker and dent my wraith engine. Fernando made a point of keeping his models clustered together around the center wall which made it awkward for any ghost raiders to find a living model and he feated to protect his last few constructs.
With my feat buying me another turn I went with the exact same plan… kill as many models as I could and keep Skarre safe from a soul fueled assassination run. I wanted to start scoring his flags so my full health wraith engine leap-frogged the other and based the flag near the right board edge. The wraith engine cleared the flag and applied dark shroud to his titan which allowed the inflictor to remove it. The second wraith engine killed his cyclops shaman. Darragh moved up to support with -2 to living. His army had very few living models left in range but I needed Darragh to hold the flag if the wraith engine left or was destroyed next turn. The ghost raiders cracked a couple Karax and I ran a machine wraith up the left flank to threaten flag control next turn. I made sure to keep all of my important models away from Hakaar as the second wraith engine killed his shaman. Skarre ended the turn outside of Zaal’s threat range and healed to full. Fernando (once again) had more than enough souls to kill me if I got close. Control points 1-0 in my favor.
Zaal ventured forth and removed some ghost raiders as did Hakaar. Zaal killed Black bane and dismounted Darragh with sunder spirits. The random grouping of Karax and left over immortals did some damage to the wraith engine on the flag. The general advance and shield wall strategy kept them around the objective. Fernando kept a titan in the back lines for transfers and I shield guarded its shot away from the hurt wraith engine. The titan had to keep moving away from the fight to keep his left flag contested as my machine wraith was in range to score it next turn.
I ran Skarre to the right side of the board to put her in a position where she could run to dominate the right flag once the dust settled. Both wraith engines came towards Zaal and picked up groups of infantry. At this point he had no remaining immortals and my last few ghost raider’s finished his Karax down to three models. The inflictor killed some infantry but was out of control. I was able to keep him out of melee range of Zaal and I saw a scenario victory on the horizon. Control points 2-0 in my favor.
Zaal came forward to kill my top wraith engine, damage the lower one and then finished off some random ghosts. Hakaar smacked my lower wraith engine for some decent damage and the titan finished it off with his cannon. He contested his flag with a karax and some pain givers then passed the turn.
Both of us were low on time so I was playing fast. I apparitioned my remaining pirates away from Hakaar and charged him for minimal damage. Two more pirates charged Zaal and one did some chip damage (he rolled the fire out next turn.) Darragh and the inflictor cleared his flag. I passed my turn putting the control points to 3-o in my favor.
Fernando’s titan frenzied and went towards my machine wraith near his left flag. Zaal moved forward and killed my jamming necrotech while the two surviving karax engaged the inflictor outside of contest range. The only contesting model he could get to me was a extoller soul ward.
I could win the game by freeing the flag up and running Skarre to dominate so I opted not to cast dark guidance. Darragh missed the extoller with his charge attack and the inflictor took two free strikes to get into melee range of the extoller. The karax both rolled well against his 17 armor and broke multiple systems (including his primary weapon.) I attacked with the shield arm and missed. I was out of options and out of time, sitting at just over a minute on my clock the skarlock ritual sacrificed himself for 3. Skarre immediately activated and walked out from behind safety. I cast hellfire twice and boosted damage which left Zaal at 1 health. I flipped the clock over with three seconds left for me and less than a minute for him.
Fernando studied the table for then looked at the clock counting down. He audibly asked if players had to take 15 second turns. Multiple bystanders confirmed this to be true and I agreed. He was staring at the clock and it hit me that he was going to just pass the turn without ever moving any models or looking up at the table…. while standing in charge range of Skarre.
I figured I had nothing to lose. So I laid out a 9 inch measuring stick and placed a small proxy base at the end. Nervous that he would pass the clock I picked up 6 focus and 3 dice. The moment he shipped the turn to me I yelled “Skarre charges to the proxy base and I boost to hit” I dropped my focus and threw 3 dice on the table. The dice rolled to a stop as the timer sounded.
