On 12-13 February I was back again in the Warhammer World for my 5th singles LotR GT and along with Doubles and WotR, my 9th UKGT event.
2x Ranger of the North
2x Rohan Outrider
18 Guards of the Fountain Court, Shields
2 Guards of the Fountain Court
10 Citadel Guards, Spears, Longbows
8 Rangers of Arnor, Spears
Total: 700 points, 45 models, 24 bows, 9 Might
(In the original Rangers of the North and Beregond were on horses, but two days before the tournament I realized that I forgot to do conversions, so I had to throw two foot Outriders in place of horses)
Golden King (Leader)
Shadow Lord, Horse
18 Corsairs, Shields
18 Haradrim Warriors, Spears
11 Haradrim Warriors, Spears, Bows
10 Haradrim Warriors, Bows
6 Haradrim Riders, Warspears
Total 700 points, 65 models, 21 bows, 4 Might
(In the original, instead of the Serpent Riders were Haradrim, but you can not proxy, and I didn’t want to spend money on individuals who do not make any difference against the elves, I could have borrowed it, but I forgot)
Contest of Champions
Ill Met By Daybreak (Modification of Ill Met By Moonlight)
Storm the Camp
Take and Hold
Oaths of Battle:
At the beginning of the tournament, each player is dealt eight cards, four for the army of good and evil 4 for the army. Each of them was a special mission to perform in battle (you can choose to start using that card in this battle.) If both players failed to perform their mission, or both have succeeded, then nothing happened. If one player has done, and the other didn’t, he would get a bonus of 5 points at the end of the tournament, so we had potential extra 40 points to score, making a total of 330 with a 10 point quiz.
1. Your selected character has to kill at least 2D6 models
2. Your general must survive
3. Your army can not be broken
4. You have to kill a chosen hero (you choose)
The Journey of Lord Voitek:
As some of you know, Voitek (TLA member) with whom I won the 2009 Doubles GT, has recently retired from competitive LotR due to personal reasons, but he gave me his models so that I could use them at the GT. My force included a Corsair Warrior that was a conversion of a Wildman of Dunland – that was Voitek himself represented in my forces. Throughout the tournament I closely followed his achievements and made a note of them in this report.
Round 1: Contest of Champions, Evil
In the first round landed on David's (TLA Lutra), whom previously I played only once - the 2010 GT in the 4th round I won with my Rohan against his Isengard. This time, David was using the High Elves with the support of Gil-galad and Isildur on horse (about 42 models.)
In selecting David Champion chose Isildur but since I was quite sleepy I misunderstood and I thought he said Gil-Galad. So, following the thought that the GG does not pass the test of courage on the break (Golden King will make sure that this happens), I decided to choose Oath to kill the Gil-galad. Still with half open eyes I was not aware that it makes no sense, because I’ll be trying to get rid of Isildur s for the main quest... oh well. David decided to use the Oath of killing Shadow Lord.
Due to the great advantage of bows and having SL, my strategy was to quickly break the enemy by shooting, and then remove the Champion Gil-galad test of courage. On the left side I set the cavalry, archers in the middle and rest of the army on the. After several turns of shooting I sent six riders to nthe left side on a few elven spearmen, hoping to divert Isildur from my army because I didn’t want him to jump on my troops and then get to Shadow Lord with a Heroic. Isildur retreated to kill the riders, and I then commented that David’s Champion is already approaching my army – only to hear from David that actually Isildur is his champion.
Suddenly I found myself in an unhappy situation, knowing that I will soon be 2-0 down. Luckily for me volley fire killed his horse, and he lost combat against 2 Riders, having charged them himself. Next turn he killed them but by that time my archers shot down my own riders of Harad in combat to deny him more kills.
After the break Golden King called a Heroic Move to come within 12” from Isildur and by using all 6 Will Points he removed him from the game. Now all I had to do is score 4 kills with GK (where I’m used to winning this scenario maybe 1-0 or 2-1 generally). To make sure that I kill every turn, Shadow Lord was Compelling enemies towards GK who was then charging them and surrounding with other models – Compell and Transfix were both used to reduce Elves Fight to 1, so that I don’t waste time on losing fights.
After a while I was winning 4-2 and with about 15 minutes to go I still had Gil-Galad to kill, but with Shadow Lord on 1 Will point I had to save him too, so I put him aside. After that Golden King and several other models were trying to charge him for a few turns and in the end it was GK who caused the killing hit (although before that suffering 3 wounds). I completed my Oath and opponent didn’t complete his.
