G’day Goonhammer readers! We, Urr and Cytoplasm, finally participated in ConVic 2022, the biggest Kings of War tournament so far this year in Victoria, Australia. We have spent the last 7 months preparing our totally new armies for this tournament, assembling, painting, multibasing and then playtesting our builds. In this article, we will cover each of our games from Day 1, bringing to you the highs and lows of our grand tournament experience.
We were quite sure we had at least something halfway good, but the battles were not going to be easy. This tournament attracted some of the best players from around Australia, with champions coming down from New South Wales and even Queensland (equivalent to taking a trip from Miami to Boston for the US folks).
The tournament is across two days; four games of 1,995 points on Day 1 and three games of 2,300 points on Day 2. The same faction had to be used for both days, but the army lists need not contain any of the same units. This was the first time we had encountered such a setup, but it did provide a refreshing change between days.
The other interesting addition was the ability for one player (roll-off determined) to move a single piece of terrain up to 6”. This turned out to be quite powerful, as hills could be moved into deployment zones. As this is always done before choosing sides, it was never a sure thing that a player would get to use it.
Now let’s get into those games!
Round 1 – Scenario: Plunder
Urr’s Varangur vs Brendan’s Northern Alliance
My first game was against Brendan, a member of the notorious Team Shed, and a regular at our Melbourne events. I’ve played him a few times before, against his Salamanders, and always had great games, though this time he had brought his Northern Alliance.
Brendan’s Northern Alliance 1 x Huscarls (Troop) with Skirmisher’s Boots 1 x Huscarls (Regiment) 2 x Ice Kin Hunters (Regiment) 2 x Snow Trolls (Regiment) 1 x Snow Trolls (Horde) with Chalice of Wrath 1 x Frostfang Cavalry (Horde) with Brew of Haste 1 x Lord with Wings of Honeymaze 1 x Lord on Frostfang with Snow Fox, Blade of Slashing 1 x Snow Troll Prime
It’s basically a “Good Stuff” style list with a little bit of everything. Lots of hitting power, solid defence and a little bit of reach from the Ice Kin Hunters. Interestingly, these might have been the only “Gladestalker”-style units at all of ConVic, which ended up having a very different meta than our friends over the ocean.
We start out putting our two point tokens on opposite sides of the middle one, so from the start we know that middle one will be heavily contested and the game will likely be a bloodbath.
I deploy my infantry blocks in the middle, with a small flanking force of Magnilde, the Elite Fallen and a Snow Fox to contest the tokens on my right. Brendan lines most of his forces straight down the middle, with his own small force matching my flank.
His Icekin scout up, but can’t shoot anything, and then I win the first turn, putting me in a good spot. I move forward basically everywhere, with my left flank Snow Foxes grabbing a one point token, and most other movements setting up threats facing the remaining. I can’t do much about the two pointer on my right, but I’m not too worried about it yet. The Conclave put a couple of wounds on the middle Icekin, and then it’s Brendan’s turn.
He makes similar moves, marching forward to threaten tokens and prepare for future turns. On my right, his Icekin put a wound or two on the Fallen, who Iron Resolve it back, and the other unit puts a wound on the Huscarls, and promptly double 6’s them for a waver. So pretty good for Brendan, less so for me.
Next turn is more positioning from me, getting the Draugr up onto a two pointer, facing the left flank in, and having to move the right Snow Foxes right back around to face down what’s coming from the middle. A few more pings from the Conclaves, but they’re not so hot shooting into cover.
On Brendan’s turn, he continues moving up, taking charges into the right flank Snow Foxes, the Huscarls, and a nice multicharge into the Draugr, and sends the flying Lord into my left Fallen. He does some wounds into the Foxes, but they live unwavered, and the Draugr and Fallen take their punishment fine, too. Then Brendan rolls the Trolls into the Huscarls. He gets 8 out of 9 hits (on Melee 4+!!!), 8 out of 8 wounds, then rolls nine twice on the Nerve Test and takes them off.
I know I have to hit back hard and shore up that weak point. The Lord on Foot goes to fight those Trolls, the Fallen whack the Winged Lord, the Frostfang Lord goes around the back to hit a Huscarl troop, while the Draugr counter the Icekin to open room for the Reavers to get the Troll horde. On the other side, the Fallen move back while Magnilde and the Foxes fight the Trolls there.
I do a bit of damage to the Frostfang Horde with the Conclaves, and a bit more with the combats, but take nothing off. I do get a waver with the Foxes and Magnilde into the Troll regiment in front of them, so it’s not all bad.
In the only move that may keep me in the game, I had the Draugr drop the two point token so the foxes can grab it and prepare to run.
On Brendan’s turn, he kills the Draugr, the Reavers, and wavers the Frostfang Lord. My middle is looking extremely empty, but I’ve got three points of token secure on the Foxes that should be safe now. I do have to sacrifice a Conclave so the Huscarls can’t make it onto the hill and position to charge said Foxes. But then I get my first kill of the game! The Lord and Magnilde both kill the Trolls in front of them, and Brendan has seen the tokens running away from him, so the Icekin on the right had moved up to take the token there, and have now been killed by Fallen.
