Tuesday, 16 June 2020

#196: How do I tournament prep again?

Four months.

It's been four months since I've played a game of Age of Sigmar... 

But I'm very excited because this weekend, I'm playing my first event since CanCon! It's not a big event, maybe 12-16 players, but I'm really looking forward to it. It's also gonna be the first time I see a lot of my good friends face to face since all the madness started. But Queensland, (and Australia) is finally reopening to a fully functioning society again, and with that comes war-gaming, which is going to be a nice escape! 

So, the tournament. It's a 2000 point 3-game event, and I gotta be honest, I'm just looking forward to rolling dice and putting models on the board. Less worried about winning, and you'll see why in just a second. 

The stakes are low, and so I decided to take an appropriately low-powered army. Behold, upon their maiden voyage... Clan Moulder!

Now, before you say it, I'm well aware. Moulder is the second weakest clan in the entire book (yeah, you heard me... second.), but after blasting through 2500 points in a self inflicted speed painting challenge, I couldn't just put them on the shelf. So, I got out my buffer disc and prepared to polish this turd.   

The Fleshmeld Menagerie battalion seemed like a no-brainer place to start. It's decent, affordable and encompasses almost every Moulder unit in the army (beside Brood Horrors and Wolf Rats, both from Forge World), so I went about filling it. I started with four units of Giant Rats; one horde of forty and three cheap units of ten to act as objective grabbers or (far more likely) very gentle speed bumps to throw in the path of my foes. Battleline was sorted and I had 70 models already. Well, alright then.

I took the compulsary Master Moulder and unit of Packmasters to give my units some handy auras, and, well... I have to.

Next, I picked up a unit of eight Rat Ogors. This is a pretty hefty chunk of my army, costing me 400 points for eight bodies. And while they can probably mash their way through hordes and unsuspecting heroes, they're gonna have a real bad time against anything with staying power. Their biggest weakness, however, comes in the form of a complete lack of defensive abilities or mechanics. The only thing protecting them is a paltry 5+ save. 

This is offset, very slightly, by one rule; a command ability on the Master Moulder warscroll called "Unleash More-more Beasts!" which allows you to bring on a fresh unit on a 5+ after it's been destroyed. You can take a command trait that makes that dice roll a 4+ OR you can take the Fleshmeld Menagerie which gives you the same benefit without chewing up your valuable general slot. This is pretty much the only avenue I have to spend CP outside of battleshock and such, but if I'm bringing a unit back for free, I want it to be decent. 10 Giant rats is a bad return on investment. * Rat Ogors, though? 

Lastly for the battalion, I took two Hell Pit Abominations. Why two? Well, these things are 90% of the reason I painted an entire army, and I wanted to use them! They can be devastating. They can roll through just about anything. They can also roll double ones for movement and trip over one of their own surgically attached limbs. The random movement on HPA's is the Achilles' heel of the monster, because you know full well that when you need it to be somewhere, it's going to slow down to smell the roses. 

I like the idea of a 1:1 ratio of HPA's to Master Moulders for those bonus Prized Creations buffs. A passive re-roll 1's to hit in combat and D3 extra wounds at the start of the game is nothing to sniff at, and I wanted my horrific affronts to nature to be on the table as long as possible. So, a second Master Moulder joined the ranks, wearing the Rabid Crown for that tasty 13" re-roll To Wound aura. It's a shame, because the rest of the Moulder artefacts require you to be in the thick of the fight, which is not somewhere a Master Moulder is interested in being.  

This left one role to fill in my army. The general.

I knew it was going to be Masterclan, and while I think a Grey Seer on foot or on a Screaming Bell is probably a better option, Rule of Cool reigned supreme, and so the Warpgnaw Verminlord won out, rocking the Suspicious Stone. With a handful of spare points, I grabbed the Vermintide Endless spell too, as a cheeky little trick to throw out there.
So, there it is. It's not great, but this army and this event are not about being great for me. It's more of a celebration of the hobby, deploying an army that I think is cool, and seeing if I can't get a bit of a tune out of this broken guitar! 

I'm just enjoying the hobby for what it is at the moment. It's easy to get drawn into the competitive edge of the game, and break everything down into "best-in-role"s and "most effiencient"s. And while I truly enjoy pitting my army and my mind against the best of them, I also just wanted to ease back into gaming and remind myself why I play and why I love the hobby. It's easy to get so engaged with the rules that you forget the models and the themes. Are Moulder trash? Probably, but if I manage to jag a win this weekend, it will be the sweetest victory. 

Here's to not getting the wooden spoon. 

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

#195: CANCON Game 4 - Ironsunz Vs Undergut Mawtribes

Day Two of Cancon was going to kick of in style!

Matchups had been posted the night before, and I was squaring up to none other than Pat Nevan from Measured Gaming and Bush Radio fame. I was stoked. I love playing against people I've never played before, and the Measured boys are a blast. However...

In their most recent podcast, the prep show for CanCon, Pat himself had made it abundantly clear that one of his pet hates was when someone doesn't show up to the table with a printed off list. And guess what I'd given away the day before...

But all my worry was for naught, as he'd already checked out my list, as had I his, and he was pretty familiar with Ironjawz as well, so we were off to a cracking start.

Here's what I was up against.
Now. If I was going to do an Ogor army, this was pretty much going to be it. I rate Undergut, and I was interested to see what they could do! I was very concerned about the sheer volume of D6 damage cannonballs that were going to be flying about. D6 is always a gamble, and in a pinch you should always treat it as a 1 because that's what you're always gonna roll when you need it most, but at the same time, it takes one hot round of dice and you've punched barrel-sized holes in something important!

The scenario was Three Places of Arcane Power, so we had a diagonal deployment, and with no back field objectives and no crazy movement/teleport shenanigans coming my way, I deployed with the intent of ramming my whole army up the board at pace, into (and hopefully through) the teeth of the Ogor guns.
I deployed a little off the line with my Maw-Krusha as I knew he was public enemy #1 in this game, while my Shaman and 10 Ard Boys parked up in some very convenient Overgrown terrain. Pigs on each flank were a little less concerned about losing a body or two early, but I made sure the Chanters were safe and sound out of any potential range. 

