Meta crunch 03 – Prepping for HÉT 2013


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Last time I wrote an article not related to the hobby side of Warmachine, it was about my preparations, list building and battle reports for AAW 2012. I am not an expert on competitive play, my meta is rather small and there are a dozens of more experienced tournament players posting strategy articles on MoM, so I generally stick to my conversions and sculpting, however those first two Meta crunch articles were fairly well received, so here we go again…

One of the main perks of writing articles for a great site like Muse on Minis is that you can reach a much wider international public. After my last battle report article I got a mail from one of MoM’s readers from Hungary trying to reach out to other isolated playing groups in neighbouring countries in Europe, so he invited us (and other players from Croatia and Serbia we might know) to their next international tournament on the second of March: the HÉT 2013 (don’t ask me what the abbreviation stands for).

I immediately contacted all my local players and forwarded the mail to the Croats I met at AAW 2012 and everybody was thrilled at the prospect of playing a wider field of players/factions that we don’t have locally, so we started dojo-ing and tweaking lists right away. As you might have noticed in my past articles, I am a fairly methodical person, so let go through the basic steps once again:


1.      What is the official format of the event?

This time it will be a four rounds, one day SR 2013 event with up to two 50 points lists (you can bring just one list if you want, but if you have 2 you have to play each list at least once). As per usual there are character restrictions, but there are no painting requirements for the armies (other than front arcs must be marked on the bases), so this time we will bring one or two people, that didn’t come last time, due to expected painting requirements. There will be 55-60 minutes death clock in effect, which should be a good learning experience for our group, since we never had a death clock event locally. This time around we don’t know in advance what the scenarios will be, so we have to keep our armies a bit more flexible.


2.      What is the competition?

Like last time, I have no idea what the Hungarian meta game is like, how common/popular ‘gargossals’ are or who their top players/factions are. The guy that contacted me, was kind enough to send a link to the lists of their 2 OETC teams from 2012, since they expect most of those players to attend the tourney.

The ETC, being a team event, will generally have slightly more skewed lists in its line-up, since you have a little bit of control over match-ups, but from what I could gather they have a nice spread of factions and they don’t seem to use the commonly net-decked power lists from the forums (no Banes of any type out of 4 Cryx lists and Raiders in only one list; a Skorne Xerxis tier list with nearly 20 Cetrati/Arcuarii, ecc…).

Since with the available information I can’t really plan for any specific match-ups and will be playing under death clock for the first time, I opted to fall back to the two 50 points lists I had the most experience with over 2012 and see how that goes.

That said, a few days after sending in our lists for pre-registration, the TO compiled a list of registered players and factions, to give the participants an idea of the field: so far there are 24 signed in players, most from Hungary, but (besides our contingent from Slovenia) there are also people coming from Austria and Slovakia, which should make things interesting (unfortunately it seems the Croats we played at AAW 2012 won’t be able to make it).

The most represented factions are in order: Cygnar (5), Legion (4), Khador (4 including myself) and Retribution (3), while all other factions have one or two players (only Minions are absent). I must say I was most surprized by the small presence of Menoth and Cryx. This feels like the state of the UK and USA metas from 6-8 moths ago (impression based on what I gathered from the various podcasts I listen to, I might be wrong).

I am hoping there will be a bit more variety than 5x Haleys+Stormwall(s) and 4x eLylyth+2-3 Ravagores, but we will see…

3.      The lists:

I want to use my huge based models in one list, since they are converted centre piece models and painted (unlike most of my infantry). Vlad1 so far has been the best caster for me to use both Conquest and Gun carriages at 50 points, so here we go:

1 Vlad's list

pVlad’s ‘MAG’ (Mobile Armored Gunline)

Vladimir, The Dark Prince (-5)

Conquest (19)

War dog (1)

Gun Carriage (9)

Battle Mechaniks (Leader and 5 Grunts) (3)

Greylord Ternion (Leader and 2 Grunts) (4)

Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4)

Koldun Kapitan Valachev (2)

Winter Guard Rifle Corps (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8)

Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3)

Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich (2)


This is a tweaked version of my regular pVlad list: locally I can run Conquest, 2x Battle engines, A&H and proxied Nyss hunters + Valachev, which works fine when you are not facing too much de-buffing or armor stacking. To make my usual list more flexible, I dropped a Gun carriage in favor of eEiryss, the Greylords and the Wardog and switched out the Nyss for Rifle corps + Grigorovich (partially because the distributer for my region is again out of stock on Nyss hunters and partially because the Rifle corps are slightly more accurate than Nyss against a broader range of enemy troops).

This list was originally designed as my anti Menoth/Cryx list, relying on Ayanna to give out magical weapons to trash incorporeal infantry, pesky Paladins and the ‘No shooting’ song from the Quire (especially when you can leave 4’’ rough terrain AoEs with Gun carriages). Valachev joined Ayanna and Holt mainly to extend the Harm threat to 19’’ with Zephyr and making S&P work on A&H attacks.

