SmithF's 9th Age Battle Reports 98

MSU battle reports, as first seen in TWF.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is available! You can read all about it in the news.

  • On the second round of the tournament we came across the Relentless Company. This name might not ring any bells to you, but it’s an alias for the Enfants du Sud team, of French ETC glory. We’ve faced Benji and his mates multiple times in international tournaments, they are always contenders for the podium and offer us great and challenging rounds of T9A. Now they have expanded their project to encompass the whole of France instead of just the southern parts, and they are the favorites in the race for the 2021 French team nomination.

    The Beasts had some good matchups and some bad matchups, but we decided as an overall strategy to not protect them, in order to get good games elsewhere. So I ended up fighting @damsetoi and his Daemon Legions:

    damsetoi wrote:

    950 - Vanadra's Scourge, Wizard (Wizard Adept, evocation), Living Shield, centiped legs, Brimstone Secretions, Whipcrack Tail
    850 - Omen 490, général 40, WM 225 taumaturgy, brimestone sécrétion 25, bronze backbone 30, hammer hand 40
    295 - 10 Succubi, Smothering Coils, Champion
    295 - 10 Succubi, Smothering Coils, Champion
    295 - 10 Succubi, Smothering Coils, Champion
    270 - 10 lemures, unatural roots, Banner, musician
    300 - Blazing Glory, Cloven Hooves
    300 - Blazing Glory, Cloven Hooves
    200 - 5 Sirens, Centipede Legs
    195 - 5 Sirens
    175 - 2 Mageblight Gremlins
    375 - 3 Veil Serpents, Champion

    So essentially a list that can be broken up in three separate parts: the single models (fast, hard hitting, can take my units or characters one-on-one), the fast support (chaff but also capable of hurting my smaller units with their higher agility) and then the scoring core. I find facing such an army interesting, because on paper nothing’s in the beasts’ favor, yet there is almost always a way to get the upper hand, if you play your cards right.

    The secondary objective here would be Capture the Flags, and our deployment was Counterthrust. The Soothsayer picked Healing Waters, Master of Earth, Summer Growth and Stoneskin, and the Daemons ended up with Spectral Blades/Whispers of the Veil on the Scourge, Hand of Heaven, Smite the Unbeliever, Cleansing Fire and Wrath of God for the Omen, while the Veil Serpents picked Deceptive Glamour and Twisted Effigy.

    Keeping my scorers safe against the daemons would be a challenge, and for that reason I opted for mobility over hitting power for the centaurs: they all would start the game sober, hopefully helping out in controlling the single models of the daemons.

    We exchanged the typical three drops of Counterthrust, then my opponent dropped his entire army to get the first turn. I was happy that he did so, as counterdeploying was essential to my plan. The daemonic positioning gave me two options: either go for the scorers head-on, and give the Scourge and Blazing Glories the room to maneuver and come crushing into my flank, or focus on the single monsters while keeping the scoring occupied.

    I opted for the latter, and ended up with a refused flank deployment, with the chariot Beastlord and a single Centaur unit occupying the weak flank. The abundance of terrain on the table meant that I could keep my Soothsayer in the middle, away from the action, and still be able to cast spells. I couldn’t risk having Mageblight Gremlins in my backfield right at the moment when I’d be initiating my attack.

    TURN 1 – Daemon Legions

    My opponent found a position out of the chariots’ arc of sight to land the Scourge, and went for an aggressive position from which he could see most of my army. The Blazing Glories stayed on either side of the building, to keep the centaurs from outflanking the daemons. The rest of the DL army maneuvered cautiously, the Omen relocating towards the right side of the board, to threaten my Beastlord.

    The first magic phase was a preview of what the full force of the DL magic can do; I had to dispel the boosted Hand of heaven on my centaurs, unwilling to give up a scoring unit that early in the game. This allowed the Omen to cast Wrath of God in the middle of my units, and also to put a boosted Twisted Effigy on my Soothsayer.

    TURN 1 – Beast Herds

    Starting turn 1 with a comet about to drop and a Scourge about to charge is bad news, but I figured I needed to stick to the plan: Both centaur units on the left pushed forward, away from the comet and in a position to threaten the Blazing Glories. The Wildhorns and minotaurs maneuvered to create a trap for the Scourge, and the dogs stepped in front of him to lower his threat range by 1”. I then split my Soothsayer from his unit, and used the chariots and Gargoyles to create a Gremlin-free zone around him. On the right hand side, the Beastlord moved up towards the scorers all alone, and the centaurs moved back to avoid any more magic missiles coming their way.

    In magic I only managed to cast the Oaken Throne, the rest of my spells failing or getting dispelled. The comet… [Read More]
  • Greetings, one and all.

