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We, the faithful


Hampshire Hammerers

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We, the faithful

 Hobby goal month 4 - South Coast Grand Tournament, Waterlooville.

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Just Wow. 

First, you may be wondering: 'what happened to month #3?' -well the goal is twelve armies, twelve events, twelve months. So I guess one month will have to be a double!

Anyway, back to the agenda. The South Coast Grand Tournament. 

Accompanied by veteran Independant tournament go-er (& fellow #Hammerer) Will, this was   the first time I'd ever play Warhammer 'competitively' outside of a GW organised event. 

Having already been to both a single & doubles campaign weekend at Warhammer World this year, there would be a huge amount of new challenges for me to navigate in preparation for this event. First, and most importantly, there are points (or pools) which I have so far not  considered in AoS.

The pools are a fantastic design to ensure there is a balance in army selection for competitive play. Instead of the recommended model count idea used at GW's events, you get a total pool cost for your army, but only use 2/3rds of  your total force for each game. So out of 150 'pools' you are allowed to take 100 pools-worth of models for each game, but can completely interchange what you would like to field for every scenario. You can find the pool choice point system here: 

http://www.heelanhammer.com/SCGTdownloads/SCGT16PoolV2.0.pdf
Despite the recent hate, rage quits & reduced attendance at 'official' events, the SCGT team have achieved attendance of 130+ players in the games' first year, a testament to their fantastic support for Age of Sigmar through associated podcasts Heelanhammer & Facehammer. The event itself created such a buzz in the lead up to the weekend on social media that GW themselves announced they would  attend to provide online coverage & promotion of the event through their new AoSFacebook page. They even sponsored a prize driven community painting award for best army voted for on their page from a shortlist of armies they selected over the weekend.

At a glance, army selection seemed daunting considering I would be painting an army almost from scratch for the event. Pool costs for units, particularly characters appeared to be quite low, & with a 150 pool total this could have been a big project! I was already intrigued to see how 100 pool-sized armies would cope with a 2.5 hour time limit in game.

Some of the 'big hitters' are of course a large pool point sink - I hesitantly took Nagash, who is 55 pools alone! You can find the lists for all four of the attending #Hammerers (and everyone else) here: http://www.heelanhammer.com/SCGTdownloads/SCGT16Lists.pdf

House rules were also in place covering everything from measuring to summoning, wound allocation to spell spamming, even covering those pesky dice roll changing abilities. You can find them all in the events pack here:

http://www.heelanhammer.com/SCGTdownloads/SCGT16RulesFAQV2.0.pdf

The major appeal for me however, were the battleplans. Each one is designed to test the versatility of your army selection. Every angle had been covered. Camping on an objective? - we'll make them explode, or even just vanish. Bringing a slow & hard hitting army? - Try capturing some table quarters. In hindsight both Will & I felt we should have read into the scenarios more to make sure we were bringing more of an'all-comers' army. Not that it necessarily means you'll be the victor in AoS!

Excellent narrative & exciting scenarios are hugely important to me in Age of Sigmar & every one of the six games played over the weekend provided some seriously cinematic battles.  

Arriving early on the Saturday morning, Will & I had already had the chance to see which table, player & faction we would be battling against first, as these were all made available the night before the event.

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So, how'd it go?

Game 1 - vs. Chaos

Heralds of the Storm


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Grand Marshal of the Apocalypse. Not a title the ruinous powers would simply just hand out to anyone. Game 1 saw Nagash & my malignant forces face the Overlords of Chaos formation & a mixed slaves to darkness warband.

We would be fighting to occupy as many of  x4 central objectives as possible, which in turn push a storm-front to & from your army, damaging units it passes over en route.

Only Heroes & Monsters could control the objectives, & with only two heroes on the table (one of which was a monster too) I had an uphill struggle from the off!

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With various Khornate Heroes camping on the objectives, I knew I would have to play aggressively in order to win this battle - committing Nagash to the centre of the board early in the game to lure the enemy from their deployment zone. The morghast & hexwraiths hit the chaos lines on the second Battleround in the hope of doing sufficient damage for Nagash to single-handedly do the mop-up work of crushing the enemy heroes. Through some awful dice rolling, my vanguard failed to make a big enough dent in the chaos lines & the slaves to darkness surged forwards.

