Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gaming Resolutions for 2014 and An Ellyrian Reaver

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and I wish everyone the best for the new year.

It's New Year's Eve, which means that it's resolution time.  Before committing myself to a bunch of goals, let's take a look at last year's goals:

1)  Take a Painting Lesson:  Check this one off as positive.  I had the chance to talk to and watch two really good painters at work, and I picked up a few tips that will hopefully improve my scores.

2)  Get Another Horde of White Lions Painted:  Check this one off as well.  I can now field two units of 30 lions.  With the new rule changes, however, I tend not to use two hordes. That said, I'm hoping to drop a unit of 50 on the table at some point.

3)  Get a Full Blown Caledor Army on the Table in Time for Brawler Bash: I got half of this one.  I've posted a shot and have since added a dragon themed skycutter.  The army looks sharp and has scored well at the tournaments in which I have used it.  I did not, however, get a new display board finished.

4)  Play Teclis at a 7th Edition Tournament:  Of course, Teclis was the ultimate 7th edition cheese, but I did take him to Scarab Con.  I probably didn't place as highly as I should have considering the list I was using.  I also didn't find tossing six dice at spells over and over again particularly fun or satisfying.  Alas.

5)  Construct an Alith Anar Army:  I struck out on this one.  I made a list with some proxies and played a practice game against Paul.  It was a fun army to play, but I got distracted by other projects.

If you are keeping score at home, I completed 3.5 out of 5 of my goals.  That's a much better success rate than those that I set for my general life (I was 0-2 there).  We shall see how I do with my 2014 goals, which I think are a bit more challenging than last years:

1)  Finish My Elf Army:  Every time I think I'm finished, they keep pulling me back in.  That said, once I finish the following, I think I'll be done:  an honest dragon to frost phoenix conversion, one more dragon skycutter, one more eagle dragon, 3 units of reavers (pictured below),10 sisters, and a Carmine dragon.  (The model tally sheet for goal 1:  4 large models, 15 cavalry, 10 infantry).

2)  Get a Daemon Army on the Table:  I really want to take my time and put together a well painted daemon army, complete with resin bases.  I don't have a specific list yet, but my vision involves getting the following finished:  great unclean one conversion, 2 heralds of tzeentch, a herald of nurgle, blue scribe conversion, 30 plaguebearers, 20 horrors, 12 bloodletters, 9 plague toads, 2 skull cannon conversions, 2 burning chariots, 3 plague drones, and resin bases for all of them. (The model tally here will be 1 large model, 65 infantry, 13 monstrous cav/infantry, 4 chariots).

3)  Complete a Display Board for Both Armies:  The display boards in the Mid-Atlantic tournaments have gotten crazy good.  I really need to upgrade mine.  I have two really good ideas, but I'm not sure if I have the skills to pull them off.

4)  Get Five Tables of High Quality Terrain Completed:  I want to be able to better support some of my tournament organizers, and it seems when the tournaments get really large terrain seems to be a big issue.  I have some nice pieces, but I need to collect a bit more (looking at some river sets, some more GW hills, and some modular forests).  I also need to paint 4 of the GW building sets that I have. (The model tally here will be 4 GW buildings and 5 GW hills)

5)  Qualify for the Masters Again:  I think the Masters tournaments have great potential to unit the various scenes across our country, and it's really exciting to be part of that.  It's only going to get more difficult to qualify, and I'm not sure that my personal life will allow me to attend as many tournaments as last year.

6)  Organize a League and/or Tournament:  This is something that I've been thinking about for some time, and I'm hoping to try my hand at this aspect of the hobby.

7)  Blog More:  I like having a record of my gaming thoughts (it amuses me to see how excited I was about Tomb Kings, considering I sold the army before it ever really saw the table), and the occasional comment is nice as well (thanks to Da Masta Cheef for his frequent comments here!). I'd like to get at least two posts a month and maybe join a larger network.

Looking back over these, I think I will be pushed to get them all completed.  Hopefully, I'll keep my motivation high, get everything finished, and have a great time doing so.

I'm going to keep a running tally of everything I have to finish this year:

0/5 Large Models; 0/75 infantry; 0/15 cavalry; 0/13 monstrous stuff; 0/4 chariots; 0/4 buildings; 0/5 hills

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Brawl 2013 Review

I know that I still need to write up what happened at the SE Masters, but I'm just back from the Holiday Brawl in Cleveland, Tennessee and wanted to go ahead and discuss it while it is fresh in my mind.  I'm preparing to relocate to Cleveland, so I decided to head to the tournament in hopes of meeting some of the local gamers.  I'm glad that I did because I ended up meeting a lot of great people and having a very fun time.  The tournament was held in Dicehead Games, located in Cleveland's mall.  It was the first time that I had been to the shop, and I found it a great place to game.  They have a large space in the back for playing, you can walk to the food court for lunch, they have a nice selection of gaming stuff to spend your winnings on, and the owner is very helpful and friendly.

