Happy new year! Hope it’s been good, or at least relatively free of plague. This last Saturday we had a (masked + vaxxed) Learn to Play Kings of War day at the very new gaming center in town, and had great turnout with quite a few people interested in the game and in minigaming in general. Plus a few members of our club came out who haven’t been spotted in the wild in years, which also bodes well for the future of KOW in our area. Exciting times ahead, pandemic-willing!
After the first couple rounds of intro games, there was a free table so I challenged a clubmate to a fast little game of Kings:
Salamanders 1000 Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Greater Fire Elemental Mage-Priest – Fireball (10), Surge (8), Heal (3) Herald – The Boomstick
I have some regrets about not taking Scorched Earth instead of Heal and giving the Herald the Shroud instead, but not a lot else to say. In theory, LB(3) should be great for clearing chaff and adding to the general firepower of the list. In practice though …
Empire of Dust 1000 Skeleton Spearmen Horde – Brew of Sharpness Mummies Regiment Mummies Regiment Bone Giant Sebekh-Rei the Accursed – Heal (5+), Surge (5+) Revenant Champion – Surge (5)
Chaff? What chaff? Solid EOD package, although he really wasn’t feeling Sebekh-Rei (agreed!). Rev Champ is a real workhorse however, giving them surge option is so good for the army.
We chose to play Dominate, since all the intro tables were running either Invade or Dominate and we had just helped run an Invade game. Bloodfire scouted, won the roll for first, then gave it away.
Smoldering Fire Elemetals head back into the Bone Giant, again doing a terrible 4 damage (7 is average) and getting him back to 7. Central Fire Elementals counter the Mummies, but not before the Greater Fire steps into surge position, hence the strange alignment (the big girl couldn’t combo-charge with them, due to not having Nimble. Also I just realized she could have toasted Sebekh-Rei out of spite before surging in!) While they do damage, it isn’t enough to rout the Mummies in one go. Also the Herald tries and fails to lightning Sebekh-Rei.
EMPIRE OF DUST VICTORY
In a game that revolved almost entirely around rolling 4+s to hit, the Bone Giant far outperformed, reminding me of my 2E games where Bone Giants were easily the best thing in the EOD list and caused me endless pain. On the flipside, my Fire Elementals were aggressively poor this game, and the Herald’s Boomstick was laughably bad, with I believe 1 damage dealt all game. Being 1000 points makes these sort of dice skews stand out all the more, I suppose.
All told a fun romp, thanks for reading! Hope to get some more games in, likely at 2100 points as my club is running its own GT at the end of February and we’re all chomping at the bit. Stay tuned.
It feels like it’s been forever since I last played Kings of War, but in that time Clash of Kings 2022 has slammed into the game and we’ve just begun feeling the weight of that impact. Add to all the new units and armies feverishly being born all the new players starting the game and it all adds up to exciting times in Pannithor. Personally, I’m adding loads of new stuff to the Hallow right now, partially because I already had expansions in progress and partially because COK unlocked quite a few units for the faction that otherwise were just hard to justify on the tabletop – including stuff I took in the beginning and kept passing over, like the Great Chieftain. Welcome to every game going forward, bud!
Since the Hallow is on the hobby desk, I commemorated my first COK22 outing by busting out Bloodfire: The Pre-Rebuild edition:
Salamanders 1995 Fire Elementals Horde – Diadem of Dragonkind Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Greater Fire Elemental Clan Lord – Effigy of Fire, Raptor Clan Lord – Effigy of Fire, Raptor Mage-Priest – Fireball (10), Surge (8), Scorched Earth (3) Battle Captain on Rhinosaur – Inspiring Talisman
This doesn’t take huge advantage of COK22 – there are no Scorchwings (yet) – but the shattering on the fireballs and the Me 3+ on the GFE certainly don’t hurt. I knew I wanted to take one of the new mega spells on the Mage-Priest, so went with Scorched Earth as I rate it the most meta-warping of the library. Yes, I do happen to have two very mobile combat individuals in the list as well. We’ll talk about changes at the end 😛
Varangur 1995 The Fallen Horde The Fallen Horde Snow Trolls Horde – Staying Stone Huscarls Regiment – Brew of Haste Mounted Sons of Korgaan Regiment – Guise of the Deceiver? Night Raiders Troop – Bows Cavern Dweller Lord on Frostfang – Snow Fox Lord on Horse – Snow Fox Magus – Host Shadowbeast (8), Lightning Bolt (4)
Speaking of juicing up combat characters, the Varangur obviously went that route, with the 7 attak base mounted Lord prepared to receive all the shadowbeast he could handle. Apart from that, business as usual, with elite fast hammers, a token chaff unit, and one beautiful beastie.
