Last game of Unplugged 2022 and I’m up against Pat and his gorgeous Dwarfs, as was very likely our destiny. We face each other at just about every tournament we’re at, and it’s a minor miracle that we missed each other at Dead of Winter back in February. He’s changed things up since we played at Crossroads 2021, but then COK22 has hit since then as well.
Dwarfs 1995 *Ironclad Horde – Throwing Mastiff, Hammer of Measured Force Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar *Bulwarkers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff *Bulwarkers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff Sharpshooters Troop Sharpshooters Troop Sharpshooters Troop Steel Behemoth – Golloch’s Fury Berserker Lord on Brock – Blade of the Beast Slayer Stone Priest – Ej Periscope, Radiance of Life, Mind Fog (3), Scorched Earth (3) *Dwarf Army Standard Bearer *The Royal Guard Formation
For those not in the know, the Dwarf formation adds +1 Me and Nv and gives the ASB aura (Elite (Melee) Infantry) and Very Inspiring. I’m going to say that qualifies as very rad. Around this core are a cloud of shooty chaff/scenario pieces, a fast flanking force and one serious shooty / buffing monster-chariot. Altogether a tight Dwarf build looking to keep up with the meta.
Final round was Control, with the Dwarfs going first one way or another.
SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (20-0)
While this dunking couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, it felt good to get a heavy win and feel like I played competently while doing so. I certainly showed more patience with my punchy stuff than maybe ever, and while my Heartpiercers didn’t dictate the game as in the last match, I used them as the scenario pieces I designed the army around, which is a good feel of its own. I’m sure Pat and I will rematch soon enough 😀
So with this big win I ended up 2-2-1, getting the 50% record I always try for. Happily I also got 4th best sports, which helped put me at I think 11 of 18 in the final ranking? Not bad at all for how heavy the field was.
Thanks for reading all these, and big thanks to the crew at Unplugged Gamers for putting the GT on. I’m thrilled I could make it out after a few years away, looking forward to next year.
UP NEXT: 2600 points of mayhem at the Orc Town GT early June!
Unplugged Day Two dawns with me up against my clubmate and tournament bunk buddy Drew and his Undead. We’ve scrummed a number of times, but never at 1995? And certainly not with his shiny new Werewolves or Wraiths.
I continue to be shocked by how good Wights are, tho I probably shouldn’t be at this point 😛 He’s replaced his Ghoul chaff with Wraith chaff and swapped out excessive Zombie regiments with a half pack of Werewolves looking to do things like move at the double. I’m surprised he’s done so poorly to be down here with me but I think he had some hard match-ups in day one.
Fourth round was Salt the Earth, again with tokens pre-placed on the map. The Undead went first, either because he’s slow or I wanted to shoot his dudes.
What. A. Journey. I felt like this was a breakthrough game for me where my deployment was sound and I fully recognized my shooting advantage and really made the most of it. Throwing the right Kraken away was a bummer and would have changed the game wildly if I held onto him, although I really wanted him to dive into the Undead backfield to clear out those Zombies / force him to burn those tokens I otherwise couldn’t get to. Also Wights are frustratingly good and make surge just so much more viable than it usually is (in my head), but you certainly pay for it. Wraiths on the other hand, damn, that’s some value right there. Finally, I’m more and more convinced that I need Lute back in the list, more than I need the trident, almost entirely because it helps the Placoderms do anything. Spoilers I guess for my next list.
With my sweet 4 points, I’m matched up against a gorgeous Moorish (?) army likewise wallowing down here at the bottom. Wyatt’s a good guy with some serious tools in his list, who must have been smacked by some heavies in the first couple rounds.
Brothermark 1995 Order of the Abyssal Hunt Regiment – Blessing of the Gods *Paladin Knights Regiment – Aegis Fragment, Potion of the Caterpillar *Paladin Knights Regiment – Aegis Fragment, Boots of Striding Men-at-Arms Spearmen Horde – Veteran Command, Hammer of Measured Force Villein Bowmen Horde – Fire-Oil Villein Skirmishers Troop *High Paladin on Dragon – Staying Stone Exemplar Hunter on Horse – The Gauntlet, Scythe of the Harvester Exemplar Chaplain on Horse – Battle Hymns, Knowledgeable, Host Shadowbeast (8), Crown of the Wizard King Exemplar Chaplain – Battle Hymns, Zephyr Crown *Defenders of Righteousness Formation
He walked me through the Exemplar Hunter + Shadowbeast wombo-combo, which definitely has legs, especially against individuals (thanks to duellist) but really anything (thanks to both rampage and slayer). Otherwise it’s three serious knight units, one helluva dragon, and some loathsome peasant Nerve blocks / scenario pieces. He did admit at some point that there’s a severe lack of inspiring, calling it a “design flaw” 😀
Third round was Pillage, with the seven tokens already placed on the map. Brothermark went first whether or not they wanted to.
SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (16-4)
There’s a different version of this game where Wyatt didn’t go so ham into a charge I wanted him to take, but I also think my list matches pretty well into his, with my phalanx, speed and rampage (also guns). He had some misgivings about his choices in our game, but wore it well. For me, I won’t pretend finishing Day 1 with a win didn’t feel great. After this we got grub and partied at the house of the TO, which was super nice of him and his spouse.
Game two sees me hurtling down to the depths to face a really quite competent Nightstalkers player I’ve never met who must have faced a real heavy first game to get dunked down here with me. Anyway, without further ado:
Nightstalkers 1995 Fiends Horde – Mead of Madness Butchers Horde Butchers Horde Butchers Horde Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5) Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5) Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5) Phantoms Troop Planar Apparition – Heal (7), Mind Fog (2) Mind-screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6) Mind-screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6) Portal of Despair
Lots to like here. Enough Soulflayers to take advantage of the new hotness without being abusive, decent mix of support monsters, bit of an old school flair with the triple Butchers, and the Portal for style points. Could certainly be tuned but its got lots of tools to work with.
Second round was Loot, and he went first either by choice or command.
NIGHTSTALKER VICTORY (16-4)
While Stealthy is a royal pain for me, most of his army being De 4+ gave me hope for gaining some momentum and having a fighting chance at two tokens … but that early lucky rout of the Kraken holding down his left flank had me scrambling. Compound that by the Centurion doing a collective 1 damage all game (!), and canny use of windblast by my opponent, and I was just too many steps behind to claw back the Nightstalkers’ early lead. Fun match tho, with loads of interplay. Getting that lucky pop on the hexed Planar Apparition was a feel good moment amongst the frustration.
My run at the Unplugged GT 2022 kicked off with a rematch vs the Basilean army I was thoroughly trounced by at Dead of Winter mere weeks before. While a cute coincidence, I was all for it, as it’s one of my favorite Kings of Warmachine armies out there and it’s marshaled by a gem of a player.
But first, a reminder of my army for this event:
I was super excited to see him field units I hadn’t seen, and I gather he was pushed to leave the Men-at-Arms horde at home and lean harder into speed with the cav regiments. He had misgivings, and personally I was hoping my Placoderms’ phalanx would put in work in what was otherwise a tentative match for me.
First round was Dominate, and he won the roll for initiative and gave it to me. Canny angels.
… except there is no after photo, this is it. The Centurion fails to wound those Elohi, neither Placoderm regiment drops their target (0 on the Elohi, 3 on Sammy) ensuring their deaths, and the Kraken boops the Palace Guard to 7. Heartpiercers stick 3 damage on the strength Knights, continuing to ignore the Elohi horde which I never remembered was Def 4+ for swapping their shields out. I took a lot of risks this turn and would definitely pay for that shortly.
BASILEAN VICTORY (20-0)
Zero points, ouch! I’m a big proponent of blackjack for this very reason, getting zero’d is rough, kids. Chris played great and had great dice throughout, while I had that early shooting result and had my errors compounded by cold dice. Even deploying the Water Elementals that far to the right was a mistake, but they tend to cause me trouble in deployment, as I want them to clean things up but the base is big and my line is full of Heartpiercers who want to shoot Unfortunately for the Basileans, this win catapulted them up into the winners bracket, where they were slapped around by stronger armies game after game. Sorry, bud.
The Unplugged GT was held April 23-24 in Milford, MA, delivering on its promise of five great games of Kings of War with a lovely bunch of gentlemen. Lists were 1995 points and, while I had originally planned on taking a very Herd-centric version of The Hallow with a bunch of new units, I found that I really didn’t like actually playing the army, which involved lots of positioning, waiting, and then doing next to nothing when allowed to fight. I’ve got photos of THE HALLOW 16: OGRES, but I think I’ll keep that drubbing unreported for now.
Which meant I would be taking crabs to Unplugged after their lukewarm showing at Dead of Winter! I was on the whole ok with this – I like playing them, even when losing, and they feel like they have tools to keep me engaged despite having a pretty low ceiling. I spent April updating the paint on them: green accents swapped to blue, claw tips blackened and glossed, brighter bone highlights here and there, and tufts everywhere. Time well spent and I’m happy I returned to zazz the crustaceans up a bit.
I managed to get one practice game in a few days before the tournament, so consider this report a prelude to the full Unplugged report. Strap in.
