Sunday, 5 October 2014

Axemaster 2014 – Part 6

This post is a continuation of my account of the recent tournament, Axemaster 2014. You can find the previous part of the report here.

Game 6
Ben Wadsworth, Warriors of Chaos
  • Chaos Lord of Tzeentch on Disc of Tzeentch with Talisman of Preservation, Crown of Command, Dragonhelm, Flaming Breath, Soul Feeder, Great Weapon, Shield
  • Exalted Hero of Tzeentch BSB on Barded Daemonic Mount with Armour of Destiny, Scaled Skin, Great Weapon
  • Chaos Sorcerer (Level 2, Lore of Tzeentch) with Chaos Familiar
  • Chaos Sorcerer (Level 1, Lore of Metal) with Dispel Scroll
  • 17 Chaos Warriors of Tzeentch with Full Command, Shields, Gleaming Pennant
  • Chaos Chariot of Nurgle
  • Chaos Chariot of Nurgle
  • 5 Chaos Warhounds with Vanguard
  • 5 Chaos Warhounds with Vanguard
  • Chimera with Flaming Breath, Regenerating Flesh
  • Chimera with Flaming Breath, Regenerating Flesh
  • Hellcannon
  • Giant
Comp Score: 2

After 2 big losses I felt like reality had reasserted itself and my place in the field had been corrected, so I hoped to do a little better in my last game. I've been wanting to play Mr Wadsworth (the man behind Shirts off Warhammer) for a while, and now I had my chance. Unfortunately when I looked at his list, I realised I might have some difficulty getting rid of some of his characters. Ah well, what was the worst that could happen?
Game 6 deployment
The Hellcannon lurks in the far corner
So many dangerous models
The doggies bravely advance toward my lines with their Vanguard move
Apart from the Hellcannon in the back corner with a lone Chariot keeping it company, Ben fielded a largely empty table facing my left flank. My forces were centered more to the right, and the heavy hitters in the Chaos army deployed opposite them. I put one of my Griffons well over on the right flank, and one of the units of Chaos Hounds deployed opposite and used Vanguard to move into charge range. I commenced the game by going for the bait and charging, which of course they fled (though I don't recall if it was voluntary or from Terror). They also kept fleeing for 2 more turns before they finally made it off the table.
The left side of my line sweeps forward a bit, whilst the centre more or less holds its ground
Still not sure how I can handle all those heavy hitters arriving at once
Yeah, you better run
The Demigryphs and BSB swept around on my left flank. There was a unit of Chaos Hounds nearby that would likely get in the way, but without the missile fire to cull them, I'd just have to deal with them on their terms. The rest of my forces were pretty cagey, with multiple flying enemies that I was in no particular hurry to engage. My Steam Tank commenced a thoroughly disappointing game by misfiring, taking a couple of wounds from the cannon (I think). My Wizards did a little better, wounding both of the Chimeras with Searing Doom and Shem's Burning Gaze (I would have preferred to concentrate fire on one, but ranges or something prevented it). I might have left one of them on a single wound.
Well that was not entirely unforeseen. The remaining Chaos Hounds make a nuisance of themselves
The Chaos Hounds to the left did indeed plonk themselves right in the way of the Demigryphs, whilst the Chariot started to move up behind them. The Hellcannon got all angry and rampaged, but didn't get far because the Chariot had not yet moved out of the way. At least it wouldn't be shooting that turn.
The Chaos centre goes for an odd formation to keep me from the more vulnerable targets
The movement in the Chaos centre was very interesting. Ben decided to plant his unkillable, Stubborn Lord on the hill right in the middle of the field, and then used him as an effective screen for one of the Chimeras that flew up behind him. Basically I wouldn't be able to charge it with any of my units, except maybe my BSB and Halberdiers. The Chaos BSB moved up behind the Chimera, effectively making a strange conga line diagonally across the centre of the field. The Chariot and Giant on that flank moved up, but they were far out-paced by the green Chimera. It flew aggressively up in front of my Halberdiers, and used its breath weapon on them (I think it was basically a "use it or lose it" situation, because the Chimera was down to a single wound). I lost plenty of models, panicked and fled.
The Chimera's dreadfully bad breath is too much for the Halberdiers
In my turn the Demigryphs charged and killed the Chaos Hounds, before deciding to reform facing the Chaos Sorcerers with their entourage of Warriors near the back of the board. In the centre, I went aggressively in. I figured I couldn't get to the blue Chimera unless I went through the Lord, and the only way I was ever going to get rid of him was by getting rid of the BSB and hoping he failed a Stubborn test without the re-roll. I sent the Knights into the Lord, figuring they were the only thing in my army other than the Steam Tank that might break him (the Tank itself was busy hissing steam and doing nothing again that turn).
My options were limited, so I decided to try to weaken the leadership in the centre. Getting rid of either the general or BSB would probably open up the entire game
The Demigryphs deal with the Chaos Hounds easily and reform to face the Chaos Warriors despite the Chariot in their rear
To try to get rid of the enemy BSB, I sent my BSB into his flank and my general into his front. This guy had a 3+ ward save like the Chaos Lord, but he wasn't stubborn and I might just get him through combat resolution with the odd wound. If this seems optimistic, it was. Naturally he challenged, and I decided to go aggressively and accept with my general. He wasn't contributing anything in terms of bonuses, so he might as well have a swing. Unfortunately this policy didn't really work for me, as I did nothing at all in the first round and he pulled out his great weapon and murdered my general off the back of the Griffon, who was once more grief-stricken and went Unbreakable again. My general might be useless, but at least it seems like the Griffon is attached to him.

