Last weekend saw me taking part in yet another Kings of War Tournament. This time a six game two-day event at Element Games in Stockport.
To save effort, I reworked my Leodis Bash 1200 point Undead list into something more usable at 200 points using the Clash of Kings 2017 pack. Tables were the standard 6′ x 6′ with very nice mats.
Foolishly i finished my army early and submitted my list. Had i known the deadline would be extended and that I would also have a new Ogre army completed in double-quick time I would have gone with that. Why? Well for a start in playtesting the two lists against each other I managed to get two resounding “wins” for the Ogres against the Undead. The Undead just couldn’t stand up to the brutality of the Ogres attacks.
Oh well. It was all set in stone now.
The event was set up well in advance by that well-known Event face Mr Darren Parkes.
Start time was a respectable 10am with a 9:30 registration.
So I turned up to the great venue that is the Element Games North West Gaming Centre to find tables set and a relaxed atmosphere as Darren and Centre Event Manager Tim King were all set to go.
Every player received a goody bag (Princess Party pack!!). The contents were useful. The free tufts from Serious Play are great and the MDF laser cut Arc. inspiring range AND tokens for the “Ransack” mission were most welcome. Very thoughtful.
The first round draw had been done by Darren on a hangout and can be seen on Youtube (thanks to Waltz Sachem!)
I was facing James Darcy’s Salamanders. He and I faced each other at Darren’s last event at Element Games in round 1 so this seemed a bit spooky.
The scenario was “Invade”. As usual you line up within 12 inches of your table side and at the end of the game after 6 or 7 turns you score for units wholly on the other side of the table. The new unit strength rules were in play not points values for scoring units.
1 point for a troop, monster or non-individual Hero. 2 for a Regiment, 3 for a Horde or Legion.
His battle line was beefed up a bit but otherwise this is the kind of list I know. James is also ranked about my level in the current UK scene so hopefully I can get a win or draw?
I can’t recall who went first, but I spread my battle line out to try to get across the table and then seemed to get pounded in the centre and right of the table. By the end I managed to hold my own in the Centre (werewolves!) and then spent turns 6 and 7 backing off into the other side of the board.
The Soul Reaver cavalry troop at about 215 points with the Helm of Confidence were about as useful as a bag of grapes in a bunfight. I put them on the far right with the skeleton archer troop and they didn’t know what to do. James just sent over some of his forces to wipe them out.
My centre failed and i lost a fair bit of my stuff.
Somehow at the end of the game we both ended up the same unit points (8 I recall) in each others table sides so it was a draw. Hey a draw – woot!
The Victory Points (attrition scores) were very similar too. James had about 8o points more than me so we scored 10 points each out of a possible range of 0 to 20.
You can find all the gamey details of missions and scoring in the CoK Organised Play Guide (Advert Alert!!) on sale NOW!
As James beat me in Attrition scores I think he drew Elliott next game and I got Sam Barker.
Sam Barker and his Orcs in the “Ransack” mission. Sam was a great guy and very forgiving. We set up the tokens as per the instructions (maybe hopefully). Sam I think won the roll for table sides and set off deploying his Orctacular force. This was a terrain filled looking table so would be interesting for my non-pathfinder army!
On paper Sam is a better player than me by some ways so I was not too surprised here…
My memory (I think that is what it is called?) lets me down here a bit. Age brings on the lack of mid-term memory recall and also the forgiveness of the loss of said memory!
I also went and bought a beer from the bar at this point to calm my nerves. Not sure it really helped but I doubt it could have skewed the result too much!
Sam basically trounced me (politely saying) as i learned nothing from Game 1 and didn’t do anything inspiring to try to win. I slowly watched my backside get kicked and Sam consolidated his hold over pretty much all the tokens on the table. He helped me out a few times as I failed to recall basic facts like Healing spells and such. Thanks Sam.
Tactically, I should not have spread out so badly and not been so reticent. The werewolves on my left couldn’t really take down the two regiments of orcs on the other side of the table. Sam’s advice to maybe have sent the skeletons in to help them earlier was interesting but i felt i need to support the Revenant Horde in the left of centre with them and the zombies. I keep hearing the phrase “battlegroups” but in this case I even split the wolves and Lykanis. Doh.
On my right I made the mistake of using troops to hold down the flank against stronger the units. My Soul Reavers were pinned down for the duration by the Krudger on Slasher (?) beastie. Another waste, though they did seem to get lucky on a Nerve Test at one point.
19-1 to Sam. Well earned and I slipped down the ladder toward that gloriously wooden prize.
Lunch consisted of Subway sandwiches and crisps. No more beer for me.
