Well another tournament down as I attended Over the Top in Hamilton last weekend. My friend Adam and I drove up on the Friday night via Hawera making for a 7 hour drive and a late night. This was my second tournament and with a small field of 18 I had high hopes for a top 5 finish. The army I took was:
Orcs and Goblins
Savage Orc Great Shaman - Level 4, Lucky Shrunken Head, Obsidian Trinket, Fencer's Blades
Black Orc BSB- Standard of Discipline
NG Shaman - L2, Dispel Scroll
NG Shaman - L1, Channelling Rod
21 NG - Bows, 2 Fanatics
21 NG - Bows, 2 Fanatics
31 Savage Orc Big'unz - Full Command, Bows
Goblin Wolf Chariot
Goblin Wolf Chariot
Goblin Wolf Chariot
Squig Herd - 24 Squigs/11 Herders
Squig Herd - 24 Squigs/12 Herders
Game 1 vs. Nick Munn (Skaven) Battleline
Warplock Engineer (Doomrocket)
2 Rat Darts
2x8 Gutter Runners
I was pretty nervous going into this game as Nick had a very solid list. Fortunately for myself though this was Nick's first tournament and he is relatively inexperienced. This meant he deployed in a pretty linear battle-line rather than castling and thus left his flanks and 2 slave units exposed. I took advantage of this and for the most part just rushed his army which due to his deployment I was able to take off piecemeal. He ambushed with one unit of gutter runners but they fell to a fanatic trap. In the end he managed to preserve his grey seer and bell denying me a total tabling.
Results: 17-3 Win
Thoughts: Everything went well in this game for myself except 2 warmachines misfiring and destroying themselves. I played well and took advantage of his deployment and got a good result. The game still managed to be fun and Nick was a good guy who I look forward to seeing at more tourneys. In this game I played well, the army worked and the deployment set me up for a good result.
Game 2 vs. Wil Hoverd (Ogres) Blood and Glory
Nick had a pretty strong Ogre Kingdoms army with some cool desert effects on the bases:
Slaughtermaster - Heavens, Glittering Scales, Fencer's Blades
Butcher - Death
Bruiser - BSB
7 Maneaters - Stubborn/Swiftstride
4 Maneaters - ITP, Scout
3 x1 Sabretusks
I fancied this match-up and sat back and let Wil come at me. His Ironblaster took off both Manglers and 2 chariots (broken) but the rest of the army held up well and I was able to see off both units off Man-eaters and the Mournfang for no real loss when they tried to envelop me. I then transferred to the offensive and rushed his Bulls and depleted gutstar (thanks to shooting and a Foot of Gork). This was largely successful as I managed to get the Slaughtermaster, but poor positioning of the Trolls caused them to get destroyed by a flank charge from the Bulls.
Results: 13-7 Win
Thoughts: I was pretty happy with my result here as Wil was a good player who finished in 3rd place. My only mistake of the game was the troll's positioning but I did try to fix it with a Hand of Gork. The army worked well and average dice saw me get a win I deserved. Verdict - 40% Skill 40% Army build 20% luck.
Game 3 vs. Ryan Simister (Warriors of Chaos) Meeting Engagement
Ryan is a very experienced player with a beautiful WoC Army:
Chaos Lord - mounted and ready to deal death
Chaos BSB - mounted and kitted out to live forever
Chaos Sorcerer- L2 + Puppet
Chaos Sorcerer - L2 +Extra spell
25? Warriors of Chaos - MoT, HW+Shields
5 Chaos Hounds
5 Mounted Marauders
5 Mounted Marauders
3 Dragon Ogres
I was fairly confident going into this game as I figured I could castle up and force Ryan to come to me. Unfortunately Ryan won the roll to pick sides and forced me into a position where I couldn't castle in my corner (which was entirely a forest). To make matters worse I started with 2 Doom Divers off the board. I castled as best as I could but started making mistakes, I placed the Manglers close enough together that one unit of marauders popped both (I should have had them behind my lines to run through later). I tried to move my units up to force engagement and maintain the fanatic trap but a forest and sloppy measuring meant that I was unable to spring fanatics when he charged (I felt I had to move up as I thought his Chariot and Drogres would get around my flank if I left it too late). The rest of the game saw Trolls and Squigs against his knights where I took out the unit but couldn't get anything on the BSB or Lord (he made a shit-load of ward saves) and my other Squig unit get munched by the warriors. The final turn saw me kill the Lord but lose the combat, seeing my trolls flee and get cut down and the squigs pop killing a lot of warriors and the chariot. The warriors broke my other squigs and then his remaining units charged my Savages off the board.
