Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Warmachine the Way I See It: Focus, Not How Much, but When

[This article is part of the Warmachine the Way I See It series.]

I begin to see that as my learning process for Warmachine will be continual, this articles series could be as well.  With that said, I have recently created a new Warmachine and Hordes Articles page.  Check it out when you get a chance. 

Today, I want to write a bit more on focus.  As I have looked through a plethora of warcaster stats, I have noticed something.  There is a great variety in the amount of focus each warcaster has.  In the Protectorate of Menoth forces, we have warcasters with anything from 5 to a whopping 10 focus innately, most of whom hover around the 6 focus mark.  It got me thinking, yikes! That's not much focus if you want to accomplish something big in a turn*.  I mean a warcaster can cast spells, upkeep spells, and allocate focus to warjacks.  In some turns, you are going to want to do it all. So, again I want to mention that Warmachine is a game of resource management and more precisely a timely use of resources to achieve the most optimized result. In a 35pt. or 50pt. game you are going to have multiple warjacks and in turn multiple threats to throw those jacks at.  You are going to want to support them with your own casting.  Thus, I contend it isn't how much focus you have, but instead what you do with it and more importantly when you do something with it.

*Of course, I understand there are ways of modifying this number through soul tokens, focus generating models, and support models that reduce focus cost, but still, sheesh!

A great example is an assassination run.  If you want to improve the chances of the assassination, you are obviously going to allocate resources towards the models involved.  If your warcaster has a smaller pool of focus to choose from, it means you are going to need to really think about what you are doing beforehand and prioritize the most important ingredients in successfully pulling off your assassination run.  Is that +2 MAT and STR spell for 3 focus a better use than simply giving a warjack its full three focus to boost attacks or add attacks?  Are you allocating focus to a warjack that will provide the most bang for your buck?

This also feeds into the idea of synergy that I wrote about previously.  The best players will allocate and execute the use of focus in such a way to create synergy and ultimately bring forth devestating results on their opponents' armies.  The point I'm making here is that a warcaster with 5 focus can be played well and do more damage than a warcaster with 10 focus played sloppily.  Timing is the key.  Being patient and waiting for those moments where your opponent's warcaster is ripe for the picking is huge.  Positioning models appropriately is also a huge part of this.  Army selection is also important.  These things are going to be recurring themes as I learn about Warmachine, I can already tell it. 

A great example of how army selection can ease the burden of focus allocation is the Avatar of Menoth.  Not only is it a beatstick, it generates its own focus, so your caster can upkeep and cast spell as well as allocate focus to other warjacks.  Of course, this is kind of getting off on a tangent.  I will talk more about list design later.

For now, know that focus amount is a big deal, but more importantly, how you use your focus and when you use it is vastly more important. 

Other Warmachine related articles:
Crusader Heavy 'Jack Completed
Warmachine the Way I See It: Part 2...err kind of
Warmachine the Way I See It: Warcasters

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