Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Convic 2014 Aftermath - Part 1

It's been a while since I had a tournament to report upon, however Convic was on the weekend and as a result I have finally gotten around to playing a few more games of Warhammer! As usual, I will try and fail to keep my descriptions of the games concise. I'm predictable like that.

I've shown my army list before, however I'll repeat it here now for convenience:
  • Dwarf Lord with Shieldbearers, Gromril Armour, Great Weapon, 3 Runes of Warding, Rune of Stone
  • Thane with Battle Standard, Gromril Armour, Great Weapon, Master Rune of Grungni, Strollaz's Rune
  • Grimm Burloksson
  • Josef Bugman
  • 20 Quarrellers with Great Weapon, Heavy Armour, Shield, Dwarf Crossbow, Full Command
  • 20 Thunderers with Heavy Armour, Shield, Dwarf Handgun, Full Command
  • 12 Miners with Great Weapon, Heavy Armour, Standard, Prospector
  • Gyrocopter with Vanguard, Steam Gun
  • Gyrocopter with Steam Gun
  • Cannon with Rune of Forging
  • 12 Bugman's Rangers with Dwarf Crossbow, Great Weapon, Throwing Axes, Heavy Armour, Shield, Full Command
  • 16 Irondrakes with Full Command, Strollaz's Rune
My Dwarf army for Convic 2014.
The theory behind the list was that I had no interest in a static gun line, but nor did I really believe that a vanguard-heavy combat army would work. So this was some sort of compromise. All of the units are well-equipped and fairly capable in combat, and most of them shoot. I was hoping that between this and my various deployment special rules, I would give myself a few options for how I would approach each game. I had my suspicions that the list might be found wanting in certain regards, and might require a fair bit of finesse (or luck) in order to get the most from it.

I got a 3.5 out of 5 for my composition score, which I guess was a suggestion that the panel also had their doubts about the army's effectiveness. That was fine, I would prove them all wrong! Maybe...

Game 1 – Battleline
Daniel Bird, Wood Elves
Comp score: 1.6
  • Spellweaver (General, Level 4, Lore of Shadow) with Asrai Longbow, Earthing Rod
  • Glade Captain. Battle Standard Bearer with Swiftshiver Shards, Hail of Doom Arrow
  • Spellsinger.(Level 1, Lore of Metal) with Asrai Longbow, Dispel Scroll
  • Waystalker with Bow of Loren
  • Glade Captain on Great Eagle with Light Armour, Ogre Blade, Enchanted Shield, Potion of Foolhardiness
  • 14 Glade Guard. Full command. Trueflight Arrows, Standard of Discipline
  • 11 Glade Guard. Musician, Standard. Trueflight Arrows
  • 10 Glade Guard. Musician. Trueflight Arrows
  • 6 Wardancers
  • 5 Wildriders, Musician, Standard, Gleaming Pennant
  • 5 Wildriders, Musician, Standard, Banner of Swiftness
  • 6 Treekin
  • 6 Waywatchers
  • 6 Waywatchers
  • Great Eagle
  • Great Eagle
Daniel Bird's beautiful Wood Elves, which took second place in the players' choice.
You are getting sleeeeepy, Daniel. You will give me ALL the battle points. All of them, I say...
I had never played Daniel before and he decided it was time to address this by challenging me in the first round of the tournament. Between us we had basically no experience with either of our current army books, so the game promised to be something of a learning experience for us both.

