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About Me

Found 12 results

  1. Heya friends! As many know, this past weekend was the Holy Wars 2018 narrative event in the Chicago-area. Holy Wars is the premier narrative hobby event in North America that miraculously balances the highest levels of hobby with the highest levels of competitive play. This year was certainly no different. I've posted some photos at the end of the page with stand out armies at this year's event. Photos of @Holy Hammer Hern's beautiful tables can be found in my Holy Wars 2017 posts from last here (found here, here, and here). Vince and I have done a lot of coverage thus far so I don't see a reason to repeat those details here. On the drive home from the event, Vince and I covered each of our games in a blow by blow coverage over the course of two videos. On Wednesday, we had Steve Herner (@Holy Hammer Hern), who is the creator and driver behind this event along with his club the Holy Hammers, on to Warhammer Weekly where we talked all things Holy Wars and his experiences as a ringer for the event. Finally, last night we @Rob Symes's Honest Wargamer show where we talked about the event and our experiences (Apologies to David Griffin for getting our score wrong on Rob's show; it was 14-6, not 20-0). The links to all of this coverage can be found below: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/234249072 While I didn't perform as well in the games as I would have liked, I was honored with the Hobby Hammerist Award for a second year in a row. I was super honored by it as there was such stiff competition at the event in the hobby categories. Thanks for such a great weekend everyone who attended and participated! Now enjoy a handful of the awesome looking armies that were present at the event!
  2. It is rare to have a score so disproportionately reflect the thrashing one receieves from their opponent and yet this was one of those games. After my big win against Walter, I was pushed up to the top tables where I squared off against Domus’ beautiful Ironjawz, whose images have been making the rounds these past weeks on social media. The objective for the Skaven Hunger Games table was fairly straightforward. The main table objective was a sinking Belltower that needed to be garrisoned in order have auxiliary (read “imaginary”) troops raid the food stores. The problem was that the bell tower sank each round and caused ever-increasing unpreventable wounds to those inside. The other problematic element on this table were the copious toxic pools, which were an amplified version of dangerous terrain: any model who moved in or ended their move on the pool rolled a dice and on a one was instantly removed as a casualty. The fact that the Belltower was in one of these pools and could only be garrisoned if you were up against the door at the start of the movement phase only compounded the deadliness and complexity of fulfilling the table objective. It also didn’t help that all three of the Grail Objectives that you had to control with 5+ models within 6” were also within these toxic pools of death. Fun times. I knew I was in trouble when I sat down across from Domus. I was staring down an exceedingly fast, hard-hitting army that I didn’t have obvious solutions for key pieces. He was running a 15 block of brutes (whos big boss was his general), a Megaboss on Mawcrusha, a Megaboss on foot, a Warchanter, a Weirdnob Shaman, 10 Ardboyz, and two packs of 3 Goregruntas, with all the non-hero units unsurprisingly in the Ironfist battalion. After a long bit of deliberation, I decided to drop my normal deployment: 140 Harbinger of Decay 240 Be’lakor, Chaos Daemon Prince
 160 Sayl the Faithless
 120 Chaos Sorcerer Lord on Chaos Steed (Nurgle)
 180 5 Putrid Blightkings
 180 5 Putrid Blightkings
 120 20 Chaos Marauders (Nurgle) w/Full Command and Icon – Axe/Shield 60 10 Chaos Marauders (Nurgle) w/Full Command and Icon – Axe/Shield 100 10 Plaguebearers of Nurgle 300 Hellcannon
 180 Plagueclaw Catapult 200 Reinforcement Points I knew he would be in my siege’s face turn one but I needed the rend and mortal wounds to punch through that overwhelming 4+ I was staring down. I wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with the Mawcrusha or the 15 block of Brutes but I chose the best chokepoints on the battlefield on my side (given that Domus got to pick his side). It became obvious very quickly what his tactics would be. He set up his Ardboyz supported by the Megaboss on foot right on the line to double hero phase move up to the tower so he could garrison it at the top of Turn 1 (which he would take because he finished dropping before I did). The set up the Pigs on the front line to charge ahead and potentially split off onto flanks, and the Brute block to charge in behind them, right up the middle. He rightly knew there was little in my army that was going to stop 15 Brutes backed by a Warchanter. On his far flank he set up his Mawcrusha, likely hoping to pick off my 10 marauders I had set up to run after his Grail objective, and his Weirdnob Shaman, who had a direct line to the Warlock House, a terrain piece that would double the range of all his spells and let him rain death down on my back lines and my vulnerable Hellcannon crew. Given the multitude of the threats, I knew that if those Aardboyz made it into the Belltower, I would likely automatically lose the main objective because I wouldn’t be able to shift them out quick enough. Given this, I chose them for Belakor’s Dark Master ability and hoped it would gum them up on Turn 1 and give me a chance to contest that point. Turn 1 played out mostly how I expected. He moved on the tower but the Belakor’d Ardboyz