Having outdropped Pat, I gave him first turn. This not only chewed up one of his shooting phases, offering him no real targets in range, but also set me up for a potential double turn...
My turn one was far from subtle! I rocketed across the board, buffing and Mighty Destroyer-ing both units of Pigs and the Maw-Krusha to some pretty stupid levels. All three slammed into the double layered screen of Gnoblars, and handed out some pretty generous serves of mortal wounds. The Realm of Life command ability meant that I took a handful of mortals in return, but that was a small price to pay to close the gap with the cannon battery. The right unit of pigs took one for the team and poured their attacks into the surviving Gnoblars, which cleared the way for the Krusha and the left hand unit of Pigs to pile into some more juicy targets.

The left unit of pigs managed to drag the Leadbelchers into combat, which was a big deal, as it prevented them from unleashing their guns on the Krusha, while my cabbage dragon ripped into one of the units of Ironguts. These guys had be concerned, as they have well and truly enough killing power to wipe out a Krusha, but as a trend we would see continue throughout the game, Pats dice betrayed him at every turn. While I only killed a couple of them, they swung back hard, hitting with almost everything. But the wound rolls and some truly stupid armour saves meant that my Krusha Boss took minimal damage.   
The double turn was not kind, as I was already deep into Pats army when I won the turn two priority roll. I was not cautious about spending more command points to pile in and attack with the Krusha, piling into the second unit of Ironguts and unleashing absolute fury upon them. The pigs on the left got a free MD pile in from my Ironfist Battalion and continued to batter the Leadbelchers, while the rest of my army moved up to lock down all the objectives.
I'd managed to box most of the Ogors into their deployment zone, but the fat boys weren't going down without a fight. In turn two, the Belchers fired point blank into the pigs and chipped off a couple of bodies. The Ironblasters, finally presented with a target worthy of a glorious death, lined up the Maw Krusha and pulled the trigger. Four cannon balls wounded. After my punch on with the Ironguts, I was left on seven wounds, so my boss was staring down the barrel of a killing blow. Somehow, he managed to scrape two saves, leaving 2D6 damage to be slapped on him.

On average, it should have been seven wounds.

It was two ones.

My Megaboss was left standing, battered and bruised on five wounds, having survived both units of Ironguts and a volley of cannonballs to the chest. 

The Tyrant, firm in the idea that if you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself, rumbled in and caved the Maw-Krusha's head in without a moments hesitation! 
Getting the double turn back on me, and having only his heroes and Ironblasters still alive, Pat went to work on crushing as many kill points as he could to get the secondaries. All three of his heroes started hacking into and chewing on my left-side Piggies, who were fresh off their fight with the Leadbelchers. I somehow managed to kill one of the Slaughtermasters, and survive with a single Gore-Grunta who decided it was probably a good time to make himself scarce. 

The other unit of Pigs had managed to pile in and kill as many cannons as they could. 

The game from this point was a swirling brawl around the Tyrant. I sent my Ard Boys in, with Violent Fury, and they made a mess of the Tyrant and the other Slaughtermaster. At the end of turn four we called the game. I'd had four full turns of holding all three objectives, and the bloody battle in Pat's deployment zone eventually went the way of the Orruks. 

This ended up being a pretty brutal game after the initial double turn proved so pivotal. Being able to clear the screens and get into the juicy elements of the army was a big deal, and the double turn just didn't allow for the Ogors to counter-attack, which I think would have been bloody. A fresh unit of Ironguts, and a full round of shooting with all the cannons still operational and out of combat would have been punishing. 

There were some moments where it looked like swinging back, but Pat's dice truly left him in this game. Ever Pat was an absolute gentleman to play, and I'd happily throw dice with him again. We had a good chat about Ogors afterward, as well as some chilled beverages in the carpark with the rest of the crew. I was stoked I got to play at least one of the Bendigo boys, and stoked to be sitting on 3-1 after four games. 

Check in soon for Game 5 against the other boogeyman army at the tournament, Ossiarch Bonereapers. More specifically, Petrifex Elite with Nagash! 

Cheers for reading

Monday, 9 March 2020

#194: CANCON Game 3 - Ironsunz Vs. Tzeentch Changehost

I'm not going to lie. The air up on the top tables was getting a little thin!

After two major wins, I'd managed to climb my way up into the upper bracket of the event, and I knew there were no easy games up there. And as luck would have it, I would hit one of the boogeyman armies of the event, a Tzeentch Changehost in all its pre-FAQ glory.

I was playing against James Page, who's one of the New Zealand lads who made the trip, and this was wildly unlucky for me.

For some backstory leading into the event, I was asked to play in the Tasman Cup the day before the event, which is a team vs. team match between New Zealand and some of the Australians from down south. This year, I ended up on the team, and as the matchup process unfolded, I found myself in a horrendous matchup, but in taking that match-up, it hopefully allowed other players on my team to land more favourable ones. That horrendous matchup was against none other than James Page.

This was my first time facing them, and I knew how mental some of the rules in that book are, but playing it on the table was another experience altogether. I did what I instinctively do when facing a ranged army, and that's to launch across the board at breakneck speed to punch on. However, I was met by a shooting and hero phase that could have set off a nuclear winter in the Realm of Fire. I took a 0-20 loss in one of the most overwhelmingly one-sided games I'd ever played!

So, when we met again in the main event, I had an idea of what to expect and where to change my course of action to avoid a repeat 0-20 crushing! 
Here's what I was staring down the barrel of. The Changehost is just too good not to take. All three endless spells were pretty devastating, and then a Fatemaster and Gaunt Summoner provided overlapping auras to hand out re-rolls and increase efficiency to the max.

