By Matt Blighted Brethren
With the conclusion of the local Journeyman tournament resumption of normal Warmahordes took place. In my local Meta talk turned towards the annual Clock Work Dragon (CWD) tournament. The tournament is a coming together of new and old players to support a local charity in a Geelong (a rural city down the road). It is an event that is focused primarily on fun and raising money for the charity and bringing together a community that is focused on enjoyment of the game. Of course there are prizes for winning which is extra incentive for turning up and rolling some dice.
Finding a suitable caster was the first point of call, I already had Kryssa, Saeryn and Lylyth 1 and I was awaiting the arrival of Vayl 1. Assessing their cards and applying my own objectives for the event, Saeryn and Vayl were the chosen ones. Most of my “training” for the event would take place on Friday nights at our local gaming community. Friday nights will primarily focus on creating a list and playing the same list to become familiar with using them and develop some consistency in my game. My thinking for list making was to play slightly defensive, focus on control points and not be assassinated off the table early on. Saeryn appeared to offer the style I was wanting and with her feat my models should stay around on the table for longer and hopefully add some points to the team. Still with a limited number of models to choose both lists would be similar. Lucky for me I picked up an award for a gift voucher from our Journeyman tournament and sunk that into a Hell Mouth unit. This would give me a low point option to include in a MKIII 50 point tournament. For list see attached PDF.
The biggest problem facing me was the fact that I wasn’t on a team. My local Meta was already settled on their lineup, going with the players that managed to win it overall the year before. I contacted the tournament organizer and threw my hat in the ring and was added to a very short list of people looking for teams. It didn’t take long before Warpath to Bacon came knocking looking for a teammate. I was officially added to their roster and went about chewing the fat with my team mates over list creation. It was calming to know that they were not concerned with winning, just having fun. They didn’t care how I created my list as long as I enjoyed it. Their advice was to create a list that was fun or one that would piss people off, which is also fun. I stuck to my guns and submitted the two lists I was working on and hoped that it would be competitive and allow for some fun games.
Friday night training session became less and less as most of my Meta went about practicing among themselves, so it was difficult to find opposition. A couple of people put their hands up and I managed to get a few games in. Coming up quicker than a one armed swimmer being chased by a shark was CWD, which was starting to ingrain a sense of anticipation and excitement. My fellow legion player in my local Meta helped me out and talked me through scenarios and list before the event. Being my first tournament outside of my local Meta it was an unknown, you are never sure how friendly or patient an experience opposition will be with someone new. As the day approached, I readied my army for battle.
Arriving early, signing in, meeting my team and being handed my team t-shirt allowed me to settle into the event and look forward to rolling dice and forgetting what my models do. Welcoming of the teams took place, including one who travelled around eight hours to come down and participate. Goody bags were handed out, providing sugary sustenance for the player to make sure they had plenty of go-go juice to see out a long day of battle. Then the timer clicked over and the games began.
I saw myself matched with a relatively new player, well new to WarmaHordes and not new to miniature wargaming, which turned out to be a good tussle. He faced my Legion, led by Saeryn, with his Circle, led by Tanith the Feral Song in the extraction scenario. First turn saw us both trying to get positioning right for our next turns. In the middle of the board was a big ol’ two story medieval house that was providing excellent LOS blocking against range attacks, which is not what I wanted as it limited the effectiveness of my bolt thrower and death stalkers. Positioning models near the flags made sure that scoring in the first scoring round would be difficult for both players. Second turn saw us both positioning and contesting the flag my opposition was controlling while I kept a model on the flag that wasn’t seeing any action. I also had LOS to Tanith with my bolt thrower, which was unexpected. The bolt thrower riled for its animus, boosted the attack and damage and hit Tanith for nine, which my opposition didn’t off-load, which was a surprise. That would be the last attack my bolt thrower got on Tanith as the house come into play when he repositioned, meaning that my next two turns would be repositioning to get another shot in. Late in the game opposition is up 4-2 on control points and I have an opportunity to win the game by assassination, if I get the order right. Which I didn’t! For some strange reason instead of following my plan I decided to forget that Saeryn needed to be moved two inches up the table to maintain the bolt thrower in Control Range, and instead elected to move the bolt thrower first leaving him one and a half inches out of Control Range. He could no longer rile for animus, putting him three inches outside his range. Game Over. All because order of activation wasn’t correct. I will call that a learning opportunity, which doesn’t make up for the disappointment of being able to win my first game in, well … 37 attempts. Oh, and my objective of concentrate on control points for the greater good? It went out the window as quick as a dodgy vindaloo exits the body.
