Sunday, December 8, 2013

Paca Prep #1

Soon the holidays will be over and it will be time to slim down.  No, not losing the winter weight gained in an excess of Egg Nog consumption, football watching, grazing on all the tasty sweets, and the occasional gluttonous meal as a response to having to spend time with the in laws.  Rather, we are closing in on the Waagh Paca Tournament.  To participate, I will need to slim down my normal 2,500 point army to a svelte and sexy 2,000 points.  This is not as easy as it sounds and this will be my first article on Paca.

First the ground rules. 

  •  If you are expecting an article on how to fine tune an army to be optimized to walk over all the competition, you have come to the wrong blog.  I tend towards less then optimal lists, and even some wacky ones.  However, I make sure to cover a number of bases. 
  •  Waagh Paca is held on the frozen tundra of Wisconsin in January.  For this Californian born and raised boy, just walking from the hotel to the venue will be an excruciating endurance and survival challenge.  Add in the Feats of Strength competition on Saturday night, which I will undoubtedly enter despite being twice as old as the other competitors, well, lets just say I see nothing but pulled hamstrings in my future.  But in the best tradition of Rocky IV, I shall head to the mountains in couple of weeks, run through the snow dragging a sled and chop wood to make myself mentally and physically ready for this grueling tournament.  (See Hinge’s rambling #1 below).
Even working on the Paca Beard!

  • Keeping with the Rocky IV theme, I have challenged the Ivan Drago of the Mid-West, Mr. Mike “Nabrolean” Gerrold.  
    Why would I challenge this dude?  See Hinge's Ramblings #2

  • The Mid-Westerners like their warhammer like they like their chees-Straight out of the box.  Ok, that is some sort of over generalization about mid-westerners and cheese, hell, for that matter, I love cheese, but if you cannot dabble in some generalizations on your own blog, where can you?  Anyways, if I survive my match with Nabrolean, I am sure to face all sorts of cheese of another kind (see what I did there?).
  • Last February, I vowed to the Point Hammered boyz to play O&G at the next Waagh Paca.  I am a man of my word and Lizards and WoC will have to stay behind.  The tourney is W/L/D with an objective point available.  Lists are closed.  See Hinge’s Ramblings #3.  It is a heavy soft score tournament where battle, paint, and sports are all equal for Best Overall, though there is Best General if I want to just focus on Battle.  

So where to start.  My first thought was to take things out of my normal tourney list (West Coast Tournament army found here). The easiest thing to do was to dismount the general from his Wyvern and drop the Arock.  However, I felt this changed the entire character of the way I played this army.  Generally I would fling the chaff out to try and control the movement phase while I set up a combo charge from the Savages and Wyvern.  Hopefully the Arock could come into the flank (everyone forgets it can charge over a building) but I could also use its stubborn to hold up a flank if need be.  The light artillery line as well as Foot would force my opponent to come to me.  Any warmachine hunters that were not intercepted in mid field would be welcome to my artillery.  I was going for big points elsewhere.  I really tried to turn the match into one of movement.  However, the single most important piece to this strategy was the 18” IP of the general.  O&G leadership is crap, and with units all over the place, I needed that extra range to hold things together. 

So I have decided scrap that idea and build a force from the ground up.  The first decision was what style did I want to play?  O&G are the new dwarfs, albeit green, smellier and with a magic phase.  They can do a gunline with the best of them, so do I go down that route?  I find that style of play boring, not to mention Sports counts as a third of the score at Paca and an opponent may not find it sporting if I castle in the corner.  So while I will take artillery, it will not be the emphasis of the list.  Rather I want to try for a version of my “aggressive gunline” ways.  No castling in the corner and waiting for the opponent to come to me.  Rather use my tried and true tactics but in a more compact way and meet my opponent in midfield. 

The Meat: 
I decided on two combat blocks.  The first is a 40 man sguig herd.  I love massed ST 5 attacks.  It stood me in good stead with my Woc and should work fine here.  The unit is ItP so I have the option to let it stray farther from the general.  It does lack fortitude and I really should find a way to beef up the number of goblins so it does not pop early.  However, it is a risk I am willing to take and this unit should dent anything before going down. 

