SCUTTLIN’ REALM 47: FREE DWARFS

The final match of Crossroads 2022 sees Cuddle Time rocketing up from the bottom tables to face The Other Canadian Team. Will the Cuddlers be able to finish strong and continue climbing the rankings, or will they find themselves consigned to the snuggle zone for another year?

ROUND FIVE: TEAM EAGER BEAVERS

  • Northern Alliance
  • Trident Realm
  • Free Dwarfs
  • Forces of Nature

Operating according to the plan, I put our Ogres into Trident Realm for the second time that day (SORRY DREW), gave our Ratkin the Forces of Nature and their air elementals (SORRY HUGGINS), the Riftforged faced Northern Alliance in a smashfest, and I ended up facing the Free Dwarfs.

Free Dwarfs 2300
Free Dwarf Rangers Regiment
Free Dwarf Rangers Regiment
*Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
*Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
*Free Dwarf Shieldbreakers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Ironclad Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Ironclad Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Ironclad Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Dwarf Lord on Large Beast – Blade of Slashing
Dwarf Lord on Large Beast – Mace of Crushing
*Free Dwarf Lord – Wings of Honeymaze, Lord’s Jewel [1]
Herneas the Hunter [1]
Free Dwarf Stone Priest – Bane Chant (2), Alchemist Curse [1] (3)
Dwarf Army Standard Bearer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness

Have I really never reported a Free Dwarfs game?? Is it possible I’ve never faced them??? Regardless, I have faced off against everything but the formation before (it gives the flying Lord scout and brutal, and the Shieldbreakers get nimble and brutal and must purchase scout), so it’s not entirely unknown. I appreciate how high drop and regiment heavy his list is, plus it’s all FMC which makes all those bodies standout. The dude himself was relatively new to Kings – this was his first tournament away from his home town events (Hamilton, ON I believe) – and super nice.

We played Control, which I played 3 out of 4 games, often by choice. I wouldn’t have told you this was the go to for my list, but it makes sense, with how relatively little movement is involved and how much effect 23″ scoot-n-shoot units can have from the central sections. He scouted and then went first, in one of the only instances where I would have taken it πŸ˜‰

BATTLE

Battlelines! Also scouting phase!
Scouting flying heroes are really cool, cause if you get first turn you can … Oh no.

Free Dwarfs 1: The Dwarfs advance their non-scouting elements, including the dogs taking their place on the right. The real power move is obviously the Lord flying into the central Heartpiercers, booping them for 3 damage but more importantly a) turning off their shooting and b) trapping the other Heartpiercer unit behind them, which needed to move up to get into range and looks to be base to base with the booped unit. Ugh. The Coral Giant takes 2 damage from Herneas’ enormous crossbow and I think the Rangers back in the field.

Trident 1: The crabs are in no rush on the flanks, with the Kraken mostly rotating to menace some flanks in coming turns and/or project threat. Speaking of menace, the Coral Giant grimly rotates to help deal with the damn flying Lord next turn, which is easier thanks the trident Centurion landing 2 damage and grounding him. The two Heartpiercer units that can fire slam a respectable 5 damage into the first Ironclad regiment marching down the center of the board.

Free Dwarfs 2: The Lord stomps over to another Heartpiercer unit and bashes it for 2 damage, turning off its shooting and once again trapping that Heartpiercer unit behind it. Dammit. Herneas, the Rangers and the damaged Ironclad’s mastiff put the Coral Giant on 6 damage. Otherwise the Dwarfs continue to push the middle while redressing the right flank as my Sp 7+ threats scuttle closer.

Trident 2: I fight the urge to dive those Ironclad with the Coral Giant, instead sticking to the plan and charging the Dwarf Lord (with Hearpiercers counter-charging). Frustratingly the Lord only wavers on 10 damage, costing me another turn dealing with him. Available shooting shoves those Ironclad to 10 damage but they too refuse to break (or waver even). I’m content to waffle on the right flank as well while I figure out the center.

Free Dwarfs 3: The Dwarf battleline fully reforms as the Rangers step into place. Alchemist Curse from the Iron Priest, Herneas’ ballista, another Ironclad mastiff and possibly some Ranger shots put 8 damage on the left Kraken, which converts to a lucky 9-10 waver. Shooting is less effective against the right Kraken, where both Mastiff pack’s throwing mastiffs do 3ish damage.

Trident 3: Tired of waiting, I let rip on the right, sending the Water Elementals into the Ironclads in the woods and threading the Kraken into some Shieldbreakers. The brutal Centurion charges a Mastiff pack to hold it in place. While none of these combats break (Ironclads hold on 6, Shiledbreakers waver, Mastiffs hold on 3) I’m hopefully well positioned to grind for a couple turns. In the center, the Coral Giant finishes pounding the Dwarf Lord into the mud, and Heartpiercers see the damaged Ironclad off. The trident Centurion has a go at the left Dwarf Lord on Large Beast but De 6+ is too stronk.

Now we’re playing Kings!

Free Dwarfs 4: A lot of time goes into unpacking his options on the right, and we conclude that a) the Kraken cannot in fact be flanked by anything and b) the Kraken can’t corkscrew the Ironclad if the Shieldbreakers stay in its face. So: Rangers and Ironclad combo the Water Elementals (for 6 damage), and the brutal Centurion either takes 3 damage from the counter-charging Mastiffs or from two thrown mastiffs. If it was the former, then the mastiffs were probably tossed at the Kraken or the Placoderms but failed to do a wound. In the center, the Coral Giant holds his ground against the Free Dwarf shooting, sitting tight at 11 damage.

Trident 4: The sound of hungrily clacking claws can be heard as very large crabs plow into the Dwarfs. In the center, a Kraken rampages into some Ironclad as the Coral Giant smashes into their flank, while the trident Centurion holds off the DLOLB over there. On the right, the Water Elementals aim to finish off the other Ironclad and the Kraken prepares to brutalize the Shieldbreakers it had already softened up. The brutal Centurion meanwhile continues petting some dogs, brutally.

All four Heartpiercer regiments are finally allowed to shoot, and the rain of barbs puts 7 damage on the central Rangers and 1 on the regiment in the woods. In combat, all the Dwarf units rout, including the Mastiffs. The Water Elementals sidestep (CRAB. WALK.) to stay in front of the wood Rangers and the brutal Centurion overruns to try to help the right Kraken out, who is in quite a predicament with fighty Dwarfs to either flank. I end up overrunning with the big guy, which puts only a DLOLB in his flank and not Shieldbreakers as well. The slayer Centurion puts 1 damage on his DLOLB.

