A weekend or two after Dead of Winter, a clubmate struggled the 0.7 miles to my house and we threw a couple games down, along with quite a few beers. First game saw me messing with 1995 points of Abyssals, in what I’m pretty sure is my first game with the faction? I may hold on to the report for that game, due to loathesome proxies on my part. More importantly, I busted out Bloodfire after grabbing dinner and we threw down a second facesmasher of a match. Strap in.
Salamanders 1995 Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Greater Fire Elemental
Clan Lord – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Raptor Clan Lord – Torc of Dissonance, Raptor Mage-Priest – Crown of the Wizard King, Fireball (10), Surge (8), Host Shadowbeast (8) Battle Captain on Rhinosaur – Inspiring Talisman
Canny readers will notice that this is the Shadowbeast version of the last time I played Bloodfire, with the Torc on one Raptor Lord because it seems good to have around and you can pop it in the shooting phase while eating somebody’s face in the combat phase. I was pumped to give the list – and Host Shadowbeast – a shot.
Vampire Lord on Undead Dragon – Icy Breath (10), Surge (8), Lightning Bolt (4) Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Drain Life (4)
This is more or less his 2300 cut down because I asked him to make a 1995 😐 He’s really down on the dragon (I AGREE) but the vampires he’s churning out for the next version of the army aren’t done yet, 335 point sink it is. The Wraiths are the newest addition, which he’s loving. I’ve fought them plenty of times in other Undead armies and continue to be surprised at how just good they are!
We rolled up Raze, and I won and took first turn, because shambling.
The Revenants are demolished, thanks in large part to the GFE doing 7-8 damage on 8 attaks. While the Werewolves don’t take appreciable damage from the Raptor Lord, the Undead concede as the wolves can at best drop the Raptor Lord, and very likely get wrecked in Turn 7 by Fire Elementals no matter what they do. With 4 points to the Undead’s 1, that’s a convincing …
Though it felt a little bad styling on my clubmate so thoroughly, it’s always fun to slam Bloodfire into armies that also want to fight. I’m really enjoying the double Raptor Lords, and Shadowbeast, while not particularly game-breaking on Clan Lords (especially when you consider what the Mage-Priest costs!), is a lot of fun. Crown of the Wizard King is particularly wonderful on a short support caster whose best surge targets (Greater Fire Elementals) are taller than everything around her.
Last game of the tournament and I’m up against Justin, a real gent who’s had the same mixed bag of games that I have. He’s rocking a pure Mantic army that I think was designed to proxy as different armies, but might just be made from various Mantic kits that were available to pull together into one reptilian facebreaker of an army. Without further ado:
Salamanders 2100 Tyrants Horde – Brew of Sharpness, Effigy of Fire Tyrants Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar, Effigy of Fire Tyrants Horde – Boots of Striding, Effigy of Fire Rhinosaur Cavalry Regiment Rhinosaur Cavalry Regiment Ghekkotah Warriors Troop Ghekkotah Warriors Troop Greater Fire Elemental – Fireball (8) Greater Fire Elemental – Fireball (8)
Rakawas, The Pale Rider Mage-Priest – Sacred Horn, Surge (8), Veil of Shadows (3) Artakl
As a player of a facebreaker Salamander army, I can respect it. Tyrants with fixer items, both thicc and true chaff, double oh-so-satisfying Me3+ GFEs and a Priest to shove them into flanks, and two baller living legends. Apparently he had brought Veil to deal with all the Elves and kin in the meta, but had had the good fortune of not playing any shooting army until my crabs. (For the record, Twilight and Sylvan Kin had quickly stormed up the tables and had been scrumming up there with Jason’s Nightstalkers in the mix.)
Final scenario is good ol’ Dominate, and he goes first probably because I made him. Justin is a smart player and I doubt he’d miss the opportunity to leave my shooting out to dry for a turn.
BATTLE: GAME 5
Once all the roaring of the combat phase dies down, the Placoderms are dead but otherwise the crabs hold tight. The flanking GFE does 9(?) damage to the left Kraken, Rakawas chomps a hearty 6 into the ensnaring Centurion, and the cheeky Ghekkos do 2 to the Heartpiercers and waver them. Well played, tiny garbage lizards.
