GAME 35: FORCES OF NATURE

Team Cuddle Time finally slumps its way to the final round, beaten and bruised but still kicking. Team MERC greets us with open arms and one last fist to the gut. I end up paired vs a Nature player who I’’ve played three times now at each GT Bloodfire has gone to. In that time he’s learned a lot about target prioritization, scenario play, and so on, and his list is much more tuned now than it was a mostly Wood Elves legacy force.

And let’s admit it, I just wanted to put Fire up against Water ;D

CROSSROADS GAME 5: TEAM MERC

– Forces of Nature vs Salamanders
– The Herd vs Orcs
– Ratkin vs Night-Stalkers
– Orcs vs Ogres

BLOODFIRE GAME 35: FORCES OF NATURE

Forces of Nature 2250

Salamanders Horde – Scrying Gem
Water Elemental Horde
Water Elemental Horde
Water Elemental Horde
Winged Unicorn – Heal (7), Lightning Bolt (5), Bane Chant (2)
Winged Unicorn – Heal (7), Lightning Bolt (5), Bane Chant (2)
The Green Lady – Heal (8)
Beast of Nature – Lightning Bolt (6), Fly + Sp 7, Vicious + At 7
Beast of Nature – Lightning Bolt (6), Fly + Sp 7, Vicious + At 7
Beast of Nature – Lightning Bolt (6), Fly + Sp 7, Vicious + At 7

Yep, spammy min/max Nature, but I can’t fault him. I can fault Mantic for not nerfing Beasts yet (COK19 plz!), there’s something wrong about a unit that can literally do anything it wants and is always fielded in pairs or trios. I have fought a lot of Beasts, and I guess my suggestion would be -1 De if you select lightning (ala the shooty Death Engine) or flatout only being able to select two upgrades. Flying laser turret? Awesome, you don’t get to flank the living hell out of things too. Rampaging combat missile? Fantastic, you don’t get to also have amazing shooting on demand. Plodding laser turret looking for late game beatdowns? I love it, but you’re not gonna see that until flying is really nerfed.

Anyway, fifth round ended up Control, which is rough against those flying US1 shooting things. I think I chose to go first, out of a burning desire to get shot less and get into his zone at some point.

BATTLE

The Bloodfire rolls out over hill and dale!

Nature virtually doesn’t move, content to gather the lightning and let the fire come. Lasers blast away the rightmost Ember Sprites and singe the central regiment.

The red tide flows forward, with the charred Sprites enjoying a martyr’s prayer and tossing some chip damage on the central Water Elementals. Meanwhile a misdeployed Fire Elemental horde surges across the backfield to be relevant later.

Nature again barely moves at all, with just the Beasts working some angles. The Green Lady knows what the Bloodfire wants, and that her troops outrange them in both combat and shooting. With a contemptuous flick of her wrist, the Lady has her pets direct all their lightning at the towering Fire Drake on the hill. He explodes in a shower of molten gore!

Gritting her teeth, the Herald of the Bloodfire has her charges force the issue, moving into charge range across the line. Ember Sprites vomit on the central Water Elementals or secure the field for the late game score.

Suddenly released, two of the Water hordes crash into one Fire horde, as the pack of Beasts hop the Salamanders and enter the danger zone.

Lightning pounds into the Fire horde on the left flank, but 5 damage isn’’t enough to stop their advance. In combat the Water hordes pummel 10 damage into the Fire Elementals however they retain their forms.

Already in Turn 4, Bloodfire can finally strike back, but will it be enough? The flanking Fire horde makes it into its watery counterpart (and is prayed down to 1 damage and bane-chanted as this is a tough ask of them), with Sprites providing flanking support (lulz). One of the central Water hordes is hit in flank and front by Fire hordes, while the courageous Fire Elementals tackle the other Water horde.

Bloodfire dice roll cold and all of the Nature targets stand. Agnes speared some damage onto a Beast but likewise to no great effect. This is especially disheartening knowing the level of regen and heal available to the enemy . . .

The Forces of Nature properly tighten the noose with a bevy of charges: Water + 2 flanking Beasts into the leftmost Fire horde (!), Unicorn into their Sprites’ flank, Water hordes into the undamaged central Fire hordes.

The Beasts smash apart the flanking Fire Elementals and the Unicorn scatters the Sprites (*golf clap*), however the center holds better than expected, including the damaged Fire horde holding despite the lightning barrage of the central Beast. Unfortunately a lot of damage is pulled off of the previously damaged Water horde.

Bloodfire 5 is as violent as ever, with the grind continuing in board center and an overwhelming amount of firepower aimed at the undamaged Beast on the left . . .

That Beast is decimated with extreme prejudice by Agnes’ death ray and 20 elite fireballs, followed by both central Water hordes being boiled off. There’s a whole hell of lightning still on the board, but fakk if that didn’’t feel good.

The Green Lady sends her horde of Salamanders into the courageous Fire horde, as the Unicorns swoop into the flank of a smoldering Fire horde (*double golf clap*) and Beasts prepare to exorcise the mangled Fire Elementals.

It’s super effective! Or at least the Unicorn hooves and Beast lightning is. The Sallies bounce.

Bloodfire Turn 6 feels like the redementals are well out of this one, yet there’s violence to be had. Agnes and the tall Priest cook a Unicorn for reasons and the Fire Elementals bash 10 damage into the Salamanders.

The winged elements of the Forces of Nature scatter to their designated scoring zones as the Salamanders bounce off the fresh Fire Elementals. With no Turn 7 it’’s a solid . . .

BLOODFIRE LOSS

It was cool to go up against this player again and see how far his skills have come, and also pretty neat to have an Elemental Off, and in fact a Reaper-minis-painted-basically-one-color-on-tan-bases off XD


RED VS BLUE

I do think Beasts of Nature are OP and really unpleasant to play against, and I sort of wish Nature armies weren’’t so often this min/maxed affair were you just take the best things, and multiples of them if they shoot lightning. But then again I’’ve also played against non-min/maxed fluffy Nature and consistently torn them to shreds, so who knows. Maybe the Beast is just the crutch of the army? And one you gradually work out? Again ala Death Engines for rats.

Anyway, while I don’t know the final standings for Crossroads 2018 I’m sure Cuddle Time was quite far down there, given our in-game performance at the very least. All the same, it continues to be a great event with great players and I’m happy I could make this year. It sounds like next year is teams again, which I’m grudgingly ok with – I totally prefer the simplicity of single player tournaments and the clarity of how matchups are done, but the increased camaraderie of team tournaments is fun, and I enjoyed making swag for our team (CUDDLE TIME t-shirts, DTC wristbands, cutesy display boards).

GAME 34: LEAGUE OF RHORDIA

After taking another full house of losses, Cuddle Time came up against another incestual team made up of the rest of our club and Unplugged’s (and named after one of our clubmates). Pairing into double Varangur was rough, especially as they put up both at once! So a couple dudes got tossed under the eevil Viking steamroller while I played one of my favorite guys and his fabulously painted Rhordia, which has been transitioning towards Halflings and away from its Empire roots for a couple years now.

CROSSROADS GAME 4: TEAM JOHN HOLST HAS A POSSE

– League of Rhordia vs Salamanders
– Varangur vs Night-Stalkers
– Abyssal Dwarfs vs Ogres
– Varangur vs Orcs

BLOODFIRE GAME 34: LEAGUE OF RHORDIA

League of Rhordia 2250

Halfling Braves Regiment – War Bow
Halfling Scouts Troop
Halfling Scouts Troop
Crossbow Regiment
Household Knights Regiment – Cat Potion
Household Knights Regiment – Mace of Crushing
Halfling Ranger Cavalry Troop
Honor Guard Horde – Brew of Haste
Halfling Volley Gun
Halfling Iron Beast
Duke on Horse – Diadem of Dragonkind
Duke on Horse – Hand Grenades
Duke on Ancient Winged Aralez – Heal (4), Blade of Slashing
Wizard on Horse – Fireball (6), Lightning Bolt (3), Bane Chant (2), Inspiring Talisman
Halfling Master Sergeant – Banner of the Griffin, Bow

Beautiful army with a lot of neat stuff going on. Not built to tear faces off but loads of tools, which I respect.

