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  1. The Storm of Sorrows Legion of Grief at CanCon2020 Hello there people, been a hot minute hasn’t it? I’ve been a little too busy to spin yarns about my personal favourite sowers of terror and woe, but I’m back and ready to burn CP like they’re going out of fashion. Without further ado or preamble, the list I will be taking to CanCon 2020. The List As regular readers can clearly see, changes have taken place. Friendship has been ended with Dreadscythe Harridans, now max-size blocks are my best friend. CanCon (and the TransTasman Cup held the night before) are competitive events, so any illusions around having a “fun” list have been dropped. Below is a rundown of the changes made between Masters2019 in NZ and CanCon this coming weekend. Guardian of Souls – Removed I said in my pre-masters post that this little lad was on performance review and he just didn’t make the cut, forcing me to outsource his role to a more competent hero. 140pts is simply too much for a cut-rate Vampire Lord who’s regen is tied to an unbindable spell with no buffs to cast. The +1 to wound was the only thing keeping him in the game, and frankly having +1 attack works better than that in this army. Maybe see you later in the new Nighthaunt book buddy, until then you’re gonna collect some dust for me. Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed – Replacing Guardian of Souls The Knight of Shrouds will be replacing the Guardian of Souls as the +1 to attack command ability brings far more utility to my list than +1 to wound and occasionally bringing back dead models. He is also far, far more mobile and therefore better at hero-driven scenarios and chasing after units to provide Inspiring Presence and All-Out Attack. Dreadscythe Harridans – Removed I was blinded by my buyer’s remorse with these lasses, they simply are not good enough for their cost. Point for point they cost the same as Grimghast Reapers so you would expect them to be every bit as powerful as them. Do you remember Dreadscythes dominating the meta? Me neither. Chainrasp Hordes – Increased a unit of 10 to a unit of 40 Something everyone can agree on, Chainrasps are the best unconditional battleline GA: Death has ever cast it’s eyes across. They’re especially powerful in an allegiance that can bring slain units back, as killing 40 once is an uphill battle. Killing them twice? Good luck. Grimghast Reapers – Increased from 20 to 30 The king hitters of the ghost roster, a unit of 30 of these featured in nearly every top Legions and Nighthaunt list since the day they came out. A unit of 20 is durable and threatening, but with a 2” range a unit of 30 is stronger in every possible way as the only drawback, some models not being able to strike, is not an issue here. The 30 models with a 4+ ethereal save will blockade any foe, and hack them to pieces in short order. Myrmourn Banshees – Added another full unit As the Realmscape Magic is active at CanCon, nearly from day 1 we have had chatter in the NZ competitive scene heading over that they plan to abuse this as much as humanly possible. Expecting their behavior to be the norm among the Australian competitive scene and having no viable way of abusing it myself, I set about doing the next best thing… riding those coattails directly to victory. Any player attempting to spam magic or endless spells risks turning my Myrmourn Banshees into absolute engines of destruction, given they are now paired with the KoS on Ethereal Steed to give them an additional attack on top of their +1 for an unbind and +1 for a dispel. The Stated Goal This list is extremely transparent. If the enemy lack numbers, or the ability to punish my numbers in any meaningful sense, I will swamp the objectives and slowly trade them out of the game as my models drag themselves back up and into the fight to keep them locked in place as my threat units sweep in and over for the kill. The strategy is tested and time-honored, and is sure to give anyone unprepared for it one hell of a headache. With seven games ahead spread over 3 days, I may indeed be in need of a Command Point to resummons myself back from the cold void of death. Reminder to anyone going over to CanCon to drink up, stay hydrated, and if you see me come say hi. I’ll be the ridiculously hairy short man with the obnoxiously loud voice. Twitter: @ThreeTwoPrince
  2. Review - The Emerald Host Thanks to Mr Anthony Poole on the ole Twitter machine, I have been able to see the new Nighthaunt battalions designed to represent Lady Olynder's dark and powerful Emerald Host, lets get stuck in. First Expectations When the Emerald Host was announced I was reasonably excited. Earlier Tome Celestial releases have either been a pleasing little addition (Anvils of the Heldenhammer sub-chamber) or an overtly pushed "probably to sell a particular under-performing model" release (Syll'esske and their Host). As anyone who reads here knows, I've never been a fan of Nighthaunt WHEN COMPARED to Legion of Grief. I had hopes that this release may give Nighthaunt some edge, maybe make them a more compelling choice. And worst to worst, hopefully the battalions would be cheap so Nighthaunt could have easier access to artifacts and CP while MAYBE getting a decent ability in the mix. Was I disappointed? Not even slightly. Lifting the Veil But you aren't here to read the faded dreams and distant longings of the local madman. You're here for substance, for something to sink your teeth into, the real meat and bones of the affair. And I would never deny you either. Well well, aren't these lovely. Thematic, with a delicate splash of lore to whet the whistle