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The last tournament I attended in 2017 was the NZ Masters. Attended by just under 20 people (suck it 9th Age), it was a massive event attended by a host of extremely skilled players. I was there too. This is the list I ran for the event. Allegiance: Skaven Pestilens Leaders Verminlord Corruptor (220) Plague Furnace (200) Plague Priest with Plague Censer (80) Plague Priest with Plague Censer (80) Plague Priest with Plague Censer (80) Screaming Bell (200) Battleline 30 x Plague Monks (210) - Foetid Blades - Pestilens Battleline 20 x Plague Monks (140) - Foetid Blades - Pestilens Battleline 20 x Plague Monks (140) - Foetid Blades - Pestilens Battleline 20 x Plague Monks (140) - Foetid Blades - Pestilens Battleline War Machines Plagueclaw (180) Plagueclaw (180) Battalions Congregation of Filth (140) Total: 1990 / 2000 Allies: 200 / 400 Wounds: 153 With this list I managed to go 3/5 Major WIns, a huge achievment for me as all 3 of the players I defeated are in my eyes leaps and bounds ahead of me in skill and all people I would aspire to be as good as at the game. Frankly looking back I'm honestly not sure how i beat them. Game 1 was VS Lee and his tree people, in the GHB16 scenario "Border War". Lee took the Dreadwood Wargrove, which for those unfamiliar is the spooky sylvaneth batllion that makes use of Spite Revenants and let's the army gain d3 starting abilities, which all affect the first turn of the game. He teleported a bunch of dryads directly in front of my forces to prevent me from leaving my deployment, then shuffled his troops around the table taking 3 of the 4 available obectives, shooting up to 5 Victory Points. As my turn begun I let loose all my firepower on the line of dryads (The Screaming Bell rung up a bonus to casting rolls, handy) and mortal wounded them into oblivion, washing away 18 of the 30 dryads. This gave my plague monks room to leave deployment, and I had my eyes on revenge. I immediately moved them in the direction of the eastern midfield objective and charged 20 rats through a wyldwood. I lost 2 rats to the trees and they immediately shoved the Revenants they reached via charge into a meatgrinder, taking the objective for the Horned Rat. I also managed to take the western midfield objective by swarming 30 rats at some Revenants over there, taking it over by weight of numbers. Once i secured these two points I essentially spent the rest of the game keeping my rats smack on the two midfield objectives and shaved down any threats at distance with my catapults and magic. In the end Pestilens won the day, dribing back the hated trees. Game 2 was VS Tim and his Skeletal Legion, playing "Starstrike". Never been keen on facing TIm, anyone hard enough to play Death through the long winter of it's discontent and still come out on top against armies with updates and battletomes is not someone you want to take lightly. However, fortunately for me the matchup was favorable in my direction and even the dreaded 40 man skeleton bubble crumpled before the buff stacked 30 man plague monks. I got off a Great Plague every single turn, which was a massive boost. At one stage Arkhan the Black erratically turned his Dread Abyssal onto a group of Morghast Archai floating next to him, which was disturbing. I held all objectives for the majority of the game, despite losing 80% of my army by the end. Major Victory to Pestilens. Game 3 was VS Shaun and his Murderhost, playing the GHB16 scenario "Escalation". Man, this game was horrific. Shaun is a deadly player who brings actual strategy to Khorne, never good for his oponents. Shaun actually handed me my frst major defeat in a tournament, in my very first tournament game. Being seasoned AOS players and both being aware the game is nothing more than a brawl in the middle, we did the gentlemanly thing and lined up our bloodletters and plague monks as close to each other as we could in deployment, and proceeded to throw buckets of dice at each other for the next hour and a half. Pestilens' ability to fight after being killed however assured that my troops were getting at least a chance to fight, and at best two chances to fight. Also the fact that bloodletters' mortal wound ability is what makes them lethal isn't as useful against an army with no saves anyway was quite the boon. In the end after an hour of 2 lines of troops fighting one another I pushed out my half of the