Hey guys, I recently attended a Warhammer Fantasy tournament at my local Games Workshop store. It was an all-day event broken down into three 2000 point games per person between eight players with an added "monster allowance" following the normal percentage restrictions as per the Monstrous Arcanum book. It was a lot of fun and while I can't really remember all the hijinks that ensued during the other matches, the three I played were filled with all different kinds of hilarity. Let's just say I was courting Lady Luck on Saturday!
Diversity is a word you would usually associate with a Warhammer Fantasy tournament due to the solid balance at a competitive level between most forces, but if this playing field was anything to go by then Elves are very much the local favourites! My Tzeentch and Nurgle themed Warriors of Chaos list complemented a Khorne and Nurgle variation, with Dwarves and Ogre Kingdoms forming up the four castaways. Fully half of the armies present were Elves of some kind, with three being Asur or High Elves and the last being Druchii or Dark Elves. Remember my aforementioned luck? I drew two High Elf players and the one Dark Elf player as my three opponents for the day. Yay!
I guess each of my rivals' forces can be summed up rather broadly, though it also bears mentioning that there were some common themes between the High Elf armies with all three bringing the Banner of the World Dragon and a super-powered Lord level wizard. The first list sported an Archmage with the Book of Hoeth in a six-wide block of White Lions with the Cheesy Dragon Banner and was supported by all of a pair of Repeater Bolt Throwers, two units of Ellyrian Reavers, a big block of Lothern Sea Guard, a regiment of twenty-five or so Phoenix Guard with the Razor Standard and a detachment of Sisters of Avelorn. Very much a ranged avoidance and dominance list to clear the way for a White Lion star where the Level Four Archmage was using High Magic as a toolbox lore. Not the most optimized High Elf list I have ever seen, but still a fairly a-typical one with some nasty ranged capabilities when paired up with Hand of Glory. If I were to change anything I would have gotten rid of the Sea Guard in favour of either Silver Helms, Archers or more Reavers as the vast majority of his points were in a White Lion unit that simply could not afford to be re-directed or baited.
The second High Elf army list featured four infantry units, supporting characters and nothing else; definitely not what you would call a "usual" Asur force for sure. Twenty-thirty Phoenix Guard with the Banner of the World Dragon protecting a Noble Battle Standard Bearer and Teclis, twenty-thirty White Lions running as a nasty melee unit, a huge unit of Lothern Sea Guard and a large group of Archers. I feel this player made a big mistake by putting the Banner of the World Dragon in the Phoenix Guard unit as they already sport a 4+ ward save that is so easily boosted to a 3+, where the White Lions lack a ward save and thus are by far the better choice to field it. He hadn't used Teclis in 8th Edition before and so I helped him out a bit, pointing him to some of the crazier combos the High Archmage could pull off such as dropping a units' Strength by D3+1 with two spells and then using the Dweller's Below to annihilate them. He opted for High Magic in his last game though which would eventually prove to be a mistake and a bit of a waste of Teclis' versatility. His list had no chaff and little real hitting power outside of the White Lions that lacked any protection from magic.
The final High Elf list was also the one I assumed would win the tournament after both studying the list and giving it a practice game earlier last week. It isn't difficult to see just how brutal an Alarielle star is with over thirty White Lions, the Banner of the World Dragon and a Noble Battle Standard Bearer fielding the Banner of Avelorn can be. This is especially so when it is supported by two Frostheart Phoenixes that are probably the best support monsters in the game and can easily fulfill a chaff clearing role early in the game. Chuck in a giant Core-filling unit of Lothern Sea Guard and the only really weakness of this list was its chaff clearing capabilities and lack of units; sadly, no one quite had the means to beat this army in that way! Having a +8 bonus to cast spells from a handful of really good magic lores like Life and Light is insane for a unit packing Weapon Skill 5, Strength 6 and Initiative 5 attacks in droves with ward saves against anything imaginable. Whoever drew the short straw against this army had to hope they had the Dwellers' Below on the cards!
As you can see, all three High Elf lists shared a few similarities. Each filled up their Core points almost exclusively with Lothern Sea Guard which I personally found to be rather strange because of their high cost and ineffective melee prowess against elite infantry. All used a Level 4 or 5 Wizard of some kind, all had a unit of White Lions and each army had the Banner of the World Dragon sneak in somewhere, mostly on the Phoenix Kings' bodyguard contingent. As if we didn't know already, Elven great-weapon wielders are some of the best elite infantry in the game for the cost, while the Banner of the World Dragon is quite easily the best magic item in any official Games Workshop army book - the Chaos Dwarf Chalice of Blood and Darkness is probably better if you count Forge World. While I wouldn't say any of the three lists were as good as they could be, each looked to do decently well at a local tournament level.
