THE HALLOW 20: ABYSSALS

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

Forces of the Abyss 2150

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

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

Herd 2150

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cloak of Deaaaaaaath!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HALLOW VICTORY

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

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

THE HALLOW 19: OGRES

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

Ogres 2150

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

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

Herd 2150

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

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

Gnollgres looking dummy good.
Gently scorched vegetables.

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

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

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

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

Stampede and Centaurs open up this pit!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HALLOW VICTORY

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

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

THE HALLOW 18: EMPIRE OF DUST

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

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

Empire of Dust 2150

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

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

Herd 2150

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HALLOW VICTORY

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

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

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

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

THE HALLOW 17: VARANGUR

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

Herd 2150

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

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

Varangur 2150

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessedly that’s game, and a decisive …

HALLOW VICTORY

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

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

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

Varangur 2150

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

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

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

THE HALLOW 15: UNDEAD

We’ve got a new local player who’s pretty new to wargaming in general but is really loving painting and KOW as a whole. He’s still chasing that first win, and I’ve been shopping most of his lists for him, although he’s hamstrung a bit by what models he has available. In this game he borrowed some cav so would have a chaff unit for the first time!

Undead 2300
Werewolves Horde
Werewolves Horde
Wights Horde
Wights Horde
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Staying Stone
Revenants Horde – Undead Giant Rats
Zombies Horde
Revenant Cavalry Troop
Vampire Lord on Undead Dragon – Icy Breath (10), Surge (8)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Bane Chant (2)
Lykanis

He actually took the first version of this army to Crossroads last month, playing his first game the night before the tournament and then staying up all night finishing painting, like a Real Gamer. Anyway, he didn’t like how many hordes he had, but did like the Wights and Werewolves, so he’s doubling down on the Me 3+ hammers. I’m happy to see the Werewolves, they seem weirdly absent in Undead lists? Maybe because Wights and Soul Reaver Cav exist. He could definitely use another chaff unit – I’d likely downgrade the Revenants to a second Zombie horde, as much as he hates them, to get points for a second Rev Cav troop.

The Herd 2300
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Tree Herder โ€“ Surge (8)
Tree Herder โ€“ Surge (8)
Centaur Chief
Centaur Chief
Moonfang

Same list for me, double Centaur Chiefs, no upgrades, etc.

We rolled up Control, which suits me but he’s no slouch at, with 25US and plenty of speed. The Herd scouted and then lost first turn.

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! The plan, somewhat foolishly, is to grind through the center while somehow holding off the brutal Undead pincers. That’s 2x Wights + Dragon on the left and 2x Werewolves + Lykanis + Soul Reavers on the right.
Undead 1: The Undead center shambles up, as the Wights apparate through the forest on the left and the Werewolves absolutely punch it down the right, forming a second, very close battleline. He’s intentionally going ham, and given our comparative combat stats that might not be all that crazy.
He needs 10″ or more to surge those Zombies into the left Tree Herder, but he tries for it all the same. The VLoUD’s Surge (8) results in 1″ ๐Ÿ˜ His Necromancer then switches to the Revenants, maybe to keep them abreast, and shoves them like 5″ with a Surge (6). Yikes.
Herd 1: The Undead want to dance and the Hallow is happy to oblige. Two Forest Shambler hordes plow into the over-extended Revenant horde (one of them managing to leave the hill for that sweet TC), as their Herder long bombs into the VLoUD – I pointed out in his turn that he had landed 12″ away from the Herder, but he either wanted to wear it or felt like it wasn’t a thing to be worried about … On the left, Centaur Chief and Centaur troop charge Wights to gum them up. On the right, the other Herder hits some Werewolves while more Shamblers charge more Werewolves, with Centaurs in their flank.
*sound of tree limbs slamming into flesh / ghosts* Quite a lot of damage is splashed across the Undead line but everything keeps it together.
Undead 2: The second wave of Undead crashes in, confirming that we’re in the grind now! Zombies heave into some Tribal Spears (hindered), Rev Cav flank the right Herder with Werewolves in the front, Lykanis fronts and Soul Reavers flank the right Centaurs, and otherwise it’s a lot of counter-charging. I convince him to disengage, nimble pivot and GTFO with his dragon, as he’s not going to out-grind a Tree Herder, especially with 5 damage already. The Necro probably bane chants the Revenant horde.
The Centaurs and Chief on the left are torn apart by angry ghosts, and the Centaurs on the right are dismembered by petulant vampires and a rowdy dog man. Otherwise it’s another round of damage dice hitting the table – of note is the right Tree Herder on 7 damage and nearby Shamblers on 8.
Herd 2: The Search For More Violence. On the left, some Wights are flanked by Tribal Spears and fronted by the other Centaur Chief, while the Tree Herder menaces in their general direction. In the center, Tribal Spears + Moonfang take on the Zombies and the two Shambler hordes hit the Revenants again. On the right, Tribal Spears flank the Rev Cav (off the hill), Tree Herder counters the Werewolves, and Shamblers counter their own Werewolves.
Everything but the Zombies routs, which is particularly gratifying when it comes to both Werewolves in one turn. If he had alpha’d me, instead of allowing me to punch first, I’m quite sure I would have lost that grind. Also you know, another gold star for Tribal Spears, wrecking Wights on a flank with a little help from Centaur friends.
Undead 3: Wights take that charge on Tribal Spears and Zombies counter their own Spears, but otherwise the Undead put their speed to work. The dragon gets away from the vampire slaying Tree Herder on the left, while the Lykanis and Soul Reavers continue their flank around the tower on the right.
Wights explode their Tribal Spears and the Zombies waver theirs. Just too damn spooky!
Herd 3: The left Tree Herder goes to bust some Wights, Forest Shamblers flank the Zombies (off the hill for that 0+ to damage) with Moonfang in the front, and Centaur Chief sits down the dragon. The other Shamblers and Herder turn to see if they can trap the fast stuff rounding the tower. A Tribal Spear unit also begins its voyage into the upper right Control section.
The Zombies are pulverized into a rich slurry and the VLoUD is wavered. Also the Wights get punched.
Undead 4: Wights counter the Tree Herder, the dragon turns to face the incoming Tribal Spears, and the Lykanis / Soul Reavers prepare to use their speed to leap out of hiding next turn. The Necromancer also charges some wounded Forest Shamblers, but spoilers, misses his one bop.
6 damage against a Herder isn’t bad!
Herd 4: Tribal Spears + Centaur Chief charge the VLoUD, Tree Herder + Moonfang charge the Wights, Shamblers counter the Necromancer, and Tribal Spears continue their pursuit of scenario glory.
Moonfang + Herder tagteam the Wights to re-death, the Necro wavers and the dragon gets poked (and sat down).
Undead 5: The VLoUD counters the Tribal Spears (phalanx’d!), the Lykanis scampers into the Shamblers on the hill, and Soul Reavers take on the vaguely wounded right Tree Herder.
Lykanis and dragon have a rough time of it (1 and 2 damage dealt respectively), and despite getting the Herder up to 11 damage, the Soul Reavers can’t work magic either. The Undead general concedes at this point, so that’s a …

