THE HALLOW 8: UNDEAD

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

The Herd 2300
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Beast of Nature – Wings, 7 Attaks
Tree Herder – Lute of Insatiable Darkness, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Druid – Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Centaur Chief – Blade of Slashing

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

Quick Token Check: 4 Undead to 3 Herd

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

HERD VICTORY

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

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

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

THE HALLOW 5: UNDEAD

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

The Herd 2300
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Beast of Nature – Wings, 7 Attaks
Tree Herder – War-Bow, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Druid – Conjurer’s Staff, Surge (4), Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Centaur Chief – Blade of Slashing

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

HERD VICTORY

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

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

THE HALLOW 4: UNDEAD

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

The Herd 2300
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Forest Shamblers Horde
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Tribal Spears Regiment
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Centaur Bray Striders Troop
Beast of Nature – Wings, 7 Attaks
Tree Herder – Trickster’s Wand, Surge (8)
Tree Herder – Surge (8)
Druid – Conjurer’s Staff, Bane Chant (2), Heal (2)
Centaur Chief – Blade of Slashing

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

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

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

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

BATTLE

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

HERD VICTORY

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

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

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

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.