Have you ever tried to go full competitive? Maybe got close at a couple Steam Rollers, but got paired with JVM first round, got touched in a bad place by a nominally bad faction and lost all hope of leaving Scrubdom? ME TOO! Let’s start over from the bottom, and work our way up!
Before I get truly started, let me introduce myself, my name is Andrew Vickery. I’ve played Warmachine since it was first started sometime in the 1890’s and self identify as a ‘permanoob’ as I got no more than 2 dozen games in Marks 1 and 2 combined.
Since Mark 3 released I’ve started trying to play semi-competitively, started looking at tournament lists, and watching battle reports online, but I’ve yet to win even a local steam roller, that’s where this writing kicks in!
This article series is my effort to force myself to improve my playing quality through showing all of my success and failures to you the reader. My true goal is to build an ongoing conversation with the readership which will engender continuous improvement among those who find my content at least somewhat interesting to read.
The competitive play field is something that many have looked at from a variety of perspectives and said anything from “That’s not so hard” to “Holy crap! How do you even do that!?”
My first set of articles will be about the mentality needed to continually improve and will be somewhat game agnostic, my first subject
This is a notion which I see often among the highest tier players from games like chess, to Baseball, to Football, to what have you.
This is the idea that even if you play 15 games a week, you may not be gaining anything from those games played if you are not Mindfully Practicing. So, what is mindful practice?
Mindful practice is playing a game in such a way that when something goes right, or wrong, that you break down what the root causes of that event. The greatest hurdle to doing this in a dice game is the dice, many people look at the dice and say that was the root cause, but remember, if you needed a raw 8, you failed before you even rolled the dice.
Let’s look at an example:
In my last game with Menoth, I played Testament Exemplar Interdiction (yea, that list) against a player using Thyra in Flame Guard Theme. I shoved my models up, did some measuring to ensure I was out of threat and passed the clock.
He proceeded fully allocate to blood of martyrs, apparated, got silence of death, thyra feated him 2” forward, by this point being in line of sight of testament, charged, and failed to kill Testament by 1 box.
My opponent had drilled toward Testament, feeding him a total of 15 or so souls. I started my turn, apparated out of engagement with blood of martyrs, feated (incorporeal and models don’t block line of sight) to see his caster, and charged into her back arc (she was not facing straight toward him), and pumped 22 attacks into her for the assassination.
I won, my opponent acted like I’d just pulled of some crazy play but I proceeded to start picking my own play apart at the seams, and he started looking at his own play as a result. Here’s what we both learned.
Forests are only line of sight blocking when your opponent can’t place inside them, a base rule, but when you screw up and your opponent gets a Mat 11 Pow 22 grievous wounds heavy on your caster, it's a REALLY important thing.
It takes a few small bases in a series of ‘onion layers’ to keep any one model from being a gatekeeper to your caster.
It is better to move your caster straight back and lose a little on scenario than to push into scenario, score a point, and get your caster killed.
Use ALL of your tools, he had a sanctifier on the field which was out of position, and would’ve made my entire assassination untenable as Testament would’ve lost incorporeal within 10” of the blessed heavy.
That is my input for the week. I’d like to hear from you guys, tell us what the situation was and what you learned!
Saying of the week- every player is playing by the same rules, and any player can be beaten.