Monday, May 11, 2015

Reboot... Initiated

First post on this new blog. Just wanted to say hi and lay down some guidelines (pretend this is a sweet rap and I am not a pasty white guy).

This blog is likely to be very similar in structure and feel to my other Warmahordes blog, Rot 'n' Roll. Namely, it will primarily be about my opinions, thoughts and experiences painting, playing, theorymachining and simply enjoying CoC in all its phallic glory.

Some things you can probably expect to read here in the forthcoming months:
  • Tactica articles for models (written in my inimitable style, after I actually get to play them)
  • Rage posts
  • Pictures of stuff I've painted
  • Limited BatReps as a method for demonstrating certain finer points or anchoring a rage post
  • Theorymachine
  • Really bad CoC jokes (possibly mixed with dad jokes for a ruthless, brainmelting combo)
  • More rage posts

Why I chose CoC

Recently my wife gave birth to twins, which essentially means that the next few months of my free time are 99% taken up with looking after them. After that, probably only about 85% for a few years. Long story short I currently have decent amounts of free-but-not-really-free-time at random hours of the day (2-7am is currently really popular) which are wonderfully filled by easy-to-drop activities like painting, modelling, playing guitar (unplugged, like a peasant), reading, watching TV and listening to podcasts. Basically anything that keeps me awake + aware and I can stop doing within 5 seconds to deal with spontaneous crying fits or vomit.

To help keep myself (partially) sane, I decided to start another army since Gators get very few releases. This army is the Convergence of Cyriss. But why CoC?

 1. Games Design

I've wanted to play a Warmachine faction since dropping Khador many years back. There was always one problem though - the focus mechanic is simply boring compared to fury (1).  It isn't dynamic at all and jacks are an inefficient use of resources in most factions.
There are two exceptions to this observation: PoM and CoC. PoM gets around jack focus inefficiency by spending army points on awesome support pieces to make the jacks significantly better (ie. Choir/Vassals) and produce more effective focus (ie. Reclaimers). CoC gets around this by modifying focus allocation and use via Induction (and the Corollary), which not only makes it efficient (over 100% more efficient) but makes it interesting! CoC is basically a huge piece of Hordes penetrating into Warmachine's dried-up womb.

Secondly, I believe that on average, competitive Hordes lists are more balanced than Warmachine lists, with again the aforementioned two factions. CoC allows you to play a decent number of warjacks with any caster without huge loss, thanks to Induction, the Corollary, and the Field Marshall bonuses. You have some casters that run more optimally when spamming infantry (Axis tier), and casters that really prefer having heaps of jacks (Syntherion) but overall the balance is far better than Cryx, Khador, Cygnar, Ret or Mercs.

Third, not being able to take Mercs is awesome. Primarily because you don't have to buy any! It greatly reduces your model pool and greatly improves your design space within that faction. All the OP Merc solos have been making Cygnar and Khador significantly less interesting for while a while, at least in my eyes. Plus I hate them. This is where CoC starts to edge out PoM in my book (2).

Fourth, CoC is currently free from the games design plague that is Tough. As far as I can see, there is ZERO tough in the faction. Instead, PP has used revolutionary concepts like 'repair', 'ARM buffs' and 'revive' in order to make things more survivable and grindy. F*ck Tough.  

Finally, CoC always wins ADR. With such a small pool of casters, who are all viable and competitive (to different degrees, but they are all above the mark), you can't lose. I've yet to play ADR and probably won't for another season, but the idea of it warms my heart.

Basically, what I am getting at is that CoC is the best designed faction in the game at the moment by a significant margin. It is probably where Gators would be if a) they weren't mercenary and b) they weren't lumped in with Pigs. This isn't really surprising, considering CoC were designed 100% with Mk2 in mind and were DC's brain child.

Looking down the steep hill at CoCs.

2. Aesthetics

I didn't like the models a lot at first (primarily because the Bbox molds are kinda crappy flashspams and I had bad experiences with the early PP plastics) but I think the TEP turned me around with its sweet hard plastic shaft. The jacks look pretty cool when fully-painted up and the heavy infantry is legit (I really like medium infantry, which is part of the reason I like Gators).

Another thing I like about the models is that they are representative of the faction's aesthetics and philosophy - modular, synergistic and potentially complicated as hell.

When the Convergence was announced, I didn't think too much of the fluff I had read. Which isn't saying much, since I stopped really enjoying WM fluff after the Kromac fluff drama and the general lack of permanent death in a war-torn environment. However during my sizable stay in hospital earlier this year, I managed to read through the entire CoC book on my phone (yes, this is as time consuming as it sounds) and I surprisingly really liked the Lucant origin story and the Cyrissian aesthetics and philosophy. The sweet irony of a religious order of physical scientists worshipping a science deity was also pretty cool.

This die is thorougly CoC-ed.

3. Practical Reasons

This is perhaps where I do most of my decision making. I have to like painting the models and playing the faction for sure, but practicality is where CoC distinguish themselves from competitors in my mind.

First, they mostly have plastic models. This is good because plastic is light, and pretty chip proof. Just varnish your models and throw them in a box, and you're good to go. Sweet. Also painting plastic feels very different to painting metal in my experience. Since Minions are almost 100% metal (resin battle engines aside), this is a good change for me. Also magnetizing jack kits is awesome (it saves money). I generally dislike painting plastic models, but I managed to solve this problem by buying some really good primer spray and choosing a color scheme and paint style that require only one uniform black undercoat.

Second, CoC is not a main faction and it was made quite clear by PP that they wouldn't get regular releases. Then PP releases AT LEAST 2 things for them next book (caster + 2nd Colossal). So basically as many releases as Gators. Sweet. 4 Warmahordes releases per year is cool for me and easy to keep up with, after the large initial time + money investment. And if CoC gets nothing, then it's not like there were any expectations in place. It's like you get all the benefits of being a real faction, without any of the downsides. And unlike Gators, it is actually a real faction.

Third, I can make penis jokes.

Fourth, I was looking at buying into Pigs as an alternate thing to do at 3am, but figured playing a real faction would be a better use of my resources, since Pigs are still craptacular and give me seizures just reading their stat cards. Thus I conclude that Pigs are much more valuable to me as a running joke than a Steamroller option I never chose to drop.

So there you have it - prepare for a really slow excretion of terrible reading material and increasingly horrible jokes.

A glorious CoC in its majestic state of dominance.

(1) Khador had Butcher2 who sort of makes up for it, but playing only one caster for over a year grinds you down eventually.
(2) PoM was actually my first 'serious' army. I was initially playing Cygnar for my first 10 games or so, but after getting a huge nerd boner over eKreoss' art in Apotheosis, I bought into PoM pretty hard and played that for about 2 years. I sucked at it, primarily because I liked to take jacks in Mk1 and their casters are boring in Mk2 (by design).

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