July 28, 2009

VC DIre Wolves unit completed & other WIP

Have a number of projects on the go at the moment principle among them is the re-painting of my High Elf army. However, I took a detour over the past 3 nights to complete my first (of 2) units of VC Dire Wolves. Painting process was easier than I thought once I had colour scheme worked out, and once again those Citadel washes were magic. Very happy with finished look.

Skulls are Deneb Stone undercoat followed by Ogre Flesh Wash, highlights of Deneb Stone and Bleached Bone, another thinner layer of Mud Wash and some light dry brushing of Skull White. The Deneb Stone followed by Ogre Flesh wash looked awesome and I wish I had used it on my Skeletons as it really gave them a fantastic dead look with minimal effort.

Main torsos began with undercoat of Scorched Brown followed by alternating layers of Bestial Brown, Mud Wash, touch ups of Bestial Brown, layer of Vomit Brown and another layer of Sepia Wash and Mud Wash. Basically with each layer of paint I just covered a smaller area leaving the edges of each painted section in the darker colour.

Flesh and tendons followed same process I used on some of my Zombies. Scab Red primary colour followed by Red Ink, then Tentacle Pink on raised areas, highlights of Skull White and then washes of Badab Black, Red Wash (this is duller than Red Ink) and a bit of Ogre Flesh. Retouches of key colours in between each set of washes help with depth.
Final elements were the tails and manes which were Dark or Stone Grey (sorry can't recall exact name now, its a dark charcoal looking colour), followed by Blue Wash, then drybrushing of alternate layers of Fortress Grey and Codex Grey. Had used some highlights of Skull White but they made areas look to bright so I painted over them with Codex Grey. Final touches were couple of layers of Badab Black Wash.

Other projects on the go are a unit of 20xCrypt Ghouls which so far I have only assembled in a kind of diorama format with various Ghouls eating leftover pieces of an Empire unit, and a unit of High Elf Spearmen. These are nearly finished with just one rank to shield up, some minor detailing to do and some drybrushing on the bases to complete.

Emblems on shields are all hand painted and match up across the banners of every unit including Swordmasters, Phoenix Guard and Dragon Princes. White Lions (which arrived the other day) will get a similar symbol and colour scheme.

Base with sand on it was going to be my entry into the BattleReporter Forums painting competition but I completely forgot about it so have kind of missed the deadline.

Vampires vs. Dark Elves a pictorial report

Just some random images of my Vampire Counts fighting the Dark Elves last week...

VC Deployment Zombie Dwarfs - Skeletons - Zombies, General & Corpse Cart behind

VC Deployment Zombie Dwarfs & Wraiths

VC Deployment
Black Knights in the trees

Dark Elf Deployment Cold One Chariot & Knights, Warriors & Swordmasters (DE Version anyway)

Dark Elf Deployment Crossbows and RBT on the hill with Sorcerer

Dark Elves take first turn

Zombie Dwarfs hold up DE advance as Wraiths close in

Main VC battleline closes in on whats left of Dwarf Zombies

The grand melee, this lasted about 4-5 rounds

Dark Elf hero challenges the VC BSB and comes within 1 wound of killing him,
unfortunately his accompanying unit was destroyed by Skeletons in the next turn and fled

Meanwhile in the background Black Knights and newly raised Zombies, & Spirit host
charge the Dark Elf missle units on the hill

Remainder of VC army wheels right to chase fleeing remnants of Dark Elf army

July 27, 2009

Playing Vampire Counts at 2,250pts

First large game with Vampire Counts last week against Dark Elves ending in a Solid Victory for me. Would like to write a full battle report but really can't remember the key details as I was focusing too much on using the army properly (pictures up tomorrow though). First impressions is that it is going to take many more games to get comfortable using Vampire Counts and even more to begin using them effectively. Dwarfs are relatively easy, march forward, shoot everything your marching at till you get there, once there stomp on them and win. Vampires are trickier and the list I put together didn't help as it was overloaded with magic and I was struggling to get my head around the spells, surprising really considering I tend to go with magic heavy High Elves when I use them.

Basic thoughts on my first large Vampire Counts experience.
Next time I use them I will be sticking to a standard tournament type list with a restricted PD pool and limited bound items. Going with a maximum of 3 characters will also let me get to grips better with the magic phase.

Vampire Lord and Heroes worked pretty well overall even though I forgot to use my bound items properly and was getting confused with the spells, despite only using a single lore. Necromancer was a good addition on the Corpse Cart and will keep him as standard from now on, gives me a reason to finish painting him to.

Core Units
Ok, having never played a large ITP army before I forgot half of the rules and kept treating them like standard infantry units that ran away from effective shooting etc completely forgetting that ITP means immunity to pysch and undead means your immune to (pretty much) everything.

Skeletons work well, but I can see why people take Ghouls. Giving them WS7 from Helm of Commandment was fun but even more fun on Zombies. As for Zombies they are excellent for getting in the way of people. Dire Wolves are also useful but it will take time to learn how to use their fast cavalry ability properly, a lot of lessons from Caleb to digest here.