HERD VICTORY

While the list certainly has the hammers it needs to smash the hell out of opponents, it really relies on getting that alpha, especially with so few control elements going on. So a match where he surrendered his speed advantage and let my #slowherd strike first probably wasn’t going to go well for the deadites :/ I was happy to finally play him, as lopsided an affair as it turned out. I’ll probably ask him to play again soon and maybe bring a more traditional army to slam into.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

THE HALLOW 14: OGRES

A couple weeks after Crossroads, we got a bunch of the club together to keep the hype going and throw down some 2300 and/or 1995 games. With the way things shook out, I ended up playing my usual Ogre sparring partner, with my new (but not too new) Herd list:

The Herd 2300
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Tree Herder โ€“ Surge (8)
Tree Herder โ€“ Surge (8)
Centaur Chief
Centaur Chief
Moonfang

Zero upgrades. The gamble is that Moonfang’s Primal Savagery will vaguely equate to the Druid’s bane chant, and her damage output and maneuverability take the place of the Beast. Double Centaur Chiefs make me happy, especially in November when Clash of Kings makes their inspiring unconditional!

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde โ€“ Chalice of Wrath
Hunters Horde โ€“ Brew of Haste
Hunters Horde โ€“ Crocodog
Boomers Horde
Warrior Chariots Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Rabble Horde
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Blaster
Ogre Warlord โ€“ Crocodog
Nomagarok โ€“ Bane Chant (3), Heal (4), Lightning Bolt (4)
Boomer Sergeant โ€“ Inspiring Talisman
Kuzlo & Madfall โ€“ Enthral (5), Hex (3)

There’s a chance he swapped some items around from the last time we played, but I can’t remember and/or it doesn’t really matter.

We rolled up Push, and after scouting the Hallow won and took first turn, because getting past the center line + nabbing the center token are things to do.

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! Herd tokens are 1 in the leftmost Tribal Spears and 2 in the Shamblers who didn’t / couldn’t scout. Ogre tokens are 2 in the Goblin horde and 1 in the Siege Breakers. I forget to scout the right Tree Herder but he allows it post first turn roll. Also Kuzlo is hard to the right.
Herd 1: The Hallow rolls out, grabbing the central token with Shamblers in the process. I’m genuinely at a loss on the right, everything out-ranges and out-fights me … Moonfang, by the by, is the sluggy thing in front of the Shamblers with tokens. I’ve got a new, much more visible one in the pipe, promise.
Ogres 1: Goblin Scouts rip through that giant forest into some Centaurs as Braves rush forward into the 1 token Shamblers. The left Centaurs take 6 damage from Boomers (wavering), the central (and obviously chaff) Tribal Spears take 2 damage from Noms / maybe the Goblin Blaster, and the right Centaur Chief takes 1 from the Boomer Sergeant.
Goblin Scouts poke 2 damage on the Centaurs, wavering them! And the Braves slap 4 into their Shamblers.
Herd 2: Time to jam for time and clean things up. Left Tribal Spears ditch their token and charge the Ogre Warlord, left Centaur Chief charges Boomers to disorder / jam them, wavered Centaurs sidestep away from the Scouts (while the other wavered Centaurs do nothing at all …), Moonfang + Tree Herder hit the Scouts, central Tribal Spears charge the Siege Breakers, double Shamblers charge/counter the Braves, and on the right I waffle some stuff forward and send the other Centaur Chief after the Hunters there. IDK.
The Scouts and the Braves detonate, with Moonfang and the token Shamblers backing up as their compatriots stand firm. The other jamming combats result in token damage: 3 to the Warlord, 3 to the Boomers, 2 to the Shield Breakers, and nothing to the right Hunters because ensnare ๐Ÿ˜
Ogres 2: Jamming units are counter-charged, but there’s plenty of fresh aggression to go around. Left Hunters spot the toe of the left Centaurs in the woods and slam deep into my lines (!!), and Rabble horde drops their token for Noms to hold and charge into the other Centaurs in the woods. On the right, Braves charge off the hill into Tribal Spears (phalanx’d tho!), while everybody else menaces or prepares to lick things.
Super frustrating :/ I never moved those Centaurs far enough up to get anything from the forest (including LOS), except make them visible to enemy chargers. Hunters are a nightmare for my army, and they’re about to spin and stare down my line.
Noms heals up the Boomers (and gives them vicious), while the Boomer Sergeant and Kuzlo put 5 damage on the right Tribal Spears and drag them out of the Tree Herder’s inspiring! Thankfully they just waver. In combat, both Centaur Chiefs are dropped, as are the Tribal Spears fighting Siege Breakers and Braves. The Warlord smashes 5 damage on his Tribal Spears, the Rabble waver their Centaurs somehow, and as predicted the Hunters detonate their dumb Centaurs, becoming A Problem (TM).
Herd 3: I spot some position mistakes by my opponent and leap on them. Left Tribal Spears abandon the Warlord to corkscrew charge the Boomers, and the left Tree Herder long bombs into 2 token-holding Nom-nom. The Hallow then mobs the Rabble, in a bit of a gamble given all the flanks being shown and that damn wall mucking up an otherwise sweet Shambler flank. The 1 token Shamblers and Tree Herder near the thatch-roofed cottage back up to be within 6″ of each other. Finally, the wavered right Tribal Spears just sidestep even closer to Kuzlo, as delaying is the name of this game.
The Rabble are messily strewn across the forest, allowing Moonfang to face the left Hunters and the Shamblers straddling the wall to fave the Ogre heavy hitters to the right. More amazingly, the Tribal Spears ace the Boomers, inspiring and all! They face back at the Warlord. The Tree Herder only boops 3 damage into Noms but I can’t be mad.
Ogres 3: The Warlord has another go at the Tribal Spears, the left Hunters clear out the annoying Centaurs, Siege Breakers power into the wall Shamblers (hindered), Nom-nom disengages from the Tree Herder, the right Braves charge the right Tree Herder, and Kuzlo tackles the right Tribal Spears in the woods. Murder Town, here we come.
Many little tree things die ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The Siege Breakers only manage 7 on their Shamblers tho, and both Herders are doing alright (0 damage from the Blaster’s bombs, 3 damage from the Braves).