Lord Voitek was killed in the first fight ... 0-1
Scenario score: 5-2
Game Score: 40 – 1
Round 2: Contest of Champions, Good, Table 1
In the 2nd round I was to play Chris, who’s army was made up of 75 models, including Shadow Lord, 6 Black Guards, Black Guard Captain (champion) and a bunch of Haradrim Warriors. My Oath was to kill 2d6 models (I rolled 9) while his was to not break.
From the beginning I knew that it’s pointless to shoot, so I decided to just run forward and start killing with Saruman.
To make the story short, Saruman won 18-0 and Chris’s army was broken :)
Game Score 40 – 1
Round 3: Ill Met By Daybreak, Good, Table 1
(The scenario has the same set up as Ill Met By Moonlight, but excludes the visibility/shooting rule and we play to 25% reduction).
In the third round I got to play Simon Grant (the rulespack writer for the last doubles and I believe for these singles too). My only previous encounter with Simon was in round 6 at the 2010 GT where Saruman managed to get rid of 2 Ringwraiths on Fell Beasts but still drew against a Black Numenorean Marshall in To Kill A King due to lack of time.
Simon’s army included a Mumak with Tough Hide and Tusk Weapons, and two Wraiths – Khamul and Knight of Umbar on Fell Beasts. His Oath was to kill Beregond (because as he exclaimed “that would cause the greatest blow to the armies of Gondor and Mordor would prevail”). My Oath was to kill Khamul.
My opponent first set up the Mumak in the middle and two Wraiths at the back. I had Saruman and all my Fountains at the front with Archers at the back. In the first turn already the Mumak’s rider was killed and Mumak wounded, what caused the beast to already start panicking – from then on every turn Mumak failed the test for not having anyone in the Howdah and first it chased the wraiths and then ran off the board.
The Wraiths killed Beregond with Black Darts but couldn’t do anything else since bodyguards had no trouble charging them.
Game Score 35 – 1
Round 4: Ill Met By Daybreak, Evil, Table 1.
Round 4 was the toughest of day one and at that moment I felt that the table 1 defense is truly about to begin. I got drawn against Joe (TLA Catsrule23) and his army of Elven Twins, Malbeth, 45 Warriors of Arnor and 22 Hobbit Archers, total of 70 or 71 models – 5 more than me! :
He chose his oath to kill 2d6 with one of the Twins (8) and I chose mine to protect my General (GK).
I had to set up first and expecting a Horde of Warriors of Arnor I decided to set next to the left board edge (so I don’t get double flanked) with almost all corsairs, supporters and the Golden King. Then to my surprise Joe deployed Hobbit Archers with Malbeth about 8 or 9” away instead of the Arnorians who could’ve charged me and had a slight combat advantage because of their D6.
I considered charging head on because I had a chance to kill a lot of hobbits with my throwing daggers and then a turn of combat where they would be fighting 1vs2, but in the end I decided to play the game safely because I remembered how stupid my forward charge was last year against Tom Moore – the game that cost me the chance of winning that GT and made me finish 2nd instead, therefore I moved back, ran SL forward to protect Corsairs from shooting and then got into range with my Harad Archers to shoot everything possible.
In the first turn of combat one of the Twins got Transfixed and in the 2nd turn killed by the Golden King. Soon after followed the death of the other Twin and all the time the archers were causing enormous damage. After combat started it looked very close but straight after Joe’s break the Golden King removed Malbeth from the game and the whole army crumbled due to not having a hero and being only C2 (they would’ve been C1 but Shadow Lord used his last Will point to Sap Will Malbeth and he succeeded).
Lord Voitek died without killing anyone... 0-2
Game score: 40 – 1
Round 5: Storm the Camp, Evil, Table 1
In the 5th round I got to play Dave (TLA Hithero), with whom I played 4 times at the last two Doubles GTs, winning twice and drawing twice. Dave had an army of Gimli, Madril, 20 Khazad Guard, 10 Dwarf Bowmen, 18 Warriors of MT with Spear and Shield and 9 Rangers of Gondor with Spears – total 59 models. My Oath was to stay unbroken while Dave’s was to kill 2d6 models with Gimli, which happened to be 7.
