After 3 rounds and the end of Day 1 the Cork lads head down to a watering hole or two to discuss their games and drink away sorrows. Most of the time is spent giving Pat abuse, making him recount his loss every time a new person turns up and says “Pat?!? You LOST A GAME?!”. Take it as a compliment!
I have an Appletini, the Champion’s Tipple of Choice, and resolve to drink lightly so I’m on form for the next day.
One Appletini, 5 Vodkas and a tower of Cocktails later I’m at home having nightmares about Cryx and Trolls. So much for a light evening. I blame Pat.
I’m picked up by my Driver and we head over to the tournament, grabbing a coffee and a baguette full of meat before Day 2 and Round 4 kicks off.
As one of three players on 3-0 there’s a chance I’ll be paired down. I’m really hoping to dodge Jason (Cryx) because my Cryx experience is sorely lacking, and it’d be nice to get paired down against a 2-1 player. While the mid-table is very strong (Pat’s there!) there’s a few people I reckon I could take in a fair fight.
I’m paired against Stu (Valkine here), one of the other 3-0 players. Jason gets paired down to take on my club-mate Dave “Bronzeback” Burlison and his Skorne. I tell Dave that I’m relying on him to take our Jason. His response is “BRONZEBACK SMASH”. You go buddy.
Stu’s packing Runes of War and a Grim1 list full of Pygs. There’s a bit of list chicken here, I want Vlad against Runes of War, and I want Sorscha against Grim. I pick Vlad, Stu picks Grim. Point in his favour.
Be warned, this report is a long one.
Grim Angus (*6pts)
* Troll Impaler (5pts)
* Dire Troll Bomber (10pts)
Pyg Burrowers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Pyg Bushwackers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Sons of Bragg (6pts)
Trollkin Scattergunners (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Trollkin Scattergunner Officer & Drummer (2pts)
Dahlia Hallyr & Skarath (9pts)
Gatorman Witch Doctor (3pts)
Stone Scribe Chronicler (2pts)
Blargh, so many guns. And Dahlia and Skarath. Blaaaaaargh. Biggest weakness is post-feat accuracy. He’ll have trouble hitting the broadside of a barn after Feat Turn, and his armour cracking potential isn’t great. Man I wish I had Sorscha.
I take Vlad2, which in case you forgot, is below:
Vladimir Tzepesci, the Dark Champion (*5pts)
* Drago (8pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
* Koldun Kapitan Valachev (2pts)
Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
Iron Fang Pikemen (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Iron Fang Pikemen Officer & Standard (2pts)
Kayazy Eliminators (Leader and Grunt) (3pts)
Iron Fang Kovnik (2pts)
Man-o-war Drakhun (with dismount) (5pts)
Saxon Orrik (2pts)
Eventually, I’ll be dropping the Pikeman boat (Pikes, Kovnik, Saxon) for Outriders and some anti-Cryx tech. I’ve only played this list once before and when I played it I didn’t have Saxon or the Kovnik in. Round 4 in a tournament seems like the perfect place for list testing.
Terrain here is a little sparse, there’s a hill about 4-5 inches out of my deployment zone in the centre of the table. Another on Stu’s side, on my right. Stu’s got a wall just outside his deployment zone. I win the roll to go first and AD my Doomreavers in the centre field. My Nyss take the left flank, Drago, Vlad, his War Doge, Saxon and the Eliminators go opposite the hill. The Pikemen and the Kovnik take the right. The Drakhun goes with them.
Stu deploys his Sons of Bragg opposite the Nyss, along with his Bushwackers, The Bomber goes behind the Bushwackers. Grim takes centre stage with the Impaler on his right. The Scattergunners go on his right, and Dahlia and Skarath take the far right, opposite the hill. The Burrowers go in the centre.
Turn 1 – Khador:
I run my Doomreavers forward and spread them across the centre zone. The Drakhun runs up to be a few inches behind them.
a Hand of Fate goes on the Nyss, Assail on Drago and Vlad advances to the hill. Drago runs to the hill and his Doge follows. Saxon’s going to be pretty useless in this game as there’s no rough terrain for my Pikemen to worry about, so he takes the hill as well. The Pikemen and Kovnik run up the right side. The Nyss advance on the left flank. My Eliminators run onto the hill, also.
Turn 1 – Trollbloods:
Stu starts by advancing his Burrowers and burrowing them. His Sons of Bragg run on my left Flank towards the Nyss. The Bushwackers advance to the wall and take shots at my Doomreavers, killing a load of them. The Bomber moves up and lobs a bomb at one, hits and kills it. He lobs a second bomb and gets a great deviation, killing both Eliminators and a Nyss. Sadface.
