Articles by SmithF 80

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    GAME 3 – USA

    The second day of the ETC 2019 we woke up with high spirits, and were really looking forward to facing our round 3 opponents: the USA! What is impressive about the 9th age community is that thanks to Youtube, the T9A forum, twitter and the such we feel like we have a better idea of what the US gaming scene looks like than, say, the Austrian or the Spanish one. So it was exciting to get to play against the guys that we so often hear about in the Wargaming from the Balcony podcast and the such! To top it off, the US players have a reputation of being fun, fair and also very competent generals: reading this report you’ll find that they didn’t disappoint!

    The gaming scene over at the US is quite different than ours, with a lot less MSU elements way chunkier units. That said, there were the exceptions to the rule (for example Ryan Capps’ Ogre Khans monster mash). Nevertheless, my Dread Elves were looking at some very juicy targets in all possible games, with relatively little room for counterplay. Out of the eight possible matches the only one that I wasn’t looking forward to facing was the Vermin Swarm, due to the fact that it would be a match depending on how well my opponent rolled for his shooting more than anything else.

    So I let our pairing master do his magic, and in the end I got to play against none other than the all-time top scorer of team USA, Chris @eggsPR . Now, for the uninitiated, Chris has the reputation of being a very strong player, and the list of his T9A-related accolades is so long that it would probably require a separate blog post to enumerate them. He has been playing Vampires for a long time and has attended several (all?) of the past ETCs. So going into the game I was looking forward to a hard-fought game. What I wasn’t expecting was what a fun and jovial opponent Chris would be. If I had to describe his player demeanor I’d say that you could get massacred by his army and would still be happy to have played him anyway! In any other tournament he’d get my “best opponent” vote, but here he’ll have to share it with another 3 players; that’s how lucky I was at this year’s ETC!

    Chris had brought a Vampire list with several of the usual suspects, but also a very personal touch:


    The most important parts of the list were the character duo, and namely their magic combination: Just like the first game opponent, the combination of Evocation and Occultism with extra range meant that the VC were not hard pressed at all to get into combat. His was a very stable list that could take its time, position the units correctly, claim objectives and gain points by sniping single models, small heavily-armoured units and expensive characters. Could you guess what I had brought in abundance?

    The secondary objective for this round was Hold the Ground, which provided a challenge in itself: if I allowed the vampires to march onto the center of the board I’d have a really hard time getting them off the objective marker. The map we played on was Frontline Clash, and my adversary won the roll off for table sides and promptly picked the side with the hill right in the middle. That decision influenced my plan even further: if that swiftstride barrow unit got on top of the hill, it could easily zone a huge part of my list while sniping monsters away.

    So I deployed my entire army to claim the initiative, with the Kraken at a central position, my general with corsairs a bit off to the one flank along with the Yema Acolytes and the other acolytes guarding the right flank with some help from the Blades of Nabh. The plan was to push forward aggressively, deny space to the vampires while also trying to perform an enveloping maneuver in the flanks. Chris replied to this by deploying centrally and deep: he used his Vampire Spawn wisely to cover one flank, and anchored the other with his Barrow Guard. In between, his Ghouls, Vampire Knights and chaff were ready to pop out of their hiding spot to threaten my monsters.






    For magic, the Occultism Vampire took Hand of Glory, Breath of Corruption, Marked for Doom and the Grave Calls, while the Evocation wizard went for Touch of the Reaper, Spectral Blades, Whispers of the Veil and the Hereditary. I took my usual mix of Ice and Fire/Crippling Fatigue and Breath of Corruption/Grave Calls.
    With the first turn secured, I rushed all of… [Read More]
  • GAME 2 – Austria

    After the success of the first round we found out that we’d be facing team Austria! That was great news, as in last year’s ETC we faced them in a very memorable round. The Austrians are not only great guys to play with, but they often come up with very personal and “against the current” lists. Fighting against such armies is refreshing and challenging at the same time.

    This year it seems that real life had an impact on the roster of their team, with @Sir_Joker and @Clef being notable absences. While I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t get to chat about all things elves with the aforementioned gentlemen, we were more than compensated by the Norse Mercenaries (or should I say Varangian guard?) that brought even more craziness when it came to list building: a glimmering host of no less than 300 Highborn Elves and a battle-crazed mass of OnG (or Norse raiders as you’ll see) featuring almost 100 Gnashers, 100 Orcs and some change!

    Who would be the mastermind behind these lists, you ask? Well, none other than @Herminard, of former Balance team fame and a Battleline enthusiast. The wonder of the internet is such that I've been actually chatting and playing with Hermund almost for a decade before actually meeting him at the 2016 Athens ETC. So getting to play against him (and share drinks afterwards) was like meeting an old friend. This was to be our first battle on a real tabletop, and I was looking forward to it. On a sidenote, his list and his mate’s Hallvard’s were so outside the box that none of my teammates actually wanted to face them.

