GW New Orleans in the Mortal Realms

    While most of my compatriots on the writing staff were in New Orleans for the Dark Millenium, I was of course there for the Age of Sigmar tournament alongside Swiftblade. I initially wasn’t even going to bother with the Games Workshop events this year. I thought I’d see where they went next year and maybe hope for something closer. After ACO I had a bit of a high and wanted to do an event as soon as possible, so I impulsively decided to go to New Orleans. I wasn’t aware that a lot of my fellow authors would also be going, so it ended up working out in the end.

    I’ve never flown to an event before. The furthest event I’ve gone to from my native Boston is Adepticon, which I always drove to specifically because I wanted to avoid flying to an event. I don’t dislike flying, but the idea of transporting models in that way gave me hives. Ultimately I decided the best compromise for my sanity was to check my clothes bag and carry my models on board. Everything made it safely so all was well when I checked in late Thursday night.

    The Event

    I got in super late, around midnight the night before. I slept well, I’ve always been a super light sleeper who functions off very few hours of sleep which is useful for cons and the like. I head down early to grab my stuff and the premium swag bag was pretty prime, though I was left with an ominous feeling of “Ah shit how am I gonna get this stuff home”. I eventually figured it out with some tactical packing.

    The event was really well organized, the terrain on the tables was about right. Terrain doesn’t have as much importance in AOS as it does in 40k, since more battles take place in close combat. It’s been commented that terrain does nothing which is a different discussion to be having. Players were given a pack of cards that gave the rules for the tournament and the battle packs, along with battle tactics cards. I wasn’t really a fan of doing it this way because the cards were stacked in the order of the missions so if a player dropped them they could lose track of what their next mission was. I kept them in a pocket of my bag where they wouldn’t get shuffled so I got through the weekend without any mishaps.

    The players I met were awesome and some of the nicest people I have met at any event. No real complaints here, everyone here was great fun to play with and I’ll remember the games for quite some time!

    My List

    RagnarokAngel's Ossiarch Bonereapers
    Allegiance: Ossiarch Bonereapers - Legion: Petrifex Elite - Mortal Realm: Shyish - Grand Strategy: Hold the Line - Triumphs: Inspired Leaders Katakros, Mortarch of the Necropolis (470) Arkhan the Black, Mortarch of Sacrament (360) Mortisan Soulmason (140) - General - Command Trait: Mighty Archaeossian - Artefact: Godbone Armour - Lore of Mortisans: Empower Nadirite Weapons Battleline 20 x Mortek Guard (280)* - Nadirite Blade and Shield - Reinforced x 1 20 x Mortek Guard (280)* - Nadirite Blade and Shield - Reinforced x 1 5 x Kavalos Deathriders (190)* - Nadirite Blade and Shield Behemoths Gothizzar Harvester (215) - Weapon: Soulcrusher Bludgeons Endless Spells & Invocations Emerald Lifeswarm (60) Core Battalions *Hunters of the Heartlands Total: 1995 / 2000 Reinforced Units: 2 / 4 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 102 Drops: 7

    I’ve been running this list for a few weeks now, getting the rotation just right. Katakros has become a favorite of mine and it feels odd to run without him, with the utility of options he has he makes a good swiss army knife. Arkhan’s spellcasting and healing in tandem with Katakros means the list can bring back 6 models/wounds per unit. The Soulmason’s Soul Guide spell grants Reroll 1s which means that almost all attacks connect, since with Katakros practically the entire army is 2+ to hit. Given wound rolls for Mortek are a 4+, I need every hit possible to connect.

    Now the problems. Before the event I already had reservations. The Harvester has been a staple of my list because having a Monster felt important for certain battle tactics. As the edition has worn on, I’ve been less impressed by its utility. I either play it perfectly, charging it into a squad of infantry with my Mortek and rolling hot on the healing to keep them alive or it gets shot off the board and gives my opponent a free VP. It drops off in power very quickly and at 10 wounds it can’t handle concentrated fire. Additionally, Arkhan can complete many of the easier Battle Tactics (like Monstrous Takeover or +1 points with Conquer) even better with his 16″ with Fly. It’s 215 points that is very unreliable in making that up, even if when it does it feels good. Outside of the harvester the list just doesn’t have good hammers. The Mortek Guard are a wall and can handle 1-2 rounds of combat fine but they wont kill many things. Defense is good but it generally just means losing slower, and that was going to be an uphill battle.

    I knew all of this before New Orleans but not soon enough to paint an alternative list, so I just rolled with it and hoped for the best. I’ll talk a bit more about what I’m doing in the future at the end of this piece.