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Nagash was left to face off against the 4 remaining Varanguard & a rear charge from Archaon, who was trailed by his gaunt summoner lackey. Despite losing every initiative roll for first turn, Nagash not only obliterated the varanguard, but removed a full wound Archaon with the hand of dust spell! Unquenched of his thirst for souls, The Lord of the dead then proceeded to hunt down & destroy the tzeentch summoner too!

img_3788.jpgUnfortunately, Khornes' champions resisted the temptation to strip Nagash of his final three wounds & remained on the objectives while on the other flank the enemy Skullcrushers commited my wraith & skeleton bodyguard to dust. The game ended in a loss for me 3-1 on objectives.
Game 2 - vs. Death

The Winds of Death

Relegated from the main hall for my defeat, game two would be held in the second hall which luckily for me was were the bar was! I was to play a fellow death army commanded by Jonathon - a friend of my first opponent who had both travelled all the way from Norway/Sweden just to attend the event!

In this scenario, we had to control the majority of x6 objectives that could be captured by any unit that wasn't a hero. At the end of each Battleround, whoever had the most objectives scored 1 point. 

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Jonothan had really nice looking death army & for this battle he chose to use Neferata, 2x 20 zombies, some Vargheists, a coven throne & at least x10 Blood Knights. He also had a summoning pool of spirit hosts & skeletons.

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Again I opted to play agressively with Nagash & the morghasts - wthe latter were pulled down very early on by Neferatas' ethereal Blood Knights. 

Despite consistent harrying from Arcane bolts & skeleton archer volleys, the objective guarding zombies resurrected every casualty they suffered. Jonathon also played his summoning pool well, manoeuvring spirit hosts to slow Nagash in reaching the zombie picket lines while the blood Knights tore through my hexwraiths defending my left flank. 

Neferata skulked at the back of the battle line, never once committing to the fight! Some excellent rolling also saw the Vargheists on the right flank tear through my grave guard in a single round of combat, even before the coven throne appeared to support.

A sound beating for me, from one of the nicest opponents I've ever played against!

Game 3 - v.s Destruction

Garden of Life

Based in Ghyran this scenario allowed units & heroes to either purge or initiate corruption on a variety of terrain pieces around the battlefield. 

Still within the back room of Throndean community Sports Hall, game 3 was against an MSU force of Ogors owned by Paul (@LoftHammer) including Tyrant, Butcher, Bulls, ironguts, maneaters & one of each of the big Ogor beasties. 

There are no pictures of this game, as we were having such a laugh drinking & playing the scenario that all thoughts of photos went out the window! I'm sure the combination of booze & banter is what won me the battle that afternoon!

Outright fear of having never faced Nagash cost Paul the game as he refused to commit units to destroying him early on which left the Supreme Lord of undeath running rampant across the board. 

Most of the Ogors were placed on the right flank of the board, including both monsters - so I threw my dispensable deathrattle units to face the enemy in the hope of slowing them down while I corrupted the other terrain pieces around the battlefield.

A great game against a fantastic guy, & my first victory of the weekend!

Game 4 - v.s Order
Fire & Brimstone 
Having seen our upcoming opponent detailed on the SCGT website on the Saturday night, I was convinced that the word 'Order' would translate to my army facing off against one of the many Stormcast armies arrayed around the venue. 

I expected some nasty teleporting movement shenanigans from my enemy which would prove costly in a game where controlling table quarters was the objective of the mission. What i faced in game 4 was so much worse.......

I was surprised to find my opponent had brought a Wood Aelf army to the table!

Lightning however, was still about to strike. Facing a cavalry heavy army accompanied by Orion, Twilight sisters, wardancers & glade guard, I was immediately concerned that fast manoeuvrability & a lot of shooting would be the ruin of my restless legion in no time.
Not knowing how your enemies' army plays is a massive disadvantage, & I discovered to my horror that I had lost the minute I elected to go second for the opening Battleround of the game!

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Winning the roll off for first turn, I figured I would let the Aelfs come to me & sweep them aside in a counter charge. I then had to watch Nagash receive a turn 1 double-charge from both Orion & the sisters, who proceeded to butcher him before he'd even moved off the battle line!

