After being literally knocked out of football I played golf senior year of high school and through college. If you were like me, a bogey to double-bogey player on average you hit 90-110 shots in an 18 hole round all for the 3-5 shots that you’d remember. That 300 yard drive you had that miraculously landed in the fairway, even if you mangled your approach and three putted. That approach shot from the rough after a bad drive that landed on the green and gave you a shot at birdie, even if you choked leaving your first put a foot short and your second put a foot long. That 16’ put you nailed to save par after barely making it onto the green with you third shot... It is those shots that you remember that get you back on the course after you’ve sworn off the game having just put three consecutive balls into a water hazard.
This... this was like hitting a hole in one. And I say that even though I was on the wrong side of it. I was playing the Frostlord on Stonehorn. I rolled 10 for my charge but only did 3MW. That left the Beastlord with two wounds. I activated my FLoSH first and he was fully powered and had Brand of the Svard Artefact plus Black Clatterhorn Mount Trait so I knew I had a solid set of attacks coming up.
For fun I tried first to punch him out of the game. Two landed, enough to kill if both go through but with no Rend he easily saved. Fine, onto the Frost Spear. With three damage I only need one of the two Wounds to go through and with -1 Rend the odds are in my favor. No dice though as he rolls 5s & 6s. Not sweating yet as I roll 3 attacks with my Crushing Hooves. All three go through! But again he rolls 5s & 6s!!! Suddenly the Everwinter is not looking favorably on me as ONLY ONE of my Horn attacks go through... But it’s the -2 Rend so only a 6 keeps the Beastlord alive. Surely he has used up all of a Khorne’s favor in the last three Saves?!? Nope, Khorne smiles and he gets a 6. The Beastlord lives to fight another turn.
I’m obviously telling this game out of order and as far as this Blog goes I need to go back and cover the previous game given its importance to Zoom League’s operation but having just finished this game I just couldn’t wait to get this post done.
Going back to the beginning we were playing the GH20 Starstrike Battleplan at 1K. I was running Boulderhead Beastclaw Raiders and my opponent was running Darkwalkers Beasts of Chaos with the Brass Despoilers Battalion. BoC had fewer drops so I’d had to deploy with a bubble around my FLoSH ( having learned the hard way how frustrating it is when he doesn’t get his a Charge off) as best I could with limited drops in case they went first and Ambushed units to try for 9” Charges. No luck though as they had me go first. I did my best to advance up the table so no matter where the first objective landed I’d have a chance at it R2 while doing my best to maintain my bubble.
In their turn they positioned a set of Bullgors on the Western landing sight but instead of using their first Ambush to “pop the bubble” they instead used it to “claim the Eastern potential landing site. They would charge a unit of 10x Bestigors into my Huskard and 10x Ungors into my Mournfang (we were proxying Gnoblars fir those looking closely...) as well as summon 10x more Ungors. His Bestigors degraded but did not kill my Huskard while you Mournfang killed most of his Ungirs with the rest fleeing in Battleshock.
At the end of Turn 1 we rolled the landing site and I got lucky that it came down in the middle...
I was less lucky when my opponent rolled the double-turn.
With the ability to Run & Charge they were able to get the Eastern flanked Bestigors into my Frostlord (few four unit bubbles can withstand a double turn...) and they teleported some Bullgors close enough to have a 10” charge into my FLoSH, which they made. They used the Ungors they summoned last turn to screen off my Mournfang. On the other flank their Bullgors charged my Gluttons. Only the Beastlord failed their charge...
The Bullgors did some damage to my FLoSH but not enough to degrade him between good saves and his Stone Skeleton wound negation. I overcommitted to wiping the Bestigors, killing them off with 5 Wounds to spare with my Horns, leaving only my Frost Spear and Punches & Kicks for the Bullgors. That was enough to kill one and Wound another. (I’d finish that one off with my Frost Sabre in a later activation but that still left my FLoSH pinned with 1 surviving Bullgor.)
The other Bestigors got my Huskard down to 3 remaining Wounds but in a rare case if the exception that proves the rule he actually dished our a decent amount of damage, killing enough units to allow Battleshock to clear a few more. After the game my opponent realized they could’ve popped the Brass Despoilers once per to help Bullgors & Bestigors reroll all failed Wound rolls. Not sure how big a difference would have made for FLoSH given saves and Stone Skeleton as I also had the CP to a Dig Deep My Heels and ignore the damage when making my attacks. But could’ve made difference with Huskard. <Corrected from initial post after opponent confirmed it was NOT Beastlord CA but this one he forgot>
All in I had to be happy with where I was at when my turn in R2 started. The Grasp of the Everwinter rolls were amazing for me and I cleared the surviving Bullgor, freeing my FLoSH to make a normal move. My Hailstorm went off killing the remaining Bestigors around my Huskard who healed himself via both his Mount Trait and his spell, getting back down to 6 Wounds taken. He was now free to move as well.
I was hoping to charge my Mournfang into the Great Bray Shaman on the Bailwind Vortex but they only had enough when I rolled to get into the Ungors. My Huskard made their charge into the Bullgor. And my FLoSH charged the Beastlord, setting up the combat this post started with.
Fortunately I killed off the Bullgor and the Ungors so all-in-all I was in great shape heading into R3. Both of the objectives fell in the East. My opponent won the initiative again and went first setting up a last stand on the Eastern Objective in their territory with the Great Bray Shaman and summoned Gors. The Beastlord’s luck ran out though and died in the R3.1 combat phase.
When it was my turn I had the choice of staying simple and just claiming the objective in my territory and in the center likely with little chance that anything could knock my FLoSH off the former nor a significant probability that I’d lose the middle if I plopped my Huskard, Frost Sabre and remaining Glutton on the middle objective. That would still let me charge my Mournfang into his Shaman and Gors, and if they survived he’d pretty much be stuck there in R4 while I collected VP.
But I went for the more fun approach moving everything I could towards his last redoubt (though I did position my too far away Frost Sabre so, if necessary, it could claim the objective in my territory and the solo Glutton would similarly be in position to claim the center objective in R4 as well.
My Huskard would fail the charge but get in range to Shoot at the Shaman, wounding him enough that he’d die on my Frostlord’s Charge. The Mournfang would kill all but one of the Bestigors, with a single model left on the table my opponent more than graciously conceded.
Ultimately this one for both of us was about learning. On my part a lot of the consideration was around the Huskard, They’ve dropped in points and this game I got about as much as I’ve ever gotten out of one of them with all but one of my prayers going off and the Shooting Phase going as well as it has since the nerf. While I again whiffed their melee R1.2 they didn’t some melee damage in R2.1 and then god charge damage in R2.2. I’m still not sure that even when it’s about as good as it gets, even at the lower cost, that it is worth it? But after this game I can’t completely dismiss the unit.
For my opponent as much as the Battleplan theoretically favored Darkwalkers mobility their sense was that Gavespawn may have been better in this game. There was also debate regarding whether the aggressive play going after the Huskard was worthwhile? Post-game seeing how close they were to killing the Huskard (with the probability increased had they used the Brass Despoilers once per) and how much damage the Huskard did manage to achieve this game I’m guessing in 3 out of 5 tries the gambit would’ve paid off and then they could’ve been more patient in other aspects of the game. But I’d acknowledge it is a tough call.
And of course part of the learning process always relates to the mechanics of Zoom League itself.
Laying out and clearly labeling all the potential landing zones is probably overkill for an in-person game. (NOTE: before the game started we decided to remove the tower you can see in picture below.) But in a remote game it was very helpful and a major time saver. A side benefit was that the lines and markers also helped visualize the Herdstones range.