Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Warhammer World Series 2013 Aftermath – Part 1

The weekend saw the second running of that most unusual of tournaments, the Warhammer World Series. I was organising the event, however once things are up and running, the World Series is not the most difficult tournament to run. So I was also able to play the “bye-breaker”, which was needed because we had an odd number of players. So Baron von Gumby, most feared of non-competitive players, would ride once more! As usual, I took photos during my games and will give a bit of a run-through of how they went.

For those not following earlier, the World Series involves players arriving at a table and finding 2 pre-determined armies waiting for them. They then dice off to choose between the armies, the loser of the roll-off gets to choose table sides, and they play the scenario assigned to the table (generally Battleline). The full list of tables and armies has already been published, but I will repeat the ones I played on here for convenience as we go along.

Also, as I was the gumby player, I would not be rolling off with my opponent to choose armies – I would let them choose, and then we would roll off for table sides. Given I wrote nearly all of the pairings, it seemed the only fair way to do things. Besides, then I wouldn't have to try to choose what to use...

Game 1 – Nick Gentile
Table 5 – Family Feud
Scenario – Battleline
As usual, Nick is excited about being excited.
My army:
Dark Elves
  • Dreadlord
    • General; Cold One; Heavy Armour; Sea Dragon Cloak
    • Ogre Blade
    • Luckstone
  • Sorceress
    • Magic Level 2; Lore of Dark Magic
  • Master
    • Cold One; Heavy Armour; Sea Dragon Cloak; Battle Standard
    • Sword of Might
  • Khainite Assassin
    • Thrown Weapon; 2ndWeapon
    • Dark Venom
  • 24 Dreadspears
    • Spear; Light Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Lordling
  • 10 Darkshards
    • Rptr Crossbow; Light Armour; Standard; Musician
  • 8 Cold One Knights
    • Lance; Heavy Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Dread Knight
  • 14 Witch Elves
    • Frenzy; 2ndWeapon; Standard; Musician; Hag
  • Reaper Bolt Thrower

Nick's army:
High Elves
  • Prince
    • General; Dragon Armour; Elf Steed: Barded
    • Ogre Blade
    • Enchanted Shield
  • Noble
    • Dragon Armour; Shield; Battle Standard; Elf Steed: Barded
    • Dragonhelm
    • Sword of Might
  • Mage
    • Magic Level 2; Lore of High Magic
  • 15 Archers
    • Longbow; Standard; Musician
  • 20 Spearmen
    • Spear; Light Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Sentinel
  • 8 Silver Helms
    • Lance; Heavy Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; High Helm; Ithilmar Barding
  • 15 White Lions of Chrace
    • Great Weapon; Heavy Armour; Lion Cloak; Standard; Musician; Guardian
  • 5 Ellyrian Reavers
    • Spear; Normal Bow; Light Armour; Musician
  • Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower
Nick and I had painted these 2 armies (or at least, large chunks of them) as part of the Duelling Paintbrushes challenge in October, and so it had been somewhat pre-ordained that if I were to find myself playing in the event (even as a gumby), we would pair off and use these forces against each other in the first round.
Nick's High Elves after deployment. And no, those shorts are not photoshopped.
My Dark Elves deployed.
I didn't like the spells I rolled at the start of the game, so just took the 2 Signature spells from the Lore of Dark Magic. Nick ended up with Soul Quench and Tempest. We set up as you can see in the photos, and Nick got the first turn.