At this point opined about how rough this match up is for my army, and wondered if I’d ever beat Ogres with #slowherd …

Herd 4: I’m feeling a bit out of the running at this point, with only heavy stuff left and all my control pieces dead, but you know, at least I’ve got the punchy parts, so let’s punch. Shamblers + Moonfang charge the left Hunters, Shamblers counter and flank the Siege Breakers (blessedly neither hindered), and the Herders hit Nom-nom and Braves, respectively.
Siege Breakers shatter the old-fashioned way while the Hunters are routed with the power of rolling one hot Nv test! Nom-nom is pushed to 8 damage, leaving the left Tree Herder to brace for a Blaster flank, and the right does like 4 damage to his Braves. Tokens are now 4-2 Herd.
Ogres 4: Despite taking a body blow from the Hallow last turn, the Ogres come back swinging. Warlord flanks token-less Shamblers, the Chariots slam into the 2 token, damaged, right Shamblers (hindered), the Blaster flanks the left Tree Herder (Noms backs away), and the Braves on the right have another go at their Tree Herder as Hunters line up for a flank next turn.
The Warlord detonates his Shamblers, but the Chariots can’t land the single 7 to rout their Shamblers, and the Blaster brutally fluffs, doing 3 damage out of a potential 18. Meanwhile the right Herder holds firm at 4 damage.
Herd 5: Shamblers charge the Warlord, other Shamblers counter the Chariots, left Herder hits Nom-nom again and the right Herder pummels the Braves further. Moonfang nimbles into a spot to the flank of the Chariots and in 6″ of the Shamblers.
Nom-nom is spiked at long last, the Tree Herder gathering his two tokens and bringing the score to 6-0 Herd. The other Herder ends the Braves as well, preparing to receive Hunters to the face. The Shamblers slap some damage around but eh.
Ogres 5: Kuzlo flanks into the Chariot-Shambler combat and Hunters do engage the right Herder. Warlord counters.
Kuzlo and Chariot friends shred those Shamblers, with Kuzlo scooping up the 2 tokens. The Warlord chunks 2 damage on the other Shamblers, and of course those Hunters drop the Herder on their first charge, because Hunters. 4-2 Herd now.
Herd 6: I once again find myself hoping for no Turn 7 … The Tree Herder rears the Ogre Warlord with Shamblers in the front, while Moonfang flanks the damaged Chariots. (My opponent gave me no hindering, tho it was certainly close enough to warrant a 4+ roll.)
The Warlord is turned to mist, but Moonfang’s spicy 13 damage flank is stopped short by snake eyes.
Ogres 6: Kuzlo ditches the tokens for the Boomer Sergeant and dives into the 2 token Shamblers, as the Chariots round on Moonfang. Neither combats result in much, and with no Turn 7 rolled up, that’s a …

HERD VICTORY

Holy hell y’all, I beat Ogres! Fittingly in the same game where I complained about never beating them. There were certainly some positional errors I was able to capitalize on, but I also had my share of them (stupid, stupid Centaurs). I actually think it was putting so much stuff on the right, then playing it so passively (out of indecision mostly), that helped get the dubya. Significant, murderous parts of his army couldn’t round that house fast enough to help actually fight for tokens, which was huge.

As for the list, I dig it, but am wondering about taking a Forest Warden instead of the second Centaur Chief. Another chaff piece but one that can do different things, like hold tokens and scout up with the boys, and grab those occasional flanks / rears. A Warden would also give me 20 pts to play with, and I do like me brutal on a Herder.

Right after this I played a second game against a very new Undead player, so stay tuned.

THE HALLOW 13: FORCES OF THE ABYSS

Alright, last game of the 2021 Crossroads GT. Middle tables, nothing at stake, opponent is a buddy from our sister club and, crazily enough, I almost played him and this army in my third game ever with Herd, before we swapped the Ratkin player over to me. Call it fate.

Forces of the Abyss 2300
Lower Abyssals Horde – CS1/De3
Abyssal Horsemen Regiment
Abyssal Horsemen Regiment
Abyssal Horsemen Regiment
Flamebearers Regiment
Flamebearers Regiment
Flamebearers Regiment
Gargoyles Troop
Gargoyles Troop
Gargoyles Troop
Abyssal Fiend
Manifestation of Ba’el
Abyssal Warlock
Seductress

I really appreciate no item lists, especially when there are units that so often are ‘fixed’ with the same items – looking at the Horsemen without pathfinder or strider here. As my opponent said, what would he drop to get them? Personally I’m not a fan of De3 on Lower Abyssals, with so much P1 shooting in the game, but he doesn’t have the points to make them do work otherwise, so trade-off it is.

Game Five is Plunder, the green tokens are worth 2 points. I scout and lamentably he takes first turn.

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! You can just make out the Tribal Spear regiments to left and right of frame. The rightmost Forest Shamblers scoop up a 2 point token.
Abyssals 1: The demons power forward on the right and creep into range in the center with their shooting elements (Ba’el is the morghast / winged skeleton thing in the field). Note that that field is flat terrain, not that I really have shooting that he’s not getting cover against.
The central Forest Shamblers take 7 damage and I really question what I’m doing with them ๐Ÿ˜…
Herd 1: The Hallow, freshly regrown from its scrum with the Orcs, collectively shrugs and leans on in once more! Double Forest Shamblers charge the Lower Abyssals, while the Brutal Herder scoots his 50mm base into some Abyssal Horsemen. The Druid runs up on the right to be inspiring (just behind the rightmost Tribal Spears). The rest of the tree things push up the rest of the board, with the Beast taking up position to jump into the fire base and the gently smoldering Shamblers picking up a token. Of note, the Centaurs couldn’t become relevant thanks to the obstacle stopping at the double, and the Tree Herder over there wasn’t able to both turn and put his leaderpoint into the forest, so he can’t see anything.
The Lower Abyssals are pounded to jelly and the Forest Shamblers reform in their forest sanctuary. The Brutal Herder manages to waver the Horsemen, which in a moment will be more relevant than I thought.
Abyssals 2: Strap in, big turn ahead as carnage blossoms across the field. Horsemen charge the Beast over a wall (I missed this, good eye!), Gargoyles charge Tribal Spears (hindered), more Gargoyles charge damaged Forest Shamblers, Seductress charges Centaur Chief, Ba’el charges Forest Shamblers (hindered) with Horsemen in the flank (hindered but off a hill), Horsemen counter the Brutal Herder (because Fury doesn’t allow for charging, so they couldn’t cycle to his flank), and the other Gargoyles charge the Druid because wow it’s hard to protect individuals from flyers.
All shooting goes into the central Tribal Spears, who hold on 6 damage. After a flurry of dice, the combats end up with the Beast holding on 3, the Tribal Spears on 1, the central Shamblers back to 7, the Centaur Chief on 5 (even after the duelist buzz-saw), Ba’el’s Shamblers routed, the Brutal Herder on 3, and the Druid it looks like on 1 but definitely disordered.
Herd 2: The Hallow reaches that glorious state where Everybody Is Fighting (Except the Druid). Beast + Tribal Spears (hindered, also carrying a token) charge the left Horsemen, Tribal Spears + Centaurs charge some Gargoyles, Tree Herder + Forest Shamblers charge some more Gargoyles, the central Tribal Spears make contact with one of the Flamebearers, the Centaur Chief spends his one charge of the game sitting Ba’el down (which may have been a mistake, shutting down the fire base was likely more impactful but I wanted to limit Ba’el just in general), the Brutal Herder + Forest Shambler friends charge the damaged Horsemen, Centaurs charge the third Horsemen, and the Tribal Spears on the far right go up and over the hill and into the Abyssal Fiend. Whew.
The left Horsemen don’t rout (maybe wavered?), both Gargoyles down the middle scatter (with the Tribal Spears sidestepping and nabbing a token), the Flamebearers take frustratingly little damage, the Centaur Chief flubs his rolls against Ba’el, the damaged Horsemen are smashed to bits, and the Abyssal Fiend and other Horsemen cop some damage but whatever.
No, you’re adorable!
Abyssals 3: Shooting removed the central Forest Shamblers and Tribal Spears so rapidly I didn’t catch a before shot! Charges see the left Horsemen back into the Beast, the right Horsemen into the flank of the last Forest Shamblers (hindered) with Ba’el in the front (hindered) for a bit of deja vu, the Abyssal Fiend countering the Tribal Spears on the right and the surviving Gargoyles into the rear of the Centaurs. Oh, and the Seductress into the Centaur Chief for another round.
The Beast is pushed to 7 damage but stays frosty, the Centaur Chief whipped to 7 and wavers, the Forest Shamblers to 7 too for all the good it does, the right Tribal Spears to 6, and the Centaurs shredded by hideous Gargoyles.
Herd 3: This game is wildly too close to call, but I do know that the fire base needs to break if I’m keeping my tokens into the late game. To which ends the central Tree Herder powers into the central Flamebearers (couldn’t reach the right ones) and Centaurs charge the left ones. On the left, the Beast counters the Horsemen with Tribal Spears in their flank (hindered forever). On the right, the Forest Shamblers counter the Horsemen after a very long think, and Tribal Spears counter the Abyssal Fiend.

