So the big day had arrived and I turned up at the club, for my first tournament, with the three stretching objectives of:
1) Not coming last:
2) Keeping an open mind on AOS:
3) enjoying myself.
After wandering round introducing myself to various other competitors and helping myself to the piled up crate of donuts Marc had generously provided for the contestants I was lined up for my first game.
The link to the event on the Warhammer forum is here: http://warhammer.org.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=132229
This was against Owyn Abrams and his Undead Army using the Heralds of the Storm battleplan. This battleplan involves capturing 4 objectives (2 on my side 2 on Owyns side). If you have more objectives than your opponent then the ‘storm front’ (that starts as an invisible line cutting across the dead centre of the table), moves 6″ towards the opponents side of the table. If it moves across a unit, on a 4+ they suffer D3 mortal wounds. Only Heroes or Monsters can capture the objectives and victory is gained after 5 turns if the storm front is in your opponents side.
This is where the start of my tactical genius kicked in (and proves why you should actually read the battle packs for tournaments), I only had 2 heroes in my list so the best I could hope for was a draw.
Owyn’s Forces of Death (as you can imagine he fielded pretty much all his blood Knights and vampires.
Neferata, Mortarch of Blood – 20
Vampire Lord – 8
Vampire Lord – 8
20 Dire Wolves – 12
3 x Varghulf – 21
20 x Blood Knights – 52
6 x Sepulchral Stalkers – 14 Abhorrant Ghoul – 6
3 x Vargheists – 9
The Set up (apologies for the phots, the lighting wasn’t great and i’m using my phone).
So My Thunderers are on one objective with the Elf standard bearer capturing it. The Slayers are on the other with Ungrim securing that one. My Cavalry and Chariots are in the middle to act as a harassing force.
I won’t go in much detail, suffice to say the game didn’t go quite as planned although it was quite close. The decision by myself to deliberately retreat off an objective to move the storm front over a load of his units backfired due to poor rolling and I was unable to reverse this due to giving away my gameplan with some pre-measuring. The Blood knights ability to resurrect models if they have a banner left at the end of the turn was very frustrating to play against. On a plus point, taking out Neferata early in the game almost allowed me to hold my own. Realising I could win by default by wiping out his characters on the objectives came just too late to swing the game.
Slayers are poised to help out if needed.
Owyn was a great sport, friendly guy and basically taught me how to play AOS during this game.
The 2nd game used the battleplan – Winds of Death. 6 objectives this time with only units able to capture them. From turn 2 you roll a dice for each unit. On a 6 they take D3 mortal wounds and subtract 1 from their bravery for the turn (any unit within 3″ of an objective take wounds on a 5+).
After turn 5 the winner is the player in control of the most objectives.
This game was against Adam Elford and his superbly painted Forces of Chaos (I believe Adam came 2nd in the best painted comp – narrowly losing out to Adam Cunis’s Wood Elves).
Sayl the Faithless (10)
Skaarac the Bloodborn (20)
Mighty Lord of Khorne (7)
10 x Bloodletters of Khorne (5)
5 x Flesh Hounds of Khorne (5)
10 x Chaos Warriors (10)
Chaos Warshrine (10)
5 x Chaos Knights (10)
10 xBlood Warriors (10)
20 x Bloodreavers (6)
10 x Wrathmongers (16)
Again I was playing against a fantastic opponent and we spent as much time talking about painting as concentrating on the game. It was a very chilled and fun game and Adam came away with a close win (he had very few forces left but had managed to bag more objectives).
In terms of game highlights, the giant monster (possibly Skarrac or a Khorgorath) was a wound sink, able to heal itself up at the end of every go. I spent far too much time trying to kill it when I would have been better off ignoring it.
This game also provided possibly the most amusing fight mechanic I’ve come across during the match off between the slayers vs his bloodreavers, possibly because neither of us was aware of the other units abilities so it was a complete surprise. When they die, slayers cause a moral wound against the NME unit on a 4+. When reavers die, they are allowed to make a further round of attacks against the NME unit. This meant that each turn of combat between these units degenerated to another 4-5 extra round of attacks as the death throws of each caused more deaths to the other.
Turn one this behemoth made it all the way across the table into my lines
Dragon Princes fail to sneak around the flank
Hammerers show the forces of chaos why they should not mess with them
Slayers are poised to help out if needed.
