SmithF's 9th Age Battle Reports 44

MSU battle reports, as first seen in TWF.

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  • ETC 2017 – Impressions


    The games: I got 6 good games in, against fun and very competent players. We got to play the people that travelled the furthest to get to Spain (Australia, New Zealand), got to meet 5 new country teams, we even got to play the guys who won the sportsmanship award.


    As is the case in big events, there seems to be a separation between the “top tables" where things get very tense and serious, and the "lower tables" where the games are friendlier yet competitive enough. We had the chance to play against like-minded people for the most part, and managed to score the best result in the history of the Belgium ETC team! (We ended up 15th, tied for 14th spot with Germany)


    Given that our preparation was essentially a get together for a single game and a beer on a Saturday evening, I think we can be happy with the end result!

    As far as my games are concerned, writing the reports made me realize some mistakes that could have affected the outcome, although I wouldn’t classify them as major tactical blunders.


    The social aspect: the ETC is a unique occasion to get to meet people from all over the world and share their love of this (and other) games. Returning to the event for the second time, I was happy to find some of the usual suspects, but also new faces.

    Most of my time was spent with the other 7 members of team Belgium, who proved once more to be excellent company. Hats off to all of them, especially to Loick and Camille, our two newcomers, as well as Francois and Zach, our french «mercenaries».


    Salamanca is a beautiful city, full of history and a perfect setting for our event (We are all suckers for medieval history, after all). This year’s event was also a testament to how popular our game is in Spain: not only did people travel across the country to participate in the singles event, but there were non-competing several players watching games, taking pictures and discussing between games. I can only wish that at some point T9A will have such a big following in Belgium!


    The list:



    To do this properly, I need to underline that Sylvan Elves in the v1.3 era are in a very tight spot: I blame pyromancy, the shift from Shortbows to bows, the rise of cheap as chips tough MSU lists (ogres, but also daemonsand WoDG). Building a list that can reliably perform well is a challenge, especially if you want to get more unusual units in the mix.

    I cannot say that having SE in the team made my captain’s life easier: there are simply too many hard counters that one needs to avoid. My approach was thus to build a list that can play every objective, as long as the matchup isn’t too bad.


    Dryad Matriarch: (B) as always, solid Ld9 source, and the cement that holds together the treefather duo with Druidism spells. Nothing to write home about, but maneuverable enough in the dryad retinue.


    Druid Master: (A) Shamanism was the missing link of the list. Every single spell ended up being useful, including pounding drumbeat. The only problem I encountered was limited range of the Augment spells (the basic version of frenzy is so short-ranged that I never had the opportunity to cast it)


    Bladedancer BSB: (A) very solid choice, and surprisingly resilent, despite being a T3 elf. His spear keeps expensive T3 elves alive, making grinding a possibility.


    Dryad Skirmishers: (B+) Mobile, but still a glorified wizard bunker. They had their moment in the sun by almost killing a Taurosaur in game 3, but ultimately their role is to protect the general and be a roadblock in dire situations.


    Forest Guard: (C) while not a powerhouse per se, they proved to be very reliable scorers. Lots of bodies makes them reliant to ranged attacks, and I noticed that enemies tended to target them with mass-destruction spells/artillery. I prefer losing 15 FG to burning embers, as opposed to losing 10 Sylvan Archers, so add “decoy» to their battlefield roles.



    Sylvan Archers: (B+) There is relative consensus that SA are the most point-efficient ranged unit in our book. Their ability to move and shoot without penalties helps them win shoot-outs by getting that first volley in. In my games they played an important role, either by whittling down key enemy units (Bombardiers in game 1, Taurosaurs and Spearbacks game 3, miners on game 4) or by failing to do so (failing to kill the miners on game 2, not being able to hurt the vampire covenant on game 6). I was glad to bring 20 of them, and I don’t think that bringing more would have helped immensely: I do not expect them to win the game for me, but rather tip the balance by eliminating enemy chaff and warmachines. As a plus, they survived all of my games!


    Bladedancers: (A) the swiss army knives of the list! BD can take on pretty much everything save from a very tanky lord and eventually come out on top. Unless a stiff breeze hits them, that is: their scoring status, their price tag and negligible ranged protection makes these difficult to use in an environment where your opponent… [Read More]
  • In the last round of the tournament we’d get to face Latvia: these guys are relative newcomers to the ETC scene, but they had a couple of Russian mecenaries with past tournament experience. At this point everyone was getting tired, so memory of the game might be a bit hazy.

    I got to play a gentleman named Roman and his Vampire army:


    Roman wrote:


    Going into the game, a couple of mates from other countries warned me that the team was notorious for playing slowly. So during the entire game, I kept nudging Roman to play a bit faster, as he was taking a lot of time for each move. After the game, he revealed that he was actually a replacement player, and that he didn’t have much experience with the army, which is why he took so much time. I kind of felt bad, since my pressure may have lessened his enjoyment of the game, so I’ll use this space to apologize once more to him (in case he’s reading).

    We got to play Flank Attack and Secure Target (that makes what? 5/6 games?) and my adversary won the roll for choosing sides. He promptly parked his Shrieking Horrors behind the immense impassable terrain in the middle, with his troops guarding either side and properly covered by the Altars of Undeath.

