SCUTTLIN’ REALM 47: FREE DWARFS

The final match of Crossroads 2022 sees Cuddle Time rocketing up from the bottom tables to face The Other Canadian Team. Will the Cuddlers be able to finish strong and continue climbing the rankings, or will they find themselves consigned to the snuggle zone for another year?

ROUND FIVE: TEAM EAGER BEAVERS

  • Northern Alliance
  • Trident Realm
  • Free Dwarfs
  • Forces of Nature

Operating according to the plan, I put our Ogres into Trident Realm for the second time that day (SORRY DREW), gave our Ratkin the Forces of Nature and their air elementals (SORRY HUGGINS), the Riftforged faced Northern Alliance in a smashfest, and I ended up facing the Free Dwarfs.

Free Dwarfs 2300
Free Dwarf Rangers Regiment
Free Dwarf Rangers Regiment
*Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
*Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
*Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Ironclad Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Ironclad Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Ironclad Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Dwarf Lord on Large Beast – Blade of Slashing
Dwarf Lord on Large Beast – Mace of Crushing
*Free Dwarf Lord – Wings of Honeymaze, Lord’s Jewel [1]
Herneas the Hunter [1]
Free Dwarf Stone Priest – Bane Chant (2), Alchemist Curse [1] (3)
Dwarf Army Standard Bearer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness

Have I really never reported a Free Dwarfs game?? Is it possible I’ve never faced them??? Regardless, I have faced off against everything but the formation before (it gives the flying Lord scout and brutal, and the Shieldbreakers get nimble and brutal and must purchase scout), so it’s not entirely unknown. I appreciate how high drop and regiment heavy his list is, plus it’s all FMC which makes all those bodies standout. The dude himself was relatively new to Kings – this was his first tournament away from his home town events (Hamilton, ON I believe) – and super nice.

We played Control, which I played 3 out of 4 games, often by choice. I wouldn’t have told you this was the go to for my list, but it makes sense, with how relatively little movement is involved and how much effect 23″ scoot-n-shoot units can have from the central sections. He scouted and then went first, in one of the only instances where I would have taken it 😉

BATTLE

Battlelines! Also scouting phase!
Scouting flying heroes are really cool, cause if you get first turn you can … Oh no.

Free Dwarfs 1: The Dwarfs advance their non-scouting elements, including the dogs taking their place on the right. The real power move is obviously the Lord flying into the central Heartpiercers, booping them for 3 damage but more importantly a) turning off their shooting and b) trapping the other Heartpiercer unit behind them, which needed to move up to get into range and looks to be base to base with the booped unit. Ugh. The Coral Giant takes 2 damage from Herneas’ enormous crossbow and I think the Rangers back in the field.

Trident 1: The crabs are in no rush on the flanks, with the Kraken mostly rotating to menace some flanks in coming turns and/or project threat. Speaking of menace, the Coral Giant grimly rotates to help deal with the damn flying Lord next turn, which is easier thanks the trident Centurion landing 2 damage and grounding him. The two Heartpiercer units that can fire slam a respectable 5 damage into the first Ironclad regiment marching down the center of the board.

Free Dwarfs 2: The Lord stomps over to another Heartpiercer unit and bashes it for 2 damage, turning off its shooting and once again trapping that Heartpiercer unit behind it. Dammit. Herneas, the Rangers and the damaged Ironclad’s mastiff put the Coral Giant on 6 damage. Otherwise the Dwarfs continue to push the middle while redressing the right flank as my Sp 7+ threats scuttle closer.

Trident 2: I fight the urge to dive those Ironclad with the Coral Giant, instead sticking to the plan and charging the Dwarf Lord (with Hearpiercers counter-charging). Frustratingly the Lord only wavers on 10 damage, costing me another turn dealing with him. Available shooting shoves those Ironclad to 10 damage but they too refuse to break (or waver even). I’m content to waffle on the right flank as well while I figure out the center.

Free Dwarfs 3: The Dwarf battleline fully reforms as the Rangers step into place. Alchemist Curse from the Iron Priest, Herneas’ ballista, another Ironclad mastiff and possibly some Ranger shots put 8 damage on the left Kraken, which converts to a lucky 9-10 waver. Shooting is less effective against the right Kraken, where both Mastiff pack’s throwing mastiffs do 3ish damage.

