THE HALLOW 20: ABYSSALS

One last practice game for the Dead of Winter GT this weekend, and I’m up against Bill, our local Abyssals player. He threatened to bring his lightning hell, max Flamebearers list but decided to try out a less skewed army …

Forces of the Abyss 2150

Molochs Horde – Despoiler Champ; Blessing of the Gods
Molochs Horde – Despoiler Champ; Boots of Striding
Tortured Souls Horde
Tortured Souls Regiment
Tortured Souls Regiment
Flamebearers Regiment
Flamebearers Regiment
Gargoyles Troop
Chroneas
Abyssal Fiend
Seductress – Gnome-Glass Shield
Abyssal Warlock – Veil of Shadows (3)
Zaz’u’szu the Betrayer [1] – Bane Chant (2-6), Lightning Bolt (4-8)
13 (22)

Bill has found himself in the same place I did when messing with Abyssals: Where the hammers at? He’s not an Abyssal Horsemen fan (Nv too low), and while he usually runs triple Molochs, 2150 points was too tight for all three of his hordes. Hence the Tortured Souls horde is here to see what it can do. There are 5-10 missing points in this list (depending on if it’s Veil 2 or 3), and I kind of think the TS horde might have had something? But it never came up, much like the Veil ๐Ÿ˜‰

Herd 2150

Lycan Horde – Brew of Strength
Guardian Brute Horde
Guardian Brute Horde
Minotaur Chariot Regiment – The Stampede [1]
Tribal Warrior Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Tribal Warrior Regiment
Tribal Warrior Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Lycan Alpha
Great Chieftain – Horn of the Great Migration [1]
Centaur Chieftain
Druid – Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
13 (24)

This game I was testing out one more tweak, dropping the Druid’s reroll staff (which hasn’t worked in ages) and the Centaur Chief’s reroll sword for the horn of dread and WC (+1) on the Great Chieftain. The dread has some skornergy with the Brutes’ brutal, but I look forward to having it and the +1″ when facing other Sp 6 combat units. 19″ charges with the Lycans seems legit too. I’ve never run dread before either so that’s a cool thing to check off.

We played Push, using the tournament tweak that you can’t put more than two tokens in one unit. I made the Abyssals go first because 18″ shooting wants only one thing and it’s disgusting.

BATTLE

Battlelines! Abyssals (left to right): Tortured Souls in front of elite Molochs, Chroneas in front of Abyssal Fiend with Seductress, Flamebearers (1 token), Abyssal Warlock (1 token), Flamebearers (1 token) in front of Gargoyles, Zaz’u’szu, Tortured Souls in front of strider Molochs, Tortured Souls horde.

Herd (left to right): Lycan horde, Centaur Chief, Tribal Warriors regiment, Centaur Striders in front of Brutes and Great Chieftain, Tribal Warriors horde (1 token) in front of Druid, Centaur Striders in front of Brutes, Lycan Alpha, Tribal Warriors regiment (2 tokens), the Stampede.

Abyssals 1: The flanks of the demonic castle roll forward, with the Abyssal firebase holding firm. I swear, I fight two Flamebearer regiments with a Warlock sandwiched between them standing in cover every time I face the Abyss ๐Ÿ˜›

Zaz’u’s lightning does a single damage to the right Centaurs but wavers them! This is actually kind of terrible for me, well played Bill. (Zaz’u always chooses the Gargoyles as his betrayal target, and they’re always regening as a result. I probably won’t mention this again.)

Herd 1: The Hallow more or less surges forward. Lycan and Centaur Chief prepare a trap on the left, should the Abyss engage early, while the Stampede and Lycan Alpha get within max range of the Tortured Souls horde, protecting their Tribal Warriors carting two tokens. In the center, I actually wanted to shove into the woods to flood the Abyssal shooting bunker with targets, but the Tortured Souls on the right are threatening flanks on the Tribal Warriors horde and right Brutes, so I had to be unfortunately conservative. The Brutes prepared to be lit up. (Also the Druid cleans up the damage on the Centaurs.)

Abyssals 2: The only movement from the Abyss is the Tortured Souls horde disappearing behind the hill and the regiment sidestepping for reasons. Cue the firestorm.

Blessedly, the Brutes take a mere 6 damage and hold firm. Wheeeeew.

Herd 2: The first wave of green vengeance crashes into the Abyssal lines! Tribal Warriors and Centaurs charge the left Tortured Souls regiment, with Great Chieftain’s dread bubble in support, and the smoldering Brutes on the right charge the other Tortured Souls regiment. I figure they’re as good as dead so may as well pressurize those hammers hiding behind the hill. I punch up the center with the next wave of heavy hitters, luxuriating in the woods (and grabbing the center token with the Tribal Warriors horde), while the Lycan and Centaur Chief buddy nimble around the house to be a problem in coming turns. On the right, the Stampede moves within the Moloch’s charge range, assuming that they won’t be able to engage out of fear of the Brutes or not without the Tortured Souls horde moving somewhere it can’t do anything or doesn’t want to be.

Both Tortured Souls regiments are cast back to the pit from whence they came. The Brutes turn to face the Abyssal hammers, disrespecting the hindered Flamebearers entirely … and not seeing the Gargoyle flank, tho I would have dismissed that as well, such is my hubris.

Abyssals 3: The Abyss strikes back across the board. Molochs charge the Centaurs on the left and the Stampede on the right, the latter possible because the Tortured Souls horde indeed backs up and sits this turn out too. Canny play, Bill. The Chroneas and Abyssal Fiend plow into the Tribal Warriors horde in the forest, hindering the Fiend but not the striding Chroneas. The damaged Brutes are indeed flanked by the Gargoyles (with Zaz’u in the front), shortly before the Seductress flies over to menace the Druid next turn. The Abyssal fire base targets the poor Centaurs out in the open.

Cloak of Deaaaaaaath!

Those Centaur Striders who were wavered first turn and vaporized this turn. RIP. In combat, the Molochs decimate the Centaurs on the left, and waver the Stampede on the right (on a rock solid 10 damage). The Brutes are surprisingly driven off by the Gargoyles, with no help from Zaz’u who contributed no damage. Finally, the Abyssal titans stomp 7 damage into the Tribal Warriors horde but they’re fine.

Shot from the left showing the Lycan horde and handler lurking around the house.

Herd 3: Gentle readers, you know I’m down to grind, and so we do. Tribal Warriors and Brutes tackle the left Molochs, but not before the Tribal Warriors horde counters the Chroneas (limiting their slide). The Great Chieftain flanks the Chroneas as well. On the right, the Stampede fury counters the other Molochs, with flanking support from the Lycan Alpha. We discuss whether the Tribal Warriors can fight the Molochs too, but I decide that you can’t multi-charge if one of the chargers can’t actually Charge (in the Stampede’s case). Outside of charging, the Lycan and Centaur Chief move into position to assault the Flamebearers, and the Druid prepares to bane chant one last time before the Seductress does unspeakably sexy things to her.

Thankfully the BC goes off! And the Chroneas is blended, as are the left Molochs. The Stampede and Lycan Alpha likewise tag team the other Molochs to death. Bill is surprised at how easily the Molochs fall – I’m not ๐Ÿ˜ค

Abyssals 4: The Forces of the Abyss are feeling a little light on the ground but there’s a lot of firepower and speed left. The Abyssal Fiend charges (hindered) the Tribal Warrior horde again, as the Seductress trips over some roots and (hindered) charges the Druid tending to them. The Abyssal fire base mobilizes, lining up some shots before the Hallow mobs them all. In a surprise move, the hero Gargoyles charge the two token Tribal Warrior regiment, giving me a concern! And Zaz’u and the Tortured Souls horde declare their relevance.

Firebolts and lightning put the Brutes on 7 damage, the Lycan Alpha on 3, and the Stampede on 13, wavering ๐Ÿ˜ฆ In combat, the Abyssal Fiend rolls around on the Tribal Warriors horde, putting them to 10 damage, the Seductress bad touches the Druid for 6 damage (she wavers), and the Gargoyles do 2 to the Tribal Warriors regiment.

Herd 4: Time to seal some deals and pack this game away, because I have some concerns about the right with the Stampede so mangled. The Lycan make contact at least, flanking some Flamebearers over a wall with Tribal Warrior friends. The Brutes flank the Abyssal Fiend for maximum carnage, with Tribal Warriors horde in the front. On the right, the Tribal Warrior regiment counters the Gargoyles and the Lycan Alpha chooses to shut down Zaz’u’s lightning. She had a lot of options: flanking the Abyssal Warlock in the center, shutting down the Flamebearers, grounding the Tortured Souls. Honestly she should have gone with the last option, but that’s a bit of hindsight speaking. I figured Zaz’u’s lightning could reach out and mess with my damaged token carriers worse.

*murder sounds* Many demons are smote, and Zaz’u takes 3 damage. (The Stampede turned in place between shots.)

Abyssals 5: It’s feeling like last gasps but Bill is playing for some serious points on the right. The Warlock charges the Brutes to hold them and/or kill them (7 damage so far), and the Seductress hits the Druid again to end her. Zaz’u counters the Lycan Alpha because, but the real move is the Tortured Souls horde jumping into the token-bearing Tribal Warriors.

Flamebearers toss firebolts into the Stampede but luckily can’t land a wound on 5+ / 4+ dice. In combat, the Druid submits under the Seductress’ heavy petting and the Tortured Souls mangle the Tribal Warriors, taking their tokens. Zaz’u and the Warlock do nothing but sure are in the way.

Herd 5: Blenders can be heard revving up as the Warlock is Bruted and the Flamebearers have 79 quality attaks leveled at their frail red bodies. The Stampede plows into the Tortured Souls horde and the Lycan Alpha shrugs and hits Zaz’u again (who has regened down to 1 damage). The Great Chieftain aims to sit the Seductress down, if not kill her.

The center of the board is almost entirely cleared of Abyssal taint. Zaz’u goes to 4 damage but sticks around. The Stampede does a solid 7 damage to the Tortured Souls but it’s not enough. And the Great Chieftain finds -1 to hit and De 6+ far too hard to crack, leaving the Seductress mobile and her Gnome-Glass Shield intact.

Abyssals 6: If Zaz’u isn’t wavered, he counters the Lycan Alpha? And the Seductress counters the Great Chieftain. The only actual business however is the Tortured Souls ending the Stampede.

Which they do, turning to face whatever the Hallow has for them. The Great Chieftain cops some damage too.

Herd 6: Try as I might, the Lycan horde can’t fit on the Tortured Souls, so it rear charges Zaz’u for murdery reasons, with the Lycan Alpha in the front. The Brutes join the Great Chieftain in trying to rid the world of the Seductress.

Zaz’u is detonated, and I think the Seductress may have been dragged down? The ensnare is killing me ๐Ÿ˜… But with no Turn 7 and 5 tokens to the Abyssal’s 2, this is a convincing …

HALLOW VICTORY

I think it’s funny that the unit both Bill and I were bagging on all game, the Tortured Souls horde, was the power player that kept the Abyssals in the game, even securing them serious points – we’re using Blackjack at the GT, so 2 of 7 tokens is pretty meaningful for a minor loss. I do think they need any item, and my suggestion was the discounted Wine of Elvenkind. Their mobility is one of their few upsides, so what if even more mobile? With Helm of TC +1 as a back up.

While the Horn of the Great Migration wasn’t mindblowing, I ended up keeping it for my tournament list as a tech choice. Speaking of the GT, I’ll be back in the next week or so with the full rundown, so stay tuned. They’ve already announced our first round matchups, and I’m happy to announce my first game sees the return of a familiar face and his green horde …

THE HALLOW 19: OGRES

The tournament prep continued with a match versus Ogres, this time my club mate Drew’s really excellent Gnoll Ogres (Gnollgres). 3D prints from a variety of sources lovingly covered in hyena spots for ultimate sanity destruction. The dude has earned all the painting awards he wins with this army ๐Ÿซก

Ogres 2150

Siege Breakers Horde – Helm of the Drunken Ram
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Boomers Horde – Fire-Oil
Warrior Chariots Regiment – Boots of Striding
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (2+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)
Berserker Bully
12 (23)

I swear, you’d have no idea Ogres were nerfed looking at this list. Loads of hammers with perfect items, the thickest of chaff, amazing mobile-scoring-inspiring shooting. The Helm is a fun throw back to when Siege Breakers had CS2 + TC1 naturally. I guess the double drain life is a more unique twist? But one I’m in favor of, Siege Breakers can and will grind out a loss to a win, so keeping them alive is never a bad idea. He dropped two other troops of Scouts to go from 2300 to 2150, picking up some upgrades in the process.