The scenario was Blood and Glory, so I had to survive until Turn 3, then cap four objectives at once. It was a tough ask, but I wasn't about to go down without a fight. James outdropped me, and bunkered up in the centre of his deployment. I put one unit of five Ard Boys on my right hand objective, so as not to just hand it away to some cheeky Tzeentch teleports, while the rest of my army set up in my back left corner, making sure to zone out my backline. In hindsight, this was probably needless. Jame's army is built around moving as a single cohesive chunk. When units peel off or teleport, they're particularly vulnerable to being isolated and beat to death. Well... beat to death three times in the case of Horrors! 
James handed me first turn, and given that objectives weren't active until T3, and knowing how unrelenting the Tzeentch ranged game is, I didn't really make any big plays. I shuffled around a little bit, threw some Violent Furies out, and that was about it. The only significant movement was my Ironfist Boss unit of Piggies. My secondary objective was Plant the Flag, which required me to get a have a unit wholly within a terrain piece in my opponent's deployment zone at the end of any battle round. This was a no brainer in this scenario, as the daemons were controlling the table with magic and shooting, not bodies. So, my path to the back left corner was pretty unimpeded. If I could lock down that secondary, it meant that at worst, I'd be looking at an 18-2 loss. In this match, I knew I needed to scrape everything out of it that I could.

James' first turn was similarly unremarkable. With all of his ranged abilities out of range, he contented himself sitting in the bunker, casting spells into nowhere and racking up those summoning points!

I managed to win the priority roll going into turn two, and immediately handed it to James. This was best case scenario, as it meant that I essentially wasted another of his turns. Again, finding nothing valuable in range, his hero phase was spent generating yet more summoning points, but knowing that we were getting into the meaty part of the game, he began making moves.
Using one of his Changehost teleports, he launched a unit of Pink Horrors out of the bunker, and toward my right-hand objective. The Gaunt Summoner immediately popped his pocket-Horrors and replaced the unit in the bunker. The Boys were poorly deployed. I probably should have parked their asses wholly within terrain for the boost to their save, but my main priority in deployment was keeping as much distance between myself and the Daemons as possible. This did mean, however, that the Pinks teleported directly onto the objective, and that I was never going to get them back off. This was pre-FAQ Tzeentch, so even if I'd beaten the unholy snot out of them, they could have popped a Destiny Dice, and been fine regardless of horrific casualties.
The other teleport was used to slingshot a unit of Brimstones into the middle of the field, putting a healthy gap between the core of the Tzeentch force and my very angry greenskins. The Changeling leapt over the top of his screen as well to activate all of the negative To Hit auras, and a single unit of Flamers shuffled forward... and found themselves just in range. I'd shuffled up with my Krusha and found myself in a bit of a pickle. Buffed to the nines, the Flamers unleashed an torrent of infernal flames that utterly vaporised my cabbage dragon.

From memory, I think he took some minor damage from long-range spells, but the Flamers just buried him with zero resistance. This was a pretty big blow. Losing my only hammer unit that can fly meant that now I was slogging through each screen one by one, and not launching over the top to hit where I wanted. And I beat myself up about this a little bit, pushing him too far forward, but in reality, I think it was inevitable to a degree. James could have teleported the Flamers instead of the right-side Pinks, and gotten the same result. It was still turn two, and the Ard Boys posed no real threat at that stage.

As it were, the Krusha died a toasty death, while the Ard Boys suffered two casualties, but managed to survive.
Coming into the bottom of turn two, I saw a window, and I went for it. My Shaman, well outside of unbinding range, used Hand of Gork to pick up my ten-man unit of Ard Boys and drop them in James' back left corner. I had the opportunity to park up on his back corner objective, but two of the objectives were being held by near-unkillable Horror units, and I knew they would be sitting ducks in the face of some otherworldly missile fire. So, I shot for the stars and made a charge into the back of his bunker, catching his Herald and the Lord of Change in a combat they didn't want to be in.

This proved to not be as gloriously violent as I'd hoped. While I managed to mug the Herald eventually, the Lord of Change proved far more resilient than I'd imagined. At CanCon, games were set in the Realm of Life. Not only did this empower spells like Emerald Lifeswarm for some cheeky kill-split-return-Pinks shenanigans for the Horror units (who would increase well above starting size by taking a Pendulum or Daemonrift to the back, followed by a Lifeswarm), but it meant that every wizard knew all of the Realm-spells.

Notably, in this game, I don't think there was a single moment after turn one, where the Lord of Change didn't have Flesh To Stone cast on himself. This, combined with the -1 To Hit aura from Tzeentch heroes, completely blunted the Ard Boys' assault, and while it took some time, they were eventually blown apart by shooting and magic.

My Boss pigs on my left flank managed to shuffle into the terrain piece and lock in my secondary objective, which was something! And the surviving Ard Boys on my right objective ran for cover, getting into terrain and hopefully surviving a little longer.
On the frontline, my other unit of Pigs received some buffs and slammed into the Brimstone screen, smashing it apart, before piling in to the Changeling and friends. And it was about this moment of the game that I realised what a terrible position I was in. Thanks to the Changeling's ability, on top of the passive hero aura, meant that my Pigs couldn't hit the side of a barn. Sitting in combat, within 12" of the entire Tzeentch force was only ever going to end one way.

We were well into turn three now, I'd lost a huge chunk of my army, while in comparison, James had lost a unit of Brimstones and a Herald.
The rest of my game was spent holding on for dear life! The second unit of Pigs, having completed their secondary, charged into the end of a unit of Horrors on the left side of the table, but damaging that unit only resulted in more enemy bodies sitting on the objective. 

With the pressure off, the Tzeentchian force shifted gears, and began a search and destroy mission. 
Teleports and unrelenting shooting ended with my heroes and units dying one by one, and all four objectives falling to the hands of Tzeentch. The game ended and James took away an 18-2 win! 

Well. What a game.

I felt like there were some minor mistakes on my part, but I felt that I played a much better game than I had in Tasman Cup. But I will say this. James played an almost flawless game! He was all over his rules, he had his sequence of play down to an art, and he made clinical decisions in an instant. It was hard to pull off any cheeky plays against him, as he was coming off winning the New Zealand Masters with (you guessed it...) Orruk Warclans. He knew exactly what my army could do, and had an answer for it at every turn. 

That said, Tzeentch pre-FAQ was pretty obscene. 



Going into that game, I think we both knew how it was going to go, but I was determined to put up the biggest fight I could in a terrible match up. James went on to win the entire event! And I'm stoked I got to run at one of the NZ fellas! 