The tournament itself was well organized, and I'd recommend that folks within driving distance make the trip to future Brawls.  It was essentially a mini-GT: a one-day, three game affair with prizes for soft scores. The games were based around objectives which was a nice change of pace from the 20-0 systems that so many NC/VA tournaments are based on.  The organizer said that he uses objective instead of comp.  Basically, players can bring whatever they want because the games aren't built around smashing opponent's in the mouth.  The objective-focused play really changed the ways that the games went and in some cases weakened some of the power-builds.  For example, I played a chariot based Nurgle warriors army in the third game and felt like he was at a real disadvantage in the scenario.

Anyway, here's a quick review of my three games:

In the first round, I played John's Lizardmen.  I recognized him from Grail Quest, and he had an interesting list that featured an ethereal Slann, two stegadons, two salamander, 2 large saurus blocks, and some skinks.  The scenario was mainly about claiming objectives with smaller points given to preserving your largest block of troops while killing his.  I always enjoy scenarios like this because they force armies out of their normal blocks as players have to set up to get the objectives.  My reavers really shined in this game because they were able to vanguard up to the objectives, and when I got first turn, they used their speed to escape.  I was surprised that my opponent didn't use his heavens magic to nuke the reavers, but I think he was playing to kill stuff more than to claim the objectives.  For my part, I threw him stuff to kill but managed to complete all of the objectives, so while he racked up far more victory points, I won all but one objective, netting me almost maximum points.  John's big moment came when a unit of Saurus out-lasted my white lion horde, killing them to a man.  It was a pretty suspenseful combat and made for great gaming.

In the second round, I played Todd's Lizardmen.  He's the organizer of NasCon, which is one of the new tournaments in the Master's series.  Talking to him about his tournament really got me excited to go this year.  He's got some great ideas, and it sounds like an excellent event.  It's definitely made my calendar this year.  This scenario was basically a modified watchtower where the goal was to have control of a central hill.  There was also a secondary objective wherein the player who killed a giant turkey (holiday themed, of course) grabbed some objectives.  Todd had a pretty nasty looking gutstar backed up by two cannons and some shooty maneaters.  I didn't have enough chaff to keep him off the hill, and I didn't really have anything to face the gutstar directly. I figured there was no way to win that hill.  Therefore, I decided to throw everything at killing the turkey, which ended up being harder than it looked.  Todd said afterwards that the turkey was his MVP after it forced my lion horde to fail a rerollable leadership 10 test, took out my star dragon, and killed my BSB.  I didn't think I was going to get the job done until one of my reaver units made a suicidal charge and managed to take the last wound off.  I liked the scenario.  The turkey was defensive enough where it couldn't be claimed easily, but slow enough where players could choose to ignore it if they wanted.  I thought that made for a good tactical tradeoff.  I'd be interested to hear from Todd whether he had fun watching me fight a turkey the whole game though.  He got the hill which netted him 15 points, but I got the turkey for 10.  I don't think anyone at the tournament was able to do both, so I only lost 5 points on the leaders here.

In the third round, I played Will's Warriors.  He was running Daemon prince, throgg, a bunch of trolls, a bunch of chariots, unkillable BSB, 2 units of crushers, and a chimera.  The problem for will was that the scenario was blood and glory, and he didn't have very many banners.  Basically, I knew that all I had to do was kill the daemon prince and not have my fortitude broken and I was fine.  In the end, the daemon prince died, and I was able to hide enough banners to take home the win.

In the end, I knew that I had a decent battle point score (ended up being third in battle), and I figured my painting score would be fine.  Because of that, I was thinking that best overall would come down to the sportsmanship vote.  It turns out that was true; I ended up with four more sports points than Todd which allowed me to slip by and win best overall by two points.  The other prizes were as follows: Todd Perkins took home best general, Chip King won best paint with his very nicely painted army, and William Sinclair (from game three) took home best sports.  I was very happy with the finish, and I loved the trophy.  My wife agrees that it is the coolest trophy that I have won thus far:

Overall, I really enjoyed myself, and I can tell that there are some great people to game with in Cleveland (which was one of my top ten moving fears -- check that one off).  I appreciate the work and care that Robbie put into the event and look forward to attending his next tournament.  I'll follow up with the results from the Master's in a few days.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

'Twas the Night Before the SE Masters (and a High Elf Skycutter Conversion)

The title is not exactly true. The Southeastern Masters are going to be held this Saturday (12/6).  The qualifiers of this event are the ten highest overall scorers from some of the largest tournaments in the region: Scarab Con, Brawler Bash, Southern Assault, NOVA, and Grail Quest.  The player list is very strong, and I feel fortunate to be included.

