Warmachine & Hordes 101: Preparing Yourself for a Tournament

Hey guys, I’m back! Been a while since I last made an article for Warmachine & Hordes, but I finally I made enough time for myself to do it. In this article I would like to talk about how to prepare yourself for an upcoming tournament. If your goal is to do your best in a tournament, this article is for you. So, without further ado..

Preparing your ARMY

First thing to do, and the most obvious one, is to prepare the army that you’re planning to bring to the tournament. Pay attention to the rules from the Tournament Organizer (TO), are there any custom rules that you need to be aware of? Must they all be painted? Can you use proxy models?

The answer to these questions would determine your list building: do you have all the models that you want to bring? Are they painted yet? If you don’t have the models and/or they are unpainted, can you buy and/or paint them in time? If you can’t, then these are your restrictions to the list building; so you need to build your army around it. Look for models with similar roles that you have that can fill the gap.

Obviously, you also need to prepare your strategy and playstyle that each list want to do in this phase. Take a look to my previous articles for some ideas on how to build your playstyle. But there’s a new layer you need to add to it: the Meta.

If you know what the tournament’s meta looks like, remember to plan towards it. You know that there is going to be a good eHaley player there? Prepare to counter him/her. You know that the tournament meta are fond of armor skews? Remember to bring your armor crackers.

If you don’t know how the tournament’s meta is going to be, then you can try to go to the internet to look for the current global meta. Hopefully the meta in the tournament will be somewhat similar to the global meta.

Preparing your TIME MANAGEMENT

Next, remember that all tournament settings are timed. There are several kinds of time restrictions used, but the most popular one is Deathclock followed by Timed Turns.

Deathclock allows you to manage your time usage distribution between turns; which means that you can save time in earlier turns by training yourself on how best to unpack your army turn 1 in order to get more time in subsequent turns. Usually, the turn where you made your major offensive would eat up most of your time.

On the other hand, Timed Turns requires you to be as quick as possible in every turn, regardless of the situation on the table/turn, but you still can plan it because there will be one chance where you can extend your turn for several minutes. Usually you will want to use it in the turn you made your major offensive.

Each configuration will require a different play-style, and maybe even list building mentality. For example, I usually limit my lists to have 3 full units at most, because I do not want units to eat up too much of my time; I know that I’m not really good at moving unit models really fast.

You also need to train yourself with the time restriction used. Learn how to allocate your time properly between turns if you use Deathclock. Learn how to move fast if you’re using Timed Turns. Either way, you need to learn how to start planning your turn in your opponent’s turn so it won’t eat up too much of your own; but please: refrain yourself from using their time to ask questions for your own benefit.

Preparing your TOOLS & EQUIPMENT

Playing in a tournament is a bit different than playing in your friendly game in a way that you need to do everything quickly, accurately, and as efficient as possible. This can be very demanding if all you have in your arsenal is just a tape measurer. That’s why there’s a ton of tokens and templates designed to play Warmachine out there, and some of them are very helpful indeed.

However, this is different between each player: what I need to make my game faster might be more/less than what you need. So you need to find out for yourself: what suits you?

Generally, you will want at least:

  • Measuring tape.
  • Tokens for focus, spells, and effects.
  • Templates and precision measuring tools.
  • Tournament trays to move models between tables.

Preparing your HEALTH

I credit this tip to the good folks in Chain Attack podcast (Jay Larsen, Trevor Christensen, and Josh Wheeler), this is the preparation that a lot of people (including me) often forgot because it is not visible. I recommend you guys to listen to their podcast in order to get the full version of their tip, I will only summarize here.

In order to prepare yourself for a tournament, you need to prepare your body as well. In order to be able to get the most of your mind (to make good judgements), you need a healthy body. To get a healthy body, then you will need to do some exercise regularly.

This sounds so far-fetched and unrelated, but I experience this myself that having a good health help me make better daily judgements. The easiest example is that it prevents me from getting tired too quickly. When you’re tired, you’re bound to make mistakes in your judgement because you’re not focused. Extending your stamina by exercising will help your performance because a tournament that take all day will drain your energy quickly if you’re not used to it.

Once you prepare your body, remember to drink, eat, and sit down between rounds. Getting yourself full of energy and staying hydrated is also important to keep your mind sharp. It will also prevent distractions to your body such as feeling hungry/thirsty, tired, or too hot.

Preparing yourself TO HAVE FUN

After all is being said and done, attending a Warmachine & Hordes tournament should be a fun experience. Therefore, the preparation to the tournament should not be stressful as well; if it does, then the whole thing has missed its true purpose. So, no matter how much you want to perform well in the tournament, stop if you’re no longer enjoying it. Have. Fun.

Good luck in your tournament!

– Daniel –


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