Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Slaughter-ing with Dr Jake

As most will know, this past weekend in the traditional big start of the year event took place in the snow covered far North (admittedly there appears to be some debate on the term, but one thing is clear, there was no snow in London - draw your own conclusions), in the town (or is it a city? who really knows these things (OK, sure, lots of people know, and I could Google it, but that's the cheap way out)).
It is by all accounts always a tremendous event which, for a variety of reasons, life has always conspired to keep me from attending. 2015 was no exception, and I was frankly gutted.
Don't get me wrong, after exposure to the comp pack at the masters I can, with a clear conscience, say that I detest it. I should be clear, I love End Times (its the application in a tournament setting that I think needs work), and I know why they went with this year, but still. Not a fan. But that is a subject for another day.
Today we have none other than good friend of the blog, Mr Dr Jake, a local to those far Northern reaches, and his recap of his time at Sheffield Slaughter 2015.
The Sheffield Slaughter. Always a good event for me – I’m local to it, which helps, as I can stay out and socialise more. I actually wasn’t in that hopeful a mood going into this one – I’d been having a difficult few weeks before the event, and was feeling under the weather, and wasn’t sure about how I’d enjoy the filth level of the environment. I was nonetheless hoping I’d cheer up once I got there – and this did happen to a decent extent.
My army (with which I had a total of 2 practice games, both after list submission [That's loads! Ahem, sorry, I'll be quiet now... Raf]):
Jake Corteen
Dark Elves
Dreadlord: General, Dark Steed, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Ogre Blade,
Charmed Shield, Luckstone, Cloak of Twilight, 274
Morathi: 375
Master: Dark Pegasus, Battle Standard Bearer, Sea Dragon Cloak, Great
Weapon, Shield, Armour of Destiny, 207
Master: Dark Pegasus, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Great Weapon,
Shield, Talisman of Preservation, 181
20 Witch Elves: Standard, Musician, Champion, Banner of Eternal Flame, 260
5 Dark Riders: Shields, Standard, 95
5 Dark Riders: Shields, Standard, 95
5 Dark Riders: Shields, Repeater Crossbows, Standard, 110
5 Shades: Standard, 90
5 Shades: Standard, 90
Reaper Bolt Thrower: 70
Reaper Bolt Thrower: 70
Reaper Bolt Thrower: 70
8 Warlocks, Master of Warlocks, 210
2197 points
Comments on how I thought it did can be found at the end. Filthy, sure, but not compared with the equivalent End Times stuff, is my view. Anyway, I took it over my Lizards as I felt it didn’t auto-lose to End Times armies. I’d rather have six games I feel I can win with the right play than four games I (hopefully) play dead right and win, and two games where I run into one of those characters and lose outright with little hope of mitigation. I tried for a while to build a list I felt could even semi reliably handle the characters, but in the end couldn’t get anything I was happy with. The magic route requires time to work and even then is far from guaranteed; I don’t own enough Skinks to run lots of properly big units, and the Folding Fortress approach would bore me to death and might well not guarantee a result anyway. Sure, the advised play vs the big characters is kill the rest of the army, but I didn’t feel like I could build a list that’d do that and retain enough points at the end – certainly not given the vulnerability of the Slann. Maybe it could have worked, but without testing to confirm, I wasn’t up for the risk of unenjoyable non-games, so took Dark Elves.
G1: James Fitzsimmons
Morathi: Lore of Death; 375pts
Master: Battle Standard Bearer, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Lance,
Charmed Shield, Talisman of Preservation, Dark Pegasus; 211pts
Master: Heavy Armour, Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Lance, Cloak of Twilight, Dark
Pegasus; 188pts
Sorceress: Wizard Level 2, Lore of Metal, Dispel Scroll, Dark Steed; 150pts
5 Dark Riders: Repeater Crossbow, Shield; 100pts
5 Dark Riders: Repeater Crossbow, Shield; 100pts
5 Dark Riders: Repeater Crossbow, Shield; 100pts
20 Darkshards: Musician, Standard Bearer, Banner of Eternal Flame; 270pts
Repeater Bolt Thrower; 70pts
Repeater Bolt Thrower, 70pts
Repeater Bolt Thrower; 70pts
Repeater Bolt Thrower; 70pts
9 Doomfire Warlocks; 225pts
8 Doomfire Warlocks; 200pts
Total 2199pts
Essentially a mirror match, though he had more shooting – I was hoping my smaller number of drops would help cancel things out by giving me the crucial first turn. Alas, it wasn’t to be.