    I opted to put my objective on the top left corner, as far away from his deployment zone as possibble. That meant that he’d have to deviate one scoring unit from his battleline to claim it, making my chances of killing it with something fast (kestrels, BD) substantial.

    For spells, my opponent got both Evocation snipes, the Spectral Blades and the Evocation trait. I got Awaken the Beast, Insect Swarm, Break the Spirit and Totemic Summon, while the Matriarch got Master of Stone and Entwining Roots.

    After alternating deployments for a while, I forced my opponent to go first by dropping my entire army. I pushed the kestrels to the left forward, within range of the Shrieking Horrors’ scream. I wanted to bait them out of hiding to be able to deal with them swiftly. As long as they hid behind that impassable I couldn’t really dare to press the attack.



    TURN 1

    The Vampires aren’t pressed: movement is minimal on their side. The Kestrel bait was unfortunately refused, and in the magic phase a huge amount of zombies and skeletons were raised.
    On my turn, I began hatching a plan: even at 60-strong, the spearmen will fall to a combo-charge from the BSB’s retinue and the treefather. So the plan was to storm the right flank with them, while trying to keep the left flank at bay with minimal casualties.
    With 3 magic missiles, I tried to whittle down the wraiths to the left: only the Insect swarm went through, and it failed to cause any wounds. My shooting didn’t have any good targets, so they took some potshots at the skeletons.



    TURN 2


    Again, movement for the vampires was minimal. A good magic phase saw my opponent raise the right skeletons and the zombies to full strength, and then he even managed to conjure a free zombie unit on the left flank.
    In response, both Kestrel Knight units performed outflanking maneuvers: on the right I wanted to pull the shrieking horror out of position, while on the left the target was the vampire knights. In the middle, the treefather and dancers both advanced a bit towards the skeleton spearmen.
    Magic was uneventful, as was shooting.



    TURN 3

    The vampire knights took the bait but failed to get in. The 60-strong spear block advanced towards my bladedancers on the right. Magic was now focused on raising the other skeleton block, and they too reached the maximum level.


    This turn I sent my right treefather in the skeletons, making it in. The bladedancers bid their time: still enough turns for them to commit, but I’d rather not risk losing the scoring unit to lucky skeleton rolls. On the left flank I couldn’t declare a legal charge on the vampire knights, which kind of ruined my plans for the kestrels.
    I moved my left treefather within the Shrieking Horror’s threat range, making sure that he’d have to land on the ruins to be able to scream at me. The Kestrels, small Bladedancers and Forest Guard all moved in support. To the right, I gave up my other kestrels to the shrieking horror to pull him out of position: I didn’t want the beastie to set up any flank charges onthe treefather.
    All of my magic was aimed at the left Shrieking Horror, but failed to wound the monster.
    In combat the treefather took a wound, but… [Read More]
  • For the fifth round we were drawn against Australia: the guys from down under have a reputation of being fun but also quite capable generals. We had the pleasure of facing them in Athens during the 2016 ETC, and they gave us a good spanking on the last round of the tournament sending us down to the bottom half of the results table.

    This year the Australian team didn’t only bring the usual suspects, but they enlisted the help of former German team captain @Frederick (of T9A fame). So the chances of winning the round were pretty slim, but we had to try and make it work.


    One list that caused a lot of issues was the dreaded Peasant Army, led by none other than Mr Akhter Khan. In the end I got to face him, and I was very glad to do so as our vampire count player couldn’t stop rambling last year about how awesome their game was and how fun a player Akhter is. (this would also prove to be true in our game, facing Mr Foodmonster was a pleasure)


    He'd brought:



    Foodmonster wrote:


    And we got to play Capture the Flags with a Flank Attack scenario.


    Having played this matchup before against Yannick from team Germany, I knew that the key to even have a chance was to rush forward with the treefathers, dodge every single projective the KoE threw their way and get into combat. The rest of the list is practically free points for the peasants if I ever engage, so the trees would have to do the heavy lifting.


    For magic I got Awaken the Beast, Insect Swarm, Howling Wind and Totemic Summon on my Druid, while the Matriarch took Oaken Throne, Spirits of the Wood and Entwined Roots. The Damsel failed to get Stars Align, and had to settle for Scrying, Know Thy Enemy, Fate’s Judgment and Unerring Strike. The Duke with the Wizard’s Hood got Druidism and rolled Healing Waters and Spirits of the Wood.

    Akhter picked a corner and deployed his army in a very compact manner, making sure to not leave any space for a totemic summon to threaten his trebuchets. I responded by putting the trees centrally and far enough to rush the KoE lines, with dancers and kestrels in support. The juicy targets for Trebuchets stayed hidden behind the hill and building. My opponent won the first turn roll and started the game.





    TURN 1 – KoE



    With no considerable movement, we went straight into magic: The Unerring Strike was dispelled, then the Fate’s Judgment went through irresistibly on the closest kestrels. The spell was lost, and a single kestrel fell to the spell’s damage. The massed shooting managed to deal a further 2 wounds on the kestrels despite needing 7’s to hit. The Trebuchets failed to hit the Treefathers.




