Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Deathwatch Session 4

Welcome to the forth session of Deathwatch...

For easy reference I'm going to start using character names.

Brother Griswald, the Black Templars Sergeant
Brother Yoric, the Space Wolves Assault Marine
Brother Rathan, the Blood Angels Assault Marine
Brother Drake, the Dark Angels Devastator Marine
Brother Loker, the Dark Angels Apothecary.

The Planetary Govenor takes us to the Astropath's tower. Letting us in to see her, we set up a message to be relayed to the nearest Imperial Fleet and to our masters in the Deathwatch.

No sooner is the message being sent when we are attacked by hordes of cultists coming through the walls. Yoric uses his Flamer to attack one, backed up by Drake's Heavy Bolter. Their return fire dealt him some damage, but only just clipped Yoric in the arm.

Our fight goes well, but I trigger Psychic Phenomena, nearly knocking myself unconcious. Luckily, I manage to make my Willpower roll. We soon reduce the 3 hordes to their leaders, which prove to be just as little trouble.

The Astropath gets the message out, and we discover where the Broodlord's nest is. We plan our method of getting there and rest to remove our fatigue. The nest is under a Promethium Factory in the heart of enemy territory.

En route, we pick up a distress call from some nearby PDF in a pub. We reconnoitre the area and discover a cultist stronghold with several hordes and some Heavy Stubber teams. After missing 3 times, Loker finally fells one of the gunners, and the Assault Marines charge over to the other two nests. Drake opens up one one of the hordes, damn near killing half of them. The combat goes pretty succesfully, but due to time considerations, we take on the other areas of the stronghold next session.....

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Spring Dawning

So, as of tomorrow, 15th May, Heroclix Modern Age reaches rotation again. The fact that Neca have retired sets shows that they are going to keep with the annual practice, which took a longer hiatus than the break between owners.

So, this time around we lose four sets, the first major sets with cards for the figures. This is also an important quartet of sets to lose because they take with them the major colossal figures. The ones from Giant Sized X-Men are far fairer to play against, compared to the likes of Galactus and the Sinestro Corps Anti-Monitor. These sets are:-

Justice Leagure
Monsters and Mutations

While we still have plenty of legal sets and figures within Modern Age, it is with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to these sets. Let's go through the figures I will miss and the figures I am glad to see the back of.

They shall be missed;
Captain America
His sculpt was awful, but he was a potent 100 point fighter. Much maligned on the internet for his potato head, I always found him to be worth the points.
The Young Avengers
Most of this team leaves before we get a Speed to go with them. That's a shame, especially given the recent sets giving us full teams.
The Invaders
Another them leaving, this time a much more playable one. They were especially good during the 5 weeks of Sealed Booster play that happened for the set.
Winter Soldier
The inspiration for the title of this post, and possibly the figure I've used the most from these four sets. 70 points gets you the most lethal sniper the game has ever seen. This is the figure I'm going to miss most, but he shall be replaced in the Captain America set by a new dial and his Bucky-Cap sculpt.
The Heralds of Galactus
We fought long and hard over 5 weeks for these bad boys. All of them are pretty good in their own right. These events are also the start of my judging career, so I also have the alternate Judge promo versions.
Glad they are gone;
Moon Knight
So, these were the first figures in a main set with special powers. And if this guy uses his Perplex, it damages him. Which them removes the stat bonus... Somebody dropped the ball when designing that power, and he received no errata to fix him. It's a sham because he was otherwise good for his points.
The Liberators
No wonder these guys lost the fight. Not only does this set supply the only two members of this team the game has seen so far, but it also gives them such terrible stats. It's like the designers wanted them to auto lose any fight. They even made one of the two a Super Rare :(
Identical dial to the original version, but being able to make one less action a turn makes hin weaker. Also, something is wrong with the paint on these. If kept in the box, the paint melts onto the plastic. This was still happening to them a year later. Mine isn't sticky anymore, but I don't keep it confined either.

