Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Adepticon 1850 Review and Overall Thoughts

Adepticon Wrap-Up

OK, with all good long posts, let’s give ya’ll the summary for starters …

The Good

Adepticon is incredibly well-run and organized, as far as I could tell. Delays were minimal, staffing was intense and well-prepared, the venue was gorgeous and perfect for the event, and everything seemed to work pretty smoothly.

It was nice to see so many people, the general attitude of most players was solid, the competitiveness of most armies that I ran up against was very sound, and the event was a good time.

The Bell of Lost Souls people, and several other individuals, all “recognized” Mike Brandt on my name tag, made the MVBrandt connection, and said hello – all were warm, congenial, and pleasant to chat with. I wish I’d had more time to chat with all I met.

My opponents generally gave great, competitive games, played through to the very end, and were tough gamers. I didn’t go up against anyone who just rolled over, and nobody quit early either.

With very few exceptions, armies looked AMAZING. I was proud of the work I put in getting mine up to standard, and my appearance score was fine honestly … in fact, it was only a few points behind several professional painters. While those few points were severely critical, it doesn’t displease me … I didn’t feel as though appearance score was a huge hindrance to me … I couldn’t have earned much more, I suppose. I’m not that great a painter.

Vendors were great, in all respects.

The Bad

Adepticon’s scenarios are not strong. As a general rule, they have too many side battle points and tactical bonuses to properly consider, and in the team tournament at least one scenario was terribly fail from the very get-go. I also dislike kill points, and they utilize them, but that’s simply my opinion.

There is no use of accelerated pairings or list-strength type pairings in the championships. I finished 7th in the blue heat, 10th overall, and played 3 people out of 240. The people who finished 1st in heats can’t say any different, which makes this a little frustrating. I don’t believe this tournament evaluated anything. It gave some nice prizes out to basically the one guy of numerous 3-0’s who pulled the easiest draws. Did he actually? That’s the thing, you can’t really tell. This is, at best, a purely hobby level competition.

The food was not up to my liking. Maybe b/c I’m not 500 pounds I can’t stand the notion of interspersing competitive play with greasy old hours-out pizza. It’s fine, though, I understand the why.

The four round doubles tourney was freaking LONG. I was one sore puppy by the end of two days.

Singles Tourney Coverage ….

First, Brandon Palmer’s (I think that’s his name) Pirates of the Caribbean themed CSM army was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in terms of miniature gaming. This thing was ridiculous.

Next, there were a lot of guard there, and a lot of competitive builds there. Most people were scored well on composition, sportsmanship, etc., where it was relevant … I was scored max on sports/etc., so there weren’t any soft score banging shenanigans to my knowledge.

The most important thing to know about Adepticon is it does not really tell you anything about best players. Goatboy from BOLS won the overall, facing up against black templars, tau, and non-lash/plague CSM. This isn’t a knock on him. I went up against 2 fairly optimized mech guard and a strong space wolf list. This isn’t a praise on me. The point is, there were 120 opponents in our heat, and we each went up against 3 of them, as did everyone else. It’s a fun time, but one should not take too much evaluation from it.

I left my lists at home today, so I will do my best to recreate the details of what these guys brought; names left off for people who don’t want their names revealed.

I took my Straken 1850 build, which is Straken + co in a Chimera w/ a few meltas, 4 vet squads w/ trips melta each in Chimeras, 2 vet squads w/ trips melta riding in vendettas, 3 vendettas (solo), and 2 demolishers (solo) … Straken and the Demolishers were the heroes. The Vendettas were the martyrs.

Opponent 1 – Space Wolves

His list was a …

Wolf Lord w/ Storm Shield and either Thunder Hammer or Frost Weapon … semi-irrelevant, as he rapidly ganked whatever he did actually charge, until I killed him. He also had 2 Fenrisian Wolves.

Rune Priest w/ Jaws

6-man Wolf Guard (3 with combi-flamers I think to split down to grey hunter squads, and 3 with combi-meltas) w/ a Drop Pod

4 x squads of grey hunters, 2 w/ meltas and 2 w/ flamers, in las-plas razorbacks

4-man squad of Thunderwolves w/ mixed equipment, including at least one PFist

3-man squad of Thunderwolves w/ mixed equipment, including at least one PFist

2 x 4-5man Long Fang Squads w/ Las + 2 Missile each

Mission was kill points. He went first, and blew a Vendetta out of the sky, plus took the multilaser off a Chimera. I deployed so that everything was covered across the board, so I was able to make a couple of cover saves and keep it from being much worse than that. He had a drop pod with 3 combi-meltas in it, and I’m sure he wanted to gank my poor demolishers (as they were the biggest threat to his thunderwolves), so I sacrificially put 2 full guard squads (the ones that would be in the vendettas) as “skirmishers” spread across my chosen vehicle deployment, so that he couldn’t drop the meltas w/in 6” of any of my vehicles. It was a little irrelevant … he scattered it off into difficult terrain, and the wolf guard would die along w/ their pod before they could do anything.

I used my demolishers to take pot shots at his Thunderwolves as they were coming in, and succeeded in killing the 2 fenrisian wolves and 1 other guy, reducing the wolf lord’s squad to 3 + lord instead of 4 + lord + 2 fenrisians. The other 3 thunderwolves were struggling with their “fleet” rolls on a flank. I kept the suicide guardsmen in the way, and they got charged down subsequently by the wolf lord + co and obviously ganked … to a man actually.

Turn 1 gave me my only early chance to fire downrange, and I used my multilasers + 2 vendettas to pop a razorback and immobilize another, plus shake the other 2 … this kept a turn of their fire off me, but the long fangs were unmolested … I really couldn’t go after them at this point.

Some of his shaken razorbacks moved up to support things, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake later on. The long fangs ganked another vendetta, and the other one would die without contributing much. They were empty, so what did I care.

I was able to blow the Twolves away with the lord before they could do much other than killing the vet screen, I lost a couple chimeras to long range fire and twolf charges, and by Turn 4 or so I had cleared up the TWolves and actually thought I was way out of it on kill points. Straken was on the ground at this point, but was saved from Jaws by line of sight + INAT shenanigans (I guess INAT or something rules you have to pick a target for Jaws and see the target model, or something).

