So, the Manfield Maul is nearly upon us!
For those in the far flung edges of the empire… wait? No more empire? Well this sucks, someone should do something about that…
Ahem, for those who are not familiar with this event, it is a true Warhammer institution. A wacky mix of points size (2999), theme (a free thematically suitable special character created by the organisers is available for use by all players), dressing up, the odd beverage and a doubles game thrown in the middle for good measure, the Maul is not your “traditional” event.
It’s so out there that the Mansfield Maul is not even, in fact, in Mansfield (Sheffield being some 30 miles away from Mansfield. Now, being relatively widely travelled myself I appreciate that to our foreign friends this is no distance at all, and am sure that the average paper round is probably further. In England, however, such a trip is a Herculean feat – the span of 30 miles will take you distinct regions with their own particular accents, views on Northern/Southern/Other people and some passionately held, if difficult to understand, views on the rightful independence of their own country. And if this is not enough, there will probably be leaves/rain/snow/wrong kind of leaves/wrong kind of snow and/or sheep on the line, so public transport becomes and adventure (really rather dependent on how you define such things…))
The Maul is one of the longest continuously run events in the UK – I think it’s in its 8th year – and is very clear that it sees itself as a “different” event. As is clearly laid out in the pack:
“The Maul has had an ethos from the very beginning – ‘Bring armies that look like armies’… The Maul is an opportunity to do something different. To bring a different attitude, a different style of army and play and have an event that has an added social/party feel to it rather than the sort of event where you play 6 games of tense, no quarter given, Gary Gameface style games….”
Furthermore it lays out four central points that distinguish itself:
“1. Leave your gameface at home…
2. 2999pts… This allows you more room when building your list [and give ability to take big monsters you normally don’t due to cost]
3. …It’s Halloween and that means the option for fancy dress on the Saturday night!
4. Doubles… doubles game as game 3…”
As I mentioned, its different, and its an institution.
Now, I am happy to admit that it is not a priority for me to attend – there are only so many Mrs Tokens and hobby dollars in this world, and one has to choose where to spend them wisely. I would love to go one day, and I love its uniqueness – even if from afar. One of my favourite things about the whole event is looking at the lists people are bringing – traditionally you see lovely wacky stuff that is never seen on the “bleeding edge” of competitive play, with the odd person who throws all niceness to the winds and brings the filth. There was a bit of an outcry last year when (arguably due to it at the time being a ranked event) the perception was that pretty much everyone in the field was bringing an F22 Raptor to a custard cream fight. So I thought I would have a look at what this year’s crop of Maulitas have brought us.
First of all, this needs to be said.
Chaos is filth.
OK, maybe I should elaborate. The Northern kind of Chaos is filth. The half bunny half naked man variety you may bump into if you go into the wrong woods at the wrong time of day, not so much.
The worse thing is… I am not even sure I can blame the players.
The Maul, through its system of Timmycomp and general peer pressure, encourages Themed lists. This is most definitely a Good Thing.
Alas, some themes are very good. Very good.
MonoGod DoC lists (most particularly the Nurgle variety) are most definitely themed. They are also, in the vast majority of cases, top tier competitive armies. The same, to an extent, can be said for MonoGod WoC lists.
Heck, using that logic, I am shocked no one brought a Nuln Artillery Train for their Empire list J
But anyway – let’s not dwell on the dull and vulgar – as I said, I am not even sure it’s the player’s fault, some of the books you would probably have to actively try to make a weak list out of.
No, let us look at some examples of lists (either excerpts or in their entirety) of lists that have gladdened my heart on this ever so Monday-like of Monday mornings…
Well, where to start?
Where better than with Mr Smith. Take a bow!
No Warmachines? Check.
No Lords? Check.
5 Combat Blocks? Check.
Massive Hairy Elephant? Check.
Mr Sweeting also does not let the side down.
In between the usual (for him) and still very cool Lord on Wyvern and double Arachnarok list he also has the patented goblin hero spam… the rest of his list contains a lot of standard fare…. But one line stands out as the single best line in any army list at this event…
Next up, Mr Armstrong.
The undisputed (well, on this blog at least) master of scaly skinned goodness. Married life obviously suits him, and he has bought into the idea with a list built around three combat blocks and three monsters – and yes, one is a Carnosaur! Sure, there is the ubiquitous fat frog floating around, but if you ignore that you are left with good old fashioned… goodness. I mean, seriously. Only 2 units of skinks.
Mr Smith (another one! Should make a Matrix joke here...) also has hidden gems of goodness amidst what is essentially a normal list. Taking up the gauntles thrown down on Heelanhammer with (one assumes) fearless bravado, he joins the party with a 4 Sphinx list. Not remotely a terrible choice at these points totals I don’t think – well, with the caveat this is Tomb Kings we are talking about. Still, better than seeing Beasts of Nurgle on the table!
Mr Borland is somewhat bringing it up a gear with Scyla’s slavering hordes!
OK, sure, it doesn’t make all that much fluff sense (a predominantly Slaaneshy force taking orders from a spawn of Khorne would need justification in supporting fluff that would need the involvement of at least one portal and a chance meeting in some woods… and that’s before the father of Dragon Ogres gets involved), but so what?
Kholek – cool
Scyla – cool
Forsaken – cool
Dragon Ogres – cool
Slaughterbrute – cool
Mutalith Vortex Beast – cool
Shaggoth – cool
Mr Wildman of some podcast or other finally delivers on what he has been going on about for years! OK, maybe he mentioned it once, but still… say hello to MSU O&G!
Not only featuring special character goodness, this list also contains the second best line from any of the army lists at this event!
Mr “Old Man” Yeo (who's not actually all that old - but don't tell him that!) is bringing one of my favourite list concepts to the field – the WooftimeOfTheLastWaaagh (yes that’s one word). 40 strong mounted unit, because why not?! Sure the rest of the list is mainly classic Yeofilth – but he does have a very angry walking rock, so that counts for something.
All round list writing Guru Mr Gill does not disappoint, bringing a list that to all intents and purposes mocks other High Elf players who have claimed to have been bringing a High Elf Air force. Three Griffons, 2 flying chariots and a unit of 6 Eagles – this is, quite frankly, epic.
And finally, a quick shout out to Mr Banks, who has brought something I always wanted to bring – a full on Von Carstein family reuinion!
So, I look forward to hearing how these get on over the weekend – one thing is for sure. If history teaches us anything (and we all know it teaches us almost all things) a lot of fun will be had at this event!
Until next time