Monday, March 5, 2012

Storm of Magic at RunefangV

Over the weekend I played at Runefang V here in Wellington. I took Skaven although I hadn’t played with them since the Masters (one game last week excepted).

My list is up on the blog but the key thing was that I eschewed virtual all combat ability except for the Hell Pit Abomination, relying heavily on mages – two Seers and two Warlocks. These were backed up by chaff, a cannon and catapult and two units of Gutter Runners.

So I‘ll run through my games and then give you my thoughts on the list.

Game 1 – Paul Clarke (Lizardmen) – Dawn Attack

Paul was using Lizards for the first time at a tournament and so was both tentative and cautious throughout the game. The key factors in the outcome were that I was able to attack both his Saurus blocks reducing the numbers so that one was blasted away while the second was reduced and turned into rats (along with the Slaan). These 11 rats were the only ones I would create over the weekend. I was able to destroy enough chaff in addition to give me a comfortable win. To add insult to injury for Paul, the HPA came back to life on 6 wounds on Turn 6.


Game 2 – David Appleby (Skaven) – Meeting Engagement

A civil war that turned very uncivil. Neither army was ultimately disadvantaged by the scenario. The key point in the match as far as I was concerned was David’s Furnace surviving a Str 10 WLC shot as a result of the Ironcurse Icon. This came back to haunt me as I failed to play well enough to stop said Furnace hitting my character bunker and cleaning out more than 1000 points. I had opportunity to divert it but didn’t. Numpty mistake. I managed to pick away points in the later stage but David had enough to inflict an 8-12 loss on me. This was a far result as I thought David had outplayed me. I gave David my Most sporting Opponent vote.


Game 3 – Neil Williamson (Bretonnians) – Watchtower

Neil had no magic defence. Nothing at all. My army tormented him as only an army of 2 Seers and 2 Warlocks can do. I blocked his lances with slaves and shot and magiced him in combat. It wasn’t a fair fight and if I am honest while I tried as much to make it enjoyable for Neil, it was brutal and I didn’t enjoy it. In defence of the army I would say I think it is more than a little folly for Neil to bring an army with no magic defence at all. He bets on combat, I bet on anything other than a fair fight.


Game 4 – Andy Potter (Dark Elves) – Blood & Glory

This looked to me to be a matchup skewed in my favour as well. Andy came forward in lines and in my Turn 1 I blasted away significantly depleting his force. On Turn 2 he managed to get a charge away on my bunker in the building with his now 4-man Blackguard and Sorceress pushing me out of the structure, killing my BSB and standard. I needed to make a Ld 8 test to stay in the game – which I did.

By the end of Turn 2 there wasn’t a lot on the board. There began a game of cat and mouse as both of us tried to maximise points. Andy broke me by beating my second clanrat unit earning 600 points. I was able to grab characters in the last two turns to give me 13-7 win.


Game 5 – Jack Dunn (Empire) – Battleline

Table One in the last round against my oldest. Jack was 3 points clear of Andy (who had beaten him) and four clear of me and Tom Dunn (who played Andy).

While I fancied this matchup things quickly turned to custard. Jack blew up my WLC with the first shot and the other cannon inflicted 5 wounds on the HPA. Poor placement on my part. This was compounded on my Turn 1 when General Seer went into the warp with half his unit despite his Earthing Rod. Jack seized on this and with his magic and shooting forced enough panic tests for most of the army to run off the board. He then went for the juglar pushing his knights and steam tank into my remaining units.

There began one of the memorable combats where my clanrats literally fought for their lives vs. the Empire’s finest knights. When they finally capitulated – after being aided by flanking slaves – they had killed the knight unit. However they had given up the rest of my characters in the process.

My Gutter Runners came on and picked up points to pull me back into the mix somewhat. However I finished with a 5-15 loss. Jack outplayed me but the game was effectively over when the General Seer disappeared. Great game and well deserved win to Jack.


Wrap Up

So I finished on 63/100 Battle Points which placed me fifth on BPs and 4th Overall.

I wasn’t very happy with the way I played. I think I would need more practice to be at my best with it. There is almost an embarrassment of riches with magic and quickly you get to second guessing what you should do – go for big spells or lots of spells. In the end I never satisfactorily worked it out for myself. As a result I thought my battleplan really lacked focus. I think you can develop that focus but only at the expense of a very mono-dimensional playstyle.

The list is very intense. What I mean by this is that the movement and magic phases become very prolonged. Because you have tools in your arsenal that can end games your opponents need to be very attentive and therefore they become cautious. Because you need to stop combat you become very definite in movement, character placement etc. As a result I was always in the last 2-3 games finishing, and on at least two occasions the last. That makes for long and tiring days and games that are not necessarily fun to play in or against. The army would work very well at ETC where you can define matchups but you’d earn your dollars playing six games.

However I think the key thing with the list was that I don’t think any of my opponents really looked forward to playing it. I certainly don’t think it was the hardest all-round list there but I do think I was the least desired opponent (and I only put part of that down to my personality!). I love playing Skaven but I think after six games over the weekend this would be my least favourite build to play with because it’s hard work and your opponent has a frustrating game (even though I lost 2/5 games).


