Hello dear reader.
The time of year is nearly upon us, that magical weekend on which the whole Warmachining world holds its breath in awe, to witness the forging of legends, the tournament of tournaments, the pinnacle of the gaming year: the World Team Championship.
And because I think you’re not nearly hyped up enough, I have this little tradition going on, in which I ask all teams that went 5-1 or better the previous year to nominate the teams that will go 5-1 or better this year.
So, for my little survey, I polled representatives of the following 2016 teams: Australia Echidna, Germany Black, Canada Goose, Sweden Nobel, Poland Wisents and England Roses. Astute readers will notice the lack of Scotland Irn in that list. The reason for this is that the only member of Scotland Irn who will be present at this year’s WTC will be playing for Steamforged. Yes, that’s Guild Ball.
Since traditions are traditions, I first spoke with Doctor Kellerman, also known as Sascha Maisel from team Germany Loreley. He came up with the baseline of:
Australia Drop Bear, Canada Beaver, England Lions, Germany Loreley, Italy Michelangelo, Poland Hussar and Sweden Götaland.
He considered Sweden Norrland, but after casually taking their Cygnar player’s Hurricane off the table on bottom of one at the Heavy Metal Days1 (with Goreshade1, no less), he decided they would only let him down anyway.
His Dark Horse nomination went to Germany Fafnir, how very patriottic of him.
Working my way through the polls, this seemed quite the baseline right there. Australia Drop Bear has two members who took last year’s crown, and added some much needed sexyness in the form of Josh Bates. I mean, even if these guys show up in plain grey T-shirts, they’ll still win the best jersey contest by a country mile, courtesy of Batesy taking his one off2.
Anyway. Obvious spokesperson Chris Davies came up with Australia Drop Bear, Canadia Beaver, England Lions, German Lovely/Loreley/some word, Norway Hugin, Poland Hussars and Sweden Norrland.
I must say, I totally understand the problem with Loreley. It’s not like it’s a part of international culture, no, it’s just a rock on a river, accompanied by some poems about a chick brushing her hair. Speaking of hair, Robby the Kid’s new hairstyle (which is exactly like his old hair style plus an elastic band) brings out all the Jon Snow in him. As a Game of Thrones fan, all I can add to that is moar Jon Snow = moar better.
Loud Chris went with New Zealand as dark horse pick. I so hope they do a haka.
Also speaking of Game of Thrones, the King in the North, Bubba Dalton of last year’s Canada Goose, came up with Australia Drop Bear, his own Canada Beaver, England Lions, Germany Loreley, Poland Hussar, Sweden Götaland and USA Texas. As a northener, I thought it strange for him to value less northern Swedes and even Texans over more northern Swedes, like Sweden Norrland.
Google Maps to the rescue – turns out that he lives about as far north as, say, the beautiful town of Venice, which makes it very understandable to go with Italy Michelangelo as his dark horse pick3.
Meanwhile, a wild Tom Guan appeared, with Australia Drop Bear, Canada Beaver, England Lions, Germany Loreley, Italy Michelangelo, Poland Hussar and USA Texas. As a dark horse pick, he went with China Panda – apparently, in between playing Magic: The Gathering, he blatantly abuses his special powers to read the Chinese Warmachine forums, which leads him to believe there is great potential4.
In the meantime, my polling was interrupted to record an episode of the Cryxiest podcast on the planet, aptly named Chasing the Dragonfather5. Co-hosts on this podcast are Anthony O’Reilly, also known as the King of Ireland, and Ryan Evans, recently crowned King of the UK. Conveniently, the latter happens to have been a member of last year’s England Roses, so his hit list of Australia Drop Bear, Canada Moose, England Lions, Germany Loreley, Norway Hugin, Poland Hussar and Sweden Götaland was compiled quickly as well.
As a dark horse, he went with France Asterix. I’m just as surprised as you are.
To prepare for my negotiation with Konrad Sosnowski, more googling ensued. Apparently, the Hussars were one of the most badass cavalry regiments to have ever galloped the earth6. Much more impressive than some chick on a rock, to be honest. Compared to last year, the Hussars chose an even badasser name, and got Pawel Blados, the winner of the European Invitational. As always, their mad scientist lists scare the living hell out of everyone, much like the Hussars used to do.
