SCUTTLIN’ REALM 25: SALAMANDERS

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

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

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

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

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

BATTLE: GAME 5

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

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

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

DRAW (10-10)

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

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

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

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

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 24: BASILEANS

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

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

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

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

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

BATTLE: GAME 4

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

BASILEAN VICTORY (3-18)

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

UP NEXT: Salamanders!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 23: NIGHTSTALKERS

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

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

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

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

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

BATTLE: GAME 3

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

NIGHTSTALKER VICTORY (3-18)

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

UP NEXT: Basileans!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 22: FORCES OF THE ABYSS

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

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

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

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

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

BATTLE: GAME 2

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

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

SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (15-6)

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

UP NEXT: Nightstalkers!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 21: ELVES

The last weekend of February 2022 was the inaugural Dead of Winter GT held by my club here in Albany, NY. By all accounts it was a thrilling success, and I certainly had a great time getting five solid games of Kings of War in while also being able to get some sleep Friday and Saturday night. Sure, I drank considerably less and played none of the usual board games with the lads, but life is full of tradeoffs. On to the tournament report!

Trident Realm 2100
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Strength
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Kraken
Kraken

Naiad Centurion – Trident of the Drowned Sea
Depth Horror Eternal
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2)
Naiad Envoy – War-Bow of Kaba

The crabs came out of hibernation, saw my old double Gigas rebased to double Placoderms, and I finally finished up my Centurion, giving him the shiny new shooting attak to help him in his mission to mess with every big flyer he could get his claw on. Didn’t have high hopes for my performance but great to see the tiny/huge lads together again. Somewhat unexpectedly, I was the only Trident player!

Elves 2100
Forest Shamblers Horde – Brew of Strength
Stormwind Cavalry Regiment – Quicksilver Lancers, Potion of the Caterpillar
Stormwind Cavalry Regiment – Helm of Confidence
Palace Guard Regiment – Banner of Eternal Darkness
Kindred Gladestalkers Regiment – Fire-Oil
Kindred Gladestalkers Regiment
Silverbreeze Cavalry Troop – Piercing Arrow
Hunters of the Wild Troop – Blood of the Old King
Hunters of the Wild Troop

Tydarion Dragonlord
Elven Archmage – Inspiring Talisman; Surge (8), Lightning Bolt (5)
Elven Archmage – The Boomstick; Lightning Bolt (7)

Speaking of coming out of hibernation … I haven’t played Jim since Fantasy times, if ever, but I’ve seen him at the various events he runs in the Northeast. Certainly a welcome first opponent, even if Tydarion gave me pause. Now that is a dragon! The rest of the list seemed solid: meaningful shooting, solid fast hammers, handful of competent chaff pieces.

First scenario is Pillage, with the Elves going first, either because they wanted to or because I made them.

