Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Convic 2013 Aftermath - Day 1

Another Convic has been and gone, and my tournament report is already overdue. My work circumstances have changed recently and it may take me a while to find my feet from a blogging perspective. Anyway, I shall see if I can keep things a little briefer than my usual waffling...

I entered the tournament with a pretty middling army – decent magic, some strong units, a Steam Tank and a Griffon. I forwent any other shooting in the hope that the Tank would cover things well enough (it frequently has done in the past). I pointedly included 2 things in the list – the Flagellants and the Griffon. Since the current Empire book was released I have often seen people on the net dismissing Flagellants as not worth the trouble and the points, and wanted to show people they were wrong. Of course, I've used them before (with some success), but it never hurts remind people. Well, that was the plan.
My army for the tournament. A little small, eh? That's what you get for spending too many points on a magnificent flying beastie.
As for the Griffon... Well, I hadn't used one yet and it seemed like a good time to do it. I knew he would be a bit of a liability, so I deliberately bought the General very little gear. I did give the Glorious Birdie (as he shall henceforth be named) a magnificent singing voice in Bloodroar, which forces enemies to take Fear and Terror checks with an additional D6 and discard the lowest roll. It seemed like a change for him to contribute simply through charging some good targets, and it was possible it would help keep him alive in combat by reducing some enemies to WS1. Again, it was a good plan.

Unfortunately not all plans are destined for success...

Convic is the largest tournament of the year in Victoria, and that includes a large number of interstate visitors. This time around there were something like 80 players, and there were plenty of familiar faces who had flown in for the occasion. I decided to take advantage of this and issued a first-round grudge to Roy Diprose, one of my ETC team mates from last year and the man from whom I stole the “team anchor” title in the final game after it looked like he had it sewn up for most of the event (ie I finished with the worst score on the team). So, this was about redemption. Lost honour. Dignity. All that sort of stuff. Well, not really. I had just not played him before, and he's a fun guy so I figured it was a good opportunity.

Game 1: Blood and Glory
Roy Diprose, Daemons of Chaos
Roy, resplendent in this year's ETC uniform. This would be the last tournament before the team headed off to Serbia.
Herald of Nurgle (General, Level 1 with Lore of Death)
Herald of Nurgle (Battle Standard, Level 1 with Lore of Death) with Standard of Discipline? Maybe? It was there somewhere...
Herald of Tzeentch (Level 2, Lore of Tzeentch)
Herald of Tzeentch (Level 2, Lore of Metal)
30 Plaguebearers with Full Command
10 Horrors with Standard, Musician (Level 1, Lore of Tzeentch)
10 Horrors with Standard, Musician (Level 1, Lore of Tzeentch)
5 Furies
5 Furies
5 Beasts of Nurgle
Beast of Nurgle
Beast of Nurgle
3 Bases of Nurglings
5 Drones of Nurgle with Standard, Musician
Skullcannon of Khorne