The Dark Elf player opted instead to avoid the melee death-star and big infantry block approach which was definitely a refreshing change compared to the rest of the playing field. Two units each of Dark Riders and Warlocks, a nice block of Dreadspears protecting a Level 4 Supreme Sorceress and 1+ armour with re-rolls Master Battle Standard Bearer, a good twenty Darkshards, three Reaper Bolt Throwers and a lovely standard Dragon. Indeed, the Dark Elf player was the only one to use a monster allowance and it seemed to do well for him from what I saw, aside from one particularly unlucky bout (I'll get to that later). A solid mixed mobile gun-line list with little hitting power in close combat aside from an expensive Dragon, this one was oriented around the Lore of Shadow just reducing enemies to barren husks and destroying them with a good chunk of shooting. I think he should have gone the full avoidance route and replaced the Dreadspears with more Dark Riders, and I also feel the Dragon could have been replaced with some Cold One Knights, but I think the list was decent enough.
I'm a big fan of gun-line lists in Warhammer Fantasy simply because almost no-one expects them and fewer still actually play them, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a Dwarf version of this on the weekend. I didn't get to face this list and I didn't really study the force, but from what I could tell the Core was filled with both Thunderers and regular Warriors, there were a few war machines including two cannons, there was a Runelord on an Anvil of Doom and I think there was a block of Hammerers bearing the Master Rune of Valaya on their heraldry. Again, not a full on gun-line, but still a decent amount of shooting that ultimately proved effective in at least one game they played. This list suffered from a bit of a mixed focus and truth be told the Anvil of Doom really isn't that great anymore. I think Quarrelers with Great Weapons may have been a better fit for Core and I was surprised to not see a few more war machines or even Irondrakes, but it was by no means the worst Dwarf list I've seen. It really needed Gyrocopters to clear up all the Toughness 3 Elves running around in big infantry blocks; the Thunderers really proved to be the inferior choice to Quarrelers against so many elf forces.
One of the participants couldn't decide between their three main Warhammer Fantasy armies in the weeks leading up to the tournament and I assume he chose Ogres as the middle point between his more favoured Skaven and Daemons of Chaos. He wanted to use his Daemons but was well aware that the Banner of the World Dragon would be out in full force, but his Skaven didn't fit either because he was growing tired of them. Enter the Ogre Kingdoms; six Mournfang in one unit, a horde of Ironguts with a Bruiser Battle Standard Bearer and Slaughtermaster, an Ironblaster or two and an undisclosed number of Thundertusks. I wasn't a fan of this list when I saw it and I feel its performance in the tournament validated those thoughts. No Sabretusks, one big unit of Mournfang wasting the mounts, from memory only one Ironblaster and the usage of Thundertusks against an Elf-dominated meta, the character builds also seemed off to me aside from the near mandatory Hellheart. Sabretusks are some of the best chaff units in the game and are necessary for competitive Ogre play I feel, while the Mournfang in one unit of six (three wide, two deep) wasted their overall hitting power and the strength of the mounts. Monstrous Cavalry really don't need rank bonuses and never want to waste the attacks from the mounts, especially in the case of Mournfang that are typically run either three or four wide and one deep. Thundertusks help to mitigate pitiful Ogre Initiative values and as such won't really help against Elves (other than White Lion equivalents) that are almost always hitting the Ogres on 3s anyway. That they only affect models and not units within 6" really limits their usage. Ultimately, this list could have been so much stronger with another Ironblaster and splitting the Mournfang up at the very least.
I was surprised to see another Warriors of Chaos player at the tournament, honestly. Yes, they are the crunchy bacon strips of the competitive meta and yes, they have awesome models. Still, Warriors of Chaos have fallen out of favour to be replaced mostly by Elves in my local area, so seeing them appear at the tournament gave me a dollop of glee. This list lacked a lot of the "must-take" units but ultimately did well for itself; no Nurgle Daemon Prince, no Nurgle Chariots of either flavour, no Throgg and Trolls, no Festus Nurgle Warrior block, no Tzeentch Third Eye character, nothing. Six Skullcrushers in two units of three (the correct way to use monstrous cavalry) were present, but otherwise the list was a bit unusual. A big block of Chaos Warriors with no mark and additional hand weapons paired up with some Nurgle Warriors wielding shields and acting as bodyguards to a Nurgle Sorcerer Lord and Battle Standard Bearer with three chariots of some kind (I'm pretty sure they were marked to Khorne or mark-less) as the supporting elements. The list goes to show that even Chaos Chariots lacking the Mark of Nurgle are still pretty fantastic for their points, while Chaos Warriors are solid in almost any variation. Still, I think it could be fair to say that the Skullcrushers were the primary death-dealers here.
My list was definitely not a-typical but still featured some really strong units, the "immortal" Nurgle Daemon Prince being one of them. I was simply amazed at how the standard build for the Daemon Prince fit in at 2000 points exactly and lacked only the Flaming breath weapon. I used two twenty-strong blocks of Chaos Warriors with shields and the Mark of Tzeentch, one with full command and the other lacking only a Champion; the former protected my Battle Standard Bearer with a 2+ armour save and 3+ ward save re-rolling 1s. No supporting mage, no dispel scroll, a sub-optimal but still tough Exalted Hero build. Not that great, eh? As it turns out, only one or two players in the tournament had dispel scrolls for some strange reason. In any case, my main damage dealers came in the form of a pair of Hellcannons with a supporting Nurgle Gorebeast Chariot thrown in to fill out the points. That I fielded a Nurgle Daemon Prince, a 3+ ward save with re-rolls of 1s BSB and two Hellcannons guaranteed me the "hardest" list award in each game I played, but I felt the lack of chaff and supporting magic really hamstrung my army. For convenience - and for those wanting to tear it apart! - below is my full army list.
