Friends, today I must report to you a tragic loss to the WMH community, and to KnightsMachine.
Klaas Luyckx, better known as Klaw, will not be doing another Klaw Goes VTC article this year. For some reason, doctors are apparently more important than Warmachine players at the moment, so we're doing without his comedic genius. (1) But it gets so, so much worse.
And that's where things went wrong.
For those of you not familiar with the basic concept, what we do here is go through all the Captains of the top-finishing teams from last year, and ask them who they think the biggest threats are from the current roster (which you can find here). Because riding on the coat-tails of better Warmachine players has basically made up about a third of my life at this point, I suppose Klaas chose well. I started out by digging up the old VTC standings from their disposal site (2), and went to harass Brad Park, chief shitposter for All Gas No Brakes, who won the whole thing last year. I had recently taken an epic drubbing courtesy of Derek from his team, in which a Blockader basically re-enacted a skit from YGOTAS (3), and used a discussion of this to lure him into providing me with his takes.
In my defence, I did ruin the Blockader for him forever, because it'll never have another activation as good as in that game. Or at least, that's what I told myself while we tallied up its AP count, which was... substantial.
Brad's picks were the following:
- All Gas No Brakes
- The Muchahideen
- Four Men and a Baby
- Canada Goose
- Fantastic Corgis and Where to Find Them
A few interesting omissions, but narrowing it down is hard work for sure. Brad justified his choice by drawing a distinction between teams he felt to be guaranteed a 4-1, and those he felt would be the ones to win the whole thing. I couldn't get more out of him, presumably because as the previous winner, he knew that every little comment he made would be seized upon by the people furiously teching for his team. Or he just got bored and wandered off.
The next person to answer my call was Chris Dancocks of Canada Beaver.
This was the result I got when googling Canada Beaver as I couldn't be arsed to find their team art. The cropping probably doesn't help our rep as a bastion of lewdity. (4)
Being the very polite man that he is (he recently granted me citizenship in exchange for filling in during a practice round (5)), he kindly ruled out his own team, and gave me his five.
- All Gas No Brakes
- The Muchahideen
- Four Men and a Baby
- Canada Goose
- Team Yellow Coats
Once again, we see a lot of overlap here. It's interesting that Yellow Coats bumped off the Poles for a spot, and that once again three NA teams make the running. Something something EU bias. Not to worry, we'll just ask some Euros next to even things out.
The problem, however, is that the Americans took most of the top spots last year, so I couldn't just pretend they don't exist like I do every year for WTC (6). As such, I had to spend my one Euro wisely. Instead, I asked Johan Dyrlind, a.k.a. Johnny Dryland (7). However, he claimed ignorance of what his own team was playing, never mind the others, so I substituted one Swede for another and poked Pär Sandin. He was much more receptive, and actually gave me a very long take, which you can find below.
All Gas No Brakes;
A little bit of a coward's hedge to start - the defending champions are back again, and they seem to be bringing a well-rounded line-up of lists. Special shout out to their Convergence player who seems to have bought a whole armful of the new light vector kits and is deciding to get maximum value out of that purchase.
Another case of a team that did well last year and is back again with a solid lineup of meta lists. Our new best girl Falcir is making her first appearance on the list here, and I think the pairing with Issyria is a good one. Also our first appearance by Krueger the Stormlord in Secret Masters, which I personally have pegged as the list to beat this tournament. Interesting to read two Circle lists and find not a single Well of Orboros between them - this is a classic Poland move coming out of Canada here in trying to next-level the meta, and frankly I'm excited to see how it works out.;
Italy's a country that's been sniffing around a top finish for a few years now, and I really like the look of their lists this time around. Malekus I think is going to be a very strong caster for Protectorate going forward as the release of the Death Archon forces some more guns into the usual Faithful Masses soup. The re-emergence of Grymkin onto the competitive scene continues to be a theme here, and you love to see the Old Witch3/Dreamer pairing - spoilers for anyone that hasn't looked at our own roster. Definitely a Faction that a lot of people are gonna drop a game to because they haven't had to play around Sacrifice since 2018.
Germany. I refuse to spell out the whole thing. (8)
These players haven't seen an Archon they didn't like the look of, and that's the kind of Warmachine that's gonna get you some W's. That aside I think their faction split is incredibly versatile and casters like Rask, Bethayne2, Aurora2, and Issyria can be real landmines to step on for some factions in the matchup process. I also hear Germany's got a pretty good pedigree at this event.
Canada Beaver and Friends
The hosers are showing up twice on this list, partially because the Canadians did really well last year and partially because they've brought on some really solid ringers. Joonas in particular has now beaten me twice in a row and I can only square that with my ego by deciding he is undefeatable and I had no chance to begin with, anyway. Cory Doyle continues to bring his (by now) trademark Thexus list which scares the shit out of me every time I run down the list of models he's somehow allowed to put in it. You also love to see Aiyana still getting some gigs these days.
Our mandatory inclusion of Superior European Takes now added, I went back to annoying North America.
Honestly the worst indictment of this meme is how hard it was to come up with good things about Europe
The next person kind/stupid enough to respond was Marc-Andre of Canada Goose. He also did me the favour of providing a nice long take.
