Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Undiscovered Power Lists: Archaon Rotbringer

Welcome to the second part of our list-tech series, wherein I explore the dark apertures of a mind so insidious, even the Lords of Chaos can’t come up with lists as broken as his. I refer of course to the mystical augur we know only as ‘Jim’.

Jim comes up with thematic, non-legacy lists that we haven’t yet seen from the international tournament scene, or at least are not as prominent as we feel they could be.

Last time we looked at a badass, Dragon-Riding ‘A(e)lfa Strike’ list. You can check out that post here.

This week, Jim  gives us something far more sinister. Kneel, mortals, before Archaon Rotbringer.

The Destroyer of Worlds is blessed by all the Dark Gods, often taking on their different aspects - including Nurgle.

Archaon Rotbringer

Archaon has been seen on the tournament circuit, but seldom, if ever, gets to a podium. Despite his intimidating stats, he is quite unwieldy, and can get taken out more often than is appropriate for a Destroyer of Worlds.

This list will work probably better with small Archaon, but our goal is to find ways to make non-legacy warscroll lists viable. We think this is a great way to get value out of big Archaon.

The basis for this combo is Archaon’s ability to trigger the Command Abilities for all Chaos Heroes nearby, and the fact that the effects of abilities can stack.

It should be noted here that some tournaments add a house rule that stops abilities from stacking, so if you are looking at running this list, check the Player's Pack well beforehand!

The List

  • Archaon - 700
  • Festus the Leechlord - 120
  • Harbinger of Decay - 140
  • Harbinger of Decay - 140
  • Harbinger of Decay - 140
  • Harbinger of Decay - 140
  • Chaos Marauders (x10) - 60
    • Mark of Nurgle
  • Putrid Blightkings (x5) - 180
  • Chaos Warriors (x10) - 180
    • Mark of Nurgle
  • Chaos Warshrine - 200

Leaders: 6
Battleline: 3
Behemoths: 2
Number of models: 32


The Combos


As a unit-heavy list, you have 10 deployments, and are unlikely to get the choice of first turn. This leaves you vulnerable to turn one alpha strikes, so deploy cautiously when up against alpha-strike lists by bubble-wrapping your heroes with the Marauders.

Command Abilities

Let’s crack straight into Command Abilities. Archaon’s Warlord Without Equal ability allows all other units in the army to immediately use their own command abilities. In order:
  1. Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
  2. A second Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
  3. A third Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
  4. A fourth Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
Let us pause here to explain how this works. In AOS, there is no such thing as a ‘Ward Save’. Listed above are four separate abilities, each of which lets each model within range ignore all wounds suffered (after saves) on a 5 or 6.

For example; Archaon is within 7” of all four Harbingers. Say he gets hit by an arrow, and fails his 2+ armour save (he has Mystic Shield on of course). Now he has four more chances to ignore the wound on a roll of 5 or 6 - once for each Morbid Vigour ability in affect.

This means that after Archaon fails an armour save, 19%, or roughly one-in-five wounds are actually going through. Effectively you would have to inflict 100 wounds to him to take him down. If you do factor in his save, which even up against -2 rend is a 4+ with Mystic Shield - that is 200 wounds he can statistically absorb. Plus he gets the extra save against mortal wounds thanks to the Chaos Runeshield.

The rotten cherry on top of this disease-ridden combo is the Chaos Warshrine, adding an extra save on a six thanks to Protection of the Dark Gods.

The Chaos Warshrine could then activate, allowing all units within 16" to re-roll failed Wound rolls with the Favour of Nurgle.

Festus can then heal D3 wounds on one of your models with his Delightful Brews, Splendid Restoratives.

The Putrid Blightkings can also heal nearby units D3 wounds with their Virulent Discharge.

Magic Spells

If you need to make Archaon invulnerable, Mystic Shield goes on him.

Festus' Curse of the Leper is a nice debuff that can make key heavily armoured opposing units softer and softer. This combos very well with the Putrid Blightkings, who need the extra help with their lack of rend.


If you want to make the most of the protection combos, you need to keep your units pretty tightly grouped within range of the Harbingers. This is a disadvantage for when you have to divide your force for objective play, so you could divide the Harbingers between a few smaller pods if required.