I actually don’t remember much about this game – I blame the illness, followed by massive alcohol consumption and lack of sleep on Saturday night wiping my memories of most of Saturday.
I had a plan going in – try to get two LOS/charge-blocking terrain pieces in the centre offset to each side, vanguard everything that can behind them, use them to protect my vulnerable points if he seizes t1, if not jump out and alpha-strike anything engaged. (I had shades to clear vanguard space, meaning he wouldn’t be able to do the same). Basically: play how I often play White Scars in 40k. In practice, the terrain went against me a bit and I only got one of the two pieces I really needed, and that smaller than I liked. Both of us took the same magic – 1 shadow 3 dark. I was hoping to shut his darkshards down early, clear some dark riders, and then push a positional advantage to clear the rest away post the alpha/beta strike. Morathi was in the witches, who I figured would be a tempting target but unlikely to get actually wiped out turn 1.
He then stole the initiative. Damn. In fairness his t1 shooting phase wasn’t amazing, though it wasn’t awful either; and my return fire did do a decent bit of damage in the end. The key aspect of the game though was his warlocks+bsb+morathi being an 8” charge or so away from my dreadlord. I decided to take it – if I get in, sure he has BSB static res, and I don’t break him for a while, but I might well kill his BSB over the 3 rounds I get before his Cloak peg comes round, and I can use the combat as cover for my pegasi and witches who can then charge in to help, or charge over into bolt throwers, as I prefer. It also shuts down his magic missiles for at least two of his turns, except for the unengaged Warlock unit which I can to an extent contain. My opponent post game felt this was a mistake, as I was unlikely to go through and his Cloak rescue can cost me a lot of points. I just figured the positional advantage was worth the risk, and it could go wrong for him too easily enough, especially if I hurt the BSB at all. I’ve been trying to teach myself to play for big results – a lot of the better players do it and I’ve a habit of being overcautious, but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it properly yet with this army. With the Lizards, I’m better at judging the risks.
Alas, I totally bounced off the BSB. Did hold though. I’d not do a single wound to the BSB for the entire timescale of this combat, in fact. Still, the game flowed back and forth – I got a peg into his bolt throwers, and cleaned the others up with… I forget what tbh. My Warlocks maybe? I definitely magic missiled at least one off mid/late game, though it might have been Morathi doing it – I definitely did fly her around a bit once some of the shooting was shut down. Anyway, his cloak peg came round to rescue – and failed a midrange charge, which put me in a good position with my great weapon peg in the flank of his cloak peg with lance.
Of course, my cloak peg then fails his armour save, and his ward, vs the S4 attack that manages a wound – a 3 on the D3 later and he dies outright. Sigh. My dreadlord then fluffs and breaks, though he does get away IIRC.
I can’t remember much more, other than that Morathi flew around being awesome cleaning up points, and that we ended the game him having 10 models left on the board to my 3, for a 11-9 win to him. Good fun tactical game, with some comedy-of-errors dice involved.
(Oh yes – I didn’t go into warlocks with both pegs, decided cleaning up shooting was safer. I needed to kill 4 to break steadfast, and figured that was unlikely; if I don’t do it, cloak can kill something and break my other two characters for a huge loss. I’d failed to shoot a unit of darkriders that could block the witches I’d set up to get that charge – one survived and blocked me.)
I think basically, as was a theme all weekend, I played the Dark Elves like a Lizard player – all chances and aggression and playing the odds, and the army isn’t resilient enough to do that. I should have been a little more cautious, and cleared his shooting more methodically while dancing about. I think I had the potential to get away with doing that, despite his shooting advantage.
Game 2: Dave Fraser, High Elves
(Meeting Engagement)
Prince: Golden Crown of Atrazar; Charmed Shield; Star Lance; Star Dragon 575
Archmage: Talisman of Preservation; Ironcurse Icon; Star Dragon 625
Mage: Dispel Scroll; Lore of Fire 110
11 Archers: musician; standard bearer 130
10 Archers: musician; standard bearer 120
10 Archers: musician; standard bearer 120
10 Archers: musician; standard bearer 120
10 Archers: musician; standard bearer 120
Frostheart Phoenix 240
Frostheart Phoenix 240

OK, so this is going to be fun. Dave is brilliant fun both to play and to talk to, and the army is hugely entertaining. This said, on paper I have a notable edge – far more ranged damage and I have Purple Sun for the dragons.