couldn’t make it all the way to the door and thus stopped at the toxic pool edge. On the other flank, his Mawcrusha moved up to threaten my flank and guard his Weirdnob shaman who was moving on the Warlock tower (but didn’t make it in Turn 1). In the middle, everything else rushed up quick and hard. The Gorerguntas made a charge so he pulled them way out and around, hitting my Blightkings on my left flank and killing a couple. Because of this, he had a longer charge on his Brutes into my Marauder front line, which he failed. If Domus made any mistake this game, it was not sending the Goregruntas directly into my 20 Marauders at the top of Turn 1 and battleshocking them off the table. Bottom of turn 1 rolled around and I knew two things: 1) this game was going to be ugly, and 2) if I was going to not be tabled, I was going to have to make some desperate gambits. After my standard round of buffing, I moved my 10 Plaguebearers towards the Bell Tower, while sending a Sayl’d unit of Blightkings out to his Weirdnob Shaman. I aimed to accomplish two things with this move: 1) kill the Shaman who could rain death down upon my back lines with double range spells and 2) bait the Mawcrusha far away from the primary combat. I didn’t have a solution for him so he needed to not be in the fight. The Blightkings made it into the shaman, surrounded him, and proceeded to kill him with tons of exploding attacks. Yay, a morale victory. Belakor assisted the closer Blightkings with the engaged Goregruntas. My artillery rained down on the Ardboyz, killed a few, and the rest of my units prepared for the ugly fight that was about to happen. The bloodshed the came with turn 2 was expected yet still somehow surprising. He got into the marauders and cut them down to a handful of models, despite being in a chokepoint. His lone Goregrunta died to Belakor and remaining Blightking while the other group of Goregruntas looped around and pinned my 10 Marauders in the other chokepoint on my opposite flank. Domus rolled really poorly on the Ardboyz so he wasn’t going to be able to hero phase move them up to the door, so he decided to keep them out of the swamp for another turn. His mawcrusha took the bait and unsurprisingly charged in and destroyed those Blightkings on the far side of the table. By the end of his turn 2, my lines had almost all but collapsed. I was pressed on basically every side, and realized something drastic had to happen. Looking at the remains of my force, I knew that I had a resource that Domus definitely didn’t have: cheap bodies. Those toxic pools were ultimately a lot more dangerous to him than they were to myself so I decided to capitalize on this. I realized I needed to get Sayl across towards the Belltower since Domus had been delayed and hadn’t garrisoned it yet. The plaguebearers at the Bell Tower piled in on that Grail Objective, thus outnumbering Domus’ remaining forces there and taking control of the objective. Sayl also flew out to that now open left flank to be able to support it next turn. I knew my marauders on the opposite side wouldn’t be able to break for his Grail Objective, especially with a Mawcrusha between them and it, so those remaining marauders retreated into the toxic pool on that flank around the Grail token. My remaining primary marauder line retreated and reformed since I wanted to fight as few combats with that Brute line as possible on them. But that Brute line still needed to be stopped. It was at this point that I heard my cohost’s voice in my head (I promise this doesn’t happen often): “If you want to win big, you have to risk big; sometimes you have to roll the hard 6.” Hardly believing what I was doing, I mystic shielded and reroll 1’s buffed Belakor up and charged him into the deadly swamp on the Brute’s flank, pinning them from the side in combat with Belakor. In prior games, I’ve sung the praises of Belakor, but those performances are nothing compared to seeing the First Daemon Prince with a 2+ reollable save that is immune to Rend lock down a unit of 15 Brutes, all the while being forced to make a roll at the end of each movement phase and risk instantly dying on a 1. Did I mention that I had already blown my tournament reroll die when I decided on this plan of action? "Go big or go home," right? So Belakor heroically tanked those Brutes, and held them pinned there for the rest of the game, slowly whittling them down and taking zero damage. Domus’ Mawcrusha even came charging in on Belakor’s back in the final round but, other than a couple mortal wounds that Belakor regen’d from my own fleeing Marauders, Belakor held firm. At the Belltower, in my next Hero phase, I dropped 20 plaguebearers down near the door from a 3-diced summon from Sayl (although I would still have to spend a round getting up to the door). Anticipating what I was doing, Domus tried to rush the door and garrison it with both his lone Aardboy and Megaboss, but both rolled 1’s and were instantly killed, all the while 25+ plaguebearers looked on from the midst of the filth completely unaffected by their surroundings. And so the game ended, with me locking down the scenario objective (7), the grail objective (6), and having the most remaining units on the table (3). Never have I gotten my proverbial teeth kicked in so hard and yet still walked away with the major victory. It was almost a crime how the score so minimally represented the actual game that was played on the table. Despite the unfairness of the score on Domus’ behalf, I would experience the flip side of this encounter in my next game against Sean Troy, one of the best players in the Midwest and the other opponent we three-way tied with at Holy Havok. I’ll cover this game next.