    Hermund lined up the following list:

    Herminard wrote:

    CHARACTERS:
    Common Orc Shaman, General, War Cry, Shamanism Master, Crown of Autocracy, Skull Fetish
    Forest Goblin Witch Doctor, Thaumaturgy Master
    Common Orc Chief BSB, Aether Icon, Banner of Discipline, Obsidian Rock
    5 x Forest Goblin Chief on Huntsmen Spider

    CORE:
    3 x 20 Common Orcs, Spears, Musican
    2 x 20 Common Orcs, Spears

    SPECIAL:
    3 x 24 Gnasher Herd
    1 x 23 Gnasher Herd

    2 x Git Launcher
    1 x Skewerer

    I had rated this game as Neutral, meaning that it could go either way, with a good probability of ending up in a draw. The reason for that is double: the magic and shooting of the Orcs was considerable and could easily drop a kraken per turn if dice went their way. Secondly, the entire army was potentially Swiftstride with a movement of 5 or more. Meaning that the Krakens lost their range advantage and could end up in very precarious positions if I wasn’t careful. So I expected to bleed points while grinding the enemy units down.

    The scenario for this round was King of the Hill, and the deployment on table we got to play was Counterthrust. My adversary picked sides, getting the one with the hill in the middle of the deployment zone. That would make things more difficult for me when it came to assaulting the Viking lines. In spell selection the Shamanism Master took Awaken the Beast, Swarm of Insects, Break the Spirit and Bring the Pain while the Thaumaturgy Master took Hand of Heaven, Smite the Unbeliever, Cleansing Fire and Trial of Faith. My acolytes took the usual Grave Calls/Breath of Corruption and Ice and Fire/Crippling Fatigue combo.

    I must say I was relieved when Hermund didn’t pick the Comet, as it was the one spell that I couldn’t afford to let through: a well placed comet can influence the army’s movement far too much, making me lose momentum. That’s not something that you want to do with an angry mob staring at you.
    For the scenario purposes we did not get much of a choice: the Forest in the middle of the table was the only eligible terrain for both of us, which turned the game in a modified version of Hold the Ground, essentially.

    We alternated deployment drops as dictated by the scenario, and once three units were down * (Hermund placed his centrally, so as to not reveal his deployment plans), I placed the rest to grab the first turn: against such a list I needed to be the one selecting the fights and I also needed to keep the enemy scorers into their deployment zone for secondary objective purposes.

    *Here I should mention that I accidentally misled Herminard: he started by deploying a warmachine, but I pointed out that the first three drops couldn’t be characters or warmachines. It turns out that the warmachine restriction only applies to Marching Columns for some reason, so I’ll use this space to apologize once more for the misplay!

    The Viking Orcs (Vikorcs? Orkkings?) went for a denied flank approach: using the hill as an anchor (with a big gnasher unit on top to make sure I didn’t get too close too fast) they extended to my left up to the board edge, with the Git Launchers safely behind the lines. The empty space to my right was then occupied by three goblin chiefs on spiders, making sure that I wouldn’t be able to vanguard past them to threaten the infantry’s flank.






    TURN 1 – [Read More]
  • Game 1 – Team UN

    For the first round we got to play team UN which, as I mentioned before, had several players from our Belgian tournament scene. Some of them had participated in our pre-ETC training weekend, so we were a bit worried that we’d get some rematches: that can be good (you know what you did wrong) but also can be bad (your opponent knows what he did wrong/right). In any case, I was lucky enough to play one of the non-Belgian players of team UN: Marcos, a very friendly Spanish player from Madrid.
    We got around chatting a bit and it turns out that he plays in the same clubs and events as the players from team Spain and Argentina, so I made a point of not underestimating him!

    He had brought the following Vampire Covenant list:


    Marcos wrote:


    So all in all a well-rounded vampire list based on a very powerful magic combination, with several single models that could cause headaches to my army. Our deployment was Frontline Clash and the first scenario was to be Capture the Flags, which meant that I’d have to try and go behind enemy lines to reach the zombie units that would probably hang out in the back.

    Going into the game, I had estimated this match as favorable for my Dread Elves: with no shooting and a vampire lord that is not a particularly good fighter, all I had to worry about was the magic. When I saw the spells that my opponent chose I kind of reconsidered my initial optimistic outlook: He had all the snipes (Touch of the Reaper, Hasten the Hour, Marked for Doom), and then Grave Calls, Pentagram of Pain, Breath of Corruption and Spectral Blades! The only upside was that the dreaded Necromantic staff was nowhere to be seen, so I’d only have to worry about two invocations.

    We rolled for sides and I won, opting for the side that had a small hill just outside the deployment zone. I figured that it would be a decent place to park a Kraken or a flying monster and threaten the advance of the varkolaks and the such.Marcos seized the opportunity to drop everything for first turn. This gave me a lot of options in counter-deploying, and I organized my battle line with two things in mind:

    a) I had to keep the Barrow King away from my Blades of Nabh. I had faced this build in a tournament before and he managed to munch through all of my core infantry without so much as a scratch. With the scenario being flags, I’d have to try and avoid that at all costs.
    b) I needed to avoid the Varkolaks going behind my lines with their 28” initial move.

    So this is what I came up with.






    TURN 1 – Vampire Covenant

    My vanguard move managed to bring the middle dark raiders within range for frenzy-baiting the Vampire spawn. These were turned sideways and too far away from the generals Ld, but they still managed to pass the test on their own. Then the Barrow King declared a charge on the offending fast cavalry. Not willing to draw him near my lines that fast, they fled and got away.On the flanks the varkolaks maneuvered carefully, staying out of charge range of my fast support. The vampire’s unit surged forward, with the Vampire Spawn in close support. The Dire Wolves moved up and redirected my two central krakens.
    In the magic phase I had to use all of my dice to stop the Grave Calls on the Kraken. This allowed my opponent to get off a boosted Hasten the Hour on my corsairs, but the Pegasus prince saved the wound allocated on him. Finally, the vampire raised a new unit of zombies and then raised around 10 skeletons from his unit.




