Its day 2 and I arrive early (those that know me would realize what a feat this is) and hang around talking till the round starts.
As mentioned this is a custom scenario that the tournament organiser has developed. I presume it has arisen from some sort of hate towards the watchtower, and this has come to be some sort of intermediate. Seriously the watchtower isn’t that bad guys. Can’t move the unit in the watchtower? Just ignore it and apply your superior numbers to wipe out the rest of the opposition!
Now the basis of King of the Hill is there is a hill in the centre of the board, and then it is basically like watchtower, ie you need to hold/capture the hill. It is worth 400vp at the end of the game so significant enough to swing a game. Now the problem comes is that the scenario favours a few armies far more than others, and several problems came about such as charging off the hill first turn, something you cannot do in watchtower. IMO this makes the scenario very unbalanced and I don’t think it has any place in the tournament scene in its current form. Just use the book scenarios guys. There not that bad! At least everyone knows what to expect… /end rant =)
Game 4 – Ogres – Simon Kwok
Scenario: King of the Hill
Now, onto the game… Simon’s Ogres consisted of a large unit of 9 Ironguts that get loaded with characters, 6 bulls, an 8 man unit of Maneaters also with an assortment of characters, 2 units of Mournfang, a single Ironblaster, and the standard 3x1 Sabretusk’s. Now, Orges are a hard matchup at the best of times, and drawing the worst scenario to face them against is pretty much icing on the cake. Having not rolled Purple Sun on my death mage, I went into the game very conservatively, and would be relying on the first few turns magic/ranged fire to decide the outcome.
Simon won the roll off and gained the hill. He deployed the 6 Bulls on the hill. He then deployed the rest of his army single file, trying to mitigate any advantage I might gain from my catapults. His Mournfang went to either flank and everything deployed 6” or more apart. I could see this was going to be a very ‘gamey’ game. I deployed centre left with the Tomb Guard closest to the hill, and the rest of my forces staggered and trailing of to a castled deployment. I refused the right flank except for the chariots, which would provide a delaying action or simply finish off any loose ends out on the flank, then support the TG with a flank charge.
So I automatically get first turn, and started by correcting some angles in my movement phase, and positioning horse archers to be as annoying as possible. Having an inherently defensive build my greatest chance would happen in the magic and shooting phase. With low dice I pushed light of death, with one making it through, however thanks to Ld 9 with rerolls it had little effect. My catapults also missed the intended target of the Ironblaster, and my archers failed to make much of an impact on the bulls on the hill. Not a good start. Simon moved all his forces up including the bulls on the hill. He didn’t attempt a charge with them however. The Maneaters made for the hill and the Mournfang ran up my right flank. Simon attempted to fire his Ironblaster which justifiably misfired. The cannon then blew it self up as a result! Huh! Take that most broken cannon in the game. Except the only thing that happens is the thing cant fire for the rest of the game…. Yeah. Broken…
So turn two is more of the same. I get a unit of horse archers in the way of the Ironguts, and that is about all the movement I make. I have another rather unsuccessful magic phase, but manage a few wounds on a Mournfang unit near the centre this time. Shooting is rubbish, however the great bows put a few more wounds on the same Mounrfang the caskets targeted. The 6 man (now 5) Ogre Bulls are still pretty much unscathed. Simon charges into the horse archers with the Ironguts wiping them out, but thanks to some angling reforms instead of overrunning as intended. The Maneaters are now firmly on the hill and almost still at full strength. I’m gauging to see if I can tackle them in a heads up fight.
