SmithF's 9th Age Battle Reports 76

MSU battle reports, as first seen in TWF.

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  • Greetings dear readers !

    It has been a while since my last blog post, or practically since anything vaguely related to the hobby happened. Real life takes precedence, but from time to time we all need to blow some steam and play a couple of 9th age games. Last summer I went to the ETC with the Belgian team, and we kind of clicked in terms of player mentality and fun; so I agreed when they proposed that we send a team to a new 4-player team tournament that was being organized just across the Belgian border, near Lille.

    Team Myreille is a small but dedicated group that hosts regular local tournaments, and decided to get invested in the team event side of all things T9A: during the entire weekend, they managed to keep 12 teams of 4 players happy, fed, sufficiently hydrated and provide an excellent background for a perfect gaming weekend. So big props for them right off the bat!

    Our team, the Belgian Chocolates, comprised of Vermin Swarm led by François ( @Jaina ), Geoffrey’s @gregor Daemonic Legions, Thibaut’s Vampire Covenant ( @bolard ) and yours truly with Sylvan Elves.
    The pairings were done in a scaled-down ETC manner, meaning that each team had to shove one army forward for the enemy to face, and the teams then responded by proposing two armies out of their “hand” for that match. The remaining choices faced one another, so the degree of freedom in pairings was more limited than what you’d usually see in tournaments with teams of 8.

    The list:

    With two games played since the ETC, and one major rules update in between, I guess the correct term for the army selection would be « playing it by ear »: I’ve been struggling to build a list that’s close to what I played last year, since there are more restrictions now, and we’re all playing with 500 points less than what I’m used to.
    So I decided to try a list including elements considered generally weak, and see what happened. Reading the forum posts, some things appeared more often than not: Treefathers, Kestrels, Pathfinders and Shapeshifter kindred.

    Enter my 4500 point list:

    SmithF wrote:

    Dryad Matriarch (general), level 2 Druidism, Toxic Spores
    Shapeshifter Chieftain BSB, Greater Shielding, Helm of the Wild Hunt, LA, Shield, Elven Cloak, Great Weapon

    3 x 10 Sylvan Archers, Musician
    12 Dryads, Skirmish, Champion

    2 x 8 Bladedancers, musicians
    5 Wild Huntsmen
    3 Kestrel Knights, Shields

    10 Pathfinders

    2 x Treefather

    Total: 4500 points
    You can find parts of the list building discussion here, but ultimately I took the aforementioned elements, and then tried to build a list around them.
    A couple of Bladedancer units provided some mobile scoring and combat support, the Wild Huntsmen for a second fast support unit and more shooting than I’ve ever played since 6th edition. The mandatory dryad general plus dryad retinue rounded off the list, with a finishing touch of Toxic Spores for some more ranged support.
    In terms of magic, I went for Druidism for the obvious combinations with the Treefathers and the Shapeshifter. With 2 learned spells, I’d have 3 spells to cast with my Matriarch, plus 2 Treesinging bound spells from the treefathers, not that bad for a small investment.

    There wasn’t really one, since the list was new to me: I imagined playing it in the same way that people did back in 6th edition: use the Treefathers to block stuff, win the shoot-out, flank the blocked enemies with my fast support. Easier said than done, especially if you factor in that I completely blanked out and ignored Geoffrey's suggestions of adding some disposable units as chaff, or a couple more spells in the form of a Briar Maiden unit.

    That last bit was in part voluntary, since this tournament was all about testing stuff. I have long had the idea that two Eagles are one too many, and that generally we invest far too many points in disposable units. They end up being useful because we plan our strategies factoring them in, but I am not certain that they are needed if you plan ahead a couple of turns.Usually, these are points that the opponent can score easily and that only participate in the battle by acting as roadblocks. While I appreciate the occasional roadblock between the DeathStar and my units, I figured that correct zoning could play the same role for free.

    Over the course of the tournament, I’d play 5 games and come to regret some of the choices above. But more on that later on, stay tuned for game 1 against Daemonic Legions!

    Smith [Read More]
  • The next day: ETC impressions, highlights and list evaluation

    So, the ETC 2016 came to a close: The Italians got the title, following an almost flawless showing, the French managed to fight their way to the podium, and Belgium did not finish last! We actually ended up at 19th place, one spot ahead from the Netherlands (which is apparently a big deal and gives us bragging rights for a year *) without ever getting wrecked. We faced two of the big teams (Sweden and Denmark), two upcoming teams (Australia and Turkey) and another two that were about our level of commitment (Serbia and Greece). All of my games were enjoyable, some more tense than others, and my opponents were all good guys and perfect sportsmen.

    *a running joke is that the Dutch come to our tournaments to steal our prizes (and for a good part of 8th edition it was true!), so it was about time that the tables turned.

    The Athens 2016 ETC was a first for me, so going in I had a lot of «a priori»; I was pleasantly surprised, and left with the best impressions.