    TURN 1 – Dread Elves

    One of the krakens took the dire wolf bait, while the rest of the army maneuvered into position. The fleeing Dark Raiders rallied and moved up to block the Barrow King and the Vampire’s unit. I then set up a trap using my Manticore as bait; I moved him forward towards the Vampire Spawn, but keeping the Blades of Nabh in a position where he’d only get 10 attacks from the spawn due to the unit’s alignment. On the flanks I continued denying the varkolaks any space, while the remaining krakens moved up, one occupying the hill, thus zoning the Dark Coach.Finally, the Prince relocated towards the center and the corsairs did an about turn and moved backwards towards my deployment zone.
    In the magic phase I only managed to get a Deceptive Glamour on the vampiric spawn, lowering their agility. The kraken predictably killed all of the wolves.




    TURN 2 – Vampire Covenant

    The [Read More]
  • Greetings, dear reader !

    The biggest T9A gaming event of the year has come and gone, and everyone who attended will tell you we had a wonderful time. In the following blog posts I will try to take you on the same journey, by recounting the tales of the Belgian ETC team, and my Dark Elves’ exploits in particular.

    For those of you who do not follow the tournament circuit that closely, the ETC stands for European Team Championship, and it is a yearly get-together of some of the most competent generals from all over the world. The tournament lasts 6 rounds, and these are fought between teams of 8 people representing a nation. The scores of all the games are added each round and this gives a total team score between 0 and 160. To prevent any team from escaping too far by crushing weaker opposition, each round’s score is “capped” at 100 points, meaningthat the worst result a team can get is 60 and the best is 100 points. Now that the T9A rules have been stable for some time the level of competition hasn’t stopped rising: all of the teams had very well constructed lists, and several players from each team have been consistently scoring well in local and international tournaments.

    This year 36 teams participated in the event, for a grand total of 288 players! The level of painting and modelling was also very high, I suggest that you take a look at the photos the Lens Viking took while walking around the venue.

    As far as team Belgium is concerned we aligned the crème de la crème of our gaming scene, players who had distinguished themselves in team and single events over the 2018-2019 season. These were as follows:

    @gregor , our trusted captain and multiple ETC veteran, aligning an army of fast Daemonic Legions based on Fiends and Succubi with poisoned attacks.
    @PrinceCharming with aggressive Ogre Khans: Double hunters, double Aurochs, triple Kin-Eater, plus change.
    @IHDarklord with Undying Dynasties. He played a list similar to everyone else’s but at least he can claim he was on the bandwagon waaay before anyone else noticed it!
    @Mallak with an infantry-based Orc and Goblin list aligning no less than 72 Gnashers, 28 Feral Orc Eadbashers, 25 Iron orcs, along with double Git Launchers and Pyro magic.
    @valmir and his Vermin Swarms. Fun fact: Valmir tested the entire year a list with Vermin Daemon, double Dreadmills and the such, then 2 months before the event decided that people had adapted to the netlist and went to the drawing board once more! He probably gets the prize for the most innovative VS list, although the competition was not exactly stiff.
    @Artur , our resident Highborn Elf player. He lined up a list with some very heavy shooting and magic capability, designed to take on difficult matches and not yield too many points or even come out on top.
    @strauss , a new addition to the team and the best Infernal Dwarf player in Belgium (on a totally unrelated note, he also happens to be the only one :) ). His list combined all of the usual ID suspects: Kadims, Titan, Onyx Core, Pyromancy with the Icon of the Inferno. His personal touch was the Rocket Battery as well as a block of Sword and Board Citadel Guard.

    And, finally, yours truly with the Dread Elves that I’ve been using for the better part of this year. You’ll find the list discussions that led to my final list here, but essentially the list evolved from a double kraken/Dragon list towards a variant that favored speed and force concentration over more traditional choices.


    SmithF wrote:

    CHARACTERS:
    Dread Prince on Pegasus, Fleet Commander, HA, Shield, Lance, Basalt Infusion, Transcendence, Midnight cloak
    Captain on Manticore, BSB, Beastmaster, HA, Shield, Lance, Alchemist's Alloy, Talisman of Shielding, Dragonfire Gem


    CORE:
    2 x 13 Blades of Nabh, Musician, Champion
    10 Corsairs, Paired Weapons, Vanguard, Musician
    2 x 5 Dark Raiders


    SPECIAL:
    5 Dark Acolytes, Champion
    5 Dark Acolytes, Yema, Champion
    1 Medusa, Haberd
    1 Medusa, Paired Weapons


