Thursday, 25 October 2012

Axemaster 2012 Aftermath - Day 2

This is the second part of my 2-post account of Axemaster. You can find the other here.

I had come off day 1 feeling a bit flat to be honest. I don't know what it was. Maybe I was just tired from getting nowhere near enough sleep for the past couple of nights (I was up until midnight rolling truffles the night before, then we got to the venue at 7am to start setting up). Speaking of truffles, this is why I was making unhealthy food in the middle of the night:
Black forest cake, cupcakes, truffles, donuts, jelly shots, energy drink... Everything a growing gamer needs to keep growing (in the wrong direction)
It had been decreed in the player pack that bonus points were available for anyone who baked/prepared cake or some similar food and brought it to share on the day. Nick got this idea from a tournament he attended in Germany, and it seemed to be a hit. Even if it did cost some of us sleep.

Oh, and I said I would include a photo of my army in this post. Well I went and took it the other night, then realised (when it was far too much hassle to go and re-take it) that I had missed the biggest model, the Hurricanum. I am a stupidhead.
My army, minus the Celestial Hurricanum, which had gotten lost on the way to the photo shoot.
You'd think it would be hard to miss, right? Duh...
Anyway, on with the tournament. 

Round 4 - Battleline
Andrew Goodman (Daemons of Chaos)

Bloodthirster with Armour of Khorne, Immortal Fury, Spell Breaker
Khorne Herald with Armour of Khorne
Khorne Herald on Blood Chariot with Armour of Khorne
Slaanesh Herald with Siren Song
Tzeentch Herald (BSB, L2 Shadow) with Master of sorcery, Winged Horror
30 Bloodletters with Full Command, Icon of endless war
15 Horrors with Standard, Musician, The Changeling
15 Daemonetttes with Full Command 
10 Bloodletters with Musician
5 Furies
5 Furies
Fiend of Slaanesh
Fiend of Slaanesh

Comp score: 4/20

This would be the fifth time I had played AG in a tournament, with our history going way back to an Axemaster some 8 years or so before. We were tied at 2-2, and both of the games I lost were in the last round of an event and saw him finish on the podium. This was sure to be a competitive game, despite the fact that he was actually attending his first 8th edition tournament - he was still undecided about how the game now played.

I felt this was a crunch game for me. Winning it would put me right up near the leaders, but losing would put me out of contention. AG had one of the toughest lists in the field, but for a wonder I had a list that I felt contained a lot of answers to the potential problems. It was going to be interesting.

Probably due to my focus on the game and it being early on Sunday morning, I completely forgot to take any photos of this game. I apologise, it was lax of me. I've put together a map for this one to try to make it easier to work out what went on.
The table looked something like this, with me deploying along the bottom
I deployed with my Cannon on a hill near the left side of the table. The Demigryphs were in front, with the Knights and BSB nearby. Next was the Steam Tank, looking to drive just to the right of a forest that was about a third of the way in from the left and smack in the centre. The Flagellants were to the right of the Tank, with the Halberdiers next to them. The buff wagons were behind the Flagellants. There was a forest just to the right of the Halberdiers, which the detachment deployed into and discovered was a Venom Thicket.

AG deployed his Bloodthirster out of sight from the Cannon by some impressively tall and thick snowy trees (stupid terrain! Who bought such huge trees? Oh right, that would be me). On the far left he had a Fiend, with the small unit of Bloodletters, a Bloodcrusher and the Herald on chariot for company. The Furies also went over on the left, since it was opposite my Cannon. The Horror unit with the BSB was immediately behind the forest, with the Bloodletter horde having a clear path across the table next to them, through the centre. The Bloodthirster's hiding place was just behind the end of the Bloodletters - basically straight across from the Steam Tank, but he figured he couldn't hide from everything. Next to the big unit of Bloodletters was the end of a forest, which the remaining Bloodcrusher occupied. The Daemonettes and Slaanesh Herald went on the other side of the forest (now to the right of my lines), with a Fiend going well wide. AG had been able to delay many of his key deployments given that he had 6 chaff units, so I had basically been forced to do my own thing. As I finished I immediately decided I had made a mistake, and should have hugged one of the table edges rather than going relatively in the middle. I was going to struggle to protect my Cannon from so many small, quick units.

