THE HALLOW GAME 3: RATKIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

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

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

RATKIN VICTORY

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

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

THE HALLOW GAME 2: OGRES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

OGRE VICTORY

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

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

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

THE HALLOW GAME 1: OGRES

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

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

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

OGRE VICTORY

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

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

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 19: FORCES OF THE ABYSS

Hope y’all had a great holiday season, all pandemics considered. Popping in to toss some shots of my last game of 2020 up (from August!), the report for which got lost in the shuffle, partially because my dice made it a particularly one-sided affair. Also wanted to warn y’all that I’ll probably let my WordPress pay account lapse in 2021 – which mostly means the URL will default to something less cool. Still hoping to log games up here, when they happen again 😞 But anyway, here’s a fast report of a game I barely remember:

Trident Realm 2300
Water Elementals Horde
Water Elementals Horde
Gigas Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Gigas Horde – Staying Stone
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Centurion – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2), Tome of Darkness
Naiad Envoy – Lute of Insatiable Darkness

This is essentially the final form of the crabs – and will hopefully be painted soon, really putting off painting my last big Mierce crustacean. Water Elementals are really quite good, Kraken work best in pairs, the shooting is real and it’s been cool to realize that individuals have a place in this game.

Forces of the Abyss 2300
Lower Abyssals Horde – two-handed weapons
Lower Abyssals Horde
Molochs Horde – despoiler champion
Molochs Horde – despoiler champion
Abyssal Horsemen Regiment
Succubi Regiment – lurker
Flamebearers Regiment
Gargoyles Troop
Gargoyles Troop
Manifestation of Ba’el – Lightning Bolt (7)
Abyssal Champion – Lightning Bolt (5)
Abyssal Warlock – Bane Chant (2)
Seductress – Bane Chant (2)

I’m guessing on some of the upgrades here, but this seems more or less correct. The Molochs might not have champs, which would leave points for the other Lowers to have CS(1) and the Horsemen to get a movement upgrade, both of which seem likely.

Looks like we were playing Plunder, judging by the tokens.

BATTLE

Battlelines!
The Abyss descends upon the crab line, albeit with some restraint. Lightning plays across the central Gigas (i.e. one of two units that can’t regen).
Scuttlers scuttle in response. Bastion goes on the left Kraken and Heartpiercers left and right begin ventilating the Succubi and the Horsemen, despite the negatives to hit.
Turn 2 means charges! Some Gargoyles successfully disorder some Heartpiercers, but unfortunately the Horsemen hard fail against the wounded Gigas. A catastrophic Kraken flank is saved however when the Abyssal Champ’s 2 lightning damage results in a box car waver on the titan! The left Water Elementals also cop a couple damage.
The crab’s respond by going aggro with the left Kraken (into Molochs) and Water Elementals (into Lower Abyssals), and otherwise counter-charging the middle and letting the Abyssals decide on the flanks. Heartpiercers chunk some damage on the unengaged Molochs and Lower Abyssals.
While there’s a lot of damage spread across the Abyssal line, the Gigas go wild and tear the Horsemen to pieces! Something like 11 damage from 12 attaks <chefkiss.gif>
Turn 3: The next wave of Abyssals hits home, as 5+ regen kicks in. The Bastion/Lute Envoy takes some damage from the Flamebearers before the carnage begins …
The Scuttlin’ center crunches like so much seafood, but the rest of the shellfish hold the line – including the Heartpiercers on the far left (9 damage taken!)
The crabs respond with the coldhearted violence of their genus: Gigas flank the Succubi on the left, the grind continues in the upper-left, Ba’el’s Kraken jumps on the central Molochs while the Centurion and some stalwart Heartpiercers sandwich the fallen demon lord. The sound of regening can be heard across the board.
Once again, Gigas one-round a unit (hindering be damned), taking out the Succubi. The central Heartpiercers likewise one-shot the Gargoyles who killed their mates last turn. Everywhere else the grind continues, with special mention for the Centurion and Heartpiercers dealing heavy damage to Ba’el.
The Abyssals continue to pile damage on in Turn 4 – check out all those double dice! – but the Nv checks aren’t there. The white chits show that the Scuttlin’ center has been wavered tho (Bastion Envoy, Heartpiercers and central Kraken).
Amongst all the regening (actually it looks pretty weak for 4/5+), the triumphant Gigas plow into the left Molochs as everyone else counter-charges …
Yes, gentle readers, all that happened. The left collapses thanks to that combo-charge, three turns of Water Elemental affection (eventually 54 attaks CS(1) attaks pays out) and a brutal single round of Heartpiercer fire into the Flamebearers. The right vanishes when those heavily damaged Water Elementals rolled like 17 hits and erased the horde 😅 Also Ba’el was torn down by the Centurion, which is pretty damn epic and exactly what he’s there to do. (The above shot is actually from Abyssal 5 but shows the combat results.)
With the heart and most of the limbs torn off the Abyssal army, Turn 5 is a little lackluster. The Seductress dunks the Bastion Envoy and prepares to get Gigas’d, the central Molochs get their Kraken up to double dice but can only pull the waver, while the Abyssal Champ can’t pop the mangled right Water Elementals.
A Kraken careens from one hill into the flank of the Molochs’ on the other, along with a brutal flank from those hero Heartpiercers. Also the Gigas chitter into the Seductress and the right Water Elementals prepare to chomp down on the Champion.
The Molochs disintegrate, but the individuals hold. Heartpiercers begin barraging the Abyssal Warlock with harpoons.
Turn 6 last gasps from the Abyssals. The Warlock tries to firebolt the wounded central Kraken, for no dice.
The Gigas see through the Seductress’ wiles and snip her in half, shortly after a wall of Heartpiercer fire impales the Warlock. The Abyssal Champion is the only demon left on the board, as the crabs quickly regen almost all the damage done to them. Oh, and snap up every loot token.

SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY

A commanding win for the crabs, thanks in large part to terrible Nv dice for the Abyssals. At the time it felt like this game was really run by the dice, to the point that reporting it felt a little weird, but watching it play out here I’m pretty happy with choices I actively made. Going ham on the left with the Kraken and Water Elementals took me a long time to decide on – this kind of decision almost always bites me – but really paid out, as it held up units that were going to struggle without hot dice and let me grind them down.