We came within 70 points on attrition as well, so just about a down the line draw. Which was a happy end to a smasher of a game – I gave Justin my bests sports, as he really was a gent and knew his rules super well (apart from Artakl’s duelist maybe). This was also a fine close to the tournament. Going 2-2-1 is absolutely cool in my book, playing a selection of armies is even better, with no repeats and just the one Elf. I did get dumpstered on paint yet again, which sucks when the army was a bear to paint and always gets such a good reception from other players, but I was given some pointers on adding pop to the army, which I’ve taken to heart and will be trying to do before the crabs roll out again … which might be sooner than you think 😉
I was pretty down on Trident Realm after the event, and had a good talk with another NE regular about the faction’s struggle to play the meta. As he put it, they’re a finesse army playing in a game that increasingly isn’t about finesse. Our hammers are the anvils of other armies, which totally checks out when you look at what Kraken are good at (spoiler: it isn’t really killing) and how my strongest hammer is a juiced up Water Elemental horde.
All the same, I enjoyed the bag of tools feel to the army, loved the Centurion with the trident, and continue to enjoy the scenario-minded shooting of the Heartpiercer regiments. Placoderms were fine, but they could really use anything else. Vicious would be great but I’d be happy with fury – I hear the Envoy has a fury aura?? Hmm …
Anyway, thanks for reading! I’ve got a couple more random facesmasher games to report on post-tournament, so stay tuned.
Sunday morning and I’m the least hungover I’ve ever been on the second day of a tournament, which is a good thing because I’ve got some work ahead of me. I’m matched up against Chris, a good player with a smart, aggressive army (and one of my favorites kicking around the Northeast – I’m a sucker for a Kings of Warmachine armies, even if his is sharing the bill with Warhammer minis :P) In my head I’ve already lost, but getting 6 points would be rad, maybe even a draw with some luck??
Basileans 2100 Elohi Horde – Brew of Strength Elohi Horde – Helm of the Drunken Ram Ogre Palace Guard Horde – Chalice of Wrath Ogre Palace Guard Horde – Dwarven Ale Men-at-Arms Spearmen Horde Gur Panthers Troop Gur Panthers Troop
High Paladin on Dragon – Aegis Fragment Samacris, Mother of Phoenixes – Fireball (8), Heal (5) Dictator – Iron Discipline, Lute of Insatiable Darkness
An anemic 10 drops but packed with some serious beef. Flying elite hammers are my kryptonite, especially in such volume, and he’s also rocking one of the other mega dragons of the game. Blessedly no longer fearless but demanding of respect to be sure.
Fourth scenario is Raze, which happily I was able to practice with my crabs before the tournament. He went first, either by choice or because I made him.
BATTLE: GAME 4
BASILEAN VICTORY (3-18)
Wheeeew, what a match. I was a little frustrated, as I tried so hard and came close to getting the 6-15 I had set out for, but looking back it’s pretty clear that I got my fair share of breaks when a significant part of his army was mired in my deployment zone for the entire game. Thinking about it, terrain was pretty important for me getting so little use out of my shooters, along with savvy target selection from him and poor counter assault setup by me. I’m impressed it was as much of a match as it was, tho it was certainly a joy to play Chris, a player I may never have played but seen out plenty.
End of day one and I’ve clubbed my way up to one of the higher tables, despite my expectations. I’m up against my clubmate Jason, who wasn’t signed up until his wife made him the night before. He’s rocking his Nightstalkers army from 2019, which coincidentally is possibly the last time he’s played. Nice.
Nightstalkers 2100 Fiends Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar Butchers Horde Butchers Horde Spectres Horde Phantoms Troop Phantoms Troop Terror Shadow-Hulk Planar Apparition – Icy Breath (8), Heal (7), Mind Fog (2) Mind-Screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6)
This is actually 10 points under and I can’t confirm that his Horror has bane chant, but it would make sense to take it. I know the Planar Apparition has icy breath, since he commented about giving it even more spells despite coming with some serious ones already. If somebody has an item, he didn’t put a slip out for it like he did for Maccwar’s, so I’m guessing there might be some forgettable 5 pointers he filled with? Anyway, check out that horde of Spectres! That apparently had been doing work despite being a junk unit he chose for unlock purposes.
Third scenario is Loot, with him going first either by choice or because I made him.
