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Beer & Pretzels Gamer

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94 Celestant-Prime

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  1. YES!!! I came to AoS as salvation from complete burnout from the illogical puzzle dynamic of historical war gaming. My breaking point wasn’t the geometry per se but an incident where I spent three hours out of a five hour Gettysburg game getting my cannons in position and properly getting then limbered from the horses only to be told that (despite this replicating their positioning in the actual battle perfectly) that my cannons couldn’t shoot at their target because a small corner (talking a few CM) of a cornfield “obstructed” their vision and there was nothing I could do about this so the opposing soldiers could march right up without ever taking any grape shot... I’d accepted plenty of “silly” geometry rules up till that point “in the name of historical accuracy” as the guy who ran the games always insisted but after that I was done. Haven’t played a rank & file historical war game since. It took a big adjustment to go from that to AoS. The idea, for example that if one model is in range the entire unit was in range made me cringe the first half dozen times I played. Or that all a failed charge meant was that you stood still, not got stuck out in no man’s land as happened in some of the historical games I’d played. But one aspect I liked from the very beginning was the more “natural/realistic” movement. Units could flow with the terrain. Once battle was engaged battle lines stretch and deform. I LOVED this aspect. To the extent that it leads to gamey moves I think that has less to do with “Skirmish” rules than being an objectives based game as until we switched from narrative games to match play games in prep for a fun local tournament simply put we never really saw any obvious “weirdness” in the way armies moved, charged, or piled in. Similarly as soon as we go back to narrative games they disappear again. And while I’m not a big fan of solving mechanics issues with more mechanics issues the increase in “pick a model” and things like he Allopexes no pile in I think do just enough to discourage overly aggressive “gaminess”. So are AoS rules perfect? No. And in the Zoom-based meta I’m currently playing in we really work to avoid big blobs for other reasons. But I think a virtue of the AoS rules is that they are flexible to accommodate both big blobs and more elite builds in what, from my perspective over last ~18 months, is a very rapidly evolving grand meta.
  2. Fair enough. That said, while I’m new to SCE I’ve been following a lot of other factions threads here for a while and there does seem to be a broader new tome derangement syndrome to AoS where there’s almost always something new that everyone thinks will break the game each time a new tome is released. Fair enough some of these do rise to the level of needing a FAQ nerf but all too often once the games are actually played, turns out to be not so game breaking. I know in my own little Zoom League meta one player was absolutely convinced that the “counts as” for objective rule for Mawtribes meant that they were unbeatable, especially given the Stonehorn’s resilience. Except of course there were plenty of Battleplans where even with three FLoSH the opponent couldn’t contest enough objectives early, and if they were separated and allowed for concentrated fire a FLoSH will go down like anything else on the table. As to SCE specifically, as a newbie think the whole Gav sub-thread highlights part of the issue for outsiders when they look at SCE. Know I showed a bit of arrogance when I agreed to play SCE in Zoom League without checking the models I had against the tome in any serious way. SCE definitely has some interesting pieces but getting them to work together requires way more list management and trade offs than I think those who haven’t spent the time realize. So yeah, if SCE could truly stack all the potential buffs and manage to get everyone piled in without going out of the bubbles, etc. etc. they’d be potentially OP. But of course they can’t.
  3. Again, I’m new to SCE but I’d agree that my first impression of this battalion (given the cost to maximize points wise as others have pointed out) is that a list built around it is closer to 2-3/3-2 than 5-0. Not that a good player with a bit of luck and a lot of skill couldn’t pilot it to a tournament win occasionally, just that more often than not after the first wave of build crests, the tide will turn against it. Additionally, I would not be surprised to see those losses coming against factions in the lower win rate tiers. That said I could easily see one of those wins coming against a list expected to go 5-0. And to me... that’s a good thing. I like a “Rock, Paper, Scissors” meta over there being a few dominant builds out there at any given time. So unless the definition of OP/Broken/Dirty is the ability to disrupt an OP/Broken/Dirty list’s playing style, while regularly failing against less optimized lists, I think a lot of the “panic” the battalion is generating is simply due to lack of games being played.