The list above is a little vague, sorry. It's a slightly toned down version of the list Roy is taking to this year's ETC, in order to appease the comp-fuelled wrath of the Swedes (the ETC list wasn't making the 9.5 minimum on Swedish comp). Roy deployed very deep, looking to stay away from my lines for as long as possible whilst he pounded my army with 6 wizards. I deployed well forward and hurried toward the Daemons as much as I could without exposing my units too badly. I had put the Flagellants on the left to dissuade Roy from putting something important into the building opposite. It did work, but in the end the Flagellants kind of missed the game. There were some Nurglings lurking behind my lines, but they never really got into the game as their enthusiasm dimmed as soon as I turned my unit toward them.
The Daemons deploy. At this point neither of us had realised that Roy had forgotten to deploy all his heralds. They're hanging around at the bottom of the picture.
My deployment, with the Flagellants on the left to scare things away from the building and the Glorious Birdie posing on the highest ground he could find.
Nurglings behind the lines! They would be ignored by my army for much of the game.
In my first turn my Wizard Lord got excited casting Banishment and blasted that spell and one other from his head, losing 2 levels. I killed a few Horrors, which was obviously an excellent trade. My Steam Tank trundled forward and knocked off 2 of its own wounds with a misfire for having the temerity to try to target the Skull Cannon. Presumably Khorne gave it a kick for its insolence. It then copped 3 more wounds in the first wave of a constant barrage of Spirit Leech being directed toward my army by the 2 Nurgle Heralds. This proved too much for the Blood Forest it had driven into, which took an impotent swipe at its armoured hide and then sauntered off to plant itself all around my Demigryphs. Awesome. Even the terrain was turning against me...
The Empire advances, with the Glorious Birdie trying to be inconspicuous behind the building.
The trees take a cheap swipe at my Steam Tank and then replant themselves all around my Demigryphs. Thanks, trees...
Roy spent the first couple of turns moving very little; he was apparently quite happy at the back of the board. His Fury units did hurry out to try to slow me down, though. One charged the flank of my Steam Tank and held it up for a turn before being engulfed in a cloud of steam from the turret. The other unit landed right in front of my Knight regiment, blocking their advance. I responded by smearing them to a paste under the hooves of my horses, and reformed to angle more toward the main enemy force. It exposed my flank to the lurking Drones, but Steadfast and Hold the Line! would ensure that I held and he was then flanked in turn by Flagellants. Tragically he was not tempted into this scenario.
The Furies rush forward to get trampled. My Knights oblige them.
The Glorious Birdie (the Griffon, for those of you not paying attention earlier) had managed to skulk next to the building in the first turn, and lunged out with a big charge in the second, into the flank of a Beast of Nurgle that had been reduced to 1 wound by Shem's Burning Gaze. The Beast died, which put the Birdie into the flank of the Horrors and Herald, who died in pretty short order to his fearsome beak and magnificent plumage (not sure how that bit helps, but I'm sure it did). Inspired by this dazzling display of arrogant 20” charging, the Demigryphs pulled something similar and crashed into the large unit of Beasts of Nurgle. There they got bogged, and lost 2 of their number over several rounds to the seemingly invincible Beasties.
The Glorious Birdie heads forth enthusiastically to make new friends.
My Wizard Lord miscast again, doing a wound to himself, the other Wizard and Luthor Huss. He did manage to kill a lone Beast of Nurgle, so that was something. At some point my lesser Wizard decided to follow the lead of his better, and threw Searing Doom at someone. I don't remember who. Might have been the Skullcannon. Anyway, the resulting miscast was the death of him and several members of his Archer bodyguard who strayed too close. Roy hadn't really touched my army yet, but I was doing a reasonable job for him...
The Metal Wizard muffs his lines and takes a few of his closest friends with him.
The Demigryphs make no progress, although the Griffon does decidedly better and soon arrives to rescue them.
The Drones shuffle nervously on the back line.
Having decided not to charge the flank of my Knights, the Drones edged sideways toward the rest of Roy's forces. In so doing they made a big mistake and moved into the arc of the Knights (just). This got them charged and butchered, although they managed to finish off Luthor Huss and my BSB before they went. The Knights then reformed in a fairly narrow formation and charged around and in next to my remaining Demigryphs as they battled the Beasts of Nurgle. The Glorious Birdie had already arrived the previous turn, and their combined efforts finally saw the demise of the Beasts. The Knights overran into the Plaguebearers right in front of them, but my other units had to reform and wait.
The Drones pay the price for their lack of vision.
The game advances as Roy checks the range for Infernal Gateway. Pretty sure that's what he's doing.
Griffon Rescue!
Rescue the Griffon!
That waiting was poorly timed. Roy chose now to have the Turn of Doom (registered Daemon trademark). The Skullcannon blew the Glorious Birdie out from under my General, although he himself emerged with only emotional scars. The Demigryphs were obliterated by Infernal Gateway, and my Wizard Lord (who had stepped out of cover from my unit to try to achieve something that I can no longer remember) was culled by Spirit Leech.

