SCUTTLIN’ REALM 30: UNDEAD

Unplugged Day Two dawns with me up against my clubmate and tournament bunk buddy Drew and his Undead. We’ve scrummed a number of times, but never at 1995? And certainly not with his shiny new Werewolves or Wraiths.

Undead 1995
Wights Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar
Wights Horde – Boots of Striding
Wights Horde – Fire-Oil
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – Staying Stone
Werewolves Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Vampire on Undead Pegasus – Surge (4)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Heal (3)
Necromancer – Surge (6), Heal (3)

I continue to be shocked by how good Wights are, tho I probably shouldn’t be at this point πŸ˜› He’s replaced his Ghoul chaff with Wraith chaff and swapped out excessive Zombie regiments with a half pack of Werewolves looking to do things like move at the double. I’m surprised he’s done so poorly to be down here with me but I think he had some hard match-ups in day one.

Fourth round was Salt the Earth, again with tokens pre-placed on the map. The Undead went first, either because he’s slow or I wanted to shoot his dudes.

BATTLE

Battlelines! So clean and fresh. His inspiring Necromancer is centrally behind some Wraiths and next to Wights. My heroes are Centurion > Bastion > Hex.
Undead 1: A general moaning can be heard as the deadites drift forward, with the exception of the Soul Reavers who take advantage of their vitality to jog ahead of the army. The Vampasus is lurking behind the tower and facing to my left.
Trident 1: Kraken angle in on the flanks, but mostly I bring 40 Heartpiercer harpoon guns to bear on the Soul Reaver Infantry …
… and delete the bloodthirsty scourge 😀 (A very average 10 damage followed by a very average 7 to rout. He lamented not having inspiring near them and had me reroll out of curiosity, and of course I got the 5 that with staying stone would have been nothing.)
Undead 2: The ghosts drift up, with the Werewolves protecting the flank of the rightmost Wights. The wolves go ahead and burn that token on the hill while they’re at it, as do the Wraiths in the forest on the left.
Trident 2: I do something that I rarely do and back up. And feel dirty in the process, but hey, I’ve got guns and the Undead are slow and want to murder me in combat. But I’m still me tho and launch the right Kraken into the Werewolves, because a) killing them isn’t crazy (one shot at an 8-10 Nv test), b) killing the Wights next to them isn’t crazy with Heartpiercers (one shot at a 10), c) hexing one of the Necros makes a flank surge more dicey, d) even if the Kraken dies next turn, more of my guns will be unengaged for another turn.
Heartpiercers stick 2-3 damage on the left Wights and 5 on the right ones, for all the good it does. Hex fails to hit a Necromancer as well. In combat, the Kraken only does 3 damage and there’s no lucky 11 rout to save him. Sigh. Would have been much better to rotate him in and let the Werewolves make the decision of where to charge, then either counter them or slowly grind.
Coming attraction for the next episode of ‘Kraken in Predicaments’ …
Undead 3: The dead make contact with the crabby lines at last. Wraiths block up the left Kraken and Water Elementals, as Wights and Vampasus prepare to dunk the left Placoderms, phalanx be damned. The right Kraken is countered by Werewolves and sadly flanked by Wights, thanks to a stellar 4+ surge when he needed 1″. The show off.
The poor right Kraken explodes into crab parts, however the rest of the combats hold tight, with the Kraken taking 4 (!), Placos 6 and Water Elementals 1 damage.
Trident 3: The grind has begun, even if there are more Wights on the table than I had hoped. The Kraken counters the Wraiths (grudgingly), the Placoderms counter the Vampasus with the Centurion charging the left Wights to sit them down / body block, and the Water Elementals counter the other Wraiths (grudgingly). The right, shooty arm of the crab line shores up any flying / surge flank shenanigans.
Heartpiercers push the right Wights from 4 damage to dead, and stick the inspiring Necro for 1 damage, lucky wavering him! The Placoderms snip 4 damage on the Vampasus, the Wraiths take some damage but hold frustratingly, and the Centurion does 0 damage to the left Wights, leaving them free to fly where they will :O
Undead 4: Some very careful measuring later, and the left Wights end up front charging the (uninspired) Kraken with the Wraiths countering. Likewise the central Wights combo into the Water Elemental horde with the other Wraiths. The Vampasus counters the Placoderms (grudgingly), and the Werewolves end up charging into the pond into the other Placoderms, maybe to protect the Wights’ flank if they don’t one round the Water Elementals.
Except Wights are combat gods (especially when they’ve got Fire-Oil vs regening Water Elementals), and the mega crab bites it. The Kraken takes 12 damage and blessedly wavers (WHEW), while both Placoderms take 2 damage and hold (up to 8 vs the Vampasus).
Trident 4: The Kraken disengages and furiously regens down to 6 damage, as the Centurion prepares to sit the left Wights down with his trident and the Placoderms counter the Vampasus. The Heartpiercers to their right charge some Wraiths to sit them down, and the other Placoderms back away from the Werewolves so they can be ventilated by all those Heartpiercers.
Which they are, quite handily. The Centurion does manage to sit down the left Wights (1 damage!), and in combat the Heartpiercers likewise sit down their Wraiths (3 damage total). But I’ll stop burying the lead: the Placoderms kill the Vampasus! Totally unexpected. They take the moment to turn and face the Wights about to kill the Kraken next turn.
Undead 5: Despite my wealth of Heartpiercers, Drew’s still got two very fresh Wight hordes and two very functional Wraith troops to kill me with, plus his Zombies just casually winning the game in his deployment zone. On the left, Wraiths and Wights charge the wounded Kraken. In the center, Wraiths float sideways and prepare a stomach-churningly easy surge into the bastion Envoy and very easy overrun into some Heartpiercers …
Act 1, Scene 1
Act 1, Scene 2
Act 2, Scene 1
Apart from the Envoy getting nuked, the combats go better than anticipated, with both the Kraken and Heartpiercers holding! On 13 and 8 damage respectively. Drew sees those Placoderm flanks/rears and declares the game over, especially if those things can kill a Vampasus 😦
Trident 5: Hindered or not, no way I’m passing up those Wight underbellies! Placoderms and Centurion hit the left Wights in the flank (Kraken backs off and regens down to 6), and other Placoderms rear charge the other Wights (Heartpiercers back off and regen down to 4). The Heartpiercers mobilize, with one unit powering forward to make a Turn 6 play for the center token.
The inspiring Necromancer is shot down, and the other is hexed (FINALLY) but then wavered as well. In combat, neither Wight unit takes much damage – 5 to the left horde and just 3 to the rear-charged horde. Woof. I also take the opportunity to burn the token in the left forest, which I had been debating all game.
Undead 6: With the Placos unable to stop their reign of terror, the ghosts continue their assault on the living. Wraiths charge the Kraken once more, as the left Wights counter the Centurion, looking to overrun into the Placoderms (8 damage) who are reared by more Wraiths. The central Wights ignore the Placoderms to their rear and continue on into the Heartpiercers to their front.
Another horrific montage later and Centurion, Placoderms and Heartpiercers are all dead. (Editorial Note: That 0″ overrun feels pretty bad, but then again the Wights are less than 50/50 that they kill the Centurion. Tho don’t tell Drew’s dice, he was hitting like a madman all game.) The Kraken finally avoids being wavered tho!
Trident 6: I scoot those Heartpiercers to the center, drawing the game, even if there’s some attempted murder to be had. The Kraken swings into the left Wraiths and the Placoderms front charge the central Wights. Neither combat really does much, but both units are grounded, which is nice. The surviving Necro is hexed and wavered again by some Heartpiercers.
Undead 7: On the left, the Wights and Wraiths combo charge the Kraken again, except this time he’s completely regenerated, if uninspired. In the center, we keep that feel good ghost combo going, with Wights and Wraiths hitting the Placoderms (in retrospect this doesn’t seem legal, as I don’t think the Wraiths could draw LOS to the teeny 2.5mm of base peeping around the Wights; surge would make it possible to sidestep the Wights, charge the Wraiths and surge the Wights, but the Necro was out of commission).
At long last, the second Kraken falls 😦 Also the Placoderms die.
Trident 7: My last gasp play is to shoot off those right Zombies, however I only do 1 damage so can’t even spike the box cars victory. I spitefully pour the rest of the Heartpiercers into the central Wights, pushing them to 8 damage but I can’t sink the 9 to rout them. With 2 tokens each, this is decidedly a …

DRAW (10-10)

What. A. Journey. I felt like this was a breakthrough game for me where my deployment was sound and I fully recognized my shooting advantage and really made the most of it. Throwing the right Kraken away was a bummer and would have changed the game wildly if I held onto him, although I really wanted him to dive into the Undead backfield to clear out those Zombies / force him to burn those tokens I otherwise couldn’t get to. Also Wights are frustratingly good and make surge just so much more viable than it usually is (in my head), but you certainly pay for it. Wraiths on the other hand, damn, that’s some value right there. Finally, I’m more and more convinced that I need Lute back in the list, more than I need the trident, almost entirely because it helps the Placoderms do anything. Spoilers I guess for my next list.

UP NEXT: Dwarfs!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 29: BROTHERMARK

With my sweet 4 points, I’m matched up against a gorgeous Moorish (?) army likewise wallowing down here at the bottom. Wyatt’s a good guy with some serious tools in his list, who must have been smacked by some heavies in the first couple rounds.

Brothermark 1995
Order of the Abyssal Hunt Regiment – Blessing of the Gods
*Paladin Knights Regiment – Aegis Fragment, Potion of the Caterpillar
*Paladin Knights Regiment – Aegis Fragment, Boots of Striding
Men-at-Arms Spearmen Horde – Veteran Command, Hammer of Measured Force
Villein Bowmen Horde – Fire-Oil
Villein Skirmishers Troop
*High Paladin on Dragon – Staying Stone
Exemplar Hunter on Horse – The Gauntlet, Scythe of the Harvester
Exemplar Chaplain on Horse – Battle Hymns, Knowledgeable, Host Shadowbeast (8), Crown of the Wizard King
Exemplar Chaplain – Battle Hymns, Zephyr Crown
*Defenders of Righteousness Formation

He walked me through the Exemplar Hunter + Shadowbeast wombo-combo, which definitely has legs, especially against individuals (thanks to duellist) but really anything (thanks to both rampage and slayer). Otherwise it’s three serious knight units, one helluva dragon, and some loathsome peasant Nerve blocks / scenario pieces. He did admit at some point that there’s a severe lack of inspiring, calling it a “design flaw” πŸ˜€

Third round was Pillage, with the seven tokens already placed on the map. Brothermark went first whether or not they wanted to.

