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Category: Protectorate

Conspiracy: Steamroller Tournament Report

As a Galway man, spending the weekend in Kilkenny was… interesting. The convention itself was amazingly good fun. There was a friendly, open vibe to the whole event and I spent a very nice Sunday morning and afternoon, playing various board/card games with pleasant folk.

The Saturday saw Ireland’s first German-style Warmahordes tournament, named after the German-style points limit. Each player brought two 42 point lists. The rules pack was the ever reliable Steamroller 2012.

I represented the True Faith with two Protectorate of Menoth lists. The second list is pictured above.

First Menoth-Blessed List

High Exemplar Kreoss
-Reckone
-Vanquisher
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Daughters of the Flame (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Holy Zealots (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon
Paladin of the Order of the Wall
Paladin of the Order of the Wall
The Covenant of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
The classic pop and drop list, brought along on the off-chance someone hadn’t run into it yet. It saw no play as there was a distinct lack of bunnies at the event.
Second but Equally Good List
Grand Scrutator Severius
-Blessing of Vengeance
-Reckoner
-Vanquisher
-Hierophant
Avatar of Menoth
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Daughters of the Flame (Leader and 5 Grunts)
The Wrack (3 wracks)
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
The actual game list, a jack wall with support elements and the ever-excellent Daughters of the Flame. Sevvy spent the tournament racking up a seriously high body count with his spells.

The terrain bore all the hallmarks of a talented craftsman. My favourite has to be this majestic if slightly barnacle-infested shipwreck. Nice one, Brian.

Game 1: Paul’s Legion (pVayl, Close Quarters)

Close quarters is not an easy mission to score in, it requires you to degrade the enemy to the point where they can’t defend their zone. The other option would be to pack some manner of push-pull ability, which my Menites lack. I based my plan on a half-remembered quote from the internet, “Legion beasts are pillow-fisted”. The heart of the enemy list was a pair of Ravagores and a single Carnivean.

The Daughters peeled out to tie down the Hex Hunters for the duration of the game. An early charge by the Avatar fell short and he was lucky to survive the counter-charge using Enliven to duck away from most of the potential attackers.

It turns out that the internet lied. Incite makes the Legion beasts hit with very respectable POW 20 and 18 weapons. Coupled with the Carnivean’s animus on all the beasts, this resulted in a bruising encounter. The Vanquisher and Blessings both fell but both Ravagores joined them in the aftermath.

I managed to take a two control point lead but was not confident of taking a third without exposing my caster to some serious bodily harm. The end game saw two damaged heavies trying to stalk a single slightly injured beast without great success. The timer gave me the win, had we played on, things could have soured for the Menites.

 Game 2: Noel’s Cygnar (Siege, Process of Elimination)

A quick glance at his lists showed that playing the scenario would involve sitting under his guns and dying. The bloody Stormwall simply scared me. With no notion as to it’s capabilities, I decided to rocket my jacks at it and see what came to pass.

Noel managed to predict my cunning and subtle plan and clogged the approaches with Boomhowlers. The Daughters moved in to clear a path but got zapped by the combination of Stormsmiths and Lightning Pods. I found my attack stalled, Nyss threatening my right flank and my jacks seemed unlikely to make it through another turn. With no other option, I went for the last-ditch assassination on the caster.

Severius moved in to deliver his buff to attack and damage, committing me to either instant victory or certain defeat. The angles were kind, the intervening models were knocked down and some spell-slinging bought Siege to half his health and killed a lot of the support units. A freed up Vanquisher lined up a shot and rained fiery doom on the heathen, killing him outright.

Game 3: Merlin’s Skorne (eMorghoul, Restoration)

This struck me as a winnable scenario. Merlin had a light fast force, I had a clunky heavy force suited to taking the central zone. I figured a run at a scenario win would draw him into a battle of attrition that suited my list.

As things turned out, the semi-final match turned out to be a soft run. It was a simple lack of experience against Menoth which led to a fatal error in placement on Merlin’s part. Under-estimating the reach of the Avatar and Reckoner left three warbeasts dead by the end of turn 2. The Gatormen did what they could, killing my arcnode but the main battle was clearly lost.