By the beginning of turn three I’ve decided, mainly thanks to the advancing Ironguts and the position of my army that I am heading towards a major loss, and need to try something to bring the game back in my favour. I commit the Tomb Guard into the Maneaters figuring I can grind them with some luck and magic. I have worked out that a clever placement of horse archers will not only redirect the Ironguts, it will also cause them to be unable to charge my Tomb Guard flank for another turn, and help save my entire left flank from being wrecked. I make it in comfortably and then move the chariots into position to give me a flank charge on the Maneaters if required in turn 4. I manage a smiting on the Tomb Guard but little else. Shooting sees one catapult manages a few wounds on the Ironblaster, and I manage to finish off the Mournfang unit that was damaged earlier with the Ushabti. Close combat was not as rewarding however. I manage to kill a few and receive a lump of casualties back against the Maneaters. It is enough to force a break test on them, but thanks to them being stubborn, they don’t shift. In Simons turn he issues a charge on the Horse Archers with the Ironguts. They get wiped out and he declares an overrun as I had anticipated. As the flank of the Tomb Guard is in front it becomes a declared charge. I then point out it is a failed charge, as Simon has his Ironguts 10 wide, they cannot fit through the gap as they will hit one of my casket of Souls when trying to close the door on the Tomb Guard, or before he even makes contact with them depending on how he try’s to move the Ironguts in. I had pre-measured this in my turn as it is what I had planned. Simon however doesn’t agree, and try’s to demon-straight that he can by repeatedly moving/wheeling the unit. I can’t help but observe that each time he wheels the unit, it moves a little further back and opens a gap to the casket… This may have not been intentional on his behalf, but the result is same. Simon calls the TO over, and he rules to ignore the casket and that Simon can charge. I’m not going to go into this, but this is a very poor call! The resulting combat is decisive and I loose a large proportion of the unit to crumble. It isn’t wiped out yet though.
So turn four starts and I am none to happy. A bad call can ruin a weekend for anyone. I get on with it and try salvage what I can. I try put as much firepower into the Bulls to pick up some extra vp. Simon had gotten a Sbaretusk in the way of my chariot charge into the flank of the Maneaters, essentially cornering them to be wiped out by the Mournfang on the flank. Another disappointing magic phase means I get shut down from regenerating the Tomb Guard unit. All the time I have managed to run my Ushabti out wide on the left flank and they are now hiding in a building. My Hierophant and his unit have moved up behind them in an attempt to save giving away as much vp as I can. I target the Ironblaster with the catapults and Ushabti but luck out. Combat sees the Tomb Guard wiped out allowing reforms all around. The Maneaters remain on the hill with two left, plus the army BSB. Simon charges his Bulls into a 10 man archer unit and wipes them out, overrunning towards a catapult. The Ironguts cannot charge as they are blocked by his own unit. At the end of the turn it looks like a big victory to Simon unless I can finish a few things off…
So turn five starts as the last turn of the game. With nothing on my right flank, the hill firmly in Simons hands, and some Ogre Bulls running through my archery line, things are grim indeed. Idrop out of the building with the Ushabti and move the archers with my Hierophant in instead to safeguard them from any last turn charge. With nothing else to move I try get some magic mojo happening. Light of Death targets the Ironblaster with little success, however I manage to get smiting off on the Ushabti. In my shooting phase I finally get a decent hit! I have targeted the Maneaters and BSB as it’s the most vp that I can gain. The hit kills the BSB outright and causes a further wound on the last two Maneaters, not to mention stripping regeneration off the unit that Simon cast last turn. The champion and standard are each left with one wound, which I promptly strip off with the Ushabti. Success finally! This also has the effect of freeing up the hill. Simon cannot get the Ironguts back onto the hill in his last turn meaning nobody captures it. The final actions of the day are Simon charging the Orge Bulls into a catapult collecting a few more vp for his tally.
Result 9-11 to Simon
Well what can I say? I didn’t enjoy this game from the get go. It was ‘gamey’ starting from deployment, based on a modified scenario that IMO is not balanced, and to top it off, a bad call at a critical moment in the game (IMO) pretty much ruined it for me. Best to forget this one I think. It was always going to be an uphill battle for me, so to come out with 9 points is a rather good result in the end.
