Kings of War: Day 2 at Clash of Kings Australia 2023

G’day Goonhammer readers! We’re back again with Day Two of our coverage of Urr’s performance at the Australian national Kings of War tournament, Clash of Kings Australia 2023. Urr’s first three games from Day One proved to be quite successful, but can he keep it up across Day Two? Dear readers, find out below in this thrilling account from our man on the ground.

Just as a quick reminder, here’s Urr’s Varangur list:

1 x Draugr (Regiment)
1 x Draugr (Horde)
1 x Huscarls (Regiment) with Brew of Haste
1 x The Fallen (Horde) with Brew of Strength
1 x Frostfang Cavalry (Horde) with Staying stone
2 x Snow Foxes (Regiments)
2 x Magus Conclaves with Elite 
1 x Thegn with Lute of Insatiable Darkness
1 x Magnilde of the Fallen
1 x Kruufnir
1 x Lord on Frostfang with Snow Fox

Once again, my 2000 points of Varangur.

Now, onto the fights!

Round 4 – Pillage

Keith Williamson – Riftforged Orcs

2 x Unforged Orcs (Regiment)
1 x Tundra Wolves (Regiment) with Brew of Strength
1 x Helstrikers (Horde) with Sir Jesse’s Boots of Striding
1 x Helstrikers (Horde) with Wine of Elvenkind
1 x Thonaar
1 x Stormbringer on Helstrike Manticore with Brew of Haste
1 x Stormbringer on Winged Slasher with Blessing of the Gods
1 x Stormbringer on Winged Slasher with Chant of Hate

Game 4 was against Keith’s Riftforged Orcs. This was one of the more elite  lists at the tournament, with only 9 drops, but most of them hit very hard (sorry Unforged Orcs). I was worried about this matchup. I’m usually the fast army, or at least on par, but seven units at Speed 8 or above was going to be very tricky to deal with.

I deployed entirely on the right half of the table, matching a small force of Keith’s. With my fastest units positioned on the right, I hoped to break that flank and be safely able to turn to face the rest of the army. Keith went with his hard hitters on each flank, with one Stormbringer on Winged Slasher, the Nimble Helstrikers, and the Stormbringer on Helstrike Manticore on my left. The rest of the force facing my right side, except one unit of Unforged, who hung about in the middle to grab a token.

Varangur on the right! Deployment against Riftforged Orcs.

I won the first turn, and moved up aggressively on my right flank, keeping all the hard hitters hidden behind chaff. The left side of my army pivoted about, just trying to not give a flank and to prepare for the incoming damage. The Magus Conclaves rolled hot and put 5 wounds on the rightmost Winged Slashed (it had Chant of Hate). There’s nothing like rolling hot with a War Machine to make your opponent want to get to you fast!

Keith moves up hard on my left and turns in, while it’s mostly adjusting positions on my right. One of the Stormbringer on Manticore moves in to threaten all my central units as well. Somehow, no combat.

Helstrikers and Stormbringer alone on the left flank.

On Turn Two, I threw Magnilde into one horde of Helstrikers. If she can do any damage, they’ll be stuck there. Thankfully, she hit as hard as she always does. Everything else in that corner was blocking and making sure if I am charged, something will be able to take revenge. The Magus Conclaves put a few wounds on the Stormbringer on Manticore, and most other stuff backed off.

Now here’s what happens when you don’t play against fliers enough – they just hop over the top of your nicely layered defensive wall. The Winged Slasher on my right just flew over the top of my units, back towards the forest, and the Tundra Wolves turned tail and ran away.

So many flyers.

The left flank continued to speed closer, and the Stormbringer on Manticore pounced on a Magus Conclave, but due to being Hindered the Conclave survived. The Helstrikers also underperformed, and Magnilde only took 5 damage. 

Things continued to go pretty well for me. The Frostfang Cavalry butchered the Helstrikers, as Magnilde backed off towards the main lines. The Snow Foxes positioned themselves to rear charge the Tundra Wolves, or more likely, grab tokens. The Lord on Frostfang and Fallen repositioned, as did the Magus Conclaves and everything on the left. The Thegn charged the Stormbringer on Manticore, managed a waver, locking it in place for the Lord on Frostfang.

