September 28, 2009

A weekend of blood in Gorey

I have returned intact though my army hasn't arrived unscathed. Well I haven't unpacked it yet but already I know a few things are broken. At least the packaging kept it to a minimum. A few arms and heads broken are not too bad. The tournament was great. It was not what I expected and coming fifth was a suprise. Sadly my travel plans clashed with my weekly Dungeons and Dragons game so I wasn't able to take part in the first session of the newest scenario. I thought my flights were early in the day but actually they were quite late. Hopefully I can catch up! The last scenario finally finished the previous week. Lysimakos did well, surviving the zombie ambush that decimated the party. We finally got a map working and while it was not perfect it helped a lot.

As for the tournament I had a great time. It was held in Gorey, Co. Wexford. We all headed down the night before and after a good feed of pints there was plenty of hi-jinks! At least the hang-overs were not too bad. The draw paired me up against an Ogre player for the first round.

Game 1: Grimbolds Host vs. Ogre Kingdoms

My opponent, Karl, was from the 'Drogs of War' club. I had played there a few months ago with my Ogres and preformed well. Karl had got a copy of my list and based his upon it. That was a pleasent suprise. He did include a Hunter that I generally avoid but it almost proved a game winner.
I won first turn and moved forward. I needed to be weary of his Hunter placed out on the left flank. He was equipped with the Greyback Pelt which allowed him to ignore difficult terrain. Karl advanced his army to meet mine int he centre of the board. I had set up my right flank well with difficult terrain giving me a perfect position behind to set up baiting units and knights ready to intercept failed charges. On the opposite flank the hunter forced my hand. My flanking knights were vulnerable to a charge from him. I had to charge my Marauder Horsemen in to attempt to do some damage. As I wasn't paying attention the dogs accompanying the hunter took a wound each. Instead one of them should have been removed. In the end this proved important as their return attacks decided the combat. My Marauders lost and fled. I had positioned the knights so that their flank was not vulnerable anymore from the hunter.
Karl, while being an inexperienced player, did not fall for my baiting and positioned his regiments excellently to bait me! His hunter didn't charge but his dogs did. My left flank began to crumble due to gnoblar shooting and Leadbelchers taking out half of the warhounds there. The knight defeated the overrunning dogs and held their position. In my turn I was able to charge the knights into both the hunter and the Leadbelchers due to them being lined up. I slaughtered the Leadbelchers and this caused the Hunter to lose combat. While I was not happy to have my knight buried in difficult terrain for the rest of the game, I had to run down the Hunter. I thankfully managed this. My magic began to work well in this turn. The combination of Pandemonium and Hellshriek caused most of his army to panic. The spells prevented him from using any characters leadership for tests. Hellshriek forced everything within 18" of my rapidly advancing general to take a panic test. His three most dangerous regiments panicked! I was forced however to intercept his gnoblars with some marauders though and in the next turn this proved fatal as it allowed the giant to get into the marauders flank. (The marauders actually lost combat against the gnoblars!).
The giant ended up in combat and due to the fact that the gnoblars had a greater unit strength when the Marauders fled the giant thundered towards my knights. Thankfully he ended up an inch short of the knights. I was able to cast Flickering Fire twice into the giant leaving it on a single wound. I also stated mopping up regiments in the centre that had been fleeing. The Ogre magic phase finally fell apart when he miscast and killed both his Butchers. The infernal puppet is great! The giant did manage to get into the knights and slaughtered them on a jump up and down result. The single knight left did prove brave enough to take the last wound from the giant though!
The game was quickly over after this point. While his general rallied at the board edge everything else was dead or mauled. The reslt to me was a 16-4 win. Karl played a great game. While being inexperienced he was able to position his regiments perfectly a skill many generals are not able to do at all. He suffered badly from the combination of Pandemonium and Hellshriek over the course of the game. I was lucky that he gave me a chance to tet out the army. I quickly realised that I had a huge army. Terrain placement oftern forced me to crowd together too much. I also realised that the slower elements of my army formed an excellent reserve!

Game 2: Grimbolds Host vs. Dwarves
In this game I played a very small Dwarf army commanded by Padraig, another of the "Drogs of War". His army was focused on shooting but I felt it wasn't honed. He could easily have made it much nastier in my opinion. He had a small hill in his deployment zone and fell straight into a trap during his deployment. As I got to choose sides I gave him the hill. It had a wood in front but it provided a dominant view of the centre of the board. I had more regiments and deployed my more sacrifical troops to the centre. Once he was fully deployed I placed knights and marauders ready to sweep around the wood from under cover and unto the hill by the second turn. He had placed the flanks of his army against the hill and most of his shooting unto it.
Everything went to plan in the first few turns. He had placed a cannon and bolt thrower far out to his right to provide enfillading fire as I attacked his left flank. I was able to get my marauders horsemen across the board supported by the dogs to take out these machines. While that was happening I swept unto the hill taking minimal loses and destroyed his firebase. My centre advanced to keep him under presure and prevent him from turning his units to face my flanking knights. I mopped up his smaller regiments and managed to get my knights into the front of his longbeard regiment. I didn't want to charge his blocks as I felt I couldn't break them from the front. I had managed to get Treason cast on his longbeards in an earlier turn and they slaughtered themselves. This meant the knights, that I made frenzied, swept through the remainder of the regiment and over ran into the front of his Ironbreakers and Lord. In my turn I was able to charge the flank of this regiment with the knights that had swept through his firebase and I again slaughtered the regiment with the hel of frenzied knights! The game was over at this point and I scored a 20-0 massacre!
Padraig lost due to the fact that he didn't notice I had an easy route into the bulk of his army. He isolated some of his machines rather than castling fully around the hill. If he had I don't believe I would have had such an easy ride! He also made a few less than optimal choices in his army selection. His list was fine but could have benefitted from a few changes, such as Hammerers instead of Ironbreakers!