This game was the first "boogeyman" army I hit over the weekend, and it wouldn't be the last, but I was happy finishing Day 1 with two major wins, one major loss and two secondaries. 

Check in soon for my maiden run-in with Ogor Mawtribes! 

Thanks for reading,

Friday, 21 February 2020

#193: CANCON Game 2 - Ironsunz Vs. Idoneth Deepkin

Going into my second game of CanCon, sitting pretty on a big win against Sylvaneth, I found myself playing a fellow Queenslander, Jack! He was rocking the Idoneth Deepkin, so both armies were going to be battling it out in the activation wars.

Deepkin is an army I've faced a lot, playing against Luke McFadden's army, and so I was pretty relaxed going into this game. I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to do if I was going to pull out a win, and I knew exactly what could go horribly wrong if I played a sloppy game.

The Sylvaneth allies were a nice touch, giving Jack an avenue to drop a woods and start summoning Dryads. I knew I needed to shut this down, and either zone out the woods or kill those two characters before they could have a significant impact on objectives. 

The scenario was Startstrike, which is my worst nightmare against Deepkin. Typically, the first couple of turns are cagey, as both players see where the objectives land, and then turn three onward, all hell breaks loose. Unfortunately for me, turn three also happens to be a great time in the game for Idoneth...
We both had pretty defensive deployments. I was confident that he wasn't going to just frisbee his Eels across the table, but I was mildly concerned about the Morrsarr Guard in reserve sweeping on and blowing away a juicy target. I used my 10-man Ard Boy unit and my three foot heroes to make sure there were no windows in my back lines to creep on, while the 5-man Ard Boy units held down each flank, giving my army some breathing room against any surprise assaults from unexpected quarters.

Turn one was a bit of a non-event, with the only event of significance being the placement of the Wyldwood in the middle of the table, with a unit of Dryads emerging from deep within the trees. My Ard Boys on the flanks shuffled out of the deployment zone to push enemy reserves even further up the board, but there really wasn't any big plays. Both armies were biding their time. 
Jack won priority going into turn two, and handed it to me, setting himself up for a potential double turn going into High Tide. Fortune favours the bold, and in an attempt to force Jack to extend into the middle of the table, I managed to Hand of Gork the 10-man unit of Boys onto the freshly arrived objective that was left of centre in the middle of the board. Having 10 bodies, plenty of wounds and a decent save, the Ard Boys put pressure on the Deepkin to commit enough power and bodies to take that objective back as soon as possible, all while my Gruntas and Krusha looked on from easy charge distance. 
At the bottom of turn two, Jack's reserves ripped onto the left flank and slammed into the Ard Boy screen, deleting the entire unit with no damage in return and without having to use their zaps! If I lost priority going into turn three, my nearby pigs were in for a world of pain... Now that he had played his hand, however, I could relax my screens and start making more aggressive moves. 
In the middle of the board, Dryads and the Eidolon moved in to stack the objective with eleven models. Not content to let the gold be snatched away from them without a proper brawl, my Ard Boys made full use of the Ironsunz command ability from the Maw Krusha to make an out of sequence charge and launch themselves into the unsuspecting Dryads. The orruks started swinging and managed to deny the objective, chopping some limbs off but taking a few casualties in return. I was very careful to leave the Eidolon out of combat. I wanted no part of that! 
This is when disaster struck! My worst fear became reality when Jack won the double turn going into the third, and I braced myself for the coming onslaught! The Eidolon was gifted Mystic Shield, which added to his Ethereal Amulet in making him VERY hard to kill. Free from combat, he leapt over the top of my Ard Boys to try and block the avenue, isolating them from the rest of my army, but thankfully for me, failed a 5" charge with a re-roll. Lucky! The Thralls joined the fight on the centre objectives, adding their two-handed blades to the conflict, and adding another heap of bodies to the mix. 
The Morrsarr Guard, fresh from their kill of the Ard Boys, charged the rear of my Gore-Gruntas and wrapped up a Warchanter in the mix. The Megaboss on Maw-Krusha, not content to watch his orruk comrades be murdered, made another out of sequence charge and smashed into the flank of the Eels, wiping one out from impact hits. The zaps and the round of attacks from the Eels weren't nearly as impactful as either of us were expecting, and in return, the Gruntas and Maw-Krusha wiped the unit out completely! 

The brawl on the middle objective was not going my way. The Ard Boys were holding their own in a fight, but they'd lost control of the objective. 
Despite the success of repelling the Morrsarr assault on the left, things weren't so good on the right flank. The other unit of Morrsarr had also committed to combat and unleashed their full power upon the other unit of Gore-Gruntas, killing four outright and wounding a fifth. I chose to use a command point to keep them around, as I really couldn't afford to lose too many more bodies. 

At the end of Jack's turn three, things were a bit all over the shop. Both our home objectives had landed relatively central on the board (mine in the woods beside the Shaman, and Jack's behind his home Shipwreck by the Treelord. Even with it being High Tide, I needed to pull out something special to stay in this fight. I was losing bodies fast, and even though my Shaman was successfully shutting down the Dryad summons, there were still plenty of Aelves on the table! 
I wasted no time in formulating a couple of kunnin' plans! The first was to buff up the two surviving Gruntas from the right flank, and pluck them out of combat with a Hand of Gork. I dropped them deep in Jack's deployment, hoping to make my 8" charge (thanks to the Ironjawz +1" to charges) into the Tidecaster. If I could kill her (which two angry pig-riders shouldn't struggle too hard with on the charge), I'd have two pigs to one Treelord and snatch the objective!

But alas, my dice had other plans...  The charge failed and the kunnin' strategy wasn't as brutal as I would have liked.