And then disaster strikes, I devastate Brendan’s flying Lord and roll double one’s to keep him around, in a perfect spot to strike at the only important unit I have left – the token carrying Foxes. Which of course Brendan does. Even devastated, he does his three hits and wounds, but miraculously they survive, and I have another turn to try to win this game. Everywhere else he kills everything. The left side Fallen and the right side Foxes are removed, leaving me very little left.
Once more, I run the Foxes. The Conclave sets up to block the Huscarls and shoot the Winged Lord, Magnilde wavers the Frostfangs, and I put a few wounds on Brendan’s Frostfang Lord on the right. I roll up the Conclaves shots, and he misses both, and that’s the real end of the game.
Unfortunately, there are turns left. The game goes on to Turn 7. Brendan cleans up everything but Magnilde and manages to grab every token thanks to that extra turn, so it’s a big loss to me. An exciting game though, despite some poor luck I was still in it right up until that Lord got the Foxes. I think I played it pretty well, though maybe I should have ignored the far right token, but I thought I’d have the others secure. So, let’s call this the start of my submarining journey.
Cytoplasm’s Goblins vs Sellick’s Undead
My first opponent was Sellick with his ‘The Walking Dead’-themed Undead army. This was actually a grudge match, with challenges levelled not out of some mutual hatred, but instead the fact we just wanted to finally have a game. Somehow, despite attending the same events, we had never been paired up in a tournament, so Sellick wanted to change that. And smash some Goblins.
Sellick’s Undead 1 x Zombies (Regiment) 1 x Wraiths (Troop) with Brew of Haste 1 x Deathpack (Regiment) with Fire Oil 1 x Soul Reaver Cavalry (Regiment) with Chalice of Wrath 1 x Zombie Trolls (Horde) with Sir Jesse’s Boots of Striding 1 x Wights (Horde) with Blade of Slashing 1 x Necromancer with Inspiring Talisman, Aura (Vicious - Zombie only), Bane Chant (2), Knowledgeable, Veil of Shadows (3) 1 x Mhorgoth the Faceless – The Shambling Blight Formation – 1 x Zombies (Legion) with Brew of Strength 1 x Zombies (Legion) with Hammer of Measured Force 1 x Goreblight
Sellick’s Undead army contains a large variety of units from the powerful Undead roster, not skewing into any particular build. The exception to this is the formation, the Shambling Blight. Here Sellick has profoundly maximised the potential of the Zombie legions by bolstering their strength with formidable magic items, and the Necromancer with the Vicious aura. Where normally a Zombie legion is considered a tarpit of a unit, designed to hold up the enemy, these Zombies have the capacity to win long term battles.
First off, I win the chance to move a piece of terrain, and I push a hill into a deployment zone. Sellick then got to choose deployment zones and denied me the hill I just terraformed. Smart move.
The Loot tokens are placed in a typical manner, two either side of the middle token on the centreline. I have the speed advantage to get them, but rushing up is not desirable as I do have the firepower to sit back for at least a little while.
Owing to a piece of Blocking Terrain right in the middle of Sellick’s deployment zone, he splits his army in half. On my right side, The Shambling Blight and Zombie Trolls are deployed in a solid line, backed up by the Necromancer. On left side the remaining units are spread out with the Wights, Wraiths and Deathpack closest to the centre with Mhorgoth, then the Soul Reaver Cavalry on the hill, and on the far left a lonely regiment of Zombies.
My army follows a standard deployment that I have honed. Facing off against all the zombies are my Rabble hordes (Wave 1), followed by Trolls (Wave 2), supported by all the requisite heroes. On the left, the Explodo’matic Bangstiks are set up. Big Rock Throwers sit in the middle, with Winggit and Groany Snark deployed also in the middle.
Gaining the first turn, I move up the Rabble and Trolls so that we at least clear the forest in front of me (Hindered Trolls suck). The rest of the army, which is much faster, moves into range of Sellick’s army, threatening all kinds of shenanigans. Thrillingly, the Big Rocks Throwers manage to severely damage the Soul Reaver Cavalry, as if in retribution for Sellick taking the deployment zone hill away from me. A second turn of shooting like that and those mounted vampires will be no more.
In response, the masses of the Undead shuffle up, and it seems like I have a little more time on my hands. The Wraiths are put forward to screen the Wights and the Soul Reaver Cavalry remain on the hill, threatening the flank of my Bangstiks if I choose to charge the Wraiths.
Turn 2 on the right flank remains unexciting, but on the left I couldn’t help but pull the trigger and send one of the Bangstiks into the Wraiths. Luckily, the artillery destroy the Soul Reaver Cavalry, and then the Bangstiks obliterate the Wraiths. It’s all looking pretty good until Sellick shows me the ultimate power of the Wights, crushing the Bangstiks one after the other over the next two turns with the help of Mhorgoth. I did manage to get a proper charge with one Bangstiks unit onto the Wraiths, but it failed miserably.
