Never Give Up, Never Surrender

 
 

One of the things that I often find players struggling with is finding ways to win when the game is going against them. A lot of us migrated over from Magic: the Gathering, where when a game is going against you, the polite thing to do is scoop and go again. 

Warmachine doesn't quite have that culture for a variety of reasons. First of all, rewracking a game of Warmachine takes a serious commitment of time. Deploying alone takes a few minutes, nevermind chasing down all of the models that have been removed from the table to that point. 

Furthermore, a game of Warmachine can take upwards of two hours, so you don't often have time for more games than you've already scheduled. Obviously, if the important bits of the game happen by turn 2, it can be appropriate to call it and go again, but oftentimes there are still definitely winnable games that look lost if you haven't played through that ending enough.

 Before you give up a game, I've got a little checklist of things to look for before throwing in the towel. 

Assassinate:

If you think the game is over already, there's no harm in throwing everything you've got at their caster. Sometimes it requires dice to go your way, but a 10-20% chance assassination run is infinitely better odds than a 0% chance of winning when you concede. 

This is actually something that happens a fair amount at higher levels of tournament play. A player will get a devastating alpha and go up on attrition and scenario, and then the other player will sit there for a while, measure some things, and then start trying to kill the other persons caster. 

Often times, when a person commits everything for that initial scenario or attrition lead, they leave their Warcaster or Warlock in a risky spot. 

Here's an example of a game where attrition and scenario were running away but an assassination opening came up. 

 
 

Here, the legion player has taken over the entire table, scoring to ahead by four scenario points and leaving the Grymkin player with very few models left. 

That being said, the Legion player had to commit Absylonia to the fight (she has Reposition which is why she's back in the woods) and it took all of her attacks to clear out a heavy. 

This means that even though the Grymkin player will automatically lose on Scenario at the end of their turn but....

 
 

Pathfinder from the objective, Stationary from the Dreamer gun, and a trampling Cage Rager is able to put her down (and the Legion player scored to something like 12 scenario points at that point). 

It takes some practice to see them, but if you can shake off the feeling of impending doom and your opponent has left their caster in range of your attacks, you can often pull off wins from nowhere. 

Scenario:

One of the other ways in which you can pull out a game that you are losing massively on attrition is Scenario. 

This usually requires going up on Scenario early, whether by an early scoring on a flag that just keeps churning out two points a round while you throw away your army to contest or by sacrificing your models to get a scenario lead, sometimes you can squeeze out the last point you need even if your army is mostly gone. 

Here's an example of a game from Lock and Load this last year where Grymkin got very high up on attrition...

 
 

With three full health heavies and a Battle Engine to the Cygnar's single light and damaged Storm Strider. 

Unfortunately for the Grymkin player, Nemo 3 has the spell Force Hammer to slam the contesting Skin and Moans out of the zone for the win. 

 
 

Clock:

This is a bit of a controversial one. Winning on clock is a recognized win condition in Steamroller games. 

This one requires you to start thinking about it several turns in advance, and it also takes some practice to spot. 

One of the ways I typically start to think about the game as a clock game is after my opponent deploys, if they've taken more than five minutes to deploy, I start thinking about it. 

Also, if one or both of us have a ton of guys, I will deliberately force myself to play faster in order to get up on clock, since those games often never grind out to turn seven or clock, not ending in a scenario or attrition or assassination lead. 

Here's a good example of this:

 
 

Here is a situation in which the Protectorate player (that was me) has gotten up two or three points on Scenario, but there were so many heavy Warjacks left that there was no way to win on attrition or to close out the Scenario. 

Have a look at the clock - Protectorate is up ten whole minutes here. I made the decision right about now to start playing for clock.  

 
 

Here we are, the game is over and the Mercenaries clock has run over by a minute when this photo was taken. 

There are literally two Protectorate models left on the table - Vindictus hiding on the bottom right hill with Defenders Ward, and a Reckoner contesting the flag. I got up on Scenario early and then kept my caster safe until my opponent clocked. 

Conclusion:

When you think the game is over, but your caster isn't dead and you haven't lost on Scenario, look for a way to win. Don't ever give up, never surrender when you have a chance to win. 

Sure, you'll still lose most of those games, but you won't lose all of them which is far, far better.