Marauders are a fantastic ‘chaff unit as they have Move 6, and can be very fast on the retreat, allowing you to block charges and then move on to contest objectives. As mentioned, they will not die in a hurry.


None to speak of!


There isn’t much to say here. The synergy of the list is that the Nurgle units will not die. All units benefit from the combat buff from the Warshrine, but again it's the protective synergies that are taking you the distance.

Army Cost

This is a bit more of an expensive army to put together using the correct models. Archaon is the single most expensive model in the game at the moment (though if you can obtain the small version that might be an option), and the Harbingers are Finecast direct order only models. You can get around this by maybe converting some Chaos Knights. As is, however, the RRP is £321.50, and you will have 10 Marauders and 6 Chaos Warriors left over from their boxes.

Unit Substitution

This list could work well with a variety of Nurgle units. Epidemius is a great choice - hide him in your backlines somewhere. You could drop a few Harbingers for some more mobile troops like Plague Drones if the confined nature of deployment is too restricting. The Glottkin could be useful to double the amount of wounds the Marauder chaff can take to 100. You can even run the small Archaon if you want to be even cheesier than Jim -  as long as he can trigger the Harbingers, you’re golden. Or at least a sickly shade of green (it’s Nurgle after all).

Fitting in the Plaguetouched Warband battalion adds some nice synergies (such as -1 to hit in combat army-wide) at the cost of some points efficiency, but would allow you to get your whole army down in one deployment. This would also give the whole army the Everchosen allegiance, allowing you to take Varanguard as battleline.

The list would scale very well up to Warhost sized games.


Once the heroes start dying, your synergies fall apart. The good news is, this is very hard to achieve.

Tactical flexibility is a big issue. To maximse the synergy, your units must all be in close proximity, relinquishing a lot of battlefield control. One way around this is to split your army into two pods, sending two Harbingers with each.

A well-timed Hand of Dust or Curse of Years will also bring tears to your eyes.

On the Table

Jim and I had a game play-testing this list. My army consisted of:

  • Nagash - 900
  • Wight King with Black Axe - 120
  • 5 Black Knights x 120
  • 20 Skeleton Warriors with Sword and Shield - 160
  • 20 Skeleton Warriors with Spear and Shield - 160
  • 20 Skeleton Warriors with Spear and Shield - 160
  • 20 Grave Guard with Great Blades - 320
  • Legion of Death Battalion - 60

We played the Blood and Glory battle plan. It ended up being a poor example of how the Rotbringer army could play. Jim moved Archaon too far out of reach of the buffs. He charged some skeletons and fluffed all his dice rolls. I retreated my skeletons onto his objective, and charged him with my Grave Guard. Over the next few turns I was able to take him down, as he did not have the benefit of the Harbinger buffs. Plus his dice luck failed.

I almost won the game, but missed a run roll with Nagash which would have allowed me to claim all four objectives. As a result, Nagash wasn’t involved in the game at all. Jim stayed in the game somehow, using his marauders and Harbingers to sneak through my army lines with canny use of retreats and piling in, and was able to snatch all four objectives by turn 5. An incredibly exciting and tactical game, which I’m still buzzing about, but not one that shows off the main synergies of Archaon Rotbringer!

I am keen to hear from anyone who has tried this! Please let me know your thoughts in the posts below. Can you think of any other counters? Would you be keen on giving the army a try?

Monday, December 05, 2016

Undiscovered Power Lists: Order Draconis

Despite the simple core rules, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar is a deep and complex wargame, with most of the complexity found in the unit rules, or ‘warscrolls’. Metagame-defining combos are still being discovered, hidden in plain sight within (and between) the hundreds (and hundreds) of warscrolls available.

Here in the land of Tron we have access to the ‘Rain Man’ of the Age of Sigmar, a mysterious figure known only as ‘Jim’. Jim has a sixth sense at finding combos, and I wanted to start a series to go over some of his list-tech.

These will be lists that we haven’t yet seen much (if at all) in the international tournament scene. I suppose I should qualify that by saying that it is quite possible some of these lists have been discovered, and even used competitively, but our focus is on their lack of prominence for the purpose of this series.