On Turn 3 I choose to engage the Zombies with my Rabble. Owing to the array of forces, my war engines had little they could target on this side so I chose to get in the first ‘hit’. This hit was more of a pool noodle (Rabble, right?), but what I did manage to do was pickup tokens. Retaliation by Sellick removed one Rabble horde but the other lived, so next turn I dropped a token for my Troll Bruiser to pick up and wander off with. Then started the meat grinder as Trolls attempted to smash their way through all the Undead.
It did not end well.
In short, Trolls lack the volume of attacks to remove legions of Zombies, where there Crushing Strength (2) counts for naught. I felt I had to rush into combat on Turn 3 to get some tokens for the legions grabbed them, but perhaps this was still premature. Ultimately, my army lacked the volume of accurate (Melee 3+) attacks to put a dent in those Legions and so my strategy should have been to delay while grabbing as many tokens as possible.
Sellick won 3 tokens to 1, and it was an exciting and fun game start to finish. I definitely think my Big Rocks Throwers were the stars, and Groany did just alright.
Round 2 – Scenario: Control
Urr’s Varangur vs Adam’s Free Dwarfs
1 x Free Dwarf Spear Levy (Regiment) with Throwing Mastiffs and Blessing of the Gods 1 x Free Dwarf Spear Levy (Regiment) with Throwing Mastiffs and Brew of Sharpness 1 x Ironclad (Horde) with Throwing Mastiffs and Blood of the Old King 1 x Free Dwarf Rangers (Troop) 1 x Free Dwarf Rangers (Troop) with Scrying Gem 1 x Free Dwarf Rangers (Regiment) upgraded to Hearneas’ Handpicked Ranger with Dragonshard Shield 1 x Ranger Captain 1 x Herneas the Hunter –Eryc's Mallets Formation– 1 x Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers (Regiment) with Throwing Mastiffs 1 x Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers (Regiment) with Throwing Mastiffs and Chant of Hate 1 x Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers (Regiment) with Throwing Mastiffs and Brew of Strength 1 x Free Dwarf Lord with Wings of Honeymaze
This is the same Adam you might remember from our Winter Carnage Article, this time taking Free Dwarfs. There’s Crossbows, Herneas and lots of Throwing Mastiffs for some ranged output, the same Winged Dwarf Lord as a problem solver, and the usual line of Dwarf bodies. There’s no Brock Riders, so there’s still that speed issue that all Dwarfs struggle with, and maybe a bit too many points on magic items rather than units, but the list still seems solid.
He deploys a line of dwarfs across the field, focusing on a forest on my left. I line up the infantry across the middle, and drop some speedy elements on each side.
Unfortunately for Adam, we are playing Control, and those short little dwarf legs don’t lend themselves to crossing the board too quickly. And then, to make it worse, I go first.
I move everything up, and just like our last game, I’m ready to make the charges I want to make and mostly block him off from retaliating. The Conclaves waver a unit in the middle, and it’s over to Adam. He moves up, ready to unleash the Throwing Mastiffs and hope for some good rolls. It doesn’t go too badly, but it’s not enough to take anything off, but does put a chunk of damage on the Fallen on my left flank. The Crossbows on my right don’t manage a whole lot, and while the Winged Dwarf Lord does charge Magnilde and do a wound or two, it’s not enough for anything.
Next turn, the Conclaves waver the same unit in the middle again. I charge both the Crossbow troops, killing one with the Fallen, who turn to face the surviving unit, and are now looking down Adam’s whole line. My whole left flank goes in hoping to punch through quickly, managing a fair amount of damage but only one waver and no kills.
The dwarves hit back where they can, putting a few wounds on the Huscarls, and on one Conclave with their shooting. On the right, there is a last stand from the crossbow troop that accomplishes nothing. In the middle, the flying Lord prepares to kill the Conclaves on the following turns, and there’s nothing I can do about that. On my left there is some success. Both the Snow Fox and Fallen unit are killed off, and the Draugr start taking some wounds.
Unfortunately for Adam, he underestimated what it takes to kill said Draugr, and now the Huscarls have a flank on the Ironclad horde, clearing them up. The Conclaves waver the unit in the middle again. The remaining Fallen kill off the last crossbow troop and move in towards the middle. Magnilde goes for Herneas’s Hand-Picked Rangers, and Disorders them. The Reavers hit the remaining undamaged unit in the middle, and protect the Huscarls from a rear charge, while the Frostfang Lord takes out his opposition, and now the Dwarfs are very low on unit strength on the board.
He does manage to kill off the Reavers, but fails to stop the inevitable collapse, and over the following turns he clears up the Conclaves, Draugr, and the sneaky Snow Fox unit. I’ve killed off all his unit strength and control three table zones, including his two point zone, giving me a definitive win.