  3. I was fortunate to draw Walter for my Game 2 on Bugman’s Grudge because I was harboring a bit of a grudge against Walter myself. During Holy Havok this last fall, Vince and I three way tied for Best Overall with Walter’s team and Sean Troy’s team (who I got to play in Game 4; more on this later). Walter was playing his Ogre’s again, who had handly blown up (well, severely crippled) an unbuffed, 30 strong Chaos Warrior block at the top of turn 1 during our last showdown at Holy Havok. I was happy to take another shot at his army. Walter brought 3 blocks of Ogres, a block of Ironguts and a block of Leadbelchers (all in packs of 6), backed by a Butcher, another hero (maybe a second Butcher), and a pair of Ironjawz heroes (Megaboss and Weirdnob Shaman). Unfortunately for Walter, the main scenario was a model feeder scenario where you threw your model’s into Bugman’s and started drinking. Every turn, there was a chance your models would pass out and be removed from play. Units from both players could garrison Bugman’s but they couldn’t attack each other (they were too busy drinking together). Any enemies near enough to the tavern on the outside could be attacked on the other hand. The Grail Objective involved sending your troops into the mountains off the starting zone and searching for the Grail token. The first to find it (5+) would lock it into place atop at their Mountain Entrance and have to hold it in order to accumulate points each turn. Knowing I had the model count on him, I went with the following list: 140 Harbinger of Decay 240 Be’lakor, Chaos Daemon Prince
 160 Sayl the Faithless
 120 Chaos Sorcerer Lord on Chaos Steed (Nurgle)
 180 10 Warriors of Chaos (Nurgle) w/Full Command – Handweapon/Shield 180 5 Putrid Blightkings
 180 5 Putrid Blightkings
 120 20 Chaos Marauders (Nurgle) w/Full Command and Icon – Axe/Shield 60 10 Chaos Marauders (Nurgle) w/Full Command and Icon – Axe/Shield 100 10 Plaguebearers of Nurgle 300 Hellcannon
 200 Reinforcement Points I arrayed my forced defensively around the mountain entrance, and planned on sending the small unit of 10 Chaos Marauders into the mountain looking for the objective. I knew getting into the tavern was going to be hard because you had to start your movement phase up within 6” of the door and I didn’t have off-turn movement. I also deployed my Hellcannon on top of the mountain because 1) he was cool with it, 2) it was a legal place to drop, and 3) it looked cinematically awesome. I double-checked with him to make sure he was cool with it and he encouraged me to do so (knowing full-well he would have the range with the Balewind to shoot my crew off with Arcane Bolt). Given what both of us dropped, I was grabbing to grab first turn as he handed off turn one to me, which I gladly obliged. Rather than waiting to the very end as I had last game, at the top of turn one, I had Sayl 3-dice a summon Plaguebearers and dropped 20 of them on the door (which would allow me to enter during the movement phase of turn 1). I got lucky and, after entering the Mountain, immediately found the Grail Token on a 5+, which meant that it locked in my starting zone. The Hellcannon immediately started putting wounds on the Weirdnob shaman, the Plaguebearers went in for a drink (3 passed out immeadiately, woohoo!), and the rest of my line did what they do best, set up a bunker around the Grail Objective. On his turn, he charged forward He moved his Ironguts up to the side (my right) of the building and his Leadbelcher to the opposite side. The Ogres went straight for the tavern. His extra destruction move really helped him close this distance. I had Belakor’d the Weirdnob (knowing the threat the Hellcannon was facing) and it ended up paying off. He successfully summoned the Balewind on the Weirdnob but Belakor’s Dark Master shut the rest of his casting down in Turn 1. I was fortunate to make those Plaguebearers immune to Battleshock because Walter’s rebuttal was swift, nearly clearing the tavern of the 20 Plaguebearers at the bottom of turn 1. On my turn, my Hellcannon shot down his Weirdnob, and I continued to shift my lines around, preparing for the inevitable bloodbath when he made it to me. I moved a unit of Blightkings along each tavern flank to meet his two elite units head on, as other units moved up to the door to try get into the tavern. Even though they had been buffed with Lord of War (+1 to hit, thus exploding hits on 5+), I don’t think either of us was expecting much from the 5 Blightkings against his 6 Ironguts when they rolled up. Well, that was until Unpredictable Destruction dropped on them, adding another +1 to hit, making their attacks explode on a 4+). Twenty six confirmed wounds later and his Irongut unit has been cut in half by the lowly Blightkings. This turn of events was symptomatic of the game as a whole. Just as the dice fell my way with the Grail Token and the Blightkings, so too would it continue as the turns progressed. My models continued to pile into the tavern each turn as the two units of five Blightkings went toe to toe with his Leadbelchers and Ironguts. Even when the Blightkings on the Ironguts were cut down, Belakor moved up on that flank and made short work of the remaining Irongut, as well as the Ironjawz Megaboss that charged in. Did I mention how good Belakor is? The reality is that Walter’s Ogres never actually made it to my side of the tavern. Those in the tavern took heavy hits from the Hellcannon and my adjacent attacking units whittled down the wounds round by round. When the grind was all said and done, I walked away with a 20 – 0 win, including my secret objective to kill his highest pointed hero or monster. Despite the big win, it was really the table combined with bad rolling that was to blame for his loss. He played fantastically given the circumstances. I look forward to (and dread a little bit) our next game where things will be a little bit more evenly matched.
