Saturday, December 20, 2008

2008 DogCon - Wood Elves

I made the decision pretty late to attend DogCon, not deciding until late December to make the trip across from Wellington. Although Warlords is a large club (120 members), the GW presence is very much towards the 40k end where club members have been able to compete very successfully intrans-Tasman tournaments over the past 5-6 years.

In the past year or so I have started to play more Fantasy and it has become much more popular at Warlords as the period of choice for a lot of the new younger members of the Club. We’ve run a Mighty Empires campaign etc but the general standard is pretty rudimentary. Auckland remains the NZ Fantasy heart so games against the best NZ players are few and far between. Last year I played Ogres at the two NZ GTs and was lucky enough to guide them to 3rd in Welly and 2nd in Auckland. This year I decided to try an army perceived as stronger and purchased a Wood Elves army.

Locky offered to put me up for the weekend and very grateful I am. The chance to pick his and Pommy Dave’s brains was an added bonus of the weekend. I arrived at the hall on the Friday night just in time to set up the tables – should have stopped for that coffee!!!! After a few beers and a quick meal, we crashed Evan Ferris’ place for poker. I was quickly cleared out by Priest so home for an early night.

My army for the weekend was a standard Wood Elves build:

Treeman Ancient with normal kit
BSB with Crystal Mere
Mage with 2 scrolls
Noble on Eagle with Helm and Hail of Doom

2x 8 Dryads
2x 12 Glade Guard with Standard and Muso
1x 10 Glade Guard with Standard and Muso
2x 7 Wardancers with Muso
1x 6 Wild Riders with Std, Warbanner
1x 4 Treekin
1x Eagle

My 250 detachment to take it to 2500

1x 8 Dryads
1x 6 Glade Riders Muso

I had tried out a Lvl 4 Mage plus Treeman build but found that I was putting my Treeman into places where eventually he made enough tests to run away. This forced me along the Ancient route. It also freed up enough points to buy the 4th Treekin. Having played OKs I found that the fourth model was necessary to give you the option to go frontally vs. ranked units. The banners on my Glade Guard were there to avoid cries of points denial but I found in practice games that the presence of 300 “free” VPs meant you could know roughly where the enemy would attack.

Rather than go through a blow by blow, I’ll detail my results and the highlights of the games, and then what I learned for next time.

One of the attractions of DogCon was the opportunity to play nine games against good quality opponents. Having both a singles and a teams competition was a fantastic concept as it allowed a pretty relaxed introduction to the weekend. In was in “Team Insane Panda Roadkill” with two of the Aucklanders - Chris “Big Show” Townley and Alex “Panda” Phoon. I felt inadequate without a nickname so I’ll import my old 40k one “Mr. Soft & Fluffy”.

Going into the last round we were propping up the table. We hit our straps in the last round and finished on 77 points about 5-6 places up from the cellar. In my three games I played Matt Cole (Ogres) for 10-10, Richard Annear (Daemonic Legion) for 10-10 and Eddie Crompton (Tzeentch Daemonic Legion) for 20-0. I managed to pick up 40 of the 60 points on offer. This was the first time I had played Daemonic Legion and to say I had a steep learning curve was a bit of an understatement. Against Eddie I was having my eyes picked out until I managed 7 charges in the third turn which changed the nature of the battle. Richard’s Daemon Prince had the Flaming Sword as his spell and instead of using my scroll I tried to use three dice and failed. This gave him 5 attacks on the charge vs. my Wardancers. With his re-rolls he hit r times and then rolled 4 “1”s. With outnumber and musician I beat him and he rolled a “12”. My, how we laughed.

So onto tournament proper and my grudge match versus Jeff Galea with his High Elves. I managed to kill his Dragon Mage with some lucky rolls from my archers and his Dragon decided to be stupid for the rest of the game. The game was very brutal with a large combat in the centre of the table which turned into a grinder for both of us. In the end Jeff managed an 11-9 win in what was a very enjoyable game.

Having now played Daemonic Legion twice, I was now an old hand. In the second round I drew Tim Cross with Tzeentch Daemonic Legion and we battled out a tough game with me eventually winning 12-8. This matchup is tough for Wood Elves (IMO) so I was very happy with the result.

Last game of the day was against Akhter Khan’s Vampires. What a pleasure Akhter is to play (probably no surprise to you locals). I really enjoyed what was a pretty close game where I managed to ride my luck early on (the Hail of Doom accounted for 5 Black Knights) for a 12-8 win.

Now being starved of regular play I took the opportunity both nights to play a further game. On the Saturday Antony Kitson’s Brets took me to the woodshed while on the Sunday Mark Skilton was cleaning my clock when they turned out the lights. I will say that I always reserve my worse play for Mark, something he takes great delight in. Thanks guys for giving me the chance for two further games.

On the third morning I was drawn against Eddie again and after some discussion between Ken and those of us on the same points, the draw was adjusted so I could play another “new” opponent (thanks guys). I played David Potts (Ogres). David had a very fair list which when I looked at it was an obvious candidate for the +1 Army Point. This was always a hard matchup for David and so it proved with the Elves triumphing 20-0.

My next game was against the second of the Galeas, Andrew and his Orcs. Andrew has already posted an account on the IF website but from my point of view this was one of the best games (any genre) I have played. The swings and absolutely crucial die rolls occurred every few minutes. At the end of Turn 3 I felt I was reasonably comfortable as long as the Treeman stayed. Of course he didn’t and Andrew got a well-deserved 16-4 win.

The last game of the weekend was versus Michael Fair’s High Elves. I believe that Lvl 4 / Lvl 2 Dragon Mage with 9 PD, Lore of Fire, 20 archers and 2x RBT with hill in deployment zone is a VERY poor matchup for Woodies. As it transpired Michael deployed on the plain and I behind the woods. After two Conflagurations I decided to stay there and Michael chose not to approach. A tame 10-10 but we were both happy to go and watch some of the other games.

I really enjoyed DogCon. Ken did an excellent job and every game I played was both fun and good natured. I’m not a fan of his 4+1 system for soft scores. I think you need to play all your games to accurately divvy out the bonus points. Certainly Akhter would have got my Sports if it hadn’t been Round 3 – and he deserved it (add a point to your score young man). Still Ken was TO so we play his system.

What I was very impressed with was the good naturedness of the tournament. I don’t think I witnessed any niggle over the three days. Certainly there was sense of fun that some of the 40k tournaments I played in lack.

So how did I do? 27th. I had hoped to make the Top 25 but finished just outside. Overall I was very happy as I felt that I had had some testing matchups. More importantly I had some great games against really nice opponents. I’ll definitely be back.

My army went well though I’m not convinced on the Lvl 1 with 2 Scrolls and may in future upgrade to Lvl 2 to use all my PDs. The standards on the GG acted as bait and I think I lost only 1-2 all weekend. The CR +4 they put out when on a hill can be a bit of a shock to some.
I need to learn to play skirmishers better – I only realised on the way home that they can screen – doh!

Congratulations to all the winners. Thanks to Ken and the Dogs for organising it. And thanks to Locky, Dave, Chunky and Ming for being such good company. Nice to meet up with Charles and GT again and to put faces to some of the other names/handles.

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