    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    The wounded kestrels moved back to safety, right behind the building. They’d stay there all game long. The archers also spent a good amount of time hiding behind that building, wary of any stray trebuchet rocks. In the middle, the Treefathers rushed forward, with the wardancers close behind and inside the forest’s protection. The Forest Guard reformed 2-deep and moved up to give my Druid line of sight to the warmachines.

    In the magic phase the Insect swarm went through, dealing 3 wounds to one of the Trebuchets.




    TURN 2 – KoE



    The Peasant line angled to face my treefathers, the far left unit wheeling to threaten with countercharges. Magic saw a bubble scrying go off, but the Unerring strike was dispelled yet again. Shooting was focused on the Treefathers now, and a couple of wounds went through on one tree.




    TURN 2 - Sylvan Elves

    Yet again, things were straightforward: the trees moved up aggressively, just making sure that the peasants wouldn’t be able to charge out of LoS of either of them. Kestrels moved up to the flank of the peasant line, and the dryads and bladedancers stayed in support of the trees.

    In combat I managed to heal one of the wounds on the Treefather. My opponent stopped the totemic summon, and the insect swarm failed to cast. Shooting with the tree roots dropped a couple of peasants.


    TURN 3 – KoE



    The peasant levy declined the charge, and instead decided to try and kill the treefather from afar. In the magic phase I stopped the Unerring Strike once more, and the scrying bubble went off. The shooting was ineffective, thankfully: only a couple of wounds were suffered, in a combination of bad rolls for Akhter and spectacular saves for the forest giants.




    TURN 3 – Sylvan Elves


    Both treefathers went into the rightmost peasants, and the general and BSB made sure to be within 12in case things went wrong. The Kestrels stood their ground, since the peasants hadn’t… [Read More]
  • Game 4 – Ukraine


    Our fourth opponent at ETC was to be Ukraine: some of my teammates had already met and played them at the Herford warm-up, so we knew we were up for good and fun games. I got to play Andrii, with his very Dwarf-y Dwarven Holds army:


    Andrii wrote:


    HEROES:
    King ,Shield, Rune of Smashing, 2xIron, Crushing, 2xShielding
    Thane BSB, Shield, 2xIron, Shielding, Forge
    Runic Smith, Shield, Iron, Denial, Dragon’s Breath, Battle Runes: Recknoing, Resilience, Gleaming
    Engineer, Shield

    CORE:
    10 Guild Handguners, Shields, Musician
    27 Greybeards, GW, Shield, Full Command, Banner of Speed

    SPECIAL:
    28 King’s Guard, Full Command, Runic Standard of Shielding
    10 Miners, Pistols
    2x Steam Attack Copter
    Organ Gun, Rune Crafted
    Catapult, Rune Crafted



    So a list very different from what I’d faced before: two big sturdy blocks, good redirectors, a very potent counter to my Treefathers in the form of the S10 King, a mobile scorer and a healthy dose of accurate artillery.


    We got to play Secure Target and deployment was Flank Attack. I won the roll for sides and opted to pick the big centre and the side with decent terrain to hide my troops behind. The two objectives went on the two flanks.


    For spells, my Druid got the Beast Awakens, Pounding Drumbeat, Break the Spirit and Totemic Summon while the Matriarch had to settle for Spirits of the Wood and Entwined Roots.
    My opponent chose to deploy in a careful manner, essentially castling around the left corner and near one of the objectives. He then gave me the first turn.






    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    The dwarven Organ Gun was deployed a tad too forward, giving my kestrels a very juicy second turn charge target. Both units of kestrels moved inside the protection of the sylvan forest, and they were looking at a 7+ and 8+ charge to silence the warmachine on the following turn. The Forest Guard to the right slowly began moving towards the right hand objective.

    The Treefathers moved up cautiously, with the fragile elves staying far behind and protected from all kinds of cover.

    Magic and Shooting were of no consequence this turn, although my opponent had to use his Rune of Denial to stop the Totemic Summon from getting cast.





    TURN 1 – Dwarven Holds


    The Kingsguard performed a 90 degree turn to threaten the kestrels should they charge the Organ Gun, while the Greybeards moved up aggressively towards the flyers. The steam copters relocated and the entire dwarven shooting was focused on the sylvan fast support:

    The Organ Gun failed to hit (needing 8’s), the Steam Copters put a wound on the right unit and it was the catapult that managed to kill another bird with a lucky shot.




    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves


    Both Kestrels charged into the Organ Gun, and the Treefather right behind charged into the Steam Copter, forcing it to flee. Unfortunately, all units failed to make it in! That really put a damper on my plans for a quick win, as now both units stumbled out of cover and right in front of the greybeards!

    In the magic phase I tried my best to mitigate the situation: the totemic summon was dispelled, which allowed me to cast Treesinging on my forest and move it right under the kestrels once more! Then I unfortunately failed to cast Break the Spirit on the Greybeards.






    TURN 2 – Dwarven Holds


    The Greybeards flank charged into the right kestrel unit. The Kingsguard turned to face the sylvan force once more, while the miners popped up and, to my surprise, appeared behind my Bladedancers (I was expecting them to try and contest the right objective instead). The fleeing steam bomber rallied, and the second one chaffed my Treefather next to the building.

    Runic magic bestowed rerolls to hit on the Greybeards, the other runes getting stopped. Shooting was directed at the left Treefather, causing a wound. The grudge thrower missed the right Treefather, and the Miners killed 3 dancers with pistol shots. In combat, the Greybeards made short work of the kestrels and overran into the second unit. They took a couple of wounds from dangerous terrain, though!