Meanwhile, Tribal Spears move down the center line, intent on scooping up another loot token. The Centaur Chief doesn’t move at all, which seems bad when I think how just backing up 5″ makes the Seductress make more of a decision, but it’s not game ending with how fast she is. Finally the Druid bane chants the Forest Shamblers.

Those Horsemen rout! But it’s a slog across the rest of the combats, with no standout performances. Here at the midway point it’s 4-0 in the Hallow’s favor, and at the time I certainly felt like I might get away with it …
Abyssals 4: The fire base prepares to deal with its Centaur problem, as the Seductress ends the Centaur Chief and Ba’el and the Horsemen flank-n-front the Shamblers. Classic! The Abyssal Fiend counters the Tribal Spears again and the Gargoyles fly as far as they can into the woods, gunning for that 2 point token.
The Centaurs cling to life on 4 damage, however the Centaur Chief, Forest Shamblers and Tribal Spears are all consigned to the flames. RIP tree bois. Ba’el picks up the 2 point token, tying the loot score.
Herd 4: The game is slipping away from me, so time to overthink things I guess? Tribal Spears grab a second token, but they do so in a way that puts them within 12″ of where the Gargoyles will be when they grab the 2 point token. I forget that you can only charge 10″ with a token, despite the Tribal Spears on the left moving 5″ off of that fence. And I also discount that the Seductress exists and can very easily block them. 100% should have barely grabbed the token and turned to disappear behind the wood.

The Centaurs re-charge the left Flamebearers (I’m pretty sure they didn’t flank the Warlock because the Flamebearers have double the shots, tho future me definitely thinks they should have, as it inspires / might actually die), the central Herder corkscrew charges the right Flamebearers (largely so he can look to the right), and the Brutal Herder ramps off the hill into Ba’el. For vengeance. The Druid tops him off with a little healing.

Let’s cut right to it: the Brutal Herder one rounds Ba’el ๐Ÿ˜€ Double 10+ Nv rolls banish the demon back to the pit from whence it came. The Herder stays where it is, presenting flanks and glaring at the field of Flamebearers. Speaking of which, some Flamebearers get slapped around but whatever, this thing is a regenerating glue trap that shoots.
Abyssals 5: You know things are getting serious when nobody deigns to shoot. The Centaurs are countered by Flamebearers and flanked by the Warlock (hindered), the Tree Herder is double flanked by Flamebearers (hindered), and the Brutal Herder is charged by the Seductress (hindered) and flanked on either side by the Abyssal Fiend and Abyssal Horsemen (hindered). The Gargoyles grab a 2 point token and turn around, bringing the token score to 5-2 in the Hallow’s favor.
The Brutal Herder is torn down, in an unexpected turn of events hot on the heels of an even less expected turn. The Horsemen take the 2 point token (4-3 Abyssals). In the field, the Flamebearers do 1 damage to the Tree Herder and waver the Centaurs on 5.
Herd 5: Dire straits as I’m now playing for a high loss. The Beast flanks into the left Flamebearers (could have done the middle but given that the Tribal Spears are still in the wood, it’s a moot point), and the remaining Tree Herder powers into the Abyssal Fiend as he can reach it. The Druid prepares to zap the Gargoyles with lightning, cover be damned …
… and she pops them with 1 damage! They drop their token, conveniently right in front of the Horsemen ๐Ÿ˜ Neither the Beast nor the Tree Herder can rout their targets.
Abyssals 6: The Flamebearers caper out of the field with a clear mission to burn down the Hallow token carriers, bereft as they are of inspiring as well. But also the Horsemen nab the second 2 point token (4-3 Abyssals once more). The Abyssals engaged in combat counter / charge their targets.
The Centaurs finally die to the Warlock, the Beast goes up to 9 damage but holds, and the Tree Herder takes 2 from the Fiend. But more importantly the two Flamebearer regiments do reduce the two token Tribal Spears to cinders, thanks to being both very visible and not 50% in cover, when either of those could have not been the case (4-1 Abyssals).
Herd 6: Gonna need a miracle if this goes to Turn 7 … The last Tribal Spears lug their token over and pick up the two fallen ones in the forest (4-3 Abyssals). The Beast goes into the Flamebearers again, and the Tree Herder grimly prepares to smash the Fiend down at last.
Well, the Tree Herder makes good anyway. The Beast kicks a couple Flamebearers for no meaningful result. But you know, I’ll take a 3-4 token loss, that feels good aft—-
Abyssals 7: The Flamebearers roast my 3 token Tribal Spears, and because we thought it was the end of the game – you can see my big die got messed up after Turn 4, so we reset according to his top-n-bottom round dial – he didn’t bother escaping the Tree Herder looming within inches of his 4 points having damaged Sp 5 Horsemen -_- Possible the Beast as well, if she isn’t wounded?

I’ve got some weird feels about that omission, as Turn 7 ruined me here, for zero upside despite my power pieces. However I had a great back and forth game up to here and as far as I knew we had the turns correct, so either way that’s am …

ABYSSAL VICTORY (4-17)

I won’t say I wasn’t weirdly disappointed at playing so hard, pushing through some terrible luck (like everything to do with the Flamebearers), having some insane luck (the Ba’el dunk!), and then walking away with next to no points for it, but that’s how the cookie crumbles in a game where scenarios score at the end #progressivescoringnowplz It was a helluva match against an honestly better player, and a great way to cap a great tournament. It’s becoming passe to say this, but in person gaming again has been amazing, and a tournament is like the best way to do it. Minus the lack of sleep thing, tho that probably won’t ever change.