This was all rather bad. I had been about to swamp Roy's army and now half my stuff was dead. Still, all was not lost. My Knights managed to hold their ground against the Plaguebearers and their Heralds, and I would have one more turn to salvage things. My Steam Tank had been reduced to only a few wounds by the combined efforts of its own foolishness, Spirit Leech and the Skullcannon. Nevertheless, it chose that turn to generate 3 steam points, and it was only 11 inches from the Plaguebearers. Seeing this and the dangers of things like Infernal Gateway, my General decided to charge the flank of the Plaguebearers where he would be safer. Unfortunately, he found himself going in alone when the Steam Tank fell one miserable inch short of the charge. This was not good. It meant all the combat resolution I had been counting on went up in smoke.
Oh look, Nurglings! At this point they started to move away from my lines. Wimps.
I lost combat by 2, and my General broke and fled clean off the table. This meant I was broken for Blood and Glory, and coughed up 1000 bonus victory points. I think the Knights broke as well, but I don't remember for sure. All I know is I had gone from a strong position to blowing the game in a couple of nasty turns. I lost by about the value (counting bonuses) of my dearly departed General – about 1400 points.

Result: 4-16

Game 2: Watchtower
Brendan Slade, Vampire Counts
Brendan plots my demise whilst pretending to smile, and also managing to hide his vampiric fangs. A true multi-tasker.
Vampire Lord (Level 4, Lore of Vampires) with Red Fury, Ogre Blade, Quickblood, Talisman of Preservation, token other toys and mad skillz
Vampire (Lore of Shadow) with Battle Standard, Quickblood, protective gear
30 Ghouls with Ghast
30 Ghouls
40 Black Guard with Full Command, Banner of the Barrows
5 Hexwraiths
3 Vargheists
3 Vargheists
Spirit Host

You can tell that the tournament is a long time ago by now – I am seriously vague on Brendan's army list. Sorry, I need to get this written faster...

I've played Brendan a number of times over the years, using a variety of armies. Between us we have used High Elves, Dark Elves, Orcs and Goblins and Ogres. So this was a new combination. I managed to lose the roll-off to control the Watchtower, which is generally a good thing. It meant I would have the first turn. I killed the Spirit Host that was eyeing off the Tower with Shem's Burning Gaze and advanced, cautiously on the left (where Brendan's main Grave Guard bus with both Vampires lurked, along with all the exotic units in his force) and aggressively on the right (where there were many Ghouls and not a lot else).
Because I am a forgetful sod, we join our game halfway through. That unit of Ghouls in the back corner used to be where the Griffon and Demigryphs are. There is a scorched crater near the Vargheists that they are looking at, which is where the Spirit Host used to be.
Brendan sent a unit of Vargheists around my left flank and moved the Hexwraiths forward. The Ghouls on the other flank shuffled around nervously, which was understandable. One unit got charged by the Demigryphs in the front, and the Glorious Birdie in the flank. This proved fatal for them, and they evaporated in a single round. They both faced toward the majority of Brendan's forces, figuring that the Flagellants could take care of the other unit of Ghouls. Unfortunately this didn't go entirely according to plan. The idea was to buff the Flagellants with Light magic to ensure they swung first, and inflict terrifying casualties upon the poor Ghoulies. As was the case for much of the tournament, my magic phases were rather pitiful and I didn't have the spells to make this happen. Instead, the Ghouls charged in and we both fought at Initiative 3. Simultaneous carnage for everyone!
The Flagellants have totally got this...
Don't worry guys, it's all according to plan...
By dint of enthusiastic self-imolation the Flagellants managed to give themselves re-rolls to hit and wound for the round of combat in question, but the dice were apparently not interested. With his 40 attacks Brendan managed to kill 18 Fagellants. I think I killed a mere 15 Ghouls in return with my 34 attacks or whatever it was, on 4s and 3s (with re-rolls for both). Thus ended my Frenzy and my flail bonus, and the Flagellants were pretty well doomed. The Demigryphs realised this was going to turn ugly, so spent a turn swinging around to charge the Ghouls the following turn. But then when they saw what happened to the remaining Flagellants, they changed their mind and bolted for Brendan's table edge. Cowardly gits. They did rally, but the opportunity was lost and the Ghouls made it through the game.
By all that is holy, that hurt. But it is a good pain...
The Vargheists charge the Knights enthusiastically, but they don't last long.
On the other flank, my Knights found themselves confronted with Zombies popping up from under the ground (Brendan was ensuring I couldn't go after the Hexwraiths with my BSB's magic weapon). They dealt with these and reformed facing the side of the table, towards the flanking Vargheists. This paid off when the Vargheists failed their Frenzy test and barrelled straight into them. Given they were facing the enemy, the Knights made short work of them and were able to reform facing the other direction, to where the Hexwraiths had just charged and pinned the Steam Tank.
Stupid ethereals. Can't go around them, can't kill them...
The Knights hit the Hexwraiths in the rear and got rid of them, but I had spent a few turns now without really making any progress on the flank and the Vampires' Grave Guard Bus O Doom was fast approaching. The Steam Tank decided to show how inviiincible it was by ploughing into this unit whilst the Griffon approached its flank and the Knights considered a late arrival in support.