He fought manfully on, trying to get his Totem Hunter into position for an assassination attempt and when that failed, Morghoul made a last-second run at Severius. It just gave him the honour of dying at the holy man’s feet. The heroes were the many support pieces who gave their lives that I could arc Ashes to Ashes onto high DEF targets. We must never let the names of Choirboy #3 and that Hierophant guy be forgotten.

 Game 4: Bob’s Khador (pButcher, Supply and Demand)

This was never going to be anything other than a bloodbath. Bob had enough infantry to rack up quick control points so I had to draw him into a stand-up fight and smash him before he remembered how my army worked.

And that’s how it went. The overly-clumped Iron Fangs, Kazazy and Winterguard fell to the unholy combo of massed Ashes to Ashes, Vanquisher blasts and the luckiest unit of Daughters to ever fight in Menoth’s glorious name. Beast 09 went down under a flurry of blows from the Avatar. Even Butcher couldn’t swing matters around as Severius’s feat left him without focus during his counter-attack. The Menites closed in, giant clubs were raised and the Butcher went down.

Sorry, Bob. That’s his third defeat in a final in as many tournaments. He is now officially due a win.

With the sound of heartfelt booing echoing through the hall, I ducked a smallish volley of spoiled fruits and took my very familiar looking prize.

Warmahordes Battle Report: Menoth vs Cryx

We’ve got a pretty strange battle report for you today. The two sides are not the traditional, balanced builds but very heavily focused lists coming from the extreme ends of the infantry/warjack spectrum. This wasn’t deliberate, we both brought secret lists and revealed them simultaneously to mutual confusion and dismay.

The Cryx player, who we will shall codename Lady-Boy, has brought an infantry spam list, based on large squads of troops. When supported by the caster’s abilities/feat, they can smash up heavies with ease. But if they fail, the light troops will find themselves trapped in a battle of attrition against heavy armour.

Standing against the ravening horde, a Protectorate warjack spam list commanded by yours truly and some floating teenaged bint. If the jacks can survive the initial assault or weather it without fatal damage, then they are likely to grind out a victory. Their ace in the hole is their caster’s feat which will prevent the enemy from advancing for a turn.

Neither player were quite certain of the likely outcome of this odd clash. Or as my propaganda wing would have it, despite being outnumbered by more than four to one, the Brave and Heroic Menites were totally confident of Final Victory.

You can look over both lists above. The Protectorate list has four heavy jacks in a 35 point list. The support units have been stripped to a minimum and there is no infantry support. I could have replaced the Choir and Vassal with a light jack but that would have been crazy.

The Cryx player has three large units of infantry and the ever-menacing Stalker light warjacks. They are extremely dangerous flanking units. He has a hard hitting solo in Gerlak Slaughterborn and a focus battery in Skarlock and the Scrap Thralls. There’s also a small selection of support pieces. All in all, a lot of toys.

On to the scenario, no.15 in the 2012 Steamroller rules, Restoration. Some scenarios are quite challenging and people are forced to focus on assassination or attrition strategies but in this case, the scenario is quite winnable. The central zone is small and easily cleared.

If you can control this zone and an objective (most likely to be your own), you can begin scoring points. The only real risk is that it requires that the caster moves up to claim the objective, personally. The Harbinger is not suited to that style of play. Skarre is not particularly fond of it but stands a better chance in no man’s land.

The Cryx have the first turn. With the Harbinger’s feat likely to stall his advance, Lady-Boy must prepare for that and immediately clog the control zone with Satyxis Raiders. He is hoping that they cannot be cleared out within two turns and thus they will contest the zone until help arrives. 

On his right, the Bloodwitches move into the shadow of the woods, ready to move up once the feat has lapsed. They do have the speed to strike from great distances so they can afford to hang well back.

Lumbering Mechanithralls swarm over the hill on his left. They are supported by a Necrosurgeon, which is annoying. I could waste all of my fire here and any casualties inflicted will simply be revived next turn. This makes them a low priority target.

The Menites immediately hone in on the targets in range. The enemy have attempted to spread out but our guns do make very large explosions. However, the Raiders are enchanted to ignore any shots that do not hit them directly. This means that our usual tactic of lobbing shots in and hoping for lucky scatters is slightly doomed.

Even that little buff cannot save them from the sheer number of high-powered cannon blazing away. One five shot volley later, the Raiders are down just over half their numbers and they break, refusing to advance. The feat is popped, delaying the opposing army for a turn. The gathered crowd (not pictured) cheers wildly at my tactical cunning.

