Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Examining Alternate Butcher3 List Build Ideas

Kommander Zoktavir, The Butcher Unleashed (aka Butcher3) is one of the most interesting warcaster releases to come along for Khador in a very long time. His personal durability and killing power are off the charts, and he's been a welcome breath of fresh air for players seeking solutions to the Colossal problem (most specifically Stormwall, but Galleon, Earthbreaker, and Prime Axiom aren't super fun for a traditional Khador list to deal with either.)

Happiness is an axe that never stops swinging

Though he does have his weaknesses, Butcher3 is a very powerful warcaster. Along with that, he is a very potent solution to an issue that has been plaguing Khador players for awhile. As a result he's very popular in competitive play. A funny thing happened with him though.

When Butcher3 was first released (I want to say at Lock & Load 2013) it was like a bomb went off. Players were scrambling to come up with the best lists for him and counter-tech to mitigate him, all while he was screaming across the table and chopping everything up into itty bits.

Out of that chaos, one list rose up as the "best" Butcher3 list, and it has become very popular. However, that (and general exposure) has lead to a downturn in Butcher3 enthusiasm, as players begin to feel that he is "solved." His best list is known, and there are a number of dangerous countermeasures out there for him (though ironically not Countermeasures,) so players begin to wonder if he's really all that great or worthwhile.

I think this kind of cycle is natural in any competitive game. It's especially prevalent now that the Internet allows for much more information to be exchanged in a shorter time than it used to take. Players are much better equipped to discuss, show, and break down something like Butcher3, and as a result it can make things feel "figured out" even when they're still relatively new.

With all of that in mind, lets take a step back and re-evaluate some of the list builds commonly seen with Butcher3 and see if there isn't room to shake things up a bit (spoiler: there is.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Destiny: Updated Impressions

Before I sat down to write my original post about Destiny, I wanted to make sure I gave the game some time to breathe; really let my thoughts settle. Any MMO style game takes some time to really get a feel for. I didn't want to kick out a bunch of first impressions that would be rendered invalid a short time later.

Well, it turns out I should have waited a little longer before typing anything up. After spending quite a bit of time playing the game this weekend - and having progressed up to level 25 overall - my feelings towards the game aren't quite so positive.

I still like the game. And there are a few things being patched soon - lower Strike boss health, engrams will no longer decrypt to lower rarity values - that will only make the game better. But there are a few things about the game that are starting to become issues, and I wanted to share those concerns to paint a full picture of Destiny and where it may be headed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Earlier this month, Bungie's epic gaming project Destiny dropped on current and last-gen consoles. The hype surrounding the game prior to release was high, but as seems to be the case with many hyped up releases, reviews have been mixed.

Reviewers struggled to answer the hard questions: Is it possible that Destiny is somehow less great than sliced bread? Can this bread deficiency be addressed in future content and patches? Does Bungie have their bread equalization plan in place, or are they unprepared to handle this yeasty debacle?

While I am not prepared to discuss how wonderful Destiny is relative to everyone's favorite means of sandwich construction, after a couple of weeks battling moon wizards I do feel comfortable discussing my thoughts on the game.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Walk Among The Tombstones

This weekend my wife and I headed out to catch the latest Liam Neeson movie, A Walk Among The Tombstones. Suck it, The Maze Runner. You're not getting a goddamn dollar out of me.

First, a quickie, spoiler free review: I enjoyed it. I like it more the further removed I am from watching it (a good sign,) though it definitely isn't perfect.

Tombstones is sort of a semi-modern update to the old school style detective story. You have your damaged goods main character, working for an employer of dubious employ (in the 40's and 50's they were mobsters; the updated analog makes them all drug dealers.) You have your somewhat twisty investigation that reveals more than anyone initially let on. You have your noir-ish moments where you don't know who or what to trust. And I guess because test audiences couldn't handle 113 minutes of Neeson being gruff as hell, you have a young sidekick.

All of it is pretty standard stuff for the genre, but two things help raise it up from "mediocre" to "pretty good":

1) Neeson is great at playing damaged goods tough guys, and he does a tremendous amount of work elevating the character of Matthew Scudder beyond just another gumshoe. There are few actors who would have been able to handle the material as well, and a miscast here would have sunk the movie. Which would have been a damn shame because...

