Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Cancon preparation – it's character building

It's less than 2 weeks until the first tournament of the year kicks off. As we seem to do every year, we are all piling into the cars and taking the 8 hour drive up to Canberra for Cancon. It will be quite the pilgrimage this year, without about 20 of us making the trip, although not all of us are playing Warhammer (Cancon is a massive event with a ton of different games on offer).

Given that we're so close to the event, I've already had to submit my army list. I considered making a point of using something other than the Empire in the tournament, but there are a number of things from the book that I have not yet really tried. One of those is detachments – sure, I've fielded the odd small one, but I've never really given it a good go. I intend to change that at some point, but that will have to wait. I also intend to try a very magic-heavy army at some point, with something close to a wizard from every single college present at once. I think it would make for a pretty amusing game, and a terribly confusing magic phase. But that's not what I'm doing this time either. For Cancon I am exploring something I have thus far avoided entirely – special characters.

When tournaments started to settle into 8th edition, I was one of the people supporting the use of special characters. For a long time they had been banned as they unbalanced things too badly, but we figured it was time to give them a go, particularly with reasonably weighted soft comp scores to help rein in some of the worst offenders (we're looking at you, Teclis, Thorek, the Masque and your select friends). In our neck of the woods, special characters are now almost always permitted. And yet, I haven't gotten around to using a single one. Time to change that. For my Cancon list, I have managed to jam in 4 of them...
3 special characters, waiting to be painted. Luthor Huss is yet to make his way out of the container of Dettol in which he currently resides. He'll be the first to experience the wonders of the new ultrasonic cleaner I got for Christmas. 4 models to paint sounds like enough to keep me busy between now and next weekend. I'd love to paint up some actual Reiksguard too, but I suspect time will not allow it.

Here is the list I have submitted:
  • Kurt Helborg, Reiksmarshall of the Empire (Army General)
  • Marius Leitdorf
  • Ludwig Schwarzhelm (BSB)
  • Luthor Huss
  • Battle Wizard of the Light Order (Level 2)
  • Battle Wizard of the Light Order (Level 2) with Dispel Scroll
  • 10 Reiksguard Knights with Standard, Musician
  • 10 Knights of the Inner Circle with Standard, Musician
  • 40 Halberdiers with Standard, Musician
  • Detachment: 5 Archers
  • Detachment: 15 Swordsmen
  • 1 Great Cannon
  • 5 Outriders with Musician, Sharpshooter
  • 10 Crossbowmen
Total Army Cost: 2400

I've never tried a list like this before, but it strikes me as rather funny. Not least because Kurt Helborg and the mad count Marius Leitdorf despise each other (Marius' horse bears the name of Daisy Kurt von Helboring II). In honour of this, I will not allow them to join the same unit, even if it means one of them is left out in the path of a cannon ball. Well, at least they both start with a regiment of knights, so this shouldn't happen too often...

The army as a whole is rather compromised by these characters. 3 of them bear a 2+ armour save with no ward save, and given they're leading cavalry on the charge, I may feel this lack of protection rather keenly. The fact that all 4 of them are mounted meant I was always going to have to field quite a lot of knights, so any chance to experiment with different infantry was going to have to wait. The Lord allowance filled up rather quickly with 2 characters waving Runefangs about, so my magic strength is limited to a couple of level 2 casters (not how I would do things if I was making a strong army).

In all, this army is indicative of my intent to take a deliberate step back from being competitive this year. Not that I was pushing super-hard last year, but my lists were strong enough for me to be competitive, and by the time we got to Axemaster, it was just about as powerful a list as I could put together. No matter my attitude then, I was going to be high up on the tables. I don't expect to be anywhere near that with this army, and I plan to carry that on through the year. I want to spend the year focusing on other aspects of the hobby like battle reports, and the constant barrage of tournaments and people wanting to practice for them tends to get in the way.

At last count, Cancon had about 95 players registered for Warhammer Fantasy. That makes it the biggest 8th edition tournament we've seen anywhere in Australia, and the biggest Cancon ever. That in itself is exciting, and the gradual revival of the tournament scene seems to be continuing.

David Duriesmith, currently ranked the number 1 Warhammer player in Australia and one of the regular cast of The Dwellers Below, has declared a grudge match against me in the first round. Dave and I are both Hampton players, but despite this and us both having attended the same events for the last couple of years, we have never played each other. Time to rectify that. Of course, my list is not what it might have been for such an occasion. But he is using Wood Elves, so the absence of things like a Steam Tank and Demigryphs are probably for the best – it could make for an interesting game.


  1. Oohhh very interesting list. I think it has the potential to be quite a tight game. Characters with no ward saves are not great but runefangs a pretty good against the wood elves, +2 Toughness won't help me there. Light magic is also pretty ascary for the old trees. I can't wait!


  2. It's probably too late to remind you that Dave O War didn't just make someone quit a tournament, but he made them quit Warhammer all together.

    1. Urban legend, my friend. The victim eventually recovered. In fact, I begin to question whether the blood, the horror and the screaming ever really happened at all...

  3. All hail Marius Lightdorf! May Sigmar bless and protect Daisy Kurt Von Helboring II and may her wisdom inspire Marius to great deeds!

  4. Good to see that Luthor Huss I sent you get a decent paint job.

    1. Yeah, he's got to climb his way out of the "dip" first. I figure I will deal with the 3 fancy men with the fancy horsies first, then handle Luthor.

  5. Good luck Can conning!
    Ultrasonic cleaner, eh? Should make short work of a certain box of orcs...

    1. Here's hoping. I've not yet tried it. If nothing else, it has an excellent broken English manual. It warns you not to use flammable liquid. But it says if you do, "and it causes all the results, we are Irresponsible".

      I for one am reassured...

  6. Good luck on painting all those characters in time for Cancon. I dont envy you at all - it took me weeks to paint my Ludwig.

    1. Well, your painting was a lot fancier than I am planning mine to be. Here's hoping that's enough to make the difference!