Game 5 – Vampire Counts – Russ
Scenario: Meeting Engagement
Russ turned up with what is looking like a typical VC list in these parts. A Black Knight Bus filled with Vampires, some direwolves, spirit hosts and zombies for chaff, a skittle bunker for a necromancer and a Terrorgiest. I was fairly confident coming into this match. To win the game I knew I had to break the back of the knight bus, but before I could do this I needed to kill the terrorgiest before it rolled a flank. Having formed a rudimentary plan I figured the best option for me would be to set up at maximum distance and let him come to me, giving me the opportunity to manage the size of his army and channel the combats into situations that advantaged me. The end goal being to get a combat between his knight bus and my TG hoard.
Russ deployed his army as far forward as possible but on his hard left. It looked to me to be an attempt at a flanking move aiming to channel everything down my right with the Knights/Terrorgiest leading the way. I deployed in my corner, using some impassable terrain to my advantage to hold a flank. The Tomb Guard where deployed in the centre of my castles front line with the intention of redirecting the knight bus into the front of them. I had my chariots to the north to protect the flank, and artillery in the back.
Turn one starts with me pushing north with most of my horse archers and shooting Russ’s wolfs. I hold most stuff back and target his high value units with my ranged firepower. Caskets target the Knight bus, and catapults target the Terrorgiest with little success. Russ moves his puppies about to try get some use out of them before they die to my bow fire. His knights and terrorgiest move up conservatively and he keeps them in formation with his infantry blocks. A very quick first turn from both sides.
Turn to is more of the same. I shoot stuff, caskets hit the knights and catapults target the terrorgiest, this time casing a few wounds. Horse archers clean up the pups and my chariots swing around to start threatening the flanks. Russ cautiously moves up again. His spirit hosts hold his flank and threaten my horse archers, while he moves forward. He uses his magic to restore some of the knights he has lost. The Terrorgiest moves up and within strike distance next turn.
Turn three begins with me moving a horse archer unit in the way of his knights, angled back towards my Tomb Guard and potentiality setting up a nice flank. It is an obvious trap, but I am playing off Russ being overconfident with them. Catapults target the terrorgiest again, but the damn thing survives a direct hit that causes 1 wound. It has one left now. Russ charges the horse archers with the knights, and his Terrorgiest charges a 10 man archer unit that will redirect off the board. A small error on my behalf, as it predictably cleans up and overruns off the board, denying my catapults a target next turn. The Knights wipe out the horse archers, but refrain from overrunning. This pretty much leaves us in a stalemate centre board.
Turn four sees me looking at alternatives. I figure that all my shooting will do squat to his Ghoul or skeleton blocks, and this leaves his knights bus. Typically strength 3 shots into a 2+ armour save T4 unit isn’t the best option, however I decide to add the firepower to the catapults and Bowshabti. The catapults fire first, collecting 2 between them. Then I fire about 50 bows at the unit. As I fire each unit, and pick up a wound here or there, Russ manages to find every single 1 he can on his dice, resulting in me practically wiping out the knights with strength 3 shooting… I don’t think he is to impressed with his dice and predict some fun with a sledge hammer later that night. There is a champion and standard left in the unit plus a bunch of characters when my bowshabti let off their double shots thanks to smiting. The -3 save has a good impact finishing off the unit and spreading some wounds around the characters. Fun times. This sees Russ split up the characters in his movement phase as they break for cover. Russ chooses to start withdrawing his skeletons with his level 4 necromancer out of harms way. The terrorgiest appears and moves straight towards my artillery, and with a bunch of bravado it screams like the good wife and a catapult falls to bits on me.
Now its turn five and I’m hunting for VP’s. Most of the characters in the knight bus have found cover behind some rocks, limiting my ranged fire. My chariots execute charge into the Ghouls, cutting the numbers down. Movement is spent getting the firing arcs for the death mage and bow fire, but first I need to take care of some business. My remaining catapult hits the Terrorgiest finishing the last wound and removing the threat. I had backed it up with plenty of bowfire as there was nothing else they could shoot. Caskets failed to find their mark vs the closely grouped characters as did my shooting, which only netted the low level necromancer. Russ continues his flight with the skeletons and level 4 necro. I don’t remember exactly how but Russ manages to pick off my Death Priest. The Ghouls crumble some more to the chariots.