    TURN 3 – Sylvan Elves


    In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say: with the Kestrels engaged, the Treefather to the left and the BSB’s Bladedancer retinue went into the greybeards’ flank. The right treefather charged into the steam copter blocking his path. The big dancers moved around the miners and the Sylvan Archers reformed to take shots at the ambushers.

    The magic phase was brutally effective: some very good rolls saw me put Break the Spirit on the Greybeards, and Awaken the Beast on the flanking Bladedancers. Shooting dropped four miners.

    The treefather made short work of the steam copter, and the big combat was an impressive show of force by the S5 Bladedancers: when everything was said and done, out of the 23 greybeards initially in the unit, only four remained! They retaliated by… [Read More]
  • On round 3 we were paired up against Switzerland: with a very good showing last year, they’d come up with lists that were relatively out of the box, and quite dangerous. Looking at them, I had several medium to good matchups, but there were two lists that I definitely wanted to avoid: The Pyromancy/Bowline OnG and the MSU Dwarves of @polux.


    In the end, I had to settle for a match against Filip and his Saurian ancients, in Secure target and Refused Flank.


    Filip wrote:


    HEROES:
    Cuatl BSB, Ancient knowledge, Wellspring of power, Ring of fire, Dispel Scroll, Divination magic
    Skink priest, 1 spell Druidism
    Skink Priest, 1 spell Druidism

    CORE:
    2x 20 Braves with 2 Caimans and musician
    20 Braves with 1 Caiman and musician

    SPECIAL:
    2x 2 Spearbacks
    1x 2 Salamanders

    THUNDER LIZARDS
    2x Taurosaur
    1x Engine of the Gods




    So a pretty straightforward list: 3 stubborn roadblocks backed by druidism for healing, a decent amount of shooting in the form of the spearbacks/salamanders and a Pathmaster of Divination to keep my big targets honest.

    The good news were that without any cowboys my units “only” had to deal with the three taurosaurs before getting to the soft part of the army.

    For magic I got Beast Awakens, Insect Swarm,Break the Spirit and Howling wind in Shamanism, the Matriarch got Regrowth and Forest Spirits. The Quatl got Unerring strike, Scrying, Judgment and Stars Align while the Skink priests got Healing Waters and Stoneskin.


    We traded deployment drops for a while, then my opponent forced me to go first by dropping the rest of his army. I ended up with a weighed left flank, the two treefathers relatively central and a unit of Kestrels and the small BD looking over the rightmost objective. The Saurians were squaring off against the treefathers and the small elven contingent, with the three Taurosaurs covering the left flank.






    Turn 1 – Sylvan Elves


    Having played against this kind of list before, I knew that I had to pull the taurosaurs out of position; as long as they stay within 12” of the quatl charging them is a bad idea, and the same applies if they can support each other.So I decided to sacrifice one unit of kestrels for a chance to open up the saurian lines.

    The kestrels moved up within charging range of the leftmost taurosaur, tempting the charge, while the BD with BSB moved into position for countercharge. In the middle, the treefathers moved up a bit to threaten the enemy advance: All I had to do to win was to delay the scorers long enough to the right while securing the objective on the top left.

    Magic started with an insect swarm on the closest taurosaur, which bounced off without effect thanks to the engine’s ward save. The ring of fire was dispelled. The archers opened fire at the closest spearbacks, dealing 2 wounds at long range.





    TURN 1 – Saurian Ancients


    Filip proved to be too smart for my tricks: instead of charging my kestrels, he moved two taurosaurs in range for some blowpipe shots. The salamanders also moved up to shoot at them. In the middle, the spearbacks had a clear shot at the treefather, so moved up to take it. The rest of the army advanced cautiously, the cuatl getting in range for some spells.

    Magic started with a miscast Fate’s Judgment on the right treefather: I let it through, my armour saving the wounds caused. The spell was lost in return, so definitely a good tradeoff! The Unerring Strike was then dispelled with dice.

    Shooting was a bit more effective: the combined efforts of the blowpipes and the salamanders dropped two kestrels, effectively taking them out of the game. The right treefather shrugged off all of the spearbacks’ shots thanks to his armour and ward.





    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves


    With the original trap avoided, I figured that I had to put some pressure on the saurians: the kestrel moved back, and I offered a long charge on the BSB’s bladedancer retinue to the taurosaurs. Both treefathers advanced to be able to shoot some roots at the wounded spearbacks. The Forest Guard shuffled a bit towards the objective marker, and would keep on doing that all game long.

    Magic started yet again with a successful insect swarm, this time dealing a single wound to the closest taurosaur. The rest was dispelled by the quatl with ease. Shooting was focused on the spearbacks, and between the two treefathers’ shots and the 20 sylvan archers, I managed to kill the unit and get some points!




    TURN 2 – Saurian Ancients


    After some deliberation, my opponent decided not to take the long charge on the bladedancers. He shuffled the taurosaurs around, careful to keep all of them within the Engine bubble. The quatl and braimans stayed relatively put.