of those that enjoy that sort of thing (you know I do), a spice of viability at Warhost level gameplay (pour that right on) and a finishing touch of not being overpowered enough to attract undue attention (slide right under that radar baby) we have the finished product. But let's talk about each in scintillating detail. The Forgotten Scions - The Gang goes Horse-Trekking Already I'm in love. Use a command ability... for free? Well just move aside Archaon, a new Everchosen is in town. A Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed is always going to be something Nighthaunt wants to take, and Dreadblade Harrows are THE unit for teleporting about in hero-centric missions and serving as a vehicle for the generic Command Abilities like All Out Attack and Inspiring Presence. Now take all of that and add a free spend on the Command Ability, while ALSO giving you a Command Point for taking a Battalion in the first place. KoSoES command ability is a premium tag on units that either have decent rend, or have potent on-hit effects. If only we knew a suitable unit that needs the help, and can actually keep pace with Malkor and his Lads. If only... The Dolorous Guard - Nobody Expects the Spectral Inquisition Oh lord Nagash yes. This is a battalion to finally make Hexwraiths worth taking. Using Malkor's command ability on these lads will have them attacking 4 times each on the charge, that's 40 attacks from a unit of 10. To make matters even sweeter, Melkor can hang out with them on the front lines and never die thanks to them shouting "Look Out Mr President" every time harm flies his way. Good thing Mr Melkor can take a Command Trait (he isn't actually a named character) called Ruler of the Spirit Hosts to return D3 slain MODELS to a unit nearby. Yes models, not wounds. A match made in Shyish. The Emerald Host - Mr Melkor's Wild Ride Yes, yes yes. No this might not be OP at Battlehost level games, but we weren't starving for a one drop option at that level anyway. What this WILL be viable at however is Warhost level, where it will be VERY viable. An amazingly cool, cavalry themed army that yields a whopping FOUR command points at the start of the game, one-drops the list (definitely take one of the two Chainrasp battalions here, Death Stalkers is a bait) and pops the ability to take the enemy general down a peg. Troubles with Katakros? Archaon up your nose? Got a Rotigus you just can't shake? Drop that armor save by 1 and watch as your Myrmourn Banshees turn Katakros into a 6+ save. I do however have a very interesting notion. "Any number of warscroll battalions"... does that mean we can take zero and only need to take Forgotten Scions and The Dolorous Guard to take this? I would await an FAQ but if we can... lordy lord. Overview Only one disappointment, where on earth is Olynder? The whole article talks about her history and grandiose power across the realms of death, but this battalion doesn't have a way to take her. Otherwise, I love this stuff. I'm a happy ghost. Look forward to some playtesting blogs with it.
  3. List Breakdown Recap – Legion of Grief at Masters 2019 Overview Gidday all, Aiden’s back with a recap looking at how my list did at Masters and the changes I’d make from my various games and the experience I gained. With the list breakdown post currently being my most read post on this blog, the format is going to quite literally be a copy paste deal where I show what I originally said, then I respond to it based on how it all played. I’ve neatly done my responses in a good honest ethereal blue so it’s clear where my reviews can be located for each paragraph and breakdown. The List Allegiance: Legion of Grief Mortal Realm: Hysh Leaders Dreadblade Harrow (90) - General - Trait: Vassal of the Craven King (whenever you spend a CP, roll a dice. On a 5+ you get 1 CP) Necromancer (130) - Artefact: Aetherquartz Brooch (whenever you spend a CP, roll a dice. On a 5+ you get 1 CP) - Spell: Dread Withering (-1 to a unit’s save rolls within 18” of the caster) Guardian of Souls with Nightmare Lantern (140) - Spell: Dread Withering (-1 to a unit’s save rolls within 18” of the caster) Knight of Shrouds (100) Battleline 40 x Chainrasp Horde (280) 10 x Chainrasp Horde (80) 10 x Chainrasp Horde (80) Units 20 x Dreadscythe Harridans (280) 15 x Dreadscythe Harridans (240) 12 x Myrmourn Banshees (210) 20 x Grimghast Reapers (320) Endless Spells / Terrain / CPs Extra Command Point (50) Total: 2000 / 2000 Extra Command Points: 1 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 147 Allegiance Choice – The Legion of Grief Anyone familiar with my dreams of a competitive ghost army knows I’m in a perpetual pull between the Nighthaunt and Legions of Grief allegiances. Nighthaunt offers battalions, Wave of Terror and a flexible deployment method, Legion of Grief offers Gravesites and all the thrills that come with them. Given the local meta has a proclivity for taking lots of threat units, I valued the defensive capabilities of Gravesites and they won out this time. I will however be trialling Nighthaunt post-Masters to see if I want to take them to CanCon. Review: This went very well for me. There was one time in the whole event where I would have had an advantage running pure Nighthaunt allegiance and that lasted all of 15 minutes. Legion of Grief remains the vastly superior choice to Nighthaunt, for the time being. The ability to bring back units that have been slain allows the ghosts to play around burst damage and attrition, two fields that the Nighthaunt allegiance was heavily outclassed by when people were attempting to run it competitively. Realm Choice – Hysh, Realm of Light Lol, you know