2000 Point Army List - Warriors of Chaos
Daemon Prince - Daemon of Nurgle, Chaos Armour, Daemonic Flight, Level 4 Wizard, Lore of Nurgle, Charmed Shield, The Other Trickster's Shard, Dragonbane Gem, Scaled Skin, Soul Feeder - 500
Exalted Hero - Mark of Tzeentch, Enchanted Shield, Talisman of Preservation, Third Eye of Tzeentch, Battle Standard Bearer - 205
Core - 735
Chaos Warriors (20) - Mark of Tzeentch, Shields, Champion, Standard Bearer, Musician - 370
Chaos Warriors (20) - Mark of Tzeentch, Shields, Standard Bearer, Musician, Gleaming Pennant - 365
Gorebeast Chariot - Mark of Nurgle - 140
Hellcannon - 210
Hellcannon - 210
Total - 2000/2000 Points
For those familiar with my Dark Elf project logs, producing a Warriors of Chaos army out of nowhere might seem a tad confusing. A little history lesson for those unaware; I started Warhammer Fantasy with High Elves but was dissatisfied and eventually moved on to Vampire Counts. Recently, I made a choice between Dark Elves and Warriors of Chaos in favour of the former and have since gotten over 2500 points of Druchii in just over a month. My Dark Elf army is currently being worked on as part of a commission job by my close friend and Imperator Guides co-creater Mr Jax, so they were ruled out despite being possibly the only army that could reasonably stand up to that Alarielle-star mentioned earlier. My Vampire Counts were left and I had a really solid list in mind, but the army would struggle immensely against any army sporting the Banner of the World Dragon and, with a 110-150 total model count depending on in-game resurrection, it really wasn't suited to a tournament. I hate time-wasting armies at tournaments and thus was not a fan of using my Vampires that rely so heavily on masses of chaff and disposable infantry blocks.
Enter Mr Jax' dormant Slaaneshi Warriors of Chaos army list and some of my ancient Chaos Space Marine models. I agreed to fix up and finish off a whole range of models, including a Hellcannon, in exchange for using the force in a tournament. I was restricted to what Mr Jax owned for his themed Sigvald army, but ultimately I preferred taking a potentially weaker Warriors of Chaos list to an incredibly time-consuming Vampire Counts force that would just take ages to set up, deploy, move and so on. I ripped a converted Daemon Prince off of his round 40K base and put him on one of my spare square Fantasy bases, fixed up the required models and had a perfectly legal and solid tournament army to play with. Woo! As much as I know all about Warriors of Chaos from playing against them so extensively, my actual playing experience with them is severely limited to a few trial games when they were re-released in early 2013. Between one practice game against the Alarielle-star High Elves and the three tournament games on the weekend, I have played a total of four games with Warriors of Chaos in an official sense. How often do you hear of that at tournaments, honestly? Thankfully, Warriors of Chaos are incredibly simple to use and so I had a blast using them over my far more complex and clock-eating Undead.
But just how strong is this army list anyway? Well, the Lord choice should come across as a no brainer and would probably cost me dearly in a "comp" tournament. The "immortal" Daemon Prince of Nurgle is possibly the strongest Lord choice in Warhammer Fantasy that remains a generic character, combining the mandatory Level 4 Wizard and super-saiyan challenge monster into one small, easily hidden model. It chooses its combats and will get into them by turn two at the latest with the Fly special rule, it is virtually immune to small arms fire with a 1+ armour save, 5+ ward save and Toughness 5 and it can't be held up by Ethereal units as it sports magical attacks. Once in combat, its ridiculous stats combined with the -1 to hit penalty from the Mark of Nurgle make it a seemingly insurmountable foe, but it nonetheless has its weaknesses - massed war machines in particular. In fact, I got the "who had the harder list" result at the end of each of my games' simply because of that Prince I feel. The build I went with is almost entirely typical with only a slight modification in that I went with the Lore of Nurgle over the more competitive Lore of Death; both have their uses on a Daemon Prince, the former for the lore attribute and focus on Toughness tests against pesky Elves, the latter for it annihilating low Initiative armies and sniping characters. This is a unit any competitive list should field unless they are adhering to a specific theme.
The Tzeentch Battle Standard Bearer is also fairly typical aside from one discrepancy; instead of being mounted on a Daemonic Steed, this guy had to go on foot and rely on an Enchanted Shield to survive. The 3+ ward save with re-rolls of 1s really plays with people who often think the Battle Standard Bearer is a bit of an easy target, especially with only two wounds typically. It's difficult to get a better BSB build for Warriors of Chaos on foot so I was happy to settle for that. The Core choices are fairly standard but they do put the focus on the rest of the army to deal damage. Tzeentch Warriors are geared as anvil grinders, not hammers like Khorne or Nurgle Warriors with halberds, so I really had to rely on my Hellcannons for damage. The Gorebeast Chariot of Nurgle is a fantastic unit and is only ever dropped from tournament lists to save points; it is just too darned good to pass up at less then half of three hundred points.