He started by shoving his Ellyrian Reavers right up in the face of my Crossbowmen (yeah sure, they're called Darkshards now. But if that pretentious-sounding name means nothing to you, then join the crew). They then shot several of them, whilst the Archers and Bolt Thrower knocked off a few more. I was left with only 4 guys, and they hadn't even shot yet. Nick's other forces advanced, with the Spearmen using the giant waystone thing in the centre to cover their flank.
The High Elves prance towards me in the first turn.
Insolent Reavers. Who do they think they are?
In my turn I declared a charge on the Reavers with the Cold One Knights, and even after they fled, only needed to roll a 9 to catch them. Instead I rolled about a 4, and they shambled forward 2 inches. I cheered myself up by wiping the Reavers out with shooting. That helped a little. I advanced slightly cautiously on the right, with the Witch Elves taking cover in the forest for no particular reason. Nick killed 4 of them with a Soul Quench after I rolled splendidly to try to dispel it. But of course, this just made the rest more angry. You won't like Witch Elves when they're angry. Which is most of the time, I guess. They charged the White Lions with a pretty decent roll, and proceeded to do very bad things to them. I lost 3 Witch Elves after they killed 8 White Lions in a frenzy of stabbing. Of course the High Elves held due to their Stubborn and the Prince and BSB being nearby.
The High Elves continue to advance, and start killing my Witch Elves, to boot! 
Nick insisted that I take a picture of my dispel roll, as though it were something unusual for me. I don't know, the 4 looks rather good to me...
How dare they shoot us?
The Dark Elves respond with characteristic grumpiness.
They feel slightly appeased now.
Just off the hill, my Spearmen (they have a silly name now too, like DarkShafters or something sinister and dodgy like that. I'm sure I'll come to terms with it later) charged Nick's, and I managed to cast Power of Darkness with the Sorceress. Unfortunately in her eagerness to generate more power dice (with which I could do nothing – I couldn't cast the other spell in combat), she did a wound to herself. But that was fine; my unit got +1 Strength and the Assassin appeared and led the slaughter of many Spearmen (including the High Elf Mage). Unfortunately the enemy finished off the Sorceress in return, but overall the combat went well. Sadly the High Elves held their nerve and their lines, and the cavalry were about to arrive.
Lots of Elves, all stabbing each other.
The same Elves, minus a couple of wizards and a number of Spearmen.
The Silver Helms crashed into the flank of my Spearmen with a tootling of girly-sounding trumpets and insipid battle cries. Incensed by the name-calling and threats of minor bodily harm, my Assassin declared he was going to split his attacks, and try to Killing Blow both the enemy general and BSB in a single round of awesomeness. Tragically he proved all talk, and did no damage. Far more amusingly, he survived the return attacks and lived another round. This was symptomatic of the combat as a whole, where I barely lost combat and killed plenty more High Elf Spearmen to boot (thanks partly to Power of Darkness still being in play). My Spearmen held due to Steadfast and waited for reinforcements of their own.
Yeah, those Silver Helms are in my flank. But I have 2 ranks and they don't! <insert mocking noises and capering here>
Unfortunately for them, there were no reinforcements forthcoming. My Cold Ones could see the flank of the Spearmen around the waystone, but could not close the gate due to the terrain and so would not be able to join the party. They contented themselves with failing a charge on the Archers, and shambling forward once more. On the other side of the combat, the Witch Elves continued to dice the White Lions into itty bitty pieces, but rather than hurry up and get the job done, they decided to bide their time and prolong the process by leaving a single White Lion on his feet – the unit champion. Of course, that guy was still Stubborn, so he kept them in place and prevented a potential rear charge on the Silver Helms. Realising their mistake, the Witch Elves hastily reduced him to a red mist (they killed him 7 times over in the following turn), but it was too late.
They've been warned not to toy with their food before...
Idiot Cold Ones. It really is not that far.
By that point my Spearmen had gotten all grumpy over the lack of reinforcements, low pay and poor conditions in their current situation. They fought terribly (even the arrogant Assassin, who continued to try to cut down the enemy characters without success), were reduced to a handful of models, and broke. They would spend the rest of the game fleeing, being pursued rather half-heartedly by the High Elf Spearmen (who had to run around the waystone before resuming the chase), and thumbing their noses at the enemy Bolt Thrower, which insisted on sending harmless Nerf bolts their way each turn (although admittedly it had skewered my own Bolt Thrower with a single bolt earlier – must have been the last of the real ammo).
"We've had enough. Call our union rep when you are willing to commit some actual reinforcements next time."
For their part, the Silver Helms decided that pursuing the Spearmen was beneath them, and so they reformed and charged the Witch Elves who were busy rolling around in the butchered remains of the White Lions and saying lots of things about how much they like blood. That combat went predictably, although a couple of Silver Helms did perish in return.