BATTLE

Battlelines! The Abyssal Hunt are behind the hill, along with Hunter. The shadowbeast Chaplain is next to the dragon, along with the rest of the formation. My heroes are Hex > Bastion (lake) > Centurion, and you can just see the other Kraken there on the right.
Brothermark 1: Despite their hunger to smite the crustaceous menace, the Brothermark manage to advance with caution across the line, largely staying out of LOS. The Bowmen move into range of the leftmost (uninspired!) Heartpiercers, and despite 7+ to hit do 2 damage thanks to Fire-Oil.
Trident 1: Placoderms park themselves in that central wood, in range of both the High Paladin and one Paladin Knight regiment. I make sure every other target can only be charged by one unit, and toss bastion on a Kraken in case. The right Heartpiercers burn the right Paladin Knight’s aegis fragment, the central Heartpiercers can’t do 2 damage to the left Knights, and the Heartpiercers on the left cower behind their hill from the Bowmen’s flaming arrows.
Brothermark 2: After some deliberation, the Brothermark slam through the woods and into the crabby arms of their quarry! Paladin Knights (phalanxed) and dragon (hindered) hit the Placoderms, while more Paladin Knights hit the advanced Heartpiercers. Abyssal Hunt jam the other Placoderms, with Hunter in tow. The peasants hold tight for now.
That’s High Paladin Leeroy Jenkins to you, cur! (And his cloak of death already doing work …)
Bowmen stick 2 damage on the left Placoderms, shortly before they’re wind blasted sideways (!), for all it’ll do next turn. In combat, the Heartpiercers explode but the Placoderms hold on 8 damage like champs. Hell yea.
Trident 2: Looks like we’ve got a game! Both Kraken hit the right Paladin Knights in the flank, the Placoderms counter the dragon, and the other Placoderms charge the Abyssal Hunt to get that started. Heartpiercers jockey for shots on the unengaged Paladin Knights in the center of the board.
Those Paladin Knights escape the crossfire relatively unscathed (3 damage), then bastion goes up on a Kraken. Speaking of Kraken, they rampage through their Paladin Knights, with one sidestepping to give some maneuver options. Placoderms manage to ground the High Paladin and poke the Abyssal Hunt for token damage.
Brothermark 3: It would appear there’s plenty of smiting to be had, so the Bros get back to it. The Paladin Knights flank the dragon’s Placoderms, as the dragon counters them and the Abyssal Hunt counters their Placoderms. Also the Exemplar Hunter charges into the poor hex Envoy 😐 The various peasant units grow restless and sally forth for reasons. Cloak of death from the dragon splashes everywhere.
[sound of a 20+ attak chainsaw revving up]
A vicious bongo solo from a Chaplain hosts ~4 attaks into the Hunter, moments before he revs up his scythe, activates his gauntlet, and turns the hex Envoy into crab vapor :O The High Paladin and Paladin Knights crack their Placoderms, but happily the other heavy crab bois only go up to 5 damage against the Abyssal Hunt.
Trident 3: Both Kraken pound into the dragon’s front, as the Water Elemental horde skitters from the pond into the Paladin Knights and some Heartpiercers mob the flank of the Exemplar Hunter. Placos counter the Abyssal Hunt. (I spent a long time trying to get the Water Elementals + Kraken into dragon, but I couldn’t get a Kraken into the Paladin Knights, so would have to wear their charge next turn. I could have turned off their TC with the Centurion’s trident? Making the charge less of a thing to worry about.)
I live for Kaiju Big Battle titan fights ❀
The right Heartpiercers start chunking damage on the Spearmen, then bastion fails to cast. In combat, the Kraken boff the dragon up to 8 damage, sadly not saving the Water Elementals from the corkscrew next turn. The Elementals smack the Paladin Knights up to 8 damage as well, again not saving themselves from the dragon corkscrew. Sigh. Anyway, the Placoderms disorder the Abyssal Hunt again (3 damage total after all the iron resolving), and stunningly the Heartpiercers do 2! damage to the Hunter (down to 1). Which is relevant because that dude is CS1 + TC1.
Brothermark 4: The Water Elementals are corkscrewed by the High Paladin, as we both expected, with Paladin Knights in the front. Villein Skirmishers whip off the hill into a Kraken, for violence, and the Abyssal Hunt counters the Placoderms, with the Hunter in their flank.
With 12 total attaks after scythe and shadowbeast, the Hunter is more than capable of cracking some Placoderm shell, and he and the Abyssal Hunt drive them off at last. The Water Elementals are also decimated by the dragon flank. The Skirmishers do an admirable 2 damage to their Kraken, despite all the negatives!
Trident 4: Alright, alright, so that’s a big hole in my lines :/ Kraken have really limited access to the High Paladin, so instead they hit the mangled Paladin Knights and aim to one round the Skirmishers. I point a lot of guns at the dragon.
20 Heartpiercer shots (into cover) and 5 Centurion lasers (into cover plus he’s a muppet) are enough to pop the High Paladin, and I can finally take a breath this turn. 10 spare Heartpiercer harpoons into the Abyssal Hunt convert to a crazy 6 damage, putting them on 8 too. In combat, the Kraken rampage through all that horse flesh, crushing both the Paladin Knights and Skirmishers.
Brothermark 5: While the game feels pretty well in the crabs’ claws, this is a seven token Pillage game, and my lead in scoring units isn’t huge. To whit, the Abyssal Hunt thunder into a unit of Heartpiercers on the left (where there’s no inspiring!), and the Spearmen trip through the woods to tie a Kraken down, where his US1 doesn’t do anything. The Exemplar Hunter slips his gauntlet back on and powers into the Centurion as well.
A shadowy beast is once again hosted into the Hunter, moments before a rain of flaming arrows from the Bowmen remove a full regiment of Heartpiercers! Praise be unto the lords of the deep tho, the Abyssal Hunt is not able to one round the other Heartpiercers, wavering them instead on 10 damage. Likewise the Exemplar Hunter is punished for his zeal, as his whirlwind of attaks is parried and deflected by the Centurion, who wavers on 7 damage. The Spearmen do nothing at all to the Kraken.
Trident 5: A Kraken is unleashed into the flank of the Abyssal Hunt, while its kin counters the Spearmen horde in its way. Lots of regeneration happens (the left Heartpiercers dropping to 3 from 10!)
The Abyssal Hunt’s campaign of righteousness is cut short by a titanic crab in their midst. The Spearmen are stomped and pinched up to 8 damage. While the game has swung back to me, I’m pretty terrified of the Piercing Bowmen horde’s potential and have admitted I can’t do much of anything about the Hunter.
Brothermark 6: The Exemplar Hunter, blind in his rage, charges the Centurion again, hindering and ensnaring be damned. The Spearmen continue prodding their Kraken, as the Bowmen light their arrows …
Have at you, foul spawn of the depths!
A solid 6 damage later, the Bowmen get the Kraken’s attention but leave it free to rampage next turn. In combat, the Centurion once mores duels the Hunter to exhaustion, surviving the storm of blows with just a waver again. And the Spearmen run out of time on the clock to poke their Kraken.
Trident 6: With the Brothermark out of time, I punch the central Kraken forward to draw the game (2 tokens each), and move the left Heartpiercers into position to win on Turn 7. Unless the other Kraken can pound those Spearmen into goo? (Spoilers: He can’t and is doing token damage each turn.) Right Heartpiercers try to shoot down the Exemplar Hunter but it’s hard going.
Trident 7: I move the left Heartpiercers onto a token, solidify the central Kraken’s dominance of that token on the hill, and clock out rolling regen. With 3 tokens to 2, this is a …

SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (16-4)

There’s a different version of this game where Wyatt didn’t go so ham into a charge I wanted him to take, but I also think my list matches pretty well into his, with my phalanx, speed and rampage (also guns). He had some misgivings about his choices in our game, but wore it well. For me, I won’t pretend finishing Day 1 with a win didn’t feel great. After this we got grub and partied at the house of the TO, which was super nice of him and his spouse.

UP NEXT: Undead!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 28: NIGHTSTALKERS

Game two sees me hurtling down to the depths to face a really quite competent Nightstalkers player I’ve never met who must have faced a real heavy first game to get dunked down here with me. Anyway, without further ado:

Nightstalkers 1995
Fiends Horde – Mead of Madness
Butchers Horde
Butchers Horde
Butchers Horde
Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5)
Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5)
Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5)
Phantoms Troop
Planar Apparition – Heal (7), Mind Fog (2)
Mind-screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6)
Mind-screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6)
Portal of Despair

Lots to like here. Enough Soulflayers to take advantage of the new hotness without being abusive, decent mix of support monsters, bit of an old school flair with the triple Butchers, and the Portal for style points. Could certainly be tuned but its got lots of tools to work with.

Second round was Loot, and he went first either by choice or command.

