Tuesday, March 11, 2014

US Masters Review and Some Pink Horrors

After a year of build-up, I have returned from the US Masters.  Although I didn’t do particularly well (finished 49th out of 50), I did have a great time, and it was fantastic to have the opportunity to participate in the first ever US Masters.  The work that Jerry and the regional organizers have done is amazing, and it looks to me that they have established one of the premier events in the country.  I can tell there is a lot of excitement in the community, and it seems to have really created a lot of hype for all of the qualifying tournaments.  For example, Coastal Carnage sold out in 48 hours, and Brawler Bash is already sitting at 110 players.  Just a few years ago in the Mid-Atlantic region, we thought we were doing well to get 35 to a tournament.  Now, we get 50 with pretty much no problem.

As far as gaming at the Masters, I went 0-4-1.  However, I got a chance to play several very well-known Warhammer players, including three from the West Coast and one from the Northeast.  A testament to the level of play at the event was that in the last round on the next to last table, I played a fellow who is a multi-time GT winner and one of the Mid-Atlantic’s best players.  Even though the stakes might have been higher than other tournaments, the games were, for the most part, friendly, and it was great to finally meet folks that I only know from the internet.

Next year, the Master’s plans to add two more regions, a new Southeast region (which will include my new home of TN) and a Mountain region.  I’m making it one of my hobby goals for the year to qualify again; however, I think it will be much more difficult this year as the tournament scene has really exploded.  We’ll see how it goes.

I’m planning on attending two tournaments in the near future: Nashcon and Brawler Bash.  Both of these are Masters qualifiers albeit in different regions.  I’ve heard really good things about Nashcon, and Brawler Bash is going to be a spectacle this year.  If you are free the weekend of May 31, you should definitely come down just to participate in a 100+ player tournament.

Right now, I am finalizing lists for the two tournaments.  Brawler Bash is uncomped and is allowing special characters, so I’m thinking about building a Teclis list.  I think the ability to choose spells will be fun, and I haven’t played an infantry-heavy list since last year’s Nova. 

I’d like to debut my Daemon army at Nashcon, so I’m making a big push to get the army together.  I’m starting with the infantry first because they can be such a grind.  I’ve finished some plaguebearers and horrors.  Here’s a picture of my pink horror unit:


They are purple because of a bit of fluff concerning the Elvish kingdom of Yvresse, which is my second favorite elf kingdom.  As the story goes, Yvresse is a land of heavy mists, and these mists sometimes herald an incursion of daemons.  One short story that I read dealing with one such infestation described the mists as purple, so I decided to paint the whole army purple to mimic that (I like a uniform look rather than the multi-colored daemon armies I see a lot).  I’m basin them on the ruins of the elvish cities that they are destroying, and my plan for their display board is a ruined elvish temple. 

One problem that I am having is that I’m not sure what color to paint the side of the base.  I did the one in black, but I haven’t tried the others yet as I’m not sure I like black.  Any ideas on that?

So far this year, I have painted five dragon princes, five shadow warriors, two skycutter chariots, a frost phoenix conversion, five plaguebearers, and three horrors.  Not terrible, but I definitely need to pick up the pace to finish my hobby goals for the year.

Finally, don’t forget my tournament this Saturday (March 15, 2014) at Dicehead in Cleveland, TN.  This is the first tournament I have every organized, so I am hoping it goes well.  Right now, I have 16 signed up, so if you can make it down, it should be a good time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Brawler Bash Warm-Up Tournament on March 15 in Cleveland, TN

This is just a quick post to let everyone know about my tournament on March 15.  I know several TN folks look in at this from time to time, so maybe some of you can make it down for this event.  Here's a quick blurb about it:

On March 15, 2014, Dicehead Games in Cleveland, TN will host a Brawler Bash Warm-up Tournament. For those of you who do not know, Brawler Bash is a 2-day, 3,000 point tournament held every year in Durham, NC. This year's event, which will be held in May, has over 100 people signed up, making it one of the largest Warhammer Fantasy Battle tournaments ever to be held in the South. Dicehead's warm-up tournament gives everyone a taste of the event and the chance to win free admission to the nearly sold-out event. If you are planning on going to the Bash, it's a great chance to practice. If you couldn't get a ticket, you'll have a chance to win one. If you are not interested or not able to go to Brawler Bash, it's a great chance to experience some very interesting rules and have a great day of wargaming fun.

Here's a summary of the event:

  • 3 games of Warhammer Fantasy Battles
  • 3,000 point armies; no grand armies
  • Carnage scoring system
  • Brawler Bash tournament scoring for the following store-credit prizes: Best Overall, Best General, Best Painting, and Best Sports
  • An additional prize for Best Club (certificate only)
  • A raffle of all tournament participants interested in attending Brawler Bash VII. The winner will receive a free Brawler Bash VII tournament entry.
All of this is covered in your $20 entry fee (payable the day of the tournament). You download the player's pack (which mimics the Brawler Bash pack exactly) and sign up at the following link:


Hope to see some of you there.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Coastal Carnage Review

Back in January, I had the opportunity to attend CoastalCarnage, and although I am a bit tardy in my response, I did want to review this excellent event.  This was a new GT, organized by internet wargaming superstar, Lord Inquisitor, along with another local player (Ron).  It was held in Chesapeake, VA at The Tower of Gaming, which proved to be a hospitable, if a bit small, venue.  After having some time to reflect, here are my reactions to the Mid-Atlantic’s newest GT:

·         They decided to go with a W-L-D scoring system, which was a welcomed change of pace from the 20-0 systems that have become very popular in the area.  Obviously, some armies are more effective at claiming huge victories than are other armies.  I, myself, tend to favor avoidance type lists that seek to hit weak spots in the opposition while avoiding their heavy hitters, and this play style tends to lead to close games.  I’m all for variety in our GT formats, and this system did seem to encourage a different type of play.  With the influx of tournaments in the region, I think players will begin being more selective about the types of events that they attend, so I’m of the opinion that organizers will need to consider carefully things like scoring and comp (I’m only planning to attend one Swedish event this year besides the Masters).  I believe part of the reason that the Fowl Intentions GT filled up so quickly is that it chose the ETC format, which is pretty rare in this region. 

·         The organizers chose to go with a fairly light comp, and I didn’t really see much difference in the lists.  The only comp at Coastal Carnage was a prohibition in taking three of the same specials and two of the same rares and an elimination of special characters.  This affected a few builds (triple chimera, double steam tank, double hellcannon); however, I’d imagine this amounted to no comp for most people.  Honestly, I couldn’t tell a huge difference in the power of the list here compared to most Southern Swedish Comp tournaments (although I think actually applying the victory points bonuses for comp gaps greatly affected the lists at the Masters; hopefully, TOs planning to use this particular system will apply it in this manner in the future).  I’m at a place right now where the only thing that I can see creating truly unfriendly lists are a handful of special characters (Everqueen and  Epidemius mainly.  Maybe Teclis and Morathi as well).  In this regard, I think CC proved that it we don’t need giant spreadsheets to keep the lists manageable but that a ban on some special characters might be wise.

·         Competitive Warhammer Fantasy is growing stronger in the Mid-Atlantic.  This tournament filled up in 24 hours.  The next tournament on the schedule, Fowl Intentions, saw huge demand which forced them to seek ways to increase their capacity.  Brawler Bash reached 70 players in two days and will probably end up making it to 100.  When the new tournament schedule was released, some people were worrying about diluting the player pool.  If anything, all of these options have energized the crowd (and the Masters undoubtedly have something to do with this as well).

Overall, I had a great time at the event.  Everything went smoothly.  I loved the terrain maps, which standardized the boards each round (and I’m hoping this is something that other events may start employing).  Due to space limitations, the event was a bit small (only about 36 people); they’ll probably need to consider their options if it is to be part of the Masters circuit next year.  I liked their paint scoring system, which like their battle scoring system, seemed designed to maintain a tighter spread on the scoring.  Basically, a player would get a 5/10/15 as a holistic army score and a handful of bonus points could then be added.  The top score was 21 while most people clustered together in the 12-15 range.  I have heard some talk that there will be a universal scoring system for Master’s qualifiers in the future, but I hope this is not true.  I would prefer that we have as much variety in paint scoring as we do in battle scoring and comp and think it would be nice to have an event like this one that focuses on holistic army appearance, another that reward truly technical skill, another that benefits heavily converted/themed armies, and so-on.

Personally, I went 3-1-1 with my double dragon list.  I was using the star dragon, a dragon mage, a BSB on eagle, 2 units of reavers, 2 units of silver helms, a unit of archers, a unit of dragon princes with the banner of the world dragon, a skycutter with bolt thrower, and a frost phoenix.  I lost in the first round to a coven of light Empire build in the Battle for the Pass scenario.  The extra distance really hurt me, and that army is really the perfect counter to what I run.  I defeated a chariot/chimera Warriors army, a skaven army, and a beastman army and drew a Slannesh Warriors army (after Mr. Wiatt made some smooth moves in the final round to swing a ton of victory points into his favor).  This gave me enough to finish 8th in battle (I think) with my soft scores (2nd in painting, 1st in sports) I jumped up to 3rd overall, which I’m very happy with.  I’ve had some pretty good luck with sports scores lately, and I have some ideas about what goes into winning these types of awards.   I heard the Ohiohammer guys suggest that winning sports awards has to do with kissing up to or bribing opponents, but I don’t think those things have anything to do with it. Indeed, I think they can actually work against a person’s score. Maybe I’ll write up an essay on the subject for a future post (I think a lot of it comes down to the style of list a person plays).

That’s enough for now.  Right now, I’m gearing up for the Master’s on Feb. 21.  I apparently drew one of the Northeast Region’s top players and was picked to lose by the experts (I’m in the second matchup reviewed on this video – I really like the Sportscenter-style analysis they did with all of the matchups.  Kudos to Jerry, Once Bitten, and all of the guest hosts).  I’m really looking forward to this match-up because I think my opponent has a very unique build which will interact with mine in an interesting way.  I see him as having some counters to my stuff, but I also think that I have some counters to his.  Here's the preview video (there will be four of these, each with a different Warhammer internet personality):

As far as my hobby goals, I have completed 5 shadow warriors, converted a dragon into a frost phoenix, and finished skycutter since my last post.  I’m working on 5 more dragon princes, a mounted mage, and a skycutter, which all need to be finished before the Masters.  Wish me luck.  I’ll post some more pictures and go over my Masters list next time.