  4. Pre-Event Warm-Up – Kenny Lull of Combat Phase podcast – Invasion of Ghyran [Table 1] I opened the event weekend on the night before the official event with a warm-up game with Kenny Lull of Combat Phase podcast fame. Kenny has been playing straight Fyreslayers since last year and was on track to get his 100th game of pure Fyreslayers during the weekend event. Kenny was also giving the new Fyreslayer points a test so I jumped at the opportunity to help him get to 100 games and try the new points out! We played on Table 1, which was the beautiful Invasion of Ghyran table with the stunning Tree of Life. Order was tasked with defending the Tree from my nurgly Horned Legion. The objective was to end the game with more models next to the tree at the end of turn 5 while there was a secondary objective of accumulating points from three grail objectives. The foot slog across the whole length of the table was a long walk for Nurgle. Luckily the siege was able to keep pressure on his force and continue to clear off the secondary grail objectives near him. He had two tunneling units of 25 Vulkites but I was running enough units that I was able to spread out and stop them from deploying anywhere behind my front lines. He wisely brought them up in turn three because I think I could have continued to spread my 30 man units out and potentially deny him the ability to bring either unit up at all. We had a pretty straight-forward clash right under the boughs of the tree but there wasn’t enough time to really widdle the Fyreslayers down enough, especially with 50+ battleshock-immune models with a ward save popping up late during turn 3. The game ended with a win for Kenny after a grueling fight. While I think some of the Fyreslayer point adjustments were needed, my suspicions about the new Vulkite costs were confirmed. I think 60 points is too low for 5 of those models. They should have stayed at 80 for 5, or only dropped to 70 for 5. While 70 would be unusual, Plaguemonks are at 70 points per unit for example. At 120 for 10, you would be getting the arguably best generic Battleline unit in the game with a potential 4+/4++ saves, 2 attacks per model, 4+/4+/-1/1, 5 mortal wounds on the charge, and the ability to deepstrike with a hero (for 80 points) that also grants wound rerolls. Oh, and they get to reroll one of their charge dice to land that 9-inch charge after dropping. Oh, and they have a short range ranged attack on all of this for a couple extra wounds per round. This is a discussion though for another post. The game was a blast and Kenny was a great opponent. I’m glad I was able to help him in his push to 100 games with pure Fyreslayers (right at almost the 1 year anniversary of the army nonetheless)! If these new points stick, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m heavily considering a FS army, or at least a meaty contingent for battleline.
  5. At the prompting of my Warhammer Weekly cohost, I was grudged for my first game by one of our viewers. I picked the Endless Desert table because of my love of Tomb Kings, although this was a bad move given Justin’s force. Justin brought a regenerating ghoul-heavy Ghoul Patrol Flesheater force to a board whose primary objective was shoving the most bodies into an endless pit. It also had a split deployment and a random placement for the secondary objective, which was a difficult setup for my bubble-wrapped artillery heavy Nurgle infantry force. Good times. Despite the uphill battle, I gambled with my placement bunkering into a back corner of the board and planned on sending out Sayl’d infantry blocks into the swirling endless pit of sand while Be’lakor and a token force screened one of his Crypt Horror blocks and three heroes on the far end of the table. My deployment was: 140 Harbinger of Decay - Harbinger Gulgath the Pustulant
 240 Be’lakor, Chaos Daemon Prince
 160 Sayl the Faithless
 120 Chaos Sorcerer Lord on Chaos Steed (Nurgle)
 180 5 Putrid Blightkings
 180 5 Putrid Blightkings 120 20 Chaos Marauders (Nurgle) w/Full Command and Icon – Axe/Shield 60 10 Chaos Marauders (Nurgle) w/Full Command and Icon – Axe/Shield 100 10 Plaguebearers of Nurgle 300 Hellcannon
 180 Plagueclaw 200 Reinforcement Pool (20 Plaguebearers and 10 Chaos Furies as possibilities) Justin smartly took first turn, with an opening 9” charge, crashed a 30 strong unit of ghouls into my front line of unbuffed and quite surprised marauders. After suffering some significant casualties I responded by Sayl-ing (face it, it’s a verb now) that block of marauders, which I retreated out of combat and shoved them into the swirling sands at the center, quite surprisingly (to Justin) leaving my artillery sparsely defended. When a unit touched the sands, a die was rolled for each model. On a 6, they were removed and scored a point, on 1 they were killed. Remaining models were set up 9” away from the enemy on a portion of the table based on another roll. I noticed that rolls of 2 and 5 allowed you to be set up in the panel with the storm, so you could literally reset up again the sandstorm and start the process all over again. To the surprise of both Justin and myself, I rolled three 2 and/or 5s in a row, so I kept throwing this unit (which I had made battleshock immune) into the sands. What popped out the other side was me scoring 4 points (from the 12ish marauders I threw in there) and one guy remaining standing. I charged my 10 Plaguebearers into the gap with the remaining Ghouls and they held firm. On the other flank of my artillery, my 5 blightkings charged in and blew up a small unit of 10 ghouls while Belakor and his Blightkings moved to intercept the Crypt Horror plus hero pack on the other side of the table. Be’lakor was able to sit on terrain for this combat, which helped in significantly in the rounds to come. The Hellcannon put some wounds on the enemy Varghulf Courtier general. I was able to kill Justin’s