The Hellcannons are what really gives this lest its niche though, providing one of a mere handful of Strength 5 (10) stone thrower shots in the game - the other notable being the Bretonnian Trebuchet. Hellcannons are essentially super-powered stone throwers with a twist that they are also incredibly durable Monsters, easily holding their own in combat thanks to Unbreakable and Strength 5 Thunderstomps. That the Strength 10 under-the-hole shot inflicts Multiple Wounds (D6) rather than Multiple Wounds (D3) might seem trivial to some, but it would prove absolutely vital in one of my three games. Hellcannons are generally seen as the other "good" Rare choice for Warriors of Chaos (the primary one being Skullcrushers) because they give the army its only real source of ranged firepower on a tough platform. Hellcannons are slow, inaccurate and potentially deadly to your other forces but make up for this by eating any chaff unit trying to dispose of them and devastating nearly anything they do hit, whether it be in shooting or in combat. Overall, this is what I would call a solid tournament army list for Warriors of Chaos; Skullcrushers fit better with a flying Daemon Prince than Hellcannons, as do Nurgle Warriors with Halberds or Nurgle Chaos Chariots, but the combination of hard hitting flankers and rugged infantry blocks does give the army a good mix of talents.
Game One - High Elves
My first opponent ended up being a High Elf player, but not the one I was deathly afraid to face. This was the one featuring Bolt Throwers and Sisters of Avelorn or what I considered the "middle" of the Asur trio in terms of competitive level. This one presented a big challenge due to the Book of Hoeth Level 4 hiding in a large White Lion unit with the Banner of the World Dragon, while the firepower on hand was a legitimate threat to my Daemon Prince. Chaff would also be an issue due to the Ellyrian Reavers and my complete lack of such units, but to my advantage I quickly discovered my opponent wasn't well versed on the rules for Hellcannons. The table was relatively devoid of terrain which sort of favoured me but also meant his White Lions would be free to advance on my army. This is the Battle Line mission, I roll my spells and get the ones I want; Curse of the Leper and Miasma of Pestilence. Nice! We rolled to see who went I first and I just edged him out. He Vanguards up with his Reavers and queries that he can charge on his first turn - you can charge from Vanguard as long as you get the second player turn.
Moving on, my inexperience with the Chaos list led me to sit still and encourage my foe to come to me, forcing his short ranged Sisters and Sea Guard to advance - my Gorebeast Chariot moved forward and that was that. Magic was fairly rudimentary with him giving me a rather pointless Miasma spell for me to try and get the Lore Attribute of Nurgle; no luck. My Hellcannons both fired - I mistakenly shot at the Sisters with one of them - to no avail. His turn one started off with one unit of Reavers sailing past my Gorebeast chariot and the other declaring a charge on a Hellcannon - remember that I mentioned he wasn't familiar with their rules? He moves up with his White Lions and Phoenix Guard, and his magic was also sub-par. I have to make a note here that my opponent was using "fast dice" tactics on clear dice with numbers proving difficult to distinguish due to the light. Per his rolls in order, his Archmage should have been sucked into the warp via the 1-4 Miscast table result and him failing his 4+ "save", but for some reason he seemed to re-roll the dice without saying what he was doing and declared the Archmage was safe. This would be a recurring theme throughout the game and one that would affect the result - yes, he should have lost his Level 4 on turn one - but I didn't bother to mention it to the tournament organizer as I didn't want to cause any issues. My repeated questions of "wasn't that a one?" or "aren't two dead" and so on were repeatedly met with negative responses to which I would merely attribute my queries to poor light and the transparency of his dice, but internally I was really rather irritated.
His Bolt Throwers and Sisters managed to kill the Gorebeast Chariot in two shooting phases which suited me just fine - no fire for the Daemon Prince! - while his White Lions gradually advanced. My Hellcannons proved ineffective throughout the game, though they did kill his Ellyrion Reavers. Speaking of that first turn charge, my opponent apparently expected to kill my Chaos Dwarf crew with his Strength 4 spears but didn't realize the Hellcannon followed the rules for Monsters and Handlers. Sorry, Toughness 6 and a 5+ armour and then 5+ ward save say no thank you! I baited my opponent by flying my Daemon Prince right next to his White Lion unit while his Phoenix Guard charged my BSB's Chaos Warrior unit; in a horrendous and ultimately game-costing mistake, he reformed his White Lions to face my Daemon Prince. My Exalted Hero's unit held off the Phoenix Guard and saw my Daemon Prince make a flying charge into the flank to assist the combat - it was a tie with me of course forgetting my Other Tricksters' Shard and Thunderstomps - while his Sea Guard eventually joined the fray to try and break the stalemate. That was another big mistake that gave my Daemon Prince incredibly easy combat resolution points which coupled with my insane save rolling for the Tzeentch Warriors saw both units break from combat. My Chaos Warriors chased the Phoenix Guard unsuccessfully while the Daemon Prince managed to mow down the Sea Guard; a bit of greed on my part as I should have just had the Daemon Prince go for the more valuable and tough Phoenix Guard instead.