I went 2nd, so on the bottom of 5 or 6 (I can’t remember which), with time in the round almost out, I charged and wiped a wolf squad w/ straken, charged another one with 2 guard squads after shooting it down to one wolf, and blew up another razorback in close with melta. I won by 2 or 3 kill points after this turn, to both of our surprise. My opponent was a gentleman, and probably could have made it closer if he’d just stayed back and let the thunderwolves distract me all game. I had a lot more VP than him at the end, and we both seemed to be OK with the result – neither of us were fans of kill points.

Opponent 2 – Imperial Guard

This army was “leafblower” ish in that it had a lot of long range ordnance, including Manticores, and regular LRMBT … which I actually thought was a positive thing. S8 ordnance is perfectly effective against opposing guard armies, and russes are far more durable than Manticores and Ordnance squadrons.

His list, as best I can remember it, was …

Command Squad w/ Meltas, Chimera

2 Vet Squads, one with trips flamers, Chimera; one with trips melta, Chimera; they both had carapace armor (questionable w/out Straken IMO)

Guard platoon with a heavy weapon team (weapons ended up being irrelevant, they got to fire once I think against a covered chimera and missed, I can’t remember what they were even), I think four grenade launcher guard squads meant for objective capturing, and a platoon command w/ I think flamers



2 x Leman Russ MBT w/ heavy bolter sponsons and hull mount

2 x Hellhound Devildogs with Heavy Flamer hull mount

Psyker Battle Squad in Chimera

Dawn of War, primary objective was capturing terrain elements by having infantry units wholly within them, or contesting them with any units wholly within them

I went 2nd, but he chose to reserve his whole army, so that he could get shots on me with each unit as he came in. I thought this was a mistake.

I beelined across the board as fast as I could with my guardsmen and straken, and demolishers, centering up when I started on the board, and popping smoke on Turn 1 in case the Manticore + russes + devildogs all came on right away.

I put vet squads in all 3 vendettas and beelined them for the “tallest” terrain elements so that I’d rapidly have scoring units near terrain elements and vendettas at least able to attempt to be obscured behind buildings from some of his fire.

His devildogs were the only thing that came on turn 1, and they killed one of my Vendettas. The devildogs turned out to be surprisingly effectively during the game.

There’s not a whole lot to this one. I was in his face with a lot of pressure as he came on the board, I took a few licks but nearly tabled him. He had a guard commander stuck in combat w/ one of my squads with 1 wound left at the end of the game, and a Manticore in a corner nearby. The commander keeping 1 wound actually prevented me from scoring about 7 points I think … one of the 2ndary/tertiary objective types. Like in the first game, I lost all my vendettas, but him shooting at them enabled straken and all of the veterans to get where I wanted them to be, and lay the hurt down with melta shots and charges. I didn’t think this was a good match-up for my opponent … I was able to precisely target the most anti-straken weaponry with my melta squads, and then the Colonel was able to get out and eradicate an entire flank. I was too in his face for him to put any real pressure on me, so even if all my rolls failed miserably, I’d have had about 3 terrain elements to his 1 at most. As it was, “odds” were rolled for the most part (except for my poor vendettas), and I rolled the game.

My opponent was a really nice guy, who was losing his voice. He clearly had an army that he wanted to do a lot to me with, and he was a really good sport about what happened. He also gave it his all with every unit until the end, and that’s a pretty important thing.

Opponent 3 – Mech Guard

This was a whacky mech guard army, with a ton of units threatening me … I’m not sure if I have the count perfect, b/c he just had a metric fuckton of individual units. I won this mission largely by being stingy with letting my units get targeted, as he got a lot of good beatdown laid on me during the game, especially early on.

His list was ….

Command squad w/ Lascannon, Meltagun, Chimera

Inquisitor Lord w/ that psychic test that makes you take an automatic morale check at -2 LD

2 6-man Psyker Battle Squads in Chimeras

Platoon Command Squad in Chimera

Guard Squad x 2 w/ Lascannon, Chimera

Spec Wep Squad x 2 w/ Trips Flamers

3 Vet Squads w/ trips flamers, demolitions

3 solo vendettas (like mine)

2 solo hydras

I feel like there were a couple more chimeras on the board, but I can’t honestly recall; they all had heavy bolters instead of heavy flamers. There may have been another platoon with chimeras, or something. It got fuzzy.

He outflanked 2 of his vendettas, and tried to scout the other one, but the mutual size of our vendettas prevented him from getting a first turn demo charge off … he went first (I went last in all 3 missions)

The mission was to capture 3 objectives, with one being “primary.” He got to place all 3 objectives, I got to nominate the primary. I nominated the one in the middle of the board. He had one practically in his deployment zone, and there was another off to the side not really near where we would quite obviously be fighting.

One thing I noticed was he didn’t have much melta, and didn’t have any plasma. While multilasers can be a pain for Straken, that was about it … with FNP and 4+ armor he’s pretty flame proof, and I’m good at ensuring he has cover vs. things like heavy bolters. I also figured the Demolishers would be pretty safe if I could encourage him to fire his vendettas and ordered lascannons elsewhere. So, Straken + Demolisher time.

My vendettas went down really quickly; I don’t think they killed anything. I had a couple of pieces of terrain in the middle of the board that I raced up to ASAP and blocked off access to with Demolishers. This gave me control of that objective from the get-go. One of my Demos did immobilize itself though, and straken’s chimera immobilized itself trying to outflank. Ruh roh.

Sooo, I don’t know what to say about the early game here. Most of his shots found their marks, chimeras and vendettas all died without doing much, Demolishers blew up several transports and hydras by dropping templates that hit one and nicked others in side armor (yay for S5 + highest of 2d vs. av10), and I lost a lot of vehicles and crap, and had to suicide 2 vet squads.

Things went well for me in that I was able to use the demolishers and giant pile of dead chimeras to hide all of my veterans left – ALL OF THEM – from fire from his stationary heavy bolter type chimeras, and his psyker battle squads, which meant no veterans getting nicked up and running away off the board. This was a good thing, b/c I basically wasn’t going to lose that primary objective unless he manned up and ran at it, and he waited too long. Meanwhile, Straken by turn 3 made it out of his immobilized ride and started annihilating things, using proper timing and multi-charges to wax through a vet squad, all the spec wep teams, 2 guard squads, and a couple of psyker battle squads. He came an inch shy of contesting my opponent’s only “controlled” objective by game’s end. Keeping the vets alive forced my opponent to race his last vendetta w/ vets in it at top of last turn to the other 2ndary objective, and since I was going last (alpha strike can go fuck itself, it’s not that big a deal) I was able to run right into the open and melta him in the face.