Without further pre-amble, I give you the first of the Undiscovered Power Lists - Order Draconis.

Carrying on ancient traditions from a world long-lost, the Order Draconis range across the Eight Realms,
searching for other enclaves, and assisting the forces of light against the Mad Gods.

Order Draconis

Aelf lists are not heavily favoured in the competitive metagame at present. We think this list is an exception, as it can be built to perform as one of the most effective alpha-strike lists out there. In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, games often come down to one crucial turn. This list takes advantage of this dynamic, pumping up the effectiveness of all models and enabling them to take maximum advantage of it for that one turn.

The List

  • Dragonlord Host (Battalion) - 80
    • Dragonlord  (General) - 400
      • Dragon Lance 
      • Aelven War Horn
      • Reckless (Re-Roll Runs and Charge within 10”)
      • Quicksilver Potion (attacks before other models)
    • Dragon Blades (x5) - 160
    • Dragon Blades (x5) - 160
  • Dragonlord Host (Battalion) - 80
    • Dragonlord - 400
      • Dragon Lance 
      • Aelven War Horn
      • Quicksilver Potion (attacks before other models)
    • Dragon Blades (x5) - 160
    • Dragon Blades (x5) - 160
  • Dragonlord - 400
    • Dragon Lance 
    • Aelven War Horn
    • Quicksilver Potion (attacks before other models)
Leaders: 3
Battleline: 4
Behemoths: 3
Number of models: 23


The Combos


Three deployment drops - one Dragonlord, and the two battalions. This means you will almost certainly get the first turn. And if you don’t, it’s not the end of the world, just hand back and set up for the charge in a following turn. While this makes for a spectacular first turn charge, this army works just as well saving up for a decisive big turn later in the game if required.

When deploying, a key consideration is making sure that your units are within 10” of the general at key moments - that will be the main skill of the list.


First up, the basic Move profiles are very fast; 14” for the Dragonlords and 12” for the Dragon Blades.

Add to this the battalion ability, which allows each unit to make a full move in the hero phase. If they are close enough to charge, after this bonus move, they can do so on a 4+. However, what we are aiming for is a turn one charge, so you will be starting at least 24” away from your opponent’s models, meaning this charge will require a roll of 10+ for the Dragonlords and a 12 for the Blades. We will opt to save this ability for the Dragonfire instead - more on that later.

The army now makes its regular move. By now, the Dragonlords have moved 28”, and the Dragon Blades 24”.  They should be within easy reach of key targets. Because Dragonlords can fly, you can even get over the chaff or terrain if needed.

Then you get to do your charge, on average another 7”, but you also have the General’s Reckless ability to reroll your charge rolls within 10” of him if you have positioned carefully.

The first turn charge is a big deal, but as mentioned, you can also save the big charge for later in the game - in which case charging in the hero phase might be a useful option.

The upshot is, this army can move across the table for the turn one charge more reliably than Destruction armies using Rampaging Destroyer, and almost as well as the Lightning Strike Stormcast.


A requirement of decent alpha strike armies is the ability to clear 'chaff'. Chaff are the annoying sacrificial units the enemy will throw in your way to slow you down, or ‘bubble-wrap’ more important units.

To help deal with this, Dragonlords each have a ranged ability called Dragonfire.

Remember how we passed up the opportunity of charging in the hero phase using that battalion ability? Instead, on a 4+, the Dragonlords can use Dragonfire in the hero phase, each potentially causing D6 mortal wounds. They can then do this again in the shooting phase. Pretty decent.


This is the meat-and-potatoes part of the list. Let’s assume you’ve managed to charge at least one dragon into key targets, which is quite likely. How much damage can you actually do?

Each Dragonlord has an Aelven War Horn. When blown once per game, all units within 10” gain +1 attack with each melee weapon. The wording is important. If all three blow them in the hero phase, and are within 10” of each other, that is +3 attacks with each melee weapon.

