Tuesday, September 13, 2016

NoVA Open Age of Sigmar tournament report

Wow, I actually attended an Age of Sigmar tournament!  A year ago I declared my hate for the game. Then, I changed my mind.  Then, the advent of the General's Handbook and the reintroduction of that hallowed competitive gaming concept, points values, seems to have really lit a fire under this game.  There were 28 players, many of whom brought very nicely painted armies, to play a 3-round competitive tournament with custom scenarios.  You can see the full rules of this year's event here:  Age of Sigmar 2016 Primer

I took the following Chaos army, containing Khorne mortals and demons.  The concept for my army was to maximize attacks from my big units using the bonus attacks from the Aspiring Deathbringer , Wrathmongers and Bloodsecrator, along with other bonuses inherent to the units and their interactions.  I took the Chaos trait that gives a +1 to hit upon activation and a roll of a 6, and a command trait which raised that to 5+.  So yes, that meant whenever I activated a unit on a 5+ that unit got +1 to hit.  In short, my larger units (and smaller ones really)  had the potential to roll a lot of dice and hit fairly easily if I played my cards right.  The army was all about massive amounts of attack rolls.

Aspiring Deathbringer (80)
- General
- Bloodaxe and Wrath Hammer
- Trait: Great Destroyer
Bloodsecrator (120)
Slaughterpriest (100)
- Bloodbathed Axe
Daemon Prince (160)
- Flying with Axe
- Artefact: Chaos Runeblade

Blood Warriors x 5 (100)
- Goreaxes
Bloodreavers x 20 (120)
- Reaver Blades
Khorgoraths x 1 (80)
Wrathmongers x 5 (180)
Bloodletters x 20 (200)
Bloodcrushers x 3 (160)
Skull Cannons x 1 (180)

Total: 1480/2000

Game 1: My first game was about escorting an objective marker off the table from the center of the board.  I will save you all some time: that didn't happen.  My opponent was a fine chap who brought a nicely painted Ironjawz Orruk (Ork) army to play.  This army had a trick: it used a battalion that allowed all his war boarz (goregruntaz I believe) to make a 15" move before the game begins.  He had 3 units of them, plus the warlord on mawcrusha (a very large wyvern) and a shaman.  He won the roll for first turn and predictably his boar line launched!  

Initial Orruks position

My Khornate war host. 

My right flank

My center and left.

The field

Turn 1 Orruks charge!  WAAAGH!

They hit my line and down go a large chunk of my Blood Reavers.   

I activate my bloodletters first and do heavy damage to the rightmost boar unit.  My very fun opponent quips: "I didn't know bloodletters were that strong!"  Well, when they get a bonus from the Bloodsecrator, the Demon Prince, and having 20 models, giving 41 attacks with +1 to hit and damage, doing mortal wounds on a 5+, then yes they are!

A second unit of goregruntaz activates and eliminates the Blood Reavers.

In return, most of the rest of my army smashed the goregruntaz dramatically.

Having survived the board charge, my superior numbers and vast numbers of attack dice win the war of attrition.

The Warboss of Mawcrusha arrives belatedly.  

He manages to kill some Blood Warriors... 

But in return is absolutely demolished by the wrathmongers, rolling 31 dice thanks to the bonuses from my characters in range.

 Having lost all but one model and with 4 turns left for me to complete my victory, my opponent conceded! 

Result: 30-0 win for my Khorne!  Wow!  The tournament was off to a much better start for me than I expected.
Here's a shot of the Sigmar area.  Lots of great folks playing.  

Game 2:  I moved to Table 2 for the second game, having been one of 4 people to win a 30-0 victory in the first round.  My opponent brought a stunning army of Stormcast Eternals.  His army had some heavy hitting units and a little shooting as back up.  The scenario gave us each 3 objectives to place and the owner of the most objectives at the end of the game would be the winner.  However, the objectives could randomly disappear, making life quite "interesting" for us as the game went on.

Gorgeous.  let's go in for some close-up shots, eh?

Overview of the forces 

A few more shots of my red tide.

Here come the Stormcasts in their purple finery.

I get the second turn initiative and hit the Stormcast lines as best I can.  My forces are more spread out than I prefer but should still be reasonably effective.

 My bloodletters hit the left flank with demonic support and the backing of cavalry.

 My reavers do little danger, and take serious hits from the Liberators in return.

Conversely the Bloodletter tide wipes out the Stormcast front line on my right.

With support from the Bloodsecrator and Skullcannon, the Reavers take down most of the Liberators on the left.  

However my Demon Prince perishes in the face of heavy Stormcast attacks, falling to the attention of the Lord Castellan on Dracoth!

Shortly thereafter the Khorgorath also goes down!  We have a fight on our hands, folks.

 My Bloodletters and cavalry eliminate the Prosecutors.

The Blood Reavers fall under the blows of multiple units of Stormcast warriors.