With one of the best command abilities in the game, I will never, ever, elect to go second with Nagash again!

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Broken, battered, & without the Supreme Lord of undeath, my army didn't last long after. I was at least able to take the heads of Orion & the wretched twilight sisters, scoring my general killing hidden agenda mission.

Game 5 - v.s Chaos

The Celestial Compass

Remaining in the main hall despite an absolute kicking from the Aelfs, the next game pitted my undead legion against a mounted mortal Khorne army, (complete with compulsory Tzeentch wizards). Chariots, Skullcrushers, Knights & chaos Warriors were vastly arrayed against my much smaller force.

The mission involves both armies having a relic style object that the enemy must seize & drag back to their own deployment zone over five turns. Every turn the relic has the potential to do damage to units that get too close.

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This was a fantastic scenario as it meant that you couldn't just camp a unit over the objective or they would continually take accumulating damage the longer they stayed within range. 

I decided to position a large unit of skeleton spearmen around the relic as they were easy to regrow despite suffering consistent losses. My opponent opted to guard his relic with chaos warriors while the entirety of his remaining force (bar the Wizards) stuck to khornes' wishes and charged across the board as quickly as possible. 
Thanks to some terrible rolling from the Chaos player ( clearly for using tzeentch with khorne! ) multiple failed charges meant that a large portion of his army was stuck in the centre of the table for me to throw counter charges at. The morghasts ground down the chariots before they were finally dismembered by skullcrushers & the grave guard inflicted heavy casualties on the jugger-knights and deathbringers.

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Nagash however, utterly humiliated by the first turn assassination last game, was on an unholy rampage. The Deathlord butchered anything that came towards him, including a large unit of chaos Knights, & two separate units of skullcrushers. A khorne Lord & skullcrusher retinue managed to break through my lines and began hacking down my skeleton barricade, before Vlad leapt down from a nearby rooftop & took 7/8 wounds off the Chaos Lord in their first round of combat! The vampire Lord soon made short work of the rest of the Chaos worshippers!

The game ended in a draw though the khornate army had suffered massive casualties, Nagash ending the game carving up the centre table, picking off wizards & heroes along the way. 
A draw, and a bloody retribution from an earlier defeat.
Game 6 v.s Chaos

Battle for the Allpoints 
For the final game of the weekend, the objective was to control one of x4 realmgates, throwing units across the table with a chance they'd end up in random parts of the battlefield.- or dead of course!

My last opponent for the weekend was Steve Wren, who's stunning chaos army had kept me glued to Twitter in the run up to the event. 
Steve was fantastic to play against & the final game felt really cinematic with Archaon leaping through the realmgates to clash one on one with Nagash in the centre of the table. Steve also ran units of x1  varanguard - which I'd never seen done before but was brilliant for objective controlling gameplay. I also faced MSUs of chaos warriors, helllstriders, Lord of Slaanesh & a mutualith vortex beast.

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Half way through the battlerounds one of the realmgates would randomly collapse making the objectives even more difficult to claim. Not wanting to face the Lord of undeath alone, Steve threw in the varanguard & mounted slaanesh Lord to soften him up, however he positioned Archaon within range of my morghasts who counter-charged and began whittling down the grand marshal of the apocalypse. 

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After a couple of rounds of combat, the slayer of kings failed to unleash the daemon within and deliver the killing blow to Nagash, & the everchosen was slain! (Again)

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Despite this epic showdown, my forces failed to hold off the remainder of the chaos army & I finished the weekend with a crushing defeat to the ruinous powers. A really fantastic game though & close until the end. 
Finishing 117th is certainly something to improve upon for next year, but it really was a fantastic weekend with an awesome group of games, balanced pool system & most importantly, fantastically competitive scenarios. 

It was also great to grow the attending Hammerers from 2 - 4 by the end of the weekend! At no point did I feel the armies I was fighting were unfairly balanced or that there was any 'tourney' tension among the players. 
Massive thank you to the DWR team for an incredible event, we cannot wait to gather the clan & return in force next year! 

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It's clear you had a ton of fun at the event.

I would like to attend this next year (fingers-crossed). Went to WHF on my own so I'm sure I could manage the long train ride from the cold north and back.

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