I was able to meet up with my round two opponent for the escalation league, and our battle was legendary. For this round the battle plan was Shifting Objectives, a fairly straight forwards battle plan, but for the uninitiated, here’s a quick break down.
The goal of the battle plan is to have the most victory points by the end of the fifth battle round. This style of game plan can heavily reward two things; an army with a lot of fielded models, and an army with excellent mobility. Before we move on, here’s mine and my opponent’s lists.
I’ll just quickly break down both lists before we move on to the actual battle report. My Seraphon list is fairly straightforward, get Kroak on a Balewind Vortex and either use his plethora of spells to shovel out mortal wounds, or store up on conjuration points. This list in particular was rather risky due to the few number of models it fields. I was hoping the amount of conjuration points I could store would make up for the difference.
I also misunderstood how Predatory Endless Spells work, not realizing that whoever takes the second turn in the battle round gets first dibs on moving Predatory Endless Spells. This would prove to complicate things for me.
I don’t play Fyreslayers so forgive me if I butcher this breakdown. From what I understand, the general has to go. Fast. Matt fielded 20 Hearthguard Berzerkers, which all shrug off wounds and mortal wounds on a 4+ if they’re near a Fyreslayer Hero. They have a missile weapon with an 8” range that hits and wounds on 5+ dealing 1 damage, and a melee weapon with 2 attacks that hit and wound on 3+ with -1 rend that deals 2 damage. If you happen to try and fight these guys head on, they will win.
Vulkite Berzerkers are a lot less resilient, though they still hit decently hard. They only deal 1 damage with each of their melee weapons, but have the same hit and wound scores. They don’t have the shrug effect, but they can deal mortal wounds when charging, can re-roll hit rolls for their melee weapon, and add 1 to their save if they don’t move. Capable of closing in on an objective and holding it by themselves.
The Set Up
Because I was planning on Kroak traveling via Lords of Space and Time (Seraphon’s Battle Trait that allows them to teleport) I figured there was no real harm in setting him up at the very back with the Astrolith Bearer. For sure out of harm’s way while Kroaknado gets assembled. My Skinks were put on the front line, staring down the barrel of 20 Hearthguard Berzerkers. It was like just like 300, but instead of 300 Spartans I had 10 Skinks, and instead of putting up a good fight, they got ripped apart like tissue paper.
Matt set up his Hearthguard Berzerkers down center, who were backed up by his Runefather and Runeson, and his Vulkite Berzerkers going left. Matt had fielded 32 models, while I had fielded 12. This is entirely my fault, and to say I was nervous is an understatement.
Round 1, Main Objective: Center
Matt won the roll off and took the first turn of the game. He moved his Hearthguard on the center objective and his Vulkite on the left objective. Uneventful turn, as the first usually is. Matt scores 4 victory points.
On my turn Kroak cast Balewind Vortex and hopped on before teleporting center-left, outside of the wall, and cast Gnashing Jaws, Comet’s Call, and Meteoric Convocation to attempt and deal as many mortal wounds to his general as possible. If I wanted even a chance of winning, I had to answer his hero units ASAP. I wasn’t able to kill them this round, and chose to store a spell into conjuration points.
My Skinks also moved in, and, as stated above, got eaten alive by half naked dwarves. I’ve heard Skink tastes not far off from goose. I’m not able to put Matt off any objectives and I don’t take the third one either, so I score 0 victory points. In hindsight, I think I should have used one teleport to put my Skinks to the left objective to try and at least tie Matt on it, but oh well.
Round 2, Main Objective: Right
I win the roll off and take the first turn for this battle round. It was at this time that I learned how players switch off who controls Predatory Endless Spells. As it happens, the player who goes second gets to take the movement of the first Predatory Endless Spell of their choice, and players alternate until none are left. It is for this reason that I have elected to no longer run Predatory spells, as the risk is too high for me. Luckily, none of my units were in range of the Gnashing Jaws, so Matt simply moved it further away from him.
My priority was still to kill his hero units, which Kroak was able to do during my turn with a couple extra spell slots left over. Because the Hearthguard can shrug mortal wounds, I wasn’t too keen on spending spell slots on wounds that can be shrugged. With the hero units answered and the main objective being the only objective with no enemy units near it, I teleport Kroak on top of it, leaving the Astrolith Bearer on center. I then expend 12 Conjuration Points to summon two units of 10 Skinks.