Nor will my placement I reckon – I landed 34 of 52, which I swear I’ve gotten before ๐Ÿ˜“ 2-1-2 (but 49/105 battle points) and average paint will do that. I did get 1 favorite army vote from somebody tho! And played great dudes along the way, many of them for the first time since 2E.

Before signing off on this Crossroads series I did want to comment on Turn 7 being a thing. I’m all for its existence, and I’m fine with it at tournaments as well, but 4+ is far too often for me. I’d like it to be a special thing that maybe happens a third or a sixth of the time, but absolutely shattering a game on 50% – or creating a win-more scenario with the same likelihood – is pretty lame and a little too Games Workshop for me at this point.

Part of this thought was sparked by Saturday night’s discussion with a new KOW player but Warmachine vet, who was enjoying herself but scoffed at KOW’s claims that it’s designed for competitive play. To her, 50/50 Turn 7 and the ability to fabricate situations where units must charge an arc but are not allowed to charge that arc both invalidate the competitive design stance, and I agree on the first point, while shrugging on the second and calling it one of KOW’s NPEs.

I think Turn 7 has the potential to guide comp in a way (speed / shooting / survival in that order) and possibly force more conservative play, so maybe that’s why it always seems to wreck me so badly? As I very rarely have anything left in the late game, either to capitalize on Turn 7 or, more often, to survive it. Hence my feels about Game Five here, as I actually had meaningful tools in position for it, but wasn’t allowed to use them. Honestly, Turn 7 on a 50% would be less of an issue if 90% or so of the scenarios weren’t end scoring only. With progressive scoring, you’re awarded for scenario-minded play along the way, which my Herd basically have to do, in the hope they’ll currently be around to reap the benefits at the very end.

Thanks for reading! I’ve just got a couple more games in with the Hallow, so stay tuned.

THE HALLOW 12: ORCS

Day Two of the 2021 Crossroads GT dawns, bringing with it Skull Face and the Orcs of ORC TOWN. The last time I faced Skull Face was back at the Orc Town GT with my fire elementals, and maybe the biggest change this edition is that Skull Face has lent his slasher to Orcling and deigned to stomp the yard on foot:

Orcs 2300
Greatax Horde – Orcish Skullpole, Potion of the Caterpillar
Greatax Horde – Orcish Skullpole, Boots of Striding
Morax Regiment – Orcish Skullpole
Morax Regiment – Orcish Skullpole
Morax Regiment – Orcish Skullpole
Morax Regiment – Orcish Skullpole
Orclings Regiment
Orclings Regiment
Orclings Regiment
War Drum
War Drum
Krudger on Winged Slasher – Pipes of Terror
Skull Face [Krudger] – Orcish Skullpole, Gakamak’s Bloody Banner, Mead of Madness
Ulpgar the Mad – Bane Chant (3+), Fireball (7+)
Krusher on Gore – Blade of Slashing
Krusher on Gore – Mace of Crushing

As far as I can tell, this list has all the tools Orcs can get, maybe with the exception of springing for Ulpgar at the expense of spamming another 1-2 punchy individuals. Skull Face has had another tough run of things to be down here with me, to be down here fighting me, but as the only Orcs and only Herd, it seems fitting.

Game Four is Dominate, which suits us both fine. I scout up and take first.

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! Skull Face is behind the left horde, Ulpgar behind the right.
Herd 1: The Hallow brings its chaff up to bear, including Centaurs on the right tempting his Orclings to get frothy.
Orcs 1: The Orclings both pounce on the Centaurs, doing 2 damage and gumming up my lines a bit. The central Orc brick marches forward several inches as the flanking Slasher and Krushers tentatively move forward.
Herd 2: Embracing the Herd side of the Hallow, I floor it in an attempt to trap the Orcs in their tight formation, and mostly in difficult terrain as well. Left to right, Centaurs charge Morax, Forest Shamblers charge Orclings, two Tribal Spears combo-charge Morax (with a bane chant), more Shamblers charge more Orclings with the help of a Tree Herder, and the wounded Centaurs charge the last of the Orclings. The left side of my army gets away from the Slasher, while the Beast speed walks away from the incoming Krushers.
The left Morax take token damage, but otherwise everything dies! One Tribal Spears regiment sidesteps to block in the left Greatax horde, the other hung out since they were forcing a big weird flank from the other Greatax / blocking the next Morax in the chamber. I’m not sure why the right Centaurs didn’t overrun? But reforming caused problems enough.
Orcs 2: The only way out is through! Morax counter the left Centaurs with Slasher in the flank, left Greatax flank their blocking Tribal Spears, Skull Face shoots the gap left by them to charge some Forest Shamblers, the second wave Morax charge their blocking Tribal Spears, the right Greatax gingerly sidestep to make room next turn (his mega base I don’t think fit anywhere? I feel like he could have flanked those Tribal Spears? But he tried a few things and called it), and a Krusher zooms into the right Centaurs.
The left Centaurs and Tribal Spears explode into sap, but other combats are not as conclusive. Skull Face rips 3 damage into the Shamblers, the Morax do 11 to Tribal Spears but can’t stick the 4 needed to break (didn’t use skullpole), and the right Centaurs are only wavered by the Krusher.
Herd 3: The Hallow begins the heavy lift of the game – grinding out two Greatax hordes while the rest of the Orc army looms. A Shambler horde + Tree Herder go into both Greatax, with the left pair getting bane chant (+ the Brutal Herder’s brutal). The Centaur Chief goes to sit down the Slasher (hindered tho), the central Tribal Spears count their blessings and swing into the Morax who didn’t kill them, and the Beast hops across the field and into the flank of the leftmost Morax who killed the Centaurs.

The Slasher takes 3 damage, the Beast savages her Morax up to 13 damage but can’t break them, the left Greatax take 11 and waver, the central Morax take 4, and the right Greatax take a hearty 15 but hold. So much violence, but the grind is well and truly joined!