    MENAGERIE:
    3 x 1 Kraken
    Before the tournament we spent a certain amount of time theorizing and estimating how our armies would fare against the opposition. Doing so for 280 lists is a daunting task, but it was made easier by the fact that most factions were represented by one or two list archetypes.
    For example, most Ogre Khans lists involved double Mammoth Hunters, double Aurochs and a deathstar with BSB and the ubiquitous Shaman Master. All of the KoE lists were almost identical (Pegasus Duke with Might/Judgment combo, Druidism support, some questing knights and variable core) .
    When doing estimations one thing became apparent: where my team mates were estimating a potential score (for example, against X I can score 10 points minimum), I found that I could only give an estimation of the probability of winning. (ex. Against Y I have an 60% chance of winning). Thus became apparent what we called the Unstable condition: with such an aggressive… [Read More]
  • After the first four rounds, we’d had a couple of big wins, one marginal win and one marginal loss as a team: this put us still in first place, and in a position to fight for the top spot. Our opponents were yet another French team, one made up by ETC veterans: They had brought Orcs and Goblins, Dread Elves (a brilliant list with 6 chariots, an altar and two krakens!), Dwarven Holds (Shooting MSU variety), Sylvan Elves (full shooting with Wild Huntsman counterpunch) and, finally Vermin Swarm.

    Followers of this blog might know by now how much I hate facing the Vermin Swarm. It doesn’t help that our resident Vermin Swarm player is one of the best Belgian players of all time, one who consistently ends up in the top3 of tournaments, from the 7th edition Warhammer days until now. Having played against him several times I’ve learned that elves hate the Vermin, but on the other hand I had a secret hope that not all vermin swarm players would be as talented as Valmir when playing the army. Said hope was shattered when I saw who the player I’d be facing for our last game was: Thibault @ANKOR , also known as the French Mercenary, is a well known face in the European tournament circuit, as the former captain of team France ETC and a very able general.

    He had brought the following Vermin Swarm list:


    ANKOR wrote:

    Characters:
    Vermin Daemon, general
    Plague Priest on Pendulum, Plague Flail, Putrid Plate, Occultism Adept
    Chieftain BSB, Warplock Pistol, Binding Scroll

    CORE:
    2 x 10 Footpads, musician
    10 Footpads, musician, Vanguard
    2 x 20 Giant Rats
    25 Plague Brotherhood, Full Command

    SPECIAL:
    6 Vermin Hulks, Champion
    8 Plague Disciples

    TUNNEL GUNNERS:
    2 x Dreadmill
    2 x Plague Catapult


    So your run of the mill Vermin Swarm tournament list, with all the tricks: Vermin Daemon for reliable Discipline bubble, Divination magic and an almost unkillable general, the Pendulum unit to keep things honest, two Dreadmills to get points from the big targets, two catapults for whittling down the R3 elves, and a smattering of scoring and chaff. The objective for this round was Secure Target, and we got Counterthrust deployment.

    For spells, I went with the usual Ice and Fire/Crippling Fatigue and Grave Calls/Breath of Corruption, while my opponent picked the VS hereditary, Fate’s Judgment, Unerring Strike, Scrying and Stars Align for the Vermin Daemon. The Plague priest took Pentagram of Pain and Hand of Glory.

    Going into the game I knew that coordination of the attack was key to standing a chance: if I allowed the dreadmills and the magic users enough time to kill my big targets one by one I’d go down fast. I won the roll for sides and gave my opponent the side with the impassable terrain, placing my Secure Target token to the far left: that side of the board had enough covering terrain to ensure that if my adversary wanted to go for it he’d have to give me a lot of hiding spots. Thibaut countered this by placing his token diametrically opposite, right next to the eastern table edge.

    We started alternating deployment drops: the vermin swarm used the Disciples and the vanguarding footpads to deny me space in the left and the center respectively. I used my medusas and dark riders to bide my time, not revealing my intentions. The vermin did the same, but then I noticed an opening: the Plague Disciples had been deployed facing towards my opponent’s table edge to avoid getting frenzy baited on the first turn. Due to the scenario this meant that I was able to deploy my Yema Acolytes at exactly 20” away, giving me a 10+ first turn charge and an opportunity to take out a very annoying combat element. So I went for it, dropping the entire army in the process:
    I placed one Blade unit on either side, careful to prevent any easy firing lanes to the catapults (they had been placed already). The krakens and manticore went off-center to the left, and the general with Corsairs deployed dead center so as to be able to threaten either side of the board. My opponent replied to this by completely abandoning the left flank, and deployed in a denied flank using the impassable terrain to protect his flank.







    This approach meant that I was all but guaranteed a draw objective-wise as long as I managed to deal with the disciples early on. But storming the Vermin battle line and winning the secondary would be a totally different story. Predictably, the Footpads vanguarded forward to block my prince’s vanguard, and I moved up with both fast cavalry units.

    TURN 1 – Dread Elves

    My first action of the game was to declare that Dark Acolyte charge against the Disciples: they made it in, while a Kraken forced the central footpads to flee due to Terror. With the disciples locked in combat my army pushed up aggressively, careful to stay 26” away from the rightmost dreadmill. The dark raiders to the right spotted a mistake in the vermin deployment and moved… [Read More]
  • Right after wrapping up the first day of the tournament, Kiri and friends had organized dinner and drinks in the center of Luxembourg: so the following morning we weren’t exactly fresh! It certainly didn’t help that our opponents were some of the best players in Europe: TG Play is the team of Frederick and friends, bringing together three of Germany’s best players along with two of team Switzerland’s best players!


