INCOMING CRABS 🦀

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

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

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

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

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

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

GAME 2: ELVES

NWC and Kraken doing terrible things to Elf Archers!

 

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

GAME 3: KINGDOMS OF MEN

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

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

GAME 4: BASILEANS

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

GAME 5: UNDEAD

Crabs busting ghosts!

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

GAME 6: UNDEAD

“Craaaaaab meeeeeeaaat”

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GAME 36: UNDEAD

Now that Crossroads is reported, here’s a match from last weekend, when the club got some of its long-lost members – some more than others – together to get punched by KOW vets. I mean, makes sense to me. Also I feel pretty good about three dozen games with the army in 20 months. I missed out on a lot of events due to scheduling conflicts, but it’s a nice round number all the same.

BLOODFIRE GAME 36: UNDEAD

Salamanders 2250

Fire Elemental Horde – Brew of Courage
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Agnih-Bhanu, Greatest Fire Elemental
Herald – Banner of the Griffin
Mage-Priest – Fireball (10), Surge (8), Heal (3), Bane Chant (2), Inspiring Talisman
Mage-Priest – Fireball (10), Martyr’s Prayer (7), Bane Chant (2), Healing Brew
Clan Lord on Fire Drake – Blessing of the Gods

Yep, same list. I have half a thought to drop a 15 point upgrade somewhere and give the CLOFD nimble, as it’s always an issue for him getting his gore cannon where it needs to be. Probably one of the bane-chants that I rarely use? The martyr Priest often has her hands full healing dudes.

Also holy crap, did you know she has a healing brew?? Pretty sure I forgot all of Crossroads, as well as this game!

Undead 2250

Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Troop
Mummies Regiment
Zombies Legion – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Brew of Haste
Revenant Cavalry Regiment
Revenant Cavalry Regiment
Balefire Catapult
Cursed Pharaoh – Surge (6), Wings of Honeymaze
Vampire Lord on Mount – Surge (3)
Liche King – Surge (12), Bane Chant (3)
Necromancer on Mount – Surge (8), Bane Chant (2)

Somebody had 15 points worth of items or spells that didn’t really come into play. There’s stuff I’d tweak, which we’ll get to at the end. This was John’s (of ‘John Holst Has a Posse’ fame) first game in a while, but he’s not a total newb, although he’s just begun multi-basing his old Vampire Counts hence the ocean of proxies.

Eliminate was gifted unto us, which is probably one of my favorites, as it involves punching things but also has a central marker, two things Bloodfire is pretty decent at. Undead either went first or were forced to.

BATTLE


Battlelines! Undead L2R: Rev Cav + Necro, Soul Reavers + Vampire, Mummies + Liche King, Zombies + Balefire, Wraiths + Pharaoh, Soul Reaver Cav (5 green bases), Rev Cav

Undead, ho! The Balefire tags a Fire Elemental horde for a solid 5 damage.

Bloodfire, ho! Ember Sprites breath 1 damage onto left Revenant Cavalry and the Wraiths, then Agnes punches an embarrassing 4 more damage into the Wraiths and can’t manage the double 7 to kill. Shake it off big gal, s’ok. Mage-Priest heals the catapulted Fire horde for 1 and Martyr Priest prays off another 3.

Deadites pounce across the line: Rev Cav into Sprites (wavered), Soul Reavers into Sprites (dead), Mummies surged into Sprites (dead), Wraiths + Rev Cav into Fire Elementals (11 damage but whatev). Balefire misses and *spoiler* will never hit again.

The red tide gets right to working that short game, with some obvious Fire Elemental counter-charges (into Soul Reavers, Mummies and Revenant Cav). The Soul Reavers cop a surged flank charge from a second Fire horde that plowed up through the woods and the rightmost Fire horde has 6 damage prayed off for grinding purposes. Meanwhile the CLOFD chunders 5 damage into the left Rev Cav and Agnes heat rays the Wraiths off the table. In combat, the Soul Reavers are turned to jelly, the Mummies take 6 damage, and the Rev Cav stick around with a healthy 7 damage taken.

SCORE: 2 | 0 (Soul Reavers +2)

The grind continues in Undead Turn 3 as the left Revenant Cav run down their Ember Sprites, the Mummies faff against their Fire horde (2 damage done, 2 damage regened as well), the Zombie legion eats the last of the Sprites, and the bane-chanted right Revenant Cav roll hot and remove their Fire horde.