Anyway, that’s all the KOW for 2020! Really excited to get back on the table next year, and trying to stay focused and keep working on KOW hobby stuff until then, as opposed to wandering around the grim darkness of GW stuff and getting really nothing done.

Happy New Year!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM GAME 18: EMPIRE OF DUST

It’s the final round of the GT and I’m 2-2 and firmly on a lower-middle table. Sounds about right, and I’ve already accomplished my goal of two wins, so however this rampage ends I’m content. Up against EOD for the first time in 3E, helmed by a dude I’ve seen around for a while now but never played.

Empire of Dust 2300

Revenant Horde – Blessing of the Gods
Enslaved Guardian Horde – Casket of the Damned
Enslaved Guardian Horde – Casket of the Damned
Mummy Regiment – Casket of the Damned
Mummy Regiment – Casket of the Damned
Bone Giant
Monolith
Empire of Dust Balefire Catapult – Scarab Jars
Empire of Dust Balefire Catapult – Scarab Jars
Idol of Shobik
Revenant King on Undead Great Flying Wyrm – Surge (8)
Cursed High Priest – Undead Horse, Surge (8)

The EOD general was pretty down on most of his units who aren’t being repped by a towering bronze statue of Set (obviously Shobik!), however I still rate Enslaved Guardians (Me 3+!) and have distinct memories of being rocked by Bone Giants and struggling to pound through Mummies fast enough in 2E. Also I’m really bad at accounting for Caskets, and they’re everywhere here.

Aside: This game really showed how badly we’ve missed EasyArmy, as both he and I were misremembering EOD stats left and right, and had to keep going back to the giant 3E hardback to double check things. Really the worst.

Found 5 was Raze. Scuttlin’ Realms go first, not by choice.

BATTLE

Battlelines! Scorpions are Catapults, pyramid is the Monolith, other stuff is pretty clear.

Scuttlin’ Turn 1 sees the stranded left flank push as hard as it can through difficult terrain / shambling, and the right flank kinda chill out. You know, get some shooting in first.

The Empire doesn’t do a ton of moving in response, but a horde of Enslaved Guardians is launched up the table and stops 1” short of the right Heartpiercers. Whoa. Catapults splash 4 damage into some other Heartpiercers. And suddenly I’m reminded what Undead surge is like, except with caskets and Monoliths added to the mix.

Scuttlin’ Turn 2, and I’mma need those flanking assets in here pronto, m’k? The leftmost Kraken burns a token (1:0), as does the Water Elemental horde (2:0). Central Hearpiercers begin raking the Revenant horde with harpoons while Gigas prepare to receive. But really it’s about the cccccombo charge on the right: Kraken + Depth Horror Eternal + Heartpiercers into Enslaved Guardians … for 7 damage?! It doesn’t work out 😐

CURSE! CURRRRRSE! Guardians counter-charge the Heartpiercers, the Bone Giant thunders into the Eternal, and Shobik is surged into the flank of the Kraken. Balls. Also Catapults slap those central Heartpiercers back to 6 damage.

That Kraken is dropkicked and the Heartpiercers blended, but the Eternal only takes 2 damage. Time to flex, bro. The EOD burn my right token (2:1).

Scuttlin’ Turn 3, the anvils rotate to receive the dead and hope we’ve got all the surge angles covered. Heartpiercers continue concentrating on the Revenants, getting them to 7 damage for future reasons. The Eternal chooses to hack into the injured Enslaved Guardians, for token damage.

Whether through magical means or their own cantankerous willpower, the Revenants flank the Gigas (I don’t remember seeing this, but I also wasn’t worried, since it was 5+/5+), the Eternal is flanked by the Bone Giant and countered by the Guardians, the Mummies fall short of the other Gigas, and Shobik lumbers into the central Kraken …

Things turn out pretty well, with the Gigas only taking a predictable 5 damage, the Kraken taking 9! damage from Mega Shobik, and the Eternal getting pulverized and lifeleached.

Scuttlin’ Turn 4, time for crabby vengeance. A catapult gets Krakened (it dies), the Revenants get flanked by Water Elementals + Heartpiercers (they die), Shobik gets countered by the Kraken and flanked by the Revenant’s Gigas (it dies!), and those lower Mummies get charged by the Gigas (they will never die, but also take 2 damage).

Gigas, prepare to face-tank! One horde takes Mummies + RKOUGFW + Guardians to the front, while the other receives Mummies + Bone Giant.

That triple charge is super effective! But the other combat is a fluffer, just 4 damage.

Scuttlin’ Turn 5 – you know, I think that central Kraken has a flank on that Wyrm? Ah well. Instead he combo-charges the Mummies alongside the Gigas (who are shoved onto a fence from whence they will never escape). Up top, the other Kraken + Water Elementals take on the other Mummies, leaving it to some Heartpiercers to ground the Wyrm. Now that’s generalship. Other Heartpiercers put some rounds into the unhurt Enslaved Guardians.

While the bottom Mummies die, the upper ones hold, and the Heartpiercers fail to land the one 5+/5+ they were hoping for.

The RKOUGFW hopes into a further back Heartpiercer regiment, letting some Guardians flank the ones trying to poke him. More Guardians front charge the lower Kraken, as the Bone Giant tackles the Gigas and the upper Mummies counter the Water Elementals.

Lots of things get damaged, nothing breaks … because he snaked the Guardian’s Heartpiercers with 20 damage on them! Now that’s generalship. EOD is able to burn another token (2:2).

Scuttlin’ Turn 6! Heartpiercers mob the Wyrm and counter-charge the Guardians (10 damage regened!), along with a lot of counter-charging from bigger dudes into Mummies / Guardians / Bone Giants. The upper Mummies rout and the Water Elementals + Kraken overrun, burning my final token (3:2), but otherwise everything holds tight, and the Wyrm fends off the 16 5+/5+ little stabs trying to ground him.

Everybody back in!

The Wyrm breaks through the Heartpiercer wall, but otherwise everybody wavers … except for those central Heartpiercers, because yes, those Enslaved Guardians got them back to 20 damage and snaked them again! Hahaha!