Justice League
They shall be missed;
Hector Hammond
He looks like Richard Nixon, and if you hit him for just enough damage he becomes 0 move. This allows you to spend the rest of the game dancing just out of his range while he can do nothing about it. And he looks like Richard Nixon.
Justice Legion A
A cool team, pointed to make a variety of teams at a variety of points level, it was a shame that all but one of these guys was Super Rare. They were cool enough to make me get they comics they are from,  to find out more about them.
He had some interesting abilities, especially his healing ones. Shame that his dial was too strong for the points, especially if your opponent is unprepared
Glad they are gone;
Overrated and overused. We had five weeks of sealed, where he dominated because he was common and the map for the events was covered in the hindering terrain he needs. After that, we quickly adapted and he was never a problem again. In fact, no-one got much decent use out of the character until his Arkham Asylum versions were produced. Glad he is gone though, because as easy as it is to deal with him, it makes it no less annoying to see him every round in a tournament.
Overcosted and doesn't do anything. His powers are badly worded and confusing to use. Then, in the next set they produce the Super-Adaptoid with the same special powers for the same points. However, the Super-Adaptoid also has other powers and abilites, which Parasite doesn't.
See Parasite above but replace confusing with cool and Super-Adaptoid with Jericho.
The Starro Slaves
Cheap versions of the characters makes them weak versions of the characters. Also, the only thing that lets you know they are slaves of Starro is the starfish over their faces on the sculpts. They have no powers to represent this and keyword via the Justice League of America keyword. Seems like a missed opportunity.

Mutations and Monsters
They shall be missed
The Cuckoos
Awesome special powers gives a team with built in synergy. I ran these guys at the last Nationals and they are awesome.
The Marvel Zombies
A chance for those of us who didn't get hold of the original chases to play the team. They are also pretty good, if you pretend Iron Man doesn't exist.
Professor X
Cerebro is an awesome special power, and he is especially good with the Cuckoos. He also has range 12.
Glad they are gone;
The Hood
He doesn't do anything. He is 28 points of do nothing. I know he was made before the character became a powerful mob boss with help from Dormmamu, but surely he wasn't worth doing like this. Might as well wait for a time he would be more relavant then give him this dial. He doesn't even fit the themes of the set.
I'll admit I used this feat at Nationals, but that was the problem. It was broken. Somebody figured out how to use it to hide behind a Barrier every turn. I used it to make Hypersonic Speed attacks with the same figure every turn. I broke a fundamental rule of the game, 2 actions in every three turns, without giving a drawback. Glad feats are gone from the game as it's harder to regulate what figures they will be used on.

They shall be missed;
The Metal Men 
A cool team, glad to see them all make a set. They were even quite playable if used carefully.
A little overplayed, but just the right power level for his points, and beatable unless used properly. Not an auto win piece, but hard to lose with.
At Nationals I used him to back up the Cuckoos and I wasn't disappointed. A tie-up piece with Mind Control and great defensive powers. His -2 Perplex is also amazing.
Azrael as Batman, awesome sculpt and ok dial.
The Teen Titans
So, my favourite DC team. This set gave it some awesome figures. And then at Nationals my 1st boosted for sealed had a complete team of them. It's a shame so many are leaving Modern Age, but DC75th gave us some awesome figures to replace them on the roster.
Glad they are gone;
The Royal Flush Gang
The whole team is here, and they are rubbish. I'm not sure who's foes they are meant to be but I feel like nearly any good guy figure could take them on single handedly, let alone with back up.
Star Sapphire
So it mentions in the background on the card that there is a Star Sapphire Corps. This is fine, she was made after this was revelaed in the comics. They are since made two more members of this corps. So why has she got no keywords? She can't even theme with the Injustice League as suggested by her team ability. There doesn't seem to be a reason for this, which really let the figure down, especially since the Blackest Night pack came out.

Mourn for the allies we have lost. Rejoice for the foes that are gone. The battlefield of Modern Age has changed and we have more recruits coming this year...   

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Foreshadowing Revisited

So, it's a week and a half since I set myself the task of 7 posts in one week. How did I do?

Not well.

For a myriad of reasons, I only managed 3 of the 7 articles. Taking it from the top:-

Building A Legacy - I will attempt to write this article later this week. I'm making steady progress and want to discuss the methodology behind what deck I am building and how I am going about it.

