Last 15 posts from pokeminiatures

Holy Hand Grenades, Northkin!

Posted on November 21st, 2017 under Posted by

If you’re any kind of nerd, you’ve seen, made reference to, or directly quoted entire scenes from  Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Years ago, my friend Jono went to Gencon for the first time. On his blog he lamented that far too many of the nerds on the scene quoted Holy Grail as if quoting a funny movie made a situation funnier all by itself. 
So this post is for Jono?
Sorry if this brings up bad memories, dude.
For the uninitiated who haven’t seen the film (SHAME! SHAME! Sorry, mixing up my references now) there’s a scene in Holy Grail where King Arthur and his knights have been guided by the mighty sorcerer Tim (Magic the Gathering player reference!!!)to the lair of a fierce creature surrounded by the bones of the devoured. He warns them that “death awaits you all with big, nasty, pointy teeth.”
Those teeth belong to… a rabbit. And of course, Monty Python being Monty Python, the rabbit (clearly a hand puppet of some kind in the movie props department) proceeds to ravage King Arthur and his knights. The crusaders have to fall back, regroup, and call in some serious firepower.
Enter the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.
Even if you haven’t seen the comedy of Monty Python before, I think what I’ve described is enough to give you a picture of where their sensibilities lie. The plot goes from warp 5 to ludicrous as a holy hand grenade is born in upon a pillow complete with cerements and its own chanter to read out the instructions to use said armament:
..And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, “O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy.” And the LORD did grin and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats and large chu… [At this point, the friar is urged by Brother Maynard to “skip a bit, brother”]… And the LORD spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.
This joke of the blessed weapon has appeared in tabletop miniature games before like in WArhammer 40,000. The Black Templars, a chapter of the mighty space marines, a warrior order of space knights, have a holy grenade of Antioch in their Codex, directly referencing the film.
And in Warmachine, there was a less cheeky version of the holy hand grenade in the form of the Protectorate of Menoth Holy Zealots. In its first edition, the unit variety was refreshing, and Paladins, Flameguard shared a section with masses with grenades lead by priests. It might be not cool to call them suicidal bombers, but really, they were suicidal bombers in paper thin armor who relied on a priest to deliver them and hurt with their grenades..
As Warmachine evolved, these glass cannon grenadiers morphied into an attrition piece and the power of the holy hand grenades had to come down.
So now they start at POW 12 for direct hits, but when they first released they started at POW 14. They were dangerous beasts back in the day.
I stopped playing a lot of Protectorate of Menoth during that long transition, and the last time I played them was during the original release for Vindictus who could create more Zealots by “converting” heathens. 
By beating living models. Like, in the face.
I’ve missed them. 
I tried to sate my bomberman instincts with Dire Troll Bombers and Borka Grenades (yes, he has fertility grenades swinging from his belts in both versions of his model). 
But now the Kegslayer is not the only Grenadier in the faction. 
As part of the Northkin release, Northkin Raiders are versatile skirmishers who have what appear to be the most common “Northkin” statline: SPD 6, DEF 13. They start advance deployed and, like Fire Eaters, they have the means to get up in your grill. Unlike Fire Eaters, they have pathfinder, but lack all the resilience and concentrated fire (haha) power of Fire Eaters. 
Their offensive punch comes from 1″ melee and Quickwork. They are fast (for trolls) and don’t rely on a Fell Caller or buffs to get the benefit of Pathfinder, freeing up your solo to grant bonuses elsewhere or even grant them the +2 War Cry buff to more reliably trigger Quick Work  off their melee attacks. And, if necessary, you have the ability to engage models from 13″ away with a simple run, forcing someone to react to your movement as opposed to the other way around. (at least in skirmisher vs. skirmisher engagements).
I don’t think they can be completely ignored either. 9″ charges can easily turn into a 17″ threat with a grenade, or even further with the assistance of a Northkin Elder SPD buff or a warlock with a little something something to extend their threat (Hunters Grim and Mirage, Jarl with Quicken, etc.) or someone to increase their damage (Horgle the Anvil with his feat, Hooch Hauler with oil). 
Then you have all the ranged accuracy trolls have (for some reason) with feats like On My Mark or Spread the Net, Mark the Target from the Northkin Pyg unit. 
I mean, they’re nothing like the Holy Hand Grenades of the Holy Zealots, but what else can be? I’ll take hand grenades that can be Fire (or crit Fire, in this case) even if they’re not even all that holy.

Madrak Ironhide and the Sorcerers Spam

Posted on November 19th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

Ever since the current Warmachine edition, people have taken one look at Chieftain Madrak Ironhide, maybe even played a game with him, and then shoved him into the room under the stairs where unloved orphans belong.In the previous edition, Madrak1 coul…

Northkin on Fire and…Beer?

