Last week-end I was in Prague, playing what would probably be my last games of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, participating in the ETC (which is like the world championship) for Austria . Lets go down with a boom! So I was happy to go to the tournament with my namesake Manfred von Carstein.
– Count Manfred: general
– Master Necromancer: L4, death, Obsidian Loadstone, Sceptre of Stability
– Necromancer: L1, vampire, Dispel Scroll
– 38 Skeleton Warriors: FCG, Banner of Swiftness
– 2×40 Zombies: musician, standard
– 3×5 Dire Wolves
– 4 Morghast Harbingers
– 4 Morghast Archai
Round 1 – Belgium: Calvin Sies (Daemons of Chaos)
He plays the typical Nurgle-List: max beasts and flies, plague bearers with two herolds and some Tzeentch for magic. In theory his units slowly kill mine but he is terrified of my two purple suns and has no real counter against my terrorgheist. The odds slightly favour me but again those are Daemons where anything can happen. So everything depends on some artillery dice rolls and initiative 2 tests.
Due to the Blood and Glory scenario he can deploy closer to me and I have only one Zombie unit to spare (before losing too many standards). He gets the first round and comes slowly closer. At this point he makes a big mistake: I can charge a single Nurgle beast with Zombies in the front and Morghast Archai in the Flank. With my passive bonuses he loses the combat if he fails to do 6 wounds (+1 for each wound I do) to win the combat. Otherwise he has a very big chance to crumble and I overrun with a 4 into the flies without counter. BSB is out of reach and I have two Doom and Darknesses against no Dispel Scroll.
I get a good magic phase (as always with Manfred). First Doom and Darkness, 3 dice: 5 – not enough (I need 6). Second Doom and Darkness, 3 dice: 5 … Now its going to be a close one. But it wouldn’t have mattered anyhow since the beast kills 7 Zombies and I lose the combat.
The morghasts get 4 beasts in their back and the flies (which should have been pinned) successfully get a long charge on my carrier, 2 in contact with Manfred, 2 in contact with my master necromancer (my fault, the level 1 should have been in the front, even if getting charged is highly unlikely). At this point I see the 0:20 coming up.
Very luckily my master necromancer survived the impact. In my round my opponent desperately needed to dispel my purple sun. That’s why I was able to cast reroll to hit and reroll to wound on my skeletons (healing the necro at the same time). Then I screamed some wounds out of the flies and Manfred used his buffs to do 4 damage (also generating dispel dice for the next round). On short: I kill the flies.
On the other side my Morghasts and Zombies on the right slowly die and I kill 2 beasts with a sun. On the left we play a bit hide and seek with the hill. He rolls a 12 in magic and I was relieved that he had no plague bearer (or even bloodletter) models to place in the flank of my Zombies (to kill them and claim scenario victory).
In Round 5 he did something I don’t really understand. I finally ran out of redirectors and he could go in on both flanks with his beasts. He decided to pull his second flies back, turn his left beasts around and marches with his right beasts very far. I had well enough space to fit my skeletons outside of all possible charges and even put my morghasts in a aggressive position. I decided to go for the safe points and sniped the Tzeentch herold. Since my terrorgheist survived the Tzeentch missiles, I made a 10:10 out of a desperate situation.
Round 2 – Switzerland: Raphael Jenelten (Vampire Counts)
Vampirelord with strength 7, level 4 Death, 2 banshees, 2xZombies, crypt horrors, morghasts, ghouls. My list is superior. Still this Strength 7 vampire can be a problem if my morghasts got pinned. So I say the King of the Hill scenario slightly favours him, but I can get more than even with killing other units.
My opponent decides to corner. He uses the wall as shield and places his zombie carrier with all his characters to the edge of the table, facing backwards. I can only explain that with an unreasonable phobia of snipes …
First round I advanced, he stayed. I can get really easy 3 points due to scenario, but I know I can get more out of it. But only if I get him away from the wall, which would give him the advantage in all my charges and then he can scream me dead. So i decided to go in boldly, put my terrorgheist in front of the zombiehorde to the left (rolling a 2 on the scream) and „redirecting“ the ghouls and crypt horrors.
After consulting with his captain, he took all of my baits: Zombies into my terrorgheist. They did 4 wounds, killing it of right away and even got the 9+ overrun in my zombies (landing on the scenario marker). I was not expecting that! Still I had more zombies (24 raised already) and with support of direwolves I killed them over time, claiming the scenario marker again.
He also charged my redirector with gouls and crypt horrors and my morghast archai with his morghasts. To prevent my morghasts to counter his in the flank he needed to use both his redirectors. I charged the first, forcing him to dispel my magic missile on the second redirector. So I got a sun, which was just too short to hit 5 crypt horrors. Still it forced him to dispel it in his round. But it also forced my wolves to turn to his charging crypt horrors, which gave the also charging ghouls a 9+ overrun in the flank of my carrier.