We rolled up Invade, which felt a little bit too lopsided for Bloodfire’s triumphant return, so we rerolled to Push and kept it. Bloodfire scouted then won and took first!
The Clan Lords rolled well, doing 3-4 damage each at the cost of the left one’s effigy.
And then I come to terms with having nothing to do with my 150 point Mage-Priest. I wanted to Scorched Earth those waiting Fallen, but she really is quite short. I find myself missing Heal, which my Priests have had for like 43 games straight. Sigh. (It’s almost nothing, but she could have surged in the Ember Sprites if they held and shot the Trolls. I’m not really used to Sprites being shambling!)
The Mage-Priest’s other option was to choose violence and wreck the Magus out of spite. It would turn out that spite isn’t always the wrong option …
Also the GFE is holding the Trolls’ 2 tokens, tying the game 2-2.
Salamanders 7: The Fire Elementals scoot forward and pick up the tokens, unable to turn and bring the Magus into their diadem’s arc. 2-2 draw.
Obviously I’m smarting from not choosing to kill the damn wizard, but I feel like that’s the moral of this story (and possibly COK22): Kill. The. Wizard. You used to more or less be able to ignore casters, as they were heal bots or bane chanters or boomstick operators, but that’s going to be less and less the case. Flipside, the reward for taking these tools out is higher than before, both points and cost to the enemy, so well worth it.
Host Shadowbeast feels kind of bad to play against, as I thought it would, but I guess it’s here until 4E hits. Honestly I’m inclined to just join in, especially when it comes to the build I ran here. Lizards don’t have a 7 attak blender like a few of the factions, so I’m just juicing up 5 attak beaters and rolling dice, which hey, is the point. It largely gives combat characters more options than speedbumps or sitting down flyers, which is on the whole good. On the counter point, Scorched Earth I still think is the most important spell of the new library for the meta, however with double mounted heroes and so much chaff, it feels less necessary here. It might be best in lists that a) have ensnare, so it’s extremely punishing, but don’t necessarily have pathfinder so aren’t lurking in terrain (I’m saying Trident Realms, ok?); or b) are really elite and don’t have the usual tools to ground flyers.
Which is to say, here’s the redux for whenever somebody wants to play 1995 again:
Salamanders 1995 Fire Elementals Horde – War Bow Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Greater Fire Elemental Clan Lord – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Raptor Clan Lord – Blade of Slashing, Raptor Mage-Priest – Crown of the Wizard King, Fireball (10), Surge (8), Host Shadowbeast (8) Battle Captain on Rhinosaur – Inspiring Talisman
165 points seems a bit preposterous on that Mage-Priest, but 18″ surge and shadowbeast feels good for how slow she is compared to the more aggressive parts of the army. I 100% miss the healing I’ve used for basically ever, however I’m thinking leaning into aggression might be good, rather than pretending I can be a counter-attak attrition force.
Oh, also Effigy of Fire continues to feel pretty bad. More attaks or more rerolls please.
I’ll probably get another game or two in before the new year! Until then, happy Clashing!
We’ve got a new local player who’s pretty new to wargaming in general but is really loving painting and KOW as a whole. He’s still chasing that first win, and I’ve been shopping most of his lists for him, although he’s hamstrung a bit by what models he has available. In this game he borrowed some cav so would have a chaff unit for the first time!