    Game 1 – Shea Conway

    Shea Conway's Disciples of Tzeentch
    Allegiance: Tzeentch - Change Coven: Hosts Arcanum - Grand Strategy: Prized SorceryTriumphs: Leaders Kairos Fateweaver (435)* - General - Lore of Change: Bolt of Tzeentch - Lore of Change: Treason of Tzeentch The Blue Scribes (135)* - Lore of Change: Bolt of Tzeentch - Lore of Change: Fold Reality Chaos Sorcerer Lord (115)* - Artefact: The Fanged Circlet - Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch - Lore of Fate: Glimpse the Future - Lore of Fate: Shield of Fate Archaon the Everchosen (830) - Lore of Fate: Shield of Fate - Lore of Fate: Infusion Arcanum Battleline 3 x Screamers of Tzeentch (100)* 3 x Screamers of Tzeentch (100)* 10 x Pink Horrors of Tzeentch (215)* Endless Spells & Invocations Umbral Spellportal (70) Core Battalions *Warlord Additional Enhancements Spell Total: 2000 / 2000 Reinforced Units: 0 / 4 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 72 Drops: 7

    The first mission was The Veins of Ghur, which has 1 objective come in on a random location in the middle on turn 1, and 2 objectives on either opponent’s deployment on turn 3. Since you don’t know where the objectives are gonna go, you have to be cautious turn 1 or be able to wreck some shit.

    I was dreading this first game and I knew what was coming when I saw the list:Archaon with Kairos Fateweaver, a top tier meta list. I breathed a sigh of relief when he didn’t roll any 6s on his Destiny Dice. He finished first and gave me first turn, naturally. Due to me not screening well I had put Katakros right in in Archaon’s range and opened myself up to a wound roll of 1, 1 and 6 which of course became dual 6s wiping Katakros turn 1. None of my local people play a list like this so while I understood how it worked I let my nervousness get the better of me. I held out for the 5 rounds trying to score as well as I could despite knowing there was no way this was going to be a winner. Ossiarch Bonereapers just don’t really have an answer to a list like this.

    Not much else to say, total slaughter with me on the recieving end. Final score 53-17 but given how much of a runaway this mission can be that beat a lot of the other people I saw playing this mission who had an even worse score difference.

    Game 2 – John Pawtek

    John Pawtek's Soulblight Gravelords
    
    List Name: Graveyard sun
    Allegiance: Soulblight Gravelords
    - Lineage: Vyrkos Dynasty
    - Mortal Realm: Ghur
    - Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery
    - Triumphs: Bloodthirsty
    
    LEADERS
    Belladamma Volga, First of the Vyrkos (200)*
    - Lore of the Vampires: Vile Transference
    Radukar the Beast (315)*
    Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon (435)**
    - General
    - Command Trait: Pack Alpha
    - Deathlance
    - Artefact: Sangsyron
    - Lore of the Vampires: Amethystine Pinions
    Necromancer (125)**
    - Lore of the Deathmages: Overwhelming Dread
    
    UNITS
    20 x Deathrattle Skeletons (170)**
    10 x Dire Wolves (135)*
    10 x Dire Wolves (135)*
    5 x Blood Knights (195)*
    5 x Blood Knights (195)**
    Corpse Cart with Balefire Brazier and lash (80)**
    1 x Corpse Cart with Balefire Brazier
    
    CORE BATTALIONS
    *Battle Regiment
    **Battle Regiment
    TOTAL: 1985/2000 WOUNDS: 136
    LEADERS: 4/6 BATTLELINES: 3 (3+) BEHEMOTHS: 1/4 ARTILLERY: 0/4
    ARTEFACTS: 1/1 ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS: 0/3 ALLIES: 0/400
    REINFORCED UNITS: 1/4
    

    I had real fun with this one. The mission was Marking Territories which has 4 objectives on the field, and requires a player to own all of the objectives at the same time starting on turn 3. Since an objective is pulled on turn 3 it really means capturing 3 objectives. John was really fun to play against, had a good sense of humor and bought me a beer so cool guy. As for the actual match this is when my “All brakes no gas” of my list really starts to show as a problem. He made me go first and charged his Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon to my left and Radagar and Belladama to my right with blood knights accompanying both. Most of everything else hung back to protect his backline objectives. The VLoZD mulched my harvester in round 1, not shocking but then spent most of the game tied up with my Mortek guard. Both squads of Mortek guard performed admirably, refusing to die to even the strongest assault. The problem was it took too damn long. It’s a lot of saves to make an a lot of attack rolls to make that ultimately don’t do the type of damage you need to take down a big monster. It finally fell at the end of round 3 but by then the clock ran out. The judge came over and we talked through it, John was a good sport and agreed I won by Battle Tactics. Due to the weird way BCP scores missions it ends with a 1-0 for me.