Suddenly, each Dragonlord attacks with:
  • Dragon Lance:
    • 6 Attacks, 3+ to Hit, 2+ to Wound, -1 Rend, 3 Damage
  • Dragon’s Claws:
    • 9 Attacks, 4+ to Hit, 3+ to Wound, -1 Rend, 2 Damage
  • Fearsome Jaws:
    • 6 Attacks, 4+ to Hit, 2+ to Wound, -2 Rend, D6 Damage

And each unit of 5 Dragon Blades unit attacks with:
  • Drake Lance:
    • 25 Attacks, 3+ to Hit, 3+ to Wound, 0 Rend, 2 Damage
  • Steed:
    • 25 Attacks, 4+ to Hit, 4+ to Wound, 0 Rend, 1 Damage.

Fearsome Jaws is the important one, but imagine a unit of 5 Knights doing 50 attacks! And half of them do two damage each!

Now for the fun part. The General’s Command Ability, Lord of Dragons, allows every unit within 10” to reroll all failed Hit rolls for its combat attacks.

OK I lied, THIS is the fun part; all Dragonlords have Quicksilver Potions. This is because you have two battalions in use, so you get an extra two artefacts. Most events allow duplicate artifacts (nothing against it in the GHB anyway). So you can attack with all three Dragonlords before the enemy gets to strike back. And as this is also your turn, you can even get in a unit of Dragon Blades.

And that’s pretty much it. As an alpha strike army, you are getting the charge, doing an almighty ton of damage, and hoping there is not enough left to swing back.

Army Cost

The Dragonlord Hosts as a competitive 2,000 point army is one of the least expensive to collect. RRP directly from GW it is £177.50 - less if you purchase via online retailers. That’s a pretty good deal!

Additionally, there are only 23 models to prepare, making it a good one for a beginner to get stuck into.


There are some downsides that a canny opponent can take advantage of. The key one is that this army does its thing in one turn, while the Aelven War Horns, Potions, and charge bonuses are in effect. The Hit roll of the most important attacks (such as the Dragon’s) are only 4+, so anything that reduces the hit roll is going to throw a big spanner in the works.

During turns in which these guys do not charge, the lance attacks lose +1 to Wound and 1 damage. Also, there is a lack of rend for a lot of these attacks.

Objective play is a strength of the army, with a high threat range and speed.  But the army needs to throw everything at you in one go, and then go back for the objectives once they’re done. Perhaps keeping one or two units of Dragon Blades in reserve. So if you can keep out of their reach you might be able to score enough to take the game away from them. Easier said than done though.

And lastly, just outlasting them if you can. Enough chaff ‘bubble-wrap’, a few missed charges from the Dragons, and things will start looking up.

On the Table

Jim and I had two games play testing the Dragonlord Host. My army consisted of:

  • Nagash - 900
  • 4 x Morghast Archai - 480
  • 2 x Morchast Harbinger - 240
  • 2 x Morghast Harbinger - 240
The Draconis force has been censored here due to unsightly proxies. Just use your imagination!

I had been yet to lose Nagash in a matched play game so far, spanning three tournaments and a bunch of test games, so I was counting on Hand of Dust doing some good work.

In the first game, Jim had the first turn, and by the end of that same turn I had lost Nagash and 4 Morghast Archai without striking back.

In the second game, I took the first turn, got all my buffs off, and then tried to bubble-wrap Nagash a bit better. I moved the Harbingers to take some side objectives. This time Jim charged in the second turn, and again I lost Nagash and most of everything else in one round.

Absolutely brutal!

I would be keen to hear from anyone who has tried this! Please let me know your thoughts in the posts below. Can you think of any other counters? Would you be keen on giving the army a try?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wellington Warhost 2016 Results

It was a fantastic weekend of wargaming in Aro Valley, Wellington. Fourteen players, 2,500 point armies, and four games each made for an impressive spectacle.

The final results were as follows:

1st Place: James Page (Tomb Kings)
2nd Place: Tim Lind (Deathlords)
3rd Place: Matthew Britton (Beastclaw Raiders)

Best Painted Army: Tim Lind
Best Opponent: Aiden Nicol

Congratulations to the above! Standout armies also included Shaun T's Khorne, who were unbeaten until the last round against TK for first place, Shaun B's Stormcast Retributor bomb, and Ron G's Ironjawz, who all performed very well.