After a wander round the shop and a chance to take some pictures of armies on tables the fun continued…
Another table and a very bright snowy mat. The mats were neoprene or some kind of rubber that lays flat. Very nice.
My opponent this time turned out to none other than Mr. Ross Diggle himself. If nothing else this turned out to be a fun 100 minutes. Ross even kindly bought me a drink at the end. Thank you, Sir!
Ross had a fantastic Halfling based Rhordia army. Nice to see short troops without beards and sporting things like pot helmets! Very nice paint job and lots of pictures this time.
The mission was “Control”. The one where the board is divided into 2’x’2 sections. At the end, you score 1 for each section you control, 2 for the section in the opposite centre. Control is having more Unit Strength (not points).
Ross deployed his Halfling archers in the centre on the difficult ground and the rest of his troops lined out from there. I had a bad feeling about this and tried to avoid the centre. I weighted my troops to the left hoping to turn a flank and just hold a bit on the far right with wraiths, archers, ghouls and cavalry.
The Rhordian forces had a cavalry unit on my right which I recall Ross saying actually had the right sort of creature – dog like beasts. These must have been Honour Guard – hard hitting given I only had a troop of skeletons opposite. Oh dear.
To cut a long story short I thought I managed to lose the right flank then the centre and finally the left flank. The wraiths proved their metal and also got lucky. They spent this game as well as some others parked behind an obstacle with their Defence 6+ and even throwing double 1 Nerve checks!
Sad to say I was spliced and diced and the superior tactics and cavalry of my opponent took me apart.
19-1 to Ross. Well done I say. Good luck next game though!
As my decline to the wooden fate continued I found myself against Ian Davies and his Ratkin/Abyssal force.
Ian had a very nice Ratkin based army. His monstrous Rat thingy was imposing and impressive. Very nice indeed. the painting and modelling at this Tournament was of a high standard.
The mission was Eliminate. I didn’t like it. You place a bounty token on your three most expensive units. One token is placed in the centre. The enemy wins by claiming more bounty tokens than you. At the end you score 1 for holding your own token, 2 for an enemy token taken in melee. An enemy that Routs outside of melee with a token is worth nothing.
We set up and started playing.
I found Ian a difficult person to read and so never really got to feel a rapport with him. He certainly played well with another hard-hitting army and his “poker face” really helped him.
for some reason I had put one of my three bounty units on the far right side to take advantage of the flank. these were “supported” by some units in the wood nearby.
I had no idea that the Absyysals opposite me on that flank were so damn tough.
I soon found myself harassed by two troops of succubi whose job was to get a few wounds in and hold me in place till the cavalry arrived.
Like a fool I played along and lo and behold found my right flank crumbling and despite taking out those two troops I lost my werewolves bounty unit. Dohh.
On the left flank, We played a waiting game. There was a lot of bolts of shooty stuff coming my way. I decided to wait it out. Not a good move. As Ian said afterwards, he was surprised I didn’t come and attack on that flank. Well, not really. Its me here!
In the centre I played the “get to the centre and hold in the difficult terrain” game. I knew what was coming. The little ratty vermintide chaff unit coming in to stop me moving forward… all that stuff. Then inevitably at the end game phase, Ian pushed his big monster out to contest the centre and beat me to the fight. He took the centre and most token value.
19-1 to Ian. Have to say I didn’t like this mission. It felt like you were sitting around waiting for the end so you can pounce and get that winning point.
Then the day was over.
Walked in to find Nick looking alive and well… okay feeling worse for wear perhaps?
Sounds like a fun night was had by some!
I now found myself facing Keiron Allison and his fearsome Ogre army. The Mission was Push. You just try and get your tokens to the other side of the board by carrying them. I put mine on slow units. Surprise! there were two tokens each I recall and one in the middle of the table.
I had not played Keiron before but soon found him to be one of the nicest guys you could wish to play against. Not only did we have a fun game in which I felt a decent match up against but he also helped me to understand the Arc of Sight template too! Some hints on where to put my Wraiths (not there!) were most welcome. I really thought his help would tip the game. It ended up a 17-3 to him. Well earned. You are a gent Sir!
As for the game details (do you really need to know?) I used my wraiths to hold the centre by hiding behind a wall. The wolves went to the left flank, the chaff and cavalry to the right flank. The Ogres had a strong centre line with support from fast cavalry on the flanks. Kind of the way I built my new Ogres really. Strange.
Sadly for me. Keiron knows how to push across the table and win fights. I managed to take down some chaff on the flanks and one or two of the Ogre Hordes to earn some points. Sadly it was not enough.
My Revenant Horde could not last out the game as it was assailed by three units at once.