Game 3: Grimbolds Host vs. Dwarves

My two good wins saw me on table two against Lenny's Dwarves. Lenny plays with my own club the Underground Gamers so I knew him well. He also played in the 2009 ETC and did well. His Dwarves were optimised and he knew how to use them. I considered, really considered, hiding in the corner of the table behind a hill and taking a draw. I didn't want to charge into the face of his guns as I knew I would come out the worst. Thinking hard I decided that playing Warhammer was why I travelled to Gorey and I might as well have a proper game! Caution was thrown to the winds.
We both deployed deep in our alloted zones. I didn't want him to be able to take advantage of any shooting in the first turn. Thinking about it I could have gone forward much more as his twenty four inch guns wouldn't have been able to shoot in the first turn anyway.
He won the first turn and managed a few shots. He killed some knights but nothing panicked. This was his best turn of shooting for the entire game. He had anchored a flank on some woods that enabled me to move around again with my marauder horsemen. As his guns are move or fire he wasn't able to retaliate against them. I moved forward into the range of his guns. By the second turn my hounds were almost gone but the knights were still doing well. Having learned from the second game not to charge hounds into dwarven warmachines I instead mover the remnants of the regiments infront of the guns to prevent them shooting anything else due to the lack of a line of sight. I was also able to cast delusions onto his Longbeards forcing them to move infront of his organ gun restricting severly its line of sight.
By turn three I was able to charge the flanking marauders into his crossbowmens rear. My knights crashed into his Longbeards front. The foot elements of the army were getting very close to his line and I was able to use magic to the fullest extent casting Flickering Fire into his machines and decimating the crews. I wasn't able to make my knights frenzied sadly! The knight inflicted a lot of wounds unto the longbeards and while suffering none in return they fled seven inches. Thankfully the dwarves refused to follow. This proved decisive. The marauders inflicted a good few casualties against the crossbows but didn't manage to break them.
The organ gun thankfully misfired and blew intself to pieces. That proved fortuitous as the knights were then able to rally without suffering casualties right in front of the Dwarven line. By this stage the shots being taken at my line were much reduced due to the lines of sight being blocked and casualties. In my turen I rallied the knights and prepared them for a charge into the Longbeards. My Chaos Warriors and Marauders reached a threatening position and the marauder horsemen began to grind down the Crossbows. I also got delusions off on the Hammerers and General forcing them to reveal their flank to the Chaos Warriors to exploit the following turn. I finally broke the Crossbows leaving three Marauder Horsemen to ravage the back of the Dwarves.
In the fifth turn the Knights crashed into the Longbeards. This time they were frenzied and they smashed through wiping the regiment out. The Warriors charged the flank of the Hammerers and won combat easily. However the stubborn warriors passed the break test as expected. The Marauder Horsemen didn't do so well. They charged the Bolt Thrower with Master Engineer. The stand and shoot reaction wiped them out... ouch! Combat between the Warriors and Hammerers continued through to the sixth turn, the Sorcerer Lord killed the Battle Standard Bearer in a challenge in the previous turn, which I forgot entitled me to a roll on the Eye of the Gods table! The Warriors finally lost combat in the last turn due to not having a musician. This meant that the Dwarves scored 800 victory points on the strength of having a musician. This made the game a draw, but with 100vps in my favour. I almost had them!
I wasn't happy to say the least. I had eleven points spare in my list, enough to buy a musician. Well I won't leave home without it next time! The draw was a decent result in the end but defeat was really snatched from the jaws of victory during this game.

I finished the tournament in fifth place due to not scoring anything for painting. I have to say I didn't expect to do this well. I managed to avoid Daemons and Vampires on the way up which possibly helped a lot. I don't think I would have managed to get good results against those two armies, especially considering the nasty lists I noticed around the tables. The army proved it is capable of acquitting itself well on the board. The choice of Slaanesh magic for the lord really made the magic phase a challenge as I often ended up with ineffective spells. He was still capable of causing harm but I believe if my opponents had paid more attention to what I was capable of casting they would have realised that some of my spells were not worth it and they had nothing to fear from the threat of me casting them. Tzeentchian magic is amazing though. Flickering Fire is the best spell in the game plus Treason and Pandemonium makes for a great magic phase. I have noticed the combination of Pandemonium and Helshriek makes for a lot of failed panic tests. The Slaanesh spell that makes the knights cause terror is also excellent when combined with Pandemonium! For the next tournament I will have to change the army as it is under ETC restrictions. I still think it can do well and look forward to playing with it in the future. Congratulations are due to Alan Heffernan for a very impressive win with a decent Dark Elf list.

The tournament itself was excellently run. It was approached in a very professional manner. Every player was given a bag of goodies including counters and custom dice. I hope a lot of other tournaments decide to do the same, getting dice is great! While a lot of the lists were hard there was very few obviously 'cheesy' lists. I only saw two or three lists that I felt the players had gone a little too far. Thankfully I didn't have to play against them. There were a lot of Dragons flying around so I have to think about how to deal with them in the future. Looking at the newly posted rankings I am in fourth position due to the fact that painting scores are not counted (thankfully!). I wonder how this will shape up after the next tournament?

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