On the weekend we had the first local event of the year with WSS: Summer. It was 2000 points, four rounds using the new Clash of Kings 2017. We also used the Epic Dwarf Map Pack.
I took my Herd army to its first tournament. Last year I played almost exclusively Ratkin and I wanted an army that provided a different challenge. I like the shoot then counterpunch tactics regardless of game so I thought that The Herd was pretty much the antithesis of that.
When I built my list I decided that I would try a smashmouth in-your-grill army. That meant that it would have no Ranged Attack at all (no shooting, no magic missiles) and I wanted to go against conventional wisdom and rely on two sources of Inspiring. I also decided that to make sure I played tight with them that they would be on foot rather than mounts - actually it was primarily because I love the Mierce foot Shaman and Banner Bearer.
My list was as follows:
- Spiritwalker Horde
- 4x Beast Pack Troops
- Lycan Horde with Healing Brew
- Lycan Horde with Helm of the Ram
- Stampede with Brew of Sharpness
- Stampede with Blood of Kittens (the Old King)
- Chimera with Wings
- Shaman with Heal
- Tribal Totem Bearer with Lute
So the list has 12 drops and Unit Strength of 20.
You can check out the lists at the event here
Game 1 - Carson Turnbull (Forces of Nature) in Invade
This was Carson's first tournament but he has been playing about once a week for the past three months.
Carson set up most of his army on one flank. He vanguarded his Shamblers and sped up my left side. Knowing I had higher Unit Strength I moved diagonally across the table away from his army with a view to getting my fragile Beast Packs to safety. His shooting was limited to 2-3 LBs and a Regiment of Naiads so I covered my move with my Spiritwalkers chaperoned by the Shaman with Heal. Because they can't be Wavered I knew that I would maintain control of them healing any wounds they took. For Carson to break them Nerve 23 it would take a sustained assault and I had my Lycans and Chimera lurking to pounce on any advance by his Flyers.
Game Two - Ian Dixon (Ogres) in Dominate
In my 18 months of playing KOW (probably about 70 games) I have never played Ogres. Dominate is probably not the best introduction. From reading and watching I knew a few things - don't let the Blasters get in your lines and don't let their Living Legend charge you in the flank.
Ian started his Blasters on the flanks aimed diagonally into the centre circle. I realised I decided to sacrifice Beast Packs to get them but Ian had one screened by RG Fleabags and the other escorted by Boomers and Grokagamok. My Beast Pack was able to take out the Red Goblins over two turns but the other was shot off by Boomers. This meant I had to throw the Lycans into the Blaster's flank. They had to wear six shots when it exploded but that's why they have Regen and the Healing Brew. The Beast Pack wasn't as lucky - it took 12 shots and disappeared into a red mist.
My Lycans were charged frontally by Grokagamok and the Boomers but both were Hindered. They were able to survive and the two Lycan units removed the Boomers. As I hadn't countercharged Grokagamok he was Hindered again when he charged the first Lycans. They held and countercharged supported by the other Lycans in Grokagamok's flank. That was enough to bring the Legend down.
While this was going on the Ogre Legion, two Hordes and a Boomer Regiment moved into the circle. I faced this with the Spiritwalkers, two Beast Packs, Chimera and two Stampedes. In my favour was a pond in the middle of the circle. Ian was wavered both Beast Packs which forced my hand. I flew my Chimera over behind his army and pivoted 90 degrees at the end. While it wasn't an immediate threat it would be next turn when it turned to face the Ogres' rear. Ian turned one unit to face it while I cleaned out his chaff - Boomers and Fleabags. I eventually sacrificed the Chimera by charging it into the rear of an Orge Horde. It broke them but was in turn charged in the flank by the Ogre Legion who destroyed it. This however lowed me the charge with my Stampedes and I cleared out the centre circle.
Game Three - Lliam Munro (Forces of the Abyss) in Loot
Lliam and I play 1-2 times a month. Previously it was my Ratkin versus his Empire of Dust while this year it has been Herd versus Abyss.
I feel that Lliam's army matches up really well against mine. His army shreds De 3-4 and my lack of Ranged Attacks really hurts my cause. Generally I struggle to go toe to toe with him and always feel that I'm at least one unit short against him.
Note: We played this mission incorrectly. Neither of us had noted the rule change that said you couldn't take Loot counters off the board. We checked the KoW rulebook during the game as Lliam had thought you could take off either long edge but neither of us picked up the change on Page 43 of CoK. Only as I was writing up this report and confirming the Fly rule in Loot that I noticed it.