It’s important to remember that in a tournament setting, you almost NEVER end up rolling dice for turn continuation, especially when multiple mech armies are vs. each other. We were both playing as fast as we really could, and we still only got to Turn 5, so there was no random roll for end … we had 20 minutes left going into the last turn, and we had 3 left when we finished both of our turns, so we weren’t going to start a 6th. This made it really safe for me to race my vets out of their hiding spots and 9xMelta his vendetta in the face.

In any event, this was a really close game, hard fought by both players, but my opponent suffered from too many flamers and psykers and not enough close range anti-“heavy” weaponry. Straken was “safe” in that he always got cover saves and mostly got FNP saves. Demolishers were safe b/c meltas couldn’t find them and las has a hard time doing anything to them, plus I always left covered side-armor Chimeras as appetizing odds-based targets for the las.

Tough game, and definitely one we were both into winning, but I pulled it out pretty significantly. By the time it was said and done, straken and the demolishers had broken the back of his main army, and my vets had cleaned up most of his vendetta + veteran outflanking crew. Good guy, though … I think he honestly thought with all the chimeras and vendettas he cracked early that he had it in the bag, and didn’t really think hard enough about what I was doing. In all three games, opponent going first made it look like I was suffering as a result … but if your army is built right, you have the layers of durability and sheer bodies / vehicle hulks to keep in the game and keep on shouldering on. Straken, finally, gives a guard army the capacity to “punch back” when things are forced into more desperate or tight situations … if my army had just had a pair of company command squads at the same points cost, with double the melta, I might have just lost 2 of those games.

I finished the tournament placed 7th in my heat, 10th overall out of both heats (240 players). Each round had 5 secondary conditions, with points values from 1-14, with each "win" being worth 21. I scored high 30's in every round in battle points. All three of my opponents were tough competitors with solid enough armies. In the first mission, I lost 14 points possible b/c I couldn't kill all troop models and all troop vehicles, for instance. I don't really approve of this, but I understand why they do it. Food for thought for Adepticon? Re-brand your event. Acknowledge that people will only get to play 3 of 240 competitors each, and that it doesn't really evaluate anything. It doesn't mean it can't be a great time, and my 3 rounds definitely were!

Regardless of my thoughts on the matter, I was happy to place top 10 at my first major out-region GT. Every other tournament I've attended, even the large ones, were all in the DC/MD area ... so it was nice to stretch my wings a little and beat some out-of-town face while meeting some great out-of-town folks.

Hope to see some of them at the NOVA Open! Sadly I won't be playing ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Adepticon 1850 - IG List

Just for those who've been asking while I work on getting settled back in and cracking up a full report, the 1850 list I took to the GT was ...

Straken w/ 3 Melta, 2 Bodyguard, Carapace, Medic, Chimera (ml/hf)

4 x 3Melta, Shotgun Vets w/ Chimera (ml/hf)
2 x 3Melta, Shotgun Vets

3 x Solo Vendettas

2 x Solo Demolishers

Beat fairly optimized: TWC / wolf lord + lasplasraz + longfang/runepriest wolves in a KP mission, leafblower (manticore/etc.) guard in a "capture terrain pieces" mission, and MSU spammed guard in a 3-objective-with-one-primary mission

The thing about the list is that against things like tricked out wolf lords, it can melta / gun them down via torrent once they get close, and prevent favorable charges, all if the demolishers don't do a number on them via a failed 3+ invul. Meanwhile, Straken's squad can annihilate units like grey hunters with impunity, without even taking significant damage. Plus, after 2 guardsmen die, according to INAT's FAQ specifically by this very example, units are swinging to hit them via WS5. Silly.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Adepticon Results - East Coast Represent

Well, Adepticon is over and I'm beat.

Rhett, Mark, Z and I went to try our hand at the team tourney, bfg, 40k, and fantasy team events. We met up with a lot of our MD/VA compatriots there.

In Fantasy, our buddies took first and second in the Size Matters tourney, and then went on to take 2nd (Best Generals) in the Team Tournament today.

In BFG, Mark won it.

In 40k, our team finished 10th out of ~110 overall for the Team Tourney.

Personally, I finished 7th Overall in the 40k team championships. This basically means I went 3-0 with all major victories but didn't have enough combined battlepoints + appearance points to beat the 6 people over me. No big deal really - you play 3 out of 240 people, there's not much to brag about, or be mad about, no matter where you finish ;)

I suppose I'm happy that I won 3 games by sound margins, and finished in the top 10 of a major GT, the first one I've ever personally played in.

Full coverage coming soon!

- Mike

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mike @ Adepticon - Where I'll Be At

For anyone at Adepticon looking to touch base ...

Friday I'll be probably hanging out in Chitown with friends from there.
I'll hit Adepticon early in the AM to drop a friend off at the BFG tourney, and in the PM to pick him up and/or hang out there and say hello at the bar or whatever.

Saturday I'm in the 40k team tourney all day, and plan to hit the Hooters down the street for whatever's going on there afterward.

Sunday I'm either in the 40k championships and hanging out after, or not in them and up for open gaming all day.

Monday I drive home with the team.

- Mike

PS - I don't plan to blog from there, so feedback / photos when I get back

40k Points Sizes & the Vegas Finals - Contradictions and Questions

So, I've been given the all clear by the overall Vegas Circuit coordinator to drop that the Las Vegas Championships for the Independent Tournament Circuit will be at 1,500 points for Warhammer 40k, 2,000 points for Warhammer Fantasy, and 750 points for LOTR.

I find this fascinating, as almost none (if any) of the Indy Circuit points levels are slated at 1500; most are in the 1850-2000 point range.

It lines up with the UK points totals of 1500, so perhaps it's meant to bring those in line with each other - such remains to be seen.

I tend to think of 1850-2000 points as the sweet spot. You're able to take a few extra things, make and recover from mistakes, and overall have a bit more tactically deep and army-diverse game. At 2500 points it often comes down to "who goes first," and/or "can you effectively put your army in reserve," and at 1500 points it often simply is whoever rolls a hot roll first when shooting at or charging something. Things cascade downhill very quickly.

Does it bother me personally? No, not really, but the overall organizer even admitted when he told us that he knew it would bother some of us (the tournament organizers). I'm curious what you all think about it? Is there a "right" points level to play 40k at?

Should tournaments drop their points level to 1500 so it's more in line with the upcoming Vegas event?