Elsewhere on the table, however, pieces were in motion!
A plan was forming in my mind. A trick well known to Ironjawz players was about to be put into play. A trick that would completely bypass High Tide. In my hero phase, both my Gore-Gruntas and Megaboss on Maw-Krusha used their Mighty Destroyer (in the case of the Pigs, for free thanks to Ironfist) to charge the Eidolon. I completely forgot my impact hits, but that wasn't my priority. I had no intention of laying a finger on the Aspect of the Sea. I had other quarry. 
In my movement phase, both the pigs and the cabbage dragon retreated toward their actual targets. For the Gruntas, this was the Thralls that were currently giving my Ard Boys what for on the centre objective. For my Maw-Krusha, this was the Morrsarr Guard threatening my home objective and my Shaman. All I had to do was sit just outside of 3" of each of these units and wait for the perfect time to strike. 

Because both units had made a charge earlier in the phase, both were eligible to pile in and attack in the combat phase, so thanks to some cheeky hero phase charges and subsequent retreats, they could sit safely out of combat, bypassing the activation wars altogether (take THAT, High Tide!) and then pile in at their leisure to give some skulls a good ol' crumping. This is exactly what happened. 
The Gore-Gruntas made their presence felt, trampling Thralls beneath their trotters and reclaiming the objective by a hair. The Maw-Krusha wasn't playing games either...
He'd retreated over to the right flank, and with Violent Fury in full effect, and an extra attack from Strength From Victory, he butchered the entire unit of Eels in a single activation! My perfectly laid plan had paid off! And victory was in sight, but far from safe in my hands. 
By the dying light of turn five, there was not much left on the board! Turns four and five were spent trading individual bodies in two of the tightest turns of Warhammer I've ever played. Every movement was crucial, and every death costly. There were I had my home objective firmly held down with the right-hand screening unit of Boys that had spent the entire game running along to try and be relevant. But the two other objectives were changing hands at every opportunity. 

It was an absolute knife edge game of precision play from both myself and Jack in the end, but when the dust settled, the Ironjawz scraped the tightest of victories! 

This was an unbelievable game, and was unquestionably my favourite match of the weekend. Jack is an absolute champion and we were both playing an incredibly tight game from start to finish. He easily earned my primary favourite game vote. There were a couple of micro mistakes in each of our strategies, but I would have been perfectly content if I'd lost this game. It came down to single dice rolls multiple times throughout the game. The Eidolon failing his charge was a big tipping point, and my 'MD-retreat-pile in' move at the bottom of turn three saved me from complete obliteration!

Sitting on 38 out of 40 battle points after two games, I was headed for the top tables. But the air was getting pretty thin up there, and there are no easy games in the top bracket! 

Check in soon for Game Three! 


Saturday, 8 February 2020

#192: Wrath of the Everchosen Book Breakdown

Chaos, baby!

Anyone who's ever had a conversation with me remotely related to Warhammer will know what a Chaos fanboy I am. Aside from my Ironjawz, I've played Chaos almost exclusively for the duration of Age of Sigmar.

So, when a new supplement drops, jam packed with fresh new rules for all four gods and an undivided daemon force...

Yeah, I'm going to buy it.

Wrath of the Everchosen is a blanket expansion for Chaos. It has new sub-factions  for the big four gods and one for STD, as well as a specific army (battalions and all) just for Be'Lakor (everyone's favourite Daemon Prince). So I'm going to go through each allegiance, look at what's new, whats good and bad, and if this book is going to give you anything exciting. Let's start with Khorne.


  So, the trimmings were pretty light for Khorne in this book. There's one Mortal-focused and one Daemon-focused sub-faction.

The Flayed benefits (if we can call it that) mortals. The over-arching ability is that if a Flayed unit kills a hero or monster, they get +1 save for the rest of the battle. It's... ok. You get a command ability that hands out a +1 to Hit to a unit wholly within 12" in the combat phase that also must have charged that turn.The trait is a re-roll 1's aura for Priests attempting prayers, and the artefact you HAVE to take is +2 to charges. 

The artefact is nice, but the rest is disappointing. You're going to get a lot more mileage out of the benefits of Gore Pilgrims, which then frees up your sub faction for something useful.

The second sub-faction is The Baleful Lords, which is focused on one thing; running five Bloodthirsters. Rule of cool? Yes! Is it practical? Not really. Is it better than only running four Bloodthirsters in Reapers of Vengeance in a Tyrants battalion? 



Following the same pattern as Khorne, Tzeentch got a mortal and a daemon sub-faction. Neither are terrible, but both are overshadowed by the existing Battletome. The Unbound Flux is still trying to convince Tzeentch players that they should take combat artefacts in a shooting/magic army, but Maddening Cascade definitely builds into the right direction.

The Cult of a Thousand Eyes is focused on mortals, which are by far the weaker half of the Disciples of Tzeentch book, and while it has some perks, they're not nearly enough to convince me. 

Tzeentch sufferes the same problem as Khorne, where neither new sub-factions can compare to existing hosts like Eternal Conflag, Duplicitous Host, and so on. 


When you think of Slaanesh, do you think to yourself, "They need more support?". No? Well, they're getting it anyway! 

There's a new sub-(sub?)-faction for each of the Hosts. From what I can gather, you pick one of the three Hosts (Invaders, Pretenders, Godseekers), then have the option to go another layer in, and get more rules while getting locked into certain traits and artefacts. So if you're fielding a Godseeker Host, you can choose to give them the 'Scarlet Cavalcade Godseeker Host' keyword as well to open up new abilities. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's how I'm reading it. 

Let's go through these, then. 

The LURID HAZE is an expansion on Invaders. And it's not bad at all. Invaders is definitely the least common of the three hosts, and it's been handed some useful tools. The Oil of Exultation is the compulsary artefact that hands the bearer an extra wound, which means extra depravity and a marginally longer lifespan. 

The command trait is a passive 12" (wholly within) aura that lets you re-roll run rolls for friendly units, which is useful! The command ability is fantastic as well. You can add 1 to save rolls for one friendly unit in the combat phase! There's a limit to once per turn, so you can't spam this ability, but with all the "You Strike Last" locuses floating around, you can maximise returns on this ability for the units that will potentially be hit hardest. 

The biggest thing for Lurid Haze, however, is the ability to pick up D3 units AFTER deployment, and put them in reserve to come on a board edge 6" on and 9" from enemies. This is incredibly good, because you don't have to put units in reserve, and only have to make that decision after deployment is all said and done. This forces your opponent to spread thin and zone out without knowing if he or she is wasting all that effort and resources against units that aren't ambushing. The Invader Host definitely has some tools to play an interesting angle! 