I send us into Dominate yet again, because Bloodfire? Pretty sure he made me go first, for plenty of good reasons.

BATTLE


Battlelines!

Bloodfire slops forward, burning through the forest sheltering it.

Rhordia rolls out, with small arms fire raining into the Ember Sprites and wavering the ones to the right and left of the tower. The Volley Gun realized it should have scooted up to the wall messing with its LOS but deigned to do so retroactively.

More ebbing from the red tide, with the wavered Sprites gumming things up a little bit. The little Mage-Priest prays the wounds off the Sprites to the left of the tower, and the leftmost Sprites start chipping at the Iron Beast.

Rhordia’s fierce war against short things continues, with minimal movement but lots of aggression directed towards Ember Sprites. The Duke on Aralez scatters the Sprites to the right of the tower while those to the left are shot down, the central Sprites are wavered and the leftmost regiment simply mangled a bit.

Bloodfire’s response is limited but, well, incandescent. The line moves up as much as the wavered Sprites allow, preparing as best as possible for the Aralez lurking on the right flank. The little Priest pulls the wound off of the leading Fire Elemental horde, but the real player to watch this turn is Agnes toeing into the central wood. After taking the usual token damage from the Ember Sprites, the Honor Guard are rocked by a full power death ray, taking something like 10 damage from Agnes! The rout check goes well and the Rhordian chocobo hammer is one-rounded. Damn.


Fweeeeeem!

With a collective intake of breath, the Rhordian line backs up from the legendary fire elemental. Shooting strafes the front of the Bloodfire line, dropping the central Sprites, wounding the leading Fire horde and the last of the chaff.

Turn 4 means we stoke the fires and get aggressive. The wounded Fire horde launches out of the red crescent, intent to do some damage to the Iron Beast and bring the enemy into range of the rest of the inferno. The surviving Sprites block at least some of their flank (or something), the little Priest prays them down to 2 damage and the tall Priest heals the little Priest to 4. Agnes cooks some damage into the Knights on the left flank (who I’m pretty sure did not have pathfinder, despite the woods they’re headed into), followed by the central Fire Elementals doing a pretty terrible job of hurting the Iron Beast. Ah well.

The Duke orders a charge from the back of his Aralez, sending Rhordia’s finest crashing into both ends of the wall of living fire, including daring flank charges by Halfling infantry (https://imgur.com/Hhfj8Mk).

Damage splashes across the Bloodfire battleline, but shockingly only the last of the Ember Sprites are routed (and presumably eaten by Halfling Scouts ). Yes, the Aralez flubbed its flank charge pretty badly (I’m told they do that? Tis a weird beastie), and the triple-charged Fire horde was snake eyes’d!

Bloodfire retaliation is brutal, if somewhat intentionally short-sighted (more on that later): Agnes counters her knights, the Fire Elementals to the right take on their blocking Duke, the smoldering Fire horde and the courageous horde double-charge the other knights, the next Fire horde tackles the Volley Gun that finally set up on the wall and the final horde counters the Aralez (with the help of bane chant from the tall Priest). The CLOFD vomit-cannons the Duke near the Volley Gun, wavering him, and the little Priest pulls a tight 6 damage off of Agnes.

After a lot of pummeling, the Aralez is mangled, the Volley Gun is dead, the central Knights are embarrassingly fine (some very sad rolling), the blocking Duke is wavered, but Agnes steals the show again by hammering her Knights into molten scrap with ~8 damage off of 9 attaks. Sweet hell’s teeth, girlfriend!

It’s Rhordia Turn 5 and things are a bit of a mess, but the Halflings are in command more than it may seem. Wavered Dukes scoot around backwards as another round of mass charges is declared: Aralez + flanking Halfling Cav into the right Fire horde, surviving Knights into the courageous Fire horde, Iron Beast + flanking Halfling Braves back into the rapidly-dissipating Fire horde, and the true heroes, Halfling Scouts into Agnes.

On the whole, things don’t go super great damage-wise, but that’s almost not the point this late in the game. All the Fire hordes stick around and Agnes is not disrupted.

Turn 6, Bloodfire is light on options so chooses violence, knowing that this is going to come down to a Turn 7 roll off. The right Fire horde counters the Aralez, the obstacle-riding Fire horde hits the blocking Duke (with no angle for overrun), the CLOFD + courageous Fire horde take on the central Knights, the central Fire horde hits another blocking Duke, and Agnes deigns to charge the Halflings, preferring to shoot them [Mistake? Because of their stealthy, math suggests she does more in combat, as well as I guess disordering them if that mattered]. The little Priest pulled the 3 damage off the central Fire horde, knowing their Target #1 for scoring the zone. Tall Priest bane changed the Fire Elementals fighting the Aralez.

With the exception of Agnes, who couldn’t laser off some Halflings despite obliterating multiple heavy knight units this game, things go well: the Aralez is roasted, the Knights are baked and one of two Dukes is dispatched (the important one in the center). I possibly made another mistake here, as I didn’t even try to overrun into the Braves, which would have been a significant swing in unit strength and not preposterously far away. Although a failed overrun would have left the horde flanked by the Iron Beast and out of a Turn 7 contest.

Rhordia mobilizes for the center, double-charging the central Fire Elementals with those accursed Braves + Iron Beast.

Shooting drops the courageous Fire horde, but combat can’t put paid to the Bloodfire units in the dominate zone . . .

. . . but they’re not enough to overcome the swarm of Halflings! However, Sallies are well-placed for a Turn 7 sweep, if only the turn die had been as well. So that’s a . . .

BLOODFIRE LOSS

This was a great game that I felt shifted firmly into my hands with that snake eyes and then fell out again when I lost all that momentum the next turn with the combo-charge into the Knights flubbing. All the same, Peyton is one of my favorite opponents, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love every second of Agnes being a gods damned legend.

PS: Here’s a better shot of the Aralez ‘Dirty Birdy’ (https://imgur.com/odzvXlu) and some adorable Halflings riding goats (https://imgur.com/PlhnKpF). Bless.

Up Next: MERC

GAME 33: ABYSSAL DWARFS

Coming off that big win we were up against one of our sister club’s teams, which included our club’s fearless leader by a cruel twist of fate! We were probably going to get creamed again but at least it would be at the hands of great gents with pretty armies.

CROSSROADS GAME 3: TEAM UNPLUGGED RADIO

– Abyssal Dwarfs vs Salamanders
– Night Stalkers vs Night Stalkers (YESSSSSS)
– League of Rhordia vs Orcs
– Forces of the Abyss vs Ogres

BLOODFIRE GAME 33: ABYSSAL DWARFS

Abyssal Dwarfs 2250

Blacksouls Horde – Brew of Strength
Decimators Regiment*
Decimators Regiment*
Slave Orcs Horde
Gargoyles Troop
Gargoyles Troop
Abyssal Halfbreeds Regiment – Dwarven Ale
Abyssal Grotesques Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Dragon Fire-Team
Angkor Heavy Mortar
Angkor Heavy Mortar
Angkor Heavy Mortar
Overmaster* – Wings of Honeymaze
Slavedriver – Lute of Insatiable Darkness
Ba’su’su the Vile
*Heralds of the Black Flame Formation

I put myself against Abyssal Dwarfs because a) this dude is the last of the Unplugged Gamers I haven’t played; and b) I rarely face AD and we more or less do similar things, so should be a proper grind. Also I made the Night Stalkers face each other because I could ;D

We ended up playing Eliminate. Abyssal Dwarfs took the initiative.

BATTLE

Battlelines!

Turn 3 as our flanks swirl into each other. His fast wing is pretty gummed up behind stuff, including Gargoyles that refuse to die, while my heavy right flank has little to do until it crashes into his hordes and obliterates them. Along the way I scoop up a token and he grabs one of mine and sits on the middle, currently giving him the win.

