(Months pass, seasons change, and yet these reports remain unsung … no longer!)
After a stellar first day, my green Herd are on Table 3 up against another familiar face but with some new toys courtesy of the Big Red Book.
GAME FOUR: BASILEANS
Elohi Horde – Wine of Elvenkind, Celestial Fury
Ogre Palace Guard Horde – Chalice of Wrath
Ogre Palace Guard Horde – Staying Stone
Sisterhood Scouts Regiment
Sisterhood Scouts Regiment
Paladin Foot Guard Regiment – Orb of Towering Presence
Paladin Knights Troop – Skirmisher’s Boots, Aegis Fragment
Gnaeus Sallustis 
Priest – Conjurer’s Staff; Heal (3), Bane Chant (2)
I love Chris’ army, and Kings of Warmachine armies in general. He’s added a lot of shooting since my crabs last faced him, which is somewhat concerning, but fewer Elohi is a win? I tell myself as I prepare to overthink the single horde he has brought.
The fourth round was Booty, a modified Push where each token carried after the first gives -1 Sp down to a minimum of Sp 1. The tokens are otherwise standard loot tokens (so Sp 5 max, no surge, no nimble, no windblast, etc). Basilea\ went first because shooting.
Battlelines! Or slightly after the scouting phase anyway. He’s got two tokens in the hard left Paladin Foot Guard and one in the Sisterhood Scouts near them. I’ve got two in my Tribal Warrior horde and one in the Tribal Warrior reg on the right.
Turn 1: The Basileans form a #murdercrescent, with shooting removing the Centaurs protecting the Brutes and doing 7 damage to the Tribal Warrior horde and 2 to the regiment to the left. Ouch. The Hallow punches it up the center and baits with the Centaurs on the right.
Basileans 2: Chris’ forces largely drift around the left or back up, with the Knight troop flanking the bait Centaurs on the right. Shockingly they survive and are unwavered! Shooting wavers the Tribal Warriors in the central woods but crucially leaves my advanced Brutes holding on 7 damage.
Herd 2: My Lycan Alpha charges off to the left, grounding a Phoenix. The damaged Brutes power up the field into some Sisterhood Scouts, dunking them and spinning to face the Ogre Palace Guard duo. On the right, the Centaurs charge off to bother Gnaeus and the Knight troop is flanked themselves – again to limited effect! I had held the Lycans back as I didn’t want to get charged in response by the Elohi. The Stampede, assuming the right is in my control, heads off to pressure the center.
Basileans 3: On the left, the Phoenix waddles away to let the Foot Guard have a go at the Lycan Alpha. Meanwhile on the right, the Elohi swoop in and one round the Tribal Warriors (with a token), and the Knight troop gets in the way of the Lycan horde, poking some damage through in the process. Gnaeus finished off the Centaurs and prepares for next turn. Centrally, shooting clears off the rampaging Brutes and the OPG back up.
Herd 3: But they don’t back up far enough, thanks to the Great Chieftain’s WC aura. Tribal Warriors and Brutes charge the Palace Guard, with the Brutes wavering theirs thanks to bane chant (and kind of floppy dice). The Lycan horde on the right nukes the Knight troop in its way, with the Centaur Chief grounding the Elohi as the Stampede changes direction again and heads back to the right. Finally on the left, the Lycan Alpha withdraws and rears the orange Phoenix, keeping it disordered.
Basileans 4: The Basilean left slinks backward, with shooting largely whiffing against the Tribal Warrior horde. The Lycan Alpha is lightly pecked by the orange Phoenix and the Tribal Warriors downfield are wrecked by the functioning Palace Guard. On the right, the Elohi and Gnaeus assault the Stampede and only manage to waver it. Hell yea.
Herd 4: It’s officially on, dear readers. The surviving Brutes withdraw and charge the other Palace Guard, making space for the Tribal Warrior horde to plow into the mangled horde of ogres – they had to shed 1 booty token to go back to Sp 5 but worth. Both Palace Guard units are smashed. The Lycan Alpha continues grounding the orange Phoenix, as the Great Chieftain charges and shuts down the blue Phoenix. On the right, the Stampede bips some damage onto Gnaeus (only CS1 when disordered) but the Lycans rear charge the Elohi, decimating them (and taking my token back).