Free Dwarfs 5: With just a handful of minutes left on the clock, the Dwarfs swing for the fences. Both Dwarf Lords on Large Beasts charge Kraken, ensnared in the front on the left and happily in the flank on the right. Shieldbreakers double charge the brutal Centurion (one ensnared to the front, one clear in the flank and hoping for an overrun into the right Kraken’s other flank). And the Rangers in the wood take on the Water Elementals again (sitting on 6 damage), with the help of bane chant.

Dwarfs on Large Beasts vs Titanic Crabs

Herneas and his Rangers topple the Coral Giant with shooting, shortly before the rest of the Rangers hew down the Water Elemental horde. The Shieldbreakers only manage to waver the brutal Centurion, denying them their overrun into the right Kraken, which would certainly have helped as the right DLOLB only lands 3 damage out of 14 attaks on 3s and 2s. The DLOLB in the center does 2 damage to his Kraken. With that, the Free Dwarfs clock out.

Trident 5: With less than 5 minutes left, I send Heartpiercers into the bottom left section, claim the bottom right with Placoderms (I don’t bother swinging on the Mastiff pack in their face), and shoot the central Rangers off from the safety of the bottom center. The Kraken swing on the Large Beasts to little effect, but the US 1 of the central Kraken contests the DLOLB, meaning the Dwarfs only score the upper right with all three of their remaining regiments. At a score of 3 to 1, that’s a resounding …

TRIDENT VICTORY

It occurs to me that I might have charged the Dwarf ASB with my Kraken in the upper right, with an overrun that might have shot that Kraken into the upper center section, claiming it … but whatever, I was keeping it simple on account of time, burn out and already winning. My opponent was a pleasure to play and sounds like he learned some stuff from our game, which is always nice to hear. Hoping to see him at King Beyond the Wall next year, after missing it the last couple times.

Cuddle Time did well this round, I think winning 2-3 of our games. With a very solid Day 2 and a decent paint score, we actually ended up finishing 11th out of 20 teams! Which I’ll take any day. We also did quite well on Sports, I think getting second most sportsing? Awesome.

Ain’t kidding about that cuddling!

Big thanks to my fellow Cuddlers for another year of being cool and enjoying our race to the bottom. I’m especially proud that everybody but me painted brand new armies for the event! A fact I didn’t piece together until just now.


And thank you for reading! Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some reflection on playing Trident Realm for an entire tournament season, it’s certainly been an adventure but I could really use a break πŸ¦€

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 46: ORDER OF THE GREEN LADY

After a late night of playing Kill Team, watching board games, talking about Warmachine 4E and obligatory drinking, I passed out only to rise far too soon 😩 It’s Day 2 and time to slam into the bottom tables, Cuddle Time style.

ROUND FOUR: TEAM BIG DEAD ONE

  • Order of the Green Lady
  • Trident Realm
  • Empire of Dust
  • Undead

BDO was made up of two dudes whose team fell apart plus two of my clubmates (the Empire of Dust and the Undead (yes that’s Jeff from all my scrumming beforehand)). True to my captaining plans, I matched our Ogres into Trident Realm, Riftforged into Empire of Dust, Ratkin into Undead, and took the Order of the Green Lady for myself.

Brotherhood: Order of the Green Lady 2300
Order of the Forsaken Horde – Boots of Striding
Earth Elementals Horde
Earth Elementals Horde
Order of Redemption Regiment – Brew of Strength
Order of Redemption Regiment – Mead of Madness
Order of the Brotherhood – Banner of the Green Lady [1]
Naiad Ensnarers Regiment
Centaur Bray Hunters Troop
Centaur Bray Hunters Troop
Pegasus
Exemplar Redeemer – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Druid – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (2(4)), Bane Chant (2), Surge (4)
Devoted – Heal (3), Surge (7)

Bryant was super excited to play me, as we’d either always narrowly avoided each other or played once back in 2E or even Fantasy times. I’m a fan of his army, great Bretonnian feel and a faction I very rarely face. The list itself seemed legit? If hamstrung by cavalry’s middling place in this edition.

We played Pillage (or maybe Salt the Earth without any salting), with the Brotherhood going first one way or another.

BATTLE

Battlelines!

Green Lady 1: The Order canters forward, with caution on the wings and a trudging wall of rock in the center.

Trident 1: Crabs respond with a generalized scuttling. I’m content to make his life hell on the left flank, as he’s put a ton of points over there when the only token is the one on his side. Heartpiercers punch 2 damage onto the Centaur troop hanging out on the upper right token.

Bun Bun, Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, prepares to sate her hunger for crab flesh.

Green Lady 2: Indecision racks the Order’s lines, ultimately seeing the right advance a bit, the center widen its coverage, and the left mobilize Centaur chaff while preparing to thunder into combat next turn.

Trident 2: Placoderms advance on the right, being a terrible charge target for the cavalry over there, as I try to swap the Coral Giant and Water Elementals without touching the forest. Heartpiercers back up and put 6 damage on the strength Redemption reg on the right and 1 on the annoying Centaurs on the left. The slayer-trident Centurion fires at the Forsaken horde and fails to get a single damage, leaving them free to fly. What a champ. The Kraken don’t take the bait, letting the Order deal with their own chaff.

Bunny Pegasus with the #promove block.

Green Lady 3: While the right side of the Order line faffs around – and heals all the damage on the Redemption cav! – the left goes hard. Redemption knights (hindered) and Forsaken horde (striding boots) slam into the Kraken in the woods, ensnare be damned, as the Pegasus charges the other Kraken to block him up. Despite taking 11 damage, the multi-charged Kraken only wavers. And the Peg does a tight 3 damage from 3 attaks, nice.

Trident 3: The right arm of the crab war machine grudgingly pumps Heartpiercer rounds into the strength Redemption (2 damage, which I know will vanish), presents terrible Placoderm charges and unjams the Coral Giant / Water Elemental situation. We’re both still avoiding the LOS blocking void that is that forest.