To deal with enemy upkeeps I had to forcibly squeeze in Eiryss2, since Arcane shield, Defender’s ward and Crippling grasp can really ruin your day with such a ranged focused army. Incidentally if I end up facing another buffed colossal, Eiryss and Ayanna can get me a 4-5 armor swing to help my base Pow 22 Conquest under S&P one round it with just average rolls.

The Greylords got in to follow the Rifle corps around, providing clouds and using their magical sprays to clear out popular jamming infantry (especially Zealots with Greater destiny or Satixys raiders); keep in mind these are ‘Magic 7’ pow 12 sprays under S&P, that can be fired off while engaged and circumvent Force barrier, Shield guard and Sac pawn (since they are spells and not ranged attacks).

Anyway this is my ‘Reliable’ list, meant to take on unfamiliar match-ups and mitigating the potency of enemy control/scenario casters; If I meet someone with melee focused armies (be it infantry swarms or armored bricks) I can let out my ‘Gambler’ list:

2 Butcher's list

eButcher’s ‘Max Axe’

Kommander Orsus Zoktavir (-6)

Beast-09 (11)

Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2)

Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6)

Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6)

Great Bears of Gallowswood (5)

Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4)

Fenris (5)

Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2)

Kell Bailoch (2)

Koldun Lord (2)

Madelyn Corbeau, Ordic Courtesan (2)

Man-o-war Drakhun (with dismount) (5)

Saxon Orrik (2)

Widowmaker Marksman (2)


Epic Butcher is one of my favourite characters from the Iron kingdoms, so I’ve been playing him ever since he came out in Mk1, in spite of his unpredictability. In general he is not that popular in competitive play for his random focus mechanic, that due to Murphy’s laws, will always roll minimal focus on the turn you need it the most (just like the Avatar of Menoth).

Through the years I learned that in the right match-ups 2-3 focus on feat turn are still enough for him to get a caster kill with a turn 2 feat. Some of my most epic games involved him rolling low focus on feat turn (typical), casting Ravager on himself and whirl-winding through the enemy army collecting Rage tokens and using them to deliver a Mat: 9 P+S: 22 Beast 09 and/or Great bears with Fury to the enemy caster/lock to end the game.

The idea of the list is pretty simple: run at the enemy (having half of the army in advanced deployment helps…) and present them with more threats that they can deal with at range (hopefully), pop feat and use it to reactivate and deliver my strongest surviving beat sticks to key targets and cause enough damage to control/dominate scenario zones and/or prevent the enemy from retaliating effectively (if I did not kill their caster in the process).

Besides the obvious Khador melee all-stars (Beast, Great bears, Fenris, Doomies, Drakhun, ecc…), I packed all the snipers I could field (Kell Bailoch, Widowmakers and Marksman) to reliably produce feat tokens at range and clear charge lines, while the support staff (Madelyn, Saxon, ‘Wishnailer’ and Koldun lord) help Orsus extend his threat range and mitigate the drawbacks of his random focus generation (upkeep Fury for free and power boost focus for Beast 09, when Butcher wants to use all his focus himself). That means every model in this army has Mat/Rat 7-9 with P+S 12+ Weapon master with Reach or Sniper and a non-linear max melee threat range of 20-22’’ under eButcher’s feat.

After seeing the overwhelming amount of Cygnar, Legion and Ret in the field, I should probably switch out eButcher for a more reliable combined arms list like pIrusk (we will hand in the final versions of our lists on the morning of the event), to avoid bad match-ups (in case I face gun lines all 4 rounds), but since Orsus is my ‘Gambler’s list’ anyway, I decided to stick with my initial bet and see how it works out…

Anyway, since i am mainly a ‘hobbyist’ here are some close ups of some of the conversions in my army that I haven’t already posted in past articles:

3 Vlad's WIP

As you can see Vlad is still a work in progress, since I didn’t have much time after I finished Judi to also do the green stuffing I wanted on the classic pVlad’s model and didn’t want to rush it… Anyway, here you can see roughly the repose and weapon swap. Beside it there are my bearded Greylords (being a former fantasy Dwarf player I always found their original beards a bit too short for my taste so I sculpted some ‘proper’ ones…

4 Doomreaver's conversions

Next there are my armored Doomreavers: I love the look of these crazy berserkers, but it always annoyed me that rules-wise they had the same base armor as Iron fang pike-men (who wear full body armor and shields), so I sculpted extra ‘gut armor’ and beefed up their shoulder pads.

So that will be all from me for now. By the time people are reading this, I will probably be on the road for Hungary or already there drinking excessively to get ready for tomorrow’s games…:) I will write a follow up article with the battle reports and impressions from the event sometime next week, so stay tuned. Cheers!


Author: Baffo

My nickname means 'mustache' in Italian and dates back to my middle school days. As the name suggests, I am a fiercely hairy fellow and depending on the haircut I can be mistaken for Chubaka, Manson or Rasputin:) I am a mix breed of nationalities from Slovenia (not to be confused with Slovakia), a very small European country between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia; our national meta is very small but has some fairly competitive players so we don't get bored. My main skills in tabletop war-gaming are sculpting, scratch-building and converting, so that is what my articles will cover... Anyway, cheers:D

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