It was one of those games where we really only used half the table. We both started deploying to my right of the table, and continued from there. This shouldn't really have been surprising, given my army needs a fairly compact deployment and Daniel seemed intent upon shooting my stuff. Wood Elf players are a bit like that.
Deployment, including scouts.
Apparently this table quarter was the fashionable place to be, behind a rather pathetic hill and a (currently denuded) Venom Thicket the Elves brought with them.
My Thunderers' glorious vanguard move is foiled by sneaky Waywatchers.
More sneaky Waywatchers on the other flank.
We both had scouting and vanguarding units, so the roll-off for scouts was always going to be important. Unfortunately I lost this roll, so was unable to properly shield the space my units would need for vanguard. Waywatchers planted themselves in a position to block my Thunderers and BSB (and Lord), and my Rangers settled for trying to shield the advance of my Irondrakes whilst menacing those Waywatchers and looking at the Wild Riders to my left. The other Waywatchers then went off to my left, looking at my vanguarding Gyrocopter. This was fine, as it chose not to move up at all, meaning it could charge in the first turn. The Irondrakes did what they could, but had to wheel about behind the screen of Rangers. The Wild Riders bravely advanced on my right, moving up next to the annoying Waywatchers.
I'll teach you for interfering with our precious vanguards...
Happily I won the roll-off for the first turn, and set about trying to clear out the annoying Waywatchers interfering with my cunning pre-game advance. The Gyrocopter on my left charged through the forest (that turned out to be an Abyssal Wood) and into the Waywatchers who stood and shot ineffectually. What followed was an uninspiring combat that took at least 4 rounds to resolve, before I eventually broke and destroyed them. On the other flank, the other Gyrocopter also charged at Waywatchers. These ones elected to flee, however I very skillfully charged 21” and caught them as they went. Boo yeah!
Enormous charge rolls ftw!
My Thunderers consoled themselves over their lost vanguard opportunity by combining their firepower with the Quarrellers and obliterating the Wild Riders on my right flank. My Irondrakes wheeled around from behind the Rangers and the two units combined their fire upon Daniel's other Wild Rider unit, however I found myself foiled by their preposterously efficient war paint – 5 out of 7 passed their 6+ saves! This volley saw one of maybe only two times for the tournament when Grim Burloksson failed his 2+ to grant the unit re-rolls to hit. He was generally very good.

