The new Warmachine book, Wrath, dropped this week. A lot of the models has been spoiled in the months leading up to the release, but there were still a good handful of surprises in there that they kept under wraps.
I'm a Protectorate of Menoth player through and through. I have a Trollbloods army on the side, but my heart is Menofix shaped. So the first thing I do whenever a new book comes out is rush to the Protectorate section and pour over the new goodies I'll be getting to play with.
However, my primary opponent plays Khador, so the second thing I do is flip to the Khador section and see what sort of ugly stuff I'm going to start seeing across the table. This is generally how it all appears to me.
As Khador is the epicenter of my meta, I'm used to dealing with hard-hitting, incredibly high armor targets. Actually at this point I'm so used to it that when I go to tournaments to play Warmachine I find myself doing double-takes at how squishy other opponents are in comparison. Light Warjacks rarely make it into my lists these days because I often need all the points I can get to deal with high ARM.
Still, because Khador is my main rival, and a formidable one at that, everytime they get a new model it generally elicits an eyeroll or two. Protectorate is a faction of synergy, denial and attrition and vengeance, and often requires a good deal of consideration on how different models will interact with eachother to get the most out of them. It requires precise management of order of operations in order to trigger effects and often a chain reaction to produce a spectacular result.
Khador has none (or very, very little) of that. Khador is all about simple, straighforward brute strength, and it has it in spades. It's not a playstyle that appeals to me, but I can understand why it attracts such a large percentage of the Warmachine crowd. "Khador smash." And they are a tough nut to crack.
Of course, while I flip to the Khador section and groan, and start theorycrafting ways to dismantle whatever new ridiculously beastly Warjack they got, or avoid whatever super feat their new Warcaster got, I guarantee that there are people out there flipping to the Cryx, or Protectorate, or Cygnar sections and doing the exact same thing. And that's the glory of the meta game.
There are now a good handful of factions (11, I believe, between Warmachine and Hordes) and hundreds of models within those factions to the point that the combinations are endless. And who you play against, and what sort of models they like to field shapes the entire game experience for you, and it likely won't be the same experience as someone playing one state over.
I sometimes converse with other Protectorate players about strategies and different uses for different models, and they'll swear up and down by a certain model that does wonderful things for them, but is of no help to me against my opponent and the models he tends to field.
And the metas shift and change like living things as new models are released, and new combinations with older models are found and latched onto by players, etc. I got into Warmachine five years ago for the hobby aspect... I loved the models and I wanted to paint them. But it's the ever-present challenge of finding newer and better combinations to outmaneuver your opponents that has kept me playing all this time.
And speaking of playing, I'll be at ConnectiCon in a few weeks, where my buddy Dan will be running Warmachine/Hordes all weekend. I'll be looking to get a few games in if you're attending and bring your stuff. Or if you're just curious about the game and would like to learn how to play, swing by the tabletop section at the con and look for Dan.
I'll also have a table, likely with some shirts and books and posters. But more importantly, I'll be looking to run another couple of test playthroughs of the CAD board game. I got some great feedback from the players at Digital Overload last month, and I've made some tweaks and changes to the game and I'm anxious to see how the second round of testing goes. So if you're interested in sitting down for about an hour to play the game at ConnectiCon, shoot me an email beforehand, or just find me at the convention and we'll work something out!