Articles Tagged with “Beast Herds”

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  • Hello!

    I'm just writing a quick blog post about painting rust. Rust has become an obsession of mine over the last few years since i began painting it for my 40K Ork army. I've spent many an hour looking at Rust effects in the wild and just how different the colour of rust can be and the texture of rust can be. It's incredibly variable and there is certainly no definitive look to rust. Trying to paint convincing looking rust can be difficult but it can definitely be down easily with some simple tricks. The basic elements of painting rust for me are that it must:
    • Be orange/brown, preferably a mixture of different oranges and browns.
    • It must have a matt finish (super matt, so matt that there is no reflection what so ever)
    • It must not be uniform! Rust is very rarely ever the same over a surface, whether that is texture or colour.



    I've begun playing Beast Herds recently and i'm slowly getting round to painting the army. If you check out the Tale of Slow Painters thread you can see what i've been up to. At the moment i've painted about 80 points worth so there's still a long way to go, lucky it is a Tale of Slow Painters so i'm living up to the title. There are two main colours for my Beasts, Blue and Yellow, two classic colours that are almost the bedrock for all modern cinema (just look at posters for most new big budget film releases and it will be in Blue and Yellow). Anyway, apart from the Blue and Yellow theme i have decided to give all my Beasts rusty weapons, they are far too busy planning their revenge upon the humans that enslaved them to bother with maintaining their weaponry. So the orange of the rust is like my third colour for the army and always contrasts well against blue.

    Anyway, recently i've been painting up Minotaurs and due to their much larger size compared to their Wildhorn cousin i've been able to add a lot more detail to the painting of these models. In particular i've gone to town with the rust effects for these models and have got two main types of rust on the models; super corroded rusty metal and rust under painted metal. I'd thought i'd write a quick guide about how these effects are achieved, they are much easier than you would think.

    First of all paint your silvers, ideally over a black undercoat. I use Vallejo Gun Metal for my silver basecoat as it goes on very smoothly and doesn't come out patchy at all. Once dry hit it with a nice thick coat of brown wash, i use GWs Agrax Earthshade.





    Once that is dry it should have already begun to Matt the previously shiny metallic paint, making it look like it has lost it's sheen already. Now we need to build up some orangey colours. I start off with GWs Mournfang Brown. Get an old brush and a some Mournfang Brown on it, then wipe of a lot of the paint onto some newspaper or whatever (Like if you were drybrushing). You're basically aiming to have enough paint on the brush so that you can splodge it onto the model with out being uniform, so it doesn't want to be laden with paint, splodge it on the newspaper until it gives you a an irregular pattern on the paper (I hope that makes sense, it's hard to describe). Once you've got your paintbrush right begin to splodge it on your metals.



    Even when it looks like you haven't applied any paint you still begin to matt the metal. Repeat the process again with a lighter, more orange brown, i use Scrag Brown by Games Workshop.



    Do this one final time with Ryza Rust by Games Workshop. This is a super bright orange colour so don;t go overboard or it will all look orange!





    After that i would recommend sponging on some metal onto the edges of the armour and weapon. For people who haven't even used a sponge for painting before you are missing out, it is so much fun and gives great results. basically tear off a bit of sponge from some packing material (I have a lot of old GW metal packs that used to come with little sponge sheets so i use that). Get your torn off nit of sponge, doesn't have to be big, and dip it into your metal (Gunmetal for me), then splodge the sponge onto the newspaper until most of the paint has come off, then with the sponge go over the edges of the armour and the weapons to make the edges still look sharp and used. You can splodge some on top of the rust you've previously painted on because rust isn't uniform so it helps to break it up. I didn;t take pictures sadly but tyou'll see in some more coming.

    Now, you can leave it there if you want to, and i that is as far as i have gone with my Wildhorn because they're too small for the rest. However if you want to make it look even rustier still then you cannot go far wrong than using actual rusting metal. I have an item called Scenic Rust (by Deluxe Materials), It's on eBay. This stuff is basically Iron Filings and glue. You mix up the Iron Fillings into some glue on a palette and with a old brush apply the iron filings onto the metals that you want to look rusty. Use it sparingly, less is more when it comes to this stuff.… [Read More]
  • Greetings once more, dear reader!


    I promised a proper ending for the Ocho series, so I guess that even a very late article will do! When I last updated this blog we were in the process of fighting an against-the-odds battle versus none other than the Danish team, boasting a roster of ETC veterans and tournament winners. As mentioned before, the team went into the “get creative” mode, an approach that could also be translated into “anything can happen”. And happen it did: right after I finished my game, we sat on a 51-49 score with three games remaining.


    Our Dread Elves (chariot-star list) faced a double Duke KoE army and won 13-7 in a bloody game that saw the elves bounce off armour everywhere, but still manage to give as good as they got, on top of scoring the objective. We were ahead: Undying Dynasties then faced an aggressive flying Vampire Covenant army, and proceeded to kill vampire after vampire in a mix of shooting, magic, and exploding caskets. We learned that a charging Colossus is more than a match for 40 Ghouls and that if you throw enough s3 arrows at a Shrieking Horror it will eventually curl up and die (again). A 16-4 win brought us at the 80-point mark, with a single game to go. No way we’d get beaten now, so our Saurian Ancients player could play without any pressure, knowing he’d have to fight Wilhelm of RT and ETC fame. SA clashed with Warriors of the Dark Gods, in a game that was too weird to watch and could have gone wrong numerous times. Only it didn’t: @bolard stuck to his guns and managed an impressive 18-2 win, bringing the round to an unbelievable 98-62 win!