When I saw that front line I knew that any offensive play would turn into a massacre of my army, so using the fact that Dave had 2 separate volleys, first I removed 1 archer from each volley group and then under the cover of Shadow Lord I positioned my bowmen in range of enemy rangers and Dwarf bowmen to get as many kills as possible. Shooting at Khazads was pointless because the key in shooting is to reduce numbers and not to kill elites.
Again I played defensively and calmly, trying not to make any mistakes, because the first LotR SBG Singles GT triumph was slowly coming to my reach. I shot, shot, shot. Then my riders went to the left flank and put Dave in a sort of stall-mate situation where if he moved forward his flank would get overwhelmed by archers and riders, so his only option was to stand and hope that I don’t break through before time ends.
Just before breaking his force with mainly bowfire I decided to move forward, so after about an hour we finally begun close combat. Gimli killed a few archers, tried moving through but in the end was transfixed and killed by overwhelming numbers. On the right flank Golden King removed Madril straight after the break and the leaderless force crumbled.
Lord Voitek killed 1 model and died: 1-3
Game score: 40 – 1
Round 6, Storm the Camp, Evil, Table 1
My 6th opponent was Craig (TLA Ukrocky), the current UK LotR Doubles Champion (2010, winning by 1 point on the quiz tie-breaker against us!). I’ve been good friends with Craig for quite a long time now and we have had our share of encounters, famously whenever it really matters ending in a draw... (2 draws at doubles GTs, 1 draw at a Conflict North tournament and in terms of tournament non-draws I’ve been leading 2-1 since Heroes of Middle Earth II).
Craig came to the table and claimed that he wasn’t feeling very well after a long previous night, but he was still going to do his best. His force was an anti-Saruman/anti-elves army consisting of about 20 Corsairs with Shields, 20 Corsairs with Shields and Spears, 20 Haradrim Bowmen, Harad Chieftain, Shadow Lord and Witch King (don’t remember his exact stats, but I think it was something like 3/10/2 or similar). I chose my Oath to not break, because I knew that in Take and Hold I might have to break on purpose, so protecting Saruman there will be more useful. I don’t remember his Oath, but I believe it was killing 2d6 with Witch King.
We both started moving forward, although I was aware that I can’t outmanoeuvre his force, so I stayed closely together trying to defend my camp and moved only 3” per turn, while his Corsairs pushed 6” with Archers staying behind and volleying.
After a while we joined in combat close to the middle of the board. Saruman lied down after coming into Blasting range, due to the spotting roll / line of sight problems, so that neither WK nor SL would be able to hurt him or Sap his Will. Every turn he would then stand up, blast, lie down again.
You would’ve thought that less than 40 Corsairs with 2 Wraiths shouldn’t be a problem for about 18 Fountain Guards with spear support and winning Heroic Moves to charge, hence stopping throwing daggers almost every turn. Add to that Sorcerous Blasts... and my army was tabled in a few turns and his barely broken It wasn’t just luck though, because since Saruman couldn’t be targeted Craig was using Black Darts on my Fountains and that killed a lot of them. In addition throwing daggers were killing my D5 and D4 supporters often after D7 frontline got removed, so my force was slowly munched.
In the end we ran out of time with me having about 7 models in my own camp and Craig just 2-3 turns away from getting to my camp with about 15 of his. What gave me the draw? The fact that Craig had to go to toilet at the start of the game and wasted a few minutes in this way, the few minutes that would’ve given him a win... quite literally Shit Happens :-D
Neither of us completed our Oaths
Game Score: 10 – 10
Best Painted Army Nominations:
Round 7, Take and Hold, Good, Table 1
My penultimate opponent at this GT was Jay (TLA Jay_Clare) who happened to be using Moria force in this game, that consisted of Cave Drake (counts as a Hero with 0/0/0 at the GT), Spider Queen, Durburz and about 16 Prowlers, 16 Blackshields, 16 Spearmen and 16 Bowmen (not entirely sure on that but something along those lines). Jay’s Oath was killing one of my Outriders, which unluckily happened to be deployed by Jay and swiftly killed. My last Good Oath was to protect Saruman.
I received Priority in the first turn and swiftly Madril, Saruman and about 10 other models moved on from the middle of my board edge. Most of my Fountain Guards were deployed by Jay in the top left corner, so subsequently I reinforced that unit by a few more warriors. Jay’s army came on in the bottom left corner by my choosing, so that after receiving Sorcerous Blast they would be slowed down for a few inches. His own selection of models (including Drake and SQ) entered the board in the middle of the East board edge.
