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    Alright, on to Round 3, I was sitting at 14 points after 2 games so I really needed a medium+ win to get back on track for my goal of finishing on the podium. I ended up paired against Darrel who is a NorCal guy I’ve played a few times in various tournaments with a great looking Saurian Ancients army that was going full monster mash! I was especially looking forward to this match up as it featured the two apex predators in a Mothra vs Godzilla style showdown!

    The Sea Dragon Host:

    His List:

    Deployment/Objective: Refused Flank and Breakthrough

    Thoughts on the Match up:
    I rated this as a green for me as I had a lot of tools to deal with the monsters and felt I could easily avoid his main block until I was ready for it.
    With this objective I had a real concern with those 3x5 raptor riders getting past me which means I’d have to spread across a wide frontage
    I have to apologize in advance as I only have one picture from this battle. We were getting to the end of a long day and I just neglected them. I’ll explain this battle in a summarized format.

    Druidism Adept: Healing Waters, Stone Skin, Regrowth
    MoCT: Awaken, Healing Lash
    Cosmo: Touch, Hered, Perception, Altered Sight

    He won choice of sides and I chose to drop for first

    Sea Dragon Host Deployment (pic is after my first turn movement):
    Lancers, Spears, SGR (out of sight behind spears), QG, Geagle, AD, SGR in ruins, Lions, Geagle

    Snake Swarms, Pteradons (were behind the tower, spoiler alert), Raptor Cav (he’s picking them up in the pic to move them forward), Tauro, Raptor Cav, BSB Tauro, Raptor Cav, Alpha, Camos (in forest), Saurus block w Adept, Skink Block

    Sea Dragon Host Turn 1:

    My opponent had deployed cautiously so I advanced across the board and I focused on keeping my QG/Cosmo mage in line of sight of the pteradons.

    I manage to magic/shoot the pteradons off the board and do a couple wounds to the swarms

    Saurian Ancients Turn 1:

    My opponent moves forward aggressively with his raptor cav/saurus block, but stays relatively cautious with his monsters
    Magic: With his adept all the way on the right nothing really of consequence happens with his magic

    Sea Dragon Host Turn 2:

    My opponent had moved up his leftmost (from my perspective) raptor cav next to the tower within easy charge range of my AD. If I destroyed them and overran 4 inches I’d be out of arc of the BSB Tauro and Alpha, so I took this charge and made it in.
    On the right, my opponent had moved his skinks up aggressively with no countercharges from the saurus block, so I charged my lions into the skinks.
    Other than these charges I moved my lancers/spears up on either side of the tower to threaten counters.

    Magic: I got awaken the beast strength off on the AD, but this was a weak phase

    I took more wounds off the swarms and wiped out the chameleons and did 1 wound to the regular taurosaur

    Combat: This was a fun round
    Started off with the lions failing to hit the skinks and taking no wounds in return. I lost by 1 and stuck.
    The Prince/AD swing and kill two raptor cav…taking no wounds in return. The raptor cav stick on a rerollable 4

    Saurian Ancients Turn 2:

    My opponent wanted to capitalize on his good fortune and charged all three monsters into the AD along with one of the raptor cav units in its flank. The Alpha needed a 12 and failed, the BSB needed a 7 and made it. The regular taurosaur needed a 4 on the dice and failed…got really luck there. The raptor cav made it.
    The snake swarms moved up to chaff my lancers and the saurus warriors moved to countercharge the lions next turn

    Magic: Once again the range hampered my opponents phase and I basically only needed to worry about regrowth

    The lions killed a few skinks and lost one in return and everyone stuck, I was able to reform out of the saurus line of sight
    In the epic clash of the titans when the dust settled the AD had taken 7 wounds and managed to kill the BSB tauro in response, I did use the nova flare. The depleted raptor unit fled from this combat and would eventually run off the board. The other unit stuck on steadfast.

    Sea Dragon Host Turn 3:
    Whoa! I had gotten pretty lucky there, but I wasn’t out of the woods yet.

    I took the lancers into the snake swarms, I needed to get some help to the AD ASAP and they were the only ones in position to do so, I took 2 wounds from the DTs.
    I moved the spears forward to counter the remaining raptor unit and also position for later turns on the saurus warrior block if the opportunity presented itself.
    I chaffed the Alpha with one Geagle and positioned the other to charge the skinks next turn

    I focused everything I had on healing/protecting the AD, I managed to heal 2 wounds and get up Awaken toughness.

    I put the one SGR who could see into the Taurosaur but failed. The other two went into the alpha with no luck. The QG went into the Saurus… [Read More]
  • Okay, onto Round 2 and I was up against none other than my good friend Omer and his Beast Herds. Omer and I regularly bounce list ideas and after action reports off each other so he knew my list inside and out, should present a unique challenge.

    As a reminder the Sea Dragon Host had:

    And Omer had:

    Deployment/Objective: Counterthrust/King of the Hill

    Thoughts on the list/match up:
    Not great…he’s got one of the few single models that I don’t want the AD into due to Eye of Dominance and another single model I don’t want the AD into bc he’s just likely to hold me up all game (Scarification plus trickster’s cunning is a nasty combo, he even had the nerve to give him a potion of strength!). The GW minos and centaurs are also a huge threat to the AD, between all this, that model’s movement and targets were relatively constrained.

    Top that off with ambushers presenting a serious threat to my squishy 700 pt bunker and I didn’t like the list on list match up at all.

    The deployment and objective just meant that it was almost impossible for me to win the scenario (as there’s no way I’d be advancing across the field) and he’d be to my lines even sooner than usual due to the closer deployment.