To cap off my opening volley, the Cannon lined up and blew away the Glade Captain on his Eagle, since he had brought decent armour but no ward save. All in all, it was a solid opening. I did however kill 4 of my Quarrellers when the Wild Wood they were standing in went berserk and tried to wipe them out. Stupid trees, they're all in league with the tricksy Elves.
As things stood at the end of the Dwarfs' first turn.
The surviving Wild Riders had clearly decided they were invincible after their amazing ward saves and elected to charge into the Rangers rather than trying to go a bit further and rescue the Waywatchers as they struggled with the Gyrocopter. This proved to be a mistake, as the Rangers had found their range and wiped them out with their stand and shoot response. This panicked a nearby Eagle straight off the table, which was a touch unlucky.
Charge us, will you? Goodbye...
The Treekin were apparently displeased at the way my other Gyrocopter had run down the fleeing Waywatchers, and declared a charge before trudging forward resignedly when I fled in response.
Eeek, run away!
Uh-oh. Sucks to be us...
My opening volley had been pretty good. The Wood Elves responded by using Withering to drop my Rangers' Toughness to 2, before the entire army opened up on them. Josef Bugman himself nearly survived – however the Wood Elf BSB finally fired his Hail of Doom Arrow and did just enough damage to finish him off.
The fight goes on between the Gyrocopter and Waywatchers.
In my turn the Miners arrived behind the Wood Elf lines, doing their best to disrupt the wall of shooting. The Gyrocopter rallied and the Thunderers marched up behind it, trying to close with the enemy. The Irondrakes performed a swift reform and moved to within range of the remaining Eagle, which had advanced onto the hill. It did not survive the volley that followed.
Reinforcements! The Miners arrive along with my little wall marker to help remind me that I had light cover on the turn I arrived, which 99% of the Wood Elves would ignore.
My forces move up and continue to shoot small things like an Eagle off as they go.
The arrival of my Miners certainly had some impact upon Daniel's plans, as the entire line of Elves turned around, casting Withering, and obliterated them with overwhelming fire power. It was all a little harsh. The Treekin backed up a bit after their earlier failed charge.
The Gyrocopter seeks to make use of the distraction caused by the cameo appearance of the Miners, by charging the main Glade Guard unit in the rear.
In the next turn I continued to advance, with the Thunderers and Quarrellers both marching. The Irondrakes moved up a bit and opened up on the Treekin, killing 2 of them. The rallied Gyrocopter decided to gamble and charged into the rear of the main unit of Glade Guard, which contained both the enemy BSB and the Spellweaver. I figured pinning them for a round and reducing their shooting would be very helpful. Unfortunately the BSB stepped backward, and despite his only having a hand weapon, between him and the 3 Glade Guard that could reach I was somehow killed outright in a single round of combat! So much for that plan...
It was at about this point that my other Gyrocopter disposed of the remaining Waywatchers.
The Thunderers continue their steady advance across the field.
Remarkably none of my units had to endure Withering the following turn, as Daniel either rolled badly or I managed to dispel it. As a result I took fairly minimal damage from his shooting, and lost just a few Irondrakes. Grim Burloksson was wounded by a sneaky sniper shot from the Waystalker with his Bow of Loren. The Treekin moved up to block my advancing Thunderers, effectively throwing themselves under the bus.
The Treekin look to stall my progress.
Having witnessed the heroic sacrifice of the Treekin, my Thunderers didn't want to disappoint them. They charged straight in and murdered the Forest Spirits in pretty short order. I might actually have run down survivors, an event that was exceedingly rare during an event where I was obsessed with rolling 5” (I think I actually did that this time as well, but so did Daniel). He had been trying to drag my unit toward the side of the board, however the width of my unit and the centre-to-centre direction of flight saw me head on towards his archer lines.
The Quarrellers tried a long charge alongside the Thunderers to use the Treekin as a springboard, but didn't make the distance.
The combat was short and brutal for the Treekin.
At this point my remaining Gyrocopter had finally dealt with the Waywatchers, and moved around behind a group of Wardancers who were trying to menace my Irondrakes. The Irondrakes themselves continued to advance and had a shot at them, but could only fell one due to the hit penalties (Miasma had reduced their BS as well). My Quarrellers had tried for an optimistic 13” charge alongside the Thunderers and failed, but still staggered forward 5” anyway, so no real harm done.
The Wardancers eye off my Irondrakes after Grim Burloksson takes a wound from the sniping of the Waystalker.
The whole table during Dwarf Turn 4.
The Treekin are gone and the Thunderers are closing in.
Silly board edge-hugging Elves. We'll get there...
By this point the Wood Elves were starting to feel the pinch. The 3 regiments of Glade Guard were hard back against the table edge, clearly wishing they could retreat further still. Daniel threw his Spellsinger into the path of the Thunderers to buy more time, and charged the Wardancers into the Irondrakes in an effort to assassinate the wounded Burloksson. Withering only dropped the Toughness of the Thunderers by 1 point, which meant the subsequent hail of arrows did only modest damage. The Wardancer charge met with similar failure, as two of them fell to the stand and shoot reaction, and all but one were cut down after they failed to land a telling blow. The sole survivor outran my pursuit.
Another diversion! How... diverting.
In my turn the Thunderers charged the Spellsinger and somehow my Lord failed to kill him. This meant I got dragged across the Elf lines, chasing an mage who should already have been dead. I think the whole thing worked far better than Daniel would have dared hope. In hindsight I should possibly have let him go and reformed to try to reach the real victory points, but I was somewhat outraged at his survival and wanted to finish the job...
How are you not dead? Come back here...
The Irondrakes continued to stroll forward and blasted the nearest Glade Guard regiment down to a couple of models. My Gyrocopter had been reduced to a single wound after his struggles with the Waywatchers, and had barely survived a volley from the Waystalker the previous turn as he stepped out of the cover of his Glade Guard unit. I responded by trying to charge him, but this was pushing my luck too far, and he shot the Gyrocopter down with his stand and shoot reaction. To prove I don't hold grudges, I blasted the impudent Elf off the table with my Cannon.
Wood Elves Turn 5.
The end game saw the Thunderers continue to be showered with shots from the Wood Elves, but some of them survived. I was left with a decision about what to try to mop up, and ended up charging at the fleeing Wardancer with my Lord to ensure he'd make it off the table, before trying and failing to catch the annoying Spellsinger (who lived). The Irondrakes removed the rest of the damaged Glade Guard unit, and the game was over.
As things ended.
By the end I had killed all but the Spellweaver, Spellsinger, BSB and 2 units of Glade Guard. I had also just about waddled to the enemy table edge with my relentless stunties, which felt like a solid effort. In return, I had lost both Gyrocopters, the Miners, Josef Bugman and his Rangers. It was a solid start to the tournament.

