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!

THE HALLOW 10: DWARFS

After my Game One drubbing, I plummeted down to the bottom table and got to face one of my favorite people to play, and a dude I very often play somewhere around mid-tournament for score-related reasons πŸ˜€

Dwarfs 2300
Bulwarkers Horde – Staying Stone, Throwing Mastiff
Earth Elementals Horde
Earth Elementals Horde
Earth Elementals Horde
Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar
Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Boots of Striding
Sharpshooters Troop
Sharpshooters Troop
Sharpshooters Troop
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Berserker Lord on Brock – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Berserker Lord on Brock – Mournful Blade
Stone Priest – Conjurer’s Staff, Surge (8), Bane Chant (2)
Dwarf Army Standard Bearer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness

I’m always happy to fight Dwarfs, as I very reliably out-threat them, so get to play the more control oriented game I prefer. His list seems legit? And looks great on the table. I dig the double Brock Lords, and this would be the first time I’ve faced Earth Elementals with my squishier Forest Shamblers.

Game Two is Salt the Earth, and the Herd wins and takes the initiative.

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! It’s hard to see, but the seventh token is on that hill back-right, guarded by double Sharpshooters. My fourth Tribal Spears are hard to the right just off shot.
Herd 1: The Hallow rolls out, mobilizing chaff on the left, tempting the Brocks in the middle, and blitzing the hill on the right. Some Tribal Spears take up residence on the token in the fountain, content to never move again.
Dwarfs 1: On the left, the pathfinder Brocks jump on the chaffing Centaurs and the BotBS Brock Lord charges into the Tree Herder, while the Earth Elementals maintain their menacing wall of rock and grind towards that flank. In the center, the Mastiffs (+ Bulwarkers) trot forward and prepare to unleash themselves / bees, and the Sharpshooters hold their ground on the right.
The storm of tossed dogs shreds the central Forest Shamblers (!!!), and Sharpshooters put 2 wounds on the left Tribal Spears and 1 on the Centaur Chief.
The Centaurs are torn apart by angry badgers, but the Brock Lord fails to damage the Herder. And then those Sharpshooters on the hill to the right burn their token 😐
Herd 2: Despite that, the Hallow chooses murder, as is their want. Beast and Centaur Chief charge into a Sharpshooter troop each, while their Tribal Spear escorts go be useful elsewhere. In the center, the Brutal Herder holds the boot Brocks in place to give the Centaurs and Shamblers time to clear the Mastiffs (except the Shamblers have to plow through a fence, hindering them). On the left, Shamblers (bane chanted) and Tribal Spears combo-charge the pathfinder Brocks. I spend a ton of time deciding what to do with the left Herder – because the Brock Lord failed to wound him, the Herder could walk over him if he wanted, tho the 1″ rule makes things weird around the Brocks and etc, etc, and so I just turned him to face the wall of rocks headed in … and forgot I could just charge him. It totally won’t come back to haunt me that I didn’t put 9 3+/2+ swings into that Brock Lord. No chance.
Happily, the pathfinder Brocks pop! And on the right, the Beast kicks her Sharpshooters to death, while the Centaur Chief is content to gnaw his down. The center is less conclusive, with neither Mastiffs breaking (5 and 6 damage respectively, which is pretty superb considering the odds involved), and the Brocks taking 5 damage.
Dwarfs 2: Rock meets Wood as the Earth Elementals crash into the left Shamblers and Tribal Spears. The beast slayer Brock Lord takes another swing at the Herder disrespecting him. In the center, Mastiffs counter the stick-things assaulting them and the Brocks counter the Brutal Herder. And on the right, the duelist Brock Lord goes in to sit down the Beast as the Sharpshooters strike at the Centaur Chief with their rifle butts.
The leftmost Shamblers are pummeled into goo by ambulatory stone statues, but other charges just result in damage – or not in the case of the Herder, who is just too tough for the slayer Brock Lord! The Tribal Spears go up to 6, the Centaurs to 5, the central Shamblers to 2, the Brutal Herder to 6 (!), and the Beast is indeed sat down with 2 damage. The Centaur Chief escapes without damage as well.
Herd 3: My positioning with the left Herder pays off, as it powers into an Earth Elemental flank, with (bane chanted) Tribal Spears in the front. Everybody counter-charges in the center, however the twist is the Beast using her Sp 7 + Nimble to juke the duelist Brock Lord and flank charge the Brocks. The Centaur Chief takes another bite out of the right Sharpshooters. You can see the Tribal Spears making a cautious play for the center objective – at this point I’m doing some math and realizing I need another token to pull a win off, despite my tight grip on two of the objectives.
All combats go the Hallow’s way, such is the fury of the dark fae. The left Herder is facing that way to swing the Earth Elementals into his front if they charge or use up a surge if he wants a flank, and in the center the Centaurs jam the Bulwarkers with an overrun. The duelist Brock Lord on the hill is faced with a choice: sit the Beast down again or prepare for glory. Also I burn the token on the left.
Dwarfs 3: The left Earth Elementals are surged into the Tree Herder flank (the follow-up bane chant must have worked, with the Conjurer’s Staff on hand), with the slayer Brock Lord charging in for a third round. The Bulwarkers make to clear out the Centaurs so they can address the incoming trees, and the duelist Brock Lord, well …
He chooses glory 😀
The Centaur Chief is mulched under those 14 attaks, and the Centaurs don’t fare too well either, but both of their missions are complete. The Tree Herder astoundingly only takes 6 damage (my opponent historically has terrible dice, and the tradition has continued here).
Herd 4: The grind continues! On the left, the Tree Herder + Tribal Spears (bane chanted) hit the Earth Elementals in the front. In the center, Shamblers + Brutal Herder + Beast combo-charge the Bulwarkers … and I realize later that the Beast is probably better used trying to kick the ASB to death, removing the reroll. I also don’t turn the rightmost Tribal Spears to face the duelist Brock Lord, despite them having phalanx and him obviously being cavalry.
8 damage on the Earth Elementals isn’t bad, but I can’t reach that -/18 Nv. Likewise the 12 damage on the Bulwarkers is solid enough, with a ways to go. Note that I’ve been watching his movement in the center, and those Tribal Spears are 16″ away from those Earth Elementals, to make him walk the whole way and not give a speed boost thanks to charging.
Dwarfs 4: Let’s just tear the bandage off – the slayer Brock Lord drops the left Tree Herder 😦 Well fought, tiny dude on badger that I ignored all game. The Earth Elementals bash the Tribal Spears up to 7 damage (wavering them), the Bulwarkers (bane chanted) stab the Brutal Herder up to 9 damage, and the duelist Brock Lord puts 3 on the right Tribal Spears desperately holding a point with no inspiring to be seen. The central Earth Elementals begin to crest the hill.
Herd 5: The wavered Tribal Spears back up to protect the Druid / expose the Earth Elementals to her lightning bolt (!), the Bulwakers receive another round of Brutal Herder + Forest Shamblers, the Beast pounces on the Dwarf ASB, and the right Tribal Spears counter the duelist Brock Lord (but most importantly point their sharp bits at him).
The Druid does wound the Earth Elementals with her LB(2), getting them up to 9 damage … but I can’t manage the double 9 to rout. Still awesome. The Bulwarkers are smashed into the dirt and the duelist Brock Lord takes a shocking 6 damage from small pointy tree things.
Dwarfs 5: Tiring of this grind, the left Earth Elementals trundle away to sit on a token, letting their compatriots take the hill and the token there. The Brock Lords both charge Tribal Spears … and do 0 damage on the left and 1 on the right O_O The ASB tries to ground the Beast but misses her.
Herd 6: Those left Tribal Spears rear the Earth Elementals who dared leave them to their fate, and the right Tribal Spears stab the duelist Brock Lord again. Really though it’s about mobbing the central Earth Elementals to pull the game away from his 3-2 token lead. I also punch the Beast forward in preparation for a Turn 7 run on the Sharpshooters’ token.
The Tribal Spears shatter their Earth Elementals, overrunning to take a point from the Dwarfs. The right Tribal Spears don’t kill their Brock Lord. Magic doesn’t happen in the center and the Earth Elementals hold … and we measure and discover that the Forest Shamblers are 4″ from the point thanks to combo-charge sliding. I can’t burn the point, and my 3-1 lead isn’t long for this world.
Dwarfs 6: The slayer Brock Lord ends those Tribal Spears, and the Earth Elementals swing hard and kill the Tribal Spears on the hill (a tough ask for his dice!) The duelist Brock Lord can’t rout his point-holding Tribal Spears, putting the game at 2-2. With no Turn 7, this is a …

