…but there are three in ‘Ontario Team Championship‘!
FACE_DOOM hits the streets to get the low down and roll some dice at the Ontario Team Championship.
So I’m sure most of you, dear readers, will have heard of the Warmachine and Hordes World Team Championship by now. Some of you even have a set of gorgeous precision measuring devices from last years team fundraiser! The team format in Warmachine has always been a tricky one to approach, the game always having been so catered to one on one play, but some methods have been thought up over the years. Perhaps the most common of these is the 5 man team format, popular for a few years now in some of the stronger American Metas and recently gaining a good deal of recognition from the WTC.
There can be no doubt that the format is catching on, and provides a few unique tactical elements to change up the standard tournament style. For these and other reasons one Mr. Scott Talarico, of Party Foul (a rapidly growing, Ontario based Warmachine website), and a few of his compatriots decided to organize a tournament in this format. Before you could say ‘[insert complicated name of Convergence Battle Engine] it had grown into the ‘Ontario Team Championship’ – and ol’ FACE_DOOM just couldn’t resist a look.
The first thing I had to do was find a team (I did debate bringing four dummies of myself, who would only be marginally worse at the game, but it seemed like too much effort). Now I believe it is important to find a team that has the same core values as you do, especially when it comes to expectations. If three members of a team just want to get rowdy drunk and make new friends, and the other two intend to run the gauntlet and win it all…there could be problems. With this in mind I found myself a group of lovable degenerates that were already forming around the concepts of beer, Warmachine, smack talk, beer, and loud noises. My kind of guys.
There we were, in all our early Saturday morning glory: “Team Guiness”. We wanted to be team ‘Party Crashers’ but felt we could embody that spirit without actually needing the name. Now this is where I should be telling you about all the practice games we played and the in depth discussions about list building and caster selections that we had, but our team wasn’t too worried about those details. We came to laugh, drink, yell, and maybe steal a game or two, and BOY did we have a good time.
I’ll admit though, not everything just fell into place by itself that weekend. There were months of deliberation and planning, and my hat goes off to Scott, Greg and the other guys from Party Foul who all put in a lot of their own time to get everything booked, set up and equipped for a great tournament with a crazy turnout for it’s first year run. Originally the plan had been to see if enough interest could be generated to have six teams register. Those spots filled up so quickly that more spots were created, and this continued until the newborn event merited renting one floor of a Burlington Legion Hall.
When all was said and done 16 teams had registered and submitted lists, totalling 80 players, with a few recognizable names such as Beermachine, Combo Smite, and even an offering by Party Foul themselves sans Mr. Talarico (as it was enough work already coordinating everything without playing as well).
Lists were submitted months in advance to be reviewed, approved, and posted online so that the particularly diligent players could do their homework and see what was common in the field and what they might be able to sneak around. They are still available at http://partyfoulwmh.com/wp/?page_id=526 if you are interested in seeing them. Flash forward to March 7th and fully sixteen teams (minus a few players) showed up, unloaded models and began milling about nervously the way we do. One Mr. Tim Banky (Canadian Warmachine vunderkind) was in attendance to judge the event, and teams had come from as far away as Kingston, Buffalo, and even the Ottawa region.
The general format of the event pits 5 man teams against each other each round. Each player has two lists and must play each one once through the day, and factions can be duplicated through your team but not Warcasters or Warlocks. Players still reveal their caster to their opponent at the table before deployment, but first individual player match-ups have to be chosen. The teams have all nominated Captains by this time, who roll off like you would in a normal Steamroller tournament. In this format though, the choice is different.
The winning Captain must decide whether he wants to have more control over the match-ups (Team 1), or choose which table each game is played on (Team 2). Both are powerful advantages so it’s not an easy decision to make. After this is decided Team 1 puts forward one players lists, and Team 2 responds with two of their own players. Team 1 selects the match-up, Team 2 selects the table, and one of Team 2’s players is left with their lists still on the table. Now Team 1 puts forward two players, and Team 2 gets to choose the match-up. We continue this way until all players have an opponent, then the games are played and scored as a best of 5 series. The team who wins 3 or more games wins the round!
