Monday, January 2, 2012

Warmachine the Way I See It: Synergy, the Game-Making Dynamic

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

Happy New Year to all!  Here's hoping that 2012 brings refreshing (and hopefully decent) experiences to your hobby and gaming.  I'm back with another installment of Warmachine the Way I See It.  Remember, this is a beginners view of the dynamics of Warmachine and how I perceive that it is played. Again, if I get off track or lack depth in some of my writing, please supply a comment to help out.  I want this to be a very useful series for players new to or interested in Warmachine and Hordes. 

Right, let's get on with it then. 

One of Warmachine's principle, if not most important, dynamics is synergy.  I alluded to it in my article about the importance of Warcasters, but it isn't simply a nice thing.  You need it like you need air.  The game is essentially built around it. 

Let me draw a parallel for those of you who are GW minded.  In 40k and WFB, you can play an army and use its disparate parts wisely to win a game.  A unit of terminators can, if played well be used in a separate part of the board to delay, counterattack, or outright assault a good portion of your opponent's army. Acting on its own, this unit can be a strong asset to you army.

In Warmachine, this just doesn't happen.  Everything is based on the interaction between multiple units/models in your army.  Warjacks don't work properly outside the control of their casters.  No model reaches its full potential without the addition of focus given by the warcaster.  Many units gain additional benefits by being in base to base contact with other models.  In many cases command zone and control zones overlap.  Hopefully, I have made my point clear that synergistic interaction is essential in Warmachine.

Because of this, order of activation is huge.  In most cases, the game is won due to an appropriately created chain of interactions between your models leading up to a devestating attack that cripples your opponents' armies and kills their warcasters or warlocks. This means that timing, placement, and correct order of activation are critical to pulling off a win. 

*An Menoth example would be using a pSeverius list to line up a ranged assassination run by using Severius to cast Eye of Menoth on a Reckoner buffing its two hit and damage rolls.  Then, you can use the Choir's Battle Hymn to additionally buff.  Finally, in prep for the assassination, the Vassal uses Ancillary Attack to allow the Reckoner to make a free shot before its activation.   Severius can cast Immolation through an arc node to begin the assassination and possibly cause critical fire.  Severius should have also allocated focus to the Reckoner to boost its damage roll thus making its first shot devestating.  This can then be followed up by shooting again in its own activation following using the same ranged assault.  Hopefully, this combination of steps will build the required synergy to utterly destroy your enemy's warcaster.

* I apologize it anything appears out of order here. 

Finally, implied by everything I have said thus far is the fact that building your army creates the synergy.  Units are taken because they benefit a certain caster or jack.  Support units are so much more prevalent in Warmachine, so most competitive lists will have quite a few support units.  Again, the right mix of units/models creates the synergy needed to be successful.

Synergy is key.  Allocating focus creates synergy.  Intentionally including various units/models in an army creates synergy.  Keeping a strict order of activation creates synergy.  If all of this is done correctly AND your opponent doesn't beat you to the punch, you stand a great chance of winning. 

Hopefully, some of the more experienced players reading this blog can help paint a clearer picture.  I am not up to snuff on the lingo of Warmachine yet and might lose some things in translation, but I hope the overall pictures is essentially clear. Please feel free to leave some comments or additions to this article as again, I can't state how useful it will be to both anyone reading this blog and me.  Thanks.

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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