DRAW (10-10)

Attrition put us at less than 500 points apart, for a true draw, which is apparently possible in Blackjack Scoring. It felt a little bad to have things slip away like this, as I had taken an early lead and had a lot of control – and some luck – in my favor, but even during the game I was seeing places where I simply was forgetting to do things (turn to face the Brock Lord on the right) or choosing obvious things (Beast putting a few wounds on Bulwarkers instead of kicking the ASB to death OR threatening the Sharpshooters on a point a turn earlier) rather than smarter things. In retrospect, I think could have won by not charging the Tribal Spears in on the center, as the fresh Forest Shamblers would have slide over fully to a) contest the point and b) block the Tribal Spears from the Earth Elementals, allowing them to score in safety or at the least contest, either of which would have done it for me, without a Turn 7. Instead I tried to punch for the stars per usual, and lost that win by an inch.

NEXT UP: Nature!

THE HALLOW 9: OGRES

After missing last year due to the raging global pandemic, the Crossroads GT returned in 2021 as a 2300 point singles KOW tournament – the past two Crossroads have been team tournaments, and 2022 is slatted to return to that format, but the feeling this year was that most of us haven’t played much if at all in 18 months so why complicate things? Brilliant, I say. I took my Hallow Herd, knowing full well that they aren’t strong and even my usual tournament goal of going 50% could be hard.

The Herd 2300
Forest Shambers Horde
Forest Shambers Horde
Forest Shambers Horde
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Beast of Nature – Wings, 7 Attaks
Tree Herder – Pipes of Terror
Tree Herder
Druid – Conjurer’s Staff, Heal (2), Bane Chant (2), Lightning Bolt (2)
Centaur Chief

Eight games in, here’s where this version of the Hallow landed. I made a last minute decision to give the Druid LB(2) in place of the Centaur Chief’s duelist, and we’ll have to see how that played out!

Ogres 2300
Warrior Chariots Legion – Potion of the Caterpillar
Siege Breakers Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Siege Breakers Horde – Dwarven Ale
Boomers Horde – Piercing Arrow
Hunters Horde – Brew of Haste
Berserker Braves Regiment
Berserker Braves Regiment
Red Goblin Scouts Troop
Sergeant on Chariot – Blade of Slashing
Ogre Warlock – The Boomstick
Ogre Warlock – Inspiring Talisman
Ogre Warlock – Conjurer’s Staff
Army Standard – Lute of Insatiable Darkness

Yep, that’s a rough place to start! But Ogres (along with Undead) were very well represented at this tournament, so I suppose if I’ve got to take it on the chin from Ogres I might as well do it first game against a good dude I haven’t played since 2E. Going list to list, I have next to no chance, except …

First round is Invade, and my tree things do that pretty well, right?? Unfortunately he wins first turn, so that tightens that screw just a bit further.

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! The other Centaurs are hard to the left.
Ogres 1: Rollout! The Warlock conclave is just behind that left hill (currently deploying lasers).
Centaurs cop 7 damage and waver, which could have been a lot worse against 19 lightning or whatever.
Herd 1: The Hallow derdles up, presenting some sacrificial Tribal Spears in the middle and otherwise trying to make charges awkward for the Warrior Chariots and stuff on the right.
Ogres 2: Speaking of charges, here we gooooo! From the left, that’s Braves deep into Tribal Spears, Siege Breakers into the bait Spears, Chariots into the Forest Shamblers hugging the building, Hunters into the rightmost Shamblers and Scouts tripping over an obstacle into the right Tree Herder to get out of / be in the way. The other Braves jammed in to block me from charging something.
The Warlocks pour lightning into the Druid and the wounded Centaurs, disintegrating them both. In the Warm Liquid Good phase, the center is reduced to green jelly but miraculously the Hunters only land 4 damage on their Shamblers, so that flank is alive. The plucky Scouts stab their Herder for 1 damage.
Herd 2: The Hallow strikes back as it can, with an aim to at least not get zero points. The Brutal Herder fronts the Chariots with the Beast just grabbing a flank, with the central Shamblers charging some Braves as they couldn’t fit in the Chariot charge. The Centaur Chief zips in to help them out. On the right, the other Herder counters those Scouts and Shamblers flank them for murder purposes (also hitting on 5+ vs Hunters is fairly pointless and freeing up the Herder is more important). Far on the left, the Centaurs decide to threaten the Warlocks, rather than hiding behind that building and waiting to be bolted off later.
The central Braves take a little damage and hold, the Chariots only take 12 damage and hold, but the Red Goblin Scouts are obliterated. I’ll take it.
Ogre 3: The second big green hook lands. Siege Breakers charge central Shamblers, Braves counter the Centaur Chief, more Braves flank the Brutal Herder with the Chariots in the front (as they couldn’t turn and hit the Beast), and the Hunters have another go at the right Shamblers. The Warlocks fry the left Centaurs.
Dice get weird this turn: The Brutal Herder is wrecked, but somehow everything else holds?! The central Shamblers take 6, the Centaur Chief 3, and the right Shamblers are up to 7.
Herd 3: Time to capitalize on still having models! The left Tribal Spears charge the Siege Breakers (I hate it but it means they get to swing and, hey, it’s invade), the central Shamblers counter their Siege Breakers, the Centaur Chief + Beast charge the Chariots, the other living Tribal Spears bomb in to the Braves what killed the Brutal Herder, and the other Herder flanks the Hunters as the right Shamblers grudgingly hit them in the front.
The left Tribal Spears bounce off Siege Breakers, the central Shamblers punch 5 damage into theirs (for nothing), the other Tribal Spears poke 4 damage onto Braves, the Centaur Chief + Beast wreck the Chariot legion at last, and the Herder + Shamblers do 13 damage to the Hunters but I only waver them 😐
Ogres 4: The Warlocks dash for the Herd side of the table and the Sergeant prepares to charge into the right flank once it clears up, but otherwise it’s business as usual. Siege Breakers counter their Spears, other Siege Breakers counter the central Shamblers, Braves charge the Centaur Chief, more Braves counter the other Spears, and the Boomers charge out of the forest into the Beast.
The Siege Breakers pulverize their targets, while the Braves slap theirs around (Centaur Chief is wavered on 9, the Tribal Spears hold on 5) and the Boomers ground the Beast with 3 damage.
Herd 4: Needing to finish things off to walk away with any points, the Beast + Tribal Spears combo the Braves on the hill, and the Herder + Shamblers prepare to tidy up the Hunters.
The hill Braves die … but I snake eyes the Hunters on the first roll 😦
Ogres 5: The Ogres push deeper into the Herd’s zone, crushing what’s left of the Hallow. Siege Breakers crash into Tribal Spears, Braves go one more round with the Centaur Chief, the Beast takes a second charge from the Boomers, the Herder is flanked by the chariot Sergeant, and the Hunters shake it off and swing on the Shamblers again.
Everything but the Herder dies (and he only takes 4 damage).
Herd 5: The Tree Herder plows into the mangled Hunters, pulverizing them and attempting to overrun off the board. Same feel.
Ogre 6: The burly green lads fully invade the Hallow’s territory, scouring the Herder up to 10 damage in the process.
Herd 6: The Tree Herder turns to face his destroyers, radiancing down to 9 damage and scowling as hard as possible.
Ogres 7: The Herder burns down under the full force of the Ogre shooting, for a very convincing …

OGRE VICTORY (20-1)

It’s hard to remember the last time I was tabled? But I was happy to walk away from a very tough match-up with a point. With normal dice – or not going to Turn 7 – that might have been 1-2 more, however I was never going to win this one, which is what it is. Anyway, Operation: Race to the Bottom was in full effect!

