SCUTTLIN’ REALM 47: FREE DWARFS

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

ROUND FIVE: TEAM EAGER BEAVERS

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

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now we’re playing Kings!

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

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

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

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

Dwarfs on Large Beasts vs Titanic Crabs

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

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

TRIDENT VICTORY

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

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

Ain’t kidding about that cuddling!

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


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

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 46: ORDER OF THE GREEN LADY

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

ROUND FOUR: TEAM BIG DEAD ONE

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

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

Battlelines!

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

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

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

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

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

Bunny Pegasus with the #promove block.

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

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

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

Kraken getting pumped to power lift a second time.

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

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

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

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

The sweet, sweet overrun that was not to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRIDENT VICTORY

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

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

UP NEXT: Eager Beavers!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 45: UNDEAD

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

ROUND THREE: TEAM HARLEQUIN HOBBY

  • Forces of the Abyss
  • Goblins
  • Undead
  • Ogres

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Surge Later.

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

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

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

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

Inset: Crabs In Predicaments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRIDENT LOSS

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

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

UP NEXT: The Big Dead One!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 44: HALFLINGS

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

CUDDLE TIME III: THE REVENGE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ROUND ONE: TEAM COBRA KAI

  • The Herd
  • The Herd
  • Abyssal Dwarfs

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

ROUND TWO: TEAM BUFFALO KOW

  • Halflings
  • Orcs
  • Sylvan Kin
  • Riftforged Orcs

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

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

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

We played Control, with the Halflings going first.

BATTLE

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

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

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

Ensnare and hindering be damned!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh. No.

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

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

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

TRIDENT VICTORY

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

UP NEXT: Harlequin Hobby!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 31: DWARFS

Last game of Unplugged 2022 and I’m up against Pat and his gorgeous Dwarfs, as was very likely our destiny. We face each other at just about every tournament we’re at, and it’s a minor miracle that we missed each other at Dead of Winter back in February. He’s changed things up since we played at Crossroads 2021, but then COK22 has hit since then as well.

Dwarfs 1995
*Ironclad Horde – Throwing Mastiff, Hammer of Measured Force
Berserker Brock Riders Regiment – Potion of the Caterpillar
*Bulwarkers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
*Bulwarkers Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Mastiff Hunting Pack Regiment – Throwing Mastiff
Sharpshooters Troop
Sharpshooters Troop
Sharpshooters Troop
Steel Behemoth – Golloch’s Fury
Berserker Lord on Brock – Blade of the Beast Slayer
Stone Priest – Ej Periscope, Radiance of Life, Mind Fog (3), Scorched Earth (3)
*Dwarf Army Standard Bearer
*The Royal Guard Formation

For those not in the know, the Dwarf formation adds +1 Me and Nv and gives the ASB aura (Elite (Melee) Infantry) and Very Inspiring. I’m going to say that qualifies as very rad. Around this core are a cloud of shooty chaff/scenario pieces, a fast flanking force and one serious shooty / buffing monster-chariot. Altogether a tight Dwarf build looking to keep up with the meta.

Final round was Control, with the Dwarfs going first one way or another.

BATTLE

Battlelines! My heroes are Centurion > Bastion > Hex.
Dwarfs 1: Roll out! Sharpshooters target the left Placoderms (no regen + no cover) and a central Heartpiercer unit (no cover).
It’s distressingly effective! 2 and 5 damage respectively.
Trident 1: The big crabs move into menacing positions while Heartpiercers take aim at the left Bulwarkers (a ‘softer’ Dwarf unit :P), doing them 5 damage. Also that one unit regens back to 1 damage.
Dwarfs 2: The heavy center shores up its line to avoid any sneaky flanks, and the left flank shuffles a bit to keep the Brocks safe and bring their dogs up. Sharpshooters tag a couple more damage on the left Placoderms (to 4) and those damaged Heartpiercers (to 3), and the Stone Priest whips scorched earth on my Water Elemental horde to blunt potential double charges with the Kraken.
Trident 2: I press the issue on the left, moving Placoderms up (secure in their phalanx) with the Kraken providing pressure. The Heartpiercers over there stick 4 damage onto the pups and waver them, stopping them from tossing their smaller, angrier dog next turn.
Speaking of dog violence, on the right I see an opening and punch a Kraken into a Mastiff pack, exploding them and turning to be a problem for the Dwarf castle. I’ll note right now that I’m quite concerned about having the big lug running around without inspiring, however the Dwarf options for dealing with him at range are quite low, and he is a big boy. Centrally, Heartpiercers continue raining barbs into the left Bulwarkers, pushing them to 9 damage.
Dwarfs 3: I’m getting pretty nervous about a mass throwing mastiff event – last time we played Pay deleted a fresh Shambler horde with 5-6 dogs – but he’d have to overcommit to make that happen / I’ve been keeping his Mastiff units occupied. For example, the rightmost pups rear charge my aggro Kraken 😐 On the left, the Brock lord flanks the other Kraken, keen to use his beast slayer blade.
The dulcet tones of hubris can be heard tolling across the field.
A single mastiff does not a dog tossin’ festival make.
When the smoke clears, Sharpshooters waver the left Placoderms (on 5 damage) and combine fire with a throwing mastiff to do 4 to the other Placoderms. The Brock lord rips 5 damage into the left Kraken, while the brutal Mastiff rear charge on the other Kraken only does 2 (27 on 5+/4+ but also they fluffed quite badly).
Trident 3: On the left, the Kraken can easily get to the corner of the Brock Riders, so goes for it. The Heartpiercers and Centurion move up in support / to end the Mastiff menace on that flank. On the right, I continue to be both aware that I’ll have to grind the Ironclad to kill it and that it will very likely kill whatever it swings at. But I also remember just how slow Dwarfs are … The Placoderms saunter up to tempt the Bulwarkers or better yet pressure the horde if the Heartpiercers can end them this turn. The Kraken on the right deigns to front charge the Bulwarkers who had turned just enough to face him, instead sidestepping to continue to be a problem and potentially crack that Dwarf backfield.
Shooting does see those Bulwarkers off on the right, but a snake eyes on the leftmost Mastiffs keeps them in the game on 13 damage. In combat, the Kraken does an acceptable 7 damage to the Brock Riders.
Dwarfs 4: The Kraken on the left is countered by Brock Riders, flanked by (devastated) Mastiffs and reared by the Brock Lord. No pressure, buddy. The Kraken on the right is faced by Bulwarkers and Mastiffs, as you can hear the sound of throwing mastiffs powering up … The Ironclad wander forward, keeping threats in their front arc, as Golloch’s Fury continues to hover within firing range of the Placoderms (who it was probably shooting occasionally, to limited effect).
Kraken in Predicaments: Part One
Kraken in Predicaments: Part Two
Sharpshooters remove the left Placoderms with some spicy Nv dice (!), and the right Placoderms are pushed to 5 damage by more Sharpshooters and likely Golloch’s. The right Kraken weathers the storm of dogs fine. In combat, the left Kraken is savaged up to 15 damage but holds with nary a waver.
Trident 4: With enough blood in the water (crabby or otherwise), I guess it’s finally time to really go to work. On the left, the Kraken counters the Brock Riders (and regenerates 11 damage), Heartpiercers rear charge the mangled Mastiffs and the Centurion duels the Brock Lord. On the right, the Water Elementals launch out of the woods into the flank of the Bulwarkers, with the Centurion thundering the 1″ into their front. The Placoderms attempt to back away from the Ironclad but ironically can’t escape their reach, so a Heartpiercer unit sprints forward to jam them up.
The shooting I have goes into the Ironclad, for 2 damage, iron resolved to 1 and radianced off next turn :/ In combat, the Brock Riders and Mastiffs are driven off, tho the Brock Lord takes a single damage because Centurion. The Bulwarkers on the right are shattered and the big crabs turn to thoroughly complicate the Dwarf castle.
Dwarfs 5: While he may be running low on units, the Dwarf general still has quite a lot of guns at his disposal, as well as US. The Ironclad shrug and head into the Heartpiercers offered up to them, the last of the Mastiff packs pounces on the hex Envoy babysitting the big crabs (ensared + hindered), and the Brock Lord grimly hefts his blade and charges the left Kraken before it launches into the Sharpshooters.
Sharpshooters and maybe also Golloch crack the right Placoderms, bastion be damned! Then in combat the Ironclad pulp the Heartpiercers and the Brock Lord does a solid 5 damage to the left Kraken, lucky wavering it and saving the left flank for at least another turn. Bravo, slayer! Oh, the hex Envoy takes no damage from the Mastiffs harrying it.
Trident 5: Still not wanting anything to do with the Ironclad horde, the Water Elementals flank charge Golloch’s Fury and the right Kraken skitters into the flank of some Sharpshooters. The hex Envoy scampers away from the Mastiffs to tempt the Ironclad into wasting time. On the left, the Heartpiercers back up because somebody has to score the back left section and those Sharpshooters are scary, but also they prepare to shoot the Brock Lord with the Centurion’s help. And because of course he did, the left Kraken regenerates all 9 damage on him.
Shooting skewers the Brock Lord to 3 damage, the Stone Priest to 3 (wavered!) and the Mastiff pack to 3 as well. In combat, the Water Elementals hammer 12 damage into Golloch’s Fury, wavering it, shortly before the Kraken rampages through the Sharpshooters and prepares for the next one in line.
Dwarfs 6: Golloch’s Fury headstrongs and counters the Water Elementals, as the Brock Lord charges the left Kraken again. The Ironclad push forward to claim my central section and toss their dog at some Heartpiercers, the Mastiffs hopefully position themselves in the bottom right section, and Sharpshooters scoot around to claim sections or face their towering destructors.
#kaijubigbattle
The Ironclad’s mastiff does 2 damage to the Heartpiercers, then the Brock Lord and Golloch do a respectable 5 damage to their targets, if to no effect.
Trident 6: The left Kraken smashes the flank of the top left Sharpshooters, claiming that section. The Water Elementals overwhelm Golloch’s Fury, claiming my two point section regardless of how the Kraken did front charging the Sharpshooters. Heartpiercers give the Ironclad a wide berth, shooting Stone Priest and Mastiffs in the process (possibly unto death, not that they could contest, at all or enough). With 5 points to 2, and no Turn 7, this was a very solid …

SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (20-0)

While this dunking couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, it felt good to get a heavy win and feel like I played competently while doing so. I certainly showed more patience with my punchy stuff than maybe ever, and while my Heartpiercers didn’t dictate the game as in the last match, I used them as the scenario pieces I designed the army around, which is a good feel of its own. I’m sure Pat and I will rematch soon enough πŸ˜€

So with this big win I ended up 2-2-1, getting the 50% record I always try for. Happily I also got 4th best sports, which helped put me at I think 11 of 18 in the final ranking? Not bad at all for how heavy the field was.

Thanks for reading all these, and big thanks to the crew at Unplugged Gamers for putting the GT on. I’m thrilled I could make it out after a few years away, looking forward to next year.

UP NEXT: 2600 points of mayhem at the Orc Town GT early June!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 30: UNDEAD

Unplugged Day Two dawns with me up against my clubmate and tournament bunk buddy Drew and his Undead. We’ve scrummed a number of times, but never at 1995? And certainly not with his shiny new Werewolves or Wraiths.

Undead 1995
Wights Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar
Wights Horde – Boots of Striding
Wights Horde – Fire-Oil
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment – Staying Stone
Werewolves Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Zombies Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Wraiths Troop
Vampire on Undead Pegasus – Surge (4)
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman, Surge (6), Heal (3)
Necromancer – Surge (6), Heal (3)

I continue to be shocked by how good Wights are, tho I probably shouldn’t be at this point πŸ˜› He’s replaced his Ghoul chaff with Wraith chaff and swapped out excessive Zombie regiments with a half pack of Werewolves looking to do things like move at the double. I’m surprised he’s done so poorly to be down here with me but I think he had some hard match-ups in day one.

Fourth round was Salt the Earth, again with tokens pre-placed on the map. The Undead went first, either because he’s slow or I wanted to shoot his dudes.