why I picked this. At this stage Aetherquartz Broach is going to end up in my Last Will and Testament. Review: God bless this hot mess, Aetherquartz Broach isn’t going ANYWHERE any time soon. Dreadblade Harrow – General – Vassal of the Craven King This one goes without saying. The combination of his ability to teleport basically wherever he needs to be every turn to resurrect fallen minions and the sheer power of the command trait Vassal of the Craven King singlehandedly prevent Olynder from ever being ran in her OWN legion. The Dreadblade is no close-combat king, he’ll struggle in a fight against even the most basic of chaff, but what he lacks in punch he makes up for with sheer utility. His movement happens at the START of the movement phase, and resurrection can be used at the END, ensuring he is always right where he needs to be to pull a unit out of the dirt. He’s a good boy. Review: Always a good choice, doesn’t really require much explanation. Everything above remains correct, and through clever gameplay and execution my Dreadblade Harrow spent at least 2CP every game on resurrection while not dying even once over 5 games. Necromancer – Aetherquartz Broach – Dread Withering Another that goes without saying. Pre-Grief, Nighthaunt players were willing to give up their first CP of the game just to sneak one of these into their army with Sons of the Lichemaster. His unique spell turns any of the threat units in this army into a slaughtermachine, and his Deathly Invocation is always handy if he’s near said units. Giving him Aetherquartz Broach makes sense because he can be kept the safest of my 4 heroes (except the Dreadblade, but never put all the eggs in one basket) so I don’t need to fear losing it. I’ve also given him Dread Withering in the even I need to dig through a high save value. Necromancer is another good boy. Review: Quietly powerful, the Necromancer was able to do good work over the course of the event. I found I strongly preferred his Vanhel’s Dance Macabre on the big blob of Chainrasps, especially if it had charged. The only change I would make here is giving his Aetherquartz Broach to the Dreadblade Harrow as the Necromancer is a Nagash-damned bullet magnet for threats and the Dreadblade managed to survive 5 times out of 5 to the Necromancer’s 2 out of 5. Guardian of Souls with Nightmare Lantern – Dread Withering This lad is less certain than the previous two. He’s here purely for his Nightmare Lantern buff that provides a radiant wholly within 12” bubble of +1 to wound for NIGHTHAUNT units. Weighing in at 140pts, this guy is 8 Myrmourn Banshees’ worth of model and I’m grimly aware of it whenever he under-performs. A vulnerable character with only 5 wounds, this can be smacked out of the game by an opportunistic chaff squad or just a good round of shooting. However despite these flaws, when he’s in the right place at the right time the Guardian of Souls can guarantee a unit of Dreadscythe Harridans or Grimghast Reapers will destroy their targets, and even give Chainrasps a dangerous punch. His spell is not worth relying on but it’s nice, he’ll mostly cast Dread Withering. An average boy, with a lot to prove given he replaced the Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed and a potential Triumph. Review: Ooooh bad news Guardian of Souls, you’re out of the band. 140pts is just too expensive for a radiant +1 to wound attached to an extremely vulnerable threat magnet. He died in nearly every game, failed to cast constantly and overall was a disappointment. “Dice games and external factors” you say to me, but for 20pts less I can have a Knight of Shrouds on Ethereal Steed throwing out +1 attack, comparable to +1 wound, with no dice roll. Which I intend to. See you next GHB Guardian of Souls, don’t call me unless you’re 100pts. Knight of Shrouds My personal favorite character in the army, nay, the Nighthaunt line-up in general. He’s very simple, a cheap close combat bruiser with a niche healing mechanic and a very powerful command ability. Spectral Overseer can turn even the infamously swingy Myrmourn Banshee melee profile into a weapon of nuclear destruction, and he spends most of his time smack in the centre of a unit of Dreadscythe Harridans. Serving as the nozzle of the funnel I pour all my excess Command Points into, he supports the team, he looks after the ‘Rasps and he’s the type of guy who’s happy to sober drive the Black Coach home. A very good boy, potentially the best boy. Review: What a good lad. Made the army work in every game while slapping to death any unit that had the AUDACITY to try and confront him head on. 100pts for this bloke is a steal, and he pulls the hard work every time. The only change I would make is have him dedicated to following around a unit that rewards his bonuses to hit more with damage output. Dreadscythe Harridans really couldn’t get it over the line but the Myrmourns slaughtered elite units with ease when buffed, and the Chainrasps smashed aside any threat with superior weight of dice. Chainrasp Hordes Hands down the best generic 80pt Battleline available to the entire Death Grand Alliance (fight me Skeleton Warriors). Chainrasps are another very simple unit, they have an Ethereal 5+ save and if there’s more than 10 of them, reroll 1’s to wound. Like any Death unit, their big vulnerability is mortal wounds and magic, but they make up with this with high bravery and the occasional deflection of a -3 rend attack that should by all rights erase them. They swamp objectives well, and nothing crushes the enemy spirits more than resurrecting 40 Chainrasps right as they manage to finally brick them the first time. Review: The only, only