The Kremlin's KoE battle report and army thread (including etc 2019!)

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  • The Kremlin's KoE battle report and army thread (including etc 2019!)

    Hello all.

    I've decided to start sharing the game reports I write more publically. I have been writing these for a while - initially for an email thread between me, Rafael from the England team and an old hand from twf days - the infamous Bobo the Vampire Monkey.

    I then did a few for the England team forum, but post etc I thought I would share the love.

    I'll start with the etc, then go back through the archives and see which ones make sense.

    It is worth noting that these often got written across a string of emails with discussion in between, so any lack of coherence is likely down to that.

    I'm hoping in time to also include tactical discussions and asides like my good friend and forum stalwart DanT does in his threads. I'm happy to host discussion and answer questions - like anyone else who writes on the internet, I'm basically in this for the comment love :D
  • A little about me:

    I've been around on the UK tournament scene for a long time now, having a dramatic debut but then always hanging about in the upper second tier of players, giving the top people hard games but not quite breaking through upwards. 9th age has given me that chance.

    I'm relatively new to KoE compared to many of you. I built the army first in the lead up to the Salamanca ETC (where I merced for Wales) as a hobby project, but ended up taking my old faithful army Saurians instead, with a team mate using the KoE. I then picked it up again as a new edition dropped and went on to win the UK masters somewhat out of nowhere with it, using dual hippogryph.

    Shortly afterwards I was selected for the England team for etc 2018 - playing Saurian Ancients. KoE went on the back burner again. I placed well that year, scoring 84 points, which gave me a bit more confidence for 2019. As we had another SA player under consideration, and we had noted the Italian list did well in a tough set of draws in 2018, I was asked to use KoE for this year. Get in!

    I probably played 70 or so games between then (October) and etc, and most of them got written up. Not many to some European teams I know, but real life got in the way.

    All of it was with my tweaks to the Italian list.

    I'll try to find pictures of my list and work out how to upload them - for anyone who was in Novi Sad and saw it, mine was the green and cream Araby themed KoE with the free hand comets on the shields.
  • A little context on my approach to the army.

    The list framework is basically the Italian etc list, that evolved to my preferences through the year. I ended up here:

    635 – Duke on Pegasus, Questing Oath and Bastard Sword, Lance (Divine Judgement), Shield (Fortress of Faith), Potion of Swiftness, Might
    350 – Duke, General, Barded Warhorse, Questing Oath and Bastard Sword, Shield, Basalt Infusion, Lucky Charm
    280 – Paladin, BSB, Barded Warhorse, Questing Oath and Bastard Sword, Shield, Alchemist’s Alloy
    465 – Damsel, Path of Druidism, Barded Warhorse, Storm Clarion, Wizard Master
    708 – 12x Knights of the Realm, Standard Bearer, Musician, Champion, Banner of the Last Charge
    250 – 2x 5x Knights Aspirant, Standard Bearer
    135 – 2x 5x Yeomen Outriders, Shields, Light Armour
    125 – 5x Yeomen Outriders
    580 – 11x Knights of the Quest, Standard Bearer, Musician, Champion
    585 – 5x Pegasus Knights, Standard Bearer, Champion, Loose Formation
    4498

    I gather that the Italian originator of the list uses it very aggressively. That simply isn’t me as a player – I have been trying, through the year, to learn to press the advantage with it, but my default is to play cagey.

    The tweaks suit my style. More chaff lets me control engagements, and also gain a deployment advantage. I almost always deployed dummy units centrally then went hard in one corner, which does not need to be a defensive position but can turn into an aggressive push if I think I have an opening. I can also look spiky and as if I’m not playing the game for a few turns, then push in later once the time available to the opponent to bog me down and pick up points is reduced. This is a key strategy in how I use the army.

    I also had a second, horse Duke in the list. I feel this was a key innovation to get the army doing what I wanted. It’s a toolbox piece, with a whole range of uses. Crucially, previously, I had found that if I advanced onto an opponent I’d often find the Realms getting threatened by units that were cheaper than them (so I couldn’t justify going after them with a 700pts lance), mobile, and able to pin them in place for other things to hit. This Duke can dive into the Realms if I need to advance them through a dangerous area, letting me apply pressure with them in these situations. It also lets me play more loosely with the pegasi, since I don’t need to worry about keeping Ld9 on my main lances – so I can go wider, or eg trade the peg Duke for key threats, or push it up to get points then flee charges without losing general bubble. I can also run it in the Questing to make more of a deathstar, or charge it out as a missile – often surprisingly threatening to opponents. I can use it to block mid-end threats to allow other units to operate safely – I’ve put it in front of giants before for example, while the lance pushed.

    Basically, it does loads of stuff, and is a real Swiss army knife of a model.

    I will happily defend my use of banners in the Aspirants – I find it really ups their reliability in the marginal combats often found around the edges of the main engagement, and the extra CR really helps for breaking characters that stick on the main lances

    I had to pare a fair bit to get this – the unicorn, the Piety, the Basalt on the peg duke, Roland on the pegs and just smaller units all round.

    It suited me, though.

    Within the team I didn’t per se have a defined role – the list is flexible and can both hold points well in bad or risky matchups, and push open winning games. It is fast enough to be able to change from standing off to pushing or vice versa, depending on how the round is going and whether any dice spikes or mistakes happen.

    There’s the significant upside that people tend to do predictions on what a list is capable of not what it actually does most of the time, so it’s a nightmare for opponents in the pairings – especially for UD, who are a walkover matchup for the KoE.

    That said, one caution – I have found the army folds *very* fast if you make the wrong errors with it, so it can unexpectedly come home with 0. I was feeling nervous as the ETC came around…
  • I should probably write up my ETC games…


    With how much happened memory may be shaky, but I’ll try my best.

    I will first produce a mid length summary, and see if I fancy doing full reports on any of them.

