After suffering a flat tyre on the 2 hour drive to the airport, which resulted in me arriving at the airport with less than 3 minutes to spare for checking in, then finding out that the flight was delayed for half an hour, I could see this weekend being an eventful one. I arrived in
and checked in to my hotel which turned out to have a great view of the , the tallest structure in the
southern hemisphere. At least I would be able to find my way back easily! Auckland City Sky Tower
The next morning after a short 10 minute walk I found my way over to the events centre for the tournament.
Game 1 – Wood Elves – Nick Irvine
Nick bought along a typical Wood Elf list for these parts, mixing up 6 treekin, a few units of glade riders, some dryads, wild riders, way watchers, some warhawks, BSB, eagle, lord and a level 4 beasts mage. It looked like an annoying list to fight, what with wood elves having range and manoeuvrability advantages over my desert skittles. My deployment was pretty standard with Tomb guard in the centre, chariots on a flank, archers in support and artillery in the rear. I didn’t go in with much of a plan, thinking I can edge the archers into range and just try outshoot Nick. What I failed to take into account is I only had 40 normal archers, not the 90 I have used before vs woodies.
Turn one started off with some exchange of ranged fire. I dropped my catapults on his treekin and was rewarded with setting a few on fire. Our exchange of bowfire resulted in me loosing a few skittles where my return fire was mostly out of range. I concentrated on killing his eagle and warhawk riders as Nick had positioned them to charge my priest second turn. Casket of souls bounced around a little and my flank was threatened by Nicks wild riders.
Turn two forced me to reform to face the wild riders, and bring some archers about to deal with the waywatchers on my flank. My catapults scored another direct hit killing a couple more treekin. I concentrated my caskets on the waywatchers as they threatened my war machines. I positioned my chariots to make a charge on the dryads hoping to tie them up and protect my ranged firepower. Nick moved the wild riders in further though I am not sure why, as they came right into charge range of the Tomb Guard. His treekin moved up aswell and I suffered more casualties from ranged fire. At this point I believe I had lost two horse archer units.
My turn three and once again the accuracy of the scatterpults where amazing, reducing the treekin to a lone warrior with a wound on him. I didn’t charge the wild riders realising they would just pull me out of position. The chariots however I threw into a suicide charge into the dryads to reduce numbers. In turn I received a charge from the wildriders, however the treekin failed to make it into the same combat. Most of my magic was concentrated on killing the way watchers. The wild riders where broken and ran, but I failed to catch them. I am still uncertain why they charged as they had no hope vs a block of 40 Tomb Guard. If the treekin where full strength It may have been a good combat. The chariots take a chunk out of the dryads but I loose one first round. The Dryads are stubborn in the woods and hold, so loose another one in the second round.
Turn four is next and neither of us has made much impact. I drop the final skull on the treekin wiping them out. Magic and shooting finally take their toll and reduce the waywatchers numbers down to 2. Nicj spilts them up in his turn to create two targets and avoid a lot of my firepower. Nick rallies the wild riders and they dance around me aswell. The chariot dies to the dryads but there is only a few left now. I whittle down his archers some more. Nick cops a miscast resulting in a dimensional cascade, however gets away with taking just one wound.
Turn five starts with some basic manoeuvring about but Nick is clearly superior in this aspect of the game. I wipe out the dryads to some shooting but loose a ten man archer unit to his return bowfire. I try and get as many shots onto the units in behind my lines but with little success. I spend my magic phase and the rest of my shooting phase failing to cause any wounds on them, even to the point of firing a catapult which all of a sudden mysteriously looses its accuracy! However Nick achieves just as little.
Turn six and the last round of what is an uneventful game. My luck has fled me and a successive series of bad dice rolls sees me fail to kill off the waywatchers, lord, and wildriders… With not much left to do the game ends with a minor win to me, but only just
11-9 to my desert Prince
In the aftermath I had some terrible luck in the ends turns. Failing to clear out potentially 7-800 points, all of which I only needed to cause 2 or 3 wounds total to finish them off wasn’t the best outcome. My head wasn’t in the game and I went off in search of some caffeine, sugar and my luck baseball cap. It could have been worse. I could have lost to the tree huggers!
Game 2 – Empire – Rory Finnemore
Blood and Glory
I hadn’t played Rory before but we had come close at Horned Rat earlier in the year however. Rory had bought along his breathers for me to turn into corpses. He had a steam tank, single cannon, helblaster, a unit of crossbowmen, 3 chochobo riders and a huge unit of 15+ inner circle knights loaded with all of his characters, including a wizard, priest, general, and BSB. Interesting, and by interesting I immediately knew what needed to be done. Magic/catapult off the steam tank, shoot the crap out of the chickens, and draw Rory into a fight with my Tomb Guard.