I managed to get the first turn, which was excellent. The Steam Tank rolled forward and fired its cannon at the Bloodthirster, however it fell a fraction of an inch short and had to settle for killing 2 Bloodletters who got in the way. My Cannon fired at the Fiend on the left, but failed to make the distance. I moved the Demigryphs across and forward (about level with the left of my end of the forest) to prepare to charge things that wanted to head for the Cannon. The Knights swung around behind them, looking more towards the left edge. My main lines didn't really move - I wasn't in much of a hurry. The Halberdiers and Flagellants both shuffled sideways to make room for the War Altar to poke its nose ahead and get it into Banishment range of the enemy. Magic saw my main Banishment stymied, however the lesser (Strength 4) version from my Wizard Lord managed to kill the Bloodcrusher in the forest. Success!

The Daemons didn't charge anything, but that doesn't mean they didn't move. The Fiend on the left bounded around and hugged the table edge, hoping for a charge on the Cannon. Both Fury units moved up - one right in front of the Demigryphs to force a charge, the others nearby to the left. The main infantry lines advanced, though not at full speed - they were about level with AG's end of the forest. The Bloodthirster continued to skulk out of sight of the Cannon and in sight of the Steam Tank. The Daemonettes on the right advanced a bit faster than the main line of Bloodletters and wheeled a bit to face the bulk of my forces. The Fiend on the far right rushed forward and put itself not far from the corner of my Halberdiers, on the other side of the forest. I think a Pit of Shades landed on my Steam Tank, but I passed my Initiative test and drove around it. Maybe a good omen?

In my Turn 2 the Demigryphs charged the Furies right in front of them. The Knights charged along behind them and hit the other unit nearby. The Steam Tank made a bit to get to the Bloodletters (it's ideal for wasting their game), but fell short by several inches. It meant I was not lined up with the Bloodthirster anymore, so he was safe from the cannon. The Halberdiers charged through the Venom Thicket and into the front of the Fiend. I'm half convinced AG had forgotten I could see it through the forest (7th ed hangover), but I'm not sure. The rest of my lines remained pretty static.

In my magic phase I cast Birona's Timewarp on the Halberdiers, as I expected them to have to face the Daemonettes after they dealt with the Fiend. My Cannon failed once again to make the distance to the approaching Fiend (way to protect yourself, doofus), and it was on to combat. The Fiend on the right never got to attack - ASF saw to that. I reformed facing left toward the flank of the Bloodletters, but keeping the Daemonettes in the front arc on my right. Both Fury units were cut down in short order. The Demigryphs stayed put (watching the various approaching small Khorne units) whilst the Knights reformed in a single line, facing the Fiend - and getting long enough to block its approach to the Cannon - it would have to waste a turn moving around me. In hindsight I should probably have given it my rear to look at and faced more toward the Demigryphs and my lines rather than the table edge. Oh well, no big deal.

In their turn the Daemons started to charge. The 10 Bloodletters, Herald and Bloodcrusher all wanted to charge my Demigryphs, but the Bloodthirster pulled rank and the Bloodletters had to sit it out (there wasn't room for everyone). The Horrors charged my Steam Tank to pin it in place and pull all sorts of silly Changeling shenanigans with our stat lines. The main Bloodletter unit tried to charge the Flagellants, however even with the extra D6 on the charge from their banner, they didn't make the distance (I can't remember what they needed, but it was only a moderate roll on 3D6). The Daemonettes charged the front of the Halberdiers, intent of exacting revenge for the fallen Fiend. The Fiend on the left, discovering it could no longer charge the Cannon, settled for sauntering around the end of the Knight unit and getting ready to try again next turn.