    Practice round 1: USA, Jake Murphy (DE), breakthrough (predicted 2 – 5-8pts)

    Dark Elf spear wall with altar and academy banner plus triple bolt throwers? No thanks! Cannot fight this, went in aiming to preserve points. Got a corner with a hill in it, and used that to anchor my position.

    The Acolytes were an utter pain – not helped by turns 1 and 2 rolling 17 on 3 dice on Breath of Corruption… combined with on-fire bolt thrower rolls, and I was rapidly bleeding models even with the healing. That said, I was able to threaten him back with Duke outranging Altar, and draw units behind the hill to heal, while he stood off and moved round the right of my position towards the objective. Via careful zoning and managed risk of exposing units I was able to intimidate him into moving for the objective later than he should have, and had some late game plays. I put Questing into Acolytes with overrun into one Spear unit – likely lose the questing (no characters in) but the 200vp negative VP trade didn’t take me over a TP bracket and gave me a chance to pin stuff from getting at the objective (as other units moved up to hit in t6). Plus, his wizard was in the spear unit, so chance to get VPs maybe. Killed acolytes, he flanked with other spears, I had stone skin up and the questing somehow actually held, which combined with a failed march test left him very shakily on objective only with the wide flank of the spear unit with wizard which expanded frontage. In my 6, I had a flank into his flanking spears with realm bus – declared it, but missed that due to several nearby units I couldn’t quite legally get in due to the back corner wheel, so wasn’t able to pick up a huge chunk of points and the objective. That said, my Questing killed his wizard and survived the game, giving me a 7 out of a hard matchup, with chance for more if the realms got in.

    I feel he didn’t push me hard enough, while I was able, via shoving units out then drawing them back when depleted or threatened, to keep him off balance and unwilling to commit. Felt I played a strong defensive game, and he complimented me on my play, which felt good!

    Team wise we went down pretty hard, which was disappointing.
  • Practice round 2: Australia, Jamie (KoE), hold centre (predicted 4 – 12-14 points).

    Mirror match! He has an extra wizard, I have an extra Duke, his BSB is killy and on a peg, and I have storm clarion where he doesn’t. My units are also a shade larger and I had extra chaff. Overall, I feel I have the advantage in this matchup.

    Jamie deployed quite wide, and this left a couple of his units relatively out of the game early on – even with KoE mobility, as I was able to threaten the central board space. I had two things I was trying to do here: to zone the centre forcing him to either give me charges if he wanted to score the objective, or to let me win the objective early turns by pushing the aspirants up and fleeing with them. I also wanted to push his right flank a little as there was an aspirant unit over there and his questing on a hill, which felt like points I could score while keeping his main force back. My pegs were dedicated to this job, along with some chaff and part of the zoning of one of the lances.

    I think the plan itself was at least reasonably solid, but my implementation needed work. This was not helped, I will say, by frustration with Jamie taking well over an hour on his first two movement phases, sufficiently un interactively that I got bored and wandered off for a bit. I then had to play my turns faster to keep the game pace going, and it led to detail issues – eg letting his peg bsb get out of arc of my peg duke who I’m sure I measured he couldn’t get out of arc of. Slightly uncomfortable game, and I didn’t help myself by letting him insist on stuff where things were a tiny bit off because I was measuring approximately while trying to get a move on.

    This cost me notably on my left flank, where a flee with aspirants *just* clipped chaff at the back and went off board, costing me both units where I thought I had checked it. On the right, I was under aggressive with my pegs due to not clearing the aspirants up there, and it meant I didn’t pressure his Questing sufficiently – but I was able to score t2 and t3 objective. I lost the second aspirants as well due to a short flee roll not taking me to safety, which was a real pain.

    The centre was an issue because Jamie was using one particular piece far better than me – his pegs were in the centre, as a non-scoring piece that could charge off my aspirants, and that I couldn’t put a lance into as they would hold and I’d lose the piece I charged it with in return (or flee and I’d face a scary counter). I should have brought my pegs over to do the same – I had my duke solo on the left zoning his bsb, but I could have covered the right flank with something else easily enough, possibly my general going after the aspirants.

    Anyway, a few turns in, I’m up on objective so far, Jamie feels like he needs to make something happen. After pushing my t3 scoring aspirants back (they got caught by supporting fast cav charge after I rolled very low), he redirects peg knights into my realms plus general, and brings some stuff up behind. I’m semi OK with this – I should pick up the peg knights points, and if I get a spike on the turn he goes in, I can pursue into his army and get a big win. However, I will more likely be pinned, and may need to take some risks here as I worry about his shoving onto objective t5 and t6 with 3 units and winning it 456, with my aspirants gone. Anyway, he puts 9a on my general, I’m happy as this means less wounds (a bit under 1 on average, 1.5 in total including the attacks on the unit, I do 1.6 back and win by expected 2 or so, in his general but outside bsb…) and more odds I break him first round. He has R6 up, but still static res ought to mitigate, I expect to win combat by 1 at least. He then kills my general outright out of the unit. Ouch… Also kills 3 realms and wins combat, I stick.

    After taking my time out, I put Questing up to draw t4 objective and guarantee at least a draw, he has a couple of 11 charges on me and a 9 with his 10 of questing plus shamanism damsel (into my 11 questing plus BSB). Reason for doing this is pegs also go into his pegs, clipped on corner, with idea that I can buff realms and use static to break his pegs, with realm pursue needing a 5 to take me into range of objective to actually win it t4 and win it overall. It also blocks key charges on my Questing, and I feel I can preserve points and produce a win from this position despite the disaster with the general.

    What actually happens is he rolls out of the box and actually wins combat against my charging units into his pegs, and then makes the 11 charge with his BSB to support the 10 questing going in. I’m still semi OK with this as I have more models and more S6 attacks, am in bsb so ought to hold, and have my Duke to go in and kill his BSB if I stick, at which point I’m likely breaking through and again winning mission and scoring big. Instead, he again rolls stupidly well, breaks me, I fail to rally and go off table. In the same turn 5 aspirants flank my realms fighting in the pegs+stuff combat, high rolls, bad leadership roll, and that runs off fails to rally and goes off table too. From here, Jamie is able to mop up and I get a 3-17 loss (due to drawing objective).