Basileans 5: The Sisterhood Scouts advance to block for the Foot Guard token caddies, but their shooting (and maybe the arbalests’, tho they had been cooling down over the course of the game) successfully wavers the Tribal Warrior horde. Gnaeus finishes off the Stampede and faces the Lycan horde. I’m sure the orange Phoenix slapped away at the Lycan Alpha.
Herd 5: The Brutes leapfrog the retreating Tribal Warrior horde, sadly unable to charge (I might have been able to turn the horde sideways and gotten the Brutes into the Sisters? But this would have offered a flank to the Foot Guard and given them a token, as well as gotten them closer to the central token) but picking up their token in the process, as I can see the writing on the wall. The Lycan Alpha continues disordering the regenerating Phoenix, with the Centaur Chief grounding the blue one this turn. The Lycan horde blends Gnaeus and the Great Chieftain heads off to kill some war engines.
Basileans 6: The Tribal Warrior horde is finally shot down. Phoenixes caw in distress.
Herd 6: The Brutes make contact with the Sisterhood Scouts, detonating them. The Great Chieftain flips over one Arbalest and both Phoenixes are disordered again. The Lycan Horde sails forward 10″ to be on the other side of the table.
Turn 7: We talk things over going into this extra round, and Chris is looking at a loss unless he can roll wildly and kill the Brutes in his turn. He can’t escape their charge with Sp 4 and we’re on his side of the table, so my 2 tokens count double compared to his 2. He goes for it but the Palace Guard don’t work any magic. My Brutes shatter his unit and scoop their tokens up, for a decisive …
HALLOW VICTORY (19-2)
This was a wild game that I didn’t feel particularly in charge of, thanks to his early shooting and the existence of Elohi 😛 I’m happy to have pulled it off, and I think Chris and I are now even in our matches? He might still be a win ahead with his damn Basileans.
GAME FIVE: SALAMANDERS
Rhinosaur Cavalry Horde – Healing Brew
Rhinosaur Cavalry Horde
Scorchwings Horde – Fire-Oil
Kaisenor Lancers Regiment – Boots of Striding
Salamander Primes Regiment – War-Bow
Ghekkotah Hunters Regiment
Rakawas, The Pale Rider 
Ghekkotah Skylord on Scorchwing
Ghekkotah Skylord on Scorchwing
After a slow start, Eric had gradually pushed up the tables throughout the event, and would turn out to be an exceedingly nice dude (and my favorite opponent). Of the Salamander armies at the tournament, Eric’s was the one I was hearing the most about, in particular the bonkers numbers of shots it has. Obviously, charging into a wall of highly mobile shooting isn’t great for a Herd army but needs must!
The final round was Kill, modified so that units drop loot-esque tokens when they are killed. These tokens have no effect on movement in any way, however a unit must still have US to pick them up. You can hold friendly tokens and indeed should grab them, as the scenario was designed to punish shooting, as units killed at range drop their token into their footprint per usual. Ultimately I don’t like this scenario as it punishes individuals while benefiting US1 heroes, which the meta already does, and could be written to do the opposite but this is all academic. The Salamanders took first turn because shooting. This marks four games in a row where I went second not by choice.
Battlelines! Or rather Scouting Phase, as Artakl has scurried forward.
Turn 1: The Salamanders advance wearily and unleash a startling amount of shooting, with the 10 damage done to the right Brutes being the standout (5+ from the Komodons alone). The Hallow holds firm, then pushes up in response, with the leftmost Centaurs getting the party started by grounding the Scorchwing regiment. I’m a little at a loss for what to do overall but am hoping the Lycan Alpha can dive in from the left and help me open up that flank.
Salamanders 2: Which makes it an extra bummer when Eric 10+ wavers her! Shooting removes the right Brutes and continues hurting Tribal Warrior regiments. The Ghekko Hunters scamper into the right Centaurs and waver them, which is especially annoying when I realize I didn’t put the Lycan horde a full 1″ behind the Centaurs. Bleh.
Herd 2: I attempt to unjam the right by flanking the Hunters with hindered Tribal Warriors, but 24x 5+ / 3+ is too much of an ask and the Hunters are fine. The other Tribal Warriors charge Rakawas for a few damage and to block him up, as 300 points of Lycan mega-hammer picks up the Brutes’ kill token and waits. I think for a very long time about the left, and notice that if the Stampede helps those Centaurs out with the Scorchwing regiment, it can rotate after combat and disappear from the Rhinosaurs’ LOS, leaving only the milksop Lancers to take it on. It’s an easy kill and I go for it … and roll snake eyes. This disastrously gives said Rhinos the Stampede’s flank, and Eric the game. Ah well.