Next up: DWARFS

THE HALLOW 8: UNDEAD

Alright, last practice game before the Crossroads GT and it’s a rematch against my clubmate’s Undead. This is essentially the final version of his list, and mine is pretty much there as well.

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
Beast of Nature – Wings, 7 Attaks
Tree Herder – Lute of Insatiable Darkness, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Druid – Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Centaur Chief – Blade of Slashing

I’ve been feeling really ground out with the CS1 of the Forest Shamblers, and finding instances where my fancy Tree Herder doesn’t get to fight, so maybe he could buff a unit 1-2 times a game? Dropped the Druid’s staff for an *ahem* hoot of darkness :X (my fancy Herder has an owl on his shoulder, the true mastermind of the army)

Undead 2300
Wights Horde
Wights Horde
Wights Horde
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – Chalice of Wrath
Soul Reaver Infantry Troop
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Vampire on Undead Pegasus – Blade of Slashing?
Vampire on Undead Pegasus
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Bane Chant (2)
Undead Army Standard Bearer – Lute of Insatiable Darkness

Triple Wights! That’s a spicy meatball. Slightly fewer Soul Reavers but the reg is a crazy hammer and the troop one helluva glass hammer. I’m pretty sure the Vampasuses had no spells – they might have had Surge (4) each but I think he was smart and put it into fury on the big Soul Reavers. Honestly I’d put staying stone on the troop as well but I’m not sure that he did that here.

We rolled up Plunder (again), so that means super scout phase for me! I also nabbed the first turn.

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! The Hallow pushes hard in the center, grabbing the central loot and a two pointer (glowy green).
Herd 1: The forest advances on the deadites. The plan is to grab the right token and then grind the Undead on the left. The other Centaurs are hard to left beyond that wood.
Undead 1: The main body of the Undead force moves forward en masse, while the right arm (ASB + Wights + 2x Zombies) backs up.
Herd 2: The Hallow forms a second battleline across the board, as the rightmost Tribal Spears grab a third token. The Beast of Nature flanks the rightmost Zombies, knowing it can’t be seen by the Wights (the Zombies could have backed up 1″ less and she would have been in arc) and there’s no surge available. The Zombies hold on 8 damage.
Undead 2: Here they come! Ghoul wild charge rolls see one unit into the Centaurs off shot to the left and another with a Vampasus into some Tribal Spears. Zombies counter the Beast, and more Zombies charge the central Shamblers. A slower Ghoul troop picks up a 2 point token. The Undead ASB fails to bane chant the Zombies fighting the Beast, and the Necromancer fails to bane chant the Ghouls fighting Tribal Spears πŸ˜€
Big new Vampasus is big! Great mini, excited to see her painted next week.
The Beast takes 2 damage, grounding her; the Shamblers take 2 damage; and the Tribal Spears take 4 after some rough rolls, but waver with some luck in the other direction. Way on the left, the Centaurs take 1 damage, disordering them.
Herd 3: The Hallow strikes out at the Undead, with the hill Herder powering into the central Wights (out of arc of the Soul Reaver regiment) and the Zombies on the right eating Shamblers (loot dropped for distance) and Centaurs + Beast respectively. In the center, Shamblers counter the Zombies, Tribal Spears flank the Ghouls and the Centaur Chief rushes in to sit down the Vampasus. The Centaurs on the left counter their Ghouls. I forget to use the Lute Herders bane chant, but as it turns out the only meaningful target is the Centaur Chief, since everybody else is wounding on 2+ already. The Druid might have tried and failed to heal somebody.
Left and central Ghouls rout, the Wights cop 5 damage, the Vampasus is sat down, the rightmost Zombies are smashed (Beast sidesteps or backs up out of Wight arc), but the Shamblers over there get bogged down in their Zombies. This isn’t great for outgrinding the Wights next turn …
Undead 3: Wights charge Centaurs on both ends of the board, and the third counters their Herder. The disordered Vampasus just squeezes into a fresh Tribal Spear regiment holding a token, as the other combos with some Ghouls into the leftmost Shamblers. More Ghouls charge the hill Tribal Spears, Zombies counter the right Shamblers, and the Soul Reavers rev up to be a menace next turn. The ASB again fails to bane chant the Wights fighting the Herder, as does the Necromancer πŸ˜›
Wights crush their Centaurs in both cases, but everything else is a grind. Left Shamblers take 3 damage, hill Tribal Spears 2 damage, Vampasus’ Spears 2 damage, Herder 5 damage, and the Zombies fluff.
Herd 4: The Undead has left a couple flanks open, so the Hallow takes them. Most notably, the Soul Reaver reg is easily flanked by the central Shamblers (bane chanted). The central Wights are fronted and flanked by Tree Herders. The left Vampasus is fronted by Shamblers and flanked by Tribal Spears. The hill Ghouls are charged by more Spears. The other Vampasus is countered by Spears and reared by the Centaur Chief. And the back-right Shamblers counter their Zombies again while the Beast flits off to deal with the Undead ASB (behind that big rock). Yowza. The rightmost Tribal Spears scoop up the 2 point token, adding it to their 1 pointer.
Yes, that’s double snake eyes against the Vampasus and the Wights, two important hammers. Sad times. The combat against the Soul Reavers actually goes terribly as well with very little damage dealt, but I crank double 10+ rout rolls through and pop them on an 11. So there is that. The ASB and Zombies crumble, and the other Vampasus is sat down at least (and robbed of nimble thanks to phalanx).
Undead 4: Listen, be gentle ok? Vampasuses both counter-charge Tribal Spears, miraculously alive Wights head back into that beat up Herder, Soul Reaver troop charges the Shamblers that staked their brethren (and stole their 2 point loot token), and the last of the Ghouls charge the Shamblers on that hill too. Left Wights scooped up a 1 point token and right ones turned to face the Shamblers in the back-right. Let’s pretend the Necromancer bane chanted the Soul Reavers πŸ˜‰
Lots of damage but the only rout is the Herder to the Wights. Ghouls’ Shamblers to 5, hill Spears to 8, central Spears to 7 (wavered), and Soul Reavers’ Shamblers to 12 but miraculously no rout!
Herd 5: On the hill, Shamblers flank the Vampasus this time, with Tribal Spears in the front. The Centaur Chief charges the other Vampasus to sit her down (she’s floating at 1 damage now after lifeleaching so often). The amazingly alive Shamblers hit the Soul Reavers, with bane chant behind them, while the Lute Herder flanks the central Wights – there must have been a reason he didn’t turn them to face? I think he was worried about the many things that could flank them if he did? I don’t think they were blocked in. Finally, the Beast of Nature comboes into the rear Wights with the Shamblers. Also the rightmost Tribal Spears quietly keep dragging their 3 points of loot away into that swamp …
The central Wights and hill Vampasus are finally dusted, but that’s a third snake eyes on the Soul Reaver troop. Buguh. The remaining Vampasus is sat down and the right Wights are stomped for 10 damage but the single rout roll isn’t strong enough.
Undead 5: The left Wights flank the poor Shamblers fighting the Soul Reavers and the right Wights aim to end the Beast’s reign of terror. The Vampasus heads back into the beleagured central Tribal Spears and the Ghouls on the hill scrabble against the Shamblers there.
39 damage later!
Those Shamblers evaporate into a fine green mist πŸ˜€ The Beast is also scythed down and the Vampasus finishes stomping the Tribal Spears into goop. The Ghouls do nothing to their Shamblers.