Scuttlin’ Turn 7! The Gigas, thanks to fury, counter-charge the Bone Giant and cut him down at the knees. The Kraken regens furiously (9 of 15), while the other Kraken shoots into those Guardians harassing those HEROMODE Heartpiercers and ends them (said Heartpiercers regen 11 of 20 damage). Finally, the free Heartpiercers luxuriate on the central token and shoot the remaining Catapult off the table.

Happy to be done with this farce, the RKOUGFW flies off and burns a token (3:3), and the Guardians swing into their Kraken one more time and wavered it. Crabs take it thanks to the center objective (4:3).

SCUTTLIN’ WIN (15-6)

While I started this GT with terrible play and frigid dice, I happily ended it with some actual strategy and deliciously hot dice – particularly if we count my opponent’s double snake eyes, thanks for the assist, man! Good smashy game to end my first 3E GT, and a better run with the crabs than I had expected to have, frankly.

When everything was totaled up, I ended up placing 26 out of 48, just missing the Counter Charge award for dead middle of the pack. But putting the numbers aside, Best of the Rest was a great event that I’m thrilled to have happen in the first place, as it was wonderful to be some small part of the US Masters and share in this amazing KOW community.

Speaking of meeting great players and seeing some of my favorite online armies in person, you can catch some shots of my favorite armies / units (and more of my own) in this album here: BEST OF THE REST #0

SCUTTLIN’ REALM GAME 17: TRIDENT REALM

Day 2 of the Best of the Rest GT kicked off with a second Trident Realm Civil War! This time it’s crabs vs (jumping) sharks, up against the dude who would go on to win Best Sports – he got my #1 as well, thanks to him for being such a nice guy as well as meticulous player.

Trident Realm 2300

Riverguard Dambuster Horde – Brew of Sharpness
Riverguard Dambuster Horde
Riverguard Treeleaper Regiment
Riverguard Treeleaper Regiment
Riverguard Treeleaper Regiment
Riverguard Treeleaper Troop
Riverguard Treeleaper Troop
Kraken
Kraken
Knucker
Knucker
Riverguard Sentinel – Trickster’s Wand
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2)

I had watched this army dismantle my first round opponent the Friday before the event, and yea, I’m a fan of it. Frogs are probably the most interesting troops in the Trident list these days, even with being able to disorder flying. Toads I’m not sold on, though ironically I was talking to Kara Brown the night before about how disappointing they are, and the conclusion was Me 3+ would go a long way to help make Dambusters real. Naturally this list has a big ol’ toad hammer that hits on 3+. Solid.

Oh right, Kraken Count [5] again.

Round 4 was Control. The Scuttlin’ Realm went first, prrrrrobably not by choice.

BATTLE

Battlelines! Enemy TR L2R: Knucker, River troop, River reg, Dam horde, River hero, River reg, River reg, Kraken, Kraken, Envoy, Dam horde (Me 3+ i.e. the gold shark), Knucker, River troop.

Crabs scuttle up. Krakens project force. Lamentably the right Gigas couldn’t toe that forest with their 5” move. That blank base next to the Water Elemental crab is a Kraken.

Sharks scooch forward, but mostly it’s about the Knuckers. The Kraken gets bastion and my own bastion Envoy gets hexed!

Scuttlin’ Turn 2. We do what we can to prepare for the Knuckers, but I know he’s going to do screwy things I won’t see coming. Envoy takes 2 damage from bastioning the left Gigas, and Heartpiercers stick 6 damage into a River reg and 3 onto the right Knucker.

Knuckers, engage! Left Gigas are flanked by a Knucker (for 7 damage), while the other noms 3 damage off of the right Hearpiercers, wavering them (!) The Riverguard Sentinel leaps on a central Heartpiercer reg, disordering it with 2 damage, and otherwise the shark line continues to play it cagey, save for the wounded regiment that jams the center alongside a bastioned Kraken.

Scuttlin’ Turn 3, and I should note that at this point we are both melting our clocks down with tight positioning and option weighing. Regardless, I eventually keep pressing the right (the Eternal is facing the River troop and where they might hop to), punch down in the center (to the tune of dead Riverguard reg and gently caressed Krakens, the white one having copped a Hearpiercer harpoon), and bait the left with Heartpiercers (who also shoot and waver the leftmost River troop). The Gigas ultimately did not counter their flanking Knucker, preferring to backup out of the Dambuster’s charge and just accept another round of being flanked. With their massive base, turning to face would have invited a whole lot of toady attention.

Also the Heartpiercers fighting the Sentinel began wrecking him, as is their want.

Sharks pounce on the left but wow do they meet with some tough luck. Riverguard reg and Dambuster horde leap on the Heartpiercers in the woods, but 7 damage later they’re only wavered. The Sentinel swaps to the Gigas to help out the Knucker, however it’s another waver despite 13 damage – and these crabs conveniently have fury! More Riverguard jump into the central Heartpiercers, wavering them as well on 4 damage.

In the center, the Kraken actually disengages from the Water Elementals, as the other one goes to pressure the right flank. The Awesome Dambuster horde continues to back away from my right Kraken.

Scuttlin’ Turn 4. With less than 30 minutes left in the round, I tell him I’ve really enjoyed the match but have to play a little dumber now – basically I decide to throw the game away on a couple poor risks instead of waiting for us to clock out in a draw or minor win to him.

Anyway, time to go aggro! Kraken on the left rears and kills the Knucker in the Gigas’ flank, while they counter and waver the Sentinel. Friendly Heartpiercers shoot the sharks messing with their wavered buddies on the hill, for 2 damage. Kraken in the center combo-charges the bastioned enemy Kraken with the Water Elementals, and while they do a solid 12 damage, a double 8 rout test is too much. Finally, the right Kraken and Gigas go into the other enemy Kraken, doing a couple dice of damage but evidently failing to even waver it. In related news, the Heartpiercers on the right wound the remaining Knucker but narrowly miss even wavering it.

Jumping sharks everywhere! On the left, the Heartpiercers in the forest are charged by a River reg + River troop, the Gigas by the (Me 4+) Dambusters, and hill Heartpiercers by the other River reg. In the center, the Water Elementals are countered by the purple Kraken. On the right, the Gigas take white Kraken and Awesome Dambusters in the front, and the Kraken receives River troop in the flank and Knucker in the rear.