general in turn 2 with the Hellcannon, and despite an initial weak showing, Be’lakor was able to lock down the enemy unit on the far end for two more turns of combat, including killing his Crypt Haunter Courtier in single combat (while being swarmed by Crypt Ghouls). I had Be’lakor’d (also now a verb) his second block of 30 ghouls with Dark Master so that stopped their ability to move towards the swirling sands in turn two. My plaguebearers plus the nearby Blightkings easily cleared out the 30-ghoul unit near my artillery. I caught another break when the secondary grail objective dropped in an adjacent portion of the board to my bunker, right on top of his other six Crypt Horror unit. This provided him incentive to hold his unit on that objective so that the Grail Objective didn’t move to another quadrant. While the rest of his troops were locked down or trying to get into the sands, I was able to move my remaining infantry forces up towards the objective threatening it about 9” out (while scoring was only 6” out). Justin had to make a hard decision at this point. If he stayed on the point, I would simply move up on the objective in the last turn and claim it with more models. If he went first, he wouldn’t even have the chance of killing any of my troops. If he charged, he would have to leave the objective bubble itself and risk not scoring it as well. He made the bold decision to charge forward, try to kill my somewhat sparse force (5 Blightkings, Harbinger of Decay, Mounted Sorcerer Lord, and the one remaining marauder from the prior 20 block). This was of course a trap. By luring his horrors out, he moved off the point enough so that I was able to have Sayl (who was sitting on Arcane terrain 10” back from this front line) triple-diced a Summon Plaguebearers, dropping 20 Plaguebearers, which conga-lined behind his line and onto the objective. The remains of his 30 block of Ghouls did drop into that quadrant after entering the sands a second time but it was too little too late to shift the 20 plaguebearers off the point. It was a hard fought game with him unsurprisingly grabbing the primary objective (7 points) and with myself accomplishing the secondary grail objective (6 points), my secret objective (Killing more heroes than he did, 4 points), and ending the game with more units still deployed than he did (3 points). Game 2 was against Walter Duncan (who Vince and I three-way tied him and his teammate for best overall at Holy Havok) and his ogres in a drinking contest on Bugman's table.
  6. In this post I'm simply posting the beautiful collection of armies that were on display at Holy Wars this year. Holy Wars is a somewhat unique event in that only 2 awards having anything to do with gameplay (best general & best sportsmanship). The other 4 awards granted have to do with the hobby, including a Best Unit Champion award, a Player's Choice pick of favorite army award, Best Army award (from the judge's standpoint), and the Hobby Hammerist award, which is the highest honor offered and given to the army that epitomizes everything the event is about (i.e. hobbying, narrative aspects of army composition, etc). Each army can only win one of these awards once, so if you bring the same army back in subsequent years you don't qualify to compete for the awards you previously won (which was certainly fortunate for me). Unfortunately, I didn't get all of the armies present (but I got most of them). Regardless, on to the armies! And then finally, my army: In the next post, I'll cover my first match-up with Justin Smith.
  7. In this post, we finish our survey of the stunning tables of Holy Wars 2017, including the floating earth motes of Azyr and the scorched crust of Aqshy. Table 11 –The Upside Down Battling in the warped reality of Tzeentch is ever changing and swirling in tremendous power. The Great Eye of Tzeentch is ever watching over the upside down. The main objective in this scenario is a series of take and holds of pillars strewn throughout the table, some pink, some standard. The pink points netted you 2 points per turn instead of the standard’s 1 point, but also did unpreventable wounds to your unit. The player at the end of the game with the most points won this objective. The grail objective was an escort style mission where players carried Grail tokens from the Black Pit of Tzeentch to the Eye of Tzeentch. The player to deliver the most tokens (there were three total) to the Eye wins. Table 12 –Death, The Next Step The devoted to Vlad still seek his power and leadership in the Age of Sigmar. His sacrifice during End Times has not been forgotten by his followers. This scenario was a take and hold of a central objective. Those garrisoning this objective, the tower of Vlad, could invoke the power of Vlad to do unpreventable damage to their enemies. The player who caused the most wounds wins this objective. The Grail Token objective was a trio of grail tokens spread throughout the table and controlling them accumulated points each round. This was a new board for Holy Wars 2017 and the zombie chapel was inspired! Table 13—Skaven-Hunger Games The Skaven unquenchable hunger continues in the new age. This scenario involved the raiding of the Windmill Grain Mill for resources but in order to do so, one had to first take a and hold the Clock tower and then their auxiliary (imaginary) troops would gather resources from the Grain Mill. The problem for the take-and-holding player is that this Windmill was sinking into the mire each turn doing unpreventable wounds to the garrisoning unit. To make matters worse, all of the pools across the table were an augmented version of deadly terrain that required a d6 roll if you moved or ended movement on them at all, with a 1 causing the automatic death of that model. The grail tokens, unsurprisingly, were strewn throughout this board in these toxic pools of death. Fun times for all. Table 