  4. Just got done playing a TZ Mortals list built around blocks of Kairic Accolytes. Combination of the points we were playing at and lack of the models didn’t have the Tzaangor to screen them and thus had to deploy in a manner that avoided their getting into combat as they tended to “evaporate on impact” (even with the no Battleshock Artefact from Guild). That I guess would be my request for future follow up given your obvious passion for TZ - your thoughts on how to deploy different TZ Mortals builds to be able to contest objectives but avoid losing low wound/low save models early.
  5. Bullgors and Big Boys work well over Zoom. Huge blocks of Ungors or Gods can take some time to move around if you’re trying to do anything too tricky but some of the Ambush tactics are a good workaround. In one of our one off games we had an epic last stand where a combination of bad rolls for BCR and great Saves for BoC saw a Beastlord survive a full blast from a Frostlord on Stonehorn. If you do try playing a stream game would love to hear what is working for other people.
  6. Have ordered one, as yeah, that seems like a pretty solid support piece. Strangely enough my kids didn’t find a guy holding a lantern (at least without wings...) to be cool. Same goes for totems. So while I had a lot of the big toys such as Stardrake, Taurulon and Prime was pretty deficient in the more general support units.
  7. Right up front it is worth acknowledging that the tournaments I played these two armies in were structured very differently. Blisterskin was played in an Escalation based tournament that started at 1K and went to 2K in 250 pt increments. Guild of Summoners was played in a three match tournament where you had a fixed 1.25K list and got an extra 250 points to customize to the battleplan and match up. That said I think there were some key takeaways regarding what works and what doesn’t when playing games via streaming. 1) Balance is Better FEC may not have many models, and with the exception of 1.75K when Crypt Ghouls made a cameo, I was playing an even narrower set of the range. But FEC is very balanced across the phases of the game. You’ve got some magic and, via a battalion, an extra pile-in in the Hero Phase. You’ve got decent Movement that can change the board dynamics. You’ll have some Shooting from Crypt Flayers and Terrorgheists. You’re not combat averse so chances are you’ve got a few Charges to make. And in Combat you’ve got a reasonable, but rarely ever overwhelming, number of dice to roll. In contrast the Guild of Summoners list was very heavily weighted towards casting in the Hero Phase plus some Shooting as I was trying as much as possible to avoid combat except with a couple units. While I got pretty proficient in my casting it is largely a time in the game when my opponent is sitting there twiddling their thumbs. If this isn’t exactly fun in person it is even more boring when you’re just staring at a screen where not much is happening. Or at least there’s not much you can do. Against Ironjawz with Mighty Destroyers there was some similar sentiment that you were just having to sit it out (at most roll some saves). The argument isn’t that you should ignore the strength of your list, just again, the recognition that some lists work better over Zoom than others. I really want to further explore Tzeentch’s options but this doesn’t look like the right format for it. 2) Dice Drama Stronger w/Fewer High Probability Rolls than Massive Quantities of Low Probability Ones At one point I got all 40x Crypt Ghouls into combat against a Mawkrusha and some Gore Gruntas buffed with the Abhorrant Archregent’s Ferocious Hunger spell so I was rolling 160 attacks. In person based on Shootas and Stabbas I know there can be some drama to this but in a variation of the above the time it toook to roll all of the attacks, reroll is the 1s, and then reroll all of the wounds, only for the low probabilities to radically reduce the number of Saves that needed to be made and then, especially with the Mawkrusha’s Save in a Defensive build, only see a few wounds actually go through, is pretty anticlimactic. In contrast, Crypt Flayers were never rolling nearly as many dice but with MWs on unmodified 6s to Hit every roll felt like it meant something. Again, in person the stuff that matters is always more fun and interesting than the stuff that doesn’t. Over Zoom inconsequential stuff is a momentum killer. For context as half of us have kids we’re not starting these games until 8:30 PM and we mainly play on week nights with some of us having early starts. So while the Crypt Ghouls were a very effective chaff screen, especially backed up by mustering and the Chalice of Ushoran, I didn’t bring them back at 2K in order to preserve the pacing and not drag games past midnight. 3) Battleplans Make a Huge Difference Over Zoom there can be a tendency to want to just line your units up across the deployment zone and rush forward to try and Smash your opponent. Anything that simplifies the Zoom dynamic of course makes some sense and then the format pushing you towards elite lists such as Triple Frostlord on Stonehorn Boulderhead or Double Cabbage Ironjawz where such tactics align well with what they do best only. While these types of matches can be fun Zoom League would quickly lose its appeal if that was all it was. Blisterskin and Guild of Summoners are clearly NOT designed to play like that. With Blisterskin I was often castled up to begin with and then relying on my edge Summons, Lord of the Skies teleport, and overall good mobility to maneuver around the board. None of which would matter if Battleplans didn’t make such tactics a virtue. Blades Edge has been the best