BATTLE

Battlelines (ignore those Phantoms jumping the photo)! My heroes are Centurion > Hex > Bastion.
Nightstalkers 1: The Phantoms and Fiends zip forward and grab tokens, thanks to the power of being fast and having wide bases (in retrospect, can the Fiends do this, mathematically speaking? *sounds of me doing math* yep, they can make the 11.5000001″ needed to contact the token if they move straight forward and turn precisely 45Β°. While he obviously turned more than that, so would have been technically short, it’s also a completely moot point given his strength on that flank!) In the shooting phase, he windblasts the Placoderms on the right back (!!) as well as the Kraken looming on the left flank (!!). In the Kraken’s case I could have easily put the Centurion behind him to keep him in place :/ Speaking of inspiring, lightning strikes the hex Envoy for 1 damage but lucky wavers him.
Trident 1: So this might be even harder than expected, thanks to all the wind πŸ˜… I vaguely threaten the left, trusting the Kraken + Centurion combo to keep things occupied and/or grounded for a while, while pushing up the right flank in a bid to grab the Phantoms and play for the center. Shooting tags 3 damage on the cover-less central Butchers and 2 on the right Soulflayers, lucky wavering the flying, windblasting menace! Bastion goes up on the right Kraken.
Nightstalkers 2: The living nightmares descend upon the well-meaning-but-perpetually-misunderstood crab people on the left, with Fiends (hindered) plus Soulflayers into the Kraken, the loot having been handed off to the left Butchers. The NS center trudges toward the fighty crabs, while the right fades, with Phantoms pulling away with the loot and wavered Soulflayers backing up. Of note is that he had to use a Mind-screech to block a rear charge into the Phantoms, as the Portal couldn’t manage it thanks to facing and stuff. Also the damaged Butchers grab the central loot.
Zero pressure, you got this, big guy! Odds are totally in your favor!
Shooting sees the Placos in the woods windblasted back (!!), plus 1 damage healed from the wounded Butchers. In combat, the hindered Fiends (24x 6+/3+) and Soulflayers (12x 4+/2+) do 9ish damage then double 10+ the rout test. Booooo.
Trident 2: Now gentle reader, I’m going to need you to quiet down. Yes, this is a lot like Game 1 but the difference is that these things are all Stealthy as well 😐 In a bid to stay in this game, I unleash the Water Elemental horde into the flank of the blocking Mind-screech, hot on the Phantoms’ tail. The surviving Kraken powers into some Butchers to start the grind, with Heartpiercers charging the other Butchers simply to buy time for the Kraken. Placos glumly plod forward, as Heartpiercers turn to face their targets. The Centurion body-blocks the Fiends while preparing to ground the Soulflayers next to them.
Hex goes up on the Planar Apparition (that brain thing behind his Butchers), bastion doesn’t happen because that Envoy ran to keep the Water Elementals company. The right Heartpiercers tag 1 damage on the wounded right Soulflayers, while the left two units can’t land any damage on the left Soulflayers. Worse still, the Centurion hits once with his trident (4+ is hard, y’all) and doesn’t wound (3+ is hard, y’all), leaving them free to do whatever they want. In combat, the Kraken boops 3 damage on his Butchers, the hero Heartpiercers do 1 damage to their Buthcers, and the Water Elementals detonate the Mind-screech, turning to menace the Phantoms et. al.
Nightstalkers 3: Chittering horrors from beyond the veil of the flesh pounce across the table. Fiends take that (hindered, ensnared) charge into the Centurion; Soulflayers from the deep left charge Heartpiercers; the ungrounded Soulflayers charge (hindered) the next Heartpiercers; Butchers counter yet more Heartpiercers as well as the Kraken, who is also flanked (hindered) by the last of the damaged right Soulflayers. The Portal blocks the Water Elementals from getting to the retreating Phantoms.
Shooting pushes the poor Placos in the woods back again (!!), shortly before the Planar Apparition does 10 damage to itself while healing the loot Butchers. Perfection. In combat, the Centurion takes no damage from the Fiends, the Heartpiercers near him hold on token damage, and the hindered Soulflayers one round their Heartpiercers with double hot Nv dice. Centrally, the loot Butchers devour their Heartpiercers and the Kraken, while he takes 14+ damage, only wavers. I’ll take it.
Trident 3: As I always do in these situations, I windmill slam my Placoderms into a hindered flank charge, this time on the 2 damage Soulflayers bothering my Kraken (who regens down to 7 damage). The Water Elementals charge the Portal (tho I’m not thrilled about this), the left Heartpiercers counter their Soulflayers and the Centurion prepares, once again, to trident the other Soulflayers.
Hex goes on the Mind-screech that’s been blasting the Placos around, while bastion fails to cast. Heartpiercers do 1 damage to the loot Butchers, whiiiiiiich is more than the Centurion does to those Soulflayers! 4+/3+ is apparently too hard an ask. In combat, the Heartpiercers right next to him do 2 to their Soulflayers, grounding them in the name of their crabby gods, and looks like that sweet Placoderm flank did 2? The Water Elementals smash 6 into the Portal but no break.
Nightstalkers 4: Woof. Butchers hit the Kraken in front and flank (hindered). Soulflayers hit the saucy Placoderms in front and flank (hindered). The other Soulflayers counter the left Heartpiercers, and the Portal counters the Water Elementals. The Phantoms continue to escape with the goods, as Fiends jockey for a charge next turn. The Mind-screech moves rather than casting.
In my defense, I tried to avoid this eventuality …
While the Placoderms weather the storm on 1 die of damage, and the Water Elementals take none from the Portal, the left Heartpiercers are driven off and the Kraken succumbs to the ocean of 5+/2+ attaks. Also the Planar Apparition heals itself down to 6 damage.
Trident 4: The Placoderms holding allows the Water Elementals to flank one of those Soulflayers, letting the Placos counter the other unit. Speaking of Placo violence, the other unit charges (hindered) the loot Butchers, exposing their rear to the left Soulflayers but the Centurion is over there and can surely sit them down at last. My only other unit is the last of the Heartpiercers, who realize they can see the Planar Apparition if they sidestep to the right …
… which they do, managing to land a couple 6+ hits and popping it! Hex goes back on the Mind-screech and bastion fails to cast once more. Finally, the Centurion does cause a single damage to those Soulflayers, disordering them. Thank the drowned sea! Combat isn’t amazing, with Placos doing 3 damage to the Butchers and 6 to the Soulflayers, although the Water Elementals do dunk their Soulflayers.
Nightstalkers 5: With the Phantoms sailing into the distance and nothing around to threaten the left Butchers, the game is well and truly lost, though I at least have points to scrape out of this, if the NS leave me anything to work with … One Placoderm regiment is countered by Butchers and flanked by the Mind-screech, the other is countered by Soulflayers and flanked by Butchers (hindered). The Water Elementals are charged by the Portal. Fiends position to either take the Centurion’s attention or rear some Placoderms.
Yep, Butcher flank does work! Those Placoderms die, and the other unit wavers. The Portal does nothing to the Water Elementals.
Trident 5: The Centurion does another damage to those Soulflayers, sitting them down on 4 damage, while Heartpiercers shoot the other Soulflayers point blank up to 8 damage. The Water Elementals enjoy bastion shortly before tearing the Portal down. Hex must have failed.
Nightstalkers 6: With like 3 minutes left on his clock, Soulflayers flank the Placoderms (hindered) with Butchers in the front (hindered). Other Soulflayers charge (hindered) the Heartpiercers, and other Butchers charge (hindered) the Water Elementals. (The Fiends were out on the Placoderms’ rear and he must have decided all that rolling wasn’t worth hindering into the Centurion again.) On the other side of combat, nobody died! Shockingly the central Placoderms simply wavered, thanks to a total fluff from the Butchers. The Heartpiercers also wavered on hot dice, while the Water Elementals took token damage.
Trident 6: The Centurion has a go at the Soulflayers (0 damage on 3+/3+ *facepalm*), the Water Elementals chunk the Butchers up to 10 damage, and despite their best efforts both Envoys can’t get a single wound on the Soulflayers to roll Nv 😦
Nightstalkers 7: He has enough time to kill the Placoderms and do some damage to the Water Elementals, then clocks.
Trident 7: I luxuriate in my 5 minutes of clock, using it to tear down the Butchers with the Water Elementals and merc the Soulflayers with the Heartpiercers in combat. Hell yea. Also the Centurion tries to pop the other Soulflayers (on 4 damage) but who knows if he even hit. Despite sealing these last couple combats, this was a foregone …

NIGHTSTALKER VICTORY (16-4)

While Stealthy is a royal pain for me, most of his army being De 4+ gave me hope for gaining some momentum and having a fighting chance at two tokens … but that early lucky rout of the Kraken holding down his left flank had me scrambling. Compound that by the Centurion doing a collective 1 damage all game (!), and canny use of windblast by my opponent, and I was just too many steps behind to claw back the Nightstalkers’ early lead. Fun match tho, with loads of interplay. Getting that lucky pop on the hexed Planar Apparition was a feel good moment amongst the frustration.

UP NEXT: Brothermark!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 27: BASILEANS

My run at the Unplugged GT 2022 kicked off with a rematch vs the Basilean army I was thoroughly trounced by at Dead of Winter mere weeks before. While a cute coincidence, I was all for it, as it’s one of my favorite Kings of Warmachine armies out there and it’s marshaled by a gem of a player.

But first, a reminder of my army for this event:

Trident Realm 1995
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Strength
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Centurion – Trident of the Drowned Sea
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2)
Naiad Envoy – Trickster’s Wand

vs

Basileans 1995
Elohi Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar, Celestial Fury
Ogre Palace Guard – Chalice of Wrath
Ogre Palace Guard – Staying Stone
Paladin Knights Regiment – Brew of Sharpness
Paladin Knights Regiment – Brew of Strength
Elohi Regiment
Elohi Regiment
Gur Panthers Troop
Samacris, Mother of Phoenixes – Fireball (8), Heal (5)
Priest on Horse – Conjurer’s Staff; Heal (3), Bane Chant (2)

I was super excited to see him field units I hadn’t seen, and I gather he was pushed to leave the Men-at-Arms horde at home and lean harder into speed with the cav regiments. He had misgivings, and personally I was hoping my Placoderms’ phalanx would put in work in what was otherwise a tentative match for me.

First round was Dominate, and he won the roll for initiative and gave it to me. Canny angels.

BATTLE

Battelines! The sharpness Paladin Knights are the ones toeing the hill to the right, with the ruins. My hex Envoy is to the left and bastion is in the middle, with Centurion over by the building next to the right Kraken.
Trident 1: The crabs skitter forward, somewhat aimlessly. Bastion goes up on the right Placoderms but I think for height reasons it should have gone on the Water Elementals or the right Kraken. Ah well.
Basileans 1: The angelic host advances, with the Knights taking up residence on their launch pad / hill. Elohi keep a watchful eye on the Kraken but otherwise demand attention.
Trident 2: With the exception of the right flank, where the Centurion and Kraken inch forward, the crabs deign to move, preferring to shoot. Harpoons from three Envoy units skewer the fury Palace Guard and kill them. We’re both shocked, while I find myself glimpsing the possibility of victory. Bastion goes up on one of the central Heartpiercers.
Basileans 2: The Basilean general shakes off such an early loss, but does pull back the other Palace Guard for late game work, instead punching hard on the left flank. The Elohi horde and one regiment charge the waiting Kraken, with the Paladin Knights preparing to storm in as a second wave.
A flock and a half of angels fighting a big, smelly crab titan. Now that’s cinema.
Ensnare be damned, the Kraken falls, and I’ve got a serious problem. (In my defense, he had about a 50/50 or better chance of living :P)
Trident 3: The crabby lines rapidly redress to face the incoming flyers (and horses too I suppose), bringing plenty of guns to bear. The remaining Kraken launches himself into the Palace Guard, on the assumption that while he’s bad at fighting he’ll have a few turns to get work done before he gets flanked and smote back to the trenches he crawled out of. The Centurion accompanies him (and prepares to intercept the right Elohi), while the Water Elemental horde feels direly out of place.
Heartpiercers push 7 damage on the sharpness Knights and 1 on the left Elohi regiment (8 and 2 before iron resolve), hex onto Sammy and bastion onto some Heartpiercers. The Kraken bashes 4 (5 before iron resolve) onto the Palace Guard. While nice, none of that gets anything done yet.
Basileans 3: It’s a veritable crab feast as the Basileans lay into their crustaceous foes. The Elohi horde charges Heartpiercers, strength Knights thunder into more Heartpiercers, the left Elohi regiment charges some Placoderms, and Samacris flanks the Kraken as the Palace Guard counter. The Elohi on the right menace and the sharpness Knights back up, before being healed down to 3 damage by the Priest.
The Elohi horde dunks their Heartpiercers, preparing for another next turn. However the strength Knights only waver theirs (luckily on <6 damage), the Placos take 1 damage from their Elohi, Sammy completely misses her 6 attaks and the Palace Guard only manage 5 to the Kraken.
Trident 4: I burn my clock trying to figure out a way to save the left Placoderms, but those wavered Heartpiercers need to be able to turn to face to protect that long Placo flank and they just can’t. Those Placoderms are going to have to fight for their life against the Elohi regiment. The other Placos spot a (hindered) flank on Samacris and (foolishly) take it, banking on being able to kill her and face the sharpness Knights, where their phalanx will neuter them. The Kraken counters the Palace Guard, with the Centurion aiming to disorder the right Elohi with his trident (he could have charged and I’m 90% sure he should have). The Water Elemental horde stares at the Elohi as well for next turn when they’re on the ground …

… except there is no after photo, this is it. The Centurion fails to wound those Elohi, neither Placoderm regiment drops their target (0 on the Elohi, 3 on Sammy) ensuring their deaths, and the Kraken boops the Palace Guard to 7. Heartpiercers stick 3 damage on the strength Knights, continuing to ignore the Elohi horde which I never remembered was Def 4+ for swapping their shields out. I took a lot of risks this turn and would definitely pay for that shortly.

Basileans 4: Well, uh, there it is. Placoderms are flanked by terrible things, where their phalanx counts for nothing, and the Kraken is likewise neutralized by an Elohi flank I didn’t see coming. (IF the Centurion had managed to stick his 1 damage, they could have still made this charge, albeit hindered, unless he had charged them. Hence why charging was the answer – if a moot one knowing the dice result.) The strength Knights hit their Heartpiercers again. I believe the Priest healed the sharpness Knights (down to 4).
It’s super effective!
Trident 5: At this point I’m digging for attrition and hoping I can salvage 1 point (this tournament isn’t using blackjack scoring). Heartpiercers shoot the sharpness Knights back to 5 damage (6 before IR), while the Centurion begins harassing the Palace Guard, bringing them to 8 (9 before IR). The Water Elemental horde really wants to fight once this game, so swings for an Elohi regiment, doing 5 (6 before IR) but no lucky break. The bastion Envoy does its best to be in the way of the sharpness Knights, forgetting that Samacris can fly – tho thanks to hex she can’t cast if she does.
Oh sweet baby crablings!
Basileans 5: The Water Elementals evaporate thanks to a sharpness Knight flank. Elohi also cleave the bastion Envoy and a Heartpiercer reg in twain, such is their righteous fury. The strength Knights get stuck wavering the last of the Heartpiercers but no biggy.
Trident 6: The Centurion orbits the Palace Guard, stabbing with his trident in the hope of a break … but he once again does no wounds, so no test. Samacris is finally left unhexed due to positioning woes on my part.
Basileans 6: The last of the Heartpiercers are decimated. The Palace Guard turn to face the Centurion and are healed down to 3 damage.
Trident 7: Choosing petulance over hiding 210 points in characters, the wand Envoy hexes the Priest and the Centurion jukes the Palace Guard for a chance to spike an Elohi reg off the table. It doesn’t work.
Basileans 7: Oops, all out of crabs! Knights ride down the last of the Trident forces for a very convincing …

BASILEAN VICTORY (20-0)

Zero points, ouch! I’m a big proponent of blackjack for this very reason, getting zero’d is rough, kids. Chris played great and had great dice throughout, while I had that early shooting result and had my errors compounded by cold dice. Even deploying the Water Elementals that far to the right was a mistake, but they tend to cause me trouble in deployment, as I want them to clean things up but the base is big and my line is full of Heartpiercers who want to shoot :/ Unfortunately for the Basileans, this win catapulted them up into the winners bracket, where they were slapped around by stronger armies game after game. Sorry, bud.