    It wasn’t all stormclouds, my shooting should have a field day with minos and centaurs and lions are quite solid at back line protection. I had this rated as an orange, so I’d be happy with 4-8 points.

    MoCT: Awaken, Ravenswing, Lash
    Cosmo: Perception, Touch, Hereditary, Altered Sight

    Druidism Master: Master of Earth, Stone Skin, Healing Waters, Summer Growth
    Shamanism Master: Swarm of Insects, Awaken the Beast

    I won the roll for deployment and hemmed and hawed quite a lot as I tried to puzzle out the implications of the side and which terrain piece I picked to defend. Take a look at the picture below, both sides were split by large impassable but the top had such a small area to the left of the impassable, there was no way to deploy a force of credible size there. I also didn’t want to give him the hill on the bottom in his deployment zone as he could just take long bomb rerollable charges into my lines until they connected.

    So I chose the bottom and picked the forest on the left as my terrain and tried for a bit of subterfuge. He chose the ruins on the top as his objective. The obvious deployment would be for me to corner up around the forest, which is what I wanted to do, but I wanted him to draw off resources so after dropping the two Geagles to push him back on either side, I dropped an SGR toed up on the hill. I was hoping he’d think I was deploying there. Unfortunately it didn’t work and my opponent dropped as you can see below (after vanguards):

    BH (from left to right): Centaurs, Shaman on Chariot, Shield Minos w BSB, warhounds, GW minos, Mongrels/Druidism Master, Beast Lord (Gortach model), Warhounds, Warhounds, Centaurs

    Sea Dragon Host (left to right):SGR (bottom left out of shot), Lions, QG/Cosmo Mage, GE (in forest, just the base), Spears w MOCT, AD, Lancers, Geagle, SGR
    I wanted the QG/SGR on the left to focus on the Centaurs, the Shield Minos or ambushers while the AD and Lancers threatened the advance in the center.

    BH Turn 1:

    The beasts came full steam ahead chaffing the Lancers and Spears and setting up turn 2 charges.

    Magic: My opponent focused swarm and master of earth on the eagle on the left but I dispelled one and he failed to cast the other

    Sea Dragon Host Turn 1:

    I backed up with everything on the left and pulled the right Geagle over behind the impassable.
    I chaffed the shield minos with the left Geagle, I’m assuming because they had a longish charge into my infantry line, looking at it now it doesn’t seem that close, not sure why I did that if so.
    I shifted the lions to face backward and defend against him coming in directly behind my lines.

    Magic: I knew my opponent would be focused on Altered Sight to mitigate my shooting and I managed to get off Hereditary and then Quicksilver Lash on his Beast Lord. I got 3 wounds through.

    I managed to take off the centaurs on my left and killed 4 warhounds from the rightmost unit which left them out of general/BSB bubble! Unfortunately, they passed their breaktest.

    BH Turn 2:

    The extremely brave warhounds on the right charged my Geagle sheltering behind the impassable. This was a miss on my part, he had the movement to get out of their arc and I just didn’t pay attention. This would come back to haunt me.
    The centaurs on my right made the middling charge into the SGR on the hill
    The two ambushers came on bracketing the QG on my left.
    The warhounds in the center rechaffed my spears and the GW minos came in tight behind them
    Everything else moved up more modestly

    Magic: My opponent got stone skin off on the shield minos and regrew all the wounds on the Beast Lord (I tried to stop this but he rolled high and I rolled like crap)

    Shooting: Thanks to Favor… [Read More]
  • So one side benefit of quarantine is that I have more time for battle reporting! So buckle up, it’s time for Round 1 of March to War!

    As a quick reminder, my list is here:

    And his list is here:

    Deployment and Scenario: Encircle and Spoils

    MoCT: Awaken, Healing, Ravenswing
    Cosmo: Touch, Hered, Altered, InF
    Anvil: Hard Target Distracting, -1 to wound, Revocation

    I chose big middle and the side with the hill so I could use this for my shooting base. My opponent chose to deploy for first turn and set up as you see below:

    DH Deployment (top to bottom):
    Vengeance Seeker, Deep watch w King and BSB, Cannon, Seekers, GW Warriors, Grudge Buster, Anvil, Longbeards, Catapult, Vengeance Seeker (in front of catapult), Hold Guardians (cool bear cav models!), Seekers
    My goal with deployment was to use the Lancers to threaten his forces if he tried to shift towards my fire base. Ideal scenario was to at least draw the objective by holding him off the center and grabbing the objective on my left with the lions.

    Sea Dragon Host (top to bottom):
    Lionguard, Ancient Dragon (hiding from artillery), GE, Spears on hill with both characters, QG behind on hill, bolt throwers spaced out on back line (last one is out of sight in bottom right of my side), Lancers

    DH Turn 1:

    My opponent moved forward pretty aggressively with his Hold Guardians and Longbeards, clearly unafraid of my Lancer block. He moved forward much more cautiously in the center with his Deep Watch and Warriors block.

    Shooting/Magic: Did very little

    Sea Dragon Host Turn 1:

    I back the Lancers up and shuffle my troops on the hill to ensure I have range for spells and shots on the cannon. Lions move up to claim the token next turn.