14—Aqshy, Realm of Fire & Ice Chaos seeks to dominate the Realm of Aqshy and the powers of the Shifting Monolith ravages all. This scenario involved the manipulation of a Shifting Monolith. Players could control the direction of the monolith although the distance traveled was variable. As this shifting monolith traveled over units, it did unpreventable wounds to units it traveled over (including your own!). The player who accumulated the most wounds done in this way won this objective. Those near this objective did indeed gain a +1 to saves, which could certainly be significant in some cases. The Grail Token objective for this board were again a trio of tokens spread throughout the table and controlling them accumulated points each round. This was a new board for Holy Wars 2017 and what a beauty it was! Table 15—Azyr, the Realm of Heavens Those who seek the knowledge of Sigmar must brave the perils of a quest that will test their resolve as never before. Despite the wonderful detail of the Aqshy board by Herner, the real new gem in this event was the new Azyr board. This board was composed of a number of floating earth motes with Sigmar’s Occulus on the central floating island. Those near this objective could call Sigmar’s lightning down on nearby units. The player who did the most wounds in this way won the objective. The Grail Token objective for this board were again a trio of tokens spread across the table, underneath the earthmotes! The player controlling them accumulated points each round. This was the real gem of Holy Wars 2017 and people were clamoring to play on it. In the next set of posts, I’ll go over my individual matchups with a brief battle report on each.
  8. In this post, we continue our survey of the tables of Holy Wars 2017. Table 6 –Nurgle-Drink the Wyrm Otto and devious sorcerer Ethrac, riding to battle on the shoulders of their brother Ghurk, quest for more blessings from Nurgle as they look to harness the power of the mighty Wyrmrid Reaches. This table had as its primary objective a kill-quest scenario where each player was looking to do more wounds to the resident monster, the Wyrmrid Reaches, than the opposing player. I provided feedback on it Friday night, and after some testing by some helpful attendees, it ended up being toned down from its 2+ save against shooting and 3+ against combat to a straight 4+. There were also 3 Grail Token objectives that head to be held: 1 in each of the starting zones and the final one within reach of the Wyrm. This of course was significant because every round the Wyrm did unpreventable wounds to all units within 8 inches based on how wounded it was, starting at a d3 wounds and scaling all the way to d6+3 wounds to all units. Table 7—The Great Maw Challenge Harbingers of dark months and dead seasons, the ogor tribes continue their assaults on the mortal realms. They fight not to conquer or dominate, but for sustenance - they are led by their bellies to their battles, and the victims of their slaughter are consumed, staving off the hunger briefly before the hunt begins anew. The primary table objective is a fight around a terrain piece with the army causing the most amount of wounds within an ever growing larger radius wins the objective. The scenario has three fixed Grail tokens in bonfires spread across the field (one in each starter zone and the last in a contested middle area away from the stone. Those too close to the bonfire similarly suffered unpreventable wounds. Table 8 –A Tangled Web The Arachnarok Spiders lumbering monsters of chitin and dripping fangs are scattered throughout the mortals. Death comes to those foolish to wander too closely. Deployment on this board is staggered with the terrain objective on the far end, outside of both deployments. The player with the largest number of models within 6” of the Idol of Mork/Gork gains the ability to call upon Gork and Mork, calling down either Gork’s foot or Mork’s gaze upon the enemy. The player that does the most amount of damage with these prayers wins the table objective. The Grail Tokens were miscellaneously scattered around the Arachnarok hole, where a sneaky Arachanrok would chew on nearby units camping the tokens. Table 9 – Lair of the Astromancer Celestial Order, continues to study the heavens to harness the magical power in the mortal realms. This board offered a unique take and hold scenario that included at least 6 buildings. One of the buildings was the primary table objective. All of the other buildings had the possibility of a Grail Token being hidden away in their depths, but this wouldn’t be discovered until after the game ended. The goal was to take and garrison as many buildings as possible, including the terrain objective. The roads on this board were muddy and greatly hindered movement as well. Table 10 –Tomb Kings’ Endless Desert The endless dessert continues to expand across the mortal realms. Heat and sand consume all that stand in it’s path. The main objective on this board was a model-feeder scenario where you dumped troops into the swirling sands at the center of the board in pursuit of the hidden city. When units touched the swirling sand a dice was rolled for each model: on a 6, they were removed from play and arrived at the secret city; on a 1, the model was slain. Surviving models teleported to a random quadrant of the board to set up again. This objective coupled with split deployment (each player got 2 opposing 1’ x 1’ squares in each corner) made for very interesting play. Additionally, at the end of the second turn, the Grail Token would randomly appear in one of the six panels of the board and, if claimed, would lock into place for the rest of the game. This was a very fun and strategically challenging board to play on. The full scenario rules can be found here, and the full table maps and terrain features (with rules) can be found here. In the next part, I'll cover tables 11-15.