BATTLE: GAME 1

Elves 0: Trees scout up!
Elves 1: The loathesome Elves sally forth into shooting range on the left or shelter behind their screens on the right. The Quicksilver Lancers advance slightly ahead of their cohorts, no doubt preparing for nimble shenanigans / because there was a wood to prance through (they have the gold banner).
The Gladestalkers, especially the fire oil unit, pin cushion the uninspired Heartpiercers on the left, routing them for first blood. Elsewhere lightning strikes the non-regenerating Depth Horror Eternal for 3 damage.
Trident 1: The crabs scuttle forth, preparing for violence on the right and suffering some trepidation on the left. The leftmost Placoderms begin their long, long trek through those woods 😐
The fire oil Gladestalkers to the left take token harpoon damage but hold fine. The blood Hunters of the Wild on the right (slip of paper unit) take significant damage from Heartpiercers and the Centurion, but the low rout test is frustratingly failed. The Water Elemental horde (giant crab) enjoys the cool caress of bastion as it awaits the violence.
Elves 2: Gladestalkers back up on the left as their Forest Shamblers power forward into long surge range of the left Kraken. On the right, Hunters of the Wild charge Heartpiercers and Kraken to clear the way for the Quicksilver Lancers into the Water Elemental horde. Tydarion looms.
The Gladestalkers chunk 5 damage into the left Kraken, before the Forest Shamblers fail their ~7″ surge by a couple inches. Importantly, they’re blocking the Kraken’s ability to pivot and go ham into the Gladestalkers next turn. On the right, the Depth Horror Eternal is wavered by lightning, and shortly afterwards the blood Hunters waver their Heartpiercers (taking even more damage from the blood of the old king), the Water Elemental cops 10 damage and holds, and the other Kraken takes token damage from its Hunters.
Trident 2: Crabs join the grind, as is their want. On the left, the Kraken charges the Forest Shamblers, unable to skirt past them, but also protecting the surviving Heartpiercers in the process, who advance to keep the fire oil Gladestalkers in their range (coping a -1 to hit in the process). On the right, Placoderms hit the disintegrating blood Hunters, the Water Elementals counter the Lancers, and the Kraken counters the other Hunters. The Centurion meanwhile limbers up and prepares to sit a dragonlord down. Also there’s a lot of regening.
Damage is liberally applied to the Elf army, including the Stormwind on the hill soaking Heartpiercer shooting, but only the blood Hunters are vanquished. Yes, the right Kraken barely tickled its Hunters. Tydarion however is successfully tagged by the Trident of the Drowned Sea and disordered 😀
Elves 3: The filthy Gladestalkers back up on the left and the Archmages hover about, however the rest of the Elves put their natural inclinations aside and join combat. Of note are the Stormwind charging the Placoderms, despite their phalanx, and Tydarion galloping his dragon into the waiting claw of the Centurion.
Kings of the Hill, more like!
The Gladestalkers claim the other Heartpiercers on the left, and the Archmages flash-fry the Depth Horror Eternal with their 13 lightning shots. In combat, the Heartpiercers on the hill are blended by the Palace Guard, but all the other crabs weather the Elven attention, including the Centurion parrying Tydarion down to 5 damage and holding. (You’ll see a waver marker on him, but Jim’s math was better than mine, he actually missed wavering by 1, even with brutal.)
Trident 3: The Placoderms on the left escape the tyranny of the woods, now free to advance menacingly on the Gladestalkers shooting their friends. Krakens, Elementals and Centurion regenerate and counter-charge their dancing partners, while the central Placoderms simply counter-charge.
The war-bow Envoy routs the fire-oil Gladestalkers (GO WAR-BOW!), the last of the Heartpiercers shoot the Palace Guard point blank, and bastion goes up on the central Placoderms, then crab-flavored vengeance is served to both the Quicksilver Lancers and the last of the Hunters of the Wild. The Centurion grounds Tydarion once more, and the central Placos continue nibbling at their Stormwind.
Elves 4: The Gladestalkers can’t escape their Placoderm executioners, so prepare to make them pay along with the Archmages. Everybody else counter-charges or charges in the case of the Palace Guard into the Water Elemental horde (which has 6 damage). Also, the Silverbreeze exist on a point back there.
Apart from the Centurion being eaten by a mega dragon, the crabs are once again able to soak the Elven aggression. Of note is the Placoderms on the left taking 4 damage – without heal, every pip counts and they’ve got plenty of work to do still.
Trident 4: Speaking of Placoderms going to work, the left regiment scuttles into the remaining Gladestalkers at long last. The right Kraken powers gleefully into Tydarion, and the three ongoing combats grind on.
The Gladestalkers are dismembered by the Placoderms, their delicate Elven limbs gribbled up by horrible crabby mouths. Everything else is a slog – Tydarion is grounded by a Kraken, and the Palace Guard waver. The Heartpiercers punched some damage into the surge Archmage, out of spite.
Elves 5: The Forest Shamblers, Swordwind and Tydarion all counter-charge. Meanwhile, the Palace Guard disengage so the Water Elemental horde can be dealt with by the Silverbreeze …
… which they do, dropping the big crab with just their puny bows. The Archmages combine electrical powers again, wavering the Heartpiercers. The Swordwind also turn on, pushing the central Placoderms to 9 damage and wavering them as well. The Kraken, however, are resolute.
Trident 5: The Placoderms on the left menace the Forest Shamblers and prepare to grab a point, while I prepare to lose the center. Tydarion is however comfortably within routing distance now, if the right Kraken can just do a couple damage.
Sadly, the big goofus can’t land a single wound, meaning Tydarion is free to fly away after all that work 😦 The other Kraken is vaguely more competent, finishing off his Shamblers after 4! turns of swinging at them.
Elves 6: Tydarion Dragonlord flits away to go breath on Heartpiercers, while the Swordwind charges the central Placos (who still have phalanx despite the waver :P)
Hill update!
Skewered and/or smoked, the crabby center crumbles at last.
Trident 6: Buuuut both Kraken are alive and well, and are swiftly unleashed into the rear of the Swordwind (!) and the front of the Silverbreeze. The Placoderms claim a point at the war-bow Envoy prepares for glory.
No dice on that war-bow, but the cavalry are messily slaughtered by towering crab titans, which certainly feels nice. With no Turn 7 and 3 objectives to 1, this is a solid …

SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (15-6)

While the grind on this first game was very real, I was happy to take that over getting shot and lightning bolted more than I had to be. It was great to play Jim at last / after so long, and a nice way to be eased into Elves post-COK22. I really wish I could have dropped Tydarion, but I’m not going to complain too hard after neutering maybe the biggest dragon in the game for almost an entire game πŸ˜€

UP NEXT: Abyssals!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 20: UNDEAD

My club is hosting its inaugural Dead of Winter GT this weekend here in Albany, NY and I’ve decided I want to bring the crabs out for it. Mostly because I’m interested in the various tweaks they got from Clash of Kings ’22 but I also miss shooting and needed an excuse to rebase my Gigas into Placoderms. I hear practice is important, especially when running an army you’ve only played maybe once since February 2020?