UP NEXT: Nightstalkers!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 26: OGRES

The Unplugged GT was held April 23-24 in Milford, MA, delivering on its promise of five great games of Kings of War with a lovely bunch of gentlemen. Lists were 1995 points and, while I had originally planned on taking a very Herd-centric version of The Hallow with a bunch of new units, I found that I really didn’t like actually playing the army, which involved lots of positioning, waiting, and then doing next to nothing when allowed to fight. I’ve got photos of THE HALLOW 16: OGRES, but I think I’ll keep that drubbing unreported for now.

Which meant I would be taking crabs to Unplugged after their lukewarm showing at Dead of Winter! I was on the whole ok with this – I like playing them, even when losing, and they feel like they have tools to keep me engaged despite having a pretty low ceiling. I spent April updating the paint on them: green accents swapped to blue, claw tips blackened and glossed, brighter bone highlights here and there, and tufts everywhere. Time well spent and I’m happy I returned to zazz the crustaceans up a bit.

I managed to get one practice game in a few days before the tournament, so consider this report a prelude to the full Unplugged report. Strap in.

Trident Realm 1995
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Strength
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Centurion – Trident of the Drowned Sea
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2)
Naiad Envoy – Trickster’s Wand

You’re damn right that’s my 2100 list minus the Depth Horror Eternal but with the wand instead of #warbow πŸ˜‰ It was a toss-up between the fury aura or hex on the second Envoy, however the existence of Nightstalkers and Ogres convinced me to go with wand. Would I regret it and doom the Placos to a wavered hell??

Ogres + Nightstalkers 1995
Siege Breakers Horde – Staying Stone
Boomers Horde
Hunters Horde
Hunters Horde
Warrior Chariots Regiment
Crocodog Wrangler
Berserker Bully – Torc of Dissonance
Nomagarok – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Scorched Earth (2)
+
Scarecrows Regiment
Void Lurker

My clubmate continues to rock his Ogres, but this time with an excuse to bring his big blue Mierce demon to the table. Happily Void Lurkers are pretty legit (people try to tell me otherwise but I disagree, they’re still one of the few dragons I respect). The rest of the list is all bangers, with the main downside being no dedicated chaff to speak of, save for the Bully and Scarecrows. The Crocodog was the thing I most curious to see in action, since it’s new and shiny and weird. Which is ironic to say now given what happened in this game …

We rolled up Dominate, I won the roll for initiative and made the Ogres go first.

BATTLE

Battlelines! Worth noting that my bastion Envoy is on the left, trident Centurion is center and hex Envoy is on the right. I would have preferred to have hex > bastion > trident but he knew I was waiting for the Void Lurker to drop so saved it until last, at which point my line had developed and needed inspiring more. For Ogre notes, Hunters are on the flanks and of the two Warlock models, the blue-skinned one in yellow robes is Nomnom.
Ogres 1: It’s a general advance, with the Void Lurker and Hunters on the right toeing into the woods for LOS. Lightning from the Warlock tags the left Kraken for 2 damage.
Trident 1: The crabs scuttle forward in response, staying out of charge ranges except for the Kraken which use their 17″ threat to psych the Ogres out a bit. Bastion goes up on the left Kraken and Heartpiercers stick 8 damage on the Boomers and 3 on the right Hunters.
Ogres 2: Boomers and Siege Breakers press forward, with Bully and Void Lurker preparing to flank in should any crabs get frisky with them. Hunters on both flanks fade back, shortly before the Warlock and Boomers hammer 9 damage into the leftmost Heartpiercers, wavering them. Noms heals the Boomers down to 5 damage.

Trident 2: Feeling tired and saucy, I unleash the crabs a turn early or so (never a good sign!), sending the left Kraken + Placoderms (hindered) into the Boomers. The intent is to crack them and turn to face the oncoming threats to left and right. The wavered Heartpiercers regen down to 3 damage, then their cohorts spike 3 damage on the Siege Breakers (I low key forgot they had Def 6+ :P) and 0 on the Void Lurker. I also tire of being gamey with the left Hunters and press the Water Elemental horde forward, curious to see how that grind works, but confident it buys me a couple turns. Bastion stays on the left Kraken.

The Boomers are splattered. After combat, the Kraken rotates first to face the bully (but later rotates 90 degrees back to face the Warrior Chariots, which was my intent but I didn’t drop a laser, and Corey is a gent). I discover that the Placos’ giant base doesn’t rotate like I expected, so to avoid a flank from the Siege Breakers I have to sidestep (CRAB. WALK.) them over. 1-2″ will see them safe and out of a Void Lurker flank … so I roll 3″ and those dudes are toast 😦 Spoilers: I realized next turn that if the Placoderms had sidestepped first, the Kraken would have the room to put both the Bully and the Chariots in his front. Bleh.
Ogres 3: The Ogres capitalize on my aggression with frightening speed. Hunters on the left charge the Water Elementals; the Bully flanks the Kraken with Chariots in the front; and the Placoderms are charged by Siege Breakers (hindered) and flanked by Scarecrows and the Void Lurker. AND the Crocodog launches itself into my Centurion in the woods.
The Centurion takes up his battle stance as he prepares to gut this mangy mutt next turn.
The Hunters kick off a brutal turn by doing 6-7 damage to the Water Elementals horde then roll a 10 followed by an 11 on Nv to one round it. Shiiiiiii– The Crocodog follows this up by doing 4-6 damage to the Centurion despite 6+ to hit, 4+ up (vicious) to wound. The Centurion dies an inglorious death when the 10+ Nv roll hits. The Kraken has half a chance to live but another 10+ Nv roll routs the big guy, while the Placoderms, who were already dead, in fact die. Yowza. The other Placoderms also take a point of lightning damage.
Trident 3: I’ve got a lot of guns left, which is cool, right? Heartpiercers back up or scoot around to draw LOS to the Void Lurker, while the right Kraken hurtles into the right Hunters and the bastion Envoy cowers by the tower and hits the leftmost Heartpiercers with his buff. 40 harpoon shots (10 cover, all stealthy) do 8 damage to the Void Lurker. The Kraken bashes the Hunters to 7 damage. Oh, and the wand Envoy hexes the Warlock.
Ogres 4: Chariots plow (hindered) into the left Heartpiercers, the Void Lurker pounces the right Heartpiercers, and the right Hunters counter the Kraken as the Ogres descend upon the crabpeople.
The Envoy makes unintelligible scared crab sounds as it prepares to be savaged by the Crocodog. He is a pragmatic crab, after all.
While the left Heartpiercers splatter messily, the other combats are less decisive, with the Envoy, Void Heartpiercers and Kraken all holding tight on relatively low damages.
Trident 4: Heartpiercers punch 2 damage onto the Chariots in cover and successfully ground the Void Lurker, as the Kraken finishes off his Hunters and turns to kaiju big battle the titanic nightmare next turn. Noms is successfully hexed.
Ogres 5: The Warrior Chariots charge (hindered) and obliterate the next leftmost Heartpiercers (great break again). Noms also pushes through the hex and heals the Chariots to 0 damage, taking 6 himself in the process. The Void Lurker meanwhile manages to waver the rightmost Heartpiercers. Also the Crocodog took another bite out of the Envoy but he continues to stick around
Trident 5: Sensing the end, Placoderms rush off the hill and into the Chariots, with the Heartpiercers charging the Siege Breakers to hold them in place and protect the Placos from being flanked. (As you can see, the Placos’ base tucked in and was probably fine by itself …) The wavered Heartpiercers back up 3.5″, making room for the Kraken to charge the Void Lurker. In the end the Chariots are wavered and Noms is hexed again, otherwise we’re grinding with not much left in the tank.

Ogres 6: The Siegebreakers dunk their Heartpiercers, the Void Lurker cuddles the Kraken a bit, and the Placoderms are hit with scorched earth for next turn. The Crocodog also devours the Envoy at last.

Trident 6: Said Placoderms poke ineffectively at the Chariots and I’m guessing the Kraken fluffed. Without a Turn 7 (blessedly!), this isn’t a tabling but it is an …

OGRE VICTORY

What a beat down, with an early assist from hot, hot rout dice to really rub my face in it. Not to just blame the dice, I made a few bad decisions and engaged too early, when shooting could have used another turn to work over the ‘softer’ Ogre units. The Void was always going to be a problem, tho he played a pretty passive game compared to what I expected, not that he needed to go ham. Spoilers for the tournament, my opponent this game would go on to win the Unplugged GT! Great showing for a strong player and fairly unique Ogre list.

Speaking of the Unplugged GT, stay tuned for the reports, which kick off with me rematching the Basilean army I played at Dead of Winter!

BLOODFIRE 46: UNDEAD

A weekend or two after Dead of Winter, a clubmate struggled the 0.7 miles to my house and we threw a couple games down, along with quite a few beers. First game saw me messing with 1995 points of Abyssals, in what I’m pretty sure is my first game with the faction? I may hold on to the report for that game, due to loathesome proxies on my part. More importantly, I busted out Bloodfire after grabbing dinner and we threw down a second facesmasher of a match. Strap in.

Salamanders 1995
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Greater Fire Elemental

Clan Lord – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Raptor
Clan Lord – Torc of Dissonance, Raptor
Mage-Priest – Crown of the Wizard King, Fireball (10), Surge (8), Host Shadowbeast (8)
Battle Captain on Rhinosaur – Inspiring Talisman

Canny readers will notice that this is the Shadowbeast version of the last time I played Bloodfire, with the Torc on one Raptor Lord because it seems good to have around and you can pop it in the shooting phase while eating somebody’s face in the combat phase. I was pumped to give the list – and Host Shadowbeast – a shot.

Undead 1995
Werewolves Horde – Brew of Strength
Wights Horde
Wights Horde
Revenants Horde – Sanguinary Scripture, Undead Giant Rats
Zombies Horde
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Goreblight

Vampire Lord on Undead Dragon – Icy Breath (10), Surge (8), Lightning Bolt (4)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Drain Life (4)

This is more or less his 2300 cut down because I asked him to make a 1995 😐 He’s really down on the dragon (I AGREE) but the vampires he’s churning out for the next version of the army aren’t done yet, 335 point sink it is. The Wraiths are the newest addition, which he’s loving. I’ve fought them plenty of times in other Undead armies and continue to be surprised at how just good they are!

We rolled up Raze, and I won and took first turn, because shambling.

