Wednesday, 26 March 2014

NZTC Report - Game 4

Apologies for the crazy delay between this post and the last one. Real life has caught up with my since I got back from my holiday and things have been somewhat hectic. Lots of work, lots of real life stuff, and lots of warhammer. The Dwellers Below (the podcast I am a part of) have launched our first tournament, ETC preparations are hotting up and I've been trying to do lots of painting on my lizardmen with the aim of using them at Western Smash in a couple of weeks. However the show must go on, so here is game 4 from the NZTC.

After the third game we took the chance to socialise the the locals at a nearby pub. Highlights included winding up Pete Dunn about comp systems, discussing tournament admin and ranking systems with Pete and the rest of the Dunn family, Sam missing out on a fantastic burger and vowing he would come back tomorrow to make up for it, heading into the city and catching up with the Kiwihammer lads and making sure Lachy (from team Panel Comp FTW) had way too much to drink. Eventually we stumbled to bed about 3am for a short kip before it was go time again the next morning.

Round 4 vs Team Shirts Off Warhammer.

James and Mal forgot not to wear shirts. But James did have a very cool captains hat...

The next obstacle in our path involved 4 disgusting nerds without their shirts on. To be fair they're lovely gents, but there is only so much warhammer player nipple I can handle. They were rocking a filthy Orc & Goblin gunline that had absolutely nothing interesting in it, a very nice mixed High Elf list that had good potential both offensively and defensively, a cloud Lizardmen list with a metal Slann and finally a Slaanesh DP choir bomb WoC list with most of the usual suspects; bloodcrushers, exalteds with ridiculous ward saves and a bunch of chariots.

A somewhat understated but very nice unit of Skullcrushers.

With an army like this it was no surprise that Sam Whitt took out he best painted award.

Last round they had beaten our aussie brothers, their WoC scoring a huge win against the Dark Elves and the Lizards grinding out a score against the Empire. The lizards were pretty threatening for my high elves, what would normally be a good matchup is altered significantly by the presence of searing doom, and I didn't really want to go near the Orcs. Other than that there were no match ups we desperately needed to avoid, so we were fairly confident going into the match up process. Honestly I can't remember how the match ups played out, I remember thinking that they might have outmanoeuvred us at one stage, but I was pretty happy with the final matches. They were:

Me vs James Milner (High Elves)
Greg vs Ben Wadsworth (Orcs & Goblins)
James vs Mal Patel (Lizardmen)
Sam vs Sam Whitt (Warriors of Chaos)

The way I saw it I had a game somewhat in my favour, as did Greg against the Orcs. James was once again tasked with taking a  draw from his game to give us something to build on and Sam had a match up that could go either way.

James' list, which I am a big fan of, contained:

Prince: Barded Steed, Giant Blade, Dragon Armour, Enchanted Shield, Dawn Stone
Archmage: Elven Steed, Level 4 (Death), Book of Hoeth, Khaine's Ring of Fury
Noble: Barded Steed, Starlance, Halberd, Other Tricketer's Shard, Charmed Shield, BSB, Dragon Armour
Mage: Elven Steed, Level 2 (Fire), Dispel Scroll, Ironcurse Icon

14 Silver Helms: Full Command, Shields,
3*5 Ellyrion Reavers: Bows
9 Dragon Princes: Full Command, Banner of the World Dragon
1 Frost Pheonix
3 Repeater Bolt Throwers
5 Sisters of Avelorn

Very flexible, dangerous in all phases and very manoeuvrable. A great list for teams events.

I deployed fairly evenly across the board, James had more drops than I did because of the reavers so I had to spread out. On the left I had a reaver unit, then my Silver Helms, my Dragon and a pheonix in the middle and the dragon princes, reavers and the second pheonix on the right. James focused his forces on my left, deploying the prince on his own far left, the silver helms and dragon prince bus middling left while his shooting was spread around the board. His pheonix remained relatively central, eyeing off its two brethren on the other side of the battlefield.

James won the first turn and moved up a bit, his magic was ineffective, I let a Doom and Darkness through on my dragon as he was unlikely to take a panic test, and with shooting I think James killed 1 dragon prince. In my turn I measured a few things and noticed his dragon prince bus 21 inches from my Star Dragon. 

So this happened:

Shit gets real!

Boom, charges were declared, skippies were rolled and suddenly things looked *very* bad for James. The dragon princes also succeeded in a 20 inch charge onto a reaver unit, which meant I was crossing the table extraordinarily quickly.

Things got a bit worrying in the magic phase though when I rolled a pair of ones and couldn't dispel doom and darkness. Thankfully I passed the ld7 test on the dragon thanks to the stubbornness afforded to me by James' banner of the world dragon. For the record I did not have a re roll.