    So when the smoke cleared we had won two rounds convincingly, suffered a near-cap defeat at the hands of the French, and fought three draw-ish rounds. As is the case in team tournaments, consistency is key: the 500 points we were able to score were just enough to push us past teams such as England, Canada and Australia for a final 8th place out of 30!

    The undisputed champions of the Ocho were the Swiss, last year’s Bronze medalists: they bested the Spanish, the French, the English and then capped our host, team USA, to get the first place. The only ones that were able to keep the well-oiled swiss clock in control were their Italian neighbors, who came second after having to fight behemoths such as Russia, Switzerland and Germany; it turns out pizza and pasta IS the breakfast of champions! Well done lads! The podium was completed by team Russia, to nobody’s surprise; Russians know their T9A, and are always top3 contenders. One can only hope to achieve their level of consistency, one day…


    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the performance of our hosts, the amiable Team USA: they not only opened their Discord server to the international community and made the international UB tournaments a reality, but spent a great deal of time on the top tables, only to be toppled down in the end by the Swiss. Their final placing was 5th, commendable although I can understand their disappointment for not bringing the trophy home. A huge thanks to them, and to the tournament organizer, @Sergrum for making this 200+ player, 6-week event a success! Alex runs a Youtube channel where he discusses tactics and muses on about Warriors of the Dark Gods, Tactics and chicken wings. I’d listen to him if I were you, because not only is he a very competent general, but his Discord/Messenger contact list is littered with past and present tournament winners; if you consistently win tournaments and there’s a nugget of T9A wisdom in your head, chances are that Sergrum has managed to squeeze it out of you in after-midnight talks. So when he rambles on while munching on fried bird extremities, you should listen.


    To get back to Team Belgium, we were very happy with the final result: we entered the event with several off-the-wall lists, and still managed to finish in a respectable position. That’s a testament to the hard work that my fellow team members have put into the preparation for this year’s (cancelled) ETC, and a bright beacon for the years to come. So kudos to them, and a particular shout-out to @Arthur for his impressive 92/120 points that put him just shy of the top10 scorer list for the tournament.


    But what about the Beasts? I’d say that for an “outdated book” they did quite well: team tournament considerations notwithstanding , the Beast Herds were only barely knocked off the top position for average score! With 6 players representing them , and zero “Spanish lists” to be found, I take this as a positive sign for the beasts as a whole: perhaps more generals can be persuaded to take a walk on the wild side.


    Regarding the SmithF beasts in particular… that’s a more complex question: the list did well overall, ending up with 85 points. But it did nothing to help the pairings for our team, meaning that it was difficult to try and get into a good game: So the positive thing is possibly that the beasts held their own in what I considered… [Read More]
  • Every team in sports has a “rivalry” with someone, for reasons usually nobody understands: Bulls vs Pistons, Manchester United vs Liverpool, Real Madrid vs Barcelona, Red Sox vs Yankees (I admit that I googled that). It turns out the Belgians also have this, with no other than our neighbors: yes, we and the friendly Dutch have had many a fight in T9A and before that, quite often with a pint of good old beer (and not the piss that is Heineken). I remember when I got recruited in the team back in 2016, and asked what our goals were for the year, our then-captain said without hesitating: “we need to beat the Dutch”.

    Now, reader, don’t criticize us just yet: it’s not that we dislike our border friends, nor that we are threatened by their abnormal height or the fact that they combine savory pancakes with syrup. Nor that they call it Stroop instead of syrup, like a normal person would. It’s just good to have something of a healthy competition. Back in the Warhammer days, the Dutch would come across the border and “healthy competition” the poor Belgian scene, steal their pride and their prizes along with it. Long before I even stepped my foot in the land of chocolate, compromise and overall political indifference (who else could go on without a government for 2 years??), Belgian wargamers devised a plan called “soft scores” to keep the Dutch away. Then the Dutch went ahead and became some of the best painters in Europe, just to spite their neighbors. I could go on, but it should be clear to you by now that we’re in the right and they are in the wrong and that we should win for reasons.

    Or at least that’s how my then captain explained it to me. So when we got paired against the Dutch for our game 5, it suddenly became clear that our objective for the tournament had changed: we just couldn’t lose against the Dutch.

    My opponent, Niek, @Wurzaq was an embodiment of all the virtues that spite the Belgians: super-nice and fun to play against, was Dutch and probably drank Heineken and mispronounced the word “syrup”. That’s all I needed to know, and reason enough to do battle with imaginary toy soldiers!
    It was a good thing that the objective for the round was King of the Hill, but a bit worse that my enemy was bringing more speed, better armour and better fighting characters than me!

