Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Michigan GT: A Haunting in Lansing

There are two gaming events that are always on my calendar every year, Adepticon and the Michigan GT. This past weekend the more local of those happened (the GT) and it was the first time my Nighthaunt under the new Battletome got a serious outing, so how'd they do?

This was obviously the first year that the Age of Sigmar tournament at the GT got to use all of the new rules from the new edition and they all worked great. There were five games, each a mission chosen from the General's Handbook with a few tweaks. Usually it was just adding two secondary and one tertiary objective to help give a bit more of a spread on points. A few had some other minor tweaks as well, but nothin that differed hugely. Each game also had a pre-selected Realm, which had all of the Realm rules printed on the back of the same page with the battleplan, so there was no need to flip through the main rulebook for it. The only thing you needed was the Malign Sorcery book for the additional Realm spells. The realmscape feature was not pre-determined though, and each table rolled for it's own at the start of the round, so we were all playing different realmscape features (potentially). The scenery was also set up at the start of each round by the players. We rolled off, and who ever won placed the first piece and then you alternated with some additional rules that prevented you from clustering scenery in one section over another. I know some people like it all to be preset, and I'm fine with either way really, but it was nice here since there was no extra table space to place anything between rounds, so scenery was often displaced by books and armies while people got food and such. Lastly, we rolled for each piece of scenery on the scenery table. It was all a very smooth process and there were very few hiccups, so it was a great job on that end!

Now onto the games proper. Like I said, I took my Nighthaunt for the first time since the new Battletome. I have played a few games with them since then (not many though), but nothing in a tournament setting like this. I was tweaking my list up until the last moment, finishing the unit of Bladegheists literally the night before. I even woke up early that day and took them with me on my lunch break at work to make sure I had enough time to finish them. Here's the list I ended up taking:

Lady Olynder: Shademist
Dreadblade Harrow: general, Ruler of the Spirit Hosts, Wraithbow
Knight of Shrouds on Steed: Midnight Tome, Spectral Tether
Spirit Torment
x5 Hexwraiths
x5 Hexwraiths
x6 Spirit Hosts
x10 Bladegheists
x10 Chainrasps
x10 Chainrasps
x2 Chainghasts
Black Coach
1990 Points

The list was largely determined by what I had painted. Ideally I would have liked to have gotten some Grimghasts done, but I just didn't have the time. I already had a lot of Spirit Hosts and Hexwraiths done from the old version of my army, so I knew I was either going to be running an Execution Horde or the Deathriders. Once my Black Coach was completed that pretty much decided that competition. The Spirit Hosts were taken to be a shield for Olynder, surrounding her to protect her from melee, and as a tar pit. The Chainrasps were there for grabbing objectives and screening, and the Bladegheists were the choppy-choppy. The key is the Dreadblade as the general which allows me to teleport him around with his natural ability, then use the command ability to pull another Nighthaunt unit around with him. It worked fantastically in my practice game and I trusted it would do the same here. So, on with the games.

Game 1

Duality of Death - Shyish

My first game was against Stephen Matta and his Ironjawz. His list was a large Ironfist with a lot of 'Ardboyz and a big blob of Brutes and a min sized unit of Gore Gruntas. These were led by a Mawcrusha, a Megaboss, a Warchanter, and a Shaman. We rolled winds of Death for the Realmscape, which actually ended up doing nothing since it either never went off, or we (I) forgot about it. He was able to get the first turn due to lower drops and promptly rolled really well for his destruction move and Ironfist move, putting a Mawcrusha on one objective and a Megaboss on the other.  Knowing I didn't have a huge chance of budging that Mawcrusha right away, I focused on the right objective with most of my army. The Bladegheists charged into the Brutes and some of the 'Ardboyz protecting his Megaboss. They did decent damage, but I left the Spirit Torment too far out of range to heal them, and they were killed when he got priority on the second turn. They killed a decent amount though and they were followed up by the Spirit Hosts, Olynder, the Knight, and the Spirit Torment. Together they killed off the rest of the Brutes, the Megaboss, and the'Ardboyz, with Olynder rolling three 6s for her D3 damage attacks against them! 