Last turn and it is clear I have a victory. It’s a fast turn for me as I only move what archers can shoot at the characters. All my magic is pumped into the characters netting me a few wounds off some, but no kills yet. Bowfire is pitiful and the catapult is wide of the mark. The Chariots finish off the Ghouls however which pretty much ends the game. Russ’s turn is also short as there is not a lot he can do.
The game ends with a win for me.
14-6 to my legions of the dead.
This was a good game for me overall. Russ was a pleasure to play and had turned up with a tidy VC list using the typical Deathstar/Knight bus. The highlights for me were Russ’s Terrorgiest weathering a hell of a lot of firepower, and the strength 3 massacre of the Knight Bus. Once again I struggled to clean up at the end of the game despite the ranged attacks I had. I have always found the new VC book to be a good match for my army. The result puts me back on the top of the table leading into the last game of the tourney.
Game 6 – (Savage) Orcs & (Night) Goblins – Sam Whitt
Once again we meet in the top table. Sam had turned up with a list very similar to the one he had at Call to Arms. When played right Orc’s and Goblins can be an extremely competitive army, and Sam for certain knows how his works. With a build similar to the one I ran last year I also knew its strengths and weaknesses. Night Goblins with nets, Troll block and Savage Orc Hoard backed by characters, chariots and plenty of war machines, not to mention the manglers. His list would always be a hard match up for mine. I knew I needed to control the early game and remove as many threats as possible. I did not want to get into combat with a full strength Savage Orc bus, so I formed a battle plan around this. Destroy the catapults, doom divers and chariots first, then weaken the Savage Orcs for a late game combat. To do this I would need to isolate the trolls as I couldn’t deal with both at the same time.
With this in mind I deployed in the corner. In a castle. Behind a river. At max range. Heh. I was playing to my strengths as I thought I could out shoot him, and play the late game combat if possible. Ok so I really was reserved about fighting the Savage Orc Hoard. Full strength it has over 50 strength 5 attacks! Sam deployed in a broad battleline as I chose to deploy my horse archers normally, and combined with the small archer units I had enough cheap drops to not give away my deployment. His Savage Orcs took centre stage, flanked by Night Goblins and trolls to either side. Chariots and mangles filled in the gaps with artillery at the rear.
I started turn one after winning the roll off. I spent the turn withdrawing the horse archers back top my lines and nudging a few archers into range of threats like mangers and chariots. My catapults targeted his artillery with mixed success, and both caskets got dispelled. Sam responded with the anticipated forward thrust. I was almost fully deployed on the right corner with a river in between myself and the Orc hoard. The return fire from Sam’s artillery found its mark but failed to take out my scatterpults, instead reducing the number of archers my Hierophant could use as a dead shield. All in all an uneventful first turn all around.
Turn two was much of the same for me. Perseverance is a trait needed with my Tomb King build. Whilst consolidating behind my best friend the river, I edged forward my horse archers and chariots to get some more bow fire in range. My magic phase seen me get through a light of death taking out a doom diver and bouncing along Sam’s battleline causing a few more wounds. Shooting resulted in some similar success, with my archers finishing off a mangler in the centre, and one of my catapults managed to take out one of Sam’s, the other preferring to misfire… Under the hail of fire Sam continued to advance, although it did tend to be conservative. With the banter going back and forth I figured Sam was not that keen to find himself in a combat with my Tomb Guard. I had them deployed so that Sam would have no ranks because of fighting in a river, although it was a river of light! Return fire took two wounds of a catapult after a direct hit by Sam. However a buffed Foot of Gork got through in his magic phase and managed to stomp on my Hierophant. However my skittles had been train well in the arts of protecting their masters and I was saved from the worst of it. Sam stomped me twice before rolling a 1, allowing me to stomp him instead. I tried for a rock lobber catching a wound.