My right appears triumphant as my left reels.  My opponent at one point predicted I would "table" his forces, but this is turning into a bloodbath.  

 The Stormcasts get the first turn and eliminate my Blood Warriors.  The Lord on Dracoth charges the Blood crusher cavalry. Shooting has wounded some of my characters but not killed any.

I re-deploy my wrathmongers and commander to the left.   The Lord on Dracoth shows the Bloodcrushers what really heavy cavalry looks like, and dispatches them.

  They annihilate the remaining Stormcasts on the left with help from the Skullcannon.

My tiny unit of remaining bloodletters come up aces and finish off the wounded Castellant on Dracoth.

An almost empty battlefield shows the extent of the carnage. 

A last ditch attempt to kill my general by the Venator fails!  Time is called and we put the dice down.  Who has won?

My casualties:

My opponent's casualties:

Result:  Well, we both had one objective each, giving a score of 10 points each.  But I had fulfilled all 5 side missions, killing his general, keeping mine alive, killing a totem, and auto-scoring two more. My total was therefore 20.  My opponent had managed only to get 2 points for killing a monster.  So, I won this epic battle 20 points to 12.  It was a tight game against a good opponent with a great army.

Game 3:  For my last game I was again on the second table.  This was to be my favorite game of the day.  My opponent brought a beautiful Sylvaneth army.  I was excited to play against them and they were beautiful.  Well, except for this one unit of unpainted Dryads!  I mercilessly taunted him and as a result these photos have been heavily censored to protect the eyes of you, my gentle readers.

As you can see this was a numerically small army, consisting of 3 large characters-A Treelord Ancient, Drycha Hamadreth, and a Spirit of Durthu, a large unit of dryads, 3 Kurnoth Hunters, and 5 guys who hung around in the back for the whole game.  

Here is my rather more numerous force deployed against the Elves.  Let's stop to talk about Elves.  My opponent and I had a lot of laughs during this game, which is hard to convey in a blog and may have been as result of 3rd game giddiness.  Anyway, my first miniatures game was Warhammer 40k.  My first opponent played Eldar. he used to beat me without fail.  As a result, I have a long-standing prejudice against Elves and enjoy trouncing them wherever I can. 

This scenario involved channeling magical power from a marker in your deployment zone.  At the end of each round each player scores 1 control point for each priest or wizard within 6" of the marker.  My opponent had 2 wizards, putting me in the hole before any dice were rolled.  I decided I had no choice but to charge. 

The Sylvaneth took the first turn and advanced to cover their magical marker, and deployed to meet my forces on the right.  The Sylvaneth placed a forest on my magical objective and in front of their heavy hitters.

I got off the charge for my wrathmongers only to lose 2 of them to the forest's magical attacks.

The Bloodletters and demon prince try vainly to take down the spirit of Durthu while the dryads approach

                      A wave of attacks hits the Treelord and Drycha, but does not do much damage.   

Hide that shameful unit!  Don't you have an airbrush?  A spray can of brown?  

My troops do their best to damage the giant tree-beasts, but achieve little.

Drycha's unfettered rage causes damage in return, costing me several models.   

Due to Sylvaneth magic, I cannot roll 6s to hit for mortal wounds from the Bloodletters as all my attack rolls start at a -2 to hit.  As a result I achieve little against the Spirit of Durthu. 

My warriors do a little more damage to the Treelord...

 But in retaliation they eliminate most of my forces on the left.  To add insult to injury, the Treelord also heals most of the wounds he suffered.

A huge melee erupts as my forces seek to damage the Spirit of Durthu but cannot bring it down.  In return, they wipe out my Bloodletters and all of the Bloodcrushers!

Sensing all is lost, my general launches a "Leeroy Jenkins" attack on the Treelord Ancient, but fails to kill him.  His blood is received by Khorne gladly.  Shockingly the Skull Cannon puts 6 wounds on the Treelord, but it is not enough! 

I concede the game with full points as there is no way I can score whatsoever.

The Slaughterpriest and his escort live to fight another day.

Result:  Within two turns my army was all but annihilated! Full points to my opponent, 30-0 who was so much fun to play against.  We spent the game making fun of each other's armies, dice rolls, and tactical choices, etc.  I was basically tabled but had a blast.  In retrospect I needed to concentrate my attacks better and focus my army on one target at a time.  Those 3 large tree men cannot be attacked piecemeal!

I ended the tournament with 50 points, so I imagine I was somewhere in the middle of the standings. The best general had 90 points, max from all three missions. My opponent from game 2 actually won Best Overall after coming back to win his third game by a large margin.

Conclusion:  I had an absolute blast playing AoS at a tournament.  My opponents were all great to play against and had very nice armies.  I heard no arguments and saw no drama.  I want to thank the organizers and everyone for an very enjoyable event.  The Khorne army is really fun to play and surprisingly enough is very synergistic.  When all is working together the army is extremely powerful.  Once broken up or missing key supports, however, it quickly loses its potency.  Hope I can come back next year.

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