In the last post, I said that I was going to take a tougher High Elf list to the uncomped tournament at Sci-Fi Genre in Durham. This is the list that I ultimately took:
Archmage w/ Book of Hoeth
BSB w/ Armor of Caledor and Dawnstone
20 Archers (standard of discipline)
24 Phoenix Guard (Banner of Sorcery, Amulet of Light)
30 White Lions (Ironcurse Icon)
14 Swordmasters (Gem of Courage)
My plan was to use the irresistible Dwellers Below to soften up units for my capable close combat troops. However, when I got there I learned that this was not a straight tournament. Instead, it featured three of the scenarios from the new Storm of Magic expansion. Needless to say, this changed the dynamics of the game quite a bit. Here were the scenarios we played:
Scenario 1: The only change was that players rolled 4d6 for power dice (with the top two being the dispel pool). It seemed like 20 to 11 was the regular spread in my games. At first glance, I thought this was a big advantage to high magic armies. However, what really happened was that the increased dispel dice allowed opponents to kill the most important spells. I'm thinking that if people knew that they were playing this kind of tournament that they might have been able to take more high level casters. As it was, this rule definitely boosted magic defense rather than offense.
That said, my high elf opponent (who went on to tie for third in the tournament) used his extra dice to power all three of the lore of death character sniping spells and managed to take out my BSB and my archmage by the end of his second magic phase. Despite this set-back, I was able to use my combat troops to claw back into the game. Some lucky leadership tests and timely applications of the steadfast rules allowed me to squeak out a three hundred point victory.
Scenario 2: During this round, the rules from scenario 1 stood; however, new rules added a chart on which we rolled each round to see which lores of magic could be cast at +4 power. This really didn't come into play much. Most of the time we rolled lores that neither player possessed.
I drew a Vampire Counts army this round, and my increased dispel pool helped me mitigate his magic phase. I was able to pull the Drakenhoff Grave Guard away from my battle line which allowed the rest of my army to mop up his ghouls. My irresistible magic phase was annoying for my opponent; I can definitely see why it is banned in most tournaments.
Scenario 3: The rules from the first two rounds stood; however, this round added the fulcrums. These terrain pieces boosted the defense of the casters (who had to stand on them outside a unit); however, miscasts had to roll on the chart from the core book as well as a different chart than included all kinds of crazy results (turning the caster into a monster, turning all casters on the board into frogs, etc).
In my third game, these didn't come into play much at all. I was paired against a Tzeentch/Khorne Daemons army on the second table. His caster got off the fulcrum at the first opportunity, and his whole army shot everything it could at my archmage, slaying him before she could flee into the safety of a unit. However, I was able to rally by dragging his Bloodletter horde away with my eagles. His horrors and flamers really had no answer for High Elf combat troops. Without my mage to protect me, I took a beating in the magic phase, but most of it was magic missiles. I lost troops, but he wasn't able to eliminate whole units. In the end, I got everything but his Lord of Change and his Bloodletter horde (which is a ton of points); however, he only got my eagles and my archers. I knew it was close, but after we added the points for banners and my general, it ended up being a 109 point spread (ten points from a draw).
Ultimately, I can't say I was that impressed by the Storm of Magic magic rules. To me, they just seemed to slow the game down without adding all that much. However, we didn't use any of the new spells or army build rules, so perhaps when those are added in, it will work better. My guess is that the next Sci-Fi tournament will use the full Storm of Magic rule, so it's time to start building up my army of Lammasu (I'll also be sure to have a Bloodthirster to hang out with my High Elves).
Listwise, with my shiny new Book of Hoeth, I was expecting to have plenty of dice with which to destroy my opponents. However, what really happened was that my opponents used their magic dice to snipe my wizard in the first round of the game. I only got to use her in the second game (and in that game he did indeed revel in his brokenness). Despite losing the lynchpin of the list, I was still able to win all three games (1 massacre, 2 regular victories), taking the second place prize (1st place was the Beastman army to which I lost in the first round of the Mocksville tournament. He had 2 massacres and a regular victory).
The way the tournament went down makes me wonder if I just shouldn't drop wizards all together. I could take another solid combat block for the points of an archmage. If I knew that I could get 10 dispel dice every turn, I just might do that. Sadly, there are no more tournaments around here any time soon. After the recent flurry, I doubt we have another until September.
That break should give me a chance to work on some of my non-Warhammer models. I still need to finish my DBA Carthaginians. I started to use my prize money to buy a Perdita warband for Malifaux (I saved most of it, so I still might), and one of the players in Durham and I have been discussing starting up Field of Glory. So many models; so little time.
I feel odd closing a post with no pictures, but I haven't painted anything lately. In lieu of new content, here's a shot of the model that drew the most attention at the tournament: my swordmaster's standard bearer. This model inspired several discussions about the laws of physics. Do you think the flag is too much?