He actually took the first version of this army to Crossroads last month, playing his first game the night before the tournament and then staying up all night finishing painting, like a Real Gamer. Anyway, he didn’t like how many hordes he had, but did like the Wights and Werewolves, so he’s doubling down on the Me 3+ hammers. I’m happy to see the Werewolves, they seem weirdly absent in Undead lists? Maybe because Wights and Soul Reaver Cav exist. He could definitely use another chaff unit – I’d likely downgrade the Revenants to a second Zombie horde, as much as he hates them, to get points for a second Rev Cav troop.
Same list for me, double Centaur Chiefs, no upgrades, etc.
We rolled up Control, which suits me but he’s no slouch at, with 25US and plenty of speed. The Herd scouted and then lost first turn.
While the list certainly has the hammers it needs to smash the hell out of opponents, it really relies on getting that alpha, especially with so few control elements going on. So a match where he surrendered his speed advantage and let my #slowherd strike first probably wasn’t going to go well for the deadites I was happy to finally play him, as lopsided an affair as it turned out. I’ll probably ask him to play again soon and maybe bring a more traditional army to slam into.
A couple weeks after Crossroads, we got a bunch of the club together to keep the hype going and throw down some 2300 and/or 1995 games. With the way things shook out, I ended up playing my usual Ogre sparring partner, with my new (but not too new) Herd list:
Zero upgrades. The gamble is that Moonfang’s Primal Savagery will vaguely equate to the Druid’s bane chant, and her damage output and maneuverability take the place of the Beast. Double Centaur Chiefs make me happy, especially in November when Clash of Kings makes their inspiring unconditional!
There’s a chance he swapped some items around from the last time we played, but I can’t remember and/or it doesn’t really matter.
We rolled up Push, and after scouting the Hallow won and took first turn, because getting past the center line + nabbing the center token are things to do.
At this point opined about how rough this match up is for my army, and wondered if I’d ever beat Ogres with #slowherd …
Holy hell y’all, I beat Ogres! Fittingly in the same game where I complained about never beating them. There were certainly some positional errors I was able to capitalize on, but I also had my share of them (stupid, stupid Centaurs). I actually think it was putting so much stuff on the right, then playing it so passively (out of indecision mostly), that helped get the dubya. Significant, murderous parts of his army couldn’t round that house fast enough to help actually fight for tokens, which was huge.
As for the list, I dig it, but am wondering about taking a Forest Warden instead of the second Centaur Chief. Another chaff piece but one that can do different things, like hold tokens and scout up with the boys, and grab those occasional flanks / rears. A Warden would also give me 20 pts to play with, and I do like me brutal on a Herder.
Right after this I played a second game against a very new Undead player, so stay tuned.
Alright, last game of the 2021 Crossroads GT. Middle tables, nothing at stake, opponent is a buddy from our sister club and, crazily enough, I almost played him and this army in my third game ever with Herd, before we swapped the Ratkin player over to me. Call it fate.
I really appreciate no item lists, especially when there are units that so often are ‘fixed’ with the same items – looking at the Horsemen without pathfinder or strider here. As my opponent said, what would he drop to get them? Personally I’m not a fan of De3 on Lower Abyssals, with so much P1 shooting in the game, but he doesn’t have the points to make them do work otherwise, so trade-off it is.
Game Five is Plunder, the green tokens are worth 2 points. I scout and lamentably he takes first turn.
Meanwhile, Tribal Spears move down the center line, intent on scooping up another loot token. The Centaur Chief doesn’t move at all, which seems bad when I think how just backing up 5″ makes the Seductress make more of a decision, but it’s not game ending with how fast she is. Finally the Druid bane chants the Forest Shamblers.
The Centaurs re-charge the left Flamebearers (I’m pretty sure they didn’t flank the Warlock because the Flamebearers have double the shots, tho future me definitely thinks they should have, as it inspires / might actually die), the central Herder corkscrew charges the right Flamebearers (largely so he can look to the right), and the Brutal Herder ramps off the hill into Ba’el. For vengeance. The Druid tops him off with a little healing.
