Tuesday, 14 February 2012

2nd at 2012 UKGT!

So my report has been already published in Polish a while ago on www.mitril.pl , but I finally found myself with a bit of time to translate and write it in English. This is in case anyone's wondering how I remember so much stuff from 2 months ago... I don't, it's just a translation of something I wrote 2 months ago :)

Red Sun Rises, Blood Has Been Spilled!

"... day 21st of 2nd of year 2000 and 12, here follows the account of Isil... BlackMist, the UK singles defending champ..."

It's been exactly 2 months since 14th GT and my 10th (if we count doubles, otherwise it would be 10th and my 6th). 

My armies:

Betrayer on Fell Beast (General)
Witch King (3/10/2)
Haradrim Chieftain with a Bow
18 Corsairs with Shields
20 Haradrim with Spears
12 Haradrim with Bows
7 Haradrim with Bows and Spears

Total 700pts, 60 models, 20 bows, 7 Might

Saruman (General)
2 Rangers of the North on horses
1 Ranger of the North
12 Rangers of Arnor with Spears
20 Guards of the Fountain Court with Shields
10 Citadel Guards with Longbows and Spears

Total 700pts, 47 models, 26 bows, 7 Might


As is generally accepted that you don't change the winning formula, I made only slight alterations based on the scenarios, i.e.. throwing out Madril and 2 Outriders, getting another RotN and 4 RoA instead, as well as 2 horses. In my evil I swapped out Shadow Lord and Golden King for Betrayer on FB and Witch King, as well as removed any cavalry because I didn't see it as being required for any of the scenarios. In total I dropped numbers from 65 to 60 in comparison to last year. 

Anyway, the scenarios:

1. Meeting Engagement
2. Meeting Engagement
3. Domination
4. Domination
5. Contest of Champions
6. Contest of Champions

Oaths of Battle (copied from the TLA post by The Newbie without permission!). You select an oath randomly, do not show it to your opponent. If you manage to complete it then you gain points as listed below.

5pts: Kill the enemy General.
10pts: Kill all enemy Heroes.
15pts: Kill all enemy Heroes, and have all your Heroes alive and on the table at the end of the game.

Deny them Everything
5pts: Successfully contest one Heroic action.
10pts: Successfully contest two or more Heroic actions. 
15pts: Successfully contest 100% of the enemy's Heroic actions.

Fate is Fickle
5pts: At the end of the game, your Heroes didn't use more than two points of fate between them.
10pts: At the end of the game, your Heroes didn't use more than one point of fate between them.
15pts: At the end of the game, your Heroes didn't use a single fate point.

Gather Resource/Take the High Ground/Take and Hold (I've rolled 3 into 1 description here)
5pts: At the end of the game, you have at least 5 models in a single forest/hill/building.
10pts: At the end of the game, you have at least 5 models in two separate forests/hills/buildings.
15pts: At the end of the game, you have at least 5 models in two separate forests/hills/building, and your opponent has no models in either.

5pts: Your General has called 1 Heroic Fight during the game.
10pts: Your General has called 2 Heroic Fights during the game.
15pts: Your General has called 2 Heroic Fights during the game, and used at least one to charge the enemy general.

A Test of Courage
5pts: Throughout the game none of your heroes have failed a Courage test.
10pts: Throughout the game none of your heroes have failed a Courage test, and did not use any will to modify the rolls.
15pts: Throughout the game none of your heroes have failed a Courage test, and did not use any will or might to modify the rolls.

To the Slaughter
5pts: At the end of the game, you have killed 25% of the enemy force (or forced them to flee).
10pts: At the end of the game, you have killed 50% of the enemy force (or forced them to flee).
15pts: At the end of the game, you have killed 75% of the enemy force (or forced them to flee).

Hold the Line
5pts: At the end of the game, you have lost no more than 50% of your models.
10pts: At the end of the game, you have lost no more than 25% of your models.
15pts: At the end of the game, you have lost no more than 10% of your models.

Oaths were clearly not too well balanced, but they gave a nice random element to the game. I got a reply from the events team regarding the oath's randomness - they just said that in a war nothing is balanced and fair and it's the best generals that will make it work for them anyway. Fair enough, I'm not complaining :)

Damian "Dentor" Widzyk

Tom "Afro-1" Moore

Game 1 - Meeting Engagement. Good vs Mark's Isengard!