James tried to do the only thing he could think of to kill my dragon that was about to start shredding his characters. He 6 diced a purple sun, thankfully I still had a dispel scroll so managed to keep the sun at bay for a turn. The rest of James' turn was unexciting, he was in no way prepared to be in combat so quickly and had to spend the turn re-adjusting his lines.

In my turn the silver helms went into his dragon princes, while my dragon princes faffed around in the forest trying to chase down reaver units. Over the course of the game they managed to kill two reaver units and a bolt thrower, but got utterly shot to bits in the process and ended up full of holes. The silver helms broke through the dragon princes, and the green pheonix in the centre of the board tied up the silver helms.

Came from behind!

Unfortunately for said pheonix the dragon failed to pursue into the combat, which meant he (or she) was all alone when James' pheonix turned up in a sexual frenzy of pheonix lust. Unprepared for these attentions my noble beast tried to gracefully flee, but could not prevent the white pheonix from having its way with her. The silver helms could but watch this disgusting display of mystic avian eroticism and slowly bumped slack jawed into the dragon.

The green pheonix tried to run, but there would be no escape!

Blue pheonix felt a stirring within him watching the savage brutality of the white pheonix's display. He surged forward eagerly just as the white pheonix finished with it's mate. The white pheonix frantically flapped around in an attempt to avoid the predations of the blue. 

Not meeeeeee!

Deciding that it did actually prefer doing things face to face the white rallied itself and turned to face the blue. They gazed longingly at one another for a brief moment before proceeding to but into each other ineffectually until it was the blue pheonix's bed time and he had to go home. The silver helms continued to watch this bizarre pheonix love display as they were torn asunder by the dragon, at which point the game was done.

The remaining pheonixes bump uglies.

End Result: 16-4 win. That first turn charge kinda sealed it. James managed to fight back mainly with his shooting and the Pheonix, but it was too little too late. The dice weren't particularly nice to James throughout the game, but we agreed that there really was no valid reason for his DP bus to be within any charge distance at all of my dragon in the first turn. It was a minor error that was punished massively, but things like that will happen. From my perspective I didn't feel I was going to lose out much by failing the charge, and so having a crack at it was a no brainer.

On the table next to me things looked bad for Greg early on. The green gunline was taking his models off at an alarming rate, but he managed to steadily work his way back into the game. Taking out the warmachines massively reduced the damage output of the orc army, and Greg could then chip away at it for a 15-5. 

The Dark Elves run the gauntlet as the green gunline.

James did his job and got a 10-10, potentially he could have pushed for more but that would have opened him up to potentially losing big, and we were happy to take the safe points given the way the other games were going. Sam looked like he was going down to the WoC but picked up some strong points in the last few turns and managed to battle back to a draw.

Team Result: 51-29.

Another strong result against probably our strongest opponents yet. We were still in the 50 club (the only team remaining in fact) and knew that next up we had the noisy neighbours, team Panel Comp FTW.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

NZTC Report: Game 3

Sorry this segment has come so long after the last one, has been a busy couple of days but thanks to a public holiday I now have time to write up game 3.

Round 3 presented us with our toughest round for the day against the Wolfpack. Their team contained a number of high ranking NZ players, ETC experience and some pretty nicely written armies. We were up against a herald based daemon list, Skaven with both a bell and a furnace, a solid WoC army with Throgg and a lot of trolls backed up by a couple of tzeentch characters, a hellcannon and some crushers. A fairly standard empire list rounded out their set.

Wolfpack assemble!

Personally this wasn't a team I really wanted to face. The Daemons were a bad one for me, the empire utterly awful. I could handle the WoC and the Skaven but both of them had an artillery piece that could make the game delicate so I would have to play well. Again I took a risk in the match up process by leading myself out, the initial plan had been to lead with Sam on the basis that they were likely to lead Empire, however I had a last minute hunch that it would be the Daemons coming out first, so at the last minute I went out with my HE. This was vindicated when their Daemons popped up, although this late change of plan did get things a little bit muddled. I can't really remember how the rest of the process went down, I know at one point I'd decided that I'd screwed things up royally, but in the end we got away with it. The games this round were:

Greg: Dark Elves vs Daemons
Sam: Daemons vs WoC
James: Empire vs Empire
Myself: High Elves vs Skaven

We came out of it with a decent set of games, Greg was tasked with a minor win/blocking role against the DoC as was James in the Empire mirror match. Sam had a good match up with his combination of death magic and flaming cannons, and I had a delicate if advantageous game against Skaven.