Zoom League option as it forces a more dynamic play style. Battleplans where holding an objective for multiple turns have also proven their worth in keeping games fresh and allowing for a slightly broader set of factions to be played. -x-x-x- Keeping games fun AND competitive is something AoS struggles with under normal circumstances. Under current socially distant conditions we are clearly leaning towards the fun but we still want wins to be based on meaningful interactive aspects of the game. So as we continue to play and tweak our approach maximizing meaningful interactive moments is a focus. As a result again I will be moving on from Tzeentch for now as the play style too often minimizes player interaction. FEC is coming back, albeit via a new player who is looking to go full Monster Mash v Gristelgore. Me? I’ll be switching over to Stormcast Eternals. Partially because I have a bunch of SCE models from when it looked like my kids might get interested in the game that could use a turn on the table to knock the dust off. But also because I think they may offer a lot of what I got out of Blisterskin without ever needing to bring a Horde unit a la Crypt Ghouls onto the table due to a wider variety of battle line options. We’ll see...
  8. Thanks for the Feedback. We named the new escalation tournament Holiday Havoc because we knew the Holidays would wreck Havoc with our scheduling and sure enough the first round match ups already in question. That said the list was originally built to go up against Gristelgore and FEC’s Bravery based shooting. So one aspect of Hammers that I appreciated was the +1 to Bravery further reduced my vulnerability to their Shooting. Not sure that’s enough to justify taking Hammers but, and this is circular if the Castigators are simply a waste anyway, another aspect was my understanding that to be able to use Astreia’s CA on them I needed to take Hammers. As far as WYSIWYG we are pretty lax both because in general we are a pretty chill gaming group but also because the very nature of our Zoom League means we are playing based on what I have on hand and/or can proxy, with the other players viewing the table via Zoom. Players can and have dropped off armies but, for example, we aren’t sweating the Ironjawz player on whether the Gore Gruntas are built with Hackas or Choppas when they build their list. So besides the points constraint at 1.25K no reason at higher levels I couldn’t upgrade to the Lord Celestant on Stardrake. Regarding Staunch Defender a clear lesson from prior league games is that when playing either Mawtribes or Warclans you typically want your biggest Hammer to be be doing the charging instead of being charged given the Damage dealt on the charge by these units and the buffs they get from charging. I was hesitant than that I would be losing the Staunch Defender buff when I needed it most?
  9. There is a Cellestar Ballista kit with a female engineer.
  10. Despite playing for almost two years and SCE being the poster boys my experience with them is limited to one head-to-head at a tournament a year ago. That said, during the first year I was playing when it looked like my kids might get into the game they were collecting SCE models based on the aesthetic. My daughter completely lost interest despite having two friends who want to play (seriously they’ve asked if they can play against me since she’s not interested anymore ...) and my son decided that he was more interested in the Tau and their big robots so we’ve switched to playing Apocalypse and Kill Team with him. As such I’ve had 3K+ worth of models collecting dust on the shelves so when it came time to pick armies for the third tournament in the Zoom League I run, and which is very much centered around elite lists and MONSTERS, I said I’d run SCE without checking to see whether I actually had the makings of an army list. Little did I know how much SCE is really divided into different complimentary unit sets (e.g. Vanguard) and how a pure “Rule of Cool” from a 12 & 8 year olds’ perspectives would NOT line up with any of that. For example, the only battle line I had were the Liberators we’ve collected at our local GW when getting painting lessons... Picked up a box to build today so I can at least meet the basic list building requirement. For the first match (Knife to the Heart - to be determined whether against Gristelgore or Mawtribes) at 1.25K points (2 battle line req) I’ve cobbled together. Hammers of Sigmar Hailstorm Battery Battalion Lord Ordinator (General) - God-forged Blade - We Cannot Fail Drakesworn Templar - Drakescale Armor - Keen Clawed - Stormlance Astreia Solbright - Chain Lightening - Bounding Leap 5x Liberators 5x Liberators 3x Castigators Celestar Ballista Recognize this far from an optimized list but seemed relatively straight forward to play. My original thought had been to leave the Drakesworn Templar in the sky and hope the rest could withstand the initial surge from my opponent to hold my objective, particularly as they’d have to hold something back to protect theirs. Then I’d drop down the Drakesworn Templar to try and steal their objective while hopefully also managing to get Astreia into the thick of things. Then the Morathi rules dropped and it seems to make some sense to lose the ability to keep units in the sky to be able to bolster those Liberator units to hopefully again survive the first charge. If I’m going up against Gristelgore the extra Bravery also helps against their shooting. Does it make sense to drop the extra mobility from the old AA to take advantage of these? For the next match at 1.5K looking to fill in a lot of gaps to get to a more reasonable list but would appreciate any thoughts.