Keith continued to reposition the fliers, and sent Thonaar into the Fallen, damaging them and giving them Thunderstruck, so they probably won’t be killing him anytime soon. A breath attack from one of the Winged Slashers finally took out the wounded Magus Conclave.

An example of where not have your opponent’s Winged Slasher.

In my Turn Four, the Fallen slapped back at Thonaar, but as predicted they proved ineffectual. I spent the rest of the turn working as hard as I could to reposition my army, and prevent Keith’s Winged Slashers from wreaking utter havoc on my lines.

It’s in Keith’s Turn Four that he went for the kill. The Huscarls would have survived, but for the small issue of a vicious Stormbringer on Winged Slasher in the flank. The Tundra Wolves and elite Stormbringer on Winged Slasher obliterated the Draugr regiment, the Helstrikers removed Kruffnir and Thonaar slew Magnilde in single combat! That’s a nice turn!

I wasn’t out of it yet, though! It was Turn Five, and the Fallen trampled Thonaar, the Lord on Frostfang flanked and felled one Winged Slasher. The Draugr horde were boosted with a  Bane Chant and managed 3 damage on the remaining Helstrikers despite being hindered. It’s not enough to waver or take them off, but they were at least locked down. I couldn’t touch the remaining Stormbringer on Winged Slasher, but man, did the remaining Magus Conclave go hot on the Tundra Wolves. Two hits out of two, blasting into the max of 6 hits, and then 6 wounds and a waver on the Tundra Wolves, locking them into place.

Keith backed up where he could, and I grabbed the rest of the tokens in reach, with the Fallen, the Frostfang Cavalry and both Snow Foxes all getting one each. The Lord on Frostfang finished the Tundra Wolves, and the Draugr continued to tarpit the Helstrikers.

A scramble for the tokens at the end.

On Keith’s last turn, he tried and failed to kill the Draugr, and then double-oned the Magus Conclave with the Winged Slasher, preventing him from grabbing even one point.

The game felt like it came down to some very lucky rolls at crucial times. Wavering the Stormbringer on Manticore early on, and getting the waver on the Wolves at the end both ended up being pretty big moments. But Keith’s list is a scary one. The double Dragons style lists take a lot of skill to play, and Keith piloted it well, but the army didn’t play the scenario enough, in my opinion. Even if he had killed everything in my main line, I still would have held four tokens. Of course, that’s a big change, and his army is fast enough to go grab objectives, if he chewed through me early enough. For those keen for a retelling of this battle from Keith’s point of view, keep an eye out for this game on his YouTube channel “Creaky Gamers“.

Round 5 – Fool’s Gold

Clint Richards – Goblins

1 x Troll (Horde) with Staying Stone
1 x Troll (Horde) with Blade of Slashing
1 x Troll (Horde)
5 x Mawbeast Pack (Regiment)
1 x Magwa’ns (Regiment)
3 x War Trombone
1 x Goblin Slasher with (Aura - Rampage), War-Trumpets
1 x Wiz with Inspiring Talisman
1 x Wiz
1 x Magwa & Jo’os

Up next was Clint’s Goblins. Now, I’ve played a lot of Cytoplasm’s Goblins before, so I have a reasonable understanding of what 3 Troll hordes can do, but the rest of this list is very different to the stuff I usually play into, and we’re playing a scenario I always mess up; Fool’s Gold. And spoiler alert… right from deployment I knew I’ve messed it up again.

Deployment on the left. Where is everybody?

I had spread out across my whole deployment zone, while Clint crammed everything in one third of the board on my right. I had vaguely counter deployed, but not with enough to beat the oncoming hordes. I thought I would lose that side pretty quickly, without the ability to change position fast enough. I did know I can secure 3 points worth of tokens, but misplacing a one point objective on the hill right in front of Clint’s Troll hordes means I’ll be struggling to claim that back. Also, with the way he deployed, it’s pretty obvious where his tokens were, meaning I know I’m on the back foot from the get go. But let’s see if I could get some luck and bring it back.