    Wurzaq wrote:




    So reading the list I noticed something that gave me a glimmer of hope: my adversary had skimped on the command model options, so as to get more models in his list! While I’m not the one to talk about ignoring command models, it is slightly riskier for a big lance of knights with a huge footprint, compared to a small minotaur conga. So going back to my Sylvan Elf roots, I decided that the way to win this was by taking advantage of the superior maneuverability of my army, or at least part of it: all of the centaurs would begin the game sober, giving me three vanguarding units that could be either used as late-game redirectors or simply threaten the knight busses with flank charges and the such.

    I also resolved to make King of the Hill harder for my the knights by splitting the terrain pieces diagonally. With fewer units than me and with no possibility for sneaky swift reforms, I was confident that at the very least I could keep the knights away from my terrain piece or land a foot into theirs.

    For spells, the Damsel got Awaken the Beast, Swarm of Insects, Totemic Summon and Break the Spirit, while the Soothsayer went with Healing Waters, Entwining Roots, Summer Regrowth and Stoneskin.

    We alternated deployments (it was Frontline Clash) all the way till the end, with me keeping my big blocks for until after the KoE had dropped their entire force. My opponent went for the side with the hill, and used his lances to make sure that I wouldn’t be able to infiltrate my vanguarding centaurs past his arc of sight if I got first turn. This left him with a weighed left flank, with only a single unit of aspirants threatening to move past my forces and cheekily score the objective. To counter this, I placed my GW centaurs on the right hand side of the board: they’d have to first deal with the aspirants, then move back towards the center where the action would happen. The rest of my army went across from the knights,… [Read More]
  • So moving past the halftime of the Ocho, we’d face Guardia Varega, a Spanish team comprised of seasoned tournament players. My opponent for the round would be Gonzalo @gundizalbo , of former Balance Team glory, and of ETC Australia fame. His build of Saurian Ancients seems to have defined the SA meta Down Under, and he’s had a great run with it in the past years’ ETCs.


    To me, this was a very nostalgic kind of list, taking me back to the first games of 5th edition when all I had was a bunch of skinks with bows, a big block of monopose Saurus Warriors and my precious Slann mage-priest carried to battle inside a huge Temple Guard unit. Only difference is that back then my Temple guard used to be called in jest “Proxy Guard” (because what student had enough $$ to buy a full pewter unit using blisters of 2 figurines!), and they tended to ran away from Fear-causing skeletons. Ah, the joys of mid-hammer!


    So taking a closer look, the list has a very impressive magic phase, with loads of spells that are easily cast on 2-dice with a +2 to cast bonus. It also has some ranged support as well as the dreaded Ramphodons to hunt my squishy centaurs. Nevertheless, I had this down as a good game, possibly because of the Breakthrough Scenario: the odds of Beast Herds losing Breakthrough are low, unless you really mess things up. So first order of business was to make sure I wouldn’t mess up that badly!


    Our deployment was Refused Flank. I had the choice of the side, and decided to deny the hill to the saurus blocks: they’d be hard to shift from there. Gonzalo seized the initiative and went for a drop for the first turn. That in turn meant that I could counterdeploy and the first thing to do was make sure that the Ramphodons couldn’t fly behind my lines.


    We ended up with weighed flanks for me, my big blocks facing each a unit of ramphodons and a unit of Caimans. In the center, I kept as many chaff-like units, to try and block the saurian infantry from pushing outwards and crushing my big blocks while the Ramphodons and Caimans kept them occupied. The Lance centaurs were drunk, and the big unit sober.




    For magic, the Skink Priest picked Awaken the Beast and Insect Swarm, while the Quatl went with Fireball, Healing Waters, Quickilver Lash, Spectral Blades, Know thy Enemy and Spark of Life. My soothsayer opted for Healing Waters, Master of Earth, Stoneskin and Summer Growth.The gargoyles found a cozy place 18” away from all enemies behind their lines and scouted there. The Ramphodons unsurprisingly marked my big centaurs and the wildhorns. The Chameleons scouted inside the forest opposite my wildhorns, and the battle horns were sounded!



    TURN 1 – Saurian Ancients


    First turn movement was cautious from the SA: the ramphodons found a spot out of the wildhorn’s arc of sight to the right, while the chameleons and spearbacks moved up to pepper the centaurs with arrows. In the middle the Warriors and Temple Guard both moved up, while the ramphodons to the left backed away from my centaurs.

    In magic I witnessed first-hand the effectiveness of the SA magic phase, even on the card “1”. Swarm of Insects and Spark of creation both went off, putting two wounds to my minotaurs to the left and killing a feral hound respectively. Shooting was greatly hampered by the Dark Rain, still a Centaur died to poisoned blowpipe shots to the right, and two feral hounds died to the skink chief’s magical bow: they passed their leadership with the general’s help.




    TURN 1 – Beast Herds


    The fact that my feral hounds were still alive enabled me to make a push for the flanks: the left centaurs spotted the Ramphodons 19” away and declared that long charge, making it in. The rightmost centaurs fell upon the chameleons, since the Saurians had truly trapped them: I figured that taking the 160 points of the chameleons would be a fair trade!