Here’s the setup as we go into my Turn 6. The Grotesques in the middle have a token and are sitting on the central objective, however Agnes is my only real active piece since my last Fire Elementals are blocked by individuals. But Agnes is one hell of a piece, and my Mage-Priests are unengaged and ready to rock as well.

As the hordes pummel the individuals, the girls descend on the Grots. Fireballs are nice and all, but it’s Agnes’ death ray that brutalizes the mega cav up to 16 damage.

Yep. Snake eyes and I’ve lost the game despite the hail mary. BUT THEN THERE’S A TURN 7!

This is after his turn – the lower Fire horde is so far forward because it ate the Overlord and overran. The Grots toppled Agnes and backed up, while the units try to mess with the Elementals for no luck.

In response the lower Fire horde murders the Halfbreeds out of spite, the upper ones faff against the Decimators and Ba’su’su absorbs the CLOFD’s aggression and continues to be a beast.* While I gained some needed points in that Turn 7 it was still a . . .

BLOODFIRE LOSS

*The reason you’re not seeing the CLOFD + surviving Priest blast the mangled Grots (12 wounds after regen) is because I stupidly corkscrewed past the Halfbreeds into the Grots with the lower Fire horde and proceeded to smash them in combat, winning the game UNTIL another Unplugged dude asked WTF I was doing and I realized Fire Elementals can’t fly :’( And were disordered if they could 😛 So we rolled that combat as against the Halfbreeds, without backing the game out to shooting, which would have given me another shot at the Grots, although if I’m remembering Eliminate scoring right it wouldn’t have mattered as I couldn’t put a model on the center point nor one-round the Halfbreeds.

Up Next: JOHN HOLST HAS A POSSE

GAME 32: ABYSSALS

After our beatdown at the hands of STG we plummeted down to the bottom and faced Beef & Wings, a crew of 40k players with limited KOW experience, great attitudes and plentiful margaritas ❤ A wonderful follow-up all told.

CROSSROADS GAME 2: TEAM BEEF & WINGS

– Forces of the Abyss vs Salamanders
– Night Stalkers vs Ogres
– Night Stalkers vs Orcs
– ??? vs Night Stalkers

BLOODFIRE GAME 32: ABYSSALS

Abyssals 2250

Gargoyles Troop
Gargoyles Troop
Gargoyles Troop
Gargoyles Troop
Abyssal Guard Regiment
Abyssal Guard Regiment
Abyssal Horsemen Regiment – Blessing of the Gods
Abyssal Horsemen Regiment – Cat Potion
Abyssal Horsemen Regiment – Fire-Oil
The Lord of Lies – Lightning Bolt (7)
The Well of Souls
Archfiend of the Abyss – Drain Life (6), Brew of Haste, Wings

A weird list with some truly frightening flying monsters. As you’ll see I continually underestimated the Lord of Lies . . . Worth noting that this was the player’s second game of KOW using physical minis. Respect.

Second round was Push (1 token), and whoever won initiative the Abyssals headed out first.

BATTLE


Battlelines! Lord of Lies = white GUO, Well = swirly mutalith vortex, Archfiend = Belakor! Salamander push token is on a central Fire Elemental horde and Abyssal token is on the Well.

Abyssals roll out! Lord of Lies and Archfiend pound down the right flank as the cavalry gallop in towards the flank of fire.

Bloodfire sludge forward, Sprites voyaging out for a proper chaff-off with all of those Gargoyles.

The Abyssals close further, while some Gargs pounce on the rightmost Sprites, doing 5 damage and wavering them.

Sallies pounce on the Abyssal chaff, sending Fire + Sprites into one, Fire into another and dispatching Agnes to laser off the ones harrying the Sprites. Yet more Sprites scoop up the central push counter as the rest of the red tide flows forward.

The Gargoyles do not survive ;D And the little Mage prays all 5 wounds off of those Sprites.

The Abyssals strike back, Guard charging Sprites and more Guard combo-charging the extended Fire Elementals with some Horsemen, while the final Gargoyles swoop down on those same Sprites on the right flank. Off shot the Archfiend starts to round the building in the Bloodfire zone, tagging the little Mage with his lightning and popping her.

The Guards drive off their Sprites, however the Gargoyles do a single damage to theirs and the Fire horde absorbs 10 damage and holds – possibly without inspiring in range!

The pummeling intensifies as the left Abyssal Guard are slammed by two hordes of Fire Elementals, the Guard next to them are counter-charged by the wounded horde, and the last of the Gargoyles are plowed into by Agnes and those besieged Sprites. The Sprites give their token to the courageous Fire horde. The CLOFD gets double bane-chanted and vomits on the left Horsemen for a few damage.

Combat is fairly expected, with the double-charged Guard melted, the counter-charged Guard relatively fine and the Gargoyles snatched from the air and splattered by Agnes and her tiny friends.

Abyssal Turn 4 starts with the Well pulling the damage off the wounded Horsemen, who flank the wounded Fire Elementals as the Guard head back into their front. They drive their elemental foes up to 17 damage but snake eyes the rout! The Lord of Lies tackles Agnes for 2 damage and the rightmost Horsemen finish off those accursed Sprites.

Fire Elementals mob the Abyssal Guard, reducing them to a whiff of brimstone. Agnes and the courageous Fire horde slam the Lord of Lies but can’t even manage to waver him (8 damage?), and the Fire horde who was lucky enough to charge the Archfiend smash a sterling 9 damage into him but again can’t even waver. In less violent news, the big Mage heals Agnes for 1 damage and the CLOFD pukes a few more wounds into the same Horsemen from before.

Turn 5 begins with the Well cleaning up the Horsemen again . . . and my heart dropping as Agnes is flanked by the Archfiend and counter-charged by the Lord of Lies. The healed Horsemen charge into the mangled Fire Elementals and the courageous horde takes a charge from a fresh Horsemen regiment.

Agnes doesn’t make it. Nor does that Fire horde up top, although the courageous horde is fine.

Fire Elementals rage, swarming those Horsemen up top, counter-charging the central Horsemen and heading into the Archfiend for vengeance. The Well comes under fire from the CLOFD and the big Mage bane-chants the horde about to slag the Archfiend.

The Archfiend and the surrounded Horsemen get pulped. The central Horsemen merely get batted around.

Abyssal Turn 6 sees the Well absorb the central Horsemen damage and charge the token-holding Sprites (who picked it up from the courageous horde at some point), looking to tip the objective game. The Lord of Lies scoots his little base into the flank of the courageous horde (!) as Horsemen charge their front

A thrilling success: Sprites are eaten, healing the Well in the process, and the Lord + Horsemen disperse the Nv 19 Fire horde.

Bloodfire snaps shut on the remnants of the Abyssals, CLOFD + flanking Fire horde grabbing the Well, another Fire horde flanking the Horsemen, and yet more Fire Elementals charging the Lord for another round.

*boom*

Turn 7 happens! The final Horsemen charge the Fire horde with the Well’s token, doing a respectable 8 damage but bouncing. They get flanked + fronted by Fire Elementals and melted to slag.

BLOODFIRE VICTORY

And big wins for all of Team Cuddle Time, thanks Beef & Wings!

Up Next: UNPLUGGED RADIO

GAME 31: ELVES

Crossroads GT this year was a four-man team tourney, which basically meant it was a standard 2250 COK18 event with an added minigame where captains haggled over who got to play whom and what scenarios they’d use. I never really got the hang of the process, and I’m still not confident I got any of them right, but our team was intentionally pretty weak and we were just there to cuddle.

TEAM CUDDLE TIME
– Salamanders (fire elemental / breath weapon spam)
– Night-Stalkers (blood worm legion + mind screech spam)
– Ogres (balanced with chariots + boomers)
– Orcs (balanced with chariots + boomers)

For our first game we played STG, and during matchups I took the worst matchup on myself, to save my teammates the displeasure of playing a brutal af Elf list.

