Sunday, 30 March 2014

Hobbit SBG: Shadow & Sorcery Tournament Review

Welcome one and all to another tournament review. As an avid member of the GBHL I try to attend as many tournaments as possible. This was the 4th tournament of the 2014 season and the final event of the 2013 season. A chance to grab some more points and hopefully break into the top 10 for 2013.

So, on to the tournament. It was held at Titans Wargaming, Finchley which is becoming a regular venue for the GBHL. They host at least 2 events a year including the famous Longbottom Carnival over the August bank holiday weekend.

The tournament was 1 army at 350pts with 5 games over one days.

After much deliberation I decided to go with my trusty Hunter Orcs and shade combo.

My List was:

Warband 1 (Azog's Hunters)
12 Hunter Orcs - 2 w/ 2H weapon

Warband 2 (Angmar)
10 Angmar Orcs w/ spear

Warband 3 (Denizens of Mirkwood)
3 Fell Wargs

The idea here was to back up the hunter orcs with the spears and get a 3A front line which was supported by the shade. The fell wargs were there for Reconnitre and to boost my numbers.

So onto the games...this won't be short.

Game 1 V Charles Sims @ Modded Recon
So game 1 was a modified version of Reconnitre.
''Modified Reconnoitre

As per the standard scenario rules for Reconnoitre with the following modification to VP’s for
models exiting the battlefield.
VP’s for Wounding and/or Killing the enemy Leader and Breaking/being Unbroken remain as
per the standard scenario rules.

 You score 1 Victory Point if more of your models than your opponent have exited the
battlefield via the table edge opposite your deployment zone.
 You instead score 3 Victory Points if twice as many of your models have exited the battlefield
via the table edge opposite your deployment zone.
 You instead score 5 Victory Points if three times as many of your models have exited the
battlefield via the table edge opposite your deployment zone.
 If No enemy models have exited the battlefield, you score 1 VP for 1 model, 3 VP’s for 2
models and 5 VP’s for 3 or more models that have exited the battlefield. ''

I have to be honest, I hadn't designed my army list for this scenario so was quite glad when I was drawn against Charles' 9 model Moria Army. He had Ashrak, 5 Venom Back Spiders, Batswarm and 2 dwellers. A tough list with high fight value but I had the advantage of numbers and the shade.

So first turn I deployed very close together as planned with the spears behind the hunter orcs. I also decided to send the wargs as a distraction down the left flank. Charles deployed his warband in the centre and proceeded to send them down either side of the board. To be honest, it was a blood bath. My Distraction worked and took 2 spiders out the game. I held my line and watched as the Dwellers tried to flank. A few orcs got thrown but eventually the combination of the shade and numbers wore down the dwellers and it was over pretty quickly. Fimbul got the final dweller kill. In the last turn, I managed to break his force, kill his leader and then reduce it to 25%...not a bad last turn.

Score: 6-0 win.
A great win and perfect start to the tournament considering I was expecting to lose this scenario.

Game 2 V Damian O @ To The Death
You may remember Damian from my last tournament review. A top top bloke and a very good player. His trademark army is his Feral Uruk-Hai and he had dusted them off especially for this tournament. He also had some berserkers, vrasku and 6 crossbows which I knew would be a pain.

So the game started with my forces starting as close as possible. Damian positioned his crossbows as far back as possible to get maximum shooting. He started shooting my shade in an attempt to kill it but soon realised the shade by itself wouldn't hurt his army so he started targeting the hunter orcs. In 3 turns I lost 8 hunter orcs...this wasn't going well. Combat is finally joined and the Berserkers cut through my orc spearmen like a hot knife through butter. In the centre, where I still had some Hunters, things fare better and Fimbul calls a heroic combat to try and kill his General (Vrasku). He succeeds in making Vrasku burn all his might to draw the fight and force a roll off...which Fimbul promptly wins. Awwww yeah. Something in my favour at last. Fimbul causes a wound and fate is clearly not with the Uruk General as he fails to pass his fate roll. However I was broken and the orcs around the edges of the battle started to flee. Fimbul passed his courage test (as did the shade) and Vrasku promptly died. Another high profile kill for Fimbul. Elsewhere, things still weren't going my way and it was soon over. Another top quality game and I eventually gave my most sporting opponent to Damain.