    Ouch.

    He was very aggro while I was more defensive, he did use his peg knights much better than I did and if I had been better about this I wouldn’t have faced the risks that went so dramatically wrong. Equally, I felt he was too passive with his left flank and essentially let me pressure the objective to establish an early lead. I also *really* cost myself with losing Aspirants, one to a tiny mis angle and one to a short flee I could probably have used a unit to make even shorter. I need to stop just assuming stuff will be ok after a quick approx. measure and actually stop and check with opponent it’ll be ok – this is a regular source of errors when I am rushing or feeling under pressure, and a weakness in my play. Jamie didn’t help though by not giving any support to my attempts to show what I was doing, while taking forever over his stuff such that I felt rushed to do mine quickly. Partially my fault for getting frazzled and not just calmly and carefully asking him to go through checking it with me like I should have.

    So yeah. Some misplays that let it happen, and I was running out of board control due to being down on support units due to those early errors and under-using my pegs: but also Jamie was rather lucky and could easily have gone down big with different dice.

    (Basically, I need not to go on tilt when opponent is getting to me).

    We actually narrowly lost the round, and the Ashes, which was a real shame.

    ETC round 1: Belarus, Ogres (Banners) – predicted a 4 (12-15).

    360 - Khan: Battle Standard Bearer, Brace of Ogre Pistols (4+), Cult Leader, Obsidian Rock, Viper's Curse
    660- Shaman: Firebrand, General, Iron Fist, Light Armour, Pyromancy, Wizard Master, Crown of Autocracy, Lygur's Tongue, Yeti Furs
    185 - 3 x Bruisers
    185 - 3 x Bruisers
    786 -11 x Tribesmen: fcg, Iron Fist, Rending Banner
    824 - 6 x Mercenary Veterans with Ogre Pistols: fcg, Plate Armour, Poison Attacks, Banner of the Gyengget
    205 - 3 x Bombardiers: m
    205 - 3 x Bombardiers: m
    205 - 3 x Bombardiers: m
    405 - Frost Mammoth: Ogre Crossbow (3+)
    475 - Rock Aurochs: Ogre Crossbow (3+)

    I felt this was a favourable matchup – especially in banners, as the 3x3 bombardiers and 2x3 bruisers would be ideal targets, while the army could not reliably keep me from pushing in while hiding them behind the mainline units.

    My opponent’s deployment compounded this: we were deploying in Dawn Assault, and he placed some of the bombardiers early on the forward corner. After a while, I ran out of information-free drops and wanted a shot at first, so dropped my army around the hill on the left of my DZ, basically opposite the bombardiers (and maneaters to their right). His monsters, tribes and bruisers were further right and would take some time to get into the game, giving me the opportunity to establish an early lead.

    I thought fairly hard about whether the advantage of a hard push down the left flank early was worth declining to pray for a much higher shot at first, however in the end decided against it – it felt like this matchup was favourable enough that I didn’t need to get risky, given I’d force a roll off anyway, and even if I went second I couldn’t see a way for him to reduce the left flank pressure quickly or effectively enough.

    Opponent got first turn. Proceeded to bring some of the bombardiers forward (!) as well as starting to bring the right flank round, but not with sufficient alacrity. I did lose a chaff unit to Pyro, sadly. I was then able to push out hard from the corner at the bombardiers and maneaters, bringing other chaff up to a covered position from where they could ensure a safe commit into Maneaters, while pressuring the bombardiers, especially with Realms.

    My opponent’s shooting phase and magic in response then removed 11 of my 12 realms in one go, and *both* of my remaining chaff units. Ow… This suddenly looks a lot less favourable.

    I still have pegasi and questing to push, but had been using questing to use their zoning (on a hill) to constrain the right flank from pressing in. I figure if I go for the maneaters now the risk is high I get trapped and destroyed. I ask my captain, and he agrees that I have the tools to still play for the mission (pegasi!) while not risking it myself, and should concentrate on producing scenario win and not losing any points I don’t have to.

    So, back damaged realm survivor behind hill, use Questing to zone advancing forces, use pegs and solo general to pressure bombardiers, start clearing them up. End up overrunning off board with pegs, using Questing to ensure he couldn’t easily threaten my return onto table, then going into Maneaters. It felt a bit shaky – he had a frost mammoth behind, could have fled through and I’d have been gambling on ld9 redirect – but I realised I’d otherwise be gambling on ld9 march test so might as well take the play with points available. Opponent surprises me by holding (had flaming swords and children of umi up, and forgot I got 2 rounds of attacks from Duke). I delete maneaters with Duke alone, mammoth fails panic so I don’t get easy overrun in but instead reform to face his main force.

    Sadly, while this has been going on he has been pushing into my backfield. After deployment, and excepting the maneaters error, his play was very good and had inspired moments – kept darting bsb (with vipers curse) and shaman in and out of units to get at damaged stuff, and his shooting and magic rolls were way above average consistently all game. I wasn’t able to heal the lone Realm as he stopped summer growth each time, and in any case had to focus on keeping my Questing alive as models kept dying to that string of above average rolls for his ranged damage.

    He gets the solo Realm in the end, via BSB moved onto hill able to flee back, and also gets an Aspirant unit, and gives up very little, but I’ve preserved points fairly well, scored enough to draw on VPs, and won mission for a 13-7.