It’s, uh, super effective. All targets die, except for the Water Elementals and the hill Heartpiercers, who are wavered again. 830 point swing! Also: Kraken Count [4]

Scuttlin’ Turn 5, with minutes on the clock (this pic is from the first seconds of Sharktopus Turn 5, when the white Kraken went ham). I floor it for the scenario, sending the Eternal hard into the back right corner; the central Kraken charges, devours and overruns his Envoy; and the left Kraken backs up onto the fence to keep all them flying sharks in his front arc. Some Heartpiercers flank the Riverguard on the hill but can’t work any magic despite 5 damage total. The right Heartpiercers try to blast off the River troop but 2 damage isn’t enough. Finally, Water Elementals in the center slap that purple Kraken back to 10 damage but no lucky 9 pop.

With seconds left, the sharks have a go at the left Kraken (8 damage, no result), his white Kraken rear and devour the flanking Heartpiercers, Riverguard reg + troop mob and devour the hill Heartpiercers, and Awesome Dambusters pounce and devour the right Heartpiercers. The Water Elementals take a bunch of damage – Sentinel in their flank now – but hold. He clocks out.

Scuttlin’ Turn 6 (seen here), I use my last seconds to juke the central Kraken into an uncontested zone and then swing into the central Kraken and Riverguard reg down in the lower left. No lucky routs in either case, ensnare sucks, but that was just for attrition, he’s got this 5:3 or maybe 4:3 depending on where that Knucker is at.

SCUTTLIN’ LOSS (6-15)

 A really enjoyable, cagey game that I don’t feel too bad about going ham on. Adam was a very gracious opponent with a very cool list, and I’m inspired to do something sorta similar, with multiple combat units, including punchy troops, and really try to work some careful positioning. Also first time I’ve clocked out O_O

Up Next: Empire of Dust

SCUTTLIN’ REALM GAME 16: DWARFS

Mid-tables, baby! After bouncing off the bottom table, I faced off against a new player to the game and his Imperial Dwarfs. A note about this game, I helped him out quite a bit, pointing out for example how corkscrew charges work and when he’d set himself up for some, letting him back that out and in general learn while we wrassled instead of just taking his breaks. This isn’t a humble brag thing, more a comment on how ‘this is a tournament, play as hard as possible’ isn’t particularly interesting to me, nor I think to the KOW community at large. High five, us.

Dwarfs 2300

Berserker Brock Rider Regiment – Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar
Earth Elemental Horde
Earth Elemental Horde
Earth Elemental Horde
Berserker Brock Rider Troop
Berserker Brock Rider Troop
Sharpshooter Troop
Sharpshooter Troop
Sharpshooter Troop
Steel Behemoth – Golloch’s Fury
Ironbelcher Organ Gun
Ironbelcher Organ Gun
Ironbelcher Organ Gun
Berserker Lord – Brock, Blade of the Beast Slayer
Stone Priest – Surge (8), Bane Chant (2), Tome of Darkness

Fairly classic Rocks n Glocks n Brocks, helped by the Earth Elementals getting more buffs than I thought (-/18 now?!), and maybe hindered by a little less inspiring than usual? Ah yes: there’s no flying King, but a third Organ Gun + Elemental horde.

Round 3 was Smoke & Mirrors, which we muddled through almost correctly. Dwarfs took first turn this time.

BATTLE

Battlelines! There’s a third Kraken hard on the right flank.

Dwarfs roll out! Except for Sharpshooters, who tag a wound on the leftmost Kraken.

Crabs roll out! Between range, cover or marching, Heartpiercers don’t get anything done. That right Kraken slams 14” up the table edge, intent to murder those Sharpshooters.

Dwarfs Turn 2, more plodding forward and setting up some traps, tho the right Brock troop throws itself into the right Gigas, hungry for crab meats.

Shooting puts another 1 damage on the left Kraken, 6 on the central Gigas courtesy the Organ Guns and 3 on the right Kraken. In combat, the Brocks gnaw 2 damage onto the right Gigas but they shrug it off.

Scuttle Aggression++! Two Kraken and their Eternal escort thunder into the Brock regiment over on the left, the Water Elemental horde slams into the central Earth Elemental horde (they needed to get away from Golloch’s Fury, and I assumed they could grind a couple turns) while the wounded Gigas bodyblock for them (I used their nimble guys!), the right Kraken thunders into the right Sharpshooters, annnd the right Gigas counter-charge their Brocks. Heartpiercers chunk 10? damage (!) into the leftmost Earth Elementals, in a stunning display of 5+ / 5+ rolling.

In combat, the Brocks evaporate, with one Kraken overrunning 1-2”; the Water Elementals do very poorly against the Earth Elementals (not seeing any damage dice!); the right flank Kraken one-rounds the Sharpshooters and spins to face the action; and the right Gigas do 9? damage to their Brocks but only waver their quarry!

Dwarfs Turn 3 keeps the violence up. On the left, a Brock troop + Brock lord charge a Kraken, while the other Kraken over there is surge-flanked by Earth Elementals. (A brief aside: because reforming is weird, that Kraken basically had to look at the Elementals’ flank or front, knowing it would be flanked in either case. I chose to make him use his surge, because while the Kraken would die, it would keep the bane chant off of the Water Elementals. Luckily for Dwarfs they can cast BC into a surge target, ensuring the Kraken’s demise.) Speaking of Water Elementals, they get counter-charged, and the right half stuff continues forward.

Rather unexpectedly, two Organ Guns finishes off the Gigas! Sadness! And in combat, the Brock troop + lord roll like maniacs and drop a 2 damage Kraken in one go! Less surprisingly, the other Kraken is flanked and killed by CS(2) Earth Elementals, and the Water Elementals cop 5 damage against their own elementals.

With the heavy hitters evaporating on the left, the Scuttlers have to reassess a bit and start mobilizing Heartpiercers for scenario duty. They also shoot the Brock troop for 6 damage and shoot and rout the Earth Elementals that killed the Kraken. Damn, little dudes.

Meanwhile, the Eternal charges the Brock lord (and whiffs?!), the Water Elementals regen 0 damage but carve a few into the Earth Elementals, the Gigas messily dismember their Brocks, and the surviving Kraken looms large on the right flank.