BATTLE: GAME 3
So close to a 6-15 if only the Eternal could ever pass that rout test and grab the Dread-Fiend’s loot! It was quite the game, where I felt weirdly in control and yet totally behind the eyeball the entire time. If I had to blame something, I’m content to blame my Nv dice, which were horrendous when I needed them to spike to keep my momentum up. Jason would go on to make an unexpected run for the top table.
Second game of the first day and I’m up against Bill, a new local player who picked up Kings of War late last year. He’s got a largely Mantic Abyssals army with a pair of enormous worms for his Fiends, which I’m 100% here for and look forward to wrassling with.
Forces of the Abyss 2100 Molochs Horde – Despoiler Champ, Sacrificial Imp, Blade of Slashing Abyssal Ghouls Horde Abyssal Ghouls Horde Abyssal Horsemen Regiment – Staying Stone Flamebearers Troop Flamebearers Troop Gargoyles Troop Abyssal Fiend Abyssal Fiend
Looks the business to me, although he wasn’t sold on Zaz’u’szu. I’ve only seen him used in batreps myself, but then Abyssals is one of those armies where I tend to just face them at tournaments. Maybe not any longer, welcome to the scene Bill!
Second scenario is Control, with me making the Abyssals go first, largely to mess with his Flamebearers.
BATTLE: GAME 2
Trident 7: I melt the last fragment of my clock thinking about where to put the central Kraken, in the end deciding to gamble on shooting the Warlock and getting +2 points rather than walking into the upper left for a sure +1 point and then possibly denying him a point. The Centurion does not drop the Warlock, however the Water Elemental horde sends Ba’el screaming back to the pit with my last seconds of clock, which is always a good feel. With 3 sectors to the Abyss’ 1, this is another …
I came close to getting an 18-3 on this and sort of gave it away on a gamble, but whatever, it was great to play Bill and I look forward to more games with him. His indecision with the Abyssal Horsemen early game was saved by hot waver dice keeping the right Kraken from rampaging his line, but then that Moloch rear was pretty catastrophic and let the Water Elementals decimate his hammers into the late game. Mad props on using Ba’el’s Curse all the same!
The last weekend of February 2022 was the inaugural Dead of Winter GT held by my club here in Albany, NY. By all accounts it was a thrilling success, and I certainly had a great time getting five solid games of Kings of War in while also being able to get some sleep Friday and Saturday night. Sure, I drank considerably less and played none of the usual board games with the lads, but life is full of tradeoffs. On to the tournament report!
Naiad Centurion – Trident of the Drowned Sea Depth Horror Eternal Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2) Naiad Envoy – War-Bow of Kaba
The crabs came out of hibernation, saw my old double Gigas rebased to double Placoderms, and I finally finished up my Centurion, giving him the shiny new shooting attak to help him in his mission to mess with every big flyer he could get his claw on. Didn’t have high hopes for my performance but great to see the tiny/huge lads together again. Somewhat unexpectedly, I was the only Trident player!
Elves 2100 Forest Shamblers Horde – Brew of Strength Stormwind Cavalry Regiment – Quicksilver Lancers, Potion of the Caterpillar Stormwind Cavalry Regiment – Helm of Confidence Palace Guard Regiment – Banner of Eternal Darkness Kindred Gladestalkers Regiment – Fire-Oil Kindred Gladestalkers Regiment Silverbreeze Cavalry Troop – Piercing Arrow Hunters of the Wild Troop – Blood of the Old King Hunters of the Wild Troop
Speaking of coming out of hibernation … I haven’t played Jim since Fantasy times, if ever, but I’ve seen him at the various events he runs in the Northeast. Certainly a welcome first opponent, even if Tydarion gave me pause. Now that is a dragon! The rest of the list seemed solid: meaningful shooting, solid fast hammers, handful of competent chaff pieces.
First scenario is Pillage, with the Elves going first, either because they wanted to or because I made them.
BATTLE: GAME 1
SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (15-6)
While the grind on this first game was very real, I was happy to take that over getting shot and lightning bolted more than I had to be. It was great to play Jim at last / after so long, and a nice way to be eased into Elves post-COK22. I really wish I could have dropped Tydarion, but I’m not going to complain too hard after neutering maybe the biggest dragon in the game for almost an entire game 😀