I score 3 victory points.
During Matt’s turn, he charges in his Heathguard to both of my units of Skinks and shreds them just as easily as the first unit. He keeps his two objectives and scores 2 victory points.
Round 3, Main Objective: Left
I won the dice roll for the round again, taking my turn first. With Lords of Space and Time, I possess the mobility to take the main objective, but would have to execute some precise model placement and get some lucky dice rolls.
I teleport Kroak and the Astrolith Bearer to the left objective, and Kroak fired off enough mortal wounds to take his 10 Vulkite down to 4. I then summoned in another unit of Skinks. This unit in particular would be the MVP of the battle. Skinks have an ability called Wary Fighters, which lets them move 8” when they pile in, so long as they end the movement more than 3” from an enemy. This may seem like a redundant ability, but it is actually the sole purpose my Skinks could hold down the objective.
I summoned 10 Skinks which promptly charged into his Vulkite, then when we went to combat I used their ability to move more than 3” away, but still within 6” of the objective, so I took the objective without giving him an opportunity to attack my Skinks. This scored me another 3 victory points.
On Matt’s turn he conga lined his Hearthguard so they were seizing both center and right objectives. He moved his Vulkite into my Skinks, but were only able to kill 5, so I was still holding the objective. He scored 2 victory points for holding the other two, but I was able to keep him off the main.
Round 4, Main Objective: Left
This was what I really needed, the main objective to be literally the only objective I’m holding. I won the dice roll yet again, taking the first turn once more. Kroak fired off another spell that cleaned up all but one Vulkite before teleporting to the right objective to fight the Hearthguard on the front lines, leaving my Skinks and Astrolith Bearer to hold the left objective. Kroak fires off another spell before summoning yet another unit of Skinks along with a Razordon and Skink Handlers. I scored 3 victory points.
His Hearthguard moved in on Kroak, forcing him to abandon the center objective, moving all of his remaining troops to the right objective. They fought, but he had some very unfortunate dice rolls, and Kroak was able to pull out of it alive. He then attacked back and took out a few more Hearthguard. Matt scored 1 victory point.
Round 5, Main Objective: Center
I managed to tie it up. He won the dice roll and took the first turn, the second double turn of the game. As it stood, we both would score one victory point, so unless one of us took the center objective, the match would end in a draw, however this means that he would win because he killed the highest amount of models (R.I.P. about 50 Skinks).
His Hearthguard Berzerkers were locked into combat with Kroak by this time, and lacked the movement necessary to seize the main objective. Because they were locked with Kroak, they also couldn’t move to attack my Skinks or Razordon either to prevent them from taking the objective. He spent his turn killing Kroak, who took 13 wounds before fleeing in the battleshock phase, and Matt scored 1 victory point.
On my turn, I moved my Skinks and my Razordon onto the center objective with just enough movement to seize it (though I could have also used Lords of Space and Time). Controlling the left objective on top of the main center objective, I scored 4 victory points.
Final Score: Matt-10, Me-13
Over all, the battle was very well played by Matt. I feel kind of bad for basically spamming Skinks, summoning 40 in total over the entirety of the match, but it was the only realistic way I stood a chance. I had to match his numbers in models, and Skinks are the most cost effective in terms of models/conjuration point, a unit of 10 Skinks costing 6 conjuration points each.
I was extremely fortunate in round 4 when the main objective stayed the same. It was extremely tough to seize the left objective from Matt, even though they were just 10 Vulkite Berzerkers. If the main objective had changed, I don’t think there is a chance that I could fight Matt’s Hearthguard off of one of the other objectives. This would have resulted in him having 2 extra victory points, and me having 2 less, making the score Matt-12, Me-11. That really was the dice roll that won me the game.
Really quick though before closing out, I would just like to take a moment to appreciate Matt’s paint work on his Hearthguard.
These models look absolutely stunning, and I never thought I would find half naked dwarves to be so beautiful. The basing is also amazing, having a lava rocks effect he did using quark. Matt is a really cool guy and it was awesome having the opportunity to play against him. I still find myself stumbling over rules every now and then, and he was extremely patient with me and was just happy to be playing the game, as everyone should be.
Overall it was an extremely fun match, and I look forward to brewing up my list for the next round. 1,000 points here we come!