Dwarfs Turn 4, because that turn die has to be off after we used it to prop up some Brocks earlier. At this point in the game we’ve turned over all of the 0 and 2 tokens, so the objective situation is pretty clear – hence his Sharpshooters booking it for the left and central tokens, and Golloch and the right Earth Elementals consolidating around the token to the right of the house. (He’s also scared of the last Kraken …) Also the Brock troop charges some Heartpiercers (who are currently scoring the lower left token), the Brock lord counters the Eternal, and the Earth Elementals fighting the Water Elementals back off, because this dude knows what he’s doing.

Organ Guns ventilate the Water Elementals before the Earth Elementals surge (+ bane chant) back into them and slaughter the mega crab. The Eternal takes 4 damage from the Brock lord (awesome rolling from this model all game!), and the Brock troop noms 6 damage into those Heartpiercers but don’t waver them.

Scuttle Tactics++! Worth noting that the 2 point objectives are hard left, where his Sharpshooters are running too, and to the left of the house, where my Heartpiercers are clustering – you know, in front of 3x Organ Guns + Sharpshooters. Those Heartpiercers fighting the Brocks counter-charge, but don’t manage a single wound even with the lute’s CS(1). The central Heartpiercers must have shot somebody, but totally fail. The Eternal slaps 2 damage into the Brock lord but he cares not.

On the right, the Heartpiercers who spent the game backing away from Golloch’s Fury flank charge the big guy, failing to wound it but getting within 3” of a 1 point objective, which made him think long and hard about his options next turn, as the Gigas hove into charge range.

Dwarfs Turn 5, and we spend a long time talking out scenario end game (we thought it was Turn 6). Without a doubt, the Eternal has to die (otherwise he’ll flank charge those Sharpshooters, murder them and grab the other 2 pointer), and ultimately the Dwarfs trust in their guns to take him out. The Brock lord rides off to help the Brock troop drop those Hearpiercers and overrun to their 1 pointer. And Golloch’s Fury, seeing that the Earth Elementals have US 3 to the Heartpiercers’ 2, plows off into the Gigas to keep them (and their US 3) at bay.

Good calls are good. The Depth Horror Eternal disappears under a double Organ Gun barrage, then the Brocks rock the Heartpiercers and overrun within range of a 1 pointer, and Golloch’s Fury boops 4 damage into the Gigas. The Heartpiercers holding my 2 pointer also took some damage from shooting.

In what we thought was the last round of the game, I did a ton of figuring and balanced a lot of options, and ended up walking some Heartpiercers within range of the 1 pointer on the hill (took some shots at the leftmost Sharpshooters but to no avail), kept the central Heartpiercers within range of their 2 pointer but turned and shot the Brock troop off the table (denying 1 point), kept the surviving Kraken within 3” of his 1 pointer, and couldn’t hot dice off the Earth Elementals holding the 1 pointer to the right of the building.

We rolled but blessedly there wasn’t another turn, so we ended what we thought was Turn 6, 4:3 on objectives.

SCUTTLIN’ WIN (14-7)

Sorry about the janky turn die on this one, I think my count here is correct and we only played five turns. That said, great game that was more involved than I thought it would be, and I lowkey love when my Heartpiercers get to decide games since I originally build the army around them. Smoke & Mirrors was … fine. I think a bit needlessly complex, compared to the old version of Pillage with the different token values, but I suppose it did lead to fairly dynamic play as we were kept weighting our options. Also I had gotten my second win! Mission accomplished!

Up Next: Trident Realm Civil War II

SCUTTLIN’ REALM GAME 15: TRIDENT REALM

Bottom table, baby! After getting housed by the Green Lady’s lackeys, my crabs plummeted to Table #22 to face off against some other downtrodden fish people. Coincidentally Table #21 also had a Trident Realm army on it, meaning that between the three of us we’d gotten 3 points total in Round 1. Gooooo Trident!

Trident Realm 2300

Naiad Ensnarer Horde – Liliana’s Tear
Gigas Horde
Depth Horror Horde – Healing Brew
Placoderm Regiment
Placoderm Regiment
Thuul Regiment
Thuul Regiment
Tidal Swarm Regiment
Tidal Swarm Regiment
Kraken
Kraken
Knucker
Thuul Mythican – Wings of Honeymaze
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2)
Naiad Envoy

One of the awesome things about playing alongside the US Masters was seeing armies and players I know from the internet – and it’s even cooler to get to scrum against them! This round I faced the dude who runs the Unt l Somebody Loses An Eye, who I had just that morning been talking to about Wyrd’s game The Other Side. I really love his army and how much Mantic he crammed in there by thinking laterally and using Nameless from Warpath, and his big bads are great minis and BIG. Comp-wise it seemed good, certainly more balanced than mine but nowhere near the amount of shooting. ALSO:

KRAKEN COUNT = 5

Round 2 was Push, and the Scuttlers went first again, probably not by choice.

BATTLE

*crab sounds* Lots of advancing. Kraken play it cagey, content to project force, or at least the threat of it. My tokens are in the left Gigas (x2) and the left Kraken near the house; his are all in the central Ensnarer horde (x3). Heartpiercers ventilate a scouted Tidal Swarm for first blood.

*gribble sounds* Cautious response from Cthulhu and friends. Most relevant note is the Knucker begin to work that flank but not stepping into those right woods.

Central Gigas scoop up the central token and prepare to flex hard – tho Ensnarers and Placoderms aren’t the smashiest units, Thuul are lurking nearby. Lots of positioning happened on the flanks, inviting him to break the standoff, while Heartpiercers unload into the Depth Horrors hard left (5 damage) and the Tidal Swarm middle (1 damage).

The Gribble Realms let ‘er rip in the center, sending Ensnarers and Placos into Gigas for a proper anvil-off, with that annoying Tidal Swarm getting in the way of Kraken vengeance. His flanks increase the pressure, presenting me with plenty of bad options. Gigas hold easily (3 damage). The Depth Horrors also ate their healing brew.