Orcs 3: The Orcs strike back, in what we both know is a pretty do-or-die turn. Slasher counters the Centaur Chief, the Beast’s Morax charge (hindered) away from her into some Forest Shambles alongside Skull Face (hindered), a backup Morax unit flanks the Beast (hindered), the central Morax aim to finish off their Tribal Spears, the right Greatax swing into the right Forest Shamblers, and the Centaurs are double-teamed by Krushers. Ulpgar gives the right Greatax bane chant + lifeleech (2).
Both Forest Shambler hordes are one-rounded, those blocking Tribal Spears are axed, the right Centaurs are crushed, the Centaur Chief is wavered, but miraculously the Beast survives being flanked with only 5 damage (bless you, oh might swamp!)
Herd 4: Speaking of do-or-die, the Hallow winds up and swings a second time. The Beast flanks the Slasher, Tribal Spears scramble over an obstacle to charge the mangled Morax (hindered), Forest Shamblers (bane chanted) + Brutal Herder go another round with the left Greatax, and the right Tree Herder sees if he can pop 13 damage Greatax. With such a small base, he might even get another swing.
Yesssssssssss – the Slasher, the Morax and the Greatax all rout. The other Greatax are pounded up to 16 damage and I think wavered. Whew.
Orcs 4: Despite the carnage, the Hallow isn’t wildly ahead on US, so a couple good swings from the Orcs could reverse things, and Morax certainly have a lot of swings. Morax charge the last Forest Shamblers (hindered) with Skull Face assisting, as the other Morax charge the Brutal Herder with Krusher assisting. Ulpgar may have tried to bane chant + lifeleech them but failed.

Neither unit routs, although the Shamblers hit 11 damage and the Brutal Herder 6.

Herd 5: The green fist of the Hallow squeezes. Tribal Spears (bane chanted) flank the left Morax with Forest Shamblers in the front and Centaur Chief in the rear. Brutal Herder counters the right Morax as more Tribal Spears hit the Krusher, routing him and overrunning to flank the Morax as well. The Beast flanks a War Drum and the right Herder plows back into the Greatax.
The broken bodies of the Orcs join the rest of the throng killed in the swamp earlier.
Skull Face and his few remaining lackeys prepare to sell their lives dearly.
Orcs 5: Skull Face charges the Forest Shamblers, getting them up to 9 damage. The remaining Krusher + War Drum (in the rear!) boop 2 damage on the right Tribal Spears disrespecting them. Ulpgar fireballs the Beast back to 5 damage but can’t nail the double 12 rout.
Herd 6: Skull Face is mauled by the Hallow and sent screaming back to hell! The War Drum is sandwiched between Beast and Tree Herder flanks, instantly popping. The Krusher takes 1 damage from the Tribal Spears counter and Ulpgar survives the Centaur Chief’s affections unmolested.
Orcs 6: Ulpgar and the Krusher charge the last of the Forest Shamblers, because YOLO m’right?
The Forest Shamblers rout! And sink back into the swamp that helped me pull this one off.
Herd 7: The rout continues, with maybe 10 seconds left on my clock O_O The Brutal Herder flattens the Krusher and the Centaur Chief does a sterling 4 damage to Ulpgar but doesn’t seal the deal – yes, the other Herder could have charged in but I was melting the last of my time down. I pass on 1 second.

Ulpgar swings on the Centaur Chief but misses, ending a dominating …

HERD VICTORY (20-1)

Holy hell, what a blood bath. My plan going into this was to trap him behind his chaff, which has worked before for Orcs / similar infantry grind lists, and that sorta happened, except it was more killing his chaff and trapping him behind my thicc chaff. Deciding early on to just punch it forward was obviously the deciding moment, and it was gratifying to see that my army has enough small or fast (or both) units to buy my grinding units time to do their thing. Tournament-wise, I’m 2-1-1 and happy with however the last game ends up.

UP NEXT: Abyssals!

THE HALLOW 11: FORCES OF NATURE

Day One ends with a rare treat on the bottom table, as no fewer than five Tree Herders gather to see whose grain will reign supreme ๐ŸŒณ

Forces of Nature 2300
Forest Shamblers Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Forest Shamblers Horde – Brew of Strength
Scorchwings Horde
Hunters of the Wild Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Tree Herder – Wiltfather, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Unicorn – Lute of Insatiable Darkness, Wings, Heal (5)
Kapoka, The Hidden Savior – Heal (4), Weakness (3)

It’s an interesting list, that really pays for that third Herder by not having any chaff to speak of. He’s clearly not done well either (poor trees), but the match into me is neat. Nature has shooting and dad on their side, I’ve got raw unit strength and chaff to help control the match. Which is fitting as …

Game Three is Control! We have a pretty involved scouting phase, out of which I win initiative but give it to him – because he has Heartpiercers who I want to screw over / make come closer to me, also because it’s control.

BATTLE

Nature/Herd 0: Scouting phase! I threw off his usual scouting plans for his heavy trees, thanks to my flanking force. The Wiltfather is the Herder in the middle of his lines (with a mustache, naturally).
Nature 1: The Forces of Nature move up into line, with the Scorchwings the most relevant movement as they work the left flank. (That proxy base is how far my Centaur Chief can charge.)
Scorchwing shooting slams a respectable 8 damage into my leftmost Forest Shamblers, and that’s turn.
Herd 1: Tribal Spears and Centaur Chief threaten charges on the left (the Hunters are distressingly Sp 5), Centaurs move into scoring position on the right as the Beast moves into terrorize-the-center position, and I mobilize chaff into the center. I don’t really know what to do with my mangled Forest Shamblers so I shuffle them back and hope some Tribal Spears look tastier.

The Druid whips 1 lightning bolt’s worth of damage into the Scorchwings, tho she probably should have healed the Shamblers. I don’t begrudge her.