Special Units
Grave Guard, would have been great if I had gotten them into combat sooner. Black Knights work well, not taking Barding doesn't detract from them at all as you can raise the unit back up again. Fell Bats are fine as well and particularly useful for taking out war machines although I think I threw mine away too quickly.

Rare Units
The Wraiths and Banshee are fun to play but you shouldn't charge them into big units. While mine succeeded in tying down a large block of Dark Elf infantry for the entire game all they did was lose on CR each round and die slowly for 5 turns. Not the best use for them.

Still playing VC did get me interested in painting them again - started on a unit of Dire Wolves and Crypt Ghouls over the weekend. Aim to have them finished this week, pictures up soon. Call to Arms is now only 3 weeks away looking forward to it.

July 21, 2009

Dwarf Gyrocopter & homemade movement trays

Working on a couple of little projects over last week - assembling and basing a friends Gyrocopter and building some Balsa Wood movement trays for my Dwarf army.

The Gyrocopter Project
As any Dwarf player will tell you the Gyro is a great looking model but a pain the butt to assemble. Basically if you don't pin it, it doesn't go together and more importantly stay together.
Along with the Gyro I also got a bunch of Orc & Goblin heads and a couple of Empire ones as well which were trophies Adams Gyro had captured throughout its career. These were to go on the base as a bit of decoration.

Step 1 - The Base
Pretty easy to do this bit. I got a new large base and glued a stone the same size to the top and then build a small step in one corner using small bricks. A rod to pin the Gyro went on through a hole I drilled into the stone. The stone was necessary not just for effect but also to act as support for the rod holding the Gyro.

Adams Gyro as I got it, and the base after my terrain was added to it

Step 2 - Dressing up the base
I had deliberately left one corner of the base free so I could stack all of the various trophy heads Adams Gyro had collected onto the base. The aim was to have them sitting directly under the Gyros landing gear. A couple of other heads went on the corners on the top step, including the big scary Ogre head.

Step 3 - Painting the base
I have to admit I really enjoyed painting the Orc heads on the base. The were just so much fun to do. Dark Green undercoat, followed by Badab Black Wash, Catachan Green highlighting, Goblin Green highlighting, Green Wash, Snot Green edging and finally some Mud Wash.

Step 4 - Pinning the rotors
The rotors are the hardest part of the Gyro to assemble. Basically as it comes in the kit you have 3 rotors one of which has the central hub thingy (not sure of the right term) built onto it. The remaining two blades are supposed to get glued into very tiny recesses in that hub and then magically stay in one piece. Problem is the recesses are too small and the blades too heavy.

The only choice open to you is to use a small drill head and drill very carefully into the base of each blade so you can insert a pin and then put that pin into another hole drilled into the recess. There are two problems here though (1) You can't drill to far into the hub otherwise the pin will go through into the hole in the middle were the whole rotor assembly attaches to the Gyro, and (2) the smallest pin you can get (by pin I mean metal bar) is only 0.5mm thinner than the blades you are drilling through. So you have to very carefully drill through the only thick part of the blade assembly, making sure you are dead straight or you go straight through the metal. The pin can also only go in about 4-5mm before it runs out of suffucient supporting metal to hold properly.

Once thats all done though its a matter of Superglue, some Greenstuff for additional support, a bit of Blue Tac on the ends to make thens dry eveningly and off you go.

Step 5 - Putting the rotors on and attaching the Gyro
The really easy part. Just a drill a larger hole in the base of the Gyro, use the hole that is already part of the model where the standard plastic stand goes. Drill another down the central axis of the rotor assembly, the larger sized pinning rods are exactly the right size. Then put the bits on a glue, although in this case I didn't glue the rotors on for two reasons (1) you can take them off for easier storage, and (2) if they aren't glued you can spin them around!!

The finished model

Homemade movement trays
I got this idea off a player called Nick Evans whose Wood Elves I have faced in my last two tournaments. Dropped down to the local model shop and picked up a few sheets of 100mm across, 3mm thick and a metre long and some 5mm x 5mm square rods for around $12-15. Sheets were $2-3 each, rods $1.60.

Step 1 - Measuring to size
The long sheets are wide enough to build movement trays 4 models deep and as wide as you like, so I focused on building some 10x1, 5x4 and 6x4 trays for my Quarrellers, Longbeards and Hammerers respectively.

Cutting to size is pretty easy. First put the square rods down on two edges, draw their outline then put down a 10x1, 5x4 or 6x4 size sheet to represent the models and draw around that. As I magnetise my models I used a sheet of magnets already at the right size - 10x1, 5x4 or 6x4 models - put that down as a guide and measured around it.

Key thing is to leave yourself a few mm's along either edge, if you make the fit to tight you will struggle to get the models in. Better to give yourself a bit of a gap along each edge so you know everything will fit, i.e., make it slightly bigger than you have to.