Over on the left, the wavered Kraken skitters 4.5″ backwards and regenerates down to 3 damage (hahaha I love it). The other Kraken bops the Pegabun for 6 damage but flubs the rout (might have wavered her). Heartpiercers and trident Centurion combine fire into the Forsaken, doing a bunch of damage and wavering them. I’ll take it.

Kraken getting pumped to power lift a second time.

Green Lady 4: The Order pushes the center at last, with the strength Redemption finally giving up the right flank and skirting the woods to reinforce the middle. On the left, the mead Redemption charge back into the Kraken they’ve been hunting, with the support of the Forsaken again … which was illegal, as he forgot they were wavered and when we remembered during my turn, he rolled their headstrong test and failed it. The Kraken held solid on 10 damage (hindered and ensnared is rough), so vaguely a moot point, but Bryant tore himself up about it all game.

Trident 4: The whole Forsaken issue is cleared up when Bun Bun’s Kraken corkscrews their flank and smashes them into man/horse/bird parts. Heartpiercers from the center punch across and kill Bun Bun, while the trident Centurion strips the TC from the Brotherhood knights. The other Kraken counter-charges the mead Redemption, slapping 5 damage into them, but ominously only regening down to 8 damage himself.

Elsewhere, Placoderm invite the Order to have a go in the center, the Coral Giant breaks the wood line to become a Problem next turn, and the Water Elementals attempt to punch through the Exemplar Redeemer and into the flank of the strength Redemption. It’s a tall ask, so of course the gigantic crab/horde does next to no damage πŸ˜€

And finally, the Heartpiercers on the right skewer the Ensnarers that had dared to come into view around the house.

The sweet, sweet overrun that was not to be.

Green Lady 5: With about 10 minutes left on their clock, the Order lets rip. Mead Redemption and pathfinder Brotherhood knights on the left crash into a Kraken each, thunderous be damned. Both Earth Elemental hordes bash into the waiting claws of the Placoderms (one hindered), and the Redeemer counter-charges the Water Elementals.

It took three charges, but the Order of the Redemption finally drop the titanic crab beast they’d spent the game dueling. The other Kraken lucky wavers on 7 damage (box cars!), however that luck doesn’t hold for the Earth Elementals, which do a paltry 6 damage to the central Placoderms. The Redeemer carves 3 into the Water Elementals.

Trident 5: Vengeance is swift as the Water Elementals batter down the Redeemer, even if regrettably missing the ~4″ overrun into the strength Redemption regiment behind. No other combat is as decisive, with the Coral Giant tearing chunks out of one Earth Elemental horde, the Placoderms poking the other, and the central Heartpiercers and trident Centurion pushing the mead Redemption up to 10 damage but only finding a waver.

Green Lady 6: The last 4 minutes of the Order of the Green Lady’s clock is largely spent frantically rolling combat dice. (The mead Redemption reg failed their headstrong, though the strength Redemption hit the Water Elementals with Centaurs in the flank.)

The Water Elementals are triumphantly torn down, but that signals the last of the Order’s momentum. The Brotherhood knights waver their Kraken again and Earth Elementals waver the Placoderms and apparently do nothing at all against the Coral Giant (he may have clocked out before rolling it).

Trident 6: Heartpiercers shoot off the mead Order of the Retribution, the Coral Giant dunks his Earth Elemental horde, and the Heartpiercers on the right I believe tried and failed to remove the Centaur troop they started the game shooting at. With no Turn 7 and 3 objectives to 2, this is a decisive …

TRIDENT VICTORY

All told a very fun match against an enthusiastic player. Bryant was really down about his play not being clean that morning – the waver token, undoing moves without marking corners, etc – and despite me assuring him it was cool he felt pretty bad. Regardless, I hope to face him again some time in a non-team event.

Speaking of teams, Cuddle Time did very well this round, scoring the maximum 60 points or just shy of it. With this hearty bounce buoying our spirits we headed into the final match-ups.

UP NEXT: Eager Beavers!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 45: UNDEAD

The final round of the first day of the Crossroads GT sees Cuddle Time up against the other Western NY team. While I’m excited to play another match, I’m also totally happy with this being my last of the day, after working my other-other job the night before. Onto the carnage.

ROUND THREE: TEAM HARLEQUIN HOBBY

  • Forces of the Abyss
  • Goblins
  • Undead
  • Ogres

I put our elite Ratkin into trash-n-hammers Goblins, Riftforged into Abyss, Ogres into Ogres and faced the Undead myself. Partially because I’ve been fighting them all the time but also because check out his list:

Undead 2300
*Zombies Legion
*Zombies Legion
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Revenant Cavalry Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
*Goreblight
Vampire Lord – Surge (4)?
Ghoul Ghast – Aura (TC: Cannibal)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Aura (Vicious(Me): Zombie), Surge (6), Bane Chant (2)?
*The Shambling Blight Formation

I love it so much. Troop spam Undead is not a thing I thought I’d see, yet here it is, in all its pre-Soul Reaver nerf majesty. I’m almost positive I don’t have enough shooting to survive this – especially with the legions in there as well – but I’m excited to cause a mess at least. (I’m not 100% on the last 30 points of his list, so I’m guessing he took those spells, because I would.)

We played Control (second time for me!), and he’s a smart player so had me go first 😦

BATTLE

Battlelines! That central hill being a clutch 20th unit for the Undead.

Trident 1: The crabs scuttle forward, which may or may not have been a good idea since I know what the Undead are aiming to do to my poor crustaceans. If there’s a dim silver lining to the Zombie legions, my Water Elemental horde has sharpness and not strength entirely because De 2+ Zombies exist. So, um, no pressure on your upcoming lift, big guy.

Undead 1: Here they come! The living dead match the crab lines. Those Zombies in the upper left did remember to shamble forward eventually. Also the Necromancer is hiding behind that building in the upper right, as a horrible old crone animating corpses does.

Trident 2: I redress my lines a bit to accept the Undead’s imminent hugs, toss bastion on the central Placoderms, and fire all Heartpiercers available into the Rev Cav troop. Thankfully they crumble under the barrage – Rev Cav are notoriously hard for me to kill and I knew they’d drive me crazy if they survived. And that’s it.

Let the all you-can-blend crab buffet begin!