    As you may imagine, our predictions for that round were quite pessimistic as all the usual suspects were present: full shooting/magic Vermin Swarm, an EoS gunline, full construct UD, Frederick’s 16-unit WDG MSU army and, finally, Kingdom of Equitaine led by the usual Might Duke. It was the latter that I’d have to face, in a round where the secondary objective was Breakthrough!

    @Xavier had brought the following list:

    Xavier wrote:


    Duke, Barded Warhorse, General, Questing Oath, Virtue of Might, Shield, Lance , Divine
    Judgement, Basalt Infusion, Potion of Swiftness, Fortress of Faith
    Paladin, Barded Warhorse, BSB, Questing Oath, Shield, Alchemist Alloy, Crown of the Wizard King
    Damsel, Barded Warhorse, Wizard Master, Divination, Storm Clarion

    12 Knights Aspirants, Musician, Standard, Banner of the Last Charge
    9 Knights of the Realm, FCG, Flaming Banner
    2x5 Yeomen Outriders

    Green Knight
    11 Questing Knights, FCG, Aether Icon
    2x3 Pegasus Knights, Vanguard, Loose Formation

    The deployment we got was Encircle, which is always tricky against KoE: luckily, I won the roll for sides and elected to give the big flanks to the knights, kind of forcing them to pick a side instead of plonking everything right in the middle of the board.

    Spell selection was the usual for me (Ice and Fire/Crippling Fatigue and Breath of Corruption/Grave Calls) while my opponent got Evocation for his Crown of the Wizard King (= Spectral Blades) and a mix of buffs and damage spells from Divination (Scrying/Know thy Enemy/Fate’s Judgment/Unerring Strike).

    I think that the most challenging part of this battle was deployment: my DE army is designed to rush the enemy and break through the lines with superior force concentration, before the adversary’s support elements can move into position to help out. But that’s exactly what KoE excel at doing, too! The main difference was that the knights had enough staying power to ensure that my Krakens wouldn’t be able to punch through before the support (Read: Might Duke and Green Knight) could come to the lances’ aid.
    As a plus, the Questing Knights and the Duke both projected a huge threat zone thanks to the Questing Oath. Simply put, if I allowed Xavier to kill my redirectors early on I’d be in trouble. If I committed my units in the fight and failed to break the knights, I’d be in serious trouble. Finally, I had 3 scoring units that could simply not fight 2+/6++ knights, could be frenzy-baited into said fights and had little to no armor. With all this facts in mind, I elected to not place my entire army when my opponent gave me the opportunity, but to play the deployment game instead:


    The knights had four units that could rapidly redeploy, and placed them one after the other near the middle, so as to avoid giving away too much information. I replied with my fast support, with the same plan in mind. At that point my opponent dropped all 3 of his lances to my right flank and elected to force me to play first. And that’s where things got complicated for me: normally, getting the first turn with an army as fast as mine is a boon since I’m able to close the distance and can assure that my chaff won’t be killed before they redirect. But here I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to directly confront the KoE, since it would give them a lot of time to reposition and get my softer units if they won the initial fight. On the flipside, giving the first turn to cavalry that can move 16” means risking getting charged on turn 2, which can be worse.
    So I did what I thought was best: I took my time-out (in team tournaments you’re entitled to a 3-minute discussion with a teammate/coach once per game) and let someone else decide for me! :D I ended up deploying in a cautious manner, one would say against my nature:






    So the scoring units as far away from the action as possible, the Manticore BSB nearby to keep the Pegasus knights honest, then my redirectors and heavy hitters in the center to try to prevent the knights from relocating towards the scorers.
    The knights prayed, meaning that the first turn would depend on a dice roll. I won the roll, and forced the KoE to play first!

    TURN 1 – Kingdom of Equitaine

    The knights didn’t take the fast cavalry baits that I had set up for them, opting instead to push up my right flank, and keeping the Yeomen close to the general and far from my units, to my disappointment: as long as the fast cavalry was in range to redirect my kraken, I would have a hard time committing.… [Read More]
  • By the time round 3 started it was 5PM and we had already been awake for 12 hours. Who said that wargaming isn’t an endurance sport? Luckily, we got to face the friendliest guys ever: Team Hambo’s from the Netherlands. My opponent was to be Bas @bas_2312 with his wonderful Halfling Empire army. I’d admired his models online before, and some of you may have also seen his gaming club’s Minihammer exploits, too. Here’s a link to his Instagram, where you will find among other stuff his take on the Steam Tank: a giant morphin’ robot!

    The halfling list he had brought was the following:

    bas_2312 wrote:

    Marshall, General, Paired Weapons, Imperial Seal, Lucky Charm
    Marshall, BSB, Shield, Death Warrant, Blacksteel
    Prelate, Plate Armour, Shield, Hammer of Witches
    Wizard, Adept, Pyromancy, Magical Heirloom

    42x Heavy Infantry, Halberd, M, C, S
    20x Light Infantry, Handgun, S, Marksman's Pennant
    10x State Milita, Irregulars
    5x Electoral Cavalry, Lance, Shield, S

    24 x Imperial Guard, M, C, S
    Arcane Engine, Arcane Shield
    6x Imperial Rangers
    2x5 Reiters, Heavy Armour, Brace of Pistols, M, C, Repeater Pistol

    Artillery, Mortar
    24x Flaggelants, C
    Steam Tank

    So a good mix of magic/shooting and staying combat power, along with good scoring. A good recipe for a challenging fight! This round the scenario was Spoils of War, and the deployment type was once again Marching Columns. My adversary won the roll for sides and picked the side with the hill and the least amount of blocking terrain. This meant that I could grab first turn though, always welcome against a list with considerable shooting power.
    For spells I went with the usual Ice and Fire/Crippling Fatigue and Grave Calls/Breath of Corruption combo, while the pyro wizard got Fireball, Pyroclastic Flow and the Flaming Swords.