On the other side one unit of Hexwraiths tried to clear our the 'Ardboyz protecting his Mawcrusha, while the Dreadblade teleported to his board edge along with the other unit of Hexwraiths to take out the Warchanter and tie up the last unit of 'Ardboyz. The Chainrasps also came on from the underworld back there to score one of the secondary objectives (there were additional objectives scattered around the board that didn't count towards the primary, but could be captured for the secondaries). On turn 3 it was 9-3 with him in the lead, and I knew I didn't have a chance of getting the primary, but I wanted to see if I could score the tertiary which was to kill his general. All that was left of his army at that point was his Mawcrusha. The Black Coach and remaining Hexwraiths were able to make it over to that side easily, while the Dreadblade teleported over there and brought Olynder with him. They all made their charges except for Olynder. Between the three units they brought the Mawcrusha down to 6 wounds, though the Dreadblade died. We ran out of time at that point, but decided to see what would have happened if Olynder had made the charge, and of course she would have killed it. If we had been able to go for another turn as well I would have taken it out, gotten my tertiary, and then scored enough on remaining primary points to win, but alas, time was not on our side. It was a great game though and I was happy to take the moral victory of nearly wiping the Ironjawz off the board. Stephen was a great opponent and it was all around a fun game.

Result: Primary - Loss; Secondary - Scored both; Tertiary - Lost  

Game 2

Escalation - Hysh

My second game was against another Ironjawz player, Michael Gardiner, who was running a much smaller Ironfist of two units of 5 Brutes and 3 Gore Gruntas led by double Mawcrushas, a Megaboss, two Warchanters, and a Shaman. We rolled Dazzling Light for the realmscape which never came into play. Due to the way Escalation works I kept the Coach in the underworld so I wouldn't have to deploy it so far back in my deployment zone. I also kept the Bladegheists, Spirit Torment, Knight, and Chainghasts in the underworld so I bring them on as a blob where I needed them. Even though we couldn't score first turn I took the first turn and moved everything up to be within range of the objectives, but as far away from him as I could, so I would be ready turn 2. The Bladegheist clump came in on my right side, 9" away from him to threaten that flank. In his turn he crashed into my army, doing a bunch of wounds, and after winning the priority roll for the second turn he killed the coach, one of my units of Hexwraiths, and whittled down my Bladegheists and Spirit Hosts. His general was on my right flank, decimating the Bladegheists, while the other Mawcrush was wrapping around my left. His other heroes kind of hung back in the middle of his deployment. Besides the three main objective markers, there were three additional ones which counted towards a secondary of controlling at least two more objectives than your opponent. He had left a gap in his backline, and using a command point I max ran a unit of Hexwraiths onto one of his secondary objectives behind his heroes, grabbing it, and the Bladegheists took the other, running away from the general. 

Eventually the Spirit Hosts took out the Brutes in the center of my lines, while the Spirit Torment did an amazing job at keeping the Bladegheists alive. They eventually went back into the general and kept getting reduced to a handful of models only for the Spirit Torment to bring more back each battleshock phase. Michael even started targeting the Spirit Torment exclusively and through a combination of bad rolls on his part and very good rolls on mine he managed to stay alive until the last turn. The second Mawcrusha was in my back lines and was brought down to 6 wounds through the combo of Spirit Hosts and other units, only for Olynder to finish it off by lifting her veil and rolling a 6. At the end of the game I had pretty much tabled his army and scored 14 points to his 6. I also managed to score all of the secondaries and the tertiary. It was super close though during the middle of the game when it looked like my army was dissolving around me, but the run into his backlines turn 2 and the Bladegheists staying alive and eventually killing his general were key, as well as Olynder being an absolute boss again. It was a super close game with some key swings in the middle, and I finally won my first priority roll of the tournament! Again, Michael was awesome to play against.

Result: Primary - Major Victory; Secondaries - Scored; Tertiary - Scored

Game 3

Border War - Aqshy

In the last game on Saturday I was up against a Khorne army played by Eric Safin. It was centered around the Gore Pilgrim battalion with three Slaughterpriests and plenty of 10 man units of Bloodreavers to either sacrifice or throw into the meat grinder for Blood Tithe points. The whole idea was to "farm" Blood Tithe points, and it even had a cool display board to match that theme. Alongside those units he also had two units of Bloodletters, one 10 strong, the other 20, a Mighty Lord of Khorne, 5 Blood Warriors, a Khorgorath, and a Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage. He got first turn and managed to run his units just far enough to grab the two central objectives giving him a 5 point head start on me. On my turn I started advancing my army up, butchering the Reavers holding the objective on my right and grabbing that for myself, and also bringing on my Bladegheist blob in that same corner, but more along his board edge so I could start threatening his heroes that were hiding behind his blocks of troops in the center. My Hexwraiths on the left charged into the Reavers and Khorgorath holding that objective. That combat proceeded to last until the last turn of the game, with both sides just slowly grinding down the other until finally the Khorgorath had enough it and finished them off. I also teleported my Dreadblade to his back corner on my left side to pop some shots off with my Wraithbow at his general, the Mighty Lord.