Nature 2: Fuuuuuuu– the Scorchwings grab a tasty flank on those damaged Shamblers. I’m also reminded that 3x Tree Herders come with a total of Surge (24), as his strength Shamblers are powered into my Centaurs and the sharpness ones miss my Tree Herder by ~2″. But not before he cops 3 damage from Heartpiercers.
Nature punishes the Hallow for its impudence, devouring both the Shamblers and the Centaurs.
Herd 2: Double Tribal Spears mob the Hunters of the Wild (with some bane chant behind them), the Centaur Chief jumps on the Scorchwings to at least sit them down (as much as that will do), and Herder + flanking Shamblers hit his sharpness Shamblers. I press in with my right flank, making that Tree Herder make a decision, as the Beast hops into a shadow zone between Herders. Those central Tribal Spears turn to face the Scorchwings, in what might have been too reactive of a play.
The Hunters are ripped apart by smaller, spikier tree things and his sharpness Shamblers are smashed. The Centaur Chief gauges 3 damage into the Scorchwings, grounding them … except they’re still Sp 10 Nimble :/
Nature 3: Scorchwings rear my Tree Herder, with the Unicorn in his flank and another Tree Herder in the front. My central Forest Shamblers are combo-charged by the Wiltfather + strength Shamblers. On the right, his other Tree Herder decides to whomp my other Forest Shamblers.
Then everything changed when the Fire Owls attaked.
Heartpiercers combine to drop one of the incoming Tribal Spears, moments before the Tree Herder and Forest Shamblers are pulverized, releasing their spores into the surrounding field to regrow in time. The Herder on the right also stomped 6 damage into his Forest Shamblers. Looks like the Brutal Herder has weakness, courtesy of Kapoka, that scamp.
Herd 3: It feels like a bad trade, but I need to stop the Scorchwings’ path of destruction, so I hop the Beast into the hole where the dead Herder was, with the Centaur Chief hitting the horrible owls in the rear as well. Tribal Spears flank the first Heartpiercers, central Spears turn to face the strength Shamblers (…), and the Brutal Herder (weakened) flanks his Herder fighting my Forest Shamblers, who counter. The Druid at the doubles over to lend her inspiring.
Scorchwings and Heartpiercers rout, with the Beast facing the rears of the Herders right in front of her (she maybe should have faced the Shamblers instead, as they were clearly surgable into her flank as is). Weakness helps keep the other Herder alive on 8 damage.
Nature 4: The Unicorn hurtles into the flank of my right Shamblers, with the Herder countering them. The Wiltfather mobilizes and the free Herder prepares to mastermind a 1″ surge.
Surge (8) is enough to send the strength Shamblers into the Beast’s flank. Other shooting puts 3 damage on the Tribal Spears marauding through his Heartpiercers, and Kapoka heals his right Herder a bit (5 damage left).
The Beast and the last of my Shamblers are battered and broken. His Unicorn overruns, possibly to block for the Herder?
Herd 4: Not a lot left of the Hallow, but what I have is pretty great for the scenario, so time to flex those Tribal Spears. Spears charge the Heartpiercers, the strength Shamblers (with the Centaur Chief and bane chant), and the Unicorn’s flank. My Brutal Herder charges his right Herder again.
The Heartpiercers (7 damage) and Unicorn (6 damage) waver, but Great Doom-Owl be praised, the strength Shamblers are dropped. Whew. His Herder is also still standing, on 9 damage. (Looks like the Centaur Chief accidentally picked up the 1 damage die from the left Tribal Spears :P)
Nature 5: The Wiltfather goes to clear up this nonsense on the right next turn, as the other Herder faces the bloodthirsty Tribal Spears, and the other-other Herder charges the right Tribal Spears. He gets them to 7 and wavers. (I don’t think he rolled regen on his Heartpiercers, and admittedly they did just look like elven archers.)
Herd 5: Tribal Spears plow through the Heartpiercers, the Brutal Herder rears his right Herder and shatters it, and the Centaur Chief (bane chanted) chomps 1 damage on the left Herder, but is convincingly in the way. And after 4 turns, the Centaurs on the right turn to face the action. Thanks, me.
Nature 6: The Wiltfather charges the Brutal Herder, the Unicorn snaps out of it and charges the mangled right Tribal Spears, and the left Herder stomps on the Centaur Chief.
Literally.
The Centaur Chief is flattened, but the Brutal Herder and Tribal Spears survive (on 5 and 8 damage respectively).
Herd 6: Things are looking good for the Hallow, with 5-0 control points. Just a little light murder and we should be good. Tribal Spears charge the left Herder (bane chanted) for 4 damage, the Brutal Herder hits the Wiltfather back for 2 damage, and more Tribal Spears aim to finally drop the Unicorn but fall far short with 3 damage. Ah well, good game, nice to get a wi—
Nature 7: The left Herder fails to rout his Tribal Spears (even with the extra pip of damage the Centaur dragged away, that’d be a rerollable 9), but Wiltdad + Unicorn finally kill the Spears on the right, costing me the lower right section.
Herd 7: My ace in the hole Centaurs come ripping off their hill into the Unicorn, but fail again to drop her. Wow. The Wiltfather hangs on, thanks in part to Kapoka’s weakness, and the other Herder withstands the Tribal Spears’ bane chanted jabs. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but whether the score was 4-1 or 3-0, this was a …

HERD VICTORY (14-7)

Those Scorchwings! Doing work, and thanks to a flank I didn’t need to give them. Smart play by my opponent, with some very competent surging (Fun Game: Take a shot every time I surge a unit this tournament! Safe to play at work!). I feel like I won this in the army building phase? Even just splitting the Hunters into troops would give him more to work with, though they’re just flat out-classed by my Tribal Spears. Which is a good feel, as the reason I chose Herd and not Nature is because I really like Herd’s infantry options, while I’m really not interested in Nature’s. It was also instructive to see how little Kapoka does – my opponent admitted she wasn’t turning out great – as I’ve been interested in her if I ported sideways to Nature.

Having gone 1-1-1 on Day One, I was content to drink, play some board games, and talk about Warmahordes into the AM. What a day.

NEXT UP: Orcs!

THE HALLOW 10: DWARFS

After my Game One drubbing, I plummeted down to the bottom table and got to face one of my favorite people to play, and a dude I very often play somewhere around mid-tournament for score-related reasons ๐Ÿ˜€

Dwarfs 2300
Bulwarkers Horde – Staying Stone, Throwing Mastiff
Earth Elementals Horde
Earth Elementals Horde
Earth Elementals Horde
Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar
Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Boots of Striding
Sharpshooters Troop
Sharpshooters Troop
Sharpshooters Troop
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Berserker Lord on Brock – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Berserker Lord on Brock – Mournful Blade
Stone Priest – Conjurer’s Staff, Surge (8), Bane Chant (2)
Dwarf Army Standard Bearer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness

I’m always happy to fight Dwarfs, as I very reliably out-threat them, so get to play the more control oriented game I prefer. His list seems legit? And looks great on the table. I dig the double Brock Lords, and this would be the first time I’ve faced Earth Elementals with my squishier Forest Shamblers.

Game Two is Salt the Earth, and the Herd wins and takes the initiative.

