My army ended up having a reasonable day on the first day of the tournament, so I was now poised to play some of the contenders for the top places. We will see how that went.
On to Day 2. Also known as Day of the Elves. You will see why...
Game 4: BattlelineJames Milner: High Elves with Wood Elves
|James claimed to have left his normal glasses at home, but mentioned something about the previous night being a big one, so his real motive for wearing sunglasses remained open to interpretation.|
|James' High Elf and Wood Elf army. The Maiden Guard are actually just more Archers in the list. Because an Elf army can never have too many bows, apparently.|
- Archmage (Level 4, High Magic) with Dispel Scroll
- Noble (Battle Standard Bearer) with Great Weapon, Dragon Armour, Charmed Shield, Radiant Gem of Hoeth (Level 1, Lore of Metal)
- 15 Archers with Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame
- 15 Archers with Standard, Musician
- 19 White Lions with Standard, Musician, Banner of Sorcery
- 7 Swordmasters with Blademaster, Talisman of Loec
- 5 Ellyrian Reavers
- Great Eagle
- Great Eagle
- Noble on Elf Steed with Dragonbane Gem, Hail of Doom Arrow
- 11 Gladeguard with Standard, Musician, Gleaming Pennant
- 10 Gladeguard with Musician
- 8 Dryads
Having moved across from New Zealand recently, James has been a regular at the club for the last few months. However, I was yet to play him. He was a member of the Shirts off Warhammer team that beat Hampton at the VICCs a few weeks back too, so clearly some sort of redemption was in order.
I'm afraid I forgot to take a photo of deployment, so you'll have to make do with a shot from my first turn. I think James actually got the first turn, however not a lot happened then. His magic was basically all out of range (as he was sitting well back with an army of bowmen facing off against a fairly quick combat army), and the range and cover minimised the damage from his shooting. I did take a wound on the Mournfang, courtesy of my usual failure of armour saves.
|The doggy heads off on a mission of annoyance. He copped a wound from the Archers for his trouble. Clearly he was already annoying someone!|
|The Elf flank, with the Archmage on the hill with the Archers. The BSB with Searing Doom up his sleeve was leading the White Lions nearby, whilst the Swordmasters hurried toward the house.|
|Glade Guard with High Elf Archers in support. The Wood Elf Noble was leading the Reavers in the background.|
|The Dryads had shuffled into the forest to commune with the other trees.|
|This forest was actually a Fungus Forest, but that served me well when the detachment of Archers was wiped out and we realised that nobody would have to test for panic because they were all too stupid to notice.|
|The table after James' second turn. There is still a roaming Sabretusk off the left of the screen. See, I told you I moved those White Wolves after the previous photo. That is a much better spot.|
|The Dryads look to block my Mournwolves' approach to the Glade Guard on the back of the hill.|
|Maybe Stand and Shoot would have been a better policy. These Elves and their running away, no good can come of it...|
|The Dryads are dying, but still they hold. Failed to reform, though. I think they did try.|
|The White Wolves move into a more threatening position.|
|The doggy continues his approach.|
|The centre of the table after my second turn.|
|Surrounded! Those Swordmasters don't seem to like my Arch Lector...|
|The victorious Wolfygryphs reform, now well within charge distance of the enemy.|
We kept playing, of course, The Arch Lector tried to bust out of the trap he was in by charging the Eagle, however he failed to kill it with impact hits and that gave it time to do a wound to him before he finished it off. He would come to regret that. His overrun of 11" just about got him to the Archers on the hill, and would mean the Swordmasters needed a decent roll to catch up. Elsewhere my forces advanced hard, knowing that the enemy resistance was all but spent.
Despite my Arch Lector's wild driving, the Swordmasters rolled the 7 they needed to catch him in the rear, and the champion immediately used his Talisman of Loec. It would mean he would die at the end of the round of combat, but not before he got a wound past the Arch Lector's saves. His friends did one more, which meant that the wound inflicted by the lowly Eagle came back to haunt him and he fell without striking back. The driver-less War Altar broke and ran, and failed to rally before heading off the table. Ah well. At least something went right for James.
