Monday, 20 January 2014

A Yellow Lizard's Weekend at the UK Masters

The much anticipated (by the very bored) follow up to my previous post.

Well, that was fun.
 Seems only sensible to take a quick look at the 2013 Masters that took place this past weekend.
I find describing games incredibly hard to do – I don’t have Andy’s flair for the description of battle – seriously, check out his reports, invariably fantastic . This is not helped by the fact that I am a) using Lizardmen and b) my games tend to be a frenetic mess that would require prose rivalling that of Tolkenian Elvish poetry (in length, and perhaps in clarity) to describe. 

But, first to the most important thing here – how did my first round predictions pan out?!

Players - Round 1
Predicted Winner
Actual Winner
Tom H
Tom H
Tom M
Tom M
Tom M
Ben J
Ben J
Ben J
Ben C
Ben C
Ben C

 Well, 7/8 ain’t bad, we’ll take that. And with more thought may have changed the one I got wrong. Was about to press the “publish” button when the news of Jack pulling out and Tom coming in came through. That put the cat amongst the pigeons. Bloody quitters being a nuisance (not as bad as when you can’t find a lighter because everyone has quit, but close).

As for my own experiences –

Game 1 vs Matty (O&G) – Meeting Engagement

This was always going to be a Bad Time. Other than playing Matty for the first time, that bit is cool. His Dwarfs – he pretended to be offended I kept calling them Dwarfs, I think it is because he expects the new book out in a month or so will be more interesting than his army – were all set up to shoot me to death. What I needed was to be able to get to grips with him quickly and start thinning down the savage orcs (whilst getting shelled to death) in the vague hope of winning. The scenario did not help.

Any resemblance the army on the left has to a Dwarf army, is, I am told, entirely coincidental. 

I set up on the 6” line and risked the rush from Matty (I think he almost went for it, which would have been perfect), he promptly deployed a million miles away from me in the corner, near a bottleneck caused by a building. In the end it took three turns to get effective firepower even close to range – and then it all went wrong. I had survived the artillery barrage on my brave Stegadons for a while, and was up in the chaff wars, slowly (very, VERY slowly) picking off his warmachines. And then a single rock connected to a poor brave cow’s face and pulverised it. 250pts down, no way in the world of getting that many points off him. All that was left to do was throw the remaining Scar Vets into the Savage Orc unit (turn 5) and hope for the miracle to happen.
It did not.
Matty won.
I’m ok with that.
No, it’s not protesting too much, it is simply making it clear to the readers.
Let’s move on already.

Game 2 vs Pash (HE) – Battleline

The reward for failure is to play Pash, I shortly found out. Edinburgh’s own Ukranian puppy was as aggressive as expected, throwing his flying boys in my face. This is OK though, he’s charming, and I don’t bruise easily. Pretty much the entirety of both our armies were in combat by turn 2. Real Warhammer! It was a crazy mess, and impossible to describe. He didn’t get quite enough wounds through to break through a Skink Cohort on the charge with his Dragon and BSB, which let me launch the trap, pinning the dragon for the rest of the game with Scar Vets. The BSB got into my Slann a tad easily (was effectively pressured by the annoying snowflake bird- indigenous to Scotland I hear). Being in a unit of skirmishers with no steadfast, I was concerned for the ikle frog’s safety, so took the challenge round one, got punched a lot, and promptly used Smoke and Mirrors to swap out with the skink priest, who valiant got turned into paste for his efforts.
Rules Query: So, model A (dragon) is in a challenge and is subsequently charged by an impact hit causing model B (Stegadon), can they be hurt by the impact hits?
Meanwhile, my herd of cows tapdanced on his white lions, killing them in two rounds of combat, before going off and killing the snowflake bird and bsb – they are good pets, though their milk has something slightly about it.
The Prince on Dragon (eventually!) chopped down by a Scar Vet, the Dragon took a look at the banner the Slann was holding (well, someone had stapled to his back) and legged it, escaping the clutches of the fat frog, but was eventually run off the bored by Señor Scar Vet. The elves were broken, and pesky Reaver surviving to tell the tale.

Game 3 vs Craig (Skaven) - Watchtower

Definitely one of the single best games of Warhammer I have ever had. And yes, this is down to Craig’s bad luck :)
Such a great game, and literally impossible to describe.
Craig decided to not destroy the building, instead to capture it with his Stormvermin (not a bad shout, not sure exactly what I would do with them in there).
I captured the watchtower from the slave unit he had in there turn one, and he failed to assault it on his turn, allowing me to hold him up for a while. So far, so great. Then Plague magic started its thing and started smashing my army.
Not great.
An Iceshard on the Stormvermin was just enough to mean that the Lord, Assassin and 8 Stormvermin that assaulted the 10 or so skinks left in the building utterly failed to capture it. Slann and second unit then proceeded to take over the watchtower and cross its fingers – the webbing makes this hard, so give him some dues.
The Warlord, who had just finished killing a Stegadon with contemptuous ease, promptly decided that was enough and killed himself with his sword (with a little help form Death magic). Constant shooting was wearing the Vermin down, and the Vets were wreaking havoc on the Slave units on my left. Craig’s magic was decimating skinks by the handful. Eventually the Slann was alone in the building, all his little skink friends withered husks.