I’ve got some weird feels about that omission, as Turn 7 ruined me here, for zero upside despite my power pieces. However I had a great back and forth game up to here and as far as I knew we had the turns correct, so either way that’s am …
ABYSSAL VICTORY (4-17)
I won’t say I wasn’t weirdly disappointed at playing so hard, pushing through some terrible luck (like everything to do with the Flamebearers), having some insane luck (the Ba’el dunk!), and then walking away with next to no points for it, but that’s how the cookie crumbles in a game where scenarios score at the end #progressivescoringnowplz It was a helluva match against an honestly better player, and a great way to cap a great tournament. It’s becoming passe to say this, but in person gaming again has been amazing, and a tournament is like the best way to do it. Minus the lack of sleep thing, tho that probably won’t ever change.
Nor will my placement I reckon – I landed 34 of 52, which I swear I’ve gotten before 😓 2-1-2 (but 49/105 battle points) and average paint will do that. I did get 1 favorite army vote from somebody tho! And played great dudes along the way, many of them for the first time since 2E.
Before signing off on this Crossroads series I did want to comment on Turn 7 being a thing. I’m all for its existence, and I’m fine with it at tournaments as well, but 4+ is far too often for me. I’d like it to be a special thing that maybe happens a third or a sixth of the time, but absolutely shattering a game on 50% – or creating a win-more scenario with the same likelihood – is pretty lame and a little too Games Workshop for me at this point.
Part of this thought was sparked by Saturday night’s discussion with a new KOW player but Warmachine vet, who was enjoying herself but scoffed at KOW’s claims that it’s designed for competitive play. To her, 50/50 Turn 7 and the ability to fabricate situations where units must charge an arc but are not allowed to charge that arc both invalidate the competitive design stance, and I agree on the first point, while shrugging on the second and calling it one of KOW’s NPEs.
I think Turn 7 has the potential to guide comp in a way (speed / shooting / survival in that order) and possibly force more conservative play, so maybe that’s why it always seems to wreck me so badly? As I very rarely have anything left in the late game, either to capitalize on Turn 7 or, more often, to survive it. Hence my feels about Game Five here, as I actually had meaningful tools in position for it, but wasn’t allowed to use them. Honestly, Turn 7 on a 50% would be less of an issue if 90% or so of the scenarios weren’t end scoring only. With progressive scoring, you’re awarded for scenario-minded play along the way, which my Herd basically have to do, in the hope they’ll currently be around to reap the benefits at the very end.
Thanks for reading! I’ve just got a couple more games in with the Hallow, so stay tuned.
Day Two of the 2021 Crossroads GT dawns, bringing with it Skull Face and the Orcs of ORC TOWN. The last time I faced Skull Face was back at the Orc Town GT with my fire elementals, and maybe the biggest change this edition is that Skull Face has lent his slasher to Orcling and deigned to stomp the yard on foot:
Orcs 2300 Greatax Horde – Orcish Skullpole, Potion of the Caterpillar Greatax Horde – Orcish Skullpole, Boots of Striding Morax Regiment – Orcish Skullpole Morax Regiment – Orcish Skullpole Morax Regiment – Orcish Skullpole Morax Regiment – Orcish Skullpole Orclings Regiment Orclings Regiment Orclings Regiment War Drum War Drum Krudger on Winged Slasher – Pipes of Terror Skull Face [Krudger] – Orcish Skullpole, Gakamak’s Bloody Banner, Mead of Madness Ulpgar the Mad – Bane Chant (3+), Fireball (7+) Krusher on Gore – Blade of Slashing Krusher on Gore – Mace of Crushing
As far as I can tell, this list has all the tools Orcs can get, maybe with the exception of springing for Ulpgar at the expense of spamming another 1-2 punchy individuals. Skull Face has had another tough run of things to be down here with me, to be down here fighting me, but as the only Orcs and only Herd, it seems fitting.
Game Four is Dominate, which suits us both fine. I scout up and take first.
