The Novi Sad ETC Chronicles: Prelude

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  • 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:

    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

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

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

    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 list you can create opportunities in almost every game, but if something goes wrong in the plan’s execution you’ll be scrambling to save some points in the late game. Usually ETC players frown at such lists, because you cannot rely on them to perform a task in the way that’s intended.
    Which perhaps explains why I was the only player to bring triple krakens, no dedicated mage, an expensive BSB on a Manticore and no shooting whatsoever. That said, our pairings master and good friend IHDarklord reassured me that in the pairings my list would cause a lot of headaches, and that it was worth bringing for that alone.

    So one fateful Thursday afternoon we hopped on a plane and travelled all the way to Serbia. For the fans of Emir Kusturica, Serbia no longer looks like it did in “Black Cat, White Cat”. Novi Sad has a beautiful city center and a vibrant nightlife: people stay out until late, hang out in pedestrian streets and terraces and you get a general good vibe. EXIT festival is held every year in July, and that’s a big attraction for young people from all over the world. So all in all, I was pleasantly surprised, and felt quite at home in the second largest Serbian city.

    Our excitement was somewhat dampened by the fact that for the first round of the event we would be facing the “ringer” team: Team UN, comprised of players from all over Europe who filled in since the number of nations participating was odd (35). That would be fine if four out of eight players didn’t come from Belgium!
    So we couldn’t shake the feeling that we had travelled all that way to play competitive games of T9A against people who not only lived 50 Km away from us, but also were frequent sparring partners during the preparation period. That said, they are all great guys and also future prospects for Belgium’s team,so getting some ETC experience beforehand is very welcome for them!

    Stay tuned for round 1…

    645 times read

Comments 5

  • Razon -

    SmithF ETC report is happenin'!
    Hell, it's about time.

  • Skarloc -

    Vacations are over.. Battle reports are back.. Efcharisto!!

  • BondageGoatZombie -

    I remember a poll you set up to vote on which SE list you should take to ETC. What became of that? :P

    Looking forward to your reports.

    • SmithF -

      Hey! What poll? *whistles*

      But more seriously, I debated taking my Eagle list to the tournament. In the end, it was mainly the Warriors of the Dark Gods and Undying Dynasties (both armies that are more easily countered with DE than with SE) that drove my decision.

      Sylvans remain my first tournament army, and I think there's a lot of great stuff that one can do with the book. But they generally require more care in the pairings, whereas the Dread Elves gave less of a headache to our pairing master.

    • BondageGoatZombie -

      Fair enough :) in the end the army choice is not that important for us mere blog readers, as long as you write the reports :D