BATTLE

Battlelines! So clean and fresh. His inspiring Necromancer is centrally behind some Wraiths and next to Wights. My heroes are Centurion > Bastion > Hex.
Undead 1: A general moaning can be heard as the deadites drift forward, with the exception of the Soul Reavers who take advantage of their vitality to jog ahead of the army. The Vampasus is lurking behind the tower and facing to my left.
Trident 1: Kraken angle in on the flanks, but mostly I bring 40 Heartpiercer harpoon guns to bear on the Soul Reaver Infantry …
… and delete the bloodthirsty scourge 😀 (A very average 10 damage followed by a very average 7 to rout. He lamented not having inspiring near them and had me reroll out of curiosity, and of course I got the 5 that with staying stone would have been nothing.)
Undead 2: The ghosts drift up, with the Werewolves protecting the flank of the rightmost Wights. The wolves go ahead and burn that token on the hill while they’re at it, as do the Wraiths in the forest on the left.
Trident 2: I do something that I rarely do and back up. And feel dirty in the process, but hey, I’ve got guns and the Undead are slow and want to murder me in combat. But I’m still me tho and launch the right Kraken into the Werewolves, because a) killing them isn’t crazy (one shot at an 8-10 Nv test), b) killing the Wights next to them isn’t crazy with Heartpiercers (one shot at a 10), c) hexing one of the Necros makes a flank surge more dicey, d) even if the Kraken dies next turn, more of my guns will be unengaged for another turn.
Heartpiercers stick 2-3 damage on the left Wights and 5 on the right ones, for all the good it does. Hex fails to hit a Necromancer as well. In combat, the Kraken only does 3 damage and there’s no lucky 11 rout to save him. Sigh. Would have been much better to rotate him in and let the Werewolves make the decision of where to charge, then either counter them or slowly grind.
Coming attraction for the next episode of ‘Kraken in Predicaments’ …
Undead 3: The dead make contact with the crabby lines at last. Wraiths block up the left Kraken and Water Elementals, as Wights and Vampasus prepare to dunk the left Placoderms, phalanx be damned. The right Kraken is countered by Werewolves and sadly flanked by Wights, thanks to a stellar 4+ surge when he needed 1″. The show off.
The poor right Kraken explodes into crab parts, however the rest of the combats hold tight, with the Kraken taking 4 (!), Placos 6 and Water Elementals 1 damage.
Trident 3: The grind has begun, even if there are more Wights on the table than I had hoped. The Kraken counters the Wraiths (grudgingly), the Placoderms counter the Vampasus with the Centurion charging the left Wights to sit them down / body block, and the Water Elementals counter the other Wraiths (grudgingly). The right, shooty arm of the crab line shores up any flying / surge flank shenanigans.
Heartpiercers push the right Wights from 4 damage to dead, and stick the inspiring Necro for 1 damage, lucky wavering him! The Placoderms snip 4 damage on the Vampasus, the Wraiths take some damage but hold frustratingly, and the Centurion does 0 damage to the left Wights, leaving them free to fly where they will :O
Undead 4: Some very careful measuring later, and the left Wights end up front charging the (uninspired) Kraken with the Wraiths countering. Likewise the central Wights combo into the Water Elemental horde with the other Wraiths. The Vampasus counters the Placoderms (grudgingly), and the Werewolves end up charging into the pond into the other Placoderms, maybe to protect the Wights’ flank if they don’t one round the Water Elementals.
Except Wights are combat gods (especially when they’ve got Fire-Oil vs regening Water Elementals), and the mega crab bites it. The Kraken takes 12 damage and blessedly wavers (WHEW), while both Placoderms take 2 damage and hold (up to 8 vs the Vampasus).
Trident 4: The Kraken disengages and furiously regens down to 6 damage, as the Centurion prepares to sit the left Wights down with his trident and the Placoderms counter the Vampasus. The Heartpiercers to their right charge some Wraiths to sit them down, and the other Placoderms back away from the Werewolves so they can be ventilated by all those Heartpiercers.
Which they are, quite handily. The Centurion does manage to sit down the left Wights (1 damage!), and in combat the Heartpiercers likewise sit down their Wraiths (3 damage total). But I’ll stop burying the lead: the Placoderms kill the Vampasus! Totally unexpected. They take the moment to turn and face the Wights about to kill the Kraken next turn.
Undead 5: Despite my wealth of Heartpiercers, Drew’s still got two very fresh Wight hordes and two very functional Wraith troops to kill me with, plus his Zombies just casually winning the game in his deployment zone. On the left, Wraiths and Wights charge the wounded Kraken. In the center, Wraiths float sideways and prepare a stomach-churningly easy surge into the bastion Envoy and very easy overrun into some Heartpiercers …
Act 1, Scene 1
Act 1, Scene 2
Act 2, Scene 1
Apart from the Envoy getting nuked, the combats go better than anticipated, with both the Kraken and Heartpiercers holding! On 13 and 8 damage respectively. Drew sees those Placoderm flanks/rears and declares the game over, especially if those things can kill a Vampasus 😦
Trident 5: Hindered or not, no way I’m passing up those Wight underbellies! Placoderms and Centurion hit the left Wights in the flank (Kraken backs off and regens down to 6), and other Placoderms rear charge the other Wights (Heartpiercers back off and regen down to 4). The Heartpiercers mobilize, with one unit powering forward to make a Turn 6 play for the center token.
The inspiring Necromancer is shot down, and the other is hexed (FINALLY) but then wavered as well. In combat, neither Wight unit takes much damage – 5 to the left horde and just 3 to the rear-charged horde. Woof. I also take the opportunity to burn the token in the left forest, which I had been debating all game.
Undead 6: With the Placos unable to stop their reign of terror, the ghosts continue their assault on the living. Wraiths charge the Kraken once more, as the left Wights counter the Centurion, looking to overrun into the Placoderms (8 damage) who are reared by more Wraiths. The central Wights ignore the Placoderms to their rear and continue on into the Heartpiercers to their front.
Another horrific montage later and Centurion, Placoderms and Heartpiercers are all dead. (Editorial Note: That 0″ overrun feels pretty bad, but then again the Wights are less than 50/50 that they kill the Centurion. Tho don’t tell Drew’s dice, he was hitting like a madman all game.) The Kraken finally avoids being wavered tho!
Trident 6: I scoot those Heartpiercers to the center, drawing the game, even if there’s some attempted murder to be had. The Kraken swings into the left Wraiths and the Placoderms front charge the central Wights. Neither combat really does much, but both units are grounded, which is nice. The surviving Necro is hexed and wavered again by some Heartpiercers.
Undead 7: On the left, the Wights and Wraiths combo charge the Kraken again, except this time he’s completely regenerated, if uninspired. In the center, we keep that feel good ghost combo going, with Wights and Wraiths hitting the Placoderms (in retrospect this doesn’t seem legal, as I don’t think the Wraiths could draw LOS to the teeny 2.5mm of base peeping around the Wights; surge would make it possible to sidestep the Wights, charge the Wraiths and surge the Wights, but the Necro was out of commission).
At long last, the second Kraken falls 😦 Also the Placoderms die.
Trident 7: My last gasp play is to shoot off those right Zombies, however I only do 1 damage so can’t even spike the box cars victory. I spitefully pour the rest of the Heartpiercers into the central Wights, pushing them to 8 damage but I can’t sink the 9 to rout them. With 2 tokens each, this is decidedly a …

DRAW (10-10)

What. A. Journey. I felt like this was a breakthrough game for me where my deployment was sound and I fully recognized my shooting advantage and really made the most of it. Throwing the right Kraken away was a bummer and would have changed the game wildly if I held onto him, although I really wanted him to dive into the Undead backfield to clear out those Zombies / force him to burn those tokens I otherwise couldn’t get to. Also Wights are frustratingly good and make surge just so much more viable than it usually is (in my head), but you certainly pay for it. Wraiths on the other hand, damn, that’s some value right there. Finally, I’m more and more convinced that I need Lute back in the list, more than I need the trident, almost entirely because it helps the Placoderms do anything. Spoilers I guess for my next list.

UP NEXT: Dwarfs!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 29: BROTHERMARK

With my sweet 4 points, I’m matched up against a gorgeous Moorish (?) army likewise wallowing down here at the bottom. Wyatt’s a good guy with some serious tools in his list, who must have been smacked by some heavies in the first couple rounds.

Brothermark 1995
Order of the Abyssal Hunt Regiment – Blessing of the Gods
*Paladin Knights Regiment – Aegis Fragment, Potion of the Caterpillar
*Paladin Knights Regiment – Aegis Fragment, Boots of Striding
Men-at-Arms Spearmen Horde – Veteran Command, Hammer of Measured Force
Villein Bowmen Horde – Fire-Oil
Villein Skirmishers Troop
*High Paladin on Dragon – Staying Stone
Exemplar Hunter on Horse – The Gauntlet, Scythe of the Harvester
Exemplar Chaplain on Horse – Battle Hymns, Knowledgeable, Host Shadowbeast (8), Crown of the Wizard King
Exemplar Chaplain – Battle Hymns, Zephyr Crown
*Defenders of Righteousness Formation

He walked me through the Exemplar Hunter + Shadowbeast wombo-combo, which definitely has legs, especially against individuals (thanks to duellist) but really anything (thanks to both rampage and slayer). Otherwise it’s three serious knight units, one helluva dragon, and some loathsome peasant Nerve blocks / scenario pieces. He did admit at some point that there’s a severe lack of inspiring, calling it a “design flaw” πŸ˜€

Third round was Pillage, with the seven tokens already placed on the map. Brothermark went first whether or not they wanted to.