Step 2 - Cutting
Easy as pie just make sure you use a straight edge guide for cutting. If you cut with the grain the balsa wood comes off in nice straight pieces, against the grain you have to use a bit more pressure. Take your time as it can splinter.

Step 3 - Assembly
You will need to use Balsa Wood glue as it is the best adhesive for the purpose, this is in fact the most expensive part of the process as it costs about $12. But the tube is huge and will last forever, and I might buy some more balsa wood to make some houses are something. Once you have glued everything on press down hard, then put the entire tray down on a hard flat surface with something really heavy and flat on top of it. I put mine down on the kitchen bench with half a dozen books on top of them. Leave them for a few hours to dry, they will harden overnight, then paint.

10x1 model tray for Quarrellers

5x4 model tray for Longbeards

Also made some 5x2 model trays for smaller units of 10 Warriors, and also to cater for my Quarrellers if I rank them up. While the Hammerers are metal and quite heavy the Balsa wood is surprisingly strong and doesn't have a problem holding them up.

If you need more support then glue another sheet on the bottom of the tray with - AND THIS IS IMPORTANT - the grain going in the opposite direction to the existing piece. This should stop it bending.

I use magnetised bases on all of my models putting magnets down on the movement trays and on the base of each model. This raises the height of each model about 4-5mm higher than normal. Consequently, using the 5mmx5mm square rods for my base edges meant that the tops of my models bases were exactly even with the top of each edge.

However, if YOU DO NOT MAGNETISE your bases like me then you SHOULD USE SMALLER RODS otherwise your models bases will be several mm below the edges of your movement tray edges. If you can't find anything smaller than 5mm x 5mm then cut those in half length wise.

July 20, 2009

Vampire Counts 2,250pt Army List

Worked out a basic 2,250 pt army list for my VC based on the models I currently own. Treated them like my HE in that I took a basic Lvl 4 + Lvl 2 Mage set up with an accompanying Hero BSB, although with an extra Hero choice in as well. Vampires extra abilities also mean I can go really magic heavy without being too cheesy.

VC List for friendly match on Thursday

Lord Level 4 385 pts
w. Dark Acolyte, Lord of the Dead, Helm of Commandment, Book of Arkhan, Avatar of Death

Basically Ill sit this guy behind my infantry units and use him to pump up the Skeleton block and advance it with Book of Arkhan or Vampire Lore.

Vampire BSB Level 2 - 215 pts
w. Dark Acolyte, Avatar of Death, Rod of Flaming Death

Ok, its a boring combo Dark Acolyte & Avatar of Death but I get HA + Shield + 1 mage level for that price which is all I want. Rod of Flaming Death also means I can soak up more of my opponents DD.

Vampire Level 1 - 180 pts
w. Dread Knight, Walking Death, Skabscrath

Goes with unit of Black Knights to be my nasty Terror causing (from Skabscrath) hammer unit

Necomancer - 180 pts
w. One spell, Sceptre de Noirot, Corpse Cart w. Balefire

Just had to take my Corpse Cart, and thought why not include a Necro. Will give him raise dead and let him chuck Zombies out everywhere.

Skeletons x 28 - 297 pts
w. FC, Spears, Shields, Banner of Endless Nightmare

Banner gives them +4 for ranks rather than +3, big blobby unit in middle with Zombies either side.

Zombies x20 - 84 pts
w. MU

(Dwarf) Zombies x20 - 84 pts
w. MU

Grave Guard x10 - 175 pts
w. FC, Banner of Dead Legion

Banner gives them double US, would like to take more but I only have 10 models and hate proxying stuff.

Black Knights x8 - 304 pts
w. FC, Barding, Screaming Banner

Banner is nasty one causing enemy to take fear tests on 3 dice and discards the lowest. Means they are either going to break after I defeat them in CR, will need 6's to hit me, or won't be able to charge me. That and the mounted Vampire with them causes Terror means most units will run away from them.

Fell Bats x4 - 80 pts

Only just stuck these guys together so should be fun to use them.

Cairn Wraiths x 4 - 225 pts
w. Banshee

A must have, and I get to use my alternate model from ReaperMini

Dire Wolves x5

TOTAL POINTS 2,249 - PD 10 + 3 bounds, DD 7

What the *beep* do you take in a Vampire list

Playing my first big game with my Vampire Counts this Thursday against Ellens Dark Elves. Having only played a couple of smaller games before I am struggling to put together a decent list. Dwarves and High Elves are no problem, but Vampires? Do you go magic heavy or combat heavy, lots of big units, lots of special? How many Heroes doing what, how about a Wight King? I've tried reading the various VC forums, but to be honest there is a limit to how much stuff I can read, follow and enjoy.

So far I am looking at the following with various item combos

Vampire Lord
Vampire BSB
Necromancer on Corpse Cart
Skeletons x15
Skeletons x15
Zombies x20
Dire Wolves x5
Dire Wolves x5
Black Knights x8
Fell Bats x3
Wraiths x4

Maybe some Spirit host? No Varghulf as yet as I don't have one. In other news...