Curiosity on my part, what do ya'll think?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beer of the Week - Jahva (Imperial Coffee Stout)

The beer advocate guys cover this one pretty well, as well as Southern Tier's Creme Brulee Stout:

What makes these beers my recommendation for the week is that they are so freaking unique. They each bear almost more similarity to their named flavors than to beer, especially the Creme Brulee, and both emit an aroma that is absolutely mouth-watering.

Give them a try ... it's worth it.

Adepticon Team Tourney - Lists

So, with a few days before departure for Chitown, for reader pleasure, our Adepticon team builds ... based upon the models we had, models we wanted to go with, theme (Blood Axe Mercs + Catachans), etc.

Enjoy ...

Mike's IG

Company Command Squad w / 3 Meltaguns, Officer of the Fleet, Chimera (Heavy Flamer, Multilaser) - 165

Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Chimera (Heavy Flamer, Multilaser) - 155
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Chimera (Heavy Flamer, Multilaser) - 155
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns - 100

Vendetta - 130
Vendetta - 130

Demolisher - 165

Total: 1,000 points, 3 scoring units, 10 kill points

Rhett's IG

Company Command Squad w/ 2 Meltaguns, Krak Grenades, Chimera (Heavy Flamer, Multilaser) - 130

Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Chimera (Heavy Flamer, Multilaser) - 155
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Chimera (Heavy Flamer, Multilaser) - 155
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns - 100

Vendetta - 130

Demolisher Squadron - 2 Demolishers - 330

Total: 1,000 points, 3 scoring units, 9 kill points

Mark's Orks

Big Mek w/ Kustom Force Field - 85

3 Nobz w/ Sluggas and Choppas - 60
Battlewagon w/ Deffrolla, Big Shoota - 115

Deff Dread - 85
9 Boyz + PK Bosspole Nob in Trukk w/ Big Shoota, Ram - 140
9 Boyz + PK Bosspole Nob in Trukk w/ Big Shoota, Ram - 140

3 Buggies w/ Twin-Linked Rokkit Launchas - 105

3 Killa Kanz w/ Grotzookas - 135
3 Killa Kanz w/ Grotzookas - 135

Total: 1,000 points, 2 scoring units, 11 kill points

Z's Orks

Big Mek w/ Kustom Force Field - 85

3 Nobz w/ ([Big Choppa, Kombi Skorcha, Grot Oiler] / [Kombi Skorcha] / [Big Choppa, Kombi Skorcha]) - 88
Battlewagon w/ Deffrolla, Big Shoota - 115

11 Boyz + PK Bosspole Nob in Trukk w/ Big Shoota, Ram - 152
11 Boyz + PK Bosspole Nob in Trukk w/ Big Shoota, Ram - 152
11 Boyz + PK Bosspole Nob in Trukk w/ Big Shoota, Ram - 152

3 Buggies w/ Twin-Linked Rokkit Launchas - 105

3 Killa Kanz w/ Rokkit Launchas - 150

Total: 999 points, 3 scoring units, 11 kill points

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Adepticon in 1 Week

Well, in less than a week I'll be with my teammates in Chicago for Adepticon.

It should be fun, but is there anyone out there who really sees this as a fair, appropriate, competitive tournament? I know I don't.

People consider the Gladiator, for instance, to be a hardcore super competitive event. When on Earth is a D-weapon/Titan-legal 40k event ... competitive? At all?


- Mike

Off to St. Patty's and friend's bday celebrations

Idle Moment - Work on a Saturday

For lack of anything better to do while waiting on coworker feedback so that I can get crackin' on the next part of this project ...

If I were to go to 'Ard Boyz, without buying any models, this is what I would probably take (or something similar, given some tweak time) ...

With a lot of experience running Guard against an immense variety of opponents, I don't think 2 melta + flamer in a vet squad is ever a wise idea ... it's not going to make or break you, and it will statistically harm your anti-tank capability. That's what the HFlamer on those Chimeras is for anyway. Hybridizing squads is fail, and always has been, in every strategy game ever, basically.

CCS w/ 4 Melta, Chimera (all Chimeras w/ ML/HF)
CCS w/ 4 Melta, Chimera

Vets w/ 3 Melta, Shotguns, Chimera
Vets w/ 3 Melta, Shotguns, Chimera
Vets w/ 3 Melta, Shotguns, Chimera
Vets w/ 3 Melta, Shotguns, Chimera
Vets w/ 3 Melta, Shotguns, Chimera

Platoon Command w/ 4 Flamers
IGS w/ Flamer
IGS w/ Flamer

Vendetta x 2
Vendetta x 2
Vendetta x 2

Demolisher w/ Heavy Flamer
Demolisher w/ Heavy Flamer
Demolisher w/ Heavy Flamer

PCS and IG Squads obviously go in one vendetta squadron each.

Not fully optimized, but extremely dangerous, especially at 24" and closer (where demolishers, melta dash range, etc. all come into their own). Demolishers are easily one of the most underrated guard vehicles, and come in handy for more than just their weapon ... they're highly capable in the "Screw with opponent's ability to get to your softer stuff" department, for the primary reason that they operate alongside your army, instead of sitting back like r-tards firing each turn.

Variants I'd entertain would be getting Demolitions on at least one Vet squad for alpha strike opportunities, and dropping the PCS/IGS to get Straken as one of the CCS ... b/c he's just so loveable.

I don't approve of psychic defense. Seer councils are easy to punk in the face with or without fortune, ALWAYS have been, and none of the other armies have life or death psy powers. Everyone on the web freaking out about psy powers ... well, come on now. Besides, Guard are losing psy hood protection as soon as the I get updated.

This is largely moot, as I will not be participating in the competitive farce that is 'Ard Boyz.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Theme and Army Build - How Important Is It?

Good Morning,

We can all probably agree that people consider theme when building an army, and people consider competitiveness. For my own part, I pick a theme first ... and then I build the list as competitively as I can without excessively violating that theme.

For example, my first guard list was dedicated air cav. It was not the most competitive thing in the world to have 9 valks and a bunch of veterans w/ anti-tank and anti-personnel weaponry, and was a very hit or miss alpha strike only list. Still, I made it as competitive as I could w/out violating that them.

Later, I did a Straken supported "reach out and smack somebody in the mouth" guard build with a Catachan edge ... and Demolishers w/ heavy flamers, chimeras w/ veterans w/ power sword and shotguns and meltas, straken w/ some buddies for combat punchiness, but still some airborne support in the form of vendettas followed.