Game 3 vs Locky Reid (Skaven)
Grey Seer: Screaming Bell, Fencers Blades, Earthing Rod, Dragonbane Gem
Plague Priest: Plague Furnace, Dispel Scroll
Chieftan: BSB
Assassin: Weeping Blades, Potion of Strength

Warlock Engineer: Doomrocket

39 Stormvermin: FC, Storm Banner
41 Slaves
41 Slaves

41 Slaves
29 Plague Monks: FC, Plague Banner
Hellpit Abomination
Warp Lightning Cannon

Locky was running an interesting Skaven list, it had a bunch of the standard toys but differed from the standard build by having a plague monk unit with a furnace. To be entirely honest I don't rate the furnace. It is a seriously unreliable unit in a very reliable list and I intended to to use the furnace as my way into the game.

For spells I rolled up hand of glory and tempest, usually the two worst spells in the deck. I've actually taken quite a liking to tempest since I started using it with my lizardmen, and both spells had the potential to be useful in this game so I kept them. Locky had Plague, Warp Lightning, Vermintide and Crack's call on his Seer with the Plague Priest swapping for Pestilent Breath.

My deployment was fairly spread, both Pheonixes were behind hills on either side of the table, the cavalry were in the middle along with the dragon. The reaver units were split onto each flank to protect the monsters from doomwheel shooting and to try and get to the WLC if possible. Locky deployed middling, favouring my right hand side of the table. The furnace was on my left with the HPA while the doomwheel and the bell were on the right hand side.

I won first turn but decided not to do a whole lot with it. The dragon remained in the centre behind a building, and the pheonixes stayed on their respective flanks. The cavalry pushed forward somewhat, but not particularly aggressively.

In Locky's first was pretty cagey as well. The Doomwheel moved up towards the pheonix on my right, and the bell pushed forward along with some slaves while the furnace and HPA stayed back to look after the WLC. Magic and shooting accounted for 6 or 7 silver helms (the doomrocket dropped a touch short) and 4 of the 5 reavers on my right flank.

Turn two I had a look around the tables to see how things were shaping up. Greg hadn't started well, and the Empire mirror match wasn't going anywhere for anyone. Sam knocked out the Hellcannon early, so had started relatively promisingly. I decided not to push too hard and see how the game developed. I moved my reavers on the left up into position to bait/pull the furnace, and swung my line to the left. The dragon joined the pheonix behind the hill, and the right hand pheonix occupied the dragons previous hiding place behind the building, putting some distance between itself and the scary doomwheel. Magic this turn was crucial, I started small with a hand of glory on a pheonix, boosting its movement to 5.  This was crucial to keep its movement up if Locky used his storm banner next turn. I then forced through a tempest onto the slave block in front of his WLC and rolled a hit. This killed 20 or so slaves, meaning they wouldn't be able to tarpit my units nearly as effectively. This would be my way into the game.

At the end of my turn two the battlefield looked like this:
The lone reaver spent the turn distracting the doom wheel that is out of shot to the right.
Locky didn't really have a response to what had just happened. He pretty much kept his line intact although he did try and lock down the dragon princes with a long charge from the bell which was unsuccessful. To be fair there weren't a whole heap of options available to Locky, however I think there may have been some merit in pushing the engineer and slaves forward as far as possible to prevent the overrun into the cannon. Potentially separating the engineer out could have held me up for even longer.

Locky's magic was disappointing and the cannon lacked viable targets. Overall Locky didn't really achieve much this turn, which I was totally ok with.

My third and the game was starting to get going. I debated whether to charge the depleted slaves with the silver helms or the dragon princes. The DP's were further away and would be in a bad position if they failed, but Locky's lack of reaction to the damage I'd done to the slaves left a nagging thought that perhaps there was an assassin in the unit. Eventually I went with the Silver Helms, and this proved the correct decision as no assassin was forthcoming. The reavers moved into position to block/bait the furnace, with the rest of my army moving into position for an assault on the furnace. With magic I kept the movement up on the important pheonix, not sure if i cast anything beyond that. In combat I broke through the slaves easily and got a nice overrun into the WLC.

The gap was open and I was into the back field, never a good thing for a Skaven player.
Locky charged the reavers with the HPA and the furnace given he didn't really have a whole lot of choice in the matter. The bell tried another long charge to block the dragon princes but was again unsuccessful and ended up blocking the slaves from helping out. I'd have considered a swift reform with the slaves (that you can see above) in order to block the DP's, although this would likely only prolong the inevitable. Magic was again ineffective as a Crack's call failed to reach a pheonix. The Silver Helms butchered the WLC in the close combat phase and reformed to face the furnace which had narrowly failed to overrun into the dragon princes.

