G’day Goonhammer readers! The Australian tournament ConVic 2022 is almost upon us, but we have one more chance to truly test our lists at a small local tournament aptly named Winter Carnage (it’s quite cold in Melbourne!). Winter Carnage was a small, local tournament, consisting of 3 x 1995 point games. A lot of the people going, including us, were using it as a ConVic practice, to get their lists finalised and some games under their belt.
1 x Draugr (Horde) 1 x Reavers (Troop) with the Skirmishers Boots 1 x Huscarl (Regiment) 1 x Fallen (Horde) with Blessing of the Gods 1 x Fallen (Horde) with Brew of Strength 2 x Snow Foxes (Regiment) 2 x Magus Conclave with Bloodbolts 1 x Lord on Frostfang with Snowfox 1 x Lord with Banner of Abbotshire, Devoted Icon (Stealthy), Brutal, Snowfox 1 x Lord with Wings of the Honeymaze, Brutal, Snowfox
As you can see, I’ve made a few changes to the old list. I was lacking in units that could take a hit, with the Huscarls nerve feeling just a little low, and the points being much too high for that role. So I’m down to one unit of Huscarls.
There’s also some new faces. The Magus’s were getting a bit expensive, with their ranged damage being limited. There was only one important unit that they could be in range to heal (the Huscarls) so they were switched out for two Magus Conclaves for some long-range firepower. I’ve also got a troop of Reavers with Skirmisher’s Boots in, for some nasty Nimble charges. There’s also the real reason anyone plays Varangur/Northern Alliance, a Lord on Frostfang (but only one here!).
I’ve still got the chaff and fast flanks with the Snow Foxes and Fallen. The Lords on foot also make it unchanged; one for protecting and inspiring the slow elements, and the other to fly around and put in a few extra wounds where needed.
All in all, I think there’s some pretty good stuff in here, I just need to watch my target selection and remember to focus on the scenario, and we should have too much to worry about (famous last words!).
2 x Rabble (Horde) 3 x Trolls (Horde) 2 x Big Rocks Thrower 1 x King upgraded to Groany Snark 1 x King with Jareth’s Pendant and Sacred Horn 1 x Grupp Longnail 1 x Troll Bruiser 1 x Banggit 1 x Wiz with Bane Chant **Gorp’s Explodo’matic Bangstiks** 1 x Fleabag Riders (Regiment) with Sir Jesse’s Boots of Striding 1 x Fleabag Riders (Regiment) 1 x King on Fleabag
This has been roughly the same list most of the time, with the only truly flexible options being the heroes. Recall I once had Magwa and Jo’os? Well, they’re just too much for a non-scoring unit. This has been replaced with a Banggit for cheap shooting, and a Wiz for the Bane Chant on units that need it (namely the Rabble and Grupp).
Round 1 – Loot
Urr’s Varangur versus Forces of the Abyss
I was up against Grant and his Forces of the Abyss. His list was the following, though I may be missing a couple of magic items.
2 x Hellhounds (Troops) 1 x The Oathbreakers (Regiment) 1 x Molochs (Horde) with Diadem of Dragon Kind 1 x Warlock with Veil of Shadows and Bane Chant 2 x Abyssal Fiends 1 x Manifestation of Ba’el **Kah’za’ah’s Torment Formation** 1 x Lower Abyssals (Regiment) 1 x Lower Abyssals (Horde) 1 x Despoiler Champion
This was an interesting list going in. There’s a lot of ranged output, and I’ve only got the two Conclaves, and I’ve not tried them out yet. There’s some reasonably flimsy stuff in the infantry that I should be able to get through, but he ended up deploying the Abyssal Fiends, Molochs and Ba’el on my right side, across from the Fallen, one Snow Fox and the Frostfang Lord, and our infantry faced off against each other.
Grant gets first turn and moves up, sending one unit of Hellhounds up to grab the token on my right. He shoots off a few fireballs and Lightning Bolt, wavering the Snow Foxes on the right and putting some chips on the Draugr.