... my High Elf White Lions should arrive from Maelstrom Games sometime in the next fortnight!!!!! Enough for a unit of 12-15!!!!

Fighting Dwarfs with my High Elves

Had an enjoyable match against Adam's Dwarfs last week with my High Elves. Always fun playing against him and against Dwarfs as it makes for an intriguing cat and mouse type battle. High Elf list was what I would take to Call to Arms (if I could everything repainted in time).

Archmage Lvl4
w. Folraiths, Dispel, Silver Wand
Mage Lvl 2
w. Dispel, Jewel of Dusk
Noble BSB
w. Armour of Caledor, Amulet of Light, GW
Spears x20
w. FC, Lion Banner
Spears x20
w. FC
Archers x10
Phoenix Guard x18
Swordmasters x9
Swordmasters x9
w. FC, Gem of Courage, War Banner
Dragon Princes x5
Bolt-Thrower x2
Shadow Warriors x5

Facing them was an impressive array of Stumpy goodness:

Choppy choppy Lord (not on Shieldbearers)
Warriors x20
Longbeards x20
Rangers x12
Thunderers x10
Slayers x10
Warriors x15
Miners x10

Deployment was interesting we both had hills, but I had a forest whereas Adam had a 2-storey building in our respective deployment zones. Adam deployed and started first following his usual trick of sticking the Runesmith and Rangers in the building and BT on the hill with supporting Thunderers. Big Warrior units went in the middle between the hill and the building while a smaller unit of Warriors and the Slayers went on his left flank. I deployed my Spears and PG directly opposite his main line with the SM behind them. Archers on the right flank with DP and a single RBT. Second RBT and SW went into forest on my left.

Turns 1 - 3
These consisted of a lot of maneouvuring, and the Stone-Thrower misfiring and blowing up in Turn 1. Lucky for me it did otherwise it would have shredded my guys before they got into combat. Both lines rushed forward although I deliberately kept out of 6" to give myself the first charge, despite ASF. The DP swept around the Dwarven flank only to be march blocked by the damn Slayers and the PG began to angle off to the right to attack them and the small block of warriors that were with them. Shooting took down a few Spears but concentrated on the PG who lost a few bodies. HE shooting focused on the BT and Thunderers as did HE magic both of which whittled them down pretty good. Charges went in only on one flank with the PG attacking a group of Warriors. These were beaten in combat and overrun, leaving the PG flank open to the Slayers who duly rushed in.

Turns 4 - 5
More charges here, Spears into Warriors and Longbeards and Swordmasters around sides to threaten Dwarven flanks. More Dwarf shooting though whittled both SM units down and that damn Gyro fluttered around getting in the way redirecting my charge lanes. Dwarven Warriors proved too tough for the Spears, who thanks to the Gyro and Dwarf shooting got no flanking help from the Swordmasters. Both units of Spears fled in different turns, both eventually rallied (luckily for me) and returned to the fight but not before one was cut down to under half strength. S3 spears vs. T4 Dwarfs produced 15 attacks in each round usually for about 4 saved wounds overall. Only the BSB with his GW seemed to make any inroads and he missed more than he hit. Magic continued to be a big factor in my favour until that is my Archmage miscast and blew himself up in Turn 4, leaving my Level 2 all alone. He though at least managed to wipe out the Bolt-Thrower with Burning Head, which he also used effectively on the other Dwarven units. The Miners also popped up now and threatened my PG who were completely incapable of killing a bunch of unarmoured Slayers *GRRR*, but they were chased off by the DPrinces who had been stuck on one flank almost the entire game - damn Slayers.

Turns 6
The game was pretty even at this point, although the death of my Archmage at 435 pts (inc. 100 for being the General) was swinging things Adam's way. Final turns saw my troops either rally or remain still too weak, or too far away to charge. The PG still couldn't kill off the Slayers and only the DP did anything useful running down the Miners.

Final Result - A solid Draw with about 100pts between us

July 16, 2009

Found more Dwarf Warriors

Some easy conversion work last night. Realised I had 3 units of Quarrellers, one of which I never really used. So I simply ripped their arms off (gently mind you) and replaced the crossbows with some spare Warrior arms holding Hammers and Axes from my bitz box. End result a brand new unit of 10 Warriors meaning I can now field 60 rather than 50.

Also gave them some Chaos Marauder shields (pics up tomorrow) just to see what they would look like, and they actually look pretty good. Shields are twice as big as standard Dwarf ones, don't have flat surface to paint runes on but I like the look. Going to have to hunt out some more from the local Chaos players and convert the rest of the army now.

1st newly painted HE Spear unit also nearing completion...