table and took the field, winning objectively. Game 4 was VS Matt and his Aetherstrike Force playing "Three Places of Power". You know when looking back at life you can spot one particular moment where it all went bad? Good god it was here in this game. I didn't even leave my deployment mostly, I lost 5/6 of my heroes before my second turn, scored a single point to his 14 or something and barely even moved my army before taking it off the table. Shooting is a terrible matchup for Pestilens, and Aetherstrike is the premier shooting list. Feedback from this game? Matt should have at least taken me to dinner first. Major Defeat to Pestilens. Game 5 was VS James and his Changehost playing "Scorched Earth". I've always wanted to beat James Page, when I first started playing he was the top of the scene, and took out the first tournament I played in with 5 Major Victories handily. However today wasn't fated to be the day. He used the Changeling and the Changehost ability to swap a big unit into my army on turn 1, and destroyed 2 of the 3 objectives on my side. This effectively ended the game for me, but not knowing when to give up is one of my issues. I pulled back a respectable amount of points, bringing the table to 8/12 to him, but couldn't cope with the Tzeentch mortal wounds and went down in the end. Major Defeat to Pestilens (I'll get you one day Jim). Overall a great day of gaming, I caused a lot of unexpected upsets and played to the best of my ability. Next year I'm going for podium at the masters, so look forward to that.
An important part of improving play is constantly working and innoavting your list, changing it as you learn new things about your army. This post is taking a look at the force I personally ran for the majority of the NZ AOS 2017 tournaments, and an overview of how it went. Here's the list. Allegiance: Skaven Pestilens Leaders Plague Furnace (200) Plague Priest with Plague Censer (80) Plague Priest with Plague Censer (80) Battleline 30 x Plague Monks (210) - Foetid Blades - Pestilens Battleline 30 x Plague Monks (210) - Foetid Blades - Pestilens Battleline 10 x Plague Monks (70) - Foetid Blades - Pestilens Battleline 30 x Plaguebearers Of Nurgle (270) War Machines Plagueclaw (180) Plagueclaw (180) Plagueclaw (180) Battalions Congregation of Filth (140) Foulrain Congregation (200) Total: 2000 / 2000 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 140 Not a terrible list, but looking back with a bit more experience this list needs a lot of improvement to be competitive. Two big errors that are immediately apparent to me now are clear, the first is the fact that Clan Pestilens is a horde army but I only have 70 rats here, and the second is the fact that I'm spending 720pts on a catapult formation that over the course of the tournament would on average only ever kill cheap battleline chaff. Furthermore, the prayers on the Plague Furnace are absolutely vital if you want to run Plague Monks in units of 30 or more, so you shoul take at least one Plague Furnace per unit of 30+, something I haven't done here. The plaguebearers are nice, but this is an agressive army and any point spent towards defensive takes away from the overall army strategy. The last tournament this list was used was NZ Inpeticon in October last year. I went 3 Major Voctories 2 Major Defeats, which isn't a bad result at all. However to learn we look to our defeats, not our victories. I faced a moderately elite, multi wound destruction army that I absolutely should have run over the top of, but lost due to persuing character kills and not reaching objectives fast enough. While hindsight is 20/20, i recognize the mistakes I made here and won't be making them again. My second loss however was against Sylvaneth, a good friend of mine called Lee who I regularly practise against. I went into this game fresh with a jumble of different skaven strats tumbling about in my head raring to go but Lee manipulated the table extremely well, locking me off from sections and forcing me to funnel my rats into a killbox where his Kurnoth Scythes were waiting. This game was straight up murder, I don't think there was any stage where I had a viable method of pulling it back into my favor. Sylvaneth are often a problem for rats, especially when the Sylvaneth player is experienced. I'll get ya next time Lee. Soon I'll post my list for the NZ Masters tournament last month, and go over the results had there.