My Demigryphs were just starting to wonder whether they could take the combined Khornate charge (the Bloodthirster was only Stength 6), when AG forced Okkam's Mindrazor through on the big guy (he was now Strength 9). Yep, they were in trouble now. As it happened, they only lost 2 models in total from the enemy attacks and impact hits, and managed to kill the Bloodcrusher and wound the Herald on his chariot before passing their break test (the BSB was right next to them). The Steam Tank and Horrors began a fruitless combat in which nothing ever happened in the Daemon turn, but I killed a few Horrors in each of my turns with the steam turret. The Daemonettes dented the Halberdiers, but not as badly as they got mauled in return - the Herald died convincingly thanks to the bonuses from Timewarp, and several of her friends died too. The combat went for a few rounds before I eventually killed them all (but too late to clear a charge into the flank of the Bloodletters).

In Turn 3 I decided I had to bite the bullet and charge the Bloodletter horde with the Flagellants. I sent the Hurricanum in alongside them for a few impact hits (it went in on the left, next to the Steam Tank where it was fighting the Horrors). The Knights on the left reformed again to face the flank of the Herald fighting the Demigryphs - the Fiend situation was now out of their hands. For its part, the Cannon decided the Fiend was too close to be shot (and they were too crap at shooting), so the dragged it back off the hill to the right, hiding for another turn. The War Altar lurked behind the Flagellants, looking off to the left.

This magic phase was a decisive one. I got a decent fist of power dice, and AG still had his Spell Breaker. First I tried to cast Speed of Light on the Flagellants, but he used his dice to dispel that. Then I threw a couple of dice from the Arch Lector to give everyone within 6" a 5+ ward save. After some consideration, AG used his scroll to stop it. This left me with 4 dice to cast Birona's Timewarp on the Flagellants, which I did. He'd made a mistake, and blocked the wrong spell. 

His Bloodletters would regret it. In combat my Flagellants sacrificed a few of their number for rerolled hits and wounds, and with +1 to hit and +1 attack, it was carnage. I did 27 unsaved wounds before the Bloodletters got a chance to strike, which meant it was only the Herald left. He killed one, then bowed to the result of the combat and crumbled. I had crushed the most expensive unit in the enemy army.

On the left, the Bloodthirster decided to fire up and roll a bit bit better, and the Demigryphs paid the price. They were wiped out, however the chariot couldn't reform due to the Bloodthirster right next to him. The same could not be said for the Thirster himself, on his square base. He turned side-on to face the Knights, and in his turn he charged them.

My antics with the Cannon did indeed buy it a turn, however I was a bit lucky - had the hill been a different shape, the Herald on the chariot would have been looking straight at it. As it was, I was (by pure luck) out of its sight too, and save for another round. The Fiend crested the hill and got ready to finish the job, whilst the chariot wheeled about and faced the flank of my Knights as they held against the Bloodthirster.

I managed to prevent Mindrazor this turn, which was just as well. Even so, 4 of my Knights died to the Greater Daemon and nearly failed their break test, despite doing a wound in return. The other combats remained relative stalemates.

In my fourth turn I charged the Hurricanum into the Horrors to assist the Steam Tank, although by this point there were not so many enemies left. The Cannon tried a grapeshot against the Fiend, but was just as useless at that as everything else - it misfired and didn't shoot. The Flagellants swung around behind the Horrors and looked across at the Bloodletters, who had turned back behind the forest to offer their allies some support.

In the magic phase I buffed the Halberdiers with Speed of Light just because I could, and it was enough for them to finally see off the remaining Daemonettes in combat. The War Altar fired Banishment at the Bloodletters as they faced off with the Flagellants, and killed 8, leaving only 2 models.

The Hurricanum and the steam turret on the Steam Tank mustered almost enough force to kill off the Horrors, however the Herald and the Changeling survived. The Knights over on the left actually outfought the Bloodthirster (the BSB had challenged to stop him cutting down the regular Knights), inflicting a second wound and winning combat, although he unsportingly took no wounds from crumbling.

We were running out of time, so this was going to be AG's final turn. The Khorne Herald drove his chariot into the flank of the Knights, hoping to tip the balance once more. The Fiend finally got the Cannon, and the 2 Bloodletters shifted about without doing much, realising they were a spent force.