Deathlords strike a pose
I personally had a much better result than anticipated, in no small part due to some epic luck in my last two games. The first was against Ron's Ironjawz, where Curse of Years triggered full death mode against 20 'Ard Boys and then again on the Maw Crusha, allowing me to secure the win. The second was against Shaun's Retributor list, where the teleporting unit of 15 Retributors failed to kill Nagash, and then me winning the double turn to summon some troops and capture all four objectives at the top of turn 3 (Blood and Glory Scenario).

As for my top pics - Shaun and Hayden were my two choices that didn't make it into the top 5. Had I not won my last two games it may have been pretty much spot on. Matt's army proved the stronger of the two Beastclaw Lists, the Magma Dragon proving a bit too much for some of his opponents to deal with.

I filmed most of my games on my phone, so will edit that up and produce a YouTube video sometime soon. The last two were especially exciting. In the meantime, check out some of the pictures from the weekend below.

MASSIVE THANKS to the generous sponsors who provided prizes. Without you the weekend would not have been so special. Thank you for helping to grow this wonderful game.
  • Games Workshop Wellington
  • Mighty Ape
  • Nathan Smith
  • James McPherson
  • James Page
  • Ron Golds
Thanks also to the ringer players. We had a bit of uncertainty in the build up to the event due to various health concerns, and had a cadre of gamers on standby to fill in. I hope you enjoyed the games you played and look forward to seeing you again!
  • Fraser Baker
  • Austin Ronald
  • Thomas Lissington
Full Results

Picture from the multiplayer game from Saturday night - 8 players over two tables with a Realmgate connecting them!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Wellington Warhost 2016 - List Overview

New Zealand's first 2,500 point tournament is coming up on November 12th and 13th. With 14 players, it is also going to be the best attended so far in our small but growing community of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar players.

The army lists were released today, so I wanted to have a look at each and give my thoughts, as well as my pick for the top five.

The player's pack can be found here, and you can follow all our event chatter on the Age of Sigmar New Zealand community or tournament groups.

Additionally, we are hoping to provide a live stream of the top tables on Twitch, so follow my Twitter or Facebook feed if you are interested.

Without further ado, let's look at the first list.

Ron's Ironjawz
Ron won the GuardCon 2016 tournament for the 2,000 point event this year, and can play his list very well. Free to bulk up to 2.5k, Ron has added more Brutes and more Pigs, essentially scaling up his army based on his existing formula. He will be using the extra speed afforded to Destruction armies to neutralise key threats early, and will likely look to the 'Ardboyz as fodder against the Beastclaw pain train.

James P's Tomb Kings
James is so far unbeaten in the Age of Sigmar, and that includes tournament wins at the NICON, Call to Arms and Skull Keep events this year. His list has remained consistent over those events in taking six Necropolis Knights, buffed by Settra Himself, and a Liche Priest for extra attacks. In this bigger game format, he has added a Tomb King, Necrotect and Necromancer to buff the unit beyond insanity. And it gets worse. The Tomb Guard are just as good as the Necro Knights. He is also running Arkhan, who can benefit from any buffs that effect Skeletons. The rest are 'just' chaff, but they perform better than throwaway units from most other armies. I think you'd have to play your guts out and get a bit of luck to beat it, and we can only hope that Jim becomes bored with TK eventually...

David's Stormcast Eternals and Extremis Chamber
I like this list. Not least because I am also building one around the Warrior Brotherhood battallion and the Knight-Azyros' ability to drop them closer to the enemy. Interestingly, David is taking the new Lord Veritant, obviously anticipating a bit of magic to nullify. Concussors and Fulminators provide a very good hammer blow to this force. One thing I thought that could improve it would be to have the Azyros as part of the battallion, as there is a risk David could lose the model before he gets to use its synergy for the inevitable alpha strike. He is entitled for a few more Starsoul Maces too, but these are hard to obtain for those who picked up the starter set. Love the list concept, looking forward to seeing how it goes for when my own Storm Chamber takes the field!

Bo's Aelven Host
Bo's bringing back the shooting! Certainly there's a lot of it here. As we discovered at Call to Arms, it is not infallible, despite the core rules allowing shooting into and out of combat. With Destruction rampaging through the metagame with their Turn One charges, Bo has several unfavourable matchups to plan around. It's great to see Tyrion on the table, and I think opponents may get caught short with the Ellyrian Reavers and their movement rules. Overall, solid MSU pew-pew that will provide a counterpoint to the 'deathstars' and low model count armies.