Revised Dwarf tournament list

Did some deliberating over last couple of days, got feedback from comments on this blog and from various forums and have come up with the following modified tournament list. It brings back my Gyrocopter, keeps a strong shooting element and retains the big infantry blocks.

w. Shieldbearers, GW, MR Kragg Grimm, RO Fire, RO Furnace, RO Warding, RO Resistance, RO Stone

Gives him 4 S6 flaming attacks, and the usual 0+ rerollable AS + MR1

w. Shield, RO Spellbreaking x2, RO Furnace, RO Stone, RO Fire

Thane BSB
w. MR Gromil, RO Cleaving, RO Furnace

Dropping MR Grungi means I can keep this guy protected and take 100+ pts from 4th Hero and put them into infantry

Longbeards x20
w. FC, RO Stoicism, RO Battle

Longbeards x20
w. FC, MR Grungi

MR Grungi hasn't gone completely, putting it with Longbeards means it will stick around more as it is with a unit that doesnt panic.

Warriors x10
w. Shields, Musician

Warriors x10
w. Shields, Musician

Thought about a single unit of 20, but this way I have a couple of nice flanking and support units. Musicians mean they will stick around a bit longer.

Quarrellers x10
w. Shields, Musician

Quarrellers x10
w. Shields, Musician

Hammerers x17
w. FC, RO Stoicism

Only one unit now as I wanted an infantry block to carry the MR Grungi and reasoned it would be better with a non-panicing unit. Would prefer to have 20 models in it but can't fit the points in. Small unit will become a missle magnet but MR Grungi in LB should help protect it and RO Stoicism means it starts at US 40 with the Lord and will only drop to US 22 once at half strength (8 Hammers + US 3 Lord = US 22)

w. Engineer, Brace of Pistols, RO Penetrating

Had to agree with Randroid and keep at least one BT at S7, other changes also meant I could give Engineer BOP for stand and shooting

Organ Gun


Makes a welcome return


Now I just have to figure out a decent 2,250 pt list for my High Elves that will allow me to take a survivable Dragon mounted mage. Also made decision that I will be playing Dwarves at Call to Arms not High Elves. Must be the masochist in me

Ironically I am playing my High Elves against Adam's Dwarfs at the Club tonight, should be fun

July 14, 2009

Should I change my tournament army list?

How did the Stumpies go at Horned Rat 2

Had an extra day to think over my recent tournament experience and have been mulling over what changes I could or should make to my Dwarf army list. Overall, it was pretty similar to the one I used at NICON but minus the Gyrocopter and with an extra Hero and Warrior unit.

Unit reviews

A great unit which proved pretty effective in most games. The RO Battle proved to be a nasty surprise for most of my opponents especially when I stuck the BSB with them. Only real issue is the points cost of the unit - it was the most expensive in my army at 363pts and hence (in a full open list environment) came under intense attack. Lack of stubborn also meant I had to keep them close to the General. However, the immunity to panic was just outstanding and essentially negated enemy shooting for most games I played.

Possible changes - a smaller unit of say 18-20 rather than 23-25?

Love these guys they worked well throughout the game and the Stubborn ability was just awesome. Having two units meant my opponents weren't sure which one was going to the Lord.

This small unit of 10 was a late addition I made on the advice of another Dwarf player from NICON (Ken) and it worked damn well. In nearly every game I had fewer units to deploy than my opponent and this small one gave me some ability to protect my flanks or rear, and a modicum of tactical flexibility.

Possible changes - up US to 12 and look at including two units rather than 1 in the army.

Still better than Thunderers, the 30" range means you effectively get an extra round of shooting in. Two units work well as I can keep one close to my warmachines and put one out on its own.

Possible changes - they definitely need Musicians, in game against Empire I would have forced at least one leadership check on my opponent if a Musician had been included. Maybe go with 1 unit of 12-15 rather than 2 of 10? Not sure?


Organ Gun
Just brilliant. 24" range is a handicap as it means I have to wait for enemy to move, and the inability to include an Engineer can cost you when the machine is charged (having that extra body frequently lets you hang on for one more round). Only misfired once during the tournament and took out a number of key units.

Possible changes - add another one?

Where do I start? Damn things either worked or didn't. They are great as you can take two S6/7 weapons with a 48" range for the same cost as a single Cannon (w. RO Forging & Eng) or Grudgethrower (w. RO Accuracy & Eng). But unlike the Organ Gun they miss A LOT.

Definite change - drop one or both and invest in another Organ Gun or bring back the Gyro


Choppy Choppy Lord
MR Flight was an experiment that didn't really pay off, otherwise he worked well. Remembered to challenge him at right times although will avoid Tomb King Generals next time.

Definate change - MR Flight is out and MR Kragg Grimm or MR Swiftness is in

Extra Thane
Worked a treat he hacked through a lot of units when my opponents failed to see him next to my BSB. Most saw the Runesmith, the Lord and BSB and forgot about the 4th guy even though they knew he was there (because of the open list and because I showed them).

No change here

Sucks not being able to give him any protection as 4+ AS with a magic banner just doesn't cut it. MR Grungi worked really well but I think it would be better with a unit Standard bearer this would allow me to put nastier runes on the BSB.