Posted on November 15th, 2017 under , , . Posted by

I couldn’t finish gushing over the new theme release for Trollbloods. Northkin feels like what I needed to get deep into the hobby again.(I would never say balls deep, though. That’s just not very deep. I mean, maybe for some people.)I stopped writing …

Fired Up Over the Northkin

Posted on November 13th, 2017 under , , , , . Posted by

A title like that would have you thinking that Northkin are all about burning things, and for a brief moment of time that seemed like it might be true; at least one Northkin unit released during the second edition of Warmachine was all about firing things up, including themselves.
Of course I’m talking about Northkin Fire Eaters. They were the perfect unit. 
The game is filled with perfect units. When I started playing Warmachine (a term we use to mean both Warmachine and Hordes) I started by collecting a Protectorate of Menoth army. Not just for their predilection towards burning things (though that never hurts) but because they seemed to have the most interesting variety in troops. They had a shield wall unit with spears and masks, knights who became stronger as their unit took losses, and even maniac grenadiers from the masses. The playstyle suited me well as you used elements of the army to support or strengthen other elements in what we liked to call “synergy.” 
All of these were perfection. 
So when Hordes and its factions released, I was looking for more of the same variety (a little paradoxical, I suppose). At first I tried to play the cannibal Tharn from the Circle Orboros, but they ate their flesh raw and I wanted fire.
And fire came from the lands of the Trollbloods.
At first it wasn’t literal fire. Skald-like Fell Callers both fought on the front lines and enhanced the warriors around them with lots of loud shouting. Trollkin Champions were both tougher and deadlier standing shoulder to shoulder against the foe. A powerful krielstone made all trolls even harder to hurt and kill.
Early on in Hordes’s release, maybe around the first expansion, Trolls saw their very first Northkin model, but at the time we didn’t know exactly what that would mean. Borka Kegslayer, a barbarian warlock from the North, was nearly the equal in leadership and fighting prowess to Madrak Ironhide (in case you haven’t figured it out, Trolls have the best surnames), but he didn’t bring any actual fire. He brought something new that would become part of the Northkin identity.
Wind and speed. Magical winds made it harder to shoot him, and once per game he could make his trolls charge into combat faster and harder.
Speed continued to be a theme in the Northkin (again,  not actually  labeled as Northkin) as Borka Kegslayer got himself cut up in a fight and returned to battle astride a bear. Champions gained the ability to charge through difficult terrain freely thanks to the addition of the officer, Skaldi Bonehammer.
And then there were Fire Eaters.
Northkin Fire Eaters, the first models to actually have the tag Northkin in their name.
Turns out there are carnie trolls who travel the land lighting their breath, and each other, on fire.  Fire Eaters are faster than most Trolls, harder to hit than most trolls, and more threatening than most Trolls. Despite their numbers, they were fantastic skirmishers in the second edition and cheap enough to include two units pretty much all of the time. 
And now in Mk3, the rest of the Northkin arrive with all of the thematic elements we’ve seen so far: speed, cold, fire, even beer. 
Probably the biggest arrival is also the easiest one to replace in your forces – the Northkin Elder. By replacing the Stone Scribe Elder Officer in the Krielstone unit, you switch the Krielstone’s secondary effects from utility to pure aggression. In addition to the standard armor bonus, the Northkin Elder can activate and make all Northkin faster (warbeasts AND warrior models), make all Northkin warriors hit harder, or make cold damage even colder (also make more damage). 
So you can have a faster Rok or Glacier King, Champions hitting at Power and Strength 14, or use magical sprays from Shamans at Power 14. 
Faster Fire Eaters. You know. Little improvements like that. 
My next favorite Northkin improvement to Trolls are the Northkin Bear Handler and Battle Bears. Trained Bears. That can ambush. And fight stronger together. They crash into battle lines and hit like trucks. Add the benefits from the Northkin Elder and they hit like trucks, but with extra teeth.
Third on my list of improvements is a warlock who adds some control/magical offense gameplay to the Trollblood, cold witch Kolgrima Stonetruth. She can protect her army from Line of Sight with clouds or defend single elements from magical spells. She can extend the threat of her warbeasts with a spell, reduce the defenses of enemy models with a spell, or even turn off enemy guns for a round as part of her feat.  Kolgrima herself can spray enemies at increased effectiveness with a spell. 
Kolgrima even comes with a boss looking owl. That thing alone is the main reason I picked her up. (I know a lot of people are excited about actively playing her because of her magical flexibility, but I’m more of a melee aggression player and prefer  Madrak World Ender to pretty much anything. However, I may have to start playing her as she can protect her army better than a World Ender can).  Woah, long parenthetical. Anyway, people seem to be looking to play her in Power of Dhunia, our beast centered force, but I´m looking for any excuse I can find to play her in the Storm of the North theme force.
All this writing and I still haven´t gotten to the drank and fire themes in the upcoming Northkin, or even anything like. I´m at 900 words or so and just fluffing out at this point to hit an artificial target number. I think next time I´ll have to write about Borka, Fire, and even more Fire. 
Oh and a beer wagon.
Thanks for reading. 

Why I Stopped Painting

Posted on November 8th, 2017 under , . Posted by

 There was a time when I painted so many models that I was running out of unpainted ones that I wanted to paint, an almost unheard of phenomenon in the miniature painting community. I was turning over couch cushions to uncover any sort of toy sold…