Trident Realm 2100
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Strength
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Centurion – Trident of the Drowned Sea
Depth Horror Eternal
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2)
Naiad Envoy – War-Bow of Kaba

The GT is a nifty 2100 points, so naturally I took the 1995 point list I’ve been brewing and added an Eternal to it πŸ˜› Although I’m not 100% on it being a) good or b) a thing I understand how to use, I really wanted to bring the Centurion with his new laser trident. For those not in the know, it’s a 5 shot 12″ Piercing (1) shooting attak that hits on 3+ and disorders if you wound. So adds to the combined arms thing going on but also extends his flyer sit-down from 12″ to 18″. Very groovy … although it comes at a heavy cost, as he’d be an Aquamage with some amazing support spells otherwise. We’ll have to see if it was worth it! This also marks the first time I’ve run Trident without a Lute, choosing instead to just bake it into the Elementals, who very often were bane chanted anyway. I kind of miss it already, as the Lute helps a lot of the list do work (like Placos).

Undead 2100
Wights Horde – Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar
Wights Horde – Brew of Haste
Wights Horde – Sir Jesse’s Boots of Striding
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – Staying Stone
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop – Skirmisher’s Boots
Ghouls Troop
Vampire on Undead Pegasus – Surge (4), Torc of Dissonance
Vampire on Undead Pegasus – Surge (4), Blade of Slashing
Necromancer – Surge (6), Bane Chant (2), Inspiring Talisman

My clubmate’s 2300 list with the extra Ghouls removed. I think it hurts for chaff, tho as he admitted, what he really needs is Wraiths and he doesn’t have those painted anyway. So hammers it is. Personally, I’d turn most of those items into a second Ghoul troop, but he was apparently burned repeatedly at the last GT when his Wights were hindered all the time, so really wanted terrain mitigation.

We chose Raze, as we wanted a token game but not too involved of one. I won the roll but made him go first because 18″ guns.

BATTLE

Battlelines! Slash the first seconds of Undead 1 … My Depth Horror Eternal is hard right, hoping to punch up and burn my rightmost token.
Undead 1: Shamblers shamble forward, with the Vampasuses maneuvering on the flanks and the Soul Reavers preparing to scrum around the central hill. The Ghouls mount said hill, possibly against their better judgement.
Trident 1: The crabs cautiously skitter up, with only the left Placoderms moving into range of the Haste Wights + Slashing Vampasus if he wants that hindered, phalanx charge. On the right, the Eternal cheekily puts the Torc Vampasus into his flank, but without enough room to land.
Harpoons fly into the Undead lines, only doing ~4 damage to the Caterpillar Wights on the left and removing the Ghouls. The Soul Reaver regiment received some attention as well but no damage made it through cover. Finally, Bastion went up on the Water Elemental horde.
Undead 2: The deadites avoid going in piecemeal and advance the batteline together … with the exception of the left Zombies who are surged 3″ forward most likely as bait. The Soul Reavers have put their leaderpoints on the hill as well. The Vampasuses continue working the flanks, with the left one burning a token and putting the Undead on the scoreboard (1-0).
Trident 2: Despite knowing better, I punch it and engage Turn 2 😐 Kraken whip into the Haste Wights on the left and Soul Reaver troop in the middle, and Placoderms get saucy and waddle into the Zombie bait, their terrible crabby mouthparts twitching. Everything else prepares to shoot or counter next turn, including the Eternal on the right who scoots up within 3″ of the right token to see just how tough he is …

And here’s where I was sure I must have missed an after photo, but nope, nothing died 😦 Shooting did not kill the Caterpillar Wights (10 damage) or waver the Soul Reaver regiment (? damage), Bastion failed on the forward Placoderms, and all the combats were decidedly tepid – tho I did remember rampage against the Soul Reaver troop (+2 attaks)! Oh, and the Centurion’s trident hit the Strider Wights 3 times and then rolled 1-1-1 for damage, failing to disorder them.