I throw my other Snow Foxes into the flank of one unit of Hellhounds, doing the important 1 point of damage, while the Frostfang Lord charges and clears up the token holding one and takes it himself. The Magus Conclaves start what will be a great day for them, putting some wounds on the Manifestation of Ba’el and starting to chip away at the Lower Abyssals Regiment.
For Grant’s second turn, there’s a bit more shuffling of the Fiends, Molochs and Ba’el, and the infantry side moves up as well. The middle Snow Foxes get fireballed off, more chips are applied to the Draugr and the Frostfang Lord also takes a few wounds but remains fine. The surviving Hellhounds charge a Fallen unit, and barely scratch it.
For my second turn, the infantry get at it, with the Draugr charging into the Lower Abyssal regiment, and the Huscarls and Lord going into the Horde. The Huscarls and Lord do a bit of damage, but not enough to clear, and the Draugr get a couple of wounds in. Meanwhile the Reavers set up for the following turn.
On the other side of the table, I make some plays that probably lose me the game. As you can see in the pic below, I go into the right Fiend with the Flying Lord and the Frostfang Lord, while the Snow Foxes must stop outside of the Molochs as there was no LoS at the start of the turn, meaning if I don’t kill the Fiend the Frostfang Lord gets flanked. I do get enough to take the Fiend off, once, and its Inspiring reroll keeps it on the table, wavered, but with Fury ready to kick in.
From here things start to crumble, the Lord on Frostfang is killed, the flying Lord with him is wavered, the Draugr hold, even with the Oathbreakers hitting the flank, so it’s not all bad. The horde of Lower Abyssals counter charge the Lord on that side of the table, and kill him and overrun into the Huscarls, and waver them. Here is my next big mistake of the game, and of the whole day.
I forget that Huscarls have Fury. This comes up in every game, in potentially game winning/losing situations in two of them. I never even think to check until far too late in the last game of the day, after asking myself why I’m spending points on Stealthy and Spellward aura when I can’t even make the Huscarls hit back.
It’s not all bad news, the Oathbreakers are cleared up by the Reavers, and the Molochs and Fiend are killed by the Fallen. The Conclaves are putting in work on the remaining Fiend.
But from there, the Huscarls are felled and the horde of Lower Abyssals get one token. Ba’el kills the flying Lord and overruns into the rear of a Fallen unit and takes them off, too. The Draugr are taken off, as are the Reavers. My remaining unit of Fallen are out of position, so they just have to run away (with a token), but are killed the following turn, leaving me with just the Conclaves for my final turn, who take off the token-holding Lower Abyssal regiment, but Inspiring saves them on the re-roll, so I lose 20-1, which is not a great start.
Importantly, I can see here where the mistakes were. I got greedy trying to kill the Fiend in one go. I could have dropped the token on the Frostfang Lord and done the same double charge into the unsupported Fiend in the middle, and had an extra turn or two to kill it without putting myself in such a bad position. There’s also no real excuse about forgetting Fury. It pays to know your own rules.
Cytoplasm’s Goblins versus Empire of Dust
My first opponent, who goes by the name of Matters, was new to the game of Kings of War. Borrowing an Empire of Dust army, we arrayed against each other in what would be his second ever game of Kings of War. This Empire of Dust force was leaning towards Mummies, because Matters’ had acquired a taste for their durable nature.
1 x Revenant (Horde) 2 x Mummies (Troop) 1 x Mummies (Regiment) 1 x Scavengers (Regiment) 1 x Revenant Chariots (Legion) with Sir Jesse’s Boots of Striding 1 x Reanimated Behemoth 1 x Soul Snare 1 x Monolith 1 x Ahmunite Pharaoh on Chariot 1 x Ahmunite Pharaoh with Eternal Guard
Getting the first turn, I promptly raced forward to get the tokens with my entire army, knowing that the majority of the Empire of Dust is slow. I deployed in layers: a first wave of Rabble followed by a second wave of Trolls. This was up against the horde of Revenants and a regiment of Mummies accompanied by all the regular Empire of Dust accouterments (Monolith, Soulsnare). The only thing I had to be ‘hesitant’ about were the chariots, which occupied the flank. To face them down, Gorp’s Explodo’matic Bangstiks were arrayed against them, having the speed advantage to ensure I got my charge in first.