This is his table edge

Luckily I won priority on the second turn, and deciding I needed to do something decisive before he overran me and took my objective, I used the Nighthaunt command ability to teleport the Spirit Hosts behind his lines near my Dreadblade. I then teleported him onto the other side of them, so more towards the center of his board edge, and burned another command point to bring Olynder back there as well. On the right hand side my Bladegheists and Black Coach started running rampant through his lines. I knew I needed to kill his Slaughter Priests and Bloodsecrator early on. The Spirit Hosts and Olynder failed their charge, but I was okay with it since their main goal was to make him turn around and deal with them. The Dreadblade made his charge though and went into the Bloodsecrator to start chipping away at him. I felt a little bad because he kept having to move his dice and stuff as I brought more and more of my models into his back line. In his turn he had some horrendous luck and failed every single prayer with his three Slaughterpriests. That's two prayers per priest, with re-rolls, and in the end he caused 8 mortal wounds to himself spread out amongst the three.

The Dreadblade eventually killed the Bloodsecrator, and the Bladegheists chopped their way through the Reavers to start taking out his Slaughterpriests. Meanwhile, the Spirit Hosts and Olynder were charged by 20 Bloodletters, 5 Blood Warriors, and the Mighty Lord, and over the next 3 turns killed all of them (with a little help from the Black Coach which eventually made it over there). I ended up capturing his back objective, which was worth 4 points, but his Bloodthirster ended up stealing back the right central objective, and then charged into my back objective which was being guarded by 20 Chainrasps. They held onto it, and did a good amount of wounds to him, but on turn 4 he was able to summon on 20 Bloodletters over there as well. He failed the charge, but then won priority for the last turn, which was pretty key. I might have been able to get my Black Coach over there to hold up the Bloodletters, then if my Chainrasps managed to stay alive somehow I might have been able to win. In the end it was 22-14, but the turn before it was 14-11, so it really was that last swing at the end. It was a truly brutal game, and I had a ton of fun doing ghostly shenanigans along his back lines.

Result: Primary - Loss; Secondaries - Scored; Tertiary - Scored

Game 4

Three Places of Power - Ghyran

The first game on Sunday morning had me playing James Konrad and his Slaanesh army. He had a Keeper of Secrets, a Demon Prince of Slaanesh, and three Heralds on foot leading three units of 30 Daemonettes (so 90 total), a large unit of Seekers, and a unit of Chaos Knights and some Warriors of Chaos. This was my first time playing against Slaanesh, but I knew that many Daemonettes was going to be a pain. For the realmscape feature we rolled Fecund Quagmire, which mean no one could run unless they could fly. We forgot about the "unless they could fly" part, so nothing ran the whole game, which is a huge boon for me when his whole army can run and charge. I kept my Bladegheist blob and Chainrasps in the underworld and deployed everything else. Thanks to my battalion I was able to take first turn, and even without running I was able to get in range of all three objectives, or so I thought. I was mistakingly thinking of my Coach as a hero, which I realized after the first turn (I subtracted the point I thought he scored from my total of course). At the very least the Coach denied that objective to him for a few turns due to how large the base is. Once I was as far forward as I could get I brought all of my Chainrasps down in a single file line across the front of my forces to act as a shield. On the right hand side I brought in my Bladegheists instead, ready to counter his Knights.