CROSSROADS GAME 1: TEAM STG

– Elves vs Salamanders
– Dwarfs vs Orcs
– Varangur vs Ogres
– ??? vs Night Stalkers

BLOODFIRE GAME 31: ELVES

Salamanders 2250

Fire Elemental Horde – Brew of Courage
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Agnih-Bhanu, Greatest Fire Elemental
Herald – Banner of the Griffin
Mage-Priest – Surge (8), Heal (3), Bane Chant (2), Inspiring Talisman
Mage-Priest – Martyr’s Prayer (7), Bane Chant (2), Healing Brew
Clan Lord on Fire Drake – Blessing of the Gods

Hot sauce board with hot tamale dispenser created for the event ;D All my team did cute patterned cloth boards instead of using our display bases, which wouldn’t have matched anyway.

Not too mind-exploding of a list tweak, just a pip of Nv on the special horde as opposed to a diadem that I used in 2/5 games at Keystone. These dudes were always overextending and taking it on the chin, so more survival is more better. Extra points went into BC on the inspiring priest, which seems like a nutty number of spells (4!) but then again I found I occasionally wanted to throw some more BC out however the little priest was busy martyring things and couldn’t be bothered to chant things. I’d rather have the option than not, and frankly if I didn’t have all those shambling hordes I wouldn’t be taking surge at all, it’s really there for that once a game spin-and-charge.
Elves 2250

Kindred Archer Horde – Heart-seeking Chant
Kindred Archer Horde – Wine of Elvenkind
Stormwind Cavalry Regiment – Cat Potion
Drakon Rider Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Drakon Rider Horde – Brew of Strength
Dragon Breath
Dragon Breath
Dragon Breath
Elven Mage – Heal (3), Bane Chant (2), Black Iron Crown
Noble War Chariot – Inspiring Talisman
Dragon Kindred Lord – Chant of Hate

So this list was designed by the TO and being piloted by an AOS player who had started KOW about two weeks before. This was exceedingly painful to face, and the guy was apologetic, as it turned out much nastier than he anticipated and he spent the weekend apologizing to everybody as a result. Fun Fact: he did lose one match, vs some hero in round five.

I gave us Dominate, one of my stronger scenarios, though honestly I should have done Invade if I really wanted a chance at the draw, as I could have refused the flank. Bloodfire won initiative.

BATTLE


Battlelines!

Bloodfire takes a deep breath and rolls out.

Bam! Elves Turn 1 and the pincers form. The left two Sprites are blown away by Archers.

With few other options, the red tide pushes further into the center, while preparing to engage on the left. The cheeky rightmost Sprites enter the woods and barf a wound on the Noble Chariot.

The Elves take up position . . .

. . . and bring the heat. Shockingly none of the Fire Elemental hordes pop, despite significant damage.

Sally 3 sees me pull a trick from that last game with Elves: I overextend to entice him to engage with his dragon, so I can maul it at the cost of a horde, by charging one of the offered Dragon Breaths. Otherwise my mages heal / pray a die of damage off the mangled horde while Sprites puke a wound off the other central Dragon Breath. Its sister is pulped by the Fire horde, which foolishly doesn’t reform to face the Dragon – I hear the voice of my last Elf opponent saying I shouldn’t be afraid of Archers rearing me, they’ve got better things to do.

The Elves pounce! Which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t also shoot, bringing the Fire Elementals with Brew of Courage (the quadruple elemental unit) up to 13 and popping them (@ 19 Nv) – removing the dragon’s reprisal – and putting a stunning 9 damage into Agnes.

In combat the Dragon shreds its wounded quarry, the Sprites flanked by the Noble annoyingly waver, and the Stormwind do a solid 9 damage to their Fire horde but bounce.

Bloodfire returns the favor where able, sending Fire + Agnes in the flank into the Stormwind and flanking the Noble in chariot.

The CLOFD tags 3 damage into the Dragon, the little Mage prays a solid 6 damage off of Agnes, and Elves get dead in the combat phase, earning me at least 1 VP whatever happens.

With their keen eyes and pointy ears, the Elves spy double overruns I didn’t see – and am fakking furious with myself for. I hate when I do these things, as they’re entirely avoidable. Anyway, Dragon -> big Mage -> Fire horde’s rear and Drakon -> little Mage -> 5” overrun into CLOFD’s flank. Oh, also other Drakon into fresh Fire horde.

The Drakon’s evaporate the little Mage and slam a 6” on the overrun, flanking and obliterating the CLOFD as well (which was not such a sure bet, considering hindering and whatever . . . except that his dice were on fire the whole game, and apparently every game of the tournament; he apologized some more but in my experience Elf players always have hot dice, go figure).

The big Mage is devoured and the Fire horde stomped out by the Dragon, while the other Drakon roll like insane baby dragons and do 11 to their Fire horde, who somehow hold. Worst of all though? Agnes is gunned down by Dragon Breath + bane-chanted piercing Archers. Sweet hell.

Bloodfire 5, for vengeance! A wounded Fire horde smashes another Dragon Breath while a more wounded one puts 2 (!) wounds on their Drakon. Coincidentally that’s the same number of wounds the remaining Sprites do to the other Drakon.

It’s an orgy of violence as the Elves pull the noose tight and kick out the supports. Some Archers flank and pop a Fire horde (*golf clap for style points, young sir*), other Archers scatter some Sprites, Drakons eat the remaining Sprites, more Drakons finish off their mangled Fire horde annnnd the Dragon eats the Herald, putting an end to the spicy scourge.

BLOODFIRE LOSS

So yea. That was rough. I also can’t remember being tabled in a tournament game of KOW, let alone in Turn 5! The dude’s next opponent was likewise tabled, and was seen wandering the hall in a daze, muttering to himself, “”But . . . I’’ve never been tabled. Ever . . .””

The team as a whole did very badly, with 1 losing draw, 2 loses with 1 VP (me!) and one total loss. Oof.

Up Next: BEEF & WINGS

GAME 30: ELVES

Final round, now much more awake and having eaten some pizza for gaming power. Up against one of the largely-similar Elves armies, but happily the somewhat sorter range version (Dragon Breaths instead of Bolt Throwers) commanded by Allen. I wasn’t real thrilled at the prospect of being shot and drakon’d into the dirt, but hey ho.

BLOODFIRE GAME 30: ELVES

Elves 2250

Kindred Archer Horde – Heart-seeking Chant
Kindred Archer Horde – Wine of Elvenkind
Palace Guard Troop
Palace Guard Regiment
Drakon Rider Horde – Fire-Oil
Drakon Rider Horde
Dragon Breath
Dragon Breath
Army Standard Bearer – War-Bow
Army Standard Bearer on Horse – Diadem of Dragonkind
Elven Mage – Bane Chant (2), Black Iron Crown
Elven Mage on Horse – Circlet of Blood
Dragon Kindred Lord – Blade of Slashing

Seems like pretty standard fair for competitive Elves. The Dragon Breath were good to see, as it meant he intended to engage (though most likely they’re in the list for anti-flier work? Or other hyper-aggro builds).

Fifth round was Occupy, with his primary marker waaaaay in the back left of my zone. Enjoy holding that, whatever noble Elf is sent to push the button. Bloodfire won initiative or might have been given it.

BATTLE


Battlelines!

The Bloodfire ambles out once more. Terrain is hugged, hills are annoying.

Bam! Elves Turn 1 and the elementals are already corralled. That’s how it’s done, kiddos. A unit of Sprites is murdered by the nimble archers on the right.

The red battleline bows out, as it does, continuing to keep terrain in the way. Sprites apply light damage to the left Dragon Breath and right Archer horde.

The Elves increase the pressure in response. The flankers continue to loom while Dragon Breaths roll into range and the Palace Guard troop hurls itself into a Fire horde exposed by the Sprites’ death. The flame throwers result in 4 Ember Sprite wounds and the Palace Guard hack 3 damage into the Fire horde.

