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Category: Circle

Steamroller: December 2011

The final event of the 2011 Warmahordes series was a quiet tournament as many players chose to stand, sobbing, in toy-shop queues throughout Dublin. Its small size is reflected by the length of the tournament report. For those lucky souls who did attend, they had the opportunity to beta test the Steamroller 2012 rules. But first, the violence. I deployed my Menoth, bringing a pKroess Pop’n’Drop list and the Harbinger.

Game 1: vs Anto’s Cryx, eSkarre

Going into the game, I reflected on Anto’s limited intelligence and silly hair. I spent a good five minutes debating the relative merits of incessantly mocking his defeat for the rest of the day or simply sporting an insufferably smug look everytime he wandered nearby. That concluded, we diced off.

*draws breath* Hate, hate, hate. Die in a fire, eSkarre. *draws breath*

I regret to report I was rather nicely outplayed in a short, sharp shock. Having played this exact match-up recently, complacency had nested. My opponent reinforced this by going with what appeared to be his standard opening. Deathjack and Nightmare both postured for the assassination run and I decided to play defensively and lure him in for a failed attempt.

This caution left me unable to react when he completely reversed his normal game plan and made a bid for a scenario win. By turn 3, he was poised for victory. One futile attempt to gun down his caster and the Menites had crashed to a defeat.

Game 2: vs Steve’s Circle, Morvahna

This seemed somewhat familiar. Steve. Circle Orboros, that nameless mission. Looking at the large swarm of infantry, the Harbinger was the only choice. The mission suited me, the list composition suits me and the caster match-up suited me. Despite this, I still managed to make it far too close a match.

His army was a sight to behold, massive amounts of Tharn infantry filling the deployment zone. My slightly anemic force, hiding in a forest, may have wanted to run at that point. But a series of lucky scatters saw his caster, beasts and some druids lit on fire. With the tricksy assets being removed, I felt a little safer about the course of the game.

His caster was heavily dependent on upkeeps, my caster could cheaply and easily remove all upkeeps in a large zone. This rather simple course of action never occurred to me. But the Harbinger’s feat disrupted the tempo of his advance and the troops never really managed to hit home. By the time his flankers were in place, my warjacks were firing on Morvahna.

Game 3: vs Peter’s Cryx, pDeneghra

Well, it was something of a wash. There was a brutal bloodbath in the centre into which both sides fed most of their armies. We both felt rather pleased with ourselves by the end of the first hour. Peter felt he had the advantage in the endgame and I felt likewise. After several turns of slaughter, a trio of Bane Thralls and Nightmare faced off against a Reckoner and Vanquisher. We’ll never know what would have transpired as the game ended very early.

Peter took the win on tertiary tie-breaker with a Deathripper partially in the primary flag zone. Bad beta rules, bad. No reducing the time limit to an unfeasibly short amount of time. Admittedly, my dislike may be based on losing by time and the fact that we played ten minute rather than seven minute turns would skew the system but I really dislike the idea.

The games were fun, my final standing was disappointing.

But the beta test certainly reveals that next year’s tournaments will see some major changes. The shortened turns and potential for reduced match lengths make units with multiple AoEs unpalatable. In fact, even large infantry units threaten to use too much of your precious time limit. Warbeasts and warjacks will be tempting and those casters/locks which support them will see more play.

The character restrictions, however, will certainly shake up list design. The stronger builds will still see play but expect the alternate lists to be more focused, optimising a specific caster rather than being similar to the primary list, with a second choice caster. I’ll miss you, Covenant of Menoth.

Tournament Report: Steamroller Saturday

Warmahordes in Dublin seems to be growing reasonably well with the monthly series of tournaments really bedded into the calendar, although it has yet to spill over into the convention circuit. The last tournament, on October 8, saw sixteen players gather in Gamer’s World to earn bragging rights for the rest of the month. I arrived with my brute/blunt force Menoth army to bring the pain, Mr T style.

Game 1
pKroess vs Gerry, Legion of Everblight, Rhyas

A man whose ill-temper is surpassed only by his fondness for animal cruelty and cheati…. No, wait, all lies. Gerry remained as gentlemanly as ever. Bah, humbug.

Assuming that he out-classed me in raw ability, I focused on attritioning his army to death in the hopes of establishing a run at a scenario win. Against experienced players, considering my lack of knowledge of factions other than my own, I always assume they have a brutal combination hidden away that will end me if it goes off. In response, I generally focus on removing as many pieces as possible in a bid to take out something he might actually need later. Luckily, this method plays into the strengths of Menoth units.

As his superior speed and strike range would tear me apart in the open field, I dug in on a plateau in my control zone. The Daughters and Zealots advanced to force his hand, he would either move under my guns to remove them or allow them to put a sizeable dent in his troops. Gerry chose to close in with part of his force.

With his caster well back and a decent portion Rhyas’s troops in the open, Kroess popped his feat early to knock the enemy off their feet and allow my humble soldiery to throughly stomp them. It went rather well. The Jacks picked off two of his three beasts without too much difficulty and set the tone. Although my infantry suffered heavily over the following turns, his force was rapidly reduced without major damage to any key assets.

One small worry was that the Ravagore had managed to light Kroess on fire. This slowly ground his health away and forced a certain level of haste. Gerry had not committed to the attritional fight blindly, using the skirmishes to move Raptors up to try for an assassination attempt. With no combat troops to spare, I mobbed my support troops into their path. The Raptors threatened to get a strike in but died/fled due to an unlikely series of events, involving a plucky choir-boy, a pointy stick and an unjustified outbreak of panic on their part.