This was the turn where I really pushed for the big win. The dragon went into the HPA along with a pheonix as the dragon princes and silver helms combo charged into the furnace unit. The remaining pheonix landed in front of the bell to ensure it couldn't interfere, and then it was pretty much straight onto combat. The dragon and pheonix were unfortunate not to kill the HPA, but fortunately it failed its break test and ran off anyway. This let the dragon pursue into the furnace combat. This went about as badly as possible for the plague monks with the furnace and character being killed outright and the monks reduced to about 10 guys who broke and were run down by the silver helms. An expensive turn for Locky, with no casualties suffered by me.

There was a lot still on the table, but at this stage the game was basically done.
Locky decided at this stage to preserve what he could. He didn't risk charging the pheonix with the bell as he would potentially get bogged and surrounded. Instead the bell did an about face and started casting Crack's Call backwards which the pheonix managed to dodge.

In the remaining turns my cavalry eliminated one of the slave units while my monsters flapped away from the bell, which suited Locky fine as the bell ran off into the opposite corner.

Final Result: 16-4 win.

As for the team result; James' game went for about half an hour and finished 11-9 to James, Greg managed to battle back from some early losses and held the DoC to a 10-10 and Sam came through with a big result once again, his game finishing 15-5.

Sam's opponent liked the matchup because of the supposed invincibility of his Tzeentch Disk Lord. Turns out doom and darkness and losing combat can't be stopped with a 3+ ward...

Team Result: 52-28.

Another great win by the team, with each of us doing our jobs really well. Sam and I might get all the glory for our big wins, but Greg and James took the tough armies out of the equation and gave us a great platform to base the result on.

Our victorian friends (in the garish purple shirts) crumbled in the face of stiffer opposition, going down to team Shirts Off Warhammer.
Some other results went out way, which meant at the end of day one the leaderboard looked like this:
10 of the 12 players in these three teams are based in Melbourne. Turns out we can play warhammer afterall!
Stay tuned for the first game of day two against the Shirts Off Warhammer team.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

NZTC Report: Game 2

This is the second part of my NZTC report. If you've missed out on part one you can read it here.

Round 2 vs The Beauty and the Beasts

Due to our geographical proximity to our Victorian friends who were occupying the top of the table the organisers decided to let us play some people we hadn’t met before, which was a nice gesture although I had a feeling it was likely to be a temporary reprieve and that we would be likely to play them later on anyway.

Beauty and the Beasts offered up a really tough mix of armies. They had a dark elf avoidance army that contained Morathi and two peg riders, with a bit of combat punch coming from a horde of executioners and another of corsairs. Shooting, 4 levels of shadow magic (as it turned out) as well as two soulblights and two doombolts. Their WoC list offered up 23 trolls, a fully kitted slaanesh DP, Throgg, 3+ ward exalted and two skullcrusher units. An Epidemius DoC (basically Sam’s list with Epidemius) and an empire list rounded out their team. This meant there were three armies that worries us match up wise, the Empire (which Sam and I needed to avoid), the DoC (which I couldn’t go anywhere near) and the Dark Elves which could pose us problems with potential access to purple sun, mindrazor as well as soulblight and doombolt.

We went through their likely match up strategies and figured they were likely to lead out with their Daemons who really only had 1 bad match up (our Empire) or with their Empire. With this in mind I gambled a little and lead myself out, this could have gone badly if they retained both the empire and the DoC in their hand, but would give us an advantage if they didn’t. They lead DoC, I lead HE, we offered up DoC and Empire for them to choose from, while I was offered Dark Elves and Empire, the latter of which I declined and bounced down Greg with his DE. They had the tough choice between our empire playing their WoC or their DoC. We were later to find out that they rated the warriors against our empire as a good match up, so they chose that and allowed the two filthy DoC players to play a mirror match.

We took a risk and I think it paid off pretty well. I rated my match as a fairly close one if both players played well, and then we had 3 advantageous match ups. It would be up to me to hold my points and trust in my team to win us the round.