Herd 2150

Lycan Horde โ€“ Brew of Strength
Guardian Brute Horde
Guardian Brute Horde
Minotaur Chariot Regiment โ€“ The Stampede [1]
Tribal Warrior Horde โ€“ Brew of Sharpness
Tribal Warrior Regiment
Tribal Warrior Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Lycan Alpha
Centaur Chief โ€“ Blade of Slashing
Druid โ€“ Conjurerโ€™s Staff; Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Great Chieftain
13 (24)

Same list as when I dunked the Empire of Dust last game! Not feeling super hot about my chances but I do need to pressure test into Ogres so here goes.

We decided to play Raze, with the Ogres going first for one reason or another.

BATTLE

Battlelines! Ogres (left to right): Scouts, Bully, Braves, Nomagarok, fury Siege Breakers, Warlock, Hunters in the wood, Chariots, Braves in front of Boomers, Warlock, thunderous Siege Breakers. Herd (left to right): Centaurs, Lycan deployed back, Centaurs, Great Chieftain, Tribal Warriors regiment, Brutes, Druid, Tribal Warriors horde, Stampede, Lycan Alpha, Tribal Warriors regiment, Centaur Chief, Brutes.

Ogres 1: Roll out! Noms and his Warlocks call down a bunch of lightning as well, with mixed results.

Gnollgres looking dummy good.
Gently scorched vegetables.

Herd 1: I go deep into my metaphorical clock already, in large part because I don’t want to broach the center wood but can’t see much of anything thanks to its large size. The Hunters and the Chariots both have some serious range on me, with their 16″ outstripping my Brutes and Tribal Warriors horde but not necessarily my Stampede’s 17″ threat or Lycan Alpha’s 18″ nimble square. Ultimately, I pull back Centaurs on the left, pushing up the more central ones as bait or to cause a problem next turn, with Lycans in wait and Tribal Warrior reg as another layer of chaff. Centrally I vacate the woods and pressure just a bit with the Stampedes on the Chariots, with Alpha ready to go center or right.

On the right, I shove Tribal Warriors up to bait the thunderous Siege Breakers, which the Brutes very much would like to murder in response. The Druid heals up the Tribal Warrior horde and that’s that.

Ogres 2: The Gnolls play it extremely cagey, with only the left flank chaff venturing out, and the rest of the line holding or tip toeing forward, staying clear of that central forest. Lightning zaps the chaffing Centaurs for 2 damage and the right most Tribal Warriors for 1. The Red Goblin Scouts burn a token, taking the score to 1-0.

Herd 2: With the central Centaurs blessedly alive, I immediately throw them into the flank of the Ogre Chariots, powering the Stampede into their front as well. The other Centaurs join the Tribal Warriors fighting the Berserker Braves, as the Lycan horde crosses over into the Red Goblin Scouts. Finally, Lycan Alpha charges the central Braves to hold them up while the Tribal Warriors on the right hit the Siege Breakers, keen to do anything while their Brutes move into position. The central Brutes end up sitting 12″ away from the fury Siege Breakers, content to see if they want to take a hindered shot next turn, even with the Tribal Warrior horde waiting to piece trade.

Stampede and Centaurs open up this pit!

The Druid’s bane chant fails despite the reroll ๐Ÿ˜ but things work out ok anyway. The Lycans blend the Scouts, the Centaurs and Tribal Warriors do 7 damage to their Braves and stall out, the central Centaurs and Stampede shatter the Ogre Chariots, the Lycan Alpha claws 3 damage into her Braves, and the right Tribal Warriors do precisely 1 damage to the TC Siege Breakers. When it comes to reforms, it’s worth noting that once the Stampede backed up D3″, the Centaurs were able to pivot enough to block the Hunters from fighting Brutes or the Stampede next turn.

Ogres 3: (I missed a before shot for this turn!) The Gnolls strike back with authority this turn, thanks in part to some very good Nv rolls. From left to right, the Braves counter and kill their Centaurs, the Bully charges and pops the wounded left Tribal Warriors, the Hunters finish off the central Centaurs, and the thunderous Siege Breakers decimate the right Tribal Warriors. The Lycan Alpha takes 4 damage from her Braves and wavers, the Stampede cops 4 damage from the Boomers for no effect, and the real indignity is the left Brutes taking 2 lightning damage and wavering. This royally impedes my momentum in the center, as the Stampede can only do so much. Oh! This will become important shortly, but the right Warlock drain lifes the Tribal Warriors smooshed by the thunderous Siege Breakers, and uses the heal on the Alpha’s Braves rather than the Siege Breakers.

Herd 3: With a little finagling, I discover that I can engage the Tribal Warrior horde if I take a deep breath and back the wavered Brutes up a full 3″. My heart hurts a little bit as I do so, but it does mean the Tribal Warriors can charge the (ensnaring) Hunters, offset enough that the fury Siege Breakers are in their front next turn. Before this charge happens, the Stampede thunders into the Boomers, for vengeance. Speaking of carnage, the Lycans on the left charge the 7 damage Braves and the Brutes on the right complete their mission and charge the 1 damage Siege Breakers. The Lycan Alpha refuses to regen but keeps standing in front of her Braves. Also, the Centaur Chief on the right zips in before the right Brutes and chomps on the right Warlock. Annnd the Great Chieftain wants to be useful, so charges the flank of the fury Siege Breakers over that wall.

The Druid’s rather critical bane chant on the Tribal Warriors fails despite the reroll ๐Ÿ˜ but they manage to do 7 damage to the Hunters despite. The Stampede delivers 9 damage into the Boomers, however I show Drew what Brutes can do by more or less one rounding the thunderous Siege Breakers. More or less because I broke them twice precisely thanks to brutal and the single damage the Tribal Warriors did and the Warlock didn’t heal. Perfection. The Lycans gut the Braves on the left as they do. Note that the Berserker Bully is facing directly ahead, unable to see the Lycan or the Tribal Warriors. The right Warlock does take damage from the Centaur Chief, disordering. (And the Great Chieftain does no damage to the fury Siege Breakers.)

Ogres 4: The Gnolls should be dwindling away but Drew has so many tools left that this is far from over. Fury Siege Breakers and Hunters go into the Tribal Warriors horde, while the Boomers counter the Stampede and the surviving Braves hit the Alpha again. In square base town, the Bully tries to stand in the way of the Lycan horde (but is effectively blocking its LOS), while Warlocks wander around or counter charge the Centaur Chief over on the right.

Drew’s dice are all over the place when it comes to delivering the hurt. The central Brutes take a single pip of lightning damage from Noms and the Great Chieftain suffers 2 drain life damage from the central Warlock (used to heal the Hunters), shortly after which the Tribal Warriors take a mere 8 damage from hindered Siege Breakers and fully functional Hunters. The Boomers, however, shove the Stampede up to 10 damage, to no effect, and the Lycan Alpha is clubbed to 8 damage, likewise holding. The Centaur Chief takes 1 damage from the Warlock’s counter-charge.

Herd 4: At long last, the central Brutes make contact with the furious Siege Breakers, with the Tribal Warriors assisting and showing the Hunters the utmost disrespect. The Stampede, meanwhile, counters the Boomers and the Alpha regens down to 5 damage and gets to slap some Braves. The derpy Great Chieftain trips back over the wall and charges Noms, with dreams of disordering him. Not pictured are the Lycans juking the Bully in favor of burning a token and becoming A Problem next turn, and the Brutes on the right doing everything they can to make contact with the right Warlock but giving up because the Centaur Chief and the tower are well and truly in the way. The Centaur Chief counters its Warlock but doesn’t love it.

The Druid sticks the bane chant on the Tribal Warriors! And the Siege Breakers evaporate. I turn the central Brutes to face the left, which might put too much face in the Tribal Warriors but does make the Ogre heroes over there skedaddle. The Stampede nukes the Boomer and the Braves return to 3 damage. The right Warlock is also kicked to 5 damage by the Centaur Chief, wavering. And the Lycans do burn a token, evening the score at 1-1. The Great Chieftain fails to damage Noms ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Ogres 5: The Hunters aim to finish off the Tribal Warriors horde (on 8 damage) and the Braves head back into the Lycan Alpha yet again. The Bully zips away into the Herd backfield, but Noms faces the Brutes and prepares to magic itself to death or glory (with the nearby Warlock’s help).

Nomagarok’s lightning and the Warlock’s drain life only push the Brutes to 5 damage, and they hold. The Hunters however shred the Tribal Warriors (!), and the Lycan Alpha is again wavered, on 7 damage.

Herd 5: The Hallow descends once more. Repeatedly scorched Brutes slam into Noms, the Lycans plow through a wall into a Warlock, the Stampede flanks the Braves wailing on the Lycan Alpha, and the right Brutes crash into the flank of the other Warlock. The Great Chieftain charges the Hunters, knowing that even if his hindered, ensnared ass can’t wound them, at least he’ll be in the way thanks to mighty.

Bane chant happens, everybody dies. The Great Chieftain does 3 damage to the Hunters despite -2 to hit and only CS1. (Before combat, the Lycan Alpha remembered she’s really fast and can still be useful, so backs out 5.5″ to make a play for the right raze token late game.)

Ogres 6: The Hunters counter the Great Chieftain, tearing apart the poor mushroom man but flubbing the 4″ overrun into the Lycans on the wall. The Berserker Bully burns another token, bringing the score to 2-1.

Herd 6: At this point I realize that the game is very close. If the hindered Lycans can kill the ensnaring Hunters by themselves, with the Stampede sitting on the center objective, then I win, as the Lycan can burn another token. If they don’t rout the Hunters, I only draw, as I can’t get another scoring unit on the middle … even if I now realize the Lycan Alpha could have doubled back and just claimed the center. I didn’t see that, as I moved her first to make a Turn 7 play for my right token. The left Brutes, regardless of all this, charge the Bully for murderous purposes.

As is usually the case, this is all a moot point as the Lycan ream the Hunters, burning the token and taking the game to 3-2 in my favor. The Brutes also brute the Bully.

Herd 7: Annnnd then the Lycan Alpha burns the right token (as shown above), bringing us to 4-2 and a very solid …

HALLOW VICTORY

What a smashfest! It really opened up with that double charge on the Chariots after the Centaurs took next to no damage, giving me the momentum, even if I almost lost if Turn 2 with those wavers. I think the Bully’s facing issues were a more significant misplay than it seemed, as he could have chaffed up the green tide that was crashing onto the Ogres at that point. All the same, an encouraging test game for the Herd going into this weekend’s tournament.

I’ve got one more report to go before the tournament, will try to punch it out this week!

THE HALLOW 18: EMPIRE OF DUST

Happy new year! Got my first game of 2023 in this week against Mike, a newer local player I’d never met until that night. He rocked up with EOD, a faction I haven’t faced in quite a while, and possibly never with Herd?

Mantic Shobik looking regal af, with Monolith and Soul Snare / Well attending.

Empire of Dust 2150

Skeleton Spearmen Horde
Mummies Regiment
Mummies Regiment
Revenant Chariots Regiment
Revenant Chariots Regiment
Scavengers Regiment
Scavengers Regiment
Skeleton Archer Cavalry Troop
Bone Giant
Soul Snare [1] – Drain Life (9)
Monolith [1] – Surge (8)
Idol of Shobik [1] – Heal (5)
Ahmunite Pharaoh – Eternal Guard, Knowledgeable [1], Surge (8), Host Shadowbeast (2)
Cursed High Priest – Surge (8)
14 (20)

Apparently Mike usually runs a more monster mash style EOD list, but he dropped the various wyrms to give chariots and a different hero mix a shot. We talked after the game about how to crank the list down a bit while still keeping the chariots in but bring back some of the punch he might be missing in this list – Mummy troops instead of Scavanger regs, for example. Minor spoiler there.