  9. I’m finally back from Holy Wars 2017 and what an experience it was. My birthday was on the Friday leading into the event so I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate it than spending a couple days rolling dice on beautiful tables. I’ll be doing a series of blog posts over the next couple days regarding the event, the armies, and the tables/scenarios. In this first blog, I’ll cover my own force and briefly discuss the event. When I decided to go to Holy Wars this year, I wanted to lean more into the hobby/narrative aspect (which is what the event is really about) and less into the competitive aspect. Vince and I took a hard-as-nails list to Holy Havok 2016 team event (where we tied for best overall) and I wanted to do something a bit different. So, for this event, I built my list out of models that were narratively compelling or aesthetically pleasing in my Horned Legion force rather than necessarily strictly competitive. For example, while I initially considered including a third set of 5 Blightkings in my force sideboard with my last 200 points, I decided to instead go with my converted Nurgle Warshrine. It is a fantastic aesthetic centerpiece to an otherwise heavy infantry force and it exudes the character of Ghur where the Blighted Legion is stationed in their keep of Mireguard. Each player was told to bring 2500 points although each game was only 2000 points. This gave me quite a bit of flexibility in deployment to customize my army to what I was staring down. This ended up being a much greater boon than I had anticipated. So the list I ended up bringing was as follows… 140 Harbinger of Decay - Harbinger Gulgath the Pustulant
 240 Be’lakor, Chaos Daemon Prince
 160 Sayl the Faithless
 120 Chaos Sorcerer Lord on Chaos Steed (Nurgle)
 180 10 Warriors of Chaos (Nurgle) w/Full Command – Handweapon/Shield 360 10 Putrid Blightkings
 180 30 Chaos Marauders (Nurgle) w/Full Command and Icon – Axe/Shield 300 30 Plaguebearers of Nurgle 300 Hellcannon
 180 Plagueclaw 200 Chaos Warshrine (Nurgle) 120 10 Chaos Furies (Nurgle)
 My standard deployment would be my four heroes (560 points), 10 Putrid Blightkings (360 points, either in two 5s or one 10), Hellcannon (300), Plagueclaw (180), and 20 Marauders (120), 10 Marauders (60), and 10 Plaguebearers (100) for battleline. This would leave 200 points for summoning either the remaining 20 Plaguebearers, Chaos Furies, or a mix of Plaguebearers and Chaos Furies. I ended up doing surprisingly well with this force in the matched play although my focus on the narrative/hobby aspect paid off as I was privileged to receive the event’s highest honors, the Hammer Hobbyist award, which is given to the player who embodies the hobby and everything the event is about (painting, narrative, etc.). It was a fantastic experience overall, and in the immortal words of anonymous Yelp! reviewer #87: "Five Stars - would do agin". In future posts I’ll do some brief game summaries, provide shots of all the tables/scenarios, and the attending armies.
  10. By far the most stunning thing about Holy Wars are the event’s tables. From the Endless Deserts of Shyish to the verdant forests of Ghyran, you feel like you’ve stepped into the Mortal Realms when you sit down at a table. No detail has been ignored in the crafting of these scenarios. While many stock terrain pieces are present on these tables, most elements of these tables are handcrafted by Steve Herner and the love and care he lavished on their composition is obvious. There is not a single table that doesn’t entice you to want to explore it. Almost as enticing as the tables are the scenarios tied to the tables themselves. For this event, every single table had its own unique scenario. Some were attack and defend, while others were about slaying terrible terrors present on the board. No matter what table you were on, you could be assured that the table would be playing the game as much as either you or your human opponent were. For the hardcore competitive types, this event would surely be a problem because it was so very hard to plan things out in advance. Each game had 4 objectives: (1) a table objective [7 points], (2) a grail objective [6 points], (3) a secret objective [4 points], and (4) most-units-surviving objective [3 points]. Each table objective often had to do with a strategic piece of terrain that needed to be fought over. Every table also had Grail objectives that included 1-3 Grail Tokens that needed to be protected. These Grail objectives all also generated a buff within 6” that buffed all units (allied and enemy like) with things like bonuses to rend or attacks. For the secret objectives, there were five secret objectives and each player had to choose one before each game. Additionally, each player could only choose each one throughout the entire event so you had to make your selections wisely in any given matchup because you didn’t know what your next matchup would look like. The final objective was to have the most surviving units at the end of each game. So, on any given table, there were 10 moving parts, between scenarios, table effects, and your opponent. It was almost impossible to come into this event with a preplanned list/strategy because of all the moving parts. The Tables and Scenarios We’ll now briefly turn to each of the 15(!) tables and their associated scenarios. Table 1 – Invasion of Ghyran The Oak of the Ages has always been the heart of the forest and in the Mortal Realms the seeds sprout new life. Armies across the mortal realms seek to harvest the great power of the acorns. This is an attack and defend scenario with one of the forces attacking the tree and the other serving as defender. The defender of the tree got benefits (battleshock immunity and reroll all saves of 1) when immediately around the tree, which was certainly a huge perk for being forced to be stationary. The Grail Tokens on this table were spread around the tree in a triangle, one in the path of the attack and one on each of the north