The remainder of the game was short and ignoble for the Elves. Despite an Eagle blocking the path of my White Wolves, James couldn't keep my forces away from his units. The Halberdiers went into the front of the Archers nearby, whilst the Mournwolves hit the Eagle in the flank and overran into the flank of the same Archers. The Halberdiers smashed through the Archers, chasing them off the table, and carried on into the flank of the Ellyrion Reavers who had moved in behind. The remaining Elf units either fled from charges or were panicked by their comrades doing so, and all were caught or made it to the table edge. The sole survivor was the Wood Elf Noble, who rather sensibly hid behind my lines and made no attempt to do anything heroic.
|The Eagle moves up to block the White Wolves, who elected not to charge, leaving it to the Mournwolves.|
|After "handling" the birdie, the Mournwolves find they're capable of fighting Archers as well. Is there no end to their talents?|
|The Halberdiers carry through into the Reavers at the back. Oh yeah, I had Birona's Timewarp on there as well. Because clearly they needed the boost...|
|The driver-less War Altar flees through the enemy to escape the Swordmasters. It panicked off the Sabretusk, too.|
|The War Altar departs, leaving behind it the last resistance of the Elves before the panic and fleeing really set in.|
Result: 17-3 (16-4 after comp)
That game was going OK for me before the disastrous panic test, but things would have been more interesting. The White Lions would have struggled against the sheer number of units heading their way, but they tend to hang around and deal a lot of damage before they go. Between that and the mages, James would still have been able to make a decent game of it. When they fled at the first opportunity, it really was game over.
Game 5: Watchtower
Ben Leopold: High Elves with Dwarfs
|Ben Leopold, who had abandoned his usual Skaven and was looking to use my own High Elves and Dwarfs against me. Still a sneaky rat, then...|
- Prince: Heavy Armour, Great Weapon, Null Stone
- Mage: L1, High Magic, Annulian Crystal
- Noble: Dragon Armour, Shield, Great Eagle, Great Weapon, Helm of Fortune, Guardian Phoenix, Battle Standard
- 12 Archers: Standard, Musician, Banner of Eternal Flame
- 22 Spearmen: Full Command
- 29 White Lions: Full Command, Amulet of Light, Gleaming Pendant
- Runesmith: Gromril Armour, Great Weapon, Runic Talisman; Master Rune of Challenge, Rune of Spellbreaking
- Daemon Slayer: Slayer Axes
- 10 Quarrellers: Shields, Musician
- 5 Troll slayers: Musician
- 5 Troll slayers: 1 Giant Slayer, Musician
My strong result in the previous game (courtesy of James and his generous dice) had sent me to perilous heights on the tables, and I found myself playing Ben Leopold, who was the tournament leader and in danger of running away with the title (I was well behind him, but the fact that I was the closest guy he hadn't played was testament to his growing lead). Ben normally uses Skaven, but has been branching out recently and had borrowed some of my High Elves and Dwarfs to try something a bit different for EiF. His list really contained 1 thing of note - a horde of 30 White Lions. This is the sort of unit that has always caused my cavalry-heavy Empire lists problems, and this would be no different. With no Steam Tank and only a moderate-sized unit of Halberdiers, I didn't have an answer for that regiment. This really meant the game would be about 2 things - the White Lions and the Watchtower.