Herd 2150

Lycan Horde – Brew of Strength
Guardian Brute Horde
Guardian Brute Horde
Minotaur Chariot Regiment – The Stampede [1]
Tribal Warrior Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Tribal Warrior Regiment
Tribal Warrior Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Lycan Alpha
Centaur Chief – Blade of Slashing
Druid – Conjurerโ€™s Staff; Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Great Chieftain
13 (24)

Savvy readers will note that I’ve brought back the Centaur troops as dedicated chaff. I’m not really in love with the Sp 6 or the De 2+ of the Woodland Critters, on top of not really posing much of a threat to anybody, especially compared to the Centaurs’ Sp 8, De 4+ and punchy handful of Me 3+ attaks. The cost was losing some extraneous items and downgrading a Centaur Chief into a Great Chieftain, which is a fairly even trade all told. Less speed but a little more fight and the same mighty annoyance.

We decided to play Plunder for this game, one of my favorites as well as one of the missions for our upcoming 2150 tournament at the end of the month. Mike won the roll for first and had me take it away.

BATTLE

Battlines! The EOD are (left to right): Spearmen with Scavengers and Cursed Priest; Chariots with Bone Giant to the left, Shobik to the right, Horsemen to the front and Monolith behind; Soul Snare with Scavengers; Mummies to either side of the wood with the Pharaoh straddling them; Chariots hard right. The Herd are (left to right): Centaurs (off shot to left), Stampede, Warriors, Chieftain, Brutes, Alpha, Warriors, Brutes, Druid, Warrior horde, Centaurs, Centaur Chief, Lycan hard right.

Herd 1: I think for a moment, having not gone first in a long time, and then punch it forward. Tribal Warriors grab the center three tokens, with Brutes mounting the hill in support and hammers otherwise lurking. We don’t crest the right hill to see what the Chariots are up to, tho the Lycan blender has LOS and range around the side of the little hillock.

Empire of Dust 1: Scavengers swoop down on both loot-bearing Tribal Warriors, and otherwise the dry undead shamble forward. I realize about now that he has Surge (16) into almost any unit he wants, with the exception of the right Chariots, who are outside the Monolith’s 24″. Speaking of surge …

… it scoots the Spearmen, the central Mummies and the right Chariots 4″ forward each. Mike had just bought a new dice block and it was rolling aggressively average. The Soul Snare rips 4 damage into the central Brutes, the Archer Cav tag a wound onto the Lycan Alpha that she will never regenerate, and in combat the Scavengers do 1 damage to the left Tribal Warriors and 2 to the central ones.

This is a really long battlefield still, so here’s the left side (the green tokens are worth 2 points) …
… and here’s the right, moments before the blending begins.

Herd 2: It’s all claws on deck as everybody charges who isn’t a square-based individual! The Stampede crashes into the Spearmen’s waiting embrace (losing TC2 and taking a -1 to hit that I shouldn’t have but forgot about chariots not counting for phalanx), with the Alpha pouncing on their flank. The left Centaurs flank the Scavengers harrying the left Tribal Warriors, while in the center the left Brutes help the other Tribal Warriors out with their carrion problem. The central Brutes juke past the Scavengers and Mummies in the middle and power into the central Chariots, and the Tribal Warrior horde tests their mettle against the central Mummies. Mummy regiments are the business, but with the power of bane chant and sharpness behind them maybe I can cook the dice that hard? On the right, the Lycan, the Centaurs and the Centaur Chief pile on the Chariots.

A storm of dice later and so many undead have been returned to the dust from whence they came, though arguably his anvils and real hammers are still kicking so it’s not necessarily as bad as it looks. But about those anvils, the Spearmen take 11 damage, 8-9 of which is from the Alpha going absolutely bonkers, and the Mummies are pushed all the way to 13 damage by the Tribal Warriors. I can’t seal the deal sadly, so I fully expect them to heal back down to nothing in short order.

Empire of Dust 2: The Empire of Dust are looking a little downtrodden but there’s still work to do. Shobik lines up an easy surge flank on the Tribal Warrior horde with the Mummies countering in the front, while the right Mummies try their hand at the Centaurs, on the theory that if they can break them, they can turn and grind out the Lycan horde. 12 attaks on hindered 5+ is a tall ask but very slowly trying to slink away is a worse feel. On the left, the Spearmen counter the Stampede and the Archer Cav I think were supposed to shoot-n-surge into the damaged Brutes but he left them behind the tower, blocking their surge but at least meaning their shooting suffered no negatives.

Easy surge is easy! The Soul Snare whips the winged Brutes up to 7 damage, wavering them (the Archer Cav I think failed to wound after all that). Shobik lays into the horde, delivering a solid beating and pushing them up to 15 damage. The Tribal Warriors manage to waver, which is awkward but real bad for Shobik’s idol.

Meanwhile the flanks are uneventful. The right Mummies don’t even wound the Centaurs, elite or no, and the Spearmen do a single wound to the Stampede, striping their TC2 again.

Herd 3: Listen, I came here to roll dice and chew bubble gum, and I was all out of bubble gum at this point (fittingly because I was chewing it during this game ๐Ÿ˜…) The Stampede hits the Spearmen again, with Alpha flanking support. The wavered Brutes rotate in place enough to allow the other Brutes to flank Shobik. The Lycan flank the right Mummies, with Centaurs in the front. And the Great Chieftain solos the Archer Cav troop like a boss. Far on the left, the other Centaurs go grab a 2 point token.

*a chorus of blenders can be heard in the distance* The Empire takes another round of heavy hits as Spearmen, Mummies and indeed Shobik all fall. Plus the Great Chieftain one rounds the Archer Cav with a perfect 5 of 5 damage. At this point both Mike and I are wondering the same things: Is the Soul Snare that good? Will the Mummies out tough the whole Herd army? Can the Bone Giant recapture his former glory days as the EOD hammer? Or most importantly, when will this face melting end??

Empire of Dust 3: Despite running low on tools, the EOD have some moves left. The Bone Giant strides into the Lycan Alpha as the better of two options, with the Cursed Priest charging in along side because it’s that kind of game and he’s only got surge anyway so YOLO! The central Mummies charge the Tribal Warrior horde to finish them off, while the Pharaoh chooses discretion and slinks off toward the EOD backfield.

The Tribal Warriors are shattered by the Mummies, who take their 2 point token and lifeleech off their last damage, healing to full. Woof. Shortly before this, the Soul Snare punches the winged Brutes up to 11 damage but flubs the Nv roll. Speaking of flubs, the Bone Giant bops the Lycan Alpha up to 5 damage, for no result.

Herd 4: There are still EOD on the table, so I just keep that pedal to the floor. The Stampede hits the Cursed Priest, with an easy overrun into the Bone Giant’s flank, currently being counter-charged by the Lycan Alpha. The Great Chieftain continues his journey through the EOD DZ, charging into the Soul Snare. However the real carnage is the middle, where the Mummies cop Brutes and Tribal Warriors in the front, both off the hill, and Lycan in the rear, possibly also off a hill but I didn’t remember at the time, plus they were bane chanted anyway.

The Stampede pulverizes the Cursed Priest then delivers ~20 damage into the Bone Giant. The Lycan Alpha blows on him and he crumbles away. The Mummies similarly are devastated down to the molecular level before routing. The Soul Snare takes a hearty hit from the Great Chieftain but holds together, albeit disordered.

And with that, Mike graciously concedes, which combined with holding all the tokens makes for a …

HALLOW VICTORY

Pun and all ๐Ÿ˜ We talked for a while after the game, and Mike’s feel was that he was too spread out and his army couldn’t support itself like he’s used to – the Pharaoh being pulled away from the Mummy regiments, for example, and having to choose one. I did deploy quite broadly, except my stuff is fast and can reinforce itself as needed, plus isn’t trying to win through combined arms. I do feel like the EOD suffered in list building, not quite having the hammers to dig themselves out, as well as probably misused the Scavengers, who could have helped get the Chariots some charges where they could have done some work. I quite like the EOD Chariots after the bows were made optional, -/16 De 4+ isn’t terrible and I had assumed they hit on 5+ like other skellies (in fact Me 4+). Sounds like Mummy troops are inbound, which I hear are great and punchier than I think.

I keep wondering how this game snowballed so hard, and giving me first was probably the first mistake. Yea, I got to grab early objectives so scenario-wise it was a misplay, but really I was able to crest the center hill immediately plus mobilize my chaff up, staggering them with hammer support as is my general plan. I can see why Mike let me go first – indecision as a new player and desire to be reactionary as a Dust player – however it did feel quite decisive quite quickly.

As for my list, the Hallow continues to feel strong, or at least fun. Brutes are terrifying with me behind the dice, the Lycan blender is a menace (and should be at 300 points) and I really dig the ‘cheap’ item-less Stampede. Funny to think of it as one of my anvils but at 16/18 and De 5+ it kind of is!

I’ll catch you next week with another report, I should be getting another game (or two?!) in this weekend as we continue tournament prep. Until then, merry gaming in the new year!

THE HALLOW 17: VARANGUR

So anyway, guess I’m taking Herd to Dead of Winter ๐Ÿ˜… I took a look at how little time I have to build and paint Tortured Souls, versus painting already primed Woodland Critters (or nothing at all if I ran Centaurs as chaff), and decided Herd were way more realistic for this holiday season. Plus I vaguely understand the army better and have been painting new units that have never seen the table, so may as well. Pretty sure this is the list:

Herd 2150

Lycan Horde – Brew of Strength
Guardian Brute Horde – Brew of Haste
Guardian Brute Horde
Minotaur Chariot Regiment – The Stampede
Tribal Warrior Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Tribal Warrior Regiment
Tribal Warrior Regiment
Woodland Critters Regiment
Woodland Critters Regiment
Lycan Alpha – Zephyr Crown; Wind Blast (5)
Druid – Conjurer’s Staff; Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Centaur Chief
Centaur Chief
13 (24)

Over the summer I realized that I need to lean into the Herd’s hammers if I want to have much fun or success (different things but related) with the army. Struggling my way to the enemy and then doing nothing is a bad feel … but struggling my way and then smashing something to bits, that’s ok in my book. While I would rather be running triple Brutes, I’ve given in to the upcoming GT’s format (no triples) with just two hordes of them, along with a couple more smashy friends and really quite a few control pieces to help them get there. I could monkey with items further – and believe me, my skin crawls at 135 points in items! – but these big ticket upgrades really help their units shine and/or match the minis I’m using (the flying Brutes, for example).

Varangur 2150

Snow Trolls Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Huscarls Regiment – Brew of Haste
Mounted Sons Regiment – Guise of the Deceiver
Mounted Sons Regiment – Guise of the Deceiver
The Fallen Horde
The Fallen Regiment
Snow Foxes Regiment
Draugr Regiment
Cavern Dweller
Magus Conclave – Famulus
Lord on Frostfang – Snow Fox
Snow Troll Prime
12 (23)

Quite sure somebody in there has Boots of Striding? Probably some Mounted Sons. It’s a hardy list with good speed and lots of fight in it. Happy to see the Magus Conclave and Cavern Dweller make it in, and shout out to the Snow Troll Prime for being just damn awesome. Cory did consider some changes after the game, which I’ll touch on later.

We decided to play one of the missions from the upcoming tournament and keep it simple while we were at it: Invade it is! I won the roll, chose lazy gamer’s side, dropped my Warrior horde and away we went. Eventually the Varangur took the initiative.

BATTLE

Hallow 1: I respond to the Varangur advance by advancing much more cautiously. And by wind blasting the right Mounted Sons back 3″, out of alignment but still on the hill.

For a unit breakdown, Varangur are (L2R): Draugr, Fallen horde, Fallen reg, Snow Troll Prime, Snow Troll horde (Mierce rhino dudes), Cavern Dweller (more Mierce <3), Magus Conclave by the house, Huscarls behind Mounted Sons behind Snow Foxes, Frostlord to the right also behind Snow Foxes, and Mounted Sons.