    Going into the game I decided that I’d keep my scoring units near the center, use the fast elements to control the flanks and ram the imperial battle line with my monsters. If all went according to plan, it would create enough of a diversion for the small scorers to grab the loot and run with it!



    TURN 1 – Dread Elves

    First turns in such games are all about controlling battlefield space, and this one was no different: the medusae pushed forward to threaten the mortar and prevent the cavalry from outflanking me. To the right, the yema acolytes and a single kraken would try to keep the Steam Tank, Flagellants and Reiters honest. The Pegasus Prince saw an opening between the Flagellants and the Halberdiers and used his movement to land there, threatening the Arcane Engine and potentially the Handgunners. Finally, the two kraken pushed forward using the forest as cover. To avoid the Halberds/Imperial guard charging headlong into my monsters, I had to sacrifice my Dark Raiders: while infantry is not a bad target for stomping krakens, you want to be charging and not the other way around!
    In the magic phase the Breath of Corruption went off, killing four Reiters from the rightmost unit, but the last survivor didn’t panic.








    TURN 1 – Empire of Sonnstahl

    The halfling didn’t take the bait, and elected to maneuver instead of charging into the dark raiders. The steam tank moved up slowly, and the two reiter units pushed forward to open fire against my fast support. Magic started with a miscast Flaming Swords on the Handgunners: the result of the miscast being Amnesia, I elected to let it through so as to get rid of the spell. A small fireball killed three of the right Dark Raiders and put a wound with Blaze on the paired weapon Medusa.
    Shooting started with a volley from the left reiters that put another wound on the Medusa, while to the right the Steam Tank and the lone Reiter failed to wound the kraken. The Mortar hit my corsairs killing six of them and the Handgunners couldn’t hit the Kraken thanks to the forest’s cover.



    TURN 2 – Dread Elves

    The bulk of the army charged: the middle Kraken went into the Handgunners, its mate failing to charge into the Imperial Guard. The wounded medusa charged into the Imperial Rangers and the second one fell upon the Electoral Cavalry inside the water feature. The Pegasus Prince charged the Arcane Engine, and the left Blades of Nabh went for the Reiters but failed. Finally, the Kraken to the right charged into the Steam Tank, and the Acolytes of Yema right behind took advantage of that to charge into the lone surviving Reiter.
    The corsairs now picked up the middle Spoils of War token and started their way back into my deployment zone. The Manticore maneuvered in a position where it would grant the Beastmaster rerolls to the kraken fighting the Steam Tank. The depleted dark raider unit stepped in front of the Flagellants to direct them away from said manticore, but while fiddling around with positioning I actually repositioned the manticore right into the flagellants’ overrun path! Oops!
    Magic… [Read More]
  • For the second game of the day we would be facing team Portugal. These guys are actually very active players in France (but half of them are of Portuguese origin, hence the name). Last year we had the pleasure of facing them at the first Benelux Cup, which they won, and at LBM where we took our revenge and beat them! This time they had lined up five very competitive lists, and I got to play @Paulo with his Daemonic Legions.

    Despite all the rage about the Omen/Lemure/Hoarder/Hope Harvester combo, I find daemons quite fun to play against. Paulo had all the afore-mentioned tools, but he had also put his personal touch by bringing the Courtesan of Cibaresh:


    Paulo wrote:


    Characters:
    Omen of Savar, General, Dominion of Pride, Master Thaumaturgy, Iron Husk, Kaleidoscopic Flesh guiding, Living Shield
    Courtesan of Cibaresh, Adept Witchcraft, Brimstone Secretions, Kaleidoscopic Flesh, Chitinous scales, Darkhide

    Core:
    17 Lemures, FCG
    25 Succubi, FCG, Smothering coils

    Special:
    1 Hope Harvester
    6 Clawed Fiends, FCG, Unhinged Jaw
    5 Hoarders, FCG, Kaleidoscopic Flesh, Tarskin

    Aves:
    5 Furies, Kaleidoscopic Flesh



    So overall a list centered around four big blocks, all reasonably fast thanks to the army-wide swiftstride of the DL, plus a scouting Courtesan and some flying redirectors. The deployment this time was Counterthrust and the secondary objective King of the Hill. My opponent won the roll for sides, and declared the Water feature as his piece of terrain for the secondary, while I picked the hill to the left.
    His Omen picked Hand of Heaven, Smite the Unbeliever, Cleansing Fire and the DL Hereditary, while the Courtesan picked Raven’s Wing and the DL Hereditary. I took the same spells I’d end up taking all weekend long: Breath of Corruption/Grave Calls and Ice and Fire/Crippling Fatigue.
    Knowing that I’d get a considerable bonus for the first turn, and also that we’d be fighting for control of the western part of the board, I used my Dark Raiders to push the daemons back in deployment, and then dropped for first turn. As expected, the daemons deployed right across from my army.



