SmithF's 9th Age Battle Reports 2

MSU battle reports, as first seen in TWF.

Articles Tagged with “ETC”

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  • ETC 2016 - Athens : Sylvan Elf list commentary (or how I realized I was bringing a knife to a gunfight)

    The fun thing about participating in a tournament as big as the ETC is that your own views of what works and what doesn’t are totally different than the ones of players from other countries. When you’ve spent as much time as an ABC member discussing units/combinations during the design process, it is always interesting to see how many things you missed in your evaluations.

    In today’s post we’ll be looking at the Sylvan Elf lists of the ETC 2016, the similarities, the differences and what surprised me from the ABC point of view.

    At first glance, there seem to be two approaches to the SE this year: Avoidance with Thicket Beast block and Close Combat MSU/Mixed arms.

    Starting with the former, playing it safe seems to be the motto here: Most of the lists went for a mobile firebase (Sentinels and Pathfinders maxed out) with long-ranged magic support by the Fire and White magic paths. A good deal of the avoidance lists have a Thicket Beast anchor unit, as well as a Shapeshifter prince with the Whirlwind blade to mop up survivors.

    However, I find that these lists have a fundamental flaw: the long-range output is not good enough to whittle down horde armies, and it is not sufficient to force the hand of an opponent going for a small win. I see Vampire Covenant being a real issue for the avoidance lists, especially now that Fire magic is almost ubiquitous and grants enough tools for dealing with the Sylvan Skirmishers.

    It all boils down to personal playstyle, team strategy and the pairings, though. The overall event rules don’t favor going for the big win, leading to the rise of Shooting-heavy lists that will not lose a lot of points easily. ( @blonde beer did an excellent video on the ETC list philosophy that I suggest you check out)

    The ABC design approach to the Sylvan Elf book was to go back to the roots of what makes Sylvan Elves special: their relationship with the forest, their maneuverability and guerilla tactics, the fact that they hit hard and fast in close combat. In this vision, avoidance was secondary and shooting was intended to be a support tool rather than the means to winning a game.

    For example, I find it much easier to invest small amounts of points in archers and have them take a wound or two off some of the more menacing enemies, allowing the combat part of the force to sweep in and kill them in one go. The battle line remains fluid and ever-moving, but it’s moving to get into position for close combat, not to avoid it.

    Which brings us to the second list paradigm, and one that I feel makes the most of the book’s potential: combined Elf/Tree lists, with shooting support (2-3 units) and a good mix of cheap small combat units and bigger anvils.

    What surprised me is the relatively low amount of Bladedancers, Wild Huntsmen and Kestrel Knights. The first two are the most iconic of all our units, and definitely part of the reason I play Sylvan Elves. Kestrels are an MSU general’s dream: fast, hard-hitting, easier to control than Wild Huntsmen, with good leadership that allows them to act independently. They die fast, but that’s part of playing the Sylvan Elves anyway. In all of the lists I wrote up, 2x3 Kestrels, 2x5 Wild Huntsmen and 2x7 bladedancers were the first things to include, but it doesn’t seem like many of the international players share my impression.

    What lacks from all of the lists are Treefathers, but that is a direct consequence of the cannon-heavy environment that is the ETC, as well as the option to get a 30-wound Steadfast block in the form of the Thicket Beasts. (In my humble opinion, too many points get sunk into that unit, I’ve found that 5-6 are more than enough) The second big loser was Sylvan line infantry (be it Forest Guard or Forest Rangers), which I also feel doesn’t do the units much justice: 15 Forest Rangers with command clock at 195 points, and they can definitely pull their weight when used correctly. As for Forest Guard, they keep surprising me in a positive manner every time I field them, and I’ve been doing so ever since I put the first layer of paint on those beautiful 6th edition metal models.

    TOP 3 Sylvan Elf lists:

    These are the lists that drew my attention for their originality, versatility and overall feel, in descending order.

    1)French team Sylvan Elves by @vvalor

    vvalor wrote:

    Dryad Matriarch, General Oaken Crown, 60
    Thicket Shepherd , BSB, Entwined Roots, Banner of Speed, 185

    Druid, Lvl 2, Path of Heavens, Dispel Scroll, 130

    Druid, Lvl 2, Path of Heavens, Ring of fire, Tome of arcane lore, 135

    15 Sylvan Archers, Standard, Musician, Black Arrows, gleaming icon, 215

    2x8 Dryads, Skirmisher, 110

    10 Sylvan Archers, MS, Black Arrows, 150

    5 Heath riders, elven cloak, S, 110

    2x7 Blade Dancers, 105

    2x3 Kestrel Knights, swap Longbow for Shield, light armour,
    [Read More]
  • ETC 2016 – Athens: Prelude and Belgian Team introduction.