Possible change - drop MR Grungi on banner and put on MR Fear & maybe Strollaz?

Final thoughts
The army worked pretty well but suffered from two big problems (1) too many points sunk into just 3 big infantry blocks, and (2) not enough units when it came to deployment. Big infantry units are great but with RO Stoicism I could afford to reduce them in size to 16-18 rather than 18-25 and include 1-2 more units of 10+ Warriors.

Tournament results released

Special thanks to Charlie who did such a great job organising and running the tournament. Final results for Horned Rat 2 were:

Overall Placings
1st: Beasts of Chaos
2nd: Vampire Counts
3rd: High Elves
14th: ME :)

Composition Scoring
1st: Ogre Kingdoms
2nd:Beasts of Chaos
3rd: Orcs and Goblins
5th: ME

Click on image below to get full results

And I just realized as well that my win on Day 1 wasn't my first, only my first with my Dwarves as I won one game at Runefang with my High Elves a couple of months back, a win which ironically enough came against a Dwarf army. That brings my tournament record after three attempts to P 17 W 2 L 11 D 4 - so not as bad as I thought.

July 13, 2009

Horned Rat II - Game by Game review

March of the Stumpies

Well unfortunately I didn't have access to a laptop over the weekend so couldn't keep a detailed account of the tournament as I did with NICON 09 so this review will be shorter than I would have liked.

Tournament Rules
The rules for this tournament were pretty different from NICON and Runefang the other tournaments I have attended in that the battle point system was adjusted to make a close win harder to get. Basically any game where you didn't get a 400 VP advantage over your opponent resulted in a 10-10 draw. After that the penalties for losing really kicked in with the scores dropping to 15/5, 16/4, 17/3, 18/2, 19/1 and 20/0 - the basic idea was to get people to be more offensive with their armies and get more aggressive games. In this the tournament worked really well even for Dwarfs which, lets face it, aren't capable of marching at anybody offensively (It takes 4 turns just to march across the gap between deployment zones). Composition scoring was also adjusted to reflect the battle point changes.

Game 1 - vs. Tomb Kings (WIN 18-2)
My first ever game against Tomb Kings and also my first ever tournament win so a great way to start the tournament. Tomb King army's are actually pretty interesting and seem to be a lot of fun to play. I was worried at beginning as my opponent had 2 Chariot units, 2 Scorpions that pop out anywhere, and a big unit of flyers. His general as it turned out was also pretty tough, and Tomb King magic is surprisingly effective (although not as powerful as VC which is why rumours suggest the TK book is next to get updated; after Skaven).

Basically I massed my troops in the middle of the board, and had my missle units on the flanks, including a couple of a nice big hill in my deployment zone. I simple marched forward and got him to charge me as quickly as possible, with my Bolt-Throwers and Organ Gun blowing his Chariots apart in the interim. Luckily I was able to put one Quarreller unit into a building and they effectively controlled one half of the board and protected a key flank for me throughout the game.

In combat my Lord and his Hammerers were charged by some Chariots and a big unit of Skeletons with a couple of TK Heros including the general. They stubbornly held on with my General narrowly avoiding getting killed while he slowly worked his way through the TK Skeleton ranks. To their right my other two big infantry blocks surrounded and wiped out the rest of the TK army before the Longbeards flanked charged the TK general and the 2nd Hammerers went for the TK Archers. The TK Scorpions turned out to be less of a worry than I thought, although one killed a unit of Quarrellers and a Bolt-Thrower both were taken down pretty quickly by the Organ Gun and my small unit of 10 Warriors. This unit proved invaluable throughout the tournament.

Key moment was his General dying in a challenge with my Lord after I managed to stave off being killed (yet again) and then blowing up. I (just) managed to pass the resulting test which if failed would have wiped out a huge chunk of my army.

Final VP tally - Dwarfs 1965 Tomb Kings 635

Game 2 - vs. Empire (Draw 10-10)
This game really came down to three key events. The first was the deployment of our armies in opposite corners of the board. The Empire players basic idea was to tie me down with his Flagellant led infantry while his Knights etc swooped around behind me and his artillery whittled me down. However, this didn't come off as both of his war machines the Great Cannon, and the Rocket Battery, misfired and blew up in Turn 2 after taking out only a single Longbeard. The most crucial moment of the battle though was the defence of my brave Quarrellers. A single unit of 10 stood alone on a hill on my extreme left flank. Facing them were 2 units of Empire Knights, 1 of Outriders, 3 Empire Heros all mounted on Pegasus's and 4 blocks of infantry with detachments.

Charged by both Knight units the Quarrellers held for 5 - YES 5 - rounds of combat!!!! Before finally succumbing when the Empire General charged their flank with his Pegasus. Those 5 rounds effectively cost Empire the game as it kept his entire mounted force away from my army for the entire match. In the meantime my Hammerers and Longbeards chewed threw the Empire Flagellants, while my Warmachines and remaining Quarrellers systematically cut down the Empire detachments and Pistolliers.