That failure left the battle as a mopping up operation before I enacted a full advance on the enemy control zone. His cowering caster would have to fall back and I would take the scenario victory. Proving that the righteous will always triumph.

But Gerry clearly hadn’t read the same script. He decided to throw in a last desperate lunge, sending his caster on a suicide run. The charge saw Rhyas cripple a Reckoner in one almighty blow and return a measure of parity to the game. She then sat in the middle of my force, bloated with fury and ready to charge my caster. To my alarm, I realised that my key assets were all engaged elsewhere and unable to intervene. I responded with outright panic to this turn of events, hitting her with a selection of ill-chosen attacks before running my caster next to her to bat ineffectually at her face.

He was then stabbed repeatedly and fell over. First game, bitter defeat. With my chance at overall victory lost, all that mattered was finishing ahead of Anthony and Mark, two of my regular opponents.

Game 2
pKroess vs Anthony, Trollbloods, eMadrak


After taunting Anthony about his tournament record, notably his infamous all-losses tournament which has come to represent him in my eyes, the gods chose to punish me for my hubris by pairing me against him in the second round.

As ever, he had a cunning glint in his eye which suggested an carefully crafted plan to ensure my downfall. Rather than trouble my pretty head with the details, I went for the blunt force assassination run, throwing my invincible zealots into his front line, trapping his army in place and as it turns out, accidentally trapping elements of his force in the path of his giant rabid troll beast. Which inadvertently screwed his evil plan to trample through my troops and smash my warjacks. Nice.

The third turn saw Kroess pop his feat and knock his army off their feet. I had intended to use the feat to cripple his army but realised that my troops had some paths open to Madrak himself. The zealots lobbed a succession of grenades at his caster, which systemically burnt through his various damage allocation tricks one by one. Ten explosions later, he was out of devious ploys, troops to jump on the grenades and damage transfers. The Vanquisher and Reckoner then closed in and lit him up for a clear-cut assassination victory.

Score one for blind aggression.

Game 3
pSeverius vs Tomak, Mercenaries, Gorten


Tomak’s list had the potential to negate my beloved pop’n’drop assassination trick so I broke out pSeverius for his tournament debut. I suspected that he would use his feat to push me out of the control zones for a scenario victory so focused on pushing forward to keep his caster well back.

Both sides seemed to operating from the same hymn sheet, mid-range firefights and constantly seeking to preserve units from harm. We both threw units forward to clog the enemy’s advance, in his case, tough troll mercenaries, in my case, graceful if fragile assassins.

The heroes of the battle came from this first wave. Losing two troopers on the way in, the remaining four Daughters clogged up Tomak’s left flank for the entire game. Between the initial pinned down forces and those sent to extricate them, a five point unit tied up fifteen points of enemy assets and were still fighting at game’s end. This left him massively outgunned on his right and centre, the trolls stalled the advance for two turns but once downed, the drive brought the big guns into range and left his caster heavily wounded. Tomak popped his feat to push the warjacks back but as they stopped up against the units behind them, they simply weren’t pushed back enough. Even with their aiming thrown off by the feat, the Vanquisher and Reckoner were simply too close and they concluded the game by reducing Gorten to a cooked paste.

Game 4
pSeverius vs Steve, Circle Orboros, Kromac


Ah, yes, Steve. I remembered him. The man who lost me the Blood Bowl tournament the week before by pulling off some manner of ludicrious running/passing play with Dwarves to score a last turn equaliser. Revenge had to be mine. As I associated Circle with long range, teleporting assassinations, I chose pSeverius again to ensure I could keep my caster well away from the action and minimise the risk.

Again, I played the attrition game. Careful shooting and spell-slinging saw most of his offensive punch removed without the expected losses. The Tharn Bloodtrackers were almost entirely wiped out by a very lucky Ashes to Ashes. With my troops sitting just outside their charge range, the Tharn Ravagers were ignored until they eventually ran into combat in a bid to distract from his scenario play and were chopped down in turn.

The risk of standing off his force and picking at it , piece by piece, was that he would use the time and space to go for a scenario win. I took the chance, knowing that to score the scenario points, he would have to move into my killzone. It went much as planned as his beasts and druids attempted to clear the zone but suffered from some nasty outbreaks of bad luck. Having risked all to gain all and fallen short, my retaliation then chopped up most of his remaining infantry and beasts over two turns, suffering light losses. We take a moment to remember Holt, last seen being eaten by a giant supernatural werebeast. Strangely, the daughters had tired of their heroism in the previous round and spent most of the game in a panicked state, achieving nothing of note.

The loss of his beasts forced Kromac to shift into beast form and charge into the heart of my force in a bid to wipe out my jacks. He dropped the Reckoner outright but with my caster far far away and two more undamaged jacks in the area, Kromac succeeded only in choosing the place of his death. Eschewing the use of the fully fueled heavy standing nearby, I went for a more subtle assassination as a Revenger closed from behind and gave him a steel enema. Which is about as subtle as Menoth really gets.

Victory and 4th place. Or as I call it, third loser. Next time, Gerry, next time.

Although, I usually scoff at the claim that Warmahordes is inherently more balanced, claiming that Legion and Cryx remain inherently stronger factions, it is interesting to see that the top 11 positions see no repetition of factions and all but one of the factions represented. As there were no Minions players, that is probably a forgiveable failing.

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