    Greetings, T9A enthusiasts! As some of you may already know, I’ll be playing Sylvan Elves in this year’s ETC on the side of the Belgian team. So I decided to document the process, what with the ETC being the biggest T9A event to date, and what’s more happening in the city I grew up in!

    Over the next few days, I’ll be posting painting updates (I need to get the army to a presentable level before the actual tournament!), general Belgian team updates and –finally- daily updates from the event itself, leading to fully-fledged battle reports (with pictures!) sometime after the event.

    So, a few words about our team this year: just like in other countries, the Belgian fantasy wargaming scene took a hit after the summer 2015 incident. Several players changed game systems, and things looked bleak for a while before the 9th Age slowly but steadily won the attention of a good chunk of the wargaming crowd. I had met Alex (@K-OS) a couple of years back at a tournament, where we discussed about the ETC, team tournaments and warhammer in general, but I never really found the time or the energy to go practice with the guys and eventually gain a spot on the team. But this year, with part of the old ETC team going AWOL, I thought I’d try going on a gaming trip with the guys (see the german TGH tournament reports on this blog). It was more fun than I’d anticipated, and so I decided to join the rest of the team for the ETC.

    But who is in the team, you ask?

    Alex (@K-Os ) is the team’s captain, a veteran of many ETCs and our Dwarven Holds player. Happy that for the first time in years his dwarves can move more than just the pivoting warmachines, he is bringing a gunline, albeit a move-and-shoot one. A pity, because his Hold Guardian conversions were a joy to behold. He is also an extraordinary painter, so if you’re coming to the tournament don’t miss his dwarven army.

    Nico (@princeCharming ) is…well, here’s the deal: We all thought he’d be playing Saurian Ancients, or his 8th edition favorite, Vampires. The joke’s on us, because he decided at the last minute to play Kingdom of Equitaine, even when the entire Internet was insisting that the book is crap. He keeps winning with them, which is very odd. Deep down he wanted to play the Sylvan Elves, which is why he brought a KoE MSU list instead. He is also our contingency plan in case of a fight, can hold his own in a drinking contest and definitely gets the «most tattooed player on the planet» award.

    Kaj (@ChosenofSigmar) is the paymaster of the troupe (although it kind of works the other way around, he keeps asking us for money, something about having to pay travel expenses but it gets all too technical for me) and –fittingly- our Empire of Sonnstahl player. He is also a veteran ETC player, and an unforgiving opponent! His list looks exactly the same as the other 18+ EoS lists to the untrained eye, but –as they say- it’s the driver, not the car.

    Thomas (@Arthur) brings Saurian Ancient cold-bloodedness to the mix, he’s been there, done that and will also be participating in the ESC, just because playing 6 games of T9A in 3 days is not enough, playing 11 in 5 days is even better! Over the course of the ETC he’ll try to prove that Taurosaurs are better than cannons and that his 280-point Saurian Warlord on Raptor may look exactly the same as the others, but he was there first.

    Geoffrey (@Gregor) is our Daemonic Legion player, a fact that makes him an endangered species in this year’s ETC! He gets extra cool points for bringing the Scourge of Wrath, and no less than 5(!) Blazing Chariots. He was our consistent high-scorer at the TGH, and his list wasn’t even optimized. As any self-respecting daemonic legion player, rolling 5+ for ward saves comes to him naturally. He’s out to prove that DL are better than what the team compositions make them out to be, and I believe he will succeed.

    Peter (@Borgio) is our secret weapon: stolen from the Germans at the TGH, trained by none other than @Frederick and given a single task: bring the Beast Herds, and do what they do best. A testament to his generalship is that he almost tabled our captain at the last game of the TGH. Other dwarf players would have held a grudge, Alex just decided to recruit him. :)

    Timon, the Highborn Prince: it isn’t fantasy if you don’t have any dragons, so that was the role of Timon. With two dragons, and enough arrows to blot the sun, Timon is the second brave soul to try and tackle 11 games in a (very) long weekend. He also can be our legal counselor in case we need one and helps push the team’s coolness factor off the roof.

    Kwinten (@Kiwii) is our non-playing coach: I like to think that he’s got a contingency plan ready in case of a Zombie apocalypse or any other disaster, and he’s the one trying to make any sense of our matchup ratings. I do not envy his role, but then again he’ll have more time to get drunk than any of us.

    Finally,… [Read More]