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Date: July 3rd, 2022 Game Type: Matched Play / 1000 Points / GHB 2022 Season 1 (Gallet) Game #1: Soulblight Gravelords (Vyrkos Dynsasty) vs. Stormcast Eternals (Knights Excelsior) Battleplan: The Mighty and the Cunning Battleplan Rules Objectives can be chosen as Proving Grounds more than once 2 VP each time you kill a Veteran unit, +1VP if it was contesting an objective Hold 1 / Hold 2 / Hold More Than Your Opponent scoring system Soulblight Army List This was going to be our first game of AoS using the newly release GHB2022. It was also the first game either of us had played in several months as both of us had taken some time off of AoS to play 40k for awhile. We decided to play two 1k point games, we figured this would be a good introduction to the new rules, plus I have a 1k tournament coming up and I wanted to prepare for it a bit. I (Soulblight) cooked up two different lists for this weekend. The first list is my Kastelai Blood Knight list that I'm planning to take to the tournament. It is definitely a more aggressively built list and not what I would normally take to a 1k casual game. To balance this I also decided to bring along an infantry list (as seen above). I figured this list wouldn't be as strong, but might be a bit more fun to play against and would let me try out some of the new GHB mechanics (such as veterans). Our first battleplan was The Mighty and the Cunning. A relatively simple looking battleplan with 4 objectives across the middle and a mechanic that gives bonus points for killing Veterans (more on that at the end of the battle). My opponent won the roll off and decided to let me deploy first. Since we both had 5 drops this meant I had the choice for first round and decided to go first. My opponent placed his General and Grandhammers into reserve, while I did the same with one group of Zombies and my 30 Grave Guard Round 1 I went first and my first real decision came with choosing one of the new battle tactics. I decided to take advantage of the deepstriking capabilities and took Barge Through Enemy Lines (2VP if you get 2 units into your opponent's territory, 3 if both units are veterans). Other than that, I basically moved onto the two middle objectives and sat tight. I was able to score a solid 6 points right off the bat. My opponent decided to move slowly onto his first objective and chose Against The Odds (control an objective that is not being contested by enemy veteran s). He decided not to drop his paladins and only managed to score 3VP this turn. Round 2 We tied on the roll off, which meant that I was able to choose to go first again. My opponent chose one of the middle objectives as the Proving Ground. Once again I decided to play it safe this turn. With "horde" style armies like these it's generally better for you to avoid combat as long as possible, especially when you get to go first and jump on a lot of objectives. I knew my army wouldn't hold up long against his units so I had to farm VP early on. I slid my GG over to the furthest objective and started to screen them out with my zombies. . I don't usually like to play my GG into a defensive position but I had been a little greedy with the first turn Battle Tactic. Speaking of which, this turn I took one of the "freebies" in Desecrate Their Lands (control a terrain piece in the opponent's territory). I moved my Blood Knights forward a bit and into a potential charge position for next turn (assuming they survived any enemy charges themselves Once again I was able to score pretty high this turn with a solid 5 VP. My opponent decided to drop his Grandhammers this turn and easily got his charge off. Those guys are absolute grinders, and they easily wiped out my Blood Knights after doing some pretty decent damage in the movement/charge phase. He also started to move the rest of his army up the board behind the Hammers and I piled-in my zombies to make sure I didn't lose the objective and to prevent his hammers from charging the next turn. My opponent got a few VP this turn but was still held back by primary point scoring. Round 3 I finally lost the roll off here and got my first taste of a Gallet double-turn. My opponent moved up his forces, including his Yndrastra and easily finished off my Zombies. This was particularly damaging because it allowed him to score 3 Bonus VP due to the special mission rules, another 2VP for his battletactic, and a final 1VP on Primary. This helped him gain significant ground on the score sheet. Why only 1 VP on primary? Because I rolled a clutch Legions roll and was able to bring back 10 Zombies on the back objective. On my turn there wasn't much for me to do. I continued to reposition my Grave Guard and Zombies and grabbed the other "freebie" tactic Against The Odds. Round 4 I lost the roll off here which was pretty unfortunate, a double turn would have allowed me to get my GG into potential counter strike position. My opponent decided not to engage my main force on the final objective, instead he move enough forces onto the third objective and then flew Yndrastra back onto the objective that I had claimed with my Zombies in the last turn. He was able to make a pretty far charge after getting the free re-roll from his Banner hero and Yndrastra made short work of my 10 zombies. In retrospect I hadn't considered how big a swing in points it would be to allow my opponent to score the bonus points again. My opponent scored 3 Bonus VP, 3 Primary VP, and 2 Tactic VP, giving him the lead. On my turn I played it pretty defensively and just used the Proving Ground mechanic to take back the objective he had stolen previously. I decided to gamble with the Soulblight Unstoppable Armies battle tactic (succeed at the Endless Legions roll in the battleshock phase) but ultimately failed it. Round 5 I won the double here and was kind of out of options. I decided to deny his Grand Strategy by moving my Grave Guard and General into his territory and preventing his Defend What's Ours (no enemy units in your territory at the end of the game). I made a pretty significant misplay as I forgot about the bonus points mechanic again. As a result I took the other Soulblight battle tactics Callous Overlord (complete it if a summonable unit, not in combat at the start of the turn, dies this turn) and sacrificed my zombies by piling them into his main army. This was ultimately a -1VP exchange for me since he scored 3 bonus VP to my 2, whoops! In the end it didn't really matter though. My opponent was able to get his turn 5 battle tactic (Barge Through Enemy Lines) and then just sit tight on the objectives he controlled. He didn't get his Grand Strategy, but I did get mine (the Soublight Lust for Domination strategy which required you to control more gravesites than your opponent). Despite that, he was able to win the game 25-23 (I think... I know the difference was 2 points but I left my scoresheeet at the club so I can't confirm the final numbers, but it was something along these lines)! Post Game All in all this was a really fun game. After playing 40k for the last 6 months or so it was really refreshing to play AoS again (but that's a topic deserving a blog post of its own maybe). I found the new rules really fun and engaging. The new tactics and grand strategies are much more difficult to complete, which is probably better for the game, particularly the Grand Strats. I think there's going to be some serious imbalance due to the faction specific Tactics and Grand Strats, the Soulblight ones aren't even "that" great, but with how difficult the new ones are they definitely gave me an edge in this game. As for the mission? I think this one really punishes the Veteran mechanic and the amount of VP you score for killing them is way too swingy IMO. I think 1VP for killing and 1 bonus for being on an objective would have been enough. Scoring potentially 3VP every time you kill a veteran unit is huge. I guess they thought this would balance out with the special proving grounds mechanic (you can choose the same objective multiple times whereas normally you can only choose each objective only once) but that seems to only really be the case if you have super durable Veterans in your army. I had predicted that these new rules would probably spell the end for Soulblight horde style armies and this game pushes me to thinking that will likely be the case (of course it's just one 1k point game). Fortunately there are other builds that Soulblight can build into, such as the Blood Knight build I used in my follow-up game. That being said, it was a fun game and I offer congratulations to my opponent. I think this was his first win against my Soulblight and I know they've been a bit of a boogy-man army for him, so it's nice to see him grab victory today (I had similar issues in dealing with Lumineth so I know how freeing it is to finally beat that nemesis army)!