Now someone reading this may think I was in the wrong. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea. Fernando and I played an amazing game – one that I was not ashamed to lose. The judge and 5-10 players were watching our game (as we were the last game still going.) I basically told Fernando that I was unsure if what I did was legal or if the timer stopping canceled the damage roll from happening. The judge told me to roll damage and Fernando completely agreed. The attack finished him with no issue and I repeated my self saying I had no idea if that was fully legal or not. Fernando insisted that it was a great game and that he completely accepted the loss so we shook hands and picked up models. This was BY FAR one of the closest games of Warmachine that I’d ever played and I give serious props to Fernando. Safe to say he’d really improved since our last time playing and I look forward to our next game together.
Qualifier Round 5: Akira Breger – Fyanna2 (Oracles theme)
Akira came in from Atlanta with Max (round 1 opponent) and a few other guys we know well. Akira and I are close and we used to practice muay thai at the same gym until he broke my leg in a sparring match. We hadn’t spoken until last years Crucible when he finally apologized. Since then, we’d been kite surfing together and put the bad blood behind us.
I took first turn and ran my army forward keeping the stalkers out of angelius shooting range. The wraith engines sat either side of my center objective and the ghost pirate’s surrounded them.
Akira advanced his swarm of obnoxious winged critters forward as they knocked each other over and made his life hell I laughed at his misfortune. He walked the angelius (with admonition) into threat of my right wraith engine and shot a ghost pirate. A neraph followed the angel up but LOS was blocked by the forest.
I had an alpha but it wasn’t great. The only reason I took it was the board positioning would keep him out of scenario and I expected at least 1 wraith engine to live with feat and Darragh lowering strength (versus an all living army this is very strong.) My right wraith charged the angel with admonition, which triggered his move but left the wraith engine in melee range of a neraph… which he hurt but didn’t come close to killing. The left wraith engine was able to kill a beast and damage another while the stalker followed up to severely damage two Neraphs and apply grievous wounds.
The army piled in with my feat up I felt safe and with dark guidance I felt like his counter feat wouldn’t be enough to stop me. I took as much of the tempo as I could and passed turn with my second line ready to engage him.
Akira feated and began clearing my models, I did lose one wraith engine but the left one held strong against the aspect-less neraphs. I lost quite a few ghost raiders to the sorceress on hellion sprays but it wasn’t enough to worry. My plan had worked out well and I had control of the board with most of my models in range for followup.
I used whatever infantry I had to surround his angels and counter the dodge from his feat. I removed a seraph, neraph, angel, and nephilim bloodseer. I was able to remove his objective but a neraph remained in the zone with low health which prevented me from dominating. Again Darragh lowered his strength in an attempt to keep my inflictor and wraith engine from dying.
Akira had Fyanna stuck in a forest area where she was able to contribute and help event the game out. But eventually I was able to grind his army down and the game ended with the wraith engine finally removing his last beast and me dominating to 5.
Unfortunately I am finishing this battle-report so late that I may not be doing it proper justice. Once CID hit I began writing little things for that and focusing less on this. This game was pretty awesome, as you can see by the final board state we really ground each other’s armies down. Despite me beating him Akira was still able to qualify at 4-1 and he ended up beating our own Ryan McDermott in the masters on Sunday.
In closing I’ll say thanks to everyone who makes Crucible an amazing event. The players and organizers could not do a better job making this thing work very year. For anyone who’d been waiting for this article I apologize for its tardiness and I know some of these models have changed or have become less relevant in a matter of months. But I still wanted to commit it to our website as seeing the games in pictures and describing them again was exciting for me. For those who are curious, I had to play our own Ryan McDermott’s Karchev in round 1 of masters. I came close to beating it for my first time ever but fell short as he assassinated Skarre with some winterguard rifles. I went on to drop Skarre into 3Nemo which I won and my final game was against Rean Knopke playing Kaelyssa. Close game that ended with PAikos landing a harpoon drag on his caster but was unable to finish him. I also played Mercs in Champions and finished 3-1 losing to COC double TEP. Was a great weekend and I’m looking forward to doing it again in October.
Thanks for reading.