THE HALLOW GAME 3: RATKIN

In the run-up to the US Masters this weekend (spoiler: Go Herd!!), a bunch of the Northeast crew got together to dojo some games out before heading to Texas. My fledgling Verdant Herd got tossed into this pressure cooker as a matter of course πŸ˜€ I only had time for one game, and ended up playing Corey Reynolds’ Ratkin. Fun Fact: The last time I faced Corey was on the top table in a WHFB GT in Philly where I was playing Skaven and he was playing Wood Elves. He thoroughly outplayed me, but he isn’t called Mr. 300 for nothing. A note on this game, I didn’t take a ton of photos, as I was more keen to hang out and knew I’d be getting smashed to bits regardless 😐

The Herd 2300
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Tree Herder – The Wiltfather, Hann’s Sanguinary Scripture, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Druid – Lightning Bolt (2), Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Druid – Lightning Bolt (2), Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Forest Warden – Surge (4)

I knew I would need something a little heavier going into this den of masters, so I trotted out the Wiltfather and a second support Druid. I don’t personally love running Wiltdaddy – honestly his vicious aura is the hardest thing for me to say no to – due to his cost and his popularity, but I figured I should see how hard he can carry.

Ratkin 2300
Shock Troops Horde – Plague Pots, Heavy Halberds
Shock Troops Horde – Plague Pots
Warriors Horde
Clawshots Troop
Clawshots Troop
Clawshots Troop
Weapon Team
Weapon Team
Weapon Team
Mutant Rat-fiend
Mutant Rat-fiend
Scudku-z’luk – Lightning Bolt (5)
Mother Cryza – Lightning Bolt (5), Bane Chant (3)
Brood Mother – Blight Staff, Drain Life (5)

Wheeeeew, it’s a strong list, ok? And fairly 3E all told: fewer bodies, more speed, more shooting, more mobile scoring. He ended up taking a version to Masters that swapped Cryza’s bane chant to a Lute on the other Brood Mother, as the vanilla mom tended to take a more supportive role, etc.

We rolled up Dominate, which initially seemed to favor me (US 26 vs 19) but probably was a benefit for him, as he can direct the hammers and shooting and scoring to the same place. Herd also won priority and took it.

BATTLE

Rats 1: My chaffy left flank is met with all three Weapon Teams and a Clawshot. They spend the game mostly trying to escape to the right or shoving in to see how bad the rat dice are, in the Centaurs’ case. Turns out 30 weapon team shots are hard to mess up!
Rats 1: View of the action proper, with Herd mobilizing some chaff and taking residence in the wood. Centaurs have started taking damage from Clawshots but miraculously hold.
Herd 2: Chaffing up the Mutant Rat-Fiends / threatening Cryza with the Warden on the right, and delaying the Shock Troops on the left with a long hindered Spirit Walker charge. Any chip damage these charges did was undone by the Brood Mom between the two Shock Troop hordes or the MRF’s regen.
Herd 2: Also there’s Scudz, lurking in the shadow of a house and threatening down the line. (His lightning however did almost nothing all game, if not literally nothing!)
Herd 3: With the first wave (Walkers + Centaurs) dealt with, the Hallow sends in the next round. More Spirit Walkers hit the Brood Mom, Forest Shamblers head into the Centaurs’ MRF, and both Herders combine their surges to propel the winged Shamblers 10″ into some Shock Troops! They do ok damage, thanks in part to bane chant, but it’s not mindblowing (Rally 2 on everything is kind of a lot to deal with). The Forest Warden also grabbed a flank on Cryza, and despite being a champ (6 attaks = 5-6 damage) her Nv was crazy high thanks to rally too so nothing else.
Rats 3: MRF sneakiness ensues, with one corkscrewing the winged Shamblers (they live!) and the other very dexterously flanking some Spirit Walkers (they don’t live!) The other two Shamblers are ground on as well to little real effect. Skudz hops into the pond and kills those other Spirit Walkers harassing the Brood Mom.
Herd 4: The normal Tree Herder joins some Shamblers in hitting Cryza (she only wavers!), and the winged Shamblers turn to the left and are surged into the Shock Troop horde, which is evaporated under all the angry tree punches. The Wiltfather (who had surged said Shamblers in) menaces an MRF and board center.