The Bloodfire Herald only regrets that she can’t command all 3 central Fire Elementals to punch the Mummies at once 😐 Fire in the front and the flank puts paid to the Mummies, while a bane-chanted Fire horde to the front of the right Rev Cav shatters them as well. The CLOFD charges the left Rev Cav himself, dispensing a solid 5 damage (to no effect), and Agnes body blocks for the Martyr Priest (being hunted by the Pharaoh on the right flank) as she lasers the lurking Soul Reaver Cavalry for 4 damage #hittingishard #saideveryfireelementalever

The Zombie legion lends its considerable weight to the Soul Reaver Cav by combo-charging the fresh Fire Elementals on the right, overcoming their considerable -/18 Nv in one go. The CLOFD is counter-charged by his Revenant Cav, who punch 4 damage through with the help of bane-chant. The Pharaoh jumps on the Herald, doing just 2 wounds for not even a waver, and the Vampire blocks / charges the courageous Fire horde, doing 4 damage in the meantime. I’m reminded how pimp Vampire’s stats are, damn.

As Bloodfire closes out Turn 4, the game does still hang in the balance, but the deadites are rapidly running out of pieces, and the redementals aim to grind more away as fast as possible. The CLOFD counter-charges and smashes the Revenant Cav himself (bravo, big guy), the courageous Fire horde counter-charges the blocking Vamp for 5 damage, two Fire hordes hit the Zombie legion (thanks to surge for the upper one, hence the weird alignment) for 18 solid damage, and Agnes wades into the Soul Reaver Cav for 5 damage – and a disorder. As her last will and testament, the Martyr Priest cleans the damage off the Herald and makes herself very available for the Pharaoh.

Undead take what they can where they can. The Necro – let’s be real, his pony is the real combat power – tries to get a lucky bop on the CLOFD but can’t cut it, the Vampire counter-charges his Fire horde for some more damage, the Zombies rip 7 damage into a Fire horde (HOMF doing work!), and the Soul Reaver Cav do 4 damage to Agnes, bane-chanted but suffering from terrible dice. The Pharaoh does charge the Martyr Priest and pops her like the bloodfire blister she is.

Violence continues! The CLOFD rounds on the Necro but despite a great 7 damage (from 8 attaks) can’t land the rout. The courageous Fire Elementals hammer 7 damage into the Vampire and waver him, and Agnes likewise slams the Soul Reaver Cav and wavers them. Finally the combined might of the central Fire Elementals cremates the Zombie legion.

SCORE: 4 | 0 (Zombies +2)

Undead Turn 6 is all out desperation from the deadites. The Necro(‘s pony) takes another swing at the CLOFD but no luck, the Pharaoh and Liche King rush Agnes for 2 more damage (6 total on -/20), and the Vampire individuals his way out of any Fire Elemental’s LOS.

Bloodfire goes full on vampirehunter in Turn 6, surge-charging the Vampire and flank-charging the Soul Reavers with Fire Elementals and front-charging with an Agnes. Bloodsuckers get redeaded. The Necromancer gets turned into old man paste too.

SCORE: 6 | 0 (Soul Reaver Cav +2)

Of course there’s a Turn 7! The Pharaoh and Liche King go back into Agnes but score no wounds. I don’t think we rolled for Agnes’ CS4 return attaks :/

SCORE: 7 | 0 (Center +1)

BLOODFIRE VICTORY

Wooooooo! Fun to roll dice and push the Bloodfire around, as well as face Undead outside of a tournament. It’s an interesting faction that wants similar things to me, except is generally faster and doesn’t have the same chaff or shooting game I have. I tend to get owned by Vampires on Pegasus and Werewolves, as they’re fast and can easily get to my flanks or even behind my lines. This list I guess relies on the cav for that sort of pressure? But with shambling Rev Cav can’t do it and the Soul Reaver Cav is such a pure hammer that I’m not sure you can be as cavalier as smaller, more maneuverable units.