|Ben deploys with his White Lions wide on the flank (and well away from the Watchtower, thankfully), with the other sizeable unit, the Spearmen, heading straight for the objective. His sneaky Runesmith was just in front of the swamp near the centre.|
|My deployment was a bit of a mess. Nothing in my army wanted to fight the White Lions and I was scrambling to try to work out what to do about them.|
|The Runesmith deploys by himself, already warming up his Rune of Challenge.|
|The Watchtower. Not the only thing worth fighting for in the game, but it was worth 1000 victory points. So pretty much the main focus for us both.|
|The White Lions advance at best speed, whilst everyone shows slightly less confidence.|
|As things stood after turn 1.|
|My Mournwolves make little progress thanks to their optimistic (if involuntary) charge.|
|The doggy, he is annoying.|
|The Elf BSB (his banner is invisible - I don't have an Elf banner bearer on Eagle at the moment) charges the Mournwolves, but his assault is stymied by a surprisingly good break test on my part.|
|The doggy fights bravely, but ultimately he is over-matched.|
|How things looked after Ben's second turn.|
If I had known things would go quite that badly, I might have blocked the advance of the White Lions with my Wolfygryphs. Instead I had moved up near their flank, out of their line of sight. I was looking to protect my best unit, but it was probably a mistake in the context of the game.
|The War Altar charges in to rescue the Mournwolves, only to get bogged himself.|
|To the rescue! My Archers arrive in the flank of the Slayers, looking to help out their much larger friend.|
|The tower is ours (or now)!|
Ben's third turn started predictably, with the White Lions charging into the flank of my Mournwolves. Poor Mournwolves. Never had their fate been so inevitable...
|Ooooh. This is gonna hurt...|
|"Prey to Ulric, Sigmar, and anyone else you can think of - the White Lions are here"|
The Bruiser and his little mates dealt with the last of the Slayers they were fighting, and prepared to contribute elsewhere.
|The Spearmen fail to dislodge the Halberdiers from the Watchtower, and now face the prospect of a gut charge to their flank.|
The Ogre Bruiser realised he could see the Elf BSB as he set about tearing apart the remains of the War Altar on the other side of the hill (hooray for you and your target both being tall). He needed a big charge, but that just meant that a success would see him do more impact hits. I didn't make the charge. I think Ben fled, actually - passing through the White Lions and close to the swamp near my board edge.
Speaking of the White Lions, this was the thing that really went badly in my turn. I had narrowly failed to get Speed of Light off on my White Wolves, which would have done wonders for their survival. I then failed to cast Light of Battle, which would have made them unbreakable. Ah well, I did what I could. My BSB issued a challenge and was accepted by the Elf Prince. They wounded each other, but both survived. In my case this was only a temporary situation, however. The White Lions hacked down 7 of my Knights and took no damage in return, and I had been thrashed in the combat. The BSB frantically issued orders to hold, however even his reroll and Hold the Line! were not enough to keep the unit in place. The unit standard bearer and BSB died protecting their precious banners, and only the musician lived to flee. The White Lions elected to reform rather than pursue, looking toward the Cannon with evil intent.
|Oh, the humanity: the sole survivor of the great White Wolf Massacre heads for the table edge, whilst the Cannon crew look on nervously.|
|Boo yeah! The Ironguts are so busy celebrating the demise of the Spearmen that they are unable to reform to make themselves useful next turn.|
|I hear you knockin', but you can't come in!|
In my turn the Wolfygryphs declared a charge on the Qarrellers, who prudently turned and fled. I redirected onto the Elf Archers, who also decided to flee. Once again Ben maybe hadn't really thought through the consequences of this, as the Ironguts could now see them (albeit from a very long charge distance away). They declared another charge and the Archers spun and headed off the table. By now the Ironguts were feeling very fearsome - nobody was game to face them in combat!
The Ogre Bruiser tried a huge charge on the Daemon Slayer as he approached the building, but fell short by a single inch! The Dwarf would be free to attack the building next turn, provided the game continued. I moved my Wizard directly in front of the White Lions, with express orders to hold the line and delay their advance on the Watchtower. She followed orders bravely, although it would clearly be the last thing she did.
Ben refused to take responsibility for the game-ending roll (knowing he was far more likely to roll a 6 than I was), so I picked up the dice and rolled, hoping for the game to end with me in control of the tower... I failed. The game would continue.