Bloodfire 3, and I’m too tired to keep waiting his flank out. Two Fire hordes charge into a Dragon Breath and the engaged Fire horde counter-charges the Palace Guard. Sprites move up and breath on the other Dragon Breath, wavering it, and the bane-chanted CLOFD lathers the nimble Archers with some damage.

After combats. I struggled a bit with how to reform those Fire hordes off of the Dragon Breath, and ultimately reformed them thusly. He immediately charged the Drakon Riders in their flank, at which point I paused the game:

BS: “So yea, that’s obvious. Can I ask if there was a better way to reform?”
A: “You probably would have faced them both towards the Drakon. The Palace Guard are out and I’m not going to send Archers into their flank.”
BS: “But would you have charged one in the front?”
A: “Probably not.”
BS: “Right. Let’s grind.”

Part of me felt dumb for the flank (on my more expensive horde too), but part of me knew that I needed to trade out a piece if we were going to come to grips with enough time for me to retaliate. I needed him to come within 12”, and this was by far the easiest way to make that happen.

Yep, it’s Drakon o’clock. Shooters get range to things and the Palace Guard regiment jams the CLOFD.

Piercing Archers slam 8 damage into the leftmost Fire horde, the Dragon fries the last of the Sprites, and the nimble Archers land 3 damage on the CLOFD. In combat, the flanking Drakon rip right through the Diadem horde, as expected. More surprising is the front-charging Drakon landing 12-15 damage and one-rounding a -/18 Fire Elemental horde! (Math says 9 O_O) So I guess I won’t be flanking them for great justice. Or at least not the mundane way 😛

Bloodfire 4: The Elementals Strike Back! A fresh Fire horde tackles the Drakons up top while Agnes hits the lower ones in the front. A walk, pivot and surge later, and there’s a Fire horde in their flank as well ;] The CLOFD deigns to charge the Palace Guard, preferring to shoot them with 16 unhindered breath attaks, thanks – which is super effective, routing the unit! The double-teamed Drakon get pulverized, however the ones in the Elf half of things take a gentle 5 damage for no result. (Also the martyr Mage-Priest cleans up the surged Fire horde a bit.)

Elfish vengeance strikes hard and fast. The leftmost Fire horde, fresh from flanking the Drakon Riders, is hit with Dragon Breath, Dragon fire and piercing arrows, and is thoroughly routed. The CLOFD likewise suffers the attention of Elven Archers, but the pond he’s been hanging out keeps the damage low (6 total). The surviving Drakon Riders, bane-chanted back to 3+/3+, rolling out of the box again, sinking a bonkers 12-15 damage and one-rounding the Fire horde that had charged them. What is going on with these dudes?!

Aye, that’s a flank then!

Turn 5, looking pretty light on the ground. The last of the Fire Elementals hits the rampaging Drakon in the front with the CLOFD tackling them in the flank (both hindered). After a bit of healing, the Fire horde fluffs a bit but the Clan Lord picks up the slack, shattering the unit at long last. Agnes and her support staff consolidate on a secondary objective.

The Elves prepare for the end game. The piercing Archers prepare to take the other secondary and shoot some monsters next turn, while the nimble Archers contest my primary objective and the diadem ASB blocks the CLOFD just outside of 3”. Not the Fire Elemtanl-sized hole: the nimble Archers + diadem riddle it with damage and the Circlet of Blood boils them to nothingness. Brutal.

Meanwhile, the mighty Dragon Rider sails off to push the win button :/

Bloodfire 6. So much thought when into this turn, trying to figure out ways to both kill the nimble Archers and get the CLOFD within 3” of the marker. In the end it just wasn’t possible this turn, especially with the incoming piercing Archers, but I could have set Agnes up for a Turn 7 charge into the marker, rather than doing nothing with her. Or at the least used her to heat ray the ASB on pony. Anyway, some fun late game, small scale KOW mind games.

What did happen was the CLOFD and both Mage-Priests roasting the nimble Archers, leaving my primary objective with no one contesting it but also no one within 3” to control.

Elves 6 drops one more hammer. The piercing Archers ventilate the CLOFD and then the Mage with Circlet of Blood boils him back to his bloodfire molecules. Annnnd then the war-box ASB shoots the lil’ martyr Mage-Priest and pops her :O


Agnes: NOOOOOOOOOOOO

There’s no Turn 7, capping of an entire tournament of six round games for me. Oh, also a …

BLOODFIRE LOSS

But a much more fun game than I expected. Allen was engaging to play and I very much enjoyed the late game resource management. Still disappointed I didn’t play for the Turn 7 better re: Agnes, who did so very little this game, but it was a moot point ultimately.

With that I ended up going 2 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw, which is pretty typical for me and totally fine. I also walked away with the best painting score this army has gotten, which is probably more to do with the generous rubric used and less the awesome-ness of the painting, but also totally acceptable!

Also happy to announce that Bloodfire will be traveling to the Crossroads GT in September. I had thought about swapping them out for my Ratkin, but I’m so tuned into this army it feels dumb to switch horses mid-apocalypse, especially as Crossroads is a team tournament where I (Capt. Salvage) can influence matchups and give the army the leg up it needs, especially when it comes to scenarios. There’ll probably be a practice match between now and then, apart from some rat experiments I ran last weekend which went pretty pear-shaped O_O

GAME 29: DWARFS

Bright and early day two, I’m up against Steve, another player I’ve played near for years but never actually faced (also Tim’s team mate). An added bonus is that Steve is a very chill, very patient dude. On my part, I was very, very tired from staying up way too late playing Rising Sun and chatting the night before. As one does at tournaments.

BLOODFIRE GAME 29: DWARFS

Dwarfs + Basileans 2250

Ironclad Horde – Brew of Haste
Earth Elemental Horde
Earth Elemental Horde
Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar
Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Healing Brew
Ironbelcher Organ Gun
Ironbelcher Organ Gun
Berserker Lord on Brock – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Stone Priest – Bane Chant (2), Martyr’s Prayer (7), Inspiring Talisman
Stone Priest – Bane Chant (2), Martyr’s Prayer (7), Amulet of the Fire-heart
Steel Behemoth
+
Elohi Horde

Pretty standard Dwarf fare, nothing too crazy, with pairs of important stuff where able. Fun Fact: There were 5 Dwarf armies at this GT, more than any other faction! Madness

Fourth round was Push, and with 1 token each it was blessedly simple. Dwarfs won initiative and get the push going.

BATTLE


Blurry Battlelines!

Dwarfs in the midst of rolling out. Getting that speedy flank a-flanking first thing. Pretty sure his push token is in the Ironclad horde at the moment.

Bloodfire saunters forward in response, getting that battleline wheel a-wheeling. Push token is on the central Fire horde.

Dwarfs continue encircling the elemental force – Elohi are to the left of that pond, facing inwards. Organ Guns and possible the Behemoth splatter two units of Ember Sprites. Rest In Pepperonis, little dudes.

The Bloodfire battleline continues canting around. The Diadem horde on the far right and maybe the Sprites near them land some wounds on the rightmost Organ Gun. The tension is mounting!

The Dwarfs refuse to engage! Organ Guns patter into the Diadem horde and the nearby Sprites, but only cause chip damage.

Turn 3 and Bloodfire has potentially disastrous charges it can declare? Here we go! Two Fire Elemental hordes slam into the right Earth Elemental horde, reducing them to slag with the help of at least one bane chant. Meanwhile, the Diadem horde on the right charges and obliterates an Organ Gun, preparing to ride the obstacle into the next one. Sprite fire and hopefully the Clan Lord chips at the Ironclad horde, while Agnes heat rays the surviving Earth Elementals.

Dwarf 4 and apart from giving a Fire horde a really bad time, the stunties for the most part continue to hold off. Elohi fly deeper into the Bloodfire DZ, with Brocks preparing to invade either side of the board as needed. Worth noting that the Brock Riders on the Bloodfire side of the table are carrying the push token at this point (and are the pathfinder Brocks).