Undead 3: Yep, that checks out. The Undead hammers smash down on our squishy crab bodies as one might expect.
Caterpillar Wights + Zombies + flanking Vampasus shatter the Placoderms; Soul Reavers in the front and flank deal the central Kraken 25 damage and turn him into a crab smoothie; and the Strider Wights dunk some Heartpiercers and are decidedly in my lines. In other combats, Haste Wights do 6 to the left Kraken, central Zombies scratch 1 on the other Placoderms, and the right Vampasus begins grinding damage on the Eternal. The other two Undead tokens are burned this turn (3-0).
Trident 3: All guns point at the Soul Reavers on the hill, while bigger crabs fight things, most notably the Water Elementals into the mangled Caterpillar Wights and the Centurion into the Strider Wights.
The Soul Reavers are shot up to 9 damage but are unmoved, although the bait Zombies are ventilated in the process (I’d like to say the Envoy’s War-Bow did the business but that thing missed all game). The Water Elementals boss out the mangled Caterpillar Wights and prepare to menace the Undead’s hold on the center. Everything else grinds.
Undead 4: The Soul Reaver regiment charges off the hill into the central Heartpiercers, dicing up a tasty crab gumbo with the help of the Slashing Vampasus.
In less decisive news, the Placoderms are wavered by the Soul Reaver troop + Zombies, the right Heartpiercers are wavered by hindered Zombies alone (!), and the Kraken, Centurion and Eternal all take a beating but keep on kicking.
Trident 4: The Water Elementals zip into the flank of the Soul Reaver troop, tidily dismembering them and preparing to murder the Soul Reaver regiment next, which has been wavered by the 11 harpoon shots I’ve got left at this point. The surviving Kraken finishes off the Haste Wights (all told this is pretty impressive!) and turns to face the action. The Eternal continues chunking just enough damage into the Torc Vampasus that she can lifeleach it back each turn (…), and the Centurion completely fails to wound the Wights, leaving them free to fly around and be a menace next turn. Bro, come on.
Undead 5: The Slashing Vampasus descends upon the War-Bow Envoy and messily devours it, as the Eternal and Centurion are both torn limb from delectable limb by their assailants (the Wights having decided to end the wrath of the Centurion’s trident before it could truly power up). The Placoderms are again wavered, this time by just the Zombies and their shocking ability to roll 5+/6+. Note that the left Vampasus is out of the Kraken’s arc and facing the Heartpiercers.
Trident 5: The Water Elemental horde-crab continues its reign of terror, eviscerating the poor cowering Soul Reaver regiment, while also receiving Bastion. The left Heartpiercers fire at and miss the Necromancer, as the right ones jab at their Zombies, and the Kraken sidesteps within 3″ of a token and finally puts the crabs on the board (1-3).
Undead 6: The Deadites aim to clear out the right side of the board, with Placoderms receiving a flank from the Strider Wights and the right Heartpiercers a visitation from the Torc Vampasus. The Slashing Vampasus nimble turns and punches it 20″ away from the Kraken’s affections.
The Placoderms are scythed down, the Zombies overrunning to block for the Wights. The Heartpiercers waver but somehow stick around.
Trident 6: The Water Elementals immediately rear charge the Slashing Vampasus (!), shortly followed by the Kraken powering up the hill and into the Necromancer loitering near the central token.
The combats are, well, decisive to say the least. Also the central Zombies are cleared out by the left Heartpiercers. Also the Kraken enjoys some Bastion in case the Wights want to get froggy in Turn 7.
Turn 7: The Wights blow their boots, charge the Water Elementals and one round them, because of course they do. The Heartpiercers on the right also succumb to the Vampasus’ dark ministrations. In the Trident half of the turn, I don’t move the Kraken – without pathfinder on the Heartpiercers in 3E, I can’t move them up to the center and the Kraken off to another token, even if the distances worked out. 10 shots into the Wights yields 1-2 damage and that’s game. With a score of 2-3, that’s a decisive …

UNDEAD VICTORY

If you’ve read my other Trident reports, you’ll see I did what I too often do, engage a turn too early instead of letting my shooting do one more round of work to give my mediocre combat units a leg/claw up. The play with the Eternal seems a bit dumb as well – he’s a great piece that can do many, many things – however keeping a Vampasus entirely occupied for 5 turns is nothing to sneeze at! I’m also not that discouraged by the result. We’re using Blackjack scoring, so despite my impatience and cool dice, I’m thrilled to get 7 points off of a ‘bag of hammers’ Undead list!

Doesn’t look like I’ll get another practice match in before Saturday, so stay tuned for a tournament report next week πŸ¦€

BLOODFIRE 45: EMPIRE OF DUST

Happy new year! Hope it’s been good, or at least relatively free of plague. This last Saturday we had a (masked + vaxxed) Learn to Play Kings of War day at the very new gaming center in town, and had great turnout with quite a few people interested in the game and in minigaming in general. Plus a few members of our club came out who haven’t been spotted in the wild in years, which also bodes well for the future of KOW in our area. Exciting times ahead, pandemic-willing!