BATTLE

Battlelines! The Abyssal Hunt are behind the hill, along with Hunter. The shadowbeast Chaplain is next to the dragon, along with the rest of the formation. My heroes are Hex > Bastion (lake) > Centurion, and you can just see the other Kraken there on the right.
Brothermark 1: Despite their hunger to smite the crustaceous menace, the Brothermark manage to advance with caution across the line, largely staying out of LOS. The Bowmen move into range of the leftmost (uninspired!) Heartpiercers, and despite 7+ to hit do 2 damage thanks to Fire-Oil.
Trident 1: Placoderms park themselves in that central wood, in range of both the High Paladin and one Paladin Knight regiment. I make sure every other target can only be charged by one unit, and toss bastion on a Kraken in case. The right Heartpiercers burn the right Paladin Knight’s aegis fragment, the central Heartpiercers can’t do 2 damage to the left Knights, and the Heartpiercers on the left cower behind their hill from the Bowmen’s flaming arrows.
Brothermark 2: After some deliberation, the Brothermark slam through the woods and into the crabby arms of their quarry! Paladin Knights (phalanxed) and dragon (hindered) hit the Placoderms, while more Paladin Knights hit the advanced Heartpiercers. Abyssal Hunt jam the other Placoderms, with Hunter in tow. The peasants hold tight for now.
That’s High Paladin Leeroy Jenkins to you, cur! (And his cloak of death already doing work …)
Bowmen stick 2 damage on the left Placoderms, shortly before they’re wind blasted sideways (!), for all it’ll do next turn. In combat, the Heartpiercers explode but the Placoderms hold on 8 damage like champs. Hell yea.
Trident 2: Looks like we’ve got a game! Both Kraken hit the right Paladin Knights in the flank, the Placoderms counter the dragon, and the other Placoderms charge the Abyssal Hunt to get that started. Heartpiercers jockey for shots on the unengaged Paladin Knights in the center of the board.
Those Paladin Knights escape the crossfire relatively unscathed (3 damage), then bastion goes up on a Kraken. Speaking of Kraken, they rampage through their Paladin Knights, with one sidestepping to give some maneuver options. Placoderms manage to ground the High Paladin and poke the Abyssal Hunt for token damage.
Brothermark 3: It would appear there’s plenty of smiting to be had, so the Bros get back to it. The Paladin Knights flank the dragon’s Placoderms, as the dragon counters them and the Abyssal Hunt counters their Placoderms. Also the Exemplar Hunter charges into the poor hex Envoy 😐 The various peasant units grow restless and sally forth for reasons. Cloak of death from the dragon splashes everywhere.
[sound of a 20+ attak chainsaw revving up]
A vicious bongo solo from a Chaplain hosts ~4 attaks into the Hunter, moments before he revs up his scythe, activates his gauntlet, and turns the hex Envoy into crab vapor :O The High Paladin and Paladin Knights crack their Placoderms, but happily the other heavy crab bois only go up to 5 damage against the Abyssal Hunt.
Trident 3: Both Kraken pound into the dragon’s front, as the Water Elemental horde skitters from the pond into the Paladin Knights and some Heartpiercers mob the flank of the Exemplar Hunter. Placos counter the Abyssal Hunt. (I spent a long time trying to get the Water Elementals + Kraken into dragon, but I couldn’t get a Kraken into the Paladin Knights, so would have to wear their charge next turn. I could have turned off their TC with the Centurion’s trident? Making the charge less of a thing to worry about.)
I live for Kaiju Big Battle titan fights ❀
The right Heartpiercers start chunking damage on the Spearmen, then bastion fails to cast. In combat, the Kraken boff the dragon up to 8 damage, sadly not saving the Water Elementals from the corkscrew next turn. The Elementals smack the Paladin Knights up to 8 damage as well, again not saving themselves from the dragon corkscrew. Sigh. Anyway, the Placoderms disorder the Abyssal Hunt again (3 damage total after all the iron resolving), and stunningly the Heartpiercers do 2! damage to the Hunter (down to 1). Which is relevant because that dude is CS1 + TC1.
Brothermark 4: The Water Elementals are corkscrewed by the High Paladin, as we both expected, with Paladin Knights in the front. Villein Skirmishers whip off the hill into a Kraken, for violence, and the Abyssal Hunt counters the Placoderms, with the Hunter in their flank.
With 12 total attaks after scythe and shadowbeast, the Hunter is more than capable of cracking some Placoderm shell, and he and the Abyssal Hunt drive them off at last. The Water Elementals are also decimated by the dragon flank. The Skirmishers do an admirable 2 damage to their Kraken, despite all the negatives!
Trident 4: Alright, alright, so that’s a big hole in my lines :/ Kraken have really limited access to the High Paladin, so instead they hit the mangled Paladin Knights and aim to one round the Skirmishers. I point a lot of guns at the dragon.
20 Heartpiercer shots (into cover) and 5 Centurion lasers (into cover plus he’s a muppet) are enough to pop the High Paladin, and I can finally take a breath this turn. 10 spare Heartpiercer harpoons into the Abyssal Hunt convert to a crazy 6 damage, putting them on 8 too. In combat, the Kraken rampage through all that horse flesh, crushing both the Paladin Knights and Skirmishers.
Brothermark 5: While the game feels pretty well in the crabs’ claws, this is a seven token Pillage game, and my lead in scoring units isn’t huge. To whit, the Abyssal Hunt thunder into a unit of Heartpiercers on the left (where there’s no inspiring!), and the Spearmen trip through the woods to tie a Kraken down, where his US1 doesn’t do anything. The Exemplar Hunter slips his gauntlet back on and powers into the Centurion as well.
A shadowy beast is once again hosted into the Hunter, moments before a rain of flaming arrows from the Bowmen remove a full regiment of Heartpiercers! Praise be unto the lords of the deep tho, the Abyssal Hunt is not able to one round the other Heartpiercers, wavering them instead on 10 damage. Likewise the Exemplar Hunter is punished for his zeal, as his whirlwind of attaks is parried and deflected by the Centurion, who wavers on 7 damage. The Spearmen do nothing at all to the Kraken.
Trident 5: A Kraken is unleashed into the flank of the Abyssal Hunt, while its kin counters the Spearmen horde in its way. Lots of regeneration happens (the left Heartpiercers dropping to 3 from 10!)
The Abyssal Hunt’s campaign of righteousness is cut short by a titanic crab in their midst. The Spearmen are stomped and pinched up to 8 damage. While the game has swung back to me, I’m pretty terrified of the Piercing Bowmen horde’s potential and have admitted I can’t do much of anything about the Hunter.
Brothermark 6: The Exemplar Hunter, blind in his rage, charges the Centurion again, hindering and ensnaring be damned. The Spearmen continue prodding their Kraken, as the Bowmen light their arrows …
Have at you, foul spawn of the depths!
A solid 6 damage later, the Bowmen get the Kraken’s attention but leave it free to rampage next turn. In combat, the Centurion once mores duels the Hunter to exhaustion, surviving the storm of blows with just a waver again. And the Spearmen run out of time on the clock to poke their Kraken.
Trident 6: With the Brothermark out of time, I punch the central Kraken forward to draw the game (2 tokens each), and move the left Heartpiercers into position to win on Turn 7. Unless the other Kraken can pound those Spearmen into goo? (Spoilers: He can’t and is doing token damage each turn.) Right Heartpiercers try to shoot down the Exemplar Hunter but it’s hard going.
Trident 7: I move the left Heartpiercers onto a token, solidify the central Kraken’s dominance of that token on the hill, and clock out rolling regen. With 3 tokens to 2, this is a …

SCUTTLIN’ VICTORY (16-4)

There’s a different version of this game where Wyatt didn’t go so ham into a charge I wanted him to take, but I also think my list matches pretty well into his, with my phalanx, speed and rampage (also guns). He had some misgivings about his choices in our game, but wore it well. For me, I won’t pretend finishing Day 1 with a win didn’t feel great. After this we got grub and partied at the house of the TO, which was super nice of him and his spouse.