My first opponent's name was Mark. His army was a well themed Isengard Scouting force made up of Uruk captain, Vrahsku, Mauhur and 40-something models, including a mix of scouts and feral uruks. From the start I expected the game to be fairly simple for me, due to my army being just way too powerful for the scouts to beat with no direct counters.

My Oath happened to be 'Deny Them Everything'.

The game was a bit uneventful, so I can't write much. Fountain guards stood in the front, bowmen at the back, Saruman in the middle. Vrashku died from shooting, but in one of the turns lost a heroic roll-off to Beregond, giving me the first won heroic of the game. The Uruk Captain died in combat and Mauhur failed a courage test after breaking. Having 1 heroic won out of 1 attempted meant I had 100% and gained full 15 points for the Oath.

Result: 30 - 1
Oath: 15

James "The Hobbit" Braund


GW Gallery

Game 2 - Meeting Engagement. Evil vs Connor's Rohan

After seeing my opponent's army I thought ok, someone copied my old Rohan force here. He claimed that he didn't, until his friend Sam came and said that Connor copied Sam's force, who copied my force... it wasn't necessarily an upgrade to that force though :) His force contained a mix of Woses, Rohan Warriors and Saruman.

My Oath was 'A Test of Courage'.

The game begun with a good Haradrim volley which turned off my opponent's ability to volley fire (he started with just 11 bows). I shot a bit, we moved closer to each other. Not much happened for a while other than my opponent complaining how unlucky he is to play against me... what's the point of coming to a tournament then? Obviously you'll play someone good.

When we got to 6" away from each other we started using Heroic Shots with Throwing Daggers and Throwing Spears. With my first heroic from 18 daggers I killed 0 and on a return from 20 spears I lost 4 Corsairs. Combat started, we both started slaugthering each other's low Defence troops. Betrayer flew away from archers, tried to reach Saruman with a series of Heroic combats (half assisted by a Harad Chieftain) but ended up losing combat to Ghan Buri Ghan. Luckily nothing happened to my wraith. Next turn Ghan died, my opponent got broken, had no Might, his Saruman was constantly under pressure from 2 wraiths and the Courage 2 of an army with no Stand Fast (Saruman was charged) meant that the game ended within 1 turn from break. I was still several models from breaking.

Result: 30 - 1
Oath: 15

Dentor fighting TLA's Umeboshi


Game 3 - Domination. Good vs Alan's Harad

Finally I got to play a strong army. Alan deployed over 60 haradrim, including 20+ bows, Taskmaster, Dark Marshal and Shadow Lord. However, considering that my Gondor was made to be an anti-harad force (I made the army to counter my own army, as I expected players to use Harad, given my last year's result with it), I wasn't afraid to lose the game. I would've been much more afraid if I had a Saruman/Legolas/50Wood Elf force, since that would be at a pretty major disadvantage. But my D7 and 26 bows weren't going anywhere.

Unfortunately my Oath this game was "Charge" with Saruman.

Alan deployed Archers in the middle and 2 units of Haradrim on the flanks, each led by a wraith. From the beginning my strategy was to reduce my opponent's numbers as much as possible as quickly as possible, so I started shooting at the models that were on the flank opposite from Shadow Lord, while I was keeping myself out of range of Alan's archers. At the time when I finally got into range of Alan's bowmen we started shooting bows vs bows, but due to more Might for Heroic shooting, more bows and a D7 front line, I started winning the face-off.

For a long time we were in a 1-3 objective state, but I was all the time keeping a lot of models within 1-2 turns distance from the side objectives and I was all the time keeping my eyes on the clock, prepared to go in for the kill.

At the point when Alan had to lose about 10 more models to break and there was left about 45 minutes till the end of the game I decided it's time to push. On the right flank my guardsmen quickly took over the objective and got rid of Dark Marshal (who using 4 Black Darts killed 3 of my models and then disappeared. However, those Darts proved to be crucial later in the game). The right flank troops then started a sprint to the enemy's home objective. On the left flank almost my entire army jumped at the house, earlier controlled by Haradrim. My home objective was safely kept by 1 sleeping Fountain Guard behind a wall inside a house and many many turns away for anyone to ever get there.