    TURN 1 – Dread Elves
    With a Hope Harvester and Thaumaturgy magic with +2 to cast, I didn’t want to waste any time: the two Dark Raider units moved up and blocked the entire DL battle line, allowing my krakens/Manticore and the Pegasus to move up aggressively and take the hill for some rerollable charges on the following turn.A medusa and the Dark Acolytes started an outflanking maneuver on the weak flank, while the Yema Acolytes approached the courtesan for some magic:
    In the magic phase the Breath of Corruption was cast and resulted in a single wound on the Courtesan. The Grave Calls was dispelled, and the Ice and Fire dealt a single wound to the hoarders.





    TURN 1 – Daemonic Legion

    My opponent surprised me by opting not to charge the dark raider screens! This was a good call, as it would be chaffing me up as much as it did him. The units shuffled a bit, the Succubi moved back but generally the rest held their ground and the Omen joined the Lemures. Magic started with a Hand of Heaven on the nearest kraken failing to wound, then a casting of the Hereditary spell on the manticore was dispelled. A second attempt at the Kraken on the hill resulted in two wounds. Finally, the Raven’s Wing was dispelled.
    In the shooting phase the Harvester took aim at the Blades of Nabh closest to the Lemures, and managed a massive 28 hits! Thankfully, the to-hit penalties from range and cover were enough to limit the damage: the salvo only resulted in two dead witches!



    TURN 2 – Dread Elves

    I feared that the Blades wouldn’t survive a second volley from the Harvester, I declared some charges: First, the rightmost Dark Raiders had to get out of the way. So they charged the Fiends’ flank, opening the way for my rightmost Kraken and the nearby Blades to charge the Lemures. The Pegasus Prince and the wounded kraken spotted the Furies right in front of them and charged them: the Kraken had a 9+ overrun into the succubi. Finally, the Blades right behind the kraken also declared a long charge into the furies: if they made it in, they would use that combat as a stepping stone to get into the Fiends right behind. All of the chargers made it in except for the long Blade Charge. The second unit of Dark Raiders continued to block the Courtesan, and the Medusa to the right moved up to redirect the Hoarders away from the Lemure combat.The two acolyte units were now staring at the Daemon flanks.

    In magic I managed to cast Crippling Fatigue on the Lemure block on a high roll, which my opponent had to let through. He then dispelled the Grave Calls against the Courtesan, and the Breath of Corruption was cast but I totally forgot to use it!

    We started combat with the Omen/Lemure/Kraken/Blade fight: The blades went berserk against the Omen and dealt 6 wounds, instantly… [Read More]
  • Greetings, dear reader!

    The past weekend I had the pleasure of attending one of the biggest and most well-runtournaments in the greaterregion, the Luxembourg Bash Masters. This was a 5-player, 5-game team tournament, run over an entire weekend, with 20 teams attending, for a total of 100 wargamers! Last year was the first time I made the 2,5h trip to Luxembourg for this event, and it was a great experience that you can read all about in this blog. Our team performed very well and we secured the first place, becoming the LBM champions!

    So returning to defend our title was something that we were looking forward to. And when I say “we” I mean my usual partners in miniature-related crime: @PrinceCharming and his Ogre Khans, @IHDarklord and his Undying Dynasties, @gregor and his Daemonic Legions, @Artur with his Highborn Elves and yours truly with my latest Dread Elf list.

    This year the opposition was of a very high level, as you can yourselves notice by the lists of the event (link). Between the teams we’d find two teams from the Netherlands, two German teams, two Italian teams, as well as some of the most well-known tournament players from France, arranged in three powerful teams. Belgium is always well represented due to the geographical proximity of Luxembourg, and this time we had no less than four teams! Add to that other French players, Team Norway,Team Switzerland and last but certainly not least Team Luxembourg and you have an amazing mix of players, gaming culture and ethnic diversity that guarantees a very enjoyable yet challenging weekend.

    First and foremost, I need to applaud the efforts of @kiri and his team of dedicated wargamers who organized this event. Every year it keeps getting better and better, with very good pre-tournament communication, a perfectly run event in itself with well-read and always available judges, top-notch bar/catering service and even a Saturday night social program that allowed us to chat a bit more with the other teams and also have a great time with our team mates. They always deliver great events, and they are the best guys to hang out with. One of the reasons why I am saying all that is because they are also one of the candidates for organizing the ETC 2020, and I think they would do an amazing job in running the event. So there, if you are one of the decision-makers about this, don’t hesitate a single minute to give them their vote!

    Back to the tournament itself now! As is customary, here is the list that I took to the event:

    Dread Elves


    So a list combining high mobility, and featuring some of my favorite models/units in the entire Dread Elf line: the Medusae, the Blades of Nabh and the flying characters. Before the tournament, and in order to accelerate the play speed of the list, I had decided to drop all shooting from the list. This is an army that requires very good movement and is quite unforgiving when it comes to positioning errors, but is also very rewarding when it works as designed! You can find more discussion about lists in my army-building thread (link).

