Kings of War: Urr’s Clash of Kings Australia 2023 – Day 1

G’day Goonhammer readers! It’s Clash of Kings Australia time! Run at the same time as CanCon in our nation’s (unexpected) capital of Canberra, Clash of Kings is Australia’s biggest Kings of War event. It’s a celebration of the hobby, bringing together the avid painters, hardcore gamers and first time wargamers. This year it reached 62 players, up from 49 in 2022, and it’s set to continue to grow.

Clash of Kings Australia 2023! 31 tables ready to go for Round 1.

The grand tournament (as two-day events seem to be referred to as) runs scenarios straight out of the book, with 6 rounds of 2000 points; three games per day. No Allies were allowed, and the Withdraw rule was in place but with the new -1 to hit penalty. Such a standard setup might seem bland in comparison to the more elaborate events with special characters and scenarios, but this does help new people not get overwhelmed, and keeps everything as balanced as intended.

The Contender

Of the Goonhammer team, it was just me (Urr) this year, taking my Varangur. You can check out some playtesting and goals for the event here. In the end, the list I ended up with was a little different than I had originally written about. I struggled hard against Defence 5+ units, and the Night Raiders I planned to include didn’t physically arrive in time. Hence, with a bit of shuffling, I ended up with this:

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

My Aztec-themed Varangur!

It’s a solid list and I’ve been playing with a variant of it for a while now, so I’m comfortable with how it handles. For the most part. Honestly, I prefer The Fallen to Frostfang Cavalry, but with the expected armies at Clash, I felt it was worth the change. So what sort of meta did we see?

The Meta Down Under

The Kings of War meta in Australia is notably distinct from those of the United Kingdom and United States. Of the armies that were taken to Clash of Kings Australia 2023, there was a minimal amount of shooting, and a complete lack of Greater Air Elementals. Indeed, the scourge of the Northern Hemisphere was nowhere to be seen, which was mostly due to the fact that no one brought Forces of Nature, and the one Sylvan Kin army leaned into Verdant units instead.

Zae’s voracious Trident Realms!

The event hosted a good spread of armies, with the most popular being Undead (7), Ogres (6), Varangur (5), and Elves (5). All of these factions are considered quite competitive, so their appearance is no surprise. However, if we sum all the various Dwarf factions, there were 10 armies that relied on Speed 4!

Daniel Bird’s Halflings!

One of the most interesting aspects of this event was which armies were absent, a not inconsiderable list. Missing from the field were 8 factions; the Forces of the Abyss, Twilight Kin, Orcs, Ratkin Slaves, Forces of Nature, Order of the Green Lady, Order of the Brotherhood and League of Rhordia. Some of these armies (*cough* Ratkin Slaves *cough*) are generally not taken to events, but others like the Forces of Nature or Forces of the Abyss are usually a staple.

Patch’s Halflings!

As mentioned above, the amount of shooting in any given army was particularly low. The Elven armies host a maximum of two Gladestalker regiments with Archmage support, while the Goblins had three War Trombones and some Wizzes (Wizi?). Whether this is a product of some innate Australian trait to get up close and personal, or just a general aversion to shooting based armies, we cannot say. At least Urr’s army is unlikely to be shot off the table.

Urr’s Varangur – Day 1

After a long drive up on Friday, I was once again back at the Canberra Technology Park, and ready to play some Kings of War! It was time for Round One.

Round 1 – Invade

Adam MacAskill – Ogres

3 x Warrior (Regiment)
3 x Warrior (Horde)
1 x Giant with Giant Cleaver
1 x Sergeant
3 x Berserker Bully
2 x Ogre Warlord, one with Blade of Slashing

Up first I had to face Adam’s Ogres. This list is a bit different from the standard meta Ogres lists, having no range at all (not even Warlocks), and no Siege Breakers, focusing almost entirely on regular Ogre Warriors. I did ask why, and it was purely because it was so simple. It gets up in your face quickly, kills everything quickly, and then there’s plenty of time to go catch up with mates. No need to overthink positioning or shooting.

And that’s exactly how it went down. 

Bovine Ogres (top) advance on my Varangur (bottom).

Adam got the first turn and ran everything straight forward. I countered a little, moving up the main line, and getting first blood with The Fallen against a regiment of Ogre Warriors on a hill. 

After that, all of Adam’s stuff that could charge, charged. 

Four of the heroes (truly don’t recall specifically which) killed both my Snow Foxes, and frustratingly, trapped my Frostfang Cavalry in a ring of Berserker Bullies. One horde of Warrior started its work on the Draugr Horde, while another tore through the Draugr regiment. Fortunately, the Giant whiffed against Huscarls, applying a measely 3 damage.

The Frostfang Cavalry are utterly surrounded by Berserker Bullies!

In return, my Fallen came off the hill, and, along with Kruufnir, brought down an Ogre Warrior horde. The Huscarls did 10 wounds to the Giant, but it cared not. The Frostfang Cavalry removed one unit but had to turn to face the wrath of the Berserker Bullies. The Lord on Frostfang flank charged the horde of Warriors currently engaged with the Draugr, yet only managed to waver them. Not a terrible turn, but was it enough?