    Top 6 things at this year’s ETC:

    • Amazing, fully painted armies: with stories such as the 2015 insect daemon army and with the TunaSloops issue flooding the social media, one could easily assume that the painting and modelling standard of the ETC is low. On the contrary, I saw a lot of beautiful models, themed armies and amazing conversions. It is a pity that I didn’t have more time to roam the hall and take pictures, but I’m sure others did.
    • Friendly, fun opponents: Barring a (very) small incident with my Swedish opponent, all my games were fun and the people I got to meet were perfect gentlemen. No «win at all costs» attitude, but rather a sportsman’s approach of wanting to give the person across a challenging, high level game.
    • The overall atmosphere: 24 countries, people passionate for this hobby engaging in conversation right and left, the tension of the draw/pairings and the sense of camaraderie that we were left with after each round: In following rounds, you’d cross paths with opponents from previous rounds, discuss their other games, wish them good luck (and mean it!).
    • The Belgian Team: my intro post in this blog doesn’t do these guys justice. Not only great players and hobbyists, but also with a positive outlook, and the right mindset that meant that we never had an issue (even when things went bad for us). We all enjoyed our games, smiled with our wins while also whining about dice, pairings and lists when we lost. A pack of fine gentlemen! One can only hope that the team will stay the same for next year.
    • The venue: ETC is the biggest wargaming tournament I know of, and the venue reflected this. An Olympic Stadium, a few meters from the sea, with a veritable arena in which we fought our battles. I hope that T9A will continue growing, and we’ll get to play in ever bigger venues, with more teams!
    • Getting to meet a lot of the staff members of T9A. After working alongside them for a year, it’s good to be able to put some faces to the names. Shout out to @tiny (tireless T9A reporter extraordinaire) @el rey (We’ll get you next time! We just need to quit our day jobs and practice 24/7 to get to your level of play!) @Groefte (had the matchup down as a -1, in hindsight I should have put it as a +2 so we’d get to play a battle!) @Maelstorm (same deal as above, and shame on you for not defending the honour of the forest! :) ) @Stampede (most british-sounding Swedish guy I’ve ever met, and brutally effective Sylvan Elf player) @Herminard (Well deserved sportsman award, a pleasure to have finally met you! Next year we’ll get our pre-ETC match in, I’ll make sure!) @kgkid (FIghtiest dwarf army, and fighting in a kilt in honour of the Irish! A true dwarf!) @Warboss Tooth and @blonde beer (their videos do capture part of the ETC’s charm) @KeyserSoze @Giladis and @Lagerlof for the thankless task of refereeing and the many more that I forgot. T9A is a community project, and it certainly felt so at the ETC!

    Setting the social part of the event aside for a while, let’s look at the gaming aspect:

    The games at the ETC were less open than what I like. When your decisions have an impact on 7 more players, you tend to risk less and play more conservatively. However, each of the games had its moments, and I always got my maneuver fix, even against corner hammer armies.

    As some of the blog readers have pointed out, had my opponents played a more aggressive game I would have probably been able to get more points because the more you move, the easier it is to make a mistake. Against an MSU SE list, one opening is enough to tip the battle to the elves’ favor.

    In the end, I managed to win 5 out of 6 games, only losing by a small margin against the Swedish Vermin Swarm, and gathering a total of 83 tournament points. I was very happy about the result, especially since two out of 6 matchups I had marked as «can go either way» and one of them as a loss.

    Before the ETC, we had a discussion about secondary… [Read More]
  • Game 6 – Australia (Orcs and Goblins, Breakthrough)

    Right, final round of the ETC, and everyone is TIRED! Turns out that even 2 games per day can be taxing, since these are not your usual 2,5h games, but rather 4h+ deals: from pairing, to deployment, to playing the game, to the aftermath.

    We were playing against Australia, and I was looking forward to the game since their fame as fun players preceded them. I got paired against Orcs and Goblins, a matchup I that I was reluctant to take because of the double Gargantula spiders. However, when I figured out that the alternative would be getting to fight a mirror match vs shooty Sylvan Elves, I decided to presserve my sanity and play the fighty Orcs and Goblins instead.

    My opponent was Jack, also known as Darkassassin in the interwebs: a veteran of 8th and very active 9th Age player, he brought an Orcs and Goblins list that turned out to be more shooty than fighty:

    Jack wrote:

    Iron Orc warlord: General, plate armour, hardened shield, king slayer, talisman of supreme shielding, divine icon, 260
    Feral Orc big shaman: Lv4, big green gods/wilderness, obsidian nullstone, essence of a free mind, razor blade, 300
    Feral Orc chief: BSB, Mithril Mail, lucky charm, flaming standard, 130
    Common Goblin shaman: Lv2, little green gods, tome of arcane lore, gem of fortune, 125
    Common Orc shaman: Lv1, wilderness, dispel scroll, 100
    1 x 50 feral orcs: FCG, spears, bows, banner of discipline, 475
    2 x 5 common orc boar riders: standard, 80
    2 x splatterer: 90
    3 x 5 Gnasher dashers: 60
    3 x skewerer: 45
    2 x gargantula: 225


    So 5 warmachines, 8 spells, 50 bows and 16 shortbows, it was no wonder that Jack dropped everything to get the first turn, deploying as close to the table edge as possible and in a denied flank so as to get the most out of the ranged potential of the list.