Undead 2: Ghouls and vampires charge up and over the central hill, crashing into the crabby lines. Ghouls and Ghast into the left Kraken, Ghouls into the brutal Centurion, double Ghouls into the central Kraken, and Soul Reavers into the bastioned Placoderms. The next wave of Soul Reavers prepare to clean up the mess once the Ghouls are dispatched, as the Zombies hove ever closer on the right.

The crabs stand firm, despite the damages: left Kraken to 6, brutal Centurion to 3, central Kraken to ?, Placoderms to 7. Time to clap back.

Trident 3: The Kraken both counter-charge and devour Ghoul troops, the brutal Centurion drives his Ghouls away, and the (bastion-less, thanks to the Envoy needing to run) Placoderms decide to hindered corkscrew the other Ghouls harassing the central Kraken instead of countering their Soul Reavers. The math is way better that they’ll actually do any damage, plus it means the Soul Reavers can be shot. As it turns out, the Placoderms do ZERO damage to the Ghouls, but Heartpiercers do stick 5 into the Soul Reavers. Other shooting grudgingly puts 1 point of damage on both Zombie legions, simply for lack of targets.

In more daring news, I decide after a long while to send the Water Elementals with Placoderm ‘support’ into the central Zombie regiment, as the overrun escapes the Zombie legion’s arc and I’ve basically decided I shouldn’t even start putting damage on the legions, as I don’t have the assets to seal either of those deals. The Zombie regiment does evaporate and my units do escape the Zombie’s arc … but come on dude, surge is totally a thing 😐 Also I shove some Heartpiercers in front of the right Zombie legion in the interest of buying time.

Undead 3: All five Soul Reaver Infantry troops make contact with their quarries: brutal Centurion, central Kraken, damaged Placoderm flank (with Ghouls in the front), other Placoderms, and Water Elemental. The Vampire Lord also skips over to the scuttlin’ Envoy, who has done nothing wrong ever. A Zombie legion (hindered) and the Goreblight lurch into the rightmost Heartpiercers as well, and, after a brief pause …

One Surge Later.

… the other Zombie legion rear charges the Water Elementals (hindered). Oh, and the Ghast charges back into the left Kraken.

After all the blending, everybody but the ensnaring dudes on the left are shredded and/or messily devoured. But sadly those same dudes – brutal Centurion and central Kraken – are both wavered (6 and 5 damage respectively). Losing fresh Placoderms to a Soul Reaver troop is pretty surprising, however having your inspiring source decapitated makes that a little more likely.

Trident 4: Things are getting squirrely with so many Undead threats still on the table and my momentum slipping away, but the crabs take what they can. Heartpiercers finish off the wounded Soul Reaver infantry, while spacing out for the inevitable Zombie legions baring down on them. The Coral Giant wakes from his slumber to pound the last of the Ghoul troops into jelly, and the left Kraken flanks some Soul Reavers only to waver them. I’ll take it. Also I regen a bunch.

Undead 4: Maybe I poorly measured the 10″ needed or maybe IDAGF at this point, but two Heartpiercers are flanked by Zombie legions (hindered) and the Goreblight (hindered) – honestly a surge may have been involved in one case, hard to tell. In vampiric news, the Vampire Lord somersaults into the trident Centurion in the pond as Soul Reavers power into the central Kraken and the Coral Giant. The Ghast also continues to be a pest, flanking the left Kraken for 1 damage (up to 3).

Inset: Crabs In Predicaments

RIP the central Kraken, killed before his time (the Soul Reavers back up). The Coral Giant however just takes it on the chin, going up to 6 damage. The trident Centurion successfully parries the Vampire Lord’s flurry of blows, taking 6 damage and holding. Of his Heartpiercer charges, one is mauled by the Goreblight and 60 friends, while the other takes only 2 damage and survives a Zombie legion flank.

Trident 5: The crabs break open a new box of stakes and prepare to slay some more vampires. Kraken re-flanks Soul Reavers with the brutal Centurion in the front, while the Coral Giant counter-charges his Soul Reavers with some commando Hearpiercers flanking them (hindered). The trident Centurion backs up, regenerating and daring the Vampire Lord to have another go, and the last of the functional Heartpiercers attempt to snipe out the Necromancer (but flub it with 1 damage).

Both combats go well, seeing two more Soul Reaver troops turned to ash.

Undead 5: The Goreblight wavers the swamp Heartpiercers (2 damage), the Vampire Lord wavers the trident Centurion (7 damage), and that damn Ghast wavers the Coral Giant (8 damage)! Those last Soul Reavers on the left rear charge the other Heartpiercers, turning them into mist. A Zombie legion balanced on a wall was in their front as well but whatever.

As this is a game of control, you can see the Zombies upper left and bottom right holding to their zones. Likewise the upper right Soul Reavers.

Trident 6: The remaining Kraken and brutal Centurion front charge the central Soul Reavers, slapping them around until their broke. Nice. The Centurion overruns to protect the Coral Giant (I don’t understand why the big guy didn’t turn to face the Zombies, maybe he did and I didn’t turn the model? Weird flex.) The trident Centurion stumbles back deeper into the swamp, again challenging the Vampire Lord.

Undead 6: The Zombie legion trips into the brutal Centurion (hindered and ensnared) and the Vampire Lord backflips off a stump into the trident Centurion.

While the brutal Centurion easily fends off the hug train of the Zombie legion, the Vampire Lord finally gets what he wants, skewering the trident Centurion, whose blue blood is brackish, cold and extremely dissatisfying. Speaking of dissatisfaction, the Goreblight’s (hindered) affections leave the Heartpiercers unmoved.

Trident 7: The crabs take this lucky last moment to get on the board, with the surviving Kraken scooting away into the lower left sector. The Coral Giant and brutal Centurion bash 9 damage onto the central Zombie legion but it’s not enough to clear them and their US4 out. The Heartpiercers also don’t magically remove the Goreblight accosting them.

Whatever the Undead did in their turn, they didn’t have the movement to secure any more Control sectors, making this 1 to 5 for a resounding …

TRIDENT LOSS

While I had hoped to do a little better, and might have with a different terrain setup or control of the initiative, it was fun to face a really dynamic Undead list doing something different. I goofed up with the Zombie legions a couple times, however I also didn’t allocate anything to deal with them, so having them essentially close out the win makes sense. Likewise that Ghoul Ghast who I disrespected the entire game and never swung on, but got that Coral Giant waver that took the last of my momentum away. Well played, deadites.