Result: 3-5 Loss
A close game which on another day I probably would/ could have won. Losing 8/12 of my hunter orcs before I got into combat is probably what cost me the game. I just couldn't get the weight of dice in the fight and the shade can only do so much when you are rolling one dice.

Game 3 V James ROOOOOHHAAAANNN Clark @ Spawn of Ungoliant (Custom Scenario)
After a spot of lunch I was drawn against James, 1/2 of the GBHL youtube team. The guy who makes all mounted rohan work. Except this time he hadn't bought Rohan. He had bought Rivendell Knights. Oh and Alfred...Can I smell cheese?

So the Spawn of Ungoliant Scenario was hold ground deployment but instead of holding the center, you had to kill a massive spider (which had a custom profile for the event(you also got VPs for leader and breaking as usual)). I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to try and drown the spider in the river and focus on killing him. My plan was thwarted when the shade rolled a 2 for deployment and James was allowed to deploy him in the opposite corner from where Fimbul had deployed. In hindsight, I should have deployed the shade first so Fimbul could use his might to get on the same edge.

James was lucky and was able to get his warband on the island with only two crossings to defend.
He was also lucky because the spider I had tried to drown swam straight towards the elven bows and was quickly turned into a floating pin cushion...not good. This mean't I had no choice but to run Fimbul straight towards his elven bows. I decided to hide the shade and his warband until Fimbul got closer. This was both a blessing and a curse as it meant the only targets the elves had were the Hunter orcs. In a brave/ stupid attempt to draw their fire, the shade and spearmen charged over the bridge to try and distract the elves. I hoped to kill a few so Fimbul would have an easier I was wrong. It was a massacre, the captain was able to heroic combat into the shade but luckily only caused 2 wounds on it. The rest of the orcs died. I think in one turn I lost 7/10 orcs. So my plan again had failed. Fimbul had made it across the bridge but the elves decided enough was enough and rode away firing arrows. James knew I would probably inflict heavy casualties if I got into combat so was content to break me by shooting.
 I did catch one and promptly charged as much as I could into it to stop James shooting for at least one turn. Thankfully it died. After a few turns of hiding I decided to prevent James the satisfaction of killing me with bow fire by attempting to drown my own orcs. Apparently orcs can swim as none of them drowned. Eventually, time was called.

Result: 0-9 Loss
It is always hard to win a game when you're chasing it. James killed the spider, killed me leader and broke me and I only inflicted one death. Honestly, it wasn't a particulary enjoyable game. Trying to chase something that moves double your speed isn't fun. Especially when you finally get there, they have won the game and they run away again...but kudos to James. Tactically it was well played by him.

Game 4 V Patrick @ Domination

I think Patrick was a fairly new player and his army list showed it. He had Legolas, 4/5 Galadhrim Knights, Stormcaller and 12 Galadhrim. A small army which worked in my favour for domination.
I deployed everything bar the fell wargs on the center line, hoping to kill him quickly. The 3 fell wargs sat on the rear most objective waiting for the signal to run onto the other two objectives. Legolas and the archers were in the woods holding one and the rest of his army was in the centre of the board. One objective lay unclaimed. It was a fairly straight forward battle, tournament experience played a roll here and I was able to get the jump on his cavalary. Even when his stormcaller cast natures wrath and knocked everything (yes everything!) over, I wasn't that bothered. My hunter orcs were able to win their fights with the help of the Shade and stand back up. Next turn everything got back to its feet and the slaughter began. I also moved 2 of the wargs to claim my other home objective and the center one.

Things were looking bleak for the elves as I started outnumbering them in the centre. Realising I would need every last VP I focussed my efforts on killing Legolas (General) and securing one more objective. An lone orc spearmen was able to breach the lines and claim one of Patrick's objectives. Legolas also fell to a swarm of Hunters and the game was over.

Result: 18-0 Win
I think Patrick was unlucky in this game. Mainly because I had spent my previous game chasing models and in this one I was desperate to kill and win. I captured 4 objectives, broke him and killed Legolas. I think I only lost 4/5 models in that game. Still, a good win for me with lots of VPs scored so a top 10 finish was still well within my reach.