Herd are (L2R): Lycan horde (worm thing) behind Woodland Critters next to Centaur Chief, Warrior reg next to wood filled with haste Brutes (white wings) and more Brutes, Woodland Critters in front of Lycan Alpha and Warrior horde, and Warrior reg in front of the Stampede and Centaur Chief.

Varangur 2: The eevil vikings and their monstrous allies slam into the vengeful forest dwellers. The Fallen reg tackles the left Woodland Critters, as the nimble and very fast Lycan horde stares at the nimble and very fast Fallen horde and its numerous allies. The Cavern Dweller plows into the central Tribal Warriors, while on the right I’ve successfully gummed things up with the other Woodland Critters, limiting the double-plus charge into the Warrior horde. Mounted Sons run down the Woodland Critters cavorting in their way, as the Frostlord holds down the Warrior horde and the other Mounted Sons crash into the last of the Tribal Warriors. Last but not least, the Snow Foxes make the ultimate sacrifice …

Snow Foxes swarm their natural prey, the docile and easy-going Stampede.

The Fallen regiment barely kills the Woodland Critters on 4-5 damage, overrunning to block the Lycans’ ability to pivot – which was smart, because they 100% had a nimble charge into the Fallen horde behind. The Cavern Dweller mauls the central Tribal Warriors, wavering them on 6 damage (out of only 7 attaks). The Mounted Sons vs Woodland Critters ends as you’d expect, with the Mounted Sons reforming to face Brutes, and the Frostlord picks up 9 dice and does 9 damage to the Warrior horde. Whoa. The rightmost Mounted Sons similarly crank the dice, delivering 10 damage to their Tribal Warriors, but snake eyes the rout, creating a roadblock for their path into the Stampede … which is compounded when the Snow Foxes nibble a single wound through on the Stampede, stripping its TC2 ๐Ÿ˜

Before all this, the Magus Conclave zaps 3 damage into the Lycan Alpha, 2 of which she’ll never regen.

Hallow 2: With the second Varangur wave posed to crash in next turn, I need to strike back hard and/or make things complicated. The flanks are easy since I don’t have many choices there. On the left, the Lycans charge 1 mm into the Fallen regiment blocking them, with their Centaur Chief charging the Fallen Horde to hold them in place. On the right, the Stampede boops into the Snow Foxes and the miraculously alive Tribal Warriors counter their Mounted Sons. The Tribal Warrior horde counters the Frostlord, intent on tearing this meta boogeyman down over two turns … if they don’t succumb first, 9 damage a turn is too stronk ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I spend a while thinking about the mess in the center. The Huscarls have a charge into my right Brutes, but they’ll have a double charge if I can’t drop the Mounted Sons too. I could fade them into the woods and hope Cory can’t roll 4+ to hit, or I could at the least smash the Sons and let the Huscarls do their worst. Brutes and Lycan Alpha charge the Sons to do just that. This leaves the Cavern Dweller protected from my haste Brutes by my wavered Tribal Warriors. I’m at a loss until I see the Magus Conclave has crept forward – one 13″ charge later and my Brutes are in Cory’s back line.

The Fallen reg is blended and the Lycan horde deigns to face the Draugr, given them its flank in a clear act of hubris. The Centaur Chief smacks 2 damage (after IR) into the Fallen horde. Centrally, the haste Brutes dunk the Conclave, spinning to face the Snow Trolls and Cavern Dweller. The slow Brutes and Alpha shatter the Mounted Sons (on like 20 damage), and the Brutes turn enough that the 2.5mm of base overhang when the Huscarls hit them will hinder them on the woods. The (bane-chanted) Warrior horde shreds 8 damage into the Frostlord, wavering the big bad! The Warrior reg smacks 4 damage into their Mounted Sons, and the finally the Stampede detonates the Snow Foxes, despite being only CS1.

Varangur 3: Cory starts by teaching me a thing about nimble foot hordes, as the Fallen horde withdraws (for -1 to hit), jukes the Centaur Chief and charges the Lycan horde lurking in the pond. Draugr scamper into their flank (hindered). The Cavern Dweller turns 90 degrees and walks away from the central Tribal Warriors, making space for the Snow Trolls to mash into them (hindered). The hindering continues as the Huscarls thunder off the hill into my waiting Brutes, swinging one guy’s foot through the central wood. The surviving Mounted Sons have another go at their Tribal Warriors on the right, as the wavered Frostlord backs up 4.5″.

The Fallen gently shit the bed, moments before the Draugr unleash their raw power.

The Tribal Warrior regs both detonate, but miraculously (to me anyway) the Brutes survive the Huscarls on 7 damage and the Lycan horde only wavers on 8. Which is especially nice because I don’t think they’re inspired ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Hallow 3: A shrill shrieking can be heard across the field as the Hallow descends in force, led by the Lycan Alpha aiming to block or kill the Frostlord herself. The Stampede plows into the Mounted Sons, offset because the Centaur Chief over there didn’t want to get mulched on a counter charge in case this went south. Which is crazy talk once the Warrior horde mobbed the eevil knights’ flank too. The slow Brutes counter charge the Huscarls, hoping to mangle them before getting killed next round, and the haste Brutes hop into the flank of the Cavern Dweller. Sorry big boy. On the left, the Centaur Chief attempts to do anything to the Fallen Horde that might buy the Lycan horde some time to shake its waver.

Speaking of Lycans, I am so bad at 5+ regens y’all ๐Ÿ˜€ But I do manage to get the Lycan horde back down to 5 damage – take that, Draugr!

The Lycan Alpha wavers the Frostlord again (10 damage), and the Mounted Sons are reduced to a red smear on the hill. Shockingly, the (bane-chanted) Brutes one round the Huscarls … but when you hit 80% of the time with 30 attaks I guess that’ll happen ๐Ÿ˜‰ The Cavern Dweller also gets Bruted, and over on the left the Centaur Chief does hearty damage to the Fallen horde and wavers them.

Varangur 4: With just three functioning units, the Varangur turn is short but still violent. The Snow Trolls charge the haste Brutes and, despite being hindered and hitting on 5+, one round the horde! Somebody’s mad! The Draugr can’t work similar magic in the Lycan horde’s flank, failing to hit once.

Hallow 4: On the right, the Stampede flanks into and through the Frostlord, CS1 + TC3 off the hill leaving no question to his fate. On the left, the Lycan horde and Centaur Chief finish off the Fallen horde, then prepare to clean up these damn Draugr next turn. Centrally, nobody wants to broach the safety of the woods, having seen how painful Snow Trolls on 5+ to hit can be – plus my Brutes are damaged so probably can’t take the first punch, no matter how furiously the Druid is healing them with her Heal (2).

Finally, we meet as equals. There can be only one slash fourteen.

Varangur 5: The Dragur manage to jab a single filthy dagger into the Lycan horde but they hold. The Snow Trolls don’t want to breach the central wood either.

Hallow 5: The Lycan horde blends the Draugr and turns to face the Snow Troll Prime, and otherwise the Herd are fecking cowards and turn to maximize Invade points.

Varangur 6: The Snow Troll Prime has a go at the Lycans’ in the puddle they’ve never moved from all game, but can’t do much hindered. The Snow Troll horde meanwhile shoves into the center, what with the Hallow distracted.

Hallow 6: The Lycan horde and Centaur Chief tag-team the Snow Troll Prime, almost certainly killing him. The war of the woods sees my Brutes and Stampede turn to face the Snow Trolls in case there’s a Turn 7, and the Lycan Alpha wind blasts them for good measure but the Trolls’ leader point remains in the woods.

Blessedly that’s game, and a decisive …

HALLOW VICTORY

I was quite sure the Varangur were going to eat my Herd’s lunch – they’re fast, tougher and on the whole fightier than me, plus Cory is no slouch. His dice were also really solid, with the exception of the Fallen and a couple places Turn 2 where he lost momentum and I was able to take it back. The old pop-n-spin off the Magus Conclave was clutch and allowed me to escape a piece trade situation, compounded by my Centaur Chief wavering the Fallen horde and keeping my Lycan mega-hammer in the game.

More importantly, I enjoyed running my Herd again, something I haven’t said in a while! Hammers plus scenario / control pieces is a good feel and suits how I want to be playing if I’m not doing a combined arms control approach.

Going into the game Cory was pretty sure he’d be swapping Huscarls out for more Snow Trolls, and after the game the Cavern Dweller’s fate was sealed as well. Here’s his possible redux:

Varangur 2150

Snow Trolls Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Snow Trolls Horde – Dwarven Ale
Mounted Sons Regiment – Brand of the Warrior
Mounted Sons Regiment – Brand of the Warrior
The Fallen Horde
The Fallen Regiment
Snow Foxes Regiment
Snow Foxes Regiment
Draugr Regiment
Cavern Dweller
Magus Conclave
Lord on Frostfang – Snow Fox
Lord – Axe of the Giant Slayer; Brand of the Warrior, Devoted Icon (Stealthy), Snow Fox
Snow Troll Prime
13 (23)

Another control piece and another source of Very Inspiring feel great, and I dare say the Lord is going to do the murder work that the Cave Dweller would be doing just as well if not more often, since he’s smaller and can make it into more combats more often (i.e. by not being targeted by everyone). The brutal on the Mounted Sons is a surprising move but I think it’s a canny one. Stealthy isn’t going to be useful against all opponents, while brutal definitely is – and the Lord’s rocking a stealthy aura that works on the Sons as needed. Also Snow Trolls are great, certainly better anvils than Huscarls and pretty scary in combat when dice or time are on their side.

Thanks for reading, have a Merry Solstice and Happy New Year! Catch you in 2023 for more carnage.

FORCES OF NURGLEKIN: ADVENTURES IN COUNTS AS

Gentle readers! Sorry for the lack of reports, but unfortunately it’s been extremely hard to get games in this Fall, as everybody’s availability vanished and the wait time for the BRB to arrive squashed a lot of enthusiasm for our existing armies. Well, we’ve finally got our Big Red Books … just in time for the holidays to smash into whatever free time we might have ๐Ÿ˜

That said, my club recently announced its GT dates and details, which has lit some fires. Last weekend of January will be the second Dead of Winter GT here in Albany, NY – 5 games, 2150 points, no triples of any kind. While I think this is pretty reactionary and am pretty sure no quads makes for more varied lists, it’s interesting to say the least and I’ll be there no matter the comp (that’s a lie, I probably can’t make a Highlander (no duplicates) list with any army I own!) This Zweilander format, as I’ve dubbed it, does invalidate all my current armies – I use a lot of triples or quadruples for theme / skew – however I’m down to play something different.

Of the four armies I currently have, the Scuttlers (Trident) could be rebuilt but wouldn’t be a shooting army any more and would probably need the return of the Gigas; Bloodfire (Salamanders) is based around Fire Elemental hordes and Ember Sprites, which I’d be limited to 2x hordes + 2x regiments of at most (the duplicate limit is per unit per size); the Hallow (Herd) I recently rebuilt into a Brute hordes and Tribal Warriors regs checkerboard thing; and my WHFB legacy Nurgling army was last run as a Ratkin army in 2E built around 3-4 hordes of elite infantry. I reported my Nurglekin games over on DakkaDakka as well as my old blogspot (check out a weirdly competent tournament run here). The Nurglekin are also individually based and in the midst of an eternal redux, making them the most flexible for tinkering …

So over the last month I chopped up a couple Zombicide minis and started converting a new wave of Ratkin weird tek. I played a 2300 game against Cory’s Salamanders and really enjoyed it! Ratkin 3E is a strange faction but the playstyle felt good to return to, with a nice mix of grind and responsive shooting. Here are the few shots I’ve got of that game, which I believe was a draw thanks to a Turn 6-7 Mother Cryza lightning bolt rout:

The announcement of the Zweilander format curtailed my enthusiasm a bit (goodbye triple Shocktroop hordes) but I pushed on for a while. As time with no games dragged on, I found myself less enthused by the double horde build and wanting to mess around with a totally new direction for the green carpet, one that would let me use some WMH minis I’d earmarked for the army but Ratkin doesn’t support, as it has no tall 50mm units.