UP NEXT: Undead!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 28: NIGHTSTALKERS

Game two sees me hurtling down to the depths to face a really quite competent Nightstalkers player I’ve never met who must have faced a real heavy first game to get dunked down here with me. Anyway, without further ado:

Nightstalkers 1995
Fiends Horde – Mead of Madness
Butchers Horde
Butchers Horde
Butchers Horde
Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5)
Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5)
Soulflayers Regiment – Wind Blast (5)
Phantoms Troop
Planar Apparition – Heal (7), Mind Fog (2)
Mind-screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6)
Mind-screech – Lightning Bolt (6), Mind Fog (6), Wind Blast (6)
Portal of Despair

Lots to like here. Enough Soulflayers to take advantage of the new hotness without being abusive, decent mix of support monsters, bit of an old school flair with the triple Butchers, and the Portal for style points. Could certainly be tuned but its got lots of tools to work with.

Second round was Loot, and he went first either by choice or command.

BATTLE

Battlelines (ignore those Phantoms jumping the photo)! My heroes are Centurion > Hex > Bastion.
Nightstalkers 1: The Phantoms and Fiends zip forward and grab tokens, thanks to the power of being fast and having wide bases (in retrospect, can the Fiends do this, mathematically speaking? *sounds of me doing math* yep, they can make the 11.5000001″ needed to contact the token if they move straight forward and turn precisely 45Β°. While he obviously turned more than that, so would have been technically short, it’s also a completely moot point given his strength on that flank!) In the shooting phase, he windblasts the Placoderms on the right back (!!) as well as the Kraken looming on the left flank (!!). In the Kraken’s case I could have easily put the Centurion behind him to keep him in place :/ Speaking of inspiring, lightning strikes the hex Envoy for 1 damage but lucky wavers him.
Trident 1: So this might be even harder than expected, thanks to all the wind πŸ˜… I vaguely threaten the left, trusting the Kraken + Centurion combo to keep things occupied and/or grounded for a while, while pushing up the right flank in a bid to grab the Phantoms and play for the center. Shooting tags 3 damage on the cover-less central Butchers and 2 on the right Soulflayers, lucky wavering the flying, windblasting menace! Bastion goes up on the right Kraken.
Nightstalkers 2: The living nightmares descend upon the well-meaning-but-perpetually-misunderstood crab people on the left, with Fiends (hindered) plus Soulflayers into the Kraken, the loot having been handed off to the left Butchers. The NS center trudges toward the fighty crabs, while the right fades, with Phantoms pulling away with the loot and wavered Soulflayers backing up. Of note is that he had to use a Mind-screech to block a rear charge into the Phantoms, as the Portal couldn’t manage it thanks to facing and stuff. Also the damaged Butchers grab the central loot.
Zero pressure, you got this, big guy! Odds are totally in your favor!
Shooting sees the Placos in the woods windblasted back (!!), plus 1 damage healed from the wounded Butchers. In combat, the hindered Fiends (24x 6+/3+) and Soulflayers (12x 4+/2+) do 9ish damage then double 10+ the rout test. Booooo.
Trident 2: Now gentle reader, I’m going to need you to quiet down. Yes, this is a lot like Game 1 but the difference is that these things are all Stealthy as well 😐 In a bid to stay in this game, I unleash the Water Elemental horde into the flank of the blocking Mind-screech, hot on the Phantoms’ tail. The surviving Kraken powers into some Butchers to start the grind, with Heartpiercers charging the other Butchers simply to buy time for the Kraken. Placos glumly plod forward, as Heartpiercers turn to face their targets. The Centurion body-blocks the Fiends while preparing to ground the Soulflayers next to them.
Hex goes up on the Planar Apparition (that brain thing behind his Butchers), bastion doesn’t happen because that Envoy ran to keep the Water Elementals company. The right Heartpiercers tag 1 damage on the wounded right Soulflayers, while the left two units can’t land any damage on the left Soulflayers. Worse still, the Centurion hits once with his trident (4+ is hard, y’all) and doesn’t wound (3+ is hard, y’all), leaving them free to do whatever they want. In combat, the Kraken boops 3 damage on his Butchers, the hero Heartpiercers do 1 damage to their Buthcers, and the Water Elementals detonate the Mind-screech, turning to menace the Phantoms et. al.
Nightstalkers 3: Chittering horrors from beyond the veil of the flesh pounce across the table. Fiends take that (hindered, ensnared) charge into the Centurion; Soulflayers from the deep left charge Heartpiercers; the ungrounded Soulflayers charge (hindered) the next Heartpiercers; Butchers counter yet more Heartpiercers as well as the Kraken, who is also flanked (hindered) by the last of the damaged right Soulflayers. The Portal blocks the Water Elementals from getting to the retreating Phantoms.
Shooting pushes the poor Placos in the woods back again (!!), shortly before the Planar Apparition does 10 damage to itself while healing the loot Butchers. Perfection. In combat, the Centurion takes no damage from the Fiends, the Heartpiercers near him hold on token damage, and the hindered Soulflayers one round their Heartpiercers with double hot Nv dice. Centrally, the loot Butchers devour their Heartpiercers and the Kraken, while he takes 14+ damage, only wavers. I’ll take it.
Trident 3: As I always do in these situations, I windmill slam my Placoderms into a hindered flank charge, this time on the 2 damage Soulflayers bothering my Kraken (who regens down to 7 damage). The Water Elementals charge the Portal (tho I’m not thrilled about this), the left Heartpiercers counter their Soulflayers and the Centurion prepares, once again, to trident the other Soulflayers.
Hex goes on the Mind-screech that’s been blasting the Placos around, while bastion fails to cast. Heartpiercers do 1 damage to the loot Butchers, whiiiiiiich is more than the Centurion does to those Soulflayers! 4+/3+ is apparently too hard an ask. In combat, the Heartpiercers right next to him do 2 to their Soulflayers, grounding them in the name of their crabby gods, and looks like that sweet Placoderm flank did 2? The Water Elementals smash 6 into the Portal but no break.
Nightstalkers 4: Woof. Butchers hit the Kraken in front and flank (hindered). Soulflayers hit the saucy Placoderms in front and flank (hindered). The other Soulflayers counter the left Heartpiercers, and the Portal counters the Water Elementals. The Phantoms continue to escape with the goods, as Fiends jockey for a charge next turn. The Mind-screech moves rather than casting.
In my defense, I tried to avoid this eventuality …
While the Placoderms weather the storm on 1 die of damage, and the Water Elementals take none from the Portal, the left Heartpiercers are driven off and the Kraken succumbs to the ocean of 5+/2+ attaks. Also the Planar Apparition heals itself down to 6 damage.
Trident 4: The Placoderms holding allows the Water Elementals to flank one of those Soulflayers, letting the Placos counter the other unit. Speaking of Placo violence, the other unit charges (hindered) the loot Butchers, exposing their rear to the left Soulflayers but the Centurion is over there and can surely sit them down at last. My only other unit is the last of the Heartpiercers, who realize they can see the Planar Apparition if they sidestep to the right …
… which they do, managing to land a couple 6+ hits and popping it! Hex goes back on the Mind-screech and bastion fails to cast once more. Finally, the Centurion does cause a single damage to those Soulflayers, disordering them. Thank the drowned sea! Combat isn’t amazing, with Placos doing 3 damage to the Butchers and 6 to the Soulflayers, although the Water Elementals do dunk their Soulflayers.
Nightstalkers 5: With the Phantoms sailing into the distance and nothing around to threaten the left Butchers, the game is well and truly lost, though I at least have points to scrape out of this, if the NS leave me anything to work with … One Placoderm regiment is countered by Butchers and flanked by the Mind-screech, the other is countered by Soulflayers and flanked by Butchers (hindered). The Water Elementals are charged by the Portal. Fiends position to either take the Centurion’s attention or rear some Placoderms.
Yep, Butcher flank does work! Those Placoderms die, and the other unit wavers. The Portal does nothing to the Water Elementals.
Trident 5: The Centurion does another damage to those Soulflayers, sitting them down on 4 damage, while Heartpiercers shoot the other Soulflayers point blank up to 8 damage. The Water Elementals enjoy bastion shortly before tearing the Portal down. Hex must have failed.
Nightstalkers 6: With like 3 minutes left on his clock, Soulflayers flank the Placoderms (hindered) with Butchers in the front (hindered). Other Soulflayers charge (hindered) the Heartpiercers, and other Butchers charge (hindered) the Water Elementals. (The Fiends were out on the Placoderms’ rear and he must have decided all that rolling wasn’t worth hindering into the Centurion again.) On the other side of combat, nobody died! Shockingly the central Placoderms simply wavered, thanks to a total fluff from the Butchers. The Heartpiercers also wavered on hot dice, while the Water Elementals took token damage.
Trident 6: The Centurion has a go at the Soulflayers (0 damage on 3+/3+ *facepalm*), the Water Elementals chunk the Butchers up to 10 damage, and despite their best efforts both Envoys can’t get a single wound on the Soulflayers to roll Nv 😦
Nightstalkers 7: He has enough time to kill the Placoderms and do some damage to the Water Elementals, then clocks.
Trident 7: I luxuriate in my 5 minutes of clock, using it to tear down the Butchers with the Water Elementals and merc the Soulflayers with the Heartpiercers in combat. Hell yea. Also the Centurion tries to pop the other Soulflayers (on 4 damage) but who knows if he even hit. Despite sealing these last couple combats, this was a foregone …

