Kings of War: The Road to Clash of Kings Australia 2024

G’day Goonhammer readers! We’re at the start of the year and once again it’s almost time for Clash of Kings Australia. For those not in the know, Clash of Kings is Australia’s biggest Kings of War event, held in the nation’s capital of Canberra. It is a two day, six game event held alongside (though off site) from CanCon, Australia’s biggest tabletop games convention. This year, Clash is being held on the 26th & 27th of Jan, so it’s getting very close, and we are excited!

For those not coming but want a bit more info on what an Australian event looks like, the pack is available here, and if you want to check out our past experience at the event, click here and here.

Once again, it is just me (Urr) heading up from the Goonhammer team. Cytoplasm has his mother-in-law visiting, which means he needs to be on his best behaviour. I’ll have to carry the weight of expectations on my shoulders. Based on the past, I’ll have a blast regardless. 

Paint, Paint, Paint

It’s been a while since we’ve written up an event report. I think the last one was ConVic back at the end of July. You all would have seen some nice pictures of my Aztec themed Varangur, but it was time for a change, and I’ve decided to head back to my original Kings of War army, the Nightstalkers. But I didn’t want to make it easy for myself. No, I’ve completely changed up the army. 

My original Nightstalkers were a mishmash of ranges; Games Workshops’ Nighthaunt models, some 3D prints, some D&D mini’s from Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures and some of Mantic’s actual Nightstalkers. With the excellent semi-range refresh to the Nightstalker models this year, and to support the company that makes the game I love, I’ve gone for full Mantic minis this time around. To really make sure I wasn’t taking it easy, I also completely changed the paint scheme.

From the dark, galaxy inspired scheme of yore, I’ve moved to a bright red, blue and bone.

New colour scheme on a regiment of Scarecrows. Credit: Urr

While I liked the old scheme, it really lacked any eye-catching elements, being quite dark, with the colours hidden in it actually being a bit too well hidden. As you’ll see in the photos below, this new scheme really pops.

I started repainting these models around the middle of the year, after finishing off my Varangur. Then, though playing the army, and wanting a bit of a change from my old style, most of the stuff I had painted before December didn’t make the list, just the two hero models, two troops of Phantoms and two Mind-screech. So I spent December furiously painting the other two thirds of the list. So what is the list?

Phantoms are some of the best chaff in the game. Credit: Urr

So Anyway, I Started (Wind)Blasting

3 x Scarecrows (Regiment) 
2 x Phantoms (Troop) 
2 x Ravagers (Horde) - Blessing of the Gods, Fire-Oil
3 x Soulflayers (Regiment) 
2 x Mind-screech - Singing Aberration
1 x Terror 
1 x Banshee - Zephyr Crown
1 x Esenyshra, the Wailing Shadow

15 units, 24 unit strength

The first thing that should jump out to you is there’s a boat load of Wind Blast in this list; 35 to be exact. This allows for a massive amount of board control, especially against slower armies. It is all attached to units that aren’t exactly shabby either, such as:

  • Soulflayers are still great, even with their movement speed drop. 
  • The Mind-screechs are great utility pieces. They score, they clear chaff, they are chaff. A pair will do work. 
  • The Banshee rolls damages with her Wind Blast, and the Zephyr Crown boosts it to 8 dice. 
  • Esenyshra does Enthrall instead, and if she pulls a unit into base contact, she counts as charging, letting that Lightning Bolt, or, more likely, the shooting from the Ravagers weaken the target first, as they are my main hammers.

The Phantoms and Scarecrows are there for chaff and scenario play, while the Terror is a big block of hard to remove Nerve that eats infantry for breakfast.

So that’s the list; muck up your opponents’ battle groups, shoot them, then take advantage of any openings you can create. It all seems pretty simple until you get down to actually trying to make it all work.

Lessons Learned

I’ve managed to get quite a few practice games in with this or similar enough lists, and I have learnt a thing or two about it (mostly what not to do), so here are some of the main takeaways:

1. No blasting willy-nilly

Wind Blast is a great tool. It can keep a unit stuck behind a forest, unable to charge, or push an aura like Rally or Stealthy away from a unit it’s meant to protect. It can also cost you a game if you just throw it about without thinking of what could happen. If you don’t get your shooting order of operations right, you can roll a bit lower than expected on your shooting damage, and leave a wounded regiment in range of charging your Ravagers, who can shut them down for a turn. You can also accidentally blow a unit of Siegebreakers back into charge arc of your Ravager’s flank and get them deleted. Oops! Ultimately the random nature of Wind Blast needs to be considered and applied with thought, not just because you can.

Wind-blastin’ Soulflayers! Credit: Urr

2. Don’t go too early 

The big thing here is that Soulflayers are great in potentia. I find they always roll a little under what you need for a kill, but the threat is always there until it isn’t. It’s much better to hold them back and then pick off something weakened by shooting or left out alone once you’ve taken out its buddy. Using Wind Blast in the early game is their main priority, as well as keeping opponents’ units off tokens or protecting your own token grabbers.

Soulflayers must be patient for those flanks to appear. Credit: Urr

3. Ravagers fight as well as they shoot

Something that can catch opponents off guard is that the main shooting unit is also quite a punchy unit. The melee and shooting profiles of Ravagers are exactly the same, so that affords a nice bit of flexibility. Opponents are Stealthy? Charge them! They have Ensnare? Shoot them! Of course, it’s not always that simple, but don’t be afraid to make a charge if you need the movement, or to take an opponent’s charge, too (though be careful what you let hit you).

Ravagers to be multibased imminently! Credit: Urr

4. Time marches forward

Ooh, this is the big one. The list is very fun to play, with a lot of moving parts that can make you feel like a big brain genius when it all goes to plan. You pull a unit in, shoot it with both Ravagers, pull it into Esenyshra, fight for a few more damage and Dread, and Bam! It’s dead. Except now a lot of your clock is gone, or you’ve left everything else out in the open ready to be charged by hordes of Knights while Esenyshra gets punked by some Elohi.

Making sure the moves leave you in a safe position is extremely important, so worth taking your time to do, but you’ve got to manage your clock as well. Maybe it’s better to just put those Scarecrows an inch away from a Defense 5+ unit rather than charge through terrain and have to roll dice that won’t do anything. I was contemplating not taking Blessing of the Gods on the Ravagers because it meant I had to roll more dice each time I shot, which should give you an idea of how tight for time I am.

The alternative is always to smash or get smashed, so everything is dead by Turn Four, then the clock doesn’t matter.

No Turning Back!

Urr’s Nightstalkers have had a real glow-up! Credit: Urr

There we go, the list has been submitted, and there’s only a little hobby work to do before it’s time to pack up and hit the road. Follow along if you’re interested, the event will be up on the Mantic Companion. Check back here soon for an after action report and to see how it all shakes out!

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