I can't say in detail what happened next, but in summary: we quickly started combat, Harad quickly broke and just as quickly time ran out. At the end of the game the situation looked as follows:
I had: my home objective, the right flank and several models more on the left flank. There are roughly 2 minutes left on the clock.

Alan passes a Courage test with SL, casts Black Dart and from a 6-5 on his home objective we move to a 6-4 in his advantage. He then starts to take courage tests with the rest of the army. The game ends still in the move phase before I can move. If I was allowed to move after him then I had 3 models within range of his home objective and would've scored a 7-6 and a Major win.

Here comes a question - is it fair to end the game in the middle of the turn? Or should we always play to the end of the turn?

Result: 25 - 5
Oath: 0 (Saruman didn't manage a heroic charge, my mistake).

The other 2 models below aren't visible on the picture.


The Shire Olympics!

Or "What happens in Shire stays in Shire", so I shall not comment in this section :)

The Newbie, Ar-Pharazon, Ukrocky and Nemo. (Left of the picture with his face half visible LotRChampion)

Game 4: Domination. Evil vs Tom's Woses & Wizards (TLA Tom Moore)

Finally I get to play my biggest Nemesis again, Tom Moore, winner of the 2010 Singles and 2011 Doubles GTs.

This time though Tom didn't come to win, but rather to play more for fun with his force made of Woses, Gandalf and Saruman. My Oath happened to be the horrendous "Fate is Fickle".

In the first few turns not much happened. Shadowfax got taken out from a volley, along with 1 Wose. After a while we got to a state of 2-2 in objectives. One half of Woses was hiding in a forest, out of sight and under Blinding Light, the other behind another forest invisible. We started a Wizard duel, during which after a while I managed to break Gandalf's Staff and took off all of his Will points. However, to do that, I had to move within about 8" of the blowpipes and then I got compelled into the blowpipe range of about 15 Woses. The blowpipes caused a wound and I found myself in a tricky situation - I start the game with 15 points for the Oath, but if I use 1 Fate, I'm down to 10, if I use 2 then I'm down to 5. I decided to trade WK off and keep all my Oath points.

With about 30 minutes to go I managed to compell 1 wose into range of Betrayer's charge on the left flank. I put the betrayer in such a position as that his combat gave a lot of protection to the models behind from Blowpipes and I moved them forward. During combat my higher Fight Value and Defence proved to be distastrous for Tom and he quickly lost a lot of Woses. Game ended with a 3-1 score to me.

It's a shame that I had to play Tom in his worst scenario, because if we swapped armies the game would've been much closer against his horde of Morannons led by 2 wraiths and a Spider Queen.

Result: 25-5
Oath: 15

I didn't manage to take any photos of the best painted armies other than the 1 below.

Game 5. Contest of Champions vs Jamie's Moria. (TLA The Newbie)

TLA's The Newbie is always a scarry opponent to face. Last year he finished 4th and this time (as always) he used Moria force filled with Goblins, Prowlers, Witch King, Shadow Lord and Spider Queen.

My Oath again happened to be "Charge" with Saruman.

The game started pretty well for me: Durburz (Jamie's General) got wounded once from a volley and Saruman made the score 3-0 after the first Sorcerous Blast. However, due to a minor mistake on my side I didn't manage to get out of the reach of the Witch King's Your Staff Is Broken spell and found myself in a tricky spot: Jamie rolled a 6 to cast and I had 4 Will and 2 Might. I took a while to think it through and decided that I'm not going to need more than 4 Will points to win this game and decided to let his spell work, removing my Free Will points.

Next turn Saruman killed another 2 models and due to a though that I wasn't going to have too many chances to charge with him in this game I decided to use another point of Might to get a 6th kill, just to be safe and just to ensure that if Jamie kills 3 I still get a major win. At the same time I felt safe with 1 Might to get 5 points for the Oath.