NIGHTSTALKER VICTORY (16-4)

While Stealthy is a royal pain for me, most of his army being De 4+ gave me hope for gaining some momentum and having a fighting chance at two tokens … but that early lucky rout of the Kraken holding down his left flank had me scrambling. Compound that by the Centurion doing a collective 1 damage all game (!), and canny use of windblast by my opponent, and I was just too many steps behind to claw back the Nightstalkers’ early lead. Fun match tho, with loads of interplay. Getting that lucky pop on the hexed Planar Apparition was a feel good moment amongst the frustration.

UP NEXT: Brothermark!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 27: BASILEANS

My run at the Unplugged GT 2022 kicked off with a rematch vs the Basilean army I was thoroughly trounced by at Dead of Winter mere weeks before. While a cute coincidence, I was all for it, as it’s one of my favorite Kings of Warmachine armies out there and it’s marshaled by a gem of a player.

But first, a reminder of my army for this event:

Trident Realm 1995
Water Elementals Horde – Brew of Strength
Placoderms Regiment
Placoderms Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Naiad Heartpiercers Regiment
Kraken
Kraken
Naiad Centurion – Trident of the Drowned Sea
Naiad Envoy – Bastion (2)
Naiad Envoy – Trickster’s Wand

vs

Basileans 1995
Elohi Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar, Celestial Fury
Ogre Palace Guard – Chalice of Wrath
Ogre Palace Guard – Staying Stone
Paladin Knights Regiment – Brew of Sharpness
Paladin Knights Regiment – Brew of Strength
Elohi Regiment
Elohi Regiment
Gur Panthers Troop
Samacris, Mother of Phoenixes – Fireball (8), Heal (5)
Priest on Horse – Conjurer’s Staff; Heal (3), Bane Chant (2)

I was super excited to see him field units I hadn’t seen, and I gather he was pushed to leave the Men-at-Arms horde at home and lean harder into speed with the cav regiments. He had misgivings, and personally I was hoping my Placoderms’ phalanx would put in work in what was otherwise a tentative match for me.

First round was Dominate, and he won the roll for initiative and gave it to me. Canny angels.

BATTLE

Battelines! The sharpness Paladin Knights are the ones toeing the hill to the right, with the ruins. My hex Envoy is to the left and bastion is in the middle, with Centurion over by the building next to the right Kraken.
Trident 1: The crabs skitter forward, somewhat aimlessly. Bastion goes up on the right Placoderms but I think for height reasons it should have gone on the Water Elementals or the right Kraken. Ah well.
Basileans 1: The angelic host advances, with the Knights taking up residence on their launch pad / hill. Elohi keep a watchful eye on the Kraken but otherwise demand attention.
Trident 2: With the exception of the right flank, where the Centurion and Kraken inch forward, the crabs deign to move, preferring to shoot. Harpoons from three Envoy units skewer the fury Palace Guard and kill them. We’re both shocked, while I find myself glimpsing the possibility of victory. Bastion goes up on one of the central Heartpiercers.
Basileans 2: The Basilean general shakes off such an early loss, but does pull back the other Palace Guard for late game work, instead punching hard on the left flank. The Elohi horde and one regiment charge the waiting Kraken, with the Paladin Knights preparing to storm in as a second wave.
A flock and a half of angels fighting a big, smelly crab titan. Now that’s cinema.
Ensnare be damned, the Kraken falls, and I’ve got a serious problem. (In my defense, he had about a 50/50 or better chance of living :P)
Trident 3: The crabby lines rapidly redress to face the incoming flyers (and horses too I suppose), bringing plenty of guns to bear. The remaining Kraken launches himself into the Palace Guard, on the assumption that while he’s bad at fighting he’ll have a few turns to get work done before he gets flanked and smote back to the trenches he crawled out of. The Centurion accompanies him (and prepares to intercept the right Elohi), while the Water Elemental horde feels direly out of place.
Heartpiercers push 7 damage on the sharpness Knights and 1 on the left Elohi regiment (8 and 2 before iron resolve), hex onto Sammy and bastion onto some Heartpiercers. The Kraken bashes 4 (5 before iron resolve) onto the Palace Guard. While nice, none of that gets anything done yet.
Basileans 3: It’s a veritable crab feast as the Basileans lay into their crustaceous foes. The Elohi horde charges Heartpiercers, strength Knights thunder into more Heartpiercers, the left Elohi regiment charges some Placoderms, and Samacris flanks the Kraken as the Palace Guard counter. The Elohi on the right menace and the sharpness Knights back up, before being healed down to 3 damage by the Priest.
The Elohi horde dunks their Heartpiercers, preparing for another next turn. However the strength Knights only waver theirs (luckily on <6 damage), the Placos take 1 damage from their Elohi, Sammy completely misses her 6 attaks and the Palace Guard only manage 5 to the Kraken.
Trident 4: I burn my clock trying to figure out a way to save the left Placoderms, but those wavered Heartpiercers need to be able to turn to face to protect that long Placo flank and they just can’t. Those Placoderms are going to have to fight for their life against the Elohi regiment. The other Placos spot a (hindered) flank on Samacris and (foolishly) take it, banking on being able to kill her and face the sharpness Knights, where their phalanx will neuter them. The Kraken counters the Palace Guard, with the Centurion aiming to disorder the right Elohi with his trident (he could have charged and I’m 90% sure he should have). The Water Elemental horde stares at the Elohi as well for next turn when they’re on the ground …

… except there is no after photo, this is it. The Centurion fails to wound those Elohi, neither Placoderm regiment drops their target (0 on the Elohi, 3 on Sammy) ensuring their deaths, and the Kraken boops the Palace Guard to 7. Heartpiercers stick 3 damage on the strength Knights, continuing to ignore the Elohi horde which I never remembered was Def 4+ for swapping their shields out. I took a lot of risks this turn and would definitely pay for that shortly.