If you're curious, the lists for the events have been published at Wargamers USA (a relatively new website designed to unite the various US Warhammer communities: http://www.wargamersusa.com/showthread.php?tid=1803).  They've generated some interesting discussion for sure.  One thing to keep in mind when looking at the lists is that they were designed for a very small meta.  All of the players in this event know each other well, and we are well acquainted with the types of list that we prefer to bring.  Because of that, I don't think these are lists most would take in an all-comers environment.

Personally, I decided to go with a Star Dragon list.  Two of my better finishes this year came with a Star Dragon in the army.  I also felt that a highly maneuverable army would work well against what I was likely to see.  Because of the armies that these folks typically play, I also expected to see fewer cannons.  In actuality, people brought more warmachines than I expected (there are four cannons, two trebs (which I was not expecting), and a handful of bolt throwers among the ten armies). Still, I think the list is a good fit for my playstyle. Here's the list i will be rocking:

Prince on Star Dragon
Lvl 2 Life Mage on Steed
BSB on Great Eagle (set-up to catch cannonballs)

5 Reavers
5 Reavers
5 Silver Helms
5 Silver Helms
5 Silver Helms

Lion Chariot
Lion Chariot

Frost Phoenix
Frost Phoenix

That's pretty spammy, but I think it'll be fun to play and should be able to cover the board quickly.  In my last list, I had included some spearmen for ranks but found that there was really no way for them to keep up with flyers.  I've experimented some with larger units of silver helms, but I've not really been impressed by large units unless there are characters present.

Interestingly, I'm not the only one who thought a list like this would be effective because in round 1, I  am playing a very similar list.  He combined two of the silver helm units together,  he kitted out his characters a little differently, and he chose to include a noble on griffon instead of the chariots.  Otherwise, they are pretty similar. I'm expecting it to be a very atypical game of Warhammer.

If you are interested in following me in my quest to be the 2013 Southern Overlord (note: my real goal is not to finish last), you have a few options.  First, Atomic Empire will be streaming the top table all day:  http://www.twitch.tv/atomicempire/profile. Perhaps I'll be there. Some folks will probably also be covering it via Twitter. I'll try to post a few things myself, but I'm pretty much a Twitter amateur.  Here's a link to my page if you care to see how things are going: https://twitter.com/rotgutmanglers.  Wish me luck!

Also, since posts with pictures are cooler than those without, here's a picture of my new Skycutter conversion:

I'm very pleased with the way it came out.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Grail Quest 2013 Review, part 1

As you can see, it has been a while since I posted.  I have, however, a couple of things that I want to talk about, so you'll probably see three or four posts here over the next few weeks.  The first thing on my agenda is a quick review of Grail Quest, which ended last week.  I had a great time for three reasons:  the rules pack allowed me to take an interesting list, I played six really great opponents, and Ben, Tom, and the folks at Atomic Empire did a great job with the event.

First, let me talk about the list.  The rules pack allowed us to take a Storm of Magic monster in the rare slot. Of course, I took a Frost Dragon to go with my Star Dragon and Dragon Mage.  I backed that up with lots of cavalry, a small unit of spears, and a unit of dragon princes with the banner of world dragon.  The maneuverability and speed of the army made for some very interesting and tactical games, and I (and I think my opponents) had a lot more fun that when I was using my horde list at NOVA and Southern Assault.  The event used Swedish Comp, and according to their assessment, I had the second softest list at the tournament.  Despite that, I was able to pull down 23 out of 60 in battle points.  With my comp bonuses and soft scores, I ended up finishing 10th, which I was very pleased with.  I was also happy to win the award for 2nd best army.  I don't have any pictures of it right now, but I think it is the best army I have taken to a tournament.  If you want to see it, I played Shimmergloom in a practice game, and he has it on his YouTube channel.  Here's the video; you can find a link to his channel in my favorites:

Next, I want to give a shout out to my opponents.  Except for Power Posey, who is always I blast to play, everyone I played was a new opponent to me.  I'd love to have a rematch against any of them.  I thought all of the armies were reasonable, and they all played in a competitive but friendly fashion.

Finally, the tournament was very well run.  We had a great space, it was always on time, and there were tons of awards given out.  They had a very fun little Monster Mash battle royal where everyone took a monster and fought it out.  I managed to pull second place with a borrowed Terrorgheist.  Because the event was so close to Halloween, there was a costume contest which included one guy dressed up as a marauder (complete with long locks, no shirt, flail, and tattoos) and another dressed as an Ogre Irongut (imo this was the best costume ever.  His wife had sewn some striped pants.  He had an irongut breastplate, a banner that matched his army's, and fanged teeths).  Good stuff all around.