These plans were turned on their head when the Vampire Lord did 7 wounds to the Steam Tank in the first round of combat. It was looking less invincible now. In fact, it was looking downright feeble and rather dead. In Brendan's turn the Tank succumbed hilariously easily (the Vampire didn't even need Red Fury), and another unit of Zombies popped up in front of the Knights. This was fine with me, as they had suddenly decided that they wanted nothing to do with the psychotic blender with the pointy teeth and snappy fashion sense.
Eh? What Steam Tank? Oh, you mean that thing back there? That's not a Steam Tank anymore.
In the middle near the tower, my Swordsmen had found themselves somewhat depleted when my Wizard Lord blew up a whole lot of them with a miscast. It was all part of the plan, of course – now they could enter the Watchtower which had a 20 model limit on it for Convic. The Wizard was just trimming the fat, so to speak. Anyway, the Hexwraiths then scared the unit off with a Terror check (failed with my BSB's reroll) before redirecting into the aforementioned Steam Tank. This in turn panicked the detachment which was ushering the little Metal Wizard around, and soon my centre was, ahh, “redeploying” off to the right of where they started. Thankfully they rallied, but soon they found a unit of Vargheists swooping through. The horrible gribblies completely bypassed the main regiment and hit the more vulnerable detachment behind, but managed to take 2 rounds to wipe them out thanks to the champion deciding to accept my Wizard's heroic challenge (hey, he nearly survived, too!).
Bugger off! Oops, I mean "Redeploy!"
"Sir, there is a Vargheist chewing on my head..."
When they had mopped up the last member of the detachment, the Vargheists turned around to discover that the Swordsmen had sauntered into the Watchtower, and it was now turn 4. They launched an assault that killed a number of Swordsmen and one of their own number, but the Empire soldiers would not budge. And with that, Brendan promptly rolled a 6 and the game ended at the first possible opportunity. Good thing I moved into the tower when I did. 1000 bonus points to me...
The tower, she is mine!
It was novel to be the beneficiary of Watchtower ending early rather than being crucified by it, as has happened a number of times before. Nevertheless, it felt like we only got half a game in and I think Brendan would be entitled to be disappointed with where things finished, even if another turn might not have really improved things for him with the Demigryphs returning to clean some stuff up (probably would have had both the Ghoul remnants and Vargheists behind them with an overrun).