    Round 3 – Johnathon Acrey

    Johnathon Acrey's Stormcast Eternals
    List Name: Warrior Chamber Allegiance: Stormcast Eternals - Subfaction: Hammers of Sigmar - Army Type: Stormkeep - Grand Strategy: - Triumphs: Inspired - Unique Enhancement: Call for Aid, Thunderbolt Volley Leaders ---------- Lord-Castellant (155 pts)+ Lord-Celestant (General) (130 pts)++ - Command Trait: Staunch Defender - Artefact: Hammer of Might Lord-Veritant (155 pts)++ - Prayer: Translocation Knight-Vexillor (120 pts)++ Knight-Heraldor (105 pts)++ Battleline ---------- Liberators (115 pts)+ Liberators (115 pts)+ Liberators (115 pts)+ Judicators with Skybolt Bows (200 pts)+ Judicators with Skybolt Bows (200 pts)+ Units ---------- Retributors (235 pts)++ Retributors (235 pts)++ Gryph-hounds (110 pts) Artillery ---------- Behemoth ---------- Endless Spells & Invocations ---------- Core Battalions ---------- Battle Regiment+ Warlord++ - Bonus Enhancement: Holy Commands Total Points: 1990 pts

    Round 3 was against the Stormcast Eternals new book in Tectonic Interference. Where there are 3 objectives in the center and each round one is randomly chosen to be “Prime”, making it worth 2 points instead of 1. This is basically my happy place, covering 3 middle of the field objectives is where OBR want to be, as I don’t have a lot of great ways to move around. With a layout like this I can basically just move up to the middle of the field and hold on.

    John had a pretty solid list going here, Liberator spam is no joke with Stormhold even if in this mission its a slow burn. They don’t get “count as 3 models” until turn 3 which means my Mortek guard can outnumber them for a decent length of time. I also learned that Retributors fucking hurt as one unit was basically able to cut down a mortek guard unit, and the Liberators wrapped up the rest. The objectives kept rolling my way though and I kept rolling the center as Prime which meant Katakros and Arkhan could comfortably hold the point, while the other 20 man mortek held the other side. Holding 2 out of 3 is good enough, especially when one of those keeps coming up Prime. I killed it on the battle objectives and ended with me winning 31-17

    Round 4 – Duncan Bilz

    Duncan Bilz's Lumineth Realm Lords
    Army Name: "Negotiations" Allegiance: Lumineth Realm Lords - Great Nation: Iliatha - Mortal Realm: Ghur - Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery - Triumphs: Inspired Leaders Scinari Cathallar (145)* - General - Command Trait: Loremaster - Speed of Hysh - Artefact: Silver Wand - Lore of Hysh: Total Eclipse Scinari Loreseeker (170)* - Lore of Hysh: Lambent Light Vanari Lord Regent (155)* - Artefact: Simulacra Amulet - Lore of Hysh: Protection of Hysh Gotrek Gurnisson (435)** - Allies Battleline 20 x Vanari Auralan Wardens (290)** - Lore of Hysh: Protection of Hysh - Reinforced x 1 10 x Vanari Auralan Wardens (145)** - Lore of Hysh: Lambent Light 20 x Vanari Auralan Sentinels (300)* - Lore of Hysh: Speed of Hysh - Reinforced x 1 20 x Vanari Auralan Sentinels (300)* - Lore of Hysh: Speed of Hysh - Reinforced x 1 Endless Spells & Invocations Emerald Lifeswarm (60) Core Battalions *Warlord **Hunters of the Heartlands Additional Enhancements Artefact Total: 2000 / 2000 Reinforced Units: 3 / 4 Allies: 435 / 400 Wounds: 95 Drops: 8

    Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I woke up to seeing this and immediately knew it was going to be a problem. The mission was Survival of the Fittest, where you mark 3 units to be your Predators and gain extra points if those kill your opponent’s Predators. Naturally he gave it to Gotrek and the 2 squads of Sentinels. I gave it to my Mortek and Katakros. In retrospect this was a mistake, if I was smart I would have given it to my backline characters and just kept them away so he couldn’t score that way, since I definitely wasn’t going to kill his.

    In the opening round he dropped the Loreseeker on the upper right objective. I made the decision to go first in the hopes I could secure objectives early. I chose Conquer for my battle tactic and cast Drain Vitality on it. I charged my Mortek in to dispatch it immediately. It…hung on with one wound. We only found out later that he had forgot Drain Vitality and didn’t reroll his 6s to save. I’m not too upset about it, it would have been a 3 point difference. Ultimately I just didn’t have anything to deal with this list as the Sentinels kept firing volley after volley at my guys. Without access to All Out Defense I’m pretty helpless against ranged spam. Gotrek messed up that side of the field, of course though not without first rolling a 3 on a 5″ charge, burning a CP only to roll a 2 (I felt a little bad about bursting out laughing) but he evantually got there. I went second round 3 and took the objective away but it was too late, he had gained too much ground and Duncan won 28-11.

    Round 5 – Johnathon Green

    Credit: FlamingFig

    (I was tired and forgot to take a picture. They were silver though!)