Confusing, I know, but you get the hang of it quickly and it’s very fun!
Outside of the pairing process it’s really just a regular Steamroller event, with the added comfort that if three of your team mates win, you can lose and still move on! The day was full of fun, laughs, old friends and new and it appeared to this ‘reporter’ through the mist of beer and nerd sweat that everyone was having a grand old time.
The legion hall took great care of us, providing cheap Beer and pop in addition to delicious looking burgers, fries, hot dogs, and I even heard rumors of pulled pork! Lots of creative team shirts and even jerseys made the trip, and by all accounts it was a great day of Warmachine and Hordes.
The event felt like a big success, especially for it’s first time being run. A good amount of merchandise was sold, several local and web stores provided web support, and no one went to the hospital. Most of the recognizable faces from the community were in attendance and the photographer did a great job commemorating the day (more photos can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/agatha.dobosz/media_set?set=a.10101061246570971.1073741828.81011174&type=3 ). The grand prize was settled after a very long and grueling day (11am until just after 9pm) and it went to a team calling themselves ‘Charlie’s Angels’ who were made up of several powerhouse players from the Ontario/Western Quebec meta. Congratulations to Charles Soong, Chandler Davidson, Marc-Andre Leblanc, ‘Bubba’ Dalton and Chris Orr, this years winners pictured below (left to right).
Scott (aka EvilAspen) has long been a good friend of mine so I had a chance to chat with him about this process and the game in general after the OTC. Here’s a little of what was said:
Dan: What made you want to start all this?
Scott: It had never been done like this before in North America. I really wanted to play that [WTC] format. The pairing process seemed like it would add a new dynamic to the game.
Dan: It definitely did. Were you surprised at the amount of interest? I mean how many teams did you originally expect?
Scott: I had no clue on if it would fly. I had originally said if I got 4 teams I would still run it at a loss. Once the teams started sending in their payments I realized I should cap it to keep it to a one day event. 16 teams would be perfect. 4 rounds. Sold out in a week, and had 4 or 5 more teams that wanted in.
Dan: That’s crazy, but awesome.
Scott: 16 teams, 80 players, 40 games going on at once.
Dan: So obviously the event was a big success, was it enjoyable for you to run?
Scott: I did have fun. It was pretty self sufficient after set up. I wanted to start at 10:30, we started at 11:00, but we finished at 9:20 or so, made up some time. I wasn’t sure on everyone else’s thoughts on the day. So when I woke up on Sunday I checked the internet, and no bad reviews!
Dan: Pretty good for a first year event I think. Are you planning to run it annually?
Scott: It’s already booked for March 5th next year.
Dan: Any big changes in the works?
Scott: I model it after the WTC, so it depends on what they do this year. Two days would be fun to open it to more teams, but I think it will stay a one day event again. Capped at 16 teams.
Dan: I met players there from all over the place. Any thoughts on the state of the game or meta in our area?
Scott: With 80 players showing up to my event? Lol, I’d say we are in a good place. Even Black Knight [Games] had 43 players at their last event. Game is growing every year.
Dan: Great, thanks man. Anything else on the Horizon for Party Foul?
Scott: Well it’s a long way off but I’m hoping to organize an invitational style event for September of 2016, where players who qualified all over Ontario and maybe even Quebec and the North Eastern U.S. could go head to head. Would be pretty cool, as Ontario currently doesn’t have a Warmachine Weekend style invitational.
Dan: That sounds fun, so I guess people can keep their ear to the ground for upcoming qualifiers for the 2016 Party Foul Invitational, if that’s your particular cup of tea.
So the OTC is in the books, and it was a fun day for all that I’ll look forward to next year. If you haven’t visited Scott and the gang at Party Foul, go ahead and check them out. They are not as cool as Northblade and the Hysterics we have around here, but they are good people and post funny and informative videos and articles on Warmachine and Hordes.
Until next time Hysterics!