    Magic/Shooting: I manage to down the cannon and the SGRs start whittling away at the longbeards killing a handful

    DH Turn 2:

    Movement: My opponent moved up across the board, keeping his left flank (my right) roughly in line around the tower and fully marching forward with his deep watch and warriors

    Magic/Shooting: Fairly ineffective, I think he managed to plink off a QG

    Sea Dragon Host Turn 2:

    Lions pick up their token and back up
    I debated this move heavily as my opponent had given me a lot of options all revolving on what I did with the Lancers. The unit was boxed in, so it made sense to use them on either the Hold Guardians or Longbeards. I could chaff any countercharges so either charge had some merits/risks:
    ·Hold Guardians: I was leaning towards this charge, if the lancers could eventually beat the HG then they could easily threaten the catapult/pick up the spoils token. Unfortunately, I was out of Awaken the Beast range, meaning my opponent could easily ensure they stayed at st 5/3. Wish I’d taken Perception…
    ·Longbeards: I had good spell range on this combat so I could easily get up 1-2 spells. If I could hold two rounds against the long beards then I could get the AD in to support
    Ultimately, I decided to charge the lancers into the longbeards and they made it. I’ll talk a little about the decision here in the wrap up.
    With the cannon down I decided to bring the AD out of hiding and positioned him for a charge into the long beards next turn.
    I chaffed the GW Warriors with an eagle so that they couldn’t countercharge the lancers.

    My opponent elects to stop Healing Waters on the Lancers so I get Awaken the Beast St and Hereditary off.

    I get a little lucky and manage to bring down the grudge buster with the QG/SGR.

    The Lancers do pretty well, taking off about 10 Long beards and lose 4 for their trouble. The Long beards stick on steadfast.

    DH Turn 3:

    The Hold Guardians charge the SGR in the corner and make it. The GW warriors charge the Geagle who holds. The vengeance seeker failed a charge into the lions needing an 11 and stumbles forward a few inches.
    The Deep Watch push up a bit and wheel to cover both my shooting base and the long beard combat with their arc. Vengeance seeker and seeker unit on the right turn to face the center of the field.

    Magic: I bound revocation, because I needed the Lancers to hold and was able to dispel all the magic.

    Shooting: He hits my spears and peels off about 8-10

    The lancers continued a strong showing killing another handful thanks to Awaken and not taking too many casualties in return. The long beards held on steadfast.
    The Hold Guardians kill the SGR and reform. The GW warriors kill the GE.

    Sea Dragon Host Turn 3:

    The AD charges the long beards.
    The lions, spears and QG back up and the geagle comes out to chaff the deep watch unit.

    Magic: Knowing the AD will take some charges next turn I focus on defensive buffs for him and get up healing waters only in a bad phase. I’ll take it though.

    I start whittling down the GW warriors killing 5-10 w QG and one SGR
    The SGR that can’t see the warriors due to the AD plinks a wound off the vengeance[Read More]
  • The Return of the Sea Dragon Host!
    So this blog has lain dormant for some time as I played with my UD army primarily last year, but 2020 is the year of the Dragon (from a 9th age perspective for me) and the Sea Dragon Host will be getting some time in the spotlight.

    The 2019 update cycle was pretty good to the Highborn Elves, given the data I think the updates definitely helped move the needle in the right direction and opened up some interesting new builds. One of them that I was keen to try was some builds centered around the Ancient Dragon. I played through a few different iterations of lists but settled on the one below with my thoughts on how it operates:

    1000 - High Prince Gwydion, General, Ancient Dragon Jormungandr, Shield (Star Metal Alloy), Light Armour, Lance (Nova Flare), Obsidian Rock
    430 – Mage Maarken, Wizard Master, Cosmology, Binding Scroll
    355 – Commander Chaynal, Battle Standard Bearer (Aether Icon, Aether Icon), Light Armour, Master of Canreig Tower
    570 - 12 Highborn Lancers, Standard Bearer (Rending Banner), Musician, Champion
    556 - 34 Citizen Spears, Standard Bearer (War Banner of Ryma), Musician, Champion
    235 - 10 Lion Guard, Champion
    100 - Giant Eagles
    100 - Giant Eagles
    614 - 18 Queen's Guard, Standard Bearer (Banner of Becalming), Musician
    180 - Sea Guard Reaper
    180 - Sea Guard Reaper
    180 - Sea Guard Reaper

    AD: It’s a pretty maxed out build focused on survival (MR2 and Starmetal) and punch (Nova Flare). At this point the model is worth 1200 pts and the goal is to have the opponent pour everything they have into it. I have yet to lose this model in my practice games.
    Magic: With effectively 3 heals a turn (Druidism attribute, Touch and Hereditary) on top of two types of invulnerable saves (Healing Waters and Unity in Divergence) and redundant st defensive buffs (Awaken Toughness and Perception Hex) this phase is optimized to support the AD. Add in the ranged damage potential and the redundant strength buffs for the spears/lancers and the low casting value and this phase is really tough for my opponents.

    At the end of the day, just excited to get this model on the table for a tournament!

    Overall Strategy:
    The AD and Lancers zone and the spears hold the center while the shooting/magic does its work. I tend to get aggressive with the AD in early turns to force my opponent to focus on it then either push or reposition/heal it depending on how successful they are.
    I’ve tended to play pretty aggressively with the spears and lancers as people underestimate them and end up with really ugly dispel priority (st buffs, inv saves, altered sight in some match ups). Additionally, losing 1130 pts in the midfield for good exchanges gives my shooting the time it needs to do its work.
    The lions are my utility piece, scoring and they help stabilize some match ups a lot (feldraks, giant spam, etc). I’ve been pretty happy with them overall, I was trying to solve a cheap scoring need and they’ve been pretty solid for me.