    Looking at the opposing army, I knew that touching the Feral Orcs was out of the question, but I figured that I could take the rest of the points, while preserving mine, then win the objective. Jack was counting on the Orc Boar riders to score for him, which is why I deployed the Wild Huntsmen, Sylvan Archers and the two units of Bladedancers as deterrents. Since I had the last turn of the game, chances were that I’d be able to stop the small units from scoring and possibly pull the big block out of position by exploiting frenzy.

    In the end, I used terrain to keep the Forest Guard and Archers safe from first turn Splatterer shots, while the Heath Riders and Thicket beasts both stayed out of the maximal range of the warmachines. My opponent exclaimed that he wasn’t thrilled we’d be having a corner hammer battle, to which I replied that he’d be surprised by the actual game.

    The Druid got Luminous Bolts and Cataclysm, while the Dryad Matriarch got Beast Within and Inner Rage. The Orc Great Shaman went for Big Green Gods and got At’em Lads, Oi!no Dying, Headbutt and The big Stomp, with the small shamans going Evil Eye, Sneaky Slicing, Blessing of the Spider Mother and Beast Within.

    TURN 1 – Orcs and Goblins

    The first movement of the orcs was consevative, with Gnashers moving slightly backwards, the Gargantulas angling to provide some zoning against the Kestrels and the Feral Orcs moving up 4 inches so as to be in range for spells and shooting.

    In the magic phase I let the Evil Eye through on the Kestrels, who weathered the hits without receiving any damage. The Big Stomp was then dispelled using dice.

    Shooting started off with a direct hit on the Sylvan Archers behind the hill, which dropped 4 archers. The Skewerers failed to wound (shooting at long range, through forests, at skirmishing Kestrels), and the Feral Orcs also had no luck in hitting the Sylvan flying cavalry.

    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    Contrary to what Jack believed, I wasn’t planning on saying in my corner; Having survived the first turn barrage with little casualties, the western part of the army moved up. The Briar Maidens took a risk by closing the distance to the Gnasher Dashers in the ruins, but I needed them gone so that I’d be able to maneuver freely. Kestrels and Wild Huntsmen moved up to threaten the advance of the Gargantulas.

    Magic started with a successful Luminous Bolts on the rightmost Gnasher Dashers, resulting in a dead unit. The Cataclysm on the Feral Orcs failed to cast.

    Shooting had no targets, with the Gnashers dead; The sylvan archers hadn’t scaled the hill, since in doing so they’d be exposing themselves to a volley by the feral orcs. Their role was to threaten the scoring Boar riders when/if they came close.

    TURN 2 – Orcs and Goblins

    The rightmost Gargantula declared a charge on the Kestrel Knights up the middle, but failed to roll high enough, stumbling forward towards the Wild Huntsmen. The feral orcs moved up some more, followed by the Boar Riders and gnashers.

    In the magic phase, a low roll meant that the… [Read More]
  • Game 5 - Greece (Beast Herds, Breakthrough)

    For the fifth round of the ETC, we were paired against Greece. While the greek Warhammer tournament scene had never been that big, during the 8th edition a solid tournament player base had been formed, and these players went on to win Bronze in the 2014 ETC. The team we were facing now consisted of the same players, but with very little 9th Age experience and not exactly in the mood for competitive gaming.

    I got paired against Kostas, who is a Dread Elf veteran player, but was playing Beast Herds this time: to cut a long story short, he offered me the 10-10 from the get-go, to which I declined with the reasoning that I had just travelled 3000km to play 6 games of T9A, and I was getting my 6 games! However, he was very tired (he’s a doctor, too, and had to work until after midnight the night before) and in the end after deployment we agreed on a 13-7 win for the Sylvans* and went on to play a relaxed, yet tactical game. So a win-win for me, I would have hated to sit in the sidelines for this round.

    *Looking at his army list, that’s exactly what I was predicting I’d get: we’d exchange combat units in a chess-like match, then I’d score the Breakthrough scenario for a small win.


    I got Luminous Bolts and Phoenix Rises for my Druid and Insect swarm and Beast within for my Matriarch.

    We traded deployments for a while, then I dropped everything to force my opponent to get the first turn: that is perfect against vanguarding chariots, since it denies first turn charges to the Beasts player, plus the Dark Rain would have a smaller effect on my shooting.

