Friday, 31 August 2012

The ETC - Day 2

In my previous post I covered the first day of the ETC, as well as the lead-up event. Now it's time to talk about day 2...

So my performance on day 1 had been a little bit lackluster. I was hoping that day 2 would prove more fruitful, and maybe I could even post a win at some point. Overall the team seemed reasonably happy with the first day's efforts, so that was very positive. It was encouraging to know that even if I was messing about and wasting valuable battle points, the team as a whole could still be satisfied. 

A special mention must go to my German friends Jens and Johannes, who managed to spend the entire night travelling from Frankfurt up to Gorzow to pay us a visit for the next day and a half. Of course, they weren't intending to take all night, but by the time their first car broke down, and they had to swap rentals when they reached the border, all had not gone as planned. How they managed to sit through a full day of Warhammer after getting no sleep the night before, I don't know. Admirable stamina/stubbornness...

Anyway, on with the tournament. You will notice there are far fewer photos in this post, thanks largely to my wife having headed for England ahead of me (she took almost all of the shots on days 0 and 1), and my usual failure to think of these things until it's a bit too late. Apologies.

Round 3: Team Hungary

Kristof Eck, Warriors of Chaos 

Sorcerer Lord of Tzeentch on Disc of Tzeentch: lvl 4, Tzeentch, Mark of Tzeentch,Chaos Armour, Talisman of Preservation, Infernal Puppet, Biting Blade, Dragonhelm, Stream of Corruption 
Chaos Sorcerer of Tzeentch on Disc of Tzeentch: lvl 1, Tzeentch, Mark of Tzeentch, Chaos Armour, Golden Eye of Tzeentch, Charmed Shield, Sword of Might, Bloodcurdling Roar
Exalted Hero of Tzeentch: General, Mark of Mark of Tzeentch, Chaos Armour, Shield, Glaive of Putrefaction, Potion of Strength, Luckstone
Exalted Hero of Tzeentch: BSB, Mark of Tzeentch, Chaos Armour, Enchanted Shield, Collar of Khorne, Favour of the Gods 
22 Chaos Marauders of Khorne: FCG, Mark of Khorne, Flail 
6 Marauder Horsemen of Khorne: Musican, Mark of Khorne, Flails, Throwing Axes, Light Armour 
6 Marauder Horsemen of Khorne: Musican, Mark of Khorne, Flails, Throwing Axes, Light Armour 
20 Chaos Warriors of Nurgle: FCB, Halberd, Shield 
1 Hellcannon 
1 Chaos Warshrine of Tzeentch: Mark of Tzeentch 
1 Chaos Warshrine of Tzeentch: Mark of Tzeentch 
5 Chaos Warhounds 
5 Chaos Warhounds

My score for this army: Favourable

When I marked this army, I did it on the basis that no units fought at greater than Strength 5. This put my armoured units in a good position to work their way through the combats without getting destroyed in return, so I figured it was a positive match-up. Unfortunately, the game did not go as planned.
The table for round 3. Once again I was on the bottom, and I've turned the world upside-down to make it so.

My deployment zone had a large ruin in front of it, which was decidedly dangerous terrain for my cavalry army (they take wounds on a 1 or a 2 when hurrying through). As such I deployed with the majority of my army going around it. With fewer deployments than Kris I was no chance to get a bead on the Hellcannon with my own Cannon, so I just placed it wide on my right flank and hoped he would largely ignore it. The Volley Guns went behind the ruins (which offered cover to units inside, but not behind them). I did put one unit of Knights nearby as emergency cover for the vulnerable machines, although I admit that I hoped the Volley Guns would do a decent job of defending themselves against anything that came at them. I put the Steam Tank in my centre with the Inner Circle Knights next to it and the Demigryph units beside that. The remaining unit of regular Knights were up against the left table edge.

Kris did indeed deploy his Hellcannon out of sight of my Cannon, but straight across the table from my Steam Tank. His Disc-mounted characters deployed to my left (opposite all the armour), as did a unit of Marauder Horsemen. His main blocks went in the centre, with the other Horsemen and a unit of Hounds standing across from my Volley Guns. Both Horsemen units used Vanguard to close the gap on my flanks - towards the Knights on my left and the Cannon on my far right.

