So I attended Sheffield Slaughter just over a week ago and GW Heat 1 this last weekend. I went 3-2 at both with Stormcast and just thought I'd put my thoughts down after facing a variety of different armies over the 10 games/2 weekends.
To Sheffield I took:
Game 1: Total Commitment vs Fyreslayers
Despite regularly playing against Fyreslayers this was one of the toughest games of the weekend, my Dracolines literally bounced off his wall of half naked dwarves killing a grand total of 3 on the charge to be promptly shot to pieces by magma pikes. The game was a slow grind won perhaps more by luck than great generalship. My opponent forgot that gryphounds can retreat after attacking despite it happening the previous turn and I retreated onto one of his objectives, that might not have won it but 5 sequitors coming back to life to take his other objective sealed the win for me. I killed a grand total of 860 points but was effectively tabled. MVP of the match was the knight incantor, a 3 MW arcane bolt followed by a suicide charge with vial took out the allied Celestant Prime.
Game 2: Focal Points vs Beast of Chaos
My first time playing against BoC. Their endless spells were annoying and a turn 1 charge by bullgor put some serious hurt on both sequitors and dracolines. A failed charge by deep striking gors? bestigors? gave my Dracolines a chance to retreat from the bullgors and charge them to take out the whole unit in one go. This was the only battle where I felt the evocators on foot pulled their weight. Despite various shenanigans on the flank to try and slow/bog them down they ground their way through everything in their path to secure that objective. Sequitors just refused to die, a lone prime left alive in every unit ended up taking out the last of the bullgors and 10 or so ungor. A solid victory this one with me not only tabling him but killing everything he summoned as well for a loss of 380 points.
Game 3: Escalation vs Legion of Sacrament
The only game of the weekend that I felt was unwinnable. Arhkan + 90 grimgasts. There's not much I can say against about this. Dracolines did manage to chew through a unit of them and keep him from bringing them back for another turn. I am just yet to find an answer to grimgasts, even 30 of them is a problem for me, 90 is just ridiculous.
Game 4: Places of Arcane Power vs Slaanesh
Another first for me facing Slaanesh though I was fairly aware of what they did I still underestimated the killing power of daemonettes especially when in large units. Dracolines failing their turn 1 charge left me exposed to counter charges and a 6" pile in from an exalted greater demon took out both my general and artifact carrier, it did bring him within 3" of the evocators though and they made quick work of it, MWing it off the board in a single round. Before being summarily obliterated by daemonettes. Various other foolish mistakes on my part followed. Incantor blowing her vials put enough wounds on herself and a dracoline to let a keeper of secrets finish her off and reduce the dracolines to 1 which I remembered too late meant they were no longer a wizard so could no longer hold the point. Game ended with a victory for Slaanesh; I killed 1390 points and lost 1940 so very very bloody.
Game 5: Better Part of Valour vs Legion of Nagash
As this army was led by Nagash I was expecting an uphill struggle. Dracolines did what dracolines do though and tore through grave guard and zombies alike to secure the central point, despite Nagash's presence. Evocators chewed through spirit hosts to take the right objective at which point my opponent agreed victory was mine. We played on for kill points though. Despite killing all the Dracolines, most of the evocators and my general, Nagash eventually succumbed to sequitor great maces and was slain. 1480 kill points for 980 losses, these numbers I think were a little bit inflated by the knowledge that I'd won turn 2 and our decision to just go for kills.
GW Heat 1
After Sheffield I decided to alter my list. I hadn't felt like the evocators on foot had pulled their weight at all so I dropped them in favour of more sequitors. What the list ultimately ended up looking like was:
Game 1: Shifting Objectives vs Troggherd
A fun but very brutal game leaving a total of 7 models on the board at the end of it. Hand of gork put a big unit of rockgut troggs 9"s from my dracolines but they failed the charge and then promptly all died to dracoline claws. 4 rotguts managed to kill or rout the big sequitor unit in a single round but the objectives shifted in my favour to give me a solid, if somewhat bruising, win.