    I won’t be doing a turn-by-turn since I have no pictures of this match, but I did some diagrams and will comment on them so that you see how it went.


    Turn 1 the Beast Herds pushed forward in force, and Kostas surprised me with the Briar Beasts appearing inside the forest on his turn 1 (I thought it was from turn 2 onwards). Bad start for me, since these 3 were too close to the Sylvan Archers for my liking.

    I got some early charges off: Wild Huntsmen and Bladedancers to the left into the Centaurs with a centaur character, resulting in a dead unit of centaurs, a dead unit of wild huntsmen and 4 victorious bladedancers pursuing. The Kestrels also went into one of the chariots, killed it and overran into a second one.

    Unfortunately, the shooting and magic phase were not that effective, and all 3 briar beasts were alive on turn 2. They went into the Sylvan Archers, killed them with ease and overran over to the left side of the board, where they’d spend all game. (One was killed later on by some Bladedancers though)

    During the early game, my magic managed to soften up the rightmost unit of centaurs, enough for my Wild Huntsmen to blow through them. They did get a chariot in the face for their trouble, though, and died.


    A big moment was around turn 4, when the two minotaurs were close to my Thicket Beasts and Forest Guard. I sacrificed the Briar Maidens (bait and flee off the table) to get the regenerating minotaur warlord to charge my Flaming Thicket beasts, but my plans were thwarted when the remaining centaurs with BSB and general managed to land a charge into the Thickets’ flank from 19 inches away. The ensuing combat saw the thicket beasts quickly lose some models (the centaurs had Thunderous charge and the +1 Attack/AP totem) but the survivors held, and with the help of some rear charging Kestrels the result was a bloodbath: all of the thicket beasts died, the thicket shepherd had 2 wounds remaining and the kestrels died too. But in return, the enemy centaurs, bsb and general were all gone!

    In the closing steps of the game, I fed my druid to one of the minotaur warlords, and the thicket shepherd took one for the team and got charged by the regenerating minotaur. In the end, this allowed my Dryad Matriarch to finish off the Regenerating Warlord with a couple of Insect swarms.

    When the dust cleared, the only things left alive were a wounded Minotaur Warlord, a chariot and 2 Briar Beasts for the Beast Herds, versus the Forest Guard, the Dryads, the Matriarch and the unit of scoring Heath Riders, conveniently placed inside my opponent’s deployment zone.

    With around 2000 points lost per side, the game ended up a draw, and the Sylvan Elves held the secondary objective, for the final result of 13-7.

    Sylvan Elf victory!


    This was by far the most fun game of the ETC for me. Kostas is a very good general, and he played his army cleverly. With the ‘official score’ out of the way, we were both more relaxed and shoved models into combat as we’d do in a friendly game. But he still taught me a couple of things, and his movement was flawless.

    A pity that the Greek team’s soul wasn’t into this, but that’s to be expected after several years of «hardcore» tournament gaming by the same people. They did give us good games, and are great guys all around.

    We… [Read More]
  • GAME 4 – Turkey ( Kingdom of Equitaine, Hold the Ground)

    Kingdom of Equitaine is another faction that I consider to be relatively easy to deal with with my Sylvan Elves: My fast contingent is faster than the knights, a lot of my troops get armour piercing and high initiative attacks, not to mention that there are no good targets for the usual KoE suspects (Virtue of Might, Quest vow).

    However, with 2 trebuchets and access to Heavens magic, the ranged potential of the KoE was better than mine, and the secondary objective was not as good as getting Breakthrough or Capture the flags.

    My opponent’s list was based around 3 big units of knights, 3 pegasus riders with devastating charge, and 2 trebuchets. So not too many «easy» points lying around, which is more than can be said for my army.

    Emre wrote:

    Token of King
    Duke on Barded Horse: General, GW, Shield, Questing Oath, Virtue of Audacity, Crusader's Helm 245
    Grail Damsel on Barded Horse: Level 4, Heavens, Dispel Scroll 250
    Paladin on Barded Horse: BSB, GW, Questing Oath, Hardened Shield, Lucky Charm 129
    2x 12 Knights of Realm: Full Command 322
    15 Questing Knight: Full Command, Banner of Discipline 425
    3x 3 Pegasus Knight: Barding, Devastating Charge 181
    Trebuchet 130
    Trebuchet 130

    Pregame: The grail damsel got Blizzard, Stars Align, Thunderbolt and Lightning Storm, the Matriarch got Insect swarm and Redwood Shaft, while the Druid got Luminous Bolts and Phoenix Rises.

    In deployment we traded a couple of deployments, then my opponent deployed everything in an effort to get the first turn. He adopted a denied flank formation, that gave away his plan to magic and shoot my units for the first few turns, before moving in for the kill (and the objective). I resisted the urge to deploy everything across the knights and rush in, and put my Thicket Beasts behind the hill’s protection and the Forest Guard outside Trebuchet range: the plan was to have more scoring units near the centre by the end of the game, thus winning the objective.