In a display of blistering Cryx pace, a Stalker is already jockeying for an assassination run while staying outside the range of the feat. Hate that.

With the hapless Scrap Thralls at the back of the army being ritually sacrificed to give her strength, Skarre sits on a pile of focus almost as tall as herself.

Which is nice but not quite useful here. With the Harbinger’s feat active, the infantry cannot advance without bursting into flames. They must sit and wait for the magical firestorm to die down.

The enemy have been delayed but with few targets in range and Stalkers closing on both flanks, the Menites find that they cannot take full advantage of the lull. They press forward, exterminating the remaining Raiders and positioning themselves to receive the charge.

Once the feat fades, the Bloodwitches move forward preparing for their own feat turn. They try to lock the heavy jacks with brave volunteers while the others line up their attacks. It is not enough to smash one jack, they need to strike at all four.

The Mechanithralls do likewise, two unlucky sods run in to lock down the Vanquishers, while the rest move into position. If they can keep the Menites bogged down on their next turn, the damage on the feat turn will be immense.

The Menites have to try and cripple the two units closing in while also covering both Stalkers and Gerlak. With five threats and only four combat units, this will be very difficult. The Reckoner moves to cover a flank as a choirboy sacrifices himself by moving to deny a charge lane for one Stalker.

The flagship jack hits the largest threat. The Avatar’s charge reaps a heavy toll on the Bloodwitches as he kills every single one he can reach. He then triggers the Gaze of Menoth, forcing all nearby units to charge him. This is a serious problem for the Cryx player as if he is forced to waste either of his surviving two units on the Avatar, he will not be able to deal a fatal blow to the other jacks.

The Vanquishers move to neutralise the threat on the right, killing a host of Mechanithralls. More importantly, they manage to explode the Necrosurgeon’s lackies. Without their help, she will not be able to resurrect the thralls enmasse. They have done all they can, over to the enemy.

With his surviving units battered, it is time to see what Lady-Boy can do. It should only take three or four models to kill each heavy, the troops are available but the order of activation is important. The Avatar must be destroyed and neither of the units can be used to do so.

Behind the lines, the ritual sacrifice proves favourable and Skarre gains the maximum amount of focus available. With that surplus of energy, she sweeps in and tears apart the Avatar. This frees the Bloodwitches to pile on one Vanquisher and the Mechanithralls to pile on the other. They fall just short of killing either but both are very, very, crippled.

The Reckoner comes through unscathed but he is engaged by Gerlak and will find it difficult to disengage.

The damage boxes of the jacks tell the story. One jack is completely dead, the other untouched. The Vanquishers are on the bottom row. One has two hitpoints left but has lost both combat arms, the other has six hitpoints but his only remaining weapon is ranged and cannot be used in melee.

The Cryx assault has fallen short but not by much, the battered heavies will fall to any above average dice roll and there are enough enemies about to achieve this through sheer number of attacks. Only one jack is combat effective and things look dire.

Luckily, the objective has a special rule which allows one Vanquisher to be slightly repaired, the right-hand Vanquisher gains the use of his arms and smashes some Mechanithralls. It might be possible to recover this. The Bloodwitches are trapped, the Mechanithralls are too few to damage a heavy. Neither Gerlak or the Stalkers can stand up to the Reckoner if he can get another turn of attacks. I begin to smirk.

The Cryx player has to free up some assets, Gerlak successfully evades the Reckoner’s clumsy swing and attempts to finish off the Vanquisher engaging the Bloodwitches, letting them swarm all over the Harbinger. He fails, falling slightly short. The Stalker runs in to keep the Reckoner busy. I continue to smirk at his desperate efforts, which I find reminiscent of a rat caught in a trap.

My gloating may be a little premature. There’s a look of rekindled hope in the enemy’s eyes which suggests that he has a cunning plan. It must revolve around the last Stalker who has made his way behind my entire force. But there’s yet another choirboy blocking his path. Killing him would be easy but then the Harbinger will simply revive him. And she could easily do so seven or eight times.

But Lady-Boy is undaunted, he has seen his chance. The only option is to get the Blood Hag out of combat with the Vanquisher and into a position where her aura will prevent the offending choirboy from being healed. But even if he can sneak her across the front line, he will still have to find a way to fry the choirboy without using the Stalker.