Specifically for this bastard!

Enter the Abyssals. While I’ve looked at the Abyssal list before, as it’s the usual home for WHFB Chaos Daemons, I’ve never actually played as them, and have a good track record of beating them at events. Abyssals seem pretty middle of the road, with ok anvils, decent mid-range shooting, mediocre hammers, multiple annoying flyers, an interesting selection of monsters and solos, and a fantastic titan in the Abyssal Fiend. On rate, I’m a fan of Lesser Abyssals and would use them for the Nurgling bulk of the army. The list also has many heroes for me to use all the Confrontation minis that make up the army’s individuals. And most importantly, Abyssals have lots of tall 50mm options for my boy Omodamos: Despoiler Champion, Chroneas, Manifestation of Ba’el, and the Well of Souls. Dash28 tells me the Well is the big brain choice, but I love how weird the Chroneas is, plus in an army that hits on 4+ I really want to hit on 3+, preferably all the time thanks to Strider. I came so close to trying out Ba’el in a game, however I’ll be real, I waver and kill Ba’el whenever I run into him. The dude is fine and his LB7 would be great for the army, I’d just rather have a weirder, fearless option.

The Zweilander format presented some challenges to my triple Lower Abyssal hordes plan, but here’s where I’ve landed after two test games vs Undead:

  • In both my test games I ran double Tortured Souls hordes but wow are those not good hammers! Did they really only lose nimble from 2E? Maybe they had CS2 before too? I’m shocked at how incompetent they are, even in the flank, and the H2 is a real liability on flyers. I’m hoping that the points saved from dropping one to a regiment (i.e. the correct size for the unit) and put back into killy items will help them both do their jobs better. Plus it gives me a fast chaff unit in the regiment.
  • The Abyssals, Guard or Lower, have been ok. I’m always itching to drop them to De 3+ and CS1 but the prevalence of P0-1 shooting is keeping me at De 4+ for now. I might swap the Lower Abyssal regs to CS1, so they might ever do some damage (I grabbed a flank in one of my games and did a whole 4 damage even bane chanted), but in theory they should be decent little 115 point anvils with De 4+ and regen 5+. A regen value, by the way, that I am really struggling with – Trident’s 4+ has ruined me ๐Ÿ˜›
  • Chroneas has been fun, Me 3+ CS3 is nice and chunky, Cloak of Death is brilliant. Temporal Ruptures is neat although would be much better if the Chroneas could heal itself, since it’s one of the only parts of the army without its own sustain. Which, yes, it could do with drain life but after taking DL8 in my first game I agree with the Internet, the upgrade is a trap. Cheaper is best.
  • The hero blend is a combination of models I want to use and duplication limits due to the comp meaning I can’t just run triple Champs. The more I use the Seductress, the more I love her, what a great toolbox hero. I haven’t run her with LB yet, but I had the points spare and for consistency and more ranged pressure I like the spell on her. For a brief time she had BC (for the Tortured Souls mostly) but I didn’t cast it, preferring to get her stuck in. She had Pipes of Terror in my second game, which is probably the go to if I wasn’t taking Boomstick. Finally, the Abyssal Warlock. An obviously great 3E hero who currently spends his days casting bane chant on the Abyssal hordes. It’s a living! With so many individuals I’ve decided to invest a few points into the new Host Shadowbeast, which I think has legs with the otherwise weak CS1 of the Abyssal individuals. I’ve tacked on Knowledgeable for an extra +1 from the spell, 10 points that otherwise would become Slashing + Crushing for the Champions. That might be better? Since it’s always on and not reliant on the Warlock not casting BC, but eh, I prefer simpler lists with fewer items if I can.

Let’s wrap this up with some mini-reports. In Forces of Nurgle 1: Undead, my buddy premiered yet another redux of his Undead army:

It’s a very solid list, with the exception of the Lute which I assured Jeff that wolf would probably never get a chance to strum. Relying on the Lykanis for inspiring will often hold them back from going rambo, but with only Att 5 maybe that’s for the better? Keeps them close for combo-charging instead of trying for flank pressure.

We played classic Loot, with the Revenant Hordes eventually getting a token each and proving far too hard for me to shift with their LL2+ and my terrible dice. The highlight for me was slowly whittling down and routing his Soul Reaver Cav with one Abyssal Champion, thanks to wavering them halfway through the process. Shadowbeast +4 gave him the boost he needed to finish them. The lowlight, tho, was taking seven flanks from Goreblights, only one to two of which were thanks to surge …

One of seven Goreblight flanks, each one of which killed a unit.

I was obviously having trouble protecting my hordes’ and regs’ flanks or blocking the Goreblights out, despite having all these dumb individuals wandering around getting into trouble. Like smashing a Soul Reaver unit late game and then going back to back to block out the final token out of spite:

The Undead did get a Turn 7 to try to grab the third token too, but my Apostates of Darkness successfully held the hill:

Despite these late game heroics, this was a decisive NURGLEKIN LOSS. I went back to the drawing board, waffled around with including Ba’el, kept the Chroneas and rematched the Undead a couple days later. He ran the same list, except with the Necromancer swapped to a Revenant Champion w/ Tome of Darkness + Surge (5) and no Lute on that Lykanis. I assured him that ‘wasting points’ on a model you’d rather bring (he hates his Necro) and is only marginally better is both Cool and Good.

In Forces of Nurgle 2: Undead, we rolled up Push. He loaded all his tokens on the Aegis Revenants and successfully grabbed the center token with the Hann’s Revenants, so again put me in the position of needing to crack very tough hordes with a relatively toothless army. Here’s us squaring off on the left:

You can also see me feeding my trash Abyssal regiments to bop the horde or sleedbump things. I messed up and should have blocked the central Goreblight so it couldn’t (SPOILER) flank me in coming turns ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But such was the theme of the weekend.

Like so! This is after that Goreblight flanked to the right, killing an Abyssal Guard regiment and spinning to face this flank, which it walked into. Dammit, me. This horde did survive tho, as the Goreblight rolled normal hits for the first time all weekend (my opponent’s dice were FIRE on all his 4+ while mine were wet garbage), and I got to experience the power of the sacrificial imp double regen, which was great fun ๐Ÿ˜€

Eventually we crack both Rev hordes, then both roll a bunch of snake eyes in a row that extend the rout of the Undead longer than it needed to be. Highlights: the same Abyssal Champ wavering and eventually routing the same Soul Reaver Cav from Game 1; the Chroneas withdrawing (-1 to hit!) and rear charging some Soul Reaver infantry, only to snake eyes them on 16 damage and die in return; both Tortured Souls hordes mobbing the other Soul Reaver infantry, only to snake eyes them on 16 damage and die in return* (well one anyway); an Abyssal Guard unit with 4 tokens scooting off into the sunset on Turn 4 while all this carnage played out on the left. I eventually got the 3 tokens from that Rev Horde as well, making this a dominating NURGLEKIN WIN.

* If you were concerned about Soul Reaver Infantry’s damage output after the nerf, don’t be! They still hit shockingly hard, especially when you’re Jeff and you consistently wound 13+ times with those 20 attaks.

So after these games and a weekend spent in the kitchen with Abyssals, I’m not sure how I feel. The list I posted above is neat and has some tools behind it and I’m down to try it again … but in game, I gotta say rolling 4-5+ all the time is a real slog. I’m pretty sick of playing armies that don’t feel like they do anything, which is how I felt playing my Herd before I added more to them this summer and embraced the hammers that Herd have available. Ironically, I find myself wondering if I should just play the Hallow, which has some very cool 3D sculpts and is my newest paint, rather than putting work into revising my infantry-centric Nurglekin, whether they’re Abyssals or Rats or whatever. But I worry that Herd don’t have enough going on for me, a control player at heart who doesn’t like alpha strike.

Anyhoo, thanks for reading all this! I’ll hopefully be back before the year ends with a proper report or two as we prep for Dead of Winter.

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿฆ€

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 46: ORDER OF THE GREEN LADY

After a late night of playing Kill Team, watching board games, talking about Warmachine 4E and obligatory drinking, I passed out only to rise far too soon ๐Ÿ˜ฉ It’s Day 2 and time to slam into the bottom tables, Cuddle Time style.

ROUND FOUR: TEAM BIG DEAD ONE

  • Order of the Green Lady
  • Trident Realm
  • Empire of Dust
  • Undead

BDO was made up of two dudes whose team fell apart plus two of my clubmates (the Empire of Dust and the Undead (yes that’s Jeff from all my scrumming beforehand)). True to my captaining plans, I matched our Ogres into Trident Realm, Riftforged into Empire of Dust, Ratkin into Undead, and took the Order of the Green Lady for myself.

Brotherhood: Order of the Green Lady 2300
Order of the Forsaken Horde – Boots of Striding
Earth Elementals Horde
Earth Elementals Horde
Order of Redemption Regiment – Brew of Strength
Order of Redemption Regiment – Mead of Madness
Order of the Brotherhood – Banner of the Green Lady [1]
Naiad Ensnarers Regiment
Centaur Bray Hunters Troop
Centaur Bray Hunters Troop
Pegasus
Exemplar Redeemer – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Druid – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (2(4)), Bane Chant (2), Surge (4)
Devoted – Heal (3), Surge (7)

Bryant was super excited to play me, as we’d either always narrowly avoided each other or played once back in 2E or even Fantasy times. I’m a fan of his army, great Bretonnian feel and a faction I very rarely face. The list itself seemed legit? If hamstrung by cavalry’s middling place in this edition.

We played Pillage (or maybe Salt the Earth without any salting), with the Brotherhood going first one way or another.

BATTLE

Battlelines!

Green Lady 1: The Order canters forward, with caution on the wings and a trudging wall of rock in the center.

Trident 1: Crabs respond with a generalized scuttling. I’m content to make his life hell on the left flank, as he’s put a ton of points over there when the only token is the one on his side. Heartpiercers punch 2 damage onto the Centaur troop hanging out on the upper right token.

Bun Bun, Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, prepares to sate her hunger for crab flesh.

Green Lady 2: Indecision racks the Order’s lines, ultimately seeing the right advance a bit, the center widen its coverage, and the left mobilize Centaur chaff while preparing to thunder into combat next turn.

Trident 2: Placoderms advance on the right, being a terrible charge target for the cavalry over there, as I try to swap the Coral Giant and Water Elementals without touching the forest. Heartpiercers back up and put 6 damage on the strength Redemption reg on the right and 1 on the annoying Centaurs on the left. The slayer-trident Centurion fires at the Forsaken horde and fails to get a single damage, leaving them free to fly. What a champ. The Kraken don’t take the bait, letting the Order deal with their own chaff.

Bunny Pegasus with the #promove block.

Green Lady 3: While the right side of the Order line faffs around – and heals all the damage on the Redemption cav! – the left goes hard. Redemption knights (hindered) and Forsaken horde (striding boots) slam into the Kraken in the woods, ensnare be damned, as the Pegasus charges the other Kraken to block him up. Despite taking 11 damage, the multi-charged Kraken only wavers. And the Peg does a tight 3 damage from 3 attaks, nice.

Trident 3: The right arm of the crab war machine grudgingly pumps Heartpiercer rounds into the strength Redemption (2 damage, which I know will vanish), presents terrible Placoderm charges and unjams the Coral Giant / Water Elemental situation. We’re both still avoiding the LOS blocking void that is that forest.

Over on the left, the wavered Kraken skitters 4.5″ backwards and regenerates down to 3 damage (hahaha I love it). The other Kraken bops the Pegabun for 6 damage but flubs the rout (might have wavered her). Heartpiercers and trident Centurion combine fire into the Forsaken, doing a bunch of damage and wavering them. I’ll take it.

Kraken getting pumped to power lift a second time.

Green Lady 4: The Order pushes the center at last, with the strength Redemption finally giving up the right flank and skirting the woods to reinforce the middle. On the left, the mead Redemption charge back into the Kraken they’ve been hunting, with the support of the Forsaken again … which was illegal, as he forgot they were wavered and when we remembered during my turn, he rolled their headstrong test and failed it. The Kraken held solid on 10 damage (hindered and ensnared is rough), so vaguely a moot point, but Bryant tore himself up about it all game.