I have a tougher choice with the second block and ties directly with my choice of general.  The first choice is a Savage Orc Big'uns (or SOBU) unit.  The problem here is I feel I need to fit the Lucky Shrunken Head into the army.  This then leads to a either taking a L4 or L2 shaman to carry it and who would be my general?  An L4 would be a bad idea as general given he is only leadership 8 and is an “eggs in one basket” risk if I make him my general.  My shaman has an uncanny tendency to jump down chaos rabbit holes, and this is not a risk I can afford at this points level.  Frankly, A leadership 8 general also screams at getting this unit frenzy baited.  
So I decided to go for a standard Big Un unit with XHW.  The unit does not hit nearly as hard as a SOBU nor is it as survivable, but I think it will be more consistent.  Add in the fact that I can now take a Magic Banner and I think we have a winner.  So 30 of these not so bad guys and a Banner determined by my character selections.  Standard of Discipline for a boost in Leadership or the Razor Banner for more anti–armor goodness.  The biggest problem with this idea is I have no standard orcs painted!  Time to get busy. 

In midst painting.  I actually had to go out and buy more orcs!

The Chaff:
I am a firm believer in chaff heavy armies.  I actually pretty much kept the same chaff load out, 2 trolls, 2 wolf rider units, 2 wolf chariots.  Pump Wagons in many ways are better.  They can be geared to shred MC and can be kept behind the lines to protect the artillery.  However, I plan on moving forward and the double chariot charge can act as a great area denial/anti chaff units. 

The Artillery:
Double Doom Diver and a Rock Lobba.  I have exchanged the two spear chukka's for a second Doom Diver.  Pretty standard, though far from tame.  The artillery is there to deal with big gribblies or 1+ armor units.  Given the popularity of WoC, I feel I may be facing this army more than once.  Throw in Empire, HE cav buses, and the occasional (and underrated) Brett force and Double DD is golden.  There should be plenty of other targets available as well.  The challenge for me is to determine when to launch my own attack.  Too early and the artillery will not have had a chance to do its job.  Too late, and I may not pick up the points I am looking for. 

The Rest:
The rest of the non-character boyz includes a unit of Night Goblins + 2 Fanatics.  This will be a secondary bunker for the BSB and casters.  It also brings another ranked fortitude unit which is important in a couple scenarios.  I had to drop the nets, so this unit will most likely be behind the lines and not meant to engage. 
The Mangler is to just F with people.  If it actually does anything I will be shocked. 

The Bosses:

Let’s start with the two choices that are almost mandatory.  First my favorite:

Goblin Big Boss, Giant Wolf, LA, Shrieking Blade, Enchanted Shield, and Dragon Bane Gem-This guy is awesome.  He is a cheap piece of chaff in his own right.  He does not suffer from animosity like the wolf riders.  He can hide in units if need be.  He can lock down most units with the Banner of Eternal Flame.  Best of all, he is a K’dai hunter with two under his belt already.  A K’dai can destroy my entire army single handily.  I better be able to stop one. 

Then a spell caster.

Orc Shaman, L4, Scroll.  Yes, I make no bones about it, I want Foot and Hand.  Well mostly Foot.  I thought about two level 2’s instead (with an extra Arcane slot), so I can 6 dice foot without really carrying that my Shaman’s head explodes.  However I decided to go for a bump in Magic defense instead.  This will be my only caster.  But Hinge, how about the Lore of the Little Waagh?  Well see Hinge’s Ramblings #4.

Now the general and BSB. 

I think the decision on one impacts the other.  I really need a Black Orc in the list to knock some heads together, either the Boyz or whatever unit the Shaman is in so he can keep casting, so making one of these the BO allows me to do something else with the other. 

These were the options I came up with.

Wyvern Lord.  Advantages are the 18” IP bubble and it is a great center piece model, which given the scoring matrix, is of considerable importance.  From what I have heard, the opening of deer hunting season in Wisconsin rivals any national holiday, leading me to believe the Mid Westerner’s are all card carrying NRA members who believe in their constitutional right to bring as many cannons as they can paint up.  

At least that's what this guy tells me.
 See Hinge's Ramblings #5

So far I have nothing in my list that is a cannon worthy target that costs more than 85 points.  Throw in the fact my artillery can fire indirectly, I may be able to give opposing cannons no worthwhile targets at all.  So the Wyvern is out.

Hero level Black Orc.  Combine him with a Std. of Disc and I have my Leadership 9.  He has the additional advantage of being cheap, giving me another 100 points to spend elsewhere.  However, at 2 wounds, I would have to keep him bunkered.  This is actually the best choice at this point level.  However, it is so damn un-orcy.   I want my Warboss to get in the middle of the fighting damn it!  Plus point denial was never my thing.