Quick Token Check: 4 Undead to 3 Herd

Herd 6: The back-right Shamblers charge and rout the Wights they’ve been grinding towards all game. The hill Shamblers scatter the annoying Ghouls. Their Tribal Spear buddies ramp off the hill and punch 8 damage into the Wights with 3 loot points (the Lute Herder helped a little). The Centaur Chief zips into the Soul Reaver troop to hold them in place, but the real magic is that Tribal Spear regiment in the center charging the single damage Vampasus and routing it. I was not expecting that! And am now holding 4:3 loot points.
Undead 6: The Wights counter the Tribal Spears and wreck them handily, as do the Soul Reavers the poor Centaur Chief. The Wights drag their spoils a couple inches away … but there’s a Turn 7!
Herd 7: The hill Shamblers flank and rout the Wights (with the help of bane chant), gobbling up all their loot. The Lute Herder powers into the Soul Reavers and pops them as well.
Undead 7: Last deadite standing, the Necromancer tries to bop the 10 damage Shamblers and release their 3 loot points to the winds. Sadly he misses. With a hearty 7/7 loot points, this is a …

HERD VICTORY

It’s surprising to look back and see how this game almost fell apart as that Vampasus who plowed into my lines Turn 2 waded through an ocean of spears to snatch the tie-breaking loot token. Major cred to her tenacity! On the flipside, I did have triple snake eyes against Undead hammers, so my ability to reflect on tactics or what not is kind of limited. On the whole, this is a game where my strategy turned out sound and played out, thanks to bad as well as good luck (the odds of those spear bois dropping the vamp have to be next to nothing!)

As for the list, clearly the lute isn’t for me. I had a single chance to use it, and not only did I forget but it wouldn’t have meant much. My final list drops it back down to pipes of terror, gives the Druid her conjuring staff back as well as lightning bolt (2). I popped that on her right before submission, so here’s hoping it comes in handy! My thought was that the army could use just a little something in Turn 1 to pop low Nv chaff or Turn 6+ to pop mangled units fleeing my all combat army.

I’ll be back in a couple weeks with news from the tournament. Until then!

THE HALLOW 7: VARANGUR

The Crossroads GT is next weekend! Happily I was able to get a couple more practice games in, which also means I’ve got batreps to clear out before the tournament report. Here’s one where my Ogre opponent busted out his other army …

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
Beast of Nature – Wings, 7 Attaks
Tree Herder – Pipes of Terror, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Druid – Conjurer’s Staff, Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Centaur Chief – Sabre-Toothed Hunting Cat

This is almost the final list. Brutal is my preferred Herder upgrade, since they’re the closers of the list, and whenever I don’t have duelist on the Centaur Chief I always regret it. I think it’s a weak army overall, but it’s got some tools for me to work with, which in the end might be enough.

Varangur 2300
The Fallen Horde
The Fallen Horde
Snow Trolls Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Huscarls Regiment
Mounted Sons of Korgaan Regiment
Mounted Sons of Korgaan Regiment
Snow Foxes Regiment
Snow Foxes Regiment
Draugr Regiment
Magus Conclave
Jabberwock
Lord on Frostfang – Snow Fox
Lord on Frostfang – Snow Fox

I love it. Everything scores, everything is great at what it does, or else it’s a Magus Conclave πŸ˜‰ Great pressure list looking to do a murder, and very often doing it too. I love how item light it is as well (note: I’m guessing on the last 15 points, but I think the Trolls had a Nv fixer, which is what I would have done at least).

We rolled up Salt the Earth, so I’d have another chance to burn my own tokens and then regret it. The Hallow scouted forward but Varangur grabbed the first turn, rapidly devouring the distance between us!

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! Varangur units L2R = Fallen, Foxes, Mounted Sons, Frostlord, Trolls, Magus Conclave (the blue screamer), Huscarls, [House],Draugr, Mounted Sons, Jabberwock (the blue reaper thing), Fallen, Foxes. My Beast of Nature is hard on the left.
Varangur 1: The Chaos hordes roll forward, doing a threat. The Conclave pings 1 damage on the winged Forest Shamblers. The left Fallen + Foxes are cagily zoning out the incoming Beast.
Herd 1: Alright, alright, cool, cool, I got this – chaff is pushed forward to buy me a moment, the Beast hops forward on the left as much as she can to be out of Fallen charge but prepped for Turn 2 jump into the Varangur lines. I overthink the Centaur Chief and cause myself a real problem (spoilers). The goal was to have him not be hindered by that fence for his charge-block next turn, knowing the Trolls are in charge range if they want it but they’d totally clip that fence and have to hit him on 5+, which Kings of Maths tells me is 4-8 damage so maybe he can wear it?? And since there’s no flyer to sit down what else would he be doing?? (So much else :|)

I burn the token on the right by the fence.
Varangur 2: Whelp, here they come … Frostlord into Centaurs on the left, Trolls unhindered into the Centaur Chief because I’m dumb, Mounted Sons + Jabberwock into the Brutal Herder (green proxy base), Foxes into his righthand Shamblers, Frostlord + Fallen into right Centaurs. Conclave whiffs.
Awkwardly, the left Centaurs take 5 damage from the Frostlord but are fine and the right Centaurs take only 7 and waver :/ The Herder cops 7 as well and the Centaur Chief explodes, particularly gruesomely.
Herd 2: The Hallow starts digging out on the right – Tribal Spears into Fallen, more Spears into Foxes’ flank with Shamblers grudgingly in the flank, Shamblers + Brutal Herder into Sons. The left feels more like damage mitigation, but I’ve got a play with the Beast, who has enough to hop the Fallen’s arc and menace the Sons, who some Tribal Spears pin down. More Spears hit the left Foxes, and the Centaurs try really hard to hit the Trolls but end up countering the Frostlord. (I guess I could have sidestepped 1″ or so over to the Trolls? But I really wanted the Herder to slam off the hill into the Frostlord, which wasn’t a thing thanks to the Centaurs living.)
On the left, Tribal Spears kill the Foxes and hurt the Mounted Sons, while the Centaurs gore 2 damage into the Frostlord. On the right, the other Sons are broken, the Foxes scattered, and the right Fallen take 6 or 9 damage with bane chant’s help.
Varangur 3: It’s a full court press as just about everything gets stuck in. Left Fallen charge some Tribal Spears, Sons counter their Spears, Trolls flank the Centaurs, Frostlord uses the power of nimble to get that charge on the hill Herder, Huscarls switch direction and plow into the central Shamblers, Jabberwock charges the wounded Brutal Herder (+6 attaks!), right Frostlord charges mangled Cenaturs, and right Fallen charge yet more Spears. The Draugr lurk, as is their want.