We both started moving towards the centre. The unit of goblins on the left was hit by Blast and 10 of them ended on the ground with 1 killed. In the next few turns I commanded both the Spider Queen and the Cave Drake away from the centre because I didn’t want to have the trouble of moving those things the hard way.
I had to get to centre first, so when I was in range I called a Heroic Move with Madril and set up a defence in the middle, during this turn I also Commanded SQ so that it charged 2 of my Fountain Guards and subsequently charged it with 1 more FG to surround and 1 Ranger of the North, who’s purpose was a Heroic Combat in case Jay would kill my surrounding model first because of his priority. As we moved to combat SQ got quickly killed and I fortified myself in the centre of the board.
What followed was a slow and painful slaughter of the warriors of Gondor. Drake was once blasted away into 10 approaching Goblin Bowmen but barely caused any damage and came back safely to start munching through the Fountain Guards. Madril couldn’t kill anything, Rangers of the North weren’t doing great either, basically everything was getting crushed by the overwhelming numbers. At one point things looked so bad that even a lone Blackshield managed to walk through my lines and fight Saruman for 3 turns before finally getting killed - in case of Madril's death and the survival of that Goblin it would have been disastrous because I wouldn't have bodyguard and stand fast.
After my break we played 1 turn and luckily for me the game ended at the end of that turn with me having 18 models within 3” of the centre and Jay having about 5. 1 more turn and it would be probably about 12-12, 2 more turns and I would’ve lost... well played Jay, you surprised me with how good you performed, good luck in the next tourneys, Craig taught you well ;)
Both of us completed our Oaths, so again no bonus for anyone.
Game Score: 30 – 5
Game 8, Take and Hold, Evil, Table 1
Wow, 7th game on table 1, not sure if anyone’s ever done that before. Anyway, after 7 rounds the situation looked as follows:
- If Tom Moore wins his game and I draw or lose mine, he wins the GT for the 2nd time in a row... ouch, that really sucks, because essentially he’s so good that he gives me no margin for error (In all previous GTs the winner always had a margin of error for 1 loss... I guess I used that for the draw in the 6th round).
In the last round I got to play Stephan (TLA Ar-Pharazon), the 6th TLA member in 8 games, which is quite a result for our great community. Stephan’s army included I believe Legolas on Horse with Armour, Grimbold, 3 Rangers of the North on Horses, 12 Riders of Rohan, 24 Helmingas (half with throwing and shield, half with shield) and 12 Rangers of Arnor with Spears. Total of about 52 or so models and a really solid list, clearly built to win the last scenario and capable of destroying Corsairs because of Throwing Weapons and S4 all over the place. Stephan’s Oath was to protect Legolas and mine was to kill 7 models with the Golden King.
From the start I knew it was going to be tough (especially after hearing from Tom at the end of day 1 that Stephan is a good player... although you’d guess that by now, seeing him on table 1 in game 8). In addition to the good player and army composed to win this scenario I lost priority in the first turn and then had my glorious Double 1: both Golden King and Shadow Lord rolled 1 for deployment in turn 1.
My opponent deployed Legolas, some riders, Grimbold and some Helmingas in the middle of the west board edge. Several riders came in top left corner and the rest of the army got scattered around the edges. Around 14 of my models came on in the middle of Southern edge, then about 6 in the North-East corner and some randoms in the South-West. In the first turn I alost 2 Haradrim Riders to 3 Throwing Weapons in the bottom left and Legolas took off another warrior.
In the 2nd turn I got priority and Golden King again rolled a 1... I started considering what good it would be if I boosted it to a 3 and in the end decided that if GK gets deployed behind Legolas, then the Elf with some other warriors will have to be pulled back to kill him, proving me about 1 turn Legolas-free centre of the board, so I decided to boost my roll to 3. Then Stephan made one of the two biggest mistakes of the game – deployed GK on the other side of the board in complete safety... I couldn’t believe it. Next SL rolled a 2 for deployment and following GK’s example boosted it to 3 and got deployed in the North Eastern corner where he fled from enemies and next turn called a Heroic Move to ensure that he doesn’t get charged and stuck there. I had no Might left at the start of turn 3 while Stephan had full Legolas, Grimbold and 3 Rangers.