Yep, those Fire Elementals get dead. Their buddies nearby take some damage from the Organ Gun before it gets creamed next turn.

Agnes and some Fire Elementals (bane chanted) slam into the Earth Elementals, reducing them to ash, while other Fire Elementals pound on the Behemoth and yet more Fire Elementals melt down the other Organ Gun. The CLOFD attempts to assassinate an Stone Priest but can’t roll hot enough.

Post smoldering beatdown.

The Dwarfs bring the pain Turn 5. Ironclad tackle Agnes in the front, Behemoth + Brock Riders + Berserker Lord hit the Behemoth’s Fire horde, and the Elohi sweep into the Herald, with an easy overrun into the CLOFD’s flank. I’m kicking myself at this point, I always seem to have a game where I setup such a stupid individual overrun. Brocks to the south also nom up some Sprites.

Better to be lucky than good XD The mega charge against the Fire horde rolls snake eyes, leaving them at 22 damage! And the Elohi painfully fluff their hits against the Herald, dealing just 3 damage for no result. Agnes takes a pretty hearty 5 damage but seriously, Steve’s dice just saved my butt.

Time to capitalize on the Dwarfs misfortune. The mangled Fire horde and the Diadem horde (hindered) slam into the Brocks, the Fire horde who had grabbed the central push token when they killed the Earth Elementals heads into the Stone Priest, Agnes grumpily counter-charges the Ironclad and the original push token Fire horde flanks the Elohi. The CLOFD doesn’t move (…) and preposterously neither does the Herald (SALVAGE, WHY???)

The CLOFD + inspiring Mage-Priest incinerate the Berserker Lord whilst the martyr Mage-Priest heals Agnes down to 1 damage (snacking on her healing brew in the process). And then combat goes less awesome than anticipated. The Brock Riders take 10 damage, but that’s a far cry from their bravery, and the 9 damage on the Elohi is not as catastrophic as expected. I’m left feeling like I really messed that one up? Or maybe just overinflated what my Fire Elementals could do

(Math Time: 36 CS2 (1/2 of that hindered) into the Brocks = 12.5 wounds, for a 9.5 rout and no chance of a waver. 36 CS2 into the Elohi = 12 wounds, for a rerolled 5 with no chance of a waver. The Brocks were always going to be a grind, especially with the hindrance, but the Elohi wasn’t as foolish as I thought at the time. And there also wasn’t a lot of options, apart from shooting them with the CLOFD and then surging the Fire horde in, which would have left the Berserker Lord free to rampage. Obviously moving the Herald and rotating the CLOFD where possible was a thing that should have happened.)

Dwarf 6 and we rinse and repeat. Brock + Behemoth back into the severely damaged Fire horde, Elohi back into the Herald (@_@), Ironclad back into Agnes.

The B+B Fire horde erupts into warm goo, the Herald bites it, allowing the Elohi to flank the CLOFD for significant damage (12) but a failed rout (!), and Agnes goes back up to 5 damage. Inevitable but still ouchful turn.

Bloodfire 6 and potentially the end game. The surviving Sprites are tossed a token and then the big boys and girls go to work. Agnes, her damage removed, bats around some more Ironclad (I really don’t think they broke). The northern Brocks are removed by the (still hindered!) Diadem horde, while a push token Fire horde punches a meager 3 damage into the Behemoth. And the Elohi are ended, thanks to Fire flank and CLOFD front.

With no Turn 7, this one somehow came down to a ……

BLOODFIRE VICTORY

Up Next: FILTHY. ELVES.

GAME 28: VARANGUR

Last game of day one is against Tim, a dude I’ve seen at tournaments for approaching a decade but somehow never played. At long last, it’s wrasslin’ time!

BLOODFIRE GAME 28: VARANGUR

Varangur 2250

Thralls Regiment
Thralls Regiment
Thralls Legion
Fallen Horde
Fallen Horde
Tundra Wolves Troop
Tundra Wolves Troop
Direfang Riders Horde – Fury, Brew of Haste
Cavern Dweller
Magus Conclave – Famulus
Magus Conclave – Famulus
King on Chimera – Fury, Chant of Hate
Magnilde of the Fallen

I just realized how short on inspiring this list is :/ I’d say it’s probably worth swapping a conclave or two for a Magus with inspiring talisman, but ranged support is conceivably a thing.

Third round was Dominate, one of my favorite scenarios since it ensures a grind and benefits brick armies, like Bloodfire here. And sorta Varangur too. Bloodfire won initiative and got the party started.

BATTLE


Battlelines!


Forward, to glory!

Varangur sally forth in response, a Conclave tagging a wound onto the rightmost Fire Elementals. In Bloodfire 2, the red tide creeps up further, incinerating the Tundra Wolves on the right, flambéing a Thrall regiment that had wandered onto the central hill (where the die is), toasting the Cavern Dweller for 2 damage and gently singeing the right Fallen, who iron resolve the wound away.

In classic Varangur style, it’s turn two and time to party! King + Direfangs slam into the leftmost Fire horde, the Cavern Dweller starts grinding on the Diadem horde to their right, Magnilde burns her fly to pounce on one of the right Fire horde and the right Fallen tackle the rightmost Fire horde. A Conclave tags a couple wounds onto a Sprite regiment gunning for them, and it’s on to fighting.

The King + Direfangs splatter their horde, however the other Varangur can’t seal the deal with their solo charges. Lots of damage happens but they all backup – Fallen got particularly close with 10 wounds but no lucky double 7.

The Bloodfire return jab has its moments. The Cavern Dweller falls to a Fire horde in the front and the flank, Magnilde is one-rounded by her Fire horde (hot rout checks ftw) and the Fallen on the right get beat up but no other result. In shooting, the Sprites on the right burn down a Conclave, the Thrall legion starts taking chip damage, the little Mage-Priest prays a few wounds off the Cavern Dweller’s Fire horde, and the tall Mage-Priest heals the right Fire horde to 8.

Blurry rage-filled photo is blurry, rage-filled. The Direfangs charge the 3 damage Fire horde, the King + left Fallen take on the fresh Fire horde next to them, and the right Fallen head back into their half-dead Fire horde. The surviving Conclave tags some Sprites for 2 more damage but they hold fast.

Combat is a mixed, largely painful affair. The Direfangs steamroll through a second Fire horde, really putting that strider to work, as do the King + Fallen, evaporating the Bloodfire flank save for Agnes and support staff. On the right, the Fallen do admirable damage (16 total) but double ones it ;D

Bloodfire 4 is a whole hell of shooting with a side dish of punching Fallen. Agnes + CLOFD + Sprites + the little Mage-Priest unload into the King on Chimera, erasing him from existence. The Fallen next to him cop a couple wounds in the process, once the King hit 18 damage 😛 The other Conclave is killed by marauding Ember Sprites shortly before the right Fallen are wavered by their Fire horde.

Thralls shuffle about in the absence of their King, whilst the Fallen on the hill kick some Sprites and the Direfang lawnmower charges Agnes, Tundra Wolves supporting in her flank (hindered).

Hill Sprites are punted and the Fallen overrun, and -/20 Agnes takes 9 damage but tanks it like an enormous legendary fire creature.

Bloodfire 5 and the game feels firmly in Salamander claws, but there’s plenty of fighting left. Agnes counter-charges the Direfangs, with flanking support from the CLOFD (it came down to a dice off whether he was in). The right Fire horde goes one more round with their Fallen, and after a cheeky diadem breath, the Diadem horde is surged into the other Fallen. The Direfangs are smashed under monstrous, molten fists as are the beleaguered right Fallen, but the center Fallen hold fine. Meanwhile, the Thrall legion absorbs Sprite breath and Agnes is prayed down to 7 damage by the lil’ Mage-Priest.

Everybody fights! Tundra Wolves have a go at Agnes’ front this time (hindered), the Thrall regiment spots the flank of the towering CLOFD and charges in (I totally missed this!), the Fallen have a go at the Diadem horde and the Thrall legion prepares to feast on Ember Sprite.