Luckily they failed it. I used the morghast reform in his turn (overrun in the second redirector) to charge the ghouls in the flank (for half their points in the end). Now I got a nice purple sun killing 5 crypt horrors.
The remaining 3 tried to help the morghasts in their long fight. My opponent even reraised models in both his units. But my morghasts held. I charged in the flank with my carrier and was able to kill both his units with magical support and crumbling.
Round 3 – Norway: Christian Brubakken Vouilloz (Tomb Kings)
He has Grand Hierophant Khatep, Level 4 death, 38+2×16 Archers, Hierotitan, Casket, 2 catapults ,5+3+3 Morghasts. With double death I saw me slightly in favour, though he can push with his morghasts and do quite some damage with catapults and archers.
He placed the large archers and the large morghasts on the left. the rest was separated by an impassable piece of terrain in the middle. I decided to keep my morghast harbinger covering the left side and advance with all on my right, starting to snipe and throw purple suns.
Fortunately the catapults did nothing (3 missfires in 4 shots). In my round three I was in a situation where I could go all-in with a very good chance of breaking through and scoring big. But also with a chance of failing and losing high, all depending on a few dice rolls.
I consulted with captain and coach and went in. My remaining 7 wounds of harbingers charge from the hill to the front of the five harbingers on the left. Statistically I stand this with 3 wounds left. So I even had a few wounds to spare, which were giving me the one round I needed to prepare the break through.
Zombies countercharged the skeletons which were pinning my harbingers on the right hill. This had multiple effects: After a reform they could go for the catapult or whatever would be in the way. Also I needed to put my terrorgheist where the zombies were standing before. The enemy morghasts to the right would need to decide to either pin my morghasts which were preparing to reform in whatever direction I wanted to charge next or clipfight against my terrorgheist, over-running to nowhere, where some of my zombies were waiting to counter.
My skeletons of course pushed 10 inch forward with two purple suns which would hit the hierotitan on a 4 and both titan and casket on a 6 on the artillery die (so basically a 3+ or 4+ on a D6).
Thanks to Manfred I get a good magic phase, as always. The master necromancer casts the purple sun. Khatep uses his scroll, which lets the sun through, but has a the possibility to do D3 damage on a 6+ on my necro. The sun misfires. I roll for the scroll: 6, damage: 3 (5+). There goes necromancer … Ok, Manfred your turn. Sun comes, doesn’t misfire, but also doesn’t hit.
Bad but still no worries, as long as the morghasts hold. I get one wound (statistically 2). If he gives me 5 wounds (statistically 4) all is fine. He gets 6 wounds and a reform to face my carrier. Afterwards I even made a bad reform with my other morghasts seeing nothing but the catapult, which was able to move out of sight, costing me one round.
He charges my carrier with 2 morghast units and the third charges my terrorgeist. I see the 0:20 coming again.
The zombieorde charges from the hill to the flank of the morghasts. I healed some skeletons, regaining the champion. So I was able to pull Manfred back in the second row, minimizing killing blow attacks. But it didn’t help me much, since the purple sun kill the champion again (look out, who cares), along with 2 morghasts and the hierotitan. Next: Doom and Darkness on the morgasts and after the scream of the terrorgeist there were 10 less wounds to deal with. Manfred also did one wound, removing a model, reducing the morghasts to 4 killing blow attacks on him (4+, 6+). All four hit aaaaand he’s dead …
At least the terrorgheist survives its crumble test, preventing the morghasts to reform in my round. So his round my opponent spends to kill off my units in close combat and failing reform tests which would allow him to get his chars to safety next round.
So my last desperate attempt to the some points is charging his carrier with my morghasts. I cannot do much damage, because I’m facing a konga with the champion. I do maximum damage, so there remains the standard with 2 chars in their backs. Even with maximum damage next round, both remain with one hit point. Unless he summons skeletons in the unit. Which he does! Since he rolled poorly for their numbers, he summoned the exact amount to kill enough, so his general and level 4 crumble and I save 5 tournament points.
Round 4 – United Nations: Zack Martin (Tomb Kings)
Khalida with 70 Archers (70 poison archers which hit on 4+), 2×4 morthasts, lightspam and a carrier. In my mind I would get some wounds due to shooting, but I would be able to get a unit of morghasts into the archers and then I will throw suns and win. Wow, did I misjudge this matchup!
We got Blood and Glory. So I needed to keep a Zombieunit safe, on top of my carrier. I was perfectly aware that he was able to kill off one of my units in one round with double shots and a bit of luck. For the morghasts he needed two rounds and I could reraise most of the damage. Since he got +1 for first round (and also won the roll), I kept my distance to prevent one shooting phase. Than I moved forward, hoping for a charge with the statistically remaining 2 morghasts after the shooting phase).
Then I was reminded of a tiny magic item I somehow over-read during preparation for the game: The srolls of „I roll 4D6 and on a double you die“. A banishment and a shooting phase later, the morghasts were gone. I still wasn’t willing to give up (and play 8:12), I had a morghast unit remaining.