Basileans 4: Well, uh, there it is. Placoderms are flanked by terrible things, where their phalanx counts for nothing, and the Kraken is likewise neutralized by an Elohi flank I didn’t see coming. (IF the Centurion had managed to stick his 1 damage, they could have still made this charge, albeit hindered, unless he had charged them. Hence why charging was the answer – if a moot one knowing the dice result.) The strength Knights hit their Heartpiercers again. I believe the Priest healed the sharpness Knights (down to 4).
It’s super effective!
Trident 5: At this point I’m digging for attrition and hoping I can salvage 1 point (this tournament isn’t using blackjack scoring). Heartpiercers shoot the sharpness Knights back to 5 damage (6 before IR), while the Centurion begins harassing the Palace Guard, bringing them to 8 (9 before IR). The Water Elemental horde really wants to fight once this game, so swings for an Elohi regiment, doing 5 (6 before IR) but no lucky break. The bastion Envoy does its best to be in the way of the sharpness Knights, forgetting that Samacris can fly – tho thanks to hex she can’t cast if she does.
Oh sweet baby crablings!
Basileans 5: The Water Elementals evaporate thanks to a sharpness Knight flank. Elohi also cleave the bastion Envoy and a Heartpiercer reg in twain, such is their righteous fury. The strength Knights get stuck wavering the last of the Heartpiercers but no biggy.
Trident 6: The Centurion orbits the Palace Guard, stabbing with his trident in the hope of a break … but he once again does no wounds, so no test. Samacris is finally left unhexed due to positioning woes on my part.
Basileans 6: The last of the Heartpiercers are decimated. The Palace Guard turn to face the Centurion and are healed down to 3 damage.
Trident 7: Choosing petulance over hiding 210 points in characters, the wand Envoy hexes the Priest and the Centurion jukes the Palace Guard for a chance to spike an Elohi reg off the table. It doesn’t work.
Basileans 7: Oops, all out of crabs! Knights ride down the last of the Trident forces for a very convincing …

BASILEAN VICTORY (20-0)

Zero points, ouch! I’m a big proponent of blackjack for this very reason, getting zero’d is rough, kids. Chris played great and had great dice throughout, while I had that early shooting result and had my errors compounded by cold dice. Even deploying the Water Elementals that far to the right was a mistake, but they tend to cause me trouble in deployment, as I want them to clean things up but the base is big and my line is full of Heartpiercers who want to shoot :/ Unfortunately for the Basileans, this win catapulted them up into the winners bracket, where they were slapped around by stronger armies game after game. Sorry, bud.

UP NEXT: Nightstalkers!

SCUTTLIN’ REALM 25: SALAMANDERS

Last game of the tournament and I’m up against Justin, a real gent who’s had the same mixed bag of games that I have. He’s rocking a pure Mantic army that I think was designed to proxy as different armies, but might just be made from various Mantic kits that were available to pull together into one reptilian facebreaker of an army. Without further ado:

Salamanders 2100
Tyrants Horde – Brew of Sharpness, Effigy of Fire
Tyrants Horde – Potion of the Caterpillar, Effigy of Fire
Tyrants Horde – Boots of Striding, Effigy of Fire
Rhinosaur Cavalry Regiment
Rhinosaur Cavalry Regiment
Ghekkotah Warriors Troop
Ghekkotah Warriors Troop
Greater Fire Elemental – Fireball (8)
Greater Fire Elemental – Fireball (8)

Rakawas, The Pale Rider
Mage-Priest – Sacred Horn, Surge (8), Veil of Shadows (3)
Artakl

As a player of a facebreaker Salamander army, I can respect it. Tyrants with fixer items, both thicc and true chaff, double oh-so-satisfying Me3+ GFEs and a Priest to shove them into flanks, and two baller living legends. Apparently he had brought Veil to deal with all the Elves and kin in the meta, but had had the good fortune of not playing any shooting army until my crabs. (For the record, Twilight and Sylvan Kin had quickly stormed up the tables and had been scrumming up there with Jason’s Nightstalkers in the mix.)

Final scenario is good ol’ Dominate, and he goes first probably because I made him. Justin is a smart player and I doubt he’d miss the opportunity to leave my shooting out to dry for a turn.

BATTLE: GAME 5

Battlelines! Artakl is that little green model way out on the right flank. I don’t have a strong answer to her but I figure the Eternal is a good fixer of problems?
Salamanders 1: The death blob slowly rolls forward, with his first cast of Veil of Shadows this tournament ironically failing on three dice 😐 Artakl stays out of the Eternal’s charge range and sticks 3 damage into the non-regenerating crab-person.
Trident 1: The crustacean crescent bows around the Sallies, with Kraken on either end threatening to jump on any flanks. The Eternal advances but keeps Artakl in his LOS at least for now. Heartpiercers stick 3 damage on the sharpness Tyrants in the middle and the right Rhinosaurs.
Salamanders 2: The reptilian deathstar rumbles forward, making a space for Rakawas at its core. Veil of Shadows fails a second time on three dice (!), and Artakl dodges the Eternal’s LOS and pops another damage on him.
Trident 2: I see the opportunity to either trap him behind his H4 Rhino chaff or kill them and keep the rest of the deathball in the front, so the Krakens are released into both Rhinosaur regiments. The right Rhinos are comboed by some Placoderms as well (hindered), and on the left I try to jam the Greater Fire Elemental from flanking the left Kraken. All the other crabs jockey for shots or relevance in later turns, including the Eternal who gives up on Artakl and just pushes back to the action.
Heartpiercers and the Centurion pound the sharpness Tyrants up to 9 damage. In combat, the right Kraken and Placos wreck their Rhinosaurs, but the left Kraken fluffs a single damage on his Rhinos. At least they’re in the way?
Salamanders 3: Despite packing nearly our entire armies into the dominate circle, a surprising amount of movement and counter-punch happens. First, a Ghekkotah troop gets out of the way by charging Heartpiercers peaking over the hill. Shortly after, Rakawas thunders into my Centurion posing on the hill, a GFE and pathfinder Tyrants hit the right Placoderms, and the surviving Rhinosaurs sidestep, making space for the other GFE to flank the left Kraken. Oof.
Kings of Hills: The Final Chapter
The Mage-Priest finally puts up Veil of Shadows! And Artakl blowdarts the Eternal up to 7 damage 😐

Once all the roaring of the combat phase dies down, the Placoderms are dead but otherwise the crabs hold tight. The flanking GFE does 9(?) damage to the left Kraken, Rakawas chomps a hearty 6 into the ensnaring Centurion, and the cheeky Ghekkos do 2 to the Heartpiercers and waver them. Well played, tiny garbage lizards.