Turn 3, time to take a risk (Spoiler: risks very rarely pay off with TR!) Gigas + Heartpiercers + Water Elementals slam into the central Placoderms, looking for that pop-n-spin. More Heartpiercers charge that Tidal Swarm, while yet more Heartpiercers riddle the Depth Horrors with harpoons, routing them. The right Kraken takes a deep breath and makes sure all those big bases are in his front arc, while the left Kraken (still with a token) invites the other Placoderms to have a go.

Anyway, that big combat in the middle doesn’t work out. Loads of damage (10+) but can’t land the double rout. Sad times ahead, gents. Those Hearpiercers totally rock the swarm tho.

Here we go! Thuul regiments mob the Water Elementals, with some Placoderm support for good measure. A Kraken slams into my right Kraken, with Knucker ready to toss in next turn. The Ensnarers have a go at the central Gigas, and those other Placoderm head in to poke at the left Kraken. His Gigas and Cthulhu-kraken head towards the center.

The Water Elementals are shredded by the Thuul wave, but other damage is negligible.

Scuttlin’ Turn 4, the grind increases, with some fortunate flanks. The central Gigas + Heartpiercers counter-charge their Placoderms, finishing them. The right Kraken grabs the flank of some Thuul, devouring them (this may have been a mistake? Or he expected to at least waver my Kraken but did the combats in the wrong order?) On the left, my other Gigas grab the flank of his other Placoderm, shattering them with the Kraken’s help in the front (this was certainly a mistake, he looked pretty crestfallen after missing that flank). The central Kraken mashed into the Ensnarers for respectable damage (6?) but whatever.

In shooting, Heartpiercers rock his Gigas, wavering them.

Gribble Realms options are dwindling, but there’s still mayhem to be had. Ensnarers counter-charge the central Kraken, Cthulhu + Thuul thunder into some poor Heartpiercers, and the right Kraken facetanks a Kraken + Knucker.

Those Heartpiercers turn to jelly, but otherwise Kraken hold like the towering anvils they are.

Scuttlin’ Turn 5, check out that big horde-sized hole … Gigas + Kraken in the front and another titan in the flank splatters the Ensnarer horde, and leaves one Kraken loaded up with 4 (!) tokens. My other Kraken swings into the Knucker, because at least it can’t regen? But he wavers it anyway! Beast.

In non-Kraken news, the central Gigas back up 3” after combat but can’t escape Lord Cthulhu … And my other Gigas charge and dismember an Envoy, shortly after 30 Heartpiercer rounds waver his Gigas again. Man, I hate when my Gigas waver too.

Kraken violence continues, as my central Gigas are charged by Thuul and flanked by Cthulhu, and my beleaguered right Kraken is flanked by his other Kraken. While the Gigas crunch beneath Cthulhu’s feet (who scoops up their token), my Kraken survives on 14 damage! Wavered but still holding, which was his only goal this game. Also his Gigas rotate to face their destructor.

Scuttlin’ Turn 6, scenario time go! The Kraken carting around 4 tokens plows into the enemy half, while the other central Kraken gets out of LOS but prepares to punish if there’s a Turn 7. My right Kraken furiously regenerates 8 damage and keeps looking at the Knucker in a show of disrespect for his Kraken. Then Heartpiercers pincushion Cthulhu but he cares not for their barbs.

In what would be the end of the game, Cthulhu and his Thuul minions pounded into some Hearpiercers but honestly I think they held. I don’t have a shot of it, however I think my hero Kraken on the right finally ate it. (KRAKEN COUNT = 4)

SCUTTLIN’ WIN (17-4)

BUT with so many tokens on his half (5!) this was a pretty serious win for the Scultting Realm. The flanks he offered up in Turn 4 certainly helped, but I’mma give credit to my right Kraken holding up his own titanic flank for FAR longer than he ought to have. I was far more patient than I usually am – I mean, not in that middle combat I guess, tho it wasn’t massively risky – and his delay really gave me the time I needed to wreck the flank and center.

Up Next: Dwarfs

SCUTTLIN’ REALM GAME 14: ORDER OF THE GREEN LADY

The US Masters tournament for the 2019 Kings of War season was held at Tioga Downs Casino in Western NY, just shy of three hours west of me. More awesomely, there was a side tournament held at the same time in the same room, conveniently called The Best of the Rest. It followed the same rules, points values and scenarios, but blessedly was only five games and not the grueling six of the Masters.

While I very much didn’t fancy my chances, I felt I owed it to the crabs to give them at least one more event before packing them away for the inevitable Clash of Kings buffs at the end of the year (Wyrmriders, I’m looking at you guys!) This also meant I would finish painting more of the army’s stockpile instead of, you know, never getting back to it.

Trident Realm 2300

Water Elemental Horde
Gigas Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Gigas Horde – Staying Stone
Naiad Heartpiercer Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercer Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercer Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercer Regiment
Kraken
Kraken
Kraken
Depth Horror Eternal – Inspiring Talisman
Naiad Envoy – Lute of Insatiable Darkness
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2)

Despite proving scientifically that Kraken are speedy yet pillowfisted pseudo-anvils (aka not hammers), I still wanted to bring all three of the big guys, particularly as I had just finished painting their big little brother, the Deep Crab from Mierce (the Kraken are Mierce’s three Scuttling Nucránca). At some point in my testing I abandoned trying to make Wyrmriders work and had switched to a Water Elemental horde for my unlocks and facebeating purposes. It’s sad when 18 CS1 attaks is your hammer but, well, Trident are like that. Also being natively Def 5+ and Strider (and Regen 5+) are groovy things, as well as putting him roughly in line with the Kraken’s abilities, which is aesthetically nice as all four minis look related.

I kept all the Heartpiercers in, since I made the army around them originally, afforded some anti-wavering tech for the Gigas (being wavered is the worst, especially when you don’t have regen or heal) and grudgingly gave the Eternal true inspiring. It’s always a bad feel to upgrade self-inspo for 20 pts but I really wanted him in there – the only two games I’d won of 3E so far had been because of him – and needed the third inspiring.

I did have a bit of regret going into these games, as a couple days before I realized that I should just give the Water Elementals brew of strength, as they were the lute target 90% of the time … and spoilers, my lute didn’t work 50% of the time. Also CS2 would just fit the model better.

Anyway, while I was sorta ok with Scuttlin’ Realm 2.0, my goal for the event was just two wins. You know, doubling my record for the new edition.