Early game it was cagy – he kept me back with dragon and frostheart charge arcs, I cleaned up (slower than I’d have liked) some archers that he couldn’t protect, and my magic and shooting failed to kill anything much. He left me a midrange charge with my bsb into his archmage, I took it, failed, had to flee a frostie charge, and then got dreadlord into the flank of said frostie (bit of a risk, but I wanted to break the game open). Dreadlord, of course, as is his usual wont, fluffed epically and got flanked by the other one. He did survive several turns though, and pin them down while I managed to shoot some wounds off the prince and then kill him with witch elves (who died to the dragon, but it broke his fortitude). My T3 or 4, he offered me another bsb vs archmage charge – trying to get some points back with a swingy result, I think. It worked – I killed the mage, but dragon failed Ld, became Unbreakable so didn’t break, and ate my BSB. Not good. (In the turn all this went off, iirc, I went for bubble Soulblight but he got a double-6 dispel).
However, it did have an unfortunate secondary consequence for him – total loss of control of the magic phase. Two purple suns scoring 1200VP in turns 4 and 5 later, and I’ve got the 20.
I feel a bit bad… Warhammer skills, right?
(I also did shoot and Doombolt off both frosthearts once they had finished eating my dreadlord, it must be said.)
As in the last game and in my practice game, the flow was as follows: early game I set up combats, my combat characters utterly fail at life and die. I swear, am down loads of points. Late game, Morathi rolls her eyes, says “do I have to do *everything* myself?” and promptly blows up half the opposing army. Sorted.
Game 3: Will Goodwin, Legions of Chaos
Chaos Lord of Tzeentch: Mark of Tzeentch; Chaos Armour; Disc of Tzeentch; Ogre Blade; Talisman of Preservation; Potion of Foolhardiness ; Flaming Breath; Third Eye of Tzeentch; Soul Feeder; Enchanted Shield 395
Kairos Fateweaver: 565
Exalted Hero of Tzeentch: Mark of Tzeentch; Great Weapon; Daemonic Mount; Barding; Battle Standard; Scaled Skin; Armour of Destiny 271
Exalted Hero of Tzeentch: Mark of Tzeentch; Halberd; Daemonic Mount; Barding; Chaos Armour; Dragonhelm; Burning Body; Talisman of Endurance; Ironcurse Icon 231
Bray Shaman of Tzeentch: Mark of Tzeentch; Lore of Death; Herdstone Shard 135
Bray Shaman of Tzeentch: Mark of Tzeentch; Lore of Death; Dispel Scroll 110
21 Chaos Warriors of Tzeentch: Mark of Tzeentch; Shield; Standard; Musician; Aspiring Champion; Blasted Standard 412
10 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch: Standard 140
10 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch: Standard 140
Total Army Cost: 2399
Oh dear – Two Towers (possibly the best Watchtower variant I’ve seen yet by a country mile, it must be said) against an army with a huge unit of Chaos Warriors and sufficient magic, shooting and tough hitty characters to keep my Witches out of the buildings. Oh dear oh dear.
Doesn’t help that I was playing pretty poorly – left dark riders a mid-long charge from Horrors hoping to draw them in/get a Fortitude point, and put Witches right next to building so he couldn’t fly a disclord into the way to block their move. What I missed was that this fractionally put his BSB’s overrun path from the flank of my darkriders if he made a mid-long charge go into the Witches by a tiny hair before he hit the building – though I’m still not convinced, I let him have it in the end, was a matter of a hair’s breadth in it. Anyway, put me in trouble. On the right, his Warriors were advancing on the other building but angled in toward my army. Over there I had most of my shooting, and got Soulblight and some good rolls to whittle the unit down significantly. (Warlocks+Dreadlord were threatening a bit to dissuade him from turning in to go for the building early). My plan was to occupy his magic and shooting on the left via threat zones and horror/Kairos hunting units, and having to get rid of the Witches (who had my BSB in).
Sadly, his breath weapon killed so many witches I no longer had Steadfast – some good rolls there, so my BSB broke and died, hence not tying down his characters for a turn which was at least a hope of salvaging something.