After the first couple rounds of intro games, there was a free table so I challenged a clubmate to a fast little game of Kings:

Salamanders 1000
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Greater Fire Elemental
Mage-Priest – Fireball (10), Surge (8), Heal (3)
Herald – The Boomstick

I have some regrets about not taking Scorched Earth instead of Heal and giving the Herald the Shroud instead, but not a lot else to say. In theory, LB(3) should be great for clearing chaff and adding to the general firepower of the list. In practice though …

Empire of Dust 1000
Skeleton Spearmen Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Mummies Regiment
Mummies Regiment
Bone Giant
Sebekh-Rei the Accursed – Heal (5+), Surge (5+)
Revenant Champion – Surge (5)

Chaff? What chaff? Solid EOD package, although he really wasn’t feeling Sebekh-Rei (agreed!). Rev Champ is a real workhorse however, giving them surge option is so good for the army.

We chose to play Dominate, since all the intro tables were running either Invade or Dominate and we had just helped run an Invade game. Bloodfire scouted, won the roll for first, then gave it away.

BATTLE

Salamanders 0: Ember Sprites scoot up the field to get ready to spit and to tempt him to engage.
Empire of Dust 1: The dry undead shamble forward, maintaining their frontage on the left and surging a couple inches forward on the right.
Salamanders 1: Ember Sprites advance and angle a bit, as Fire Elementals hover behind them and prepare to counter (the left horde has been surged up to close its frontage off from the Bone Giant, forgetting that it could probably walk up and surge into their flank). Ember Sprites spit at the Bone Giant, doing 3 damage. The Boomstick Herald tries the same and fails.
Empire of Dust 2: Mummies descend upon the Ember Sprites! The left regiment is driven off but the right holds on 5 damage (given how few attaks Mummies have on 4+, holding was a distinct possibility). The Skeleton Spearmen continue their inexorable flank, the Bone Giant plays it cool while Sebekh-Rei fails a 5-6 dice heal on the big guy 😐
Salamanders 2: As planned, the Sprites have left at least one of the Mummies with their flank open, which a Fire Elemental horde cheerily plows into, with Greater Fire in the front. The other Fire Elementals head off to slowly burn down the Bone Giant. The surviving Sprites had to disengage and sidestep to make space for the Fire Elemental charge, but have been surged back into the Mummies at this point. Finally, the Herald tried to lightning bolt Sebekh-Rei but failed.
The left Mummies are incinerated, the right Mummies take 2! damage from enraged Ember Sprites, and the Bone Giant takes an anemic 4 damage from his Fire Elementals (up to 7). Yikes.
Empire of Dust 3: Gentle readers, we’ve entered the grind. The Mummies regen their 2 damage then corkscrew the looming Fire Elementals. The Bone Giant counters his Fire Elementals, rolls max attaks and pummels 8 damage into them. Double yikes. Between heal and lifeleech he returns to 3 damage. Meanwhile, the Skeleton Spears flank and skewer the poor little Ember Sprites.
Salamanders 3: At this point, it’s pretty obvious that the Bone Giant fight isn’t going to go my way, and the Skeleton Spears are going to be a problem very soon, as well as a scenario winner in themselves. My only option is to punch harder!

Smoldering Fire Elemetals head back into the Bone Giant, again doing a terrible 4 damage (7 is average) and getting him back to 7. Central Fire Elementals counter the Mummies, but not before the Greater Fire steps into surge position, hence the strange alignment (the big girl couldn’t combo-charge with them, due to not having Nimble. Also I just realized she could have toasted Sebekh-Rei out of spite before surging in!) While they do damage, it isn’t enough to rout the Mummies in one go. Also the Herald tries and fails to lightning Sebekh-Rei.

