Friday, 15 August 2014

The ETC in Review (Part Two)

Part Two: Switzerland, USA and the Party.

After the disaster of Thursday, it was an early start on Friday to prepare for round 1 of the ETC proper. I didn’t really have a plan for my match ups at that stage (this was consistent, I tended to be first down at breakfast each morning going over things) so I mulled things over at breakfast and decided that I wasn’t really going to change the way I approached things. The pairings weren’t really the issue against the English, so we just stuck with the process that was in place.

Pairing process went well, they didn't have any particular “problem army” that no one wanted to play, and post pairing we were set up for a medium win in the range of 88-90 points. We held the Wood Elves until late in the pairings and got them a good match against Orcs, which the Swiss O&G player was none too happy about.

Pairings were:
Me vs Orcs (+)
Treble (Skaven) vs Brettonians (+)
Ivan (Empire) vs DoC (+)
Akhter (O&G) vs High Elves (-)
Sam (ChD) vs Chaos Dwarfs (0)
Nick (DE) vs Dark Elves (0)
Jamie (DoC) vs Ogres (+)
Mick (HE) vs Empire (0)

Unsurprisingly my opponent deployed in a corner. I think he picked the wrong one though as there was a LOS blocking hill sitting just outside his deployment zone towards the centre of the table. My side of the board had one very small piece of impassable terrain that I would find difficult to hide both of my characters behind, so I gambled a little bit and deployed in the open and vanguarded forward aggressively. I didn’t get first turn, but his first turn went perfectly for me. He miscast and lost foot of gork in exchange for 3 Glade Guard, and his artillery didn’t kill enough sisters to expose my deathweaver. My first turn and I zipped off behind the hill out of line of site, and proceeded to start throwing dice at purple sun. My Glade Guard were set up to shoot trolls all game (they were standing between me and the war machines) and my warhawks started to probe for an opening into the war machines.

That hill top centre was the best.

Not much happened over the next few turns. I was safely throwing spells around, the warhawks flew over a goblin unit into the first doom diver and my glade riders turned up with their flaming arrows so I started to go to town on the trolls. At this stage the game was basically over. I got a purple sun in turn three but it only went 6 inches (18 would have been through all the savages and the trolls), the hawks cleaned up the war machines, wild riders finished the last three trolls in or around turn 5. Eventually everything turned around to shoot at the savage orc bus, but the lack of a second purple sun meant that all I got was half points for the unit. Turn seven would have been nice, as I could have charged the depleted savage orcs with my whole army.

Just needed one more turn!

A low risk high reward game for me, ending in an 18-2 win. My opponent admitted that absolutely no one in their team wanted to go near my army. Thinking about this afterwards, our list set wasn’t a huge fan of O&G, so to get them in a good match up like this one was a really good result for us.
Team-wise we had a bit of a shocker again. Legrand went down 20-0 in the mirror match, and Mick went down fairly heavily as well. Ivan looked like he was going to rescue the round when he charged his opponents plague bearer unit with his whole army, but some freak dice kept that to an 11-9. We didn’t get capped, but once again what was set up to be a fairly solid round got hammered by a couple of big losses.

Personally at this point I was really frustrated. Warhammer for the most part is an individual game, you live and die on your own merits and your own games decide your result each round. The ETC is a totally different beast, I’d had two smashing results and felt I’d played the pairings well, and we’d still gotten solidly beaten on both occasions. I’m not trying to slight my team or anything here as in these situations everyone gave everything they could and it just didn’t happen, I’m more trying to convey how frustrated and slightly confused I was at the time. I was trying to think of ways to help the team across the line, but when it comes down to it at the ETC you just have to trust in your team mates around you and play the game in front of you to the best of your abilities.

Round Two: USA USA USA.

Having not gotten capped in the first round we weren't assured of playing bunnies like we did last year. So we got to play team USA which was awesome. Really cool bunch of guys who I’d been hoping to play in the past couple of events. Language barrier was set to be a problem here, but for the most part they did okay and we worked around it.

Pairing strategy remained the same. Kudos (or not) to Ivan for making it way more stressful than normal by not actually analysing any team after the ones starting with “s”, which meant we had to do them on the fly. Next time someone does that they can go under the bus.