Result: 4-16 Loss
Thoughts: I had very poor luck in this game, with my warmachines starting off the table and then all destroying themselves with misfires and my shamans killing themselves with mushrooms on their first casts. That being said I also played poorly. If I had maintainted my original battle-line and fanatic trap, Ryan would not have had time to collect my major units and while I still would have lost it would not have been so bad. Ryan was a good player who took all his chances and deserved the win. Objectively I put this loss down to 50% my mistakes and 50% luck.
Game 4 vs. Richard Barber (Chaos Dwarves) Watchtowe
Richard was a savvy general with a brutal CD Army:
Prophet on Bale Taurus with all the toys
Hobgoblin on wolf
Hobgoblin on wolf
30 Infernal Guard
Richard won the watchtower and garrisoned it with 20 goblins. I set up to charge it first turn with either a squig unit or my Savage Orcs. My plan was to take the tower with the Orcs and then throw away the rest of my army against the Kadaii destroyer to get the 11-9 win. I rolled for animosity though and not only did both my squigs roll 1's meaning I couldn't assault the tower, but one unit rolled double 1's and thus caused my Savages to squabble. This was game right there and I knew it. The next turns saw my mage bunker flee off the board despite re-rolls after I failed to dispel Doom and Darkness with like 5 dice, my Savages and Shaman get deleted by a purple sun after I failed a look-out sir and my BSB die to a measly 5 goblin attacks. Virtually everything went wrong that could and Richard made sure he took all of the opportunities that opened up.
Result: 0-20 Loss
Thoughts: I was confident I could grab and hold the tower for an 11-9 win going in and I still believe my plan was sound and would have worked. The odds of what happening happend are absurdly low and though there is a way to prevent it I really needed my goblin units where they were to protect against a K'dai on my flank. I don't want to take anything away from Richard who went on to place 2nd but I see this result as being down to awful luck that meant I simply couldn't even try to win the game. I genuinely don't see what I could have done different. Verdict - 80% luck, 10% my skill, 10% army comp (no flaming wards).
Game 5 vs. Sean Robertson (Dark Elves) Battleline
I now was floating towards the bottom of the pack and drew Sean. Sean had a cool MSU Dark Elves army and was playing in his first tourney.
Sorceress - L4, Pendant
Sorceress - L2, Dispel Scroll
Hero - Fighty
10 Repeater Crossbows
10 Repeater Crossbows
20 Black Guard
5 Witch Elves
5 Witch Elves
I was pretty confident going into this game and castled up in a corner to let him come to me while I took points off with artillery. The bad luck started early when I combo charged the shades with 2 chariots, while I destroyed the unit, one of them overran only 3 inches just missing a unit of harpies (they were 4" away) and the second managed to overrun into the other unit of harpies but did only 1 impact hit. The next turn both died when really I should have cleared all his chaff in one fell swoop. I cast an IF Foot of Gork in turn 2, killing 11 Black Guard but then rolled a 1 and my Savages got stomped killing 14 despite me having a 4+ ward. I then rolled dimensional cascade, killing another 4 or 5 Savages, wounded my BSB when he failed his look out sir but managed to stay alive. His Hydra and some Witches charged my trolls but I killed both using a fanatic trap. I was only just up in turn 3 and knew that Sean had the option to just turn around, conserve points and cast purple sun/death magic until my Savages and general died (there were not many left at all), so I threw Foot of Gork again to stomp his blocks to make sure I could get points off him with artillery if he tried to do so. I cast it IF, scattered but still killed 12 Corsairs, enough to set me up for a huge win and then dimensional cascaded again, bringing my Savages down to 11 models and sure enough killing my Shaman in the process. To add insult to injury Gork didn't even stomp twice. Disaster had struck and I was now facing a tabling instead of being poised to give one. The next few turns saw my Squigs just manage to kill the black guard, my Savages did a suicide charge (thanks to failed frenzy) into the corsairs to force an overrun to allow my other squigs to kill them, a repeater crossbow unit and the L2, while the rest of my army fell apart, including 2 warmachine misfire explosions. The game ended with very little on the board for either of us.