I charged his Morghasts in the center. The other morghasts had a long charge and also were standing in a position in which they could not charge, if I was able to block the riders with a successful raise. After clearing this situation with the judge (I would create a so called „Iron L“, which is considerded bad play, but would be my only possibility to raise morghasts, which on the other hand would be perfectly legal), he decided to dispel the raise, making the way for -2 strength and toughness.
In this position I would create a lot of damage, but not kill him, gaining a reform in his round. IF: The other morghasts would not get their long charge, I guess it was a 9, even more if I could reform first (which did not happen).
The morghasts arrived and of course also my terrorgheist died. It was a calculated casualty, I needed to make sure, the other morghasts died and even put my opponent to choose targets, if my morghasts got free too early.
My opponent reformed to kongas and charged zombies with one, and my carrier with the other unit. He needed to kill one of the units in 4 rounds of close combat and the third with ranged (which was no problem).
The 9 skeletons I lost to a miscast in round 9 turned out to be crucial. After three rounds of combat, he kills off the perfect amount skeletons, leaving Manfred and the level 4 behind (winning the scenario). He always dispelled healing, so I had 6 dice left for 2 purple sun. The necro starts, killing 4 morghasts, generating 2 more dice. Manfred also casts the sun. One more dead morghast would mean 180 tournament points, two double, 3 triple. A chance I was willing to take (since I was facing 4 killing blow attacks again …). The sun misfires. The Nekro lives, one morghast dies and Manfred … dies too … He was worth the last point, giving me a 0:20.
Intermission – Warmachine/Hordes
There were some tables set up, where you could play test games of Warmachine/Hordes (and get free starting boxes). Since I will start playing Warmachine anyhow, we took the chance for a quick game. I played Khador.
Basically we pushed our figures and rolled dice.
Until I, and I alone – with no help from anybody, saw the weekness in my opponent’s troops, charged (or moved magically) with my Warcaster in front of the enemy warcaster and did 21 damage with a spell, killing her off.
Round 5 – Danmark: Kent Max Hansen (Daemons of Chaos)
He has almost exactly the same list as my first opponent. So again it’s dicey, a bit to my favour. This favour was countered with the King of the Hill scenario, where he had a solid unit to put there and I needed to decide whether to sun the unit in the center or preventing the rest from killing me. On my side there was also a lake in front of the centre, making it even more difficult.
The game can be devastating in any direction and since I wanted to avoid having a bad final day of ETC – and probably Warhammer – due to dice rolls, I gladly accepted his offer to call it a 10:10. Unfortunately the rest of our team gets badly beaten (60:100 cap).
Round 6 – Australia: Akhter Khan (Vampire Counts)
He played almost exactly the same list as me. He had a few more Skeletons and 3×20 instead of 2×40 zombies. So I would say, mine is slightly more effective, but again a purple sun (or two) in any direction would decide the game.
We played Meeting Engagement. I decided, if I deploy first (gaining the first round on a 5-), the odds (first purple sun) were enough in my favour so I would go all in. But I didn’t get do deploy first. My opponent placed his first unit on the very back of his deployment area. I asked him, if he was planning on cornering there. He said yes, he didn’t want to risk it. With him there, I wouldn’t risk it either. Running against 4 purple suns (my own counting) will definitely destroy one army, probably along with the fun this player was having on the tournament.
So I said, I would stay in my corner, we will call it a 10:10 and we will play a real last game just for the fun of it.
The fun game:
He hid his carrier behind the impassable, put his terrorgheist in the rear and a unit of morghast on the right and one on the centre. I would go over left and centre, with a bit of a distance, because I only get the first round on a 6.
I got the first round and moved forward (and placed my right wolves really badly).
His centre goes back, his wolves redirect. His right morghasts kill my wolves. We both snipe. No kills, but I lose both my scrolls. Second round I charge zombies with the morghasts on the right, scream some wounds to the morghasts besides (which then charge me) and pull the dispel scroll with a purple sun.
My left morgasts charge zombies. 3 remain, no countercharges (except for zombies) possible. Next round I get the reform and then I can clipcharge the carrier and I also kill the terrorgheist with -6 Leadership and a scream.
In my phase the terrorgheist charges the flank of the right morghasts. My carrier does not get the 15″ rear charge on the other morghasts. But I get a purple sun and the opposing Manfred (the obvious imposter) fails both look out and initiative tests and we shake hands. Fun last game, nobody is mad about anything, as it should be.
It was a fun tournament, though our team had a really tough time with lots and lots of „unusual“ situations (like a full bloodthirster gets insta-beaten by 4 Templeguards …) and lots of gaming frustration. Then again I had 5 good games (and one nice talk instead of the game) and met some people from last year, though I was not able to talk a lot, because I lost my voice on day one.
And finally: Looooooot!