    On prediction, but I’d have preferred more and likely would have got it were it not for the massive dice spikes. (A note on dice: I had some poor ones this ETC, and a bit of rage about that is only human – but I will always try to after venting work out where the mistake was that let them happen, or what I can learn to avoid next time round. Regularly blaming results on dice – as opposed to accepting they have an influence, but working to look past them to the places to improve – is a way to get no better at this game. Worth looking out for bias too: it could easily have gone worse for me had the pegs been focussed on in the late game and failed panic, for example; or if my opponent had fled the maneaters, I could easily have failed the 9 redirect and had a mammoth hit them; these are situations you don’t want to be in.)

    (Worth noting on losing chaff – partly my fault and a learning point, I had one unit within Ld range unless he killed exactly 4, he killed the 4, I fled the 11 needed to go off table, which was only way other unit could take panic, which it did and went off. No easy way to stop 11/12 realms being shot off in a turn though. As a general rule, balance between protecting and using my chaff early is one I don’t have down yet.)

    Team wise, Craig used 4 dice on Comet turn 1 against Anton, blew his wizard up, and went down 20. Mikey failed rerollable 9 on his greybeards, and lost 19 (in a turn 6 combat with counters set up for bottom half of the turn that likely produce a big win). Warren failed to get any traction against the BH, he was hoping to pyro a bunch of stuff off for the banners objective but magic didn’t kill a single unit all game, and his spear warlord epic failed against minotaurs, so between these 3 big losses, we went down hard (not a cap, but I think 66-94?).

    Sadly Mikey failed that test right after the last point I could reasonably have engaged shove mode. Even so, if I don’t get that t1 spike (or design list or manage play to better mitigate), I think this matchup is a walkover to me given my opponent’s deployment and this can help counteract things. Possibly, in retrospect, I got my magic phase priority wrong? More seriously, I think I would actually have been right to not pray and shove. If I clear that left flank a turn earlier, I reduce the impact of his shooting (especially as I get chaff in the way before he gets a chance to shoot them), and then roll over that flank, and have enough stuff left to recover, back off, and then re-engage at a time of my choosing.

    In any case, being up enough to still produce 13 after a run of poor dice is a good place to be.


    ETC game 2 – Switzerland, Paul Berclaz (Dwarfs), king of the hill – predicted 3 (9-11 points)

    Paul “Polux” Berclaz - Dwarven Holds
    220 - Engineer, General, Shield, Rune of Denial
    255 - 2x 10x Greybeards, Throwing Weapons, Shield, Musician
    160 - 10x Clan Warriors, Shields, Musician
    180 - 10x Clan Warriors, Vanguard, Shields, Musi-cian
    280 - 10x Guild Marksmen, Guild-Crafted Hand-guns, Shields, Musician
    265 - 10x Miners, Shields, Throwing Weapons, Musician
    330 - 2 x 15x King's Guard, Musician
    130 - Vengeance Seeker
    210 - Steam Bomber
    305 - 2 x 2x Steam Attack Copters
    350 - 2 x Grudge Buster
    255 - Cannon
    320 - Organ Gun, Rune Crafted
    4500

    We were certainly surprised to be playing Switzerland down here… they are consistently a strong team and seemed to have gone even more that way this year. Paul is also apparently their strongest player. They went on to finish 3rd.

    A factor to note is that nobody in the UK plays shooty/MSU dwarfs. I’m actually tempted to give them a go myself, give the meta a shock…

    I knew that these lists often scored highly on the continent, figured it was likely down to the volume of shooting, and didn’t fancy engaging this except in very controlled circumstances. As such, my deployment was very defensive (noting that a defensive deployment with this list doesn’t have to mean a defensive gameplan).

    Objectives were a wall just out of his DZ on the far left, and a lake partway out of my DZ in the centre. Looking at the matchup, I decided that playing for the objective (which was to the left of a piece of impassable) would just channel me into a narrow area of the board while being shot – as such I made no effort to play for it in deployment. I would instead try to eat any points he sent after my objective, and try to produce the win this way. I also retained the potential to push out.

    After it became clear I was staying out of t1 reach of the organ gun, and as far as possible outside 34 of the copters, on the centre-right, Paul dropped to try to force me to take first. His deployment was fairly widely spread, with notable elements being the organ gun fairly back and slightly left of centre, and the vanguard warriors relatively to the right. One grudge buster centre-left, one on the right board edge. I was using a centre-field forest for shade from much of his stuff as well as range, and a wall right of centre also protecting units. Of note is that I didn’t run Duke in peg knights – instead having it behind a building on the centre-left, such that I didn’t face the risk of losing a Pegasus then the Duke. I can afford to play without this piece, and it deters left hand units moving round towards my objective, and can even push up later if I feel it is needed.

    Paul won the roll and forced me to go first.

    Early turns were kinda passive. I saw no need to push up into his range, though I did bring the right flank aspirants up a little to deter the grudge buster on that flank. For the most part, Paul was also just playing a positional game – he couldn’t really make plays with the copters, due to risk I Storm Clarion and rush them down. I declined to take the bait of 10 warriors, moving other units to threaten them who could use them as a springboard, and he backed them off a little. Minor shifting for advantage at best.

    Miners came on, and along with a copter had a go at my Peg Duke. In retrospect, I wonder after taking 0W on the turn they came on if I should have just turned round and tried to kill them – as it was, I put the peg knights wider and flew the Duke in, using the centre field forest as cover, so I had a threatening position and also protection for the Duke, having skipped a couple of turns of cannon fire.

    Reason I should have likely turned is this did expose me to a couple of turns of fire, I did lose a peg t3, didn’t get a heal off and in t4 cannon hit Duke on 5+ - and I made the 5+ ward. Phew. Difference between a 10 as it was on table, and an 8… (It’s possible if I go for miners I also get exposed to one cannon shot, but get points out of the bargain).

    Anyway, in my t4 I had started to make a limited push into midfield. I knew I was probably OK for objective, he had kingsguard and miners coming round from the left but I had intact and safe chaff to stop them, plus units to deter if needed.