BATTLE

Salamanders 0: Scouting phase!
Salamanders 1: The red wall churns forward, promising violence. The Raptor Lord with the torc is positioned centrally.
Undead 1: The deadites likewise shamble forward, with the exception being the Werewolves shooting hard to the right flank. The Necromancer and Vampire Lord attempt to slingshot the Goreblight forward with double surges but they fail quite terribly.
Salamanders 2: Whelp, no time like the present for smashing stuff :/ Ember Sprites scramble out of the way on the left, with one regiment sizzling through the central pond into the flank of the right Wight horde. Double Fire Elementals storm into the stranded Goreblight, as the Rhino Captain hits left Wraiths and prepares to block the infantry hordes up, the torc Raptor Lord charges the left Wights (to sit them down), and the Greater Fire Elemental and slayer Raptor Lord join those cheeky Ember Sprites on the right Wights. The red right flank churns forward, watching for wolves.
Shooting kicks off with the torc Raptor Lord shattering his Torc of Dissonance, turning off the Vampire Lord’s surge 😀 Then the Mage-Priest powers that Raptor Lord up with +5 attaks. Feels good. Ember Sprites stick 2 damage on the Zombie horde, but the two regiments on the right can’t get any damage to stick to the Wraiths near them. The warm liquid goo phase sees the Goreblight immolate completely, and the right Wight horde evaporates. The Rhino Captain punches his Wraiths for 2 damage, however it looks like the 10 attak Raptor Lord fails to even disorder his Wight horde. Feels, uh, bad.
Undead 2: Thankfully with the Vampire Lord’s surge turned off this turn, the nimble-less Wights struggle to spot any flanks they can capitalize on with the Necromancer’s piddly 17″ surging range and height 2 (and of course I’ve got surge waiting if he jumps my lines). The Wights end up combo-charging the leftmost Fire Elemental horde, opening up the Rhino Captain to be charged by the Zombies (hindered). The Wraiths on the right struggle with how to be useful, deciding to charge the Raptor Lord protecting the Greater Fire Elemental’s rear on the odd change they can overrun and ruin her day. The dragon rotates in place, preparing to use its icy breath on the torc Raptor Lord. The Werewolves abandon the flank and return to their starting position πŸ˜›
The Vampire coats the torc Raptor Lord in ice, causing no damage but freezing the tough lizard (I missed that Frozen procs on damage, like most all of KOW, and just applied it on hit, for all it matters). The Necromancer attempts to drain life the Rhino Captain, but likewise can’t manage both hitting and wounding. In combat, the left ghost squad is far more competent, smashing the leftmost Fire Elemental horde into embers and preparing for retribution. The Zombies scrabble 2 damage into the Rhino Captain, despite needing 6s then 5s, and the right Wraiths bad touch 3 damage onto the slayer Raptor Lord.
Salamanders 3: I windmill slam the Greater Fire Elemental into the Wight’s flank, with Fire Elementals in the front. Almost as fast, the torc Raptor Lord jumps on the Vampire Lord on Undead Dragon, a Fire Elemental horde plows into the flank of the right Wraiths with the slayer Raptor Lord in the front. And grudgingly the Rhino Captain counter-charges the Zombies. Ember Sprites skitter around …
… and spit a single damage onto the Revenant horde. The Mage-Priest pumps +3 attaks into the slayer Raptor Lord, who revs up and, with the help of the Fire Elemental flank, nukes those right Wraiths. Speaking of applying heat to ghosts, the Greater Fire and more Fire Elementals obliterate the Wight horde. The Rhino Captain pulverizes a few Zombies, and the torc Raptor Lord sits the dragon down (on 2 damage). I burn 2 tokens, starting the scoring off 2-0.
Undead 3: Lots of finagling results in the Revenant horde indeed being trapped behind the Zombies; they side step in a bid to become relevant. The Vampire Lord lopes into the left Fire Elementals, shortly before Wraiths nimble over to the horde’s flank and get surged 1″ in by the Necromancer. The Werewolves turn tail and head back to down the right flank.
The Vampire Lord and Wraiths push the Fire Elementals to 11 damage, but they hold. The Zombies preposterously push the Rhino Captain to 7 damage, tho he also holds firm.
Salamanders 4: The Greater Fire Elemental once again immediately propels itself into a tasty flank, with the Vampire Lord feeling her gentle caress this time. The Fire Elementals team up by hitting the dragon’s front. The torc Raptor Lord lunges at the Necromancer (hindered), the Rhino Captain counters the Zombies again, and a crack team of Ember Sprites, Fire Elementals and slayer Raptor Lord move to intercept the Werewolves.
The Mage-Priest whips +2 attaks onto the torc Raptor Lord – the Wizard Crown is amazing, y’all. That Mage-Priest has hardly moved from that pond, when in the past she’d be furiously moving 5″ every turn and taking the support shots she could get. In other shooting, Ember Sprites tickle the Revenants up to 3 damage and do 1 damage to the Werewolves. Combat begins with the dragon getting dunked by the Greater Fire and friends. The Necromancer is wavered and more Zombies die.
Undead 4: The Wraiths charge the badly mauled Fire Elementals, while Revenants back up and the Werewolves dive further down the flank, disappearing up and over the right hill.
The Wraiths finish off the Fire Elementals, backing up and burning a point (now 2-1). Then the Zombies somehow tear down the Rhino Captain, messily devouring him … and turning their rear to the Greater Fire Elemental in a show of disrespect.
Salamanders 5: I hesitate but a moment before hammering the GFE into the Zombies’ rear. Fresh Fire Elementals power into those Wraiths, and the slayer Raptor Lord pressures the Werewolves into engaging sooner than later. The torc Raptor Lord charges the Revenant horde to hold them in place (not shown above). He gets another +2 attaks from the Mage-Priest’s horse firebeast.
The smell of sizzling flesh pervades the battlefield as the Necromancer is cooked by Ember Sprites, before the Greater Fire Elemental wades into the Zombie horde and it gets so much worse. They incinerate, and the Fire Elementals happily drive off the last of the Wraiths. The torc Raptor Lord chomps the Revenants up to 8 damage. I burn my third token (3-1).
Undead 5: The Werewolves turn to face the elite fire team descending upon them. The Revenants counter-charge the Raptor Lord, doing 2 damage and lifeleaching down to 6 themselves.
Salamanders 6: The Revenant horde is mobbed by Ember Sprites as the Greater Fire Elemental wades to support the torc Raptor Lord. The Werewolves meanwhile are charged by the slayer Raptor Lord.

The Revenants are demolished, thanks in large part to the GFE doing 7-8 damage on 8 attaks. While the Werewolves don’t take appreciable damage from the Raptor Lord, the Undead concede as the wolves can at best drop the Raptor Lord, and very likely get wrecked in Turn 7 by Fire Elementals no matter what they do. With 4 points to the Undead’s 1, that’s a convincing …

BLOODFIRE VICTORY

Though it felt a little bad styling on my clubmate so thoroughly, it’s always fun to slam Bloodfire into armies that also want to fight. I’m really enjoying the double Raptor Lords, and Shadowbeast, while not particularly game-breaking on Clan Lords (especially when you consider what the Mage-Priest costs!), is a lot of fun. Crown of the Wizard King is particularly wonderful on a short support caster whose best surge targets (Greater Fire Elementals) are taller than everything around her.

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 25: SALAMANDERS

Last game of the tournament and I’m up against Justin, a real gent who’s had the same mixed bag of games that I have. He’s rocking a pure Mantic army that I think was designed to proxy as different armies, but might just be made from various Mantic kits that were available to pull together into one reptilian facebreaker of an army. Without further ado:

Salamanders 2100
Tyrants Horde – Brew of Sharpness, Effigy of Fire
Tyrants Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar, Effigy of Fire
Tyrants Horde – Boots of Striding, Effigy of Fire
Rhinosaur Cavalry Regiment
Rhinosaur Cavalry Regiment
Ghekkotah Warriors Troop
Ghekkotah Warriors Troop
Greater Fire Elemental – Fireball (8)
Greater Fire Elemental – Fireball (8)

Rakawas, The Pale Rider
Mage-Priest – Sacred Horn, Surge (8), Veil of Shadows (3)
Artakl

As a player of a facebreaker Salamander army, I can respect it. Tyrants with fixer items, both thicc and true chaff, double oh-so-satisfying Me3+ GFEs and a Priest to shove them into flanks, and two baller living legends. Apparently he had brought Veil to deal with all the Elves and kin in the meta, but had had the good fortune of not playing any shooting army until my crabs. (For the record, Twilight and Sylvan Kin had quickly stormed up the tables and had been scrumming up there with Jason’s Nightstalkers in the mix.)

Final scenario is good ol’ Dominate, and he goes first probably because I made him. Justin is a smart player and I doubt he’d miss the opportunity to leave my shooting out to dry for a turn.

BATTLE: GAME 5

Battlelines! Artakl is that little green model way out on the right flank. I don’t have a strong answer to her but I figure the Eternal is a good fixer of problems?
Salamanders 1: The death blob slowly rolls forward, with his first cast of Veil of Shadows this tournament ironically failing on three dice 😐 Artakl stays out of the Eternal’s charge range and sticks 3 damage into the non-regenerating crab-person.
Trident 1: The crustacean crescent bows around the Sallies, with Kraken on either end threatening to jump on any flanks. The Eternal advances but keeps Artakl in his LOS at least for now. Heartpiercers stick 3 damage on the sharpness Tyrants in the middle and the right Rhinosaurs.
Salamanders 2: The reptilian deathstar rumbles forward, making a space for Rakawas at its core. Veil of Shadows fails a second time on three dice (!), and Artakl dodges the Eternal’s LOS and pops another damage on him.
Trident 2: I see the opportunity to either trap him behind his H4 Rhino chaff or kill them and keep the rest of the deathball in the front, so the Krakens are released into both Rhinosaur regiments. The right Rhinos are comboed by some Placoderms as well (hindered), and on the left I try to jam the Greater Fire Elemental from flanking the left Kraken. All the other crabs jockey for shots or relevance in later turns, including the Eternal who gives up on Artakl and just pushes back to the action.
Heartpiercers and the Centurion pound the sharpness Tyrants up to 9 damage. In combat, the right Kraken and Placos wreck their Rhinosaurs, but the left Kraken fluffs a single damage on his Rhinos. At least they’re in the way?
Salamanders 3: Despite packing nearly our entire armies into the dominate circle, a surprising amount of movement and counter-punch happens. First, a Ghekkotah troop gets out of the way by charging Heartpiercers peaking over the hill. Shortly after, Rakawas thunders into my Centurion posing on the hill, a GFE and pathfinder Tyrants hit the right Placoderms, and the surviving Rhinosaurs sidestep, making space for the other GFE to flank the left Kraken. Oof.
Kings of Hills: The Final Chapter
The Mage-Priest finally puts up Veil of Shadows! And Artakl blowdarts the Eternal up to 7 damage 😐

Once all the roaring of the combat phase dies down, the Placoderms are dead but otherwise the crabs hold tight. The flanking GFE does 9(?) damage to the left Kraken, Rakawas chomps a hearty 6 into the ensnaring Centurion, and the cheeky Ghekkos do 2 to the Heartpiercers and waver them. Well played, tiny garbage lizards.