In what might be the play of the game, the Magus Conclave scoots around and lands 4 damage on the looming Beast of Nature then wavers her. Sorry, Tribal Spears / the left flank.
A lot of damage is dished out, but only the Centaurs fall. The right Tribal Spears waver. Shout out to the Spears actually getting to use ensnare against those Mounted Sons!
Herd 3: Lots of counter-charging where able, with the fresh charges being Shamblers into Trolls (a charge I hated to take, buy the Fallen must have been just out / I didn’t want the Herder flanked by the brutes), Shamblers into the Jabber’s flank (hindered), and Tribal Spears into the Frostlord to try to pin him down. I’ll tell you right now that I forgot that phalanx removes nimble if you cause a wound …
Frustratingly, nothing routs, not even the Jabberwock – that Shambler flank was horrific, especially as I debated bane chanting it but was like naw, they got it, 36 on 5+/4+ is easy. The right Frostlord was wounded once, thanks to said bane chanting.
Varangur 4: Loads of counter-charges, including the Jabberwock into the increasingly beat up Brutal Herder. Draugr do zip in to rescue their Frostlord tho, props to the little dudes. Blessedly the Conclave misses the Beast this turn.
Sap coats the field as the Hallow is scythed down. All four Tribal Spears die this turn, and the Huscarls finish blending their Shamblers. Amazingly the Brutal Herder holds firm against the Jabberwock’s flailing.
Herd 4: The main decision this turn is who the Beast is going to delete. Ultimately I choose the Fallen flank, as the Son’s front was diciest and the Shamblers could spike and drop the Trolls themselves, putting me in some control of the left. The right was more obvious: Brutal Herder into hurt Huscarls, hindered Shamblers (with bane chant this time) into Jabber flank.
Happily the right pays out as planned! The left tho … Shamblers can’t get anywhere with the Trolls, while the Beast’s 7 damage into the Fallen doesn’t cut it (9 total). Crap.
Varangur 5: Mounted Sons plow off the hill into the Beast’s flank, Fallen surge into the Shamblers’ flank, the Frostlord grinds on against the hill Herder, the other Frostlord nimbles into the Brutal Herder, and the Druid cops a Fallen charge for her trouble. The Draugr caper off to score a token. The Conclave boops 1 damage onto the right Shamblers.
The left crumbles, except for the Herder on 7 damage. The Brutal Herder holds on 11 damage, and somehow the Druid lives as well!
Herd 5: Herders counter-charge Frostlords, while the last of the Shamblers flank the right Fallen (hindered as ever).
The hill Herder drops that Frostlord at last! And those Shamblers wreck the Fallen and prepare to nab that token in Turn 6.
Varangur 6: The hill Herder receives Mounted Sons + Trolls to the front, having effectively stood still since he scouted into position. The Brutal Herder is counter-charged shortly before the Conclave ploops 2 damage on the Shamblers.
Both Herders fall in the same turn. Now that’s poetry.
Herd 6: Shamblers trudge to a token, their damage wicked off by the Druid. Blessedly there’s no Turn 7, so with 2 tokens to 1 that’s a …

VARANGUR VICTORY

What. A. Grind. Writing this up, I’m surprised at how well I almost did. I had a couple good plays and just one monumental misstep with the Centaur Chief. I doubt he had the distance to charge the Conclave and save the Beast, but most of what he was going to do in this game didn’t involve caring about the wall, or could have been fixed by deploying anywhere else so he could double move and go block a charge. He’s a really key piece for me and I not only threw him away, but pulled the Troll tarpit in even closer. Blech. I know blaming dice is also really easy to do, however my Nv dice were terrible. I generally enjoy very good dice on routs, but these were like rolling 1D6 bad most of the time.

Thanks for reading, I’ve got one more practice game vs the Undead to report on!


THE HALLOW 6: OGRES

With a break in the humidity and inspiration behind me, I printed and painted a Moonfang for the Hallow over a couple days, tweaked out a new list and challenged my usual sparring partner to a match.

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 – War-Bow, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Druid – Conjurer’s Staff, Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Centaur Chief – Sabre-Toothed Hunting Cat
Moonfang

The concept is that Moony is basically the same cost as a flying Beast with more attaks and essentially as fast and as punchy, hypothetically more survivable (lower Nv but baked in reroll and regens), but also supports the army better by inspiring and providing vicious in combo-charges. It’s a really attractive package … that I might save for 1995 points. More on that later.

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)

Following the US Masters, my buddy figured he’d stick with Ogres but change a few things up. Exit the Forces of Nature allies and gobbo regiments, enter Siegebreakers, gobbo horde and blaster. The Berzerker Bully also leveled up to a full Warlord, earning my undying respect. Still a great list, and without the allied stink on it πŸ˜›

We rolled up Control, a nice token-less experience. Herd scouted and Ogres took first. Here’s a shot of the Hallow at this point, looking arboreal and disorganized:

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! Playing on almost all 6 feet of table 😀
Ogres 1: Generally out-moving and certainly out-shooting the Herd, the Ogres trundle forward to menace and prepare for violence to come. Kuzlo hexes the War Herder on the left, while Nomnom lightning bolts the central Centaurs for 2 damage. They aren’t wavered, but they sure are shook.
Herd 1: Tribal Spears are pushed to the front on the left to absorb charges, which is frankly part of their job description. The heavy Herd center tries to predict where the Ogre pincer is going to land, but those two Shambler hordes + Tree Herder are facing a LOT of aggression: Hunter horde, Siegebreaker horde, Braves regiment, Noms, as well as Blaster + Boomers on the hill and potentially another wave of Braves.
Off shot to the right is a Tribal Spears regiment and Moonfang, the latter of which has shoved hard up the flank and is currently outside of the right Hunters’ arc, but nimbled to face them.
Ogres 2: He counter chaffs my chaffing on the left, creating quite the gummy situation. The pressure on the center increases, with both Siegebreakers and Blaster threatening the Herder with a flank, but Hunters ready to zip in and shred the Shamblers. Brave regiments hit both the Herder and the right Shamblers. (You can see that I angled the Herder in such a way that Braves + Hunters couldn’t combo the left Shamblers.)
Right Hunters back up to keep Moonfang in their front. His 18″ charge also pushed the Boomers further forward on their hill than they might have wanted.
Token damage across the board: Boomer Sarge blasts 3 onto the left Tribal Spears, Nomnom bolts the Centaurs up to 3 (wavering them), Boomer horde blasts 2 damage into the left Shamblers in the woods, the Herder cops 2 from Braves, and the right Shamblers also take 2 from Braves.
Herd 2: I melt my clock trying to figure out the center, and ultimately flank the Braves with (hindered) Tribal Spears + Shamblers. If the Herder countered them it doesn’t really matter, the struggle with him was how to rotate to not take the Blaster in the flank. Having the Spears come in and overrun provided an answer, blocking the Siegebreakers from him for a turn. The other Braves copped a flank from more Tribal Spears, with Shamblers countering to the front. They died. On the right flank, more Tribal Spears take the Hunters’ retreat to move up to the other side of the woods; Moonfang nimbles around to continue threatening their flank.
The left flank also eats up my clock, but bad dice really ruin it. The Shamblers charge the Scouts on the hill, but the Centaurs don’t, instead limiting the Shambler slide and then backing up. This big brain play was kind of pointless, plus the Shamblers only do 6 damage and only waver the goblins. Speaking of puzzles, the Tribal Spears charge Kuzlo to clear a path for the War Herder, but the angle isn’t right to hit and lock the Warrior Chariots, so he just goes into the Boomer Sarge, with Centaur Chief in the flank. 7 damage later and the Ogre holds as well. (The Tribal Spears actually did great against Kuzlo, maybe even wavering him!)
Ogres 3: My opponent points out the Tribal Spears about to eat it, and indeed, they did receive Chariots in the flank. The Boomer Sarge counters the Centaur Chief but the Warlord is left out in the cold thanks to geometry. Pretty sure the other two units over there are wavered (not that that turns off Kuzlo’s not-Dread).
The Ogre hammers fall upon the Hallow, with Hunters hitting the Shamblers, Siegebreakers the flank of the poor Tribal Spears, and Blaster in the front of the Herder (possibly not hindered!) The Boomers are content to shoot green things in the face. On the right, the Hunters retreat to put Moonfang in their front again.
On the left, Tribal Spears evaporate and the Centaur Chief takes 3 damage. In the center, the left Shamblers return to the forest from whence they came, the Tribal Spears are pulped, the Herder takes 8 damage from the Blaster careening off the hill into it (the Druid had topped the big tree off the previous turn), and those Tribal Spears on the right take 6 damage from the Boomers, wavering. The center was always going to hurt 😦
Herd 3: I relive the frustration of those Scouts wavering on the left, having to send the Shamblers back into them. The War Herder hits the Boomer Sarge in the flank, as the Centaur Chieftain zips away to possibly hunt Nomnom. In retrospect he could have nimble-charged the Chariots, holding them down and giving me another turn to sort out my ongoing combats … The Centaurs on the left slink away to go hide in a table segment.