    I’d take some shooting, but forest would mitigate the worst. This is indeed how it played out – helped by some strong save rolls. Paul had to respond which meant bringing the copters out to play, and I’d finally have a shot to Clarion.

    So, I blew Clarion, moved aspirants up the right flank hard, realms alongside with general moving in, questing into forest only going 8 but keeping cover, pegs shift to maintain a semi safe distance but threaten various units. (I forget the exact details of their movement tbh). Some aspirants over on the left moved to threaten the bomber. Basically a measured push aimed at giving away few to no points (barring the ever present risk of losing Duke to cannon), but with the potential to score a fair few VPs.

    Paul moved warriors up adjacent to grudge buster on the right, setting up a potential flank but also an easier target for my aspirants. Greybeard conga blocks my realms (but doesn’t stop general charging out). Kingsguard reform wide to block easy charge into copters on that flank who tuck in behind even with their 2” march movement. Bomber on the left shoots aspirants staring at it, manages to kill 2, and I fail the panic, fail to rally and go off table – damn, 450-point swing there… Such is the risk of trying things. Suppose my Duke made his ward, these things go both ways.

    In my 6, peg knights have a 9 charge into organ gun with an overrun into his general Engineer, so I go for that. Might have been some shorter stuff, I forget, but team had told me at this point to go for the maximum points I could get as other games had just gone wrong. In the same vein, I put general solo out of Realms into Kingsguard, and Questing into Vengeance Seeker with a short overrun into Kingsguard to fight again if they managed to kill it, with a further overrun into the copters behind (unlikely to kill Vengeance Seeker sure, but looked like the biggest source of points available – else it’s probably correct to charge easier targets). Aspirants on the right decline to go for grudge buster and charge warriors, somewhat against this philosophy but I made the decision before the push call.

    Pegs fail to make it, sadly – loads of points on a 50-50 dice roll, such is life. Questing also fail to break through the Vengeance Seeker, leaving Duke (with Stone Skin up) to futilely beat the kingsguard in combat twice but fail to break them. Aspirants broke through warriors and ran them down.

    Paul’s go 6 was just trying to shoot points off – cannon thankfully, after again hitting Duke, bounced off his ward. Charmed life it seems. I’d given up 250vp for aspirants and some fast cav (I forget how many thereof), had killed a vengeance seeker, some warriors, maybe some other bits I forget – either way, the game ended a 10-10 draw.

    Reasonably happy with that against a top level opponent in a matchup I was unfamiliar with – but in retrospect, I do wonder if I could have done things differently in a number of ways:

    -Could I have just pushed hard early? Pegs into forest, questing into forest, dare him to risk my charge reach. Higher odds of going down big, but I think the army is kinda scared of my storm clarion and high movement, particularly once he dropped for second and wouldn’t have units in position where 9 move would be enough to chaff me. I think I missed an opportunity here – failed to deviate from my game plan. That said this is very much hindsight – not knowing precisely how the dwarfs played, I was wary of falling into a trap and giving up a big loss, when in previous years we had lost small to the Swiss team, so points would likely be tight. (As it turns out, we got capped, so meh).

    -Did I under use the pegs? If I turned the duke round to fight the miners earlier in the game, I reckon I could have used them a bit more aggressively to mess with the dwarf army’s positioning, and risking organ gun shots against a hard target unit through cover isn’t too worrying really, especially with Druidism. Would have to watch grudge buster charge threat, and likely units like the vengeance seeker would have pressed up, but maybe I could have used the organ gun as a springboard earlier. Unsure without looking back at the table and I didn’t get any photos. Perhaps should have used Questing for this instead, as they can take a charge?

    In any case Paul told me he’d been warned to be careful as I was a really good player, which I was immensely flattered by, so woo ego boost!

    He was a lovely opponent to play and the game was very good fun despite little happening.
  • Thanks for writing.

    I also used last year the ITY ETC list and changed it a bit (added bolt thrower etc...) now i am as you and use the list with my strength. I am also not an aggressiv player

    What do you think about this take on?

    Display Spoiler
    ++ Kingdom of Equitaine (Kingdom of Equitaine 2.0) [4,497pts] ++

    + Characters +

    Castellan [130pts]: Bannerman, Horse, Light Armour, Light Lance, Shield

    Damsel [385pts]: Druidism, Wizard Master
    . Barded Warhorse

    Duke on Pegasus [680pts]: Army General, Lance, Might, Shield
    . Questing Oath
    . Special Equipment: Basalt Infusion, Divine Judgement, Potion of Strength - Cannot be taken by Towering Presence, Potion of Swiftness
    . . Fortress of Faith

    Paladin [340pts]: Barded Warhorse, Battle Standard Bearer, Lance, Shield
    . Grail Oath
    . Special Equipment: Aether Icon, Alchemist's Alloy, Wyrmwood Core

    + Core +

    Knights Aspirant [230pts]: 5x Knight Aspirant

    Knights Aspirant [230pts]: 5x Knight Aspirant

    Knights of the Realm [708pts]: Champion, 12x Knight of the Realm, Musician, Standard Bearer
    . Banner Enchantment: Banner of the Last Charge

    + Special +

    Knights of the Grail [784pts]: Banner Enchantment, Champion, 9x Knight of the Grail, Musician, Standard Bearer

    The Green Knight [375pts]

    + Airbourne Gallantry +

    Pegasus Knights [635pts]: Champion, 5x Pegasus Knight, Skirmisher, Standard Bearer
    . Banner Enchantment: Banner of Roland

    ++ Total: [4,497pts] ++


    At first i wanted only 3 pegs but this would be too hard vs Warmaschines. I added the green knight as stubborn block and castellan as i like single chaff models more and the free upgrade bannermen is really fun! It is also chaff with option to accepted duels

    Disadvantage only 1 real chaff (could remove 2 pegs or so for more) but i think with green knight as chaff and aspirants and flying threat it can work

                    

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    Why are the strongest characters all bad.......
  • Personally I like having more deployment drops to keep opponents guessing before picking a corner. But that's perhaps just me. Can see why you like the castellan.