His White Lions eventually charged one of my Tzeentch Warrior blocks (the one lacking the Exalted Hero) and they just managed to hold out just as my Daemon Prince and the other block sailed off to deal with his Sea Guard and gunline elements. The game became a bit of a "catch the Chaos!" exercise with me feeding him a Hellcannon in the latter stages of the game after the White Lions mopped up that Chaos Warrior unit so that the rest of my army could escape and focus on his other forces. At that point the result was pretty much all but certain in my favour, but his Phoenix Guard managed to reform at the worst moment to try and save the game. I charged the Daemon Prince in who survived between his Mark of Nurgle, high saves and Unbreakable as the Exalted Hero's unit mopped up all the remaining ranged units. They eventually flank charged the Phoenix Guard who pulled off a show-stopping snake eyes Leadership test with no re-roll to potentially give my opponent the game just as my second Hellcannon was doing its best with a 6" move to escape the hungry White Lions. Some clever foresight on my part by sacrificing the other Hellcannon and advancing the other one proved the difference as I just barely edged my opponent out in victory points. The game would have been a 500+ point win to me if I had merely chased the Phoenix Guard down with the Daemon Prince instead or if my opponent hadn't of cheated (intentionally or not) with his Archmage's miscast. Still, a tight win and a decent start to the tournament; sadly, my opponent had to withdraw from the subsequent games for some undisclosed matter and thus the tournament organizer had to take his place with a themed Beastmen army.
Close win for the Warriors of Chaos!
Game Two - Dark Elves
This time my opponent would be the sole Dark Elf player at the tournament - a rival Druchii lord, hmph! - and the scenario was the dreaded Watch Tower. We rolled off to see who would get the "privilege" of garrisoning it first and my opponent succeeded, placing the Darkshards in there as his only eligible twenty or sub-twenty model unit. He beat me soundly in the deployment phase with roughly twice the number of drops as my army, though the scenario rules gave me the guaranteed first turn because he started with the Watch Tower. Well, having the first turn sure as heck gave me the advantage to say the least.....As a little note before reading the rest of this report, remember that all my two Hellcannons managed to do in the first game was kill ten Ellyrion Reavers between them.
The first turn saw me charge my Daemon Prince into the Watch Tower on the first go seeing that my slow Movement 4 infantry were little chance of making a charge and would drop in numbers from twenty repeater crossbows doing a Stand and Shoot charge reaction. I was unfamiliar with the building rules and thus was surprised to see my Daemon Prince beaten back by a Stubborn infantry unit, with magic and my other movement proving unworthy of remembrance. Shooting was...interesting, however. My first Hellcannon had line of sight to the tight five-wide formation of thirty or so Dreadspears and fired, scattering off to hit nothing at all. The second Hellcannon had no line of sight but I checked to see that stone throwers could indeed fire indirectly - something my opponent in the first game told me they couldn't do - and so began perhaps the most amazing performance of any single model I have ever seen in a Warhammer Fantasy game. Indirect fire? Who cares! Scatter 2" backwards to hit the exact same number of Dreadspears, killing seventeen in one shot. Yikes!
His turn one was similarly uneventful with him trying to pepper the Daemon Prince with all manner of shooting but failing to land any wounds, his magic largely consisted of casting Okkam's Mindrazor on the Darkshards to dissuade me from charging them for a turn and his combat was of course non-existent. His Dragon, Warlocks and Dark Riders all advanced down the one flank and did some light damage to one unit of Chaos Warriors. Enter my turn two and where the craziness really started to escalate. My Daemon Prince and the Chaos Warrior unit on the left flank declared charges on Warlock and Dark Rider unit, respectively; both fled as expected but this didn't work in my opponents' favour. The Warlock unit was chased down by the Daemon Prince and wiped out while the Chaos Warriors redirected into the second Dark Rider unit that, due to poor placement on my opponents' part, would flee off the board if they chose to retreat. My Gorebeast Chariot continued its advance on the other flank towards a pair of Reaper Bolt Throwers while my BSB's unit edged closer to the Watch Tower. My magic was again uneventful - spoiler alert, I didn't get the Lore Attribute once throughout the match just as in my first game - but my shooting...oh my! I aim the sights of both Hellcannons on the rapidly approaching Dragon that had just lost (or was about to lose) two of its four supporting cavalry units. The first shot missed yet again, but the second Hellcannon on my right decided it wanted to continue its rampage after murdering so many pitiful Spearmen. A Dragon on 6 wounds? Pfft! Direct hit! Roll a four to wound! Roll a six on the multiple wounds roll! Dead Dragon outright! Hellcannon says hell yes! In other news, the Chaos Warriors annihilated the Dark Riders....boring.