Cuddle Time once again did pretty poorly as a team, with a single victory (either the Riftforged or the Ratkin took it). This put us on a very low score for Day 1, something like 34 points out of a possible 180, but that just means we’d finally be getting the bottom table cuddle we signed up for πŸ˜‰

UP NEXT: The Big Dead One!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 44: HALFLINGS

Welcome to the first of four reports covering the 2022 Crossroads GT! Held in picturesque Elmira, NY, Crossroads kept up the four-player team format this year, with five 2300 point games of Kings of War over two days. Crossroads was also continuing to use Blackjack Scoring. I took up the mantle of Cuddle Captain once again for Team Cuddle Time, even though I sadly had to miss the first game due to a scheduling conflict the day before. A bummer to be sure, but there was another three-player team so it happened to work out without needing a ringer. Anyway, on to lists:

CUDDLE TIME III: THE REVENGE

Ratkin 2300
Shock Troops Horde – Plague Pots
Shock Troops Horde – Plague Pots
Nightmares Horde – Fire-Oil
Nightmares Horde
Mutant Rat-fiend
*Death Engine Spewer
*Shredder
*Shredder
Scudku-z’luk, Demonspawn of Diew [1] – Lightning Bolt (5)
Tangle [1] – Bane Chant (1+), Fireball (10+), Mind Fog (1+), Weakness (1+)
War Chief – Sacred Horn, Aura (Vicious(M): Infantry)
Brute Enforcer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness
*Smoke, Mirrors and Death Formation

Riftforged Orcs 2300
Helstrikers Horde
Helstrikers Horde
Riftforged Legionaries Horde
Riftforged Legionaries Horde
Reborn Legionaries Regiment – Orb of Towering Presence
Riftwalkers Troop
Riftwalkers Troop
Stormforged Shrine [1] – Bane Chant (1+), Host Shadowbeast (4+), Lightning Bolt (3+)
Ambarox
Ambarox
Thonaar [1]
Riftforger – Wings of Honeymaze, Stormstrike, Host Shadowbeast (6)
Stormcaller – Inspiring Talisman, Lightning Bolt (4), Mind Fog (3)

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Siege Breakers Horde – Staying Stone
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Boomers Horde – Fire-Oil
Warrior Chariots Regiment – Boots of Striding
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Berserker Bully – Torc of Dissonance
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Scorched Earth (2)

(I did fix that Placo’s broken arm when I had a free moment …)

Trident Realm 2300
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Kraken
Kraken
Coral Giant
Naiad Centurion – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Trident of the Drowned Sea [1]
Naiad Centurion – Pipes of Terror
Naiad Envoy – Aura (Fury: Infantry & Heavy Infantry), Bastion [1] (2)

The Cuddle Time line up was, per usual, a mix of brawler lists with some shooting and control added for flavor (crab-flavored this time around). Crossroads has a match up phase at the start of each round, where matched up teams put forth two of their armies and the winner of a dice roll gets to decide which two will fight, while the loser decides which scenario they’ll play out of a limited pool for that round. Then the other two teams are presented and the roles reverse.

My goals as captain were a) to try to get my team scenarios that they were cool playing; b) to avoid putting a Me 4+ army into heavy ensnare; and c) to avoid personally fighting Ogres. That was about all my sleep-deprived brain could handle and I more or less accomplished all three … with apologies to our Ogre player, who spent most of the weekend fighting Trident Realm or Ogres 😐

ROUND ONE: TEAM COBRA KAI

  • The Herd
  • The Herd
  • Abyssal Dwarfs

I was driving to the event during the first round, but when I arrived I got the update that it had not gone great! Turns out my 5 point bye was our second highest score :/

ROUND TWO: TEAM BUFFALO KOW

  • Halflings
  • Orcs
  • Sylvan Kin
  • Riftforged Orcs

While I can’t remember who we fed to the Sylvan Kin, I do know we arranged a Riftoff πŸ˜€ And I ended up facing Halflings for possibly the first time ever …

Halflings 2300
Stalwarts Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Juggers Horde – Brew of Strength, Relentless
Juggers Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar, Relentless
Aeronauts Regiment – Wine of Elvenkind
Aeronauts Regiment – Brew of Haste
Braves Regiment
Braves Regiment
Iron Beast – Pride of the Shires [1]
Muster Captain on Winged Aralez – Aegis of the Elohi, Relentless
Gunnery Sergeant on Troll – Relentless
Gunnery Sergeant on Troll
Engineer – Aura (WC (+1): Tinker), Radiance of Life (Tinker), Gadgets and Gizmos [1], Halfling Long Rifle
Sauceror – Sacred Horn

Yowza, that’s a lot of special rules to remember – check out the quadruple upgrades on the Engineer, none of which are magic artefacts! I’ve spent enough time with the Halfling list, and hearing about the army in action, to know that the Aeronauts are the real menace here. Everything else is more or less a standard or slightly worse version of what it looks like. As an aside, the army was being piloted by a local dude (Tim?) who I haven’t played since Fantasy days and hadn’t really played much of third edition. He admitted to being an AOS guy but when the Crossroads AOS event fell apart he was recruited to help fill a team out. Regardless, he was a pleasure and I tried to point out any gotchas during our game.

We played Control, with the Halflings going first.

BATTLE

Battlelines! Also I did not realize that was a Jugger horde until he deployed it …

Halfings 1: The host sallies forth in a graceful crescent (roll) formation. Also the Engineer snipes 1 damage on the trident Centurion over on the right. The left Aeronauts are the Sp 8 ones, and while the right ones have nimble, I don’t believe it ever came up again.

Trident 1: A general scuttling in response, with Krakens flexing some charge distances and me regretting everything I put on the right. I hem and haw and decide to push hard on the right Aeronauts, bringing the Centurion into range. His slayer-trident and the Heartpiercers only stick 4 damage, failing to waver. Other shooting manage 1 damage on the Jugger regiment (after iron resolve) and 2 on the Stalwarts.

Ensnare and hindering be damned!

Halflings 2: The left flank jockeys for position as Braves are mobilized to get in the way, while the center slowly presses forward. Troll Sergeants pepper the left Placoderms and right Kraken with 1 damage each, and the Engineer does the same to the Water Elementals. The real action, sadly, is the Aeronauts plowing into the trident Centurion (let’s pretend he did 1 damage and grounded them) and blowing him the hell up. Irreducible blast Me 4+ is pretty neat, especially against -2 to hit.

