Team Northern Ireland Player Profiles #3 – Mike

O Captain Our Captain! If you’ve seen “Life on Mars”, “Goodnight Sweetheart” or “Heartbeat”, that is Mike’s life, except in reverse. Due to a Mad Science experiment gone wrong, this 1950s gentleman was hurled 70 years into the future, where his nascent Warmachine skills could be properly tested. He’s also single-handedly keeping handkerchief and comb manufacturers in business. Lay it on us, Mike.

In the Beginning…

I blame Adam’s father.

I don’t have a traumatising hyper-competitive childhood/ super hero origin story to open with so I instead, like all the greatest writers, have chosen to plagiarise. Though in some roundabout way worthy of a Coen Brothers film, if Adam’s father has led him to playing Warmachine & Hordes competitively, then by extension it led me to the same destination.

Before I knew anything about WarmaHordes I had dabbled in a few different wargaming systems, all the usual suspects, and with each one came an excuse to spend all my money and burn out within months of starting. At the time I worked in a coffee-house-cum-gaming-store and one evening waltzed in now fellow Team NI members Adam Fox and John Foster to use the gaming tables with fancy new toys I’d never seen before! Being the impulsive and impatient little prick that I am it was less than a fortnight before I had a 25 point Circle Orboros army to join in the fun (and to a lesser extent I also made two great friends from the encounter but whatever, am I right?).

That was two years ago now and WarmaHordes is the only system that has managed to keep me playing for the duration. Seemed only logical that when the WTC was open for applicants this year that we would patch together a Team Northern Ireland! If only to anger those on the forums with a poor grasp of what the United Kingdom actually is.

Since my beginnings in Circle I have easily been the hardest hit by the illness known as ‘Faction ADD’ to the extent that I have at one time or another owned at least one 50 point list for every faction. Indeed my biggest personal challenge this year was choosing a faction to take and not jumping ship. Through virtue of simply being my fancy at the time I chose to take Skorne and to my own surprise I have yet to get tired of them. Then again we all love a little sadomasochism now and then, right?

Lists

Very early on I decided I wanted to take Tyrant Xerxis, which left trying to work out who to pair him with. I spent some time whittling down the viable warlocks from the Skorne Arsenal, or Skorsenal if you will, essentially waving goodbye to the warlocks who wanted Marketh but couldn’t have him because Xerxis had already invited him first and the Aptimus didn’t get to where he is by ignoring social niceties. I spent a long time play testing variants of Mordikaar and eHexeris, tweaking and changing, toiling away until I had my answer: Zaal! Supreme Aptimus Zaal is and will always be my favourite thing about Skorne, he was the first thing to draw me to the faction and when it comes down to it I just have so much fun with Zaal!

Tyrant Xerxis + 5
– Aptimus Marketh –PC: 3
– Tiberion – PC: 11
– Basilisk Krea – PC: 4
Paingiver Task Master – PC: 2
Agonizer – PC: 2
Cataphract Cetrati – Leader & 5 Grunts: 11
Cataphract Incindiarii – Leader & 5 Grunts: 9
Gatorman Posse – Leader & 4 Grunts: 9
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer – Tyrant and Standard: 3
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew – Leader & 1 Grunt: 1

The only surprise with my Xerxis list is that I’m one of the few taking him to the WTC that aren’t running the increasingly popular Fists of Halaak tier list. This is less to do with me biting my thumb at the tier and more to do with the fact it costs literally £1,000,000,000 to buy that list. In any case I still like Classic Xerxis run with Gatormen Posse and the Cetrati brick.

In my early games with Xerxis I found a low volume of attacks an issue. Despite the average MAT 7 it tended to whiff against the really high defence stuff as well. As you no doubt have guessed that’s how the Incendiarii made it into the list. There’s nothing finer than those truly ridiculous deviations you might remember from such times as ‘Where did Aiyanna go?’, ‘I sure miss having CRA with these Nyss’ and ‘Fuck off Mike, this is getting ludicrous’.