Wolves can’t hurt Agnes, Thralls stab 2 wounds into the CLOFD, the Diadem horde goes up to 5 but whatever, and the Thralls have a nosh.

Bloodfire 6 in dominate means consolidating my lead and closing this one out. It’s currently 9 to 8 (nimble on the Fallen makes them -1 US). Center Fire horde charges into the last Fallen, routing them (9 to 6), and Martyr’s Prayer + heal brings them down to no damage. Agnes, not disordered, and the CLOFD turn their attention on the Thrall regiment but can only waver that Varangur nerve. The Fire horde on the right shuffles into the 12” zone, knowing that at 17 damage it’s an insta-rout, but hoping the last of the Sprites have blocked enough of the legion’s charge path.

Last gasp for the Varangur is the Wolves back into Agnes’ flank (hindered) for a couple wounds, but mostly the Thrall legion scooting past the Sprites and popping the mangled Fire Elementals. The game goes to 6 to 6 …

… and there’s no Turn 7, which would have been an easy Bloodfire victory.

BLOODFIRE DRAW

This was a fun one, with some powerhouse rolling on the Varangur part, a good display of the strength of breath weapons on hard targets on the Sallies part, and a snake eyes that tipped the game into my hands until it slipped away again. Always happy to go 1-1-1, and cool to finally play Tim.

Up Next: DWARFS IN THE AM

GAME 27: RATKIN

Anyhoo, second round is Ray and his rats, an army I play myself but have rarely faced. There were four rat armies at this tournament, and all of them ended up on the top five tables come round five, if that says anything.

BLOODFIRE GAME 27: RATKIN

Ratkin 2250

Warriors Regiment*
Warriors Regiment*
Warriors Horde*
Shock Troops Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Shock Troops Horde – Brew of Strength
Shock Troops Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar
Blight Horde
Vermintide Regiment
Vermintide Regiment
Enforcer on Fleabag* – Blade of Slashing
Enforcer on Fleabag
Warlock – Bane-chant (3)
Warlock – Bane-chant (3)
Swarm-Crier
Swarm-Crier
Demonspawn – Fly & Speed 10
*Lab Rats Formation

I’m not going to say it’s the best Ratkin list, simply because you can play the army pretty differently and still do great (note the suspicious lack of Death Engines and Weapon Teams here), but it’s got a smart formation and triples down on what may be the best line unit in the game. Plus lots and lots of bodies for the scenario …

Second round was Pillage, a scenario my army is not good at, which is a fact I probably over-focused on going into this game. Rolling maximum counters (7), against a horde army piloted by a very competent player (I heard Ray is the highest ranked player in the Mid-Atlantic currently?), meant I was pretty much resigned to my fate. Ratkin won initiative as well and took it.

BATTLE


Battlelines!

Rats roll out, with the Warrior horde going far left to claim one of two tokens (just barely too far apart to claim them both). The +1 to hit Shock Troops are on the left, the +1 CS ones are mid, the pathfinding ones leaving the forest on the right, and the Blight are the rightmost horde. Rat shooting lightnings an Ember Sprite reg off the field, because Ray was more concerned about them than most of the army

Bloodfire shambles forward, but the cagey rats are all out of breath range and there’s nothing to heal.

The Ratkin maintain the standoff, except for the Warrior regiments, goaded into bait range, and the Enforcer, who charges the right Sprites and disorders them. The remaining central Sprites are lit up with lightning and wavered.

Given something to destroy, Bloodfire obliges. On the left, Sprites + Clan Lord breath on the left Warriors for 5 damage (but no waver), while Agnes + Diadem horde + both Mage-Priests incinerate the other, obviously bait Warriors. I advance my own, less obvious bait Fire horde in the center, and on the right the Enforcer is shredded by a combo-charge from the Sprites + Fire horde, with the Sprites advancing 6” and the Fire horde backing up 2-3”. Things should get spicy next turn …

… and indeed they do! Blight charge and wreck the right Sprites, as the other Enforcer charges and disorders the inspiring, surge Mage-Priest nearby. The Fire horde perched on the hill/obstacle get jammed by some Vermintide (ensuring they’ll be hindered next turn), and the leftmost Sprites are flanked and removed by the surviving Warriors (who regenerate 2 wounds). The wavered Sprites blocking a Fire horde is wavered again thanks to lightning and poor rout dice, and it’s on to the main event: Can a bane-chanted Shock Troop horde flip over a -/18 Fire Elemental horde in a front charge? Math says it’s close (~11 damage + rerolled 7 rout)!

12 wounds and some solid routs later, the Fire Elementals are no more Q_Q

As we start this turn, I comment that despite getting rocked I have a surprising amount of Fire Elemental left, so maybe I can still fight it out? Ray gives me a quizzical look and I shrug and declare some charges: On the right, one Fire horde charges the Blight and another hits the Enforcer in the flank. After smashing the Enforcer, that horde overruns into the Blight and both Fire hordes go to work. Ensnare is a bear but they manage to put 11 wounds on the horde, which isn’t enough for anything but it’ll do in a grind.

In the center, Agnes is forced to go it alone against the Shock Troops, as her backup Fire horde is stuck behind wavered Sprites. In retrospect it might have worked better to pound the Shock Troops with Agnes’ laser + 20 Mage-Priest fireballs, and let the rats do the charging. As it was, Agnes smashed 4 damage into the horde and they cared not.

On the left, the Fire horde scattered the Vermintide, despite hindering, and the CLOFD backed up a bit and roasted the Warriors again (5 damage total and wavered).

Ratkin 4 and it’s all out aggression now. The Fire horde on the hill take a charge from the CS 2 Shock Troops (hindered), Agnes (-/20) facetanks CS1 Shock Troops + the Demonspawn, and the Blight counter-charge the Diadem horde. Even with bane-chant on them, math says they 7.5 wounds and get melted in my next turn …

15 insane wounds later, that Fire horde is dead, as are the hill Fire Elementals as well as Agnes. All his dice were amazing this game, but the Blight’s were the spikiest by far, pretty much eliminating my ability to grind.

It’s basically over, but there’s attrition to be had. Also vengeance. The surviving Fire hordes go into Shock Troops and Blight respectively, while the CLOFD and Ember Sprites scoot around and bake 10 wounds into the CS2 Shock Troops. The Fire horde punching Shock Troops does a statistically low 6 damage while those fighting Blight do a statistically expected 5 damage. No rat cares.

Ratkin 5 means more murdering.

The CS2 Shock Troops devour the last of the Sprites, the central Shock Troops rip 12 wounds into their Fire horde but don’t roll the 6 to rout, and the Demonspawn + (bane-chanted) Blight zero-to-rout the other Fire horde.

Bloodfire 5 and we’ve got a lot of 12” damage to slop around. One Mage-Priest fireballs the Blight off the table while the other tags 5 damage into the Demonspawn, and the CLOFD hammers 6 more damage into the CS2 Shock Troops as he prepares to meet his fate. The last of the Fire Elementals pounds another ~6 damage into the pathfinding Shock Troops but can’t get lucky.

In Ratkin 6, the CS2 Shock Troops + Demonspawn zero-to-rout the CLOFD and the central Shock Troops finish off the final Fire horde. A Mage-Priest gets tickled by lightning as well.

In a final FU, the inspiring Mage-Priest hammers the pathfinder Shock Troops with fireballs, sending them packing, while her understudy Martyr’s Prayers her clean because reasons. The Herald scooches her pot out of LOS of things in case Turn 7 happens. Blessedly it does not.

BLOODFIRE LOSS

This was a game I was never going to win, especially once we rolled maximum counters, and especially with how his dice were. I needed some things to work out for me to grind things out, but I never caught a break. Ah well.