Anyway, I did some thinking about where I would take the list, maybe some light tweaks like this:

Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment
Wraiths Regiment
Mummies Regiment
Zombies Legion – Hammer of Measured Force
Soul Reaver Cavalry Regiment – Cat Potion
Revenant Cavalry Regiment
Revenant Cavalry Regiment
Cursed Pharaoh – Surge (6), Wings of Honeymaze
Vampire Lord on Mount – Surge (3)
Liche King – Surge (12), Bane Chant (3)
Lykanis

With 20 points left over for whatever tastiness COK19 brings, or most likely +1Nv on the Mummies or Lykanis and then 5 points of whatever functional thing COK19 brings for the Vamp or the pup. There are some nice 20 pointers as well but I really like the simple nerve bump, especially for regenerating things.

GAME 26: UNDEAD

After many months of being very busy with life and faffing around with AOS 2.0 (less irritating now, but still not great), I painted a few more fire elementals and threwdown at the Keystone GT last weekend out near Hershey, PA. The army got a lot of praise from other players, which was definitely appreciated, and felt great to play again. I don’t know if I’m running them at the Crossroads GT in September, as it’s a team tourney and Bloodfire is an intentionally underpowered list, but after being the only Salamanders player at a ~34 player GT I don’t know that I want to be the 5+ Ratkin player at a 48 player one. Though that’s a tale to come.

In the meantime, stay tuned for five batreps from Keystone! I’ll aim to have them done through the rest of the week, starting tomorrow since I need to upload a lot of pics

Salamanders 2250

Fire Elemental Horde – Diadem of Dragonkind
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Ember Sprite Regiment
Agnih-Bhanu, Greatest Fire Elemental
Herald – Banner of the Griffin
Mage-Priest – Surge (8), Heal (3), Inspiring Talisman
Mage-Priest – Martyr’’s Prayer (7), Bane Chant (2), Healing Brew
Clan Lord on Fire Drake –- Blessing of the Gods

In the end I went with the fifth Fire Elemental horde because it was about half painted already, as opposed to the Jar-raider horde which wasn’t even built yet. While I don’t regret the diadem, especially as it further reinforces the theme of the army, I’m still debating downgrading it to brew of courage and slapping bane chant on the surge priest. But here I am still getting ahead of myself! I’ll be back soon with game one.

First round of Keystone saw me back in the saddle and playing Joe, a super nice dude for whom this was his first GT! So time to teach a tournament newbie how the warm, liquid goo phase that is Bloodfire works

BLOODFIRE GAME 26: UNDEAD

Undead 2250

Ghouls Troop
Ghouls Troop
Revenants Horde – Lifeleech (2), Brew of Strength
Wraiths Regiment – Healing Brew
Mummies Regiment
Zombies Horde
Werewolves Horde – Staying Stone
Wights Horde
Soul Reaver Cavalry – Dwarven Ale
Revenant King on Winged Undead Wyrm
Vampire on Undead Pegasus
Necromancer -– Bane-chant (2)

A nice varied Undead force, lots of different tools for different jobs. Bit light on inspiring and I would have scrapped all the items to give the Soul Reavers pathfinder (or the Necro inspiring), but should make for a nice scrap.

First round was Invade, ensuring a grind between our two close-up armies, which I’m all about. Bloodfire won the initiative, which is very helpful when most of your US shambled 6”!

BATTLE


Battlelines!


All the battlines!

Bloodfire rolls out, maintaining standard refused flank formation. I’m fully aware his fast, elite units are headed around the left flank – my goal is to wheel around the central fulcrum while maintaining enough power in my right flank to deal with his troops over there (Ghouls + Wights + Peg). This is pretty standard stuff for Bloodfire at this point.

Undead shuffle forward on the right and begin to head in on the left, while the Werewolves blitz deep down the left flank. The King on Wyrm has some trouble with facing and decides to punch it towards the left at the double rather than getting closer to the red tide.

Turn 2 means Operation: Chaff Cull + Chip Damage goes into effect. The line continues to bow out, maintaining a footing in terrain where able, getting Ember Sprites and the Clan Lord into range. Double bane-chant succeeds on the CLOFD and it’s time to cook: right Ghouls die, Revenants take 5 damage, and left Ghouls take 2 as well.