To close, I thought I'd make a couple of observations about my perceptions of the SE meta as it stands right now:

  • Despite there being a ton of warriors army (I think there were eleven or twelve), the warriors are not really dominating the battle point standings.  My guess is that people see them so much that most everyone knows what to do against them.  I also think that most people have Warriors in mind when building a list, so the Warrior players are probably getting tougher matchups than some of the other power armies.  For what it's worth, the top ten in battle went Daemons, Dark Elves, Chaos Dwarfs, Warriors, High Elves, Empire, Ogres, Wood Elves (!), High Elves, Ogres.
  • The above point made, I think the inclusion of the Storm of Magic monsters evened the playing field a little bit as it allowed some of the weaker armies to take units to cover their weaknesses.  This probably gives us a hint of the balancing effect that I believe allies will bring to the game when 9th hits.
  • Several of the top armies have moved to a coven of light build.  It seems to be very popular with Empire and High Elves right now.  
It'll be interesting to see how this develops over the next few months.  Anyway, I just want to reiterate how good a tournament that the Bull City Wargaming folks (Ben, Tom) and Atomic Empire put on.  If you have a Fantasy army and are in the SE do yourself a favor and get to Brawler Bash next year.  You will not be disappointed.

That's it for now.  Like I said, expect some more posts soon. I need to do a short game by game report of the tournament so that everyone can see how awesome Dragon Mages are (and how terrible skycutters are).  My High Elf army is all but finished (all I have unpainted is a unit of dragon princes and a handmaiden).  I want to put some shots of the whole army up as sort of a farewell to arms with them (even though I am still planning to make them a proper display base).  I also want to show of a couple of models from the new army on which I am working.  In addition, since I made all five of the mid-Atlantic GTs, I'd like to get up a review of the whole tournament season.  Finally, my finish at Grail Quest allowed me to qualify for the Master's, so I'm planning to do cover those events in some detail.  Those are big plans.  I heard Vegas has the over/under at two more posts.  Place your bets now.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Brawler Bash VI Army Parade

As promised, here are a few of my favorite armies at the Bash.  There were several other nice ones around, but they weren't set up when I went around (I meant to go back through but my phone died).  The level of painting was very high this year.  Four that I missed that I would have liked to have gotten shots of were Chris's Book-themed Empire (he had a wizard riding a flying book -- very cool), Paul's awesome terrorgheist climbing over a building and excellent graveyard display board, Ian's cthulhu-themed Lizardmen (and his very creepy movement trays), and the best overall winner's ogres.  I'll try to catch those at Southern Assault. If I have a shot of your army, and you'd prefer it not be posted, let me know, and I'll take it down.  Otherwise, enjoy the armies!

First up, the winner for Best Painted, The Great Bear Tribe of our friend over at Casualties of a Paintbrush.  The freehand on this was incredible.  Check out the bear banner up front.

 Next, a high elf army.  The technical skill on this army is top-notch.  The chimera won the award for best single miniature.

 Here is PowerPosey's from the Accursed Crozius.  I love the blue; it's very striking on the tabletop, and the soulgrinder is awesome!

 Once Bitten's Empire army (I'm sure you've seen his stuff, but he has some YouTube battle reports from the Bash).  This display board is the most detailed I have seen.  There are all kinds of little bits and bobs to add a touch of realism.  I hope you can see the detail on his hurricanium as well.

 Here is the Chaos Dwarf army that beat me so badly in round 2.  It went on to win third best painted.  I think this picture speaks for itself.

 Another awesome Slannesh Daemon army by Mr. Brohammer.  There are some very nice conversion pieces here as you can see.

 I don't know whose army this was, but I really liked the circus theme.

 I thought this dark elf army was very strong.  I understand that the whole thing was done using an airbrush  It turned out beautifully.

This Ulric themed Empire army was great.  A lot of care was taken with each mini, and I noticed several neat (but subtle) conversions throughout.

Finally,  I love Lance's Scibor bear demigryphs and steam tanks.  I wish I would have thought of this first.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brawler Bash VI Review

Long post incoming.  You have been warned.

I have returned from Brawler Bash VI, and I have to say that it was undoubtedly the best event that I have ever attended.  I've been to Grailquest, another tournament organized by the Bull City Wargaming folks, but they really put on a show this year.   Here's a quick list of what I made this event stand out:

  • The Carnage System of Scoring:  The only thing that matters under this system is how many battle points and objective points you earn each game.  I wouldn't want every tournament to use this system because I think it discourages certain armies.  However, it's a nice change of pace.  I also think it makes for friendlier games because winning and losing are irrelevant (for most people).
  • The Focus on Soft Scores:   Brawler Bash, more so than other tournaments, seems to pride itself on celebrating the entire hobby.  If you look at the final standings, you'll see how much painting and sportsmanship affected the placings.  Some people moved up ten to twelve positions.
  • The Extras:  The organizers put a lot of effort into the experience.  They hosted the "Brown Brawler," a single miniature paint competition, they had QR-reader enabled live standings, they brought in food for lunch both days, they had a Friday night pre-tournament gaming event, they streamed the top table on the internet (here's a link to my game; it features many shots of my crotch), and about thirty different prizes (including ten that gave store credit).
  • The Store:  Atomic Empire is truly an amazing store and has really molded itself into a gaming event center.  It fit almost 100 players and had room to spare. 
  • The Players:  The event featured 68 fantasy players and maybe 25 40k players.  People came from all over the country to be here (and the prize for farthest distance traveled went to a player from Canada).  There were also some wargaming internet celebrities in attendance, and I met the Sustainable Center, Malorian, Lord Inquisitor, Shimmergloom, Mr. Brohammer, and Once Bitten.  I'm sure that there were others in attendance as well.  I had five great games against great looking armies and got to hang out with some folks I only see once a year.
One thing I noticed is that the level of painting and modelling has really increased this year.  There were some awesome armies on display.  I'll follow this post with some pictures I took of a few of my favorite armies.  With armies like I saw this weekend, I was very happy to finish fourth in painting.  I can't say enough about the care that people had put into their forces.