In that first turn, my Big Rock Throwers were in fine form, demolishing the Reanimated Behemoth that was out of Inspiring (a hard lesson learned, sorry Matters!). For the rest of the game they achieved little else, but already had earned back their points.
The showdown between my cavalry and his chariots went down as expected, first the Pharaoh, then the legion of chariots crumbled to the almighty Bangstiks. Unfortunately, their very act of victory would be their undoing, for a single troop of Mummies ground their way through the Bangstiks until nothing remained. My mistake here was allowing my combat resolution to keep me in threat range of the Mummies. I definitely underestimated the power of a troop.
The central clash between the lines was going well for me. The Goblin Rabble took the first hits and then the Trolls smashed their way through relatively quickly, acquiring tokens and looking pretty good. That was until Turn 4 when the Balefire Catapults suddenly figured out how to shoot and removed one horde of Trolls, leaving another horde with a token grinding away against the regiment of Mummies to no avail. My final horde of Trolls had a second token, and would have secured my victory were it not for the Pharaoh, who promptly dispatched the entire horde by himself.
It ended in a draw, which was fantastic. Close games are the best games no matter which way they go.
I now respect Mummies in all forms; troops or regiments. I am happy with the way I used my Bangstiks, outranging other cavalry/chariots. My main problem was that once the Bangstiks and Rabble were gone (which they usually are by the end), I had very little with which to acquire loot tokens. This is the downside to so many individuals, and the Banggit and Wiz did very little in this game so I wouldn’t miss them.
Considering this was Matters’ second game ever, he did incredibly well. He set up cheeky Surge flanks with the troop of Mummies, and identified key threats in my list that he needed to stop. He even remembered the scenario well before the last turn. He’s going places.
Round 2 – Invade
Urr’s Varangur versus Dwarfs
Next up I have a game vs Adam’s Dwarfs. His list was roughly the following, but there were a lot of magic items on various units, and I’m not sure where they all went, and everything that could have a Throwing Mastiff, had one.
**The Royal Guard Formation** 1 x Bulwarkers (Regiment) 1 x Bulwarkers (Regiment 1 x Ironclad (Horde) 1 x Dwarf Army Standard Bearer 1 x Stone Priest with Bane Chant and Celestial Restoration 1 x Steel Behemoth 2 x Rangers (Troop) 2 x Ironguard (Regiment 1 x Dwarf Lord with Wings of Honeymaze
Going in, this was going to be a rough match up for Adam. We were playing Invade, and there’s nothing over speed 5 that scores in Adam’s list, while I’ve got quite a speedy contingent. There’s also a lot of points tied up in items that might have been better as more units. I also manage to get the first turn, and that puts the Dwarfs at a big disadvantage.
While it was a good and bloody game, this combination of factors meant that it was an uphill struggle for Adam the whole time. I deployed everything fast on one flank, punched a hole through the Bulwarkers on my left and had all my speedy stuff ready to take flanks from the third turn. Adam did manage to break all of my infantry (I forget about Fury again, though it is not super significant this time), and by the end of the game, I’m left with both the Fallen and all the Lords, with one unit of Fallen and the Frostfang Lord outsourcing Adam’s last remaining piece, an Ironguard reg, giving me a solid win.
In this game, basically everything in the list worked as intended, and I had a solid plan and executed it pretty well. I did leave the Snow Foxes to be killed by the Winged Dwarf Lord, when it probably would have been better to save them as Unit Strength across the board. I was trying to save the Magus Conclaves, but they didn’t end up doing a whole lot once the Rangers had been killed. There’s just so much high defence in this Dwarf list, that the Magus weren’t worth saving after that.