Rats 4: One MRF flanks the winged Shamblers, along with Shock Troops to the front, ending their reign of terror. The other MRF rears the regular Herder, but fluffs and it lives! And the other Forest Shamblers are shot off the table.

Herd 5: The last of the Shamblers kill Cryz, the Wiltfather rears and obliterates one MRF, and the other Herder and/or Warden continue to pound on the other one.
Rat 6: After dropping the regular Herder last turn, the Rats hard zone the Herd out of the center, and continue to bath the Wiltfather in shooting of different flavors. The last Forest Shamblers hold firm, but are out of the Dominate range. Turn 7 happens! The Wiltfather smashes a Weapon Team but the Shock Troop horde can’t be ground out.
Rat 7: The Wiltdaddy tanks Scudz to the front and a Warrior horde to the rear, but as a last act of aggression the Shock Troops tear down the Forest Warden, who had a helluva game and caused a lot more damage than his 3 attaks suggests. But anyway, this was a foregone …

RATKIN VICTORY

It was cool to play Corey again after so long (he tends to run events, not play in them), and good to face Ratkin, something I’ve very rarely done, despite playing them myself. The game had a couple cool moments, like the 10″ surge and Forest Warden on a tear, but again I felt doubly outclassed. Oh, and it was cool to have the Wiltfather go so hard, tho as we see, one model doesn’t a domination make.

That’s my gaming backlog, hope to get a couple more games in soon! Til then!

THE HALLOW GAME 2: OGRES

With plenty of time left in the afternoon and hungry for another kick in the teeth, my Ogre opponent and I re-racked and threw down once more 😀

The Herd 2300
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders
Centaur Bray Striders
Beast of Nature – Wings, 7 Attaks
Tree Herder – Trickster’s Wand, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Great Chieftain

This list traded in significant support – the Druid’s bane chant (+ heal) + inspiring and the Warden’s chaffing powers – to get my winged Beast into the mix:

Fun Fact: I’ve never played with a flying monster, just against them!

Ogres + Nature 2300
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Hunters Horde
Boomers Horde
Warrior Chariots Regiment – Mead of Madness?
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblins Spitters Regiment
Red Goblins Rabble Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Kuzlo & Madfall – Enthral (5), Hex (3)
Nomagarok – Bane Chant (3), Heal (4), Lightning Bolt (4)
Berserker Bully
Boomer Sergeant – Inspiring Talisman
+
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Unicorn – Wings, Lightning Bolt (5)

Great list is still great! He waffled about downgrading the Spitters to Rabble and using the extra points to I think push the Bully to a Warlord, but decide to stick it out as written.

We rolled up Salt the Earth, and shockingly I remembered to scout, although the Ogres would win and take priority.