No, it was not.

In Adam’s turn, he sank in the boot. Frostfang Cavalry fell to a barrage of Bullies, the Lord on Frostfang wavered, the Huscarls perished, and finally the Fallen wavered. 

On my turn I manage to deal some damage back. Magus Conclaves waver the Giant, the horde of Draugr take off the second horde of Ogre Warriors. Magnilde put a lot of pain on one Warrior regiment, while Kruufnir kills the other. Yet despite it all I’m still in a really bad spot. 

Giant is struggling to digest the Huscarls.

In the final turns the Draugr died, as did the Lord on Frostfang. Again the Fallen were wavered, this time from one of the Ogre Warlords. This left me with no usable Unit Strength, except Kruufnir, so he sprinted off to cross the Invade line. The Magus Conclaves finished off the Giant, and Magnilde cleaned up what she could. But the final turn saw everything bar Kruufnir dead, and Adam with far more Unit Strength over the line. 

Kruufnir (top right) getting as far away as he can!

But I was not tabled! So there’s some consolation there.

I think I messed this one up on deployment, though going second certainly didn’t help. Having the Frostfangs over near the hill, to charge off in whatever direction probably would have been better. Those two early wavers really didn’t help either. The Fallen were ready to jet around the back and do some real damage, and the Lord on Frostfang could have Nimble’d his way into better combats and out of charge arcs had the Ogre Warrior horde died instead, but that’s dice games for you.

So, do I begin my submarining journey here? Read on to find out.

Round 2 – Plunder

David Cross – Abyssal Dwarfs

1 x Decimators (Horde) with Fire Oil
2 x Lesser Obsidian Golems (Horde)
1 x Abyssal Halfbreed (Regiment)
1 x Dragon Fire-team War Engine
1 x Dravak Dalkan
1 x Hexcast with Hex
1 x Overmaster on Ancient Winged Halfbreed with Staying Stone
**The Damned of Yaygar**
2 x Immortal Guard (Regiment) 
1 x Infernox

For Game 2, I had David and his Abyssal Dwarfs. It seems like it’s a pretty solid list, though lacking in any long range shooting, particularly for Abyssal Dwarfs. However, it is quite punchy once it makes its way up the board.

We placed both our two point tokens as close together as possible, and deployed heavily on my left side of the table, with our fast flank on my right.

Abyssal Dwarfs (top) brace themselves for the Varangur (bottom).

I got the first turn in this game, which is a very big deal. I ran Snow Foxes onto both two point tokens, and the Fallen onto a one point token, with the rest of the army attempting to keep up. 

In David’s turn, the center Snow Foxes were shot to pieces, dropping their token closer to me. The rest of the Abyssal Dwarfs moved up, but carefully, making sure to stay out of charge ranges. The Overmaster on Ancient Winged Halfbreed (referred to from here on as the Overmaster) entered Magnilde’s fly range, and it’s with that opportunity that I pounced. Magnilde torpedoed into the Overmaster, critically disordering it. Kruufnir moved up to grab the token from the dead Snow Foxes, and the other Snow Foxes turned tail and fled. 

Unfortunately, I moved a bit too carelessly with the Draugr Horde. Lesser Obsidian Golems were surge’d into the front and flank, absolutely crushing the Draugr. The Overmaster also managed to squish Magnilde in one round, which was particularly annoying. To add insult to injury, Kruufnir was blasted off by the Fire-Oil-enhanced Decimators, but that was not surprising at all. 

These Draugr are cooked!

The Huscarls dropped the token that they picked up in order to charge the first unit of Lesser Obsidian Golems. The Draugr grabbed that token and spent the next turns moving as far back as they could. The surviving Snow Foxes continued to flee as fast as they could (a whopping Speed 5). Finally, the Fallen and Lord on Frostfang avenged Magnilde against the Overmaster. 

In response the Decimators continue their killing spree, taking off the Draugr regiment, and the Lesser Obsidian Golems double teamed the Huscarls, removing them. The Dragon Fire- Team preheat the Lord on Frostfang, and the Abyssal Halfbreeds tried their luck into the Fallen. They were hindered, so failed to do a meaningful amount of damage. 

The Abyssal Halfbreed are killed in return, with Fallen in the front and the Lord on Frostfang in the flank. On the other side, the Snow Foxes continued their journey to the back of the battlefield. The Thegn charged the Decimators to shut down their shooting (and would remarkably survive the countercharge). The Frostfang Cavalry went into one of the Lesser Obsidian Golems, trying to stop them reaching a two point token, but failed to do any significant damage.

The Frostfang Cavalry get in, but to little effect.

The other unit of Golems turned about to claim the one point token on the hill, all the while the Magus Conclaves tried to shoot them down. The Lord on Frostfang and Fallen wipe out the Fire-Team approaching the last one point token. Even the Magus Conclaves were preparing to block the Dwarfs from getting to the Snow Foxes. The Frostfang Cavalry were killed, and David claims one two point token. The Lesser Obsidian Golems reach a one point token on the hill. 

Snow Foxes cannot run any further!