Ideally the list is designed to have the Cetrati to get to a zone or flag and stand there forever under Defenders Ward, Tiberion standing nearby to shield guard against Eiryss and to smash things with a big ol’ club. The Krea is there for her Paralytic aura of course, to help the Gatormen cross the table or to sit with the Cetrati brick and REALLY make you pay for trying to shoot them. Marketh is there to hand out party favours in the form of upkeeps or juggling Fury as and when it’s needed while the Incendiarii try really hard not to set the Cetrati on fire. I feel it’s a solid match up against the majority of your standard gunline lists: it’s tough to shoot and once it gets engaged tends not to want to go anywhere. Exceptions being the likes of Seige “I-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-your-armour” Brisbane or Major Victoria “I-have-no-bad-match-ups” Haley.

Supreme Aptimus Zaal +5
– Kovaas
– Basilisk Krea – PC: 4
– Cyclops Raider – PC: 5
– Cyclops Shaman – PC: 5
– Bronzeback Titan – PC: 10
Ancestral Guardian – PC: 3
Ancestral Guardian – PC: 3
Extoller Soulward – PC: 2
Extoller Soulward – PC: 2
Nihilators – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
Nihilators – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer – Tyrant and Standard: 3
Paingiver Beast Handlers – Leader & 3 Grunts: 2

No real surprises here I feel! The Supreme Aptimus gives us Skorne players an excuse to use those badass looking Ancestral Guardian chaps pretty well and makes Extoller Soulwards absolutely terrifying*.

*Does not apply to non-living models, terrifying not a guarantee, may cause discomfort, if erection persists for more than four hours please seek medical attention.

Zaal’s battlegroup is tons of fun! The Shaman, Krea, Raider combo again isn’t anything ground breaking but by jove does it work! The Krea is there once again to pump out her Paralytic Aura on demand like the blind harlot she is. The Raider is a solid boostable gun with the independent ability to ignore stealth helps deal with annoying solos like Gorman. The Shaman is another great boostable gun, yet another ghost shot in the list and the ability to copy the animus of either the Krea or the Raider where needed while Craft Talisman helps Zaal to Hex Blast from a safer position.

The Bronzeback and the beast handlers are the only part that’s a significant change since first started playing this list. Originally I had a full unit of Immortals and Hakaar, whch gave me extra tokens to use under the feat. I found that nothing in the list could reliably hit hard enough once the feat was gone and I tended to end up with either a turn with 5 tokens to use and 25 models to use them or 25 tokens and 5 models to use them, which never seemed optimal. Instead I have the good ol’ Bronzeback who makes a good target for Inviolable Resolve and with the feat can potentially get nine fully boosted attacks. Which is fun.

Really this list has decent game against any Hordes faction. That’s still highly list dependant, naturally, but in general the amount of Annihilating Gaze in the list should make any warbeasts cagey. Circle in particular, those Warpwolves having warped for strength really don’t want to be hit by a boosted Annihilating Gaze at dice plus one. Obviously this trick is significantly less effective against Warmachine factions, but as long as there’s a living Warcaster or Warlock on the table this list has a constant threat of assassination which can keep opponents on their toes.

Nihilators are just an awesome unit. Running around berzerking all over the show, making tough checks like heroes. Last Stand and feat on a few surviving Nihilators can do some ridiculous damage. Rather like the scene in Terminator 2 where Sarah Connor explodes by looking at a park through a chain link fence. Pretty sure that’s what it’s like.

So there you have it! I know my lists aren’t perfectly tempered Hanzô steel, nor are they Iosef Stalin ruthless. What they are though is fun! I’d say they’re more like a plastic sword or Mikhail Gorbachev; perfectly serviceable and more light hearted. That’s my attitude to the WTC at least, I’m going to go and have a great time playing games with the literal world community of WarmaHordes!

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