    I hope that reading this finds you in good health and good spirits, the better to enjoy the exciting tale of the Beast Herd at 2020’s biggest international team tournament. Now, normally, this would have meant the ETC, but since this won’t be happening our good friends from across the pond stepped in and pulled the gaming community together. So instead of ETC 2020 this year we have The Ocho 2020, sponsored and ran by Team USA. As it says on the tin, this is a team tournament for teams of 8 players, and will run until roughly the end of July for a total of 6 rounds of competitive T9A played on UB.

    Team Belgium couldn’t miss such an event, so we answered the call. Now, reader, if you are looking for a guide on how to win at an event like that, you’ll have to keep on looking: our initial approach here was “pretend this is the ETC and bring your most competitive list”, but somehow this meant bringing Undying Dynasties when the whole world knows that they are literally dead and not just resting. Also it meant that people actually came to me for list advice, which may explain why our Vampire Covenant player ended up with 16 spells and our Sylvan Elves with more flying models than elves with bows. To round this selection up, we included all kinds of elves, Saurians without a Quatl, and – of course- everyone’s favorite underdog, the Beast Herds. Oh, and Kingdom of Equitaine because we didn’t get the memo that armour was so 2017.

    So if you want to actually win one of these, here’s my advice: don’t take my advice, and also at least remember to bring Daemon Legions, Warriors of the Dark Gods, Vermin Swarm, and Infernal Dwarves, especially at the specific timepoint where successful list building for the infernal stunties relies on closing your eyes and picking any random amount of unit entries, provided it has a shooting weapon or a name that starts with Bast and ends with Ion.

    But what good is winning if you cannot win in style, I ask you. Which brings me to the list I submitted for the event :

    To the uninitiated it might seem like a random smattering of units, but these have been actually tried and tested over the past 8 months, and they have surprised me pleasantly time and time again. The big problem however is that you cannot actually predict in what way they will surprise you each game, just that they will. So you can imagine the nightmare that is doing pre-game estimations when on paper all of your units die before they get to strike the enemy. Needless to say, there was a whole lot of purple in my estimation matrix (purple being the colour attributed to open matchups or -simply put- “I don’t know how this will pan out”) .

    For the first round we’d get to face the “Old Team”, a Spanish team made up from experienced tournament players some of which are often contenders for the ETC qualifiers. I would get to play their captain, Álex @Portador de Tormento with his Vermin Swarm army:

    Portador de Tormento wrote:

    So a lot of the usual suspects were there: Vermin Daemon, double Dreadmill, footpad core, Plague Catapults, but then he put his own special touch with an Abomination and a big Vermin Guard unit: The latter had me worried, since the machinists on their own are often enough to deal devastating amounts of damage to naked beasts. Add to that the Assassin with his S7 Ap4 attacks and multiwounds against my… [Read More]
  • So, Social Distancing was a great team event. It doesn’t compare to “real life” events because you lack the rush that comes from winning or losing for the team, as well as the quick succession of events: this was more of a slow burn, with a single round per week and games spread out. However, that had its upsides, too. You can actually see your teammates play the game, which offers an opportunity for improvement as you get critique post game from people who watched the entire battle as opposed to just a recount of events. Knowing the matchups and scenario/map beforehand meant that a decent amount of theorizing went on, which adds to the depth of the game: you cannot rely on surprising your opponent as much, and you expect him to have a coherent battle plan by the time you actually get to play the game.

    Curiously enough, the social aspect was present in this event: through interactions via Discord I actually got to discuss more with the other teams than I would have during a 2-day event. Team USA and the TO @Sergrum have achieved something spectacular with this initiative, which is bringing T9A enthusiasts together to talk about the game and get to know each other in these weird times we live in.

    So who won? Our team certainly didn’t, we ended up near the bottom (28/34) of the board after suffering yet another loss in the final round. But Belgium did win: the team Beer, Cheese and Surf, comprised of 3 Team Belgium current or former members and an Australian (now honorary Belgian, too!) beat all that stood before them and claimed the first place. Right behind them were the Germans and the Spanish, completing the podium in a multi-national way.

    This field was one of the toughest I’ve ever faced, rivaling the ETC. So congrats are in order for all of the top finishers, for they truly showed they are the best in this game we so like to play! While our final placing isn’t what we had expected going in, we got 6 great rounds, meeting people from all over the world in the process. Shout out to my 7 opponents, they were all very fun to play with and very competent generals as well: Paul, Dave, Anton, Pablo, Justin, Mike and Marek, thanks a lot for making this quarantine easier to bear!

