Monday, May 30, 2016

AOS Tournament Army Lists for NiCON 2016

Less than a week to go - final touches are being made to armies, rules packs are being printed, scenarios are being scrutinised. Tournament week can be intense times!

We finalised our field for the Age of Sigmar event last week, with a total of 8 players. I am encouraged by this number, as I had about 16 express interest but unable to make if for the weekend. Some would have to have travelled quite far, and some couldn't commit to the two days. I think future events will take the form of single-day events in future, once the General's Handbook has been released.

What's more is that many of those playing AOS were not part of the 7th or 8th edition tournament 'scene', so good on them for giving it a go.

Below are the lists, with some brief thoughts. As a reminder, we can bring up to 120 points to the event, but we can deploy only 80 per game. The exception is summoning, where you can summon 2 points worth of troops for every point less than 80 that you deploy.

Army Breakdown

This is a fairly small field compared to the big oversees events, so the diversity of armies is somewhat limited, with no Destruction armies at all - though the composition of each is quite different.

Army Lists

I'll start with my list. I have the option to go infantry-heavy, but as mentioned in my previous post, my main competitive 'trick' is based around getting the Mourngul and Morghast summoned in the first turn in order to quickly cause carnage and contest objectives. Arkhan will extend his spells to buff, but if I need to play a defensive game, Krell will lead with his Lord of Bones to give units extra attacks. 

My potential Warscroll Battalion choice is the Legion of Death, giving my Deathrattle units and extra 4" move, and an extra body back each turn.

The other Death army is mostly Tomb Kings, but with some of the newer units as well. Based around Settra's buffing ability, and that of the Priests, Necromancer and Tomb King, his aim is to turn the Necropolis Knights and the Tomb Guard into unstoppable forces. The smallest list, but probably the toughest nut to crack.

This order list is making good use of the larger selection of units available to Grand Alliance: Order. Containing units of Free People, Duardin and Stormcast, the Warrior Lodge has a good mix of speed, shooting and armour. Potential battalion in the form of the Thunderstrike Brotherhood for the Stormcast would allow Tristan to 'deep strike' a large portion of his force, which could be handy for several of the objective-based scenarios.

A pure-lizardmen list, led by none other than Lord Kroak himself, I'd say Carl will be making use of his summoning pool, with Kroak providing support from the rear lines. The area-of-effect damage potential is significant, and there are some excellent synergies to be had with his other heroes nearby his troops. Scary potential. I believe this list would allow him to take the Bloodclaw Starhost if he chose to.

This Order list has also mixed it up, with Sylvaneth in a reluctant alliance with the Fyreslayers. Led by the damn-scary Durthu, Marlin will have to rely on the big tree damage, synergistic with the Sylvaneth Wildwood terrain features he is bringing with him and could potential summon with Durthu. Good use of that terrain could really mess with his opponents.

A pure aelf exile list, replete with the one and only Malus Darkblade, returning to form post-End Times to bring the pain. Executioners are the stand-out unit, with Nicholas having the choice of deploying them as five separate units or as one host of suffering. It's got speed, magic, shooting, hitty-ness. How Nicholas works the force together will determine it's overall performance against lists with excellent individual units.

Embracing the Blood God's own ethos, Byron has decided to field the best of what the Bloodhosts have to offer - no less than 13 heroes, including three unique 'special characters'. But with a cunning of Tzeentchian levels, there is also a ton of synergy here, with the Blood Reavers, Bloodsecrator, Wrathmongers, and Bloodstokers able to make his meat-shields dish out the hurt in their own right. Can't wait to see it on the table. Potential battalions include the Goreblade Warband, Gorechosen and Dark Feast.

Another scary list, with a good mix of synergies and individual prowess. A myriad of potential summoning options, and the magical fire-power to make it work. Dan could flood the board with units, which will make of challenging games for his opponents, and the speed with which he can cross the board will serve him well with many of the scenarios. Another tough list to beat.

So those are the lists. I will post some updates from the event on my Twitter feed and Facebook page if you'd like to follow along. The next post will probably be of the results, followed by a post-event write-up. I think I will be too busy to post anything before then.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Our Epic Three-Player Age of Sigmar Battle

As mentioned a few weeks back, I had been preparing for a three-player battle with my good buddies. It turned out to be an absolutely epic day, and a brutal, close-fought, tactical game that came down to almost the final dice roll to decide. In fact, it was among the best games of Warhammer I've ever played.

We used 'open play' - no points (agreeing to literally bring whatever we liked), and no extra rules restrictions or modifications other than those presented in the latest draft FAQ.

The scenario was Convergence of Fate, which we only adjusted to make deployment zones more suitable for three players, and removed the extra re-rolls for Vow of Enmity. The goal is to have the most models within 3" at the end of the game. The game ends at the conclusion of Turn 6, or at the end of a turn in which one of the armies is completely wiped out.

The armies deploy for WAR

The battle took place in one of the Underworlds within the Realm of Death, where the memories of the souls who linger there have formed facsimile landscapes of the World-That-Was. This is why you will notice some familiar names.