    I won the roll-off and chose to play first, eager to put some pressure on the KoE warmachines.

    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    The fast contingent on the right flank moved up behind the hill, while the Bladedancers in the middle moved forward to tempt some first turn charges across the forest with the knights/pegasi. The Thickets and Forest guard scaled the hill in close proximity.

    Magic saw a successful cast of the Insect Swarm on the Trebuchet, killing it instantly. The rest of the spells were dispelled.

    TURN 1 – Kingdom of Equitaine

    The Pegasus knights to the left took the bait and charged into the dancers, making it into combat. The rest of the knights edged forward reluctantly.

    Magic started with an irresistibly cast lightning bolt on the bottom right Wild Huntsmen: given that my opponent had used 5 dice to cast this, I jumped on the opportunity to neuter his magic phase and potentially harm his Realm Knights and let the spell through.

    6 s6 hits later, the Wild huntsmen were no more, and the Briar Maidens failed their Ld9 Panic and fled off the board! To rub some salt on my wounds, the Damsel only suffered a s6 hit from the miscast.

    The Trebuchet,trying to hit the Thicket Beasts, veered off target.

    In close combat, the Bladedancers and Pegasus knights exchanged some wounds, and the elven elite passed their break test thanks to the BSB reroll.

    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves

    Right, turn 2 and I’m 400 points down, having lost two good spells on top of that. So some extreme measures were needed: Thicket Beasts flank charged down the hill on the Pegasus/Dancer combat, and the far left contingent moved up to support them. I also used the Dryads as bait for a second unit of pegasus knights, with the Wild Huntsmen ready to countercharge if need be.

    Magic saw me put +1 Strength with the Phoenix Rises on the Thicket beasts, while the Redwood shaft and the Insect swarm were dispelled. The sylvan archers dropped a single Realm knight from the rightmost unit.

    The thicket beasts made short work of the pegasus knights, and reformed to face the entire KoE battleline, tempting the knights to charge: being inside a forest, shifting them would be a difficult task.

    TURN 2 – Kingdom of Equitaine

    The knights declined my invitation to a central grindfest, and chose to sidestep a bit. The rightmost pegasus knights saw an opening and charged the dryads inside the forest, making it into combat.

    Magic started with a thunderbolt on the Thicket beasts, which I let through, losing a Thicket Beast in the process. Then my opponent powered through a 5-dice Lightning Storm on the rightmost Kestrels, with Irresistible force. After some deliberation, I let the spell through: one unit of Kestrels was instantly wiped out, and the other Kestrels suffered some wounds, lost panic and fled off the board (at that point Nico who was playing next to me looked first at my… [Read More]

  • Game 3 - Serbia (Beast Herds, Breakthrough)

    For the third round, we got paired against Serbia! My teammates had already told me stories about how cool and nice guys the Serbs are, and they were all pretty thrilled we’d be getting to play fun opponents.

    I got paired against @operatkovic ‘s Beast Herds, a matchup which I had rated as “good”. Beast herds lack long range support to threaten my combat units, and every match where my squishy elves get into combat unscathed is a good match in my book!

    We’d be playing Breakthrough, a scenario which can go either way against Beast Herds due to their Ambushers.

    operatkovic wrote:

    Looking at Djordje’s list, he had a decent firebase with 2 Stone Throwers, the Impaler, and 23 throwing axe Centaurs (s4). He also had the ubiquitous Dark Rain and a couple of heavily armoured Minotaur Warlords.


    My matriarch got Beast Within and Transformation, while the Druid got Luminous Bolts and Phoenix Rises. (I would have liked having either the Unforging or the Redwood shaft)

    After trading a couple of deployments, my opponent dropped his entire army and forced me to go first, securing the last turn for scoring purposes as well as ensuring that my shooting would have a -2 penalty due to the Dark Rain.

    The prime targets here were the Cyclops and the scoring centaurs. The overall plan was to kill the scorers, and keep some units in my backline to deal with the ambushers when
    they arrive. Minotaurs would have to be redirected.

    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    Knowing I’d get the first turn, I vanguarded my Kestrels forward, giving my left unit the possibility to get into the backline out of sight of the cyclops to the left. The right kestrels took advantage of the Gargoyles’ positioning in front of the minotaur Warlord to advance and get into position to threaten the scoring units on the following turn.

    The Briar Maidens did an outflanking maneuver, getting in range to pepper the cyclops with poisoned darts. Finally, the dancers and Thicket beasts moved forward, to limit the options of the minotaurs and the centaurs.

    In the magic phase the Luminous bolts were dispelled, leaving an opening for the Curse of the Wild on the Sober Centaurs. The briar maidens put three wounds on the cyclops, despite the Dark Rain, while the Sylvan Archers managed to kill 2 centaurs from the sober unit! A good start for the Sylvans!