    Before the list review, I’ll do a team review: we took a gamble going into the tournament, and that was to bring lists that we hadn’t had experience with. What we learned was that

    1. Undying Dynasties cannot pull off the same plays as last year: large units with big footprints get swarmed by superior opposition and crumble away before the -lacking- magic phase can even begin to raise them and boost them. Another approach is needed in list building, and -after watching some UD games- I’d also point out that a book rewrite cannot come fast enough.
    2. Tree spirit lists are good if they match the player’s demeanor. Our SE player has played so many games with the elven part of the army book, he’s gotten used to striking first and charging into combat instead of getting charged. I admit that I’d find playing a Tree Spirit list quite boring, and lacking in flair: not unlike a Dwarven Holds vanguard list, the trees lack the potential for late game counterplay if things do not go their way.
    3. MSU Vampires. They either work beautifully, or they don’t. Having played a game with the list as a stand-in, I felt that one could accomplish the same thing with KoE, only better and without the risk of your army crumbling.
    Overall we lacked the go-to armies for a 4-player event. These proved to be Daemonic Legion, Vermin Swarm, Highborn Elves and Warriors of the Dark Gods (the latter tied in 4th position with Vampire Covenant). This doesn’t come as a surprise, as these armies are highly reliable in terms of Leadership (yes, even Vermin!), with a good amount of Fearless troops, good fighting power/magic/speed, and able to play any scenario.

    "But what about the Beasts?", I hear you say. If I had to sum it up, I’d say that the list exceeded expectations given the opposition. What I mean by this is that I brought a list based on infantry, vulnerable to psychology (way more than any of my previous lists) and with a good amount of points invested in discipline-based tricks (Aura of Madness, Hereditary, Whispers of the Veil, Terror). The opposition was in the vast majority comprised of armies immune to most of these effects. Where the opponents had good magic, high-performance shooting and overall a skewed/extreme list building approach, the March of the Jabberwocks army brought a minimal-investment magic phase, low-armour (and low-agility) infantry and very few traditional hard hitters.

    Some of the entries I tried surprised me in a positive way, while others portrayed the shortcomings of such a take in BH listbuilding. But as a whole, the army always gave me ways to approach the game with the goal of winning. Full-combat beasts are not the army that will play for a draw or a… [Read More]
  • So for the last game of the tournament we got to play Team K. , which brought together players from Poland and the Czech Republic. They had brought Barbarian-heavy Warriors of the Dark Gods, MSU DH, MSU KoE and Mercenary-heavy Ogre Khans. My opponent would be Marek, a UB regular and ETC player for the Czech Republic. We’ve played games before, and they are always challenging and fun. He had brought a list that I found interesting and with a lot of potential:

    Marek wrote:

    660 - Duke, Pegasus, Shield (Fortress of Faith), Lance, Bastard Sword, Crusader's Salvation, Obsidian Rock, Might, Questing Oath and Bastard Sword
    545 - Damsel, Equitan Unicorn, Wizard Master, Shamanism, Magical Heirloom, Talisman of the Void
    315 - Paladin, Barded Warhorse, Shield, Battle Standard Bearer (Aether Icon), Lance, Daring, Grail Oath
    275 - 6 Knights of the Realm, Standard Bearer
    275 - 6 Knights of the Realm, Standard Bearer
    245 - 5 Knights Aspirant, Standard Bearer
    245 - 5 Knights Aspirant, Standard Bearer
    245 - 5 Knights Aspirant, Standard Bearer
    245 - 5 Knights Aspirant, Standard Bearer
    825 - 9 Knights of the Grail, Standard Bearer (Banner of Speed), Musician, Champion
    135 - 5 Yeoman Outriders, Shield, Light Armour, Throwing Weapons
    135 - 5 Yeoman Outriders, Shield, Light Armour, Throwing Weapons
    354 - 3 Pegasus Knights, Loose Formation, Champion

    So a full MSU KoE list supported by a Pegasus Duke and a solid unit of Grail knights. Looking at the list, the first thing I noticed was the lack of musicians on the small knight units: while this is understandable as it would cost a lot of points just to put musicians on these, I figured I’d be able to exploit it to force favorable combats and take the small units apart using my ambushers and fliers.

    The main threat in the list was of course the Questing Pegasus lord that could effectively zone my Jabberwocks and could potentially killany of my characters if in a combined charge with the grails or the Pegasus knights. We would get to play Secure Target and Counterthrust, meaning that our armies would be even closer together.

    I expected the cavalry to be upon me by turn 2, so I decided that I’d have to use the objectives to split the knights’ forces, hopefully isolating scoring units with low discipline from the main leadership bubble; that would allow my jabberwocks to overwhelm them, leaving my ambushers free to claim the objective. My opponent won the roll of sides, and picked the side with a sizeable hill inside the deployment zone. It was clear that the Pegasus block or the Grail unit would sit atop this and threaten long charges on my units, so instead of dropping for the first turn (which I wasn’t that keen on having, anyway) I opted for alternate drops.