    I also favour questing over grails as they act as a more reliable anvil (more scr!) and lose character protection less quickly, but can again see the appeal of grails especially with the rise of DL.

    I love the green knight but chose a different approach to extra single model combat piece myself.

    Wyrmwood and aether icon is a great bsb setup.

    Fundamentally it's a rock solid basic list framework - tweaks to it are largely about finding what suits you.
  • In any case Paul told me he’d been warned to be careful as I was a really good player, which I was immensely flattered by, so woo ego boost!

    I know a good player when I see one, so as a responsible captain I warned my player (as you might not be as known as the likes of Craig or Mikey) ;)

    Very nice and thorough debriefing, I will show it to Paul.

    It was a nice round against you as always (we played 3x in the last three ETC - it's becoming a classic!)


    We were certainly surprised to be playing Switzerland down here… they are consistently a strong team and seemed to have gone even more that way this year.

    We drawed World Champions Spain as opponent for the first game, hence our initial 67-93 defeat :)
    ETC Team Switzerland (Captain)
    - Skaven (2008, 2010)
    - Bretonnia (2009, 2013, 2014)
    - Deamons of Chaos (2015)
  • The Kremlin wrote:

    Personally I like having more deployment drops to keep opponents guessing before picking a corner. But that's perhaps just me. Can see why you like the castellan.

    I also favour questing over grails as they act as a more reliable anvil (more scr!) and lose character protection less quickly, but can again see the appeal of grails especially with the rise of DL.

    I love the green knight but chose a different approach to extra single model combat piece myself.

    Wyrmwood and aether icon is a great bsb setup.

    Fundamentally it's a rock solid basic list framework - tweaks to it are largely about finding what suits you.
    I know. I had a big talk about Questing vs grails with DanT.
    I see the reason behind more SCR. But is this true is the other question.
    Grails have +1ws +1r +1 ward.

    Depending on the enemy this alone could give +16% +16% + 16% more cr for you.

    Questing have 3 ranks more often then grails

    It comes down to preferences but I don't think Questing have more static CR in the end. At start and on paper yes they have it


    Can't wait for more text from you

    Edit
    So you think perhaps dropping some pegasus perhaps only 3 instead of 5 could work and add extra yeomen as drop?
    190 + 84 one grail less would allow me 2*5 yeomen as save drop. Or one yeomen and one castellan

    Have to try. I think having 1 chaff 2 aspirants and green knight is enough for me personally

                    

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  • ETC game 3: Petar Curcic, Serbia, SA – hold centre (predicted a 4 – 12-15)

    675 - Cuatl Lord, General, BSB, Rending Banner, Jade Staff, Wizard Master, Divination
    935 - Saurian Warlord, Alpha Carnosaur, Halberd, Blessed Inscriptions, Starfall Shard, Obsidian Rock
    794 - 29x Saurian Warriors, Serpent, Spear, S, M, C, Banner of the Relentless Company
    783 - 24x Temple Guard, S, C, M, Totem of Mixoatl
    470 - 1x Taurosaur, Great Bow
    540 - 1x Taurosaur, Engine of Ancients
    140 - 5x Skink Hunters, Vanguard, Blowpipe
    160 - 15x Skink Braves, M
    4497


    So, we come down to the bottom tables, not where we envisaged being – and draw Serbia. I get paired into their SA – I view this as a good matchup for me. It has very limited and relatively low movement chaff, loads of good targets for my Questing models, and its main combat threats are static compared to the easily targeted monsters. Plus, I have played SA for years so have a good handle on how they play and hence how to beat them.

    I’m going to give less detail on this game, because my opponent was 11 years old and somewhat upset, so it doesn’t seem fair. We did what we could to make it an enjoyable game for him, despite my not being good with younger people – many thanks to my captain Mikey, and to their team, for providing support. Go team Serbia for securing the future of the game!

    I actually nearly messed it up, due to failing a chaff march test – my detail play was secondary to keeping things calm - but dice pulled me through for the 20-0 win after the Temple Guard got surrounded.

    Team won 138-22. And Craig got more than one point!
  • ETC Game 4 – Norway, Hans Blom, UD – spoils of war, predicted 5 (16+)

    Hans “Evisor” Blom (c) - Undying Dynasties
    240 - Nomarch, General, Crown of the Pharaos, Scroll of Dessication
    280 - Death Cult Hierarch, Hierophant, Path of Cosmology, Book of Arcane Mastery, Wizard Adept
    350 - Death Cult Hierarch, Path of Evocation, Wiz-ard Master
    215 - Tomb Architect, Binding Scroll
    170 - 20x Skeletons, Musician
    485 - 2x 6x Skeleton Chariots
    615 - 8x Skeleton Chariots
    590 - 2x 6x Tomb Cataphracts, Musician
    160 - 3x 1x Sand Scorpion
    4500

    I predict this as a big win to me – UD really struggle against KoE, and I sanity checked my prediction with Amit (our UD player and next year’s captain). They utterly hate the peg Duke, but in general beyond this they prefer to fight chosen combats that can be buffed, and for fights to grind on where their healing can come into play. KoE are very much the opposite – look for sharp decisive combats and have the reach to choose them (especially with the extra Questing reach).

    That said, the matchup requires attention to detail and a bit of care, since it can go wrong very fast if misplayed. Key is delivering the Duke, and getting the best out of chaff (since the lances will be blocked by scorpions mid game).

    I’m surprised I was paired into this – after a number of games intended to ensure my read on the matchup was accurate, I’d actually played less UD games as I felt no team would allow the pairing to happen. And here we are…

    Marching Columns deployment was an interesting factor in this game, combined with the large size of the UD unit footprints, and a piece of impassable roughly central in the UD deployment zone. After a couple of units went down on the left, starting from the leftmost edge, it became very clear to me that the cataphracts would have to be placed on the right flank. As such, I was able to concentrate force in that region, aiming to pick up the fear-causing cataphracts plus the one 6-strong chariot unit deployed over there – and using probably the Realms to deter the other chariots. Questing could both herd Cataphracts and herd the central bunker.