Up Next: VARANGRRR

GAME 26: UNDEAD

After many months of being very busy with life and faffing around with AOS 2.0 (less irritating now, but still not great), I painted a few more fire elementals and threwdown at the Keystone GT last weekend out near Hershey, PA. The army got a lot of praise from other players, which was definitely appreciated, and felt great to play again. I don’t know if I’m running them at the Crossroads GT in September, as it’s a team tourney and Bloodfire is an intentionally underpowered list, but after being the only Salamanders player at a ~34 player GT I don’t know that I want to be the 5+ Ratkin player at a 48 player one. Though that’s a tale to come.

In the meantime, stay tuned for five batreps from Keystone! I’ll aim to have them done through the rest of the week, starting tomorrow since I need to upload a lot of pics

Salamanders 2250

Fire Elemental Horde – Diadem of Dragonkind
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Agnih-Bhanu, Greatest Fire Elemental
Herald – Banner of the Griffin
Mage-Priest – Surge (8), Heal (3), Inspiring Talisman
Mage-Priest – Martyr’’s Prayer (7), Bane Chant (2), Healing Brew
Clan Lord on Fire Drake –- Blessing of the Gods

In the end I went with the fifth Fire Elemental horde because it was about half painted already, as opposed to the Jar-raider horde which wasn’t even built yet. While I don’t regret the diadem, especially as it further reinforces the theme of the army, I’m still debating downgrading it to brew of courage and slapping bane chant on the surge priest. But here I am still getting ahead of myself! I’ll be back soon with game one.

First round of Keystone saw me back in the saddle and playing Joe, a super nice dude for whom this was his first GT! So time to teach a tournament newbie how the warm, liquid goo phase that is Bloodfire works

BLOODFIRE GAME 26: UNDEAD

Undead 2250

Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Revenants Horde – Lifeleech (2), Brew of Strength
Wraiths Regiment – Healing Brew
Mummies Regiment
Zombies Horde
Werewolves Horde – Staying Stone
Wights Horde
Soul Reaver Cavalry – Dwarven Ale
Revenant King on Winged Undead Wyrm
Vampire on Undead Pegasus
Necromancer -– Bane-chant (2)

A nice varied Undead force, lots of different tools for different jobs. Bit light on inspiring and I would have scrapped all the items to give the Soul Reavers pathfinder (or the Necro inspiring), but should make for a nice scrap.

First round was Invade, ensuring a grind between our two close-up armies, which I’m all about. Bloodfire won the initiative, which is very helpful when most of your US shambled 6”!

BATTLE


Battlelines!


All the battlines!

Bloodfire rolls out, maintaining standard refused flank formation. I’m fully aware his fast, elite units are headed around the left flank – my goal is to wheel around the central fulcrum while maintaining enough power in my right flank to deal with his troops over there (Ghouls + Wights + Peg). This is pretty standard stuff for Bloodfire at this point.

Undead shuffle forward on the right and begin to head in on the left, while the Werewolves blitz deep down the left flank. The King on Wyrm has some trouble with facing and decides to punch it towards the left at the double rather than getting closer to the red tide.

Turn 2 means Operation: Chaff Cull + Chip Damage goes into effect. The line continues to bow out, maintaining a footing in terrain where able, getting Ember Sprites and the Clan Lord into range. Double bane-chant succeeds on the CLOFD and it’s time to cook: right Ghouls die, Revenants take 5 damage, and left Ghouls take 2 as well.

Not keen to weather the building firestorm, the Undead start to get stuck in, with decidedly underwhelming results. The left Ghouls tackle the Sprites what shot them and fail to land a wound (!), the Mummies smack some central Sprites around and waver them, and the Vampire + Wights get bogged down in the edge of the right pond and largely bounce off the diadem Fire Elementals. Meanwhile the left flank gets oriented to devastate in coming terms – the Werewolves perform an L-shaped maneuver deeper into the southwest to make room for the Wyrm.

The Bloodfire battleline continues to rotate, with Agnes and a Fire horde turning to phase the incoming Undead beaters, as a second Fire horde waits to provide backup to either the left or center. Agnes also tags the Soul Reaver Cav with her heatway, melting 3 wounds into them. The Ghoul’s Sprites walk sideways to get in the way of chargers, then puke on the Ghouls and remove them. Centrally the Clan Lord and more Sprites continue breathing on the Revenants, burning them up to 15 damage, while the wavered Sprites keep the Mummies – and looming Fire horde – gummed up. On the right, Sprites get out of the way so the fresh Fire horde can flank, and obliterate, the Vampire on Pegasus, as the Diadem horde punches the Wights in the face.

No longer able to contain themselves, the Undead pounce on red things across the field: Soul Reavers into Sprites, Wraiths into a Fire horde (hindered), Revenant King into Agnes (hindered), Revenants into Sprites, Mummies back into Sprites, and Wights into the Diadem horde. The Zombies and Werewolves continue their voyage into relevance.

Although the hindered Undead flyers have little luck against their targets – 3 damage to Agnes, 1 to the Fire horde – and the Mummies manage no wounds against their Sprites (?!), other combats are more decisive. The Soul Reavers devour their Sprites (lifeleeching 2), the Revenants feast on theirs as well (lifeleeching 2), and the Wights finish what they started and wreck the Diadem horde, turning to face their bros.

With the grind underway, Bloodfire returns the favor. The right Fire horde charges the Wights, shattering them for great justice. Unable to charge the Mummies thanks to the last of the Sprites, a central Fire horde stands 1” away and waits for their opening (in retrospect I think I could have surged them in, the surge Mage-Priest is on the tall one on the right with nothing to do). The other central Fire horde slams into the battered Revenants (13 damage), finishing them off, as the Clan Lord tries to shoot off the Necromancer (since Soul Reavers in cover were less appetizing!). In the forest grind, the Mage-Priest pulls 1 damage off Agnes with Martyr’s Prayer (7 :P), and both Agnes and the Fire horde counter-charge their partners. Damage happens.

Undead 4 begins with a discussion about what the Wraiths could do to make room for the Soul Reavers, and ultimately they slide sideways 5” and surge forward into a Fire horde, letting the Soul Reavers charge in (hindered). Similarly the King on Wyrm GTFO’d south, tagging the Werewolves into Agnes (also hindered). Finally, the Mummies make contact with their own waiting Fire Elementals.

Damage is light across most combats, with the exception of the Soul Reavers who get their Fire horde up to 10 (vs -/18 nerve), and the Undead bounce. Oh, the Zombies meanwhile realized they should be a little more convincingly in the enemy side and scoot down.

Bloodfire 5 delivers a sharp blow to the Undead, as both the Mummies and Wraiths are exorcised on the counter-charge and the Necromancer is immolated by the Clan Lord + Ember Sprites. Agnes, fully healed by the little Priest’s prayer, smashes 6 damage into the Werewolves and lands a lucky waver, but the damaged Fire horde fighting the Soul Reavers struggle and land just a couple damage, stripping the vampire’s TC at best.

Undead 5 sees the Revenant King reorient his Wyrm to take on whatever he wants next turn, the Werewolves shake their waver and regenerate half of their damage, and the Soul Reaver Cav explode their Fire horde and back up 1”.

Seeing an opening, Agnes corkscrew charges the flank of the Soul Reavers, along with a derpy hindered Fire horde charge into their front. Maybe with bane-chant the horde manages to do something, but the real story here is Agnes incinerating the vamps with 18 CS4 attaks. Other stuff happens – Bloodfire pumps unit strength into the Undead side of the board, the CLOFD tries to breath on the Werewolves, the Herald attempts to block said puppers (badly) – but it isn’t as exciting.

Undead 6: Everybody fights! The Zombies finally make contact, swarming a Fire horde’s flank as their Revenant King slams into its front (hindered). While the Zombies manage a couple wounds, the King rolls like a boss and pops the elementals. Meanwhile Agnes facetanks the Werewolves again, thanks to her friend the forest.

We prepare for Turn 7 but it doesn’t happen.

BLOODFIRE VICTORY

A great first game against a great guy, just what I needed after months away from KOW. Joe would go on to win Best Sports and a pile of swag, all very well-deserved.

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