I got the first turn and advanced, which in hindsight was probably a mistake. Or maybe not - not until what happened afterward. My Knights on the left invited the charge of the Marauder Horsemen, whilst my line moved forward, careful not to let the Discs fly over behind me. The Knights near the Volley Guns started to swing across in order to intercept the other Marauder horsemen on their way to the Cannon. The Steam Tank drove toward the Hellcannon and shot it for a couple of wounds. My Cannon actually managed to get past the 3+ ward save on one of the Warshrines, but left it alive on 1 wound. I also damaged the Hellcannon (and fried a Chaos Dwarf crewman) with Urannon's Thunderbolt. It was a decent start.

Kris charged the Marauder horsemen on my left into the Knights as expected, whilst the other unit shifted course and moved into the edge of the ruins in front of my Volley Guns, with the Hounds following along behind. The main Disc rider was careful to stay within Infernal Gateway range of my units, but no closer than that. The first Warshrine roll for the Warrior unit gave them the 4+ ward save and Stubborn he was looking for, which completely altered the complexion of the game. The unit went from being a viable target to being practically invincible in a single roll. The Hellcannon did nothing exciting, but the Marauder horsemen managed to kill 4 of my 5 Knights on the charge (thanks to my awesome armour saves). I think killed 2 in return with the single remaining model (very impressive), and managed to hold on Leadership 5. It was all a bit topsy turvey. In the magic phase I think I stopped Infernal Gateway, but had to let Pandemonium through. Not a problem per se, but then I forgot it was in play the next turn (with no card to remind me)...

In my second turn, the nearest Demigryphs arrived in the flank of the Marauder horsemen in order to rescue the sole surviving Knight. The other Demigryphs only really shuffled forward, still wary of the Disc characters getting behind me. My main Knight block charged a unit of Hounds near the Hellcannon, whilst the Steam Tank drove straight at it, shot it again and killed it. Not bad at all. The Knights near the Volley Guns stepped forward to block the charge of the Marauder horsemen, or at least that was the plan. One Volley Gun butchered the Hounds who hadn't made it into cover, whilst the other shot at the approaching Marauders, who were in hard cover but had come into short range with an Engineer meaning I would hit on 5+. 20-odd shots then resulted in a single dead Marauder, which was just enough to allow them to try to charge past the blocking Knights. Yay me.

It was at this point that I should have remembered to dispel Pandemonium. Instead I cast a spell, rolled a double, and had to roll on the miscast table. My 7 became a 4 thanks to the filth that is the Infernal Puppet, and my Wizard Lord once again vanished in a mushroom cloud, surrounded by her 7 favourite Knights. So my main unit was crippled, I was going to get torn up by magic, and I had no realistic way of bringing down the flying characters unless they chose to engage. It was a stupid mistake and it probably cost me the game. The Demigryphs managed to rescue the single Knight from the Marauder Horsemen and those Hounds that were not smashed by my Wizard's explosion were easily accounted for by the Arch Lector and his friends, but the damage was done.

Because things were not going badly enough, the now-invincible Chaos Warrior block also managed to make a 14" charge into the flank of my Steam Tank, pinning it in place and working their way through it quickly thanks to the combination of the Potion of Strength and the Glaive of Putrification dropping it to Toughness 2 for the rest of the game. The Steam Tank had been my trump card, and it was soon to be gone. The Marauder horsemen tried to charge the Volley Gun but fell just short. At least they all passed their dangerous terrain tests - clearly they were too busy riding properly to do anything useful. 

My Knights would not make that mistake. 2 of them died on the way into combat with the Marauders, however this time my armour held and I broke them and ran them down. In doing so however, I failed all 3 of the remaining dangerous terrain tests and wiped out my own unit. Mad skills.

The rest of the game saw my main unit being repeatedly shrieked at by one Disc rider using Bloodcurdling Roar, and the other throwing several Infernal Gateways at various tasty targets (mainly the same Knights). The unit was eventually wiped out, immediately before which the Arch Lector and BSB left the unit and joined one of the Demigryph units as it prepared to fight the invincible Warriors. Maybe with Hatred and the odd prayer from the Warrior Priest, the unit would last out the game in the combat. It was a forlorn hope, unfortunately. I did very little damage, broke and lost the BSB, and even though I rallied, all I was really doing was opening myself up for the same thing to happen again. 