In the center, more Centaurs flank into the Hunters (hindered), Shamblers charge the Boomers (with bane chant and a quiet prayer to their verdant deities, as the Hunters are inbound to their flank!), and after a lot of thought, the Tree Herder has a swing at the Siegebreakers. He could have shot away into the Rabble horde, to bop away into the late game and consign the center to its death, but I figured holding the Siegebreakers for a turn (or two?) was better. With Noms heal behind them he wasn’t even likely to stick much damage on them :/

On the right, Moonfang once again moves into the Hunters’ flank.

The left is cleared up, but no miracles in the middle. Hunters take 2 damage, Siegebreakers 5 and Boomers 6, sadly no lucky wavers.
Ogres 4: Warlord + Chariots hit the War Herder, while Kuzlo charges to block his Shambler backup. The center breaks down as expected: Siegebreakers counter the Tree Herder, and Hunters flank the Shamblers with Boomers in the front. Right Hunters turn to face Moonfang, and the Rabble mob forward a few inches.
The Herder and Shamblers in the center disintegrate. The Herder and Shamblers to the left hold, with a shaky 9 damage in the War Herder’s case!
Herd 4: On the left, War Herder + Centaur Chief charge the Chariots, and Shamblers grudgingly counter Kuzlo. In the center, Centaurs rear the Boomers (!) and Tribal Spears front the Hunters (bane chanted) despite the ensnare :X On the right, Moonfang commits and charges the Hunters in the front, as his Tribal Spears backup breaks the treeline to get LOS for next turn.
Kuzlo routs and with 8 damage taken the Chariots waver! The center is even more triumphant, with both Boomers and Hunters dying to my chaff. Hot damn. Moonfang whiffs against ensnare tho, doing 0-2 damage.
Ogres 5: The Ogre Warlord flanks the War Herder, pushing him over. Elsewhere the Siegebreakers pressure the fragments of the Hallow center (yes, the Centaurs are facing away from the Siegebreakers). The Hunters countercharge Moonfang … and one round him O_O The odds on this continue to haunt me, but high five to those guys. Also global brutal is always surprisingly great.
Herd 5: The left Shamblers charge the Chariots, but once again the Centaur Chief abandons the left to menace Nomnom? Your duelist doesn’t work on him, dude! Help out the Shamblers! Anyway, the center Tribal Spears YOLO charge the Siegebreakers (bane chanted), in part because they were already past the 24″ line. If they were a little further back then walking up and holding in the forest might make more sense. Hell, it probably made more sense even here, but I wanted to try for Hot Dice. The hero Centaurs scamper off to the bottom right segment, and Moonfang’s Tribal Spears charge the Hunters, without their living legend being, well, alive. Oh, and the Centaurs in the upper left have turned to face the carnage …
Things go poorly. Tribal Spears do 4 damage to Hunters, get the Siegebreakers back to 7 (Noms has been healing / vicious-ing them when able), and while the Shamblers punch the Chariots up to 14 damage, I roll snake eyes. Bleh.
Ogres 6: Chariots flank the unlucky Shamblers. Siegebreakers counter the doomed Tribal Spears. Hunters counter the other doomed Tribal Spears.
Shambles die, center Tribal Spears die, but somehow the Hunters’ Spears just waver. Which is a lot like death, y’all 😐
Herd 6: The left Centaurs + Centaur Chief bound into the Chariots, finally killing them.
Ogres 7: Sweet hell, there’s more. Hunters end the Tribal Spears, securing +1 scenario point. Nom tries to zap the right Centaurs to deduct a point from the Hallow, but just wavers them.

Herd 7: I contemplate sending the Centaur Chief into the Warlord for some Even Hotter Dice, but even perfect dice couldn’t break the big guy, so I pass. With 5 points to 2, that’s an …

OGRE VICTORY

Soooo I felt like I played this pretty well, despite putting my central Tree Herder into a pretty tight spot there at the tip of the spear, with both hammers best suited to dropping him to either flank. Certainly used chaff better, or the right chaff in the right places, like Tribal Spears getting the real junk duties and Centaurs doing fast / opportunistic things. The rear charge from the Centaurs into Boomers was brilliant, if utterly unplanned πŸ˜€

I’m not real hot on adding Moonfang @ 2300 right now, I really like what I was learning using the flying Beast and all the angles she unlocks by being able to completely ignore intervening units. Moonfang is currently more interesting in the 1995 versions I’ve been messing with, where his support package is worth even more.

That’s me caught up on gaming, I expect my club will try to get together once before we hit Crossroads GT in late September. I know I could use more Herd / KOW practice!

THE HALLOW 5: UNDEAD

Immediately after Game 4, the forces of the Herd and Undead regrew / resurrected and we threw down again! I tweaked a couple upgrades in my list because I had to tinker …

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
Beast of Nature – Wings, 7 Attaks
Tree Herder – War-Bow, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Druid – Conjurer’s Staff, Surge (4), Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Centaur Chief – Blade of Slashing

Despite hexing a Necromancer twice in the last game, I had cooled on the Trickster’s Wand as a thing I wanted a Tree Herder to be doing. Honestly the range is the nicest part, but without other shooting to make hex feedback matter it feels like a non-issue. The no move thing is pretty neat tho … Anyway, I spread a little more surge around at the cost of the Wand.

Undead 2300
Wights Horde – Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar
Wights Horde – Sir Jesse’s Boots of Striding
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – 10 Point Item
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Vampire on Undead Pegasus – The Boomstick, Lightning Bolt (6)
Vampire on Undead Pegasus – Surge (4)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Weakness (2)
Necromancer – Shroud of the Saint, Surge (6), Heal (6)

The Undead, on the other hand, changed nothing at all. After this game we went through a lot of iterations, and I think he landed on triple Wights, single Soul Reavers, with some remix of the trash (4x Zombies + 4x Ghouls?)

We rolled up Pillage, with max tokens per Blackjack scoring. The Herd scouted but Undead took the first turn!