BATTLE

Scouting moves! Beast is hard left and the second Centaur troop plus fourth Spirit Walker regiment is hard right. The right Tree Herder is intentionally in range of the Warrior Chariots and the Red Goblin Scouts, in the name of ‘Come At Me Bro’ Science.
Turn 1: The Ogres indeed come at me …
Turn 1: … and oh sweet dark forest gods, the Hex Herder falls O_O (partially thanks to Nomnom’s bane chant, partially thanks to great dice). My respect for chariot regiments skyrockets (spoilers for my current Herd list ;P), but also Shamblers take damage from shooting to the left and Scouts to the right.
Turn 1: I openly debate restarting, however decide to soldier on sans 1 Herder, again for Science. The Scouts are mobbed and torn to shreds by three units (for unknown reasons, though partially to get them all up the board together), and the rest of the Hallow either threatens charges or forces the big meaty hands of the Ogres. I did not burn my objectives and 100% would regret it later.
Turn 2: Oh lord, they coming! Charges slam in across the line: Braves to Shamblers, Hunters to Herder, Chariot to Shamblers, Hunters to Walkers, Bully to Walkers annnnd Kuzlo to Centaurs hard right.
Turn 2: A lot of damage is dished out …
Turn 2: … like a lot of damage! Astoundingly the only casualty is the Centaur troop derping down the center of the board.
Turn 2: Winged Shamblers corkscrew the Hunters, Spirit Walkers hit their other flank, and Herder and bashed up Shamblers hit them in the front.
Turn 2: The Hunters, well, they don’t make it 🍻 The Herder overruns and the units prepare to receive. Also peep that Beast of Nature nimbling into delicious flanks.
Turn 2: Over on the right, Shamblers punch 6 damage into the Chariots, two Spirit Walker regs scrabble 10 damage into the Hunters (wavered!), and it looks like Kuzlo and the Centaurs are having a grand ol’ time still.
Turn 3: The Ogres tee up another round of violence …
Turn 3: … as is their want (Chariots into Shamblers, Bully into Walkers, Kuzlo back in to end it).
Turn 3: Shamblers and Spirit Walkers are shot off to the left; Shamblers, Spirit Walkers and Centaurs are finished off the right. The Herder absorbs the flank from the Braves and the last remaining Shamblers absorb the other Braves’ affections.
Turn 3: With units left to grind with, the Hallow grinds on! Spirit Walkers + Shamblers hit some Braves, the flying Beast rears the other Braves while their Herder flanks the Rabble and the Spirit Walkers on the right try to pop the Hunters and the Great Chieftain powers into the Chariot regiment to similarly tip them over.
Turn 3: Everything touched, dies. Hell yea.
Turn 4: Ogres line up shooting on the left and send solos into combat on the right.
Turn 4: While the Spirit Walkers finally bite it to the right, the only result on the left is pushing the Herder up to 10 damage.
Turn 4: The Herd is feeling quite light on the field, but keep on smashing, double charging the Boomers as the Beast lines up next turn. The Great Chieftain leaves Nomnom to go mess with Spitters (easier marks than the power solos to the right). Damage happens but it’s not enough to keep the momentum up.
Turn 5: The Ogres, meanwhile, have a lot of tools and they apply them liberally. No Herd member falls but both the Beast and Great Chieftain waver :/ The Bully has slunk off to the right to hold a token for a couple turns.
Turn 5: Beast and Great Chieftain waver around, while the Herder flanks the Boomers and helps the Spirit Walkers pulp them.
Turn 6: The Ogres keep it classy, finishing off 3 of 4 Herd units with charges, including that pinky-finger-up Unicorn rear charge into the Herder. Chef kiss. The Beast cops 2 damage from shooting, bringing it to 4.
Turn 6: The Beast dives the Boomer Sergeant to try for a one-round, but whether or not it worked, the Ogres hold 3 tokens to the Herd’s 0, meaning we’ve got another …

OGRE VICTORY

As appropriate as it is that the Beast of Nature was the only surviving model, she clearly wasn’t able to carry the game by herself, particularly a game that I started 275 points down thanks to baiting with the Hex Herder. Upon review, I’m surprised I did as well as I did (apart from holding 0 tokens), tho with so much highly maneuverable shooting, even if I had burned every token I controlled and made a concerted, cagier play for the Ogre’s tokens, I doubt I would have had much surviving at the end to claim said tokens.

My main feelings after these first two games were a) it felt great to play KOW again, what a game; and b) I really don’t know what Herd in general and this list in particular wants to be doing. The Lycan spam list is probably the only Herd list that I can immediately see the strength in really, but I love how this army looks and I’d like to make the combination of decent infantry regiments and cheap large infantry hordes work together. But it is pretty clear that I need a dedicated hammer, the grind doesn’t really work for Herd or in the meta in general.

Stay tuned for the next report, where I face rats piloted by a Master!

THE HALLOW GAME 1: OGRES

With the army based and lockdown lifting, I was finally able to get a couple games in with the Herd! Against my clubmate and usual punching bag, who at this point was putting in reps for the upcoming US Masters tournament in July 2021. Not expecting great results, I selected one of the many lists I had brought and gathered the angry tree things together for the first time …

The Herd 2300
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Spirit Walkers Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Tree Herder – Trickster’s Wand, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Great Chieftain – Mead of Madness, Sabre-Toothed Hunting Cat
Druid – Conjurer’s Staff, Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Forest Warden – Surge (4)

I decided to bring the most varied version of the list to start out, including a much-maligned Great Chieftain! I also brought along the Trickster’s Wand thanks to the improvements to hex in Halpi’s, as well as the change to having more Spellcaster 1+ wizards in the game, when previously it felt like most people just took Spellcaster 0 casters that are immune to hex.