Order of the Green Lady 2300

Order of the Brotherhood Regiment – Banner of the Green Lady, Blade of Slashing
Order of the Brotherhood Regiment – Sir Jesse’s Boots of Striding
Men-at-Arms Retainer Horde
Men-at-Arms Retainer Horde
Order of Redemption Regiment – Brew of Strength
Order of the Forsaken Horde – Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar
Pegasus
Pegasus
Exemplar Redeemer – Winged Unicorn
Exemplar Redeemer – Winged Unicorn
Unicorn – Wings, Lightning Bolt (5), Heal (5), Shroud of the Saint
Unicorn – Wings, Lightning Bolt (5), Heal (5), Boomstick

Table #1 baby! Fun fact: I watched this army play my Round 4 opponent the night before the tournament kicked off, as I liked both armies a lot. Smart list with six extremely useful flyers. I obviously didn’t realize how great Exemplar Redeemers are, very reminiscent of pegasus vamps, which are one of the flyers I respect the most in the game. Except these regen, and headstrong, and CS2, and etc.

Round 1 was Dominate, and the Scuttlers kicked things off. Grudgingly.

BATTLE

Battlelines! Most relevant notes are the Redeemers stacked on the left flank and the ultra-hammer Order of the Redemption in the second wave on the right flank.

Headed into Order Turn 2. Turn 1 I must have advanced, without being able to shoot my 18” guns, then he advanced, lightninged some Heartpiercers, who regened and returned fire at the offending Unicorn. Worth noting that my dice were ice cold at this point and my brain extremely fuzzy from no sleep / being out of practice (I mean, check out that 10AM Monster :X)

Despite leaving a Kraken over there to intercept one of them, both Redeemers are able to hop my lines. I am well and truly fakked. (The TO walked by at this point, watched the heroes fly over the Kraken, looked at me and shook his head …) Some Brotherhood knights run over some Heartpiercers while the Unicorn zzaps that other unit more, wavering them. Pegasus either try to get in the way or prepare to later.

As it turns out, the Kraken is able to get into those rampaging Brotherhood, and combo-charges with some luted-up Gigas. Since this game has already gone sideways, I go hyper-aggressive on the right, sending 42 CS1-2 attaks into the Men-at-Arms. I know it’ll cost me the right Kraken but I want to break up his lines and start grinding. Heartpiercers pump rounds into the same Unicorn and the right Pegasus, for minimal results.

Both combats fail, despite the odds being in my favor / the best this army can muster. The knights may have wavered (then headstronged out of it) but the Men-at-Arms I couldn’t manage the rerolled rout. Bad times ahead.

The Order responds by jumping on all three Kraken: Brotherhood knights + flank Redeemer + rear Redeemer on the left, both Men-at-Arms in the center (including an ensnare-free flank), and more Brotherhood knights into a flank on the right. Heartpiercers are plowed into by Forsaken and Pegasus, while lightning wavers the central unit a second time. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the Men-at-Arms holding has blocked the Order of the Redemption from descending.

After combat, all three Kraken drop in one turn!! But, uh, the Heartpiercers hold.

In Scuttler Turn 4, those left Gigas finish off the Brotherhood knights and turn to face the Redeemers, knowing they’re about to go rear charge somebody. The engaged Heartpiercers counter-charge, grounding the Forsaken (!) and killing the right Pegasus (!!). The free unit shoots the wounded Forsaken, praying for that waver. Finally, the Water Elementals swing at the Men-at-Arms again, who have been very healed at this point, and the right Gigas chunk some damage into the other Men-at-Arms, knowing they’re dead soon.

This is midway through combat in Order Turn 4. The Forsaken drop their Heartpiercers, that Redeemer in the center has just murdered some other Heartpiercers, the Water Elemental horde is vaporized by the Order of the Redemption (and a few relevant wounds from the infantry horde), but somehow the Gigas hold Men-at-Arms to the front, Redeemer to the flank and Pegasus to the rear! You can also see the Eternal on the right flank had snuck a flank charge on those Brotherhood knights, then was counter-charged here for really a lot of damage on 4+ then 3+.

Scuttler Turn 5, the Gigas turn around and eat the Pegasus in their rear, then turn back around. The Eternal nimblers out and hacks into the Order of the Redemption. And the remaining Heartpiercers try to finish off a wounded flyer (probably the Forsaken in the Gigas’ flank).

The central Gigas are torn apart, while the other Gigas hold a Forsaken charge and the Heartpiercers likewise repulse the fresh Redeemer. The Eternal is shredded by the Order of the Forsaken, while Unicorns rapidly heal the damage to the Men-at-Arms.

Turn 6 and I’m desperately trying to kill something else. The Gigas swing like champs but botch the rout roll on the Forsaken, while the Heartpiercers cutely slap two wounds on their Redeemer but whatever.

Those offending Heartpiercers are cratered by the Order of the Redemption, and I’m pretty sure the Gigas were torn down with excellent dice from the Forsaken. I end the game with just the Envoys kicking.

SCUTTLIN’ LOSS (1-20)

Amazingly I was able to kill enough to earn 1 point! Oh right: we’re playing Blackjack, which uses 14/7 for wins/loses and then modifies that based on how well you won the scenario, and then further by attrition difference.

Given all those flyers and how poorly my list handles them – if it’s a single dragon, I can just shoot it to death, but multiple smaller fliers is really difficult – I kind of felt the outcome was inevitable. Having those early combats where I applied fairly overwhelming force just peter out was sad, but my dice weren’t there for me, plus Trident simply don’t have the combat power to make any match up a sure thing.

This army would go on to win Player’s Choice, and the dude was a pleasure to finally face after seeing him around for years.

Up Next: Trident Realm Civil War

INCOMING CRABS 🦀

Or rather, they arrived a while ago, but haven’t been batrepped for unknown reasons … Bloodfire is still on hiatus while I explore fresher avenues, however I wanted to give some coverage to my current army, plus those that come after this one, and this seems like a decent, agnostic place to do it.

So welcome to the new, expanded, ad-free blood-fire.com!