    TURN 1 – Beast Herds

    With no charges available, the beastmen redeployed. Gargoyles went in front of the thicket beasts, for some double flee antics, while the drunk centaurs scaled the hill, in close support of their sober brethren. One of the minotaur lords joined the sober centaurs, while the other moved up near the thicket beasts. The Mino BSB stayed near the hill, within range of the entire army, practically.

    Magic saw the +d3 movement totem cast on the sober centaurs, the rest getting dispelled.

    In the shooting phase the cyclops didn’t hit anything, but the Impaler made up for it, killing 4 Bladedancers from the right unit with a flank shot (who knew that bolt throwers can now penetrate ranks of skirmishers?).

    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves

    Following my battle plan, I declared charges on the scoring centaurs: the leftmost kestrels rear charged the centaurs on the hill, while the right ones frontally charged the unit next to the field. The rightmost bladedancers fell upon the first harpy unit, which held. But this didn’t give a solution to the minotaur/sober centaur issue, which is why I shoved the Forest Guard forward, with the rest of the army adopting a crescent-like formation around them; if the Beasts charged, they’d have to weather some countercharges.

    I got a big magic phase, which allowed me to cast Luminous bolts twice on the Sober centaurs, pulling out the scroll. This left me with enough dice to cast Curse of the Wild on them again!

    Two more wounds went through on the Cyclops to the left, leaving him with a single wound left. The Sylvan Archers shot at the other cyclops and managed to wound him once.

    Close combat was a mixed bag: the left kestrels beat the drunk centaurs on the hill without getting any damage back, and ran them down in pursuit.… [Read More]
  • GAME 2 – Sweden (Vermin Swarm, Breakthrough)

    After the first round defeat, we were expecting to fight one of the more laid back teams. We met the Swedish instead, who –despite having some youngbloods too – still counted two ABC members and an RT member among their ranks.

    In the pairings I had to take the Vermin Swarm, a matchup considered bad by most of my team mates and average for me. A training game against @skrak had taught me how dangerous a VS list can be, and also to avoid the Pendulum at all costs.

    Peter wrote:

    Magister: General, Plague patriarch, Level 4, Disease, Tome of arcane lore, 245
    Tyrant: The doom blade, 180
    Chief: BSB, Lightning rod, 115
    Plague prophet on Plague pendulum: Glittering cuirass, Halberd, 244
    Apprentice magister: Level 2, Ruin, Dispel scroll, 125
    Apprentice magister: Level 2, Ruin, Eye of the storm, 110
    42 Plague Brotherhood: FCG, Plague ridden, Icon of ruin, 339
    58 Slaves: Musician, 126
    20 Rat-at-arms: Musician, Standard, 100
    15 Plague brotherhood: Musician, Standard, 100
    2 x 5 Gutterblades: Poison, Scouts & Ambush, 85
    3 x 1 Rotary gun: 65
    2 x 1 Lightning cannon: 85
    2 x 1 Dreadmill: 140

    The breakthrough scenario was the good news for the SE, since I had more scoring units and far more controllable than the frenzied monks.


    The druid got Luminous Bolts and Arcane unforging, the Matriarch got Beast Within and Raging Storm, the Magister got Breath of Corruption, Mass of Flesh, Cleansing Infestation and Leprotic Curse. Finally, the apprentice magisters both got Black Lightning, as well as Feed the Swarm and Crack the Earth respectively.

    The deployment type was flank attack, and I opted to give my opponent the attacking role: I wasn’t too eager to give the Plague Brotherhood a 15» headstart towards my line, and I knew that this would force my opponent to abandon one flank.

    Going into the game, I knew that with the amount of augment spells and the resilience of the Pendulum, I wouldn’t be able to touch the Plague Brotherhood Deathstar. So the plan was simple: win the long range shootout with my 18 Sylvan Archers, take the Dreadmills and Lightning cannons, redirect the Pendulum and win the scenario. Easy, eh?


    We traded deployments, initially, until I spotted where the weapons teams were going. Putting my archers at shooting range from the first one, I dropped everything to get the first turn.The Forest Guard and Heath Riders went on the left, as their role would be mainly to be the scoring contingent, helped out by a unit of Wild Huntsmen and potentially the Bladedancers.

    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    On the left flank, the Forest Guard and Wild huntsmen duo advanced towards the Dreadmill, while the Heath Riders hugged cover out of sight from the Lightning Cannons. The central forces moved up reluctantly, while on the right I used Kestrels and Wild Huntsmen to threaten the advance of the other Dreadmill. The Thicket Beasts could hide against one of the two cannons behind the hill, and they did so. The Sylvan Archers moved up to be within 30» from the first Rotary gun and let loose, killing it instantly.

    In the magic phase, the curse of the wildwood on the big block was dispelled, while the Magic missiles were out of range.