Trident 3: Tired of waiting, I let rip on the right, sending the Water Elementals into the Ironclads in the woods and threading the Kraken into some Shieldbreakers. The brutal Centurion charges a Mastiff pack to hold it in place. While none of these combats break (Ironclads hold on 6, Shiledbreakers waver, Mastiffs hold on 3) I’m hopefully well positioned to grind for a couple turns. In the center, the Coral Giant finishes pounding the Dwarf Lord into the mud, and Heartpiercers see the damaged Ironclad off. The trident Centurion has a go at the left Dwarf Lord on Large Beast but De 6+ is too stronk.

Now we’re playing Kings!

Free Dwarfs 4: A lot of time goes into unpacking his options on the right, and we conclude that a) the Kraken cannot in fact be flanked by anything and b) the Kraken can’t corkscrew the Ironclad if the Shieldbreakers stay in its face. So: Rangers and Ironclad combo the Water Elementals (for 6 damage), and the brutal Centurion either takes 3 damage from the counter-charging Mastiffs or from two thrown mastiffs. If it was the former, then the mastiffs were probably tossed at the Kraken or the Placoderms but failed to do a wound. In the center, the Coral Giant holds his ground against the Free Dwarf shooting, sitting tight at 11 damage.

Trident 4: The sound of hungrily clacking claws can be heard as very large crabs plow into the Dwarfs. In the center, a Kraken rampages into some Ironclad as the Coral Giant smashes into their flank, while the trident Centurion holds off the DLOLB over there. On the right, the Water Elementals aim to finish off the other Ironclad and the Kraken prepares to brutalize the Shieldbreakers it had already softened up. The brutal Centurion meanwhile continues petting some dogs, brutally.

All four Heartpiercer regiments are finally allowed to shoot, and the rain of barbs puts 7 damage on the central Rangers and 1 on the regiment in the woods. In combat, all the Dwarf units rout, including the Mastiffs. The Water Elementals sidestep (CRAB. WALK.) to stay in front of the wood Rangers and the brutal Centurion overruns to try to help the right Kraken out, who is in quite a predicament with fighty Dwarfs to either flank. I end up overrunning with the big guy, which puts only a DLOLB in his flank and not Shieldbreakers as well. The slayer Centurion puts 1 damage on his DLOLB.

Free Dwarfs 5: With just a handful of minutes left on the clock, the Dwarfs swing for the fences. Both Dwarf Lords on Large Beasts charge Kraken, ensnared in the front on the left and happily in the flank on the right. Shieldbreakers double charge the brutal Centurion (one ensnared to the front, one clear in the flank and hoping for an overrun into the right Kraken’s other flank). And the Rangers in the wood take on the Water Elementals again (sitting on 6 damage), with the help of bane chant.

Dwarfs on Large Beasts vs Titanic Crabs

Herneas and his Rangers topple the Coral Giant with shooting, shortly before the rest of the Rangers hew down the Water Elemental horde. The Shieldbreakers only manage to waver the brutal Centurion, denying them their overrun into the right Kraken, which would certainly have helped as the right DLOLB only lands 3 damage out of 14 attaks on 3s and 2s. The DLOLB in the center does 2 damage to his Kraken. With that, the Free Dwarfs clock out.

Trident 5: With less than 5 minutes left, I send Heartpiercers into the bottom left section, claim the bottom right with Placoderms (I don’t bother swinging on the Mastiff pack in their face), and shoot the central Rangers off from the safety of the bottom center. The Kraken swing on the Large Beasts to little effect, but the US 1 of the central Kraken contests the DLOLB, meaning the Dwarfs only score the upper right with all three of their remaining regiments. At a score of 3 to 1, that’s a resounding …

TRIDENT VICTORY

It occurs to me that I might have charged the Dwarf ASB with my Kraken in the upper right, with an overrun that might have shot that Kraken into the upper center section, claiming it … but whatever, I was keeping it simple on account of time, burn out and already winning. My opponent was a pleasure to play and sounds like he learned some stuff from our game, which is always nice to hear. Hoping to see him at King Beyond the Wall next year, after missing it the last couple times.

Cuddle Time did well this round, I think winning 2-3 of our games. With a very solid Day 2 and a decent paint score, we actually ended up finishing 11th out of 20 teams! Which I’ll take any day. We also did quite well on Sports, I think getting second most sportsing? Awesome.

Ain’t kidding about that cuddling!

Big thanks to my fellow Cuddlers for another year of being cool and enjoying our race to the bottom. I’m especially proud that everybody but me painted brand new armies for the event! A fact I didn’t piece together until just now.


And thank you for reading! Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some reflection on playing Trident Realm for an entire tournament season, it’s certainly been an adventure but I could really use a break 🦀

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