So that left us with:
Myself: High Elves vs Dark Elves
James: Empire vs Warriors of Chaos
Greg: Dark Elves vs Empire
Sam: Daemons of Chaos vs Daemons of Chaos

Game 2 vs Nicholas Jebson

Morathi Master: Dark Pegasus, Lance, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Charmed Shield, Talisman of Preservation,
Master: Dark Pegasus, Lance, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Dawnstone
Master: BSB, Sword of Might, Enchanted Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Heavy Armour

31 Black Ark Corsairs: Additional Hand Weapons, Full Command, Banner of Discipline
5 Dark Riders: Spears, Crossbows, Light Armour, Shields, Musician
5 Dark Riders: Spears, Crossbows, Light Armour, Shields, Musician
29 Executioners: Full Command, Flaming Banner
3 Reaper Bolt Throwers
5 Shades
2*5 Warlocks

An interesting game that I had rated as a draw when analysing the armies, however this wasn’t going to be a draw where I could sit back and corner-hammer for a 10-10. For one my list doesn’t really do that, with all my ranged damage coming from my mage, but mainly because he’d just shoot a bunch of stuff off from range and I would lose. Realistically I saw myself as being able to kill the executioners and the corsairs as well as a couple of the cavalry units, but be unable to catch most of the army. I’m always likely to take casualties, I just had to ensure I was killing at least as much as I was losing.

Morathi rolled three spells on shadow magic, and got Mindrazor, Pendulum, Enfeebling Foe, her dark magic spell she swapped for Doombolt. This could have been a lot worse, no miasma to swing combats, no pit of shades and no death spells. I got fiery convocation and another spell that doesn’t matter.

I deployed fairly wide across my deployment zone in an attempt to reduce the places Nick could hide his fast cav. A pheonix wide on the left, another closer to the middle, then the dragon princes, the silver helms central and the dragon off to the right. On my left to righ Nick placed his two peg masters, his corsairs in a building, a row of warlocks and two DR units with his executioners, Morathi and a bolt thrower behind them, then a bolt thrower and the second warlock unit up against my dragon. Rather advantageously in this game I won first turn and it was all ahead full ramming speed!

The leftmost Pheonix went up and beside the building to hide from bolt throwers, offering a charge to the masters in attempt to entice them. The rest of my army basically went straight forward as fast as possible, bringing as much pressure on Nick’s main line as possible.

The Ellyrion Reavers provide cover for my Dragon Princes with their bodies.

Magic involved a pair of 6’s to cast Fiery Convocation on the executioners, burning about half the unit and sending my mage into the realm of chaos. Useful damage, although I’d been hoping to scroll the inevitable mindrazor later in the game.

Nick wasn’t really sure how to respond to the pressure I was putting him under. His warlocks charged a pheonix and he put some dark riders in front of my screening reaver units as well as my dragon princes. The depleted executioners made a break for the building, but wouldn’t make it until next turn. The reavers did their job of offering cover to my more important cav,  which meant they got shot. Magic was ineffective as Nick opted to dispel fiery convocation, which was exceedingly sensible of him. The combat was between the pheonix and the warlocks was a bit of a stalemate, which offered me a way to open up the game and score some big early points.

In my turn I charged the dark riders with my dragon princes and suicide charged my reavers out of the way of my silver helms. This gave me a narrow charge around some other units into the executioners, which I declared and made. The other pheonix moved up into a position to threaten the executioners if they didn’t break or a bolt thrower if they did. My dragon princes slaughtered the dark riders they were fighting, but narrowly failed the overrun into the warlocks fighting the pheonix. This was a big loss as I had already fought that combat this round; the DP’s would have wiped out the warlocks in Nick’s turn and reformed, giving me a charge on Morathi pretty much wherever she went. Alas it was not to be, but I continued to try and set up two phase combats as a strategy for dealing with the speed of Nick’s army. The silver helms ran down the executions along with Nick’s BSB, and the dragon feasted upon the crew of a bolt thrower.

The Executioners and BSB are run down by the Silver Helms

Things weren’t looking great for Nick, but he had a chance to get some points back this turn. The masters both charged the pheonix fighting the warlocks, while Morathi flew around and cast penumbral pendulum through my dragon princes. A strange move which did no damage, and the dice could have been used for much more worrying spells. I dispelled Morathi’s attempt to enfeeble my pheonix and Nick failed a low dice attempt at soulblight. The pheonix was still in trouble and ended up breaking from combat but escaped his pursuers, with one of the masters getting stuck fighting the dragon princes. Shooting this turn accounted for the rest of my reavers as well as some silver helms.

My turn was fast, the silver helms killed a bolt thrower while the reserve pheonix flew in to the flank of the master. The dragon came back onto the board and started flippedy-flapping back to the interesting fights. The fleeing pheonix gracefully pirouetted in the sky, rallying to face some shades. The combat involving the pheonix, peg master and dragon princes was a draw, but the dragon princes did reform to face the master.

The Master was polite enough to hold for a turn allowing me to reform.

In Nick’s turn he decided to start trying to conserve points, the unengaged peg master began to withdraw, although some Shades moved up to shoot the recently rallied pheonix. Despite his truly beautiful attemt at aerial aerobatics he was brutally gunned down by a boosted doombolt from Morathi who remained lurking behind the building near the silver helms. Crucially in the combat phase the peg master broke after no wounds were caused, allowing me to reform to face Morathi with both the pheonix and the dragon princes.