Some people put theme first, and then focus on putting in the units they think BEST fit that theme, and completely ignore competitiveness.

Some people would like their army to be thematic, but care more about competitiveness, and will come up with a theme if one happens to fit after the fact.

Where do you stand? Where do you think people should stand?

This relates to composition and sportsmanship in most tournament settings, b/c people who differ in opinion from their opponents on this subject will often take it out on them via sportsmanship, and because composition rules will directly impact competitiveness vs. theme.

For my own part, I feel "live and let live" is the only safe way to go from a tournament organizer's point of view. Find a way to reward and make welcome those who favor theme above all else, and those who favor competitiveness above all else, but do not smite EITHER player style (or the greys in between) over the head with the vengeance of your own personal bias.

Regardless, the personal bias of participants, or random web trollers ... well, that always makes for an interesting subject ...

So what do you all do? Do you build your list as competitively as possible and then model cleverly to create a visual theme? Do you not even care about theme? Do you refuse to bring a competitive list at all if it in even the slightest of ways competes with your thematic ventures? No stance is wrong, but I am curious where the various visitors of this blog (so far) stand on the subject.

- Mike

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Malifaux - Feelings After a Month

Well, it's been a month or a little more of playing Malifaux, and there's one thing I can confirm - Bad Things Happen holds true. This post was requested by a reader, and it's pretty long. Enjoy, though.

When you flip the inside cover of Malifaux, the first thing you come across is a lush, full-page picture of a voodoo doll with several pins embedded in it, hovering over the phrase "Bad Things Happen." Nothing could be truer in this interesting game from Georgia-based Wyrd Miniatures.

What makes the game unique from other skirmish-sized miniature-based wargame is the use of ordinary playing cards as your replacement for dice. Well, ordinary if you use ordinary cards (which you can), far from ordinary if you use the Malifaux-specific ones (which are covered in some truly eerie and setting-oriented images).

Malifaux is definitely a game of "shock and awe," with even the most mundane of troopers doing a variety of unique and characterful things, and with powerful abilities so widespread across units that the game swings often throughout. Unlike a game such as Warhammer 40,000 or others, where an uneven match can quickly be identified and a painful series of turns subsequently endured, Malifaux will leave you breathless with victory one turn, and breathlessly dead the next. I'm still trying to figure out how I can go from "clearly I've won" to "fuck I'm dead" over the course of a turn or two, but rest assured that's exactly what can happen to you in Malifaux.

To give a quick primer to the basic ways this game works, here's the VERY simplified short and sweet:

Players pull 6 cards off the top of their deck to create a "Control Hand," and they have a series of Soulstones that their masters can use. Masters are the HQ units of Malifaux, and while not as critical to win or lose as in a game like Warmachine, they are definitely the king and queen badasses of the setting.

Now, players take turns activating the miniatures in their Crew, and activation order matters a GREAT DEAL in Malifaux. This is not a game where table-wide movement is as critical as model tactics. So, in 40k, you'll have units across the board doing different things for a lot of armies. In Malifaux, there's almost never a reason your crew should be spread very far apart. Staying together (but not TOO close together) is almost always a good idea. As a result, when things start getting sticky, THINGS GET STICKY ... and the timing of your activations, card usages, ability usages, etc., becomes the real tactical side of Malifaux.

When a player activates a miniature, say one of their masters, against an opposing miniature, you engage in an opposed duel, and here's how it works.

Master A with combat skill of 5 attacks Target B with defense skill of 4. Master A flips the top card off her deck, and Target B does the same. Let's say Master A flips a "1" (Ace), and Target B flips a 13 (King). Well, the Master has certainly not hit the target, b/c her combat of 5+ card flip of 1 = a 6, and the target's defense of 4+ card flip of 13 = a 17. The Master is the "loser" in this engagement, and so must make a choice - will he accept the result of the duel (and miss), or will he "Cheat Fate." Cheating Fate coupled w/ a basic ability to count cards (i.e., I've already flipped 4 Aces this turn, so there aren't anymore aces in my deck) is the key to making Malifaux more than just another random probability game.

There are two ways to Cheat Fate, one that any model can do, and one that only Masters can really do. First, the "loser" of a duel cheats fate first, so the winner can "retort" and trump someone's cheat, so you have to think of this.

The type of cheating that any model can do is what the master in our current example does first - looks at their Control Hand ( remember, the 6 cards drawn to start the round) and if they wish, replaces the card flipped with a card from their control hand. So, suppose the player has a Queen (12) in his hand. He could cheat that into play, replacing his flipped "1" and generating a total of 17. In Malifaux, a tie goes to the attacker, so this would achieve a hit. Now comes into play the SECOND kind of cheating, that only a master can do.

The amount by which you beat someone in a duel directly affects the odds of how much damage you do. All types of damaging attacks and spells have three different "damage ranges," shown in a format such as 1/2/3. The higher the card flipped for DAMAGE, the higher the damage done. In the case of Malifaux, the amount by which you beat someone in a duel determines what cards you flip to do damage.

So, let's continue.

On a tie (17 to 17 in this case), a model hits his target, but must draw THREE CARDS, and MUST use the lowest card, and may not cheat the result. So, the player may decide to couple his cheated Queen with the second kind of cheating, that only a master can do. This is the utilization of Soulstones. Each master starts the game w/ a certain # of soulstones, and you can choose to buy them instead of models in a game also. To use a soulstone to cheat, you burn one of your master's soulstones away, and flip an additional card off the top of the deck and ADD it to your current cardd (in this case, a cheated Queen). Suppose the player does this, and draws a King off the top of his pile (13). This would put his total to 30, vs. the defender's 17. Since the target is not a master in this case, the target - at best - could cheat a Joker on top of his King, raising his total 1 to an 18. The Master would still win by 12, which in Malifaux is a really serious hit. By serious I mean, the player flips 2 cards, may choose which one to use, and may cheat the result also.

Sound like a lot? It is, and I'm going to stop on game mechanics there for the most part - suffice to say that Malifaux involves a lot of really critical and advance thinking, and there's a TON of tactical depth. Everything matters, from when you cheat, to when you activate units. Do you activate your Master early, and try to burn a target of opportunity? OR do you save your Master's activation until your opponent uses up all of his Control Cards this turn, so that your Master can go to town on him unopposed? Do you use YOUR Control Cards on your lesser models, to cheat up their totals and ensure they get their attacks and abilities off? OR do you save your Control Cards for your nastier models to really put on the hurt? Do you use your "kill shot" ability that forces your opponent to discard 2 cards early, or do you hope he wastes all his control cards early and use it later to literally kill off one of his guys?