The Slasher takes 3 damage, the Beast savages her Morax up to 13 damage but can’t break them, the left Greatax take 11 and waver, the central Morax take 4, and the right Greatax take a hearty 15 but hold. So much violence, but the grind is well and truly joined!
Neither unit routs, although the Shamblers hit 11 damage and the Brutal Herder 6.
Ulpgar swings on the Centaur Chief but misses, ending a dominating …
HERD VICTORY (20-1)
Holy hell, what a blood bath. My plan going into this was to trap him behind his chaff, which has worked before for Orcs / similar infantry grind lists, and that sorta happened, except it was more killing his chaff and trapping him behind my thicc chaff. Deciding early on to just punch it forward was obviously the deciding moment, and it was gratifying to see that my army has enough small or fast (or both) units to buy my grinding units time to do their thing. Tournament-wise, I’m 2-1-1 and happy with however the last game ends up.
Day One ends with a rare treat on the bottom table, as no fewer than five Tree Herders gather to see whose grain will reign supreme 🌳
Forces of Nature 2300 Forest Shamblers Horde – Brew of Sharpness Forest Shamblers Horde – Brew of Strength Scorchwings Horde Hunters of the Wild Regiment Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment Tree Herder – Wiltfather, Surge (8) Tree Herder – Surge (8) Tree Herder – Surge (8) Unicorn – Lute of Insatiable Darkness, Wings, Heal (5) Kapoka, The Hidden Savior – Heal (4), Weakness (3)
It’s an interesting list, that really pays for that third Herder by not having any chaff to speak of. He’s clearly not done well either (poor trees), but the match into me is neat. Nature has shooting and dad on their side, I’ve got raw unit strength and chaff to help control the match. Which is fitting as …
Game Three is Control! We have a pretty involved scouting phase, out of which I win initiative but give it to him – because he has Heartpiercers who I want to screw over / make come closer to me, also because it’s control.
The Druid whips 1 lightning bolt’s worth of damage into the Scorchwings, tho she probably should have healed the Shamblers. I don’t begrudge her.
Those Scorchwings! Doing work, and thanks to a flank I didn’t need to give them. Smart play by my opponent, with some very competent surging (Fun Game: Take a shot every time I surge a unit this tournament! Safe to play at work!). I feel like I won this in the army building phase? Even just splitting the Hunters into troops would give him more to work with, though they’re just flat out-classed by my Tribal Spears. Which is a good feel, as the reason I chose Herd and not Nature is because I really like Herd’s infantry options, while I’m really not interested in Nature’s. It was also instructive to see how little Kapoka does – my opponent admitted she wasn’t turning out great – as I’ve been interested in her if I ported sideways to Nature.
Having gone 1-1-1 on Day One, I was content to drink, play some board games, and talk about Warmahordes into the AM. What a day.
After my Game One drubbing, I plummeted down to the bottom table and got to face one of my favorite people to play, and a dude I very often play somewhere around mid-tournament for score-related reasons 😀
Dwarfs 2300 Bulwarkers Horde – Staying Stone, Throwing Mastiff Earth Elementals Horde Earth Elementals Horde Earth Elementals Horde Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Boots of Striding Sharpshooters Troop Sharpshooters Troop Sharpshooters Troop Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff Berserker Lord on Brock – Blade of the Beast Slayer Berserker Lord on Brock – Mournful Blade Stone Priest – Conjurer’s Staff, Surge (8), Bane Chant (2) Dwarf Army Standard Bearer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness
I’m always happy to fight Dwarfs, as I very reliably out-threat them, so get to play the more control oriented game I prefer. His list seems legit? And looks great on the table. I dig the double Brock Lords, and this would be the first time I’ve faced Earth Elementals with my squishier Forest Shamblers.
Game Two is Salt the Earth, and the Herd wins and takes the initiative.