  1. Needs moar jezzail! Nice work Pete, I think you nearly caused Neil to take a break test... out of game. He must have passed though, as he eventually started looking normal again. I was writing notes, and I'd be interested to hear how you would deal with an Ogre battleline. I just have this funny feeling you're going to show me instead though...

  2. Well Peter if you tried to make your slaughter of me enjoyable you win again, you succeeded. As soon as I saw... Peter, Watchtower, Skaven, 10 magic levels, I knew I had practically no chance. I could have tried to hide away and avoid combat but I didnt't think it would work so I just went for it.
    It might have been a bit different if my treb had not misfired when it hit your HPA (after receiving a flaming arrow) and my errants failed a 17" combo charge with the realm into your slaves to open a path through.

    I do not disagree that I need some magic defense, I was running two level ones last year, but I'm experimenting. What I'm finding is that I'm learning more about the strengths and weaknesses of the army without any magic than I was before. It makes you really think of how you can counter various threats with what you have and how you can exploit weaknesses. Previously, I would tinker with the list but now I'm practising playing better with what I have. I'm enjoying the challenge and learning a lot.

    Unfortunately with few opponents around in the Wairarapa and other time commitments I really only get to practice at tournaments.

    Obviously I want to do better, but I only lost one game in the tournament. So I'm reasonably pleased with the performance of the army so far.


    1. Grats on only one loss. I've found that Brett's of all armies can do very well with no magic. Heavy armour all round being a defence of its own, especially with very limited use of metal around. Give them only one-2 turns to cast and they can only do very o limited damage to you


  3. That is a great result Neil. I didn't see the final results.

    If you only took one loss with no magic defence then that is something to be very happy with.

    The gods didn't favour with our matchup. Once I got the building I had 360 degrees with my magic and that made it doubly difficult for you.

    You took it in great spirit but I felt for you.

    1. Skaven v Brett's is shocking at the best of times tbh. Too much no armour save allowed options floating around. I think you'd have won heavily with or without a level 4 in the Brett army


  4. Cheers Pete, it was a good game in a good weekend :)

    I was pleased with how I did on battle points, well above the target I had set for myself and despite playing a very tough set of players (Locky, Yourself, Joe Dixon, Jack Dunn & Raymond Dick) I only lost one game which was to Jack and strangely that was one of the games I enjoyed the most despite taking a 17-3 beating?

    2 Back to back Skaven Vs Skaven fights to start things off was brutal, both games had huge casualties on both sides and I was just lucky that a few crucial dice rolls went my way, especially in the first game Vs Locky when he just kept getting terrible rolls. He needed a 4 on 3 dice to charge his Hellpit into my gutter runners and rolled 3, went beserk and buggered off in the opposite direction which pretty much sums up his dice rolls for the game!

  5. hi Pete
    I can see what you mean by a intense army to play. A lot of tar pits little in the way of big points units for yoor opponent to get to grips with.
    Did you feel the lack of punch units aside the HPA. Also was it to many mages or just right. Interesting list, it looks pretty strong if you can just play it right.
    Grey Seer - General, Obsidian Lodestone, Earthing Rod
    Grey Seer - Power Scroll, Opal Amulet
    Chieftain - BSB, Standard of Discipline, Shield
    Warlock Engineer - Level 1, Warp Energy Condensor, Doomrocket
    Warlock Engineer - Level 1, Dispel Scroll, Ironcurse, Icon
    Warlock Engineer
    30 Clanrats - Full Command, Shields
    Poisoned Wind Mortar Weapons Team
    30 Clanrats - Full Command, Shields
    40 Slaves - Muso
    40 Slaves - Muso
    39 Slaves - Muso
    6 Giant Rats - Pack Master
    6 Giant Rats - Pack Master
    6 Giant Rats - Pack Master
    10 Gutter Runners - Poisoned Attacks, Slings
    10 Gutter Runners - Poisoned Attacks, Slings
    Warplightning Cannon
    Plagueclaw Catapult
    Hellpit Abomination - Warpstone Spikes

  6. Oh, it is a very good list Sean. However it takes a lot of focus to maximise its output. I think that the HPA acts as a sweeper to use a football analogy rather than runs off by itself.

    I think it is critical to have at least one skitterleap in the spells yo take.

    The best deck is 2x WL, 2x 13th, Vermintide, Wither, Plague, Skitterleap, Scorch, howling Warpgale.

    You then decide if you try for two big or 4 small spells...knowing when to do which is the key

  7. Hi Pete,

    Thanks for the write-up. You forgot to mention the highlight of our game though. Namely your four-wound hellpit getting beaten up my my lone wizard who was simultaneously fighting 20 slaves.

    Andy P

  8. Never happened Andy! ;-)

    I saw that look in your eye when I rolled 10 automatic Str 6 hits and you bounced 6 back on me.

    That HPA had a bad Sunday lasting 1.3 turns vs. Jack