change I’m making is DOUBLING UP on that unit of 40. These little beauties were directly involved in every victory and close defeat all weekend. When squatting on Gravesites these little lads are nigh irremovable and bringing back the unit of 40 was impossible… because no opponent successfully managed to stomp it out. Let the ghostly glow of my ocean of Chainrasps become my signature, because all they do is win win win. Taking them out of the movement trays (following the lead of top NZ player Mitch Harty and his Skaven deployments and maneuverings) helped me think outside the box and make better use of their absolute area denial. Dreadscythe Harridans Alright these are a stylistic choice if I’m being honest. I bought 4 boxes when I started playing Nighthaunt (wanted to run a Shrieker Host to ****** off Skaven players) and ever since I’ve tried to make them good. They bring a lot to Legion of Grief as the best of the Big Three Nighthaunt threat units (Grimghast, Dreadscythe, Bladegheist) for buffing with the Knight of Shrouds command ability given they’re cheaper than the other 2 while having the most output raw damage wise with 2CP invested. Their -1 to hit aura also tends to come in handy against Destruction armies (well well well) and their large footprint and Ethereal save give them a wide range of options to contribute to the force. Review: Not great. Running Dreadscythe Harridans is a risk because their -1 to hit aura is a large part of their points cost but it will come into effect maybe 40% of the time due to popular armies tending to boast high bravery (Slaanesh, all Death armies, Stormcast Eternals) or boosts and rerolls that let them effectively shrug off the debuff (Skaven, Daughters of Khaine). The Dreadscythe’s only major contribution over the weekend was their large base size helping to zone off enemy units, and I could have achieved that with twice their number in Chainrasps for the same cost. Outside of running my meme-tier Shrieker Host in local games days, these ladies will be sitting on my shelf for a while. Myrmourn Banshees World’s most monopose unit. Coming in at a grand total of 4 available poses, which is 3 more than they have attacks. What they do have however is -2 rend and D3 damage on said attack, and they get a bonus attack for unbinding enemy spells, which they also get a large bonus to do. They can also dispel an endless spell at the cost of taking D3 wounds (happens at the start of the phase, do it near a gravesite and you’re golden) which ALSO gives them +1 attack. With even a single bonus attack this unit becomes scary, with 2CP invested from a Knight of Shrouds there isn’t a single thing they won’t kill. With only 12 in the unit, it’s not very hard for the enemy to murk this unit pretty quickly, but it would be a shame if somebody… brought them back. Review: Oh damn, it’s the golden girls. How does such a small unit over-perform so hard? They had no equal this event save the Chainrasps. One opponent outright refused to cast spells all game because he knew if he rolled a low but successful cast I would obliterate him with them immediately. Fantastic vehicles for the CP Farm that Legion of Grief is, these models are absolutely what you want in this list. And if 12 doesn’t quite cut it for you… perhaps 24? Grimghast Reapers A unit that needs neither justification nor explanation. Grimghast Reapers single-handedly kept Legions of Nagash relevant during the Daughters of Khaine Winter, and even bumping their cost to 160pts for 10 couldn’t hamper their effectiveness. Point them at an enemy threat unit and watch it die. Invest some CP in them and watch the enemy army die. When THEY die, bring them back. Rinse and repeat. Review: Yeah you don’t need me telling you these guys kick ass. Only change I would make is up the unit to 30 of them. They can just roam around the table with no support and still threaten anything the enemy may have half-capable of contesting them. They can fight over top of other units, reach over chaff screens to slap a cowardly hero hiding behind them and cheat their way up the table by taking 3 Damned Terrain sets of mortal wounds then immediately healing off 3 Gravesites and a Necromancer on turn 1. They’re good, and unless the GHB slaps them with ANOTHER unmerited points hike (stop punishing us for the behavior of Legion of Sacrament) they’ll stay golden. The Plan for the Future Obviously I’m taking the Legion of Grief to CanCon. I changed my twitter bio to feature “Number One Legion of Grief” and frankly I can’t come down from that level of behavior. Look forward to a similar list breakdown (and consequent review) in January when we take these ghosts straight to Canberra, Australia.
  4. The Post Masters Post Hey all. I did say there would be one. I had planned to get this out a little sooner but needed some time to detox. Masters 2019 was a reasonably mixed bag, with the Top 20 players for 2019 majority living in the North Island only 11 of them accepted the invite. This is not out of the ordinary, no masters event has ever been attended by more than 65% of the Top 20. However due to the nature of the event and it being in the South Island, only a single North Island player who didn’t make the Top 20 (number 21 on the rankings) accepted the invite and the rest of the numbers were filled by locals, causing the field to go as deep as number 85 on the standings. The result was the top quarter of players largely playing others in their bracket, while the middle pack had an awkward disparity in levels of skill and experience. Another bugbear some players from the North had during the wind-up to the event was the introduction of soft