Result: 14:6

Game 3: Battle for the Pass
Vaughan Keyburn, Ogre Kingdoms

Slaughtermaster (Level 4, Lore of the Great Maw) with Glittering Scales, Fencer's Blades, maybe some sundry small toys
Bruiser (Battle Standard) with Great Weapon, maybe the Talisman of Preservation?
Firebelly (Level 2)
7 Ironguts with Full Command, Standard of Discipline
6 Ogres with Full Command, Iron Fists
10 Gnoblar Trappers
6 Yhetees with Champion
3 Mournfangs with Command, Heavy Armour, Iron Fists
5 Leadbelchers with Bellower

Apart from the gear on the characters, I'm pretty sure this is accurate. Apologies for my vagueness.
Battle for the Pass, after my first turn. Note the wounds on the Steam Tank. I must have tried to shoot the Yhetees with the cannon. Should have known better.
I deployed with a strong right flank, and only the Steam Tank anchoring my line on the left. Vaughan had a more balanced line with the Yhetees wide on my left and the Mournfangs on my right. The Ironblaster lurked behind the building, ready for the patented “appear and shoot” manoeuvre.

I got the first turn and moved pretty aggressively forward. I let the Birdie and Demigryphs come within range of the Mournfangs, but given the Gnoblar Trappers would need to make a charge to get out of the way, I figured I was pretty safe. Unfortunately for the Demigryphs, the main “Gutstar” consisting of the Ironguts led by the Slaughtermaster and BSB managed a pretty long charge and crashed into them, doing bad things to them. In fact, they killed everyone but the standard bearer, who died defending his banner as he broke (or however that is meant to make sense). The Ogres took 5 wounds including the loss of their Champion (I think), but it was not enough to slow them down. Vaughan also casting Fulminating Flame Cage on my Knights.
You have how many great weapons? Ow, it hurts!
Alas, the Demigryphs. They are no more.
Check out my flaming Knights. They are totally on fire. Which is cool. But apparently not painful.
My Knights celebrated their being on fire by completely ignoring it and charging straight into the Gutstar. Their full plate armour protected them admirably from the effects of the flames. The Glorious Birdie took flight and arrived in the flank at the same time. The Flagellants got excited and charged straight through the large Wild Wood in the centre of the table at the Gnoblar Trappers, losing a few of their number to the forest and a few more to the traps of the Gnoblars. The Gnoblars were predictably slaughtered, and the Flagellants overran into the Leadbelchers behind them, who were starting to look a little worried.
The Ogres are fewer than they once were.
The combat between the Gutstar and my units was always going to be the pivotal moment of the game, and Luthor Huss accepted the challenge of the Ogre BSB (I think), choosing that moment to hulk out a bit and add 1 to his various stats using his Chosen of Sigmar special rule. He took a wound but survived, as did the Birdie. The Ogres got rather spanked (I think they ended up testing on Leadership 2), broke and were run down. The Birdie sailed on into the front of the Mournfangs, figuring that was better than facing the wrath of the Ironblaster. The Sabretusk on that flank saw the demise of his masters and figured leaving was the best course of action, so turned and fled the table.

Speaking of the Ironblaster, it had stepped out and fired at someone (possibly the Steam Tank) and rolled a 1 to wound. The Tank had returned the favour by rolling a 1 when shooting back. Cannons for the win!