Trident 2: I shake off the loss of my Very Cool Gun but am now doubly afraid of the left Aeronauts looming 18″ off my left flank. The brutal Centurion charges into the Muster Captain on Winged Aralez, grounding him (even if doing 0 damage after double IR) while I clear some room for the Coral Giant to do something eventually. Heartpiercers push the Jugger reg to 3 damage, the Pride of the Shires to 2 and the Stalwart horde to 3. Over on the right, I shove Heartpiercers into the Jugger horde to buy the Water Elementals some time (and do 1 damage in the process, despite being hindered <3). It’s a good thing too, because the Water Elementals only do 3-4 damage to the Aeronauts, but at least they waver the death zeppelins.

Halflings 3: The main story here is the Jugger horde feeding the Heartpiercers on the right to their dogs while the center advances more confidently and the Braves on the left continue to bait the crabs. The Muster Captain does 2 damage to the brutal Centurion and a Troll Sergeant plinks the left Placoderms up to 3 damage. We also remember that the Iron Beast has iron resolve, so remove its damage from previous turns. Finally, the Saucerer decides to do some Gastromancy – quite sure Rally (1) was on the menu.

Trident 3: I think for a long time (17 min left on my clock at the half way mark of the game!), and decide to crush his bait and give the left Aeronauts some of their own. Placoderms and Coral Giant smash the Braves, with CeeGee turning to face the center (spoiler: gunning for that Pride) and the Placos protecting his rear as the Kraken looms / prepares to be Aeronauted directly. The Centurion continues to ground the Muster Captain (and regenerate). In the center, more Placoderms (enjoying bastion) hold the Pride of the Shires in place so the Kraken can grind the Stalwarts down. They’re up to 10 damage but still have a ways to go. On the right, the Water Elementals finally finish off their Aeronauts and face the Jugger horde salivating in their direction.

Harpoons have of course been flying during all this combat: Heartpiercers finish off the Jugger reg to the left and start in on the right Brave regiment (looks like 4 damage worth).

Halflings 4: Perhaps wisely, the Aeronauts don’t take any of their available charges, leaving the Jugger horde the only fresh (hindered) charge into the Water Elementals. Many counter-charges happen across the board (Muster Captain to Centurion, Iron Beast to Placoderms, Stalwarts to Kraken), and gun fire pops into the left Placos (4 damage) and rightmost Heartpiercers (1 damage).

The Muster Captain lucky wavers the brutal Centurion, but damage is low across the board, with the Placos taking 4 and the Kraken 2. Oh, except of course the Water Elementals are pulled apart by the Juggers.

Trident 4: Wasting no time, the Coral Giant crashes into the flank of the Pride of the Shires, tearing it asunder, as the central Kraken gently rampages the Stalwarts up to 15 damage. Heartpiercers target the left Troll Sergeant (1 damage) and the surviving Braves (7 total) but really I’m left waiting to see what those Aeronauts are doing and willfully ignoring the Jugger horde out on the right flank.

You’ll notice that the left Kraken didn’t charge the Muster Captain and that the left Placoderms have wandered forward with the flying monster in their flank. I’m pretty sure I’m baiting the Aeronauts to have a go at the Placos so my Kraken can at least hold them in place for the rest of the game. If the Kraken had charged the fresh Muster Captain, he would have fluffed and been flanked by the Aeronauts.

Halflings 5: Able to fly free, the Muster Captain swoops into the flank of the left Placoderms, swinging for the fences and taking the hardy crabs off … but without the help of the Aeronauts, who continue to abstain. In the center, the Braves squeak past the building and flank the Kraken menacing the Stalwarts, but any damage to the titanic crustacean is minimal (4 total).

Trident 5: The drama on the left flank continues as the brutal Centurion and Kraken pounce on the victorious Muster Captain, yet can only manage 5 damage (7 before double resolve). The Coral Giant moves closer to supervise, freeing up space for the Placoderms in the center to flank and scatter the Stalwarts and the central Kraken to counter the Braves and spread them across the field. Heartpiercer fire goes into Troll Sergeants, however they’re hardy heroes.

Oh. No.

Halfling 6: Tim spies a gnarly overrun through the Centurion into the left Kraken, but it’s not to be as the brutal Centurion soaks a relatively light bombing run with only 5 damage. The Muster Captain meanwhile does 0-1 damage to the Kraken in his grill. The remnants of the Halfling army back out of LOS or they’re a Jugger horde who isn’t scared of a pillow-fisted Kraken charge.

Trident 6: The Coral Giant thunders into the flank of the Muster Captain, ripping him off his flying doggo and spiking the diminutive hero. His Aralez flies off to do best boy things in a less crabby land. This frees the left Kraken and brutal Centurion to finally take a crack at the Aeronauts, however 6 damage isn’t enough to matter. Otherwise the crabs secure their hold on the map, and I clock out.

With no Turn 7 and a 4 to 2 control score, this is a …

TRIDENT VICTORY

My opponent was a gent and I hope he went on to have a good time. As it turned out, I was the only win for Cuddle Time this round. Summoning the power of Even More Caffeine, I reracked the crabs and headed into the final match of the day.

UP NEXT: Harlequin Hobby!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 38-43: UNDEAD & OGRES

My club is sending sent several teams to the Crossroads GT this year (September 17-18, 2022), and in preparation we ground out practice matches as lists were dialed in, as you do. I figured I’d very quickly summarize them here in the name of completeness and catching up before the tournament coverage.

Trident Realm 2300
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Heartpiercers Regiment
Coral Giant
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Centurion – Axe of the Giant Slayer, Trident of the Drowned Sea [1]
Naiad Centurion – Pipes of Terror
Naiad Envoy – Horn of the Ocean’s Fury [1], Bastion (2) [1]

This is where my list ended up, tho in truth I was only messing with the second Centurion’s item. He had Rampage (D3) at first but I was finding it could potentially never be used, while Brutal works against everything, and may be mathematically superior when it comes to combo-charging with Kraken, for example. It also let me go full +1 to hit on the Water Elementals, which again is mathematically better if not as thematically pleasing as CS(2) on my biggest crab. I’m occasionally drawn to mess with the Envoy, but since the Fury aura doesn’t allow items it’s a choice between doing two Nv support things or one low level magic (spoiler: it would be Lute). So I chose two things and it’s rarely come into play BUT IT COULD.