    Meta Analysis and Predictions:
    UD: 2
    BH: 3
    WoDG: 6
    VS: 3
    OK: 2
    SA: 2
    DE: 1
    O&G: 2
    HBE: 3
    DH: 4
    ID: 1
    Cannon/Equivalents: 10
    Bolt Throwers/Equivalents: 9
    A few surprises based on the most recent tournaments in the US I was not expecting to see so many DH and BH and I’m definitely disappointed in the amount of artillery out there. If you look back at the most recent 40 person tournament in the West Coast it had half as many cannons/equivalents, so definitely a misread of the meta there

    First Round Match up:
    I ended up drawing a good friend I used to play against in 8th edition, really looking forward to our match, but his list does present some issues for me, he has:
    King on Warthrone: 2+/5++ GW
    Thane BSB: 2+/5++ 1 Lightning
    30 Greybeards FC GW
    30 Warriors FC GW
    22 Deep Watch FC- Aether Icon
    4 Hold Guardians FC
    Grudge Buster
    2x Vengeance Seekers
    2x5 Seekers
    Catapult- Rune Crafted

    Thoughts on the match up:
    I don’t love the artillery and the Grey Beards GW block do give me some concern for the AD, but he’s fairly slow moving and once the artillery are down the AD has free mobility.
    I also don’t mind the AD into the Deep Watch as I think I kill the king pretty handily and I can take st4 all day long.
    Fortunately, aside from the artillery, he doesn’t have any ranged pressure so I can afford to kill the artillery and then prioritize his chaff/buster with my shooting while the AD and lancers should be able to easily outmaneuver his blocks.
    As far as magic goes, I think I go with this:
    MoCT: Awaken, Healing, Ravenswing
    Cosmo: Touch, Hered, Altered, InF/Perception(?)

    I wrote up a little background piece to set the stage for the tournament:
    Yvraine leaned on the stone railing of the balcony looking down on her council with its clusters of generals and advisors as the attendees slowly filtered in. Her personal quarters overlooked the broad round plateau on the side of the island’s volcanic peak and afforded her an early look at her closest confidantes as they[Read More]
  • As an extra treat for fans of the blog, Chihammer and I got a practice game in the night before Masters with our lists and he’s made a video bat rep out of it, check it out here:

    Now onto game 3...For those who have been following the blog for a while, Micah delivered me a disappointing loss in Infernal Zoo 2 years ago, so I was looking forward to some payback, he brought:

    Scourge of Wrath (General): Eternal Sword, Black Orb, Shackles of Reality
    Harbinger of Change: Disk, Witchcraft Apprentice, Fates Judgment Bound, Something like a Sceptre of Power

    6 Plague Beasts
    25ish Slaughterers, FC- Rending Banner
    2x10 Slaughterers, Onslaught
    3 Sky Serpents
    2x6 Furies of Wrath
    3 Crushers
    2x2 Nurglings

    Sea Dragon Host:
    High Prince on a Griffon (General)- Shield, Dragon Armor- Demon Hunters, Diadem of Protection, Lance- Nova Flare
    Order of the Fiery Heart Adept on a Young Dragon(Pyro)- Shield, Heavy Armor- Basalt Infusion, Talisman of Shielding
    Master of the Canreig Tower (BSB)- Shield, Heavy Armor, Void Talisman

    24x Spears, Champ/Std- Relentless
    24x Spears, Champ/Std- Relentless
    2x5 Elein Reavers

    20 Flame Wardens FC- Rending
    5 Ryma Knights
    2x5 Queens Guard
    2 SGRs

    Thoughts on the match:
    Damn Scourge of Wrath…even with Black Orb/Shackles I wish I had Divination. However, my fire base with flaming swords has a very good shot at downing him.
    The fliers would be really key to my strategy in this game as the pyro should be good picking up his little units as well and the Nova Lance could really be impactful.

    Deployment/Objective: Marching Columns and Hold the Center
    I didn’t love hold the center in this match up as the plague beasts and big slaughterer block were more than a match for any of my units 1-1.
    I dropped for first turn because I wanted to threaten the objective and let my shooting have an impact, there was a large hill in my opponents deployment zone so I was happy to let him hide his Scourge there all game if he wanted to

    I dropped away from the hill with my infantry units set up centrally with the green spears guarding my left flank. My fire base/fliers were centrally located to stay flexible and the Rymas were set to zone units that came out from around the hill.
    He set up his Scourge, crushers, harbinger and sky serpents around the hill with his big infantry blocks staring down the center objective

    Turns 1:
    I closed on the objective and moved my Rymas up a bit on my right to threaten all his arcs around the hill, as well as sending the Griff Prince up my left flank, I managed to pull a couple of slaughterers off of the big unit with my shooting

    With his advance on my right threatened he brought his Scourge out to play and moved up his units sheltering around the Scourge

    Turns 2:
    I swung my griff prince around on my left and adjusted the infantry units around while backing the Rymas off from the Scourge. If he wanted to waste Turns 2 and 3 catching them and tying up his advance I was comfortable with that trade off. I repositioned my fire base to shoot at the Scourge.

    I managed bubble flaming swords with the dragon mage covering half my fire base and unloaded on the Scourge. I did 3 wounds (about average) and my opponent saved 2 with his - or 6+/5++...

    In his turn Micah charged the Ryma knights with the Scourge who fled and outdistanced the beast. He brings his furies and sky serpents around on my far right flank planning an end run on my shooting base.