    We had this back-and-forth for a while, and in the end we ended up with a heavily weighed left flank for the KoE, against a powerful center with the “weak side” protected by the building. The Jabberwocks were both near the impassable terrain pieces, hoping to exploit any blind spots and put the pressure on the knights’ advance early on. I won the roll for the turn and opted to play second: this might seem odd, but the unit placement meant that I’d have to use my chaff early on if I wanted to push, while the KoE would get to keep theirs for later during the game. By giving my opponent the first turn I’d force him to use his redirectors, while also retaining the possibility for late-game objective claiming. (picture taken after my opponent's deployment, expertly edited to give you an idea of how the KoE deployed: the Realm Knights were actually more to the side, see red cross next to impassable)

    In magic, I went for the usual: Echoes of the Dark Forest, Spectral Blades, Whispers of the Veil. Th Shamanism Damsel picked Breath of the Lady, Awaken the Beast, Swarm of Insects, Totemic Summon and Break the Spirit.

    TURN 1 – Kingdom of Equitaine

    The Grail Knights opened the game by trying the double 6 charge into my feral hounds, with an overrun into the Longhorns (and barely out of the Wildhorns’ arc). Although casualties would have been tremendous, I figured the risk was relatively low. The Grails failed and moved upon the hill with their failed charge move. The Yeomen advanced, blocking my Feral Hounds (and Longhorns right behind). The rest of the movement was overall a cautious advance up the left flank, with a notable yeoman/aspirant alignment that prevented my Jabberwock from charging the knights.

    In the magic phase I let the Swarm of Insects through on the Razorgors, losing a model. The Totemic Summon was then dispelled. Two Feral hounds died to yeomen throwing weapons, but they held their ground.

    TURN 1 – Beast Herds

    With part of my battleline blocked, I decided that stalling in the middle and left flank was not a bad idea. The weak part of the enemy formation was the right flank (only a single unit of Aspirants) and the… [Read More]
  • After 3 consecutive team losses, we still wouldn’t get to face a “weak” team, but we had the pleasure of facing team “Little Giants”.Justin @Kaedo and his mates are experienced T9A generals and tournament generals in the mid-Atlantic region (I think?) of the USA. They had lined up a triple-kraken DE army, MSU shooty DH,Wildheart OK and, finally, a skinkstar Saurian Ancients army.

    “How would one define a skinkstar?”, I hear you ask: take your basic skink unit. Give it Hatred. Give it Poison. Then add 4 heroes with assorted equipment and you’ve got a skinkstar. If your next question was “And what does a skinkstar do?” then you’re reading the right blogpost.

    My round 5 opponent would be Justin, of team USA fame,and his highly unusual SA army.

    So the aforementioned skink star was accompanied by a second hard-hitting block, plus all kinds of support units and monsters. This time the deployment would be Frontline Clash and the secondary objective Spoils of War.

    I took some time before the game to read up on the SA rules (I don’t get to fight them often), and to find out exactly what a Skink Captain can do. It turns out that if he’s equipped right, he can be downright scary! After some thinking I came to the conclusion that I could probably take on the SkinkStar in two waves, but there was practically nothing in my army that would appreciate going toe-to-toe with the Saurian Warrior unit. So plan was to scare these sufficiently so that they do not barrel down my lines, while trying to get the satellite units and claim the objective.

    For magic, I picked the Echoes of the Dark Forest, Spectral Blades and Whispers of the Veil. The Skink Priest took Spark of Creation, Healing Waters, Stoneskin and Summer Regrowth, and the Stygiosaur opted for Awaken the Beast and Swarm of Insects. I won the roll for sides, and opted for the side with the hill, appropriately leaving the skinks with the Water feature on their side.

    Justin then dropped his army for the first turn, and went for all 3 tokens using his cavalry units in the flanks, the Saurian Warriors in the middle and theSkink Star, Taurosaur and Stygiosaur ready to support either side.

    This left me free to counter the deployment: I kept my chariots and a Jabberwock on the hill, projecting a decent threat range and giving the Saurian scorers something to think about before the stepped on the objectives on turn 1. After a bit of consideration, I elected to play the Wildhorns and Razortusks to the far right, where they’d get to bully the Stygiosaur and the cavalry in the early game, then hopefully combine charges into the skink star. The left flank would be handled by my second Jabberwock along with the unit of Mongrels. Finally, the Longhorns went across the Saurian Warriors and the Taurosaur; their intention was to look menacing enough so as to dissuade an aggressive move. In reality, they’d have to flee a Saurian Warrior charge if it came to that.

    My Gargoyles scouted right inside the ruins, fully taking advantage of the Taurosaur’s sideways deployment so as to stay safe on turn 1.

    TURN 1 – Saurian Ancients

    The saurian army moved up rather cautiously, close enough to the objective tokes to dissuade me from making the move to grab them, but still long enough so as to not give my units on the hill any good charges.

    In the magic phase the Swarm of Insects went through on the Feral Hounds, killing 3 of them. The Beastlord kept the dogs from panicking, and then I managed to dispel the Spark of Creation against the Raiding Chariots.

    The salamander tried to fry my two remaining hounds, but rolled a “1” and took a wound instead. Two javelins from the skink heroes also missed their mark, leaving the redirectors alive -a very rare occurrence!