    TURN 1 – Vermin Swarm

    My opponent sent the leftmost Dreadmill near the table edge, while the right one attempted to get out of line of sight of the wild huntsmen, but failed.The Plague Brotherhood moved up and the Rotary guns redeployed towards the west, out of range from my archers.

    Magic was uneventful, due to a couple of good rolls on my part for saves and dispel.

    Shooting targeted the thicket beasts and a unit of kestrels, but both shots failed to hit.

    TURN 2 – Sylvan Elves

    The Wild Huntsmen flank charged the exposed Dreadmill. The rest of the sylvan forces stayed a good distance away from the Rotary guns, while the Forest Guard performed a swift reform to move even more to the west and out of potential firing range from the enemy weapon teams.

    Magic was directed yet again on the Pendulum, my opponent dispelling the Curse of the wildwood once more. Shooting from the archers dropped five Rat-at-arms, but the remaining infantry didn’t panic.

    In the inaugural close combat of the game, the Wild Huntsmen killed the Dreadmill in one go, overrunning into the piece of impassable terrain, their flank exposed to slaves.

    TURN 2 – Vermin Swarm

    The Slaves flank charged the Wild Huntsmen, and the big block moved forward once more. In the magic phase my opponent cast an irresistible Black Lightning on a unit of Bladedancers, killing four models and receiving a wound in the process.

    The Lightning cannons managed to hit a unit of Kestrels and down one model.

    In combat the Slaves killed enough wild huntsmen to make them flee, and after all the Dangerous Terrain tests were rolled a single Wild Huntsman remained.

    The Doomblade warlord took a… [Read More]
  • The Athens ETC chronicles: A Sylvan Elf MSU report

    Greetings again! The biggest T9A event in the entire world is done, it was a great experience that pictures and text can only begin to explain. The whole «community» feeling that the Ninth Age forums have helped cultivate was pretty much present in the ETC venue, so at a lot of times it felt just like hanging out with old friends.

    Going to a team event is definitely something different than playing a singles tournament, as definitions of what is a good or a bad performance change. Winning is not always the goal, and losing can be fine as long as the team is picking up the slack.

    The way the pairings of the 8-player teams are done is a game inside the game itself, adding a few layers of strategic thinking as the coaches needed to account for the scenarios, deployment types, and the matchups themselves. A thankless task, and one I was glad not to be doing!

    In this series I’ll be recounting my six games of the ETC, against some of the best T9A players and often with stunningly beautiful armies.

    Here is the list I took to this year's ETC:

    SmithF wrote:

    Dryad Matriarch: General, Lv2, Wilderness, Oaken Crown, 105
    Thicket Shepherd, BSB , Flaming Standard, Entwined Roots,180
    Druid White Magic , level 2, Dispel Scroll, 130
    18 Sylvan Archers, Black Arrows Standard, Musician, 246
    28 Forest Guard: FCG, Gleaming Icon, 257
    8 Dryads: Skirmishers, 110
    5 Heath Riders: Elven Cloaks, Standard, 110
    5 Thicket Beasts: FCG, Entwined Roots, 285
    2x 7 Blade Dancers: 105
    2x 5 Wild Huntsmen: 145
    2x 3 Kestrel Knights: Skirmish, Light Armour, Swap Longbow for Shield, 153
    10 Briar Maidens: Champion, 270

    GAME 1 – Denmark (Empire of Sonnstahl, capture the flags)

    For those of you who haven’t followed the ETC in the past years, it’s worth noting that Denmark is one of the better teams: they have won the ETC once, and they regularly get good results in team tournaments. This year’s ETC warm-up in Denmark was also won by the hosts, so the team was still very dangerous. Things became even more complicated since El Rey, one of the RT members and ETC veteran was the non-playing coach of the team.

    Looking at the Danish lists, we quickly understood that we were in a weaker position: the Danish had made a good job of finding synergies and pushing the army books to their limits, which is more than can be said for Belgian lists!

    Mikael wrote:

    Prelate on Altar of Battle: General, Hardened Shield, Heavy Armour, Barding, 280
    Captain: BSB, Plate Armour, Shield, 97
    Captain on Pegasus: Dusk Stone, Dragonscale Healm, Flaming Lance, Plate Armour, Shield, 177
    Wizard: Level 2, Light, Tome of Arcane Lore, 105
    Wizard: Level 2, Light, Dispel Scroll, 125
    50 Heavy Infantry Spearmen: FCG, Spear, light Armour, Shield, 285
    20 Heavy Infantry Swordsmen: Standard, Musician, Light Armour, hand weapon, shield, 100
    2 x 5 Electoral Cavalry: Banner, Musician, Lance, Shield, Plate armour, Barding, 120
    2 x 30 Flaggelants: 260
    2 x Artillery – Cannons: 100
    Arcane Engine of Foreseeing: 140
    Steam Tank: 230
    Total: 2499

    My opponent, Mikael, is an 8th edition veteran player, returning to the 9th age. From previous experience, I knew that the Empire was a bad game for me, mainly due to the presence of 3 cannons, Steam Tank, double Banishment and double Burning Brightness. The empire wins the war of attrition, and it all boils down to whether I can move into position and do some damage on the turn I will use my scroll.