And then… I don’t actually recall what changed the game, but I do know Morathi flew about being badass again, and Will’s dice were pretty poor. Also my Shades finally came into their own, leapfrogging into the building and fleeing charges to keep his Warriors occupied (with the help of some Dark Riders, and the threatening Warlocks). So at end game, he had charged character at the building to try to kill 4 shades (which I held, as on average he doesn’t kill them) and dove Warriors out of the way to be able to flee Warlock charge. He’d totally missed one remaining Dark Rider who was behind end of building and could have run his Warriors down – but Reign of Chaos killed it L
At that point, *totally* forgetting I had Shade banners, I swore and said “you’ve just broken me with that”. Oops. This will be key later.
Anyway, we come to turn 6 - he forgot to move his character back into the rallied Warriors, who were facing down a charge from my other Pegasus – who had somehow survived a lot of magic, though his attempts to get Morathi were helping as a distraction. So, his Warriors (depleted to 11 plus shaman I think by my shooting) were in potential trouble, depending how it went. He had 7 Horrors in the building, having lost 3 to a Doombolt from Morathi last turn. I currently had nothing in the building, but 5 shades ready to go.
So – it comes down to this. Can I break the Warriors, and can I get the Horrors?
Warlocks charge. Make it. Peg charges… and fails. Oh dear.
Magic? 6 dice doombolt, I don’t irresistible… and he fails to dispel. I kill 4 horrors, removing the unit from building-claiming size (needed 5 in the comp pack). Step 1 complete.
Step 2? Dreadlord swings… and fluffs. Warlocks swing… and do a few wounds but probably not enough given his return attacks. Warriors swing back… do a few wounds, ouch, I’m in trouble here – and then the Warlock ward saves come through, and I win combat. He tests on a 6 or something, and…
Kairos reroll?
I run him down for the 500pt swing.
Wow, 1500VP in turn 6 – proper seat of the pants play! In fairness I got *very* lucky managing his magic for this long to be in a position to do it, which might not be obvious from the report above. That put the result back to a 1506-1507vp dead draw. Wow.
The foreshadowing from earlier? His 1506 includes 600 for breaking my fortitude and not breaking his. He’s just handing the results to Leggy, when I call and say “stop”. He hasn’t broken my Fortitude after all (a 600VP swing, giving me the 14-6 win).
Will points out that I said I was broken earlier, and if he’d known he’d have gone after my Shades…
In fairness, I did. I wasn’t thinking. Idiot mistake, and looked at one way it could be seen as misleading my opponent. And yet on the flip side, the banners are on my armylist and clearly visible on the models. He’s a top tournament player, he ought to pay attention to the gamestate. And I was *already* mystified as to why he didn’t go after my Shades more, as they were my only hope at saving the game. Think he got greedy chasing the big result where he didn’t need it at all given the scoring. So would it have changed the game if I hadn’t said that? I honestly have *no* idea. Maybe.
I suggest to Will we only count half the points, as a compromise, but he isn’t happy with that and suggests we take it to Leggy (the tournament organiser), who says to keep the result at a draw, and “play it properly next time”. I don’t dispute this – TO has spoken. It wasn’t exactly an argument, more a “…what do we do now?” – we both screwed up really, it’s a messy situation, not sure there’s a “right” answer. I hope he doesn’t bear any hard feelings, I certainly don’t – despite the discussion involved, all resolved perfectly amicably.
So, 10-10 it is. Still far better than I expected! At the time I was convinced I only got there on dice – I now think that while I *did* get lucky, Will also misplayed the right flank significantly to let me have the chance to get lucky at all. I can’t honestly say I played much better – but keeping an eye on the only chance you have to get a decent result is usually a good idea; definitely not worth giving up.
Game 3.5: the Saturday Night
Some stats from my Saturday night:
Pints consumed: more than 10, I lost count. Plus a jack and coke just because.
Shots consumed: 3, thanks to a drunk Norwegian celebrating
Amount of a certain tournament player who shan’t be named body seen: more than I was expecting (and after all these years, that was the first one I’d actually seen on the tournament scene. I must lead a sheltered life.)
Time gotten in: 4am.
Time a certain Irish player got in after I left him and another of the team on leaving the club I took them to: 7am. After falling asleep in the middle of an industrial estate and having to ask security to let him out. He then spent a chunk of the morning passed out in the corner.
Hangover level: over 9000.