The star unit of the game was my cheap archer troop. If you check out the pictures you will see it last until about turn 6 with some 30 or so damage counters on it. Talk about making Nerve checks. Keiron could not budge it due to some awful dice rolls.
I found myself back on the snow table this playing the final game and the mission was “Dominate”. At the end you get Unit Strength points for units within 12 inches of the centre of the table.
My opponent was Ben Edwards. Nice guy. Well until he beat me! No, seriously Ben was great. By this time my back was giving out so I sat for most of the game and used reach ability to play. Sadly for me the game did not go well.
I put some chaff on my left flank to stop that up and pretty much failed there. The Revenants ended up being beaten by the Primes and support and my left flank folded.
In the centre not a lot happened. All the action was in and around the wood on the centre right. I have not seen so many units in so small a space. My Wolves and Lykanis ended up fighting around the wood. Bad idea. I had no pathfinder which weakened me.
Also I discovered all those orange flaming units that were Fire Elementals had support from two castery types who could wait until they positioned well then used Surge to push them into my lovely fighters. Bad Fire things. Nasty.
In the end I was outgunned and my forces dwindled. In fact it got so bad it became a total Rout. Ben was very apologetic but had no need. I had not played well and deserved to be beat. I couldn’t even do more than kill a couple of cheaper units.
20-0 to Ben and well deserved. As he said later, if I had not chosen to fight in the wood and had I taken out his Surge meisters the game could have been very different. I guess so. Maybe 19-1 instead? No, it was a good game and I really liked Ben’s army. It left me with a warm glow… (sorry!)
I had a fantastic weekend, Thanks to all involved. All those I spoke to or gamed with were lovely guys. Darren and Tim again ran an excellent weekend. Dan on the bar was friendly too. Really like the Gaming Centre.
What did I learn?
Well that’s a good one. Don’t bring a fluffy army to a Tournament. Well yes.
Troops are not going to last against all those horrible Hordes.
Flyers could be useful but hard-hitting units with back up of things like Healing are good. Pathfinder is VERY useful.
The skeleton Regiment could be useful at 90points for a fearless 16 nerve rating unit but at 12 attacks hitting on 5+ it was nver going to kill anything.
The Soul Reavers were hopeless with their low nerve and Hight cost. I hear that a regiment is the way to go. I am really not convinced. So much out there can reduce De6+ to De4+ easily that I wonder if they are worth it at all.
The Wraiths held out well but didn’t really act aggressively with their Fly 10 ability.
The Revenant Horde failed to stand up to serious opposition. Again I really failed to keep my unots supporting each other to stop the multi charges on my units.
So many times Thunderous Charge was nerfed due to Hindered charges that it becomes obvious Crushing Strength is the way to go for assured damage. After saying that what did i think of the artefacts and magic I took.
The Lute of Insatiable Darkness hardly ever worked. Very unlucky Bane Chant (2) dice rolls for me. Not sure it was the best use of 20 points.
Blood of the Old King – I forgot to use it at the right time a couple of times. It didn’t make much difference really – just one turn per game. It helped in one game, was crap in another and not much use after that.
Helm of the Ram – I don’t think I got to use it. The wolves with this one were either nerfed by hindered or killed before it could be brought into play. Wish I had just bought “Elite” / “CS1” / “Maccwar’s Potion” upgrade for more points for my wolves.
Hammer of Measured Force – was okay but again is situational. It costs you points to maintain a 4+ damage roll and you may well face 3+ troops. May be worth getting a +1 CS hike from elsewhere (Brew, Bane Chant…).
Dragonshard Shield. Used on my skeletons. Helped once but only if you don’t intend moving. Many missions involve moving somewhere not holding ground. If you have a large unit of De3/4 it might be worth it. I doubt I will try it again.
Next time I should focus on the possible scenarios and working out “how do I cope in that situation?” Building a force that can work together to achieve that end rather than start at the “this is what I have” end or “I like fluffy lists” end. Who knows what army will come out of that end of a design process!
Armies with abilities like Pathfinder or even Vanguard as well as speed and crushing strength seem to be the way BUT you have to use them as a coherent force.
My opponents all pretty much used their forces with as plan in mind. I failed to have a plan in mind and failed.
As well as failing to win missions I also failed to kill much. Looking at the Final scores, I had the lowest attrition score because I failed to kill much at all.
Not sure the Undead are my way to go. I would want to have some more healing and make more use of shambling and possibly flying if I stay with Undead.
Trophies for the winners! I didn’t get last place and the wooden spoon. I came 22nd out of 24. Well done to Tom, Elliott and Alan. Poor Nick just failed by a whisker to get one more TP to get 3rd and had to settle for 4th on attrition score.