    In the magic phase I had to let a bubble Scrying go off to try and dispel the Unerring strike: my adversary was kind enough to fail his casting attempt for the latter, though, so the magic phase ended… [Read More]
  • The second round saw us get paired against team Bulgaria, who also scored a very convincing win on round 1. I was to play none other than Hristo, AKA @Fnarrr, team captain and ETC veteran with his dwarves.


    Hristo brought a list that I didn’t really get at first, but the more I looked at it the more it became clear that it was very well constructed:


    Fnarrr wrote:


    King, General, Shield, Runes of Destruction, Smashing, Fury, Runes of Iron, Iron, Bronze
    Thane, BSB, Shield, Runes of Iron, Iron
    Runic Smith, Shield, Rune of Iron, Rune of Denial, Runes of Resilience, Gleaming, Resolve
    Dragon Seeker, Monster Seeker, Runes of Precision, Might, Fury
    Anvil of Power, Runes of Shattering, Storms, Resolve
    25 Marksmen, GWs, M,S,C, Banner of Swiftness
    10 Warriors, Shields, TWs, Vanguard
    10 Warriors, Shields, TWs
    10 Miners, Pistols
    5 Rangers, Crossbows, Shields
    2 x Steam Bomber
    10 Seekers, Vanguard, Skirmish, C
    2 x Cannon – 2


    With the potential to move forward aggressively if need be, four hard counters for my monsters and enough firepower to take small points here and there, I knew I was in for a good scrap.

    We got to play Counterthrust and Secure Target.




    I unfortunately won the roll to pick sides, meaning that I had to drop my secondary objective counter first: I did so right in front of a forest deep inside the dwarven deployment zone, while my opponent put his near my center. Hristo got to deploy first, and we alternated deployments as per the counterthrust scenario. He used his gyrobombers to claim big deployment zones around the building on the right hand side, and I in return used the Kestrels to limit the deployment possibilities on the flanks. In the end, he had to give me a cannon-free lane for my treefathers right behind the building, and chose to play first.



    post vanguards:




    For magic, I failed to get either magic missile: the Druid got beast awakens, howling wind, break the spirit and totemic summon, while the Matriarch got entwining roots and healing waters. This made everything a bit harder, as I was counting on the missiles to put some pressure on the warmachines early on.

    Vanguards saw the marksmen move up on the right side, the seekers stood their ground to deter any aggressive movement from my kestrels. My flyers redeployed a bit behind the building, ready to threaten the warmachines on turn 2.


    TURN 1 – Dwarves



    The dwarves didn’t really have to push, so only the seekers redeployed slightly towards the building. One gyrobomber managed to drop some bombs on the right hand kestrels, wounding once. The second flying contraption moved closer to the rest of the dwarven forces.

    In the magic phase my opponent got a low roll and I channeled, leading to an equal amount of dice. It became clear that he had a very potent magic combination, though: he opted for two casting attempts to move the gyrobomber so as to drop bombs once more on my kestrels, then followed with the rune of Shattering and rune of Storms. Fortunately, between bad casting rolls and decent dispelling on my part I stopped everything.

    Shooting was largely ineffective due to the absence of good targets for the cannons and the fact that my entire army was either in soft or in hard cover.


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    From my opponent’s first turn I gathered two things: He had ranged supremacy in both magic and shooting, and he wasn’t going to push anytime soon. The way I saw it, the Kestrels were going to die to shooting and magic if they didn’t commit, so I opted for an aggressive opening turn. They both flew over the building and landed right in front of the warmachine battery. The treefathers advanced cautiously, staying behind the cover of the building. The rest of the army moved up a bit to deter any moves from the two monster hunters.

    In the magic phase, I got a 10/5 pool, which was perfect for what I had planned: my adversary had left the anvil, the cannon and a unit of warriors inside the forest, and both my treefathers were in range for treesinging. So I started with a totemic summon on 4 dice, to draw the enemy dispel dice, but I unfortunately failed to meet the casting cost! So much for my perfect plan! One treesinging was dispelled but the other dealt 3 wounds on the cannon at least.

    The Sylvan archers’ arrows were aimed at the closest gyrobomber for lack of a better target, but failed to wound the dwarven flyer.


    TURN 2 – Dwarven Holds



    The entire dwarven battleline was reorganized to face the incoming threat: the miners arrived on my opponent’s table edge, gyrobombers moved up to bomb the flyers and all the thrown weapon infantry reformed to face them as well. The seekers moved up towards the treefathers. The bombing runs managed to drop a couple of kestrels from one unit, failing to panic the elven elite.

    For yet another time the dwarven magic phase was underwhelming: a couple of failed single-die casts meant that my kestrel[Read More]
  • Greetings, dear reader!


    Another ETC has come and gone, and what a blast it has been! I’ll try to do these write ups before memory fades, and I promise it will be a treat: 6 great games with good, fun opponents in the world’s premier T9A team tournament!


    For those who haven’t been following the ETC scene very closely, I was invited for the second year in a row to play for team Belgium (where I currently reside). The belgian team is a bunch of very nice guys, and it made for some very nice moments during the weekend. During the entire year, I’ve been struggling to find a list that I enjoy playing and can perform well enough totake to an event of this magnitude. In the end, I opted for a combination of blunt combat force, magic support and mobile shock troops (some of my teammates would call them Beast Herds in disguise).