After a few turns we begun fighting in the middle of the board. SL Sapped Legolas’s Will, then kept Transfixing him every turn so that the elf doesn’t cause any casualties. 2 of the Rangers of the North died in combat because they got stuck between two of my infantry waves on the South and East when moving towards the centre. The third was killed soon after fighting a Corsair of Umbar in the North-West.
1 turn before breaking Stephan I counted the models and I was leading 15-9 with about 45 minutes to go on the clock and so I was quite calm that I could succeed in winning. However, in the turn at the end of which I broke his army he was leading 15-13. He wanted to roll for the game ending, but luckily the army counts as being broken at the START of the turn, so we had 1 more turn to go and that was when the Golden King won the GT:
- Legolas with C5 rolled 6 for Courage Test, boosted that with 2 Might to get a Score of 13, then got reduced to 9 and decided to run away with a lot of money
- Grimbold then, with C3 rolled a 7 with just 1 Will Left and boosted the score to 11 to be subsequently taken off by the remaining 2 points of Will of the King.
The whole army swiftly followed and at the end of the turn the model count was XX : 1. After finishing 7th, 20th, 18th and 2nd in the previous 4 singles LotR SBG GTs I finally achieved my dream to win this prestigious tournament.
Lord Voitek killed Legolas’s horse and survived! His final score was 2 kills and 3 deaths.
Game Score 30 – 5
The tournament ran very smoothly and the organisers even managed to finish 30 minutes before the original scheduled time (although I asked them for that earlier during day 2 because I wouldn’t be able to attend the ceremony due to my last train leaving few minutes after).
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to play Tom who I would’ve loved to play and get my revenge on the last year’s loss. We couldn’t play in rounds 5 and 7 because I was constantly 1st and he was at those times either 3rd or 4th, so we didn’t get drawn against each other and we happened to draw the same armies in both of those rounds which resulted in the inability to face each other in rounds 6 and 8... shame really.
In terms of tournament points: Including Oaths of Battle – I achieved the highest GT score of all time (270 out of 330). Excluding Oaths of Battle (because they were only introduced at the last Doubles) the score of 245 battle points and 5 Quiz puts me 2nd after Vesa Nenye’s score from 2008, achieving 255 battle points and 3 on the Quiz. The 3rd place non-Oath belongs to the 2009 GT Champion Michal Molenda who scored 235 with I believe 10/12 on the quiz.
Final Results in the top 10 (points include total + in brackets Generalship/Oaths/Quiz. First Tie-breaker is Generalship, the 2nd is quiz)
1. Mikołaj Bakalarz, Gondor / Harad, 270 (245 + 20 + 5) points – TLA BlackMist
2. Tom Moore, High Elves / Mordor, 255 (225 + 25 + 5) points – TLA Tom_Moore
3. Simon Grant, Wood Elves / Mordor+Harad, 255 (212 + 35 + 8) points
4. Jamie Giblin, Wood Elves / Moria, 240 (215 + 20 + 5) points – TLA the_newbie
5. Craig Johnson, Arnor / Harad, 225 (195 + 25 + 5) points – TLA Ukrocky
6. Nick Jones, Wood Elves+Dwarves / Mordor, 218 (200 + 15 + 3) points - TLA Lithorlorn
7. Charles Sims, Galadhrim / Mordor, 205 (186 + 15 + 4) points
8. Jay Clare, Galadhrim / Moria, 204 (182 + 15 + 7) points – TLA Jay_Clare
9. Michael Tetley, Gondor / Moria, 203 (177 + 25 + 1) points – TLA Mickivo01
10. Chris Jones, Wood Elves / Mordor, 202 (177 + 20 + 5) points
Top 10 total:
3.5 Wood Elves, 2 Galadhrim, 2 Gondors, 1 High Elves, 1 Arnor, 0.5 Dwarves
4.5 Mordors, 2.5 Harads, 3 Morias
Photos of winners:
Best Painted Army: James Braund (TLA LotRChampion)
Master of Knowledge: James Braund
Best Team: TLA_Old Skool (From left: Lithorlorn, BlackMist, Hithero, Keithio the Green)
Oathkeeper Award (for the person with most successful Oaths): Simon Grant & George Jones
3rd Place: Simon Grant
2nd Place: Tom Moore (TLA Tom Moore)
1st Place: Mikolaj Bakalarz (TLA BlackMist)