You’re damn right that’s my 2100 list minus the Depth Horror Eternal but with the wand instead of #warbow 😉 It was a toss-up between the fury aura or hex on the second Envoy, however the existence of Nightstalkers and Ogres convinced me to go with wand. Would I regret it and doom the Placos to a wavered hell??
My clubmate continues to rock his Ogres, but this time with an excuse to bring his big blue Mierce demon to the table. Happily Void Lurkers are pretty legit (people try to tell me otherwise but I disagree, they’re still one of the few dragons I respect). The rest of the list is all bangers, with the main downside being no dedicated chaff to speak of, save for the Bully and Scarecrows. The Crocodog was the thing I most curious to see in action, since it’s new and shiny and weird. Which is ironic to say now given what happened in this game …
We rolled up Dominate, I won the roll for initiative and made the Ogres go first.
Trident 2: Feeling tired and saucy, I unleash the crabs a turn early or so (never a good sign!), sending the left Kraken + Placoderms (hindered) into the Boomers. The intent is to crack them and turn to face the oncoming threats to left and right. The wavered Heartpiercers regen down to 3 damage, then their cohorts spike 3 damage on the Siege Breakers (I low key forgot they had Def 6+ :P) and 0 on the Void Lurker. I also tire of being gamey with the left Hunters and press the Water Elemental horde forward, curious to see how that grind works, but confident it buys me a couple turns. Bastion stays on the left Kraken.
Trident 6: Said Placoderms poke ineffectively at the Chariots and I’m guessing the Kraken fluffed. Without a Turn 7 (blessedly!), this isn’t a tabling but it is an …
What a beat down, with an early assist from hot, hot rout dice to really rub my face in it. Not to just blame the dice, I made a few bad decisions and engaged too early, when shooting could have used another turn to work over the ‘softer’ Ogre units. The Void was always going to be a problem, tho he played a pretty passive game compared to what I expected, not that he needed to go ham. Spoilers for the tournament, my opponent this game would go on to win the Unplugged GT! Great showing for a strong player and fairly unique Ogre list.
Speaking of the Unplugged GT, stay tuned for the reports, which kick off with me rematching the Basilean army I played at Dead of Winter!
A weekend or two after Dead of Winter, a clubmate struggled the 0.7 miles to my house and we threw a couple games down, along with quite a few beers. First game saw me messing with 1995 points of Abyssals, in what I’m pretty sure is my first game with the faction? I may hold on to the report for that game, due to loathesome proxies on my part. More importantly, I busted out Bloodfire after grabbing dinner and we threw down a second facesmasher of a match. Strap in.
Salamanders 1995 Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Fire Elementals Horde Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Ember Sprites Regiment Greater Fire Elemental
Clan Lord – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Raptor Clan Lord – Torc of Dissonance, Raptor Mage-Priest – Crown of the Wizard King, Fireball (10), Surge (8), Host Shadowbeast (8) Battle Captain on Rhinosaur – Inspiring Talisman
Canny readers will notice that this is the Shadowbeast version of the last time I played Bloodfire, with the Torc on one Raptor Lord because it seems good to have around and you can pop it in the shooting phase while eating somebody’s face in the combat phase. I was pumped to give the list – and Host Shadowbeast – a shot.
Vampire Lord on Undead Dragon – Icy Breath (10), Surge (8), Lightning Bolt (4) Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Drain Life (4)
This is more or less his 2300 cut down because I asked him to make a 1995 😐 He’s really down on the dragon (I AGREE) but the vampires he’s churning out for the next version of the army aren’t done yet, 335 point sink it is. The Wraiths are the newest addition, which he’s loving. I’ve fought them plenty of times in other Undead armies and continue to be surprised at how just good they are!
We rolled up Raze, and I won and took first turn, because shambling.
The Revenants are demolished, thanks in large part to the GFE doing 7-8 damage on 8 attaks. While the Werewolves don’t take appreciable damage from the Raptor Lord, the Undead concede as the wolves can at best drop the Raptor Lord, and very likely get wrecked in Turn 7 by Fire Elementals no matter what they do. With 4 points to the Undead’s 1, that’s a convincing …
Though it felt a little bad styling on my clubmate so thoroughly, it’s always fun to slam Bloodfire into armies that also want to fight. I’m really enjoying the double Raptor Lords, and Shadowbeast, while not particularly game-breaking on Clan Lords (especially when you consider what the Mage-Priest costs!), is a lot of fun. Crown of the Wizard King is particularly wonderful on a short support caster whose best surge targets (Greater Fire Elementals) are taller than everything around her.
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 😛
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.
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!
The Clan Lords rolled well, doing 3-4 damage each at the cost of the left one’s effigy.
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!)
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.
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.
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!