In Malifaux, every model has multiple wounds, but wounds go away more quickly. There are no armor saves, only modifiers. If you have better armor, or if you're in cover, your opponent will have to flip extra cards and take the lowest with no cheating when trying to hit or damage you, for example.

The other thing about Malifaux that you do, that further adds to the notion of thinking ahead that is so prevalent in this game, is list tailoring. It's actually designed into it. You don't build your Crew until you know your Strategy, your opponent's Faction, the entire table has terrain on it, and you know the deployment level. You actually SHOULD list tailor, as a result. If you're playing against the Arcanists (magic users), you actually are supposed to bring the anti-magic user crew. If you don't, you're not avoiding an unfair advantage, instead you're actually handicapping yourself.

The factions are unique, and extremely different in how they play ... they're also extremely characterful. Here's a brief overview ...

The Guild - The Guild is the Imperium of Malifaux. They're organized, disciplined, ruthless, and their job is to keep the peace and regulate the trade of Soulstone, Malifaux's nominal black gold. And black it is. Soulstone is named b/c it regains its magical properties when someone dies near it ...

The Guild comes off as very Inquisition-like, with different Masters tailored best to different tasks and themes. Lady Justice is a blind samurai, utilizing a giant katana and supported by the Death Marshals, who walk around with Colt Peacemakers and pine boxes to stuff their foes into. As a whole, Lady Justice's crew is adept at eliminating the undead, and they're capable of slaying things in such a way that they do not generate Corpse Counters, a critical component of making new Zombies. Lady Justice herself is an absolutely brutal close combat specialist, and loves nothing more than smashing someone's face in with her sword. Really not a subtle gal.

Perdita Ortega is a gunslinger right out of the Wild West, and she makes Annie Oakley look tame by comparison. She's incredibly accurate with her pistols, and is one of the rare models that can use ranged weapons in combat. In addition to having one of the highest defenses in the game, you need to seriously think twice about going after her. Depending on her owner's choice, she cn activate an ability called "Faster 'N You," which basically means if you try to hit her and miss, she shoots you in the face for it during your own turn. Perdita brought her family with her to Malifaux, and they are both colorful and heavily evocative of the old Spaghetti Westerns. I love this crew's color. They're also super nasty, with a unique ability to activate all at once due to the fact that they are a family. Consider that in Malifaux, every other race generally has to activate in alternation, "you go I go" by model. The Ortega Alpha Strike, then, makes them play very differently than others, b/c as they wish, they can activate altogether, or in groups, instead of just one model at a time (though they can do that too if they want). The Ortegas are excellent in general, but specialize in ganking the Neverborn, Malifaux's native residents (who really, really don't like people).

There's also an anti-magic crew for the guild, that I haven't played with enough to really have a feel for, suffice to say that they have pistol-and-magic-weapon wielding mini dudes who like to explode all over you when you kill them. That's always pretty cool.

The Resurrectionists are the consummate necromantic troublemakers, but Malifaux gives them a more real tune. Instead of TRYING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD, they use zombies to pull off bank heists and dead hookers to be well ... you can figure it out. They operate by digging up corpses, or generating corpses off killed opponents (and their own dead), and then animating them. The ones I've played so far are Seamus (the Mad Hatter) and McMourning.

McMourning is the Malifaux chief of the morgue, and Dr. Frankenstein in all respects. He's followed loyally around by an oversized monstrous zombie chihuahua that through a peculiar quirk retained its diminutive yippy bark, an assistant named Sebastian who is as EIGOR as it gets (complete w/ hump), and a cadre of Nurses who stay in his employ b/c he loans them the skin of recently deceased pretty young people (it puts the lotion on the ... ugh). His expertise is raising ... well ... basically a bunch of Frankensteins. Slow, extremely dangerous and durable monstrous abominations.

Seamus carries a giant flintlock pistol, wears a super big top hat, and is accompanied by a crew of dead hookers and their chief dead hooker mistress. Yup. That's basically that.

There's also Nicodem, but I don't know him well ... he basically makes tons of tiny wussy zombies that he can make take hits for him ... he's the opposite of McMourning, who makes giant abominations.

There's also zombie ninjas. I just think that's kinda cool.

The Arcanists are the third faction, magic users who make big magical constructs. I haven't played them yet, though I've played against them. This faction is easily the most unforgiving, and has some pretty typical steampunky memes. Rasputina is a frosty bitch, Ramos makes mechanical shit and electrical shit, and I forget the other dude's name. I could be mixing these up.

The Neverborn are one of the more interesting races, and are the natives of Malifaux, presumably. They are led by Ilith, a super evil demon bitch with big tits and a bigger sword who can basically bend Malifaux to her will, and is incredibly difficult to hit. Her crew is a bunch of demons, that grow into bigger demons when they kill people, and that splash nearby enemies with black, acidic blood every time they get hurt. Basically, if they all get close in to you, you're in trouble. Pandora (complete w/ her ... um ... box) is accompanied by Woes that she can shunt damage off to, an evil little red riding hood named Candy, an evil baby with a meat cleaver named Baby Kade, oh and Baby Kade himself is accompanied often by an evil teddy bear named ... Teddy. There's also an old hag who uses voodoo dolls and punishes you for your bad manners if you try to hurt a poor old lady. No, really, that's one of her game mechanics. Seriously.

Finally, there are the Outcasts, which are mercenaries. They can work for many other factions at a price, they're typically outnumbered, but rarely outgunned. They have the most comical faction in Som'erteeth Jones, a Goblin boss basically (called Gremlins in Malifaux), with pigs that fly, gremlins that get eaten by pigs, pigs that get eaten by gremlins (an ability called: BACONNNNN!), giant pigs that hurl their riders at people, explosive redneck gremlins, etc. They also have the most Samurai Crew, the Viktorias. Imagine samurai chick with pistol backed up by dual wielding samurai chick twin backed up by a bunch of incredibly dangerous and hard to kill (literally, that's a special rule) Ronin. There's also a creepy necromancer who can't be killed, has no soul, and can kill you with a touch.

Anyway, so those are the factions.