Next, we have the FAULTLESS BLADES for Pretenders. Faultless Blades got some spicy rules. The main ability gifts Pretenders units +1 to hit Heroes if they charged that turn. Slingshotting your Keeper into some poor wizard just got even more excessive! The compulsary trait gives units wholly within 12" a 6" pile-in instead of only 3" (keeping in mind, you still need to be in combat, but a flying keeper can comfortably leap screens now!). The artefact gives one weapon +1 to wound against enemy heroes. 

You can see the duellist theme coming through, nice and strong...

Lastly, is the command ability, Armour of Arrogance. You can put it on a unit in the combat phase, and the first two wounds allocated to that unit are negated. That is fantastic! Again, it's very specific that this command ability can only be used once per turn, but plonk it on your buffed up Pretender Keeper and send her into the biggest, baddest unit in the enemy force and you're golden!

Godseekers landed the SCARLET CAVALCADE. This one is a bit of a mixed bag. The compulsary command trait and artefact give you 12" auras of Re-Roll Battleshock tests and +1 Bravery respectively. This seems a little counter-intuitive, as everything is already ridiculously high bravery. The main ability lets you roll a single charge roll for two units with 10 or more models and within 6" of each other. This seems weird as well, as there's no bonuses or benefits from this ability. If you fail the charge roll, you've failed it for both... There are lot of conditions for an ability that's good if it pays off, but if it doesn't, its going to hit you hard.

Then there's the command ability. You can throw it down on a friendly unit, and every successful save of a 6 by that unit bounces a mortal wound back at their enemy. Especially in a glass cannon army like Slaanesh, I really don't like abilities that require me to take bulk damage to get any mileage out of. Perhaps on a sacrificial hero that's looking to farm as much depravity as possible on the way out, but I think it's safe to say Godseekers got the least impressive set of new rules. 

All in all, Slaanesh has done pretty well. The new sub-factions won't be for everyone and won't work for every list, but there's definitely some play in Lurid Haze and Faultless Blades if people build into them. I don't think the world is ending here, though. Slaanesh have been the 'big bad' for a long time, but I honestly don't think these make things worse. You're giving up some very good artefacts and command traits to unlock them, and it's a price to pay.  


Nurgle are the real winners of this book. As the only Battletome that's still lacking any form of sub-factions, they have everything to gain and nothing to lose. They got four new factions, and it's a testament to internal balance between the four that I'm struggling to pick my favourite. 

The artefacts are all good. From +1 to hit enemies, -1 to hit the bearer, an extra wound or re-roll saves, they're all solid and practical. There are also no keyword restrictions on the artefacts. Doesn't matter if you're daemon or mortal, you can slap it on whoever you please. And with the recent discounts to Nurgle battalions, a second artefact is far more accessible. 

The two Daemon faction abilities let Daemons ignore a point of rend in combat, while the two mortal factions allow Rotbringer models to explode upon death, reliably handing out mortal wounds with their last breath. The Drowned Men leans hard into Pusgoyle Blightlords, giving them more reliable charges and increased potential for Rend (something that Nurgle lacks greatly!), while the Droning Guard gives Plague Drones a better Disgustingly Resilient save and a pre-game move! 

The beauty of these sub-factions is that not only are you gaining far more than you're losing, but they're very flexible. You can mix and match mortals, daemons, or in the case of units like Pusgoyles and Lord of Affliction, both, and reap some pretty great benefits. 

As you can probably tell at this point, I'm VERY excited about Nurgle. As soon as I opened this book, I've been formulating different builds that capitalise on the new bonuses offered by this book! I think Nurgle is the real winner in this book, if only because they started out with less. 


Slaves to Darkness also got another faction to go alongside Despoilers, Cabalists etc. And it's designed specifically for those players who love Varanguard, but specifically don't also love Archaon. This army represents the garrison at the Varanguard, and allows you to take Varanguard as your general and heroes. Again, its a Rule of Cool allegiance. Running Varanguard, complete with Varanguard command traits and artefacts is definitely unique! 


The Legion of Chaos Ascendant is a brand spanking new chaos allegiance that encompasses all Chaos Daemons. It harkens back to the old Fantasy days of mixing and matching different marked Daemons into one infernal collaboration of utter destruction. 

Naturally, with such flexibility, the army has opportunities to build some pretty interesting forces. The allegiance abilities give every Daemon a 6+ 'after-save', which is pretty decent. Then at the end of each of your movement phases, you roll 3D6 and if you roll ten or more, you can summon a free unit of infantry from the usual suspects (Horrors, Letters, Nettes and Bearers). It's a pretty reliable summon that your opponent can't really interact with, and if you take the obvious command trait, you only need a 9+ on the dice. 

You only get three artefacts and spells, but there are some gems in there. The Fourfold Blade is basically a Sword of Judgement Lite. Triggering in the same manner as the Sword, but on a 5+ and only doing D3 Mortal wounds, it's not too shabby at all. The spells are a bit unreliable. All three cast on a 7+, which is far less consistent than math would have you believe. And one spell is fantastic (re-roll hits and wounds), but only against DEATH models... Oh.

Again, much of this allegiance has to be read through narrative glasses. It fits perfectly into the story, but doesn't translate as flexibly onto the table. You have an immense amount of freedom when it comes to army construction, but that freedom comes at the price of the synergy that a god-specific army will offer.    

It wouldn't be an Undivided Daemon army without Be'Lakor. He gets his own faction, which is focused on the four infantry battleline choices of the gods. He can bounce damage onto nearby units, use his new command ability to resurrect slain models to those infantry units, and also unlocks a spell which is almost exactly the same as one of the generic Chaos Ascendant spells (pile in and attack when the model is slain), except that it can only affect Plaguebearers, Bloodletters, Pink Horrors and Daemonettes. 