Black Orc Lord.  He is expensive.  He is not that fighty for a fighty lord.  He is not that survivable (I should be mounting him on boar but see wyvern lord).  Perfect!  Let’s arm him with a Dragon Helm, ToP, and CoC.  He will be in the front line leading his drinking buddies!  The CoC makes that unit tough to shift, especially if I go with Std of Disc on those Boyz.  Of course the Razor Banner with its AP goodness is calling to me as well.  Hmmmm.  Anyways, the least optimal choice but there you have it.  He is my alter ego on the table and I did not brave these harsh artic conditions to cower behind the lines!

I shall come back with my shield or on it!

This leaves the BSB.  Let’s go cheap here and take a NG BSB.  While tempted to give the Banner of eternal flame for potential anti regen ability (trolls, chimeras, Nurgle daemons) I decided to go with the Obsidian Lodestone for some MR3 goodness.  Death Magic is a big problem.  Sniping my characters will degrade the army quickly but I have to also beware of Purple Sun, which will take it off.  So max MR to give me an option to eat a snipe spell and save Dispel Dice for P Sun.  Also, my Foot has a shocking tendency to stomp on my own troops and this provides some excellent protection.  I suspect he will spend some time hanging out with the boyz before bailing out and joining his fellows at the back of the bus. 

So there you have it.  I have anti-flaming character, as much protection against the death magic meta as I can muster, anti-armor, chaff, massed ST5 and stubborn as long as I can keep the lord alive.  I am worried about lack of flaming attacks and only one magic weapon, ethereal units may be a serious problem. I would also like to see a little more fortitude, but 2,000 points goes quickly.  

Now time to test the list a couple of times and see if it actually works.  The general framework is here but I think there are some things I want to experiment with.  I will publish the final list near the end of the month.  


Ramblings #1

So why fly (plus drive several hours) out all that way and deal with the cold just to play a tournament you may ask?  Well I had a total blast last year.  The event is in an Ale House, the beer is super cheap (especially when you are used to California prices), and the Mid Westerners have to be the friendliest bunch of guys and fellow hobbyist I have come across.  Plus I get to share a hot tub and cigs with the Skull Bros and tell them the biggest bull shit stories I can make up. 

Ramblings #2

Why indeed?  The strategy of challenging a top ranked player right off the bat may be counter intuitive to actually trying to win the tournament and you are right, but I have my reasons.  First, I must have provided mortal insult to the TO’s (Roge and Bear) in a past life.  Did I take their women?  Foreclose on their homes? Upper deck their hotel room?  Who knows but last year my strength of schedule was a full five points higher than the second hardest (I don't know Dale Bartz but he must have also committed some grave offense as well) and ten points higher than the third hardest.  Roge and Bear are clearly going to send me through the grinder so I will make their job easy and challenge last year’s Paca Champion.  Throw in the fact that Gerrold will likely be sympathetic to the hang over I am sure to be sporting Saturday morning, I enjoy his views on Warhammer when listening to Skull Bros, will drink a beer with me at 9 am, and I am likely to learn something from the inevitable ass kicking I will be receiving and I am looking forward to the match.

Ramblings #3

I am not a big fan of closed lists.  I have run into far too much unethical behavior in closed list tournaments over the years to ever change my position on this.  And really?  As an experienced tournament player, I can tell you what is in your list anyways, you are not going to surprise me.  

Ramblings #4

I actually love the lore of the Little Waagh.  There are no earth shattering spells, but cheap casting costs+Magic Mushrooms+I steal your power dice=WIN.  

Rambling #5

Having played many tournaments in Texas, I can tell you for a fact that the Texans own more guns then any other region.  This is not even a gross over-generalization!
What I imagine Texans would look like if they attended Waagh Paca!


  1. Nice list. Loving the big Squig herd, is gonna make people cry. I would have gone Savage+head anyway (maybe with a black orc bsb with leadership banner), but this is still going to rock the tournament. Good luck, and post some pics of the squigs!

  2. Hey Mike,

    Here's my response to your blog post and your initial challenge on SkullBros:

    Enjoy buddy!
    Mikey G

  3. So 4 paca prep games in so far and I am 2-2. Losses to WoC and DoC and wins against Beasts and Lizards.

    As predicted, the Foot loves to stomp on my own troops, with it happening in every game but one, and that game I did not have the spell! This includes an epic fail, where not only did it stomp directly on my troops, my shaman failed its look out sir, was wounded, failed his ward save and then killed with three wounds. Ah orcs!

    I hope to get a game or two more in before list submital deadline.

  4. Great post Hinge! Dig the detail, and the colorful commentary.