GAME 38: UNDEAD

Kraken vs Wyrm!

Undead 2300
Revenants Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Dwarven Ale
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Goreblight
Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm – Inspiring Talisman, Plagued Breath
Liche King – Boots of Levitation, Surge (10), Alchemist’s Curse (4)
Liche King – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (6(8)), Scorched Earth (2)

My buddy Jeff has almost totally overhauled his Undead over the course of the year, while he’s learned more and more about the game and what it actually wants (like chaff). This is the end result of a lot of tinkering and quite a bit of painting, a sort of sack of hammers style list with some very fun models / units … in addition to the eye-melting amount of vampires. The version used for Game 38 has Zuinok Iceblood in place of one Liche King, 2x Rev Cav troops and the Soul Reaver Cav might be Rev Cav as well? Also no Goreblight, as she was being painted.

Looks like we played Plunder, a favorite of mine, and he made me go first 😦

Battlelines!

Apart from the RoUGBW sallying down a flank by itself, and getting dismantled by a Kraken + Axe Centurion over many turns, Jeff had some decent plans to chaff up my guns and get his blenders stuck in down the middle. The Wraiths drove me crazy per usual, and the Rev Cav troops proved how weirdly tough they are, while the cav regiment broke against the Placos and was dunked by the Coral Giant in the flank.

At some point, the game came down to the Rev horde plunging deep into the crab lines, grinding to a halt on some Heartpiercers and then getting flanked by two titans, reared by Placos and frontally charged by double Heartpiercers. Of course you can guess what happened:

Horde of Undead Heroes more like!

Aside: I have a lot of respect for Revenants, it’s rare to me that an anvil really feels like an anvil in KOW but De5+ -/24 with LL1-3 (Jeff always wants to run full LL on his hordes) is really solid. Anyway, this glorious last stand could only do so much, and with loads of tokens this was a solid …

TRIDENT VICTORY

So much for the Undead!

GAME 39: OGRES

Kraken vs Mammoth!

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde
Siege Breakers Horde
Boomers Horde
Warriors Regiment
Warriors Regiment
Warriors Regiment
Red Goblin Rabble Regiment
Mammoth – The Big Deal [1]
Crocodog Wrangler
Kuzlo & Madfall [1] – Enthral (5), Hex (3)
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Sergeant on Chariot
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), ???
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), ???

Plus 65 points of smart upgrades, Nv support for the Siege Breakers, etc. Murphy has been really down on making an Ogre army that’s interesting to him but still competitive, and you can see some of that in this list, which is essentially a meta list but with a couple B+ tier choices instead of just S tier. I’ve no idea what he ended up submitting for Crossroads, last I saw he was experimenting with Rabble spam Ogres with heavy Berserker Brave presence.

We played Push this game, he put all his tokens in the Rabble and I put 2 in the Placoderms across from them and 1 in the other Placos pushing for the center token.

Battelines!

The Ogres went a little too ham with the Big Deal, as seen earlier, but then I paid them back by going way too hard once the Warlock battery removed a Heartpiercer regiment about a turn earlier than expected:

The center cannot hold!

That didn’t turn out great for the Coral Giant, but I did lock Kuzlo down with a Kraken (losing the Kraken for several turns, since he couldn’t hit at all), and the Water Elementals were able to eat a Warlock before getting smashed by Siege Breakers + Boomers. As with most Ogre games, I was unable to put a dent in Siege Breakers, or if I did it was healed back by Noms, so I basically stopped trying and just tried to pull the Siege Breakers away from my token carriers. If they wanted to smash things, go smash things far away I guess.

That said, Kraken to the flank and rear can apparently kill Siege Breakers. The aren’t in fact immortal!

By Turn 6, I tenuously held 8 points in tokens while he just had 3, until I shot his Rabble out and brought the score to 8-0. He’d need a Turn 7 to be able to scoop up the tokens and some luck to crack two banged up Placoderm regiments, but the dice declared this one a …

TRIDENT VICTORY

So much for the Goblins!

GAME 40: OGRES

Kraken vs Crocodog!

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Siege Breakers Horde – Staying Stone
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Hunters Horde
Boomers Horde – Fire-Oil
Warrior Chariots Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Crocodog Wrangler
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Conjurer’s Staff, Lightning Bolt (3+), Scorched Earth (2)
Sergeant – Trickster’s Wand [Hex (2)]

Yep, it’s Cory’s Ogres, fresh off of their run at Masters. The main change to the list was dropping the Boomer Chariot troop, which was apparently a constant victim at Masters, with De4+ and a low Nv being a bad combo with Ht 4 Stealthy or not. I think the Warrior Chariots were the inclusion in their place? With some slimming down of his hero selection. This feels pretty light on HQs compared to most Ogres, but they’re doing good support work, which is fine when you’ve got 5 hordes to do the lifting, plus the Chariot hammer.

I think we played Invade, judging by the lack of objectives. Ogres went first.

Battlelines!
Hunters and Braves one-round the Water Elementals, and in response the crabs unleash titans on the Boomers and Ogre center.

I find my Water Elemental horde often either gets killed without doing anything, or spends 3+ turns trapped behind my Heartpiercers being menacing but at least getting to punch something late game. This was the former. It definitely put me on the back foot, so I went hard in the center while delaying the left and hoping my shooting could fix problems asap.

Boomers die but the Kraken is savaged by Chariots, Siege Breakers and most importantly Noms in the flank …
A significant amount of the Ogre army has succumbed to death by harpoon, however it’s only the end of Turn 3 and the Ogre hordes are looking hungry.
*fast forwarding to Turn 7 sounds* So much for the crabs!

TRIDENT LOSS

It wasn’t until now that I realized I killed nothing in the last four turns of the game. Brutal indeed. Shout-out to the Crocodog, which devoured both the Envoy and the trident Centurion!

It’s a bummer that fighting Ogres feels like a foregone conclusion most times, and Cory’s list isn’t particularly bent (which is probably why it’s good), but I’m here for the few nerfs they’ve caught in the upcoming big red book. From what I know, Cory’s list here would lose maybe a regiment thanks to the Siege Breaker and Noms point increases. Seems legit.