The last piece to the Chaos Ascendant puzzle are the battalions. There is one for each god and encompasses a fair chunk of each army. For example, the Khorne battalion includes 2-3 Khorne Daemon Heroes and 8 BLOODLETTER (keyword) units (which includes Skull Cannons and Bloodcrushers). The other god ones follow suit, changing only their sacred number of troops. Nurgle needs 7 units of PLAGUEBEARER, for example. 

I'm torn on these battalions. They're actually not bad, but require a huge commitment of points, and deny you the variety offered by the army's broad roster of units. If they were available in the god-specific allegiances, they would offer some great one-drop builds, but the battalions require the Chaos Ascendant keywords, so they're limited to this specific allegiance. 

I'll be honest, though. I actually quite like the army. It opens up a huge collection of models under a single banner, and there is definitely some tech in there. 

So, in closing, what do I think of this book? 

I've got to say, I'm pleasantly surprised at the restraint in this book. Chaos Ascendant had the potential to be a bit ridiculous, and while I think there's a lot of strength in variety, I don't think it's as obscenely powerful as some were expecting. There is still plenty of incentive to play a god specific army, with the temptation to cherry pick units being offset by less synergy. 

Nurgle was definitely the winner in this book in my eyes. They've been spoilt, and have received a lot while sacrificing next to nothing. 

Slaanesh got some love, and it will be interesting to see whether players jump on the new sub-factions or would rather the freedom to choose artefacts and command traits. Things didn't get too stupid, and sacrifices need to be made to access the cool new stuff. 

Khorne and Tzeentch were on the lower end of the scale, receiving rules that are unlikely to see much table time in the face of other, more efficient alternatives. That's not to say that Khorne and Tzeentch (ESPECIALLY Tzeentch) are in a bad spot. They just didn't gain a lot from this particular release.

All in all, it seems like a solid, well rounded book with a little smattering for everyone. 

What I'm really looking forward to is diving into the absolute ton of lore that's the main focus of the book! The story is advancing, and with every book and novel that comes out, the Age of Sigmar universe (Multiverse? Realmiverse?) is being explored and fleshed out and I love it! The foundation of stories is being laid, upon which the future timeline will be built. I'm very excited! 

What do you think? Will you buy the book? If you already have, what do you think? Any standouts?

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, 6 February 2020

#191: CANCON Game 1 - Ironsunz Vs Sylvaneth

After what was a very sketchy and stressful 24 hours leading up to my flight to Canberra, with the Canberra airport closing because there was a bushfire literally over the fence, I'd finally made it. I'm not going to lie. In the weeks leading up to the event, I was a step away from cancelling my trip down altogether. The bushfire crisis in Australia was rampant at the time, and with air quality and smoke levels being at flat-out horrific levels, I was pretty concerned. I'm glad it didn't come to that, though!

As pure luck would have it, and I'm sure a lot of people were breathing a nervous sigh of relief, the weekend of CanCon was the one glimpse of perfect weather after weeks upon weeks of horrible conditions leading up to the event. Not to mention the horrific conditions after the weekend too.

So, I'd made it down, I could breathe relatively clean air, my army made the trip unscathed in my new KR Case, and I was ready to play.

I was fortunate enough to play in the Tasman Cup pre-event team game between Australia and New Zealand, but I'll touch on that in the event wrap up. For now, I want to focus on my very first game of CanCon 2020 against this absolute legend of a man!
Bruno won Best Sports at the Rune Axe Team Championship last year, so I knew I was gonna be in for a great Game 1! He was bringing the new Sylvaneth battletome, which I was yet to play. I'd flicked through the book, but we really don't have many Sylvaneth players in Brisbane, so practice games against them are hard to come by. But I was braced for the worst. 
The list was pretty well rounded, and I knew Durthu and that big block of Hunters could cause me some headaches. But my biggest concern was keeping his mobility under control!
The game kicked off to a good start, with my general parking his scrawny, green ass on Commanding Terrain in the middle of my deployment zone. My army will chew up as many command points as I can get my hands on, so increasing that CP income was excellent. 
The scenario was Border War, so I needed to lock down my home objective, secure the two in the middle as early as I could, and maybe (if I was aggressive enough) cap Bruno's for a massive lead. Sylvaneth can be hard to get to grips with, however, and the ability to summon in heaps of extra dryads was in the back of my mind. 

I had a pretty symmetrical deployment. My two units of five Ard Boys were lurking on each flank, ready to make a mad dash for the mid-table objectives. Pigs and Warchanters supported them on each side, while my Shaman and ten-man Ard Boy block got ready to bunker down on my objective. The Krusha made his intentions pretty clear from the start, getting ready to frisbee straight across the board and hit something. 

I managed to outdrop the tree people, and knowing how much havoc the Sylvaneth can cause in the first turn with an empty board, I took priority. The last thing I wanted was to fight my way into a forest to try and find an objective while some pissed off blueberry bush rips my face off.
I don't know why I didn't measure better, but I underestimated just how far away the Sylvaneth army was. I buffed the Megaboss and the left-hand unit of pigs up with Violent Fury, and Mighty Destroyer'd everything up!
In typical "of course they did" rolling, the buffed up pigs were no-where near angry enough to make a massive charge, while the Maw-Krusha and the other unit of pigs (with some help from a cheeky Warchanter Beat) made successful charges and slammed into the front lines! 

In a stroke of luck, I'd targeted the Krusha's roar at Durthu on the way in, and managed to chip enough wounds to bracket him, and drop his stats off their highest levels. This was a big deal, purely to avoid that flat-6 Damage sword that is so lethal when he is on his top bracket. I knew there were healing mechanics and such, but it was more pressure on the trees! 

Naturally, I attacked with the cabbage dragon first. What could go wrong? I put all of the warboss's attacks into a puny Branchwraith cowering in terrain, while all of my Krusha attacks, with their Rend 2 and Damage 4 went into the six-man Hunter unit. I'd only tagged the end of the Hunters and Bruno had elected to re-roll his saves in exchange for a dismal 1" pile-in, so I knew the big guy was pretty safe... 