    TURN 1 – Beast Herds

    The turn 1 movement of the saurian had effectively shut down most of my routes for… [Read More]
  • So we’ve dropped down the rankings, we’re almost touching the bottom. One might assume that we’d get to fight against easier opposition. But there is no easy opposition in the Social Distancing tourney! We were up against one half of team Mexico, the self-styled team Dingus. If you watch @Warboss Tooth ’s videos (before a hole in the ground opened up right under his feet and he disappeared without a trace), you’ll be familiar with these guys. We had the chance of meeting them and playing them on the last round of last year’s ETC in a very close fought round.

    They were bringing four lists with personal touches each, which was refreshing to see: a Feldrak-heavy WDG army, a 9-chariot HBE army, blocky vampires with double Altars, and finally, my opponent: Pablo @YungPabby and his Vermin Swarm list:

    The best way to describe this is a Vermin Cloud list (formerly known as a SAD), and it works pretty much in the same way as a skink cloud list would work. Double flee, magic/shooting for easy points, then use the 2-3 hard-hitters to mop up the survivors. We would be playing Dawn Assault and Breakthrough, which was a good scenario for my army.

    I estimated this as an open match, but I figured that my big units had the staying power to deal with anything other than the Vermin Daemon in close combat, and the fast elements in the list had sufficient reach to put pressure from the first turn onwards so as to destabilize the rats. So the plan was to outdeploy the enemy, take the shooting damage for what it was (inevitable) and try to close the distance as fast as possible, keeping as many rat units on the run while doing so.

    For magic, I opted for the usual: Spectral Blades, Whispers of the Veil, Echoes of the Dark Forest. The Vermin Daemon picked Know thy Enemy, Fate’s Judgment, Stars Align and Unerring Strike, while the Magister went with Raven’s Wing and The Wheel Turns.

    Pablo won the roll for sides and picked the north side, cutting my deployment zone in half with a piece impassable of terrain. I didn’t want to grab the first turn, since part of my plan was based on outdeploying the enemy and getting the right matchups. So the Vermin Swarm dropped for first, ending up with a central deployment, the two cannons slightly atop the hill and the Vermin Daemon and Abomination right in the middle of it all.

    I countered with my general’s unit on the far left flank, a middle that was guarded by my fast troops, and the longhorns anchoring the battleline right across their prime target, the Abomination. I kept my flyers mostly to the right side: What this accomplished was give me the upper hand in the scenario, ensuring that the vermin scorers wouldn’t be able to move past my units and in my backfield, where I wouldn’t be able to touch them.

    TURN 1 – Vermin Swarm

    The vermin army advanced cautiously, the Night Runners and Footpads hovering at maximum shooting distance from my units with the exception of the right Runners who approached my hounds inside the forest.

    Magic started off with a high roll for Awaken the Swarm on my Razortusk chariot, resulting in 2 wounds. Unerring Strike was then dispelled. Shooting focused on the same chariot, and managed to put another 2 wounds despite the Dark Rain. The rightmost Night Runners panicked my hounds by killing 3 of them. Finally, both Lightning Cannons failed to hit my Jabberwock inside the forest, one of them taking a wound from a misfire.

    TURN 1 – Beast Herds

    The Vermin movement had given me some potential charges, and I took them: the Razortusks went for the Night Runners in front of them, but didn’t manage the 9+ required to make it in and also lost a model to SnS. The Longhorns charged into the other unit of Night Runners, who fled far enough to avoid getting caught.With the nightrunner threat not dealt with, I decided to push heavily on that right flank, hoping to divert attention from the left flank, where the enveloping maneuver was happening.

    The Jabberwock moved up to get the fleeing unit under it aura of madness, with the Gargoyles in a position to threaten the cannons in the following turn. My feral hounds rallied, and the second Jabberwock moved closer to the action too, while staying inside the protection of the forest.

    In magic I put Whispers of the Veil on the Vermin Daemon: this would make him Discipline 8, forcing the units near the jabberwock to test on a 7, potentially causing a chain panic.

    I also managed to push Spectral Blades on my… [Read More]
  • For the third round of the tournament we were pitted against Bulgaria, a team we’ve had the pleasure of facing twice before at the ETC. They had an array of four fairly defensive armies: magic/bowline Highborns, gunline Empire, triple Taurosaur Saurians and finally Sloth-heavy daemons.

    My opponent would be Anton @Sargon and his Daemonic Legions, with a very different approach compared to my previous round opponent:

    So a very defensive list one of the best magic phases in the game, plus good grinding ability thanks to the Hoarders and the other resilient units. I was interested to see what the Bloat Flies could do, since they are rarely included in rosters around these parts. Going into the game, I’d evaluated as neutral, with an advantage in secondary objective for me.

    My main issue was getting the right fights: the Omen can deal with my characters, and the Hoarders can munch through the infantry with their grinding attacks. So I planned on using terrain and and my superior movement to control where and when the fighting would happen, avoiding the mismatch at all costs.