A spectator predicted that we were about to both lose our BSBs, however I wasn't convinced - I wasn't making great progress on the Horrors now that the impact hits were gone, and my BSB had good armour and looked like he may yet pull through. AG felt otherwise, and irresistably cast Mindrazor on the Bloodthirster. The miscast sucked the Tzeentch Herald back into the warp and the blast blew apart the Changeling next to him, as well as wounding the Steam Tank and Hurricanum. So the Daemon BSB was indeed dead, and suddenly my BSB's armour wasn't looking so great in the face of a Strength 9 Bloodthirster...

The arrival of the Khorne chariot saw one of my Knights die, and the Bloodthirster did indeed cut down my BSB (only just, though - my ward saves nearly kept him alive). I lost combat by 3, but managed to hold on Leadership 5 without a reroll. It was lucky, and the game was over. I had killed everything except the Bloodthirster, Herald on chariot, Fiend and 2 Bloodletters. In return I had lost my BSB, Cannon and Demigryphs. A good effort.

Result: 30-10 (34-6 after comp)

It had been an interesting game, however I had been fortunate with the dispel mistake affecting the Bloodletters and Flagellants. The 5+ ward save was the third best thing I could do to swing the combat (after Speed of Light which AG had already stopped, and Timewarp which he let through), but it wasn't going to be enough. His decision to stop the ward save meant I went from being thrashed in the combat (though almost certainly surviving and denting him in return) to wiping him out. Ah well, if I'd failed the 12+ casting roll on 4 dice to get Timewarp off, he'd have looked like an evil genius. Guess I got away with one there. I was lucky to still have the Knights at the end of the game, although they had been holding up quite well until Mindrazor intervened again. Oh well. It was a bit of a pity that we ran out of time, however things wouldn't have changed that much with 2 more turns. I would have lost the Knights but probably nothing else, and AG's remaining forces would have been under real threat from unopposed magic and the Steam Tank that was finally free from combat.

Round 5 - Dawn Attack
Aaron Graham (High Elves)

Archmage (L4 Life) with Silver Wand, Ironcurse Icon
Prince on Barded Elven Steed with Dragon armor, Helm of Fortune, Giant Blade, Shield, Talisman of Loec
Mage (L2 Metal) with Annulian Crystal
Noble (BSB) on Barded Elven Steed with Great Weapon, Heavy armour, The Other Trickster's Shard, Dragonhelm, Dawnstone
10 Archers with Musician
10 Archers with Musician
28 Lothern Sea Guard with Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame
8 Silver Helms with Musician, Standard Bearer
12 Sword Masters of Hoeth with Bladelord, The Amulet of Light
Tiranoc Chariot
16 White Lions of Chrace with Full Command, Banner of Sorcery
Great Eagle
Great Eagle
Great Eagle

Comp score: 14/20

I had only played Aaron once before, at Axemaster the previous year. I had been slightly fortunate to pull a win there (and in so doing, deny him a place on the podium - not that I got there either). He was fielding a similar list this time around - it had strong magic and a moderately powerful main cavalry unit (by the time you counted the BSB and Prince), but not that much to back it up. My army was slightly stronger, and the comp scores reflected that.

Being Dawn Attack, we had to roll where each of our units went. It didn't cripple either of us terribly, although it affected Aaron slightly more. He had to deploy first, but managed to retain the first turn (ie I didn't snatch it from him with a 6).
Aaron photobombs his own army shot, complete with yoghurt
Aaron deployed with his Silver Helms (including the BSB and Prince) on the right (not entirely his choice - the dice put them there). Everything else in his army rolled "centre" except the Swordmasters, who ended up by themselves over on the left, going behind the small house on that side. It meant their deployment was a bit wasted, but nothing could be done about it. In the centre, the unit immediately to the left of the Silver Helms anchoring the line were the White Lions, with a unit of Archers behind. The Eagle was well back beside the Archers. The other Archers were next to the left, and beside them were the Sea Guard, deployed 9 wide. The Tiranoc Chariot was between the Sea Guard and the small building hiding the Swordmasters. A Mage went in each Archer unit.