Game 2: Places of Arcane Power vs Beast of Chaos
My first experience against Battletome Tzangor and a perfect example of "fool me once" with the enlightened's reroll ability allowing them to kill all the dracolines in a single round. Despite that it was a close game, by the end he had 1 character left capable of holding the points with a single wound remaining. Some of his characters died to the "wrong thing" which meant I didn't cap the points till the following turn. A couple of dice going a different way and I think this one was winnable.
Game 3: Starstrike vs Stormcast
20 evocators and 4 ballista made up the bulk of this army. I was very foolish in this game but also very very lucky. I forgot, or didn't notice he had a heraldor. I moved my dracolines up to 17"s away from his evocators, perfectly safe I though till they were 5"s away with a rerollable charge...which they failed. I won priority and not wishing to look this gift horse in the mouth I promptly charged in with the dracolines and killed 14 of them, the rest ran to battleshock though they did hurt the dracolines in the process, who were promptly finished off with ballista fire. All 3 objectives dropped down one side of the board, shielded from LoS of the ballistas by a massive piece of terrain (realmscape feature limited shooting and casting to 18"s as well), I dropped 30 sequitors on them and camped there for the win. Also if anyone ever doubted it, sequitors are better than liberators in a 1v1 fight every time.
Game 4: Better Part of Valour vs Deepkin
This was a very back and forth game and it did come down to turn 5 to find a winner, probably my favourite of the weekend. Dracolines turn 1 charged across the board and took out 6 eels, a counter charge by 20 thralls killed the lot of them, oups. 6 eels and Volturnos crashed into 10 sequitors with Azyrite halo on them. The eels basically mortal wounded themselves to death as I rolled bucket loads of 6s to save (but couldn't hit for toffee). Volturnos, on 1 wound remaining finally killed the last sequitor on turn 3, who promptly came back on the opposite flank, thanks Hammers. A knight incantor charged Volturnos and popped a vial to finish him off. At this point, there's 2 burnt objectives, 1 on each side and score is all even. I made my first mistake here, a unit of sequitors had dropped down near the incantor to help hold the objective from some allied Khinari but they weren't close enough, they should have tried to charge Volturnos or failing that I should have burnt the objective. On the other flank, the resurrected sequitors failed a 4" charge that would have given most likely given me control of that objective (10 seqs vs 10 reavers). He moved the khinari forwards to take the objective and burnt both of them. Victory at this point was his...I did get some retribution by clearing off the reavers, khinari and a turtle but too little too late. 1480 kill points for 1280 losses. Another game that was winnable.
Game 5: Border War vs Ironjawz
This game was brutal and not in a good way. Opponent took first turn and moved up but couldn't charge me, Dracolines and sequitors charged on my turn. Dracoline claws alone took out 10 brutes and the arcanum killed a mega boss. Sequitors whittled down some gore grunters for maybe 1-2 deaths. I got the double turn, dracolines charged another unit of brutes, his mawcrusher and warchanter. Brutes and warchanter both died, mawcrusher survived with a couple of wounds remaining. 30 minutes into the game with 8 models left in his army and 2 kills, my opponent conceded.
Overall I'm much happier with the heat 1 list, all the games felt more controlled and less seat of the pants than Sheffield sometimes had. I don't think I'll be using evocators on foot any more though. I'm not convinced they're worth the points, after their initial hit they often die or are left too far away to contribute further. I also didn't feel like the 20 man unit of sequitors was any better than the 10. I'll probably drop it in favour of 3 units of 10 for next time. I also think I need to be less aggressive with the dracolines, everything they touch turns to dead but they often die or get bogged down after that, being deep in the enemy deployment and too far from heraldors or castellants to help. My final thought is that I think we've got the tools to win (grimgasts aside) and I don't think we're in as bad a place as recent statistics make it look. A little more luck or a better player than me could, I feel, have won 3 out of the 4 games I lost.