    Our scenario would be King of the Hill, and the deployment type was Encircle. I won the roll for sides, and opted for the south and the big center, picking the forest as my terrain piece to defend. This ensured that my opponent would have to pick a terrain piece close to me, and still need to pick between keeping forces back to protect his piece (it was the Field in the middle),or push forward to claim mine.

    For magic I picked my usual combo: Spectral Blades, Whispers of the Veil and the Echoes of the Dark Forest. The daemons picked Hand of Heaven, Smite the Unbeliever, Cleansing Fire and Trial of Faith from Thaumaturgy, and Spectral Blades, Whispers of the Veil, Hasten the Hour and Touch of the Reaper from Evocation.

    My opponent then dropped his entire army for the first turn, focusing the bulk of his forces on the half-table where our objective markers were. I then managed to fit my entire army on the right side of the board: this time I kept all of my characters together inside the Wildhorns: this was key in protecting them from the snipes thanks to the Obsidian Rock, but it also helped Omen-proof my Longhorns and Mongrels. The Razortusks had the role of zoning the left side of the hill, and my chariots did the same for the right.

    TURN 1 – Daemon Legions

    The daemons cautiously edged forward, careful to not give my zoning units any good charge targets. The Boat Flies to the left started covering the distance to eventually get to where the fighting would be.

    The winds of magic blew weak, but still the Daemons managed to cast both the Had of Heaven on the Razortusks, dealing two wounds, and then a boosted Hasten the Hour on my Feral Hounds, killing 3 and panicking the remaining two; they would stop just short of the table edge, only to flee off the board on the following turn.

    TURN 1 – Beast Herds

    With my first turn chaff piece gone, I couldn’t push just yet. So I settled for sending both Jabberwocks on flanking maneuvers -incidentally forcing marchblock tests on the right flies- , pushing up the infantry aggressively, and keeping both the chariots and the Razortusks in zoning duty. Magic was limited for me, but I still managed to get the Blackwing Totem on my Longhorns.

    TURN 2 – Daemon Legions

    The careful dance continued: the leftmost Bloatflies flew over the Jabberwock and closer to my units, and the rest of the DL army angled so that the units supported each other. With so much magic, they weren’t in a hurry to engage.

    In magic the Omen cast Hand of Heaven once more on the Razortusks, finishing off the wounded pig, then the casters turned their attention to my BSB: a couple of very high casting rolls meant that I had to let one spell through, so I let the Touch of the Reaper go off, figuring that the probability of auto-killing the BSB was lower than Trial of Faith (it turns out that it is, but it’s really close: 9% vs 11% chance). Luckily for me, the BSB only suffered one wound.

    TURN 2 – Beast Herds

    My opponent’s moves hadn’t given me any openings yet, and I was loathe to engage the only monster killer in the DL army with my only monsters. So I opted for the long charge of the Longhorns into the Blight flies that were 18” away: I failed that and only stumbled forward a couple of inches.

    My ambushers refused to show up,… [Read More]
  • After a very successful first round, we found ourselves among the top scorers and would be facing team New Zealand. In the past we’ve had great experience fighting the Kiwis, I’ve personally had great games against Jack @Dark Assassin , as well as Simon (Mr T-800) and Tom @casamar .

    I encourage you to go check out the podcast they’ve been creating for a while now, called “Whispers of the Veil”:…RH6i0Y4b8dV0sSK5CkyFQ_EQE

    Mirroring team Belgium’s effort, NZ’s ETC team have been steadily improving in the game, and last year came only 2 points short from a Top 10 finish, while also being a contender for best sports. Needless to say, we were ready to brave the time zone difference in order to play these guys!

    I got to play Dave with his Wrath/Lust Dark Hide Daemons:


    Dave wrote:

    The deployment type this time would be counterthrust, and the secondary objective Capture the Flags: not the best scenario for the matchup, since I’d be forced to reveal my intentions with deployment if I had to deploy first. I was a big worried about the two Daemonic Characters performing a flanking maneuver, hitting my army from the side while I was busy with the scoring units or, even worse, having to only face the characters in a hit-and-run capacity, while the rest of the daemonic army stayed away and kept the objective safe.

    So when my opponent won the roll for sides, I also gave him the option to deploy first, which he did in order to claim the first turn. Knowing only where his Myrmidons where, I decided to place my Longhorns along with a Jabberwock as an anchor in the middle, and put the rest of the army right across the hill: my mobility would allow me to reach the Myrmidons even if the daemons elected to deny the fight, while I could rely on the longhorns to hold their own against a monstrous character long enough for reinforcements to arrive.

    For spells I picked Echoes of the Dark Forest, Spectral Blades and Whispers of the Veil, while the Daemons opted for Spectral Blades/Whispers of the Veil and Raven’s Wing/Deceptive Glamour.