As far as my games went, I had one of my better GTs.  On the way down, I had listened to a Bad Dice Daily, and Ben Curry said that people who played mages on monsters were "hobby gamers" who did not worry about unit performance.  Paul and I joked a little about that, but it wasn't far off.  My list was created solely to push the dragon theme out as far as possible.  One of my opponents remarked that he appreciated that I took the list that I enjoyed playing instead of what was optimal, but I ended up doing pretty well with it.  I played game 5 on table three (in sixth place in battle points), and although my final opponent curb stomped me, I still finished in the top-20 in battle points.  Take that Dragon Mage haters!  Here's a few highlights:

Game 1 vs. Powerposey's Daemons of Slannesh:  Tony said that this was a battle of "fluffy bunnies" (notice how high he finished as well --go soft armies!), and it was very fun.   It was also a microcosm of my tournament.  I started of well and ended up just trying to hold on once my opponent's big blocks reach my lines.   I think my MVP unit here was a river of light in which Tony deployed his seekers.  It cast net on them, he tried to move, failed and killed most of the unit.  If this unit had gotten moving, the lash could have made things bad for me.  The most exciting moment for me happened at the end.  My objective was to keep both mages alive, and I had managed to do so (the only game that happened in the tournament).  However, in turn 6 he rolled an 11 for magic which meant that I had to pass a leadership test or have a mage turn into a daemon.  That was a stressful roll.  Like I said, Tony's a fun, laid back opponent, so it was a great way to start the tournament.  I won our grudge match and picked up 4500 victory points.  

Game 2 vs.  Method's Chaos Dwarves:   Jerry's dwarves look beautiful (see the army shot above), and he took a well-deserved second place in painting.  I later heard it said about Jerry that "he makes you feel good while he kicks your teeth in," and that's pretty much what happened here.  Jerry always finishes highly ranked,  and he was riding a string of second-place GT finishes.  His skill, plus my complete ignorance of chaos dwarves, made this an uphill battle.  The move that sealed my fate was Jerry six-dicing Ash Storm every round.  This locked my dragon in place, and he didn't see combat until turn 6. That said, Jerry has a great sense of humor and he made the game fun.  I only managed to pick up maybe 1200 points, sending me back down the tables.

Game 3 vs. Jason's Vampire Counts:  This game went very badly from my opponent from the start.  Sometimes we say the dice betrayed us, but in this game they really did betray Jason.  I think I made the right moves in the game, but I don't think he made any meaningful roll while I was rocking everything.  I'm sure he thought my dice were loaded.  Still, he kept a great attitude, and it was fun trying to coax his guys to wound something.  He later said that he was local and that this was his first tournament.  He said that he'd start coming to the bi-monthly Atomic Empire tournaments, so I'm looking forward to playing him again.  I picked up the maximum 5000 points in this game, launching me back through the ranks.

Game 4 vs. Paul's Empire:  Paul had a very well designed empire list, and if I played Empire, this would probably be how I'd want to do it.  He had 2 tanks, 2 cannons, a block of knights, 2 units of demigryphs, a hurricanium, a horde of halbediers, and other supporting stuff.  This was the army that makes my flying character army lie awake at night.  However, in turn 1 Paul experienced the single worst turn in Warhammer history.  I noticed that he had put his BSB on the flank, so I threw everything at destroying the most vulnerable unit in the center of his batteline.  A 3d6 fireball and 30 archer shots later, and the hurricanium was dead.  Paul then proceeded to panic off the board a unit of demigryphs and  his level 4's archer bunker. He followed this up by misfire exploding one of his canons in round one and the other in round two.  Disaster!  I was impressed by how he kept his composure and focused on salvaging the game.  In the end, he collected quite a few victory points and kept himself in the hunt.  I think I finished with like 3500 here.