Deployment on the right… that’s a lot of Mawbeasts…

Clint got the first turn, and moved everything forward, with some positioning to face my oncoming army. He got a few bits of damage from Lightning Bolts on one of the Snow Foxes, but not enough to do anything. In return, I mostly moved up and inwards as well, but my shooting was pretty good and the Magus Conclaves put 5 wounds on the Slasher.

Mawbeasts advance!

The next turns were mostly about positioning for Clint, and I was trying to hold on to my right flank while I caught up in the middle with the rest of the army. Magnilde and the Draugr eventually take down the Slasher on the right, but are killed in return, thanks to Magwa & Jo’os, the Magwans and some Trolls. 

The battle continued to go downhill as the Magus Conclaves become speed bumps for the goblin advance. As I was about to commit to (hopefully) killing the Trolls on the hill, one cheeky damage from a Lightning Bolt wavered the Fallen on a double 6! I commit to the fight anyway, but the Bane Chanted Frostfang Cavalry bounced, not even managing a waver. As a result they were flanked by Mawbeasts, and the double charge sees them perish. In the same turn, the Huscarls were flanked and killed by Mawbeasts, too.

For the Frostfangs, the punishment for mediocrity is death!

The Lord on Frostfang Lord dismantled a War-Trombone, but was shot off by all the rest of the shooting in the army. More Trolls and Mawbeasts devour Kruufnir. Some Mawbeasts snuck around to steal my tokens, but thankfully the Fallen do take them off. 

In the end I was left with the Fallen unit on a two point token (the Thegn does survive, killing some injured Mawbeasts in the end), and Clint was on 5 points worth of tokens, and a big difference in kills.

That’s a well deserved win for Clint. I played that game badly right from the start, and didn’t have enough luck to swing it back. I should have placed tokens better, fought harder to retain the 3 points I could secure easily, and not wasted as many units as I did. But you live and learn, so on to the next game! Coincidently I am still on track to have the exact same win-loss record as last year, even matching the win/losses to the same rounds. I just have to win this last game to match it up perfectly. 

Round 6 – Control

Trevor Younghusband – Basilea 

2 x Elohi (Regiment)
1 x Elohi (Horde) with Brew of Strength
2 x Paladin Knights (Regiment) with Aegis Fragment
2 x Ur-Elohi

–The Golden Panthers Formation–
2 x Gur Panthers (Troop)
2 x Panther Lancers (Regiment)

It’s another all close-combat army list to bookend my Clash of Kings experience. It’s a fast list, with a lot of hitting power. Luckily for me it didn’t have much terrain mitigation, so I hid in the forest and lake on my side of the board. I also had some nice shooting lanes for the Magus Conclaves.

Deployment on the left.

Deployment on the right.

I got the first turn, and moved up only a little. I took some shots at an Elohi regiment, but didn’t do too much. Trevor moved up, preparing for a fight on my right, and to get around my lines on the left. In response, I danced around on the left, and pulled everything on the right back, to make sure any charges would be hindered. I left the Lord on Frostfang forward to act as bait for the Elohi. I shot the Elohi more, and then Trevor decided to go all in with his army.

Elohi can get really angry when you shoot them enough.

The Gur Panthers and Elohi horde shredded the Draugr regiment, and the Knights and Elohi regiment ended the Snow Foxes, all unsurprising stuff. The other Gur Panthers and Snow Foxes start a pillow fight that was set to last a few turns. 

In response I countered as much as I could. The Magus Conclaves popped a few shots into the Panther Lancers sneaking around my back, performing averagely. Kruufnir’s turned to protect what he can. The good things: The Frostfang Cavalry trampled an Elohi regiment, and the Huscarls, amazingly, managed to clear out the Paladin Knights on a hindered charge. Magnilde puts a few wounds on the Elohi Horde, and locks them in place.

The less good things: The Lord on Frostfang manages to do only one damage into the Elohi, and the Fallen double-ones the Gur Panthers they were fighting, getting stuck there instead of preparing to kill the Elohi horde.