    Gaining momentum from the successful centaur charge to the left, the Centaurs + BSB were now able to push forward aggressively, past the Saurian Warriorsarc of sight and in front of the Caimans, hoping to collapse that flank on the following turn. The Feral Hounds jumped in front of the Temple Guard to keep them occupied while the wildhorns and gargoyles both… [Read More]
  • So after the sound beating we took by the French, we were going up against team Ukraine. These guys have been around for quite some time, and they’ve made their presence felt both at the ETC (6th last year) and in other international events. Our team strategy against them revolved around getting as many good matches as possible, which meant that yours truly had to be thrown under the bus a bit: this usually happens when one player’s estimation matrix is not good enough to guarantee a favorable matchup, and means that he’s instead used to draw a bad game away from the teammates.


    Team Ukraine’s lists were a mix of very defensive lists capable of point denial, with a couple of very aggressive armies tacked on. I’d be facing one of the latter, the Sylvan Elves of Artem @Artem Kurhanskii.




    I was intrigued by this army, because it combined elements that I am a big fan of (namely the bladedancers and the kestrels backed up by Shamanism and Cosmology) with some lesser used entries such as the Shapeshifters, as well as the Sacred Seeds/Mist Walker combo. I had rated this as a bad matchup, but was relatively optimistic about my chances of picking up the objective for the round, which was hold the ground.


    How does one deal with such an aggressive vanguard army? I thought about this a bit prior to the game, and I decided that stealing the initiative against a vanguarding army that moves 2-3” more than me and strikes first across the board was not possible. So instead my path to victory would have to come from forcing combats that would be favorable to me in the long run, or by baiting the enemy into losing positions.


    I got to pick sides, and opted for the one with the hill. My opponent then dropped his entire army for the first turn, which allowed me to counterdeploy and close off any passage to my backline for the kestrels and the vanguarding shapeshifters. I expected the SE to rush me so as to prevent the wildhorns from getting to the central objective, but there was no way around that, just hoping that my countermeasures worked.


    (deployment picture was forgotten, so here's a mockup based on the first turn pic - Spoilers!)



    For magic, I picked Healing Waters, Master of Earth, Stoneskin and Summer Growth, while my opponent opted for Ice and Fire/Perception of Strength and Beast Awakens/ Totemic Summon/ Break the spirit and the SE hereditary spell.



    TURN 1 – SE


    Artem wasted no time messing around: the Shapeshifter chieftain moved up in front of my Wildhorns, plonked the Sacred Seed forest down, and the Dancer unit teleported right in front of my general! The Shapeshifter prince moved up to block my rightmost minotaurs from aiding in that fight, while both kestrels used their 30” move to relocate to the center of the board and threaten big parts of my army. The heath hunters formed a conga that blocked half my left side in place, and the scorers just kept up, staying out of charge range for the time being. With the Dark Rain up, shooting only killed a single centaur, while magic managed to boost the teleporting Dancers with +1 Strength.




    TURN 1 – Beast Herds


    To say that I had the SE where I wanted them would be a stretch, but I was relatively happy with the position in the board: the dancers had used their mirror, and two key SE characters were exposed. So I went ahead with my pre-formulated plan: the minotaurs charged into the Shapeshifter Prince to pin him down, their counterparts on the other side charged the Heath Hunter chaff, and the Beastlord on foot charged solo into the Bladedancer unit: if the dancers have one weakness, it’s dealing with cowboys. I aligned him opposite the BSB, knowing that I’d get a champion for the first round of combat but that I’d get the BSB on the following one. Finally, the Gargoyles spotted the kestrel flank 19” away and went for it, sadly failing: completing that charge would make my life much easier by pinning the birds down for a turn, enough time for the Beastlord in chariot to wheel around and charge them.


    So with the charges all done, I had to deal with the elephant in the room: two kestrel… [Read More]
  • 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
    4500


    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
    4499




    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”:
    cltlb7.podbean.com/?fbclid=IwA…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:

    CHARACTERS:

    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:
    docs.google.com/document/d/1f2…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:

    CHARACTERS:
    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
    CORE:
    28 Wildhorns, Shields, Full Command, Banner of Discipline, Gnarled Hide Totem
    28 Mongrels, Spears, Standard, Musician, Banner of the Wildherd
    3 Raiding Chariots
    SPECIAL:
    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
    TERRORS OF THE WILD:
    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: the-ninth-age.com/community/bl…6-paired-weapons-podcast/

    @Spacegoblin and @cm284 ‘s podcast Mad Git Radio: the-ninth-age.com/community/bl…ry-list/82-mad-git-radio/

    As well as @AxelVicious amazing Battle Report blog, replete with amazingly painted models: the-ninth-age.com/community/bl…-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]
  • For the fifth and final game of the weekend we were going to face the second Swiss team, made up by past ETC members mixed with new prospects. Given our catastrophic fourth round, we’d need a very solid performance with maximum points gained if we were to get a decent placing. So we decided to go for it, and the general order was: go get points.


    For my part, I was once again thrust against Vermin Swarm, albeit a different type of list than the previous one:



    Michael wrote:


    So mostly a shooting/magic heavy list with a couple of big combat blocks and decent chaff. Thanks to the fact that I had no big monsters, I was not very afraid of the Naphtha launchers, but the overall magic and the presence of the lightning cannon meant that I’d still need to respect the rats. This time we drew Refused Flank as a deployment, and the secondary objective was Secure Target.