Going into Turn 6, the Snow Foxes are untouchable, so that gives me two points, but the Fallen are in danger. They moved onto a one point token, so were holding two points worth. The Lord on Frostfang charged the Lesser Obsidian Golems on the hill, holding them up. The Thegn charged Dravak, needing one wound to stop his Fireball, and failed miserably. Dravak unleashed his Fireball on the Fallen… and he takes them off… But the Lord is Very Inspiring! That forced a re-roll, and they live! Though wavered. The Lord on Frostfang also was wavered by the Lesser Obsidian Golems. 

David then had to make the game-deciding roll. If it ends on Turn 6 I win, if it goes to Turn 7, I am tabled and Blackjacked… he rolled a 3, and the game was mine! I won with 4 points of tokens to 3.

Protect the Fallen at all costs!

What a game! A very tight game that could have gone either way, right down to the last die roll. That is exactly how a great game goes. Ooh, that turned out to be a rough list, and a few different dice rolls could have swung the game at any point. Of course, all varieties of Dwarfs do suffer in scenario play, but he did get a big attrition swing against me! I am left with only 3 units on the field, but two of them are the token holders.

Game 3 – Dominate

Oswald Wendt – Varangur

2 x Tundra Wolves (Regiment), one with Brew of Strength
1 x Frostfang Cavalry (Horde) with Brew of Sharpness 
1 x Frostfang Cavalry (Horde) with Blessing of the Gods
3 x Jabberwock
1 x Magus on Horse with Sacred Horn, Bloodboil, Veil of Shadows 
1 x Lord on Horse with Brand of the Warrior, Snow Fox, Mead of Madness 
1 x Lord on Horse with Brand of the Warrior, Snow Fox, Gnome-Glass Shield

Alright, Game three. I’ve just come off a very tight win, and I’m now up against Ozzy’s Varangur, an army I am very familiar with. It’s quite an elite style for the faction, especially compared to what the other Varangur players brought to the event, and Given we are playing Dominate, I am confident.

Varangur versus Varangur. Civil war for Korgaan!

We line up facing each other in the centre and my right of the board, mostly ignoring the left. I keep my Draugr and Huscarls in the middle, supported by Kruufnir and the Thegn. The Magus Conclaves have a firing line right to the Dominate circle from the left. Everything else layers up on the right. I got Turn 1 and moved up, doing a few wounds to the Tundra Wolves on my left, and ended my turn. Nothing fancy.

Ozzy’s Turn 1, worried about his Tundra Wolves being shot, rushed into the Draugr only to bounce right off. A Jabberwock did the same on the right flank, but bounced off of the Snow Foxes. He did get Veil of Shadows off to protect his units, but there aren’t actually that many there, so I didn’t mind. 

On my next turn, I started to roll hot (a very important tactic for winning). The Magus Conclaves managed to pierce the Veil of Shadows and remove the Gnome-Glass Shield from the Lord. Both the Tundra Wolves and Jabberwock were destroyed, but made sure to keep my good units safe from all of Ozzy’s Frostfangs.

Keeping the cavalry at bay… just.

In response, Ozzy had to go in, but had some success. Unfortunately for him, it was only chaff that he cleared. One unit of Snow Foxes died to a double charge from Frostfang Cavalry and Tundra Wolves off the hill, and the Draugr regiment died to the other Frostfang Cavalry. I had left a bit of Magnilde’s base hanging out past the Draugr regiment as bait for the Jabberwock and Ozzy’s mistake was taking it. He does two damage to her, and it allows the Huscarls movement around the Draugr horde. The Lords pin the Fallen and Draugr horde in place, and it looked like the Frostfang Cavalry might be riding in to save the day. Unfortunately for Ozzy, this was not to be.

The Huscarls killed the Jabberwock, a triple charge of Magnilde in the front with Kruufnir and Snow Foxes in the flank took off one of Ozzy’s Frostfang Cavalry hordes. The Fallen wavered one of his Lords and my Lord on Frostfang managed to waver his remaining Frostfang Cavalry horde. 

The Fallen take on the Tundra Wolves, but the Frostfang Cavalry are being held up by the Lord and Snow Foxes.

After all that carnage, the last of the Draugr are killed by Ozzy’s Lord and remaining Jabberwock, the remaining Tundra Wolves flank-charged the Fallen, who took a respectable 13 damage but then survived when Ozzy rolls a double one. With that I’m just mopping up. The Fallen countercharged the Tundra Wolves, wavering them. My Frostfang Cavalry trample one Lord to pulp, Magnilde received duelist from Kruufnir (the rare time its useful!) and slays the other Lord. Ozzy did manage to kill my Lord on Frostfang, but was then tabled, and I had time to get everything back to the Dominate circle.

Looking good for Day 2

This was a high scoring win for me, so after Day 1, I’m sitting roughly in the middle, with one big win, one small win and a big loss, which is not too bad. I am only one win away from my goal of 3 wins, so I am happy with that. Look out Day 2, I’m coming for that last win.

Weirdly, I am on track to get the same win-loss record with the results matching my results from last year, which you can read about here. Also there’s some stuff about Abyssals, if people care about them…

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