  11. My intent had been to track all the Zoom League games we’d been playing but found that I either had time to play the games or write about them afterwards and, unsurprisingly, chose the former. But with our third Zoom tournament kicking off next week I thought I would check back in and provide a broad update. The first Zoom League tournament was a Death & Destruction Escalation League that pitted Ironjawz against Boulderhead and Blisterskin. We started at 1K and with 250 point increments worked our way up to 2K. This one was largely about the MONSTERS as we saw Triple Frostlord on Stonehorn (though we were proxy in a Huskard on Thundertusk to have the models to do it) builds and a frequent pairing of Mawkrusha and Rogue Idol and even a double Cabbage plus RI finale. The Abhorrant Ghoul King on Royal Terrorgheist was the weak link, getting one-spotted before they did anything in most match-ups but FEC’s Muster abilities with Crypt Flayers escorted by Varghulf Courtiers proved surprisingly effective as a counter, at least at the higher point levels. Ironjawz and Boulderhead did very well in the early rounds with Ironjawz in particular proving difficult for the other players to counter all the Mighty Destroyers shenanigans at lower points. Blisterskin truly came into its own at higher points where the combination of summoning and mustering finally gave it enough resilience to hold on against the hard initial hits from the Cabbage and FLoSHs, allowing them to go undefeated at 1.75K and 2K and climb back from worst into a tie for first with Boulderhead. This tournament reinforced that Elite Builds work well over Zoom, and that we could manage some larger units (e.g. when a big block of Crypt Ghouls showed up in the 1.75K round) okay but the combination of larger units and higher point counts was pushing games too long. We adjusted for that in our second tournament by creating a relatively novel format. Each player submitted a 1.25K list that was fixed for the length of the tournament. Based on the battleplan and match up though each game the player had 250 “flex” points they could add to their list. Our second tournament also added a fourth player and saw Ironjawz go up against Mawtribes, a heavy Putrid Blightking Nurgle list and a Guild of Summoners TZ Mortals list. Original intent was for November to Dismember to go three rounds followed by a Championship & Consolation match but as two players (Ironjawz and Tzeentch) meeting in the third round were 2-0 and the other two players were 0-2 the decision was made to make the third round the Championship, rather than play the same matches, even with different battleplans, two times in a row. The flex concept worked very well and was arguably the key to TZ tournament win. In G1 a flex Soul Grinder was a useful Distraction Carnifex for the FLoSH and allowed TZ to ignore the FLoSH, stuck over on far side of table for a well timed double-turn that proved decisive. In G2 the Blue Scribes and Fluxmaster gave TZ enough spell casting to summon a LoC R1, right onto an objective, so even after the Varanguard flopped against a unit of PBKs, TZ was able to hold on for a VP win. In the third and final match Be’lakor wasn’t as much of a factor but may have goaded the Ironjawz player (very familiar with using B’s special ability in their BoC lists) into an overly aggressive T1. We’ll definitely bring it back, but the new player (who’d picked up Mawtribes when the Boulderhead player switched back to Nurgle) wants to try escalation. So Holiday Havoc (as in the Holidays will play Havoc with our scheduling...) will see Mawtribes vs Big Waaagh!!! vs Gristlegore vs Stormcast Eternals. Stepping back one of the biggest questions that Zoom League has created is the role of the “concierge” in games they aren’t playing. As the one moving the models when I am going head-to-head I will go out of my way to call out opportunities and risks and work diligently to ensure things like pile-in are done to my opponent’s advantage, or at least make them aware that certain choices have consequences (e.g. if they pile-in an extra model they’ll activate a nearby enemy unit). Some of this carries over clearly into matches where I am not playing but just moving the models around the table. There has been some debate though regarding where the line between calling out things that may not easily be determined by remote players on their screen and “coaching” is. Some players prefer a minimalist approach (e.g. only providing the measurements they or an opponent explicitly asks for) while others prefer a more maximalist approach given they can’t check things out for themselves (e.g. when it is Shooting Phase the concierge calling out all the units that are in range). As always though it is the middle case that seem to cause the most controversy. Fortunately a good gaming group so in the end everybody rolls with it but a difficult line to walk, especially as somebody who wants to see everybody get better and thus wants to avoid games going off the rails just because of mistakes they were much less likely to make in person. Tried uploading some pictures but had problems. May try again later.