    Turn 3:
    I rally the Rymas and continue to jockey for position in the center with my Griff Prince and infantry units. The dragon mage repositions to threaten the center but cover my entire fire base with flaming swords.
    I take a risk and 5 dice flaming swords bubble and my opponent fails to stop it…
    My fire base unloads on the Scourge again, this time half of it was within short range and all of it was covered with flaming swords. I did 7 wounds and my opponent saved 6 of them with a - or 6+/5++…

    With an extremely healthy Scourge and clear line of sight into my back lines Micah made a couple of mistakes (IMO) in this movement phase and moved his plague toads up to take the objective and charged his Scourge into my Ryma Knights
    His Slaughterers moved up to threaten counter charges if I charged the plague beasts and his fast movers closed in on my fire base. They would be able to charge next turn. He goes up one on the objective.
    The Ryma Knights die.

    Turns 4:
    I was able to charge the plague beasts in the front with the Wardens/Dragon Mage and in the flank with the Griff Prince. I did the quick math on this and on average, with no spell support and no lethal strikes from the prince, I pop the unit. I chaff his slaughterers with my reavers on the left.

    In the magic phase, I made a minor mistake here, I should have split my dice between bubble flaming swords and boosted pyro flow. Instead I split between bubble flaming swords and the hereditary. He stopped flaming swords.
    So, I underperform, and he overperforms, I don’t pop… [Read More]
  • Game 2: Ben Kerr’s Dread Elves

    So after a disappointing loss I was facing Ben in Round 2 with an interesting dread elf list:

    Oracle Master (General)- Cosmology, Magical Heirloom
    Cult Priest (BSB)- 2+, Moraec’s Reaping, Divine Altar
    Assassin- Killy Stuff

    2x 25ish Dread Legionnaires, FC-Rending
    10 Repeater Crossbows, Std- Academy Banner

    2 Krakens
    28 Tower Guard, FC- Some Killy Banner
    5 Yema Acolytes w Champ

    For convenience, The Sea Dragon Host:
    High Prince on a Griffon (General)- Shield, Dragon Armor- Demon Hunters, Diadem of Protection, Lance- Nova Flare
    Order of the Fiery Heart Adept on a Young Dragon(Pyro)- Shield, Heavy Armor- Basalt Infusion, Talisman of Shielding
    Master of the Canreig Tower (BSB)- Shield, Heavy Armor, Void Talisman

    24x Spears, Champ/Std- Relentless
    24x Spears, Champ/Std- Relentless
    2x5 Elein Reavers

    20 Flame Wardens FC- Rending
    5 Ryma Knights
    2x5 Queens Guard
    2 SGRs

    Thoughts on the Matchup:

    I really liked this match up, he was pretty slow moving and had virtually no shooting. Additionally, his magic doesn’t really threaten the fliers and pyro was going to have a field day.
    One risk, was that we had capture the flags and my QG units are a real liability in that mission.

    Deployment/Objective: Frontline Clash/Capture the Flags
    He chose sides and I dropped everything for first turn
    A brief apology for the lack of pictures

    Turns 1-3:

    Pic after my turn 1 move

    I spent the first 3 turns getting my dragon mage/Ryma around his left flank (my right) and my griffon prince around his right flank (my left) and taking off his acolytes/repeater crossbows.

    Unfortunately for Ben with these hard hitters in his flank his spear units were really not in a good place and he’d been quite cautious with his heavy hitters as he was worried about the potential multi-charges

    Turns 4-6:

    The dragon mage and Ryma Knights combined with the blue spears manage to take out the two spear blocks on my right.

    Despite trying all game, Ben failed to take off either QG unit, between bad casting/wounding rolls and my hereditary he just couldn’t get wounds through.
    Ben had some bad luck he really didn’t need when 4 single bolts from by bolt throwers all hit (admittedly in half range) all wounded and he failed all his ward saves to lose the altar BSB in Turn 5.

    I had some bad luck to help ben out and my green spears on my left failed a terror check from a kraken charge and fled off the board, then the Flame Wardens counter charge failed to kill the kraken in 3 rounds of combat (it had only 4 wounds left at the beginning of combat, so this should have happened).

    Results/Thoughts on the Game:

    Ben’s tower guard and krakens were untouched, which was a lot of points, but he’d only managed to get one spear unit and one reaver unit so I was up big with the objective for a 17-3 for the Sea Dragon Host.

    Getting the altar was really lucky and some better rolls from Ben could have seen a tie on the objective if he’d grabbed a QG unit. But ultimately, I think this was a bad match up for Ben. This was the kind of win I needed to put me back into the running and I found myself facing off against a familiar face who had travelled out from Cali with me… [Read More]
  • Intro:
    So I was fortunate enough to get an invite to the North American masters based on my player ranking, I was ranked 11thoverall mainly on the strength of my performance at Buckeye and Infernal Zoo where I came in tied for 7th/96 and 4th/36 respectively.
    I was excited to bring the Sea Dragon host to such a prestigious battleground and face some great opponents, unfortunately, the Masters decided to use 2.05 and due to the timing of the release with the holidays and other commitments I ended up submitting a list I had never played before (gasp!). Due to this I took something that was relatively similar to my Buckeye list but tried to address the gaps that list had and took some advantage of the recent points drops from 2.05, here’s what I ended up with:

    The Sea Dragon Host:
    High Prince on a Griffon (General)- Shield, Dragon Armor- Demon Hunters, Diadem of Protection, Lance- Nova Flare
    Order of the Fiery Heart Adept on a Young Dragon(Pyro)- Shield, Heavy Armor- Basalt Infusion, Talisman of Shielding
    Master of the Canreig Tower (BSB)- Shield, Heavy Armor, Void Talisman

    24x Spears, Champ/Std- Relentless
    24x Spears, Champ/Std- Relentless
    2x5 Elein Reavers

    20 Flame Wardens FC- Rending
    5 Ryma Knights
    2x5 Queens Guard
    2 SGRs

    Thoughts on the list’s playstyle:
    I’ll do an AAR once I finish the bat reps, but a quick thought on what I was going for here. I really wanted to increase my overall shooting output from Buckeye and I needed to have better answers for demon legions, as I knew there’d be at least 4 at the tourney.