Result: 8-12 Loss
Thoughts: I was furious by the end of this game at my inability to get a win, when it really should have been mine. Any result but dropping down a hole would have seen me get a massive win but alas that's how it goes. The fate of the chariots was also upsetting as I had done everything right but rolled nothing but 1's over and over. With all due respect to Sean I think this loss could be chalked up mostly to awful luck. Sure I could not have risked casting with my Shaman, but I needed a win to get back in the tourney and with only a 1 in 12 chance of dying to a miscast it was well worth it. I felt I did well to claw back an 8-12 in the last turn. I'd also like to apologise to Sean as it probably wasn't a very fun game as I was exhausted and having a harder and harder time putting on a brave face as the ones kept coming. If you're reading I hope we get a chance to play again when I'm a bit more rested and I promise win or lose I'll be more jovial.
While it was a 6 game tourney I was then drawn to play my good friend Adam Richards who I had driven up with. We've played eachother dozens of times and neither of us were in the running for anything so asked the TO Russ if we could take a draw and get on the road as we had a 7 hour drive ahead of us. He was kind enough to approve and we bid everyone farewell. I enjoyed the tournament which was well run, had good scenery, balanced scenarios and plenty of good players. I also stayed at the provided accomodation though this was a mistake, it was too full of eager teenagers who wanted to stay up all night being nerdy. While I admire this I desperately needed sleep and I do think the 4.5 hours sleep each night affected my gameplay.
My Gameplay - I felt I played as well as I could in all of the games bar Game 3 versus Ryan. When I managed to get on top I stayed there and I felt I mitigated disasters as best as I could in the other two games. Against Ryan I was sloppy and I paid the price for this. I played quicker than in my last tournament so that is a plus but on the negative side I have decided that my play is a bit sloppy when it comes to measuring ranges and angles. I tend to give my opponents the benefit of the doubt at all times and tend to be a bit too sure I can do something without measuring everything exactly. I need to work on both checking my opponents and more importantly checking myself. Despite my poor performance I still believe my gameplay is solid but there are a few things to work on and I need to find a way to play a wider range of players and armies (difficult as I live in a small town.)
My Army - I still believe the concept of my army is solid. I take a risk with the lack of flaming attacks or a flaming ward, but K'dai are very rare and the use of poison allowed me to take down an HPA and a Hydra. I dearly missed the earthing rod, but at the same time the better ward proved very useful. Bows on the savages helped clear out chaff effectively and allowed them to tick up wounds here and there over the course of the game. I have done all I can to mitigate animosity, I tried to stick the goblins and squigs close together so double 1's would not affect the savages but sometimes you need to take the risk and I got burnt. What has upset me is how susceptible the army is to randomness.
My luck - Objectively, it was awful and crippling. My luck in the draw saw me play all of the eventual podium winners so I had few easier games. My luck during games was crippling and happened against good players who could totally take advantage of my misfortune. The fact that I play OnG means I am more susceptible than most to randomness and in this tourney the effects of animosity, random movement and reliance on a single character for leadership all burnt me really bad. This has left a bad taste in my mouth and I am looking at my lizards for future tourneys.
Painting - My army picked up 45/50 for painting (Max marks is 40), I'm really happy with this and it has reinforced the good buzz that is finishing your first army.
All in all had a good but exhausting time and it was great to catch up with and meet new people. There's a really good sense of community at tournaments and keen to be a part of it. If you have any thoughts, tips or advice on the report I'd love to hear it.