Result: 18-12 (19.9-10.1 after comp)

Game 2 – Battle for the Pass
Vivian Gleeson, Vampire Counts
Comp score: 3.3
  • Vampire Lord (General, Level 4, Lore of Vampires) on Barded Nightmare with Heavy armour, Shield, Red Fury, Quickblood, Ogre Blade, Talisman of Preservation, The Other Tricksters Shard
  • Vampire (BSB, Level 1, Lore of Shadow) on Barded Nightmare with Heavy armour, Lance, Enchanted Shield, Quickblood, Dawn Stone, Ironcurse Icon
  • Vampire (Level 1, Lore of Shadow) on Barded Nightmare with Heavy armour, Lance, Shield, Dispel Scroll, Dragonhelm, Quickblood, Opal Amulet
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 20 Zombies with Standard
  • 20 Zombies with Standard
  • 30 Crypt Ghouls with Champion
  • 2 Fell Bats
  • 2 Fell Bats
  • 5 Vargheists
  • 9 Black Knights with Standard, Champion
  • 7 Crypt Horrors with Champion
Vivian Gleeson's Vampire Counts, all of them singing some sorrowful dirge about wanting to be painted.
My second game promised to be vastly different from the first. I was looking at a Vampire Count army with a seriously dangerous Black Knight bus containing all the enemy characters, and no units that could possibly hope to hold them. I figured the rest of the army could be addressed, so long as the damage that unit did was limited.

My deployment was somewhat blind, given Viv was still placing nonsense like Fell Bats by the time I had finished. I wound up putting the Quarrellers on the right, the Thunderers in the centre, and the Irondrakes to the left. The Miners promised to contribute nothing in this game, given the impassable long table edges. Happily I didn't have to contend with enemy scouts this time, and planted the Rangers on my right to try to consolidate my position over there and shield the advance of the vanguarding Gyrocopter. This was because the left was looking pretty dire – the Vampire bus and Vargheists were both over there, and the presence of the Rangers was unlikely to improve matters.
Shortly after the start of the game, with the vanguards over and one of the Gyrocopters already on its way toward enemy territory.
The Vampire Count deployment, with a far stronger flank on the far side of the table.
A view of the Dwarf lines.
I got the first turn, which was encouraging. The advanced Gyrocopter landed on the right end of the enemy lines, bombing the nearest unit of Dire Wolves off the table (somewhat unexpectedly). The unit next to it was shot down to a single model by the Rangers, and I cleaned up a row of Ghouls. On the other flank, the Irondrakes had only advanced cautiously, but the Dire Wolves had moved forward more aggressively. I shot one of the units off the table, but that meant the remaining one was going to get around my front lines. The Cannon only managed to do a single wound to the Vargheists, which was not very helpful – I really needed to reduce the unit's effectiveness.
Turns out bombing runs can do real damage. There used to be a unit of 5 Dire Wolves next to that Gyrocopter.
The other Dire Wolves are almost wiped out by other shooting.
In Viv's turn, he did exactly the right thing, which was terribly worrying. He rushed everything straight at me. Suddenly the Crypt Horrors were only about 9” from my Thunderers, and the Black Knights were practically on top of the Irondrakes. The remaining Wolves on my left went around the Irondrakes and started to head for the Cannon. On the bright side, he rolled up a decent magic phase and then proceeded to roll a series of disappointing spell attempts, and achieved absolutely nothing. I was off the hook for a turn. Had I known he was going to roll like that, I might have tried to dent the Black Knights and Crypt Horrors with my first volley instead of making sure I was wiping out secondary targets. I had assumed any damage I did would be wiped out by magic.
Oh dear. Was that really only one turn of moving? They're mighty close...
All along the line.
By my second turn, I was already scrambling. I used a Gyrocopter to block the advance of the Black Knights to ensure that only the Vargheists would be charging the Irondrakes that turn. Unfortunately I had to give the Vargheists a flank charge in order to ensure the Black Knights would miss me. The Irondrakes opened up on the Black Knights and managed to kill 5 of them, which opened the path for a Cannon shot without Look Out Sir! I decided I was unlikely to kill the Vampire Lord, so aimed instead for the BSB whose armour meant he was never going to die to anything else. The shot was a success and there was 1 less Vampire to worry about. It was progress, of a sort.
Ummm how do we address this problem?
The Gyrocopter moves in to buy me time. In hindsight, maybe I should have stood my ground, accepted the charge and stood and shot thanks to Quick to Fire. Probably wouldn't have saved me, but would have done some damage.
On my right, Bugman's Rangers decided to charge into the sole Dire Wolf in order to get it out of the way and close the gap a bit with the other enemies. They reformed after killing it, looking at the nearby Zombies.
The Great Gamble of Turn 2.
In the centre was the real action. The Crypt Horrors were right on top of my Thunderers and BSB, and a volley was not realistically going to change anything. I decided I had to gamble if I was to salvage the situation at all, and charged them instead. This would give me a Strength bonus, and represented the only real chance to hurt the unit. Unfortunately the Horrors were higher Initiative, and went first. And it was bad. Very bad. With 22 attacks on 4s and 4s (with poison), I think they killed 8 or 9 of my guys. I believe I had saved a single guy on 5+ with parries. I then retaliated impressively, doing a grand total of 2 wounds after saves. It was an utter disaster. My unit managed to hold for a turn thanks to banners and charging (and a low break test roll), but they were utterly doomed. The gamble had most certainly not paid off.