Game 5 vs. Brandon's Nurgle Daemons:  So, I played another person with the last name Brandon.  He had a some really smart Nurgle proxies, including using gorebeasts for beasts and a doom bull for an unclean one.  I think Nurgle is very powerful right now, especially with Epidemius, and this game proved it (and actually increased my desire to have a Nurgle army).  My opponent used his objective card brilliantly.  He said that he had been saving his vanguard card for a T3 opponent, and in my elves, he finally played one.  He got to vanguard his unclean one forward.  He then won first turn, positioned his GUO right in front of the right side of my line and sent the toughness vortex all the way down.  He filled Epidemius's tally just from that spell, and the game was pretty much over.  I actually enjoyed the challenge of trying to pick up what points I could with my dragon, and in the end, I managed 1500.  This knocked me from 6th to 16th in battle points, but I still met my goal of top-20 in battle points.

Great games; great opponents all.  

Starting the tournament, I had three goals, and I actually achieved them all (for maybe the first time ever).  As I said, I wanted to finish in the top-20 in battle points, and I managed to pull 16 out of 68 with my low magic, high ridden monster list (and 4th in best overall!).  I also wanted to finish in the top five in painting.   However, once I got to the tournament and saw the armies, I figured that top-10 was more realistic.  In the end, I did up finishing fourth, which I think is quite an accomplishment.  I guess people like dragons.  Finally, I wanted to win the award for top high elf-player.  Ben, another elf player from the great state of Tennessee, was playing on the table right next to me all day.  He's also an awesome painter.  His chimera won the Brown Brawler, so I knew his soft scores would make it tough to beat him.  In the end, I was fortunate enough to claim the trophy.  Although only 4 HE armies were in attendance, they were played by good players (and one of them had Teclis), so I was pleased.  I was also surprised to win the award for "Best Opponent/Sportsmanship."  This is my first time winning a sportsmanship award (obviously, since Tom from Bull City Wargaming wins them all), and I want to thank my opponents for voting for me.

In closing, I think this tournament will really transform the local scene.  It generated a lot of buzz and brought in players that have never played tournaments before.  It also showed what a well-publicized GT could do in terms of attendance.  Once Bitten is organizing the next regional GT, Southern Assault.  It will be held on July 13/14, and the player pack was announced during BB. This is the most heavily comped of the local GTs, and I am hoping that the momentum carries forward and that he can draw 50 or more players.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Twas the Night Before Brawler Bash...

... and I am almost finished with everything.  Everything that is going to get done anyway.  I need to magnetize a few bases and paint four more eyes.  Here's my army with the new display board:

There are a few things that I want to do to the board, but they'll have to wait until Southern Assault.  Overall, I'm happy with the way the army came out, and I'm looking forward to getting it out on the table.

My first game on Saturday is against Powerposey himself. This will be our third opening round game at Brawler Bash, and this is the rubber match.   I figured that every rivalry needed a trophy (like the Old Oaken Bucket in football), so I painted us up one.  Mr. Powerposey has been talking some trash on the internet, so it'll be great fun when the Star Dragon eats his Keeper.

I think the game is going to be webcast on the store's WebTV station, so if you've always wanted to watch live Warhammer and are free between 9 and 12 on Saturday, check out this link: http://www.twitch.tv/AtomicEmpire

I'm also planning to post a few shots of the nice armies that I see and play on Twitter, so if you have an account follow me @rotgutmanglers.  I'm sure there will be some excellent armies to look at.  I'll post a report when I get back.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Final Brawler Bash Prep w/ Photos

The final day to register, pay, and send army lists in for Brawler Bash VI is today (link here). It's at 78 players, so if you are free next weekend and want to be part of a big GT, sign up tonight!

We are one week away from the tournament, so I am in full-fledged tournament panic mode.  I still need to paint three dragon princes and do a host of touch-ups and augmentations (including painting about 60 eyes and freehanding three banners).  One would think after playing this army for seven-odd years that I wouldn't have to rush like this before grand tournaments, but I have completely overhauled the army, causing me a great amount of work.

The theme this year is dragons, so in addition to the fire-breathing dragon and the fire-casting dragon mage elsewhere on this blog, I have painted up and converted several other dragon themed folks.  First up are my counts as eagles:

I have three of these old dragon master dragons (which you can still get from GWs website).  I left one of them in his standard pose and added a bit of fire breath to the other two.  I put them all up on dragon-kit rocks.  I'll post some picks of the lot later as I'm still working on the basing.

I also added in an eagle riding BSB using these same dragons:

I still need to add a banner-top from the dragon prince kit to his flag, but he's becoming one of my favorite figures.  I really like the dynamic pose that I was able to bend him into.

To round out the "Here Be Dragons" theme, I am running two units of 5 dragon princes:

These are probably my favorite GW kit ever.  They take forever to paint because they are so detailed, but they look great and are fun to assemble (instead of frustrating like white lions).

The list that I have decided is not really a competitive build, but I think it looks nice on the table.  I find myself spending far more hours building, converting, and painting these miniatures than I do playing with them, so I like to show off the cool stuff.  I think dragons are cool, so that's what I'm taking.  So there.