Empire of Dust 4: The Bone Giant stamps out his Fire Elementals, the Skeleton Spears stab the other Fire Elemental horde up to 10 damage, and the Mummies bap 5 damage onto the Greater Fire. Everybody lifeleeches, regens or heals as is their wont. Looking like Bloodfire’s best option is to punch. even. harder.
Salamanders 4: One of my favorite things about playing Sallies is the late game shooting that happens when Mage-Priests are called upon to rain elite fireball (10) down on fools. To whit, the Mage-Priest roasts the Bone Giant back up to 7 damage (the Herald probably tried to help too but I’m not giving her any credit), but the rerolled 9 rout test doesn’t come through. In combat, the Greater Fire Elemental burns up the Mummies and faces the rampaging Bone Giant, while the Fire Elemental horde continues to be terrible, dishing out 6 damage to the Skeleton Spears (of 9 expected). RIP, fire boys.
Empire of Dust 5: The Bone Giant powers into the Greater Fire Elemental, in the kaiju big battle I know I was waiting for (the Rev Champ gets in on the action as well while Sebekh-Rei lets them fight). The duo chunks her up to 12 damage. The Skeleton Spear horde meanwhile dissipates the Fire Elementals. A bunch of healing happens.
Salamanders 5: Hear me out – if the Greater Fire can wreck the Bone Giant and hold against the Spears, I might actually pull this out … The Greater Fire gets the Bone Giant to 11 damage but can’t land the double 6 rout (4 on the first roll, actually). The Mage-Priest and Herald try to dunk the Skeleton Spears but roll very poorly, taking them up to 7 damage.
Empire of Dust 6: The Greater Fire Elemental is torn down by the combined aggression of the Empire, to simmer until she may once again scorch the mortal plane.
Salamanders 6: I’ve got just one plan left – pop the horde with the Mage-Priest and tip the Bone Giant over with the Herald. While the Mage-Priest slams the horde up to 13 damage and the Herald actually manages 1 damage on the giant, neither of the rout tests come through for me. With no Turn 7 (which would see both Bloodfire casters surge-charged anyway), that’s a resounding …

EMPIRE OF DUST VICTORY

In a game that revolved almost entirely around rolling 4+s to hit, the Bone Giant far outperformed, reminding me of my 2E games where Bone Giants were easily the best thing in the EOD list and caused me endless pain. On the flipside, my Fire Elementals were aggressively poor this game, and the Herald’s Boomstick was laughably bad, with I believe 1 damage dealt all game. Being 1000 points makes these sort of dice skews stand out all the more, I suppose.

All told a fun romp, thanks for reading! Hope to get some more games in, likely at 2100 points as my club is running its own GT at the end of February and we’re all chomping at the bit. Stay tuned.

BLOODFIRE 44: VARANGUR

It feels like it’s been forever since I last played Kings of War, but in that time Clash of Kings 2022 has slammed into the game and we’ve just begun feeling the weight of that impact. Add to all the new units and armies feverishly being born all the new players starting the game and it all adds up to exciting times in Pannithor. Personally, I’m adding loads of new stuff to the Hallow right now, partially because I already had expansions in progress and partially because COK unlocked quite a few units for the faction that otherwise were just hard to justify on the tabletop – including stuff I took in the beginning and kept passing over, like the Great Chieftain. Welcome to every game going forward, bud!

Since the Hallow is on the hobby desk, I commemorated my first COK22 outing by busting out Bloodfire: The Pre-Rebuild edition:

Salamanders 1995
Fire Elementals Horde – Diadem of Dragonkind
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Greater Fire Elemental
Clan Lord – Effigy of Fire, Raptor
Clan Lord – Effigy of Fire, Raptor
Mage-Priest – Fireball (10), Surge (8), Scorched Earth (3)
Battle Captain on Rhinosaur – Inspiring Talisman

This doesn’t take huge advantage of COK22 – there are no Scorchwings (yet) – but the shattering on the fireballs and the Me 3+ on the GFE certainly don’t hurt. I knew I wanted to take one of the new mega spells on the Mage-Priest, so went with Scorched Earth as I rate it the most meta-warping of the library. Yes, I do happen to have two very mobile combat individuals in the list as well. We’ll talk about changes at the end πŸ˜›

Varangur 1995
The Fallen Horde
The Fallen Horde
Snow Trolls Horde – Staying Stone
Huscarls Regiment – Brew of Haste
Mounted Sons of Korgaan Regiment – Guise of the Deceiver?
Night Raiders Troop – Bows
Cavern Dweller
Lord on Frostfang – Snow Fox
Lord on Horse – Snow Fox
Magus – Host Shadowbeast (8), Lightning Bolt (4)

Speaking of juicing up combat characters, the Varangur obviously went that route, with the 7 attak base mounted Lord prepared to receive all the shadowbeast he could handle. Apart from that, business as usual, with elite fast hammers, a token chaff unit, and one beautiful beastie.

Adorable baby boy!

We rolled up Invade, which felt a little bit too lopsided for Bloodfire’s triumphant return, so we rerolled to Push and kept it. Bloodfire scouted then won and took first!