The final stages of the game were slightly bizarre. The Cold One Knights (accompanies as they were by my Highborn and BSB) finally realised that I wanted them to actually contribute to the game, and charged the Archers who were busily trying to back-pedal through the forest. 2 Cold One Knights rode into trees rather than facing the bestial fury of High Elf Archers in combat, but the rest manned up and left only a few alive, who promptly fled the table.
The High Elves charge, leaving a trail of Silver Helm corpses in their wake as they fail to negotiate the trees.
My unit reformed to face the Silver Helms, who were just shaking the bodies of the Witch Elves from their lance tips. Nick decided that he was not winning as much as he should have been (or something to that effect), and charged his main unit into mine. Unfortunately he did what I had done and lost 2 Knights to the trees on the way in, and found that when he got there, his forces lacked the punch to get things done. Our lords faced off in glorious combat (though both survived the challenge), whilst my BSB did the heavy lifting and wiped out the Silver Helms around them. The Cold One Knights shrugged off the attacks of their assailants in return, and Nick promptly failed a re-rollable Leadership 7 break test, and lost both his BSB and Prince. This left him with about half a dozen Spearmen and a Bolt Thrower. All I had left was the Cold One Knights and my Highborn and BSB, but this (combined with bonuses) put me well on top.

Result: 15-5

Game 2 – Hieu Lam
Table 10 – Knight-off
Scenario – Blood and Glory
Hieu Lam: "My battle points will be THIIIIS big!!"
My army:
  • Grand Master
    • General; Barding; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Warhorse
    • Ogre Blade
    • Dawn Stone
  • Captain of the Empire
    • Barding; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Battle Standard; Warhorse
    • Sword of Might
    • Talisman of Endurance
  • Warrior Priest
    • Barding; Prayers of Sigmar; Great Weapon; Heavy Armour; Warhorse
  • Battle Wizard of the Celestial Order
    • Magic Level 2; Lore of Heaven; Warhorse
  • 5 Outriders
    • Repeater Handgun; Light Armour; Musician; Warhorse
  • 10 Knights of the Inner Circle
    • Barding; Lance; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Standard; Musician; Preceptor; Warhorse
    • Banner of Swiftness
  • 10 Knightly Orders
    • Barding; Great Weapon; Full Plate Armor; Standard; Musician; Preceptor; Warhorse
  • 5 Knightly Orders
    • Barding; Lance; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Standard; Musician; Warhorse
  • 5 Knightly Orders
    • Barding; Lance; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Standard; Musician; Warhorse
Fortitude: 7

Hieu's army:
  • Bretonnian Lord
    • General; Heavy Armour; Knightly Vow
    • Ogre Blade
    • Virtue of Confidence
    • Enchanted Shield
    • Warhorse
  • Paladin Battle Standard Bearer
    • Heavy Armour; Battle Standard Bearer; Knightly Vow
    • Gromril Great Helm
    • Sword of Might
    • Warhorse
  • Damsel of the Lady
    • Magic Level 2; Lore of Life
    • Warhorse
  • 6 Knights of the Realm
    • Lance; Heavy Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Gallant; Barding; Knightly Vow
  • 6 Knights of the Realm
    • Lance; Heavy Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Gallant; Barding; Knightly Vow
  • 6 Knights of the Realm
    • Lance; Heavy Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Gallant; Barding; Knightly Vow
  • 5 Mounted Yeomen
    • Spear; Bow; Musician; Fast Cavalry
  • 5 Grail Knights
    • Lance; Heavy Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Barding; Grail Vow
  • 8 Questing Knights
    • Great Weapon; Heavy Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Paragon; Barding; Questing Vow
Fortitude: 8