Cytoplasm’s Goblins versus Order of the Green Lady
My second game of the day was against Mitchell’s Ancient Greek-themed Order of the Green Lady army. A spectacle to behold replete with hippeis for Order of Redemption regiments, centaurs, griffons (Beast of Nature), pegasi and even krakens (based as hordes of water elementals).
2 x Order of Redemption (Regiment) 1 x Centaurs (Regiment) with Vial of Sacred Water 2 x Water Elementals (Horde) 1 x Woodland Critters (Regiment) 1 x Beast of Nature with Wings and 7 attacks 1 x Greater Water Elemental with Radiance of Life (Sacred Water only) 1 x Pegasus 1 x Druid mounted horse with Bane Chant 1 x Exemplar Redeemer mounted on Pegasus
As happens in many battles, deployment split the battlefield into two separate confrontations. Arrayed against the bulwark of water elementals were my Rabble and Trolls, ready to grind each other into oblivion. On my left flank I had the Bangstiks supported by Grupp, the Banggit and the Wiz to take on the Order of Redemption and Centaurs.
I had a simple plan; get the jump on the Order of Redemption, then turn my victorious Bangstiks to the grind and mop it all up. What could go wrong?
In the centre, the Rabble moved up quickly, screening the Trolls. The Water Elementals did not deign to charge such trash so I got stuck in with the Trolls while the Rabble worked their way around the flanks. The whole time Mitchell’s Beast of Nature and Exemplar Redeemer were trying to threaten the flanks of my Trolls, but I did my best to prevent such engagements. Groany Snark flying head first into the Redeemer! They would end up fighting each other for the rest of the game.
The plan regarding the Bangstiks was slightly delayed. I cheekily moved within charge range, staying well out of reach of the Centaurs and Order of Redemption. Mitchell did a smart move and placed the Centaurs right in front of one of the Fleabag regiments, forcing me to charge it when I really wanted to double charge an Order of Redemption regiment. Long story short, one regiment each of the Bangstiks and Order of Redemption survived.
That was it.
Ultimately the Order of Redemption was the first to come to the rescue, using my shoddily placed heroes as a means of slingshotting across the board to threaten the occupied Trolls. Up until this point the Trolls were doing reasonably well against the Water Elementals, with only the Greater Water Elemental being a real problem (Regeneration 4+ and Radiance of Life is a great combination).
By the end I somehow had both my Rabble hordes deep behind Mitchell’s lines, but a rear charge on some Water Elementals proved too great a temptation. This was stupid. I achieved 3 wounds in total, and the Water Elementals countercharged to remove them. Very stupid.
It took Turn 7 to see Mitchell finally move his remaining units across the middle and secure victory. If I had been sensible it would instead have been a draw or even a victory for myself, but alas, I saw a rear charge and dreamt of glory.
I cannot say I won’t do it again, though.
Round 3 – Raze
Urr’s Varangur versus Undead
My Game three was against Dave’s very nicely painted Undead. Again, I don’t have all the magic items, but the list was:
2 x Skeleton Spearmen (Regiment) 1 x Revenants (Horde) 1 x Soul Reavers (Regiment) 1 x Revenant Cavalry (Troop) 1 x Werewolves (Horde) with Brew of Strength 1 x Wights (Horde) 1 x Goreblight 1 x Vampire Lord with Blood Rage & Gnome-Glass Shield 1 x Revenant King with Surge 1 x Necromancer with Bane Chant 1 x Necromancer with Conjurer’s Staff & Scorched Earth
This is a bit of a different list to the usual Undead lists you see, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Goreblight that’s not part of the formation on the table before. The Vampire with the Blood Rage upgrade and the Gnome-Glass Shield was an interesting inclusion and also unexpectedly hard to deal with.
I deployed all my speedy elements on my right flank, aiming to get the token Raze tokens on that side as soon as possible while delaying on my left. I hopefully have enough left to deny the closest token to my Huscarls and contest the middle.