It was turn 5 now, and Ben's White Lions duly charged the pesky Wizard who so insolently barred their path. She spouted some Gandalf-style gobbledygook, but was interrupted rudely by several axes cutting her into several equal-sized pieces (Elves are very precise in their dismemberment).
|You shall not... erk.|
|The Daemon Slayer barges in the back door of the Watchtower and his fellow Slayers cheer him on.|
The all-important tower combat saw the Daemon Slayer out-fight my Halberdiers, however they clung onto the building desperately and refused to budge. The Dwarf was forced back out the door, grumbling about human stupidity and a lack of respect for their betters.
The game would end on a 5 this time, but I couldn't trust that. I sent the Archers on a mission most dire, facing a similar fate to the Wizard the previous turn...
|"Buy us time", he says. Well he's not getting our vote for best general...|
|A worthy death? The Daemon Slayer gets steam-rolled by the charging Bruiser.|
|The Daemon Slayer falls, and the Runesmith is starting to feel surrounded.|
|The BSB had rallied and was seeking to make a nuisance of himself. It was all show however, as the danger of a Wolfygryph doing a final wound to him was very real.|
Into turn 6 now, and things were getting tight. The 3 remaining Slayers went on a somewhat forlorn mission to assault the building once more, knowing it would be their last chance before the Ogres got to them. The White Lions charged the extremely annoying Archer detachment, who were the last barrier between them and the tower.
|Once more into the breach.|
Then, disaster struck. Well, it was disaster for me. Ben was fine with it. I had carelessly left the Archers within 6" of the Watchtower, and when the White Lions hacked them into tiny pieces for their defiance, a panic test was in order. From the top of the tower the Halberdiers had an excellent view of the carnage inflicted upon their own detachment, and wails of "they're right at the door! We're next!" echoed through the building. They panicked and fled.
|"Stuff this, we're not facing those blenders!" Come back, you cowards! It's turn 6!|
|No, don't use your axes. Tickle them to death!|
|Oh crap, I think they noticed we're here...|
The Ironguts saw the Runesmith as he scampered away and declared a charge, but the coward fled and stopped just short of my fleeing Halberdiers, who decided it was safe to rally and turned to watch the Ogre Bruiser try to perform the job that should have been theirs. Having turned to face their assailants, the Wolfygryphs went to town on them. Bits of Dwarf went everywhere, and I'm not sure one even survived to take a break test. It was a little one-sided.
|The Runesmith runs, coming to a halt in front of the rallied Halberdiers.|
|The Watchtower is MIIIINE!!!|
|Dang, he got away. Who knew stumpy legs could move so fast?|
I failed again. The game would continue, and the White Lions had made it to the tower. Bugger.
We had now made it to turn 7, and the game would end this time on a 3+. This felt academic now, though. The White Lions, led by the Elf Prince, charged into the Watchtower. They were so close that the couldn't fail. The Ogre Bruiser, alone and having taken a wound already, stood atop the tower and bellowed his defiance.
|Call that an army? You got nothing!|
The Elves passed their fear test which was unsurprising but one of my few hopes dashed. Then the Ogre bellowed a challenge right into the face of the Prince as he led the charge into the building. Whether it was the brute's foul breath or the fact that he was already wounded (and should he fail to kill the Bruiser, he would most likely fall), the Prince declined to face him in single combat. This meant he couldn't fight, so it was up to the White Lions' champion and his 4 hand-picked Elves to try to finish the job. 6 attacks, hitting on 4+ with rerolls, then wounding on 3+ without saves. He needed 3 wounds to kill me. He did 2. The Ogre lived!
Better was to come, however. The Ogre struck back, crushing 2 of the White Lions with his hammer before stomping down and smearing another on the tiled floor. He had done 3 wounds - he had won the combat! The White Lions were forced to withdraw, and the tower would remain in my hands for the end-of-game roll.
The game would end on a 3+, however if that failed, turn 8 would definitely be the last turn. What followed was a close analysis of whether I could get a unit into the flank of the White Lions to pin them in place for the following turn. Ideally I would overrun in there, so I wouldn't even have to fight them before denying them a final attempt on the tower. Unfortunately Ben wasn't foolish enough to allow this, and fled the charge of the Ironguts with the BSB before holding stalwartly with the Runesmith.
|Fleeing again. Such a brave Elf.|
|I got this...|
He rolled a 6, and the game was over. The Bruiser bellowed in triumph, his control of the Watchtower turning a marginal defeat into a slightly stronger victory.