Shaun B's Stormcast Eternals and Free Guild
Shaun has the (dubious) honour of fielding the first Retributor Bomb ever witnessed on NZ soil. This is going to catch opponents off-guard. The combo involves the Knight-Vexillor using the Pennant of the Stormbringer to teleport a unit of 15(!) Retributors into a unit of his choice, possibly also buffed up by the mages. The small mercy is that he is taking two-less Starsoul Maces than he is entitled to, although how much of a difference that will make is debatable. He has some chaff to help compete against Alpha Strike lists, and some back-line damage from the Hurricanum. A very good list being wielded by a wily player.

Hayden's Beastclaw Raiders
Hayden is famous in the AOS community for his incredibly quick painting. He painted two full armies in the time it takes me to do a single warscroll. The worst part? The army looks great. The Jorlbad Battalion allows those units to run and charge, which is amazing when combo'd with the Destruction ability that allows units to move a bit in the Hero phase. Only having two heroes will mean he has to play mindfully on certain scenarios, but the Mournfang Cavalry will be able to cover any gaps in his battleline. Beastclaw Raiders are known for one thing - Turn One charging with big monsters. There will be those who are ready for it, and those who are not.

Matthew's Destruction Warhost
The main goal of Matt's army is similar to the other Beastclaw list. Get the monsters into the face of his opponent. I played against Matt at Call to Arms, and he came the closest out of everyone of being able to kill Nagash. Matt has brought along a bit more diversity into his list this time. Grots, for objectives and chaff-related tasks, is a good move, allowing him to add a few more options to his strategy. I am interested to see the Magma Dragon in action! The shooting attack in particular almost guarantees that a Hero will die each turn. What a beast! It turns out Matt has grudged me for round one...

Aiden's Clan Pestilens
I have no idea what we are up against here. I haven't read or have access to the Warscroll Battalions, which scares me - something I will get on to between now and the event. The Virulent Procession is made of of two Congregations of Filth. And a Foulrain Convocation to lay down some damage from a distance. I'll bet there are a heap of synergies there, so I'm going to guess that killing heroes is the way to go about taking it down. There are a decent amount of bodies on the table, so if he's careful he can insulate his catapults against the Alpha strike lists while taking out key targets. I'm a fan of lists that take loads of synergies, so looking forward to this one.

James M's Clan Pestilens
Another Pestilens army! It's rare enough to see one, so cool to have two. James played at the now famous Warlords event at Warhammer World, and has thrown himself into the NZ AOS scene. He also very generously brought us back a few exclusive goodies from WHW to use as prizes, so I hope everyone buys him a drink next weekend!

His army looks amazing, and while he has seen somewhat tempered competitive success, the swarm army is always wielded skillfully. The army is similar to Aiden's, but he is making use of different Warscroll battalions. Again, I don't have access to these to know what the key differences are, but Skrolk is present to provide hit roll debuffs, which are key to some enemy strategies.

Shaun T's Khornate Warhost
Of all the lists, this one is my favourite. A core of Khorne daemons, supported by Wrathmongers and Be'lakor! The Flamers of Tzeentch are obviously lost and have fallen in with the wrong crowd. The big trick with this list is the Warscroll Battalion granting up to three units an extra attack in the Hero Phase. And so many models... This will make it hard to compete against when playing for scenarios. Because do you really want to get close to Khorne models? Wrathmongers will be Shaun's hard counter to the crazy monsters out there that his Bloodthirsters cannot deal with by themselves. Be'lakor's Dark Master ability will win games. I'm calling it now.

Nicholas's Darkling Coven
One imagines that the poor Free Guild and Duardin present in this list are in fact enslaved to the will of the Sorceress, so spare a thought for them as they rain fiery death upon you. Quite an infantry-heavy list, Nick has supplemented the choppiness with some Demigyph Cavalry and some Ironweld artillery. It's solid, and it looks like a ton of fun. The Thrall Warhost battalion will give a huge movement and combat bonus, allowing a free charge and round of attack in the Hero phase. My guess is this will focus around the Executioners. A scary proposition for any unit he will come against.