Leak Gets 4 for 1 - This was an astounding success. Not only did I get the article written they way I wanted, I even got it published on a UK magic site.

Basically, when I linked it on Facebook, I was asked by the person who runs Manaleak if they could run it as an article. I said yes, they edited it, addded pictures and published it. This makes me happy, but also makes me want to ensure that any further magic posts I make are good enough to get published. We shall see if I can continue to meet that high standard.

Standard Report - I've got to be honest, my last couple of standard tournaments were terrible and as a consequence, I haven't played in a month. I think this article should wait until I get some NPH play under my belt, to see if I'm in a slump or if the metagame has turned against my deck.

#banJace - I've left it a little late to discuss this topic. I'm not convinced I want to dedicate time to talk about the pros and cons of banning Jace, especially when I don't personally care either way. I'll leave it to the myriad of people out there that write articles and champion one side or the other.

Deathwatch - It took two weeks, but I got the article written. The delay wasn't actually my fault, and I wrote a filler article to replace it. I'm not convinced by the writing style for it, but will attempt to improve on that as the sessions go on.

Winds of Change - This article was written, and I feel it was fine. I let the link explain the changes, while I went over what they meant for my players.

Spring Dawning - This is the biggest failure on my part. This article should be fairly easy to write, but I kept letting other stuff get in the way. Hopefully I can also get this one done this week.

So, it was technically three and a half out of seven done. A little disappointing, but at least it's a start. Maybe I was a little ambitious, but by setting a big goal I managed to set up a precedent. Now I have to try and post three articles a week minimum. It even nicely segregates into one for each of the main themes for my posts. Hopefully I can maintain that momentum going forward.

So this week:-

Deathwatch - wherein I recount the third session of this game. Already posted this entry, and the result (spoiler alert :p) is that Genestealers nearly kill us all...

Spring Dawning - wherein I look at what figures Modern Age Heroclix loses with next weeks retirement.

Building A Legacy - wherein I explain the process behind my chosen Legacy Magic decks.

Deathwatch Session 3

Well, on to the session....

We entered the Warehouse, wandering the corridors. Making our way around crates filled with Lasguns, we came to a T-junction. The Sarge suggests splitting the team into two groups so we can explore both directions efficiently. One Combat Squad comprising of Sarge, the Apothecary and the Blood Angel, meanwhile I'm put in charge of the  Devastator and the Space Wolf.

We head left, while the other group head right. Sarge's group travel for 10 minutes before their Auspex gets a ping. There is a group of life forms coming up behind them. Led by an Officer with a Power Weapon and a Plasma Pistol right into the Apothecary's sights. He fires his Boltgun on full auto, but fails to hit the Officer. Only Sarge's shot hits, but doesn't seem to do much damage. Meanwhile the cultists hit the Blood Angel. The second turn is even less effective for our heroes, with the Blood Angel taking more damage but no one managing to retaliate. The third turn yeilds successful damage, but the cultists pass their morale check. Luckily, the fourth turn yields better dice rolls and they wipe the cultists out.

Meanwhile, our group run head long into a group of cultists. The Space Wolf charges towards them, but gets hit three times, including twice to the head. Heavily wounded, the Space Wolf opens up with a flamer, doing a little damage to the cultist group. However, as the Space Wolf enters close combat, the cultists rip off his kneecap. I charge into the fray but spectacularily miss. Our retaliation takes out the group....eventually. (Force Swords are awesome).

This cleared the warehouse of cultists, and we met back up to heal our wounds. Moving on to the Govenor's Palace. We find a group of nobles in the entrance hall being pounced on by Genestealers. Engaging them in combat, the Apothecary takes a kicking. Most of us take small injuries, but I retaliate and destroy my opponent in one hit. Force Swords are pretty lethal, especially one-on-one.