Like our last game, the Dwarfs just lack the speed necessary to take my list. The Free Dwarfs were certainly an improvement over the Imperials, but Adam got a rough scenario to play my list on. I did forget just how strong the Throwing Mastiffs can be, and that could have been rough had he managed to kill the Fallen with them towards the start of the game, but it was a bit of a long shot. Overall, a good game and I’m happy to get a win on the board.
Cytoplasm’s Goblins vs Viv’s Basileans
Having been bested by the Undead masses, I was sent to fight against the polar opposite; the angelic Basileans under the generalship of Viv. Viv is associated with the creative lads of the Direct Misfire Podcast, and is no stranger to tournament play. Of all the armies, Basileans is one I have had little experience facing, and so I read his list with trepidation.
Viv’s Basileans 1 x Men-at-Arms Spearmen (Horde) 2 x Sisterhood Scouts (Troop) 2 x Gur Panthers (Troop) 2 x Ogre Palace Guard (Horde) 1 x Elohi (Horde) with Celestial Fury 1 x War-Wizard with Diadem of Dragonkind and on Horse 1 x Samacris, Mother of Phoenixes 1 x Jullius, Dragon of Heaven
My initial observations were that this army was low in unit drops (11) compared to my hordes of Goblins, and with the exception of the angelic units all Defense 4 or less. This meant my Bangstiks and Trolls would be damaging most units on rolls of 2+, and that I had the numbers advantage in terms of scenario (Control).
As before, I got the chance to move a hill into a deployment zone, but unlike before, I managed to get my Big Rock Throwers onto it by winning the deployment roll-off. I was certainly off to a good start. The rest of the army deployed itself. The Rabble and Trolls went between a piece of blocking terrain and a pond, straddling two-thirds of the board (important for control), while the Bangstiks and Winggit occupied the left flank next to the war engines. Finally, I cheekily placed my Troll Bruiser on the right flank, to ultimately occupy a part of the board in the endgame, but also threaten flanks.
Viv had one of the biggest hills in front of his own deployment, and decided to put the Elohi and Sisterhood Scouts behind it. The Spearmen went right in the middle and the two hordes of Ogre Palace Guard sat behind a forest. Samacris, Jullius and the War-Wizard were interspersed between these units, ready to pounce on anything I presented.
The first turns of the game were tentative as we just moved around, Viv getting his units on the hill so they could threaten me, and me getting my Bangstiks just in range for some charges. The Big Rocks Throwers managed to waver the Elohi in Turn 2, which was just as well because one of the Bangstiks had charged a troop of Sisterhood Scouts right in front of those cowering angelic monsters.
By Turn 3, the battle was well and truly underway. The Rabble hordes were both under attack from Spearmen and Ogre Palace Guard onslaught, however it was only the Ogres that were successful. At the same time Jullius had spent the entire game until this point getting right behind my entire army, threatening all sorts of destruction and forcing me to turn at least one unit of Trolls to face anywhere he might choose to charge.
The Bangstiks had managed to decimate all of the Sisterhood Scouts, but evaporated under the Elohi attack, which themselves were destroyed by Groany Snark. One of the Gur Panthers were blown up by the Winggit on the left flank, while the others went straight for my Big Rocks Throwers, shutting down some of my shooting.
The final turns were absolute chaos. The Ogre Palace Guard hordes had become separated, with one still near Viv’s deployment, and the other standing over the corpses of my poor Rabble. It was this horde of Ogres that was triple charged by two hordes of Trolls in the front, and the cheeky Troll Bruiser in the rear. The Ogres were no more. The two hordes Trolls continued their rampage through the next horde of Ogre Palace Guard, making short work of them.
The Bangstiks hit the flank of the Spearmen, but in true Goblin fashion inflicted little damage and were in turn countercharged by the Spearmen. They in turn were then flanked by the remaining Rabble horde which ultimately killed them.
Jullius and Samacris remained until the end, but the rest of the Basileans fell to the cackling hordes of Goblins and Trolls. I spread out my forces in the final turn to cover as many of the regions as possible, and secured the win.
Round 3 – Scenario: Kill
Urr’s Varangur vs Trent’s Ogres
1 x Warriors (Regiment) with Blade of Slashing 1 x Warriors (Regiment) with Diadem of Dragonkind 1 x Warriors (Regiment) 1 x Hunters (Horde) with Brew of Haste 1 x Siege Breakers (Horde) with Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar 1 x Siege Breakers (Horde) with Chalice of Wrath 2 x Crocodog Wranglers 1 x Mammoth upgraded to The Big Deal 2 x Warlock with Drain Life 1 x Nomagarok
Ah, Ogres on kill, not exactly the match up I was hoping for. Fortunately this is not the 6 siege breakers list, or the 9×9. He does have two Crocodogs Wranglers, which I’ve never played against, and I have some juicy Individuals that make nice targets for them. Similarly to the Dwarf matchup, I’ve got the speed to make it difficult for him, and that was my plan going in. Don’t hit the Siege Breakers without overwhelming force, and try to kill the Warlocks early, because all that Lightning Bolt is nasty.
I deploy my fast stuff on each flank, hoping to scoot around the flanks and get some good charges and keep safe from the real threats of the Siege Breakers.