    When the time came for scouts, I thought I was being smart by dropping the Gargoyles in the far side of the enemy deployment zone, exactly 18” from the Myrmidons: I expected the Gargoyles to deny the scouting within 18”, and be safe from turn 1 charges from other scouting units. After doing that I went back and read the Scout rule, and figured out how wrong I was.

    Dave still went for a straightforward deployment right across my main forces, only keeping a unit of Furies on the weak flank to chase my Gargoyles.

    TURN 1 – Daemon Legions

    My carelessness in deployment gave the Furies an easy target in my Gargoyles: these got charged in the rear with no way out, so they stood and took it. The rest of the DL army moved forward in unison, the fast units intent to make the most out of their charge range advantage on the following turn.

    In the magic phase a small phase and a failed Whispers of the Veil casting attempt meant that I had to let Deceptive Glamour through on the Gargoyles in order to dispel Raven’s Wing on the Courtesan. The Furies only did a wound to the Gargoyles, but suffered none in return, and ran the BH fliers down.

    TURN 1 – Beast Herds

    While getting charged by daemons on turn 2 was suboptimal, the fact that the feral hounds were still alive gave me optionsfor redirection. Knowing that, I declared a couple of long charges: the Raiding Chariots into the Myrmidons on an 11+ , and the Razortusk Herd into the Scourge of Wrath on a 10+. Any of the two succeeding would give me an advantage: the Myrmidons were in a position where no unit could come to their help for at least 3 combat phases, and the Razortusks had a fair chance to not only weaken the scourge, but also pin him in place so that the rest of the army could push.

    The chariots failed, but the Razortusks made it in, giving me the opportunity to move forward with my infantry to the left. Both ambushing Longhorns arrived, and positioned themselves so as to threaten the rear of the DL army. In anticipation of the Courtesan charge, I took the BSB out of his unit and moved him closer to where the main fight would be: if the Courtesan made it into the Longhorns, his presence there would only be a liability due to the Duel mechanics. Finally, I used my Jabberwock to redirect the Fiends, and placed the second Jabber unit in… [Read More]
  • Having a distraction in these… interesting times we live in is a good way to safeguard one’s sanity and keep morale high. And what better distraction than a T9A tournament? Thanks to the good folks from USA’s ETC team, we got an opportunity to participate in what can be described as the third most prestigious T9A team tournament after ETC and WTC: The Social Distancing UB team tournament!

    This is a 6-round tournament that will be played over the course of 6 weeks on Universal Battle, involving 34 teams made up by four players each. Almost all of the participants are experienced international tournament-goers, representing no less than 20 nations. So overall a unique opportunity to play with people with different mentalities, make friends and overall have a good time in the midst of the pandemic.

    For those with a lot of free time in their hands, here’s a link to the tournament lists:…8Nb_NQHz6rOgzWsvEmng/edit

    Our team, the Belgian Chocolates, had almost the same lineup as the team that participated in the Luxembourg Bash Masters. @IHDarklord with Undying Dynasties, @Talandria with Sylvan Elves, @logick with Vampire Covenant and finally myself with Beast Herds.

    Overall, we saw this as an opportunity to test new lists in a competitive environment, and -having just painted a brand new Jabberwock- I decided to continue the March of the Jabberwock challenge well into the month of May:

    SmithF wrote:

    Beast Lord, General, Hunting Call, LA, GW, Destiny’s Call, Blessed Inscriptions, Obsidian Rock, Crown of Horns
    Chieftain, BSB, Greater Totem Bearer, HA, Shield, Beast Axe, Willow’s Ward, Dark Rain
    Soothsayer, Adept (Evocation), Magical Heirloom
    28 Wildhorns, Shields, Full Command, Banner of Discipline, Gnarled Hide Totem
    28 Mongrels, Spears, Standard, Musician, Banner of the Wildherd
    3 Raiding Chariots
    26 Longhorns, Halberds, Full Command, Flaming Banner, Blooded Horn Totem
    2 x 10 Longhorns, Halberds, Ambush
    6 Razortusk Herd
    1 Razortusk Chariot
    5 Feral Hounds
    5 Gargoyles, Scout
    2 x Jabberwock

    You can find more about the list and the thoughts behind Jabberwocks by perusing the BH subforum HERE and visiting my list-building thread HERE.

    For the first round, we would fight team Scotland: apparently, selection criteria for the team was mad painting skills, participation in the T9A project and the creation of some of the best T9A content around. I encourage you to visit all of the following for your enjoyment:

    @Mattyp and@'AxelVicious' ‘ podcast Paired Weapons:…6-paired-weapons-podcast/

    @Spacegoblin and @cm284 ‘s podcast Mad Git Radio:…ry-list/82-mad-git-radio/

    As well as @AxelVicious amazing Battle Report blog, replete with amazingly painted models:…-axel-vicious-hobby-blog/

    They had lined up four very aggressive armies: Mino-heavy Beast Herds, Cavalry-bus Warriors of the Dark Gods, Wildheart Ogre Khans and construct-heavy Undying Dynasties. Four armies that literally couldn’t care less about Fear and my Terror-bombing Jabberwocks!