I deployed my Flagellants on my right, opposite the Silver Helms and on top of the back of the hill. The Steam Tank was to their left, with the Hurricanum behind it (and the Archer detachment in between). The Halberdiers were to the left of the Tank, with a forest immediately in front of them. The Knights went behind the Halberdiers, with the War Altar to their left. The Demigryphs were in front of the War Altar. The Cannon was further to the left, back near my table edge.
The Empire lines
In Aaron's first turn he advanced with the White Lions, just far enough to make space for the Silver Helms to wheel about and cross behind them. The Swordmasters moved out from behind the house and began the long walk across the field. The Chariot moved forward at best speed, through the gaps between the forests across the centre of the table. Magic was fairly uneventful, although he may have managed to cast Throne of Vines. I know it went off early and I then forgot about it for a while, which was unfortunate later.

In my turn I measured up the distances and found that the Flagellants and Halberdiers were both a mere 15" away from the White Lions. An 11 would get me there. OK, so that is a long way. But the White Lions were not a large unit, they carried the Banner of Sorcery, and they were right in front of the flank of the critical Silver Helm bus... I declared the charge with both units. The Flagellants rolled a 10 (ooooh - that would have been game over). The Halberdiers managed even better and rolled a 12! In they went! Huzzah and all that!

My remaining movement was less exciting, with me being circumspect about the damage the Silver Helms could do to things like my Demigryphs. Actually, I think my Demigryphs may have charged at an Eagle that was getting too close, but it fled past the Swordmasters and I failed to redirect onto the Tiranoc Chariot (or failed the distance). The Hurricanum moved up behind the Halberdiers and the Steam Tank rolled forward into the forest. The Knights and BSB advanced in between, ensuring the Halberdiers would have a reroll in case anything went badly wrong. The War Altar headed left a bit, looking to shield the flank from the advancing Swordmasters and Chariot.

In the magic phase (it was a big one) I managed to force through both Timewarp and Speed of Light on the Halberdiers. They were pimped to the max, and the White Lions were in serious trouble. In combat we swung simultaneously, however hitting on 4+ without rerolls was not how the White Lions like to do things and they did only moderate damage. In return I was rolling something like 33 attacks, hitting and wounding on 3+ (I don't think the Hurricanum was in range). In the end I did 17 wounds and Aaron passed several saves, so there were a few White Lions left to prevent the overrun. With the general and BSB right behind them, they were never going to fail their Stubborn test. I'm not sure if it was this turn or next turn, but the Cannon accounted for the non-fleeing Eagle over on the left, buying itself time.
Almost... I so nearly broke through in the first turn. There are a couple of White Lions hiding down there under the movement tray. Somewhere
Turn 2 saw the High Elves getting nervous, and trying to swing things back in their favour. The Silver Helms declared a charge on my Knights, who decided it would go poorly for them and fled, ending up near the table edge. I also killed a few of my Knights with dangerous terrain tests for running out of the forest. Yay. The Silver Helms redirected their charge onto the Demigryphs, who were slightly closer than I would have liked. The Tiranoc Chariot also charged them, however the Chariot found itself arriving alone when the Silver Helms failed to roll far enough. That was significant. The Eagle landed next to the Silver Helms to try to shield them from the Hurricanum in the flank, but they were still going to be in trouble.
The High Elves counter, but the Silver Helms don't make the critical charge and are stranded
In the magic phase the Archmage did his best to delay the Halberdiers. He cast Flesh to Stone on the White Lions (giving them Toughness 7 thanks to Throne of Vines), and also brought 4 back from the dead with Regrowth. The raised models did their best to maximise their contact with the Wizard Lord, who started to look nervous. In the combat phase they did a couple of wounds to her and managed to keep a couple of models of their own as the Halberdiers peppered them again with attacks but struggled to get past their massive Toughness. The Tiranoc Chariot found itself utterly outclassed by the Demigryphs and got smashed to pieces in a single round. The Demigryphs reformed on a bit of an angle, putting their nearest corner closer to the Silver Helms.
The creepy crewless, headless Tiranoc Chariot finds itself fighting alone - but it is soon over
In my turn the Silver Helms found themselves about to receive charges from several things they didn't want to fight. The Demigryphs declared first, with the Steam Tank revving its engine right next to them and the Hurricanum about to arrive as well. They decided to flee from the Demigryphs, passing through both Archer units. The nearest unit failed its panic test and headed away from the Halberdiers, who were the closest enemy. They stopped just in front of the other Archer unit, which contained the Archmage. The Demigryphs failed their charge, however the Steam Tank shot forward and ran over the fleeing Archers, right in front of their comrades. The Eagle also fled the charge of the Hurricanum, and the High Elf army was in disarray.