Not keen to weather the building firestorm, the Undead start to get stuck in, with decidedly underwhelming results. The left Ghouls tackle the Sprites what shot them and fail to land a wound (!), the Mummies smack some central Sprites around and waver them, and the Vampire + Wights get bogged down in the edge of the right pond and largely bounce off the diadem Fire Elementals. Meanwhile the left flank gets oriented to devastate in coming terms – the Werewolves perform an L-shaped maneuver deeper into the southwest to make room for the Wyrm.

The Bloodfire battleline continues to rotate, with Agnes and a Fire horde turning to phase the incoming Undead beaters, as a second Fire horde waits to provide backup to either the left or center. Agnes also tags the Soul Reaver Cav with her heatway, melting 3 wounds into them. The Ghoul’s Sprites walk sideways to get in the way of chargers, then puke on the Ghouls and remove them. Centrally the Clan Lord and more Sprites continue breathing on the Revenants, burning them up to 15 damage, while the wavered Sprites keep the Mummies – and looming Fire horde – gummed up. On the right, Sprites get out of the way so the fresh Fire horde can flank, and obliterate, the Vampire on Pegasus, as the Diadem horde punches the Wights in the face.

No longer able to contain themselves, the Undead pounce on red things across the field: Soul Reavers into Sprites, Wraiths into a Fire horde (hindered), Revenant King into Agnes (hindered), Revenants into Sprites, Mummies back into Sprites, and Wights into the Diadem horde. The Zombies and Werewolves continue their voyage into relevance.

Although the hindered Undead flyers have little luck against their targets – 3 damage to Agnes, 1 to the Fire horde – and the Mummies manage no wounds against their Sprites (?!), other combats are more decisive. The Soul Reavers devour their Sprites (lifeleeching 2), the Revenants feast on theirs as well (lifeleeching 2), and the Wights finish what they started and wreck the Diadem horde, turning to face their bros.

With the grind underway, Bloodfire returns the favor. The right Fire horde charges the Wights, shattering them for great justice. Unable to charge the Mummies thanks to the last of the Sprites, a central Fire horde stands 1” away and waits for their opening (in retrospect I think I could have surged them in, the surge Mage-Priest is on the tall one on the right with nothing to do). The other central Fire horde slams into the battered Revenants (13 damage), finishing them off, as the Clan Lord tries to shoot off the Necromancer (since Soul Reavers in cover were less appetizing!). In the forest grind, the Mage-Priest pulls 1 damage off Agnes with Martyr’s Prayer (7 :P), and both Agnes and the Fire horde counter-charge their partners. Damage happens.

Undead 4 begins with a discussion about what the Wraiths could do to make room for the Soul Reavers, and ultimately they slide sideways 5” and surge forward into a Fire horde, letting the Soul Reavers charge in (hindered). Similarly the King on Wyrm GTFO’d south, tagging the Werewolves into Agnes (also hindered). Finally, the Mummies make contact with their own waiting Fire Elementals.

Damage is light across most combats, with the exception of the Soul Reavers who get their Fire horde up to 10 (vs -/18 nerve), and the Undead bounce. Oh, the Zombies meanwhile realized they should be a little more convincingly in the enemy side and scoot down.

Bloodfire 5 delivers a sharp blow to the Undead, as both the Mummies and Wraiths are exorcised on the counter-charge and the Necromancer is immolated by the Clan Lord + Ember Sprites. Agnes, fully healed by the little Priest’s prayer, smashes 6 damage into the Werewolves and lands a lucky waver, but the damaged Fire horde fighting the Soul Reavers struggle and land just a couple damage, stripping the vampire’s TC at best.

Undead 5 sees the Revenant King reorient his Wyrm to take on whatever he wants next turn, the Werewolves shake their waver and regenerate half of their damage, and the Soul Reaver Cav explode their Fire horde and back up 1”.

Seeing an opening, Agnes corkscrew charges the flank of the Soul Reavers, along with a derpy hindered Fire horde charge into their front. Maybe with bane-chant the horde manages to do something, but the real story here is Agnes incinerating the vamps with 18 CS4 attaks. Other stuff happens – Bloodfire pumps unit strength into the Undead side of the board, the CLOFD tries to breath on the Werewolves, the Herald attempts to block said puppers (badly) – but it isn’t as exciting.