Things did not really improve in Viv's turn. I had had to place my second Gyrocopter in the path of the Ghouls to prevent them from charging in to assist the Crypt Horrors (had I known how that combat was going to go, I would not have bothered). This meant it got charged, broken and run down just as the Black Knights charged and slaughtered the other one before reforming to menace the Irondrakes once more. The Vargheists charged into the flank of my Irondrakes, although I reduced the damage slightly by stepping across with my Lord. My unit was steadfast and reformed to face the enemy, but they had little time before the Black Knights were going to arrive (in what was now their flank).
The Irondrakes reform to face the Vargheists and struggle on.
The Zombies on my right side charged the Rangers, however they underestimated the potency of the unit's stand and shoot reaction, and got wiped out in the subsequent combat, leaving me free to threaten the Ghouls.
The right flank, looking a whole lot better than things were elsewhere.
The Dire Wolves behind my lines tried to charge the Cannon, but didn't make the distance, buying me a turn. Of course, there was a unit of Bats looking meaningfully at me as well, so the next turn was likely to go worse.

The ongoing combat between the Thunderers and Crypt Horrors ended much as it had begun – very one-sidedly. My guys were thrashed again, and this time I broke and lost my BSB as well as the unit. I now had no centre to speak of. Magic hadn't been so forgiving this time either, as the Black Knights regained all of their lost models (except the dead Vampire BSB, of course).
The Irondrakes fight on bravely, much good it will do them. Pity about the gap where the Thunderers had been.
So in a single turn I had lost my Thunderers, BSB, both Gyrocopters, and my Irondrakes and Lord were trapped and doomed. Things were going exceedingly badly. In my turn I did what little I could. Bugman's Rangers charged the Ghouls and they proceeded to thrash at each other for the rest of the game, with Bugman and maybe a couple of other Rangers emerging victorious from the combat in the closing stages. My Quarrellers were prevented from joining the Rangers by a pair of Fell Bats, so settled for charging those instead.

