Insider 5/12/2010 - DC

In my last blog, I wrote about the Iron Arena format and the “Staff Challenges” that could give players additional tickets for Iron Arena prizes. Without further ado, I’d like to present the first Iron Arena Staff Challenge: 

Show a fully painted WARMACHINE or HORDES model/unit based on one of the Shattered Grounds season models to the volunteer running the Iron Arena table. This challenge can be completed once per person. 

Today, I’d like to write a bit about those season models and how they came to be a part of Shattered Grounds. Go go, segue power! 

An element of the Shattered Grounds league I wrote about in an earlier blog is the focus on the more casual side of organized play. We’ve got formats like Steamroller for competitive play, and then leagues like Shattered Grounds with greater appeal for the more casual player. Another element of the new league format is we’ve moved away from having so many rules about exactly what terrain players should use and how it functions, and we’ve reduced the quantity of scenarios to the bare basics. 

Instead, we’ve moved towards rules that would impact the way the players look at their faction and build their armies. This shift led to the Shattered Grounds league stratagem rules – options that players could unlock and then use in game play. By using particular stratagems, players could enhance the capabilities of certain models/units in unexpected ways, or in the most extreme case, develop a whole new plan of attack. 

The season models are another element intended to get players thinking outside the box a bit and trying new things. For three weeks, these models/units take away one option from players but put a different tool into their faction toolbox. Hieronymos the Skarlock is probably the most extreme example from the Nightfall season. He asks Cryx players, “How do your warcasters play with a powerful spellcaster solo who has Black Mantle but not Spell Slave?” (Well, except in Mortenebra’s case, where he asks, “How about a second Skarlock, my spider-legged friend?”) For some warcasters, this solo was a welcome addition to the team while other warcasters found it to be a more serious shift in play style. 

The Blasted Heath season will cause Skorne players to ask themselves similar questions when all their Paingiver Beast Handlers turn into Paingiver Beast Slavers for three weeks. These Paingivers are significantly more effective at combating opposing warbeasts thanks to Duck and Slaver Strike, but their support capacity is slightly diminished with the loss of Medicate and Condition. When playing these guys, be sure to remember the combination of Anatomical Precision, Inflict Pain, and Slaver Strike have a net effect that is somewhat similar to the Condition ability, albeit at a cost. Then again, a little bit of a pain is a cost that is well in keeping with the Paingiver philosophy.