CRABS (FEB 2020) – Big boys by Mierce, tiny lads by Khurasan, token Hadross dude by CMON

Late September 2019, I finished up a new crab-themed Trident Realm army, just a couple days before the Crossroads GT (which was a 2250 point KOW 2E team event). I played a practice game the night before against a team mate, crushing his new Nightstalkers with the fury of a bunch of crustaceans (GAME 1: NIGHTSTALKERS). And with practice out of the way – I had literally never played the army before! – we got a few hours sleep and headed into the event. The list I took for that first outing:

Trident Realm 2250 (2E)
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Gigas Horde*
Gigas Horde*
Kraken
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Envoy – Aura of Heroism (2), Banner of the Griffin
Depth Horror Eternal – Inspiring Talisman
Depth Horror Eternal – Orcish Skullpole
Naiad Wyrmrider Centurion – Fire-Oil
*King Crabs

As captain of Team Cuddle Time II, I was vaguely in charge of working out which armies would go up against each other and/or what scenarios they would play, so I had some control over who and what my crabs faced. My goal for the team was to put myself into harder armies but ideally with better scenarios for my Trident … which was total conjecture since I didn’t really know what they could do! Here’s the briefest of recaps:

GAME 2: ELVES

NWC and Kraken doing terrible things to Elf Archers!

 

Couldn’t tell you what the mission was or how things broke down, but holy hell I won! Biggest revelation was that massed heartpiercers are really good at killing big monsters, as his dragon was deleted in a couple turns as it tried to harry my flanks and rear.

GAME 3: KINGDOMS OF MEN

Kraken resolutely face-tanking a charge from a Knight horde!

Knight-heavy (like 2x hordes + regiments + flying heroes) men largely controlled this game, however through the magic of ensnare + hindering the crabs were able to bog down his momentum and smash their way to an inconceivable draw.

GAME 4: BASILEANS

Another fast army, this time 2x Elohi, 2x Uh-Elohi, 1-2x Knights, token foot troops, Gnaeus Sallustis annnnnd the mega-dragon (who is now just the normal dragon). I should have gotten wrecked, however he was extremely caught up in the dance a Kraken and his dragon were having in some woods, where I kept turning or stepping into and out of wood templates and he had to keep over-analyzing LOS and what was going on over there, all while taking continual Heartpiercer damage. Preposterously I won this one too!

GAME 5: UNDEAD

Crabs busting ghosts!

Dawn of Day 2, and while Team Cuddle Time II wasn’t doing stellar (our Varangur player was getting paired up against very hard armies, and pretty consistently getting smashed for his troubles), my Trident Realm was on a real tear! Up against Undead next, a rather standard 2E affair with some hordes, some knights, some wraith troops, some barrow wights, a dragon, etc. Lowlight was a Kraken getting trapped by Wraiths and dismantled – one troop to the front, then more to the flank, then another to the rear! But otherwise the dragon was shot down and the punchy crabs punched hard, with a somewhat lucky Gigas + Gigas + Eternal charge into a fresh horde that helped me roll his flank up and maul through the rest of the Undead line. Another win!

GAME 6: UNDEAD

“Craaaaaab meeeeeeaaat”

Final round of the tournament, and another Undead grinder for me. Main difference here is the abundance of zombies and zombie trolls. I was in control of this game early on, thanks to shooting, but I still remember how, instead of waiting for Turn 3 to engage, when the zombie trolls had been shot off, I jumped the guns and sent the Kraken all in Turn 2, which got most of them killed – including one to multiple wraith troop charges, again. Once the big hammers were down, I scrabbled as best I could but was overrun, earning the armies first loss.

All told, it was a pretty heartening first six games with the scuttlers! Really quite unexpected … although a bit tarnished as the 3E changes for Trident Realm had been previewed the day before the event, and it was clear that almost all the units I was using were going to lose their COK19 bumps. I had a feeling 3E was about to get bumpy for my new army.


Some KOW-less weeks later, the new edition hit, confirming some particularly distressing developments:

  1. Heartpiercers became irregular, making my 2E list illegal and ensuring I will always hurt for unlocks
  2. Heartpiercers lost ensnare, pathfinder and 2 attaks, for the benefit of steady aim, which gutted the reason I based an army around these little, mobile tarpits happy to grab a 24 attak flank when able
  3. Gigas went up to a larger base, making them unwieldy but more importantly meaning I had to paint more of them and rebase the unit (they also lost 1 CS but gained 1 Def and kept their King Crabs Sp, so meh; the added nimble has yet to matter for me)
  4. Kraken lost 3 attaks, severely hurting their abilities as hammers, ironically at the same time as they gained +D3″ charge range

At first I added a Wyrmrider horde for a third hero unlock, but man they suck now. In my first 3E game I lost against Ogres (GAME 7: OGRES):

Then over Wintermas I leant my brother my Ratkin, who brutally beat me at dominate (GAME 8: RATKIN), but then the next day I narrowly squeaked out a win in raze (GAME 9: RATKIN):

With a 3E win under my belt at last, I took on my clubmate’s Abyssals (GAME 10: FORCES OF THE ABYSS), losing again but at least keeping it close:

Meanwhile, my buddy had finally relented to my arm twisting, picked up a load of Mantic minis and smashed through a Northern Alliance army in record time. In short order he hit 2300 points and found himself facing crabs every other week or so. While I won the first match (GAME 11: NORTHERN ALLIANCE), and his first game of full size Kings –

– Trident’s pillowy fists would come up to haunt me, as I lost both of the next two games (GAME 12: NORTHERN ALLIANCE & GAME 13: NORTHERN ALLIANCE). Including this gem:

Aye, that’s a Kraken (with 2 loot tokens) being flanked by Huscarls (with 2 loot tokens) and Half-Elf Berserkers. While the Kraken is in that predicament because I rolled double ones, the North did not repay the favor 😥 Nor did I ever get those 4 loot tokens away from the Huscarls.

Which brings us up to last week! February 22-23 was the US Masters here in New York, and there was a side GT called the Best of the Rest for, well, the rest of us who wanted to scrum and soak up that Masters vibe. I took my freshly reduxed crabs with me and ended up taking a lot of photos with the intent to blog. So strap in, tournament report inbound!

Side Note: Since I’m covering reports for different armies on this blog now, you’ll be able to use the new Category feature >> to more easily select which army you want to follow. Though I do tend to avoid bouncing between armies, it could happen!