My Cannon and Volley Guns eventually managed to bring down the crippled Warshrine, however try as they might, they couldn't manage to kill the other one. On one wound, it eventually claimed the life of the remaining regular Knight who had moved to block the charge into the Volley Gun. By this point it must have taken at least 20 wounds before saves, however 3+ ward saves are frustrating, to say the least.

My final act of defiance was to tear the face off the Chaos general with an angry Demigryph before I lost the unit and the Arch Lector, which was not a bad effort given the villain had yet another 3+ ward save. I had lost badly.

Result: 4-16

Well, I'm still not sure that I assessed the merits of this match-up incorrectly, but I did make a number of mistakes during the game and the dice were rather unhelpful in places. The big block of Warriors turning stubborn and super-tough basically denied me any chance of getting the 800-odd points the unit and accompanying characters were probably worth. Them then pouncing at long range onto the Steam Tank was also a big blow. Nevertheless, if I hadn't blown up my Wizard Lord and half of my main unit, things could still have been different. I also paid too much attention to those infernal Disc riders, when I would have been far better served either sitting back and making them drop into charge range if they wanted to contribute, or completely ignoring them and heading for the rest of the units. I might have done this had the rest of the army not suddenly sprouted horns thanks to the Warshrine, which kind of blew my plans out of the water.

All in all, it didn't go well. Thankfully my teammates went better, and we came out with a very marginal win (basically a draw), 82-78. 

Round 4: Team New Zealand
Clash of the mascots - Wally the Wombat meets a strangely dressed kiwi (I assume that's meant to be a kiwi?) in the centre of the field
Daniel Butler, Skaven 

Grey Seer: General, Level 4, Lore of Plague/Ruin, Warpstone Tokens, Earthing Rod, Dragonbane Gem, Skalm 
Chieftain: BSB, Halberd, Shield, Standard of Discipline 
Warlock Engineer: Level 1, Lore of Ruin, Dispel Scroll 
Warlock Engineer: Doomrocket 
Warlock Engineer: Brass Orb 
30 Clanrats: FCG, Shields 
20 Clanrats: FCG, Shields 
20 Clanrats: FCG, Shields 
40 Skavenslaves: Musician 
35 Skavenslaves: Musician 
35 Skavenslaves: Musician 
3x6 Giant Rats: Packmaster 
2x9 Warplock Jezzails
9 Gutter Runners: Poison, Slings 
7 Gutter Runners: Poison, Slings 
1 Doomwheel
1 Warplightning Cannon
1 Hell Pit Abomination: Warpstone Spikes

My score for this army: Average

You travel halfway around the world, models in hand, and you end up playing the guys who live next door. This has become something of a habit for the Australian Team, as I believe we've played New Zealand every year since they started attending. Oh well, at least the language barriers would be marginal...
The table for round 4, with me at deploying at the bottom
As a rule I had marked Skaven as being an unfavourable match-up for my army, as they're difficult to get points out of (especially with things like the Screaming Bell), can inflict considerable damage even on armoured targets, and have things like the Storm Banner which are downright annoying for my poor Cannons. This list contained neither the Storm Banner nor a Screaming Bell, so I had been marginally more upbeat about the match-up and said it was "average". It would mean playing for a draw (my cavalry list couldn't possibly go for the jugular with 18 Jezzails and a Grey Seer waiting for them), but I had been warned that could happen at the ETC and I was ready (perhaps overdue?) to try it.

I deployed very defensively, with all 3 war machines taking cover in the forest behind the hill on my left. The Cannon had a line on the Warp Lightning Cannon on the far side of the field, but no other good targets. The forest would hopefully deter sneaky Gutter Runners from appearing behind me and poisoning me to death. The Steam Tank was closer to the centre, with a unit each of Knights and Demigryphs going behind the forest and watching for Scouts. My main unit went to the left of the forest, with the remaining units to the left of them.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of the Skaven army deployed in the opposite corner, with 2 scary-sized units of Jezzails fronting the line. Only the Hellpit Abomination, Doomwheel and a couple of expendable Giant Rat units deployed to my left of the centre line, using the hill in front of me as cover.
The Skaven that wanted to fight...
And the rest, who preferred to huddle in the far corner
I got the first turn and advanced slightly toward the hill with the forces on my left. The Steam Tank could see the Doomwheel, so drove straight at that, lined it up and did 2 wounds to it with the Steam Cannon. My main Cannon took aim at the Warp Lightning Cannon and cleaned it up with a single shot, which was heartening.