Result: 14-6 (13-7 after comp)
Well, that game had been epic. It hadn't been going very well when the White Lions were rampaging through my lines and proving to be every bit the unstoppable force I had expected. Fortunately I had been able to salvage a lot of points elsewhere, and my good fortune in holding the tower was the thing that tipped the game. Ben probably made a mistake in fleeing with the Spearmen from the Ironguts, but he hadn't realised the Wolfygryphs would come into play (they were probably 28" away from where he started his flight). That was pivotal, as the Spearmen would have been hard to budge from the tower. It gave me hope, and meant I had the upper hand for most of the struggle for the objective.
Game 6: Battleline
Nick Gentile: High Elves with Wood Elves
|Nick Gentile, the short shorts themselves. Note that I have superimposed a gaming table in this photo to protect the sanity of the innocent...|
- Archmage (Level 4, Lore of Shadow) with Jewel of the Dusk, Folaraith's Robe
- Battle Standard Bearer with Great Weapon, Armour of Caledor, Dawnstone
- 38 Spearmen with Full Command
- 14 White Lions with Full Command, Banner of Swiftness
- 14 Swordmasters with Full Command
- Tiranoc Chariot
- Great Eagle
- Noble with Moonstone of the Hidden Ways
- 11 Glade Guard
- 10 Glade Guard
- 10 Glade Guard
Well I had beaten the tournament leader, but was pretty sure he was still the tournament leader, thanks to his handy lead before our game. My final game was against Nick Gentile, the most excited man on the Warhammer tournament circuit. We had played a couple of times at the club, but never in a tournament before. This would be a fun way to end the event.
I found myself playing on the same table as I had been on for the previous game, although it was laid out a little differently once the Watchtower was removed again. Given the solid number of Glade Guard in Nick's list, the big hill in the centre of the table was advantageous to me. It bought me a little time in terms of getting shot. Nick's Wood Elf Noble was carrying the Moonstone of the Hidden Ways, and he deployed in the Swordmaster unit, inside his bonus Wood Elf forest. Much as I fancied Swordmasters behind my lines, I set about plugging up both of the forests in my deployment zone. My Cannon resigned itself to not firing all game (it wouldn't get a decent target anyway, with the hill), and blocked up the forest on my right. My Halberdiers and detachment took the one on the left. I figured they could still contribute from there.
|Nick's left flank, which was basically a lot of Glade Guard and some Swordmasters looking to be sneaky...|
|Nick's right flank, which had the main combat potential in the army as well as his Archmage and BSB in the Spearmen.|
|The left side of my deployment, including the Halberdiers preparing to plug up the forest on that flank.|
|My right flank, featuring lots of dice and spell cards. Oh, and a Cannon having a nap in the forest, with a Sabretusk behind the house.|
And then, with a single spell I managed to change the complexion of the game. I cast Banishment from the War Altar, and it got past Nick's defences. This was courtesy of a terrible power phase (2 dice), followed by me channelling. 3 dice to 1 overcame Nick's +5 dispel bonus, by virtue of him rolling a 2 on his single dice. The White Lions were the target, and 9 of them were incinerated. With a single blow, the only unit that really worried me was gone as a threat.
|My forces advance cautiously.|
|I'm sure there were more of them there a moment ago...|
|Nick mourns the loss of so many White Lions, and wonders why he didn't bring another 50 or so.|
|The Tiranoc Chariot rolls in alone.|
Nick's plan for the Chariot were given away slightly by him squealing "Mindrazor" repeatedly as he gathered his power dice. He commenced by casting the spell, but I threw my Dispel Scroll at it. I didn't trust him not to roll 6 Strength 8 impact hits. Then he cast Enfeebling Foe, but got a little excited and rolled double 6. A Dimensional Cascade followed, which saw his Archmage escape, but about 15 Spearmen were not so fortunate. For all this, he only knocked 1 point off the Strength of the Wolfygryphs, which was not the end of the world for me.