Credit to the lass she took it on the chin, she probably could have made it to the board edge with a flee, but was generous enough to give my dragon princes the satisfaction of murdering her personally. From then on the game was essentially over. Neither of us had any meaningful magic left, and Nick’s shooting wasn’t ever going to do enough damage to score points. I managed to charge the remaining warlock unit off the board and slay one of the peg masters before the end of the game to seal the win.

End Result: 18-2.

As a team we had another good round. In James’ game he managed to shoot off the Daemon Prince and BSB early, at which point he basically retained points for a moderate win.

James lines up against his WoC opponent in what really was a good match up for him.

Greg pushed early for a small advantage against the empire, using his far superior manoeuvrability to good advantage. A cascading supreme sorceress and his general getting shot off by a cannon cost him some points late in the game, but he still managed a small win.

Perhaps I could have cropped the top of this photo better...

Sam had an interesting mirror match. Both armies were very similar however Sam’s opponent had spent points to put Epidemius in the list, however as Epidemius’ tally special rule augments all nurgle daemons on the table Sam was claiming the advantage as well, and had Epidemius’ points worth of extra struff in his army. Sam was unlucky in the final turns, pushing for a big win he failed to damage the GUO with a couple of skullcannon shots, so charged in with 6 beasts of nurgle to try and bring him down in the last turn. Papa then passed a dodgy leadership on a 6 (due to doom and darkness) before wasting all the beasts with a last turn purple sun. Lots of points down the drain in the last turn, but still a good win.

4 Skullcannons, 2 GUO's, Epidemius, Beasts of Nurgle everywhere. This table was nothing but filth.

Team Result: 58-22 (18, 14, 12, 14)

This score vindicated our strategy in the match up process. James, Greg and Sam all did their job to get winning scores despite some poor late game luck in a couple of the games. This meant that even if I hadn’t scored as strongly as I did we would have won the round. We weren’t looking to rely on any one player to score hugely every round in order to generate large scores, instead if each player could meet their match up expectations only one favourable result would take the teams score from a solid win to an excellent one.

The other victorian team didn’t win all their games 20-0 this round, but they still capped their opponents. We knew we wouldn’t have to play them until sunday, and we soon found out that our next opponents were to be The Wolfpack, a team billed as one of the best in the competition and containing some of the best players NZ had to offer. We were definitely set for an interesting next round.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

NZTC Report - Introduction & Game 1

So I have recently arrived back from New Zealand where I’ve been having a bit of a holiday, and surprise surprise I managed to slot in some warhammer while I was over there. Somewhat conveniently the New Zealand Team Championships (henceforth known as the NZTC) was on within days of my initial trip plans, so it was just a small matter to convince my girlfriend that she wanted to fly to Wellington and watch me play warhammer go look at cool movie stuff.

Warhammer in the land of the hobbits!

The NZTC is quite similar to the ETC. Teams contain 4 players rather than the 8 required in the european equivalent, but the inability to duplicate army choices and the army match up system used to determine which player faces which both stem from the ETC. Said system makes up an extremely important aspect of both events, it can (and often is) the difference between success and failure, and successful teams need to ensure they have a handle on this process. Scoring was also similar to the ETC, games were scored out of 20 battle points (with each point being worth 150 victory points), the team scores are added together for the final score, however there is a floor of 20 points and a cap of 80 in order to keep the teams relatively close together.

The NZTC this year used FoB-lite comp a restriction based comp pack that is pretty generous in what it allows. This was a notable difference from what I am used to playing here in Australia where panel comp is more prevalent. Contrary to the prevailing opinion amongst our friends in new zealand playing panel comp actually encourages you to be a more flexible player, which meant our team adjusted well to using the much harder lists on offer at the NZTC.

The Team
My co-conspirators in this venture were local players Sam Morgan, Greg Greenfield and James Brett. James particularly needs to be commended for stepping up at the last minute to fill a late opening in our lineup. James was running a fairly standard teams tournament Empire army, a double banishment light council, halberdiers and knights in core, two demigryph units, a cannon, a celestial hurricanum and a steam tank. Greg brought a really miserly Dark Elf army to the team, lots of dark riders, 30 shades, a death mage in a warlock bus with some other characters and a cloak of twilight pegasus rider to round it out. Ludicrously fast with every unit besides the two bolt throwers being a skirmisher or fast cavalry Greg’s army proved nigh on impossible to get points from. No team’s army mix is complete without a truly disgusting Daemon list, and relative newcomer on the scene Sam was at the helm of ours. Rocking a souped up version of the german daemon list that took last years ETC by storm (Sam offered our opponents delicacies such as a Lvl 4 death GUO, 8 beasts of nurgle, 5 plague drones along with a pair of skullcannons) Sam offered the team significant points scoring ability as well as an army that could be played aggressively or defensively where required.