This iteration of VTC brings back some great players with a few new additions. These are my top picks to watch out for in no particular order:
All Gas No Brakes
The returning champs have mixed things up a bit but their team remains similar to last time.; They’ve brought three very oppressive gunlines as well as a good mix of tanky lists to make list selection against them very difficult.; The lack of a Strange Bedfellows list is a bit surprising as Aurora2 remains one of the most flexible casters in the game, but that is mitigated by how difficult it will be to know what to drop into their Convergence player.
Canada Beaver and Friends
A strong team that has picked up some excellent players from outside my homeland. A composition that has both Sloan and Siege1 is asking some tough questions from their opponents, and this is backed up by a number of bricky lists spread throughout the whole team.; I highly suggest competitors think about how those 2 Cygnaran casters affect the team pairing process, because it’s going to be a rough time if you are not familiar with them.
I can’t help but indulge in a bit of shameless self-promotion.; The runners-up to the last VTC are in it to win it and have brought their all.; While maybe not as oppressively shooty as some of the other teams, this one makes up for it by bringing more extreme melee threat ranges and a couple hard skews that will help muchly vs shooting.
A very balanced team, these guys have brought Skorne, Circle, and Legion’s best list pairings to the party and fused that with a couple lists that threaten extremely far in melee.; The lack of an Archangel in the Legion pairing is a bit unusual, but it looks like both lists are trying to run a more dynamic, melee-focused game than it would allow for.; Doubling up on Strange Bedfellows allows their Mercenaries player to threaten the 'caster kill in two different but equally spooky ways and his opponent should really rethink any kind of caster that wants to play near the midline.
In my mind these guys have already won the best team name competition, and their odds to win the VTC aren’t too bad either.; Some household European names have brought some very scary list pairs. There are a few top lists that are missing (Strange Bedfellows and Vengeance of Dhunia are the most prominent ones) but I don’t really think that will hurt their chances.
I also have to give honourable mentions to The Yellow Coats and Four Men and a Baby; they both also have some strong players and are sure to give any of their opponents a run for their money.
One thing is for sure - while last year’s event had some very strong teams, this year’s players have upped the ante in terms of what they have brought to the table. The streamed games are bound to be a treat to watch!
Polite as always, though not afraid of self promotion; I dig it. He was also nice about the stream, which is wholly undeserved given what I have planned.
Last on the list was Chris from the Mid-Atlantic Mollywhoppers. He wasn't the last person I asked, but in true team captain fashion, he batted responsibility for writing these back and forth until the deadline. Fortunately, it was worth the wait.
These are in no particular order, and I wish the list could be longer, really I wish we could talk about every team who is participating this year along with not just there lists but each player as well. I myself tried to look at this from a very list driven perspective and not look at who is piloting each list. That being said here are our thoughts.
The list starts with of course last years champions, and the only team to best us, All Gas No Brakes. Coming back this year strong they have a great team of people and a title to defend. They are a team who are not using the typical casters you think to name right away, yet each pair compliments the next. If I was a betting man I would guess they will easily be in the top 5.
Up next are Canada Beaver and Friends. They are a great group of guys with some interesting list choices. Not all their lists are something I would have guessed right away; for example, them bringing Infernals,, but even after reviewing their lists I would still be a little scared to go up against them.
Continuing on again with Canada Goose. Overall a lot of lists I expected to see going into this but having them all paired together is all the more threatening. I think both Canada teams have the lists to finish in the top 5.
Next we have Four Men and a Baby. What more needs to be said for this team? They have a great team compilation, crazy good lists, and they have the world famous Baby Michael. (9) Enough said, top 5 in my books.
Lastly on the list for teams to finish top 5 we have the Muchahideen. A team of amazing players with equally good lists. A team I expect to see in the top 5. Hopefully this helps as to the insight of a team who was in the top 5 last year, looking at who we think will finish top 5 this year.
That wraps us up, leaving us with the following stats:
All Gas No Brakes, Canada Goose: 5
Four Men and a Baby, Canada Beaver: 3
Fantastic Corgis, Germany Danube, Italy Endgame, Mollywhoppers, Yellow Coats: 1
I'm supposed to send this to Klaas for editing, but fuck it, I'm adopting his baby. Time to tooltip this and go to fuckin' bed. Leave your own top 5s in the comments tho. :)
(1) - as far as I can tell, it's just heavy use of footnotes and cribbing content off other people. So I've kind of been infringing on his brand, just without the footnotes.
(2) - tiredness, Tiebreak, and tiebreak-ers. Not even once. The official standings will be safe for the public some time after Yucca Flats is a desirable holiday destination.
(3) - just like my WMH takes, my references are dated.
(4) - Rumours that the VTC discord contains a channel entirely devoted to suggestive fruit gifs are wholly true. I considered monetising access to that specific channel, but then realised that I didn't want to find out who in the community would actually pay for it. I remember the KnightsMachine OnlyFans.
(5) - he promised me 75 point lists. He lied. I had to play points down, while apologising every third word and snorting maple syrup. Canadian hazing rituals are weird.
(6) - this isn't actually a slight on their skill. Rather, it's because they're at the bottom of the lists every year, and as anyone who's ever filled in a WTC team spreadsheet will know, you will say or do literally anything towards the end just to get the damn thing done. 'Yeah, sure, I can play through this 1% matchup, please can I stop typing numbers now'
(7) - hearing Jake pronounce Swedish names is a genuine delight. Naturally, they retaliated by naming him 'Yake', which is not going away any time soon.
(8) - Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft. I know because I had to learn to pronounce it.
(9) - hopefully this doesn't go to his head. He's small, and it may cause him to overbalance.