Sunday, 20 September 2015

Axemaster 2015 Aftermath - Part 1

It is a strange phenomenon that as time has gone on and I have been less invested in actually winning my games, I have found that I remember fewer details of them. Back when I was younger and I played far more competitively, I could remember the entire game clearly. Nowadays it is all a bit of a vague blur. This report promises to be my least precise ever, as A: I really didn't care at all how I went; and B: we were playing with closed lists. As a result of the second part in particular, the army lists I provide here will be incomplete and probably slightly wrong. Keeps it interesting, right?

I basically chose my army by deciding I had painted 2 Arachnaroks and never used them, so set about rectifying that. I also jammed a couple of Wyverns in because they are flappy and stuff. The rest was boring vanilla Orcs because nobody likes or uses them (poor guys) and because I needed some fortitude for reasons that will become apparent from reading the player pack stuff below...

  • Orc Warboss on Wyvern with Great Weapon; Shield, Armour of Fortune
  • Orc Warboss on Wyvern with Great Weapon; Shield, Gambler's Armour
  • Orc Great Shaman (Level 4, Big Waagh) with Dispel Scroll
  • Black Orc Big Boss BSB on Boar with Heavy Armour and Dragonhelm
  • Arachnarok
  • Arachnarok
  • 40 Orc Boyz with Shields, Full Command
  • 25 Orc Boyz with Shields, Full Command
  • 25 Orc Boyz with Shields, Full Command
  • 6 Goblin Wolf Riders with Spears, Shields, Standard and Musician

The rough family shot I included in my previous post.
The tournament used the SCGT pack, which meant comp scores had no effect on the overall standings. Instead they were used to affect the roll-offs at the start of the game to determine each of the following:

  • Deployment method (standard, Battle for the Pass, or diagonal)
  • Table side/corner
  • Setting up first
  • First turn

Basically the higher comp score got a +1 modifier to each of those roll-offs, and if it was twice the score or more, it got a +2. Seems unlikely, right? Well as it turns out, I had the highest comp score in the event by a mile. I got a few +2 modifiers (and frequently lost the roll-offs anyway).

Results were determined by 5 different factors, with up to 20 points available between the 2 players:

  • Win by 200+ VPs: 4 points (2 points each if result is a draw within 200 VPs)
  • Achieve your secret mission: 4 points
  • Deny your opponent's mission: 4 points
  • Break your opponent's army (fortitude as per Blood and Glory): 4 points
  • Prevent your own army from being broken: 4 points

So it was theoretically possible (however unlikely) that you could win the game and walk away with only 4 points. It's an interesting shake-up of the normal approach.

In terms of secret missions, you had to use each one once. The player with the lower comp score (ie every one of my opponents) had to reveal their mission before the game. The missions were:

  • Kill the enemy general
  • Kill more Special and Rare choices than you lose
  • Control the most buildings at the end of the game
  • Control the most hills at the end of the game
  • Control the most table quarters at the end of the game
  • Capture the most standards

Controlling things basically required non-fast cavalry units with fortitude. Hence the Orc blocks. Anyway, that's enough detail. If you want to go and read the player pack for yourself, you can always Google it. On with the show.

Game 1
Viv Gleeson, Undead Legion

  • Mounted Vampire Lord (Level 4, Lore of Vampires)
  • Mounted Vampire (Level 1, Lore of Shadow)
  • Mounted Vampire (Level 1, Lore of Shadow)
  • 40 Skeleton Warriors
  • 16 Skeleton Archers with Standard and Musician
  • 16 Skeleton Archers with Standard and Musician
  • 9 Black Knights with Full Command
  • 8 Black Knights with Full Command
  • 6 Vargheists
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • Screaming Skull Catapult
  • Screaming Skull Catapult

Comp Score: 4

My Mission: Capture the buildings
Viv's Mission: Kill my general

First up I would be playing Viv, Mr Blender Lord himself. I guess it was theoretically possible that his Vampire Lord would not have all the usual Red Fury type of kit, but who are we kidding? It worried me a bit - I didn't think anything in my army could take him, unless an Arachnarok got lucky for a round and managed to get him with Venom Surge. In fact I decided this would be amazing, and it was pretty much Plan A. Plan B was just hope he didn't kill too much before the game ended.
Oh, there was also another catapult way back in that corner.
I'll be honest - I didn't have a great plan going into this game. It was my second game ever with the 8th edition Orc book, having played a practice ETC game a couple of years before. So my army was... not well tested. I decided taking the buildings was a possibility, as it would keep all the nasty mounted Vampires out. Unfortunately under SCGT rules, you could only enter with infantry units of 20 models or less. So I needed to cull the numbers in one of my units before heading for the front door. To this end I deployed a unit right behind a swamp, paddled about in it for a while and generally drowned far more Orcs than I had originally intended. It turns out they don't really float.
I move forward...
...But nobody wants to go near the Maybe-Blender-Lord
I advanced as hard as I could whilst squealing like a scared little girl every time I looked at the Maybe-Blender-Lord's unit of Black Knights, and keeping far away from it.
Viv responds, with the primary focus on blocking the Arachnaroks.
Who put these doggies in my way? And what do you mean I have been reduced to 2" of Movement?
More doggies!
Viv shot fairly ineffectually at my stuff with his catapults (they were frankly dreadful all game and won't get mentioned again. Did a couple of wounds to the spiders is all). He moved the Dire Wolf units to block/divert my Arachnaroks and cast lots of Miasma on the one on my right to ensure it was too slow to consider running past to get to the catapults.
A number of important charges were about to occur.
My Arachnaroks killed both Wolf units. The one on the left overran and fell about half an inch short of hitting the Vargheists, who had lost a couple of models to Foot of Gork. Dang, so close. My Wyverns had middling-distance charges upon the Black Knight unit without the Maybe-Blender-Lord, and they went for it. I then did exactly what I did not want to do, and failed the roll with my secondary Wyvern, leaving the general to go in alone. Predictably he was challenged out and had to satisfy himself with killing the unit champion. The Wyvern even took a wound. It was all very underwhelming.
The Arachnarok falls the tiniest bit short of the Vargheists, whilst one of the Wyverns goes in alone (flying backwards, no less) and the other one looks like he didn't move at all. Yes, he was really that slow. It was a dreadful attempt.
The Maybe-Blender-Lord's unit swung around and flanked the nearby Arachnarok, then Viv rolled a big magic phase and caused me all sorts of trouble. I decided to fend off Vanhel's and Invocation (to prevent the Black Knight champion reappearing), but I was out-foxed. What he really wanted was Miasma again, but not because it would slow my stuff down - he wanted it for the Lore Attribute. The little Vampire facing my Wyvern vanished in a cloud of smoke, to be replaced by the Maybe-Blender-Lord himself! That was very bad.