Turn three turned out to be an amusing one. I decided to try and push the limits and get some mileage from my chariots. They where in the centre on my table side and there was the threat of loosing them without contributing. I declared a charge on Sam’s Night Goblins forgetting about the effects of nets. The rest of my army held back as I launched a hail Mary. The charge was successful in making contact and aligned to overrun into a pump wagon whilst avoiding a counter charge from Sam’s Boar chariot. I had to clip a forest on the way in resulting in me loosing a chariot, and Sams fanatic managed to account for another. One made contact but if I was unlucky in my dangerous terrain, so was Sam in netting himself! The resulting impacts killed a bunch of goblins and the charioteers managed to kill his shaman. The horses even got in on the action. In return I lost nothing. Sam was still steadfast but was out of BSB and General range. They fled and pursuit caught the goblins then overran into the pump wagon which was cleaned up in the next combat round. Chariots overran out of harms way but close to a mangler! This charge overshadowed the rest of the turns shenanigans. More artillery exchanged fire, and I believe I had to weather another foot of Gork!
So at the beginning of turn four things are set up to maybe commit to a turn five charge/combat. Taking stock I am down a horse archer unit and a catapult at this point. My Hierophant has a wound from a miscast and a few units are below strength. Sam’s missing most of his artillery, a chariot, a mangler, his night goblins and a shaman. I move my Tomb Guard up to temp Sam to commit to a charge. I have some horse archers on a flank to redirect if needed. I continue to target the last remaining artillery of Sam’s with the caskets finally starting to work their magic now that Sam’s general is to far away. Sam is hesitant about committing to a combat with the Tomb Guard. Sam chases the last chariot with his own, and the mangler randomly wandering about near it. The board is set with my castle still pretty much intact and Sam poised to close in with his trolls and Savage Orc Hoard, however the game is late.
Turn five rolls around and I decide to not overextend. I start pulling back the Tomb Guard and attempt to not give away any more vp’s. With this in mind I refrain from my lone chariot charging as it only had one wound left, instead pushing it out to max charge range of the boar chariot and equally as far away from the mangler. I target the Board chariot with both light of death spells and get one through picking up the kill. Sam’s last piece of artillery (a rock lobber) gets taken out by my lone scatterpult. Sam’s army is moved poised to a last turn charge if he wants. We are both in two minds about this, but I figure he cant wipe me out in one round, but there is the opportunity to pick up some character kills with killing blow.
So turn six is rather uneventful. We both know the game has been won by me, as even if Sam managed to clean up my Tomb Guard I was still largely ahead. With this in mind the chariots continues to hide from the mangler, and I spend my magic phase buffing the Tomb Guard with smiting and protection spells. Sam shuts down both casket attempts on the lone mangler. Sam’s turn is equally quick with him deciding on the more conservative route of not engaging the Tomb Guard, his decision helped by the buffs active on them. We call the game and tally the score
15-5 to my dusk raiders…
An eventful game overall for me. We played staring completions with our main combat blocks for the entire game whilst our artillery and ranged forces exchanging blows. This phase of the game was won by me pretty much deciding the match. Ultimately the casket of souls tipped the scales in my favour getting some early kills here. Sam and I talked about the potential outcome of his Savage Orcs vs my Tomb Guard. He was not feeling confident in engaging them heads up and had hoped to bring them down to a more manageable size before committing. I actually thought he had the upper hand in the combat here but I think Sam was more worried about loosing 6 or 700 points of characters to killing blow attacks. Fair enough to, as a lucky KB can swing the game in many ways. A good game for me, and I think we both enjoyed the challenge, but ultimately the ranged factors swung in favour of me, but not forgetting the chariots decisive charge!
With all results in the Tournament was won by my Tomb Kings, with Simons Ogres coming in second place, Russ taking the last podium with his VC, and Sam’s Orcs just getting piped from third place. Although the field was a lot smaller than originally forecast, there was still a lot of stiff competition about (apparently we had 40 signed up with another dozen or so on the waiting list, but 24+ people pulled out last minute!). I get to take home the rather large shield to babysit for a year!