    Johnathon Green's Stormcast Eternals
    List Name: Stormcast Allegiance: Stormcast Eternals - Subfaction: Hammers of Sigmar - Army Type: Stormkeep - Grand Strategy: - Triumphs: Bloodthirsty - Unique Enhancement: Call for Aid Leaders ---------- Knight-Incantor (125 pts)+ - Spell: Azyrite Halo Lord-Castellant (General) (155 pts)+ - Command Trait: Master of Magic - Artefact: Arcane Tome - Spell: Thundershock Lord-Relictor (145 pts)+ - Artefact: Mirrorshield - Prayer: Translocation Battleline ---------- Liberators (115 pts)++ Vindictors (260 pts)++ - Reinforced: Once Liberators (115 pts)++ Sequitors (290 pts)++ - Reinforced: Once Units ---------- Stormstrike Chariot (165 pts)++ Stormstrike Chariot (165 pts)++ Gotrek Gurnisson (Ally) (435 pts) Artillery ---------- Behemoth ---------- Endless Spells & Invocations ---------- Core Battalions ---------- Command Entourage+ - Bonus Enhancement: Artefact of Power Redemption Brotherhood++ Total Points: 1970 pts

    Final Round was Savage Gains. 4 objectives, your own is worth 1 point, middle ones worth 2 each and your opponent’s is worth 4.

    First off: Fucking Gotrek again. I did feel better about being matched with this list than I did the lumineth. I usually have good experience with stormcast, because while I cant handle a volley of ranged attacks I can usually take a hammer to the face in close combat. The reality was after 5 games I was tired and misplayed horribly. John asked me to go first, of course and I moved my Mortek to secure the two middle points. I kept everyone else back to cover my objective, figuring that it wouldn’t be wise to push up too far with them too early.

    That was my mistake. See, I assumed being a Stormhold list he didn’t have anything to deep strike with and would have to hoof it, same as me. This was very, very wrong. His Lord-Relictor can cast Translocate on a 2+. He told me this at the start and I was too tired to listen. This resulted in him teleporting his Chariot behind me, charging Arkhan who survived, but then he took the double turn and merced him, taking a cool 4 points. Most of the battle was him teleporting more stuf into my backline objective which I just didn’t have the tools to take back, especially with Arkhan dead. With better shielding and movement I think I could have kept Arkhan better shielded and I just failed to pay attention. Total botch on my part.

    Some fun highlights include my Kavalos Deathriders riding around and killing his general on accident (I thought he might hold on one more turn so I could get Slay the Warlord, oops.) and Gotrek, again failing a 5″ charge and rerolling to fail again. In the end i went 25-39.

    Final Thoughts

    Not good. I ended 2-3 at #40 out of 77. I really thought I could do better this time as I practiced a lot, but only caught on just before the event that my list had a huge problem in its design that wasn’t going to win. I still hoped to go 3-2 but didn’t quite get there and I think my wins were still too close for comfort. I’m looking at going forward to ease off the defense a bit and planning this list:

    New List
    Allegiance: Ossiarch Bonereapers - Legion: Petrifex Elite - Mortal Realm: Shyish - Grand Strategy: Hold the LineTriumphs: Inspired Leaders Katakros, Mortarch of the Necropolis (470) Arkhan the Black, Mortarch of Sacrament (360)** Mortisan Soulmason (140)** - General - Command Trait: Mighty Archaeossian - Artefact: Godbone Armour - Lore of Mortisans: Empower Nadirite Weapons Battleline 20 x Mortek Guard (280)* - Nadirite Blade and Shield - Reinforced x 1 10 x Mortek Guard (140)* - Nadirite Blade and Shield 10 x Mortek Guard (140)* - Nadirite Blade and Shield Units 3 x Necropolis Stalkers (180)** 3 x Necropolis Stalkers (180)** Endless Spells & Invocations Chronomantic Cogs (45) Emerald Lifeswarm (60) Core Battalions *Hunters of the Heartlands **Battle Regiment Total: 1995 / 2000 Reinforced Units: 1 / 4 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 101 Drops: 5

    By dropping the Harvester (which as discussed doesn’t do a whole lot) we can swap in some hammers. I’m still hemming and hawing on whether I want to use Stalkers or Morghast Harbingers. The Stalkers can get a lot of attacks but occupy the less than ideal zone of 4 wounds a piece, which means they can’t be brought back by Katakros and Arkhan if they die. Morghast have the same problem but they get 6 wounds which makes them a little harder to kill a model and they count as 4 models total on the objective which lets them outpace 3 model units. It’ll likely come down to being able to attack first to kill as much stuff as possible before the counter attack. I got a few RTTs coming up and Everwinter GT in Boston in December so there’s time to practice.

    If you have any questions or comments leave them below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.