All that was left on the table turn 4...

Finally free of the slaves the vets threw themselves on the Stormvermin to try and hold them up, one promptly struck down by an assassin. The Slann tried to help Craig out by miscasting and causing 6 S10 hits on himself – but then forgot his lines and warded all the wounds. The remaining doomwheel’s drive by attacks were foiled by the tattered remnants of skink units thrown to their doom, and by the contraption misfiring twice and careening away. I had the building turn 4, the game did not end. I had the building turn 5, the game did not end. On Craig’s 6th turn he unleashed a mighty spell, turning the ancient servant of the Old Ones into a mewling clanrat, in the building… after all that! The remaining Scar vet in combat with the Vermin was grinding his way through them until finally, in an effort to show his useless minions how it was done, The Grey Seer stepped up to take the challenge. This failed, with the Vet ripping him limb from limb in front of the Vermin, who decided this was too much, turn tail and tried to flee, only to be butchered.
The lone remaining Clanrat, not sure that the angry Scar Vet outside would believe that he used to be a Slann, looked upon the butchering of the Stormvermin and promptly fled the building.
And the game ended.
With a Scar Vet next to the watchtower giving me the win.
Total models left on the table:
Me: 2 Scar Veterans
Craig: 1 Doomwheel, 1 (fleeing) slannrat.
That make no sense? I warned you it wouldn’t. All I can say is that it was a fantastic game.

Day two kicked off with the ever popular, and in no way annoying to play when all the tables are all joined up Battle in a Corridor

Game 4 vs Leggy (WoC) – Battle for the Pass.

Netlist WoC are a nightmare for lizards, even if you plan for them. As in this case. I got the side with a building and deployed around it, narrowing the table and causing a WoC traffic jam.
Everything went according to plan. Slann hid in a building and I offered a juicy target for the Prince with a cohort containing multiple Scar Vets and a Priest in. An innocent looking Ancient held back, grazing and trying it’s best not to attract any attention. I took a wound off the prince somehow or other. He took the bait. Cautious of having the Prince protected from impact hits by being in a challenge the ever so brave sacrificial skink champ was pulverised. In my turn the Ancient burst into action and thundered into the flank of the Prince. 3 wounds needed to be caused. After some bad dice rolls 3 wounds caused by the mighty beast.
Everything went according to plan.
Until it didn’t.
Leggy casually saved all the wounds from the now bashful looking Prince and proceeded, over the course of the game, to kill the overgrown cow and break the unit with the Vet in… leaving them on double 1s and off the board they went. On my Eastern flank the other mighty beast of burden sat on the 3+ warded BSB, eventually getting two wounds through. And then Leggy causally purple sunned him off (damn initiative 4 is not enough!). The now unengaged BSB proceeded to survive a million (no, am not exaggerating) shots and see out the game. This was, all things considered, a Bad Thing.
The remaining Scar Vet, rather peeved by the inability of his cold blooded kin to do anything right this morning, proceeded to account for almost the entirety of the rest of the Chaos army. My plan of getting the Prince with him rather undone by the Predatory Fighter need to pursue fleeing units. Which he did, and caught, time and again, until he ended the game right on Leggy’s table edge.
As the dust settled, Leggy had his Prince, BSB and lvl2 on Disc (who had, wisely, hid all game) alive and nothing else. I, crucially, had lost both of the expensive to feed cows, and lost this game by 3 points.
Much cursing (amongst the basking in the sun, which is necessary for a good complexion) followed, and on to the 5th game.