Tim's Deathlords
So this is my list. It seems to be generating a disproportionate level of anxiety, but I think it's far from unbeatable. Since the General's Handbook came out I have wanted to field Morghast as Battleline, and I am almost there with the painting side. This means I get to summon up to 300 points of reinforcements. Had I left Arkhan out, I would be looking at Mourngul and more Grave Guard, but Curse of Years is such a fun spell that I have a hard time leaving him behind. Noone will believe I took this army for fluff reasons (that is my story though, and I am sticking to it), so let's talk about what it does. I have to rely on these few models to do the damage up front, which means Nagash and Arkhan need to make their points back on the front lines. They can do this admirably, and some lists may not have an answer to them. But some lists are making me quite anxious indeed. Morghast effectiveness is improved a lot by Nagash's command ability, so this will need to be enough to compete with those top lists. The flexibility afforded to me by summoning should allow me to compete for objectives or utilise chaff as required.

Ken's Bonesplitterz
This one is all about the synergies. The various buffs and special rules will allow the Arrowboys to make up to 120 shots per turn, which is too much for most things to withstand. Those armies unable to take down his heroes early are going to suffer big time. The other stunning stat from this army is the sheer number of wounds - 251! With objective play this will be very forgiving for Kenny, and is going to be a tall order for his opponents, where one or two smashy units might just not be enough to get through it all.

Top Five Picks

  1. James - Tomb Kings - No brainer (ba dum PISH).
  2. Shaun  - Stormcast - Retributor bomb will be key to victory.
  3. Ron - Ironjawz - Placing a good deal of value on Ron's generalship.
  4. Hayden - Beastclaw Raiders - Too fast, too strong. Should do well.
  5. Tim - Deathlords - Going to back myself, as I've seen Nagash turn games around. 
The last few are very match-up dependent. I could see Kenny's Bonesplitters and  Matt's Beastclaw list doing really well. As always with AOS, you cannot fully discount any army, so I am sure I will be proved wrong!

So, do you agree/disagree? Who are your picks?

Massive thanks to our event sponsor Mighty Ape - do check out their excellent hobby section!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Call to Arms 2016 Warhammer: AOS Tournament Review

A review of the results and general awesomeness of the Warhammer: Age of Sigmar event at the Wellington Warlord's Call To Arms convention.

We had 11 entrants and one ringer player, making it one of the biggest events at Call To Arms.

Unfortunately my tournament software failed me on the day, after using it successfully at several previous events. Luckily I had a backup spreadsheet handy, which worked very well. I tend to play at events as well as organise, so luckily this method wasn't too time-intensive.

I'm going to look at the results first, then at how some of the lists performed. I will then go over my thoughts on the battleplans we played. Once I have a bit more time this week I will post a full battle report of my final game against Tomb Kings, which decided the tournament.


Congratulations everyone! Campbell's army was particularly impressive:

Army Performance

Player army lists can be viewed in a previous post.

Tomb Kings

This was the winning list. The Necropolis Knights buffed by Settra and the Necrotect was the undoing of most armies, as they flew around the table doing crazy damage. Highly mobile, and highly durable with the unit banner. The Terrorgheists cry combined with the Bravery debuff from the catapults had more modest success, but were responsible for taking down a Treelord Ancient. Jim played the Freeguild, Sylvaneth, and Nagash lists, and had the most problem against the Undead. All up, the mobility served the army well with the objectives, and the 'deathstar' Necro Knights did the damage. Tomb Kings are very much a power army in Age of Sigmar.


Multiple Celestial Hurricana are a great combination, and Shaun's list had a lot of success. Only by missing out on a major objective did he come second - his kill points were not matched at Call To Arms. It's great to see the human troops do well, and suspect great things are in store for the faction going forward. Shaun says the mortal wound output was a key part of his success, and that the General on Griffon performed well with the extra attack and damage. His opponents tended to focus on his chaff units, allowing him to move on to table his opponent in most games. The game where he didn't push for the tabling cost him the event!