  12. A quasi-rematch and given the battleplan was essentially the proto-Starstrike we decided “narratively speaking” this would just represent another portion of the previous battlefield and thus used a similar set-up. Learning from the previous match while sticking with Khorne Brass Despoilers, though adding a Doombull, as the foundation of their army they switched from Darkwalkers to Gavespawn and switched out the generic Brayherd Shaman for (proxied) Grashrak Fellhoof and his Despoilers. In turn I switched from BCR to Gutbusters running a Bloodgullet list centered around the Goremand battalion plus a Butcher and Balewind Vortex. I had fewer drops and decided to let BoC go first after again screening my back line against the Bestmaster + Bestigors’ Ambush I knew was coming. They came in on the East side (left in picture above) but only the Beastlord made his charge into the Leadbelchers. But he had more than enough to wipe them out. Again, this left me with a choice given my Butcher (loaded up with the Wizardflesh Apron and hoping to keep him around the Mawpot on the Balewind Vortex to get the +1 on all four of his spells) was now completely exposed. With the Bestigors able to run & charge wasn’t going to be able to hide the Butcher and still keep him by the Mawpot. So I moved my big block of a Gluttons over and they charged the Beastlord. With some nice Gut Lore debuffs on him even though I didn’t get all of them into him was able to take him out but... Gavespawn went off and a Chaos Spawn took his place ensuring my Gluttons were still pinned. Now arguably keeping my Butcher behind he Mawpot would’ve been better but with run and charge there was still a good chance the Bestigors were getting there. And I was really hoping R2 to be able to hit he Bullgors with Voracious Maw. Unfortunately it got unbound R1 so I didn’t get any damage into the Bestigors. This, and arguably no getting the -1 to hit onto them, proved to be a mistake. But there had also been the possibility for a double-turn in the back of my mind (little did I know I would lose all four priority rolls...) which would’ve allowed me to clear the spawn and better screen my Butcher. It was not meant to be. BoC had their objective drop right next to their Bullgors. Mine dropped in the center. After BoC won priority the charge was on. With the charge the Bestigors were getting +1 attacks and with the Chaos Spawn in range they could use the Gavespawn CA to add another. With 41 attacks they were able to wipe out my Butcher... I would manage to clear off the remaining Bestigors in my turn but my opponent would be able to summon more to keep me occupied on that side leaving me with basically my Ironguts to hold the center objective. The river (half movement) slowed the Bullgors down allowing me to get an opportunistic charge in R3.2. But didn’t do enough damage providing time for the Doombull and other Bullgors to get in the next turn as well as Grashrak to do some damage. When I lost the initiative yet again my opponent was able to kill off my last Ironguts and claim the objective. With no way to even the score I conceded. So in both my last two games I forced my opponent to attack from the front but whether 1.75K BCR or 1K Bloodgullet I just didn’t have the bodies to handle an overload where my opponent got to hit first and further reduce my body count. A definite positive was this was the first BoC match that had both gone the distance AND finished in a reasonable time. Still, with sufficient experience playing over Zoom at this point our plan was to set BoC aside for a while and try something a little more ambitious...