Salamanders 3: The Stampede is obliterated. The other Rhinosaurs flank and explode the Tribal Warriors who fluffed against the Hunters, as Rakawas nimbles around the other Tribal Warriors and helps the Hunters finish off those pesky Centaurs. Rakawas’ abandoned Tribal Warriors are cheerily wavered by the war-bow Primes (off a hill), and the Lycan horde does get shot a bit. Finally, Artakl jams the Tribal Warrior horde, doing token damage in the process.
Herd 3: I melt my clock and eventually realize I can charge Artakl with the Tribal Warriors horde, overrun 5″ into the central Rhinosaurs, and flip them over thanks to the Lycan Alpha in the flank. It’s not great odds (2/3 of a chance the overrun is no good!) but it’s what I got to open the left back up. I make a very real mistake and heal 1 damage off of the Tribal Warriors instead of bane chanting them (I didn’t realize Artakl is De 5+ and not 4+ but more importantly forgot I was aiming to fight the Rhinos, who definitely are De 5+ and I’ve got no TC behind the horde). I do next to no damage to Artakl on 3+ / 5+ yet I hot hand the Nv roll and rout the lizard twice, and I make the 5+ overrun, even if it’s hindered. The Rhinosaurs take 9 damage from the flanking Lycan Alpha, the Great Chieftain in the front, and the overrunning horde (match says 9-11, +2 if I hadn’t messed up bane chant), dread pushes this to 10 and I fail the break. Eric had offered to let me rewind and count the horde’s dice with bane chant on there but I couldn’t, that was well and truly my fault.
Elsewhere, the Lycan horde kills the Hunters (possibly because that was all I was offered, possibly because I didn’t fancy one rounding Rakawas) and turns to be out of Rakawas’ LOS but very much in the Rhinosaurs’. The Centaur Chief disorders the Scorchwing horde, and way over on the left the Centaurs finish off the Scorchwing regiment they had been fighting for 3 turns.
Salamanders 4: Lancers flank and kill the Lycan Alpha, Rhinosaurs (with Skylord in the flank) charge and kill the Lycan horde, Komodons light up the central Brutes a bit, and the Tribal Warrior horde survives the attention of the central Rhinosaurs. Eric hands me two snake eyes of my own this turn, with the blessed Centaur troop surviving against the left Skylord and the Centaur Chief bravely living to disorder the Scorchwing horde again.
Herd 4: The central Rhinosaurs are torn down by the Tribal Warriors and Brutes, as is the left Skylord by the Centaur troop. The Great Chieftain charges the Lancers to hold them down, and that lucky Centaur Chief disorders the Scorchwing horde again.
Salamanders 5: Rhinosaurs run down the central Brutes, the Lancers kill the Great Chieftain (!), and otherwise shooting pummels into the Tribal Warrior horde in the forest, pushing them well into the danger zone. Somebody shoots the Druid to death this turn.
Herd 5: The Lancers are mobbed and torn apart. I continue giving as many kill tokens as I can to the Centaurs, as I know the Tribal Warrior horde is not long for this world and I’m hoping I can get more than 1 point.
Salamander 6: The Tribal Warriors get properly Rhino’d, and the extreme range of the Salamander shooting drops the Centaurs at long last. Their 6! tokens drop in their footprint but even without a Turn 7 the Sallies have plenty of their own, making this a foregone …
HALLOW LOSS (1-20)
Not gonna lie, having a tough match up fall apart so immediately thanks to a snake eyes is a bad feel, but let’s be real, I haven’t been properly boned by snakes in a long, long time. Combined we actually had 5 snake eyes this game, making it all feel very weird, however Eric was a pleasure and I appreciate how accommodating he was as my game disintegrated before it could begin. He would go on to win Best Sports.
Dead of Winter 2023 turned out to be a far more eventful run for me than expected, with a lot more time spent on the top tables than I would have thought my Herd deserved. Ultimately I placed like I always do (just above the halfway mark), which checks out with the big wins and big losses. Great games all the same, and I appreciate my clubmates who pulled the event together with next to no help from me 😅
I’m super behind on reports at this point, but up next I’ll blast through some 2300 practice games, from when my Herd were training for the Pilgrimage GT. Stay tuned!