Game 5 V Godolphin @ Shadow & Sorcery (Lords of Battle with a wizard)
So in this final game, you were allowed to choose a FREE spellcaster to join your army. These had to be decided before the tournament and the TOs informed. You weren't allowed to change when you saw what your opponent had brought. The options were Gandalf or Radagast (Good Armies) and Saruman (representing a weaker necromancer) or The Witch King with full M/W/F (Evil armies). I decided to go with Saruman as he had the palantir and Sorcerous Blast.
Godolphin's Army was very tough. It was Treebeard and Tom Bombadil. He had chosen Radagast as his wizard. Great, a 3 model army at LoB and I can only kill 2 of them. Probably the worst army I could have been drawn against.
I decided I would go for Radagast first, he would be easiest to kill and I'd worry about Treebeard later. I also realised that wounds and fate restored by Tom B's magic would grant me more victory points...maybe I did have a chance. I decided to bite the bullet and charge head on and have Saruman stay back and cast Transfix on Treebeard. In the first shoot phase, the orc tracker I had forgotten to deploy in every game re-payed my forgetfulness by wounding Treebeard! 1VP already. Treebeard threw a stone at the shade but failed to hit.
Next turn, Saruman blasted treebeard of his rocky perch and sent him tumbling down to the bottom. To make things better, the impact caused another wound! Godolphin was saving Treebeard's fate knowing they would give double VP's if he wasn't careful. Radagast cast Terrifying Aura upon himself as the wargs raced down the outside of the board to try and flank him. The Hunters attempted to charge Treebeard but it turns out even a prone tree is still to terrifying to fight.

A game of cat and mouse followed as I tried to get Fimbul into combat with Treebeard. Saruman was making a nuisance of himself by transfixing Treebeard and allowed the Hunters to do more wounds on him. Treebeard was also receiving heals from Tom which was kinda working in my favour. Combined with Transfix, the Shade and Hunter Orcs were slowly racking up the victory points. It wasn't looking too much better for Radagast as the Fell wargs had reached him and were snapping at his heels. Eventually the wizard fell and even though Tom was keeping Fimbul at bay, weight of numbers eventually prevailed and Treebeard was slain. Game and Tournament over.

Result: 22-3 WIN!
Somehow I had racked up 22 victory points and lost only 3 models. To say I was happy was an understatement. A great result to finish the day on, especially when I thought I had no chance. 

Tournament Results & Post tournament thoughts

So once all the games were finished, the results and points were totalled up. The final game on Table 1 was between Damian O and Ed Ball. There were loads of awards to be handed out and each award got a certificate and a Dwarf in Barrel from Barrel out of Bonds. I was happy with Joint 8th, within my Top 10 wishes but not high enough to put me in the final top 10 of 2013.
I was also lucky enough to win the Warden of the Westfold award. This was for scoring the highest amount of VPs in Domination. I chose Dwalin in Barrel.

So Damian won the tournament (deservedly) with is Ferals, Callum had snuck into second place with Shelob and Friends and Joe had claimed 3rd with his Monster Mash beating one of our members (Tom S) in the process. 

It was also announced that Ed Ball had won the 2013 league. At the start of the day Ed and Tom Harrison were tied first and whoever finished higher would win. So Ed had come 1st, Tom had come second and Damian had propelled himself from 5th to 3rd at the 11th hour and snuck past GBHL Jamie. I had stayed in 12th just below Owen Wright. 12/70 odd players isnt a bad showing. 
As for the 2014 league, Jamie is still out in front but there are a few people starting to catch him. I am in 10th and determined to hold onto it and hopefully raise higher. 

Few points about my army: It performed as expected, the only games I lost were against those who out shot me. Not a lot I can really do about that is this army, Hunter orcs could never out shoot crossbows or Rivendell Knights. So yeah, happy with my performance.

The next tournament is the Desolation of Stockport @ Element Games hosted by the GBHL youtube team. Tickets are still on sale and there are over 40 people signed up already, this will be the biggest independant tournament to date so be there!

So I hope you have enjoyed this report/ review and I hope to see you all at a GBHL event soon. 

1 comment:

  1. Good report. I wish there was a more vibrant LOTR / Hobbit community over here...