Trident 3: Crabs pile on Rakawas, with Placoderms and Water Elementals joining the Centurion in his efforts to drop the rex. The right Kraken hits the pathfinder Tyrants, and after tons of thought the left Kraken front charges the wounded Rhinosaurs gambling on popping them and reforming. The Eternal threatens from the woods and the left Heartpiercers (and war-bow!) grab a bead on the sharpness Tyrants in the back.
Despite stealthy and cover, I manage to drop those sharpness Tyrants! And grudgingly put 1 damage on the right GFE, for lack of another target. In combat, the left Kraken does pop the Rhinosaurs, turning to face the GFE and strider Tyrants to his left, Rakawas goes up to 12 damage but holds firm, and the right Kraken does a meager 4 damage to the pathfinder Tyrants.
Salamanders 4: Crabs brace for the Sallies’ left hook, and boy is it a doozie. Strider Tyrants charge the left Kraken, with a Greater Fire surged into his flank. Rakawas counters the Water Elementals, with a Greater Fire comboing in the front. Pathfinder Tyrants counter the right Kraken, Ghekkos re-charge their Heartpiercers (off the hill!), and more Ghekkos take on the Eternal in the wood. Oh, and Artakl jumps on the bastion Envoy over by the right Kraken.
In combat, Rakawas and the GFE savage the Water Elemental horde, one rounding it and turning to face the tiny crabs surrounding them. The left Kraken likewise is burned down by the GFE hitting its flank a second time (the Tyrants helped, even on 5+ to hit), while the right Kraken lucky wavers on a mere 8 damage. The Ghekkos fighting Heartpiercers somehow waver them again (on 5 damage), while the Eternal takes no damage and somehow Artakl fails to wound the bastion Envoy. [I’m quite sure we forgot she has duellist – I certainly didn’t know that until reading the unit entry right now!]
Trident 4: Wheeew we be grinding, and I feel like I’m gradually losing the grind here, but I do have a lot of guns. Placoderms charge the left GFE to hopefully contain it, while three units of Heartpiercers point their harpoon guns at the titanic dinosaur on the hill. The Centurion jukes around the t-rex to silence the Mage-Priest, while the Eternal counter-charges his Ghekkos and the Kraken rapidly regenerates (down to 2 damage), enjoying bastion as well.
Rakawas is pincushioned up to snake eyes and blessedly expires. So effective is the Heartpiercer shooting that some extra damage is splashed on the Tyrants menacing the wavered Kraken, pushing them to 10 total. The Centurion is also able to spike 1 damage into the Mage-Priest, disordering her. In combat, the Placoderms and Eternal do token damage to the GFE (4) and Ghekkos (2) respectively.
Salamanders 5: Listen, Justin is real good with Greater Fire Elementals, ok? The Placo’s GFE joins the other in a combo-charge on Heartpiercers to the right, as strider Tyrants hit the left Heartpiercers, Ghekkos re-re-charge their Heartpiercers (off the hill again!), pathfinder Tyrants re-charge the Kraken with the Mage-Priest in the front and Artakl in the flank, and Ghekkos in the woods counter the Eternal.
The Greater Fire Elementals shatter their Heartpiercers, turning or overrunning to menace the little bit left of the Scuttlin’ Realm. Speaking of Heartpiercer death, that troop of Ghekkotah Warriors preposterously kill their Heartpiercer regiment this turn, also turning to face the besieged Placoderms; and the strider Tyrants pound 9 damage into the left Heartpiercers, somehow only wavering them. In the Kraken combat, the Tyrants push the giant crab up to 12 damage, and it wavers with the 13th damage from the Mage-Priest πŸ‘ The Eternal takes no damage from his Ghekkos.
Trident 5: In yet another fight-for-your-life situation, the Placoderms charge off the hill into the flank of the strider Tyrants. They’ve got some help from the Centurion, who charges the GFE staring at their rear to block its charge options next turn. Also the Eternal counters those Ghekkos and the last functioning Heartpiercers prepare to end another badly mauled Tyrant unit. The Kraken, naturally, rapidly regenerates (back to 6).
Those Heartpiercers do end the pathfinder Tyrants, having done far more damage than the badly shook Kraken could. The Eternal also ends the annoying Ghekkos in the wood, turning to face the mayhem. And despite a very respectably 9 damage, the strider Tyrants hold, leaving the Placoderm’s rear out in the wind – tho the Centurion does chunk a couple damage into the GFE eyeing them.
Salamanders 6: We do a quick scenario check – I’ve got 9 US vs his 6, but he’s still got a few hammers left in his bag. Tyrants hit the left Heartpiercers, Ghekkos rear charge the Placoderms (technically off the hill!), and the right GFE charges the other Heartpiercers. The other GFE sidesteps and prepares for a 5-6″ surge into the Placoderm flank …
… which falls 1″ short, praise be to the gods of the deep! Artakl does however finish off the Eternal she started all those turns ago. In combat, the Tyrants likewise finish off their Heartpiercers, Those murderous Ghekkos, having gotten a taste of crab mean, do 6 damage (!) to the Placoderms, while to the right the GFE pounds 6 into the last of the Heartpiercers, wavering them.
Trident 6: It’s 6 US to 6 US, but I’ve got plenty to capitalize on. Placoderms charge the heavily damaged strider Tyrants, as the Kraken rips into the rear of a Greater Fire Elemental (on 3 damage). The Centurion prepares to disorder the Mage-Priest again.
Which he does, praise be to the trident (tho he could have charged her anyway :P) The Placoderms tear the strider Tyrants asunder, turning to face the Ghekkotah menace … and I guess the GFE as well because I can’t roll Nv tests to save my life this tournament. The Kraken mashes the towering fire monster to 12 damage (15-16 would have been average) but I can’t roll the 6 needed twice. But you know, it doesn’t matter because with 6 US to 3, this is a solid …
Salamanders 7: The left GFE front charges the Placoderms alongside the Ghekkotahs (off the hill again! which I forgot phalanx turns off), with Mage-Priest in the flank. The other GFE hits the Heartpiercers again (3 damage) with Artakl in the flank.
The sound of roasting crabs can be heard as both units crumble.
Trident 7: Well, it’s now 3 to 1 and I’m pushing for a draw. The Kraken scoots past the GFE into the Ghekkotahs while the Centurion prepares to finish it off.
Thankfully both likely events happen, leaving us with one scoring monster and a few individuals each, for a hard fought …

DRAW (10-10)

We came within 70 points on attrition as well, so just about a down the line draw. Which was a happy end to a smasher of a game – I gave Justin my bests sports, as he really was a gent and knew his rules super well (apart from Artakl’s duelist maybe). This was also a fine close to the tournament. Going 2-2-1 is absolutely cool in my book, playing a selection of armies is even better, with no repeats and just the one Elf. I did get dumpstered on paint yet again, which sucks when the army was a bear to paint and always gets such a good reception from other players, but I was given some pointers on adding pop to the army, which I’ve taken to heart and will be trying to do before the crabs roll out again … which might be sooner than you think πŸ˜‰

I was pretty down on Trident Realm after the event, and had a good talk with another NE regular about the faction’s struggle to play the meta. As he put it, they’re a finesse army playing in a game that increasingly isn’t about finesse. Our hammers are the anvils of other armies, which totally checks out when you look at what Kraken are good at (spoiler: it isn’t really killing) and how my strongest hammer is a juiced up Water Elemental horde.

All the same, I enjoyed the bag of tools feel to the army, loved the Centurion with the trident, and continue to enjoy the scenario-minded shooting of the Heartpiercer regiments. Placoderms were fine, but they could really use anything else. Vicious would be great but I’d be happy with fury – I hear the Envoy has a fury aura?? Hmm …

Anyway, thanks for reading! I’ve got a couple more random facesmasher games to report on post-tournament, so stay tuned.

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 24: BASILEANS

Sunday morning and I’m the least hungover I’ve ever been on the second day of a tournament, which is a good thing because I’ve got some work ahead of me. I’m matched up against Chris, a good player with a smart, aggressive army (and one of my favorites kicking around the Northeast – I’m a sucker for a Kings of Warmachine armies, even if his is sharing the bill with Warhammer minis :P) In my head I’ve already lost, but getting 6 points would be rad, maybe even a draw with some luck??

Basileans 2100
Elohi Horde – Brew of Strength
Elohi Horde – Helm of the Drunken Ram
Ogre Palace Guard Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Ogre Palace Guard Horde – Dwarven Ale
Men-at-Arms Spearmen Horde
Gur Panthers Troop
Gur Panthers Troop

High Paladin on Dragon – Aegis Fragment
Samacris, Mother of Phoenixes – Fireball (8), Heal (5)
Dictator – Iron Discipline, Lute of Insatiable Darkness

An anemic 10 drops but packed with some serious beef. Flying elite hammers are my kryptonite, especially in such volume, and he’s also rocking one of the other mega dragons of the game. Blessedly no longer fearless but demanding of respect to be sure.

Fourth scenario is Raze, which happily I was able to practice with my crabs before the tournament. He went first, either by choice or because I made him.