The War Altar killed half of the Swordmasters with a blast of Banishment, however the rest seemed unconcerned. I cast Birona's Timewarp once more on the Halberdiers, ensuring they would still have a reasonable chance of dragging down the remaining super-tough White Lions. They didn't, however. There were still 2 models left after the round of combat, and they held their ground. Worse, the one attack that could reach removed my Wizard Lord, who had managed to fail all of her ward saves. No wonder she had looked nervous - clearly she had left her protection at home. 

In Turn 3 the Archmage bolted from her Archer unit (who were about to be fed to the grinder that was the Steam Tank) and joined the Sea Guard, where she found the other Mage had already arrived. However, none of this was the important moment of the turn. The critical point was when the Silver Helms, Prince and BSB failed to rally on Leadership 10. They fled onward, right to the very edge of the table. Not at all good. The Swordmasters advanced toward my Cannon, as did the rallied Eagle. Magic was not as decisive as it had been the previous turn, and it was not enough to save the White Lions, who were finished off at a very bad time - the Halberdiers were in charge range of the fleeing Silver Helms.

In my turn the Halberdiers charged the Silver Helms off the table, pretty much winning me the game. They redirected onto something else, but failed to make the distance. Unlike Aaron, I managed to rally my fleeing Knights and BSB (also on Leadership 10). On the left, the War Altar charged the Eagle that had gotten too close to my Cannon, whilst the Demigryphs and Steam Tank dealt with the Archers right in front of them.
My Knights succeed where Aaron's failed, and rally near the table edge
The rest of the game became a bit of cat-and-mouse. The Swordmasters wound up copping a flank charge from my Knights, and got broken and run down. First however, I lost my BSB to the Dwellers Below, along with one of his mates. Oh well, I couldn't complain. I mopped up everything except the Sea Guard containing the 2 mages, but couldn't bring them to ground before they made it to the house, and from there they were pretty safe. My nearest infantry were too far away to flush them out, and they made it through the game, doing their best to harrass me with spells like Searing Doom until it was time to stop.

In the wash-up I had lost my Wizard Lord and BSB, however I had killed everything except the enemy Mage, Archmage and Sea Guard. It was a solid victory.

Result: 32-8 (31-9 after comp)

Aaron had been unlucky in this game. I gambled on the big charges against the White Lions because I didn't stand to lose much if I failed, however when it came off, it was decisive. The Silver Helms may have done a number on the Demigryphs had they made that charge, although with Hatred from the War Altar right behind, it might have been ugly. I probably would have broken, but might have take the odd character with me. Failing to rally on Leadership 10 was harsh, and really it cost him the game, although he was already on the back foot by then. Oh well, I guess I had to get lucky sometime...

Round 6 - Battleline
Chris Cousens (Warriors of Chaos)

Kholek Suneater
Throgg the Troll King
Exalted Hero of Slaanesh (BSB) on Steed of Slaanesh with Charmed Shield, Biting Blade
Exalted Hero of Slaanesh on Steed of Slaanesh with Dragonhelm, Halberd
Chaos Sorcerer (L1 Fire) with Dispel Scroll
7 Chaos Trolls
17 Marauder Horsemen of Slaanesh with Standard, Musician, Flails
14 Chaos Marauders of Slaanesh with Standard, Musician
Dragon Ogre Shaggoth with Great Weapon
Dragon Ogre Shaggoth with Great Weapon

Comp score: 10/20

And now we came to it at last. The showdown between me and the monstrosity that I had inflicted upon the tournament when I suggested Chris might want to take Kholek Suneater, because he was huge and funny. Turns out he was huge, funny and downright dangerous, and Chris was undefeated. Unfortunately for him, I actually had things that threatened him, namely cannons and Van Horstmann's Speculum. It was a match-up where I had the upper hand.
Kholek Suneater: When you can eat suns, you know you are pretty bad-ass
Chris deployed his large unit of Marauder horsemen (including both Exalted Heroes on Steeds of Slaanesh) just off the hill on the right, and then Vanguarded them a bit forward, although they were wary of being charged in the first turn. On the hill next to them was a Shaggoth, followed by Throgg and his Troll buddies and then the Marauders on foot containing the Sorcerer. Kholek went on the left end of the hill, doing his best to look both menacing and impregnable to cannonballs. The remaining Shaggoth went well to the left, behind the smaller hill.