My opponent had a lot to worry about now that I had just had possibly the best turn I could have asked for by killing the Dragon before it could do anything and mowing down two of his four Fast Cavalry units. He was forced to destroy the Gorebeast Chariot with his Reaper Bolt Throwers and pepper my BSB's Chaos Warrior unit some more with his shooting as his roll for the winds of magic was a terrible two and one (to which I channeled!). His remaining Warlocks began to really annoy my left (and so far, useless) Hellcannon, while the fleeing Dark Riders rallied to start annoying the Daemon Prince just out of his line of sight for charging. Ultimately it wasn't the turn he needed to make up for all the damage that one Hellcannon had done, and his situation wouldn't improve in my next turn when the same Hellcannon got a direct hit on the Spearmen to kill another ten or so - leaving one left with the Supreme Sorceress and Master! I managed a flank charge on those Warlocks somehow with that left-side Chaos Warrior unit while my BSB's Chaos Warrior unit finally tightened their belts and ran into the Watch Tower to fight the pesky Darkshards. The Daemon Prince did soften up the Dreadspears before the Hellcannon fired with the Nurgle signature spell throwing down a template that forces Toughness tests with failures leading to armour ignoring wounds but otherwise did little. The Warlocks fled from combat as expected and remained on the battlefield by the tiniest fraction of an inch - no exaggeration! - while the Exalted Hero and his unit butchered the Darkshards but failed to push them out. That damned Stubborn in buildings with a nearby Battle Standard Bearer!
My opponent took some gambles - with one proving costly - to try and win the day in his next turn as the game was nearing its close at the bottom of turn four. His Master left the lone Spearman to join the Darkshards in the Watch Tower while the Supreme Sorceress went her own way behind the poor sacrificial Dreadspear. The surviving Dark Riders charged the Nurgle Daemon Prince and had Okkam's Mindrazor cast on them to try and rid him of my magic and the only real model that could guarantee killing his Master with the 1+ re-rollable armour save. Why he didn't give Okkams to the Darkshards still confuses me, though I guess he had to six dice something as he suffered a miscast that saw him lose two spells and wizard levels earlier. Spoiler; that combat didn't go as he planned. When Dark Riders need 6s to hit my Daemon Prince and don't get re-rolls due to my higher Initiative, Mindrazor really won't make a difference! He finally finished off the Gorebeast Chariot that had as yet done nothing in the tournament save to serve as a "distraction Carnifex", but the rest of his turn was non-eventful. I roll to see if the game ends with him controlling the Watch Tower, needing a 6 for it to finish; blessed be the die that rolls a 2 in such circumstances!
My turn five was an exercise in futility and frustration. I charged the Watch Tower with only a handful of Darkshards and the Master left with the rest of my turn proving ineffectual; the Darkshards drop like flies as expected, but the Master survives with one wound remaining and holds the Watch Tower alone! Darn it all! His turn sees him shoot at the Daemon Prince with his three Bolt Throwers but fail to do much damage with incredibly unlucky rolling while his magic again does little of note. With me surrounding the Watch Tower with everything except my two Hellcannons that sit at shooting distance, the game may just come down to one dice roll I roll to see if the game ends with him controlling the Watch Tower,
needing a 6 for it to finish; blessed be the die that rolls a 2 in such
circumstances! will the game end on the roll of a 5+, this time rolled courtesy of my opponent? Nope! Game on!
It all comes down to my turn with our tournament organizer telling us that there is very little time left to finish the match, not to mention the dice roll required to end the game now being a 4+. I spend a minute deciding whether to charge one of my Daemon Prince or two Chaos Warrior units into the Watch Tower, or to combine Nurgle magic and shooting to kill the Battle Standard Bearer. In every sense my opponent is relying on just one man to win the day. I eventually decide on the latter approach as I am just not confident in my rolls with Strength 5 and massed Strength 4 being my best chance against his 1+ armour save with a Dawnstone - not good odds! I roll for the winds of magic and get a good number of dice, enough to combine Curse of the Leper with the signature spell. My opponent fails to stop the Curse of the Leper and sees the Master reduced to Toughness 1 to which I gleefully throw my remaining two dice on the signature spell using a template. Success! A Toughness test on Toughness 1 that if failed causes an automatic wound with no armour saves allowed on a model that has only one wound remaining? Well, that's a game nice and wra.....WHAT!? He passed the Toughness test on a Toughness 1 model!? At this point I start panicking; after all the luck I've had in the game and the absolute crushing I have handed to my opponent in terms of victory points, this one roll could very well win him the game against all the odds.
But wait, what's that I can hear? It sounds like a....whirring. Hey, I see something off in the distance. It's high up! What is it? Is it a plane? Is it a bird? Is it a ball? No, it's......oh my god it's a ball of fire. Evacuate the area! Our hero, Mr Right Hellcannon, has come to save the day! My last resort to try and snatch victory is to fire both of the daemonic stone throwers at the building after checking the rules that as long as the central hole hits the building it will inflict the Strength 10 hit and not the Strength 5 hit. This time, I choose to fire my all-star Hellcannon first, thinking that surely its' luck must have run out by now and thus giving me the confidence in my other one. I roll; it's a direct hit. Hoo boy, after both Hellcannons misfiring (to little effect) in the last turn this is a huge sigh of relief! All I need to do now is roll anything but a one - just like my opponent before me - and I will kill the Dark Elf Master, denying him a victory and handing me a draw at the very least. I roll a six. I love you Mr Right Hellcannon, I love you so much. His Supreme Sorceress is too far away to move into the Watch Tower, we roll to see if the game ends and it goes on yet again. I move my currently fifteen strong Chaos Warrior unit with the Exalted Hero in to garrison it while my Daemon Prince declares a charge on the Druchii witch. My opponent promptly concedes as his Sorceress can't defeat a Daemon Prince and not can his Reaper Bolt Throwers kill all of my garrisoned Chaos Warriors in the time left.