Game 4: Ken Chambers, Empire (also starring: my hangover)
General Arch Lector on War Altar: Heavy Armour, Charmed Shield, Talisman of
Preservation, 304
Wizard Lord on Life : Lvl 4, Obsidian Amulet, 230 pts
Wizard Lord on Light: Lvl 4, Iron Curse Icon, Sceptre of Stability, 220 pts
Wizard on Light: Dispel Scroll, 90 pts
Wizard on Light: 65 pts
Wizard on Light: 65 pts
Captain of the Empire BSB : 85 pts
40 Halberdiers : FCG, 270 pts
Det 5 Archers, 35 pts
Det 5 Archers, 35 pts
5 Knightly Orders : Standard, Musician, 130 pts
5 Knightly Orders : Standard, Musician, 130 pts
Great Cannon, 120 pts
Great Cannon, 120 pts
Steam Tank, 250 pts
Steam Tank, 250 pts
Total 2399 pts
OK, so this is a little fuzzy, I was not in a good way.
I figure I have some chance here – his characters are vulnerable to Death magic if I can tie up the shooting, and his Fortitude being that fragile then gives me a chance.
Terrain ends up with me actually giving him a table side with a deployment zone building – seems odd, but it was right off to one side which would impact his deployment and ability to project force, and the other side had a more game-relevant place to hide Morathi from cannons, so I went for it. I figured he couldn’t easily stop Witches from shoving into the building to clear up points. In retrospect it was probably an error, I’m not sure – Morathi ended up somewhat out of the game anyway, and if I go first I can vanguard Dark Riders to block his move into the building early while I get hitty units into position. Still, if he went first on that side, swift reform into the building and I’m in just as much trouble with the building now being more simple to protect and more board-central to control space. Eh, I can see why I decided how I did even if I’m not sure if it was correct.
I got Turn 1, which helped. His deployment had knights left of building (from my perspective), halberds with the characters right of it with altar behind, cannons near that, then tanks off to one side to take cover behind a hill from my bolt throwers. Last knights were on the far side.
I shoved at him, basically – forcing him to lose some stuff, not giving time for tanks to rescue, and hopefully reducing time I was facing artillery fire. I nonetheless expected his t1 to be scary – but I’m in a good position to threaten a lot of his stuff.
Magic wise I throw doom+darkness at his halberds – if they fail, they might panic off if I can shoot some stuff, or might fail the swift reform needed to get into the building due to my dark riders. He dispels it. (Should have thrown 6 dice, I forgot about the impact on the reform – would have drawn scroll for sure, or won me the game outright). I then Doombolt the War Altar, badly wounding the rider and the machine – nice result there, some good rolling involved.
So, his T1. Archers block as much as they can, Tanks come over and line up shots. He 2-diced the Altar’s banishment, I dispelled it, saving a couple of dice to dissuade him from Banishment and another spell. He throws 5 at Banishment…. 1,1,1,1,2, failed to cast. Wow. Artillery then mostly fails. Last cannon shot through my Dreadlord and BSB. Dreadlord fails Look Out Sir, then Charmed Shield. Then Cloak of Twilight. This is going to be bad… 2 wounds. Whew. BSB… wounds. Fails ward… 1 wound. I got away with that…
T2, peg into one of the cannons angled to overrun into the other (and be hard to get with the Tanks). I otherwise attempt to clear up the various archers and the like, and my BSB charges his knights on the left, who flee and go off the board to leave BSB still exposed. Dark riders charge his War Altar, hoping to pin it and/or kill the rider to break his Fortitude. They fluff, but hold a few rounds.
Basically the game becomes me losing stuff to his Tanks and magic at this stage. Pegasus fails to kill second cannon for two rounds running then gets Tanked, as do some of my dark riders/shades who failed to kill stuff. Thankfully this gives me time to get Dreadlord round into his War Altar to kill it midgame, breaking him.
Memory goes a bit fuzzy here, but I know I put Witches (flaming) into the tower. Got 18 kills first time, with Doom+Darkness off as well – but he passes the test first time, and I Power Drain to lose the spell. However he then casts Dwellers and I fail 13/19 tests. Remainder of unit (which had to charge at a funny angle due to my shades so only barely contacted) gets blocked by a single 60pts wizard who exits the building – blast. I kill him, reform so it can’t happen again, and go in again – combined with magic/shooting this means he now has 4 halberds left, plus characters.