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase! We really should have swapped table sides too, tho I tried to shake my deployment up a bit. The Undead certainly did, with the Wights moved from trapped in the middle behind the woods to rocking the flanks.
Undead 1: Roll out! The Undead has an easier time unpacking their deployment this time, with the Soul Reavers + Ghoul escorts working in concert, the Wights enjoying (any) LOS, and the lightning Vampire on Pegasus threatening from the left flank. The blue weakness token of shame is gifted to the right most Forest Shamblers … but speaking of shame, the lightning bolt (6) from the Vampasus completely fluffs :X
Herd 1: The Hallow plays it very cagey on the left, but goes hard on the right. Two Shambler hordes punch into the chaffing Ghouls, with the Beast menacing flank charges on everybody and the War Herder in support. However despite 11 damage, I snake eyes the Ghouls … which might be a blessing in disguise, as they are thoroughly in the way of the looming hammers!
Undead 2: The Undead likewise keeps it cagey on the left, and after a lot of finagling puts Wights + Ghouls into one Shambler horde, leaving the others stuck on the wall.
The Shamblers take 11 damage but they hold, even with brutal!
Herd 2: The Hallow unleash green hell! L2R – Centaurs charge Wights (to sit them down / chaff), Shamblers grab a flank on Zombies, Tribal Spears + Herder charge more Zombies, the Centaur Chieftain charges Ghouls, the mangled Shamblers + War Herder counter the Wights, the hindered Shamblers flank the brutalized Ghouls, and the Beast flanks the right Soul Reavers. Yowza. The Centaurs on the left get bane chanted, as nobody else is in range or relevant (Zombies).
Both Zombies, the battered Ghouls and the Soul Reavers are routed – go Beast! The Centaurs do a solid 4 damage to the Wights from 6 attaks, the Centaur Chief wavers his Ghouls, but despite getting the central Wights up to 11 damage I fail the double rout test πŸ˜₯ Speaking of sadness, the leftmost Shamblers can’t reform to face the incoming Soul Reavers (but maybe could have if I had done the combats in a different order).
Undead 3: The second Undead wave crashes in, lamentably in some flanks too. L2R – Wights counter the Centaurs with Vampasus in the flank, Soul Reavers flank the leftmost Shamblers, Ghouls charge the Tribal Spears (to get out of the way of Soul Reavers mostly), the bashed up Wights + Zombies charge the bashed up Shamblers, and the other Vampasus charges the Beast for some not-necessarily-titanic-but-still-big kaiju combat. The Shamblers on the wall receive weakness, once again.
Y’all, Undead hammers do work, ok? Centaurs and both Shambler units evaporate. The Tribal Spears and Beast take token damage. If you’re wondering why the right Wights didn’t rotate to face the hindered, weakened Shamblers, there’s a chance he was being cocky and assuming I can’t roll 5+ to hit and wound (a fool’s mistake!), but I think he might have been protecting the flank of the Vampasus, as the Wights are currently aligned with her so there’s no tiny overhang.
Herd 3: The backline of Tribal Spears slam into the Undead left flank, with two into the Soul Reavers and one into the Wights. The left Herder I think flanks the Ghouls that had charged those Tribal Spears, and the Centaur Chief bounds into the weakness Necromancer. The War Herder charges the bloodied Wights with hindered, weakened Shamblers in the flank, and the Beast counters the Vampasus. You can also see the right Centaurs peeking into frame, where they’ve been holding a token all game. Bane chant goes out onto one of the Tribal Spears fighting Soul Reavers.
The good news is that those murderous Wights and Soul Reavers are both dusted, as are the Herder’s Ghouls; the less good is that the Wights, Vampasus and Necromancer only take token damage and are all fine. Also I vow to give the Centaur Chief his cat back, I love duelist too much and miss it whenever it’s gone.
Undead 4: The Wights nuke those leftmost Tribal Spears in one go, Ghouls scratch 5 (!) damage into the left Herder with a hindered rear charge, the right Vampasus smacks the Beast up to 8 damage, and some Zombies slap 1 damage onto the last Shambler horde. Also the other Zombies make a play for the Herd’s DZ token.
Herd 4: The left flank is stressing me out, as I’ve got one hammer left over there and the Tribal Spears are really suffering against the Wights + Vampasus. So I launch the Herder and some Tribal Spears into the Wights (Herder couldn’t stand on the hill, naturally), with the other Tribal Spears charging the Zombies (possibly to get out of the way). Those Ghouls are a problem, so the Centaur Chief re-charges them to try to finish what he started. Both Zombies on the right find themselves in predicaments, including a long range flank from the Tribal Spears that have just been loitering on a token to the right. The Beast, meanwhile, keeps pounding on the Vampasus. Bane chant goes on the Spears fighting the Wights.
The Wights finally pop, thanks to strong Herder damage and stronger Nv rolls. Both Zombies on the right disintegrate and the Beast wavers her Vampasus! Sadly, the Centaur Chief fluffs against the central Ghouls. The Ghouls that have their pick of two rears and a flank 😦
Undead 5: Oof. Ghouls rear some Tribal Spears while the left Vampasus rears more Tribal Spears. Over on the right, the weakness Necromancer charges the Shamblers to disorder them, thus incapable of charging through him.
The rears are successful, blending both Tribal Spear regiments, and also giving my Tree Herder no LOS to either of them (I think he is facing the Zombies, he had turned to protect his rear from both Ghouls and Vampasus). My opponent at this point is real hot for Ghoul troops πŸ˜€ Also the Necro fails to boop the Shamblers.
Herd 5: The Shamblers flank the Vampasus – we’ve been playing that for move-blocking purposes a charge is one movement, including the pick-up-and-place, not a sequence of small movements. Could be we’re wrong, I know other players have interpreted it differently, but my opponent agreed so flank it was. She doesn’t survive. The Centaur Chief charges in to sit the other Vampasus down, and both Tree Herders face the center to catch a Vampasus. The Druid heals the left Herder down to 1 damage, then I think the Centaur Chief fails to wound the Vampasus?? Not seeing a damage die O_O
Undead 6: Those damned Ghouls charge off into the last of the Tribal Spears, who are also weakened by that damned Necromancer. Also the Centaur Chieft is charged by Zombies + Vampasus, in a bid to rout him and reform.
The Centaur Chief takes only 3 damage, holding like a champ! Meanwhile the Tribal Spears only take 2 damage from the Ghouls.
Herd 6: The left Herder giddily rears the Vampasus, with Centaur Chief in the front. The Beast flanks into the Zombies while the War Herder helps the Tribal Spears out with the Ghoul troop.
Mmm, success. All of the Undead, save two loathesome Necromancers, are purged from the swamp.
Undead 7: Well, this is awkward. The shroud Necromancer tries to repeat the magic from Game 4, by charging the Beast in hopes of either a lucky rout or more likely disordering her, so she can’t fly exactly to where my opponent is measuring. She flubs the 5+/5+ tho.
Herd 7: The Beast swoops off to claim another token, after which the War Herder charges the offending Necromancer, pulping her and backing up onto a token. With 6 of 7 tokens, that’s a resounding …

HERD VICTORY

While it feels good to have outfought smashy Undead a second time, the left flank showed the importance of keeping my own hammers in reach of my mainline units, as the Tribal Spears kept splashing up against those Wights and getting nothing done, and couldn’t get a bead on his Vampasus, who got up to some short range flying shenanigans, which I gather is what fly is really about, not just long bombing into flanks. Speaking of which, cred to the Beast of Nature, what a power piece. Easy to see how two is a staple and three is common for high end Nature / Herd – whenever I faced Nature in 2E I always had to fight 3x lightning battery Beasts, which is a different and blessedly defunct situation (lol because now they’re called Mindscreeches :P)

I’ve got another game to report on, this time against Ogres and with the Beast (ironically given the above praise) swapped out for Moonfang! Who I realized is the same points but gives me another inspiring and spreads vicious wherever he’s fighting (a bit like my favorite part of Wiltfather). Stay tuned!

THE HALLOW 4: UNDEAD

My buddy has been waffling on the Undead army he’s currently painting for the upcoming Crossroads GT, so I summoned him to my place to smash out a couple games in the name of hobby science. I also rebuilt the core of my list to gain a little more defense – and a handful of points – at the cost of offense I was rarely getting much out of.

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
Beast of Nature – Wings, 7 Attaks
Tree Herder – Trickster’s Wand, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Druid – Conjurer’s Staff, Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Centaur Chief – Blade of Slashing

Swapping the Spirit Walkers down to Tribal Spears feels good for the Def4 (relevant in a world of Piercing(1) shooting), plus the phalanx buff for whenever it comes into play (spoilers: not really yet), but keeps the 15 attaks so I can work some dice magic, especially in a flank. The Walkers WC(D3) didn’t really matter – 12+D3″ outranges Sp6 enemies, which is cool, but not really much else – and while the Me3+ is groovy, getting punched or shot first isn’t. I also really like getting them down to 135 pts, these regiments feel like the versatile chaff / scorers I wanted. Also the Beast makes her reappearance, and I think this is the first Centaur Chief? Who is damn amazing.

Undead 2300
Wights Horde – Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar
Wights Horde – Sir Jesse’s Boots of Striding
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – 10 Point Item
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Vampire on Undead Pegasus – The Boomstick, Lightning Bolt (6)
Vampire on Undead Pegasus – Surge (4)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Weakness (2)
Necromancer – Shroud of the Saint, Surge (6), Heal (6)

His goal is to have trash control the field and objectives while the high quality Undead hammers smash things, which seems legit to me. Wights are honestly pretty frightening, between fly and Me3+ and so on. Soul Reaver blender regs are of course the hotness but I’ve been dealing with non-flying hammers for a long time, so a bit more of a shrug. I’m also a big fan of the Vamp Pegs and give them far more respect than Vamp Dragons.

We rolled up Plunder, which I dig as a scenario, bit more dynamic play involved. The Herd scouted and then took first as well.