The Devastator takes his opponent out with a Bolt Pistol but the Assault Marines flounder. Luckily the Apothecary doesn't get hit, so isn't finished off. One hit and he is probably dead. I charge over to save Sarge, but fail my attack. Sarge finishes his opponent off, and I charge over and save the Blood Angel, who had his eyes ripped off by his opponent. The Apothecary tries to fix his leg, but fails his roll. The Devastator takes down another, but that leaves the Genestealer that is chasing the Planetary Governor. The Space Wolf gets to him first, outside the Governor's office,  with me in hot pursuit. We take it down quite easily.

The Apothecary starts healing up the rest of the team, while we talk to the Governor. He takes us to the House of Echoes to meet the Astropath....

To be Continued....

Thursday, 5 May 2011


Unfortunately, due to a member of the team being ill this week, there is no session this week. So instead, I shall bring readers up to speed on the events of the first two sessions.

Our squad is :-
A Black Templar Sergeant,
A Space Wolves Assault Marine,
A Blood Angels Assault Marine,
A Dark Angels Devastator Marine,
A Dark Angels Apothercary,
and An Imperial Fists Librarian; Brother Absalom (played by yours truly)

We've been sequestered to the Deathwatch,  a branch of the Inquisition. They take the best Space Marines availablefrom all chapters and train them specifically to deal with Aliens. As time goes by, they specialise in defeating Xenos menaces, until they either die or their time is up and they return to their home chapters.

Our squad has been briefed that on a nearby planet, an Inquisitor has been investigating a suspected Genestealer infestation. Contact has been lost, and a civil war has broken out. We are going in to rescue the Inquisitor, quell the war and eradicate the Xenos.

The ship taking us to the system jumps in, only to be ambushed by scouts for a Tyranid fleet. They blew up our ship, but not before we jumped into a Drop Pod and made planetfall.

Crashing into a church, the squad deploy and run into a small PDF unit being assaulted by rebels. The Assault Marines grab the leader of the PDF to help ascertain which side is corrupted. "He" turns out to be a Callidus Assassin who quickly explains the situation. The Inquisitor has gone missing, and the Xenos have nearly won. Also a nearby Hive Fleet is incoming.

We rapidly wipe out the cultists, and move on through the city. Finding the spaceport, we are equally adept at clearing out the cultists there and providing relief for the PDF. There ended the first session, only minor injuries despite a couple of Genestealers being hidden umongst the cultists at the spaceport.

Session two started great for our Apothecary. He rapidly sorted out all the wounds,  though he did fail to effect the Devastator who had only lost one hit point. This single point of damage refused to heal. Could it prove to be his undoing? Only time will tell.

The pendulum swung against him though. Moving on to the armory building, we decided to opt for a little stealth. I started sneaking along, as I have some how managed all game. Despite being an 8 foot tall combat machine in large, clanking, powered armour, I am able to pass any stealth rolls I want. Luck of the dice so far, don't really want to push that given what happened next.

Our Apothecary decided to also go on a scouting trip. However, his dice roll was so appalling he essentially decided to attach tank treads to his boots and a rocket pack to his back. His sneaking amounted to double timing down the middle of the street yelling marching songs.

This led to our joint discovery of cultist weapon positions about to launch an assault on a PDF defensive position. While I noticed siege weapons preparing to open fire on the defensive wall, the Apothecary got noticed by the cultists. This led to the nearest group opening fire on him, which would have been ok if they hadn't been packing heavy weapons.

In tabletop, the ubiquitous Heavy Stubber is the heavy weapon for those who can't afford better. An analog for the Heavy Machine-gun, it's stats aren't that impressive, being only slightly more poweful than a Lasgun and only having a slightly larger rate of fire than a Boltgun. Turns out here though, that a large group of them is dangerous, even fired by untrained cultists.

Our Apothecary dropped like a stone and actually nearly died. Actually nearly died. The short round of firing has left him in a position where, even after trying to sort out his on wounds post-combat, getting into a serious fight will probably finish him off. This is a precarious position for anyone, but he is the team medic. Losing him could rapidly be followed by losing the rest of the team, especially as we currently have no way of contacting back up nor getting off planet.

It took some effort, but we managed to shift the cultists and stop the seige weapons. Making sure the PDF were ok, we moved on to the next objective, which would unfold next session...