Hieu chose to use the Bretonnians, saying it had been ages since he last led a Bretonnian army into battle. These being my Empire Knights, I had obviously used them a whole lot more recently. Statistically Hieu made the wrong choice (the Empire generally came out on top in this game), but it was only round 2 and he was not to know that...
The deployment. I had 2 small units on my left, the Outriders on my far right, and the 2 main blocks in the centre. The unit with great weapons is to left one.
You Bretonnians all look the same to me. OK, maybe not entirely. The unit on the left is Knights of the Realm. Then we have the Questing Knights with the Damsel, the Realm Knights with the General and BSB, more Realm Knights, then the Yeomen with the Grail Knights lurking behind them.
I got Harmonic Convergence and Iceshard Blizzard on my Wizard, and was pretty happy with that. Hieu got Throne of Vines and Flesh to Stone on his Damsel. After we had set up he obviously chose to pray, which gave me the first turn. Deciding that 18” was really not that far apart for Blood and Glory, I promptly charged the closest of his units with my Inner Circle Knights with their Banner of Swiftness. I got lucky and made the charge, which in turn made Hieu rather sad. I then cast boosted Harmonic Convergence irresistibly, which was amusing apart from losing 2 of the Knights to a Strength 10 template before they could fight, and half-killing both the Wizard and the Warrior Priest (Look Out Sir is for wimps).
Away with ye!
On my right the Outriders shot off a couple of the Yeomen, who turned and fled, and failed to rally a couple of times before departing the field. That was easy. Fire a warning shot and the peasants leave entirely.
Wheee! I forget my camera for a moment, and suddenly my unit is in their deployment zone...
My charging Knights obliterated the poor Realm Knight unit they had charged, and overran into the unit containing his Lord and BSB. This had seemed like a better idea when my unit was full-strength and my characters were not half-dead, but hey. It was a positive start. 1 banner down, and Hieu was on the same Fortitude as me: 7 (at this points level, dropping to 2 ends the game).

Hieu was clearly displeased with my opening move, and charged the flank of my victorious Knights with his Grail Knights. The Questing Knights with the Damsel also charged, but they bypassed the existing combat in favour of my other main unit – the great weapon-wielding Knights led by my General and BSB. The remaining Knights of the Realm unit on my left declared charges on both of my little Knight units, however they both turned and ran like scared little girls (my choice – not theirs), and no combat was forthcoming over there.
Uh-oh, I think we made them mad.
The charge of the Grail Knights was a thing most terrible. 10 Attacks with WS5 and Strength 6, and before you can say “I don't do probability”, I was taking 10 armour saves on 4+ (rerolling 1s). I lost 6 Knights to their vengeful fury. The Warrior Priest was cut down in a challenge with the Bretonnian General, and even the BSB got in on the action and killed a couple of Knights. By the time I got to attack, there was really nothing left. My unit needed double 1s to hold, and tried with a 3, but it was to no avail. On the bright side, they managed to outrun both of Hieu's units. On the downside, they would again need double 1s to rally thanks to their badly depleted state. With the standard gone, I was down to Fortitude 6.
The Grail Knights carpet the battlefield with the corpses of their victims. Because the Lady likes that sort of thing, no doubt. She's really not as nice as they would have you believe.
Ow, it hurts!!
The other combat went much better. And by that, I mean my unit slaughtered the Questing Knights in a terribly one-sided contest. They broke and were run down, and this resulted in my unit pursuing straight into the side of Hieu's General's unit, who were not even watching as they focused on trying to catch my escaping Knights as they fled through he trees (well, Knight and Wizard – that was all that was left). The loss of the Questing standard brought Hieu down to Fortitude 6 as well.
Hey, this was totally planned. The other unit was just bait.
In my turn, both my fleeing small Knight units rallied and turned to face the Knights of the Realm they had fled from, much to Hieu's annoyance. Nothing worse than a coward being rewarded for his weakness. I am a man without honour. At least the fleeing Wizard and her companion kept running behind those same Realm Knights. My Outriders tried to ensure there would be no more debacles with the Grail Knights of Doooom and shot 2 of them dead. Not bad – it would have to do.

At this point I realised that if my General's unit could get rid of Hieu's, he would lose 4 Fortitude (2 for the General and 1 each for the BSB and unit standard), and I would win the game. So this flank charge was looking very well-planned indeed. Unfortunately Hieu then realised what he had been doing wrong up until now – he had been failing all his saves. No worthwhile Bretonnian player fails saves. My General accepted the challenge of his, as I figured they would largely negate each other (though his had the upper hand), and my unit would do the business. I took a wound and Hieu did not, but that was fine. I then swung 8 Strength 5 attacks at the Knight sitting behind the Lord, and did no wounds after saves. The whole combat had seen only a single wound exchanged. Hieu took a Leadership 7 break test with a reroll, and passed. Curses, my window was closing.