In return, the Paladin Knights come off the hill and skewered the Huscarls. The sneaking Ur-Elohi and the surviving Elohi regiment wavered the Lord on Frostfang. Together, the Panther Lancers and Ur-Elohi charged the Frostfang Cavalry, however, as planned, they were both hindered, so the Frostfangs survived. The Elohi horde did some damage to Magnilde, and the lucky Gur Panthers got some revenge on the Fallen. Disliking the attention of the Magus Conclaves, the Panther Lancers turned tail.

Panther Lancers and Ur-Elohi fail to take down the Frostfangs

I retaliated with what I could, but things were against me. The Fallen finally made it through the Gur Panthers. The Frostfang Cavalry countercharged the Ur-Elohi in their flank, and get a double-one, cementing their fate. The Thegn managed a single damage on the Paladin Knights, locking them in place, while Magnilde also kept the Elohi Horde shutdown. 

The Frostfang Cavalry, as predicted, were destroyed, as was the Lord on Frostfang, giving all Trevor’s free reign of the battlefield. Magnilde was devastated, but Trevor rolled double-ones, so she stuck around.

There’s not much left I could do, so Kruufnir, the Thegn and the Draugr horde went into the Knights, yet failed to remove them. The Draugr and Kruufnir were both destroyed in return. The Fallen did mangle the Elohi horde, and I think this was when the Snow Foxes finally finished off the Panthers. Magnilde and the Fallen were killed as well. The Magus Conclaves can’t quite manage to take off the Panther Lancers they’ve been shooting at all game, and were destroyed. I had some small revenge when the Thegn finally removed the Panther Lancers, but it was merely tokenistic. I survived with one Snow Fox unit and the Thegn, compared to the Paladin Knights, one Panther Lancer unit, and an Ur-Elohi. I contested one region, while Trevor held mine and his own for a 3-0 win to him.

The Magus Conclaves are cat food.

This felt like a winnable game, but for some bad luck. Getting the Fallen stuck on the Gur Panthers was huge, as was the Lord on Frostfang not killing the Elohi, and the Frostfang Cavalry’s double-one. Yet, they should have gone for the Panther Lancers anyway, but the result would have been the same. I probably should have also deployed the whole army on the right with the forests, and that would have reduced the worry from the flanking units. Another thing to remember next time I play against a fast army.

Urr’s Final Thoughts

First of all, a big thanks to Matt Croger for running the event. I had an absolute blast, and while a little disappointed that I couldn’t pull out the 4-2 record, I still had a great time and played 6 great opponents. 

I’ve talked a lot about the games here, but just wanted to mention the hobby side as well. There were a bunch of amazing looking armies, and the effort everyone put into their armies was clear. I talk about going for max hobby points in the lead up to the event, but unfortunately, Mantic’s companion app doesn’t display the individual round scores, and this includes the hobby score, so I’m just going to assume I got full points. Go me!

I definitely will be back next year, and hopefully Cytoplasm will make it as well, and thanks to Matt’s new Australia wide slow-grow league, we (and many others) will be back with fully Mantic armies! For all wargamers in Australia and beyond, come and join in if you can. A second shout out to the Team Shed boys, who gladly let me stay with them again, and bring along another of my mates, and thirdly, a big congrats to the winners! You can see more about their lists below.

Champions of Clash of Kings Australia 2023 

As many have pointed out, a sign of a balanced gaming system is the diversity of top armies in any given event. In the top ten there were but two duplicates of armies; Varangur and Ogres, which is understandable as these are strong armies particularly when steered by some of Australia’s top generals. See the full rankings and army lists here, although unfortunately the individual scores of each round are not presented currently by the Companion.

Alex Sobinoff’s Elves

Before we get into the top placings, we just want to mention the top painters of the event. Daniel Bird’s Halflings won Best Painted Mantic Army, while Alex Sobinoff’s Elves won Best Painted Army overall. To have such beautiful armies at a big event is a testament to the dedication of players to the hobby in all its aspects, and certainly doesn’t do any harm when recruiting yet more players to Kings of War.

First Place – Jeffrey Traish’s Varangur

Jeffrey Traish went undefeated at Clash of Kings Australia, claiming first place with a particularly solid Varangur army. 