    The scenario we got was capture the flags, and we had 4 banners to pick from each: I selected the two electoral knight units and the big Spearmen block, while Mikael shunned the Thicket Beasts in favor of the Archers, Heath Riders and Forest Guard.

    The White Druid got Luminous Bolts and the Hidden Path, Dryad Matriarch got the Redwood Shaft and the Curse of the Wildwood. Mikael’s Light Mages failed to get the Banishment, ending up with the Burning Brightness twice, then Shield of Protection, Net and Timewarp.

    I got to pick sides, and opted for the one with the small hill to hide my thicket beasts behind.


    Deployment was diagonal, and we traded some deployments before my opponent opted for a full army drop in order to get the first turn. He anchored his right flank with the Steam Tank and a unit of Flagellants, put the two buff wagons and the two Heavy infantry up the middle, along with the Pegasus captain, then a unit of knights and the second unit of Flagellants on his left flank. I deployed in a fast units on both flanks (Briar Maidens and Wild Huntsmen on my left, Wild Huntsmen and two units of Kestrels on my right) and made sure to keep the scoring units at a greater distance and with options for rapidly redeploying if need be. Practically everything was too far away for first turn unboosted magic missiles.

    TURN 1 – Empire[Read More]
  • So we're all back to to the base now, but here's my top 3, game-wise, of the last day at the ETC:

    1. Playing my bloodiest game this ETC against the Greek BH player : more than 4500 victory points were scored overall, with a final result of 13-7 on the objective.

    2. @Arthur changing the course of a game against Vermin Swarm: he was losing badly, and managed to turn the game to a 20-0!

    3. @PrinceCharming 's BSB not failing to impress: held 3 turns (and survived) against 5 Winged Reapers and a full Barrow Guard unit +Vamps.

    Here's some deployment picture teasers:

    Game 5 - Greece (Beast Herds)

    Game 6 - Australia (Orcs and Goblins)

    Belgian team recap:

    So after a 3000km travel, 96 hours of gaming and T9A talk and meeting a lot of new and interesting people, the Belgian team ended up in the 19th position (out of 24). This was a bit far from the top10 goal we had (silently) set for ourselves, but at such a tournament every mistake is paid for and every shaky dice roll may cost the team the win.
    But what was really important is that we had 40+ enjoyable matches, met great people, and got to hang out in sunny Athens with the whole ETC crowd!

    Gaming for a team tournament is a whole different beast than singles tournaments. I guess the biggest contributing factor to any good results we had was the effort of @kiwii , our coach who got most of the pairings as we wanted them and kept going from table to table and orchestrating the team strategy. The end result doesn't do him justice, but at least we never hit the "cap" (only barely touched it) even when paired against the Danish.

    Battle reports will come soon enough, so stay tuned!

    Smith [Read More]
  • So I thought I'd give you a small roundup of what has been happening on the Belgian side of the Athens ETC. With 4 games in, we've had some ups, some lows but we are having a gr eat time!

    TOP 5 in-game moments: Days 1 and 2

    1. @Borgio rushing team Turkey Dwarves, losing 1750+ points in the process but getting 2850 in return. 18-2 in a game that may well be the bloodiest match in all of this year's ETC.

    2. Getting to play team Serbia: great guys, laid back attitude, manly armies; everything the ETC should be about in my opinion! Shout out to @kgkid @Bogi and @operatkovic, it's always great putting some faces to the names!
    Winning or losing against them really didn't matter, they would have gotten my "favorite opponent" so far.

    3. My round 2 game against Vermin Swarm: highly tactical, ETC level stuff. At times it felt like trying to get out of a bag full of snakes, and dice are dice. But -weirdly- my worst result so far is my best played game.

    4. @Timon getting his wings with his first ever victory in the ETC, against Vermin Swarm nonetheless!

    5. @PrinceCharming monster killing spree. Lets just say that Mammoths/Aurochs/Taurosaurs are all endangered species now.

    But definitely the high point up to now is getting to finally meet the so many people who have worked on the project so far, talk with the best Sylvan Elf generals out there about the book and the game in general, and participating in the greatest T9A event to date!

    And here are some teasers! Deployment pics for all my games so far:

    Game 1 - Denmark. (Empire of Sonnstahl)

    GAME 2 - Sweden (Vermin Swarm)

    GAME 3 - Serbia (Beast Herds)

    GAME 4 - Turkey (Kingdom of Equitaine)

    If you're a reader of this blog, and currently at the ETC, come over and say hi!
    I'll be putting updates on twitter too, so you can follow SmithF@T9A [Read More]