That would be the closest I came to winning for the rest of the event. It got harder and harder as the event wore on, leading me to realize that my oppositions knew my models better than I knew them.
My local Meta was the team I was to face next. Out of the team of five there were only two that I would feel comfortable versing, knowing that I could at least be competitive. The other three would wipe the floor with me, and it wasn’t a pretty floor to be wiped along. Lucky I got one of the two that I wanted; unfortunately he was playing Cryx, using Denegra. I’d played into Denegra once before so I knew her feat and was prepared for it, well … sort of prepared. I won the roll and chose to go second and I had inkling that he would pull out his feat on turn two, so I played conservatively on turn one so that I could use my minimal movement to back just out of his charge range. It worked for most of my beats and I went into turn three with almost all heavies intact. Sure some units were a bit worse for wear but I still was in the game. Neither of us managed any control points for the entire game as the scenario Extraction was in play and neither of us managed to get to the raised flags without losing models. This made the game an assassination game. By third turn I was starting to look a little worse for wear and it was looking like the game might be a stalemate and neither of us would get the win. With two minutes on the clock my opposition managed to find a small enough gap that he exploited and assassinated my warlock. A miscalculation of angles and distance by me allowed the assassination. In all it was a hard fought battle that took almost the entire time limit to find a winner. I was quite pleased that Denegra’s feat didn’t catch me out and I managed to make the game really competitive. It was a difficult game and very fun.
I can’t recall the scenario for this game but I do recall the faction. Khador. The reds under the bed Khador. This was the first and only game that I felt like I wanted to head-butt my opposition. I recall telling my local Meta that I played a 40-year-old virgin who still lived in his mum’s basement, and I wanted to knock his head off for taking the piss when I felt overwhelmed against a really experienced opponent. This was the first and only time I have ever felt anything negative towards an opponent. I didn’t know how to combat the list he had put together and this was the game that showed me that my opponents often know my list better than I know it. I didn’t have any armor cracking abilities and the defensive feat of Saeryn only prolonged my agony and slow death. I put myself in a killable position just to end the game. We shook hands and after finding out that I’ve only been playing for a few months he sat me down and took me through his list and talked me through why my optional Vayl 1 list would have been better to play. This was an opportunity to assess the competitiveness of the game but also that if experienced players know you haven’t been playing long, they will take the time to give you constructive feedback about their list and yours.
Overall our team came seventh out of eight teams, although the highlight was we beat my local Meta in the second game. They still finished higher than us in the overall standings but at least we beat them at the tables. It was a good experience and one that taught me plenty about my own list, and also showed me some of my shortcomings.
Things I have learned.
Order of activation is really important in making sure you have the best opportunity to win. Moving my bolt thrower before Saeryn cost me my first game. Take the time to plan during your opponent’s turn. Adjust on the fly while your opponent moves and make sure when s/he taps the clock over to your turn, you do not act rashly and go for the kill. Run your plan over in your head and make sure order of activation works to your advantage before moving the wrong model.
As a new player ask questions about a warlock / warcaster feat and spell abilities. This can make a huge difference if you have an idea of what the warlock / warcaster is capable of. It may not win you the game but it may allow for you to have an idea of how attacking or defensive you can be. If their feat is you roll one less dice on attacks you can plan for that. I knew that Denegra would pop the -2 stat feat early, so I set my warbeasts up so that when it went off I was in a relatively good position. Not all models were safe but most were. Also ask about any models that you are unfamiliar with. Most opponents have no issue in telling you about their model’s capabilities, if you ask politely and let them know that you haven’t come across that particular model before.
My next blog entry will be about my three wins. Finally the drought has been broken.