BATTLE

Salamanders 0: There’s no escaping the Scouting Phase! Trolls (the toads to the right of the Cavern Dweller) have two tokens and the Huscarls (right of tower) have one; second-from-left Fire Elementals have one token and the horde to their right has two.
Salamanders 1: The red tide rolls out, with Clan Lords on the flanks looking to intercept and Ember Sprites mobilizing to be a nuisance. I do not pick up the center token, per nuisance guidelines.
Varangur 1: The monstrous barbarians advance to outside of the worst of the Bloodfire danger zone. Night Raiders shoot a damage onto the rightmost Ember Sprites, to no avail.
Salamanders 2: Clan Lords punch out left and right, holding up Fallen on one flank and Mounted Sons on the other. Ember Sprites, diadem Fire horde and Greater Fire move up into toasting range, as the left Fire hordes prepare to avoid combo-charges and then strike back.
21 Ember shots into Fallen in cover results in 2 damage (1 after Iron Resolve), but the Huscarls take 5 non-trivial points of damage and Scorched Earth. (Of my three options, they were probably the worst of them – they’re already hindered into the Fire Elementals in the wood or will be killing Sprites regardless. Making the Trolls hit on 5+ against Sprites could have actually been pretty gnarly, and as for the Dweller, I’ll admit I thought he hit on 4+ base so discounted him as a target. Whoops.)

The Clan Lords rolled well, doing 3-4 damage each at the cost of the left one’s effigy.

Varangur 2: Welcome to Murder Town, Ember Sprites! Leftmost Fallen counter their Clan Lord, other Fallen charge Sprites, the Horse Lord solos Fire Elementals, the Cavern Dweller scoots his tiny base into more Fire Elementals (I think he was blocking the Horse Lord’s LOS so they couldn’t go in together), Trolls waddle into more Sprites, Huscarls drop their token and hit the wounded Sprites, and Mounted Sons counter their Clan Lord. The Night Raiders tag a startling 3 damage on the Rhino Captain (hard right), and then the Magus hosts 4 attaks worth of shadowbeast into the Horse Lord. 11 attaks doesn’t seem so bad, right?
The Fallen stab 5 damage into their Clan Lord, the Horse Lord blends 4 into Fire Elementals (10 hits -> 4 wounds), the Cavern Dweller pounds a tidy 6 into his horde, and the Mounted Sons likewise deliver 6 damage to their Clan Lord in the joust to the right. All the Sprites die, leaving just one that is frustratingly in my way.
Salamanders 3: I can’t get those Ember Sprites out of the way of my Fire Elementals that want to murder the Trolls, so grudgingly the Sprites take that charge. Two more Fire hordes sandwich the Cavern Dweller in the name of overkill (my opponent may have egged me into it, then talked loudly about double ones the whole time …), and the overkill continues with the banged up Huscarls copping a Fire horde, Greater Fire and Rhino Captain to the face. I was vaguely aware of not needing to go this ham and maybe keeping the Captain back, but eh! The Clan Lords counter-charge their targets.

And then I come to terms with having nothing to do with my 150 point Mage-Priest. I wanted to Scorched Earth those waiting Fallen, but she really is quite short. I find myself missing Heal, which my Priests have had for like 43 games straight. Sigh. (It’s almost nothing, but she could have surged in the Ember Sprites if they held and shot the Trolls. I’m not really used to Sprites being shambling!)

Huscarls and Cavern Dweller are both devastated then routed. Wheeeeew. Fallen, Mounted Sons and Trolls take token damage.
Varangur 3: Alright, alright, deep breaths, let’s push these eevil vikings back. Fallen charge some Fire Elementals (4 damage), the Horse Lord sneaks his base into more Fire Elementals (6 damage), the last of the Sprites prepare to be devoured by Trolls, the Rhino Captain is combo-charged by Frostlord and Night Raiders, and the Clan Lords are counter-charged. The Magus pumps 4 attaks into the Horse Lord again, bringing him back to 11 attaks.
Red goo splashes across the battlefield as everything bar the left Clan Lord falls in combat (and that Clan Lord wavers). I’m reminded how bonkers the Frost Lord is, and taught another lesson in what a shadowbeast Horse Lord can do to a real unit ™.
Salamanders 4: Wow that fell apart! But um, tokens and stuff? I rocket the diadem Fire horde into the Mounted Sons, the other Fire horde (2 tokens) into the central Fallen, and the Greater Fire chooses to murder Night Raiders rather than grind the face of the Frost Lord (she was in his front arc, by design). The Mage-Priest has several Scorched Earth targets, but chooses to try to dunk the damn Magus pumping up the Horse Lord.
Fireball (10) on 5s (elite) and 5s manages to waver the Magus, thanks to shattering! All the combats go to Bloodfire as well. The token-bearing Fire Elementals try for a hardy overrun to pressure the Fallen into grinding with them, but 3″ only gets them just into range.
Varangur 4: Unable to escape the GFE’s wrath, the Trolls decide to charge her first (hindered), as the Frost Lord blocks the diadem Fire Elementals from flanking them. The Horse Lord charges the Mage-Priest, with his puny 7 attaks, and the Fallen prepare to end their Clan Lord’s reign of terror. The Magus, meanwhile, pats out his smoldering robes.
The second Clan Lord falls! But nothing else does, tho the Mage-Priest is indeed disordered. The Fallen back up just out of a Fire Elementals charge range.
Bloodfire 5: The diadem Fire horde and the Greater Fire pound damages into the Frost Lord and Snow Trolls respectively (up to 5 and 7 each). On the left, the token horde strains forward 5″ while the Mage-Priest limps after them in the name of inspiration.
Varangur 5: The grind continues on the right, while on the left the Varangur try a new tactic – what if Fallen and blender lord at once? Said Horse Lord receives +3 attaks from the Magus, for 10 total. Pedestrian, I say.
Turns out it’s still super effective! The Fallen + Lord one-round the Fire Elementals, giving the Fallen their 2 tokens. Both fire units on the right cop a hiding but somehow cling to the mortal plane – most notably the Greater Fire on 14 damage!
Salamanders 6: The right counter-charge their targets, and as spoiled above, kill them both, with the Frost Lord going down before the Trolls (as you do). Crispest of high fives for the GFE and her 3+ to hit, which felt great. On the left, the Mage-Priest uses her last cast of the battle to … reach for the stars and nuke the Fallen, dropping their tokens and ensuring the Varangur can’t hold any to come. The odds are pretty terrible (rerolled 10+ Nv checks on slightly above average damage) but the payoff is huge. Anyway, she does 1 damage and the double box cars doesn’t happen. (Ironically, the Frost Lord died on 12 rerolled into 11, and the Trolls died on 10-11 as well.)