An astute observer may have noticed the flexibility within the three armies I have listed above. All contain multiple threats through shooting, magic and close combat which gave our team the ability to be very flexible within individual games as well as in the match up process. We were aiming to have relatively few poor matchups throughout the team, but also to be able to cover for each others bad matches.

My list was a little bit different, the list in full is:

Prince - Star Dragon, Other Tricksters Shard, Star Lance, Charmed Shield, Golden Crown of Atrazar, Heavy Armour
Noble - Barded Elven Steed, Lance, Enchanted Shield, Luckstone, Crown of Command, Dragon Armour
Mage - Lvl 2, High Magic, Elven Steed, Dispel Scroll, Ring of Fury

17 Silver Helms - Full Command
2*5 Ellyrion Reavers - Champion

10 Dragon Princes - Full Command, Banner of the World Dragon

Frost Pheonix
Frost Pheonix (yes, two of them).

This is not a particularly mixed list. What it is however is a whole truck-load of high strength, high WS, ASF attacka that doesn’t move any slower than 18 inches a turn with swiftstride. This list matches the raw combat potential of your typical WoC list but is more manoeuvrable and doesn’t have the same susceptibility to magic thanks to the ludicrous Banner of the World Dragon. Additionally this list matches up pretty well against WoC, which can be important in the match-up process.

Overall I had hopes that this set of 4 lists would give us good flexibility and be able to retain points in tougher rounds while still being able to go out and score big when required. As the most experienced player in my team I had the most risky list and where possible would be entrusted with a good match up and the expectation to score highly.

Round 1 vs Team Nerdymen

The Nerdymen came in second place last year and represented a significant threat in round one. They had a pretty good mix of lists, offering Empire (with two steam tanks), High elves (with Alarielle), a Brettonian list and a Vampire list. I thought we did fairly well in the match up process, we took a small risk with Sam by putting him up against the Bretts, but this gave us a pair of favourable games and Sam was optimistic of a good result despite the threat of trebuchets and the HKB lord. Their most threatening list was the empire one, so we attempted to nullify this with our own empire list.

The games were:
Myself: High Elves vs High Elves
Sam: DoC vs Brettonians
James: Empire vs Empire
Greg: Dark Elves vs Vampire Counts

So my opponent was to be Graham Fry, his army list was:
Alarielle the Radiant,
Prince: Giant Blade, Barded Elven Steed, Dragon Armour, Shield
Noble: Golden Crown, Charmed Shield, Potion of Foolhardiness, Lance, Dragon Armour, Great Eagle
Noble: BSB, Enchanted Shield, Sword of Might, Dragon Armour

2*5 Ellyrion Reavers, Bows
14 Silver Helms: Full Command
10 Archers, Musician
20 White Lions: Banner of the World Dragon, Full Command
2 Bolt Throwers
8 Sisters of Avelorn
1 Great Eagle
1 Frost Pheonix

This was a pretty good match up for me, Alarielle didn’t have access to spells that were likely to worry my dragon, although Dwellers would bypass the BotWD and a couple of good shots from the bolt throwers could keep my dragon away from his White Lions. I’d was always going to play quite aggressively in this game, there is no real advantage to hanging back and I wanted to get the tournament started on the front foot to try and build some momentum.

Our table had a lot of small impassible terrain, this was great for me as I can practically ignore it with my flyers, but it didn’t really give Graham any grief either. On my left I deployed some reavers and my silver helms opposite Graham’s silver helm unit (containing his prince) as well as his eagle noble and some reavers. My star rragon occupied the centre with the dragon princes up against some white lions, sisters and archers, and a blizzard of frost pheonixes dominated the right hand side of the table, two of them on my side of the table with one on Grahams supported by some bolt throwers, archers and a reaver unit.

Graham won first turn and shuffled things around a bit, moving his white lions up about an inch so he was within 24 of my dragon princes. Graham decided to welcome me to New Zealand with a traditional six dice dwellers below, which killed my mage and some of the dragon princes. Shooting as ineffective, and it was time for me start dictating the game a bit.

The dragon parked himself in front of the white lions (who were conveniently making him stubborn with their BotWD), with the silver helms and dragon princes moving up to counter charge. Both the Pheonixes launched forwards into the flank arc of the white lions, with one of them also drawing a bead on a bolt thrower. Magic was ineffective on account of my mage being dead, shooting equally so on account of me forgetting to put any in my list.