I chose the table sides and picked up the one with a building about a third into my left side. This would help hold my flank. I set up with this in mind, with the standard chariot on the flank, Tomb Guard centre, archers holding their flanks and artillery at the rear. Rory deployed his knights front and centre, chickens on my right flank opposite the Ushabti, and crossbowmen with a level 2 mage opposite my chariots. I won first turn roll off.
Turn one was a pearla! Some fiddly manoeuvring about to get some angles right was all of my movement. I cast light of death on the chickens first up, which Rory let though? It managed to take out a Chochobo rider and then bounced to his knights which shook it off, it then bounced to the steamtank causing a few wounds, then bounced to the canon causing 2 more wounds, then the hellblaster suffered 3 removing it from play! The only unit I didn’t effect was the crossbowmen, except they decided their little hearts weren’t in it and ran from the carnage… Ouch. The Ushabti caused a few wounds on the chickens and my catapults managed a further wound on the steamtank. I used my horse archers to clean up the last wound on the cannon. Rory put 2 wounds on a catapult with his steam tank. Not to be outdone by my massive first turn magic, Rory casts a comet centred near my Tomb Guard, archers and Hierophant bunker. When I say outdone, I’m referring to killing Rorys army, as he proceeded to miscast and blow himself up, taking out the back rank of knights thanks to a bunch of st10 hits! The rest of his army moved up the board and the crossbowmen found faith in Sigmar again returning to the fight.
Turn two started with me positioning some horse archers in the way of everything. I moved my chariots forward to work up to a charge on the crossbowmen. Archery fire spent its time working on the knights and chochobos as did my caskets, although Rory put some effort into shuting them down this time. The steamtank piles on up and fires its cannon at my catapults but falls short. Rory moves his knights around and indicates that he thinks his only chance now is to commit 100% thanks to my overwhelming ranged firepower. It is nice to know the underlying build is having the right effect. By the end of turn two the stage is set for a showdown between deathstars.
Turn three begins with me declaring a charge with my chariots vs Rorys crossbowmen. A stand and shoot does little but I do loose a chariot to a dangerous terrain test! I place a unit of horse archers in the war of Rorys Knight bus so that they have to charge them, and if they do, they expose a flank unless they combat reform. My magic was of little effect this turn, but I did manage to get a smiting off on the Ushabti, which had moved into occupying a building, along with their banner. They proceeded to shoot the last chicken off the board securing the flank. The chariots rammed home cause a lot of casualties but Rory held on thanks to steadfast rule. Rory charged my horse archers with the Knight bus and reformed to face my Tomb Guard Hoard. He was now committed stopping only a few inches away infront of me. The comet comes down in the magic phase and causes a few wounds here and there, but nothing that worries me much that I can’t heal back. His steam tank also ran over some skittles on my left flank after I managed to take another chunk of wounds off it.
Turn four starts the showdown. The Tomb Guard now charge into the Knights, thus denying him any lance bonuses. The Ushabti pepper the steam tank with missile fire as do my catapults, reducing down to 2 or 3 wounds. Rory has had a unit of outriders hiding behind a hill all game so I move my remaining horse archers up to start shooting it. There is nowhere left to hide. The magic phase is good and I manage to get a smiting off on the Tomb Guard, but miss the cursed blades, which is dispelled. The two remaining chariots slog it out causing a few more wounds, and Rory manages to fluff all the return blows. He then fails his stubborn break test and I run them down. Moving over to the key combat we start slogging it out. There is a bunch of characters in the front rank which is annoying for me as they are all high WS and I did not manage to roll any 6’s to KB any. Added to that Rory gets some buffs off causing me -1 to hit and other annoying things like that. I do cause a few wounds on the regular knights however and win the combat by a small about. Rory makes his cold blooded Ld check and is ok, thanks to his Hero...
Turn five begins with not much left to do but work on the combat between Deathstars. I shoot the outriders some more with little success, and manage to miss with both catapults on the steamtank. Infact I think one misfired at this point and blew itself up. Magic phase was filled up with me trying to buff the Tomb Guard. I get fail to get cursed blades off again but smiting persists. Another slog out and the combat is a minor win for Rory thanks to some tooled up characters. He dosn’t have many knights left anymore and his L4 mage has to step up into the fighting rank. Omnomnomnom. In rorys turn the Steam tank comes to the party to add its weight to combat. Rory starts buffing his knight block with all sorts of annoying spells again. The result is close to a draw, however I manage to put a few wounds on the L4 mage and reduce his knights down to champion and banner. I’m down to 2.5 ranks now and loosing attacks.
Last turn, and I am already up on VP. With little to do except try shoot some outriders we move quickly into magic where I finally get cursed blades off. This round of combat is decisive as I manage to move my Prince across to the steam tank and kill it, along with landing killing blows on all Rory’s characters! He fails his ward saves for his general and almost the entire unit is wiped out in a single round, netting me his BSB, mage, and Priest. His unit champion survives and runs away denying me the 400 odd vps for the unit. This pretty much ends the game and nets me a major victory.