I got the first turn, and things were going pretty much to plan. I moved up my entire right flank, sitting on the two of my tokens, ready to burn them (you can’t burn them turn one). The left flank moved up and positioned a little, and that was it. Dave’s turn one was similar, just moving into position. He charged a Fallen unit with the Revenant Cavalry troop, and didn’t do much, though he did Scorched Earth one Fallen Horde.
I block the Revenant Horde with Snow Foxes, and charge the Scorched Earth Necromancer with the Flying Lord, and the Vampire with the scorched Fallen, and just wiggle around for positioning with everything else. The Conclaves are applying light damage to the Werewolves and Wights, whatever they can see as they reposition around the hill. Unfortunately in combat I don’t manage to kill or waver the Necromancer or the Vampire, and that makes things a struggle from then on.
On Dave’s turn, the Vampire leaves the Fallen and goes to fight the Lord, and manages to waver him. The Revenants destroy the Foxes, and the Wights and Werewolves destroy the Draugr.
I probably got a bit aggressive here, and pushed up to attack without commiting enough to each unit. I put Snow Foxes and one Fallen Horde into the Revenant Horde, thinking the Fallen will be safe and doing a bit of damage, while the other Fallen horde went into the Vampire, and failed to kill it again. The remaining Lord on foot and Huscarls kill the Werewolves, and prepare to be hit by the Wights and Skeletons. Critically, I make a posting error with the Reavers here, popping them just behind the hill, and so they never get line of sight to do anything useful for the rest of the game.
Dave clapps back pretty hard. With a bit of wiggling, the Goreblight gets out of the way and the Soul Reavers take a hindered charge into the Fallen and destroy them. The Revenants kill the last Snow Foxes, and the Vampire kills the Winged Lord. The Wights and Skeletons manage to waver the Huscarls.
I try my best to keep myself in the game, but things aren’t looking great for me. I still haven’t worked out that Huscarls have Fury, so they back up, but the Lord hits the Wights, and puts some more damage on them. The surviving Fallen finally kill that Vampire, and the Frostfang Lord finally makes an appearance and flanks the Goreblight, putting a chunk of damage on it but failing to take it off.
Dave continues to kill. The Wights and Skeletons kill off the Huscarls, and a good surge puts the Revenant horde into the rear of the Reavers, so they’re off too, and Dave’s now got the Central objective and burnt his two objectives on my right. The Soul Reavers turn to face the Fallen behind his lines, and I see a glimmer of hope. On my turn the Frostfang Lord and Fallen kill the Goreblight. The Lord overruns so the Soul Reavers have a clear shot at the Fallen and the Foot Lord finally takes out the Wights. Dave does what I need, and charges the Soul Reavers into Fallen. They die, which is a small hiccup, but it’s ok. Over the next turns, all that matters is I run the Frostfang Lord up, and burn my third token, while Dave can’t get his Soul Reavers to his last token on time, as the game doesn’t go to turn seven. This means I managed to pull out a draw in the end, giving me a 1-1-1 across the weekend, which is not too bad. Ending on such a close game, they’re always the best, regardless of which way it tips in the end.
Cytoplasm’s Goblins versus Dwarfs
My final game was against Kingsley’s Dwarfs, ensuring that just because I was on my last round it certainly wouldn’t be the easiest. This almost completely Mantic army is a work in progress, but the sheer number of Dwarfs means it will look phenomenal when complete.
1 x Ironclad (Horde) with Hann’s Sanguinary Scripture and Throwing Mastiffs 1 x Ironclad (Horde) with Scrying Gem and Throwing Mastiffs 1 x Ironclad (Horde) with Healing Brew and Throwing Mastiffs 1 x Ironguard (Regiment) with Aegis of the Elohi 1 x Beserkers (Regiment) with Fire Oil 1 x Steel Behemoth 1 x Steel Behemoth upgraded to Golloch’s Fury 1 x Battle Driller 1 x Dwarf Lord with Horn of Heroes 1 x Stone Priest with Radiance of Life, Conjurer’s Staff, Bane Chant and Celestial Restoration 1 x Stone Priest with Radiance of Life, Ej Periscope, Bane Chant and Scorched Earth
The plan was to take advantage of the Dwarfs lack of speed and push up fast, try and grab some of the tokens I can permanently acquire early on and then prevent the Dwarfs from getting theirs. One of the tokens was stuck behind a forest, but when it comes to Raze, token placement is pretty difficult (so many tokens, so little space).