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! It’s hard to see, but the seventh token is on that hill back-right, guarded by double Sharpshooters. My fourth Tribal Spears are hard to the right just off shot.
Herd 1: The Hallow rolls out, mobilizing chaff on the left, tempting the Brocks in the middle, and blitzing the hill on the right. Some Tribal Spears take up residence on the token in the fountain, content to never move again.
Dwarfs 1: On the left, the pathfinder Brocks jump on the chaffing Centaurs and the BotBS Brock Lord charges into the Tree Herder, while the Earth Elementals maintain their menacing wall of rock and grind towards that flank. In the center, the Mastiffs (+ Bulwarkers) trot forward and prepare to unleash themselves / bees, and the Sharpshooters hold their ground on the right.
The storm of tossed dogs shreds the central Forest Shamblers (!!!), and Sharpshooters put 2 wounds on the left Tribal Spears and 1 on the Centaur Chief.
The Centaurs are torn apart by angry badgers, but the Brock Lord fails to damage the Herder. And then those Sharpshooters on the hill to the right burn their token ๐Ÿ˜
Herd 2: Despite that, the Hallow chooses murder, as is their want. Beast and Centaur Chief charge into a Sharpshooter troop each, while their Tribal Spear escorts go be useful elsewhere. In the center, the Brutal Herder holds the boot Brocks in place to give the Centaurs and Shamblers time to clear the Mastiffs (except the Shamblers have to plow through a fence, hindering them). On the left, Shamblers (bane chanted) and Tribal Spears combo-charge the pathfinder Brocks. I spend a ton of time deciding what to do with the left Herder – because the Brock Lord failed to wound him, the Herder could walk over him if he wanted, tho the 1″ rule makes things weird around the Brocks and etc, etc, and so I just turned him to face the wall of rocks headed in … and forgot I could just charge him. It totally won’t come back to haunt me that I didn’t put 9 3+/2+ swings into that Brock Lord. No chance.
Happily, the pathfinder Brocks pop! And on the right, the Beast kicks her Sharpshooters to death, while the Centaur Chief is content to gnaw his down. The center is less conclusive, with neither Mastiffs breaking (5 and 6 damage respectively, which is pretty superb considering the odds involved), and the Brocks taking 5 damage.
Dwarfs 2: Rock meets Wood as the Earth Elementals crash into the left Shamblers and Tribal Spears. The beast slayer Brock Lord takes another swing at the Herder disrespecting him. In the center, Mastiffs counter the stick-things assaulting them and the Brocks counter the Brutal Herder. And on the right, the duelist Brock Lord goes in to sit down the Beast as the Sharpshooters strike at the Centaur Chief with their rifle butts.
The leftmost Shamblers are pummeled into goo by ambulatory stone statues, but other charges just result in damage – or not in the case of the Herder, who is just too tough for the slayer Brock Lord! The Tribal Spears go up to 6, the Centaurs to 5, the central Shamblers to 2, the Brutal Herder to 6 (!), and the Beast is indeed sat down with 2 damage. The Centaur Chief escapes without damage as well.
Herd 3: My positioning with the left Herder pays off, as it powers into an Earth Elemental flank, with (bane chanted) Tribal Spears in the front. Everybody counter-charges in the center, however the twist is the Beast using her Sp 7 + Nimble to juke the duelist Brock Lord and flank charge the Brocks. The Centaur Chief takes another bite out of the right Sharpshooters. You can see the Tribal Spears making a cautious play for the center objective – at this point I’m doing some math and realizing I need another token to pull a win off, despite my tight grip on two of the objectives.
All combats go the Hallow’s way, such is the fury of the dark fae. The left Herder is facing that way to swing the Earth Elementals into his front if they charge or use up a surge if he wants a flank, and in the center the Centaurs jam the Bulwarkers with an overrun. The duelist Brock Lord on the hill is faced with a choice: sit the Beast down again or prepare for glory. Also I burn the token on the left.
Dwarfs 3: The left Earth Elementals are surged into the Tree Herder flank (the follow-up bane chant must have worked, with the Conjurer’s Staff on hand), with the slayer Brock Lord charging in for a third round. The Bulwarkers make to clear out the Centaurs so they can address the incoming trees, and the duelist Brock Lord, well …
He chooses glory ๐Ÿ˜ค
The Centaur Chief is mulched under those 14 attaks, and the Centaurs don’t fare too well either, but both of their missions are complete. The Tree Herder astoundingly only takes 6 damage (my opponent historically has terrible dice, and the tradition has continued here).
Herd 4: The grind continues! On the left, the Tree Herder + Tribal Spears (bane chanted) hit the Earth Elementals in the front. In the center, Shamblers + Brutal Herder + Beast combo-charge the Bulwarkers … and I realize later that the Beast is probably better used trying to kick the ASB to death, removing the reroll. I also don’t turn the rightmost Tribal Spears to face the duelist Brock Lord, despite them having phalanx and him obviously being cavalry.
8 damage on the Earth Elementals isn’t bad, but I can’t reach that -/18 Nv. Likewise the 12 damage on the Bulwarkers is solid enough, with a ways to go. Note that I’ve been watching his movement in the center, and those Tribal Spears are 16″ away from those Earth Elementals, to make him walk the whole way and not give a speed boost thanks to charging.
Dwarfs 4: Let’s just tear the bandage off – the slayer Brock Lord drops the left Tree Herder ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Well fought, tiny dude on badger that I ignored all game. The Earth Elementals bash the Tribal Spears up to 7 damage (wavering them), the Bulwarkers (bane chanted) stab the Brutal Herder up to 9 damage, and the duelist Brock Lord puts 3 on the right Tribal Spears desperately holding a point with no inspiring to be seen. The central Earth Elementals begin to crest the hill.
Herd 5: The wavered Tribal Spears back up to protect the Druid / expose the Earth Elementals to her lightning bolt (!), the Bulwakers receive another round of Brutal Herder + Forest Shamblers, the Beast pounces on the Dwarf ASB, and the right Tribal Spears counter the duelist Brock Lord (but most importantly point their sharp bits at him).
The Druid does wound the Earth Elementals with her LB(2), getting them up to 9 damage … but I can’t manage the double 9 to rout. Still awesome. The Bulwarkers are smashed into the dirt and the duelist Brock Lord takes a shocking 6 damage from small pointy tree things.
Dwarfs 5: Tiring of this grind, the left Earth Elementals trundle away to sit on a token, letting their compatriots take the hill and the token there. The Brock Lords both charge Tribal Spears … and do 0 damage on the left and 1 on the right O_O The ASB tries to ground the Beast but misses her.
Herd 6: Those left Tribal Spears rear the Earth Elementals who dared leave them to their fate, and the right Tribal Spears stab the duelist Brock Lord again. Really though it’s about mobbing the central Earth Elementals to pull the game away from his 3-2 token lead. I also punch the Beast forward in preparation for a Turn 7 run on the Sharpshooters’ token.
The Tribal Spears shatter their Earth Elementals, overrunning to take a point from the Dwarfs. The right Tribal Spears don’t kill their Brock Lord. Magic doesn’t happen in the center and the Earth Elementals hold … and we measure and discover that the Forest Shamblers are 4″ from the point thanks to combo-charge sliding. I can’t burn the point, and my 3-1 lead isn’t long for this world.
Dwarfs 6: The slayer Brock Lord ends those Tribal Spears, and the Earth Elementals swing hard and kill the Tribal Spears on the hill (a tough ask for his dice!) The duelist Brock Lord can’t rout his point-holding Tribal Spears, putting the game at 2-2. With no Turn 7, this is a …

DRAW (10-10)

Attrition put us at less than 500 points apart, for a true draw, which is apparently possible in Blackjack Scoring. It felt a little bad to have things slip away like this, as I had taken an early lead and had a lot of control – and some luck – in my favor, but even during the game I was seeing places where I simply was forgetting to do things (turn to face the Brock Lord on the right) or choosing obvious things (Beast putting a few wounds on Bulwarkers instead of kicking the ASB to death OR threatening the Sharpshooters on a point a turn earlier) rather than smarter things. In retrospect, I think could have won by not charging the Tribal Spears in on the center, as the fresh Forest Shamblers would have slide over fully to a) contest the point and b) block the Tribal Spears from the Earth Elementals, allowing them to score in safety or at the least contest, either of which would have done it for me, without a Turn 7. Instead I tried to punch for the stars per usual, and lost that win by an inch.

NEXT UP: Nature!