    Sadly, without measuring, my opponent has made it *just* impossible to chaff both cataphract units and the RH chariots with a single conga of fastcav, and he is doing all he can to target my chaff. Thankfully, the Aspirants also play this role, so I’m able to bring up pegs+Duke to threaten both Cataphract units (and hence split his attention as to where buffs should go – a move that is very important against UD). My Questing threaten his bunker and centre, while Realms hang back a bit angled to the left against the other chariots, and I think I split my general Duke off as I didn’t feel he was threatened at range and I wanted another charge threat that couldn’t be blocked by the same scorpion as blocked the Questing. (Had both him and some Aspirants able to charge any blocking position).

    Worth noting that opponent’s scoring was the bunker and the Cataphracts (who I had marked for death), so I’d likely only need to collect a single token, all being well.

    Opponent backs up chariots on the right, brings up a scorpion to block my Questing (failed ambush on the other two) and remains in a standoff on the left with my Realms. I think I let a touch of the reaper go on my BSB – with Dis9 and ward save and Druidism healing, I can if needs be let one go off in this match in order to secure a safe position for the win. Took one wound.

    I think his movement, plus managing to get a chaff unit despite my best efforts to protect it, meant I couldn’t chaff LH cataphracts or the very right flank chariots with yeomen alone. Nonetheless, I wanted to get started on clearing units before my momentum ran out – so pegs went into central Cataphracts anyway (going into their flank). On the right, I used 5 aspirants to chaff the chariots – initially messed this up a bit, forgot to mark the unit and had to go back and re measure and fiddle, so ended up getting a bit panicky until I worked out I could just give them the flank and the movement worked out nicely with loads to spare. On the cataphract unit, while I couldn’t quite get yeomen round to block, I *could* fire my BSB out solo to stand in front – again a risk, but should give me the unit the turn after if he goes in. I also put my Duke solo into the rear of the Scorpion blocking my Questing, while the unit itself pivoted to see past the Scorpion and threaten the UD bunker.

    Overall consequence of this sequence of plays should be a dead Cataphract unit with my pegs staring at the 2nd (whether or not my BSB lives – I would try to buff him), chariots on the right blocked, dead scorpion (and general Duke aiming to run off to that flank to pin and kill the 6 unsupported chariots), and then me regrouping my main force against bunker plus two chariot units. Scorpions still a pain, but I should be able to manage them and the chariots.

    This all looks rosy until the combat phase. My pegs do, as expected, delete the Cataphracts trivially, and I go to check the overrun path of the RH chariots so I can pivot to ensure being out the way. (Had loads of room, just checking to be safe). Except, remember how I changed which facing the chariots were in when chaffing? I entirely failed to spot that this change, made in a moment of panic after I realised I’d not marked my unit before moving, meant the back corner of the chariots would clip the table edge when charging – and hence I’d align to him, and the overrun path would clearly hit my pegs. Disaster!

    I did have a way out: to overrun closer to the central Cataphracts, who were blocked by my BSB. On a 9 or less on the dice, I am out of their path – on a 10+, I’ll need my BSB to not die in a round. Of course, I rolled a 10, so would then need to rely on my BSB.

    My Duke into the rear of the Scorpion managed… zero wounds. Leaving it on 1W left, after charge and rear accounted for. It even managed to turn round…

    His next go, zero scorpions arrive, cataphracts go into my BSB, and chariots go into the blocking Aspirants. Please, BSB, hold up…

    Spoilers: he didn’t hold up. Cataphracts overran into my Pegasus knights. Not good… Oh, and my Duke *again* failed to touch the blocking Scorpion – otherwise, I could pivot him into the path the Cataphracts would take when pursuing pegs towards my Questing, allowing Questing a counter charge – such that he’d likely just have to not pursue, or else lose the unit (and I’d be closer to recovering things). As it was, cataphracts are free to pursue, and ran down my pegs.

    From here, I do feel like all is not totally lost – I still have some capable units. Just need to make best use of them and not give away any more points. I can clear one chariot unit on the left with Realms, needing a short overrun to clear arc of the second, and it’s safer than waiting for scorpions to hem me in. Questing then need to fight the Cataphracts, while Duke when he gets free can hunt RH chariots. I should split his attention and make scoring difficult.

    As it is, realms do overrun past, but when he turns round, I fail a key march test to get clear of arcs – so have to flee a charge and trust on ld8 rally. Instead, I roll a 6 on flee distance and he gets 11 to pursue and catches me.

    I’d bailed the Damsel out to support Questing+Duke on the right, and have my points more split, at least. Duke blocks chariots, Questing prepare to fight Cataphracts – but then Duke dies to chariots after I, despondent stressed and not entirely sober (see below), messed up my dispel priority. My questing promptly fail panic and go off the board.

    0-20 loss in a good matchup that was paired for… ouch.

    Basically, I was sloppy with my chaff movement and paid for it. Should have marked aspirants, should have when I realised my mistake stopped, calmed down, and re done it properly including checking. Instead I rushed as I felt thrown by mistake (as opponent could legitimately have left me there as I hadn’t marked), and got things wrong in a way that cost me the game. UD are strong enough that this kind of reversal of momentum results in big losses. One detail in how chaff was placed, messed up because I felt rushed (through no fault bar my own), and the game collapses…

    My play on the defensive wasn’t to my usual standard were I playing that way from the get-go, either. The dice didn’t help me, but I gave them the chance to get involved.

    I should also congratulate my opponent for some strong plays, particularly around movement of his bunker and characters to get the best of the chances he was given.