My efforts to break the Chaos Lord were similarly futile. He challenged, I accepted with Luthor Huss, we clubbed each other a bit, might have taken a wound each, and I failed to break him. The following round Luthor bit the dust. I did actually win the combat at least twice, and even got the Lord down to 1 wound, but then Soul Feeder kicked in and he started to revive himself.

In Ben's turn he tried to scare off my BSB by charging my grumpy Griffon in the flank with one of his Chariots, but the bonuses for the flank charge were not enough to break me. The green Chimera charged at the Halberdiers who had rallied after their earlier panic. Unfortunately I failed my Terror test and fled again, this time off the table and taking the Metal Wizard with them. Cowards. The Chimera redirected onto the Steam Tank, but failed the charge. The blue one had no such issues and swooped over the Knight combat and into the front of the tank, however it didn't do too much damage (I confess I was hoping they would both make it in. The Tank was the best thing in my army to deal with them). The Giant spotted the Archers trying to keep my Beast Wizard safe behind the forest and charged at them. Once more I failed I Terror test and fled off the table. Suddenly I only had my Light Wizard left. The Giant redirected into the Knights alongside the Chaos Lord, and started swinging with his club.
The Blue Chimera attacks the Steam Tank, but the Green one misses out.
The Giant decides the Chaos Lord looks like he could use some help
The Chariot that had been following my Demigryphs now charged them in the rear, however they shrugged off its efforts and turned to face it. The Hellcannon fired across the field and landed a shot directly on the head of my unengaged Griffon, however only the rider took a wound (he rolled a 1 on the beast).
The Chariot tries for an opportunistic charge on the Demigryphs
Oh you want some, do you?
Protracted combats are popping up all over the table. Nothing breaks on the charge in this game, it seems.
In my turn the Steam Tank finally woke up and crushed the blue Chimera beneath its armoured bulk. Hooray, actual progress! My unengaged Griffon tried to rescue its friend by charging the Chariot fighting it in the rear. Once more I had hopes that I might be able to break the Chaos BSB, however I did little damage to the Chariot (stupid Nurgle mark), took multiple wounds from the Chariot crew, and the Griffon in the challenge copped some wounds from the BSB's great weapon. If I won combat, it was not convincingly enough to break anyone.
It's like a rescue mission, but when all you've got to use is Griffons, you can't really tell
My Demigryphs wounded and broke the Chariot, but rather than chasing it they let it flee into the forest and reformed to face the Chaos Warriors once more. That Chariot successfully negotiated the trees and rallied, but didn't try to get involved in the rest of the game.
We are not so easily distracted. The Demigryphs let the Chariot escape and turn back to the Warriors - I'm starting to think they are the only worthwhile target from which I might actually be able to claim points
The combat in the centre was still not going very well. I cast Speed of Light in the hope of making the Chaos Lord miss, but with the Chaos BSB still around, it was all rather futile.
My sole remaining Wizard attracts the ire of the Chimera and runs for his life (my choice this time). Doesn't run far, though...
Bummer. No more Wizards for me
In Ben's turn the green Chimera charged my remaining Wizard and his bodyguard of Archers, and they fled a rather uninspiring distance and were caught. The Giant kept swinging with his club (he did break it up with a bit of a yell and bawl once), helping cull my unit in spite of their high WS. I was now losing but holding because of Steadfast. What I should have done (but kept forgetting) was reform across to get more attacks on the Giant and try to farm him for combat resolution. Eventually I did this, but it was too little, too late.