Trident 4: The whole Forsaken issue is cleared up when Bun Bun’s Kraken corkscrews their flank and smashes them into man/horse/bird parts. Heartpiercers from the center punch across and kill Bun Bun, while the trident Centurion strips the TC from the Brotherhood knights. The other Kraken counter-charges the mead Redemption, slapping 5 damage into them, but ominously only regening down to 8 damage himself.

Elsewhere, Placoderm invite the Order to have a go in the center, the Coral Giant breaks the wood line to become a Problem next turn, and the Water Elementals attempt to punch through the Exemplar Redeemer and into the flank of the strength Redemption. It’s a tall ask, so of course the gigantic crab/horde does next to no damage ๐Ÿ˜€

And finally, the Heartpiercers on the right skewer the Ensnarers that had dared to come into view around the house.

The sweet, sweet overrun that was not to be.

Green Lady 5: With about 10 minutes left on their clock, the Order lets rip. Mead Redemption and pathfinder Brotherhood knights on the left crash into a Kraken each, thunderous be damned. Both Earth Elemental hordes bash into the waiting claws of the Placoderms (one hindered), and the Redeemer counter-charges the Water Elementals.

It took three charges, but the Order of the Redemption finally drop the titanic crab beast they’d spent the game dueling. The other Kraken lucky wavers on 7 damage (box cars!), however that luck doesn’t hold for the Earth Elementals, which do a paltry 6 damage to the central Placoderms. The Redeemer carves 3 into the Water Elementals.

Trident 5: Vengeance is swift as the Water Elementals batter down the Redeemer, even if regrettably missing the ~4″ overrun into the strength Redemption regiment behind. No other combat is as decisive, with the Coral Giant tearing chunks out of one Earth Elemental horde, the Placoderms poking the other, and the central Heartpiercers and trident Centurion pushing the mead Redemption up to 10 damage but only finding a waver.

Green Lady 6: The last 4 minutes of the Order of the Green Lady’s clock is largely spent frantically rolling combat dice. (The mead Redemption reg failed their headstrong, though the strength Redemption hit the Water Elementals with Centaurs in the flank.)

The Water Elementals are triumphantly torn down, but that signals the last of the Order’s momentum. The Brotherhood knights waver their Kraken again and Earth Elementals waver the Placoderms and apparently do nothing at all against the Coral Giant (he may have clocked out before rolling it).

Trident 6: Heartpiercers shoot off the mead Order of the Retribution, the Coral Giant dunks his Earth Elemental horde, and the Heartpiercers on the right I believe tried and failed to remove the Centaur troop they started the game shooting at. With no Turn 7 and 3 objectives to 2, this is a decisive …

TRIDENT VICTORY

All told a very fun match against an enthusiastic player. Bryant was really down about his play not being clean that morning – the waver token, undoing moves without marking corners, etc – and despite me assuring him it was cool he felt pretty bad. Regardless, I hope to face him again some time in a non-team event.

Speaking of teams, Cuddle Time did very well this round, scoring the maximum 60 points or just shy of it. With this hearty bounce buoying our spirits we headed into the final match-ups.

UP NEXT: Eager Beavers!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 45: UNDEAD

The final round of the first day of the Crossroads GT sees Cuddle Time up against the other Western NY team. While I’m excited to play another match, I’m also totally happy with this being my last of the day, after working my other-other job the night before. Onto the carnage.

ROUND THREE: TEAM HARLEQUIN HOBBY

  • Forces of the Abyss
  • Goblins
  • Undead
  • Ogres

I put our elite Ratkin into trash-n-hammers Goblins, Riftforged into Abyss, Ogres into Ogres and faced the Undead myself. Partially because I’ve been fighting them all the time but also because check out his list:

Undead 2300
*Zombies Legion
*Zombies Legion
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Revenant Cavalry Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
*Goreblight
Vampire Lord – Surge (4)?
Ghoul Ghast – Aura (TC: Cannibal)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Aura (Vicious(Me): Zombie), Surge (6), Bane Chant (2)?
*The Shambling Blight Formation

I love it so much. Troop spam Undead is not a thing I thought I’d see, yet here it is, in all its pre-Soul Reaver nerf majesty. I’m almost positive I don’t have enough shooting to survive this – especially with the legions in there as well – but I’m excited to cause a mess at least. (I’m not 100% on the last 30 points of his list, so I’m guessing he took those spells, because I would.)

We played Control (second time for me!), and he’s a smart player so had me go first ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

BATTLE

Battlelines! That central hill being a clutch 20th unit for the Undead.

Trident 1: The crabs scuttle forward, which may or may not have been a good idea since I know what the Undead are aiming to do to my poor crustaceans. If there’s a dim silver lining to the Zombie legions, my Water Elemental horde has sharpness and not strength entirely because De 2+ Zombies exist. So, um, no pressure on your upcoming lift, big guy.

Undead 1: Here they come! The living dead match the crab lines. Those Zombies in the upper left did remember to shamble forward eventually. Also the Necromancer is hiding behind that building in the upper right, as a horrible old crone animating corpses does.

Trident 2: I redress my lines a bit to accept the Undead’s imminent hugs, toss bastion on the central Placoderms, and fire all Heartpiercers available into the Rev Cav troop. Thankfully they crumble under the barrage – Rev Cav are notoriously hard for me to kill and I knew they’d drive me crazy if they survived. And that’s it.

Let the all you-can-blend crab buffet begin!

Undead 2: Ghouls and vampires charge up and over the central hill, crashing into the crabby lines. Ghouls and Ghast into the left Kraken, Ghouls into the brutal Centurion, double Ghouls into the central Kraken, and Soul Reavers into the bastioned Placoderms. The next wave of Soul Reavers prepare to clean up the mess once the Ghouls are dispatched, as the Zombies hove ever closer on the right.

The crabs stand firm, despite the damages: left Kraken to 6, brutal Centurion to 3, central Kraken to ?, Placoderms to 7. Time to clap back.

Trident 3: The Kraken both counter-charge and devour Ghoul troops, the brutal Centurion drives his Ghouls away, and the (bastion-less, thanks to the Envoy needing to run) Placoderms decide to hindered corkscrew the other Ghouls harassing the central Kraken instead of countering their Soul Reavers. The math is way better that they’ll actually do any damage, plus it means the Soul Reavers can be shot. As it turns out, the Placoderms do ZERO damage to the Ghouls, but Heartpiercers do stick 5 into the Soul Reavers. Other shooting grudgingly puts 1 point of damage on both Zombie legions, simply for lack of targets.

In more daring news, I decide after a long while to send the Water Elementals with Placoderm ‘support’ into the central Zombie regiment, as the overrun escapes the Zombie legion’s arc and I’ve basically decided I shouldn’t even start putting damage on the legions, as I don’t have the assets to seal either of those deals. The Zombie regiment does evaporate and my units do escape the Zombie’s arc … but come on dude, surge is totally a thing ๐Ÿ˜ Also I shove some Heartpiercers in front of the right Zombie legion in the interest of buying time.

Undead 3: All five Soul Reaver Infantry troops make contact with their quarries: brutal Centurion, central Kraken, damaged Placoderm flank (with Ghouls in the front), other Placoderms, and Water Elemental. The Vampire Lord also skips over to the scuttlin’ Envoy, who has done nothing wrong ever. A Zombie legion (hindered) and the Goreblight lurch into the rightmost Heartpiercers as well, and, after a brief pause …

One Surge Later.

… the other Zombie legion rear charges the Water Elementals (hindered). Oh, and the Ghast charges back into the left Kraken.

After all the blending, everybody but the ensnaring dudes on the left are shredded and/or messily devoured. But sadly those same dudes – brutal Centurion and central Kraken – are both wavered (6 and 5 damage respectively). Losing fresh Placoderms to a Soul Reaver troop is pretty surprising, however having your inspiring source decapitated makes that a little more likely.

Trident 4: Things are getting squirrely with so many Undead threats still on the table and my momentum slipping away, but the crabs take what they can. Heartpiercers finish off the wounded Soul Reaver infantry, while spacing out for the inevitable Zombie legions baring down on them. The Coral Giant wakes from his slumber to pound the last of the Ghoul troops into jelly, and the left Kraken flanks some Soul Reavers only to waver them. I’ll take it. Also I regen a bunch.

Undead 4: Maybe I poorly measured the 10″ needed or maybe IDAGF at this point, but two Heartpiercers are flanked by Zombie legions (hindered) and the Goreblight (hindered) – honestly a surge may have been involved in one case, hard to tell. In vampiric news, the Vampire Lord somersaults into the trident Centurion in the pond as Soul Reavers power into the central Kraken and the Coral Giant. The Ghast also continues to be a pest, flanking the left Kraken for 1 damage (up to 3).

Inset: Crabs In Predicaments

RIP the central Kraken, killed before his time (the Soul Reavers back up). The Coral Giant however just takes it on the chin, going up to 6 damage. The trident Centurion successfully parries the Vampire Lord’s flurry of blows, taking 6 damage and holding. Of his Heartpiercer charges, one is mauled by the Goreblight and 60 friends, while the other takes only 2 damage and survives a Zombie legion flank.

Trident 5: The crabs break open a new box of stakes and prepare to slay some more vampires. Kraken re-flanks Soul Reavers with the brutal Centurion in the front, while the Coral Giant counter-charges his Soul Reavers with some commando Hearpiercers flanking them (hindered). The trident Centurion backs up, regenerating and daring the Vampire Lord to have another go, and the last of the functional Heartpiercers attempt to snipe out the Necromancer (but flub it with 1 damage).

Both combats go well, seeing two more Soul Reaver troops turned to ash.

Undead 5: The Goreblight wavers the swamp Heartpiercers (2 damage), the Vampire Lord wavers the trident Centurion (7 damage), and that damn Ghast wavers the Coral Giant (8 damage)! Those last Soul Reavers on the left rear charge the other Heartpiercers, turning them into mist. A Zombie legion balanced on a wall was in their front as well but whatever.

As this is a game of control, you can see the Zombies upper left and bottom right holding to their zones. Likewise the upper right Soul Reavers.

Trident 6: The remaining Kraken and brutal Centurion front charge the central Soul Reavers, slapping them around until their broke. Nice. The Centurion overruns to protect the Coral Giant (I don’t understand why the big guy didn’t turn to face the Zombies, maybe he did and I didn’t turn the model? Weird flex.) The trident Centurion stumbles back deeper into the swamp, again challenging the Vampire Lord.

Undead 6: The Zombie legion trips into the brutal Centurion (hindered and ensnared) and the Vampire Lord backflips off a stump into the trident Centurion.

While the brutal Centurion easily fends off the hug train of the Zombie legion, the Vampire Lord finally gets what he wants, skewering the trident Centurion, whose blue blood is brackish, cold and extremely dissatisfying. Speaking of dissatisfaction, the Goreblight’s (hindered) affections leave the Heartpiercers unmoved.

Trident 7: The crabs take this lucky last moment to get on the board, with the surviving Kraken scooting away into the lower left sector. The Coral Giant and brutal Centurion bash 9 damage onto the central Zombie legion but it’s not enough to clear them and their US4 out. The Heartpiercers also don’t magically remove the Goreblight accosting them.

Whatever the Undead did in their turn, they didn’t have the movement to secure any more Control sectors, making this 1 to 5 for a resounding …

TRIDENT LOSS

While I had hoped to do a little better, and might have with a different terrain setup or control of the initiative, it was fun to face a really dynamic Undead list doing something different. I goofed up with the Zombie legions a couple times, however I also didn’t allocate anything to deal with them, so having them essentially close out the win makes sense. Likewise that Ghoul Ghast who I disrespected the entire game and never swung on, but got that Coral Giant waver that took the last of my momentum away. Well played, deadites.

