By far the most stunning thing about Holy Wars are the event’s tables. From the Endless Deserts of Shyish to the verdant forests of Ghyran, you feel like you’ve stepped into the Mortal Realms when you sit down at a table. No detail has been ignored in the crafting of these scenarios. While many stock terrain pieces are present on these tables, most elements of these tables are handcrafted by Steve Herner and the love and care he lavished on their composition is obvious. There is not a single table that doesn’t entice you to want to explore it.
Almost as enticing as the tables are the scenarios tied to the tables themselves. For this event, every single table had its own unique scenario. Some were attack and defend, while others were about slaying terrible terrors present on the board. No matter what table you were on, you could be assured that the table would be playing the game as much as either you or your human opponent were.
For the hardcore competitive types, this event would surely be a problem because it was so very hard to plan things out in advance. Each game had 4 objectives: (1) a table objective [7 points], (2) a grail objective [6 points], (3) a secret objective [4 points], and (4) most-units-surviving objective [3 points]. Each table objective often had to do with a strategic piece of terrain that needed to be fought over. Every table also had Grail objectives that included 1-3 Grail Tokens that needed to be protected. These Grail objectives all also generated a buff within 6” that buffed all units (allied and enemy like) with things like bonuses to rend or attacks. For the secret objectives, there were five secret objectives and each player had to choose one before each game. Additionally, each player could only choose each one throughout the entire event so you had to make your selections wisely in any given matchup because you didn’t know what your next matchup would look like. The final objective was to have the most surviving units at the end of each game. So, on any given table, there were 10 moving parts, between scenarios, table effects, and your opponent. It was almost impossible to come into this event with a preplanned list/strategy because of all the moving parts.
The Tables and Scenarios
We’ll now briefly turn to each of the 15(!) tables and their associated scenarios.
Table 1 – Invasion of Ghyran
The Oak of the Ages has always been the heart of the forest and in the Mortal Realms the seeds sprout new life. Armies across the mortal realms seek to harvest the great power of the acorns.
This is an attack and defend scenario with one of the forces attacking the tree and the other serving as defender. The defender of the tree got benefits (battleshock immunity and reroll all saves of 1) when immediately around the tree, which was certainly a huge perk for being forced to be stationary. The Grail Tokens on this table were spread around the tree in a triangle, one in the path of the attack and one on each of the north and south sides of the tree. This provided interesting cross-incentives because it pulled the defender away from the tree in order to gain points and it help the attack back from the tree as they would leave some troops to defend it on their advance.
Table 2 –Temple of Khaine
The search for the Sacrificial Dagger continues and blood will flow as armies seek to harness the dark power of Khaine.
This scenario was a take and hold scenario with the Temple of Khaine in the center. The individual holding the temple could only gain points by sacrificing (unpreventable) wounds from their own units every round. The Grail Tokens on this table were likewise in a triangular pattern around the temple with one in each of the starting zones and another in the center of the table right near the entrance of the temple.
Table 3 – Bugman’s Grudge
Bugman’s Brew lives on in the new age fueling those who seek to gain power and knowledge from this legendary elixir.
This scenario was a model-feeder scenario where you dumped troops into Bugman’s tavern to get rip-roaring drunk. Units from both sides could garrison the tavern but they couldn’t fight one another because they were too busy drinking, although they could in fact attack any units outside of the tavern. This led to people piling units into the tavern while hold units outside of the tavern to attack enemy units. Each turn there was a 50% change that 1d3 of your models in the tavern would pass out and be removed as casualties (could be selected from any of your units; these losses were total, not for each unit). The goal was to have the most amount of model loss to drinking at the end of the game.
The Grail Token objective was hidden away in the mountains surrounding the tavern. Each player could send a unit into the mountains to search for the token. The first player to roll a 5+ find the grail token and it gets locked at the entrance of their mountain. This objective would quickly become a hold and defend objective once the token was found.
Table 4 – Aelf, the Shrine of the Phoenix
Anointed still wander the realms in the Age of Sigmar. A great power from ages past still holds power in the new age.
This scenario was a take and hold very similar to Table 2 (Altar of Khaine), although instead of doing wounds to your own troops, a hero garrisoning the shrine would burn their enemies with the Phoenix Gaze spell (granted by garrisoning). The player who inflicted the most amount of wounds with the Phoenix Gaze spell would win the primary objective. There were three Grail tokens on this table as well, although I am not sure exactly where they were as I did not get a chance to play on this table.
Table 5 –Favor of Sotek
Lord Kroak ancient and venerable still seeks the power and blesssings of the mighty Sotek.
This scenario was interesting because it set the table objective, which was a take and hold that caused wounds (or healing!) to your own troops, against the Grail Token objective, which was also a singular Token of take and hold. To make matters worse, each of these objectives were in one of the starting zones, so with each one a player would literally start on top of one while having to travel the length of the table to get to the other. So starting side was important, as was mobility.
The full scenario rules can be found here, and the full table maps and terrain features (with rules) can be found here. In the next part, I'll cover tables 6-10.