Grim advances a shoots down another Doomreaver. The Croc gives tough to the Bushwackers. The Scattergunners advance. Dahlia casts her Haunting Melody and advances with her Worm Friend. The Chronicler moves up and gives Hero’s Tragedy on the Scatter Gunners.
Turn 2 – Khador:
The left flag, by the Sons of Bragg, disappears.
Welp, I’ve lost 9/12 Doomreavers and the last 3 are in Dahlia’s bubble of “No charges”. I’ve also lost my Eliminators. I consider holding the feat, but even if I roll the minimum I still get 3 Doomreavers and the Drakhun, all of whom are in range of my target. If I hold it, there may not be a good time for in the game, so I decide to do it anyway.
Vlad upkeeps Hand of Fate and Assail. I advance Vlad and feat, rolling an extra 1 for four total targets. I take the 3 Doomies and the Drakhun. Vlad camps the rest. The Doge runs up, Drago takes position on the hill. The Nyss advance on the left and Tough a Son of Bragg with a big damage roll before Zephyring back. Saxon chills on the hill.
The Drakhun goes next and charges into Skarath. A big damage roll from his charge attack puts some hurt on him. My feated Doom Reavers walk in and between the three of them, take him out. One Berserks into a Scatter Gunner and kills it, fails to kill the next and is knocked down for his troubles. Still, that’s a heavy down in Turn 2.
The Pikemen get a Shield Wall order and advance to the right-centre, in two lines of 6. The Kovnik runs to the right flag.
Trolls – Turn 2:
Crucially, Stu left a Fury on the Bomber and after a double 6 on the Frenzy Check, it eats a Bushwacker, meaning I won’t be hurt by it this turn.
Stu’s got to dedicate resources to dealing with the Drakhun and the Doom Reavers, while continuing to attrition. The Scattergunners aim and spray and the Doomreavers eventually eat it, but the Drakhun is still full health. The Impaler walks over and attacks it twice, Boosting damage both times, and fails to break armour once. Dice-9 is not great odds. The Croc even walks in and fails. This is pretty huge, as the Drakhun is now in his backfield, completely unhurt and there’s little else than can hit him this turn (17 DEF in combat).
Instead, he focuses on removing the other elements of my list. The Sons of Bragg assault forward and the Spray kills a Nyss. The Bushwackers combine to kill take out Cylena, and 2-3 more Nyss and they pass their command check. Grim advances and Feats, catching everything in my list except the Kovnik, Vlad and the Doge, and my Nyss. Poor SPD 1 Drago looks sad on his hill.
The Burrowers pop up and run/charge, wiping my first rank of Iron Fangs. One of them fails to connect with the Kovnik. Dahlia runs towards the Right Flag, where she’ll contest it for the rest of the game (or until she cuts herself to death.. so Emo.)
Khador – Turn 3
I’m in a real bad way. Most of my stuff is feated on, so I’m going to have to eat another turn of shooting. The Nyss are getting whittled down, the Pikemen are half strength and I can’t score on the Right Flag because there’s some sort of 9-year old mystical wizard elf dancing around playing a pipe, that apparently shuts down a hardened soldier’s ability to stab.
Time for Plan B! If in doubt, luck your way through it.
The situation is this: Grim is quite far forward. Feat is protecting him from Charges, but I have unfeated, Hand of Fated Nyss, Vlad and a Drakhun in range. He’s also on 5 Transfers with a full health Bomber to put hits onto. The Impaler is full on fury.
I upkeep Hand of Fate, advance the Nyss and start putting shots into Grim. With no Cylena I just start piling shots into Grim. This is where the Dice Gods and Hand of Fate combine for ridiculousness. After 5 shots, Grim is on 9 boxes, with 1 transfer and the Bomber is on about 12 boxes. My average roll on 3d6(drop lowest)-5 was an 11, consistently doing 6 damage a pop. Saxon then aims and puts a shot into Grim, failing to damage.
Vlad advances and boosts a Razor Wind into Grim, knocking off the last transfer and leaving the Bomber on 6 boxes. Then the Drakhun advances and I make a huge mistake, accidentally moving him into Grim’s Front Arc and losing my backstrike bonus. I miss the hit roll with a roll of a 6. With the Back Strike bonus, it would’ve been game. “My dice hate me!” I exclaim to Stu, and he looks at me like I just pissed in his cornflakes.
My Pikemen get a Shield Wall and move up to the Burrowers, offing a couple but not a lot else. The Kovnik misses the Pyg challenging him in single combat. Good job!