Ogres + Nature 2300
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Hunters Horde
Boomers Horde
Warrior Chariots Regiment – Mead of Madness?
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblins Spitters Regiment
Red Goblins Rabble Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Kuzlo & Madfall – Enthral (5), Hex (3)
Nomagarok – Bane Chant (3), Heal (4), Lightning Bolt (4)
Berserker Bully
Boomer Sergeant – Inspiring Talisman
+
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Unicorn – Wings, Lightning Bolt (5)

By all accounts, this is a great list. In my mind Ogres tend to be one-note slow melee armies, but high end Ogre lists like this one are in reality fast melee armies with surprising amounts of ranged damage and a strong ability to play the scenario, thanks to everybody scoring. Add to that the premier allies package courtesy Halpi’s making Heartpiercers unlock, and you’ve got a supremely flexible toolbox of a list.

The Hallow’s first game would be Dominate, which was certainly welcome for my first game of 2021 as well. I won the roll off and took it … and of course I forgot to scout before rolling πŸ˜›

BATTLE

Battelines!
Turn 1: The Herd scouts / shambles / sprints forward. I barely know what I’m doing, and the Ogres both out-charge and out-shoot me to degrees I haven’t planned for :X
Turn 1: The Ogres keep it cagey, staying out of charge ranges with the exception of Kuzlo, who has ripped down the right flank and rotated in. Nomnom tags the Warden with 2 damage, and the Heartpiercers stick 2 onto the Druid as well, wavering her.
Turn 2: Stumpy feet shuffle around a little? The Warden demands to be dealt with over in the shooty forest, and the right Centaurs gore Kuzlo for 3 damage. That one Herder lands a hex on the Unicorn too! Result!
Turn 2: Here we go! Kuzlo counters the Centaurs, Hunters + Chariots hit some Shamblers in a puddle, Berserker Braves tango with other Shamblers, other Hunters hit some Spirit Walkers on the hill, the Berserker Bully rushes in and punches more Shamblers, the other Braves rocket forward and hit the leftmost Spirit Walkers, and on the far left the gobbo Scouts charge their Centaur counterparts. Only the Centaurs and the Walkers on the hill rout, the rest of the Herd holds – in the puddle Shamblers’ case, somewhat preposterously (10 damage, 1-2 of it from the Hunters’ 18 @ 4/4+). Oh, also the Warden is evaporated by the shooting bunker.
Turn 3: Sweet, sweet counter-offensive. The Centaurs go back into Kuzlo, the Hunters in the puddle are flanked by Spirit Walkers (who avoid hindering on the wall thanks to the Great Chieftain escorting them in), the Chariots are corkscrew flanked by (bane chanted) Shamblers and fronted by the banged up ones, the Hunters on the hill are booped in the front by a Hex Herder, the left Shamblers counter the Bully, the Other Herder pressures the shooty forest annnd the left Walkers hit the Braves as they wait for the hero Scouts to flank them. While no combat goes poorly, the rout dice are only there for the puddle combats, so the grind continues. (Note that the Radiances of Life are popping off from the Herders all game, where applicable.)
Turn 3: The leftmost Spirit Walkers are eaten by the Red Goblin Scouts in the flank, and the Centaurs way on the right are devoured by Kuzlo and/or Madfall. The mangled Shamblers in the puddle are dropped by shooting, as the grind continues across the center of the board.
Turn 4: The Other Herder finally makes contact with the Boomers and the Great Chieftain doubles back and re-pins Kuzlo in place, while the rest of the combats grind on, resulting primarily in the death of the Berserker Bully. Surviving Spirit Walkers push through cover to become relevant / be harder to hit.
Turn 4: The left Braves grab a rear charge on the Other Herder and the Red Goblin Rabble pounce on the Spirit Walkers emerging from their woods, as the shooters begin descending on the center. The Ogres (and friends) pound a lot of damage around – Other Herder to 11, Hex Herder to 7, winged Shamblers to 4, pond Shamblers to 6, pond Walkers to 5, wood Walkers to 1 (damn you goblins!) – but the Herd holds.
Turn 5: Finally, the Herd grinds out almost all of their Ogre dancing partners. The Boomers are smashed, the left Braves get reared and routed by winged Shamblers, and the other Braves fall to the pond Shamblers. Annoyingly the Rabble soak up the affections of the wood Walkers, while the Hex Herder keeps on getting whittled down by the Hunters on the hill.
Turn 5: The theme of stuff finally dying continues with both Tree Herders falling, one to the Boomer Sergeant’s firepower and the other to a furious flank from Nomnom. The pond Spirit Walkers are ‘pierced and ‘bolted to death as well.
Turn 6: It may be late in the game, but somehow the Herd still have gas in the tank! Shamblers hit the fresh Boomer Sarge and one round him (!), as the other Shamblers launch from the pond into the rear of the hill Hunters, tearing them asunder at long last. Speaking of murder, the Spirit Walkers turn on and blend the Rabble over in the wood. You can also see the Great Chieftain still kicking it with Kuzlo over far right.
Oh no.
Turn 6: The hill Shamblers are sandwiched and murdered by goblins (Nomnom was present) 😐 Also the last of the Spirit Walkers are ventilated by Heartpiercers, and the Druid survives a charge from the Unicorn (tho she is wavered). Somehow the Great Chieftain survives another round with Kuzlo.
Turn 7: We head into accidental overtime with the last of the Shamblers punching some Spitters. The Great Chieftain slaps Kuzlo some more.
Turn 7: The Spitters scratch 1 damage onto the Forest Shamblers, and the Druid survives another charge from the Unicorn! (Tho again wavered – here she’s already nimbled away in Turn 8.)
Turn 8: We roll for an extra turn this time and get it! The Shamblers punch the Spitters into the dirt, then absorb a round of shooting in the Ogre half to survive the game. The Druid, on the other hand, is finally run down by the Unicorn. (The Great Chieftain would end the game on 4 damage, facing Kuzlo on 0 :P) With US 3 vs 5, that’s an …