and south sides of the tree. This provided interesting cross-incentives because it pulled the defender away from the tree in order to gain points and it help the attack back from the tree as they would leave some troops to defend it on their advance. Table 2 –Temple of Khaine The search for the Sacrificial Dagger continues and blood will flow as armies seek to harness the dark power of Khaine. This scenario was a take and hold scenario with the Temple of Khaine in the center. The individual holding the temple could only gain points by sacrificing (unpreventable) wounds from their own units every round. The Grail Tokens on this table were likewise in a triangular pattern around the temple with one in each of the starting zones and another in the center of the table right near the entrance of the temple. Table 3 – Bugman’s Grudge Bugman’s Brew lives on in the new age fueling those who seek to gain power and knowledge from this legendary elixir. This scenario was a model-feeder scenario where you dumped troops into Bugman’s tavern to get rip-roaring drunk. Units from both sides could garrison the tavern but they couldn’t fight one another because they were too busy drinking, although they could in fact attack any units outside of the tavern. This led to people piling units into the tavern while hold units outside of the tavern to attack enemy units. Each turn there was a 50% change that 1d3 of your models in the tavern would pass out and be removed as casualties (could be selected from any of your units; these losses were total, not for each unit). The goal was to have the most amount of model loss to drinking at the end of the game. The Grail Token objective was hidden away in the mountains surrounding the tavern. Each player could send a unit into the mountains to search for the token. The first player to roll a 5+ find the grail token and it gets locked at the entrance of their mountain. This objective would quickly become a hold and defend objective once the token was found. Table 4 – Aelf, the Shrine of the Phoenix Anointed still wander the realms in the Age of Sigmar. A great power from ages past still holds power in the new age. This scenario was a take and hold very similar to Table 2 (Altar of Khaine), although instead of doing wounds to your own troops, a hero garrisoning the shrine would burn their enemies with the Phoenix Gaze spell (granted by garrisoning). The player who inflicted the most amount of wounds with the Phoenix Gaze spell would win the primary objective. There were three Grail tokens on this table as well, although I am not sure exactly where they were as I did not get a chance to play on this table. Table 5 –Favor of Sotek Lord Kroak ancient and venerable still seeks the power and blesssings of the mighty Sotek. This scenario was interesting because it set the table objective, which was a take and hold that caused wounds (or healing!) to your own troops, against the Grail Token objective, which was also a singular Token of take and hold. To make matters worse, each of these objectives were in one of the starting zones, so with each one a player would literally start on top of one while having to travel the length of the table to get to the other. So starting side was important, as was mobility. The full scenario rules can be found here, and the full table maps and terrain features (with rules) can be found here. In the next part, I'll cover tables 6-10.
  11. Here are the table maps for Holy Wars 2017 tables. Aqshy The Rats in Hats Shrine of Sotek Shrine of the Phoenix Bugmen's Brewery Gyhran Endless Sands Azyr The Tower of Vlad The Upside Down The Lair of the Astromancer A Tangled Web The Great Maw Challenge Drink the Wyrm The Temple of Khaine
  12. I have a small treat to share with you all today! As many of you likely know, Vince and I are headed off today for Holy Havok this weekend and we're super stoked. For those that don't know about Holy Havok, it is a new team narrative event/tournament in the Chicago area which is put on by the Holy Wars club and, much like its predecessor Holy Wars GT, it is renowned for its fantastic tables. This event was organized prior to the General Handbook's release so it has some pretty interesting force composition rules. Teams are instructed to bring 24 Warscrolls of forces from a single grand alliance (so both Archaon and 10 Plaguebearers would count as a single Warscroll choice for example) but it is well known that the five scenarios are going to be based around objectives that require a high model count. So while Archaon is clearly not equal in power level to 10 plaguebearers, teams need to build their list in such a way as to have both high model counts and enough killing power to neutralize enemy forces (all while not knowing the scenarios). Vince and I devoted a Warhammer weekly episode to the event where we had the head of the Holy Wars Council Steve Herner on so I'd encourage you to check it out here. You can also read more about these narrative events at their website. If you've been following Warhammer Weekly, you know that Vince and I have put together a Chaos force centered around The End Times and Archaon's attempts to gather the same personalities and bring about the end -- again. The "surprise" today is that I'm making available the army booklet with the background narrative to our force, the war scrolls with images of our models, and the composition of our (filthy) list which we've been talking about for a couple months. You can download our "army book" here. Please understand that while the pictures are ours, we do not own the photo images used they are the property of their respective owners. This is an amateur fan-made army book for this event and no profit will be made off of it. For those interested in following the events, Beasts of War will be live blogging the events this weekend and you'll likely see some updates from us here and in some live stream videos that I'll post as well.
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