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Winds of Change

Oh no, the sky is falling.

Wizkids announced that they are changing the rules for Heroclix. Obviously, this means the sky is falling, we all need to relearn the game and this inferior rule set will have us all uitting in droves.

In reality, the changes are all tweaks rather than full rewrites, and not a whole lot changes. In actuality more things make sense. To download the new Rulebook and Powers And Abilities Card, while reading NBPerps explanation of the changed powers, go to :-

I'm going to talk about how the changes actually affect the way we play the game, especially locally.

Close Combat Expert
This can now be combined with Super Strength to get the object damage bonus on top of the CCE damage bonus. Rule of Three still applies. There aren't a huge amount of figures we commonly use that benefit from this and most of those have move and attack powers as well. The best thing I can see about this is taking more light objects for those figures that can use both, while providing less heavy objects for their opponents. Otherwise, since most objects are used up in the first few attacks, no one locally will care.That said, I do like the change as it always seemed odd that a super strong expert of close combat couldn't use his full skill with the object, while others can use the object to exploit your weaknesses.

This really isn't going to make much of a difference on existing figures. This is a power that is rarely relavent in local games, though sometimes flyers that gain it can be knocked into terrain. This change is more to clean up the power vs special powers. Now if you are Earthbound then you are stuck without combat abilities, regardless of what your trait and special powers say. Keeps it simple, in my opinion, as now light green on move = no combat abilities. That's all you need to remember for that power, no exceptions.

So now this is a move action that ignores other characters completly. It gets around the rarely seen Hypertime team ability while now comboing with team abilities that give Move actions with out using up actions from your allotted total. A subtle change, as most teams aren't large enough to take advantage, and none of the keyworded Modern Age Brotherhood have the power. Could be useful in larger games though.

This also becomes a move action, which gives it most of the same benefits as above. Again, not something that will be hugely relevent. People should use this more locally cause I love using Elevated Terrain to gain a commanding fire point.

Battle Fury
This got a boost. it now ignores Incapacitate and Shape Change. This is a huge benefit, as Shape Change has appeared on a lot of figures recently as a defensive power. Could spell trouble for figures such as Nightcrawler if you can get such a figure to him. Not sure what figures this affects, but as long as people remember it, it's a good change. Unfortunately, I can see people remembering this as often as they remember Shape Change in the first place.

Energy Explosion
This power no longer causes damage on a fumble. A small benefit that will often be forgotten as it comes up too infrequently to be memorable. Especially as this power sees little play locally.

This power no longer causes damage on fumbles, nor extra damage on crits. Again, not something that's going to get a whole lot of notice locally, due to the probability of those dice rolls and the frequency of this powers use.

Now when using this power, your damage becomes 2. Doesn't matter if it was higher or lower before you activated the power. Not sure how many figures this affects currently, but I can see there being more figures with this power and a printed damage value of 1 from now on. I like this change.

Shape Change
Now this power is worded better, everyone understands what happens when the roll succeeds. I remember when we thought that somebody using Hypersonic could move on to attack someone else if their first attack was foiled. Now they can't, if you can't choose a new target for the attack from where you are you are stuck. A nice simplification.

On the downside, this now only triggers 2/3rds of the time rather that 50%. On the upside, it now trigger multiple times in a turn and remove action tokens from adjacent cheaper figures. This means teams that use cheap leaders like Samuel L Jackson can take another leader as a back up and get even more actions, while the recent slew of high cost figures that have Leadership actually get a benefit from the power without needing to be in a million point game.

Pulse Wave
You can now use this while based. That make the power much stronger, and might actually have it see more play. I can't remember the last time someone used it locally. I'm pretty certain it involved Black Bolt.

This is only active during your opponents turn. Makes sense, as during their turn you are more likely to be hiding. Really only affects uses of Probability Control as little else your opponent can do can happen during your turn. A nice change,

Probably the change that affects me most, as I have always been the bigget proponent of the power. The changes to line of sight are minimal, as it just requires slightly more thinking on your positioning. Most of the figures I  move with it have some form of move and attack, so my opponents positions mean little. The big thing is that when throwing an object, this targets the square and not the figure. This allows it to get around Stealth. As if I needed more encourgement to use Magneto :)

Move and Attack
This is now Hypersonic but worse. They've added the half range from that power, but kept the -2 attack and the inability to use the power if already based. This makes Transporters much worse and will see the use of this power fall away locally.