OGRE VICTORY

I’m pretty shocked I did this well, especially with how light on tools the army felt to me. Locking Kuzlo down all game helped a lot in keeping any semblance of control, but judging by all the flanks and rear charges things were certainly a little wonky. I do feel like I have my buddy’s dice to thank for any work I got done, from that early pond fight to the Herders’ resilience, and so on.

We flew into a second game right after this one, look for the right up soon.

QUARANTINE ARMY: THE HERD πŸƒ

What is up, Bloodfirers! Like many gamers, I spent lockdown 2020-2021 trying really hard to not buy all the things (and mostly failing but the LGS needed supporting, dammit) and to paint at least a few things, which admittedly was pretty difficult without any gaming happening. Luckily Kings of War is endlessly inspiring for me, which combined with my backlog and the 3D printer I got in July 2020, meant I eventually did add another mediocre KOW army to my stables πŸ˜…

The concept was to use up a ton of Golem Arcana prepainted single sculpts I got when Miniature Market liquidated them, combined with a bunch of Mantic zombies + GW dryads I had for infantry … but I can’t stand mold lines, so once I got my printer I stepped sideways into some similar dark fae / treemonic sculpts from Lord of the Print (the last two ‘centaur chiefs’ are from MiniMonsterMayhem). Would I have done the army differently if I didn’t have all the prepaints already and had my printer from the start? Absolutely, there are dozens of great spooky tree people/monsters to be printed. That said, I’m happy with the project, it was a ton of fun to paint (almost all contrast + washes), and it cleared a big chunk from the backlog so success!

List-wise, I’m running it as Herd, because ain’t nobody play them, and because I really like the infantry regiment options. The army is about 3k painted, with probably one more BIG model to be added, and through the (quickie) reports to come you’ll probably see me struggling to get to grips with what I can get the list to do.