    SmithF wrote:


    HEROES:
    Dryad Matriarch, general, 2 spells Druidism
    Druid Master, 4 spells Shamanism, Ring of Fire
    Bladedancer BSB, Spear of Cadaron

    CORE:
    20 Sylvan Archers, musician
    27 Forest Guard, Full Command, Gleaming Icon
    8 Dryads, Skirmish

    FLEET OF FOOT:
    2x 3 Kestrel Knights, light armour
    8 Bladedancers
    12 Bladedancers, Champion, Standard

    FOREST GIANTS:
    2x Treefather



    Game 1 – New Zealand




    For our first game we were to play the kiwis, whose reputation as a fun team preceded them. Last year they couldn’t make it, so we were all looking forward to meeting and playing with the people that covered the most distance to be at the ETC!


    Since the pairing was known ahead of time, we had the possibility to prepare our predictions for the matches beforehand: one list that proved to be a problem for everyone was the Ogre Khans, since it combined very good shooting elements, a very potent counter to any big monsters and MSU for scoring purposes. After a lot of deliberation, I gave the green light to my captain to throw me under the bus, if it would help out in the rest of the matches. This was to my opponent’s delight, who had put the match down as a very favorable one.


    Thankfully, the scenario was Secure Target and not Breakthrough, which meant that I had a decent chance of tying the secondary objective.

    Simon was the friendliest guy, and we started off the game with some dice and T-shirt exchanges, as is customary at the ETC. He even gave me some custom-made objective markers that came in very handy during the entire tournament (I would end up playing Secure Target another 4 times).


    His list was a lot less friendly for Sylvan Elves everywhere:

    Mr T-800 wrote:




    We got Frontline Clash as our deployment type, and I picked the side with a big hill to act as cover for my units for the first few turns. The two markers went down 24” apart from each other on the left flank. I chose to place mine deep into my opponent’s zone, as I find that this forces him to keep some units in reserve: ogre units are prone to panic outside of the general’s bubble, so with the help of Totemic Beasts I can hope to panic the scorers off my enemy’s objective and claim a cheeky win.

    We alternated deployment drops for a while, then my opponent dropped everthing and gave me the first turn: with all of his shooting safely tucked away in forests/ruins, my opening volley would not have that much of an impact.




    For magic, I got Awaken the Beast, Insect Swarm, Pounding Drumbeat and Totemic Summon with my Druid. The matriarch got Throne, Spirits of the Woods and Stone Skin. The Ogre Shaman took Immolation, Scorching Salvo, Pyroclastic Flow and Enveloping Embers.


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    The way we had deployed , the two kestrel units were squaring off against two units of bruisers and a unit of bombardiers: I knew from previous matches that kestrels can take these on the charge one-on-one, so I moved them up aggressively, trying to make it happen. On the left, movement was far more conservative: both trees hugged the hill, as did the forest guard. The archers and dancers hid inside my forest: I wanted to force as many penalties for shooting as possible, thus limiting early casualties.

    Magic failed to have an impact this turn, and a volley shot from the archers into the left bombardiers only caused a single wound.






    TURN 1 – Ogre Khans


    On the right side, the bruiser conga spotted an opening and moved past the arc of sight of both… [Read More]
  • Game 3 – Saurian Ancients


    After two wins in two games, I found myself on table 2, playing against @PrinceCharming and his Saurian Ancients. Nico doesn’t need a big introduction, so I’ll just repeat what I mentioned on my blog last year: he can play any given army and get results. He is one of the best players in our tournament scene, and my only saving grace was that he was coming out of a 6-month gaming hiatus.

    Another important thing to know about my opponent is that we have a history: being an ETC teammate, we did get some practice games last year. The games always ended in me winning due to whacky dice rolls, despite Nico’s better strategies and efforts! So we’d have to see if this streak of luck continued.


    His list was the following:




    Three taurosaurs with druidism support, two Warlord cowboys and cheap resilient scoring core. To make matters worse, we got Capture the Flags and Refused flank as scenario!

    We traded deployment drops for a bit, then I opted for a full drop to be able to use the kestrels aggressively. My opponent deployed his saurian warriors hugging the table edge, making it clear that it would be the Taurosaurs that would do the heavy lifting.

    For magic, I got Awaken the Beast, Insect Swarm, Break the Spirit and Totemic Summon for the druid, while the matriarch got Healing waters and Master of Stone. The skink priest took Master of Stone, Summer Regrowth and Entwining Roots.




    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    With the first turn guaranteed, I moved up my kestrels to threaten the backline: the right unit stayed behind the impassable terrain up the middle, reforming 2-wide and eyeing that shaman-bsb bunker. In the middle I decided to bide my time, still using the trees and dancers to prevent any too-aggressive movement on Nico’s part.

    Magic started with a lowroll, which allowed me to cast a totemic summon behind the enemy lines. Shooting put a single wound on the left Ramphodons, their 3+ armour save proving too hard for the black arrows.


    TURN 1 – Saurian Ancients



    All of the saurian warriors wheeled to face my incoming kestrels, the left Taurosaur and the Ramphodons moved up to shoot my left kestrels. The two cowboys and the remaining two taurosaurs moved up. The shaman jumped ship to a safer bunker.