|One of those Archmages you don't want to stand next to in the queue.|
|The Wolfygryphs find themselves rather close to the enemy lines. Might have to charge something...|
|The Wolfygryphs continue their assault, running headlong into Fabulous Fab the Eagle|
On the other flank, the Mournwolves got excited by the sight of Glade Guard up on the hill and declared a charge. The Elves fled, but not far enough - the Mournwolves lunged at maximum speed over the hill, ending up behind enemy lines (but facing the wrong way as I failed my reform test).
|We're behind the enemy, and the enemy are behind us.|
|The Halberdiers wait in the forest as the Wizard heads off on her own.|
|The Spearmen gamble on a critical flank charge to rescue Fabulous Fab.|
|The Swordmasters close on my forces behind the front line.|
The combat was a bit of a disappointment, with Fabulous Fab surviving my best efforts and only a few Spearmen falling for no real loss on my side. It meant I had only lost by 2, and managed to hold on a reroll. Nick's Spearmen were facing sideways, and the reinforcements were coming...
|Surrounded: There is a lot of help on hand to rescue the Wolfygryphs and assault Nick's main unit.|
In the magic phase the War Altar unleashed Banishment on the Swordmasters in a bid to preserve itself in the coming combat. 6 or 7 died, leaving them with little more than a single rank. Then came the main combat.
|The pivotal combat about to commence.|
|Oops. Pursuit fail.|
|They're getting away! Fine, let them run.|
|How the lines looked at the end of my third turn.|
|The Elves charge with what they have left.|
In my fourth turn, things were really wrapping up. The Mournwolves charged into the rear of the Swordmasters, and wiped them out. The Bruiser continued to beat down Glade Guard until the broke and were run down. The remaining combat saw my Sabretusk (who had been Shadowing the remaining Glade Guard for a few turns) finally charge them in the rear. The doggy fought bravely, however Nick beat him down over 2 rounds, despite him being in the rear and despite failing his Fear tests both times. Outrageous.
|Mournwolves arrive in the rear of the Swordmasters to end their resistance.|
In the end I had lost my Wizard and the Sabretusk, and had given up the 100 point bonus for my general being dead. It was not enough to stop the result being a maximum victory to the Empire and Ogres.
Result: 20-0 (19-1 after comp)
The game had ended up pretty one-sided. The Glade Guard hadn't been in a position to really contribute, the Chariot had arrived alone and perhaps against the wrong targets, and the loss of so many White Lions in the first turn had basically sealed Nick's fate. With the exception of Mindrazor, Shadow magic doesn't tend to cause my armoured targets too many issues. When Nick had really needed the Archmage to deliver, the magic phase had let him down. I guess it's just a demonstration of why so many High Elf players take the Banner of Sorcery.
So after a slow start, I had actually finished the tournament with 5 wins. The last time I did that, I actually won Axemaster. As it happened here however, it was not quite enough. Ben Leopold managed to hold me off by a single point to win the tournament, and I came in second. To add to that, I managed to walk off with the Players' Choice and Best Sport awards. I've never actually seen someone end up with so many trophies, and it was a touch embarrassing. However, I was happy that people liked the Mournwolves after all the effort of the last couple of weeks, and it is actually the third event in a row where I've won some sort of sportsmanship award, which makes me very proud. Still, it raises the question again of whether winning one of the main podium places should make you ineligible for the other prizes - just so there are more to go around. In the past I kind of favoured letting someone have more than one, but getting three meant there were far fewer people winning trophies. I guess that doesn't normally happen, so maybe it's not worth worrying too much about.
|Chris splashed out on pretty flame-shaped glass trophies.|
Thanks to Dave and Chris for running it, everyone who helped out, and to all 6 of my opponents for great games. Looking forward to next year.