Malifaux is terrain intensive, everything you do super matters, bad things happen, and the factions are cool, deep, characterful and highly different ... so nothing really plays the same. The game is complex to learn, and movement isn't really a key mechanic tactically. You HAVE to think ahead, you HAVE to use the millions of little combos and clever approaches, and you HAVE to be sharp. I recommend it.

I'm not sure I recommend going crazy into it yet ... nothing prevents you proxying your 40k or whatever models and giving it a go off buying the $35 rulebook. Remember this cool fact - the rulebook comes w/ every faction's stats and units. So, $35 and you've got all you need to play if you're already a miniature wargamer with terrain and minis galore.

- Mike

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Sorry to any new readers to my new blog for the pause in content ... several articles are on the brain, and should go up tomorrow ... just been crazy busy at work! I should obviously be putting blogging ahead in priorities of $150M bids ... totally.

- Mike

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kill Points "What If" Food for Thought

So, here's a quick one to wrap your heads around and ponder.

What if a tournament implemented a Kill Point mission primary win condition in the following way:

Once all lists have been submitted, pairing for the first round is automatically done by Kill Point total. Closest kill point totals play each other. For that round only, Kill Points is the objective.

I am not a fan of kill points personally, but would this be a functional way to implement it, where your participants are all basically within a few KP of each other?

Input welcome,
- Mike

Thursday, March 11, 2010

NOVA Open Registration is ... um ... Open!

The NOVA Open, my Indy Circuit Qualifying GT on August 14, 2010, is now open for registration.

The website has marginal info on it but that will improve with time.

For 40k trolls most especially, you want to sign up sooner than later - 40k spots are filling much more rapidly than I anticipated.

For people who aren't local to here, if you're trying to come up with a great vacation idea (har), consider DC in August ... it's a little on the hot and humid side, but it's a good time, and this local is happy to show out of towners a good time. For the GW freak in you all, the 8/14 NOVA Open brackets one side of a week vacation while Games Day Baltimore brackets the other side.

So, that's right, you can in theory spend a week in DC, get shown the ropes by an area native, *and* attend both a Vegas Qualifier and Games Day while you're at it.

In any event, Fantasy and 40k registration is now open via the above link - sign up!

A Blood Angels List For You

For anyone running the new Blood Angels, you're going to run across a wide variety of list options that are functional.

For those wondering where you might start, here's a sample list to start working from that doesn't have a hard counter out there.

In short, the list - while not perfect - doesn't have any opposing list it will run up against that it simply has no answer for.

Redundancy, effective anti-infantry, effective anti-tank, durability.

HQ (2/2)
Librarian w/ Cover Save + Lance psy powers - 100
Librarian w/ Cover Save + Lance psy powers - 100
Honor Guard w/ 2 x Meltaguns, 2 x Flamers, Mini-sanguinary, Rhino - 195
Honor Guard w/ 2 x Meltaguns, 2 x Flamers, Mini-sanguinary, Rhino - 195
*For those that aren't aware, the Honor Guard are enabled for every HQ you select, and contain a sanguinary priest (for all intents and purposes) that isn't an independent character, but comes with the full 6" aura of FNP/FC

Elites (0/3)

Troops (5/6)
4 x Assault Marines w/ Meltagun + Sarge w/ Power Sword, Infernus Pistol; Rhino - 155
4 x Assault Marines w/ Meltagun + Sarge w/ Power Sword, Infernus Pistol; Rhino - 155
4 x Assault Marines w/ Meltagun + Sarge w/ Power Sword, Infernus Pistol; Rhino - 155
4 x Assault Marines w/ Meltagun + Sarge w/ Power Sword, Infernus Pistol; Rhino - 155
4 x Assault Marines w/ Meltagun + Sarge w/ Power Sword, Infernus Pistol; Rhino - 155

Fast Attack (2/3)
Baal Predator - 115
Baal Predator - 115

Heavy Support (3/3)
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons - 135
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons - 135
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons - 135

Give it a playtest with a friend, or on vassal, or theoryhammer away at it if that's your thing.

- Mike

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whacky Stuff in the New BA Dex

OK, so rules and impact on game aside, some new things in the BA Dex just struck me as off the wall whacky ...

First off, Deep Striking Land Raiders. Sure, sure, they explain it in the fluff by claiming that they're being dropped by Thunderhawks, but I really have two questions at that point ...

1) Where's the Thunderhawk, and why isn't it using its D weapon to help me out at all before it leaves again?
2) What happens when a Land Raider scatters onto a Grot (I mean I know the answer, but ... really)?

Next up, the Magna-Grapples on the Dreadnaught. Who else's first thought went here ...

A Dreadnaught yanking tanks around just strikes me as a tad off the wall ... call me crazy.

Next up ... Mephiston ... have you seen this guy's statline?

When did this happen? Does it strike anyone as outlandish that he's got a better statline in basically all regards than a HIVE TYRANT? I'm not just talking attacks or strength or anything ... he's T6 W5 ... I .... well, whatever.

There's a lot more to go with ... look at the dex for yourself. Flying Land Raiders with exorcist missiles and renamed "stormravens" are also in there. The arrival of the angry emo prissy space vampires doesn't just herald a new powerful codex in the recent line of such dexes ... it heralds a new age of GW cartoonism in gaming. Gone is the deep dark landscape of the 41st millennium. Instead, we get this ...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blood Angels - More In-Depth Part I

OK, so after some internal playtesting of the Angels dex and a few basic builds, I've got a little more to offer in terms of feedback.

Before anything, I want to say that I strongly protest GW contributing to the rising theme of VAMPIRES across all levels of geek and pop culture these days. To be fair, at least theirs do not glitter or wear cool sunglasses while swinging silver swords. I don't even want to start on any of that crap or how awful it is. They also don't wear gay rings that let them walk around in daylight. They also don't ... well, whatever.

These are prissy, image-obsessed, perfection-obsessed, golden-haired space vampires. So image-obsessed are these guys that one of their BEST CAPTAINS, named Tycho, even turned into a raging batshit insane lunatic when his face was disfigured. To quote him, "OH MY FACE?!?! RAWRAWRAWRAWRAWRAWR." Said it just like that. Their redeeming virtue is that they will tear your goddamned face off.

First off for this post, my first few all stars of the dex ...