Cuddle Time once again did pretty poorly as a team, with a single victory (either the Riftforged or the Ratkin took it). This put us on a very low score for Day 1, something like 34 points out of a possible 180, but that just means we’d finally be getting the bottom table cuddle we signed up for ๐Ÿ˜‰

UP NEXT: The Big Dead One!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 44: HALFLINGS

Welcome to the first of four reports covering the 2022 Crossroads GT! Held in picturesque Elmira, NY, Crossroads kept up the four-player team format this year, with five 2300 point games of Kings of War over two days. Crossroads was also continuing to use Blackjack Scoring. I took up the mantle of Cuddle Captain once again for Team Cuddle Time, even though I sadly had to miss the first game due to a scheduling conflict the day before. A bummer to be sure, but there was another three-player team so it happened to work out without needing a ringer. Anyway, on to lists:

CUDDLE TIME III: THE REVENGE

Ratkin 2300
Shock Troops Horde – Plague Pots
Shock Troops Horde – Plague Pots
Nightmares Horde – Fire-Oil
Nightmares Horde
Mutant Rat-fiend
*Death Engine Spewer
*Shredder
*Shredder
Scudku-z’luk, Demonspawn of Diew [1] – Lightning Bolt (5)
Tangle [1] – Bane Chant (1+), Fireball (10+), Mind Fog (1+), Weakness (1+)
War Chief – Sacred Horn, Aura (Vicious(M): Infantry)
Brute Enforcer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness
*Smoke, Mirrors and Death Formation

Riftforged Orcs 2300
Helstrikers Horde
Helstrikers Horde
Riftforged Legionaries Horde
Riftforged Legionaries Horde
Reborn Legionaries Regiment – Orb of Towering Presence
Riftwalkers Troop
Riftwalkers Troop
Stormforged Shrine [1] – Bane Chant (1+), Host Shadowbeast (4+), Lightning Bolt (3+)
Ambarox
Ambarox
Thonaar [1]
Riftforger – Wings of Honeymaze, Stormstrike, Host Shadowbeast (6)
Stormcaller – Inspiring Talisman, Lightning Bolt (4), Mind Fog (3)

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Siege Breakers Horde – Staying Stone
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Boomers Horde – Fire-Oil
Warrior Chariots Regiment – Boots of Striding
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Berserker Bully – Torc of Dissonance
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Scorched Earth (2)

(I did fix that Placo’s broken arm when I had a free moment …)

Trident Realm 2300
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Kraken
Kraken
Coral Giant
Naiad Centurion – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Trident of the Drowned Sea [1]
Naiad Centurion – Pipes of Terror
Naiad Envoy – Aura (Fury: Infantry & Heavy Infantry), Bastion [1] (2)

The Cuddle Time line up was, per usual, a mix of brawler lists with some shooting and control added for flavor (crab-flavored this time around). Crossroads has a match up phase at the start of each round, where matched up teams put forth two of their armies and the winner of a dice roll gets to decide which two will fight, while the loser decides which scenario they’ll play out of a limited pool for that round. Then the other two teams are presented and the roles reverse.

My goals as captain were a) to try to get my team scenarios that they were cool playing; b) to avoid putting a Me 4+ army into heavy ensnare; and c) to avoid personally fighting Ogres. That was about all my sleep-deprived brain could handle and I more or less accomplished all three … with apologies to our Ogre player, who spent most of the weekend fighting Trident Realm or Ogres ๐Ÿ˜

ROUND ONE: TEAM COBRA KAI

  • The Herd
  • The Herd
  • Abyssal Dwarfs

I was driving to the event during the first round, but when I arrived I got the update that it had not gone great! Turns out my 5 point bye was our second highest score :/

ROUND TWO: TEAM BUFFALO KOW

  • Halflings
  • Orcs
  • Sylvan Kin
  • Riftforged Orcs

While I can’t remember who we fed to the Sylvan Kin, I do know we arranged a Riftoff ๐Ÿ˜€ And I ended up facing Halflings for possibly the first time ever …

Halflings 2300
Stalwarts Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Juggers Horde – Brew of Strength, Relentless
Juggers Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar, Relentless
Aeronauts Regiment – Wine of Elvenkind
Aeronauts Regiment – Brew of Haste
Braves Regiment
Braves Regiment
Iron Beast – Pride of the Shires [1]
Muster Captain on Winged Aralez – Aegis of the Elohi, Relentless
Gunnery Sergeant on Troll – Relentless
Gunnery Sergeant on Troll
Engineer – Aura (WC (+1): Tinker), Radiance of Life (Tinker), Gadgets and Gizmos [1], Halfling Long Rifle
Sauceror – Sacred Horn

Yowza, that’s a lot of special rules to remember – check out the quadruple upgrades on the Engineer, none of which are magic artefacts! I’ve spent enough time with the Halfling list, and hearing about the army in action, to know that the Aeronauts are the real menace here. Everything else is more or less a standard or slightly worse version of what it looks like. As an aside, the army was being piloted by a local dude (Tim?) who I haven’t played since Fantasy days and hadn’t really played much of third edition. He admitted to being an AOS guy but when the Crossroads AOS event fell apart he was recruited to help fill a team out. Regardless, he was a pleasure and I tried to point out any gotchas during our game.

We played Control, with the Halflings going first.

BATTLE

Battlelines! Also I did not realize that was a Jugger horde until he deployed it …

Halfings 1: The host sallies forth in a graceful crescent (roll) formation. Also the Engineer snipes 1 damage on the trident Centurion over on the right. The left Aeronauts are the Sp 8 ones, and while the right ones have nimble, I don’t believe it ever came up again.

Trident 1: A general scuttling in response, with Krakens flexing some charge distances and me regretting everything I put on the right. I hem and haw and decide to push hard on the right Aeronauts, bringing the Centurion into range. His slayer-trident and the Heartpiercers only stick 4 damage, failing to waver. Other shooting manage 1 damage on the Jugger regiment (after iron resolve) and 2 on the Stalwarts.

Ensnare and hindering be damned!

Halflings 2: The left flank jockeys for position as Braves are mobilized to get in the way, while the center slowly presses forward. Troll Sergeants pepper the left Placoderms and right Kraken with 1 damage each, and the Engineer does the same to the Water Elementals. The real action, sadly, is the Aeronauts plowing into the trident Centurion (let’s pretend he did 1 damage and grounded them) and blowing him the hell up. Irreducible blast Me 4+ is pretty neat, especially against -2 to hit.

Trident 2: I shake off the loss of my Very Cool Gun but am now doubly afraid of the left Aeronauts looming 18″ off my left flank. The brutal Centurion charges into the Muster Captain on Winged Aralez, grounding him (even if doing 0 damage after double IR) while I clear some room for the Coral Giant to do something eventually. Heartpiercers push the Jugger reg to 3 damage, the Pride of the Shires to 2 and the Stalwart horde to 3. Over on the right, I shove Heartpiercers into the Jugger horde to buy the Water Elementals some time (and do 1 damage in the process, despite being hindered <3). It’s a good thing too, because the Water Elementals only do 3-4 damage to the Aeronauts, but at least they waver the death zeppelins.

Halflings 3: The main story here is the Jugger horde feeding the Heartpiercers on the right to their dogs while the center advances more confidently and the Braves on the left continue to bait the crabs. The Muster Captain does 2 damage to the brutal Centurion and a Troll Sergeant plinks the left Placoderms up to 3 damage. We also remember that the Iron Beast has iron resolve, so remove its damage from previous turns. Finally, the Saucerer decides to do some Gastromancy – quite sure Rally (1) was on the menu.

Trident 3: I think for a long time (17 min left on my clock at the half way mark of the game!), and decide to crush his bait and give the left Aeronauts some of their own. Placoderms and Coral Giant smash the Braves, with CeeGee turning to face the center (spoiler: gunning for that Pride) and the Placos protecting his rear as the Kraken looms / prepares to be Aeronauted directly. The Centurion continues to ground the Muster Captain (and regenerate). In the center, more Placoderms (enjoying bastion) hold the Pride of the Shires in place so the Kraken can grind the Stalwarts down. They’re up to 10 damage but still have a ways to go. On the right, the Water Elementals finally finish off their Aeronauts and face the Jugger horde salivating in their direction.

Harpoons have of course been flying during all this combat: Heartpiercers finish off the Jugger reg to the left and start in on the right Brave regiment (looks like 4 damage worth).

Halflings 4: Perhaps wisely, the Aeronauts don’t take any of their available charges, leaving the Jugger horde the only fresh (hindered) charge into the Water Elementals. Many counter-charges happen across the board (Muster Captain to Centurion, Iron Beast to Placoderms, Stalwarts to Kraken), and gun fire pops into the left Placos (4 damage) and rightmost Heartpiercers (1 damage).

The Muster Captain lucky wavers the brutal Centurion, but damage is low across the board, with the Placos taking 4 and the Kraken 2. Oh, except of course the Water Elementals are pulled apart by the Juggers.

Trident 4: Wasting no time, the Coral Giant crashes into the flank of the Pride of the Shires, tearing it asunder, as the central Kraken gently rampages the Stalwarts up to 15 damage. Heartpiercers target the left Troll Sergeant (1 damage) and the surviving Braves (7 total) but really I’m left waiting to see what those Aeronauts are doing and willfully ignoring the Jugger horde out on the right flank.

You’ll notice that the left Kraken didn’t charge the Muster Captain and that the left Placoderms have wandered forward with the flying monster in their flank. I’m pretty sure I’m baiting the Aeronauts to have a go at the Placos so my Kraken can at least hold them in place for the rest of the game. If the Kraken had charged the fresh Muster Captain, he would have fluffed and been flanked by the Aeronauts.

Halflings 5: Able to fly free, the Muster Captain swoops into the flank of the left Placoderms, swinging for the fences and taking the hardy crabs off โ€ฆ but without the help of the Aeronauts, who continue to abstain. In the center, the Braves squeak past the building and flank the Kraken menacing the Stalwarts, but any damage to the titanic crustacean is minimal (4 total).

Trident 5: The drama on the left flank continues as the brutal Centurion and Kraken pounce on the victorious Muster Captain, yet can only manage 5 damage (7 before double resolve). The Coral Giant moves closer to supervise, freeing up space for the Placoderms in the center to flank and scatter the Stalwarts and the central Kraken to counter the Braves and spread them across the field. Heartpiercer fire goes into Troll Sergeants, however they’re hardy heroes.

Oh. No.

Halfling 6: Tim spies a gnarly overrun through the Centurion into the left Kraken, but it’s not to be as the brutal Centurion soaks a relatively light bombing run with only 5 damage. The Muster Captain meanwhile does 0-1 damage to the Kraken in his grill. The remnants of the Halfling army back out of LOS or they’re a Jugger horde who isn’t scared of a pillow-fisted Kraken charge.

Trident 6: The Coral Giant thunders into the flank of the Muster Captain, ripping him off his flying doggo and spiking the diminutive hero. His Aralez flies off to do best boy things in a less crabby land. This frees the left Kraken and brutal Centurion to finally take a crack at the Aeronauts, however 6 damage isn’t enough to matter. Otherwise the crabs secure their hold on the map, and I clock out.

With no Turn 7 and a 4 to 2 control score, this is a …

TRIDENT VICTORY

My opponent was a gent and I hope he went on to have a good time. As it turned out, I was the only win for Cuddle Time this round. Summoning the power of Even More Caffeine, I reracked the crabs and headed into the final match of the day.

UP NEXT: Harlequin Hobby!

SCUTTLINโ€™ REALM 38-43: UNDEAD & OGRES

My club is sending sent several teams to the Crossroads GT this year (September 17-18, 2022), and in preparation we ground out practice matches as lists were dialed in, as you do. I figured I’d very quickly summarize them here in the name of completeness and catching up before the tournament coverage.

Trident Realm 2300
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Coral Giant
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Centurion – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Trident of the Drowned Sea [1]
Naiad Centurion – Pipes of Terror
Naiad Envoy – Horn of the Ocean’s Fury [1], Bastion (2) [1]

This is where my list ended up, tho in truth I was only messing with the second Centurion’s item. He had Rampage (D3) at first but I was finding it could potentially never be used, while Brutal works against everything, and may be mathematically superior when it comes to combo-charging with Kraken, for example. It also let me go full +1 to hit on the Water Elementals, which again is mathematically better if not as thematically pleasing as CS(2) on my biggest crab. I’m occasionally drawn to mess with the Envoy, but since the Fury aura doesn’t allow items it’s a choice between doing two Nv support things or one low level magic (spoiler: it would be Lute). So I chose two things and it’s rarely come into play BUT IT COULD.