The Forces consisted of:

The Host of Light

The Host of Light gathers
Eltharion the Grim (General)
Tyrion - Avatar of Light
(thank you +Mengel Miniatures !)
2 x High Aelf Mages
1 x High Aelf Prince
25 x Swordmasters
15 x Lion Rangers
2 x Chariots
5 x Dragon Knights
3 x Bolt Throwers
20 x Archers
1 x Great Eagle

The Tomb Legions of Settra the Imperishable

Settra marches to battle
Settra the Imperishable (General)
Royal Warsphinx
2 x Tomb Kings
4 x Liche Priests
1 x Casket of Souls
6 x Necropolis Knights
20 x Tomb Guard
40 x Skeleton Archers
1 x Necrosphinx

The Deathlords of Shyish

The Deathlords emerge
Arkhan the Black (General)
Wight King with Black Axe
Wight King with Infernal Banner
2 x Morghast Archai
3 x Spirit Hosts
40 x Skeleton Warriors 
10 x Grave Guard
5 x Black Knights

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Death Army List and Strategy for NICON 2016

With our North Island Gaming Convention just around the corner, it is time to make the hard choices about what to bring in order to sow death and reap souls in the name of the Great Necromancer.

Here are my thoughts about what I'm bringing, what my overall strategies will be, and how I arrived to those decisions.

NICON Army Composition

At NICON we will be using the SCGT players pack, with the exceptions that we are allowing all legacy warscrolls, and that the pool choice restrictions are 120 for the army and 80 for the deployed warband.

Starting Point

My collection started with the Deathrattle faction. I love the models, and the Dark Lord of Despair has been leading my forces through our local escalation campaign. I had the following models:

  • Wight King (Black Axe) - 3
  • Wight King (Infernal Standard) - 3
  • Necromancer - 4
  • 20 Skeletons (Spears) - 8
  • 20 Skeletons (Swords) - 8
  • 10 Grave Guard (Great Blades) - 8
  • 5 Black Knights - 5

I really love the synergies with these warscrolls. the Lord of Bones command ability (+1 to all attacks) and Vanhel's Danse Macabre (an extra pile-in) has proven very effective on my Grave Guard, and on occasion, Black Knights. My original plan was to add the Legion of Death warscroll battalion, and so started painting up another 20 Skeletons and 5 Grave Guard.

I have the Nagash model, but felt he would be a bit too over-the-top for this tournament. I didn't want to put off anyone new to the game or the hobby, but I also didn't want to turn up and lose 6 games. So I selected his lieutenant, Arkhan the Black - one of my all time favourite characters, to lead in his stead. I also added other models from my collection in order to help fill out the points:

  • Arkhan the Black - 18
  • 2 Morghast Archai - 10
  • 3 Spirit Hosts - 5

I'd love to get more Spirit Hosts. Those things are great value. So the plan at this point was to deploy the Legion of Death battalion, and then summon the Archai, Spirit hosts and some more Grave Guard. But then something happened.

The Monstrous Arcanum warscrolls came out.

Enter, the Mourngul.

The Lure of Power

The SCGT guys brought out a pool cost for this bad boy a week before the pool choice lock for NICON, so I was able to include the Mounrgul in my list. This would give my army some much needed punch, and also help with taking and holding objectives. But how best to fit him in? He is 18 points (exactly what my group predicted it would be), but by including him in my summoning pool I could halve this. The downside is that the Mourngul requires a casting roll of 10 to cast.

Arkhan gets +2 to cast by default. When summoning, he gets an extra +1. With the Morghast Archai nearby, he gets another +1. I happened to have a Mortis Engine still on the sprue from one of the starter boxes. With it, I can give Arkhan a sweet + 5 to cast (before any terrain bonuses), making the Mourngul summon much more reliable. So I put the Mortis Engine together in an evening, and with 3 weeks left to go, set about painting it and the Mourngul. These new acquisitions meant I have to forgo the extra skeletons and Grave Guard, and not take the Legion of Death battalion. But I feel much better having including them.

  • Mourngul - 18
  • Mortis Engine - 7

This left me with 2 pool choices left over. Luckily there is a 2 point option in the Death Grand alliance - the Cairn Wraith. Time to pick one up. The plan is to have it hang back behind the Grave Guard or Skeletons, smacking up big units with it's 2" range.

The Summoning Pool

I plan to keep the Morghast Archai and the Mourngul in the summoning pool. In scenarios and against opponents where I have to be attacking, I will use Arkhan as the general, his First of the Mortarchs command ability extending the range of his spells. I would summing both the Archai and Mourngul in the same turn if possible. This will place my hardest-hitting hammer where I need them in order to assault objectives. Arkhan can then sit back and try to get as many Curse of Years spells off as he can, adding Vanhel's or Mystic Shield along with the Necromancer as needed.

The Leadership Conundrum

Using First of the Mortarchs means passing up Lord of Bones, which has until now been a very successful ability. I guess it will come down to the situation need for it. I know for example there will be a Khorne Daemon army and a Khorne Bloodbound army at NICON, and they will be moving towards me as fast as possible, meaning Arkhan's extra range will be less important. In this case Lord of Bones could be the better option. Will have to take that on a game-by-game basis.

Final List

So that's the plan. I will be taking the Black Knights with me, but in all likelihood I will not be deploying them unless the extra mobility is absolutely crucial in the right circumstances - perhaps to help achieve the Breakthrough Hidden Agenda.

Deployed Warband

  • Arkhan the Black - 18
  • Wight King (Black Axe) - 3
  • Wight King (Infernal Standard) - 3
  • Necromancer - 4
  • Cairn Wraith - 2
  • Mortis Engine - 7
  • 3 Spirit Hosts - 5
  • 20 Skeletons (Spears) - 8
  • 20 Skeletons (Swords) - 8
  • 10 Grave Guard (Great Blades) - 8

TOTAL = 66

Summoning Pool

  • 2 Morghast Archai - 10
  • Moungul - 18

TOTAL = 28