Late game, I do get the last cannon, but I run out of places to hide my characters – Banishment finishes warlocks, and in the last turn (T5 – we ran out of time, he showed up 15min late and I was slow due to being hung over) he Banishes my dreadlord and kills him. He does at least cascade and lose the lv4 light doing it, but the d6 hits doesn’t finish anything off.
Thankfully, I have one dark rider banner he forgot about, my bsb, my witches, and one other depleted unit remaining somewhere to keep my Fortitude, and I had broken his very deliberately, so won the game 13-7.
If you wonder what Morathi was up to, I failed to clear enough shooting off to make it safe for her to come out – Banishment is a right pain. Limited my options. Doom was the usual thing, but Power Drain ended that, and poor rolls for spells meant I didn’t have much else of use at the ranges in question, he stayed well back from where she was able to hide.
Still, solid result against a good player with a strong army.
Game 5: Paul Brown, High Elves
Always a total pleasure to play Paul. Can he get his revenge?
Eltharion: Lore of Death; Stormwing 490
Teclis 450
Noble: Banner Of The World Dragon; halberd; longbow; Battle Standard 152
30 Spearmen: Gleaming Pennant; Sentinel; Musician; Standard Bearer 305
19 Archers: Hawkeye; Musician; Standard Bearer 220
5 Silver Helms: shields; musician 125
5 Dragon Princes of Caledor: Musician 155
1 Tiranoc Chariot 70
1 Great Eagle 50
Reaper Bolt Thrower 70
Reaper Bolt Thrower 70
Frostheart Phoenix 240
2,397 points
The big issue I face is Teclis, 30 spears and the world dragon BSB in a nearly central building. His magic phase is geared up to do horrendous damage to my army. Equally I have nasty shooting and some mobile combat elements that can threaten his, if they can survive.
I deploy dark riders able to jump past his stuff if I get turn 1, and able to high-odds flee to safety if not. Shades get round his flank as he forgot to cover for them. Warlocks pressure the centre.
He then steals turn 1. Oh dear. On the left silver helms charge my dark riders, I flee only 6, he pursues 10 to exactly catch me. That hurt, and cost me a lot of pressure. On the right, my riders flee to safety, but will fail to rally on 9 with a re-roll and go off the board. Urgh… Chariot redirects into Warlocks, and Dragon Princes try it too, but both fail.
At least, his shooting and magic isn’t up to much – my one exposed peg passes 4+ wards vs his amber spear and bolt thrower hits, and my witches only lose 6 models to his archers.
Warlocks charges his chariot, forcing a flee, and redirects into his archers, losing one to stand and shoot. I angle Witches round to threaten building unless Eltharion jumps in to block, and out of (reformed) Silver Helm arc. I also move shades to worry his chariot and eagle on the right, figuring I have enough to shoot both down. Dreadlord shoots out beside tower to have charge vs a bolt thrower and only be exposed to shooting from one. Frostie is still a bit of an issue but I’ve got a turn or so before I need to worry too much. My BSB and other peg move up into the cover of the combat, angled at his bolt throwers.
Warlocks blow through his archers (depriving my characters of cover – oh well – I had it in my head he’d kill enough to reduce me to 4, so I wouldn’t break steadfast, but I got good saves). Can’t remember if magic did anything noteworthy.
His turn, and Eltharion decides he has to go for it vs the Witches to prevent me getting into those soft squishy Spears protecting Teclis. I figure I’m steadfast for a round and in 2 rounds ought to kill the griffon, leaving him down a mobile threat and possibly, depending how it went, exposed to shooting for a turn for me to score some points. Slightly risky, but the reward is good and odds in my favour, so I’m happy enough. His cav goes after my bolt throwers and backfield, since my shooting has been failing to stop them – this will continue all game. Frostie comes round to do similar, and pressure Morathi.
Anyway, his magic, and he manages to amber spear my BSB, who fails ward and takes 3 wounds. My other peg then panics. Ouch… that’s all my pressure gone. He then pings off my charmed shield on the dreadlord with the bsb longbow, then I fail my cloak of twilight save and take 3 wounds, losing my general outright. Ow. That was… devastating.
To add insult to injury, Eltharion and Stormwing then hit all but one attack, get a 5 for Thunderstomp, and wound with every single one to exactly break my Steadfast. Witches are run down. I only did 3 wounds to Stormwing.