I deployed my Demigryphs on the right, facing the Marauder horsemen (hence their hesitation about using their full Vanguard). The Knights were on their left, with the Hurricanum behind them. Then came the Halberdiers and detachment, with the War Altar and Steam tank to their left and the Flagellants were on the end, opposite the Shaggoth.

In yet another important roll that went my way, I took the first turn despite Chris having had fewer deployments. It bought me an extra turn of shooting with the cannons, and Kholek pouted in his usual ugly fashion. I moved little, however the Steam Tank edged toward Kholek in order to line up its gun before firing. It did 1 wound to the big guy, whilst the other Cannon did 4 more. I threw a few spells around, however Chris managed to fend off the worst of them and took no serious damage. I did cast Speed of Light on the Demigryphs, which was probably the only reason the Marauder horseman bus didn't plough straight into them. That would have been interesting.

In his turn, Chris moved Kholek diagonally across the table - closing the gap and trying to get away from the War Altar and van Horstmann's Speculum. The Shaggoths both advanced to about halfway across the table, as did Throgg and the Trolls, who shambled into the forest in the centre and discovered it was exactly as it appeared - a stupid mushroom forest. Oh no, stupid Trolls - how terrible. One of the Exalted Heroes left the Marauder Horsemen and swung around the flank of the Demigryphs, doing his best to be annoying. I think his unit may actually have backed off - certainly they weren't close enough for me to charge in my turn.

In the magic phase Chris managed to cast a massive double-boosted Fireball at my Cannon, but only did a single wound. However, this was more than enough preparation for Kholek, who summoned lightning from the skies and fried the thing comprehensively with some convincing rolling. Now I only had 1 shot to keep him from my lines, or a lot of men of the Empire were going to die...

In Turn 2 I tried to charge the Shaggoth on the left with the Flagellants, however rolled 2", which was not nearly enough. I decided not to charge anything else. The Steam Tank turned and rolled toward Kholek and opened up with its cannon. It wounded him and did 3 wounds - the bare minimum I needed to kill him. Thank goodness, he was gone. Apparently it was the first time all tournament that he had died, so it's little wonder the army was performing so well.
He's dead! Not even the power of V can revive him
The detachment moved up to try to protect the Steam Tank from the Trolls, but it was a forlorn hope - it would have taken a failed redirect. In the magic phase the Wizard Lord got a little too excited about the demise of Kholek, and used irresistable force to cast boosted Speed of Light in the hope of strengthening my lines. The resulting miscast was a dimensional cascade that sucked the Wizard Lord and 14 nearby Halberdiers into the warp. Oops.
In his turn, Chris declared plenty of charges. The Trolls charged the detachment who fled all the way off the table (lined that up well, didn't I?), then redirected successfully onto the Steam Tank. The Shaggoth on the left also lunged at the Tank from the side. My Knights found themselves engaged by both a Shaggoth in the front, and the Exalted Hero who had been lurking over on the right in the flank. The Marauder Horsemen moved up a bit, presumably to get a better view of the Shaggoth in action.
My Knights find themselves under attack from 2 directions at once
In the magic phase Chris managed to get off another Fireball, wounding the War Altar and the Arch Lector on top. Then came the combat. Throgg and his Troll pals vomited all over the Steam Tank, but only managed to do a couple of wounds, even with the help of the Shaggoth (WS 10 probably slowed the big guy down a bit). The Knights proved more difficult to crack than the Shaggoth had hoped, again owing a bit to Speed of Light. I managed to do a wound or two in return, and held my ground comfortably.
The Steam Tank under attack
In Turn 3 it was my turn to counter-charge. The Flagellants hit the Shaggoth fighting the Steam Tank in the flank, whilst the Demigryphs charged the engaged Exalted Hero right in front of the them, wheeling about to line up in the rear. The War Altar decided to go it alone against the Marauder Horsemen, and the Halberdiers moved up near the Steam Tank with the Hurricanum shifting about to affect as many units as possible.
The Demigryphs arrive to swing the combat in my favour
The Steam Tank combat was brutal. First strike went to the Flagellants, and they gave themselves rerolls to hit and wound by shrieking a lot and hitting each other. Together with +1 to hit from the Hurricanum, the poor Shaggoth never stood a chance. He was beaten down in a flurry of blows, and although Throgg continued to vomit on the Steam Tank, his unit lost combat convincingly. They were Steadfast because the Flagellants no longer counted as engaged for this purpose, but they failed anyway. Thankfully the Steam Tank wasn't allowed to pursue and the Flagellants couldn't fit between the house and the Tank to overrun, or the 4" they fled might not have been enough.
Flagellants to the rescue!
The combat on the right saw the arrival of the Demigryphs swing things in my favour. They couldn't actually attack because my BSB was fighting the Exalted Hero in a challenge (kept him away from the Strength 8 Shaggoth), but the bonuses for their arrival saw the Hero break and get run down by the Demigryphs. The Shaggoth held his ground however, and kept trying to maul the Knights.