As it turned out, instead of his brutal spear of brutal murdering, he'd packed his pool noodle. A single attack made it through on the Branchwraith, leaving her alive on two wounds. Well, there goes Smashin' and Bashin'... But it's ok, I'll still dent the big unit, kill at least one model and trigger Strength From Victory. Five attacks from the Krusha wounded. Sitting on a 6+ re-rollable save, the Hunters, against all odds, popped four sixes from five dice. My amped up death machine managed to inflict a total of seven wounds for zero models removed. 

I may have made a terrible mistake. 

Fortunately, the unbuffed piggies at his side were angry enough to compensate for the Megaboss' shortcomings. Between their impact hits, spears and tusks, and a little help from the Maw-Krusha's charge damage, they managed to trample two units of Tree-Revenants and a unit of ten Dryads! This was a crushing blow for the Sylvaneth, as it removed twenty bodies from the board with no trade, and also netted me my Secondary Objective, which was to kill three enemy units in a single turn. I'd managed to box in and lock down a big chunk of Bruno's army, and I'd spent CP on a bad run roll to make sure the five-man Ard Boy gangs made the middle objectives, so I was happy with how Turn 1 was shaping up! 
My opponent knew the counter-punch had to be swift and firm. The early turns of the game were absolute mayhem! The first order of business was making sure that the Maw-Krusha ended up dead. Realising how precarious the situation was for his home objective, Bruno threw another unit of Dryads into the combat, hoping to pile in and help out in combat, to swing the numbers game in the forest folks' favour. 
The central combat was swirling, and while the Gruntas only lost one of their number to the Dryads, the Maw Krusha was losing the attrition war faster than I would have liked. He managed to smash up some Kurnoth Hunters, and Durthu withheld his considerable power from the conflict for the moment, which was a blessing. But I knew his time in the sun was fast coming to an end.

The Kurnoth archers made sure he headbutted a few arrows, before the Scythe Hunters fully piled in, forfeiting their re-rolls for saves in order to inflict maximum damage! As tenacious as the Maw-Krusha was, and requiring a Sylvaneth double turn into two, he simply couldn't withstand that kind of punishment, and went down hard. That opposing objective was going to be a tough one to claim from the almost full-strength Kurnoth unit.
Taking full advantage of the double turn, Bruno started making some big plays for objectives.
The Gruntas that had found themselves isolated until now, received a charge from both units of Kurnoth Bowmen. This wasn't the worst thing in the world, as it meant my piggies were punching on, but they'd been caught off the charge, and so missed out on all their handy bonuses. The one saving grace was that they still had their Violent Fury buff up, so they were still ready for a good old fashioned brawl. The left hand objective was under some serious threat, however... I was going to have to throw something at those Dryads ASAP!
On the right hand objective, the unassuming Branchwych had put her perfectly laid plan into motion! She hurled down the Acorn of Ages, before summoning a fresh unit of Dryads. The Spirit of Durthu also stepped through the magical forests to materialise on my flank, confident that his Kurnoth companions could handle themselves after slaying the Maw- Krusha. Both units made their charges, and slammed into the unit of five Ard Boys, who were just minding their own business on an objective. 

Through some absolute miracle, two Boys managed to survive Durthu's onslaught to take swings at the Dryads. I needed bodies dead, and as tempting as it was to start swinging at the already-slightly-damaged Durthu, he wasn't what would hold the objective for the scions of Alarielle. I managed to kill a couple, but the Dryads finished off the two remaining Boys, and claimed the objective. 
When my turn came back around, the Grunta's who had charged in with the Krusha suddenly found themselves with no-one to fight. Rather than brawl with the Scythe Hunters unsupported on the other side of the board, they used their Ironfist Mighty Destroyer move to bring themselves back into range of the Warchanter (who also had to Mighty Destroyer to get into range). He put Violent Fury on then and away they went! Barrelling into Durthu and the Dryads, they obliterated both units in a terrifying display of raw power. The Warchanter charged in as well, more so to get another body on the objective than to contribute his martial prowess, but he was left with nothing to swing at after the pigs were done! 
The left objective was starting to swing in my favour, too! The Gruntas were stuck in a slow, grinding attrition war with the Kurnoth Hunters, but I was sloooowly clawing ahead. My Warchanter tried to heal one of the pigs, but to no avail. His Violent Fury was this time bestowed upon the five Ard Boys, who had a singular focus this turn. Kill those Dryads! And kill they did!  

Bruno was losing bodies faster than he could summon them, and I'd managed to keep pressure on by spending a truly immense number of Command Points! But he had one more wild late-game play in his back pocket.
His Branchwych, who had spent the game avoiding all forms of negative attention from the Orruks, managed to drop another woods in my territory, and out popped the three bow-hunters. They took some pot shots at my Ard Boys, but just missed out on that 9" charge to take the fight to on top of my objective. A few Dryads that had helped out with the death of the Maw-Krusha made a run down the middle of the board, but were intercepted by  unit of Gruntas' out of sequence Ironsunz Charge. Fresh of their kill of Durthu, the pigs made short work of four Dryads. 

In the dying moments of the game, the other unit of Gore-Gruntas, having killed one unit of Kurnoth Bowmen and the other teleporting away, lined up the now-very exposed Arch-Revenant, and ran him down! 

In the end, the Scythe Hunters held down the enemy objective, and the Bow Hunters near my objective were left isolated. I'd managed to rack up a pretty healthy lead on the scoreboard and landeded a 20-0 win! Off to a strong start!

I had a blast playing against Bruno. He went on to win Best Sport at CanCon, and rightly so. He got my primary vote! I think outdropping the Sylvaneth and slingshotting across the board in the first turn was crucial to victory. I was able to get to grips with the opposition before movement, forests and magic mayhem got too out of control. 

The Orruks were able to take a strong stance early, and catch the tree-people on the back foot, and I was happy with how the army performed overall. The Ironsunz offer the tools to keep a huge chunk of your fighting force in combat almost all game through one form or another, meaning I was able to maximise that combat damage and land the win! 

Sitting pretty in the top bracket, my round two had the potential to be as manic as the first round match ups. In a pool so big, it's impossible to predict what you're going to hit. And I ended up going into Round 2 against Jack Solomons and his Idoneth Deepkin!

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Thanks for reading.