    I won the roll for sides, and gave my opponent the side with the Hill and Water feature. The reason for that was that I anticipated the Vermin castling in a corner and shooting me, so I figured that it would benefit me if the fight took place close to terrain pieces that could boost my Druidism ranges. That meant picking the side with two impassable terrain bottlenecking the Beasts, but thankfully the footprint of my units is smaller than it used to be, and if everything went ok I’d be able to move past them quite fast. I put my Secure Target token close to the upper left corner (the Vermin “weak” side), a move that usually guarantees a draw in the objective since the enemy cannot bring enough scoring units to bear on that side. Then my adversary surprised me by placing his token near the center of the board and exactly 24” from mine. After a few alternating drops, he dropped his army for the first turn, and in another surprising move he went for a central/aggressive deployment!


    For spells, I picked Healing Waters, Master of Stone, Summer Growth and Stoneskin. The magister went for Awaken the Swarm, Wrath of God, Smite the Unbeliever and Trial of Faith, while the Patriarch picked Hand of Glory and the Pentagram of Pain.


    My counter-deployment was based on the following thoughts: I didn’t want to face the Pendulum with my general’s block, nor with the BSB’s centaurs, but I also wanted to make it more difficult for the Vermin to claim battlefield space in the center of the board. I also needed my general’s unit to be relatively intact in order to threaten the Vemin Guard block.




    So I paired up my Minotaurs, Centaurs with Lances and the Chariots in the center, making sure that if the Naphtha throwers wanted to shoot at my Minotaurs they’d be exposed to charges by the faster elements. I then placed the GW centaurs along with my Wildhorn unit on the left flank, and scouted my Gargoyles near the unprotected lightning cannon.









    TURN 1 – Vermin Swarm


    I had vanguarded my Centaurs near the Abomination, giving it a 13” charge on purpose: due to its positioning, it would have to either take it or risk getting charged by the Centaurs on my turn. It fell an inch short, stopping right in front of the beasts. The rest of the units moved slightly forward, with only the Pendulum pushing aggressively forward.


    The magic phase started with a high roll on the Awakened Swarm on my leftmost centaur Lancers, that I had to let through: 11 hits later, my unit evaporated, causing the mongrel raiders to panic. Thankfully, my feral hounds passed their discipline test. The magister then attempted to cast Wrath of God on 4 dice. He got it off with triple 6’s, so I let it through and watched as the ensuing miscast took the Vermin caster into the void!

    Shooting was largely ineffective due to the Dark Rain and my units’ positioning, with the leftmost minotaurs just suffering a single wound from the Naphtha thrower.




    TURN 1 – Beast Herds


    My leftmost minotaurs failed their frenzy check and had to charge: thankfully a weapon team was within range, so I opted for the long charge instead of the shorter one into the Pendulum: they failed and stumbled a bit forward. The GW centaurs fell upon the Abomination. The… [Read More]
  • The ones paying attention will have noticed that there is no report for game 3. The reason for that is that in the third round I got paired against one of my Team Belgium teammates using Dwarven Holds, with a list that I had helped him write. He promptly offered me a small win (12-8) in exchange for a open training game: the result of the game was closer to 16-4 for the Beasts, but it was a nice experience for both of us, the perfect way to end a long and tiring day.


    The team did well in their games, so on round 4 we would play on Table 2 again. Our adversaries were the Swiss Roots, a collaboration between some of the most capable players of ETC team Switzerland (Bronze Medallist this year) and two of the best German players, including Australian ETC team member and WTC orga Frederick.

    Our pairing matrix was looking particularly sad against such opposition: I wanted to avoid playing against the Scourge list Frederick had lined up, so gladly accepted the alternative of playing the team’s captain @Xavier , using the following Vermin Swarm list:

    Xavier wrote:

    850 - Vermin Deamon, General
    770 - Magister, Wizardmaster, Doom Bell, Witchcraft, Light Armour, Binding Scroll
    543 - 33 Vermin Guards, MCS, Lightning Rod
    150 - 2x20 Giant Rats
    220 – 25 Rat at Arms, Musician
    120 - 10 Footpads
    525 - 7 Vermin Hulks, Champion
    340 - 2x1 Dreadmill
    235 - 6 Jezails
    115 - 3 Jezails
    140 - 1 Rotary Gun
    Choosing to face Vermin Swarm is the definition of being between a rock and a hard place, I’ve found that they are very difficult to deal with, and generally have a negative record against them. The only saving grace was that the scenario this round would be Breakthrough.

    Looking at my opponent’s list I was surprised to see Witchcraft instead of Thaumaturgy, and I welcomed the lack of a BSB: even with the Vermin Daemon’s Discipline 9 and the Divination attribute, I could hope to force some panic or march tests to help my cause.


    My opponent won the roll of sides, and made sure that terrain wouldn’t help my Druidism ranges by giving me the side with the Water feature and the hill. Our deployment type was Encircle, and Xavier gave me the big flanks. He got the option to drop all for the first turn after I’d placed my Feral Hounds, and he took it: The VS ended up with a denied flank deployment, with a piece of impassable terrain somewhat protecting their flank, the Vermin Hulks and Vermin Daemon guarding the center and then the two big rat units offset to my right.