My goal in this tournament is to get my paint score as high as possible (because soft scores count 45% of the overall score).  If I can get a high paint score and a couple of player's choice votes, I'll be happy (with 78 armies, winning a painting prize is most likely out of the question.  I expect to see some awesomely painted armies).  That said, this army gives certain builds problems, and if I get the right match-ups, I think it can do better than people will expect.  My goal is to average 2500 VP per game, which I'm hoping (along with the soft scores) can land it in the top-25.  We'll see how it goes next Saturday.  Here's the list for those interested:

Prince on Star Dragon (Vambraces, Armor of Caledor, Great Weapon)
Dragon Mage (level 1, silver wand, fire)
Wizard (barded steed, level 2, annulian crystal, death)
Noble on Great Eagle (biting blade, helm of fortune)

4 x 10 Archers (mus, standard)
20 Sea Guard (mus, flaming banner)

27 White Lions (gleaming pennant)
2 x 5 Dragon Princes

3 x Great Eagles

The tournament kicks off on Saturday.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Gaming Underground Tournament and the BCWG Clutter Challenge

I just got back from a tournament at the Gaming Underground in High Point, NC.  It's the first time that I've been to this particular store, and I was very impressed by its activity.  It was packed solid with wargamers and card players all day.  Here's a link to the store's Facebook page if anyone is interested.  As I understand it, Warhammer Fantasy is played every Wednesday.

This tournament was organized by Scott of GameOnGW, and since his events are always professionally done, I was looking forward to a good day of games.  I wasn't disappointed.  We used the Brawler Bash rules packet which meant that winning and losing are irrelevant.  Standings were determined only by victory points and objective points (and soft scores).  Thus, a loss in which a player scored 2800 victory points is better than a win in which he scores 1500.  It takes a little while to get used to not playing to win, but once you wrap your head around it, it sets up some very interesting strategies.  Anyway, I ended up playing three very close and exciting games:

Game 1:  This was a very fun game vs. Once Bitten's Empire list. I won't say much about this one because Once Bitten has done a very full report on his YouTube channel.  The star dragon was definitely the MVP of this game as he flew around causing trouble and killed a unit of Demigryphs, a hurricanum, a volley gun, a canon, an engineer, and most of a unit of circle knights.   Even though I was outscored, the game was back and forth, and Chad was a great opponent.  I'd love a rematch at the Bash.

Game 2:   This was a slug fest against Shimmergloom's Orcs and Goblins.  Marcus is master O&G player, and I always have trouble with his shooting heavy Orc list.  The highlight of this battle was my dragon and white lions grinding down his Savage Orc horde over the course of three turns.  His all-star units were actually his pair of doom divers which killed a unit of dragon princes, my BSB, and the dragon mage. My MVP units were my archers.  In one turn of strength 3 bowfire, I took down two mangler squigs, a unit of wolves, and a pump wagon.  Over the course of the game, the archers also picked up another unit of wolf riders and a lone troll.  They also broke a hero on giant spider in close combat.  I'm starting to believe the mantra that for High Elves, everything core needs to fire a bow.  In the end, I picked up about 3000 points here (and gave up about the same).

Game 3:  I played fellow Mangler Paul's Vampire Counts.  Paul has a very tough army with a knight bus containing four characters, a big unit of ghouls, a big unit of skeletons, 2 units of hexwraiths, a terrorgheist, a varghulf, and various supporting units.  The hex wraiths are a constant annoyance because my army contains few magic attacks, so once my Dragon Mage lost Flaming Sword to the warp, I was in trouble.  In the end 2 hex wraiths held my dragon up for two rounds before being rescued by the Dragon Mage. I think the MVP of this game were probably the White Lions.  Although they were eviscerated by the two Red Fury Vampires, they managed to kill two of the characters in the knight bus and to wound the hero vamp. One interesting thing about this game is that it highlighted the eccentricies of Brawler Bash scoring because in the last round, I flew both my dragons at the vampire bus in hopes of picking of the vampire hero.  In the end, I traded 400 points for 200 in what was a very close game but left feeling good about it.

I soon found out that  it was lucky that I traded those points because I ended up winning Best Overall by less than 200 points, confirming my suspicions that at the Bash it's best not to worry about  losing and to focus only on picking up victory points, especially at the end of games.

My best overall award also shows the weight given to Sports and Paint in the Brawler Bash system.  It looked like it was about 55% battle points/45% soft scores, and I actually finished 5th in battle points, leaping over the battle leaders with strong showings in paint and sports.  I actually think that the emphasis on painting is what makes the Bash special, and as I read people's blogs and forum post I see a lot of people working hard on their army's appearance.  I don't necessarily see this for other South Eastern GTs.  If the Bash didn't put such emphasis on scoring, I doubt we'd see such widespread effort, and the beautiful armies are part of what makes the Bash so much fun. (Interestingly the guys over at GarageHammer had a discussion with the Adepticon tournament organizer about soft-scores.  Give it a listen and let me know what you think).