I didn't manage any more blasts, but Saruman ended up going into combat and killing a 7th model with a Heroic. At the score of 7-0 Jamie killed 1 of my warriors using 1 of his Might points making it 7-1. Next he surrounded another fountain Guard, transfixed to ensure winning and with around 7 attacks vs my 1 he got a 5 as his highest roll vs my 6. So he had to use a Might point to win, then he failed to kill him with twice as many strikes and used another Might point to kill with Durburz, making it 7-2. He went onto the 2nd Fountain Guard, who also had been transfixed in that turn, surrounded him and... lost combat due to me rolling a 6 yet again and with no Might Jamie couldn't do anything about that.

In that turn his army got broken and moments later Durburz felt so badly demotivated that he rolled a double 1 for Courage and fled the field. Horribly bad luck from a player who truly deserved much more than that from this game.

Result: 30 - 1
Oath: 5

Jamie "The Newbie / Afro-2" and Ed "Death And Glory" on the left.

Game 6. Contest of Champions vs David's Wood Elves. (TLA Big Dog)

In the 6th game I was playing on the 2nd table again, this time against Legolas and terrifying 73 Wood Elves.

My Oath was to take control of 2 hills on the board.

In the first few turns I managed to bring Legolas down to 0 Fate and 1 Wound after David's mistake of putting just 1 elf in front of Legolas and allowing all of my archers to be in range, while Legolas moved at full speed. 1 more wound would've given me a certain easy win...

Few turns later I made the biggest mistake in this or probably any other tournament for years. I accidentally, without any particular reason moved a few Corsairs within range of Legolas (initially everybody was going around his firing area and keeping well away) and suddenly changed the score to 0-2. This blackout in my mind led to a bit of an unintentional panic, because while I had everything under control to this point, I was suddenly losing badly. My following strategy was still trying to keep Legolas away from firing range with my own archers threatening to kill him, while moving a bunch of Corsairs, Betrayer and Witch King round a house on the left side and charging the elves.

Following this strategy I got into combat and started charging Betrayer into 2 Transfixed elves per turn to ensure deaths. Quickly the score went up to 7-2 in my favour, but due to fanatical speed of magic and a bit of chaos in combat my Betrayer ran out of Will. Seeing that my army was being quickly destroyed by the elves I decided to take the only option I really had left and try to kill off my own army before Legolas scores another 5 kills.

Witch King decided to fail a courage test using Will points. Chieftain moved out of Stand Fast range of troops, so that in case he passes, others do not. The others started charging into combats where they were doomed to lose and die or moving away to fail courage tests. Legolas kept killing enemies very quickly and managed to get to 7-6 and I happened to have exactly 1 model left on the field.

Everything would've been perfectly fine, since I was behind a wall, invisible to Legolas and I only had to fail 1 courage test in 5-6 turns. His other option would've been to win Piority and charge me with shielding warriors, but you can't keep winning priority forever. David however had a different idea - he had a Sentinel. To be fair, this is the first and only time I've seen a Sentinel prove to be useful - he made my lone Haradrim autimatically pass courage tests!!!!

So I kept passing, David kept making me pass and Legolas was slowly moving forward to see me and shoot me. In the turn that Legolas was about 3" away from the right spot to kill me I won priority and failed a courage test - such a hero of that Haradrim!

Result: 25 - 5
Oath: 0

So having won 6 games out of 6 and being the only player on 6 wins I finished... 2nd. I scored 10 points more than Death And Glory in games, but I scored 30 points less in Oaths, putting me on 20 points less at the end of the tournament. I really wanted to face Ed's Good Force with my Evil in Contest of Champions, as that would've been a truly great game and a great way to decide the winner, especially given that his Good army was:

Aragorn (Champion) Mounted
Boromir CotWT Mounted with Lance
Glorfindel Mounted
Gandalf Mounted on Shadowfax

The 2012 GT Evil winning army was:

4 Ringwraiths on Fell Beasts.

The winner achieved 5 wins and 1 draw, including 2 rounds of Domination.

Funnily enough I said this on the 2nd November, day when the rulespack was released:

"If not the oaths, I would say hero-armies rule in this tournament..."



I had to run for a train and skip the Awards. Well done to Ed for a well deserved win. Goodbye Legions of Middle Earth, it's been fun. Bring on the Warbands! :)