At this point things were looking bleak. I was on the 2nd to bottom table with 2 out of 2 losses. Only the number of casualties caused to my last 2 opponents had kept me off the bottom table. The not coming last objective was looking worryingly like it might not be achieved. Time to pick up my game!
So this game would use the battleplan – Garden of Life. One player is a corrupter and the other a purifier (that was me in this game). Each turn a player can try and either ‘corrupt or purify’ (read capture) a piece of neutral scenery when they are touching it (bonus to capture comes in the form of if it is undisputed etc.). Captured scenery can improve the bravery of your nearby units etc. At the end of turn 5 the player with the most captured items, wins.
My opponent for this game was Richard Wilkes with his Forces of Destruction (Forest Goblins) and his was by far my favourite themed army of the day. He kept up the theme and didn’t use the giant or doom divers during our game.
Goblin Big Boss On Gigantic Spider (5)
Forest Goblin Spider Riders x 10 (8) Forest Goblin Spider Riders x 10 (8) Forest Goblin Spider Riders x 10 (8)
Arachnarok Spider with Spidershrine (15) Arachnarok Spider with Spidershrine (15) Arachnarok Spider with Spidershrine (15) Mangler Squigs (10) Mangler Squigs (10) OnG Giant (9)
Doom Diver Catapult (5) Doom Diver Catapult (5)
Spiderfang VenomMob (5)
The game highlights included finding out that mangler squigs are just as deadly in AOS as they are in 8th edition. Seriously…just…no. One severely wounded squig, decimated most of my mounted cavalry in one go.
The game was reasonably uneventful mainly due to the worst rolling from both players I’ve ever seen. During the 5 turns we were between us barely able to roll above a 1 or 2 on the dice. Oh and once again it was a loss….
Richard was a great opponent and ended up as my nomination for best sport but I could have happily nominated any of my 3 opponents on the day.
The order starting line up.
The goblin hordes (boooo hissss)
So how was my first event?
Loved it. all in attendance were really friendly and happy to help out a first time player. Even the more competitive players were a joy to game against. Would I do it again? Absolutely.
How did the army perform?
To repost my army:
Ungrim Ironfist The Slayer King (6)
High Elf Prince (6)
20 x Slayers (10)
20 x Thunderers (14)
20 x Hammerers (20)
5 x Dragon Princes (8)
15 x Silver Helms (18)
White Lion Chariot (6)
High Elf Repeater Bolt Thrower (6)
High Elf Repeater Bolt Thrower (6)
Well it was a mixed bag. By selecting just one army to use in every game, I hamstrung myself by not having the ability to capture all objectives in the first game but did mean that I could learn the unit abilities more easily. I am also so used to playing battleline in whfb so kept forgetting about objectives…
So what would I change?
The Silverhelms would have to go. Having 15 of them lined up was (according to my opponents) pretty intimidating, however they were very disappointing in effect. I would probably add additional dragon princes instead. The Elf prince was also of limited use. The chariot was OK.
The repeater bolt throwers were outstanding. I would definitely max them out (so 3 rather than 2).
The Hammerers were worth their cost and then some.
The Slayers and Ungrim worked really well together. You definitely need to take both together and i’d definitely use them again.
The thunderers were OK.
Going forward I would likely just take elite units (maybe a combo of dwarf and elf) and probably only those that had rending on their profile as that really makes a difference. I’d probably also take predominately infantry (hammerers/slayers/white lions/swordmasters) with a few smaller units of mounted troops that would be held back and used to sweep forward and capture objectives once the bolt throwers had cleared off the nme on it.
How was AOS?
As much as I didn’t want to, I actually quite enjoyed it. This was probably in part to my opponents but having a comp pack to give ‘points’ to your selection was essential and without this, the game would be unplayable.
The rules are dead simple. In some ways too simple. I actually like the complication of 8th ed (I started off playing 3rd Edition and that had even more variables).
Would it replace whfb as my go to game. Not a chance, if only for the fact it is primarily a skirmish game and I love the aesthetics of massed ranks.
However I would play it again and that is not a bad outcome for a game that replaces the one I’ve been a steadfast follower of for the last 25 or so years.