At this point I’m just chasing what I can score while not giving up points. Morathi flies about doing cool stuff, killing a bolt thrower, trying to Spirit Leech the World Dragon BSB, and I think she even manages to Doombolt the Frostheart in the end – something got it, anyway, I’m not precisely sure what. I lose my remaining bolt throwers to his cav, but Morathi evades the pressure, and some few remaining Shades and Dark riders finish off the Princes and Silver Helms for some needed points.
Still, my Fortitude is (exactly) broken, his is not, and he has most of my army dead. I only have Morathi, 7 shades and 5 dark riders left. I lose 18-2.
Brutal, but hey, couldn’t have happened against a nicer opponent. I did take some chances – with Lizards it’s the right call, I’m not actually sure it is with the Dark Elves. Maybe I should have sat out of Teclis range (barring Fireball), taken different magic (Shadow maybe?) and tried to play the ranged game a lot more, rather than trying to clean up in combat and with pressure. This said, it was a really unfortunate turn that cost me the game.
That put me rather out of the running down on table 19 last game (if you’re counting the points, note the capped scoring pushes the average score lower than 10, and a fair few 20s were going round).
I draw…?
Game 6: Kevin Weaver, Wood Elves
Spellweaver: Dispel Scroll; Obsidian Amulet; Level 4 Wizard; Lore of Death;
Elven Steed 295
13 Glade Guard: Trueflight arrows; Standard Bearer 205
13 Glade Guard: Trueflight arrows; Standard Bearer 205
13 Glade Guard: Trueflight arrows 195
7 Wild Riders: Banner Of Eternal Flame; Standard Bearer 202
6 Wild Riders: Standard Bearer 166
6 Wild Riders: Standard Bearer 166
7 Sisters of the Thorn: Gleaming Pennant; Standard Bearer 197
8 Deepwood Scouts: Hagbane tips 128
8 Deepwood Scouts: Hagbane tips 128
7 Deepwood Scouts: Hagbane tips 112
10 Waywatchers 200
10 Waywatchers 200
2,399 points
Hmmm, this is likely to be painful! 110 shots including a bunch of Trueflight against my fragile army.
Ah well. I’ve played the matchup before with an even more fragile Dark Elf list, and I do have some hard to deal with characters. Let’s go.
I deploy wide, maximising my pressure via spreading vanguards so he can’t block them all with scouts. Pegasi in witches/behind cover, in case he seizes. Morathi hidden behind my handy rock formation. I took 1 shadow/3 dark, ending up with miasma, word of pain, doombolt and chillwind.
(Aside: can Morathi take 1 spell on Undeath, or does it have to be 4? I was kicking myself all weekend for not painting/borrowing a unit of Tomb King archers to raise for shooty matchups, but then someone pointed out the rules issue.)
I do get turn 1 (less drops makes it likely). Kev has spread out a lot, complete wall of shooting, but my shades have blocked in his wild riders a bit, and he has left gaps in his charge coverage. He also scouted a unit of Waywatchers carelessly near to me, and a quick measure shows my BSB is just within 19” – I’d have taken a 20 too – so I charge. If he flees, two panics with no BSB, including on his lv4 bunker, and then goes off the board. If he holds and I get in, I probably pursue into the bunker. Hard decision – he holds. I…
Make it. Rolled an 11.
I then push *everything* at him flat out other than Morathi (ok, and the bolt throwers, they don’t push very fast. My crew need some practice wheelbarrow racing.) I create loads of pressure – angled units to threaten flanks, force reforms, and prevent him escaping with the trueflights very easily, and to constrain the space he has to move into. Dreadlord is on his own and set up so that if bsb overruns into bunker, dreadlord can come in to finish them off once pinned.
I then proceed to magic off an entire unit of scouts that morathi pokes her head out just enough to see, and shoot a couple of trueflight archers and an entire wild rider unit. That’s a good start! Nothing panics though. BSB kills 4 waywatchers but they pass their test anyway.
Kev’s turn 1 he moves about but has no good options. Bunker tries to escape, but can’t get far due to my threat zones – has to make do with being behind a wild rider unit that my bsb if he kills waywatchers and reforms *might* not go through in a round. Shooting deletes my Warlocks, wounds an RBT, and kills some Dark Riders, but it’s not close to enough. I finish the waywatchers and line up on the bunker/wildriders.