    So, pyro and the nova lance were my answers for demons, the 2x5 QG and 2 SGRs vs 3 SGRs make a more flexible shooting phase that can be more mobile and puts out more damage against low res/armor targets.

    It also is fairly mobile as most of the infantry have relentless company and the fliers and Knights are great for zoning and flanks.
    Meta: Important to talk about the meta at this tourney, there ended up being 28 (originally planned to be 32, but some last minute drops due to travel issues). See below:
    VS, DL: 4
    O&G, HBE: 3
    UD, OK, DE, SE, SA: 2
    VC, DH, BH, EoS: 1
    0 KoE, WotDG, ID

    I do think that the changes I made to my list help stabilize the DL/VS match up, but I still think they are not great. The VS list with vermin demon, double dreadmill, plague pendulum deathstar, lightning rod my list just really struggles with. Really I think any HBE list that has any significant points spent in fliers can only hope for a small win at best against this build and probably averages a medium loss. Of course, all 4 of the VS players took very slight variations of this exact list. My pairings ended up being almost a perfect representation of the spread and I was happy to see no ID.
    So without further adieu, let’s get onto Game 1…

    Game 1: vs Chris Mince’s Vampire Counts

    So, randomly paired against the top ranked player in the country and long running Team USA ETC captain. I had looked at his list quite a bit and I wasn’t too worried about the match up, he had:

    Vampire Count (general): Wizard Master- Occultism, Night’s Crown, Destiny’s Call, Halberd- Blessed Inscriptions
    Wight King (BSB): 1+ Rerollable, Hero’s Heart
    Necromancer: Wizard Master- Evocation, Necromantic Staff

    40ish Skellies, Sword and Board, FC- Flaming Std
    35ish Zombies
    20ish Zombies

    3 Ghasts
    6 Vargheists- Champ
    5 Spectral Hunters
    4 Spirit Hosts
    Dark Coach- Extended Chassis
    8 Dire Wolves

    Thoughts on the Match Up:
    There’s pros and cons here, he has a ton of snipe spells, basically 4 that I care about to varying degrees, in order from caring most to least (Marked for Doom, Touch of the Reaper, Breath of Corruption, Hasten the Hour) which will really keep my fliers honest.
    But he’s also generally fairly slow with his key damage dealer a move 4 infantry model and pyro really helps with the ethereal and vargheist match up.
    Also, our mission was breakthrough and the volume of scoring combined with ravens wing make my list a threat in that objective.
    My battle plan was to avoid his Vampire Count and Skellie block and try to pick up the ethereals and Vargheists and breakthrough shooting for a 10-13 hopefully (I think winning big is hard bc I don’t have a good way to get the Vampire) and I’d have to feed him some things to hold him back. Let’s see how it goes.

    Dawn Assault/Breakthrough
    He won the roll to choose sides and took the side with the big hill (mainly to keep my shooting base off of it I believe) and chose the side that would prevent me from deploying behind a piece of impassable
    We alternated for a few and then he dropped everything for first turn.

    Spell Selection:
    Chris' spells were fairly predictable, see pic below:

    I took:
    Flaming Swords, Pyro Flow
    Ravenswing, Awaken the Beast, Lash

    Turns 1-3:
    He advances full steam ahead with his infantry, coach and BSB in the center and on my right and he keeps the Vargheists hovering around the hill.

    After my turn 1 movement

    I manage to take… [Read More]
  • So after a long day of gaming, I got home and got a good night’s sleep and woke up feeling even worse. I actually tried to see if the TO could find a ringer, but none was forthcoming so I dragged myself to the venue and pumped myself full of a sufficient amount of drugs and caffeine to operate.

    This team was full of top caliber players and were just off a win against the team which had capped us in Round 1, so we knew we were up for a tough round. I didn’t have two reds so we put me up first and I got the Sylvan and Dread Elves. My team mate wanted the game against the SE player so I took the Dread Elves for the team.

    Josh Stuart’s Dread Elves:
    So another Dread Elf (for those counting that’s 5 DE out of my last 7 GT games). I actually liked the match ups here

    Cult Priest, BSB on Divine Altar, Shield
    Dread Prince, General, Raptor, HA- Alchemist Alloy, Paired Weapons- Heros Heart, Lucky Charm, Midnight Cloak
    Oracle, Cosmology Master, Amulet of Spite

    31 Legionnaires, Spears, FC- Academy Banner
    2x15 Legionnaires, Spears, Champ/Std- Academy Banner

    12 Dread Knights, FC- Banner of Blood
    5 Dark Acolytes, Champ
    5 Dark Acolytes
    5 Harpies
    2x Dread Reapers

    Sea Dragon Host (for convenience):

    Thoughts on the match up:
    I really liked the acolytes and dread knights as targets for my magic and Ryma Knights respectively.
    The Wardens really swing the infantry match ups as they strike simo on 2s/3s, as long as they don’t have to deal with protracted combats with the altar.

    We got spoils of war and attacker defender. I believe I chose sides and big center, which allowed him to drop everything for first turn.