In the end, it all came down to one model; the Hellcannon I deployed to the right. It killed roughly 30 Dreadspears worth approximately 270 points, it slew a Dragon in one shot that was worth 300 points, and it came up with the match winning play by finishing off the 135 point Master Battle Standard Bearer. The best investment of 210 points ever? I think so! Holding the Watch Tower at the end of the game gives me an automatic "massive win" on the tournament points scale which is deserved when considering my opponent had less than 500 points on the field while I had roughly 1400 left.
Crushing win for the Warriors of Chaos!
Game Three - High Elves
I thought for sure that after remaining one of two players undefeated in the tournament - the other being the Alarielle-star list - that I would be facing up against the Everqueen and her cohort for sure. There goes any chance of a placement! The opponents are announced....wait, what? I'm facing the other High Elf player with the sub-optimal list? Huh? We promptly move our armies to the designated gaming board, we tell each other of our recent experiences - he really appreciated the Teclis advice! - and we proceed to roll for spells and do our deployment while working out each others' break point. The scenario is Blood and Glory but with a twist; the "break point" is purely for additional points and not the primary aim of the match where victory points are still key, so none of that "game ends automatically" rubbish. The excitement and tension of the final game, of course, comes to a halt when everyone takes a lunch break for roughly an hour. I discuss with some other competitors (namely friends of mine) that I think the game will be interesting as he also has the Banner of the World Dragon, even if it is on the wrong unit. I outline my game plan that I essentially need to kill off the White Lions from shooting by the Hellcannons and should then be able to surround and deal with the Phoenix Guard who lack punch due to their rather small unit size and lack of the Razor Standard. That my opponent decided to use Loremaster (High Magic) on Teclis in this match gave me a huge sigh of relief; I could be forgiven for thinking I "should" attain victory if I played the game smart. As soon as the lunch break was over, we lined up to commence the final battle...
....And what a disappointing end to the tournament. I knew going into the game that I should win by rights and that his army list was pretty poor, but the contest was incredibly one-sided and it sucked the enjoyment out for both of us (or at least me). My opponent for that game is a lovely guy and a regular at the store and it just made the game all that more uncomfortable for me, honestly. I got lucky and went first again even despite him getting the +1 to begin initially - he rolled a three, I rolled a five just as I said "oh I'm going to need a five" - and what followed was really rather unfortunate for my opponent. My first turn sees both Hellcannons decide to try and mimic the form of one from the previous game, the first wiping out fully half the White Lion unit and the other killing about one fifth of the Lothern Sea Guard unit. My army otherwise remained static and my magic only served one purpose; my opponent game me a "free spell" because it wouldn't have any effect on the game and I was only doing it to get the lore attribute, an aspect of the Lore of Nurgle he was unfamiliar with. I finally roll a 6 and the Daemon Prince ends up at Toughness 6 with 5 wounds; this and the two direct hits by the Hellcannons all on the first turn probably should have given me a warning of the game that was about to unfold.
His first turn sees him buff his Phoenix Guard block with Hand of Glory, cast Walk Between Worlds on his previously fleeing - yes, Leadership 10 with re-rolls failed twice after the first Hellcannon shot! - White Lions and fail to cast Fiery Convocation on one of my Chaos Warrior units. His Archers and Sea Guard pepper my advancing Gorebeast Chariot and inflict two wounds total. My turn two starts with some insane luck; the Nurgle Chariot makes a 14" charge, my Daemon Prince charges into his White Lions and is subsequently joined by a berserk Hellcannon that rolls an 11 on the 3D6 roll to just make it in. My magic is again uneventful against the Level 5 Teclis, while my other Hellcannon fails to hit the target for a change. The Gorebeast Chariot holds up the Archers for a turn while the Hellcannon and Daemon Prince murder the White Lions to a man, reforming to face the advancing Phoenix Guard. A positional mistake on my part sees the Phoenix Guard charge one of my Chaos Warrior units without fear of taking a rear charge from the Daemon Prince on the next turn due to line of sight. His magic is limited to Hand of Glory and little else really, while the Sea Guard shoot at the Daemon Prince to no effect. The Gorebeast Chariot runs down the Archers with little difficulty now that they are outside both the Inspiring Presence and Hold Your Ground bubbles despite being Stubborn from their ranks, while the Phoenix Guard and Tzeentch Warriors fight to a stalemate due to some more crazy saves rolling on my part.
