Sunday, 5 February 2023

Cancon 2023 - Game 4

This is the final part of my report of the recent tournament at Cancon 2023. You can find the previous part here.

We came now to the last game of the event, with it being a very relaxed schedule of 4 games over 2 days. Somehow I was undefeated up until this point, but now I would be playing the only Skaven player in the field. I remember games against Skaven being pretty rough...

Game 4 - Pitched Battle

Alex Johnston - Skaven

I'll be honest, I can't for the life of me work out where Alex spent his points. He had one million units, and I had finished deploying, gone to the bathroom and had a nap before he placed anything meaningful down on his side of the table. It was a very unusual army, and felt like it had made a lot of concessions in order to be palatable to the TOs. Just the one Ratling Gun, only a sensible amount of Warp Lightning... It's entirely possible the army was hundreds of points underweight, really. Anyway, this is what I remember, can guess, or can see from the photos...

  • Warlord with Weeping Blade, Bands of Power, Heavy Armour, Enchanted Shield (probably - maybe he even had a hobo ward save)
  • Chieftain with Battle Standard and not much else
  • Warlock Engineer with Warp Energy Condenser, Supercharged Accumulator, Warp Blades, Storm Daemon, maybe a Dispel Scroll
  • Warlock Engineer with Warp Energy Condenser, Supercharged Accumulator, Warp Blades, maybe a Dispel Scroll or two
  • 20 Clanrats with Light Armour, Shields, Full Command, Ratling Gun
  • 20 Clanrats with Light Armour, Shields, Full Command, Warpfire Thrower
  • 20 Clanrats with Light Armour, Shields, Full Command, Warpfire Thrower
  • 20 Skavenslaves
  • 20 Skavenslaves
  • 20 Skavenslaves
  • 10 Night Runners
  • 9 Night Runners
  • Giant Rat Pack (6 rats and one packmaster)
  • Giant Rat Pack (6 rats and one packmaster)
  • Giant Rat Pack (6 rats and one packmaster)
  • 6 Poison Wind Globadiers
  • 2 Poison Wind Globadiers
  • 2 Poison Wind Globadiers
  • 5 Jezzails
  • Warp-Lightning Cannon