    In the end, I got paired against Paul @Spacegoblin , our newly-appointed Head of Playtesting.
    He had brought the following:

    Now, usually I’m ok with fighting Ogre Khans: they strike hard, but in comparison to Beast Herds they lack the reliability when trying to hit and they also have low agility scores, meaning that it’s up to who gets the charge and maneuvers better. However, this list had so many agility-lowering abilities that I couldn’t expect to strike first, even if I got the charge!

    The deployment type for this round was Refused Flank, and the secondary objective Hold the Ground. My priorities going into the game were to keep the Hunters as honest as possible, and try to contain the wrecking ball that is the Tusker Cavalry. My opponent got to pick sides, and took the one with the hill overlooking half of the table. We then exchanged quite a few deployment drops, until he placed his Yetis on the… [Read More]
  • With everything that has been going on in the world, LBM seems like ages ago now. Still, it would be unfair to the tournament organizers not to post some kind of feedback about one of the best-ran events that I’ve ever been to! If you ever get the chance to attend an event by @kiri and @falanor , don’t hesitate: the venue is spacious and well-illuminated, the gaming tables sturdy and fully equipped with playing mats and high-quality (2D) terrain. On a competitive level the teams are all comprised of good and fair players, and the judges know their rules and are always easy to find (just look for the tall guy with the fluorescent T-shirt!).The organizers go out of their way to make people feel welcome, even organizing a social programme (Saturday night out!) for the attending players that desire it. Again, a big “thank you” to them for putting in the time and effort to pull this off year after year.

    So what was the verdict on the Beast list? To answer that I need a bit of context: I am convinced that the current T9A ruleset has not avoided Hero-hammer nor Monster-hammer; the relative advantage of moving freely in 360 degrees far outweighs the benefits of bringing blocks of troops. The easy access to great saves for characters means that cowboys are very prevalent. And the way combat alignment works means that having multiple single targets that can concentrate force in a single point of an enemy battleline gives you a big advantage. My Dread Elf list took advantage of all that, but it left me wanting a more challenging experience. The Beast Herds was a means of getting blocks of troops to do the hard work, without going down the “immobile blocks” route: Pack Tactics, Ambush, Vanguards and overall high charge reach meant that you could design a list that can still pull off nice plays without feeling that you’re playing a skirmish game.
    In the process of testing I decided to challenge established opinions of what works and what doesn’t for the BH, and try to figure out ways to make use of less used elements.

    Here’s a unit-by-unit evaluation of the army:

    Beastlord with Wildhorn Retinue:

    It turns out that taking two of the least-used elements in the book and combining them nets you a very good unit! A version of the wildhorn block has featured in every one of my games, and they almost always make me proud. The best word to describe them is “reliable”: the beastlord brings guaranteed Primal Instinct, good Discipline, and 3-4 wounds per turn against all but the hardest opponents, while the Wildhorns themselves render him immune to panic, give him protection against ranged damage and can defend themselves pretty well. In LBM, the unit won me a game on its own (against Vermin Swarm), and could have done the same for the first two games of the tournament if we hadn’t been pressed for time.

    Centaur BSB with Centaur Retinue:

    Such a wonderful unit, with such a reasonable price-tag! After some tests the list organically evolved to a point where the BSB was no longer needed in the middle of the army. This meant that I could use this unit to put pressure on the “weak” side of the board, and force the opponent to split his attention. They were a key component in all of the games: I guess the most telling fact is that the only game I lost was because they panicked off the board! That UD game would have ended up looking a lot different otherwise. The combination of high-strength hits and maneuverability is a very good tool that allows the rest of the list to get away with being more static.


    Druidism is, for lack of a better description, a very bland but effective path of magic. The options you’ve got are limited, but the +2 to cast from the Seed of the Dark Forest means that with some planning ahead you can have a brutally effective magic phase. At first the idea of charging into a combat that would probably not go your way without magic is really scary: contrary to defensive builds, where Druidism just helps push things over the top, with Beasts you’re actually relying on that Fortitude save to keep your models alive long enough to strike (and win combat). But the threat of a boosted Stoneskin going off means that the smaller spells are cast, and then it’s up to your +2 to cast to help you push that Stoneskin through anyway.

    The only issue that I encountered was trying to keep up with the rest of the list: good opponents will try to deny you terrain features that help with casting ranges, so it’s up to the BH general to try and force favorable situations. Could another path work? Shamanism might do the trick as well, although I would be less inclined to bring so many great weapons in that case.

    Beastlord on Razortusk Chariot:

    This was a choice based on the prevalent tournament builds of other armies: his inclusion helped push the pairing matrix to a “mostly favorable” range, since it takes the heat off the less armoured troops when it comes to silly things such as Wretched Ones[Read More]