Trent wins the first turn, and pushes up, making sure to stay out of my charge ranges. He also drops a lot of Lighting Bolt on my Lord, who I probably should have deployed more safely, but he does survive. I also move up a little, staying out of his charge ranges with my strong pieces, though my right flank zooms up as fast as they can, aiming to force the splitting of his army or leave the flank open. The Conclaves start chipping the Warrior Regiments, but don’t achieve much.
He continues to position and move up, so I take the opportunity to go for some kills and jam him up. Magnilde flies forward into a Warrior Reg, and the Reavers go into a Crocodog Wrangler, hoping to get some overrun kills. The Siege Breakers are no longer facing the middle, so I rush up the Huscarls and Draugr, and position the right flank to prepare to jump in if the situation calls for it. I did put the Snow Foxes into the Siege Breakers to tie them up, but it was probably better just stopping in front of them and not throwing them away.
In combat, I fail to do much; a few wounds here and there, but it ties up most of the army, so it is worth it. I don’t kill the Crocodog Wrangler, which is disappointing, but alas, it was not to be.
I do miss that this rush forward gives the Big Deal a flank on the Draugr until it’s too late to change, and I hope it’s not ‘too big a deal’. Hitting on 4+ can be swingy, as I’ve just seen with my Reavers failing to kill an Individual.
He does take the flank charge with the Big Deal, and fortunately for me, rolls low for his bonus attacks, and only puts 9 wounds on the Draugr. One Warrior Regiment hits the Huscarls for a little bit, and the other Magnilde for similar. The Siege Breakers vaporise the Foxes, and he puts a lot of Drain Life into the Reavers along with the Crocodog Wrangler, healing them up and destroying my boys. But he’s still very jammed up in the middle, with the Hunters not being able to contribute, so they pivot toward the flanking Fallen. The Siege Breakers on my left are also unable to do anything useful, just killing the Foxes sent to slow them down.
I manage a lot of killing on my next turn. The Frostfang Lord dances around the Siege Breakers to hit the front of the Hunters, while Magnilde gets in their flank, and combined they take them off. The Huscarls kill the Warrior regiment in front of them and the Lord on Foot combined with the Draugr to kill the final Warrior regiment. The Big Deal failing to kill the Draugr was also a Big Deal (heh), as it now has left it open to a flank from the Brew of Strength Fallen coming down a hill, and they manage to take it off. All in all, quite a good turn for me. I do make a mistake with Magnilde’s reform and don’t bring her back to hide behind the Draugr, and therefore out of sight from the Crocodogs.
The game descends into even more of a bloodbath from here. The Crocdogs kill Magnilde, while the Warlocks take out the Draugr. The Frostfang Lord punks Nomagarok, and the Foot Lord kills one Crocdog, only to be killed by the other. The Huscarls and right side Fallen keep the Siege Breakers pinned, both of us using the house to stop charges, though on the last turn the Fallen break off to kill the last Warlock.
In the end, the remaining Crocdog and left side Siege Breakers hit the left Fallen, and, needing a 5 twice to take them off, double one’s them. In return, this means that the Frostfang Lord can flank them, and with the luckily surviving Fallen, they devastate the Breakers… and then roll a double one back.
So it’s only the two Siege Breakers that survive for the Ogres, while I’ve still got the Fallen, the Huscarls, the Conclaves and the Frostfang Lord, so it is another solid win for me, and one I’m very happy with. The plan mostly worked, the Breakers on the right only got to fight a Snow Fox unit the whole game, and the ones on the left were also mostly out of the game until the final turn or two. The Big Deal failing to kill the Draugr and then getting killed was a pretty big point in the game, and had Trent’s dice spiked a bit instead of mine, I think the game goes the other way. But the Draugr are a tough unit to kill, so I just have to remember not to give flanks on them.
Cytoplasm’s Goblins vs Goodman’s Nightstalkers
It was somehow through the twisting skeins of tournament pairings that I found myself opposite Goodman and his formidable Nightstalkers. Nightstalkers are already terrifying to fight because they make my investment in shooting rather meaningless, but it was Goodman’s skill with using them that had me apprehensive.
Oh, and the scenario was Kill.
Goodman’s Nightstalkers 2 x Scarecrows (Regiment) 1 x Needle-fangs (Regiment) 3 x Butchers (Horde) 1 x Planar Apparition 2 x Soulflayers (Regiment) 1 x Shadowhulk 1 x Dread-fiend with Orb of Towering Presence 1 x Butcher Fleshripper with Healing Brew 1 x Esenyshra
Upon inspection of the list, I considered that not all was lost. After all, the list possessed only two regiments of Soulflayers, and the main hammers of the list, the Butchers, hit at Melee 4+. The cold comfort was that all of my army (with the exception of Grupp) hit at Melee 4+ at best, so the fights could go any number of ways.