  13. Playing against Gutrot Spume and his Slime Fleet if nothing else had taught me to screen my back line. This time though I’d have my own unit coming out of Ambush in my Icebrow Hunter and a couple of Frost Sabres. The hope was that once the objectives came down I’d be able to steal one. With the back line screened off Nurgle overloaded one side. When the PBKs that came on with Gutrot made their charge they erased a unit of Mournfangs before they had a chance to fight back. While there was another unit of Mournfang over there with some Pusgoyles (proxied with Plague Drones), Gutrot AND Slimux all still waiting in the wings had the sense that I’d need to commit more to reclaiming that side. As the fully buffed FLoSH was closer (and we were playing the river halved movement making it even tougher to get units over there) the hope was the remaining Mournfang could hold out long enough for the gigantic “cavalry” to arrive. Meanwhile I committed most of my remaining forces to the middle, hoping to take down the main block of PBKs getting buffed by the Harbringer. Unfortunately, without Brand of the Svard and Black Clatterhorn just couldn’t put out enough damage. When the middle objective came down on the relatively open side I had hopes for springing the Hunter but I lost the priority roll. Nurgle had enough to summon 10x Plaguebearers onto that objective which, even worse for me, freed up another unit of PBKs to crash the party in the middle. That was simply too much for the second FLoSH to handle... At that point, in my turn I needed to clear the remaining Nurgle units out of my territory to free my fully buffed FLoSH up for another big charge to regain control of the middle and then some luck with where the remaining objectives fell. I cleared out the PBKs but that left Gutrot and Slimux as well as the now free Pusgoyles. If the objective came on the other side in my territory I could try and hold it with my Frost Sabres and Butcher and maybe I’d get some luck with the final objective in being abl3 to spring my Hunter. It was not to be... The objective in my territory fell right under my FLoSH while Nurgle’s fell in the center. When a Nurgle won priority they charged in the Pusgoyles, Slimux and Gutrot to pin my FLoSH. The rest the pulled back onto one of the two objectives. They even summoned a screen of 5x Plaguebearers just in case I tried something sneaky with my Hunter... With Gutrot stealing my best attack could only kill him and one of the Pusgoyles. With the center objective being slightly less well defended tried to charge my Icebrow and Frost Sabres in there but no luck. By the end of my turn and thus the end of R3 I didn’t see a path to victory and conceded. That made the score Nurgle 2 / BCR 1.5 over the four rounds we’ve played. Between the higher starting model count (increased by Summoning) and fewer things dying early this game did play slower. Still hopeful to finish out with the 2K match at some point but we have another potential plan percolating...
  14. Sincerely hoping so. About to start an Escalation League vs Orruk Warclans and Ogor Mawtribes with a Blisterkin based FEC list. (I’ve already run Gristelgore and really hoping to expand my FEC opportunity set. Think challenge will be not reverting to a “Blistergore” style list (i.e. going heavy on the RTs or RZDs). We’re starting at 1K and growing by 250 pts each round. Guessing from get go will be facing a Mawkrusha or a Frostlord on Stonehorn so any thoughts or advice greatly appreciated.
  15. For our gaming group this is it. But even one step further. While the GM will always take into account player interests and desires when we are playing narrative it is understood that the GM has final say on the actual lists that are played. They “earn” this right by (a) ensuring that lists are reasonably balanced and (b) that the lists are narratively consistent. Of course the GM would immediately lose this trust if they gave themselves an advantage but in general as long as the GM is committed you’re more likely to see them go the opposite direction. Certainly list building isn’t an aspect of the game that should be completely ignored. But nearer tournaments we play plenty of matched play lists where this is emphasized. And for us that’s what it really has to come down to. If you’re playing narrative you’re playing it for the sake of the narrative, NOT to prove you can min-max the best list. But fully willing to say we’re lucky there. Our group’s most recent narrative (Khorne Mortals vs Khorne Daemons competing to see who could secure the most skulls for the skull/throne and blood for the blood god) was disrupted by Covid and our game streams have been more one off and/or escalation set ups. The positive is, again, these style games let our players flex their list building and competitive muscles. But hope is whenever in-person gaming becomes more practical players will be excited to play narrative again.
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