Game 5 Tom M (High Elves), Dawn Attack

The memory of everything in my army was fresh from my last encounter with Tom – a blissful experience of being constantly shot at by a Dwarf-inspired High Elf army, before and overly cold bird of undiscernible heritage caused havoc before being eventually brought to earth by those dutiful servants of the Old Ones – javelins – for a hard fought draw.
Not so this time, I vowed. Firstly chilly bird was clearly having a day off, deciding that even it was not up for the frozen wastes that is the North of England in the Winter.
Tom had over 1000 points in his White Lion unit – I knew that the only way to pull something off here was to go for him. That, and I had lost two games at this point, so we may as well have fun. The random deployment was rather annoying, one of my Stegadons denied the early game cover of a building as its addle-brained grazing took it off into the open, and the Priest decided that he did not want to hang out with the rest, taking a scenic route to the battlefield and eventually turning up on my Western flank all by themselves – at which point they proceeded to be mercilessly persecuted by the rather rude Elves. He somehow survived the game, but is now rather less keen on making excursions to spot the Lesser Billed Razordon – that, or everyone else is refusing to go with him.
My plan was simple – throw everything at the Lions whilst they were still deployed wide and had limited attacks, and cause enough damage that the second waved could finish it up.
Everything went according to plan.
A Stegadon, reminded of his utter failure to skewer a prancing Prince an hour earlier, lanced himself at the Lions, and some skinkies charged the unit on the other end of the line, to stop any SeaHelm reform nonsense. And it worked – between impacts, attacks and some graceful jumping up and down on the Lions over a third of the unit was killed. For some further brilliant tactical goodness, some skinks survived on the other end of the unit, once again preventing any reform nonsense. Sure, the other cow got stuck in traffic, and a Scar Vet decided that it was too cold to charge the extra couple of yards to get in on the fun (he had, after all, just finished smashing half a warrior army). But at the time it seemed that these were minor inconveniences.
Everything was going according to plan.
Until it didn’t.

Those pesky Elves had stolen the trees. For this they shall not be forgiven

The Lions, with some frankly stupendous rolling, brought down the cow before it was able to do too much further damage – though not before it skewered the Banishment-totting mage. Then Tom had one of those incredible magic phases where he got off 3 magic buffs (seriously, Forbidden rod + Banner of the World Dragon is brutal), and it was not worth charging them the following turn. Bored by this wait, a skirmish unit and the remaining cow shot off all 20 archers in his archer unit in one turn. So there.
Things did not go great from here. Using some book he had recently taken out of the local library (its mass produced, so no waiting around), Tom’s lvl2 Loremaster somehow established magical dominance over the oldest of the servants of the Old Ones. To add insult to injury, the aforementioned Loremaster proceeded to hack down a scar vet in short order.
Then a Bad Thing happened.
Will had been valiantly running the event from an admin and timekeeping point of view. After a lengthy (and, as it happens, irrelevant) rules query, he vanished. We had no clear idea when the round was due to end. We asked around and it was guessimated that there was probably about 10 minutes left. So we agreed there would be one more turn (turn 5). Half way through this we were told we had another 20 minutes. Having agreed to only play one turn we did so – and this cost me the game. As the final dice of my fifth turn were rolled, a scar vet spannered his attacks, leaving one remaining White Lion alive. One more turn and either I kill the unit in combat, or he kills me and I have a gazillion (technical term that) shots surrounding the 4 remaining models of that unit – White Lion banner bearer, Loremaster, lvl2 and BSB.
As it was. A draw.

Always important to finish on a high when you have circa 5 hours of travel to look forward to post event, and the gods were smiling.

Game 6 vs Dan (WoC) – Blood and Glory.

All Khorne Warrior armies are fun! Unless something went very wrong there should only be one winner. As it was I was not in the mood to play uber avoidance, and played a bit fast and loose.
Facing the tactical might of an army led by Khorne’s very favourite pet spawn, the Three Amigos (scar vets for the slow) banded together in one unit and proceeded to pick on things. Sloppy play gave Dan a cow to butcher, but that one deserved it (no, I have not forgotten the Prince incident!). Other than that though, shooting, magic and angry Amigos cleared things up. Was a debate about which way to break him once had left him with 3 fortitude, and eventually I decided that caution was lame and big diced off a searing doom to remove the knights.
The Slann, being brave and everything, hid in a building this entire game.
Hell yeah. Hard one to describe – Dan was there to have fun, and it was.

End result was just north of the middle of the pack – 3 wins, 2 losses and a draw. I’ll take that with Lizards at two thousand points in that field – especially considering how close one of the losses and the draw were.
Thing I am proudest of though is achieving the second highest VPs (I think, maybe third) at the event with Lizardmen.

In case anyone out there was unaware, the winner of the Masters was none other than the evil doctor Potter himself – Morathi proving she is capable of more than seducing her own children.
And seriously, not better winner could have been had in that field.

The event itself was the most fun of the three masters I have been to, and endless thanks must go to Ben for setting it up (check out how he epically threw the Masters away on his podcast, you may have heard of it) and to Darren for hosting us all. The all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant with the vanishing food on the Saturday was a particular highlight).

Until next time


1 comment:

  1. Nice report Raf! Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself with the lizards and well done on the High VP score considering the field and comp!