The Doge runs to a counter-charge position by Vlad, who’s sitting about 4″ from the Centre Flag, about 8″ from Grim, and on 1 focus. I put the Doge in a position where if Grim advances, I can counter charge him with the Doge, and if he backs off, he’s still threatened by the Drakhun. Drago runs 2 inches to the edge of the hill. I’m expecting to get assassinated this turn.
Trolls – Turn 3:
Stu seems understandably a bit tilted by my insane dice. The Bomber is basically dead, Grim’s close to it and engaged by a Drakhun, but Vlad’s very close and should be killable. I think, however, that this situation really highlights the one problem with Stu’s list (with all respect to his skills as a player and list builder). Now that both heavies are dropped, and the Impaler is engaged with a big angry Horseman, there’s not a whole lot that can reliably hit Vlad. He’s sitting at DEF 15 to ranged (10/11s for non CRAs) and 17 to Melee, and he’s ARM 17. He’s got no boostable shots on Vlad, and one big CRA isn’t going to cut it. If he goes for Vlad, he has to kill him this turn, because otherwise Vlad’s going to close the game out himself.
The Burrowers start by continuing the slap fight with the Pikemen. Now that the Feat has gone, they have trouble hitting and only kill a couple. Dahlia stays right where she is, controlling the right flag that I’m only contesting with a Kovnik, who survives the attacks from his Burrower friend. I’m pretty sure they’re drinking buddies now.
I think Stu’s still tilting, because he decides he needs to get Grim out of there in order to potentially knock down Vlad and put shots into him. The Drakhun engaging him probably doesn’t help. The Impaler goes first and fails to dismount him, as does the Croc. He’s quickly running out of models to remove it. Grim takes a risk and decides to walk away. At Dice-1 and 9 boxes on Grim, with Transfers, he should be reasonably safe, but he doesn’t account for the power of my Dice. Grim moves away, the Free Strike connects and does 15 damage after armour (16 on 4 dice). This forces a transfer to the Bomber, who is killed, and 9 spills over onto Grim, exactly enough to force a Tough Roll, which he passes. Now he’s in real trouble as his activation ends and he’s unengaged sitting about 10″ away from a very angry Vlad2.
The Scatter Gunners have to use their activation to remove the Drakhun, which they finally do, through his dismount.
The Sons of Bragg eliminate all but a couple of the Nyss and Valachev. The Bushwackers remove the rest of the Nyss, but Valachev survives because of the hill he’s hiding on. He’s the last man standing! Some Bushwackers move to engage the Doge and Vlad kills the first with a defensive Strike. Another couple walk in to engage the Dog. The Chronicler runs in between Vlad and Grim and Stu passes turn.
Khador – Turn 4:
Lucky, lucky, lucky. I’d rather be lucky than good, as they say.
I upkeep Hand of Fate, think about having Vlad kill Grim himself, then advance Valachev and do 1 damage with a spray, and Stu fails tough. Game over.
Well… I snatched victory from the jaws of horrendous defeat. Stu was destroying me on attrition and I pulled through through a combination of luck and Hand of Fate.
We discuss the game, Stu’s a bit salty (understandably so!) but I ask what the list would’ve done if I’d dropped Sorscha. It seems to have a real problem with armour (he needed to use about 18 points, 2 turns in a row, to knock out a 5 point Solo) and I think Conquest would’ve dominated the game out. I’m not sure once Skarath and the Bomber had gone whether he would’ve been able to take out Drago, even.
My only question was whether he needed to be so aggressive with Grim’s Feat. I understand he wanted to put a brutal charge into my Pikemen and cripple them with the Burrowers (effective MAT 7 with 2 attacks wrecks their day) but he was pretty far ahead on attrition and probably could’ve saved it for another turn, especially as I wasn’t scoring any time soon with Dahlia basically invulnerable to my list. Instead, he put Grim into a vulnerable position, and I was able to pull out a win.
He beat me on list selection, and on play, but sometimes to get to the finals table you need a lot of luck. I think I’ve probably used all of mine up.
I walk past Dave’s table and he’s looking miserable. Turns out that fighting 50 Cryx infantry, 20 of which are incorporeal, really ruins your day if you have no Magic Weapons.
It’s confirmed that I’m playing Jason on the top table, he’s got Skarre1 and Goreshade. I don’t mention to him that the last time I played against Cryx was against him, 9 months ago at the Irish Masters. Yeah, that’s how big Cryx are in Cork.
Thanks for tuning in! Tomorrow, the finals. Will the glorious armies of the Motherland be victorious, or will the undead hordes of the Cryxian nightmare gather more corpses for their sick experiments?
Find out tomorrow!