By this point readers will be quite familiar with my deployment patterns; Rabble and Trolls on one side (the left), Bangstiks on the other (the right). Goodman split his forces, placing one unit each of Butchers, Needlefangs, Scarecrows and Soulflayers on the left flank as a small force, then the rest of the army was deployed on the other side.
The plan for this game was to minimize engagements where possible, and draw out the fight. I hoped that across 3-4 turns my shooting should at least put a dent in something. What that something might be, I could not decide.
The game started in a way I have never played a game before – I moved my Bangstiks up a little, keeping out of range of the Soulflayers on that flank… and moved nothing else! What was going on with me? Armies are supposed to move forward every turn, right? This was definitely uncharted territory for me, but considering the scenario was Kill, I didn’t feel the rush to chuck my goblins into the meat grinder.
My shooting was abysmal, but there wasn’t much choice. The visible Soulflayers stayed in the forest for as long as possible, imposing half shots on 6’s for my war engines. I did spend a turn trying to put a dent on the Shadowhulk, but what damage I did manage to inflict was quickly fixed by the Planar Apparition.
Goodman carefully advanced his Nightstalkers, adeptly using a hill to hide his forces from my Bangstiks and presenting only Scarecrows as targets. Yet he was as tentative to put his Soulflayers into range of my Bangstiks as I was with my whole army, so the stand-off continued.
In Turn 3, deciding perhaps that his Soulflayers in the forest were one lucky war engine hit from being removed, he sent them into one of the Rabble hordes. The Butcher Fleshripper jumped onto my Troll Bruiser in the same turn.
Battle had finally commenced, but it would be a muted affair.
Together the Rabble and the rightmost Trolls dismantled the Soulflayers, while the other Rabble and two hordes of Trolls on the left engaged and eventually destroyed the Butchers, Scarecrows and Needlefangs (while also suffering casualties themselves with the aid of Esenyshra and the Butcher Fleshripper).
Too late I realized that the only way for the Bangstiks to come out on top was to redeploy them, but by this point Goodman’s Dread-fiend had them in range and managed to tie them up long enough for the rest of the army to take them down. Still, not much had been destroyed by both sides and I did manage to finally shoot off the Planar Apparition.
Ultimately, the loss of the Bangstiks was what tipped the kill points into Goodman’s favour, and he won. Yet, thanks to my last minute destruction of the Planar Apparition, it was only a win by less than 100 pts. I had a blast playing Kill, particularly against such a skilled player as Goodman, but I definitely won’t be seeking out this scenario with this particular army in future!
Round 4 – Scenario: Invade
Urr’s Varangur vs Rob’s Abyssal Dwarfs
2 x Gargoyles (Troop) 1 x Decimators (Horde) with Blessing of the Gods 1 x Abyssal Halfbreeds (Regiment) with Mead of Madness 2 x Lesser Obsidian Golems (Horde) 2 x Angkor Heavy Mortar 1 x Infernox with Inspiring Talisman 1 x Hexcaster with Ej Periscope and Weakness 1 x Dravak Dalkan 1 x Infernok
My last game on Day One was against Rob’s Abyssal Dwarfs. I don’t have a lot of familiarity with the Abyssal Dwarfs, having only played them once before, but this looks like a pretty solid list. Lots of high defence, ranged support, the right amount of chaff and some nasty shooting. Fortunately, Invade gives me a bit of a chance, again, the small legs of the Dwarfs give me an advantage, and I’ll want to be heading towards him to minimise the effectiveness of those Mortars.
I deploy the infantry line in the middle and pop a hero, a Fallen and a Snow Fox on each side, with the Conclaves behind a hill, ready to pop up and shoot off what I could.
Rob deployed on the line with all the Defence 6 and the Halfbreeds, and a little back with the actual dwarf unit and the chaff on my right. The Mortars went down in the back where they had reasonable line of sight.
Rob gets first turn, and trundles forward, with everything but the Mortars. He blocks his line of sight to the Huscarls with his Golems, so shoots the Draugr, rolls hot on the nerve (twice mind you) and promptly kills them. So that gives me a bit of pause, but there’s not much that can be done, just have to keep the good units out of sight from those mortars.
I move up a quickly on my left, but just jiggle and position on the right, to make sure that the Halfbreeds only have chaff as a target. The Conclaves fail to get anything done, and that’s the whole turn.
Rob then moves his Gargoyles around, ready to take out the Conclave on the left side of the boards, and block charges on the right. There’s not too much more movement from him this turn, he just positions on the hill for that extra Thunderous Charge coming off of it. The Mortars drop a few wounds on one of the Conclaves, but it is fine.
I zoom up on the left, but have to turn Magnilde back to kill the Gargoyles, which she does. On the right, there’s not much movement again, and the Conclaves shoot off the other unit of Gargoyles, so that opens the right side up a lot.
Realising that I have the speed advantage on my right, Rob moves in. The Halfbreeds go and kill the Foxes, and everything else runs forward, while on the left he tries to set up a Surge move past the Foxes into the Fallen, but it fails, and the Mortars finish off the injured Conclave.