The War Altar's arrival against the Marauder Horsemen was a moderate success. The BSB had to challenge, which saw him hit with the nerf hammer that is a Warrior Priest's stats, thanks to the Speculum. I took a wound, then clobbered him with his own Attacks and Strength 7. I didn't do much damage with the impact hits however, and can't even remember who won the combat. Nobody fled.
The Arch Lector goes all "lone wolf" and takes on the Marauders by himself
In his third turn Chris rallied Throgg and got ready to have another go at the Steam Tank. There wasn't much else for him to do. The combats continued, and saw the Shaggoth killed by 2 horse attacks (yes, seriously - 2 wounds in a phase to bring him down). My Arch Lector also succumbed to horse attacks, so it was the current fashion. Luckily for me the War Altar held on the horses' leadership. It was the turn of horses.

In Turn 4 the Steam Tank went back in against Throgg, alongside the Halberdiers. The Knights charged in to assist the riderless War Altar. The Flagellants reformed 5 wide and prepared to go through the gap between the Steam Tank and house. In the end they managed a pretty long charge to hit the Marauder infantry unit, broke them, let them escape, then hit them again and got rid of them by game's end.

Throgg's unit was pretty badly pounded by the Halberdiers and Steam Tank, but held in that round and then broke the Halberdiers, who fled, failed to rally, and headed off the table. The Steam Tank itself survived, being bailed out in the end by a flank charge from the Demigryphs, who ran down the fleeing Troll King. The King was dead, long live the King.

The Marauder Horsemen broke under the charge from the Knights, although a horse nearly had the final say again by getting through my BSB's armour and forcing him to pass a 5+ ward save to survive. The success was short-lived for the War Altar however, which was consumed by yet another Fireball from the Chaos Sorcerer as soon as it was out of combat (before the Flagellants did bad things to him in turn).

In the end I had lost the War Altar and Arch Lector, the Wizard Lord and the Halberdiers and their detachment. The Steam Tank survived on 1 wound. Chris' army was wiped out in the final turn. Victory!

Result: 32-8 (33-7 after comp)

And with that, for the first time in something like 6 or 7 years, I had won a tournament. I finished on 186 out of 240 points (so 93 out of 120 in a normal 20-0 tournament), and it was enough to pip Aaron and Chris by 13 points (6.5 in the normal scale). Chris came 2nd on countback, having beaten Aaron when they played in game 4. I could attribute my success to a very solid army with some strong synergies, and more luck than I normally enjoy. I also walked away with the player's choice award for my army, so all in all it was a wildly successful weekend.

Final standings were as follows:


  1. Congrats Greg! No surprise on Best Painted, but getting 1st place *as well* is an achievement :D

  2. Congratulations on both awards. Really enjoyed the tournament reports - from how they read, and how the photos looked, you deserved to do well.

  3. Great result and a very intresting read Greg!