Special mention can also go to Akhter, who during the pairings changed a match up from a 0 to a positive, and therefore got put out slightly earlier than originally planned. Attempting to change it back to a 0 seconds later wasn't overly helpful, and funnily enough they took the 0 (if you’re confused, the scale goes --, -, 0, +, ++) when I’d been trying to bully them into a bad match up, but there was nothing to be done about it.

Pairings were:
Me vs Orcs & Goblins (+)
Jamie (DoC) vs Vampires (+)
Akhter (O&G) vs WoC (0)
Ivan (Empire) vs Skaven (-) (do your match ups ahead of time next time and I’ll give you better ones!)
Sam (ChD) vs Empire (0)
Mick (HE) vs HE (+)
Alex (Skaven) vs DoC (0)
Nick (DE) vs Dark Elves (0)

So another decent round. Mostly draws, with us theoretically edging it with some small wins. Also I had Orcs and Goblins again, which has a lot of potential to go higher than a small win.

Once again my opponent deployed in the corner. In fact deployment was basically the same as in the first round, except this guy had two units of trolls flanking the savages rather than the one that the Swiss guy had. Once again there was a hill just outside his deployment zone and curiously he deployed all four war machines in a position where I could use that hill as cover for my Deathweaver’s unit. Therefore the plan was simple, camp 18.1 inches away from the trolls with the Deathweaver and throw purple sun every turn, while shooting things with my archers. Because of this my whole army had to be crushed into the corner on the same side as the Orcs. Ordinarily I’d like to spread a bit giving me more room to operate in if the Orcs bring some pressure. I was a bit worries about two 10 wide troll units and a horde of savages just motoring forward at full speed in turn one, as I potentially just wouldn't
 be able to get out of the corner, and couldn't take any of those units in a head on fight.
6 foot wide table not required.
Turn 1 purple sun was dispelled without the use of a dispel scroll leaving me with 3 dice, in order to discourage pressure I used three dice for a curse of anraheir on the savage orcs. I cast the spell with irresistible force and lost 3 sisters from my unit. I attempted to nonchalantly remove the models and act unfazed, but funnily enough that didn't
work. Orc turn 1 and the only rock lobber with line of site to my mage hits, wounds and takes her off. Game basically over.

This is what the coach does when something bad happens.

I went into full on contain mode at this point. I decided I could get points out of a troll unit and very little else, so set out to do that with my archers and gave up on doing any additional damage. Immediately I started running stuff to the far corner and just had to hope the Doom Divers (shooting indirectly) wouldn't kill everything.

For the most part unfortunately they did. So did the foot of gork I was wearing every turn, including killing my BSB when I failed my look out sir. Balls.

Surprisingly the Orcs only brought half pressure. The trolls on my flank pushed hard, and just got shot off while letting me slide backwards. The savages for the most part stood still, as did the other trolls. I was surprised and relieved, a basic hand of gork could easily have put me under a lot more pressure or saved the trolls, but it never came. The doom divers did keep hitting though, and they did by far the most damage.

Final score was 5-15. I was well happy with the 5 points I got from the game, as I felt I acted decisively as soon as the game swung, whereas my opponent was slow to pressure. Frustrating though as my opponent played poorly and  still won the game.

Everyone was pretty dispirited again after this round. Legrand went down 2-18 in the mirror match, so with the two Nicks not scoring high we couldn't quite get a draw. Ivan did well getting a 12 from skaven, and Ferraro increased on his prediction as well. Akhter once again stomped the whole world. Round score was 73-87 in favour of the US.

We eventually headed to the official ETC party, which was awesome fun last year. This year it was just really awful. Food was bad (but it was bad last year), drinks were okay but it just didn't have the same vibe. No idea how long we were there or really what happened. I was drinking rakia out of a beaker, and no one except James Milner would drink with me. Eventually most people left, I shouted at Pete Dunn a lot and we went to the strippers. I bought Akhter a lap dance because he was killing it on like 35 battle points. Some other stuff probably happened but rakia from a beaker prevents me remembering it.


  1. were "Shouty Nick". You were also "Don't Tell Me what to Do Nick", "I Can Take The Kiwi Rope-Pull Team By Myself Nick" and "Slag My Team Off Nick".

    So basically "Typical Nick" :-)

    1. I don't think those references are nearly as funny to Nick without him having seen the ad campaign. Fortunately I have linked it below!