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.


  1. What sinister madness has infected Ben's shirt? It's like looking into the eye of Slaanesh through a veil of Cthulhu induced insanity!

  2. Good to see you jokers over here for the tournament, and well done on the win.

    Thanks for posting this, it's a good read alright. Yours was the only High Elf list my Dwarves didn't like. Its speed and sheer hitting power is something no gunline wants to see. The comparison with WoC is an apt one.