The joy of rogueing

Reading through the Virtual Team Championship wrap-up, one list in particular caught my attention, and those few poor, sad souls who’ve had to face me in a tournament may now why. Mykhailo of the Ukrainian Boars present a team with a heavily skewed “What the heck?!?” list pretty much guaranteed to leave any opponent scratching their bonce in confusion. My love for this sort of list event overrides my general loathing if Cygnarans and their filthy Morrowan puppeteers.

  • [Jakes 2] Captain Allison Jakes
    •  Avenger
    •  Buccaneer
    •  Freebooter
    •  Freebooter
    •  Freebooter
    •  Freebooter
    •  Freebooter
    •  Freebooter
  • Morrowan Archon
  • Thamarite Archon
  • Field Mechaniks (min)
    •  Morrowan Battle Priest (3)
  • Field Mechaniks (min)
    •  Morrowan Battle Priest (3)
  • Field Mechaniks (min)
    •  Morrowan Battle Priest (3)

So that’s 8 warjacks in the list. 7 of them Heavy warjacks with no ranged options, just a pair of clamps (Give ‘em the clamps!). The rest of the list is inconsequential to me, because there are 7 heavy warjacks in the list. Is it an earth-shakingly competitive list? Can it cover all the bases in terms of squaring off against a range of opponents? Does it have any gaping vulnerabilities? WHO CARES! IT HAS 7 HEAVY WARJACKS!

This is the kind of shenanigans that makes playing Warmachine fun for me. I enjoy a good balanced list, the cut-and-thrust of a fair game against a seasoned opponent (but not too seasoned, I’d like to have –some- chance of winning), but show me a fun, thematic list based around a whimsical idea and I’m a happy bloke. In MkII I ran an Amon Ad Raza theme force that spammed the board with Idrians, Allegiants of the Order of the Fist, and warjacks surging forth under Amon’s Mobility. Spud built a list that for lack of a better term equated to the Cygnaran equivalent of Hogwarts marching to war – Siege at the fore and then a horde of Journeyman Warcasters, each with their own warjacks (and custom-sculpted house scarves, but that’s a topic for another day).

Mykhailo’s list is an example of someone having a wacky, left-of-center idea, and deciding to just throw it at the wall and see if it sticks. My experience with the Amon theme is that if you take a concept that everyone’s written off and practice until you’ve figured out how to make the most of it, the loss of competitiveness in the build is at least partially counterbalanced by your opponents not having played any practice games against that kind of list and being caught flatfooted when you start revving up your combos.

Remember, Amon was considered very sub-par in MkII, the Allegiants were considered a waste of points, and the Idrians were considered overpriced. Thing is, Amon’s theme ‘fixed’ the Allegiants by giving them Advance Deploy and allowing them to be fielded in higher numbers. The versatility of the Idrians with Prey both in melee and at range provided flexibility. And Amon? Synergy wasn’t even the point. Mobility was. I played one game against a Legion of Everblight “Flying Circus” list – generally known for being one of the fastest and most mobile lists in the  game at the time. My opponent barely left his deployment zone, and not a single opposing model made it into my half of the board.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with building competitive lists, with striving to win, but I encourage you not to ignore the potential of rogueing it, of playing something completely out of left field, and watching  your opponent’s brain stutter as they try to recalculate their options in the face of something they haven’t in any way prepared for.

Have fun with it. It’s a game, after all.