The level 1 Chaos Sorcerer was "volunteered" to hurry out from his unit and into the path of the Demigryphs, buying the Warriors some more time. Infernal Gateway hit home and did a wound or two, but not enough to kill a Demigryph (which would have opened a path past his blocking model). The Hellcannon landed a shot on the Steam Tank and did a couple of wounds.
A sorcerous speed bump
I think it was at this point that the tangle between our BSBs was resolved. My Griffon fired up and killed the Chariot, the Chaos BSB responded by killing the Unbreakable Griffon, and my BSB wound up losing combat and breaking, so he was destroyed. We were left with my second Griffon and the Chaos BSB, both alive but no longer in combat.

I decided not to charge yet another Griffon into the Chaos BSB, and instead flew over behind the Chaos Warriors as my Demigryphs charged and killed the Sorcerer in their path. They overran, but not quite far enough to reach the Warriors (they were a fraction of an inch short, I think). The Steam Tank misfired again, wasting another turn.
Argh, so close!
At this point there was not much left. Eventually the Chaos Lord and Giant finished off my Knights, but the Giant emerged with two wounds left. The Steam Tank failed yet again to do anything to it, but the driver was not to be deterred by his temperamental machine, and pulled out his pistol. He shot a wound off, failed to hurt it again as it charged, but then clubbed it to death in close combat. The Giant toppled over sideways without hurting the Tank, and so it survived the game.
The Chaos Lord arrives to rescue the Warriors. Curse his eyes (he probably has more than 2, Tzeentch-worshipper that he is)
Alas, poor Griffon! I finally use one of the infantry models I brought along in case a Griffon died and the rider survived
My Griffon's efforts to rear-charge the Chaos Warriors came to nothing because the enemy BSB managed to catch up with him and kill first the monster and then the rider. The Demigryphs did make it into the Chaos Warriors and won handsomely, but the BSB helped them hold their ground. The Chaos Lord then arrived in my rear and the combat ground to a bloody stalemate at the end of the game.
How things ended. No points to be had here either. At least the Demigryphs held their own
In the end the Demigryphs and Steam Tank were all I had left, and I had little to show for my efforts - I had cleaned up the Giant, a Chimera, a Chariot, the Chaos Hounds, and a Sorcerer. There were too many important Chaos models still alive. I had lost badly.

Result: 3-17

So after a slightly strange tournament, my army had led at the halfway point with 50 battle points, only to barely break even on 62 by the end. My final 3 games had gone 5, 4, and 3 battle points. It's probably for the best that things stopped there, then.

My adventure with the Griffons had been amusing, but it was certainly not a good idea if I wanted to win games. Where I had been winning on Day 1, it really had nothing to do with the Griffons. On the flip side, when I started losing on Day 2, it had a lot to do with them. Granted I was occasionally careless in my play, but besides giving me speed, too often the Griffons could not contribute meaningfully. It was never more apparent than in the last game, where they struggled to find a single thing they wanted to charge. By the end I felt like I had come to a gun fight armed only with a wet fish. Or maybe a Griffon feather.


  1. Thanks for the report.
    Was there much difference to the lists in the armies that were at the top tables at the end or were they all using the usual suspects?

    1. Aaron Graham (my opponent in round 4) won the event with the all-flying, all-singing, all-dancing High Elves. The other 2 podium places were also taken by High Elves, but with horrible Teclis-based filth (the lists were pretty much identical, I believe).

      Next were Lizardmen, double Steam Tank Empire, and Simon Kwok's light council Empire (who I played in round 5).

      So apart from an over-representation of High Elves at the pointy end, there was a bit of a mix. And arguably apart from Aaron's list, all the top positions were going to some pretty nasty lists as you would expect where the comp scores don't directly affect standings.

  2. Great reports as always. Shame that your experiences between winning and losing were split between the days so precisely!

    I love that you try out unusual options in your lists and, more often than not, make them work for you. Keep it up! It's very entertaining!

  3. This was a great tournament report, I´m almost sad it´s over.
    Very good pictures and I like the style/look of your army.
    Why did you fail so many panic/terror tests in the last game, no bsb/general in range?

    1. Cheers.

      The general was in range for some of it (before getting quickly cut from his saddle), but my BSB was busy acting as an extra unit in order to try to swing a combat my way (much good that did me). So it was partly self-inflicted.