Another table with no meaningful terrain, unfortunately. A river cutting the table apart, which was likely to be an impossible barrier for me to cross, but no trees and very little in the way of cover.
The whole other side of the table was filled with rats, really. There were little clusters of Giant Rats and Globadiers scattered in every corner and hiding behind every pillar. Unless I could find a way to spread panic around, there was no way I was going to be able to deny Alex most of the table quarters. The Jezzails sat themselves half in the river. Why not, really.
Night Runners screening the rest in the middle.
The Gutter Runners ended up over on the flank because they literally couldn't find a single legal place on the battlefield to scout into
Mine was a very thin line, with the Miners starting off the field as usual. I put the Stone Thrower right across in the corner so it could get lines of sight past my own stuff, but that's why the Gutter Runners had deployed opposite it.
The Dragon Slayer decided to hide behind a pillar. I'm not sure what his plan was. He would have been better protecting the war machines, I guess. I got the first turn and saw no reason to move. I managed to panic the larger unit of Globadiers off the left flank, but the rest of the relatively minor damage I could deal out to Giant Rats and Night Runners didn't scare off anyone else. The Stone Thrower tried and failed to take out the Warp Lightning Cannon.
Alex advanced, as you would expect. The stuff on the far side of the river would remain unmolested all game. I didn't have the shooting required to try to pick them off and would never reach them across the river. Count those table quarters as a write-off, I guess...
Even the Warp Lightning Cannon advanced, given its range is not reliably huge.
It's a lot of targets for my shooting to try to chip away at. It was a bit overwhelming to see it coming at me, really. With only 2 real combat regiments there and little to match the Warlord, I didn't feel like I wanted to move to engage the wall of enemy units.
The Miners arrived, and I made probably the wrong call my coming in behind the Jezzails. Obviously they fled when I used the Anvil to charge them, and immediately I realised I'd never get the chance to charge them again given the terrain. It was basically a waste of my extra unit. I should have brought them in on the other flank to intercept the Gutter Runners and provide more immediate support for my main line.
I did manage to shoot off the Giant Rats near my left flank, but that was a nuisance value unit and had no real impact on my chances.
In my turn the Dragon Slayer had bravely left his hiding place and started off on a mission to defeat the entire enemy army by himself. The fleeing Jezzails turned out to have a use after all, as they panicked the Giant Rats nearby, then failed to rally and fled off toward the table edge (they would rally right near the table edge and take no further part in the game). 
The Gutter Runners were getting dangerously close to the Stone Thrower, which responded by continuing to have little impact on the game with its shooting. Maybe I need not have worried, and just let them get the machine?
They were getting closer, but the Warlord's unit was the one about to be delayed by terrain.
The Miners were struggling to get back into a relevant position and work their way past the river, so the Dragon Slayer was taking matters into his own hands. I think by this point he had been blasted once by the Warp Lightning Cannon, but Strength 6 was not enough to do more than singe his spiky hair!
I'm pretty sure I hit the Gutter Runners with the Anvil at this point, but I didn't manage to panic them -just slow them down. The Stone Thrower did finally do something and knocked off a few Skaven as the Quarrellers started trying to wear down the Clanrats on the end of the line.
Still too many of them for them to care about the damage I was doing.
The Dragon Slayer's antics were noted by the Night Runners, who decided to charge him before he got up to any real mischief.
They're getting very close now... I had managed to panic the Night Runners in my turn, who then panicked the Warp Lightning Cannon as they were running past. The Cannon would rally the next turn, but eventually panic thanks to the same fleeing Night Runners as they came too close again. The Cannon fled the field, but the Night Runners finally rallied on the table edge.
I'm not sure if it was Warp Lightning or a Ratling Gun, but the Quarrellers nearest the artillery are looking a little the worse for wear.
The Night Runners managed to wound the Dragon Slayer, as he killed a couple in return. We'll call it a draw, then.
In my turn I opted to do something potentially foolish, and used the Anvil to charge the damaged Quarrellers into the Gutter Runners in order to try to save the Stone Thrower. The Ironbreakers also decided it was time to get moving, having wasted enough time just sitting and waiting.
I had chosen this moment because the Warlord's unit was going to be too slow to respond due to the terrain. I still had Slaves to contend with, but that wasn't the end of the world. The Hammerers chose this moment to move as well, but their future felt less certain with so many enemy units in range.
The Miners were starting to close on the enemy rear, and the Dragon Slayer broke and ran down the Night Runners after another round of combat. What a guy!
The Quarreller charge didn't really go the way I had hoped. I didn't do much damage, took just as much in return, and without the advantage of numbers of a banner, all we had managed to do was hold the Gutter Runners in place.
The Skavenslaves charged the approaching Ironbreakers, whilst the Clanrats did their best to ignore the threat and focus on the Warlock trying to Warp Lightning everything. I think he might actually have gotten one through on the Anvil, but it bounced off harmlessly.
It took Alex a while to look at this setup and decide that he had in fact not really done his Clanrats any favours in terms of positioning. If the Slaves went, his flank was very exposed.
Nobody charged the Hammerers, but the Quarrellers found themselves fighting some more of the enemy Slaves. The Slaves humiliated them and ran them down when they broke. It was a little sad. The other units sat back as the Warpfire Thrower cranked up with a menacing whistling noise...
...And then violently erupted in a huge fireball. Ah, Warpfire Throwers... Never change.
The Ironbreakers fought quite well (much better than the Skavenslaves), killing 5 of them and winning combat by plenty. Somehow they held their ground, prompting me to lap around the flank to try to ensure it wouldn't happen again.
The Gutter Runner combat continued to go poorly, with 2 more of the Quarrellers falling to their poisoned blades. The sole survivor held his ground, but he was clearly doomed.
Having survived a near miss from the Warpfire Thrower, the Hammerers charged the Clanrats. That was a really winnable combat (I think we killed the back rank), but the Clanrats held their ground. Now we were going to get flanked...
The Gutter Runners finished off the last Quarreller and were finally able to charge the Stone Thrower. Over a couple of rounds, they did manage to kill off all the crew.
The Ironbreakers did break the Slaves on the second attempt, but were unable to keep up with their speedy departure. We did go just fast enough to hit the flank of the Clanrats, though.
Alex promptly utilized that most Skaven of rules, and simply abandoned the unit to its fate by running out of the back rank with the Warlock Engineer. Great survival instincts. A natural Skaven leader!
Well, this was expected.
This was less expected. I somehow had it in my head that the Warlord's unit would have to charge through the difficult terrain in front of my Quarrellers, when in fact they could reach me by avoiding it and hitting the few exposed guys up the end. I think I had some horrid combination of 8th ed/6th ed/Kings of War brain going on. Anyway, we decided to flee the charge, and of course we bolted off the table.
The second Warpfire Thrower cranked up and landed a lovely shot right through my engaged Ironbreakers. Unfortunately for them, Ironbreakers are not very flammable and it achieved little.
Yes, this is how we do it! We fight like useless nincompoops, then fail our Stubborn Ld 9 test, and then we run 1 lousy inch! It was poetry in motion. Oh, also they got caught. Unlucky.
On a mission of vengeance, the Dragon Slayer flanked the Clanrats and then the Miners arrived with assistance from the Anvil. This went very badly for the Skaven and they were destroyed when they fled.
The Miners carried on into the flank of the Slaves, whilst the Dragon Slayer run through and made googly eyes at the Warlock Engineer.
The Ironbreakers made quick work of the Clanrats they were fighting, and the Slaves that were already fleeing nearby did not rally. There was little for the Warlord's unit to do in the last turn, but the Warlock Engineer (who was already wounded, due to mishandling a Death Globe earlier) decided to throw Warp Lightning at the Ironbreakers. I assessed the situation, decided that we could take it and declined to dispel it. Sure enough, the poor dude did no wounds at all to the Dwarfs, but managed to wound himself again and take himself off the table.
The Slaves made a last ditch attempt to kill the Dragon Slayer, but he shrugged off their efforts and remained standing.
The same cannot be said for the other Slave unit, which had no real hope given its situation. They broke, and whether I caught them was irrelevant given it was the end of the battle.

The game had been very messy, but in the end I had lost the Stone Thrower, all my Quarrellers, and the Hammerers. I had removed the Warp Lightning Cannon, 2 units of Clanrats, all the Slaves, 6 Globadiers, one of the Night Runner units, one of the Warlocks, and half the Gutter Runners. I also had both the Clanrat banners, which helped compensate for controlling far less of the table. In the end I squeezed through with a very narrow win.

Result: 11-9 Win

Rather surprisingly, by the end of the tournament I had emerged undefeated with 3 wins and a draw. The wins had not necessarily been convincing, of course - so my points total put me a fairly respectable 9th out of 50 for the event.

The list had performed better than I expected, thanks largely to the Anvil of Doom having worked nearly like clockwork in providing me with important charge opportunities that would normally have been well out of reach for Dwarfs. It was quite novel lunging around the field with my turbo-charged Stunties. Honestly it felt a bit ridiculous at times, given how little my opponents could do to stop it.

Anyway, it was good fun and great to see so many people out and about at a Warhammer Fantasy tournament. Thanks to all my opponents for the entertaining games and to the TOs for putting it all together.

Til next time!

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