Undead 6: Everybody fights! The Zombies finally make contact, swarming a Fire horde’s flank as their Revenant King slams into its front (hindered). While the Zombies manage a couple wounds, the King rolls like a boss and pops the elementals. Meanwhile Agnes facetanks the Werewolves again, thanks to her friend the forest.

We prepare for Turn 7 but it doesn’t happen.

BLOODFIRE VICTORY

A great first game against a great guy, just what I needed after months away from KOW. Joe would go on to win Best Sports and a pile of swag, all very well-deserved.

Up Next: RATSSSSS

GAME 06-10: UNPLUGGED GT 2017

The Unplugged GT went down April 22-23 and was by all accounts a really superb tournament. Well-run with great sports all around, I was very happy that I finally made it out after missing out on the last four years. That said, my fire elementals had a pretty rough run of it, which I’m going to put down to poor luck with scenarios and some bad run-ins with the dice when it mattered (or all the time). Spoilers.

I actually took a ton of photos of each game, with the intent of doing standard turn by turn reports, however I don’t think I have five full reports in me. So buckle up for five brief recaps instead!

SALAMANDERS 2000

Fire Elemental Horde – Blade of Slashing
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Fire Elemental Horde
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Greater Fire Elemental
Greater Fire Elemental
Herald on Raptor – Diadem of Dragonkind
Herald on Raptor – Healing Charm
Mage-Priest – Surge, Heal, Inspiring Talisman
Clan Lord on Fire Drake – Banner of the Griffin

Only change was dropping the Shroud of the Saint on the Priest for another source of Inspiring, largely so the diadem herald could go ham. And picked up that sweet Blade of Slashing, which I forgot all of Saturday – should have gone Healing Brew, but eh.

GAME 6: FORCES OF NATURE

Naiad Ensnarer Horde
Salamander Horde – Brew of Strength
Centaur Bray-Hunter Troop
Centaur Bray-Strider Regiment
Centaur Bray-Strider Regiment
Centaur Chief
Winged Unicorn – Lightning Bolt (5)
Winged Unicorn – Lightning Bolt (5)
Pegasus
Beast of Nature – Lightning Bolt (6), Fly + Speed 10, Vicious + 7 Attaks
Beast of Nature – Lightning Bolt (6), Fly + Speed 10, Vicious + 7 Attaks

There are 50 points in items somewhere in there (if it were me it’d probably be Hammer on the Ensnarers and Bane-Chants on the Unicorns? But maybe not in this case.)

SCENARIO: LOOT (aka PILLAGE 1)

Pillage is probably the worst scenario for my derpy red shambling castle, so I was prepared to be playing for the draw or minor loss in one to two of the matches this tournament. So prepared apparently that I mistook the TO calling out Loot to mean we were in fact playing the dreaded Pillage (in my defense they’re also on the same page in the OG book, meaning when I checked the rules I picked the wrong column to verify my suspicions). Loot would definitely have been preferred, though still up against a tough fight with all that lightning and speed. I didn’t realize my mistake until like Turn 4, at which point we were well into pillaging.

I guess my plan is to dominate the right section of the board and try to smash through everything, then sit on whatever markers are left with whatever I have left?

Except, being half-asleep and a little hungover, advanced my left wing too far, letting a Beast into the flank of two of my four Fire Elementals, along with Unicorn support. One horde died, the other was crippled, we fought on the most awkward hill we could for a long time, with the Beasts devouring things until I finally burned them down.

Stupidity on the left was matched with tough luck on the right: I had caught a break when both Bray-Striders bounced off a Greater Fire Elemental, letting a Fire horde eviscerate the flank of one of the units – and then snake eyes the break. You can see that horde getting rear charged by a unicorn here (that horn HURTS). So a collapsing Nature flank became a collapsing Salamander flank. And then his hordes descended and ground my center out, leaving just my heroes standing (and unable to contest much of anything).

BLOODFIRE LOSS (4/20)

GAME 7: UNDEAD + NIGHT-STALKERS

Ghoul Troop
Ghoul Troop
Ghoul Troop
Zombie Legion – Hammer of Measured Force
Werewolf Horde
Wight Horde
Revenant Cavalry Regiment
Vampire on Undead Pegasus
Liche King
Necromancer – Undead Horse, Inspiring Talisman
+
Spectre Regiment
Spectre Regiment

Plus like 140 points in items and spells! (Brew of Strength Werewolves, Cat Potion Cavalry, Lightning Heroes, Something-something Wights?)