Graham declined the opportunity to charge my dragon and be countercharged by everything in my army, and instead backed off and tried to bring in some support for his rather isolated looking white lions. It wasn’t a great situation for Graham, I’m not sure he was expecting me to be quite so aggressive in a teams event (there was some risk to the way I was playing although not a great deal of it), and there wasn’t really a whole lot he could do. Another 6 dice monkey dwellers in the magic phase cost me a bunch of silver helms and my stubborn crown BSB (disappoint), but Alarielle also lost 3 levels and all her effective spells from the miscast. Shooting did a pair of wounds to the star dragon and little else.

Alarielle’s lack of spells meant I could chill out a bit and set up some good charges later in the game. I considered this briefly, decided I’d already set up charges that would do the job and figured I should press on. The white lions copped a dragon in the front and a pheonix in the flank, while the other pheonix charged a bolt thrower for something to do. The dragon princes got a clipped charge onto the corner of the sisters past some terrain, which would give them an overrun into the front of the white lions as well. Normally this would be bad for the depleted dragon prince unit, but Alarielle gives her unit magical attacks, which would grant me a pretty tasty 2+ ward save. Along with the stubborn it was giving my dragon I was probably getting a lot more out of Graham’s BotWD  than he was.

Even at this early stage things weren't looking great for Graham

Because the dragon princes were clipping the sisters I didn’t get a whole lot of attacks on them, so didn’t end up breaking them. In the real combat Graham didn’t challenge out my dragon as this was his only real chance to attack it with most of his white lions, which was slightly concerning when he rolled 11 hits with his 12 attacks. I’d have been in a lot of trouble without the pheonix dropping their strength down to 4. It was still touch and go, I had to roll 4 armour saves with only 4 wounds left, but thankfully passed a few. The dragon then unloaded on the white lions, and there were about 8 of them left at the end of the combat. The other pheonix reformed, disdainfully ignoring the other bolt thrower
The dragon princes probably would have made it into the combat if two of them hadn't ridden in backwards slowing everybody down.

I made a small mistake at the end of the combat when I forgot to slide my dragon sideways with a reform.

Graham punished this by flanking the dragon with his prince which managed to slip through a gap between the reavers (that were in position to block his silver helms) and some terrain. His pheonix flapped around to get in a better position to join the combat, but he didn’t have a whole lot of movement to do. Magic and shooting were irrelevant, and in the combat things were getting interesting. The prince failed to kill the dragon, which failed to kill him back. The pheonix stomped some white lions and managed to wound Allarielle despite her 2+ ward save. The combat finished with the dragon on one wound and Grahams BSB standing next to a single white lion and Alarielle.

The dragon princes murdered the remaining sisters, but then couldn’t get into the combat with the white lions as there was no space. Instead they reformed and charged off into the pheonix, which flapped around in vain and was run down. The dragon was finally brought down by the prince, but the pheonix finished off the white lions. I lost the combat, but it wasn’t by much and both my prince and the pheonix held. Graham tried to rescue Alarielle and the BSB from my pheonix by charging in his eagle noble, however this didn’t really help as he couldn’t challenge it out.

Things are a little fuzzy at this stage. I wasn’t quite in the swing of taking photos and there wasn’t really a lot happening in the game. The game was essentially over despite it only being turn 3 or 4. Grahams prince finished off my prince, but the Pheonix stomped on Allarielle’s ugly face, as well as the BSB’s, and eventually the prince’s when he tried to avenge her death. The closing turns involved me mopping up a bolt thrower and the archer unit and avoiding any further losses, and the game finished fairly strongly in my favour.

End Result: 15-5

As a team we did very well. James went down 4-16 in the mirror match up after Steam Tank did the time warp again all over his army. Greg absolutely ruined his VC opponent in a game which basically involved him camping his warlock bus behind the VC army and shooting purple suns all over the place. Sam played a great game against the Bretts, pushing steadily for an 18-2 win.

James (right) struggles to contain NZ ETC player Rory's (left) rampaging steam tanks while Ben watches on in a terrible shirt after he tabled his opponent in about an hour.

I'm told 6 beasts of nurgle and a GUO need less than two turns to destroy 70 men at arms.

Team Result: 57-23

A great start for the team, not quite as good as the other team from Victoria who cleaned up with 4 20-0 wins, but for the cap on the score they would have been ahead by 23 already.

I’ll end this segment here as it is getting rather long. Hope you’ve enjoyed! Next one should be up within a couple of days, and will likely have more photos than this one did.