BATTLE: GAME 4

Battlelines! The Depth Horror Eternal is hard left, inspiring the Kraken and aiming to contest the third Basilean token, which is also hard left.
Basileans 1: The angelic host sidles forward, staying out of saucy Kraken charges but angling for flanks and generalized violence. The headstrong Palace Guard do toe into the central woods.
Trident 1: The crabs do a menace, with the Eternal pressuring the Panthers off his leftmost token, the left Kraken threatening a play for the other left token, and the Water Elementals and right Kraken watching their flanks but glowering at the Basilean anvils and right hook. Heartpiercers stick 1 damage on the headstrong Palace Guard and 3 on the right drunken ram Elohi (after iron resolves), while the Centurion tags the HPOD for 2 damage, reduced to 0 with the aegis frament but still disordering her. Bastion on the left Placoderms fails.
Basileans 2: Chris knows that he’s got plenty of time to burn his objectives, and he knows my shooting is the biggest potential threat to his ability to burn objectives late game, so all the Heartpiercers receive angelic attention. Strength Elohi, Samacris, drunken Elohi and the High Paladin slam into my tiny shooty crabs across the board. The heavy center trudges forward and the left Panthers get away from their crabby oppressors.
Both Elohi drive off their Heartpiercers, as Sammy shuts hers down (2 damage) and the High Paladin struggles but manages to waver her unit (~5 damage).
Trident 2: I try to rest the momentum back from the angels by driving hard into the Basilean anvils: Placoderms and Water Elementals hit the headstrong Palace Guard, and the right Kraken begins grinding the Men-at-Arms since he couldn’t triple the Palace Guard but also somebody’s gotta. In order for this to work, I need to ground those Elohi units, so Sammy’s Heartpiercers corkscrew the strength horde and the other Placoderms scuttle into the drunken horde. The Kraken on the left looms, while the Eternal rounds the house on the left.
Bastion fails on the Water Elementals, but the Centurion does disorder the dragon with his laser trident (1 damage sticks too). In combat, the headstrong Palace Guard waver on 9 damage, the Kraken chunks 5 damage into the Men-at-Arms, and thankfully the Heartpiercers and Placoderms do sit both Elohi down. Wheeeew.
Behold, the fury of the lowly crab unleashed!
Basilean 3: The next turn starts with the headstrong Palace Guard failing their headstrong test πŸ¦€ The fury Palace Guard flank the Placoderms (off the hill for maximum shell-cracking power) but the Water Elementals are safe to swing again. The Men-at-Arms counter the Kraken, the Elohi counter their annoying disorder buddies, and the High Paladin charges her Heartpiercers again. Sammy flits over to heal the Men-at-Arms, who are also iron disciplined by the Dictator. And the left Gur Panthers nimble around to burn a token once the Kraken leaves, walk forward and burn another the following turn.
The strength Elohi dunk their Heartpiercers, spinning to face the Kraken looming to the left. The central Placoderms are shattered by the fury Palace Guard, who overrun to touch the Water Elementals’ flank. The Men-at-Arms stab a ferocious 10 damage into their Kraken, the High Paladin wavers her Heartpiercers with 10 damage, and the drunken Elohi do a mere 1 damage to their Placoderms. Sammy burns a token, starting the scoring.
Trident 3: I unleash the left Kraken into the strength Elohi (on 1 damage), charge the Water Elemental horde into the headstrong Palace Guard to fight for its life, the Kraken back into the Men-at-Arms, and the Placoderms back into the Elohi for another grounding if not murder. The Eternal books it for my leftmost token.
Bastion goes up on the Water Elementals, shortly before they rout the headstrong Palace Guard and turn to face the fury Palace Guard. The right Kraken lucky wavers the Men-at-Arms on 9 damage, while the left Kraken can only get the strength Elohi to 4 damage. On the right, the Centurion tridents the High Paladin again, keeping her sat down (and on 2 damage), and the Placoderms at least disorder the drunken Elohi [can’t see the damage die]. The Eternal burns a token, tying the score 1-1.
Basilean 4: The angelic host strikes with a vengeance, fury Palace Guard assaulting the Water Elementals (hindered) with Gur Panthers in the flank (hindered). Strength Elohi counter their Kraken, as right flank of angels large and small strike once more at the crustacean uprising.
Samacris heals 2 damage from the Men-at-Arms shortly before crab blood is spilled hither and yon. The strength Elohi one round a fresh 17/19 Kraken despite ensnare (hot Nv roll and no inspiring helps), and the Palace Guard and Panther combo similarly one rounds the -/18 Water Elemental horde in the woods. The drunken Elohi enjoy some of that luck, wavering their Placoderms on 4 damage, but the High Paladin laughably can only get her Hearpiercers to 8 damage, failing to waver them this time. The left Panthers burn a token, bringing the score to 2-1.
Trident 4: I’m skirting by on the skin of my mandibles at this point, but maybe all’s not totally lost? The Eternal pushes for the middle, mostly to distract the strength Elohi / threaten the anvils if he’s not dealt with. The Centurion moves to disorder the drunken Elohi this turn, hoping beyond hope that the plucky Heartpiercers can disorder the High Paladin themselves. And the Kraken revs up and prepares to fight for his life – plus, if he can pop the Men-at-Arms, he can a) turn to face his oppressors, for a -2 to hit in the woods and b) back up next turn and score another point for the Realm, for a higher scoring loss.
The Centurion disorders the drunken Elohi and the Heartpiercers do the 1 damage to keep the High Paladn on mega dragon pinned in place. Yowza. In the Kraken fight, the big guy shoves the Men-at-Arms to 16 damage but the rerolled 6 to rout eludes me and the horde just wavers. I despair a bit, as I’ve spent a lot of the tournament failing very low rout rolls, but life goes on … until next turn anyway!
Basilean 5: The fury Palace Guard plow into the Kraken’s flank (hindered), the central Elohi swoop down upon the Eternal, the drunken Elohi hit those Placoderm again, and the High Paladin spends a fourth turn fighting the same unit of rapidly regenerating Heartpiercers πŸ˜€
Sammy heals 2 damage on the central Elohi, moments before they don’t kill the Eternal (5 damage). The Kraken however instantly crumbles to the fury Palace Guard, as was pretty likely. Both the Placoderms and Heartpiercers in the bottom right just waver πŸ˜‰ Also the Gur Panthers far left score a third token (3-1).
Trident 5: With the bottom right wavered out and the game drawing to a close, the Centurion voyages out to finish off the Men-at-Arms horde. Envoy scoot about and the Eternal counters the strength Elohi on the hill.
A clap of thunder fills the gaming hall as the Trident of the Drowned Sea strikes the Men-at-Arms from the table! Also the Eternal fails to wound his Elohi.
Basilean 6: The angels finish off the Eternal and finally drive off the crabs in the bottom right. Golf clap for those two regiments’ service to the cause. The fury Palace Guard turn about to, I think, deter the Centurion from getting froggy with the drunken Elohi if there’s a Turn 7.
Trident 6: Envoys scatter and the Centurion does indeed get froggy with the drunken Elohi. The trident doesn’t claim another victim, sadly, but the heroic crustacean does receive bastion in case there’s more pain coming.
Basilean 7: The fury Palace Guard plow into the ensnaring Centurion, the drunken Elohi into the bastion Envoy, and the High Paladin prepares to breath on the war-bow Envoy.
Come get some!
Shockingly, no crab dies this turn, with all my individuals copping 5 damage each.
Trident 7: I give the war-bow Envoy and the Centurion a chance at glory each, but neither the drunken Elohi (5 damage) or the High Paladin on Dragon (2 damage) miraculously go down. With a score of 4-1, that’s a decisive …

BASILEAN VICTORY (3-18)

Wheeeew, what a match. I was a little frustrated, as I tried so hard and came close to getting the 6-15 I had set out for, but looking back it’s pretty clear that I got my fair share of breaks when a significant part of his army was mired in my deployment zone for the entire game. Thinking about it, terrain was pretty important for me getting so little use out of my shooters, along with savvy target selection from him and poor counter assault setup by me. I’m impressed it was as much of a match as it was, tho it was certainly a joy to play Chris, a player I may never have played but seen out plenty.

UP NEXT: Salamanders!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 23: NIGHTSTALKERS

End of day one and I’ve clubbed my way up to one of the higher tables, despite my expectations. I’m up against my clubmate Jason, who wasn’t signed up until his wife made him the night before. He’s rocking his Nightstalkers army from 2019, which coincidentally is possibly the last time he’s played. Nice.

Nightstalkers 2100
Fiends Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar
Butchers Horde
Butchers Horde
Spectres Horde
Phantoms Troop
Phantoms Troop
Terror
Shadow-Hulk
Planar Apparition – Icy Breath (8), Heal (7), Mind Fog (2)
Mind-Screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6)

Dread-Fiend
Horror – Lightning Bolt (3), Bane Chant (2)

This is actually 10 points under and I can’t confirm that his Horror has bane chant, but it would make sense to take it. I know the Planar Apparition has icy breath, since he commented about giving it even more spells despite coming with some serious ones already. If somebody has an item, he didn’t put a slip out for it like he did for Maccwar’s, so I’m guessing there might be some forgettable 5 pointers he filled with? Anyway, check out that horde of Spectres! That apparently had been doing work despite being a junk unit he chose for unlock purposes.

Third scenario is Loot, with him going first either by choice or because I made him.

BATTLE: GAME 3

Battlelines! The ghostly thing is the Planar Apparition, snake girls on the left are Fiends of various sizes. I’ll admit that I immediately felt like I really misdeployed those Heartpiercers on the left. They were sort of a bait drop but with the heal and the Fiends’ speed and stealthy, they were unlikely to do anything of note beyond die. At least the Depth Horror Eternal could make a solid delaying act or even hack his way to the loot with the power of ensnare.
Nightstalkers 1: The shadowy horrors shove up the field, especially on the left unopposed field. I’m terrified of the Me 3+ Shadow-Hulk with its new slayer (D6), and my general approach to Terrors is to never touch them at all ever beyond delaying them or grabbing a lucky flank. So consider me shook. His Phantoms do advance just a smidge too far, and toe the woods in the middle … The Horror lightnings the rightmost Heartpiercers for 1 damage.
Trident 1: Release the Kraken! I burn clock deciding how little my shooting is going to do on 5 or 6+ at best, confirm that the Phantoms are in, and punch it way too early. Bastion goes up on the central Kraken and I can’t guarantee that the right Kraken is even inspired.
But after rampaging those Phantoms I think he is on the rotate. The central Kraken pounds 7 damage into his Phantoms but fails the double 5 rout. Heartpiercers put 6 damage into the Spectres and 1 into the right Butchers.
Nightstalkers 2: The living nightmares descend, with Fiends already hitting those left Heartpiercers and Butchers joining the dance with the right Kraken. Phantoms counter the central Kraken. The Dread-Fiend picks up the left loot token.
I’m sorry my crabby children!
Once all the sizzling and crunching has subsided, the crabs have taken damage but weathered the first wave. Fiend’s deal 8 damage to Heartpiercers, Spectres pour 7 damage into the central Hearpiercers, the Mind-Screech and Horror lightning the Centurion for 3 damage, and the Kraken take 1 and 5 respectively. Everybody keeps their cool, placidly blinking in crab. The Planar Apparition heals a couple damage off the Spectres.
Trident 2: I decimate my clock figuring out what to do in the center, and end up sidestepping the Placoderms against the building so they can’t be triple charged, offering up the wounded Heartpiercers, and preparing the Water Elementals to go to work against anything that engages. The other Placoderms flank the Butchers fighting the Kraken, the central Kraken prepares to clear out some Phantoms and prepare for incoming terrors, and the Eternal on the left helps out with the Fiends, tho he contemplates leaving them to their fate and sprinting for the Dread-Fiend (and loot) on the hill. Oh, and the Centurion jukes forward to shut down the Mind-Screech.
The Trident of the Drowned Sea, plus a bunch of Heartpiercer shots, bleeds the Mind-Screech to 7 damage (and disorders it). Bastion goes on the Placoderms by the house. In combat, the Eternal (and maybe some Heartpiercers) chunk 5 damage on the Fiends on the left. The Kraken and Placo flank on the right does 2 damage to those Butchers because they’re all hindered and/or idiots. The central Kraken does wreck those Phantoms at last and turn to face his new cuddle buddies.
Nightstalkers 3: The monstrous center ends up seeing the Shadow-Hulk and Butchers combo-charge the Placoderms, the Terror wades into the wounded Heartpiercers (picking up the central loot token in the process), and the Mind-Screech float into the Centurion. It only occurs to me now that he might have been angling to pop him and overrun into the Placoderm flank? The Centurion is a brick, but he is on 3 damage … The Fiends counter the Heartpiercers on the left and the Butchers hit the Kraken on the right.
Both Heartpiercers are devoured, as are the Placoderms. RIP lads. The central Kraken takes 7 damage from shooting (and is frozen by the Planar Apparition’s breath), shortly before the right Kraken is pushed to 4 damage by his Butchers. The Mind-Screech successfully bops the Centurion, turning his laser trident off 😦
Trident 3: I really do not want to fight the Terror if I can help it, so the Water Elemental horde goes into the central Butchers and the Kraken sees how fast he can tear down the Spectre horde – rampage don’t fail me now! On the left, the Dread-Fiend has wandered into charge range of the Eternal, so he absolutely leaps on the chance to carve that loot out of her talons. Otherwise stuff counter-charges on the right, including the Centurion into the Mind-Screech for murder purposes but also to disorder it.
Bastion goes up on the Water Elemental horde, what shooting there is misses the Horror and just tickles the Planar Apparition. In combat, the Eternal gets started on the Dread-Fiend, the Water Elemental does a sizable 6 to the Butchers, the central Kraken gentle cuddles the Spectres to 6 damage, the Centurion routs the Mind-Screech, and the right Butchers succumb to their crustacean executioners.
Nightstalkers 4: The Terror ejects its loot and oozes through the woods into a fresh batch of Heartpiercers as the Butchers counter-charge the Water Elementals. The Fiends round the house and the Shadow-Hulk prepares to slayer the Kraken if he can’t carve through these damn Spectres first (who also counter the Kraken this turn). The Dread-Fiend counters the Eternal, and the Planar Apparition picks up the central loot.
The Spectres are healed down to 1 damage by the Planar Apparition (!), and then a lot of damage is spread around. The Eternal takes 2, the Water Elemental horde takes 8, the central Kraken takes 5 (!), and the Terror chomps 7 into the Heartpiercers. What a grind y’all.
Trident 4: The Nightstalkers have left some flanks open, which I capitalize on: Kraken into the flank of the Spectres, Placoderm into the flank of the Terror (hindered but picking up the token). The other Kraken disengages and faces the Shadow-Hulk, less because I trust the other Kraken and more because I expect the Krakens to flub and I want to point ensnare at the monster killing titan. Water Elementals and Eternal counter-charge their dancing partners.
The Centurion spikes 1 damage into the Planar Apparition, sitting it down, and the bastion Envoy bastions himself for great straddling justice. The highlight of combat is the Water Elemental horde ending the Butchers; it stays where it is to face the oncoming Fiends. The Kraken flank into the Spectres yields 14 damage and I think a waver, while the Terror wears its 6 damage without concern, and the Eternal fails to waver/rout the Dread-Fiend.
Nightstalkers 5: Even. More. Fighting. The Fiends make crabfall with the Water Elementals (who are on 6 damage with Rally (1)), the Shadow-Hulk does front charge the waiting Kraken, with Planar Apparition in the flank, and the Dread-Fiend and Terror counter-charge.
The Shadow-Hulk and Planar Apparition drop an 18/20 Kraken on 3 damage! And the Fiends likewise slam right through the -/18 Water Elementals. The Terror finishes off its second unit of Heartpiercers, turning to face the Placoderms, and the Dread-Fiend wavers the Eternal. But he’s got fury, everyone, we still got this.
Trident 5: The surviving Kraken charges the Planar Apparition to end its reign of terror / steal its loot, moments after the Centurion charged the Shadow-Hulk to hold it in place mere inches from the Kraken’s flank. The Placoderms charge the Terror (hindered :X) and the Eternal fury counter-charges the Dread-Fiend. Bastion goes on the Kraken.
The last of the Heartpiercers shoot down the Spectre horde, putting the MVP to bed at last. The Kraken enjoys some bastion, before completely whiffing on the Planar Apparition (listen, ensnare sucks). The Centurion however beasts 4 damage into the Shadow-Hulk. The Eternal likewise chunks the Dread-Fiend but again even a waver eludes me. The Placoderms somehow get the Terror to 4 damage, despite 6+ to hit, but that thing has been regening like a thing that regens (4+). Rude.
Nightstalkers 6: The game is drawing to a close but the slaughter is sill raging. The pathfinding Fiends flank the Placoderms with the Terror in the front, the Planar Apparition counters the Kraken, the Shadow-Hulk the Centurion, and the Dread-Fiend the Eternal.
The Placoderms shatter, with their loot absorbed into the Terror’s gooey folds. Looks like everybody else pulled through tho.
Trident 6: With 4 minutes left on my clock, I’m desperately hoping the last of my smashy dudes can fight their way out of this mess.
I furiously roll dice for 3 minutes but I just can’t drop the Planar Apparition or the Dread-Fiend, tho the latter finally wavers. With no turn 7 and with 3 tokens to 0, that’s a …