BATTLE

Herd 0: Scouting phase!
Herd 1: Scooting phase! The Hallow take up position / grab almost all of the loot tokens (there’s one more hard to the left by the rock). The Beast menaces some angles from the lower-left, and in the center-right some Shamblers shelter behind a wall and tempt the Undead to try to unpack the right Soul Reavers and see what they’ve got when hindered. The Hex Herder pinged the weakness Necromancer as well.
Undead 1: The deadites scoot forward, with some Zombies ultimately slapping uselessly against the Shamblers on the wall, after trying to finagle a double charge with the Soul Reavers. Lightning however spikes into the Druid and wavers her!
Herd 2: With control of 6/7 loot points, the Hallow creeps back in the center, while charging out on the flanks. Zombies are flanked by Centaurs on the left and combo-charged by Tribal Spears and Centaurs on the right; to control the chaff game, more Spears jump on the leftmost Ghouls, and the Centaur Chief speeds off to sit down the surge Vamp Pegasus.
Herd 2: Right Zombies and those Ghouls get mulched, but the left Zombies hold the Centaur flank. The Vampasus is sat down.
Undead 2: The rage of the unliving is poured out all over the Hallow – Zombies counter Centaurs, Vampasus counters Centaur Chief, Soul Reavers + Zombies charge Tribal Spears, Vampasus 2 + Pathfinder Wights charge leftmost Shamblers, Ghouls charge center Shamblers (to get out of the way), and Zombies + Soul Reavers manage to hit the rightmost Shamblers. Whew.
Undead 2: Huge amounts of violence later, and only the Tribal Spears hit by Soul Reavers + Zombies rout! And the Centaur Chief is wavered. The Shamblers taking only 8 damage from Vampasus + Wights was certainly the biggest upset.
Herd 3: Made to bleed their own sap, the Hallow grabs as many flanks as possible and prepares for murder. L2R – Centaurs counter Zombies, Centaur Chief nimbles backwards to get in the way of the Soul Reavers, the Beast of Nature pounces on the flank of the lightning Vampasus, Shamblers + Tribal Spears hit the exposed Wights with a Tree Herder in the flank (!), center Shamblers counter their Ghouls, and right Shamblers counter the Soul Reavers with a flank from the Tribal Spears (their 2 pt loot tossed over to the Centaurs). The Druid bane chants somebody (gonna guess the Shamblers fighting the Wights), and the Hex Herder hits the weakness Necromancer again.
Herd 3: The left side of the board sees great success, with all combats routing the Undead. The Ghouls only wavering in the center is an insult, but the Soul Reavers wavering on the right is marginally acceptable.
Undead 3: The second wave of the dead hits the green line. L2R – the Soul Reavers can’t get past the Centaur Chief and into the Beast so grudgingly charge him, Zombies however can get in on her so charge the Beast, the surge Vampasus charges the mangled Shamblers on the hill (holding a 2 pt loot!), Ghouls charge the Tribal Spears near them, Wights blow their j-boots and hit the left Herder in the front, some Zombies fight some Tribal Spears, and more Zombies fight the right Shamblers. The weakness Necromancer pushes through the hex to weakness the right Shamblers, taking 4 damage for his troubles.
Undead 3: Centaur Chief and hill Shamblers get wrecked, otherwise damage happens, including the Beast getting grounded by Zombies 😑 Of note is the Herder copping 7 damage from the Wight charge … which I guess is math but still high five. The 2 pt loot token was not picked up by the Vampasus.
Herd 4: Sweet woodland carnage continues with another mass of counter/charges everywhere. Centaurs on the left flank Soul Reavers, the Beast pouts but counters her Zombies anyway, the hill Tribal Spears hit the Ghouls (sliding over and picking up the 2 pt loot token), the Herder hits the Wights, the central Shamblers aim to end their Ghouls, Tribal Spears to the right counter Zombies, weakened Shamblers counter more Zombies, and the Hex Herder charges the bleeding Soul Reavers with Tribal Spears in the flank. The Centaurs flanking the Soul Reavers enjoy the Druid’s bane chant. At this point I’ll note that the Vampasus is looking at a LOT of flanks and rears, so here’s hoping these combats work out!
Herd 4: The right Soul Reavers and Zombies are finally ground out, turning to face the center, and the center Ghouls rout and those Shamblers can turn to face the Vampasus as well. The Tribal Spears wreck their Ghouls as well, being able to turn to face, and more importantly block the rear of the Herder whomping on the Wights (5 damage). Sadly those Tribal Spears fighting Zombies near the center don’t poke enough … On the left the Beast slaps some Zombies, but really it’s about the Centaurs wavering the Soul Reavers! Hell yea.
Undead 4: Running low on both hammers and trash, the Undead grab what they can. Vampasus take that flank on Tribal Spears with Zombies in the front, Wights rev up to boop the Herder again, Zombies try to ground the Beast again, and Soul Reavers sadly turn to face their Centaur destroyers. The right Shamblers are weakened again.
Undead 4: The Herder drops to the Wights! But the Vampasus gets stuck in the Tribal Spears. The Beast must have been disordered as well.
Herd 5: The real question at this point is how to deal with the Undead hammers, and while the central Shamblers could have spun and been surged into the rear of the Vampasus, those Wights really needed to be held in place … So the central Shamblers hit the Wights, the right Zombies are flanked by the weakened Shamblers, the Tribal Spears see what they can do against the Vampasus (…), the weakness Necromancer is mobbed by hindered Tribal Spears, the left Zombies are flanked by more Spears in a bid to free the Beast, and the Centaurs hit the Soul Reavers in the front, despite Att6 being a really sad stat 😐 Bane chant goes on the center Shamblers, because they are gonna need it.
Herd 5: While both Zombie units rout, neither the Wights (13 damage!) nor the Vampasus (2 damage) care. The Tribal Spears on the Necromancer do 0 damage, failing to even disorder the crone, and while the Centaurs get the Soul Reavers up to 6 they can’t get another lucky waver. Gulp.
Undead 5: The Vampasus counters and explodes her Tribal Spears, the Wights one round the damage-less central Forest Shamblers (brutal tipped it over, plus me walking the Druid out of inspiring range), and the Soul Reavers get the Centaurs up to 18 damage but snake eyes it! What a swingy turn. The weakness Necromancer gets out of LOS and hits the right Shamblers with another weakness.
Herd 6: The Hallow collapses on the remaining Undead units, with the Tribal Spears flanking the Soul Reavers getting bane chanted.
Herd 6: While the Soul Reavers and Wights evaporated as anticipated, the Vampasus actually held the charge from Shamblers + Herder, albeit wavered.
Undead 6: In a final act of defiance, the shroud Necromancer changes the devastated Centaurs, hitting with her one attak and ………. I can’t remember if she rolled the 4+ to wound and then 2+ to rout, but let’s give it to my opponent πŸ˜€ Because this was a resounding …

HERD VICTORY

Actually, this my first win with the Herd! I didn’t realize that at the time, but that’s awesome! It was a helluva grind that I dictated from the beginning, when I grabbed 6 of 7 loot points in Turn 1. There’s plenty the Undead could have done – I felt like he was tripping over his chaff units as he struggled to unpack them, and the Wights hidden behind the central wood also meant they couldn’t see to charge, and I wasn’t giving him the range to push forward 7″ then surge in either. I do feel justified for fearing the Wights as much as I do, and his future lists are looking to lean more on them and less on the shiny Soul Reaver blenders.

As for my list, it felt really good to have the Spears over Walkers. Def4+ kept the Zombies or Ghouls from getting too lucky in the trash grind, and while phalanx didn’t come into play really, still having 15 attaks was grand, as was TC1 for flanking and second wave. Also the extra points to bring the Beast in, except in a list where she’s another tool and less of a desperation play like in Game 2.

We reracked and played another game immediately after this one, so stay tuned for more Undead stomping action!