    I put almost all of my hard hitters, including my Wildhorns, as close as possible to the bulk of the Vermin troops, keeping my chariots in the center, and only the GW Centaurs with the BSB in the weak flank: these used their Vanguard to push up around the impassable terrain, while the scouting Gargoyles reinforced that side.







    The game plan was simple: use my wildhorns as a battering ram, protecting their flanks with the chariots. I’d have to use the GW centaur unit to occupy the VD and Hulks, so that they wouldn’t come crushing into my general’s unit. By putting the pressure on the Vermin early on, I’d also be able to claim the secondary objective uncontested. For magic I got Healing Waters, Entwining Roots, Summer Growth and Stoneskin. The Magister took Deceptive Glamour, Wheel Turns, Will O’ the Wisp and Raven’s Wing, while the Vermin Daemon got Know thy Enemy, Scrying, Stars Align, Unerring Strike and the Hereditary:an impressive array of spells for every occasion!


    TURN 1 – Vermin Swarm



    As predicted, the Vermin Hulks, Vermin Daemon and Giant Rats to my left turned around to prevent my Centaurs from completing their flanking maneuver. The rest of the units advanced a bit, the Dreadmills staying back to deal with my ambushers.

    The magic phase started with a failed attempt at Unerring Strike against my Centaurs with GW (first and only time during the tournament that the Aether Icons did something!), which put a damper on the magic phase: I dispelled Awaken the Swarm on them, letting through Will o’ the Wisp on my rightmost Lance Centaurs.

    Shooting was largely ineffective due to the Dark Rain.




    TURN 1 – Beast Herds


    With the left flank effectively shut off due to the positioning of the Vermin Hulks and Daemon, I maneuvered the BSB and retinue around the impassable and back towards the center of the board. The accompanying Gargoyles pushed up the flank, ready to charge the Jezzails if the VG didn’t use their Lightning Rod (spoiler: they did). The Wildhorns pushed forward, claiming the hill, with both minotaur units in proximity.

    For the first time in the tournament I also opted to use my Hunting Call: both ambushing units appeared, each threatening a Jezzail unit: I figured that this way I’d be buying some time for the main forces and forcing the Vermin to turn around and deal with them.

    My Lance Centaurs stumbled 10” forward towards the Vermin[Read More]
  • After our big round 1 victory, we would be facing another familiar team: Les enfants du Sud, a French team hailing from the (surprise!) south of France, contenders for this year’s ETC qualification and France’s 2019 representatives at the ETC in Serbia. Some of you may remember my games against Benji, BatCat or Vince, all of which are members of the same group of players.


    This time team strategy had me pitted against Undying Dynasties, led by Stephen @Ezekiel57 : a multiple ETC veteran, Stephen has often a unique take on the UD. This time he didn’t disappoint, with an MSU army:


    Ezekiel57 wrote:

    460 - Death cult hierarch, wizard master, binding scroll, talisman of the void, evocation
    310 - Death cult hierarch, wizard adept, general, hierophant, book of arcane mastery, scroll
    of desiccation, divination
    470 - Pharaoh, skeletal steed, GW, Godslayer, death mask of teput, destiny's call
    225 - 17 skeletons archers, MC
    396 - 23 skeleton cavalry, MSC, aether icon
    252 - 2 x 26 skeletons, MSC
    290 - 2 x 6 scarab swarms
    200 - 3 x 3 shabtis archers
    320 - 2 x 3 tomb cataphracts, M
    315 - 4 sand stalkers
    Total : 4500


    On paper, this was an open match: the scarab swarms can be very annoying for my unarmoured units and the pharaoh represents a danger for my characters. Add to that very good combat buffs from Evocation and Divination, and you’ve got a list that can seriously hurt the beasts. Our secondary objective this round would be Capture the Flags, and that’s the detail that would dictate the way the game would be played.


    For spells I picked Healing Waters, Regrowth, Stone Skin and Entwining Roots, while Stephen picked Know thy Enemy and Stars Align from Divination and Spectral Blades, Ancestral Aid, Touch of the Reaper and Hasten the Hour from Evocation. Right away he turned the only Water feature on the map into a DT(1) terrain piece, denying me some crucial range for the Druidism spells.


    Deployment (Counterthrust) was very tactical and long this game: with 13 drops for the UD vs 11 for the BH, we went back and forth for a while. My goal was not to give away the position of my small scorers too fast, but also to avoid being outdeployed very heavily. At about 7 units in, I noticed that the UD were cornering quite heavily around the building to my right, and that gave me an idea.


    Deploying directly opposite the Stalkers/Shabti Archers and rushing in would play right into the UD’s plan, since it would give easy targets for snipes, which meant potentially VPs, while also expose my fragile scorers to S5 shots. So I went for the long game instead: I placed my chariots centrally to keep the Pharaoh honest, kept my Wildhorns close enough to the center (3 turns away from combat), and went for a flanking maneuver with my Centaur BSB and retinue. Oh, and I gave my opponent the first turn:If everything went well, I’d avoid snipes for the first couple of magic phases, and limit the UD maneuvers thanks to the chariots’ zoning ability.