The Mage-Priest’s other option was to choose violence and wreck the Magus out of spite. It would turn out that spite isn’t always the wrong option …

Also the GFE is holding the Trolls’ 2 tokens, tying the game 2-2.

Varangur 6: The Magus crests the hill and lightning bolts the Greater Fire Elemental back to whence she came, her loot falling in front of the feet of the Fire Elemental horde. 2-0 Varangur.

Salamanders 7: The Fire Elementals scoot forward and pick up the tokens, unable to turn and bring the Magus into their diadem’s arc. 2-2 draw.

Varangur 7: The Magus saunters forward, raises his other hand and explodes the Fire Elementals with another blast of lightning. That will teach those meddlesome eternals from scorching his robes. (Also the Fallen pick up 2 more tokens.) With a score of 4-0, that’s a convincing …

VARANGUR VICTORY

Obviously I’m smarting from not choosing to kill the damn wizard, but I feel like that’s the moral of this story (and possibly COK22): Kill. The. Wizard. You used to more or less be able to ignore casters, as they were heal bots or bane chanters or boomstick operators, but that’s going to be less and less the case. Flipside, the reward for taking these tools out is higher than before, both points and cost to the enemy, so well worth it.

Host Shadowbeast feels kind of bad to play against, as I thought it would, but I guess it’s here until 4E hits. Honestly I’m inclined to just join in, especially when it comes to the build I ran here. Lizards don’t have a 7 attak blender like a few of the factions, so I’m just juicing up 5 attak beaters and rolling dice, which hey, is the point. It largely gives combat characters more options than speedbumps or sitting down flyers, which is on the whole good. On the counter point, Scorched Earth I still think is the most important spell of the new library for the meta, however with double mounted heroes and so much chaff, it feels less necessary here. It might be best in lists that a) have ensnare, so it’s extremely punishing, but don’t necessarily have pathfinder so aren’t lurking in terrain (I’m saying Trident Realms, ok?); or b) are really elite and don’t have the usual tools to ground flyers.

Which is to say, here’s the redux for whenever somebody wants to play 1995 again:

Salamanders 1995
Fire Elementals Horde – War Bow
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Greater Fire Elemental
Clan Lord – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Raptor
Clan Lord – Blade of Slashing, Raptor
Mage-Priest – Crown of the Wizard King, Fireball (10), Surge (8), Host Shadowbeast (8)
Battle Captain on Rhinosaur – Inspiring Talisman

165 points seems a bit preposterous on that Mage-Priest, but 18″ surge and shadowbeast feels good for how slow she is compared to the more aggressive parts of the army. I 100% miss the healing I’ve used for basically ever, however I’m thinking leaning into aggression might be good, rather than pretending I can be a counter-attak attrition force.

Oh, also Effigy of Fire continues to feel pretty bad. More attaks or more rerolls please.

I’ll probably get another game or two in before the new year! Until then, happy Clashing!

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 – Surge (8)
Tree Herder – 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″ 😐 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 – Surge (8)
Tree Herder – 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 – Chalice of Wrath
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Hunters Horde – 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 – Crocodog
Nomagarok – Bane Chant (3), Heal (4), Lightning Bolt (4)
Boomer Sergeant – Inspiring Talisman
Kuzlo & Madfall – 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 😐
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 😦 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.