Result 19-1 to me ol’ bones
Rory confirmed afterwards that he made the decision early to commit, as both of us had to break the others death star to stand a chance at a win thanks to the scenario. We talked about this a bit and I mentioned that was exactly what I wanted. I had deployed the rest of my army to attempt to draw/bait his main block into a protracted, yet unsupported combat grind which I knew the odds where in my favour. Rory was pretty unlucky with my first turn but that’s what happens when you let through light of death uncontested!
Game 3 – Chaos Warriors – Ross Hillier-Jones
This scenario is based around objectives place at 18” intervals along the centreline of the table. At the beginning of the game, after both armies have deployed a randomly determined objective is removed leaving two. Each is worth an additional 400vp and can only be captured by infantry 9inc monstrous infantry). When I looked at Ross’s list I wondered if he had read the player pack, as he turned up with only one unit that could claim the objectives! Ross and I had played a few times before. Last game was Equinox where we fought last round for podium spots, with my Tomb Kings eventually coming out on top with a 13-7 win. Ross bought along a knight bus, frenzied warrior block, disc lord and helcanon. A few dogs and marauder horsemen rounded out his mix.
Deployment followed the rules for battleline and we both deployed out plays. My Tomb Guard went front and centre as to allow me to quickly redeploy to contest all three objectives, not knowing which would be real. I then ensured each objective on the flanks had 2 units that could capture them. Ross deployed similarly front and centre supporting his warriors with knights on one flank, and helcanon on the other. My plan was to redirect the frenzied warriors out of contention and make a play for both objectives. His army was supported by a pair of shrines.
Turn one was won by me, and objectives where revealed to be centre and left. This was great as my deployment favoured these two. My chariots where on my right which would make a great flank denial unit in this match up. I started by moving up aggressively on both objectives and holding back on my right. My artillery targeted his helcanon, scoring a direct hit, but rolling only 1 for multiple wounds. I shot off some dogs and marauder horsemen and targeted the knights with the Ushabti. Magic was a case of casket of souls hitting the knights and helcannon. I scored a few knights but the helcannon shrugged it off. Ross also move up aggressively trying for early pressure no doubt. The helcanon got a hit on a catapult, but caused only 2 wounds. His disc lord got to 24” range of my Tomb Guard an attempted to gateway them, which I promptly shut down.
Turn two started with me putting pressure on the left which resulted in an uncontested flank as I shot up the marauders and dogs there. There was a building in between his knight and the flank which I put the Ushabti in. This gave them good range to target his disc lord, successfully putting the first wound on him. My Tomb guard stayed their place changing face to ensure any charge from the knights would be to the front. I then placed some horse archers infront of the warriors to redirect them away from the objective. Magic then seen me target the knights with my casket of souls, which vastly reducing their number, but my catapults failed to find the mark. Ross charge the horse archers in his turn with the warriors, but didnt committed his Knights into my Tomb Guard. The resulting combat would have been rather brutal for the knights. Ross got a gateway through and I nervously watched as he rolled for strength. Seven! Thank Ptra, an 11 or 12 could have lost me the game. I lost about a dozen Tomb Guard, but no big deal.
Turn three comes about and I move my Ushabti out of the building and behind his knights. One of my skittle archer units scoops up the objective on my left and then moves into the building that the Ushabti had just vacated. One of my catapults manage a hit whilst the other decides its had enough and falls to bits. The hit manages to cause a few more wounds, so I fire the Ushabti into it and finish it off. I target his Sorcerer Disc Lord with my caskets and one manages to get through, and with only leadership 8 the surfer gets eaten up by the light, denying my Ushabti another disc scalp! Meanwhile the Tomb Guard had charged into the Knights and proceeded to wipe them out in a single round. Archery peppered the Warrior unit which was running off to the right thanks to frenzy and redirection. The game was almost wrapped up at this point.
Turn four sees me move onto the other objective with my Tomb Guard and threaten the rear of the warriors. The Warshrines are now my targets and take a lot of missile fire in my shooting phase, along with the caskets light of death trying to find their mark. I pick up one of them for good measure in the end whilst lining the other up for a 5th turn charge with my Ushabti. Meanwhile my chariots have found a flank to threaten and the Warriors are now pretty much surrounded and about ready to be crushed. However unfortunately Ross got the call from the Mrs and had to bail. A quick calculation and I already had over 3000vps and lost about 160, with almost no chance of the Warriors surviving since Ross had lost all his support. The game was wrapped up with a solid victory to me
Result 20-0 to the sands of time.
So after the end of day one, and a rather slow start I managed to pull it back and finish top of the table on day one with 50/60 points. Second top was Simon Kwok and his Ogres with 48/60. Day two would start with us facing off in an adaption of watch tower scenario, called king of the hill. A rather unfortunate turn of events for me as the scenario favoured his army considerably, and Ogres are not exactly a good match up on the best of days. I return to my hotel and start paying homage Ptra. He advises me the Sky City Casino is better off to receive my patronage…