I was doing a decent job of cleaning off peripheral junk, but I was going to lose to the real units in the Vampire army. In fact, I was going to get wiped off the table in short order. I had to do something to make an actual game of it, and I could only see one real chance. I swallowed my pride, and fired my Cannon at the Vampire Lord. He was protected once more by a proper unit of Black Knights, but of course Viv rolled a 1. I wounded, he failed his 4+ ward save, and I blew the Lord off the table with 5 wounds. I then failed to wound the Black Knight immediately behind him, but strangely nobody cared. It's ridiculous how often this cannon-sniping nonsense seems to succeed, and I felt exceedingly dirty. I was also unconvinced that my dastardly tactics would be enough to win me the game...

My Irondrakes continued to struggle against the Vargheists, and were rapidly losing models. My unit was still steadfast and held its ground, but that would soon change. My Lord was more interested in waving his axe around impressively than trying to kill the beasts and help his unit. I was going to have to have words with him after the game.

The loss of the Vampire Lord saw Viv start taking a swathe of crumble tests, however the impact of this was limited. The remaining Fell Bats were reduced to a single wound, and this proved insufficient as they charged the Cannon alone and were finished off. I think the Dire Wolves that had also been threatening the Cannon crumbled outright. The Zombies up in Viv's back lines (they had deployed deep to discourage me from using my scouts sneakily) failed a few times, but I think there were a few left by the end of the game. I'm not sure any of the other units ever actually took any wounds from the crumbling tests – I get the distinct impression that they didn't really like their Lord, and didn't miss him in the slightest...

The Black Knights did indeed flank what remained of my Irondrakes, and my Lord stepped across to challenge the remaining Vampire. We did a wound to each other, however the rest of my unit was wiped out by the Vargheists. I was left with a Leadership 3 break test without a re-roll, and passed it with great skill (it was more than a little outrageous). Maybe I would keep my Lord after all!
My Lord fights on, all alone.
By this point we were just about into the end stages of the game, and starting to run out of time. The Crypt Horrors continued their advance and accounted for my Cannon. In the second round of their challenge, my Lord finished off the Vampire, but lost combat by 2 and broke on Ld 8. Apparently 3s are easier than 8s – go figure. He was run down unceremoniously, and at this point my only remaining character was Mr Bugman. I guess that's not so bad – I'd removed all of the enemy characters! My Miners took their time in arriving, and when they did, they sauntered onto the table a little before finding themselves with the Crypt Horrors, Vargheists and Black Knights all looking at them. I ended up fleeing from the Black Knights in order to leave them stranded with a potential flank charge from the Quarrellers, but my Miners left the field immediately.
The Cannon actually fended off the Crypt Horrors for a turn before succumbing to their attentions.
The Rangers and Ghouls all but wiped each other out, but in the end the presence of Bugman was probably the difference.
The game in its late phases, with the Quarrellers waddling steadily sideways across the field.
Huzzah, a chance to use our great weapons!
I did manage to make the flank charge on the Black Knights and my Quarrellers destroyed them impressively with their great weapon attacks. I discovered later that these last stages had become a bit of a jumble for Viv as we tried to speed up the game, and that he felt he would have done more to intercept me with the Crypt Horrors, given a bit more time. I felt a bit bad about this, however there wasn't really much I could do at that point, and I wasn't aware of having rushed him.

When the game ended, Viv still had his Vargheists, Crypt Horrors and (I think) a handful of Zombies. I still had my Quarrellers and the shattered remnant of Bugman and his Rangers. I had just about salvaged a draw, however it's fair to say that I would have been soundly thrashed without my despicable Cannon shot.

Result: 14-16 (14.2-15.8 after comp)

I think this post has gotten long enough, so I might stick to the first 2 games for now. The other 3 will come later.


  1. Great report as always! I like the zoom ins and captions in particular. Feels more like a "miniatures" point of view and definitely makes the whole story more alive! Well done and looking forward to reading part 2!

    1. Cheers! I experimented this time by taking a proper camera instead of my usual mobile phone efforts. Makes the close-ups more of an option.

  2. I am also a fan of the tongue-in-cheek commentary and beautifully painted miniatures. Well done, yet again!