    TURN 1 – Undying Dynasties


    The undead maneuvered very cautiously. My chariots performed their role, keeping the Pharaoh and Cavalry back and protecting my Lance centaurs in the process. In the middle, a lot of shuffling took place so as to provide lanes of fire for the Shabtis. In the magic phase I let Know thy Enemy through on the Pharaoh’s unit: I wasn’t planning on charging them just yet, since I feared that it would only serve to pin my chariots (and beastlord) down long enough for the Cataphracts to countercharge.

    Shooting was particularly ineffective this turn, bouncing off the minotaurs and chariots respectively.




    TURN 1 – Beast Herds


    I opted not to use my ambushers: as long as the rest of the troops hadn’t closed in, they’d be easy pickings for the undead. The GW Centaurs moved deep into the enemy deployment zone, and the minotaurs and Wildhorns started the long slog towards the middle. The Chariots moved a bit back from the horsemen, as did the centaurs. Finally, the Beastlord on Chariot repositioned towards the main UD forces.

    In the magic phase range meant that I could only give Stone Skin on the GW centaurs, hopefully protecting them from any Shabti shots that might come their way.


    s




    TURN 2 – Undying Dynasties


    My opponent declined the feral hound charge, backing his unit a bit in the center. In his weak flank he pushed the Sand Stalkers towards my GW Centaurs, chaffing them in the process. The Pharaoh and Co moved up a bit, careful not to give me a combo-charge with the chariots and the centaurs.

    In the magic phase I dispelled the Stars Align on the Stalkers, letting through both Know thy Enemy and Ancestral Aid on the Pharaoh’s unit. Disaster struck on the shooting phase, however: the Sand Stalkers took aim at the GW Centaurs*, killed 4 of them and I promptly failed my rerollable panic and ran away, stopping a few inches short of the table edge! The rest of… [Read More]
  • Greetings, dear reader!

    Welcome to another series of Battle Reports, this time recounting the battle stories of yours truly at the Luxembourg Bash Masters (LBM for short). Long time followers of this blog already know what I’m talking about, but in case you’ve stumbled in here by accident here’s all that you need to know about the LBM:


    It is a 5-player team tournament of T9A, played at 4500 points and taking place in Luxembourg every February for the past four years. It is organized by @kiri @falanor and co, and has become our go-to winter tournament thanks to the quality of the event itself but also due to the (always increasing) level of teams attending. This year they managed to attract 120 players (24 teams) from all over Europe: France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Portugal,Switzerland were all represented, as well as Luxembourg of course.


    This year our team (the Belgian Chocolates) aligned the following armies:

    @IHDarklord with his trusty UD in an MSU approach (is it MSU if three of your “multiple” units are actually R8 sphinxes?)

    @Talandria with the denizens of the forest (SE) and an agenda to prove that shooting is much better than magic.

    @Chosen of Sigmar with as many Vampire Knights as one can fit in a VC list

    @logick with a Knight and Forlorn-heavy KoE list

    And finally yours truly with the Beast Herds. I’ve been accused of playing every army I get as if they were Beast Herds (including SE, DE and DH), so for this year’s tournament season I decided to give the real deal a try. You can read all about my various lists and tests HERE.


    For this tournament I opted for the following list:





    So quite character-heavy, but with most of the characters intended to bolster my units rather than deal with the enemy on their own. I hadn’t been able to play much for the past 3 months, which meant that I added the Beastlord on chariot on a hunch more than based on playtesting. Other than that, the Wildhorn and the big Centaur blocks have been staples of my list since October and always solid performers.


    Lack of experience with the list meant that I was not as optimistic about my pairings, especially in a field such as the LBM, where lots of opponents had brought very aggressive lists (DL with Scourge, chariot spam lists and so on). So I knew going in that I wouldn’t always get a favorable matchup, but could probably avoid the worst of them.

    For the first round of the tournament we got to play team Portugal: we’ve been coming across @Donotask and his team mates almost every time we play in Luxembourg, and it’s always a pleasure. This time I was paired up against Erikson and his Lustrian-themed Dwarven Holds. He had taken variations of his list to two ETCs before the LBM, so this was clearly not his first rodeo!


    The army looks great close-up, with lots of cool conversions (Steam Copters = dwarves carried by Pteradons, all of the Dwarven Equipment looks Saurian-like and the characters are riding giant tortoises/crabs!) and attention to detail in painting with NMM and good-looking bases. I hope that he can send me more pictures of it, so that you guys can enjoy the eye-candy.


    His list:


    Komikaz wrote:

    CHARACTERS:
    King, General, War Throne, Shield, Rune of Destruction, 2× Rune of Might, Rune of Dragon's Breath
    Thane, Shield Bearers, Shield, Battle Standard Bearer, Holdstone, Rune of Dragon's Breath, Banner of the Relentless Company
    Runic Smith, 3 Battle Rune, Rune of Storms
    Anvil of Power

    CORE:
    30 Greybeards, Shield, Champion, Musician, Standard Bearer, Runic Standard of Swiftness
    2×10 Clan Warriors, Spear & Shield, Musician, Standard Bearer

    SPECIAL:
    10 Miners, Throwing Weapons (5+)
    2×23 Seekers, Vanguard, Champion, Musician
    2×1 Steam Bomber




    So a very compact push list, based on 3 vanguarding blocks that are hard to shift and occupy/kill the opponent while the small scorers do the scoring. Having played a DH push list for an entire season, I knew how effective it could be, but also had some ideas on how to counter it. So I had estimated this to be a good match for the beasts. Things became a bit more complicated due to the Scenario, which would be Hold the Ground.… [Read More]
  • Greetings, dear reader.