On the hobby front, I'd encourage everyone to head over to Bull City Wargaming and enter their Clutter Buster Challenge.  You can go to their website for their full rules, but essentially, you get points for getting models finished and you lose points for bringing in new models.  The winner will be the person who manages to clean up the most clutter from their model case.  With this in mind, I wanted to list my current inventory of unpainted models.  We'll see how much of this I can get finished before the contest ends on September 1:

40 Tomb Guard w/ Halberds
25 Tomb Guard w/ Hand Weapon and Shields (some conversion needed)
3 Chariots w/ riders
4 more chariot riders
5 TK Carrion
7 Necropolis Knight Riders (these will need to be assembled)
10 High Elf Archers (these will need to be assembled)
10 Phoenix Guard to HE Spearmen conversions (assembly needed)
5 Dragon Princes (assembly needed; I have another 5 due in on Wednesday)
4 Dragon Master Dragons (assembly needed)
HE Prince Box (assembly needed)
1 Tomb King with Shield
Settra's Chariot

That strikes me as a ridiculous amount of unpainted models.  We'll see how much of this clutter that I get knocked out before now and September.  I think it'll be fun, so hopefully some of the folks from Tennessee will join me.  Indeed, there is nothing that says that it has to be Games Workshop Miniatures, so if anyone has recently received massive amounts of Reaper Bone, Mantic Warzone, or Sedition War miniatures from recent Kickstarters, you can join in too!

A friend of mine is now blogging.  He's a much better painter than me, and he gave me some good tips over Christmas.  He also helped me de-clutter over Christmas by painting a few of the miniatures that I never use (and thus will never get painted) in exchange for one of my gaming tables.  Check out his work.

Finally, I've been working hard on finishing up my 20 maiden guard, so here's a shot of the completed unit.   They are just straight 5e Maiden Guards with a Confrontation flag attached. One of my collecting goals is to expand this to a horde of fifty:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Scarab Con Report and *%!!&#& Teclis

I am well behind putting this post up.  For a while I was waiting on tournament results, and then I just got distracted.  In January, I attended a GT in Columbia, South Carolina at Scarab Con.  This seems to be the smallest of the region's grand tournaments; however, a lot of good players were in attendance.  I enjoyed the trip down, and I'm looking forward to heading down again next year (and I'm sure we will be back as my fellow Mangler Paul won himself free admission to the tournament next year).

Because the tournament was completely uncomped, I decided this was my opportunity to take Teclis.  I figured that Teclis will be out of the new book (or will cost 600 points), so I might as well break him out to see how he works in this edition.  Ultimately, I can't say that I really enjoyed playing the great wizard of cheese.  I did, however, learn a few things about playing him:

  • Don't take death magic.  I didn't want to play a mindrazor list.  That would be way too over the top, so I decided on either light or death.  I ultimately went with death to counter other folk's characters.  I learned, however, that death is much too random to compliment Teclis.  Purple Sun has random range and can misfire.  Spirit Leech is a roll off.  If you take Teclis, you are taking him to eliminate the random factor and to ensure that you get your spells off.  The random nature of death undermines that.  In one game, I shot three purple suns at a treeman coming to kill Teclis.  The first one came up short and then moved out of the way.  The second misfired.  The third misfired.  The treeman then killed Teclis.  
  • The Banner of the World Dragon is a must take.  Teclis (and the Book of Hoeth Mage) is going to draw a lot of attention.  The Banner ensured that troops had to make it to him.
  • Some armies have counters for him.  Teclis is best against the deathstars that are very popular right now.  I played an Empire army that had a horde of 40 knights.  Teclis really showed in that game.  However, anything with flyers is tough.  
  • No one likes Teclis.  Of course everyone knows that, but you will generate a lot of ill will when you break him out.  I'll end up having to take a Dragon Mage to Brawler Bash in order to make it up to everyone.
In the end, I ended up fifth overall.  I made a few mistakes in one game (including letting someone cast a very decisive hex on the unit with Banner of the World Dragon.  Doh!) which led to a loss, and I also lost by getting seriously outplayed by the man who ultimately won the whole tournament (Congrats, Bobby!  You can check out his blog here).  I did manage to take home Player's Choice Army; however, my guess is that might have been because some of the better painted armies won an overall prize.  

On the positive side, I did get the very cool Teclis model painted.  You'll note that my Teclis has had the top of his staff replaced with the staff from the Isle of Blood mage.  What happened is that I broke the top of the staff off my Teclis.  I then put it somewhere where I knew that I could find it when I was ready to paint him up.  I was never able to find it.  Luckily, the Isle of Blood staff looks like it was made for him.  My wife claims he looks like a drag queen:

Currently, I'm working on getting High Elf archers ready.  I want 50 in my 3k list.  I only have 30.  Time to paint!