scores into Masters. The previous Masters events have categorically lacked these, a fully painted army and perfect sportsmanship aren’t fields to be rewarded, they’re expected. These soft scores caused heavy consternation initially, though I personally defended them saying that as long as people maintained the standard expected from previous Masters events, they’d receive full points in these fields anyway. Given I played five full, five turn games over the weekend I’m obviously not going to cover them all. I will post my results for each match, and I plan to cover off my game against New Zealand Master 2019 James Page and my personal favorite game of the event against NZ Warhammer icon Shaun Bates in future posts as they characterize what happens in the worst possible matchup and what happens in the best (army-wise). So without further ado, the results. Game One · Opponent: Big Waagh · Scenario: Duality of Death · Secondaries: Secret Mission and Defend (both achieved) · Outcome: Major Loss Opponent would go on to win the event. A canny player, James used his superior movement and the ability to decide who starts to tag both objectives on turn one while throwing disposable units of Ardboyz into my only units capable of contesting these points. As I was unable to retreat and push the enemy off the points in the same turn I lost this one handily. Game Two · Opponent: Cities of Sigmar – Living City · Scenario: Scorched Earth · Secondaries: Terrify and Ancient Heirloom (both achieved) · Outcome: Major Win I made my opponent start as I had the choice, and interestingly he summoned Chronomantic Cogs and immediately set it to speed up time, while deploying his whole army directly in front of me (the tournament ruled that all woods on the tables were Citadel Woods, an interesting concept none of the northern players abided by in games between each other due to it not being in the pack. However it seems my opponent misread/cheated me here as Living City can’t just deploy on Citadel Woods. This would be the beginning of my disappointment). Not realizing my opponent was not actually allowed to do this, I simply charged headlong into him, obliterated a full 60% of his army immediately and burned all the objectives on the table turn two. The decision to set Cogs to speed up time sealed my opponent’s defeat more or less immediately, as well as his cocky (and illegal) choice of giving me his army as a stepping stone to get to his objectives. Overall a frustrating game as I spent far too much of it having to read my opponent’s battletome and correct countless errors that came up. Game Three · Opponent: Stormcast Eternals – Anvils of the Heldenhammer · Scenario: Border War · Secondaries: Invade and Onslaught (both achieved) · Outcome: Major Win This game was a rough one for my opponent. Shaun’s army excels against all comers unless they have large numbers with resistance to battleshock, or the ability to get around his devastating rend. Conveniently I had both in spades, so Shaun’s superior ability to play the game didn’t mean a lot in the face off 150 wounds hiding behind an ethereal save. Shaun and I yarned the majority of the game, engaged in flagrant cheating and deception, then wrapped up quickly to get a beer and get ready to shoot back to our accommodation for more yarns and beer. Intermission This was the highlight of the weekend. One of The Boys (Cameron, Seraphon) has a lovely family home locally overlooking the ocean with a fantastic outdoor eating area. Local legend Richard acquired vast sums of meat as a tithe-offering and manned his barbecue, bring succor to the masses. A few of the locals made it up as well as all the players who traveled for the event. We had a fantastic time, had some good chats and overall it was a perfect experience. The next day we rose early, briefly debated the virtues of going to the Zoo, then made our way down to a local café for a group breakfast. Given the large number of Wellingtonians in the group we needed to get some avocado toast in their systems before they start shriveling up. We took pictures, I mounted an antique motorbike and smashed back a milkshake and mince on toast for breakfast. Overall pretty fantastic. Remembering we had come down for a Warhammer tournament, we paid up and headed to the venue. Round Four · Opponent: Grand Alliance Chaos – Everchosen Battalion · Scenario: Gifts from the Heavens · Secondaries: Dominate and Seize (both achieved) · Outcome: Major Victory This was a slow-burn game. My opponent was hesitant to leave his deployment knowing that I would swamp him and fly directly over him to the objective, and resolved to turtle up. The game boiled down to me mowing my way diligently through the numbers while constantly reviving my losses to ensure control of my home objective. This was the game in which I entered the “Grief Zone”, spending 7 Command Points in a single turn, while starting on only 2. This made my army in the last turn of the game majority hitting on 2’s rerolling 1’s, wounding on 2’s, with the enemy saves diminished by my rend and Dread Withering. Round Five · Opponent: Skaven · Scenario: The Better Part of Valour · Secondaries: Ancient Heirloom and Sacrifice (failed to earn Sacrifice) · Outcome: Major Loss This game was extremely swingy the whole way through. I used my gravesites to sneakily move around his overwhelming numbers while keeping his rats locked on his side of the table for the first 3 turns by callously discarding my Grimghast Reapers and Dreadscythe Harridans, fully intending (and succeeding) to return them to the table due to my general being so far removed from the game I could safely bet on it. My army