In Vaughan's second turn he clearly decided he didn't trust me to roll 1s forever (more fool him) and charged the Steam Tank with both the Ogre block led by the Firebelly, and the Yhetees (in the flank). This was a little sad for the Steam Tank and with a ferocious amount of clubbing, clawing and bashing, the Tank succumbed after maybe 3 rounds of combat.
They're hitting me! Ow, stop it!
Whilst this was occurring, the Sabretusk on my left flank had spotted the flank of my Swordsman unit. More specifically, it had seen the flank of my Wizard Lord. It bounded in enthusiastically and inflicted a nasty bite mark upon him, but the unit shooed him away and chose not to pursue. Soon they had bigger problems, however. In their efforts to ensure that they would be in range for my better aura effect spells, they had moved well into the centre of the table and they found themselves being charged in the flank by the Ogre unit when it finished off the Steam Tank. The unit was 9” from the table edge and Vaughan needed maybe a 6 on the dice to make the charge. After much agonising I eventually decided to flee and was rewarded with a very moderate roll before Vaughan rolled so low on his dice that he wouldn't have made it to me anyway. The Swordsmen rallied and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
No more Steam Tank :(
The Flagellants continued their rampage against the Leadbelchers, and comfortably wiped them out before they could fight back. Their momentum carried them behind the Ogre lines, but they eventually turned around in time to find the flank of the Ogre unit as they failed to catch the fleeing Swordsmen. The Flagellants set upon them with enthusiasm and broke the enemy, but failed to catch them. They then charged the remnants when the rallied (by this point a half-dead Firebelly and a couple of minions), and with the aid of Birona's Timewarp, they finished them off. I say “they”, but I really mean “he”... I had a single Flagellant left by the time the last Ogre was run down. It was a close thing, but he survived the game and the Flagellants had had a real riot of a game.

Due to the scenario, Vaughan's Gorger had a terribly long walk to catch up with my lines from my table edge (the long table edges are impassable terrain in Battle for the Pass). Eventually he caught up to my state troops, however in a silly dance of avoidance he was unable to catch my Wizards and didn't fancy taking on a ranked up unit, so was left disappointed.
Glorious Birdie does not survive contact with the Mournfangs. His rider continues on foot however, and is represented by a Flagellant. This happened a number of times. Really should have brought a better model to represent him.
My description of this game has been all over the place, but if you're still following, good for you. Back on the right flank where the Gutstar had met its demise, the Glorious Birdie's assault on the Mournfang was rather disappointing. I'm pretty sure the Ogres failed their Fear test thanks to Birdie's magnificent singing voice, but they then rolled lots of 5s and hit me anyway. The Birdie didn't last a turn. Thankfully the General held his ground just long enough for the cavalry to arrive. Literally. My Knights crashed in alongside and made pretty short work of the Mournfangs. They then swung about and headed for the Yhetees as they escaped the dented wreckage of the Steam Tank. The General was left dancing and dodging cannonballs from the Ironblaster until he made it safely behind the building and the Ironblaster found a new target, lined it up, misfired and exploded. Phew. The cannons really were useless.
The Mournfangs and Leadbelchers get cleaned up.
The Knights did eventually charge the Yhetees, and the combat that followed was rather strange. Despite having rerollable Leadership 9, the Knights failed their Fear test and dropped to WS 1. This then became WS 0 thanks to the Yhetees making enemies in base contact -1 WS (with nothing saying it can't go down to 0). This meant the Yhetees hit automatically (that is in the core rules) and did their best to hammer down the unit, but the Knights' armour kept me in the combat. After general consultations and calling over the TO, the conclusion was reached that the Knights could still attack, but would only hit on natural 6s (as they had fallen off the To Hit chart, but 6s always hit and there was nothing actually saying you can't attack at WS 0). In the end we did a few wounds each and the combat continued. The next turn I had lost Hatred and my lance bonus, but I failed the Fear rest and broke the Yhetees. I think they eluded my pursuit however, and the game was over.

It had been an interesting game, but I'd had the early advantage with the demise of the Gutstar and it was too big a mountain to climb for the Ogres to recover from there.

Result: 17-3

So much for being briefer than normal. I don't think I've made much progress there. Oh well. Anyway, at the end of day 1 I was actually doing OK. If I could repeat the performance of 2 wins on Day 2, I'd be pretty happy with the event as a whole. Stay tuned for the next episode, which will hopefully be along much sooner than this one arrived...

1 comment:

  1. Good result. I was shocked that you lost the first battle and equally shocked that you won the second. They both sounded to be going the exact opposite way for the majority of the battle. I guess that's why you play the game to its conclusion.