Most of the Dwarf forces created a giant line of Ironclad with Golloch’s Fury, the Scorched Earth Stone Priest and the Dwarf Lord for support. On one flank was the lonely Ironguard (aiming for a token) and on the other side the Beserkers, the Steel Behemoth, the Battle Driller and the remaining Stone Priest (also all aiming for a token).
My block of Rabble and Trolls approached the Ironclad wall, while my Bangstiks cheekily kept the Beserkers and associated support at bay. The Ironguard were unopposed, so I sent Grupp Longnail over to tie them down. After weathering some Mastiff throwing and Golloch’s Fury, my Rabble were looking a little worse for wear. This did, however, allow me to get my Trolls into the Ironclad and so battle commenced.
The Bangstiks on the other side held off the Beserkers, who really really didn’t want to get charged, and kept shuffling backwards. My Troll Bruiser on Turn 2 grabbed one token, and then another, while the Beserkers were forced to be nice. Once that was done, my Bangstiks promptly abandoned that flank and relocated to the main battle, an easy task when Speed 10 and Nimble.
It took the combined efforts of one of the Fleabag Riders and the Trolls to remove one horde of Ironclad… and yet there remained two more. The two other Troll hordes were engaged each with a horde of Ironclad, and this was not ideal. In hindsight, I should have double charged one horde of Ironclad rather than splitting my forces. What resulted was a grinding battle that wouldn’t end, and the Dwarfs had the superior unit strength around the tokens in the area.
Somehow, the Beserkers managed to run as fast as they could to get their desired token. The Ironguard were held up by Grupp for 3 turns, but eventually killed the single Goblin hero and made their way onto their desired token just in time. If there was no turn 7, neither Dwarf unit would have made it to their token, but in the end they got there and I simply didn’t have the unit strength to hold onto what remained.
A Dwarf victory! I have learnt a few things. If playing the scenario, don’t just acquire your own objectives but do everything to stop the opponent. My Bangstiks left the Beserkers free to wander, when truly I should have engaged them if only to hold them up. Secondly, always send in two hordes of Trolls. One is never enough.
Well, I’ve already made a few changes based on this event’s results. The Winged Lord is out. He wavers on me too much and dies constantly. And of course, Varangur has an answer for that, the unique hero, Magnilde of the Fallen. While she only gets once a game fly, she has higher base speed, better defence (when accounting for the wings), very similar melee stats, and Iron Resolve for some healing, so she’s probably what I should have been taking in the first place. I’ve also decided to drop the Stealthy aura for the Lord. Without the second Huscarl unit, it’s not really pulling its weight. This might be a mistake, but hopefully not. This also frees up the points to put the Mead of Madness on the Huscarls, so they are no longer outranged by speed 6 infantry.
The core of the army is solid and I just need to continue practicing so that the feeling of what each unit can really do is built into my DNA. What I did feel like changing were some of the individuals. The small ‘plink’ damage the Banggit and Wiz wasn’t doing it for me, especially when I had so many Goblin Kings with shortbows to take out chaff. Instead, I needed more scoring units. The Troll Bruiser was already a great addition, so now a Winggit will go in, too. It synergizes with the war engines thanks to its Eye in the Sky rule, and has better shooting than the Banggit. Most importantly, it’s a flying scoring unit, so it can really play the scenario.
Unto the breach!
This will be the last your hearing from us until after ConVic, so we’ll be back next time with tales of (hopefully) glory and (definitely) fun!