Great Size
This removes some of the weird differences there were between Colossal and Giant figures. Now Colossals are Giants with added benefits. No longer do Giants break away easier than Colossals. This change is important now there are Colossals that are playable in smaller games with out being dominating like Starro and Galactus.

This has been simplified so more people can understand how to work out the knockback path. Never a bad thing.

Multiple Elevations
A complaint people had with the Web of Spider-man Bridge map was that the bridge is on the same elevation as the water. That doesn't make a huge amount of real world sense, but was needed to allow for action to happen on top of the towers. How else would your Green Goblin be able to kill off your Gwen Stacy bystander token at this iconic location? Now, with multiple elevations, they can make a wider range of more interesting maps. Hopefully the local players will learn to use elevation to their advantage now.

Now powers can't be cancelled. An important change, but rarely relevant.

Free Actions
Now all free actions are once per turn unless stated otherwise. The majority of these already were, especially the ones we used,  so this doesn't change a much. I can see it having a major affect on Gen Con level tournaments though.

Double Power Actions
Giving a name to something they intend on doing with Special Powers. It will be interesting to see what new powers this lets them come up with.

Wild Cards
Now wild carding is a repeatable free action during your turn. Whatever you choose last sticks for your opponents turn. Not a huge change for the locals as no one plays wildcard abuse teams anyway.

Theme Teams
This reduces the benefits of having a themed team. Now you can't give somebody the Probability Control if they have already used the power that turn. You also get less attempts at this dependant on build total. Also, above 400 points, you need more figures on the team to get the bonus. This is going to hurt the expensive figures that are already difficult to build thematic teams with. I feel it comes from the online backlash towards generic keywords. This will be the biggest change locally, and the one I can see people needing reminding on the most. People still need reminders on the old rules without them now changing.

The majority of these changes are positive ones and I'm in favor of them all. The big problem with the changes is that they are not being accompanied by a printed rulebook. There is no word currently on when the next starter is going to be out. While the rules are freely available for download, I personally prefer a hard copy. It means I can read it without having to carry the Netbook around. I also prefer reading books rather than a computer screen. It would also have been nice for a starter to be announced so we can look forward to new figures :)

What I don't look forward to is reminding people of the changes every five minutes, especially to those with little time/net access to read the changes for themselves. The lack of starter feels like a complete lost opportunity.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Leak gets 4 for 1

Possibly the strongest card advantage swing for a Mana Leak...

So, just before WOTC were about to start spoiler season, the pdf file containing images of the whole New Phyrexia(NPH) set hit the internet. This file, known as a Godbook, contained everything in the set, all the cards and artwork. This meant that everyone had access to the information before WOTC could start it's usual planned spoilers.

Their response was to post the entire visual spoiler, usually reserved for the end of spoiler season, right at the start of the week. This solved the information problem, but didn't tell us what had gone wrong. Had the Godbook been released by an angry member of staff or somebody at the printers?

Then, on Thursday, we got this announcement from WOTC:-

And it was revealed that the leak came from the current World Champion, the 2nd place runner-up and two of their friends. Guillaume Matignon writes for a French magazine, and gets sent the Godbook to provide a set review as an article. He gets sent it early so that the article can get written and printed in time to be published with the set, not a month later when such information would be out of date. Fine so far, but how did that translate into the world getting it, especially since presumably he has been doing this for several sets. provided us with the answer, via an article by Caleb Durward:-

wherin he details chats where the Godbook popped up, and his personal investigation into who was involved.

This has caused quite the furore amongst the MTG community. For many people, they see this as Pro players getting sent information to keep them at the top of the game. That maybe this is WOTC's way of promoting personalities amongst the Pro Tour, to in turn promote the game.

The reality is probably less conspiritorial than that.