The Grail Knights realised that they were needed, and raced to the rescue once more. They crashed into the flank of my unit and, between them and the still-invincible unit to my front, beat and broke my Knights. Thankfully I once again managed to elude pursuit, as this would have meant “game over” for me. As it was, I lost the BSB and unit standard, but the General escaping meant I was on Fortitude 4.
New plan: run for your lives!
The General managed to rally his unit and turned to face the oncoming enemy, hoping they could absorb a frontal charge for a turn. My small Knight units both tried and failed to charge the rear of the Knights of the Realm over to my left, who had turned to eye off my fleeing Wizard and her friend. For all that my rolling spared Hieu a rear charge, he hadn't done things very well and the fleeing unit managed to continue on their merry way, out of his charge arc. Phew.
Hey, we're not dead! To the death, and all that!
Hieu's units crashed once more into my General's waiting Knights, who hefted their great weapons and swung them ineffectually against Hieu's now impregnable armour. My General took another wound in the resumed challenge with the Bretonnian Lord, but at least this time he did one back. Importantly my unit still numbered 5 men at the end of the round, which meant I was Steadfast. My unit held, and help was on its way!
Hieu's Knights of the Realm had given up on the fleeing unit that turn and turned back to face my Knights, just in time to have one of my units charge them in the front. Of course (and Hieu predicted this as soon as he turned them round), my fleeing Wizard promptly rolled a double 1 and rallied behind their back! It was bogus! I am a tactical genius! It meant the Wizard could cast spells unopposed, as well. Rubbing her hands together with glee, she cast Iceshard Blizzard on their Bretonnian General's unit. Unfortunately she was overzealous and cast it irresistibly (again – foolish woman). This time she blasted all magical knowledge from her fool head, meaning there would be no Harmonic Convergence to back it up.
By the power of bullshit!
One combat to end them all. But wait... where did my General go?
My other small Knight unit had charged the flank of the enemy General's unit. This, combined with them being slowed by Iceshard Blizzard, was my chance. Break them and I could win the game. We started with the challenge between our generals (he on two wounds, and I on one). Even with rerolls to hit, the Bretonnian could only land a single blow. It wounded, and I failed my 4+ armour. Then I failed the reroll. My general was dead, and suddenly nothing else mattered. I had dropped to Fortitude 2 and the game was over. Hieu got the points for everything I had left, whilst I only got the points for the things I had already killed – the Questing Knights, and unit of Knights of the Realm, some peasants and a Damsel. It was always going to be a big swing one way or the other. I had been on the receiving end of the towelling this time.

Result: 3-17

We were only halfway through day 1 at this point, but given how long these articles tend to get, I will break the 7 game event up into 3 parts. Stay tuned...

You can find part 2 of my account here.


  1. Despite the wise words of Mr. Gentile and his Battle Shorts, I ended up with the High Elves on the family feud table. Despite his claims that the Dark Elves were made of filth I ended up with a draw (and I was ahead on points!). So any complaining he does about the table being mismatched is clearly the ravings of a man hopped up on intense hawaiian dye fumes.

    1. Actually, the final tally on that table was: High Elves 3, Dark Elves 2, Draws 2. Clearly it was operator error...

    2. I was in the other draw, and it seemed like the High Elves had the better end of the match up to me.

      The fumes might explain the excitability as well. He should really see a doctor about that - Ba dum tish.

  2. Nice write up. I find it interesting to see how others went on tables I played (the elf-off in this one).

    As an aside, if you give me Dwarfs for both game one and game two for a third time in a row next year I'm going to start taking it personally.

    1. How did you manage to get all the Dwarf games both times? Maybe they're trying to tell you something...

    2. Honestly, I have no idea how I managed it. I lost the roll off and got given Dwarfs both games again this year too, so even the dice are against me. Game three this year I was on the Chaos Dwarf table but at least I won the roll off so I didn't have to play stunties again. I then proceeded to get smashed 2-18 so in hindsight maybe I should have stuck with what I know...