Konrad came up with Australia Dropbear, Canada Moose, Germany Loreley, Sweden Götaland and USA Texas, plus “I hope more than one Polish team”. We’ll write down Hussar and Knights, just because.
As dark horses, he chose Italy Michelangelo and Russia Bears. That’s two dark horses, which is strictly against the rules, but he’s also a Hussar. I’m not gonna argue.
Finally, I found a real northener in the form of Johan Dyrlind to speak for last year’s Sweden Nobel. He chose Australia Dropbear, Canada Beaver, Germany Loreley, Poland Hussar, Sweden Götaland, Sweden Norrland and Sweden Svealand. That’s some major patriottism right there.
As Dark Horse, he kept to the lands beyond the wall with Norway Hugin – I tell you, Tormund ain’t got nothing on this guy.
Moving on, as is customary, I talked to Norbert for his take on things. Despite that his majesty, the King of Swaziland7 gave him permission to represent team England Knights this year (instead of head judging), he still holds true to his vow of eternal neutrality.
Nah, just yanking your chain, he came up with Australia Dropbear, Canada Beaver, England Lions, Germany Loreley, Poland Hussar, Sweden Götaland and USA Texas, and Norway Hugin as dark horse. I just had my Swaziland joke prepared already and didn’t want to drop it.
Despite no team from the USA making 5-1 for the last two years, I still talked to Jay Larsen about his predictions. He politely refused, which I obviously couldn’t accept. Some threats were exchanged, like “I will send you dick pics” or “I will not tell you that you will be staying in a studio type room”8, but we reached a bit of an impasse, and then I lost interest. I mean, it’s not like they really know how to play this game, amirite?
Tally time then:
Australia Drop Bear, Germany Loreley and Poland Hussar have been chosen by everyone polled. All three of these teams/metas have been present on the podium at multiple occasions. Since no team has won the WTC twice so far, logic9 dictates that the Germans should win this year. Choosing a chick on a rock as team name … could be a viable strategy, why not.
After this podium, we have Canada Beaver, England Lions and Sweden Götaland. Whereas the latter two really got six votes each, one could argue that in the case of Canada Beaver, some people just didn’t notice their team name switch. I’d have a beaver over a moose any day, but apparently, some people do not.
Then, we have USA Texas and Italy Michelangelo. I can see the appeal of the Texan team – they are veterans of many battles to a man, and have quite a collection of trophies among them. On a good day, who knows, they just might. When it comes to Italy, I’m quite curious if they can shake off their dark horse hide, and finally become that sparkling unicorn. With Scotland Irn gone, we sure can use moar unicorn.
A final note on Norway Hugin – having a dude like Jarle Svensrud on a team does things to people. Apparently, having the two most actively playing Swedes from last year’s success team (hello Sweden Norrland) doesn’t. I guess it’s a marketing thing.
Finally, I asked the one voice that started it all, the man, the myth, the legend of legends: Rickard Nilsson. Having evolved to a higher state of gaming, called Watchmachine, he gave me the list of teams that strike a balance between strong performance and creative/entertaining watchmachining.
Ladies and gentlemen: look out for Austria Schwarzenegger, Canada Beaver, Germany Lorelei, Ireland Craic, Poland Hussar, Sweden Svealand, USA Texas and obviously, Belgium Prinzesschen and the Fabulettes. Because even though I don’t play in that team this year, they’re still fabulous as f*ck.
See you next weekend!
1 Check out the Heavy Metal Days. Best team tournament on the continent that isn’t the WTC.
2 Assuming the others have the sense to keep their shirt on, that is.
3 Also, not a single beaver joke in sight. Not a single one.
4 We’ll believe it the day he actually plays for China.
5 I mean, that plug is so shameless, it’s not even necessary to mention that it is.
6 For more tales of badassery, check this article maybe: http://www.badassoftheweek.com/hussars.html. No guarantees on actual historical accuracy given.
7 Norbert isn’t actually from Swaziland
8 I’ll let you figure out who issued which threat
9 Or superstition … such blurry lines between the two of them these days