    I ended up deploying symmetrically with Evana on the left and Breag on the right. My infantry blocks squared off against his.

    …Evana knew that the captives had been left as bait. Each of them hung from the stakes limply, she couldn’t even tell if they were alive. She knew each of them by name which made the choice she was about to make even more difficult.

    The elf staked on their right flank, he bore the message she’d been sent to retrieve. With a fresh host of her dread cousins undoubtedly hidden within the town ahead she knew she would have to prioritize the messenger for rescue.

    To make good on her feint, she herself led the assault on the left flank, hopeful her deadly magics and household cavalry could delay the cream of the dread cavalry while Breag led the right flank’s true rescue mission. As Nellenor took to the skies and she gathered her magics she regretted the tactical constraints this group venture had placed upon her decisions…

    I organize a trap on the left with my reavers, hoping to lure the raptor knights into a multi-charge

    Ryma knight charge depletes the raptors, but loses to the raptor prince’s counter charge

    Nellenor back-winged and made for their infantry lines, a frustrated bellow erupting from her maw. Evana couldn’t help but agree with her mount’s assessment. Their glorious assault on the left had failed to break their dread cousins and her magic had been ineffective in ridding them of the cult riders.

    Fortunately, her ruse had worked and her remaining household cavalry had retrieved the messenger and made good their escape. Her brothers Wardens covered their escape as they withdrew in good order. She hated herself for leaving the remaining captives to their fate, but her force and the news it carried were needed elsewhere…

    Results and Thoughts on the Game:
    By the end my opponent had a minor points advantage for a 12-8 turning into a 15-5 due to objective.

    Ultimately, my gamble on the left didn’t pay off. I’d hoped to break the raptor knights and scurry off with that objective token. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to break his rank and he broke mine meaning he held. I’d heavily debated bringing my griffon into that combat, as I almost certainly break them. However, the counter charge from the dread prince was too risky. Looking back, I think I should have taken this risk as it might have won me the objective.

    We lost this round, but did not get capped, preventing our opponents from winning overall.

    I’m looking forward to a rematch against Josh in the future.

    With that my Pacific Rim experience came to an end. The opponents for the next round happened to have had a drop out and the TO offered to let me go home. Which I gladly accepted.

    Overall Standings/Thoughts:
    I believe we came in 3rdor 4thout of 10 teams, a fairly respectable showing. Getting capped in round 1 really hurt our chances as we actually performed fairly well in Rounds 2-4.

    If I had it all to do over again, I think our list building plan was rubbish. Using HBE as a ‘shield’ list is a misuse and in some cases allowed our opponents to present obvious choices to my pairing. Additionally, our WoDG build had so many red match ups (VS, DE, DH) that we spent too much energy trying to protect his match ups rather than engineer positive ones for our… [Read More]
  • So it’s been a couple of months since this tournament and I already have bat reps stacked up for the US Masters event so I’m going to push out bat reps 3 and 4 pretty quickly here from Pacific Rim tournament.

    Well start out with game 3 and we were up against the team who flew out from Colorado. There was really only one red match up for me (Karen’s Dwarves) so we dropped me first and I got the dwarves and Mike’s VC.

    We clearly chose for me to play against Mike. I’d met Mike a number of times at tournaments over the years and am a huge fan of his channel, so I was really looking forward to this game.

    Thoughts on the match up:
    His list was primarily built around points preservation and trying to goad opponents into his big ghoulstar, so I knew big points would be difficult in this game. From his side of the table, my divination and quicksilver lash would prevent him getting too aggressive with the punchy quick moving elements of his list.

    Mike Lies Mountain Vampires:
    BotD Vampire Count on Court of the Damned, Plate- Legend of the Black King, Occultism Adept, GW, Necromantic Staff

    BotD Vampire Count on Skeletal Steed, Monster Hunter, Occultism Adept, Shield, Plate, GW, Lance, Eternity Gem, Night’s Crown

    39 Ghouls Champ
    40 Zombies, Std/Muso
    3 Bat Swarms
    8 Direwolves, Champ

    2x2 Great Bats
    7 Wraiths

    6 Vamp Knights, Bloodties, FC- Flaming Std

    Sea Dragon Host (for convenience)

    Objective: Breakthrough

    Deployment and Terrain:

    We both deployed fairly evenly spread across, with me concentrating my shooting around a central hill
    After a few cagey drops, I dropped everything for first turn wanting to zone his advance to prevent him from pushing into the mid table uncontested.

    …Evana knew to be cautious around the living dead. The teeming masses of uncoordinated zombies and ghouls before her may look like easy prey for her disciplined troops but the necromantic magics of the two vampires leading them could greatly enhance their combat prowess.

    Fortunately, today would not be won solely by strength of arms. The undead were merely in her way, she needed to slip her forces past them. With the bulk of the undead strength dedicated centrally she needed to distract the undead and slip her forces steadily around their flanks…

    …her plan was working perfectly, the bulk of her forces were holding the undead center and monsters at bay. In the meanwhile her right flank were using the cover of the tower to surround a unit of vampire cavalry and effect the breakthrough she needed.

    She and Breag had been keeping the vampire count on skeletal steed occupied while picking off the fast moving bats and other chaff that could slow her advance…

    …the leader of her Watchers signaled once and then withdrew a dozen paces as the horde of ghouls scrambled closer. As the first rank of the slavering cannibals hit the traps they simply disappeared, deep into pits or staked ditches, the second rank were shredded by a hail of razor thin metal disks.