copped massive waves of shooting but rolled less well than against the Longstrike Stormcast and I was pushed back to my deployment. A dicey Skitterleap from a Verminlord Warbringer burned an objective of mine and pushed the game towards my opponent, ending things. Final Results · Win/Loss: Three Major Wins / Two Major Losses · Secondaries: Nine Achieved / One Failed · Kill Points: 6260pts · Paint Points: Full Points · Sports Points: Full Points Overall, my issues with Masters 2019 stem strongly from the scoring. I defended the soft score element to those that didn’t like them, explaining that if we maintained our usual standard these wouldn’t matter. However, many people had armies that were not completed, lacking basing on models, having less than 3 colors and a variety of other issues, only to receive full paint points. I purchased and painted my army to it’s (in my opinion) high standard and full rubric in less than a month, only for it to be considered equal to these other armies. Furthermore, I experienced numerous issues over the event with opponents either not knowing their rules or misrepresenting them, and even experiencing the poor sports of a player constantly interjecting into my game rudely and into the TO when he attended the table, only for full sports to be awarded across the board. These issues are not unique to this tournament, and overall I’ve no doubt not representative of the scene in the South Island. However I was disappointed to travel down for a Masters event only for it to be this way. Many of my friends declined to attend due to issues with the harshness of the painting rubric making them fear they would lose out for not being as talented painters, only for it to not matter at all. I was sadly disappointed, and given the severe financial expense of the weekend compared to the payoff have little desire to travel beyond the capital city any time soon. Despite these flaws I met a good collection of people, and I hope I acquitted myself well enough that they don’t unfollow me the moment they read this. I initially only wanted to cover the positives, but as my local club explained to me people who know me know my thoughts, and to cover less than that would be disingenuous.
  5. Dead things dreaming in the darkness. Nothing stirred in the utter blackness of the Deepknell Depths. Nothing living remained in the vast catacombs and narrow tunnels to make a sound. The last incidental collapse of rock, or old bones finally falling apart to clatter across the coarse ground, had happened decades ago. No noise sounded in a place where nothing happened, and nothing ever happened down in the dark. So they had accepted a long time ago, that it was better to simply try to stop existing at all than to wrack and rage at the injustice of their fate. The people above had chosen to spend their lives as coin, and discard them when it suited them. Cold and forgotten. Those people had long since passed into the dirt, their progeny and their progeny after them living quiet and comfortable high above the erstwhile crypt. So quiet not even the slightest sound carried down into the dark. A peaceful life built on the suffering of thousands, ironically mounted above their very tomb. No passage down to the Depths existed, no crack for air to pass through or natural current of water. Noxious gasses were commonplace in the tighter tunnels, but they were oddly repellent to flame rather than conductive - early attempts at clearing the Depths of it's vermin infestation had involved the hurling braziers of flame both natural and otherwise down, achieving nothing more than the odd short-lived fire and scorched whisker, par for the course with the Skaven regardless. Choking throats long-since rotted away. When it became clear that the only solution was to confront the beasts in their own tunnels, hard choices needed to be made. The people of Deepknell Rock were largely peaceful, and were forced to petition the Stormcast Eternals, newfound defenders of Aqshy, to assist them lest their city and the Realmgate within fall to the insidious corruption of the Skaven. When the lightning-men arrived however they were not greeted by the familiar colors and heraldry of the Hammers of Sigmar, but the stark white and sky-blue of the Knights Excelsior. The Knights were a very different breed to their golden armored brethren, and immediately set to work. Forbidden from leveling the whole mountain, caverns and all, due to the presence of the Deepknell Realmgate, they came up with an elegant solution. The city had long housed an impressive prison complex, serving as the jailing quarters for the whole region. The prisoners within were offered a choice by the Knight's leader Cerrus Sentanus, they could die in their cells or take up arms and head into the caverns to redeem themselves and, if they emerged, win their freedom. A choice between death and worse is no choice at all. The people of the city had cheered as they marched into the Breach, and despite their situation the First Penal Legion of Deepknell felt themselves swell with pride. They had been dealt a hard hand, but one they had aided in drawing themselves, and those that lived through this would be welcomed back into a grateful city. They lit their lanterns, straightened their backs, and marched down into the dark. Warp-lightning flashes searing cavern walls. The Skaven are a perfidious race, and deep in the Depths they'd had nothing but time to prepare. Blasts of acidic green lit the caverns as engines of death lanced hellish energy through the ranks of the Penal Legion, with every strike claiming half a dozen lives. Neither force was well trained in the