GAME 38: UNDEAD

Kraken vs Wyrm!

Undead 2300
Revenants Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Dwarven Ale
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Goreblight
Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm – Inspiring Talisman, Plagued Breath
Liche King – Boots of Levitation, Surge (10), Alchemist’s Curse (4)
Liche King – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (6(8)), Scorched Earth (2)

My buddy Jeff has almost totally overhauled his Undead over the course of the year, while he’s learned more and more about the game and what it actually wants (like chaff). This is the end result of a lot of tinkering and quite a bit of painting, a sort of sack of hammers style list with some very fun models / units … in addition to the eye-melting amount of vampires. The version used for Game 38 has Zuinok Iceblood in place of one Liche King, 2x Rev Cav troops and the Soul Reaver Cav might be Rev Cav as well? Also no Goreblight, as she was being painted.

Looks like we played Plunder, a favorite of mine, and he made me go first ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Battlelines!

Apart from the RoUGBW sallying down a flank by itself, and getting dismantled by a Kraken + Axe Centurion over many turns, Jeff had some decent plans to chaff up my guns and get his blenders stuck in down the middle. The Wraiths drove me crazy per usual, and the Rev Cav troops proved how weirdly tough they are, while the cav regiment broke against the Placos and was dunked by the Coral Giant in the flank.

At some point, the game came down to the Rev horde plunging deep into the crab lines, grinding to a halt on some Heartpiercers and then getting flanked by two titans, reared by Placos and frontally charged by double Heartpiercers. Of course you can guess what happened:

Horde of Undead Heroes more like!

Aside: I have a lot of respect for Revenants, it’s rare to me that an anvil really feels like an anvil in KOW but De5+ -/24 with LL1-3 (Jeff always wants to run full LL on his hordes) is really solid. Anyway, this glorious last stand could only do so much, and with loads of tokens this was a solid …

TRIDENT VICTORY

So much for the Undead!

GAME 39: OGRES

Kraken vs Mammoth!

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde
Siege Breakers Horde
Boomers Horde
Warriors Regiment
Warriors Regiment
Warriors Regiment
Red Goblin Rabble Regiment
Mammoth – The Big Deal [1]
Crocodog Wrangler
Kuzlo & Madfall [1] – Enthral (5), Hex (3)
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Sergeant on Chariot
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), ???
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), ???

Plus 65 points of smart upgrades, Nv support for the Siege Breakers, etc. Murphy has been really down on making an Ogre army that’s interesting to him but still competitive, and you can see some of that in this list, which is essentially a meta list but with a couple B+ tier choices instead of just S tier. I’ve no idea what he ended up submitting for Crossroads, last I saw he was experimenting with Rabble spam Ogres with heavy Berserker Brave presence.

We played Push this game, he put all his tokens in the Rabble and I put 2 in the Placoderms across from them and 1 in the other Placos pushing for the center token.

Battelines!

The Ogres went a little too ham with the Big Deal, as seen earlier, but then I paid them back by going way too hard once the Warlock battery removed a Heartpiercer regiment about a turn earlier than expected:

The center cannot hold!

That didn’t turn out great for the Coral Giant, but I did lock Kuzlo down with a Kraken (losing the Kraken for several turns, since he couldn’t hit at all), and the Water Elementals were able to eat a Warlock before getting smashed by Siege Breakers + Boomers. As with most Ogre games, I was unable to put a dent in Siege Breakers, or if I did it was healed back by Noms, so I basically stopped trying and just tried to pull the Siege Breakers away from my token carriers. If they wanted to smash things, go smash things far away I guess.

That said, Kraken to the flank and rear can apparently kill Siege Breakers. The aren’t in fact immortal!

By Turn 6, I tenuously held 8 points in tokens while he just had 3, until I shot his Rabble out and brought the score to 8-0. He’d need a Turn 7 to be able to scoop up the tokens and some luck to crack two banged up Placoderm regiments, but the dice declared this one a …

TRIDENT VICTORY

So much for the Goblins!

GAME 40: OGRES

Kraken vs Crocodog!

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Siege Breakers Horde – Staying Stone
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Hunters Horde
Boomers Horde – Fire-Oil
Warrior Chariots Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Crocodog Wrangler
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Conjurer’s Staff, Lightning Bolt (3+), Scorched Earth (2)
Sergeant – Trickster’s Wand [Hex (2)]

Yep, it’s Cory’s Ogres, fresh off of their run at Masters. The main change to the list was dropping the Boomer Chariot troop, which was apparently a constant victim at Masters, with De4+ and a low Nv being a bad combo with Ht 4 Stealthy or not. I think the Warrior Chariots were the inclusion in their place? With some slimming down of his hero selection. This feels pretty light on HQs compared to most Ogres, but they’re doing good support work, which is fine when you’ve got 5 hordes to do the lifting, plus the Chariot hammer.

I think we played Invade, judging by the lack of objectives. Ogres went first.

Battlelines!
Hunters and Braves one-round the Water Elementals, and in response the crabs unleash titans on the Boomers and Ogre center.

I find my Water Elemental horde often either gets killed without doing anything, or spends 3+ turns trapped behind my Heartpiercers being menacing but at least getting to punch something late game. This was the former. It definitely put me on the back foot, so I went hard in the center while delaying the left and hoping my shooting could fix problems asap.

Boomers die but the Kraken is savaged by Chariots, Siege Breakers and most importantly Noms in the flank …
A significant amount of the Ogre army has succumbed to death by harpoon, however it’s only the end of Turn 3 and the Ogre hordes are looking hungry.
*fast forwarding to Turn 7 sounds* So much for the crabs!

TRIDENT LOSS

It wasn’t until now that I realized I killed nothing in the last four turns of the game. Brutal indeed. Shout-out to the Crocodog, which devoured both the Envoy and the trident Centurion!

It’s a bummer that fighting Ogres feels like a foregone conclusion most times, and Cory’s list isn’t particularly bent (which is probably why it’s good), but I’m here for the few nerfs they’ve caught in the upcoming big red book. From what I know, Cory’s list here would lose maybe a regiment thanks to the Siege Breaker and Noms point increases. Seems legit.

GAME 41: OGRES

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath?
Siege Breakers Horde – <item?>
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste?
Boomers Horde – Fire-Oil
Warrior Chariots Regiment – Boots of Striding
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)?
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)?
Berserker Bully

Fellow Cuddler Drew 3D printed and feverishly painted an Ogre army using all Gnolls for Crossroads, so we had a proxy game at some point so he could test out an army that wasn’t Undead or Varangur, basically the only armies he’s played for KOW. I’ll figure out his final list by the time I write the tournament report and show you some shots of his finished army, which came out amazing despite not quite being done (so many spots!)

Anyway, here’s a very brief report in the name of completeness. We played Push, which I’m a fan of. Couldn’t tell you who went first ๐Ÿ˜

Battlelines!
So much for the Gnollgres!

TRIDENT VICTORY

That proxy base on the wall might be the other Siege Breakers? Which means this is yet another Ogre game where the only units left are two Siege Breaker hordes refusing to die and slowly cleaning house. Long time readers will recognize that this is a startlingly common occurrence, kind of no matter what army I’m playing. I’m content to draw two conclusions: 1) Siege Breakers are really hard and that’s cool; 2) Siege Breakers really do deserve the points hike. Apart from that, I don’t remember really anything about the game other than Drew making some weird decisions and overextending a lot, not knowing how Ogres work.

Aside: I appreciate that the impending big red book is dealing with very good units like Gladestalkers and Siege Breakers by adjusting their points rather than nerfing them. Let people have powerful things … but also make them pay for it so there’s a trade off between them and other units. Internal balance was the single biggest reason I went to Kings after Fantasy was nuked from orbit, GW being truly horrible at it. But let’s move swiftly on.

GAME 42: UNDEAD

Coral Giant vs The Overwhelming Desire to Dive That Goreblight

Undead 2300
Revenants Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Dwarven Ale
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Goreblight
Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm – Inspiring Talisman, Plagued Breath
Liche King – Boots of Levitation, Surge (10), Alchemist’s Curse (4)
Liche King – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (6(8)), Scorched Earth (2)

It’s Jeff again! Running a list very close to the above, except with 2x Rev Cav troops instead of the Soul Reaver Cav. The dragon is standing in as the RoUGBW but the Goreblight has arrived in all her sexy / goriness.

We played Raze, because I like it and he wanted to practice it. Pretty sure I went second, as is my want.

Battlelines!
The Coral Giant dives the Goreblight, as his friends grind the Undead across the line.

TRIDENT DRAW

Those blank bases above are Rev Cav troops, which my Kraken utterly fluffed against turn after turn – which ended up being ok, as they were trapping Soul Reaver infantry behind them. This meant my army got to live a little longer, but it also meant my scenario-playing Kraken were trapped bopping skeletal horses or being mulched by vampires all game, instead of burning tokens. I ended up grabbing the center token and burning one of mine, while his Wraiths burnt a token early and the leftmost Soul Reavers glumly walked over to one Turn 6 and burnt it for the draw. Credit to Jeff on the draw!

GAME 43: UNDEAD

Fine, I’ll admit that this was taken for Instagram (@boss_salvage) and to show off Jeff’s painting (@winter.fyre)

Undead 2300
Revenants Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Dwarven Ale
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Goreblight
Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm – Inspiring Talisman, Plagued Breath
Liche King – Boots of Levitation, Surge (10), Alchemist’s Curse (4)
Liche King – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (6(8)), Scorched Earth (2)

Last battle before Crossroads and it’s Jeff’s Undead again! The dude is all about those reps, and while progress has been slow, he’s definitely learning. Let’s say he actually used the above list for this game. I’m sure I’m running Pipes on my other centurion now.

The game is Plunder, by popular demand. I think Jeff might have made me go first this time??

Turn 1 unpacking!

See that left Wraith troop? It would go on to collect 3 points of loot, as would my right most Kraken, leaving us to grind for the center in classic faux-dominate fashion. Speaking of, see that Revenant on Undead Classic Hydra barreling toward the center token? That’s going to be more of a problem than I anticipated.

Placoderms trying so hard to do work / keep things engaged so the Coral Giant can hold onto that loot.

It seems crazy that I’d leave 10 damage floating on that RoUGBW, but I had been pounding shots into it for the first half of the game and just could not land that double break, while the heal (8) Liche King kept cleaning up my hard work. Although the Wyrm itself isn’t all that important (apart from gunning for my token), it did mean I didn’t have the shots I need to take care of vampiric Undead as they gamboled forward to do a blend.

Tryhard Placoderms paying for their hubris. So much for Placos!

While we ground for the center, the woods to the left were the site of real drama. I hammered anything I could spare into the Soul Reaver Cav, but between the cover and the Wyrm demanding my attention I got very little done. Eventually the Water Elementals got involved, failed to break Soul Reavers and got mulched. The Placos above grabbed a flank on Soul Reavers, did next to nothing thanks to 5+ to hit, and got sandwiched as above. At this point I could dedicate shooting to the SRC but failed to break – I rolled 3+ snake eyes this game and I’m pretty sure the Wyrm and SRC enjoyed at least two of them.

TRIDENT LOSS

A deserved win to Jeff at last, I think this is the first time he’s beat me. A lot of my loss felt like being bludgeoned by my dice, but I also really like his list and it was good to see the Soul Reaver Cav return after a long absence, even if they ironically spent the whole game in hindered or counter-charging in a wood ๐Ÿ˜€


Thanks for sitting through those catch up games, sorry about the brevity but I wanted to log them before the Crossroads GT report, which should be happening before the big red book hits at the end of this month. October is a very busy time for me but I’m not really gaming as we wait for updates to hit, so it feels like time to clear the report queue.

UP NEXT: Cuddle Time III