    Watching his horde dissolve the vampire leading them from the gilded throne slitted eyes narrowed and the hulking varkolak surged forward unnatural will urging the monstrosity to break the line. Evans gathered her magics and unleashed a hail of energy bolts, dealing several mortal wounds and staggering the beast.

    As she bent her will against the vampire magic users, focusing all her energy at vaporizing the varkolak her brother gathered his magics to spirit the spears on her right flank through the vampire lines. Evana raised her left hand and signaled, she and Breag covered the infantry line as it shifted and moved past the encumbered ghouls and vampire. Songs would not be sung of this victory, but they’d achieved their goal and outmaneuvered the hordes of undead

    Results and Thoughts on the Game:
    This was a very close game, a 10-10 on points led to a 13-7 to me after objective.
    The team overall had a fairly good showing, with a big win and a couple of small wins, we weren’t quite at cap, but close.

    This game was a very tactical one, neither of us wanted to give the other the advantage and go down with a big loss. I think my opponent could have been more aggressive with his ghoul horde, while I should have been more aggressive on my right flank. Only a cheeky ravenswing in the bottom of the turn got me that objective.

    However, we only made it to turn 4, had we managed to play it out things would have been interesting as I’d pincered his cowboy/vamp knights with the frosty, sloop and blue spears and my green spears had almost chewed through the big zombie brick while his varko was nearly re-dead. I could have potentially cleaned up his entire army but the ghoul star if I’d had the remaining two turns.

    With that we were up against another team with ETC players and another familiar face from Southern California into round 4… [Read More]
  • Game 2: Alan and the Joes- Joe’s Dark Elves

    Coming into this pairing we felt pretty confident because Joel’s Demon Legions had two red match ups. As it happened, they dropped the demons, which allowed us to pair what we saw as two red match ups for it, EoS and me. He chose EoS, my pairing ended up being a random coin flip between Dread Elves and Warriors and I ended up with Dread Elves. **The TO has suggested that next year we would push for 5 person teams in order to experience the second round pairing mechanic**

    Joe’s DE list was strangely similar to the last one I faced, with a few important differences:

    Sea Dragon Host (for convenience):

    Thoughts on the Match up:
    It’s a lot of shooting and some significant counter-charge punchiness. He doesn’t have the fully tooled up Raptor Prince, but that brick of raptor knights hits harder than any one unit in my army.

    I was more mobile than him, so I planned to push up hard and hit his flanks. The Ryma Knights could take opportunistic charges and try to break up his lines while I tried to break through to the soft underbelly of auxiliaries.

    We had refused flank and capture the flags. His Auxiliaries would prove an Achilles heel in this scenario as I believe he typically uses them as chaff of last resort and doesn’t expect them to live through most battles.

    We alternated drops for some time until he dropped the raptor unit then I dropped everything for a +4 to go first and won it.

    …as much as she took satisfaction from thwarting the plots and schemes of their dread cousins, Evana had grown weary of seeing their dark pennants fluttering on the horizon. Having been driven back by the last group of dread elves at the border of their colony Evana had chosen another border crossing at a more isolated corner of the territory.

    This location had not been her first choice as it was defended by an established garrison from the nearby fortress, as her forces marched forward she could see the well established defensive lines the disciplined dark-armored warriors had set up. There was nothing for it, she needed to break through somewhere and at least this force did not benefit from the strong magical support of the cult priestesses and their acolytes.

    Knowing their mobility was their key advantage her forces stormed forward taking advantage of the crypt hill to their left to break the dread elves force’s ability to cover their angles of assault. Even as they prepared for the charge the first volley of defensive fire whistled out, picking a small handful of infantry off. Evana gave a small smile, her cousin’s healing magics easily repaired the ranged damage from arrows, small blessings…the crack-crack of two bolt throwers releasing their deadly payload drew her her head around.

    Breag had landed just at the edge of a plowed field and was readying for a leap into the air when the two bolts crashed home into his shoulder and chest. The needle fine edge of the bolts easily cut through the frost dragon’s mundane protection and its protective wards flared fitfully unable to stop the blows. With a great bellow Breag staggered backward with the force of the blows and trying to catch wing, failed as his injured shoulder cracked ominously. Unable to fly, the blue dragon gave a defiant grumble and awkwardly dragged itself back to the artillery emplacements. Well, thought Evana, looks like the right flank was going to need some help…

    …As Nellenor gave an ear-shattering roar she folded her wings and stooped into a dive, their target, the oracle’s bodyguard of auxiliaries had nowhere to run and braced themselves. As she drew her sword she heard the same ominous crack-crack again and whirled the words of her race’s hereditary protective magic spilling from her lips. Even as she felt the tingling embrace of the spell envelope her, the alarm which tightened her chest a moment ago changed to relief.

    The damned raptor unit had survived a flank charge from a unit of her household cavalry and had been enveloped by one of the units of her marines and had yet survived with one lone raptor knight and the two lordlings. Having just fought free of the remains of her troops the leaders of the garrison had turned to smash into the flank of her cousin’s bodyguard of Wardens…and that had been where their fight had ended. The two dread lords lay where they had been spitted, transfixed together by a single bolt with the signature royal blue fletching of the Sea Dragon Host.

    Evana turned back to her quarry, a smile growing on her face, it had been a hard fought battle, but the fear in the Oracle’s eyes as Nellenor slammed into her bodyguard confirmed what she knew already…the day was theirs…

    Results and Thoughts on the game:

    The early game was mixed, losing the frosty to single bolts on the bottom of one was a real impediment, with him alive I’m into the fire base one turn earlier on my right flank.

    However, my opponent gave me a charge into his [Read More]