My 2, and the rest of the plan goes into motion. BSB goes into wildriders and right through them into the bunker. Peg charges trueflights in a wood in the flank and kills them (note no steadfast), after forcing a waywatcher unit to flee (and get pushed off table by my bsb after fleeing a long way, before his redirect into bunker). A scout unit panicks off the board. Shooting plus magic removes yet another wildrider unit, and my witches kill the trueflight unit in his building (nothing could really get there to block them).
At this point Kev has one unit of scouts, his central trueflights, and his pinned down and soon to be dead bunker left, and he concedes the game.
Wow, that was painful after all – but not for me. I had the right plan and dead-right play, he made deployment errors, and then my dice were favourable on top of it all. Not much he could do after my first turn, barring pray. It must be said he took it extremely well, remained friendly throughout.
Well, 66 points. At a normal 6-game event, I’d expect that to be quite low. However here, with the capped scoring, I’m expecting maybe early 30s. I come?
23rd. Wow, the scoring made a big difference! Happy with that. Well, I normally aim for top 20% these days, but given game 5, it’s a good recovery.
The Army
Mainly, I needed practice with it. All the lessons I’ve learned to make me a better Lizard player are actively counterproductive with the Dark Elves, I need more patience and more willingness to wait for my time to engage. The Dreadlord wasn’t a good pick, Morathi should have been my general (she took one wound all event), and he’d have better served being another Warlock unit and some points to let me switch from 3*5 to 2*10 dark riders – or possibly a lv1/2 Undeath with scroll and steed, and another bolt thrower, and similar. Witches vs darkshards I remain unsure about – Witches were great in some matches, poor in others, and had good potential but failed to capitalise in another couple. I *think* on balance I’d keep the Witches. Not sure if 20 was the right size or not – bigger unit would have been more capable. I just hadn’t realised how Two Towers worked – I thought each player deployed a unit in a building, but that wasn’t the case, so I didn’t need to only have 20 of them.
Morathi was, it must be said, amazing. How she’d do in an event with less LOS-blocking terrain, I’m not sure, but as it was she was exceptional all event. Sometimes felt the lack of ability to get look out sir from cavalry and hence come out to play earlier, but when she *did* come out, she was devastating. 3 Death/1 Dark is a great magic split, and I had it for 3 or 4 of the games – she’s actually pretty reliable at getting big doombolt off when you need it, and came through for me several times.
As I said above: practice is key, really.
The Event
Overall I had a good time, despite poor mood going in, and illness.
End Times at the top was silly, but I never quite made it up there – sad in some ways, I usually like to be at least threatening contention before one of the actually top players knocks me back down, but such is life. I can’t really comment therefore – I didn’t play against it.
I will say that the Fortitude rules and the capped scoring were excellent – they made for extremely tactical play and rewarded consistency. OK, they also favoured armies with 4 hard to get Fortitude, but in practice a number of times my MSU with banners kept me in a game when my characters died.
Two Towers was undoubtedly the best Watchtower variant I’ve played yet. Excellent idea there.
I wasn’t a fan of uncomped building rules combined with no-scatter terrain placement. Loads of people just shoved stuff in the corners, and I also faced several big units in buildings. Other people seemed to have similar experiences. Either cap the numbers, or – my preferred approach – say you can lock in combat with a building (maybe if you win combat?), and say that you can’t swift reform into a building unless you started within your movement value of it.
And that’s my report – cheers for reading, thoughts appreciated!
Many thanks again to Jake for doing this!
Until next time!


  1. I really enjoyed my game against Jake. He sells himself short in claiming purple sun ftw. The game was so tactically tight over the first few turns and he made the moves to push it into being anything other than a 10-10. If the dreadlord hadn't gone for it, it probably would have been a 12-14 to Jake and a low scoring game. Making that move opened up the 20-0 and getting off the purple suns was inevitable.

    Vs Will - Hmm, a tough one that. Open lists and banners obviously on the table. I guess the lesson learned is to just stay silent upon it unless specifically asked and work through on your list to review. I actually put fortitude on my army list as a column down the side to make it easy to check for just that reason.

  2. An enjoyable read. I haven't played a tournamnet in such a long time that reading this reminded me of how easily Warhammer can be two games - tabletop and mental. A list at a tournament is built for such a different gameplay. I don't think i coud cope with any of those lists!