arts of war, and in that dank and dark battleground they fell to disorder, fighting as back-alley cutthroats in the dying light as the lanterns faded and the warp-lightning engines fell to the flaws of their own design. The last light to go out in the dark was the only natural source, the light filtering in from the Deepknell Breach entrance. There was no longer a way out. A prison, traded unknowingly for a grave. The bitter irony was not lost on the former prisoners. Sentanus would keep his word, freedom awaited any of the men that emerged from the caverns. It seemed he had simply ensured that promise could not backfire. Runes of sealing had been inscribed into the now-sealed entrance, a potent force that would ensure the Skaven Gnawholes present in the structure offered them no escape. Sentanus had cleared house effectively, dealing with both the Skaven infestation and the criminals his Stormhost harbored such contempt for. With the natural airflow cut off entirely by the enchantments of the Knights Excelsior the damned criminals and Skaven alike died by degrees as their own panic rapidly consumed the available oxygen. Within hours, every soul under the mountain lay dead, their throats clawed to bitter ruin by their own hand. The rope would have been cleaner. Within weeks the people of Deepknell Rock had stopped mentioning the prison that now stood empty at the edge of the city. An axe would have been kinder. Within years the last insect had died, having gorged itself on the last remaining flesh of the last corpse. The price paid by the guilty forgotten by the innocent. Within decades the First Penal Legion was forgotten. The Knights Excelsior had moved on to less remote climes, and the people of Deepknell Rock had used the breaking of Sigmar's Tempest as an opportunity to build a bustling hub at the edge of the realm. Aqshy was not hospitable by definition, but they had made a life among the geysers of boiling steam and hissing rocks. And far beneath them, the dead granted a mausoleum of their own by the cruelty of the Stormcast, had slipped into languid dreams to cope with the passage of eternity in the dark. Until, on an unusually quiet night both above and below the rock after a season of dark tribulations unprecedented in the fiery realm, a bow-wave of amethystine energy rippled through the world and set hot skin to cold sweat. He calls. A thousand pairs of blue eyes lit up in the dark, the first light the cavern walls had known in decades. Scraps of bone swathed in ethereal blue mist seemingly pulled from the wave of energy itself lifted from the ground, dark animus hoisting the ruined corpses like marionettes on strings of cast-iron chain. As one they looked to their warden, the only soul beneath the mountain who had not come from a cell. Silent as the grave, as soft as the breeze who's touch they had forgotten, he pointed up through the rock to where a sleepy city was coming awake in surprise. We answer.
  6. Details Date: 27th October 2019 Army: Legions of Grief with Grimghast buff-train focus Opponent: Regan O'Halloran - Legion of Night with Nightfall Pack Game Type: Matched Play 2000pts Scenario: Border War (rolled at random) Few pictures were taken for this report as at the time I wasn't planning on spontaneously starting a hobby blog, the future ones will be LITTERED with them. Setup Regan and I were both playing an allegiance that utilizes Gravesites, and despite my army not being from Legions of Nagash technically it still allows Regan to use mine just as much as he allows me to use his. Naturally there was a lot of umming and ahhing about how to place these without helping the opponent too much, but with us both being relatively inexperienced we largely placed them around areas we wanted to make plays happen. The table scenery was absolutely LITTERED with Inspiring and Damned, with a single piece of Commanding terrain on Regan's side (he explicitly chose to deploy on it despite being less reliant on CP, knowing how desperate my army is for extra CP and denying me it would be a good path to victory). With neither of us having clunky terrain pieces we moved into deployment. Regan was easily able to outdrop me (most armies can) and deployed all of forces on the table except 6 Vargheists, who opted to lay in ambush. I deployed the majority of my army, performing my now staple "stashing Myrmourn in a Gravesite" mindgame. Thoroughly outdropping me, Regan elected to take first. Battle Round 1 - Drop Claws on 'Em Regan began his hero phase by promptly summoning a Balewind Vortex and making use of his Necromancer's artefact of power, Morbheg's Claw. This little diamond in the rough allows the bearer to declare they won't move in exchange for giving all friendly wizards within 12" +2 to cast. He then cast up a storm of buffs and moved forward very conservatively, just enough to take the two side objectives. Content, he passed the turn to me. I began by attempting to cast Vanhel's Dance Macabre and failing, an ominous sign. Deciding to not try anything too fancy, I moved up gently enough to take the two side objectives back off Regan and score myself 5 points to equalize the score. My army was kept tight enough that in the event Regan got the priority I would be able to make use of my wholly within start of combat phase abilities, and ended my turn. I won the priority, and elected to take the turn. Battle Round 2 - The Part Where it All Went Terribly Wrong I opened by not bothering to cast Vanhel's and instead summoned a Prismatic Palisade near Regan's 3 Vargheists and min unit of Skeletons to make the right-hand objective a pillow fight. My Dreadblade Harrow general warped forward