Monday, August 5, 2013

Skaven at Call to Arms - A Missed Opportunity

Over the weekend we had the Warlords annual convention Call to Arms here in Wellington. It attracted a field of 26 people with a mix of armies - though dominated in numbers by Skaven, Vampires and Warriors.

I posted my list last week, so you can check it out there.

Game 1 - Regan Ridge (Vampires) - Dawn Attack

I'd met Regan at Panzershreck and had encouraged him to come along to CTA, so it was great to get to play him. Vamps aren't a great matchup for Skaven as they can put similar numbers in the field. I managed to pick up his chaff points reasonably early but he had big points in Grave Guard and a Ghoul block I couldn't get.

The highlight of the game was the Mortis Engine charging the Bell (who had lost 2 wounds from a scream) and doing five wounds from impact hits. All hit the Bell and it proceeded to fail four 4+ wards.

Win 16-4

Game 2 - Dave Appleby (Skaven) - Blood & Glory

Dave had a Queek list backed up by the usual toys. We both took Plague magic. I got lucky early on when the Storm Banner came down after Dave's turn and that allowed me to take out quite a few of his toys. Gaining the upper hand, I pushed quite aggressively and had Dave on the back foot. He then got off a Plague which reduced my numbers dramatically. Plague rarely gains you points but what it does do is neuter the recipient's offensive capacity. And that was the case here. I continue to push and got Dave's Seer and one banner but needed a final banner to break him. This I eventually achieved but not before a bit of Hell Pit Abomination by-play.

Dave's HPA was down to its last wound when I shot it with the Ruby Ring. I had been ragging him about his wasted 15 points on Warpstone Spikes. Well of course he then makes use of the MR1 they provide. The Hell Pit went down straight after to Warp Lightning while mine died in combat. We rolled to see who's got back up at the end of the turn and Dave's showed the benefit of his Spikes saving a Flaming Wound. This resurrected HPA then went on to kill both Doomwheels. Grrr.....

I got Queek's unit and managed a big win once the bonus 500 VPs was added in.

Win 20-0

Game 3 - Locky Reid (Skaven) - Battle for the Pass

This game turned into a tactical delight. It was dominated by a large tower in the middle of Locky's front line. I managed to exploit this and concentrated my heavy hitters on half of Locky's force. My Gutter Runners were used to take out the WLC and then cheekily reduced the Seer to one wound and the Bell to three. They went down in a blaze of glory to the Bell and to a small plague.

On the other side I was lucky and took out Locky's Doomwheel with a Str 4 hit. The other Doomwheel took out the Furnace before it was charged and flank by the remaining Plague Monks and Slaves. In the preceding magic phase I had got off a Plague that had run through 5 of Locky's units dramatically reducing their offensive capability. My Seer decided to Dimensionally Cascade casting it.

In the end we reached a point of fatigue where we were both still in the fight but neither of us could land blows. This game was a real delight to play and re-awoke for me this scenario that is often dropped from events. Locky was a pleasure to play, as always.

Win 13-7

Game 4 - Sam Whitt (Warriors of Chaos) - Meeting Engagement

I had thought it would take Sam some time to get to grips with his new army but I was wrong. He was sitting a couple of points behind me going into Day 2 and we met on Table 1.

Sam comprehensively outplayed me in this game and going into Turn 3-4 I suspect I was looking at a 15-5 loss at least. I finally managed to get some go-forward and picked up a lot of points on the final turns, mainly through my Bell unit going on the offensive and covering a lot of distance to finally pressure his infantry - which he had cleverly hidden.

I thought I played poorly early on and made some mistakes. However Sam snatched the initiative and I was always chasing. This was my most enjoyable game of the weekend as I had to really fight to get back in the game. I gave Sam my Best Opponent vote. In the end I was 146 points down.

Loss 9-11

Game 5 - Sam Campbell (Daemons of Chaos) - Battleline

Sam had what was generally perceived as the strongest list at the event - though I'm still of the opinion that Joel's Empire is better. Prior to the event the consensus was that he should stomp all before him en route to 1st Place. He indicated that the list had been made to beat Skaven but I wasn't so sure it was as good versus rats as he thought.

Effectively the game was over as a contest in the first magic phase. I threw two dice at a Skitterleap - double six - and my Seer dimensionally cascaded. Hmmmm... The Engineer lined up his Crack's Call down a line of Beasts and hit four but only two went down the crack. With my magic gone it was always going to be a case of how big the loss was. I played very aggressively in the centre and got a unit of Beasts and Plague Bearers for the loss of two Doomwheels. On came Gutter Runners with an Assassin and they took out a Skullcannon, the other misfiring and destroying itself. I saw a chance to push for a small win and charged two Beasts of Nurgle with my Stormvermin Bell unit. Unfortunately I only got one impact hit which I fluffed and the resulting attacks from the unit also fluffed. Not blasting through those Beasts allowed support to arrive and I eventually lost the SV (though the Bell was still there on two wounds at the end).

In the end I lost by 350 points which was a 13-7 to Sam. Again this game was a real tactical struggle where I did my best to come back from losing my Seer Turn 1 to what was a minimal (0.2%) chance event. But when you play with magic you sometimes have to pay the toll....


So I only picked up 16 points on Day 2 and that was a pretty meagre haul. In the end Sam Campbell had 70 Battle Points, Sam Whitt 69 and me 66. The low totals show just how hardfought the event was. It is not often that a 14 BP/game average will be enough to win an event - in fact I'm struggling to think of a previous example including Masters (where winning totals are usually less).

Well done to both the Sams. This was Sam C's first tournament win and pushed him into the Top 10 of the rankings. Sam Whitt had some compensation in picking up Best Presented for his new Warriors and Nicholas Jebson got Best Sport for letting a pigeon shit on his head.

A big thanks to James Millington for umpiring the event which ran smoothly and was a huge credit to him. Thanks also to the people who helped me pack up the terrain, especially Sam Whitt, Mike King, Fern Campbell and Hamish Gordon.


  1. Sounds like a good weekend, gutted I couldn't make it.

  2. Except for a sore back for the whole 2 days I had a great time and didn't expect to win after my first day's effort. I thought Pete would run away with it in day 2 like he'd done last two welly tourneys. It was very tight after round 4. Whole event was up for grabs for 8 people at that stage.

    Thanks again for Organising an exciting Tourney, Pete. Again a first class effort.

    Thanks to James for running the event. Umpired well and no controversies. Props to you James.