Final VP tally - Dwarfs 480, Empire 470

Game 3 vs. Brettonians (Draw 10-10)
I was really dreading this game as I got slaughtered by Brettonians at NICON the previous month. This time the Brettonian army was very different, no Trebuchet and no Pegasus Knights but still lots and lots of other units of big nasty mounted buggers with Lances. Once again I was able to win the opening dice roll and select table sides opting for one which contained a huge 2-story building on the extreme left and a small hill on the extreme right. While this left a massive open space between them and a bigger one in the Brettonian zone for him to deploy in, it also meant I knew exactly where his units were going to go and could anchor my infantry around the building denying the the space they needed to be effective.

I started right away deploying all of my units on the left with the exception (once again) of a single unit of Quarrellers and a Bolt-Thrower on the small hill to the right. This was a tactic I followed in pretty much every game, leaving this small but effective grouping out on its own. If the enemy ignored it they could do a lot of damage, but if they didn't they diverted key units away from my main army to take care of them. In nearly every game the diverted units were the flyers and fast units that are so dangerous to slow moving Dwarves.

Turns 1-2 saw me put Quarrellers into the building, whose outside edge was only 14" away from the enemy deployment zone, and begin peppering the enemy infantry deployed on my left. My Hammerers and Longbeards marched straight ahead at the enemy's right where all of his infantry had been stationed. With them went the Organ Gun to fire at enemy units of a small hill to my front, and to protect the rear of the advance against the Brettonians Knights.

Turns 3 - 4 saw the Knights overrun my Quarrellers and BT on the hill but not before they and other units had whittled one unit down to under half strength and caused wounds on two more. Big moment of game though was the charge of 2 yes 2 big units of Knights (9 in each unit) plus the Brettonian General and BSB at a single unit of Hammerers who were guarding my rear and the only gap between the building and table edge where the enemy to get to it. End result, the Knights fail to kill a single Hammerer, the Hammerers kill 3-4 Knights win on CR and the BOTH units of Knights flee. One would eventually flee off the board the other would return but only to get blasted apart by the Organ Gun and left with just 2 models, the General and the unit Champion. Only a misfire from the Organ Gun and a miss from my 2nd Bolt-Thrower in a subsequent turn saved both from being killed. If I had killed him I think I would have won the game.

Turn 4 also saw my infantry finally get within charge range of the enemy infantry which had retreated deep into their deployment zone. The game ended with me charging forward and cutting down several units of Peasant Archers and Footmen, as well as scoring more wounds on several Knight units. While I suffered some terrible loses in the end with one unit of Hammerers getting whittled down and losing all of my Warmachines the result was an incredibly satisfying draw. That and my opponent Reed was a very nice guy and I enjoyed playing against him a great deal.

Final VP tally - Brettonians 685, Dwarfs 657

Game 4 vs. Dark Elves (LOSS 2-18)
Basically I stuffed this game up badly. Deployed in a space that was too narrow for my troops and ending up getting trapped in one corner of the board. Basically I did my best to get out of the situation but wasn't able to maneuver with Cold One Knights, a Hydra and a couple of units of Harpies dancing all around me. The damn 2 attack ASF with GW Dark Elf Warriors were also a pain and I literally got slaughtered as I fumbled my way through the game.

Final VP tally - Dark Elves 1605, Dwarfs 645

Game 5 vs. Wood Elves (Loss 5-15)
This game should have been a draw at the very least. Faced with 3 units of Dryads, 2 of Glade Riders, 1 Glade Guard, 2 Archers, Birdmen thingys, an Eagle, some Sword-dancers and some Heroes and a reasonable terrain set up I was pretty hopefuly of a good result here. My final match of my last tournament was against the same player (Nick Evans) and I got annihiliated 20-0 and ended that game with only 3 figures still on the board, my Runesmith and 2 Quarrellers after I castled up and got flanked and made some bad tactical decisions.

This particular battle went a lot better. Terrain on my side consisted of a large hill on the left and a building on the right. A small forest was in the middle of the board slightly to the right of the hill. Quarrellers went in the building and on the hill. Organ Gun on the hill, Bolt-Thrower in middle of table on edge and 2nd BT in right hand corner. Small unit of 10 Warriors behind hill to protect rear vs. flying units, Hammerer Units (2) and Longbeards on left and right of hill positioned to move in front in Turn 1. Runesmith in building with Quarrellers, BSB with LBeards, Lord with 1 Hammerer unit and Thane with the BSB in the Longbeards.

I was given first turn and my initial shooting caused panic among his archers causing both units to turn and flee while my other units moved forward to the base of the hill. Next few turns saw his shooting focus on the Quarrellers and Organ Gun on the hill while his Fast Cavalry units moved up the centre on the board on my Hammerers flank. On my left (his right) a big unit of Dryad marched forward with another Cavalry unit, the Sworddancers and a unit of Glade Guard straight at the hill, flying units in front as a screen.