towards the right-hand objective (remember this, it's important) and then pushed my Chainrasp units forward to tangle his army up before it could move freely. My army abandoned my board edge largely, moving forward aggressively and leaving the support heroes up the back with open board behind them, and confident in my choices and assured I was the tactical mastermind the voices tell me I am, I magnanimously handed over to Regan's turn. Regan promptly shored up all the buffs under the sun and ambushed my arrogant ass immediately. A unit of 6 Vargheists swooped in from the table edge and immediately made a charge into my back line of Grimghast Reapers while another unit of 3 used their flying move to vault directly over my Chainrasp Horde and throw themselves into the now horribly exposed Dreadblade Harrow. Meanwhile on the left-hand side of the table, a unit of Grave Guard sitting roughly around Super Saiyan Level 4 slammed into 40 Chainrasps. I wasn't terribly concerned as my Chainrasps have survived worse. Battle round 2 ended with a Dreadblade Harrow barely clinging to life and surrounded by monstrous vampire creatures, half of my Reapers torn to shreds by another unit of beasts. The Reapers retaliated and slaughtered 4 of the 6 monsters but they had done their job. The Reapers were tied to them and unable to head forward to assist my army, and the Dreadblade was sitting on 1 wound with any number of heroes able to Arcane Bolt him the moment Regan's next turn began. The 40 Chainrasps were basically turned to mist instantly by the Grave Guard. Summed up, going into priority roll 2, things could have been going better for me. I won the roll, saving the game from an early end. I opted to go first obviously. Battle Round 3 - How the Turntables Turn Beaten, battered, and wondering whether it was too late to cancel the sale of my Slaanesh army, i began rebuilding my defenses. The Grimghast Reapers managed to receive the benefit of no less than 5 Gravesites and a Deathly Invocation, restoring the unit to fighting strength. The Dreadblade, denied his warping ability due to being in combat, opted to simply flee as far as possible to the other side of the table from the bat monsters. The Grimghasts received Vanhel's, while the Myrmourn emerged and began advancing towards the enemy ranks as kites and to stop the enemy Necromancer having free reign of his board side, while the Dreadscythe Harridans moved up to clear out the skeleton chaff denying me objective control. The combat phase was one for me, with only the Myrmourn under-performing against the Grave Guard. The Vargheists were swept aside by scythes and the Grimghast were now free to move in their next turn. Bringing the score closer to equal, I passed the turn back to Regan. Regan behaved unexpectedly, matching my wanton aggression with EVEN MORE AGGRESSION. Mannfred von Carstein grew bored of watching from the sidelines and heeled Ashigaroth forward to flank my Grimghast Reapers on their left side, simultaneously baiting me, supporting his nascent Grave Guard and genuinely threatening my Reapers all at once. Mannfred destroyed the Dreadblade Harrow with contemptuous ease, taking away my ability to return destroyed units. Keeping away from the Reapers, Mannfred as ever made sure there would be minimal consequences for maximum dickery. I won another priority roll, clinging on for dear life. Battle Round 4 - Go Not Gentle into that Good Night Regan, having considerately relived me of my casting heroes and general, streamlined my turn rather effectively. With no spells to sling, speeches to give or gotcha moments to pull out, I kept things simple. I moved forward with everything, and made one hell of a charge. The Dreadscythes swamped the Vampire Lord hiding in cover in Regan's back line while the Reapers got 15 into reach of the skeleton bomb defending his home objective, and 8 within range of Mannfred. Scythes started swinging and hook hands a-slashing, and when the dust cleared i had evened the odds across the table. Mannfred was bloodied and bruised, and the Skeletons standing between me and my chance at clawing victory from defeat where obliterated. Sadly Regan promptly reminded me that while Mannfred is known as a traitor, a schemer and unlikely to win beauty competitions, he's also a pretty good Necromancer. The Skeletons I had swept aside like corn reemerged and swamped the rear objective, while Mannfred simply tagged my Reapers to keep them locked in place. With a lead of several points, Regan ended his turn. Regan won the priority roll, whereupon we called the game as all he needed to do was pass his turn. Conclusion - What went well Dreadscythes are really good and I need two run two units Grimghast Reapers are gross, and don't need much support to do well Dreadblade teleportation is amazing when done right What went poorly Dreadblade teleportation is awful if you behave aggressively against things that will just one-shot him Be mindful of blocking off board edges for ambush units Ethereal Saves aren't actually a free pass and anything with enough attacks will slice through them Over all i was pleased with the army itself, if not the outcome. Everything that went badly on my end was due to me misplaying or making bad judgement calls, rather than inherit weaknesses in the army. It didn't help that Regan is a strong opponent and also knows me well enough to know when I'm getting too cocky. Looking forward to seeing his army when it's fully painted as he's also the Valley's resident commission painter and he does great work. Regan's twitter: @PaintPyrow My Twitter: @ThreeTwoPrince
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