    The combined efforts of magic and shooting didn’t amount for much, since I made 4+ saves like crazy on the leftmost kestrels!




    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves



    Both kestrel units charged: the left ones went for the closest saurian block, aided by the recently summoned totemic beast, while the right ones went straight for the BSB bunker. Both made it in.

    The rest of the line stayed put, with the exception of the leftmost treefather, who moved out of the charge arc of the cowboy.

    In the magic phase, my opponent had to let the master of stone and the ring of fire on the ramphodons to the left: two of the beasts were killed. With 4 dice remaining against my opponent’s 5, I opted for a totemic beast summon: getting 5,5,5 and a 6 meant that even with 5 dice it was very difficult to dispel! A second totemic beast appeared right in the backfield.




    In combat, the kestrels and totemic beast killed 7 saurian warriors for no casualties back. The saurians were caught in pursuit, and the kestrels slammed into the flank of the bsb/saurian/kestrel fight. This resulted in a dead BSB, and four more dead saurians. Still being steadfast, the saurians held.



    TURN 2 – Saurian Ancients



    The turn started with a failed stupidity test on the enemy general! Things had taken a turn for the worst for my opponent, so he went on the offensive: he sent a unit of saurian warriors into the flank of my kestrels, moved up his cowboy on the left and the three taurosaurs for turn 3 charges.

    In the magic phase I managed to stop both regrowth and the Jade staff, ensuring an easy fight for the Kestrels.

    In combat, the kestrels rolled almost perfectly, killing the entire (depleted) saurian unit as well as dealing a couple of casualties to the flank. Against all odds, the saurians lost but held their ground.


    TURN 3 – Sylvan Elves



    In an attempt to open the game, Nico gave me a flank charge on the Engine Taurosaur with my big dancers, and the second taurosaur lined up for an overrun charge too. After some deliberation, I took the bait: the dancers went in, and so did the treefather: Needing a 4 for the treefather, I proceeded to roll snake eyes and fail horribly. The big guy also took a stand-and-shoot wound for his trouble. This was bad news, as the… [Read More]
  • GAME 2 – Kingdom of Equitaine


    The win put me in the big boys’ league, and I’d find myself playing against ETC teammate and KoE veteran Loick. We had played once before last year, in a game was full of freak occurences that ended in a big win for me.

    This time he was bringing a more optimized list, (no more Forlorn nonsense!) which packed quite a punch:


    Logick wrote:

    Token of the King

    HEROES:

    Duke on barded warhorse, questing vow, virtue of audacity, crusader helm, Divine Icon, GW, shield

    Paladin BSB, grail vow, barded warhorse, hardened shield, lance,

    Damsel Mistress, barded warhorse, 4 spells (shamanism), ring of fire, book of arcane power


    CORE:

    10 Knights of the Realm, Standard, Musician

    3 x 5 Aspirants


    SPECIAL:

    8 Grail Knights, Full Command, Stalker’s Standard

    5 Mounted Yeomen

    2 x 10 Brigands

    2 x Trebuchet




    We were to play frontline clash and Hold the Centre, which is at least better than breakthrough against KoE! Going into the game, I knew that I’d have to silence the trebs fast enough so that the treefathers could come out and play... but even then the Realm Knight unit is practically untouchable by the treefathers thanks to the Audacity/Questing combo on the Duke.




    We traded deployment drops for a while, then I opted to grab the first turn. We ended up with a heavily weighted left flank for him, and a central deployment for me. I had to put one of the trees close to his units, so as to pull the lord to that flank instead of the centre, where he’d be able to cause an enormous amount of trouble.

    For magic I got Awaken the Beast, Swarm of Insects, Howling Wind and Totemic Summon on my Druid, while the Matriarchgot Master of Stone and Healing Waters. The Damsel rolled Awaken the Beast, Insect Swarm, Howling wind and Break the Spirit (no doubles meant no option for totemic summon!).


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves


    Both Kestrels found blind spots in the enemy deployment and moved up: the ones on the left had a clear charge path for the trebuchets while on the right a lot of juicy flank charges were opened up. On the left I advanced cautiously with the dancers and treefather: sometimes the best way to keep someone away is to just threaten his advance path. Up the middle the other dancers and dryads got all snuggly in the forest, and the archers turned –for lack of better target- to deal with the scouting brigands.

    Magic was largely ineffective, only the insect swarm went through on the top brigands, killing enough to force a panic: the peasants held their ground though. Shooting caused 4 casualties on the rightmost brigands, but they also refused to panic.


    TURN 1 – KoE


    My Kestrel antics began to upset the enemy lines: the damsel left her unit to be able to target the left fliers, while the knights all angled themselves for the upcoming charges. The two big blocks advanced a bit but still stayed a healthy 16-17 inches away from my bladedancers.

    In the magic phase I had to let the Insect Swarm through into the left Kestrels and it dealt a massive 4 unsaved wounds. I then stopped the fireball into them.

    Shooting started with two direct trebuchet hits on my sylvan archers: nine died and the rest failed their panic and fled, landing 1 inch away from the table edge. The brigands’ shooting was largely ineffective.




    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves

    The trebuchets had single handedly silenced my long-range threat in one turn: the kestrels went on the offensive, charging the trebuchet on the left and the aspirant knights on the right. The archers failed their rally check, legging it and giving my opponent a 500+ point present!