Next few turns saw my shooting take down ma number of his Dryads and some rallying archers (the other archer unit fled off the board). Glade Guard and Cavalry charged right flank Hammerers, Cavalry charge left flank Hammerers, Flying Units charged guys on hill and Dryads charge Longbeards - big mistake for them. Probably recalling my lack of flaming weapons in our previous meeting my opponent (a very nice guy called Nick) also overlooked the presence of my Thane next to my BSB. Both he, the BSB cut down the Dyrads with flaming attacks, while the Longbeards took down the rest, the unit overrunning toward the weaker Elven units behind them. On the right the Hammerers were getting whittled down by the Glade Guard and Cavalry and were eventually destroyed when the Sword Dancers came prancing in and went CHOP CHOP CHOPPITY CHOP ending their resistance. The left flank Hammerers wiped out the Cavalry to their front overran then wheeled to return to the fight. By now I had two large infantry blocks left both separated by some distance, my units on the hill were all dead despite the intervention of a small group of warriors, and my Quarrellers had fled the building in the face of a large Dryad unit. Bolt-Throwers however did their job cutting down a number of Elves including one nice flank shot on a Cavalry unit which killed 4/5 models and saw the remaining model panic, flee and die - the same Bolt-Thrower was then killed by the Eagle.

Turns 5 - 6 turned into a big meat grinder. By this stage Elf shooting and magic had ground down my army till I only had the Hammerers w. Lord and Longbeards with Thane left. The BSB had been killed in close combat while the Dryads and flying nasties had taken down my other units. However, all was not lost because by this stage a huge chunk of the Wood Elf army was destroyed as well. The final few rounds involved a massive melee fight between my Hammerers w. Lord a unit of Sworddancers who charged their front with a Hero, the Wood Elf General, and a unit of Cavalry who charged their flank with a hero on a Stag. My Lord challenged every round and methodically went through killing 2 unit champions and both Heroes before finally getting a crack at the Wood Elf General. By this stage only 3 Hammerers were left to support their Lord, the only thing stopping the unit from fleeing from the fear causing Elven cavalry and it seemed bad. But then the Longbeards re-appeared with their Thane and rear-charged the Sworddancers and Elven Cavalry luckily getting contact with both units. Final rounds saw both Elven units wiped out along with the remaining 3 Hammerers who had stubbornly held on for 3-4 rounds of combat.

In the final challenge between our respective Generals the sneaky pointy ear was hit and wounded 9 times in a row and Ward Saved 7 - yes 7 times - before finally fleeing and dying after the Longbeards came charging in. A great way to end the tournament, and a thrilling final game. But one that was agonisely close to a draw.

Final VP Tally - Wood Elves 1957 VP / Dwarfs 1464 VP --> Difference of 493 giving WE General a 15-5 victory when a 400VP difference would have made it 10-10.

All up an absolutely awesome time, last game was especially enjoyable as Nick is a great opponent (he won Players Choice - he got my vote) and I couldn't have been happier getting 14th.

Tournament pictures from Horned Rat

Returned from Wellington and my 3rd ever Warhammer tournament yesterday after finishing 14th out of 28 players with my Dwarfs. As far as my goals for the weekend went I met and exceeded them getting a win in my first game, earning 45 battle points, and finishing in the top half of the field. Apparently for Dwarves this is pretty respectable, and it could have been so much better but I had a bad Day 2 losing both games after starting Day 1 with a big win and two draws; 38 battle points on Day 1, 7 on Day 2 and I still finished 14th ahead of some very strong offensive armies.

Lots of great armies down there as usual including a few I hadn't seen before. I took pictures of pretty much all of them but unfortunately they didn't all turn out right. Following images are the best of those that did. Images should expand when clicked on.

My Dwarf Army

Dark Elves

Dark Elves

Brettonians - faced these in Game 3

Brettonians - faced these in Game 3

Pete Dunns Vampire Counts - finished 2nd by .12 pts

Pete Dunns Vampire Counts - finished 2nd by .12 pts

Pete Dunns Vampire Counts - finished 2nd by .12 pts

Pete Dunns Vampire Counts - finished 2nd by .12 pts

Pete Dunns Vampire Counts - finished 2nd by .12 pts

Mike Thorns Empire - Won best painted (players choice)
I managed a draw against in Game 3

Mike Thorns Empire - Won best painted (players choice)
I managed a draw against in Game 3

Mike Thorns Empire - Won best painted (players choice)
I managed a draw against in Game 3

Mike Thorns Empire - Won best painted (players choice)
I managed a draw against in Game 3

Mike Thorns Empire - Won best painted (players choice)
I managed a draw against in Game 3

Mike Thorns Empire - Won best painted (players choice)
I managed a draw against in Game 3

Daemons of Chaos

Daemons of Chaos

Daemons of Chaos

Daemons of Chaos