Beastclaw Raiders

This faction was only released on the day of the event, but thanks to the current release policies, the rules were available over a week beforehand. With only nine models, I was a little bit sceptical that the army could perform in battleplans that require quantity of models to capture objectives. In practice however, they did really well. Allegiance abilities allow the army to get across the table very quickly and hit hard, and so were able to neutralise opponents pretty well. I played this list in game two, and only Nagash was able to pull the game back. He would have won it easy had I not had the big guy.

Moonclan Grots

There were two armies that took Moonclan, and both had a mix of infantry and large creatures. The gribblies can be scary; I came up against the Troll Hag and Colossal Squig, which had some great abilities. The problem arose with Bravery and Battleshock. Once the infantry take a few models off, they crumble very quickly. The fanatics had some great rules, and it was great to see Skarsnik hit the table!

Aelf Bows and Arrows 

I was curious to see how this list performed, because it was almost 100% ranged attacks. With units that can shoot while in combat, it had the potential to be very powerful. It did do quite well, winning two of the three games with Major Victories. Bo never got the chance to play against the top three, so to some extent never got to fully test it. However, he went down against the Sylvaneth army, who were able to get across the table quickly. Once in combat their effectiveness was neutralised. I would like to see this matched against Tomb Kings. I think it would have done well against my army.


This faction is going to be one to watch. Being able to teleport across the board thanks to the Wyldwoods makes them a great alpha strike army, which is going to define the meta-game somewhat. Jim says if it wasn't for the fact that he spread his army a bit too thinly, and failed to focus on the priority targets in his army, Brendan would have won that game.

The Nagash List

It was great to be able to get my army down in two deployment drops, meaning I always got the choice of first turn. I probably made the wrong choice once or twice however. It was crucial on one of the games. The Legion of Death troops make excellent objective holders, with a ward save from the allegiance abilities and regenerating models. They are slow, but the battalion rule does help with that. The Wight Lord was very tanky. I found the Ring of Immortality useful - if he died I was able to resurrect him on an objective. But the true hero was Nagash. Simply put, he swings the game. He only came close to death once against the Beastclaw Raiders, but otherwise he serenely drifted around turning things into dust. He worked very well with a solid infantry core. The Grave Guard all got taken out before they could do anything.

Battleplan Review

Border War

I played against Alistair's Moonclan. Taking the first turn allowed me to take the central objectives and score 5 VPs in turn one, which put Alistair on the back foot. He was able to retake them for a while in the middle of the game, but in the final two turns I was able to table him and take the back objective. I think getting that first turn and being able to capture the middle objectives early is a huge advantage, but you have to be able to weather the counter attack.

Gifts From The Heavens

Such a good scenario, one that I almost messed up. On each player's second turn an objective will drop in a random part of the battlefield. My opponent for this was the Beastclaw Raiders, who just focused on smashing me. My troops were quite slow, and I deployed them too far forward, so I got charged in turn one. However, without quick troops it's difficult to react to the objective drops. Requires a diverse list to cope with. Even tabling the opponent is no guarantee of victory if you can't get near the objective. Remember that you score more later in the game too.

Blood and Glory

This was my favourite. You can move off the objective and still control it, until your enemy comes and claims it. We slightly misinterpreted exactly when you can 'flip' it. We played it that you can only claim it at the end of your own turn, but the rules do say you can also do so at the end of your opponent's turn. We were consistent so it didn't effect the outcome. The most significant thing about this battleplan is that you can only score a major victory if you control all four objectives, which can be quite tough. My army for example is not very mobile, so I could only ever hope for a minor victory against an agile army like Jim's.


I've had some fantastic feedback following the event, with gamers really pumped for more. Jim and I will have a rankings page up soon, so hopefully we can form a solid tournament scene out of the success of events like this. I can only see the game going from strength to strength.

The General's Handbook rules get a big thumbs up from us!

There are players who really want to play at 2,500 point level, while some are happy with the smaller point events. I hope to be able to test all sizes and formats this year to see how we go, so it's great to be able to test the waters.

A massive thanks to Matthew, Luke and especially Nathan for supplying some of the most amazing GW store terrain they've put together over the years. Nathan brought his Legion of Azgorh as the ringer player, won two of his games, and most importantly gave people really fun games.


Here are some of my favourite photos. You can view a full album on my Facebook blog here.