    It's this time of the year again, where old and forgotten armies are dusted and re-glued and taken to the battlefield. The Belgian T9A scene has been booming lately, with two tournaments per month on average and as many game nights if you're up for it. So it was the right moment to bring something new: a Beast Herds army!

    I have had the idea to try out the Beasts for some time now, seeing as I normally avoid shooting and offensive magic anyway. So after finding a good deal online I took the plunge and bought an army, that I'll be trying to touch up and complete over the coming months. With the modelling side of the project decided, I had to come up with a suitable list for tournament play. I did not want to go down the netlist route for various reasons, so I thought I'd try out the army "from scratch" and see where it got me.

    You can read all about this journey here: Pack Tactics 2020! MSU musings and list discussion

    After playing some test games with various MSU lists, I settled on the following based on the models that I had:

    SmithF wrote:

    CHARACTERS:
    Beastlord, General, GW, Destiny's Call, Blessed Inscriptions, Crown of Horns, Dragonfire Gem
    Minotaur Chieftain, BSB, Greater Totem Bearer, HA, Shield, Willow's Ward, Talisman of Shielding, Eye of Dominance
    Soothsayer, Adept (Evocation), Dark Rain


    CORE:
    2 x 8 Feral Hounds
    25 Wildhorns, Shields, Full Command, Banner of Speed, Gnarled Hide Totem
    30 Mongrel Herd, Spears, Full Command, Banner of the Wild Herd


    SPECIAL:
    18 Longhorns, Musician, Champion, Blooded Horn Totem
    2 x 10 Longhorns, Ambush
    2 x 5 Centaurs, Lances
    5 Minotaurs, Paired Weapons, Musician, Champion, Blackwing Totem
    2 x 3 Minotaurs, GW
    1 Razortusk Chariot
    Key points:
    - Wildhorn Bunker with Shields: combined with Gnarled Hide you get a very tough block, whose fighting ability is bolstered by the Beastlord.
    - Medium-sized Longhorns and Minos; whether this is the ideal size remains to be seen, but so far it has worked ok.
    - Magic: instead of trying to render naked beasts more survivable, I decided that my magic would focus on making them killier. Evocation has two spells perfect for the occasion (Spectral Blades and Whispers of the Veil), and the added veil token will help with channel.
    - No good targets for cannons and magic targeting single models.

    I took the list above to one of the biggest local tournament, the 14th Challenge in Roeselare. The tournament is run by friend and teammate @IHDarklord and has over the years evolved to be a staple in my T9A calendar: good venue, always a good crowd of very strong players, plus barbeque for lunch and excellent local beer to drink.
    Here are some short reports for your enjoyment:

    Game 1 - Ogre Khans



    For the first game I got to play Robin @Haemoglobin and his (WiP) Ogre Khans with a greenskin theme.
    This was a difficult game on paper, the Ogres had the range for charges and superior chaff. To have the upper hand, I needed to play first and luckily I got this option (the deployment was Marching Columns and the scenario is Flags, always bad for me).





    TURN 1 - Beast Herds

    My opponent used the hunters and cats very well to limit how much of his army my Feral Hounds could redirect. I had to settle for both Aurochs (hoping for a failed frenzy) and the Trolleater Hunter. The rest of the army pushed forward, wary of the big block with Swiftstride on the hill. In magic I lowered the Discipline of the left Aurochs to make failing the Frenzy check more probable.




    TURN 1 - Ogre Khans

    Both of the Frenzy checks were passed, and my opponent elected not to commit the aurochs: the tribesmen to my left spotted the flank of the hounds and charged in, while the free hunter charged into the Mino Conga, hoping to overrun behind my lines.

    Turn 1 magic and shooting was not enough to wipe out or panic my unengaged Feral Hounds thanks to Dark Rain, leaving them alive for another turn. The Hunter got Children of Umi cast on him though. In the ensuing combat he killed a minotaur and got 3 wounds back, but I then failed my break test and had to flee: the Hunter rolled high enough to get out of my Razortusk chariot's arc of sight, deep behind my lines. The tribesmen broke the feral hounds on the charge, but failed to catch them in pursuit.




    TURN 2 - Beast Herds

    With both of my chaff still alive, I could now take some risks: I used my general's block to clear the way (tribesmen and sabertusk sent fleeing), meaning that I had a 10+ with Centaurs into the right Auroch, 11+ with a mino conga and 11+ with my BSB's unit into the same target. If one got in, I'd probably kill the Auroch on the charge, while if two got in I'd have the option for overruns into the trolleater hunter's flank and into the Bruiser bunker flank.
    As luck would have it, both the big minotaurs and the Centaurs made it in!



    The fleeing hounds rallied… [Read More]