Warmachine Weekend is over and this week everyone is going to be talking about who won, what lists were used, and what this means for the meta. However there was another event this last weekend called Kossite Klash, which is lost in the shadow of Warmachine Weekend, and yet you would be interested to know that this 60+ person event was won not just by Cygnar but also by Sons of the Tempest!
Brandon Soldinski isn’t a name you likely know. He’s never been to the WTC, hasn’t been on a podcast or stream, and yet this is the 3rd year in the row that he’s won the largest event in the Ukraine, and is known locally as someone who is constantly finding weaknesses in the meta and exploiting them. This has led to him winning many local events, or at the very least be in the top 4, however due to his situation he is unable to travel to large events outside of his own country. This is why this article looks to put some light on this hidden gem.
The list that Brandon won this year’s Kossite Klash with is the following:[Caine 1] Lieutenant Allister Caine [+30]
– Hurricane 
– Squire [0(5)]
Arcane Tempest Rifleman [0(4)]
Arcane Tempest Rifleman 
Gun Mage Captain Adept [0(5)]
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages 
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages 
– Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer 
– Cyclone 
Dannon Blythe & Bull 
Tempest Blazers (max) 
The premise of the list is control: Pushing models back with Thunderbolts, slams, or even a two handed throw, while working towards a scenario win (typically on turn 7).
Key pieces of tech are:
- Snipe from Caine swapping on the gunmages for 14 inch thunderbolt shots
- Snipe from the UA on cyclone for the same
- Infantry clearing by Caine1’s feat and the blazers
- And then the riflemen take out the cortex to really hamper jacks that were knocked down
Together this provides a list that many players are not prepared for, and can frustrate them while Brandon slowly moves to a scenario victory. In fact Brandon used this list to win all his 5 games by scenario, and 4 of them on turn 7 end game state.
If you’re reading this as a Cygnar player you’re likely wondering if you should give this list a try. You might also be checking the tournament databases to see if Caine1 has won anything else major. Nothing would make Brandon happier than to know that his success is at least having an impact on the global scene.
But it shouldn’t…
In fact Brandon Soldinski doesn’t care what you think… Why? Because I just made all of that up.
That’s right, there is no Kossite Klash, and I don’t know of any Brandon Soldinski. That picture is of a new jersey chess champion.
I did this to point out the biggest mistake that players make after a big event, which is to focus on the winners. Those who jump in, look at what won, and then look to change their lists to match.
Don’t get me wrong, the winners of these big events are top class players, and typically run amazing lists, but all too often people forget that what worked for these people at this event may not work for them.
For starters , every player has a playstyle. Put the winning lists from Warmachine Weekend into the hands of the top 10 players in the world, and each of them would play it differently. So even if you started using the same lists that won a tournament, and even if we assumed you had the same level of skill and expertise, you should not expect the same performance. It’s like putting a finely tuned race car into the hands of a competitive dirt bike racer, the dirt bike racer will get the general idea but would in no way be able to get the same level of performance from it.
Secondly, no player is in a vacuum. The playstyles and lists they use are a direct response both to their own preferences, but more importantly to the players and lists they typically face. Some areas see more shooting, some more heavy armor, some more scenario, some more assassination, some more Warmachine, some more Hordes. What this means is that even if you found a winning player, with the same playstyle as you, that does not mean that the lists that worked for them will also work for you.
So am I saying that tournament data is useless? No. There is certainly value in looking at tournament results, and the lists that won them, however it needs to be done with a keen focus on the choices and techniques used to counter certain threats. If you can learn a new technique, that’s great. If you can learn a way to counter that list that’s crushing your local meta, awesome. But you simply can’t blindly grab the winning lists from a big event and assume it will answer all of your problems. In the example of Brandon Soldinski, those push techniques will do nothing in a meta with lots of battle engines and colossals, or anything else that can’t be pushed. In fact if this was not a made up example, you can bet that the local scene would start changing their lists and model positioning to counter it.
And that leads me to the third biggest problem to focusing on the winner of an event, is that the landscape is forever changing. Not only do you have players who are constantly changing their lists and tactics to get an advantage on those around them, but the rate of change in the rules is so high that from one big event to the next odds are there will be a new CID release, or dynamic date, or rules errata, such that the expected top threats can be completely different, or at the very least greatly altered.
What players need to do now, more than ever, is be good at reading the flow of their local meta, and be adaptable. This includes keeping up with rule changes and new possible trouble lists, but more importantly being keenly aware of the players and factions in your local area that you need to deal with, and determining what they are most likely going to take to the next event, or what they might change their list to.
In short, the lion can learn from the tiger, but in the end it’s the lion that has to catch the gazelle that the tiger has never seen.