1 x Snow Trolls (Horde) with Staying Stone
1 x Snow Trolls (Horde) with Chalice of Wrath
1 x Snow Trolls (Horde) with Dwarven Ale
3 x Mounted Sons of Korgaan (Regiment)
1 x Thegn
2 x Thegn on Frostfang
3 x Snow Troll Prime

The army itself contains some of the usual suspects, like three regiments of Mounted Sons and Snow Trolls, but then it starts to differ considerably from what is typically considered in Varangur armies. First of all, the Mounted Sons are without their Stealthy upgrade. Secondly, there’s Thegns on Frostfangs instead of Lords. Finally, the only items in the list are Waver mitigation items on the three hordes of Snow Trolls. This is all in an effort to get maximum value into the army, with the remaining 50 points spent on a single Thegn. Many would gladly drop the Thegn to upgrade any number of units, but a single Individual hero can plug gaps no other unit can. 

In a similar manner to Traish’s other armies, the Nimble hero units are utility pieces to play scenarios. The hordes and regiments act as interference; very deadly interference. But it’s a lot to kill in order to start taking the scenario points away from this army. When helmed by Jeffrey Traish, that’s a particularly difficult thing to do. Congratulations, Jeffrey, for exacting a perfect win!

Second Place – Max Kay’s Halflings 

Coming in a close second, Max achieved 5 wins and 1 draw with his Halflings, the first time Halflings have been seen in the top 3 of any major event in the world!

1 x Braves (Horde)
3 x Halfling Rifles (Regiment)
2 x Ej Grenadiers (Regiment)
2 x Wild Lancers (Regiment)
2 x Aeronauts (Regiment)
1 x Iron Beast
1 x Iron Beast as Pride of the Shires
1 x Engineer with Aura (Wild Charge +1), Radiance of Life, Halfling Long Rifle, Gadgets and Gizmos
1 x Sergeant on Miniature Aralez with Blade of Slashing

It is said that Halflings are all about playing the scenario, but tell that to the victim’s of Max Kay’s rampage, because it was these Halflings that racked up the greatest amount of kill points of the entire event! Of course, the 25 unit strength of the army helps win scenarios, but clearly the 43 ranged shots coupled with the relatively speedy Wild Lancers, Ej Grenadiers and Aeronauts were a lethal combination. The Engineer definitely helps those Aeronauts reach a little further, too.

Max Kay’s Halflings!

There are similarities between Max’s Halflings and Traish’s Varangur; both lean on items and have an Individual to dart around and fix problems. The popular but expensive items like Brew of Sharpness or Strength are not to be seen, saving such points for more units, or just the most necessary upgrades. Is this a recipe for success? More likely the practice with such lists is key, rather than just the list itself. Congratulations to Max for bringing glory to the Halflings!

Third Place – Stephen Tuck’s Ogres

In at an equally close third placing was Stephen’s Rhinogres. Sporting just two Ogre Warlocks (including Nom), this list has a diversity of units not typically seen in Ogre armies.

1 x Shooters (Horde)
1 x Hunters (Horde) with Brew of Strength
2 x Warriors (Regiment)
2 x Siege Breakers (Horde)
1 x Berserker Braves (Regiment)
1 x Goblin Blaster
2 x Sergeant on Chariot with Heavy Crossbow
1 x Warlock
1 x Nomagarok

Stephen Tuck’s Rhinogres! Not sure what the spoon is about…

The strength of Ogres as a faction is their easy access to scoring heroes (i.e. heroes with unit strength), as well as their literal strength. Between his enhanced Hunters, Siege Breakers, Shooters and Sergeants, Stephen has enough Crushing Strength (2) and Piercing (2) to threaten nearly anything in Pannithor no matter where they are.

Opponents won’t want to engage the army in close combat, but equally cannot afford to sit back. The army poses the question, can you beat this? If not, delay tactics will be the only way to get over the line, and clearly that only happened once at Clash of Kings Australia 2023. Congratulations to Stephen for ensuring the might of the Ogres is upheld!

Until next year!

The pre-eminent Australian Kings of War event is done and dusted, but it has started the year off with a bang! For those that missed out (like me, Cytoplasm), there’s a whole slew of events being held around the country (except Darwin). Get gaming and get ready for next year’s Clash of Kings which will surely be even bigger.

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