1) Basic Predator w/ Autocannon + Lascannon Sponsons
- This unit cracks in at only 10 points more than its Space Marine counterpart, but solves every single problem with said unit. By simply being able to move 6" and fire all its weapons, it's an incredibly potent gun platform that is synergistic with the Blood Angels dex in general. Here's why ...
- The Blood Angels have the capacity to put down numerous (4-5+) fast transports full of angry melta and close combat capable vampires from space. Since they move 18" on turn 1, they are an extremely high priority AV11 target, which means extremely appetizing and almost necessary for enemy autocannons, lascannons, and missile launchers (plus equivs) to shoot at. Not shooting at them enables them to move 18" and pop smoke ... or if the opponent is going second, they've already moved 18" and popped smoke ... "omg" time.
- The Blood Angels have access to, for an affordable 345 points, a trio of fast moving, scouting AV13 (but AV11 side) twin-linked assault cannons. Often times, a canny BA player will scout them way forward, presenting AV11 side armor almost on purpose, in order to challenge opponent target priority even further ... i.e., do I shoot those fast moving AV11 transports full of angry vampires, or do I take the opportunity shot at AV11 side on a fast moving twin-linked assault cannon? The correct choice is the transports, still, but some people get "googly eyes" when they have a chance to get AV11 shots at an AV13 vehicle, and will "bite" the opportunity.
- The above two combinations mean that in a well crafted list against most opponents, your 48" range but can still move Predators are going to be firing most of or all game unmolested. If your opponent does shoot at them, it's a win, b/c they're shooting at AV13 instead of 11, and you're probably covered up at least from a lot of fire angles. More importantly, you're mobile and supporting the advance, there up forward to tank shock late as needed, and safer from outflanking threats or other things that normally "deal" later in the game with stationary predators that can't move if they want to be of any value. This one little hiccup is why people tend to take AC/HB preds instead, so that they don't feel their points are wasted if they have to move. Problem solved.
- You have to remember, why these three bad boys are good is that they will never be in range of assault cannons, meltaguns, and the like, unless you want them to be, and they will be firing most turns due to the challenges the rest of the army combined w/ them presents in terms of target priority. Again, if they get shot at instead, you're winning.
- These guys are tailor built to tackle AV12 and AV11 and AV10 transports ... all of their weapons are effective against these armor ratings. This means that having a trio of them custom builds you to tackle the king shit armies on the competitive pole right now - meched up transport-heavy guard and meq lists.

2) Baal Predators
- These guys are going to die often, and miss often, and you shouldn't mind that. They are extremely in your face threats that will unnerve opponents and give you unique advantages against numerous foes. Take, for example, gunline Tau with kroot bubblewrap. If you are going first, you can tank shock their kroot bubblewrap with its LD7 three times on turn 1, and immediately side armor assault cannon their transports or hammerheads or piranhas while inside of disruption pod range.
- When you aren't going first, in a good list, it will sometimes behoove you to race them forward and present AV11 side armor opportunities for your opponents (preferably ones where you still have cover anyway). See points about this in the Predators entry above.

3) Most other BA vehicles, esp. all Rhino chassis base
- Vindicators, Rhinos, Razorbacks ... they are all Fast now. While you pay a premium, this is something to take advantage of. Reach out and touch somebody with a demolisher cannon from 36" away, find the task of getting side armor shots with razorback weaponry a piece of cake, turn razorbacks into miniature Immolators for cheaper, etc. Let's look at some range numbers as well ... if you have a 12" deployment "pitched battle," for transports, you get a second turn charge range measuring from your table edge for the guys inside that reaches 45" across the table. Your 6" melta range is 51" from your table edge by turn 2.

4) Sanguinary Priests
- 6" Aura of Feel No Pain and Furious Charge on an Independent Character who only costs 50 points
- 3 of them per Force Slot
- Ability to still have 2 meltaguns in a 9 man assault squad (via infernus pistol) allows you to safely take 9, put them in a rhino, and attach a sang priest to keep that aura safe
- Combine the above information and utilize for silliness involved with an army that is all FNP and FC all the time
- Ponder the meaning of S9 TH/SS termies with 2+/3++/4+FNP

5) Blood Talon Heavy Flamer Furiosos
- Lots of power weapon attacks on the charge (for a dread) pre-empted by a heavy flamer and/or a meltagun all going at S7 often (furious charge aura!), re-rolling to wound, and generating new attacks off every successful wound, attacks that themselves can generate new attacks

It's hard not to build a lot of lists that comprise of lots of assault squads in razorbacks or rhinos (depending on squad size / personal preference) backed up by sanguinary priest action, coupled with 6 predators or at least predator chassis. This is ok - these lists are really good. If your list contains 3 AC/2xLC preds and 3 TLAC no-sponson Baals, you're off to a pretty good start for most regions and opponents.

- Mike

Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Blood Angels - Kneejerks

OK, so the BA finally have a codex again, instead of DLC.


First thoughts before I head out for a day in DC?

1) If your marines don't have FNP and Furious Charge, always basically, you're doing something wrong.
2) If you aren't taking advantage of absurdly good dreadnaughts to some degree, especially when it's theoretically possible to be assaulting w/ them out of vehicles, you're possibly doing something wrong.
3) Space Marine vehicles should ALL be "fast" without the capacity to move 18", so while them being fast is awesome across most of their vehicles, it's not that big a deal - it's what they should have had competitively and fluffily in the first place.
4) This entire codex is Matt Ward trying to change the mech metagame himself.

OK, gf's here, I'm out!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beer of the Week - Clipper City Loose Cannon

Loose Cannon is one of Clipper City Brewery's "Heavy Seas" brews, a heavily hopped and absolutely awesome tasting IPA.

I'm not a big fan of IPAs typically, but this one takes the cake in terms of crisp, refreshing flavor that improves dramatically as it approaches room temperature.

Loose Cannon is one of Clipper City's best if you can ever find it on cask.

I am generally using this to recommend Clipper City in general. It's one of the better breweries in the region bar none, and kicks the living poo out of Dogfish Head (in my opinion), which is the region's more well-known rising microbrewery.

Named after Baltimore (where the brewery is located), Clipper City puts out a ton of great beers, but its stand-outs are from the Heavy Seas line, and include "Small Craft Warning," an Imperial IPA/Pilsner that they label an "Uber Pils" and that's one of my favorite brews on tap (typically I get it from Hard Times Cafe in Springfield, VA, where it's always on tap).

I'll be trekking out to Churchkey in DC again on Saturday, this period's amazing brewlist located here:

- Mike

It's a 7.25%