I hit back in the middle. The Lord on Frostfang goes into the Golems for a few wounds. The Foot Lord goes into the Infernox, but fails to do any damage. Rob wasn’t thinking and ran his Decimators forward, and put them in charge range of the Huscarls, who did a lot of damage and wavered them. In fairness to Rob, playing four games a day is tiring enough, AND they had driven through the night to get to the tournament in time, so I’m sure that wouldn’t have happened in any of the other games. The Fallen and Reavers charge the Halfbreed, with the Fallen in the flank they are devastated, but I double one’s them, so they stick around. On the left, the Foxes chaff up the Golems, and the Fallen start working on Infernok.
There’s not a huge hit back from Rob, he kills the Foxes on the left, unsurprisingly. But he rolls a bit under for Infernok, and the Fallen there barely take a scratch. The Halfbreeds roll really badly too, only managing 4 wounds on the Reavers, but the Golems bring it back and crush the Frostfang Lord in one go. The Mortars keep chipping away at the Conclave, but it’s not quite gone yet.
I keep bringing the pain, finishing off Infernok with Magnilde joining the Fallen. The Decimators and Halfbreeds die this turn. I do a bad reform with the Fallen in the middle, forgetting that Golems can be Surged in, and that would be a flank.
They do die on Rob’s next turn, as the Lord on Foot is wavered, thanks to the Infernox, as are the remaining Fallen on the left, as the Golems have finally made it in.
The Fallen retreat and Magnilde goes in, hoping to stop the Golems. The Reaver hit the middle Golems, and put on a chunk of damage. The Huscarls get a rear charge on the Infernox, and even weakened, take it off.
Magnilde survives a turn, but the Mortars hit the Fallen, and waver them again. The Reaver die to the Golems, who are killed the next turn by the Lord on Foot.
At the end of 6, I’ve got the win…and we roll up turn 7. Rob’s only chance is to side step the Golems over the line, and have the Mortars kill the Fallen, which will give us the draw. For the first time all game, both the Mortar miss everything, and that’s it. I finish off everything in the middle, and the last lot of Golems too, now the Fallen can act, and that secures me the win.
There were a couple of key moments in this game, the most obvious in the Mortars finally missing at the end there. But a sleep deprived Rob moving up his Decimators and losing them without firing a shot was a big one too. The double one’s on the Halfbreeds didn’t end up hurting too much because Rob’s lot of rolls following were so bad. I thought the Frostfang Lord should have been able to take two turns to get through at least, but dice are dice and I won’t complain given what I’ve just written.
Cytoplasm’s Goblins vs Max’s Dwarfs
The final game for the day was going to perhaps be my toughest yet: Dwarfs. Max had brought one of the most impressive Dwarf infantry armies I had seen simply based on the sheer magnitude of how many Dwarf models were packed onto all the multibases. At first I was pretty happy to be facing some slow Dwarfs. That is until I saw the list…
Max’s Dwarfs 1 x Shieldbreakers (Horde) with Brew of Sharpness and Throwing Mastiff 2 x Ironwatch Crossbows (Troop) 1 x Berserker Brock Riders (Regiment) with Sir Jesse’s Boots of Striding 1 x Berserker Brock Riders (Regiment) with Brew of Strength 2 x Mastiff Hunting Packs (Regiment) with Throwing Mastiffs 1 x Berserker Lord with Gnome-Glass Shield on a Brock 1 x Stone Priest with Conjurer’s Staff, Bane Chant (2), Radiance of Life, Scorched Earth (2) – The Royal Guard Formation – 2 x Bulwarkers (Regiment) with Throwing Mastiffs 1 x Ironclad (Horde) with Hammer of Measured Force and Throwing Mastiff 1 x Dwarf Army Standard Bearer
Despite the relatively low unit count of 13 this army has a substantial 24 total unit strength, which definitely matters in a scenario such as Invade. Fortunately, they are rather slow at Speed 4, so I can beat them to the line… but only just.
For the third game this day, I won the opportunity to put a hill in a deployment zone, but once again this was taken from me on the roll for deployment. This ended up being quite important, and certainly not in a way the Dwarfs expected.
It was at this point of the day that I forgot to take pictures, although I may be able to add some later if I can hunt down some stills from video footage. For now, let me paint a picture with words of the battlefield and its deployment.
The middle of the battlefield has a forest; a big forest. It’s actually very irritating how big this forest is because I have very little avenue with which I can make use of my war engines. Either side of this forest, with a decent 6-12” gap, is a piece of blocking terrain. It is between these two pieces of blocking terrain that sit either side of the battlefield that my army must pass, and there’s a cursed forest in the way.
On either side of these blocking terrains, the flanks are quite narrow. Too narrow for my Bangstiks to be deployed in their entirety so for the first time I split them up. One unit of Bangstiks with the King on Fleabag on the left, and the other unit of Bangstiks with the Troll Bruiser on the right. In the middle, facing the good-for-nothing forest are my Rabble and Trolls in the usual alignment.