    Now that at least one warmachine was silenced, the spearelves could come out and play. The bulk of my army advanced slightly, always staying 20-something inches away from the big blocks.

    In the magic phase I started off with a ring of fire on the lone damsel, which was promptly dispelled. An insect swarm went through on her and caused a single wound. Finally, I got a good roll for the Totemic Beast and managed to bring it next to the second trebuchet. Its Breath weapon would fail to wound the damsel, but it was in a perfect place for the following turn.

    The Treefather’s roots panicked the brigands up top: they’d fail their rally check on the following turn and flee off the table.

    In combat the lone kestrel rider did well and broke the trebuchet, reforming to face the second one. The right kestrel knights went to town onthe aspirants, killing 4 of them for no casualties back. Their positioning meant that I was able to pursue into the flank of the second unit of aspirants, although I only managed to get one kestrel in contact.


    TURN 2 – KoE


    With Kestrels and Totemic Beast all threatening his backline, my opponent had to turn his realm knights around and join the damsel once more. The grail knights advanced a bit reluctantly once more.

    In the magic phase I had to stop the Ring of Fire as… [Read More]
  • Greetings, dear readers


    Last weekend I went to the Conquest tournament in Dendermonde, Belgium. It is the annual tournament of the Knights of Bayard, run by two of my former ETC teammates @kiwii @Timon and it gathers a good crowd! This year 26 people showed up, including ETC players from Luxembourg, Belgium as well as very good local tournament players.
    The way the tournament was set up, we'd have 2,5h per battle; while this is enough for some, I thought that I wouldn't have enough time for pictures. So we go back to diagrams made on UB2! (they may be a bit off, I'll let you know in the text if that's the case)


    The list I brought was tweaked compared to the last tournament:



    SmithF wrote:


    HEROES:

    Dryad Matriarch, general, 2 spells Druidism
    Druid Master, 4 spells Shamanism, Ring of Fire
    Chieftain, Bladedancer Kindred, BSB, Spear of Cadaron

    CORE:
    20 Sylvan Archers, musician
    27 Forest Guard, Full Command, Gleaming Icon
    8 Dryads, Skirmish

    FLEET OF FOOT:
    3 Kestrel Knights, light armour
    3 Kestrel Knights, light armour
    8 Bladedancers
    12 Bladedancers, Champion, Standard

    FOREST GIANTS:
    Treefather
    Treefather
    Game 1 vs Daemonic Legions


    I got to play against Sebastien, one of the Tour d’Ebene players (the biggest gaming club in Belgium, to my knowledge). He brought MSU polytheist daemons:


    Seb wrote:




    We got Frontline Clash and as a secondary objective we got Secure Target. I used my objective marker to divide his army, placing it very far from its counterpart: my opponent would have to divide his forces to claim the objective.


    For magic, my Druid got Awaken the Beast, Insect Swarm, Break the Spirit and Savage Fury, while the Matriarch got Healing Waters and Master of Stone. My opponent rolled The Wheel Turns, Will o’ the Wisp and Twisted Effigy for his spells.


    After alternating deployments for a while, my adversary dropped everything to get the first turn. The end result was two clusters of deamons near each of the objective markers, each protected by a blight fly unit. I knew right off the bat that engaging the Flies was to be avoided as long as they were at full strength, so my plan was to weaken them for the first few turns. I loaded my left flank, keeping the treefathers centrally and kestrels ready to fly over the enemy lines on turn 1.




    My opponent won the roll for the first turn, and battle was joined.


    TURN 1 – Daemonic Legions

    The enemy army advanced rather cautiously across the table, my treefather and bladedancers effectively zoning the blight flies. In magic I let go the Wheel Turns and stopped will ‘o the wisp and twisted effigy.


    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    On the left side the Kestrels found a blind spot where they could land, threaten the enemy scorers and be safe from enemy charges due to the huge footprint of the blight flies. Their counterparts on the right outflanked the hellhounds, ready for a turn 2 charge. In the middle, the two treefathers and the small bladedancers angled themselves to deter any fly moves over the building and right into my back yard by the flies.

    In the magic phase the ring of fire was stopped, but the insect swarm managed to deal a couple of wounds on the leftmost blight flies. Then, I put Break the Spirit on the right flies, so as to be sure they wouldn’t move aggressively. Shooting only managed a single wound on the left hellhounds.




    TURN 2 – Daemonic Legions

    My opponent briefly considered combo-charging the right treefather with both hellhounds (the picture is wrong, one of them could get into the flank), but some quick math and the realization that he’d be able to thunderstomp them deterred him. Disaster struck in remaining moves, as unit after unit of daemons failed their Ld7/ Ld8 march tests and were reduced to a crawl reminiscent of 6th edition Warhammer. One unit of Furies flew right in front of my archers, threatening my mage, while on the right flank the hellhounds moved up aggressively, finding blind corners where neither treefather nor bladedancer could touch them.

    The magic phase proved to be uneventful, since a combination of channel and good rolls for dispel shut down the entire phase.


    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves

    The only charge I had this turn was the Kestrels into the rear of the rightmost Hellhound unit: this would give my bladedancers time to move up and support the kestrels on my turn 3. I needed to stop the [Read More]