The Cryx player delicately disengages the Blood Hag, while the Mechnithralls throw themselves out of Skarre’s path. With the Hag in position, Skarre manages to slip to just within range of the choirboy, kills one of her own troops for the magical juice and splatters the errant choirboy over the landscape.

This clears a path for the Stalker to the Harbinger and he charges in. The Stalker is designed to ignore magical defensive buffs, this is an optimal target and he chops up the Harbinger without any difficulty.

 Aftermath

High-risk, high-reward tactics on both sides. Skarre had a feat which would allow her troops to smash heavies easily, the Harbinger had a feat to slow the infantry. In both cases, you could argue that the feats were slightly mistimed.

The early game saw the Menoth player focusing on reducing the number of possible chargers. He knew that if two heavies could come through intact, he could win through attrition. The Cryx player focused on force preservation and pushing up on the flanks. With six distinct threats and only four opposing units, there was a strong chance of slipping an assassin through to the caster. The Harbinger’s feat was popped a turn too early. The only unit in charge range was crippled and the remainder of the army was happy to sit off for a turn. Had it been popped a turn later, fresh units would have been trapped under the guns.

The Cryx player’s feat turn was somewhat ragged as losses had begun to mount but he managed to deal enough damage to the heavies to stall any Menite push on the caster or a scenario victory. That said, he faced slow, certain defeat unless he could get to the caster promptly. It was not an easy task, both sides were heavily committed and key assets were trapped out of position. But he took his chances, unlocked the defence and managed a last-ditch attack while he still had suitable units left in his arsenal.

Irish Warmahordes Faction Rankings

While we wait for the Retcon/Moofool results to wind their way onto Ranking HQ, we briefly consider the newly founded Warmahorde rankings. To those weaned on Ranking HQ, this system is very different. The various factions and casters are ranked, no details on individual players are available. The Warmahordes players have consciously avoided a player-centred ranking system, largely based on their unease at its impact on Warhammer 40k and Fantasy tournament scene.

The system is very much in the teething stages with less than a handful of tournaments submitted. Each new event will cause some major shifts but, for now, let’s just examine the state of play. We disregard the Mercenary faction as they have yet to be played.

1st Place

The barbaric and backwards Trollbloods finish top of the faction rankings with a win ratio of 87.5%. Their casters all perform well. Prime Grissel leads them with a 3 for 3 record. Borka has the dubious honour of being the only Troll caster to lose a game, going 2 for 3. With a total of eight games played, they are the least used faction in this ranking period.

2nd Place

Lagging well behind the leaders, the twisted Legion of Everblight have a solid win ratio of 71.43%. Everblight’s draconian rage should be focused on Epic Lylyth and her shoddy 0 for 2 record. The blighted poster-children are Bethanye and Kallus, each on 3 for 3. Their position is impressive as they are joint fifth, with Skorne, in popularity. Fourteen games played in the period.

3rd Place

The righteous, just and godly Protectorate of Menoth have a respectable 60% win ratio. The perfectly rounded number reflects Menoth’s divine influence. That it is not 100% is clearly due to a lack of faith on the part of the Menite players. Thyra leads the congretion with a 2 for 2 record. The ever popular Prime Kroess is the shakiest caster on 2 for 4. They are still an uncommon faction, sixth favourite with ten games played.

Not On The Podium

Those desert rats, Skorne, are close behind on a win ratio of 57.14%. Rasheth and Epic Makeda are the two main casters with a combined record of 7 for 10. They find themselves tied with Legion as the fifth most popular faction, on fourteen games.

Poxy Druids, what have they ever done for us? They ruin the roads, block the drains,burn your schools and warp our cattle. For all their efforts, Circle has a 55.56% win ratio. Morvahna is, by far, the most popular choice running 3 for 5 in her games. A rare faction, joint seventh on nine games.

Those genocidal, sectarian fascists, Cygnar sit on a 47.62% win ratio. May it slump further. Epic Caine is their only strong performer, going 2 for 2. His struggles can’t compensate for Siege, who goes 2 for 7. Despite their reputation as under-powered in tournament play, they are the second most popular faction with 21 games played.