The Chainrasps did their job and somehow managed to not die in the first round of combat. The Bladegheists fared a little worse and were brought down to nearly being wiped out, luckily in the battleshock phase my Spirit Torment brought back three of them though. Winning the priority I scored again on the objectives and charged the Coach into the Daemonettes on the left, while my Spirit Hosts charged the central unit, screening the objective, and the Hexwraiths moved as far forward as they could on the right, blocking that objective from the Keeper of Secrets and Daemon Prince that was close by. The Bladegheists managed to kill all but one of the Knights, which then fled afterward. In the next turn they were charged by the last unit of Daemonettes which then turned into a grind for the rest of the game with neither side dying. In the center the Spirit Hosts held out and eventually managed to whittle that unit down to almost nothing, while on the left my Coach died, opening up that objective for his nearby herald if he could make it. Luckily again, I had priority after that and moved Olynder over that way, who then rolled an 11 for her charge, getting her into the unit of Seekers that had been wrapping around my Coach. She was still out of range of the objective due to the size of her bases, but since she got to attack in the charge phase due to the Wave of Terror rule she managed to kill two of them, which then allowed her to pile in closer during the actual combat phase and take the objective and wiping out the unit. She did die after that to all the Daemonettes, but she had done her job. My Knight of Shrouds even managed to survive and kill the Herald and Demon Prince with the help of the Chainghasts, while the Keeper broke through my lines and charged my Dreadblade holding the central objective, killing him and taking the objective. The game ended 17-6 with most of my army dead. James was super fun to play and it turns out he works pretty close to where I live, so it's likely we'll get some more matches in in the future.

Result: Primary - Major Victory; Secondaries - Scored; Tertiary - Lost

Game 5

The Relocation Orb - Chamon

The last game of the event had me facing down some Idoneth Deepking played by Matthew Cieslak. He had two units of 6 Morrsarr Guard, two units of 3 Ishlaen Guard, a unit of 30 Thralls, and two units of Reavers all led by an Akhelian King and a Tidecaster as his general. This was both my first time playing against the Deepkin and also my first time playing the Relocation Orb battleplan. I got first turn and moved my Dreadblade to be within range of the objective to score on the first turn. The rest of my army moved forward, with the Bladegheists coming in on the right hand side near his table edge. The Chainrasps spread themselves out as much as they could to deny his Soulscyer from coming on behind me with the 30 Thralls. I got overeager with the Bladegheists when I rolled a 10 to charge. I was able to wipe out the unit of Ishlaen Guard, but they were then out of range of the Spirit Torment for healing. In his turn the nearby Morrsarr Guard charged the Bladegheists and killed them outright. On my board edge the Thralls and Soulscyer came on near the center and managed to charge the Coach and both units of Hexwraiths. The Coach was also charged by the other Morrsarr Guard unit and the King. Unsurprisingly the Coach was killed and both units of Hexwraiths were brought down to two models each.

I was able to get one of the units of Hexwraiths, my Dreadblade, and Knight over towards the objective as it moved back towards Matthew's side and claim it for another turn, but they all quickly died once his units got in there. I pretty much knew I was going to lose at this point, especially since the objective just kept moving further and further into his territory. He wanted to try and kill Olynder though so charged her Spirit Host bubble with both units of Morrsarr Guard, now at five models each, his King, and eventually the remaining unit of Ishlaen Guard. Though I lost the game this was my moment of pride as that entire charge broke upon Olynder's wall. The eels slowly started to grind through the Spirit Hosts, but were losing some in return. That only picked up once the Spirit Torment and Chainrasps joined in. Once a breach in her wall was made the King went for it but didn't manage to kill her. In return she killed him in one round of combat, then went to work on the eels. In the end he retreated some of them away to help claim the objective, but Olynder and her Spirits had killed the majority. The giant unit of Thralls ended up dying too. Some of them died during their initial assault, but a lot were killed by just the remaining two Hexwraiths, who actually finished off the unit thanks to some spells from Olynder and her lifting her veil. The game ended 7-2 with me only scoring one objective. I think I definitely needed to play more defensively against the Deepkin and charging my Bladegheists was a big mistake.

Result: Primary - Loss; Secondaries - Scored 1; Tertiary - Lost

I ended up finishing the tournament in 10th place out of 18, so right about in the middle. I would have liked to do a little better, but overall I'm happy with how it went. Most of my games were so close it really could have gone either way, which is my favorite type of game. I had a ton of fun throughout both days and didn't have a single bad opponent. Though I didn't podium I did manage to grab Best Appearance, as well as Best Large Model and Best Unit in the painting competition they also run at the GT. Looking back on all of the games there were a rule or two that I got slightly wrong in some spots, but I don't think they had a huge impact on the game. It's definitely helped me learn my army better, not just rules wise, but how to best use them on the table. I'm already thinking about how I'm going to tweak the list for Adepticon. I loved the Spirit Torment so much I think I may have to paint up a second one and run two. Healing units in both battleshock phases is just too good to pass up.

If you're in the midwest area I definitely recommend checking the Michigan GT out next year in October.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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