NIGHTSTALKER VICTORY (3-18)

So close to a 6-15 if only the Eternal could ever pass that rout test and grab the Dread-Fiend’s loot! It was quite the game, where I felt weirdly in control and yet totally behind the eyeball the entire time. If I had to blame something, I’m content to blame my Nv dice, which were horrendous when I needed them to spike to keep my momentum up. Jason would go on to make an unexpected run for the top table.

UP NEXT: Basileans!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 22: FORCES OF THE ABYSS

Second game of the first day and I’m up against Bill, a new local player who picked up Kings of War late last year. He’s got a largely Mantic Abyssals army with a pair of enormous worms for his Fiends, which I’m 100% here for and look forward to wrassling with.

Forces of the Abyss 2100
Molochs Horde – Despoiler Champ, Sacrificial Imp, Blade of Slashing
Abyssal Ghouls Horde
Abyssal Ghouls Horde
Abyssal Horsemen Regiment – Staying Stone
Flamebearers Troop
Flamebearers Troop
Gargoyles Troop
Abyssal Fiend
Abyssal Fiend

Manifestation of Ba’el – Lightning Bolt (7)
Despoiler Champion
Zaz’u’szu the Betrayer – Lightning Bolt (4+), Bane Chant (2+)
Abyssal Warlock – Alchemist Curse (2)

Looks the business to me, although he wasn’t sold on Zaz’u’szu. I’ve only seen him used in batreps myself, but then Abyssals is one of those armies where I tend to just face them at tournaments. Maybe not any longer, welcome to the scene Bill!

Second scenario is Control, with me making the Abyssals go first, largely to mess with his Flamebearers.

BATTLE: GAME 2

Battlelines!
Abyssals 1: The demonic line pushes forward in the middle, hampered by terrain on the left, while the Abyssal Horsemen rapidly redeploy away from the crabby right flank. Lightning strikes some Heartpiercers with no significant impact (apart from 6 damage).
Trident 1: Crustaceans scuttle forth in response, using the Abyssal retreat on the right to push hard down that flank. Harpoons rout a Flamebearer unit, skewer Ba’el for 3 damage and the war-bow Envoy tags the left Abyssal Fiend (WAR-BOW). Bastion goes up on the rapidly regenerating Heartpiercers (down to 2).
Abyssals 2: The bulk of the Abyssals continue trudging through the terrain down the center of the board, as the Horsemen have a change of heart and face the oncoming crabs on the right. Significantly more fire is brought to bear this turn, wavering Heartpiercers on the left (6 damage) and wounding the Depth Horror Eternal (3 damage) and right Placoderms (2 damage). Zaz’u has started to significantly hurt his Gargoyle battery at this point (7 damage) as well!
Trident 2: The sound of the grind revving up can be heard as the right Kraken is released upon the poor Abyssal Horsemen, smashing 5 damage into them. The right Placoderms make contact with Zaz’u, pinching 4 damage into him. The Eternal charges the right Ghouls horde to block them up (2 damage caused), shortly after Heartpiercers stick 2 more damage into Ba’el and lucky waver the big bad! Also the other Flamebearers start to take Heartpiercer damage and the war-bow Envoy tags that Abyssal Fiend again (WAR-BOW)!
Abyssals 3: We’re getting danger close now! The Eternal takes a combo-charge from Ghouls and Abyssal Fiend, while the right Kraken is countered by his Horsemen. The other significant movement is the Molochs moving to reinforce the right flank, but otherwise it’s murder time.
The wounded Heartpiercers on the left are dunked by the Abyssal Fiend and/or Flamebearers and/or Warlock, and some combination of those also does 4 damage to the left Kraken. In combat, the Eternal takes 8 damage and wavers (with bastion on him), while the right Kraken goes up to 7 damage and wavers on a 10+. Touche, Abyssals, touche.
Trident 3: Crabs up the ante this turn, diving into combat across the board. Placoderms charge the left Ghoul horde, and the other Ghoul horde is flanked by a Kraken and fronted by the Water Elemental horde. The Eternal fury counters the right Abyssal Fiend, the right Placoderms aim to pop the betrayed Gargoyles, and the right Kraken furiously regens in place. Real Talk: I need a couple of these combats to go my way or I’m in a bad place. I mean, they totally should, but anything can and will happen with my dice 😐
The Centurion spikes Zaz’u off the board with his laser trident, removing the Gargoyles inspiring and helping the Placoderms rend the stony bird girls to gravel and face the Molochs. The central Ghoul horde is evaporated, allowing the left Kraken to reform out of the left Abyssal Fiend’s LOS and seriously menace the Abyssal lines, along with the Water Elemental horde. In other news, Ba’el takes a couple damage from Heartpiercers (bad dice!), the left Fiend is shot to 6 damage, and the left Ghoul horde snipped to 5 damage. The Eternal must have hacked some damage into his Fiend too.
Abyssals 4: Ba’el kicks things off by diving some Heartpiercers far away from the giant crabs staring at him, comboing with the Despoiler Champion. The Molochs hit the right Placoderms, the left Fiend helps the Ghoul horde out with the other Placos, and the right Fiend counters the Eternal. Shooters in the center prepare to waver or kill the central Kraken.
And waver him they do, rolling that spicy 8-9. In fact, everything the Abyssals touch wavers this turn – EVERYTHING. My scuttlin’ realm for a fury aura!
Trident 4: You know what isn’t wavered? The Water Elemental horde charging the rear of the Molochs 😬 Also the Centurion, who hits the Horsemen to help the Kraken grind them out, since the big guy keeps wavering. Loads of regening happens as well.
The Molochs are brutalized, the Water Elementals turning to eat an Abyssal Fiend next turn. Heartpiercer shooting punches more damage on the left Abyssal Fiend (9 total I think) and a little more on Ba’el. Bastion goes up on the central Kraken.
Abyssals 5: The left Placoderms are again charged by Ghouls and Abyssal Fiend, as the Centurion is countered by the Horsemen and the Eternal prepares to be eaten by his Fiend. Ba’el disengages from the Heartpiercers, preparing to style on me, tho the Despoiler Champ charges them again.
Kings of Hills: The Revenge
Instead of shooting or fighting, Ba’el shouts ‘From the Pit I Curse Thee!’, disordering both Heartpiercer units and the bastion Envoy! Bravo. In more violent news, the left Placos are once more wavered in combat, as is the central Kraken from shooting. WTH. The Eternal falls to the right Fiend, the Centurion takes some damage and the Despoiler Champ nibbles on its Heartpiercers.
Trident 5: Crabby vengeance will be ours! The Water Elementals and Placoderms plow into the Eternal’s Abyssal Fiend, as Centurion and Kraken hit the Horsemen, and Heartpiercers go aggro on Ba’el’s flank and the Despoiler Champ’s front. The wavered Placoderms disengage and the Kraken furiously regenerates (9 of 9 damage!)
Horsemen and Abyssal Fiend are routed, but no such luck elsewhere, with token damage at best from the Heartpiercers (although that left Fiend is at like 10+ damage now).
Abyssals 6: With his mind on the scenario, the Abyssal general eases up on the gas on the left and jockeys units into zones. Ba’el and the Despoiler Champ however do hit those Heartpiercers in the bottom right again.
And dunk them pretty hard. Alchemist curse from the Warlock pressure cooks the right Placoderms as well (and was doing a number on the central Kraken all game).
Trident 6: Things are pretty well in hand (claw) for me, especially once the central Kraken eats those Flamebearer’s in his sector. Some other violence happens, but the Ghouls hold and the Water Elementals can’t finish of Ba’el. Check out that clock at this point, with Bill up 20+ minutes over me πŸ˜€
Abyssals 7: The Ghouls overwhem the Placoderm, taking the lower left sector from my Heartpiercers. The Water Elemental thankfully holds Ba’el and the Despoiler Champ in place.

Trident 7: I melt the last fragment of my clock thinking about where to put the central Kraken, in the end deciding to gamble on shooting the Warlock and getting +2 points rather than walking into the upper left for a sure +1 point and then possibly denying him a point. The Centurion does not drop the Warlock, however the Water Elemental horde sends Ba’el screaming back to the pit with my last seconds of clock, which is always a good feel. With 3 sectors to the Abyss’ 1, this is another …

SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (15-6)

I came close to getting an 18-3 on this and sort of gave it away on a gamble, but whatever, it was great to play Bill and I look forward to more games with him. His indecision with the Abyssal Horsemen early game was saved by hot waver dice keeping the right Kraken from rampaging his line, but then that Moloch rear was pretty catastrophic and let the Water Elementals decimate his hammers into the late game. Mad props on using Ba’el’s Curse all the same!

UP NEXT: Nightstalkers!