This is where the game really just stops being a contest, unfortunately, as he absolutely had to beat down that Tzeentch Warrior unit. What ensues is that my other nearby Chaos Warrior unit charges into the flank of the Phoenix Guard while the two Hellcannons converge on the other flank in case Asuryan's Chosen manage to weather the storm. The Daemon Prince and Gorebeast Chariot combine to charge the remaining Lothern Sea Guard and manage to break them in one round of combat yet again due to my opponents' poor rolling. The combat with close to forty Tzeentch Chaos Warriors and an Exalted Hero against close to twenty Phoenix Guard with Teclis - his Battle Standard Bearer was killed by mine in the first round of combat! - goes as you would expect considering they lack the Razor Standard. My opponent concedes after being tabled while I count up my casualties; I lost three wounds on the Gorebeast Chariot and saw five Chaos Warriors perish in possibly the most one-sided game of Warhammer Fantasy I have yet played. Realistically, I got very lucky with the first turn, his poor rolling for the winds of magic, my first Tzeentch Chaos Warrior unit sticking around after receiving a charge from Phoenix Guard and my super accurate Hellcannons, but ultimately my list was also heavily superior to his. I had answers to all of his units and surprisingly won the deployment war against a High Elf force, something that really shouldn't happen at a competitive level when the opponent uses Warriors of Chaos. I really felt sorry for my opponent as he did manage a big win in his second game and I did get my way with the dice yet again, though not to the same degree as I did against the Dark Elf player.
Crushing win for the Warriors of Chaos!
In the end, the overall winner of the tournament was - as expected - the Alarielle-star High Elf list with dual Frostheart Phoenixes, tabling his opponents in each of the three games he played. I rode my luck right to the end by finishing equal second with the other Warriors of Chaos player - having two massive wins and suffering annihilation at the hands of the Alarielle-star - after suffering a five point penalty for not bringing my own Warriors of Chaos army book. The Dark Elf player finished third with one big win, a close victory and a smashing at my hands, while the other players were generally very close on points with only the Ogre Kingdoms player having a torrid time with three straight loses. All in all, I was hugely surprised at just how well my army list did; yes, two Hellcannons, a Nurgle Daemon Prince, a Nurgle Gorebeast Chariot and two blocks of Tzeentch Warriors is very, very solid at 2000 points, but it is hardly the best list one could use at that level.
The Chaos Warriors with the Mark of Tzeentch were so darn consistent with great saves rolling while both the Exalted Hero and Daemon Prince survived in all three games played. The Daemon Prince didn't do all that much in combat surprisingly and his magic didn't do too much for me in the end. However, he was a constant threat and was the focus of so much of my opponents' offensive power which the Prince soaked up almost gleefully, and his magic defence proved pivotal at times. The Gorebeast Chariot was essentially a distraction unit in two games and then managed to mow down two entire units almost single-handed, but at its price and survivability I really can't complain about its performance. The Hellcannons were ineffectual in the first game but one was the definite all star of game two while both subsequently had a good showing in game three. They misfired a few times in the tournament, once to no effect with the "miscast" stuff and the others to merely eat their crew, but otherwise they were safe and consistent. These units all did their job when needed and I could not ask for any more - except, of course, the luck of the divines!
Most Valuable Model (MVM)
This is an award I've cooked up that I will use for each subsequent tournament or campaign event I participate in; this is dedicated to those single models or units that were either the most consistent performers or provided a game-winning performance. As much as I wanted to give this award to my standard Chaos Warriors, the winner is quite clearly a very monstrous daemon.
Hellcannon (Game Two) - While both Hellcannons did nothing of note in Game One - and one failed to do anything in Game Two - this would of course all change irrevocably in the next battle. I'll be blunt; it killed roughly thirty Dreadspears, a six-wound Dragon and a Master Battle Standard Bearer with the final one in particular being the match-winning kill. What more can I say about a 210 point model not only making its points back thrice over but providing the two game-changing plays that allowed me to first own the flanks and then occupy the Watch Tower? Well, there is one thing I can say. I never want to build another Hellcannon model, no matter how amazing they perform for me in game!
Chaos Warriors (All Games) - When I read up on Warriors of Chaos online, the preferred builds for Chaos Warriors themselves tends to focus on offence more than defence. They are Toughness 4 with a 4+ armour save stock which Elf infantry of all kinds could only dream of, so paying the points for even more defensive gear can lead to diminishing returns. The Marks of both Nurgle and Khorne combine so well with halberds to turn your basic Core choice into admittedly points-intensive but deadly elite equivalents from other armies. Of course, if you do want a defensive anvil unit then you can look no further than Warriors with shields and the Mark of Tzeentch. A 3+ armour save, a 6+ ward save in general and a 5+ parry save in combat on Toughness 4 models is pretty darned good for the cost, but they do lack somewhat in damage output. As I found out across my three game long tournament, however, their damage output really doesn't matter when they concede so few losses. My saves rolling was godly, but the fact that I got those saves even against things like bolt throwers or great weapons was astounding and both units of these formed the backbone my force needed so the "stars" could do their jobs. They were by far the most consistent units in the army over the course of the tournament and always stayed put when needed.
And that's a wrap folks! I apologize for the incredibly long tournament report but I really just had a lot to get off my chest - seriously, I think I could write a five page A4 length article about that one Hellcannon alone! I mostly entered this tournament with an aim towards fun rather than winning, but the luck of the dice and the strength of my list carried me through to achieve equal second place with a close friend. This gave me some very valuable experience and insight for both High Elves and Warriors of Chaos, with the latter army actually clawing its way back into my sights for a future project. I hope you enjoyed this article and I am always eager to hear your feedback. Have a nice day!