    Our first opponents were some of the top contenders for this year’s team France for ETC, team Obelix (AKA “les enfants du Sud”), bringing together some of the best players in France. I had previously had a great and very tactical game against @benj at last year’s ETC, so I was very happy that we’d be playing them in the first round. The pairing process pitted me against Vincent @vince3310 , and his Infernal Dwarves.

    His list looked like this:

    Vince3310 wrote:

    Characters:
    -Prophet,Wizard Master (Pyromancy), Tablet of Ashuruk, Magical Heirloom
    -Vizier BSB, Icon of the Inferno, Talisman of the Void
    -3 x Hobgoblin Chieftain on Wolf, LA, Shield, Light Lance

    Core:
    -11 Citadel Guard, Musician, Flintlock Axes
    -2 x 10 Citadel Guard, Musician, Flintlock Axes
    -2 x 20 Orc Slaves

    Special:
    -3 x 5 Taurukh, Musician, Shields, Infernal Weapons

    Bound andBinders:
    - KadimTitan
    -4 Kadim Incarnates
    - Infernal Engine w/ Shrapnel Guns

    So in essence a pyro gunline with very good anti-push elements, good redirectors and resilient mobile scoring. The first round secondary objective was going to be Hold the Ground (predetermined and round-dependent) and we got randomly assigned a map-pack table designed for Counterthrust. My opponent picked the side of the table with a sizeable hill,… [Read More]
  • For the final round of the tournament, we would have to fight the Hot n’ Bash team! They are all tournament veterans, and frequent contenders for the ETC team qualification. They had lined up gunline EoS led by our dear friend and former teammate @Luthor Huss , fighty Orcs, minotaur-heavy Beast Herds and, finally, pyromancy-totting Infernal Dwarves!

    Team strategy required that I take on the chaotic stunties, allowing other, better matches for my teammates. Pierre @Kerathop , my opponent, had brought the following:



    So the dreaded Pyro/Infernal Icon combo, plus an Alchemy adept, decent shooting, and three good counter-push elements in the form of the Kadims, Tauruk and theEngine. Our deployment type was Dawn Attack and the objective was Secure Target.

    Going into the game, I knew that just avoiding and playing safe would probably see me take a medium loss, as the ranged output of the Pyromancy Prophet is simply too great, and my opponent had numerous scoring units with which to contest or claim the objectives during the last few turns.
    So I’d have to be aggressive in my approach, for two reasons: first to limit the number of turns that my heavy hitters would be exposed to pyromancy magic, and second to try and keep the ID away from the objective markers, while my scorers advanced towards them.

    To help in this regard I’d need as many magic tricks as possible, so I took Forest Embrace, Awaken the Beast, Chilling Howl, Totemic Summon and Break the Spirit as my spells. The Alchemy Prophet chose the Quicksilver Lash and Word of Iron, and the Pyromancy Prophet got Haze of Magnesia, Fireball, Cascading Fire,Pyroclastic Flow and Scorching Salvo, for a grand total of 5 damage-dealing spells!

    My opponent won the roll for picking sides and he placed his objective marker 12” from his deployment zone, near the “gap” of my deployment. Then I spotted an opening: My right-hand corner (the one where I couldn’t deploy troops) had a point that respected the secure target requirements of being more than 12” from my deployment zone and at least 24” from my enemy’s marker. So I chose that spot, since I had a hill to protect my scorers until the last minute, as well as being able to keep all the scoring units packed instead of pitting a single isolated dryad unit against a unit of Flintlocks in the far flank.






    Then, for the first time after a long time playing Sylvan Elves, I elected to drop my entire army to begin he game! We ended up, predictably, with a very heavily weighed right flank: I didn’t mind the 18” gap in my deployment, since my units had the mobility to cover that distance and keep the enemy from outflanking me.

    TURN 1 – Sylvan Elves

    The big eagle unit with the Prince flew forward and took cover behind the obstacle inthe middle of the board. With their height and footprint they’d provide a shield from pyromancy for the first ID turn, allowing my weaker units to advance unscathed. To the left, the Kestrels performed an outflanking maneuver, still staying out of sight/range of the pyromancy wizard. Finally, the right kestrels moved back (my opponent had done a great job of blocking every possible landing zone for them) , and the second unit of Eagles was shoved forward to provoke a Frenzy check on the Kadims. My scoring dryads started the long slog towards the secure target points, and both the Druid’s retinue and the BSB’s Dancers stayed behind the relative safety of the hill.

    In magic my opponent used his binding scroll on the Chilling Howl, then dispelled the Totemic Summon. This left me just enough dice to put Break the Spirit on the Orc Slaves right in front of the Eagles. Shooting destroyed the leftmost unit of wolf riders, and the ball was in the ID court!





    TURN 1 – Infernal Dwarves

    The Kadims passed their frenzy check, and no charges were declared. Dwarven movement was cautious, only the Kadims moving forward with the Tauruks close behind. My adversary took great care at preventing any of my flyers from flying over his lines, but this meant that he’d need to stay relatively static.

    In the magic phase I used the Binding Scroll on the Blaze Attribute, ensuring that I’d only be getting a single extra D3 S4 hits and not two per spell cast! Magic opened with a high roll of Haze of Magnesia on the Eagles with Prince, and I used all of my dispel dice to make sure that this didn’t go through: the 2d3 s4 and the rerolls to all future… [Read More]