The humble and gentle animal faction, Minions, have a symetrical win ratio of 44.44%. Most of their casters are winning half their games with Sturm and Drang dragging the average down on 0 for 2. Another rarity, joint seventh in popularity on 9 games

The Retribution of Scyrah. They may be a doomed race but they’re determined to get a few hits in as they’re dragged towards the door. They’re just not hitting hard enough, a win ratio of 41.18%. Even their most popular caster, Rahn, is running 4 for 9. Another common choice, Ossyan is doing terribly on 0 for 4. Third in popularity with seventeen games played.

This is a surprise as Cryx is seen as one of the strongest factions. But they slump to a 34.78% win ratio. Some of the strongest casters, in theory, come in very low. Epic Skarre is 0 for 1, Epic Deneghra is 1 for 3. They can take some consolation from the fact that they are the most popular faction with 23 games played in total.

Regrettably, Khador appear to have replaced Cygnar as the whipping boys of the Iron Kingdom with a win ration of 26.67%. Strakhov fights bravely and manages to go 2 for 2. But some of the remaining casters are starting to look like traitors. Karchev, Prime Butcher, Prime Irusk, Prime Sorcha and Epic Sorcha have a combined record of 0 for 9. The fourth most popular faction with 15 games played.

For more detail on all casters and factions, the full rankings are available here.

Steamroller 2012: February (50 points)

Steamroller Sunday

This was the second tournament of the 2012 season and the first 50 point event run in the Irish calendar. All ten attendees enjoyed themselves but the turnout was a little poor.

I suspect that the higher points limit scared off some players. Players with large collections were most likely to play. But this also meant an abundance of veteran players which meant that there were few soft matchups available. Spare a thought for tournament virgin, Eoin, who found himself walking into a buzzsaw of a tournament.

Aiming for victory, I had gone with expanded versions of my Harbinger and High Exemplar Kreoss lists. Both have been quite solid in the past and as I was lacking in practice, I reverted to the lists I knew best. The extra fifteen points was used to convert the Harbie’s list into a true Heavy Jack force while Kreoss grabbed a hodge-podge band of mercenaries and an extra Vanquisher.

Harbinger
-Avatar
-Reckoner
-Vanquisher
-Vanquisher
Choir of Menoth (Max)
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Hierophant
Holy Zealots (Max)
Monolith Bearer
Knights Exemplar Seneschal

The Avatar performed extremely well across the tournament and the four heavies simply overwhelmed the opposition. The Knights Exemplar Seneschal only struck once but did so to great effect. The weak link in the list was the Zealots, they proved a little unsuited to most of my match-ups.

High Exemplar Kreoss
-Reckoner
-Vanquisher
-Vanquisher
Choir of Menoth (Max)
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Covenant of Menoth
Holy Zealots (Max)
Monolith Bearer
Daughters of the Flame
Madelyn Corbeau
Keil Bailoch
Eiryss, Mage Hunter

The Kreoss list might as well have been played at 35 points. Both in the tournament and my practice game, the original list did all the work while the additional points sat around waiting to be called into action. Madelyn was particularly poor as with Kroess safely tucked in behind his jacks, her ability could only be used to move him slightly left or right.

Game 1: Conor’s Cygnar (eHaley, Incoming)

With five Cygnar players in the mix, I was hoping to run into at least one. The fates provided. I’ve had long experience against their lists and I was confident of my chances. Kreoss tends to do horrible things to Cygnar and the game went on auto-pilot. The Daughters tied down the right flank, pinning a unit of Gun Mages and a Cyclone. On the left, Keil Bailoch got splattered by Gun Mage Adepts while I marched up the centre. The Zealots cut into the Sword Knights, the Lancer was fragged and before long Haley was forced into an assassination run.

It came close to succeeding as her Domination spell came up just short of my Reckoner, which might have been able to land a killing blow on my caster. She was now horribly exposed, a Vanquisher shot targeting one of my own zealots clipped Haley and finished her in a blaze of fire.

Game 2: Neil’s Retribution (Vyros, Demolition)

New opponent, new list. I admit that I’ve never run into a jack-heavy Retribution list. His ability to shoot through intervening models forced me to keep well back with the Harbinger. He spread out to cover the zones and objective. His lunge around the central objective brought him into range of my jack-line and managed to put a few points of damage on the Harbinger.