The Maybe-Blender-Lord was revealed to in fact be the Blender Lord everyone had always known he would be, and he hacked my general to tiny pieces in an unsporting fashion. The Wyvern died too, but that may have been due to the pursuit move; I don't quite recall.
My general is no longer with us.
I think they need to do 6 wounds on the charge, or they will get flanked by a ranked unit of Orcs.
The Arachnarok combat as a mixed bag. My spider turned and killed one of the Vampires out of his saddle with a venom surge, which was very funny. Then it died in a single round of good rolling to wound from the Black Knights. That was much less funny, and meant I would no longer be looking at a flank charge on the unit with my infantry. Boo-urns.

My surviving Arachnarok charged into the Skeleton Archers and killed both units in a couple of rounds, as the big block of Skeletons had not quite been close enough to intercept it. 
The Skeletons try and fail to shield the path through to the Archers.
Munchy munchy
My horde of Orcs decided there would be no escaping the wrath of the Blender Lord and charged straight into the Black Knights. At least they wouldn't get their lances, so I might hold them up quite a while. Apparently this plan was flawed. I did no real damage, lost lots of Orcs, then failed by steadfast break test despite the BSB being within range, and got run down. It was glorious.
The Black Knights and Blender Lord run down my fleeing Orc Horde
My surviving Wyvern charged the Vargheists who were skulking near the table edge, not nearly as far away as Viv had somehow imagined. It didn't matter, though. I got bogged, took damage, got flanked by Dire Wolves, and eventually got rear-charged by the Blender Lord who ended matters abruptly.
Stop them! They killed my birdie and now they're after me!
One unit of Orcs marches ahead whilst the others frolic in the Paddle Pool of Peril/swamp
My Great Shaman got sick of playing in the Orc paddle pool otherwise known as the swamp and decided to leave his unit to skulk behind a hill. I then cast Foot of Gork, which was apparently unwise. Gork missed whatever my original target was, then I rolled a 1, and he showed why hiding behind hills is such inadequate protection by stepping upon the very Shaman who cast the spell (I failed the 4+ Look Out Sir for being near one of my units). Gork then stomped off, trying to wipe squished Shaman from the bottom of his great green foot. Thanks Gork. Go get some glasses, you great blind simpleton.

Anyway, yes. It was going well. My depleted unit of Orcs eventually made it into the building they wanted. My Wolf Riders sacrificed themselves to make sure this would work, diverting the Black Knights to ensure they didn't get any ideas as the Orcs hurried indoors. 
The Orcs leave the paddle pool and head for the house whilst the Dire Wolves prepare to kill off some raised Zombies before flinging themselves into the path of the Black Knights to buy the Orcs the time they need (the BSB left the unit moments before their noble sacrifice).
My undamaged Orc unit charged the big block of Skeletons after I asked myself "what would Gork do?" and couldn't get past images of him stepping on his own followers. I promptly lost combat, but amazingly did not flee at the first opportunity. Then it was a draw, and then my remaining Arachnarok arrived in the rear of the Skeletons after eating one of the catapults, and set about tearing the unit apart. It was sufficiently gruesome that the Black Knights decided not to get involved until after all the free combat resolution (err, I mean Skeletons) had been killed off. 
Look, if you can't even beat Skeletons with out help... Nobody nobody fields you guys.
To the rescue!
I had already lost, so my only hope was some bonus points. My Orcs turned and ran for the table corner whilst the Arachnarok went for an all-or-nothing charge at the Blender Lord, who had by now rejoined the Black Knights. I failed the charge, then was shown how optimistic the gambit had been when the Black Knights charged me in return, and the Blender Lord cut the spider into many itty bitty pieces before anyone else could attack. Look, he could have duffed the wound rolls. It was not the worst plan.

With the demise of the Arachnarok, the game was over. I had 2 units of Orcs and my BSB was still alive, hiding behind a building. Occupying a building netted me my secret mission, but in failing to assassinate the Blender Lord at the last I had failed to drop Viv's fortitude far enough to help matters, and all the other points went to him.

Result: 4-16

You can find part 2 of my tournament report here.


  1. I like orcs. I like swamps. You, sir, are a tactical mastermind of the first water.

    1. If only I had paid for the optional floaties, many Orc lives could have been spared. I only needed 5 of them to meet with disaster...