    There’s another factor that is worth discussing for its influence on team event performance though – alcohol. Simply put, I’d been very emotionally stressed out by game 3 (no fault of anyone involved, I just found the situation difficult to handle), and was a ball of nerves going into this round. Over lunch, I’d basically inhaled a couple of beers to calm me down, and was apparently tipsier than I realised by this stage. I imagine this mental plus physical state contributed to my collapse in play – and it cost the team. My apologies to them, as were also expressed in person, and I saved the drinking until after the rounds finished day 3.

    Team won 82-78, but we’d hoped for more to keep moving back up the tables. My fault…
  • ETC Round 5, Ireland – Stephen Coleman, DL, Breakthrough – predicted a 2 (6-8)

    Stephen “The Devourer” Coleman - Daemon Le-gions
    665 - Kuulima’s Deceiver, General, Dominion of Envy, Venom Sacs, Piercing Spike, Unnatural Roots, Brimstone Secretions (Guiding), Wizard Master
    860 - Omen of Savar, Divination, Living Shield, Dextrous Tentacles, Hammer Hand, Bronze Back-bone, Brimstone Secretions (Guiding), Wizard Master
    583 - 22x Myrmidons, Champion, Standard, Musi-cian, Whipcrack Tail
    543 - 23x Succubi, Standard, Musician, Mesmeris-ing Plumage
    280 - 2 x 10x Hellhounds, Grasping Proboscis
    554 - 2 x 5x Clawed Fiends, Standard, Musician, Mesmerising Plumage
    176 - 2x Mageblight Gremlins, Greenfire Eyes
    4495

    It’s worth noting here that I’d had less games than I would have liked against the new DL. Simply a factor of the real life constraints I had going into the ETC, and luck of the draw of who I played at events / who happened to be free for games when I was.

    My instinct, backed by what experience I had, was that this would be challenging. In general the DL infantry blocks are a pain for KoE – they don’t break, and while a good charge will take a big chunk out of a unit, even a few survivors can do surprisingly well in the grind against a lance in subsequent rounds. Add in the magic, and just how annoying Hellhounds are, and this one is painful.

    Got to say though that I was happy to see no guiding Piercing Spike on the infantry – and I can bully the Omen somewhat with the Peg Duke if needs be. 5s of fiends are also small enough that they can’t be that overconfident against lances, particularly as I move characters between units.

    We then have an… interesting start to the round. In that one of the Irish players simply didn’t show up, and at least two more were still loudly and enthusiastically drunk. Ciaran looked to have an impressive hangover.

    Of course, it was my luck to draw one of two members of the team that don’t drink…

    However, this state of affairs left us confident elsewhere in the round (Mikey, in a fit of sportsmanship, offered 15-5 to the empty chair instead of the 20-0 he could have insisted on – those Irish empty chairs are good at negotiating…)

    Amit also came back with a 14 against Tom Uden (UD mirror) in all of 5 minutes, after they agreed a result. This left us 29-11 up with two games in, and we expected wins in a couple of the others based purely on the state of the opposition, who were having trouble staying upright.

    (Respect to Ireland!)

    So, I didn’t need to take any risks here, in a losing matchup. Deliver points as safely as possible, push if the opportunity presents but no need to force anything. Gently does it.

    This was helped by the board being split by an impassable somewhat right of centre in the midfield, and Stephen mostly going left of it. With a higher dummy deployment count, I was able to disguise my intentions then go hard right of the building – with possibility for Realms to come either side of it, and pegs able to move about as needed, so that I could put pressure on the rightmost infantry unit (the succubi). The fiends were both on the left, and if they went to score I was happy to have them out of the game for a bit. Only unit out right was 10 hounds, with another 10 central behind the succubi.

    I was aiming to basically end up producing minor points out of trades – try to pick up hounds, gremlins if he used them aggressively, only give away a bit of chaff. And then see if I could force a play against the infantry. Early on I trapped RH unit of hounds with chaff then removed them with pegs+Duke; Realms poked round left of building intimidating succubi while Questing came round the right and top side of it facing off against the other Hounds. I knew they’d hurt if they went in but would also hopefully hand me a chunk of points, and I could then view the state of my units and whether I wanted to push further into his army or just draw mission and take my points. (He has great difficulty chasing me, I feel).

    More experienced readers may be aware of what I am missing: just how scary Hounds are. I’d been running my maths against a crippled unit, but instead he put them in aiming at my characters, and one failed ld8 rerollable Growl test later, I had a dead BSB. Thankfully I passed Steadfast!

    At a similar time point gremlins came up: I’d put Damsel in a small Aspirant unit so they couldn’t come up and chaff main lances, but they were able to engage my Realms a turn later and pin me briefly, before Aspirants came to the rescue. At least I’d got points for 2x hounds and the gremlins, but my BSB going down lost me that points buffer I was enjoying, and made things a bit more risky. It also cost me positionally as regarded going for the Succubi.

    So, I basically ran away into the corner at this point, keeping threatening and angling but not taking much risk. Drew objective, took the 10 (still above prediction). Not much else of interest happened, it was all using building and countercharge threat to deter him from coming at me, and angling for a late game push out that was never quite viable.

    Still, I can’t help but feel I dodged a bullet here. I hadn’t realised how small of a spike was required to lose BSB to the Hellhounds, and at that point if I fail the Ld9 steadfast I’ve lost general, bsb, questing unit, and likely get run over for a big loss. Not a gamble I should be taking. I’d done the rough maths and figured about 1W against a character if I passed Growl, but failed to appreciate the risk compared to how little was given up to get the chance. Good play from my opponent here, and in future I should be more patient (if I can!)

    10-10 draw, and the team won big. I think we got 99-61? So didn’t quite cap them. Impressive given their state at the start – I think Tanka’s game against Henry went against his expectations, not sure what else went wrong.

    Cheers Ireland – fun round as ever. Definitely helped me cheer up after the disastrous day 2.