But that was the high point of his advance. The Avatar smashed home to demolish the damaged Manticore and Hydra. The Zealots, covered by the Harbinger’s feat began to eat through the Halberdiers. Despite racking up some scenario points, the Retribution were slowly ground away in a slow rolling advance towards the central objective, losing all of their jacks and most the Sentinels in a delaying action. Once my jacks finally arrived, the position was secure, I was down 2-0 on scenario points but only the round timing out could lose me the game.

With his entire army eliminated, the remaining jacks closed in on Vyros. He managed to smash one on the charge but then the others gathered to beat him down. Neil can console himself with the thought that he was the only player to kill any of my jacks through the three rounds of the tournament.

Game 3: Phil’s Cryx (Terminus, Incursion)

After two wins, I find myself in the final against a Terminus list. My last game against it ended in a bloody massacre but with four heavy jacks, I expected a little more time to get a feel for the list and hopefully win out. The disappearance of the left-hand flag left the battle focused on the centre and right. The unit of Zealots managed to contest the righthand objective for several turns but couldn’t hold out against a sustained press of enemy troops. The scenario points racked up on this front would eventually cost me the game.

The central front saw a swarm of Revenant Crewmen crash against a wall of jacks.  The heavies didn’t really suffer much damage with only Terminus really capable of threatening them. Two Seethers got smashed for no real gain. I put my efforts into eliminating the crew to give me a chance of killing Terminus. Terminus himself got locked down by the Gaze of Menoth and was forced into melee with the Avatar to try and extract himself. In hindsight, focusing on the crewmen was a major error as I learnt afterwards that Sacrifical Pawn does not negate melee hits. So a handful of solid assassination attempts were overlooked in favour of splattering piles of humble troopers. The Avatar passed up at least two chances to trample through the crew and smash Terminus into goo. Bugger.

Unfortunately, my loss dropped me all the way into fourth once strength of schedule was taken into account. Two finals, two losses. Next time, next time. I’m consoled by the fact that those Cygnarian heretics were slapped around like red-headed stepchildren. (Hi, Stryker)

Phil takes the win with Stu and Neil rounding out the top three. Congratulations to them all.

 In other news, Stu reclaims his position as Anto-kryptonite.

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.

Death by Deployment


Last time out, we discussed the idea of designing your army with waves in mind. Today, we’re going to look at some sample deployments. Bear in mind that both factions detailed here strongly favour the layered assault tactics previously mentioned. The Menoth list is the more defensive of the two, the Skorne list is more aggressive but they are equally matched on paper.

Above is the Menoth force and we immediately note that the Holy Zealots with the Monolith Bearer are the obvious first wave. However, the player (me) has made a major error in deploying his jacks. The extremely dangerous and expensive Avatar has been deployed in the first wave. The extremely cheap and less effective Crusader has been deployed in the second wave. There is no reason to risk a high-value piece when a cheaper alternative is available.

Note the artillery piece on the hill. The Sunburst can actually be considered part of the first wave. When it runs forward into a firing position, it will extend an 16″ kill zone into the enemy half of the board. This restricts movement on his right flank and in theory funnels his forces towards the waiting tarpit.

The support units have been placed behind the lines. There is a case to be made for starting them alongside the frontline. Doing so would keep them close enough to assist when units start charging away on Turn 2.

Note that when deploying initially, the player should have avoiding deploying in such a deep formation. But after his first turn of movement, he should have divided his force into a clear first and second wave.


Here is a stronger deployment by the Skorne player. The Praetorians are the first wave unit and well positioned to move across his army and screen them. Their speed will let them get ahead of the rest of army, even if the others were to run directly forward. The warbeasts and their support elements are centrally placed to allow them the largest amount of flexibility.

He also has an excellent flanking unit in the Totem Hunter assassin. The opposing army doesn’t seem to have any small or single model units which could be diverted to deal with it. The Cataphracts find themselves facing an artillery piece and will need to reconsider any advance.

Again, both armies have a similar ethos but the Skorne player’s deployment is slightly more refined. Note that when you focus on his combat elements alone, their deployment is considerably shallower than that of the opposing combat element. This translates directly into additional inches gained on the first advance and a stronger board position.

For those curious as to how the battle actually finished, the full photo-report can be found here.

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