Max deployed the bulk of his army around the hill I had put into what is now his deployment zone. This hill was opposite the forest and he put his Crossbows on it, and in front of them the two hordes of Dwarfs flanked by Bulwarkers and Mastiff Hunting Packs. The Brock Riders occupied the right flank opposite the lonely Fleabag Riders and Troll Bruiser.
The battle began and I wasted no time, sending my leftmost Bangstiks up the side, out of charge arcs and looking right at the flanks of his units. In reality this wouldn’t work very well because his deployment was so incredibly tight I would only be able to charge what eventually would turn to face me, which was Bulwarkers. I do not want to charge Bulwarkers with my Fleabag Riders.
My Rabble and Trolls shuffled up, but were already slowing down thanks to the forest. One Rabble Horde wasn’t in the forest so out of impatience I pushed it further. This I should not have done as it staggered my line awkwardly, but at least the Dwarfs wouldn’t be able to take advantage of it for a few turns.
On the right flank I pushed into range with the Fleabag Riders, waiting to see what the Brock Riders would do.
The Dwarfs moved around as expected, Bulwarkers to meet the Fleabag charge. The Stone Priest making sure I couldn’t catch it unawares, and the Crossbows attempting to shoot Groany Snark who had entered the forest in the hope he might cause some damage in Turn 2.
It was at this point I charged the flank of the Crossbows that were sitting on the hill, using the Nimble nature of the Fleabag Riders to dodge around the Bulwarkers. This surprised Max and the Crossbows evaporated under the onslaught of the Explodo’matic Bangstiks, unfortunately the Bangstiks rolled a few too many sixes and had become quite fragile.
Max spent a good minute thinking hard, but eventually decided he had to kill these Bangstiks, and flipped both his hordes of Dwarfs around to throw their Mastiffs, which very easily killed the Bangstiks. What I failed to do in this instance, was capitalize on this disruption to his lines by actually having something to threaten his rear. Problem was, my army was struggling to get through that forest and so couldn’t possibly get there in time. What I should have done instead is plan this whole sneaky charge to happen a turn later than it did, hiding behind some Blocking Terrain instead, but it is very hard to hold back when a chance like that appears. Yet, I need to learn to do so.
Once Max had dealt with my Bangstiks the rest of the battle was a struggle. The other Bangstik regiment managed to survive a long time against the Brock Riders, but only because they were performing rather poorly offensively. They eventually perished, leaving the regiments of Brock Riders to start harassing my main force.
I attempted to stop the Dwarfs from advancing and met them in the forest, charging in with Trolls and Rabble. I didn’t quite realize how powerful the Shieldbreakers had become with all the buffs. Thanks to the formation, they had Elite and with the Brew of Sharpness were hitting on 2+. Even hindered, they were terrifying! Two Troll hordes fell to their axes, the Shieldbreaker advance remaining unperturbed.
In the end, only a couple of Dwarf units made it over the line, but that was enough. Hindered Trolls just couldn’t do enough damage, and when they weren’t Hindered by terrain, the Scorched Earth from the Stone Priest did just as well. Max won and the Goblins were left feeling a bit sorry for themselves, but it was still a tight game and Max was a great opponent.
In hind sight, I should not have split up the Bangstiks. They really need that Elite from the Goblin King on Fleabag, because without it Melee 4+ is too unreliable. At the same time, I should have been somehow faster with my mainline units, get them into the forest to threaten, maybe even do away with deploying Goblins in front so my Trolls with their Speed 6 could have moved into range quicker. Unfortunately, at four games in a single day, my decision making was not fantastic, and in some ways I was running on autopilot.
Day’s End Summary
I’ve clawed my way back up from a crushing defeat in game one to end up 3-1 by the end of the day, and sitting solidly in the upper-middle of the pack, so I am very happy with that performance, and hope to keep it up on day two.
Painting scores were also released at the end of day one, and I only got 10 out of the 12 I was aiming for. Which brings me to my only complaint about the day; Hobby scores were judged in the middle of games. I think you don’t get a proper appreciation of how the army ties together in theme, where it has been deployed for game play, or a significant chunk of it is dead. Plus, as it’s day one and the smaller point games, the whole army doesn’t even come out of the box for the game. But I want to repeat, that was my only complaint for the event, everything else was great. Spacious rooms and tables, solid terrain, and great people all around.
My day of gaming was incredible. The opponents, each one of them, were fantastic to play against and every game was so memorable I was able to type them here for you all, dear readers, two weeks later. Three losses and one win certainly isn’t what I had hoped for, but there remains Day Two, where we jump to 2300 points so I get to bring out a few more toys to cause even more chaos on the battlefield.
Excitingly, I achieved a 15 out of the total 15 for painting scores, which had me very chuffed as I put a lot of effort into getting the feel of the army right. I do agree with Urr that the judgement of painting during a game is not the best place for it. On the one hand it removes the effect of display boards, but equally an army doesn’t look good if half the units are dead. But right now my total score is definitely being propped up by my painting score, because my gaming points are certainly on the lower end!
To be continued…
Join us next week for part 2, recapping more games. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.