SCENARIO: SCOUR (aka PILLAGE 2)

And so time to more or less officially play Pillage :facepalm:

My only practice against Undead is at tournaments, and Chris was running stuff I had never faced (Wights, Revenant Cav) combined with old classics and new items (Hammer on Legion!), with a side of allied firebolts. Anyway, a great guy with a beautiful Titan Forge army. Pity about the scenario, but at least we were playing the right one!

We had an incredibly cagey game, where the first four turns (!) were spent with me advancing my line out in Reverse Death Crescent formation and burning his chaff off, as he enveloped from the left, with the Vamp on Peg pushing into my DZ to threaten rears.

Turn 5 he pulled the trigger, and while some match-ups worked out for me (Revenant Cav, Wights), others definitely did not, especially the Hammer Zombies. Once the Werewolves and Vamp slammed in Turn 6 it was well over scenario-wise, though I had held my own in attrition, which is a thing. Plus side of such a dice-light game was finishing 15-20 minutes early and getting afternoon beverages sorted out ;D

BLOODFIRE LOSS (5/20)

GAME 8: UNDEAD

Revenant Regiment
Revenant Regiment
Zombie Legion – Hammer of Measured Force
Werewolf Horde – Brew of Strength
Wight Horde
Revenant Cavalry
Revenant Cavalry
Vampire on Undead Pegasus
Liche King
Necromancer – Inspiring Talisman
Necromancer

Plus 120 points in items and spells!

SCENARIO: CONTROL

Up against one of the Unplugged dudes in a game that isn’t Pillage! Plus Undead were pretty fresh in my mind from last game. We both refused our left flanks and prepared for a long shamble into the center …

Early action on my left saw Vamp and both Cav playing with a GFE and two FE, with stunningly bad rout rolls on both our parts keeping that engagement going for too long, even with multiple flank charges going on. Eventually the rest of the lines slammed together (though note most of the fighting is in his central section, as was my plan):

We ground for ages, over which the Werewolves showed some real prowess at putting out fires, until being surged in the rear by yet more Fire Elementals. End game saw Salamanders with an unbeatable scenario lock, thanks largely to cheeky Ember Sprites camping the NE sector the entire game, although we nearly tied on attrition (1075 vs 1080). All told a great throwdown of a game to end a rough day on. Then I drank all the vodka and played all the board games – King of New York ftw!

BLOODFIRE VICTORY (15/20)

GAME 9: GOBLINS + ORCS

Spitter Regiment
Troll Horde – (Item)
Troll Horde
Mawbeast Troop
Mawbeast Troop
Mawbeast Troop
Big Rocks Thrower
Big Rocks Thrower
King on Chariot – Blood of the Old King
Biggit on Fleabag
Wiz on Fleabag – Bane-Chant (2), Inspiring Talisman
Giant
Slasher
+
Ax Horde
Krudger on Winged Slasher

Plus a smattering of items / spells! (Greg’s army got I think Second Best Painted? Losing out to an amazing Ratkin army with stunningly smart multibasing throughout.)

SCENARIO: EXTRACT? (aka PILLAGE 3)

We played the other not-Pillage scenario from COK 2017, where counters are worth different weights. Before I start complaining about yet another round of Pillage, because our counters were all worth 1 except for two near each other that were worth 3 it dawned on me at some point that this was actually winnable for me, if I could hold out and not be dumb.

Given how hungover / exhausted I was, that was going to be a tall order 😐

Fire Elementals on the fire table! Sweet! The markers that matter are by the mausoleum and in front of my dudes. Opening turns, I bowed out, he enveloped and advanced Mawbeast chaff, then I stumbled: 1-1 to clear one Mawbeast pack in the center, followed by huge flop by a GFE to clear another (1 wound, no luck on the rout). While this stalled my line, it also screwed over the parts that were going hard:

Those two fire hordes had punched out a unit of trolls, with the intent of both turning to accept some painful frontal charges but ultimately either pound through them or set up friends to counter-charge in. Unfortunately because those Mawbeasts lived, I couldn’t rotate the two hordes back to back, so the Slasher flanked in, liquefying the left unit before it’s time. Which in turn lost the second unit, and so on – that Slasher chewed through several units, including the Mage-Priest some turns later.

