This weekend, I was fortunate to play a tournament at Heroes Headquarters in Mocksville, NC. The store seemed new, and it is in a good location with lots of room to play. I believe there were 22 players in attendance which is a pretty good crowd, and once again, it looked as if the tournament drew players from a wide area. GameonGW (one of NC's gaming clubs) hosted this event, and I've always been impressed with their events. I've attended some of their Games Day events (held around Thanksgiving), and they always do a top-notch job. One thing that I was really impressed with was the scenarios. They set some specific victory conditions beyond victory points. This changed the games from "meet in the middle and fight" or "stand at the back and shoot," and I really appreciated that. I imagine that messing with scenarios is a tricky proposition, but I found the second and third rounds of the tournament to be far more interesting than the core scenarios.
Speaking of local events, I did have the opportunity to discuss the upcoming NC Grand Tournament with one of the organizers. Because I'm not sure how much information he really wants out there at this point, I won't share specifics, but from what he told me, I'm really excited about the format. They seem to have taken the best aspects of some of the larger national tournaments and fused them into what I think will be a welcome (and long overdue) addition to the local gaming scene. I'll be following the discussion over at WarhammerNC with great interest.
Anyway, I had three really great games at the Mocksville tournament. I ended up finishing a disappointing 1-2, but both of my losses came down to one roll in the last round. I also had three really great opponents, and I ended up taking home the prize for Best Army (an amalgamation of paint and composition, I think). All in, it was a fun day. I had painted up a couple of new models for the army, so I thought I'd just take a picture of the army in all its glory:
When tournaments score paint, I tend to base my armies less around tabletop strategy and more around what I think will look best. I was a little surprised that I got such a high composition score. Clearly, this shows the effects of 8th edition on army lists. At a 7th edition tournament, when I dropped a dragon on the table, I worried about getting punched in the face. In 8th edition, I'm given a high comp score. I weep for what has become of my poor, poor dragon.
Here's a quick run down of my games:
Game 1: I drew a Beastman army played by a player whom I know fairly well and whom I always enjoy playing. When the game started, I felt pretty good about the game. He had no shooting with which to harass my flyers, and I felt like my combat troops would match up pretty well. I'd like to claim that there was some awesome tactical movement, but basically, our armies just plowed into one another in the center of the table. Overall, the Beastmen really surprised me with their magic, and I really like the way that this player has his list set up. I don't normally think of that as a dangerous magic army, but he played a level 4 with death, a level 2 with death, and 2 level 2s with beast. He was able to boost his magic with the herdstone, and combined the miasma/purple sun combo with some nice buffs and debuffs. My poor level 2 was pretty badly outclassed, and his magic dominance pushed the combats into his favor. Still, I had a chance to win at the end as my Prince (on foot by this time -- the dragon had died turn 2) ran off the most expensive Beastmen block. I had whittled the 400 point block down to 4 models, and they finally broke. Unfortunately, I came up one short on the pursuit, which means I got nothing for all of those kills (how I hate that rule). I lost by 300 and some odd points, so that might have pulled me into a draw. Even so, it was a fun game with some excellent banter.
Game 2: I've been seeing a lot of Lizardmen armies lately, and I met with another in game 2. This one was unique, however. He was only running 1 level 1 wizard. I wonder how many Lizardmen vs. High Elf games have been fought in 8th edition with a grand total of 3 wizard levels on the table. This was the dragon's game to shine (although some skinks killed him in turn five) as he killed a unit of Salamanders, a unit of Saurus, and an Ancient Stegadon. This was a pretty one-sided game in my favor, but honestly, I can't take much credit for it. Every key moment went bad for my opponent whether it was difficult terrain, charge distances, pursuits, or magic. I definitely applaud my opponent for running a cool, fluffy list regardless of its power level as well as for keeping a good spirit even though the fates had clearly lined up against him.
Game 3: At 1-1 with what I felt was decent number of battle points, I was still technically alive. I matched up against a Vampire Counts player whom I had played before. His list revealed a couple of holes in mine: I had no magic attacks or magic missiles with which to challenge the wraiths, and I didn't have enough fire attacks to fend off the Drakenhoff banner. However, the objective made this game interesting. Basically, we each got to declare two pieces of terrain as objectives, and whoever held the most at the end of the game won. This game ended up with one of the most intense endings that I've had in a while. My army had pretty much folded, but I had placed my two objective pieces over on the right flank, and my spearmen and swordmasters had gone over to hold them. The way the game had progressed, there was really no way for my opponent to claim them. The Drakenhoff unit controlled one for my opponent, leaving one free.
The VC player moved two units over in an attempt to claim the fourth objective (and send the decision to Victory Points). My dragon threw himself in front of one of the units to cut them off. I was hoping that he'd flank with the other unit, so that I could tie both up. However, my opponent didn't fall for that, so I figured I was done. I moved a chariot across in the top of the 5th, hoping it could do something, but the dragon had my path to the other unit blocked. However, things turned around when the ghouls took the dragon down. With it out of the way, my chariot was able to hit a very long charge to stop the other unit's advance. My prince held the ghouls, and it looked like it was my opponent who had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. He then made his own hail mary pass in the bottom of the sixth round. He marched his vampire to where it was barely in range, and landed a banishment which knocked the swordmasters down to 3 models. He was hoping to panic them, but I held. However, the casualties were actually enough to move me one base width away from the building, which meant that I had literally lost by one model. Although the outcome was disappointing, the game was exceptionally satisfying.
This tournament drops me below .500 for the year, but I can't complain. I won my second prize of the year and had three great games. All the talk about the GT in October has me stoked as well. Although I have some Tomb Kings looking longingly at me from the paint station, I believe they will have to wait. I have three projects that I think will improve the appearance of my army leading for the GT. Look for some updates soon in which I replace my spearmen with some conversions, build and paint a new centerpiece model, and redo my display board (or I'll continue to be lazy in which case, you won't see anything here).
Oh and Rod, I used the prize money to buy the Malifaux rules. Just saying.