GAME 41: OGRES

Ogres 2300
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath?
Siege Breakers Horde – <item?>
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste?
Boomers Horde – Fire-Oil
Warrior Chariots Regiment – Boots of Striding
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Nomagarok [1] – Bane Chant (3+), Heal (4+), Lightning Bolt (4+)
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)?
Ogre Warlock – Lightning Bolt (3+), Drain Life (5+)?
Berserker Bully

Fellow Cuddler Drew 3D printed and feverishly painted an Ogre army using all Gnolls for Crossroads, so we had a proxy game at some point so he could test out an army that wasn’t Undead or Varangur, basically the only armies he’s played for KOW. I’ll figure out his final list by the time I write the tournament report and show you some shots of his finished army, which came out amazing despite not quite being done (so many spots!)

Anyway, here’s a very brief report in the name of completeness. We played Push, which I’m a fan of. Couldn’t tell you who went first 😐

Battlelines!
So much for the Gnollgres!

TRIDENT VICTORY

That proxy base on the wall might be the other Siege Breakers? Which means this is yet another Ogre game where the only units left are two Siege Breaker hordes refusing to die and slowly cleaning house. Long time readers will recognize that this is a startlingly common occurrence, kind of no matter what army I’m playing. I’m content to draw two conclusions: 1) Siege Breakers are really hard and that’s cool; 2) Siege Breakers really do deserve the points hike. Apart from that, I don’t remember really anything about the game other than Drew making some weird decisions and overextending a lot, not knowing how Ogres work.

Aside: I appreciate that the impending big red book is dealing with very good units like Gladestalkers and Siege Breakers by adjusting their points rather than nerfing them. Let people have powerful things … but also make them pay for it so there’s a trade off between them and other units. Internal balance was the single biggest reason I went to Kings after Fantasy was nuked from orbit, GW being truly horrible at it. But let’s move swiftly on.

GAME 42: UNDEAD

Coral Giant vs The Overwhelming Desire to Dive That Goreblight

Undead 2300
Revenants Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Dwarven Ale
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Goreblight
Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm – Inspiring Talisman, Plagued Breath
Liche King – Boots of Levitation, Surge (10), Alchemist’s Curse (4)
Liche King – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (6(8)), Scorched Earth (2)

It’s Jeff again! Running a list very close to the above, except with 2x Rev Cav troops instead of the Soul Reaver Cav. The dragon is standing in as the RoUGBW but the Goreblight has arrived in all her sexy / goriness.

We played Raze, because I like it and he wanted to practice it. Pretty sure I went second, as is my want.

Battlelines!
The Coral Giant dives the Goreblight, as his friends grind the Undead across the line.

TRIDENT DRAW

Those blank bases above are Rev Cav troops, which my Kraken utterly fluffed against turn after turn – which ended up being ok, as they were trapping Soul Reaver infantry behind them. This meant my army got to live a little longer, but it also meant my scenario-playing Kraken were trapped bopping skeletal horses or being mulched by vampires all game, instead of burning tokens. I ended up grabbing the center token and burning one of mine, while his Wraiths burnt a token early and the leftmost Soul Reavers glumly walked over to one Turn 6 and burnt it for the draw. Credit to Jeff on the draw!

GAME 43: UNDEAD

Fine, I’ll admit that this was taken for Instagram (@boss_salvage) and to show off Jeff’s painting (@winter.fyre)

Undead 2300
Revenants Horde – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Dwarven Ale
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Goreblight
Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm – Inspiring Talisman, Plagued Breath
Liche King – Boots of Levitation, Surge (10), Alchemist’s Curse (4)
Liche King – Shroud of the Saint, Heal (6(8)), Scorched Earth (2)

Last battle before Crossroads and it’s Jeff’s Undead again! The dude is all about those reps, and while progress has been slow, he’s definitely learning. Let’s say he actually used the above list for this game. I’m sure I’m running Pipes on my other centurion now.

The game is Plunder, by popular demand. I think Jeff might have made me go first this time??

Turn 1 unpacking!

See that left Wraith troop? It would go on to collect 3 points of loot, as would my right most Kraken, leaving us to grind for the center in classic faux-dominate fashion. Speaking of, see that Revenant on Undead Classic Hydra barreling toward the center token? That’s going to be more of a problem than I anticipated.

Placoderms trying so hard to do work / keep things engaged so the Coral Giant can hold onto that loot.

It seems crazy that I’d leave 10 damage floating on that RoUGBW, but I had been pounding shots into it for the first half of the game and just could not land that double break, while the heal (8) Liche King kept cleaning up my hard work. Although the Wyrm itself isn’t all that important (apart from gunning for my token), it did mean I didn’t have the shots I need to take care of vampiric Undead as they gamboled forward to do a blend.

Tryhard Placoderms paying for their hubris. So much for Placos!

While we ground for the center, the woods to the left were the site of real drama. I hammered anything I could spare into the Soul Reaver Cav, but between the cover and the Wyrm demanding my attention I got very little done. Eventually the Water Elementals got involved, failed to break Soul Reavers and got mulched. The Placos above grabbed a flank on Soul Reavers, did next to nothing thanks to 5+ to hit, and got sandwiched as above. At this point I could dedicate shooting to the SRC but failed to break – I rolled 3+ snake eyes this game and I’m pretty sure the Wyrm and SRC enjoyed at least two of them.

TRIDENT LOSS

A deserved win to Jeff at last, I think this is the first time he’s beat me. A lot of my loss felt like being bludgeoned by my dice, but I also really like his list and it was good to see the Soul Reaver Cav return after a long absence, even if they ironically spent the whole game in hindered or counter-charging in a wood πŸ˜€


Thanks for sitting through those catch up games, sorry about the brevity but I wanted to log them before the Crossroads GT report, which should be happening before the big red book hits at the end of this month. October is a very busy time for me but I’m not really gaming as we wait for updates to hit, so it feels like time to clear the report queue.

UP NEXT: Cuddle Time III

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.

THE HALLOW 13: FORCES OF THE ABYSS

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABYSSAL VICTORY (4-17)

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE HALLOW 12: ORCS

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

HERD VICTORY (20-1)

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

UP NEXT: Abyssals!

THE HALLOW 11: FORCES OF NATURE

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

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

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

HERD VICTORY (14-7)

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

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

NEXT UP: Orcs!