2) There aren't many movies like this around nowadays. You get a lot of serial killer movies, crime dramas, tough guy redemption stories, character vehicles, etc, but very few people are making detective story/noir thriller movies anymore. It's understandable, given the market - studios are banking on big, flashy movies to draw audiences in, two things which Tombstones definitely is not - but it's a damn shame for anyone who is a fan of that style of movie.

Because of that, I'm willing to cut Tombstones slack I may not have otherwise. Though even with that consideration, I think Tombstones still holds up fairly well.

I can readily recommend Tombstones to anyone who is looking for a detective/noir-style movie, with a double down bonus if you like Liam Neeson. This movie is fairly far removed from his recent action movie star stint, so don't expect him to come in guns blazing and faces punched. There are some fisticuffs and guns are indeed blazed in a few parts but Taken 3 this is not (and thank all of the gods for that.)

After the break I'll dive into some move elements of the movie that struck me. This is getting into spoiler territory, so anyone who hasn't watched the movie should beware. I'm not sure how far I'll get into deep spoilers but I'm probably going to reveal some things you're better off experiencing for the first time during the movie.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Painting Log: Tactical Arcanist Corps

After a few false starts and momentum stalls, I finally managed to finish painting the Tactical Arcanist Corps (TAC) that are finding their way into so many of my lists.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Irusk2 vs. Sevy1 - Ashes To Faces

Warmachine play is slowing a bit as my gaming cycle turns towards other games, but I'll still be getting table time in here and there. This past week gave me a chance to put Irusk2 on the table again, and I decided to change the list up a bit by dropping Conquest in favor of the Behemoth.

Will this new list configuration work out? Or will dropping Conquest prove to be a colossal mistake? Find out after the break!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Malifaux: ProTips

Malifaux is an odd game for me. It is a game I enjoy playing quite a bit, but due to the nature of the game I don't really enjoy theorycrafting for it as much. I find that when I go too far down that path I end up pre-constructing crews, and while that can work out alright you can also get seriously boned by an unfavorable Strategy/Scheme pool (you can still change, of course, but if I've committed to playing a certain set up I'm probably not willing to make the major adjustments necessary to compensate.)

The natural cycle of gaming is starting to push me back towards Malifaux. I'm sure I'll still be getting in Warmachine games here and there, but it's not going to be my primary goal for a little while. Normally I channel my excess gaming energy into posts here, but that hiccup with Malifaux makes it trickier to write about than Warmachine (which is very, very easy to prattle on about in the dojo.)

I think I've come up with some ideas though. Looking at the various Masters, how they'd approach a game (generally), and the crews they'd build (generally) is probably a good way to go, and it'll help me flesh out ideas that I have for the Masters and Factions I play.

The other idea, and the bulk of this post, is a set of ProTips that may help newer Malifaux players (or players transitioning from Warmachine to Malifaux.) I am by no means a Malifaux expert - the first edition of the game damn near made me quit it entirely, so I didn't play much then - but I have noticed some things as I've been playing that may be helpful.

As tempting as it is, I will not be using emoticons to
communicate my feelings on various models.
But that one for 0.5 covers certain ones very effectively.
Tips to follow after the break.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Importance of Secondary Armies and Games

I like to have variance in my hobbies (a shock based on the content I've written about, I know.) If I stay with any one thing too long consecutively I get...bored isn't the right term. Antsy? Wanderlust-y? Whatever you call it, I always feel a pull towards something similar but different after enough time. This usually goes in cycles, and if I tracked it the timeline would probably be fairly predictable.

Just like this page break.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Plastic Models

I've put together a ton of plastic models over the past few months. July was spent putting together a ton of Relic Knights models (all plastic), I've picked up a few Malifaux M2E kits, and I've recently started in on a Convergence of Cyriss army (after admiring it from afar for awhile.) Assembling different plastic models essentially back to back, made from different mediums and by different companies, has given me a much deeper appreciation of what makes a "good" plastic model.