For years, WOTC have used printed magazines as a form of subtle advertising. Basically, every time a magazine does an article about Magic the Gathering, it advertises the game. The same applies these days to websites. Obviously, magazines/websites that specialise in gaming want to do set reviews. As a new set comes out, it's pretty much all the readership are going to be talking about, so why not give them your writers views.

The problem faced is that while a website can write an article and post it in the same day, a magazine can't do that. I don't know the lead time on such things, but a writer has to write an article, submit it to the editor, who then checks it and sends it off to the typesetters who put it in the magazine. It then has to be printed, the copies sent off to the distributors, who send it to the shops. Then at some point you buy it and read it.

If a writer has to wait for a set to release to see the set, then they have a problem. Given that many magazines are monthly, the next issue after a set is revealed by WOTC could be up to a full month later. By then, players have been to a pre-release, a launch party, bought boosters and started playing with the cards in their constructed decks. If a review comes out then, nobody cares because anything you say was said by you a month ago. Any opinions have already proven to be accurate or inaccurate.

The chosen way around this was to send select publications the Godbook early, so they can get the articles done in a timely fashion. This is fine as a concept, but leads to a large problem.

With early access to the set, a player can make proxies and get a jump on playtesting. They can explore the card combos and interactions before anyone else, therefore knowing which cards they need to pick up when the set releases to make the most competetive deck. They can also get a jump on speculating on card values, grabbing pre-order bargains before everyone else realises how good a card is.

WOTC make the people they send the Godbook sign a non-disclosure agreement meaning they can't show it to anyone else. This also curtails advancec playtesting, as it is hard to get decent testing done without a partner. However, this presumes that WOTC find out you've shown someone the cards.

It's a safe bet that the Guilliames had been doing this for a while. It's not like they were going to report each other. It seems that this time round they invited the wrong person into their circle of trust and paid the price. A three year ban for Matignon, and a one and a half year ban for the others involved. That punishes the transgressors, but what does it mean for the future?

Obviously the problem isn't limited to Pro Players who write for magazines. Anyone who gets sent a Godbook might have friends who play. Anyone could gain an advantage from the information if they are smart enough with the right group of people. It doesn't make up for skill, but practice and testing can lead to skill increasing. So getting the jump on the competition can help anyone, especially for the first few weeks. And if your group aren't stupid with the information, then WOTC never find out.

This leads to a difficult position, which could potentially lead to WOTC having to end their policy of sending the Godbook to article writers. The damage done to the integrity of Pro play alone is bad enough, without the damage done to the marketing machine. It's hard enough for magazines to compete with the daily content of the Internet, and this could prove to be the death knell for magazines such as Lotus Noir. We've already lost both Inquest and Scrye to the Internet.

As for the Guilliame's integrity; while they may have consistently had the cards a month or two before everyone else for the past few years, they would still need personal skill to be able to take advantage of this. Such information really only helps for the first couple of events after a set releases. It's not even a huge help for limited as you don't know the print runs. It's a shame this will be a blight on their careers, but if they can get through the ban period they are probably skilled enough to work their way back to the top of the game. And they will have learned to be careful who they trust, even if they take nothing else away from the experience.

Sunday, 1 May 2011


In an effort to motivate myself into more regular content, I will announce in advance the posts I am going to attempt to make each week.

This week:-

Building a Legacy - a look into the decks i am looking at playing in the Legacy format, and how I'm going to get the card pool.
Leak get 4 for 1 - a brief talk about the leak of New Phyrexia.
Standard Report -  how I've been doing in Standard recently and what cards from NPH I'm looking for.
#banJace - my views on the powerhouse of Standard.

Deathwatch - my first attempt at chronicling our adventures as a group of Space Marines sequestered to the Deathwatch.

Winds of Change - a look at the rules changes, and how they affect figures I love.
Spring Dawning - a fairwell to the Winter Soldier as Modern Age retirement gets announced

That's SEVEN posts planned. If I can pull this off, then maybe I can start giving regular content. Maybe then I can start promoting the blog and obtaining a larger readership.

Shout-out to Jamie Wetherill. I don't know if anyone else reads this, but I know he does :D