Attrition put us at less than 500 points apart, for a true draw, which is apparently possible in Blackjack Scoring. It felt a little bad to have things slip away like this, as I had taken an early lead and had a lot of control – and some luck – in my favor, but even during the game I was seeing places where I simply was forgetting to do things (turn to face the Brock Lord on the right) or choosing obvious things (Beast putting a few wounds on Bulwarkers instead of kicking the ASB to death OR threatening the Sharpshooters on a point a turn earlier) rather than smarter things. In retrospect, I think could have won by not charging the Tribal Spears in on the center, as the fresh Forest Shamblers would have slide over fully to a) contest the point and b) block the Tribal Spears from the Earth Elementals, allowing them to score in safety or at the least contest, either of which would have done it for me, without a Turn 7. Instead I tried to punch for the stars per usual, and lost that win by an inch.
After missing last year due to the raging global pandemic, the Crossroads GT returned in 2021 as a 2300 point singles KOW tournament – the past two Crossroads have been team tournaments, and 2022 is slatted to return to that format, but the feeling this year was that most of us haven’t played much if at all in 18 months so why complicate things? Brilliant, I say. I took my Hallow Herd, knowing full well that they aren’t strong and even my usual tournament goal of going 50% could be hard.
Eight games in, here’s where this version of the Hallow landed. I made a last minute decision to give the Druid LB(2) in place of the Centaur Chief’s duelist, and we’ll have to see how that played out!
Yep, that’s a rough place to start! But Ogres (along with Undead) were very well represented at this tournament, so I suppose if I’ve got to take it on the chin from Ogres I might as well do it first game against a good dude I haven’t played since 2E. Going list to list, I have next to no chance, except …
First round is Invade, and my tree things do that pretty well, right?? Unfortunately he wins first turn, so that tightens that screw just a bit further.
It’s hard to remember the last time I was tabled? But I was happy to walk away from a very tough match-up with a point. With normal dice – or not going to Turn 7 – that might have been 1-2 more, however I was never going to win this one, which is what it is. Anyway, Operation: Race to the Bottom was in full effect!
I’ve been feeling really ground out with the CS1 of the Forest Shamblers, and finding instances where my fancy Tree Herder doesn’t get to fight, so maybe he could buff a unit 1-2 times a game? Dropped the Druid’s staff for an *ahem* hoot of darkness :X (my fancy Herder has an owl on his shoulder, the true mastermind of the army)
Undead 2300 Wights Horde Wights Horde Wights Horde Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – Chalice of Wrath Soul Reaver Infantry Troop Zombies Regiment Zombies Regiment Zombies Regiment Ghouls Troop Ghouls Troop Ghouls Troop Ghouls Troop Vampire on Undead Pegasus – Blade of Slashing? Vampire on Undead Pegasus Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Bane Chant (2) Undead Army Standard Bearer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness
Triple Wights! That’s a spicy meatball. Slightly fewer Soul Reavers but the reg is a crazy hammer and the troop one helluva glass hammer. I’m pretty sure the Vampasuses had no spells – they might have had Surge (4) each but I think he was smart and put it into fury on the big Soul Reavers. Honestly I’d put staying stone on the troop as well but I’m not sure that he did that here.
We rolled up Plunder (again), so that means super scout phase for me! I also nabbed the first turn.
Quick Token Check: 4 Undead to 3 Herd
It’s surprising to look back and see how this game almost fell apart as that Vampasus who plowed into my lines Turn 2 waded through an ocean of spears to snatch the tie-breaking loot token. Major cred to her tenacity! On the flipside, I did have triple snake eyes against Undead hammers, so my ability to reflect on tactics or what not is kind of limited. On the whole, this is a game where my strategy turned out sound and played out, thanks to bad as well as good luck (the odds of those spear bois dropping the vamp have to be next to nothing!)
As for the list, clearly the lute isn’t for me. I had a single chance to use it, and not only did I forget but it wouldn’t have meant much. My final list drops it back down to pipes of terror, gives the Druid her conjuring staff back as well as lightning bolt (2). I popped that on her right before submission, so here’s hoping it comes in handy! My thought was that the army could use just a little something in Turn 1 to pop low Nv chaff or Turn 6+ to pop mangled units fleeing my all combat army.
I’ll be back in a couple weeks with news from the tournament. Until then!