The Skaven responded by heading towards me with the Doomwheel and the Hellpit Abomination, whilst the main lines remained where they were. The Jezzails commenced bombardment on the Steam Tank, which would eventually fall to their concerted efforts and ability to hit more than half the time at long range. Dan's only real interest in magic was to cast Skitterleap, but it took him a few rounds to get it past my defences. When he finally did, the Warlock with the Brass Orb found a likely looking place in between 2 of my war machines, then demonstrated terrible throwing skills and hurled the dangerous little ball a very long way away. The Volley Guns were unforgiving of his behaviour (or rather, the malicious intent behind it) and did bad things to him.

The Knights on my far left charged one of the Giant Rat packs, despite them being pretty close to the Abomination - I wanted to clear the area. The Rats were soundly beaten and fled, only to be ridden down by my glorious Knights. They in turn were ridden somewhat less gloriously by the Abomination, which wiped them out on the charge, but left itself in a dangerous position in front of my lines. My Steam Tank finished the Doomwheel with a second cannon ball, which showed good concentration from the driver given the sound of ricocheting Jezzail bullets must have been very distracting.

In this turn I failed to charged the Abomination with my main unit, as well as my Demigryph knights (despite only needing 14" or so - I think one unit rolled triple 1). Thus began a game of cat and mouse (or in our case, doggies and over-sized mouse). The Abomination headed for the back corner of the table and was chased by both my units, who never actually managed to pull off a successful charge on it. It also shrugged off a shot from the Steam Tank before the Jezzails managed to finish it off.

The final frustration was Dan casting Skitterleap for a second time in order to make an offering of another Warlock Engineer in order to block the charges of both of my units when the Abomination tried to make a break for it from the corner and went very slowly. I charged and killed the pesky Engineer, but needed a big overrun in order to get a round of combat against the Abomination, and I failed.

Elsewhere, the Jezzails managed to get half points from my second unit of Demigryphs who took too long getting out of range (despite my best efforts), and in my last turn I finally managed to cast Comet of Cassandora after an entire game of dreadful power phases. It dropped right in the middle of the Skaven lines, leaving the Grey Seer and BSB's unit testing on Leadership 7 with a reroll to remain on the table, which they passed. I maimed a couple of other regiments including getting half points for one of the Jezzail units (which I left with 1 model). My failure to catch up to the Abomination had prevented me pulling out a win, but at least it wasn't a loss either.
Dan, who as it turned out was feeling more than a bit under the weather for the whole event (eventually went to the doctor on the final day), and really held up pretty well for a guy who was feeling like death warmed up.

Result: 10-10

Well it wasn't the most exciting game in the world, but it wasn't terrible either. Things happened and there were tense moments, and importantly I felt like I had played the right game for a change. Hooray for that. Unfortunately the team overall fared less well and we went down 75-85 against our trans-Tasman rivals. Curses.

So after 2 days of Warhammer, I was still yet to record a win. 2 draws, but no wins. A little bit frustrating and slightly embarrassing, and I hadn't even improved on my first day's performance. 14 points again, putting me on 28 of a possible 80 battle points. That was not at all good. Hopefully day 3 would be better.


  1. Cheers for the game mate, generally I would apologise for the cowardly virtues displayed by my pacifist abomination, but.. guess technically it was very Skaven of him! The last turn skitterleap block was probably the most weasel-tailed displays of cunning I pulled out at the ETC, and I was happy for the draw! Thanks for the game, and hope to play you again some day.

    Glad I found a smile for the camera, but yeah..death warmed up was spot on!

  2. Thanks Dan. It was probably my most relaxed and fun game of the tournament, so yeah, hopefully we meet again and you're feeling less under the weather!