And yet somehow this game hung in the balance even in later turns, as one of the last fire hordes was able to charge into the Ax horde and break them with the help of the CLOFD, giving me 6 points in counters. Until the Krudger, who I just failed to waver with a wall of breath attaks, teamed up with Slashy to shred much of what was left.

BLOODFIRE LOSS (3/20)

Despite the crushing defeat, Greg’s a pleasure to play (and probably the Unplugged guy I meet on the table the most during tournaments), and I was a lot more engaged in this not-Pillage than most, as I felt I had a chance, even after the early kerfuffles with chaff sticking around.

GAME 10: ELVES + FORCES OF NATURE

Kindred Archer Horde – Jar of the Four Winds
Forest Shambler Horde
Forest Shambler Horde
Stormwind Cavalry Regiment
Bolt Thrower
Bolt Thrower
Master Hunter – Piercing Arrow
Tree Herder – Soul Drain
Tree Herder – Soul Drain
+
Air Elemental Horde

Plus 40 points in items (the Stormwind did not have Cat Potion!)

SCENARIO: INVADE

Whew, just one game left, and it’s on the bottom tables versus a very nice dude playing an unoptimized Elementals + Shooting army. And it isn’t Pillage! And I’m going first (for the first time all GT)!

A lot of this game would come down to using the plentiful cover to advance, while keeping some dudes who could handle the Elf firebase. In the end this worked out, with Diadem Herald going ham and blowtorching Bolt Throwers down, Ember Sprites lending their breath / mobile screen powers, and generally overloading the Elves with targets.

Come game end, almost everything had been smashed apart, including the Archers thanks to a Turn 7, though the Forest Shamblers took a painfully long time to dismantle, thanks in large part to horrible rout dice. (This shot is actually not the very end, as he was able to kill the GFE with his GWE (after 5 turns of slugging it out!) and take down the CLOFD, a first for the tournament.) A great slugfest with some funny small moments – the Master Hunter vs Healing Herald support fight was particularly dramatic – and a happy way to finish the GT for me.

BLOODFIRE VICTORY (15/20)

Those game photos are finally uploaded, but rather then blowing this thread up with 600+ MB of eerily similar pics you can check them out in slideshow mode here: http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/bo…PLUGGED%202017

I promised some concluding thoughts from the GT, so here are some bullets where I try to do that:

  • The Unplugged GT was as successful an event as it could be (great players, very well run, lunch included and on site, nice hotel, etc) and it was great to see so many familiar faces again
  • Painting was judged hard but I knew it would be (because the Unplugged Gamers made their rubric clear as well as their intent to judge hard in an effort to raise the overall level of painting in the scene)
  • I expected to have a rough time of some of my games, due to my skewed list, but I guess I didn’t expect to play the worst scenario for me three times (even if we ignore that the first time was my fault!) and lose so badly at it three times
  • On the flipside, I heartily won versus the lower tier dudes who I played non-Pillage games with, so I guess that says the army / me does have some ability
  • Whatever my successes or failures strategically and however bad my dice felt the whole time, I made tactical mistakes that could have been avoided with more careful movement, particularly in regards to giving easy flank charges to fast, flanking monsters
  • I’m pretty up on the competitive KOW meta, but this GT really showed how important units that are both fast and reliably fighty are over all other factors (spoiler: I feel like my army has 0 of these)
  • An army of fearless D5 NV17-18 dudes continues to feel nowhere near as tough as it seems on paper, especially when it comes to grinding (CS is everywhere / NV is everything)
  • Throwing 18 attaks @ 4+/3+ or 4+/2+ continues to underwhelm
  • Despite only having a game within 18″, this army’s 66 breath/fireball still makes for some fun and effective tactical play

Despite Unplugged being super legit, I ended up leaving the weekend exhausted beyond measure (having hardly slept) and fairly frustrated with all the pillaging and with the limits of the Bloodfire skew in general. But then I remember that I’ve played like 11 games with this army? And that it’s a skewed theme list, and that pillage was always going to suck, but even then I had a chance in the weighted pillage, and I made several cataclysmic-yet-derpy mistakes and had some atrocious luck when I needed the opposite.