Lliam picked table side and placed first Loot counter while I got to go first. Having struggled to match Lliam's army in the past in a slog, I thought my best bet was to snatch the tokens and make off with them. To do this I advanced my Beast Packs ahead of the tokens and then moved my two Lycan units onto the tokens along with the Chimera. My plan was to for the two Lycans (who have Nimble) to control tokens with the Chimera eventually giving up his - he was facing Archfiend, Abyssal Horsemen and Hellhounds. While the Lycans skulked off, the rest of my army would be sacrificed for the greater good. Given the inability to leave the board this plan would not have been a goer.
I had my first bit of Good luck when my Beast Pack in front of the Chimera rolled Snake Eyes when charged by the Archfiend. However this led to a mistake by me when I took the opportunity to duck behind a hill forgetting my Monster could be seen by the Hellhounds. Lliam corkscrewed into my rear around the Archfiend and Beasts to claim the counter. Great play by him and a lesson learned by me.
In the centre I fed my army piecemeal to Lliam as I walked one of the tokens off on Turn 4. In hindsight I think I could have safely moved it towards the corner and behind terrain (safe from a charge) in the two remaining turns. I was feeding characters to delay fast units and made sure I had killed flyers bar Archfiend (more later).
The second unit of Lycans moved behind a building which stopped Lliam's infantry getting to him. On Turn 6 he moved out to avoid encroaching Succubi reasoning that he could wear one charge from the Archfiend. Lliam charged in and did 7 wounds but did not roll the non-rerollable "9" he needed to break them. The game ended on Turn 6.
We played a Turn 7 to see if he could kill them but their Healing Brew and Regeneration reduced their wounds to 2. They suffered only four wounds meaning they were safe from breaking.
This was a great game - probably one of the best I've had. I decided early on that I would try to win the scenario and suffer the attrition to do so. This gave the rather incredible score of 9-7 to me (Lliam gaining +3 and me -3). I don't think I would have attempted the strategy had we known you could not exit Loot counters though as I said above I believe it would have still been successful - Lliam?
The result put us both on the same points going into the last round. Lliam got my Best Opponent vote as this was seat of your pants stuff played in excellent spirit.
Game Four - Neil Williamson (Varangur) in Control
This matchup was against what was probably the most innovative army at the event. Throughout the day I had been hearing how hard Neil's army was to play against. He had won two and had a close loss against Lliam.
The basis of the army was four Regiments of Horse Archers backed up by two Devourer with Breath Weapons, two Magus Conclaves and two Magos. He also had a Horde of Direfangs, Lord on Direfang and ASB. So a lot of shooting, most at 24" range.
While I enjoyed an advantage on paper in Unit Strength, my four Beast Packs had a half-life of 5 seconds given the Varangur ranged attack and both armies were similarly mobile.
I lost two Beast Packs Turn One even though they were in cover due to high Nerve Rolls from Neil. One unfortunately was outside Inspiring range so I may have benefitted from tighter play.
The battle came down to Neil overcommitting his Direfang Lord. I was able to get both Lycans in (one on flank) and broke him. The 18" charge always seems to get people. One unit of Lycans then battled with a Devourer while the other unit joined with a Beast Pack to take out some of Neil's support units. I sacrificed the Chimera to get a Stampede charge on the Direfang Horde. I knew I should do 16 wounds and it was worth sacrificing the Chimera to remove a unit with US3.
In the centre the combined shooting got the other Stampede and then the Spiritwalkers. One Lycan unit got a Horse Archer Regiment, a Devourer and finally on Turn 7 a second Horse Archer unit. When we totalled up the VPs I had a solid 5-1 win.
I finished on 4 wins and 48 points, one ahead of Tane's Dwarfs (he beat Lliam in last round).
The army performed really well. Early in the week I worked out some deployment strategies which greatly improved what I was getting out of the force. The Lycans in particular benefitted from this planning.
Key to the army are the Beast Packs. They act as a chaff screen to set up your charges. The only concern is the Waver result on these units as it impedes your ability to charge. The Chimera is also important as a flying monster it has a greater threat projection than say a Brutox. Generally it will die but it will set up a charge in so doing. In a game that now has a US component this can be critical.
There is no doubt that playing with only two sources of Inspiring - both oh foot - is difficult. It does force you to play tighter and I think it is good experience. Is it optimal? No.
The lack of Ranged Attacks is also interesting. There are times you'd give your left nut for a Lightning Bolt or Fireball. You lack the ability to finish units off other than in combat. However it does have a hidden benefit in timed games. You generally play a lot faster - missing a phase does that - which leaves your opponent less time for planning/thinking. Therefore they have more time pressure in their own turns. They haven't had the ability to use your time to plan.
The Herd certainly are a fun army to play. Their total combat focus means you'll never die wondering!