Trident 3: Crabs pile on Rakawas, with Placoderms and Water Elementals joining the Centurion in his efforts to drop the rex. The right Kraken hits the pathfinder Tyrants, and after tons of thought the left Kraken front charges the wounded Rhinosaurs gambling on popping them and reforming. The Eternal threatens from the woods and the left Heartpiercers (and war-bow!) grab a bead on the sharpness Tyrants in the back.
Despite stealthy and cover, I manage to drop those sharpness Tyrants! And grudgingly put 1 damage on the right GFE, for lack of another target. In combat, the left Kraken does pop the Rhinosaurs, turning to face the GFE and strider Tyrants to his left, Rakawas goes up to 12 damage but holds firm, and the right Kraken does a meager 4 damage to the pathfinder Tyrants.
Salamanders 4: Crabs brace for the Sallies’ left hook, and boy is it a doozie. Strider Tyrants charge the left Kraken, with a Greater Fire surged into his flank. Rakawas counters the Water Elementals, with a Greater Fire comboing in the front. Pathfinder Tyrants counter the right Kraken, Ghekkos re-charge their Heartpiercers (off the hill!), and more Ghekkos take on the Eternal in the wood. Oh, and Artakl jumps on the bastion Envoy over by the right Kraken.
In combat, Rakawas and the GFE savage the Water Elemental horde, one rounding it and turning to face the tiny crabs surrounding them. The left Kraken likewise is burned down by the GFE hitting its flank a second time (the Tyrants helped, even on 5+ to hit), while the right Kraken lucky wavers on a mere 8 damage. The Ghekkos fighting Heartpiercers somehow waver them again (on 5 damage), while the Eternal takes no damage and somehow Artakl fails to wound the bastion Envoy. [I’m quite sure we forgot she has duellist – I certainly didn’t know that until reading the unit entry right now!]
Trident 4: Wheeew we be grinding, and I feel like I’m gradually losing the grind here, but I do have a lot of guns. Placoderms charge the left GFE to hopefully contain it, while three units of Heartpiercers point their harpoon guns at the titanic dinosaur on the hill. The Centurion jukes around the t-rex to silence the Mage-Priest, while the Eternal counter-charges his Ghekkos and the Kraken rapidly regenerates (down to 2 damage), enjoying bastion as well.
Rakawas is pincushioned up to snake eyes and blessedly expires. So effective is the Heartpiercer shooting that some extra damage is splashed on the Tyrants menacing the wavered Kraken, pushing them to 10 total. The Centurion is also able to spike 1 damage into the Mage-Priest, disordering her. In combat, the Placoderms and Eternal do token damage to the GFE (4) and Ghekkos (2) respectively.
Salamanders 5: Listen, Justin is real good with Greater Fire Elementals, ok? The Placo’s GFE joins the other in a combo-charge on Heartpiercers to the right, as strider Tyrants hit the left Heartpiercers, Ghekkos re-re-charge their Heartpiercers (off the hill again!), pathfinder Tyrants re-charge the Kraken with the Mage-Priest in the front and Artakl in the flank, and Ghekkos in the woods counter the Eternal.
The Greater Fire Elementals shatter their Heartpiercers, turning or overrunning to menace the little bit left of the Scuttlin’ Realm. Speaking of Heartpiercer death, that troop of Ghekkotah Warriors preposterously kill their Heartpiercer regiment this turn, also turning to face the besieged Placoderms; and the strider Tyrants pound 9 damage into the left Heartpiercers, somehow only wavering them. In the Kraken combat, the Tyrants push the giant crab up to 12 damage, and it wavers with the 13th damage from the Mage-Priest πŸ‘ The Eternal takes no damage from his Ghekkos.
Trident 5: In yet another fight-for-your-life situation, the Placoderms charge off the hill into the flank of the strider Tyrants. They’ve got some help from the Centurion, who charges the GFE staring at their rear to block its charge options next turn. Also the Eternal counters those Ghekkos and the last functioning Heartpiercers prepare to end another badly mauled Tyrant unit. The Kraken, naturally, rapidly regenerates (back to 6).
Those Heartpiercers do end the pathfinder Tyrants, having done far more damage than the badly shook Kraken could. The Eternal also ends the annoying Ghekkos in the wood, turning to face the mayhem. And despite a very respectably 9 damage, the strider Tyrants hold, leaving the Placoderm’s rear out in the wind – tho the Centurion does chunk a couple damage into the GFE eyeing them.
Salamanders 6: We do a quick scenario check – I’ve got 9 US vs his 6, but he’s still got a few hammers left in his bag. Tyrants hit the left Heartpiercers, Ghekkos rear charge the Placoderms (technically off the hill!), and the right GFE charges the other Heartpiercers. The other GFE sidesteps and prepares for a 5-6″ surge into the Placoderm flank …
… which falls 1″ short, praise be to the gods of the deep! Artakl does however finish off the Eternal she started all those turns ago. In combat, the Tyrants likewise finish off their Heartpiercers, Those murderous Ghekkos, having gotten a taste of crab mean, do 6 damage (!) to the Placoderms, while to the right the GFE pounds 6 into the last of the Heartpiercers, wavering them.
Trident 6: It’s 6 US to 6 US, but I’ve got plenty to capitalize on. Placoderms charge the heavily damaged strider Tyrants, as the Kraken rips into the rear of a Greater Fire Elemental (on 3 damage). The Centurion prepares to disorder the Mage-Priest again.
Which he does, praise be to the trident (tho he could have charged her anyway :P) The Placoderms tear the strider Tyrants asunder, turning to face the Ghekkotah menace … and I guess the GFE as well because I can’t roll Nv tests to save my life this tournament. The Kraken mashes the towering fire monster to 12 damage (15-16 would have been average) but I can’t roll the 6 needed twice. But you know, it doesn’t matter because with 6 US to 3, this is a solid …
Salamanders 7: The left GFE front charges the Placoderms alongside the Ghekkotahs (off the hill again! which I forgot phalanx turns off), with Mage-Priest in the flank. The other GFE hits the Heartpiercers again (3 damage) with Artakl in the flank.
The sound of roasting crabs can be heard as both units crumble.
Trident 7: Well, it’s now 3 to 1 and I’m pushing for a draw. The Kraken scoots past the GFE into the Ghekkotahs while the Centurion prepares to finish it off.
Thankfully both likely events happen, leaving us with one scoring monster and a few individuals each, for a hard fought …

DRAW (10-10)

We came within 70 points on attrition as well, so just about a down the line draw. Which was a happy end to a smasher of a game – I gave Justin my bests sports, as he really was a gent and knew his rules super well (apart from Artakl’s duelist maybe). This was also a fine close to the tournament. Going 2-2-1 is absolutely cool in my book, playing a selection of armies is even better, with no repeats and just the one Elf. I did get dumpstered on paint yet again, which sucks when the army was a bear to paint and always gets such a good reception from other players, but I was given some pointers on adding pop to the army, which I’ve taken to heart and will be trying to do before the crabs roll out again … which might be sooner than you think πŸ˜‰

I was pretty down on Trident Realm after the event, and had a good talk with another NE regular about the faction’s struggle to play the meta. As he put it, they’re a finesse army playing in a game that increasingly isn’t about finesse. Our hammers are the anvils of other armies, which totally checks out when you look at what Kraken are good at (spoiler: it isn’t really killing) and how my strongest hammer is a juiced up Water Elemental horde.

All the same, I enjoyed the bag of tools feel to the army, loved the Centurion with the trident, and continue to enjoy the scenario-minded shooting of the Heartpiercer regiments. Placoderms were fine, but they could really use anything else. Vicious would be great but I’d be happy with fury – I hear the Envoy has a fury aura?? Hmm …

Anyway, thanks for reading! I’ve got a couple more random facesmasher games to report on post-tournament, so stay tuned.