Friday, 5 April 2019

Unending Battlelines 2019

KRAGS: Unending Battlelines 2019

This coming weekend, on the 6th of April 2019, a club located in the Southern metro area of Perth called KRAGS (Kwinana & Rockingham Armchair General Society) is holding an annual event called Unending Battlelines. I don't know how long it has been running for but I remember attending this event during 8th edition Warhammer prior to the old world being destroyed. KRAGS has a weekly club night and is one of two clubs that I know of in the Perth area (the other being Outpost 6030). 

This year's version of Unending Battlelines is a 4 game event, with 2000 point matched play armies. It will be held over 1 day, so another long day, but given that I don't really play other than at events I'm okay with this! I'm going to be taking my Nurgle and I'm going to be experimenting with a Pestilens contingent within the Nurgle allegience. My list is as follows:

This list is very much an amalgamation of my old 2000pt list and the two 1000pt lists that Sam and I took to Ultramates. It's very character heavy (exactly 1000 points are spent on the leaders) but each of them has a purpose:

- The Verminlord Corruptor provides anti-horde and anti-behemoth options;
- The GUO boosts my magic defence and makes things move more quickly;
- The Plague Furnace provides battleshock immunity to the Plague Monks; and
- The Lord of Afflictions lets the Pusgoyles be Battleline, and provides me with a mobile piece for summoning and to support the offensive elements of the list.

I always find list-writing an enjoyable experience. It can be approached in different ways (ie. with a theme, or looking for certain combos), or it can involve using the core of a previous army and playing with the periphery. What I find particularly interesting is the decision making behind those decisions, and the effect that small changes can have on the way a list plays (ie. artefacts, command traits and spells).

When I write lists, I like to include little strike forces that can carry out a job on their own. In this list the strike forces are the Plague Furnace and Monks, the Lord of Afflictions and the Pusgoyle Blightlords, and the block of 30 Plaguebearers. Each of these forces can act independently of the others (the Plaguebearers and the Pestilens in particular) and I can task them with certain roles in deployment. I find this approach clarifies my in-game goals more clearly and I can adapt my opponents armies more easily. 

I started off writing the list with 30 Plaguebearers. I find at 2000 points that a full unit of 30 gives be a clear choice when defending my own objectives. At 30 they inherently come with -1 to hit in combat, and they don't need support from any other part of my army to maintain that resilience; they are a unit that can maintain their defensive power independently to the rest of the army.

I knew that I wanted to include a Skaven contingent in this list; I'm enjoying playing with the Corruptor and I have always liked Plague Monks so those both went straight in. I had a fair bit of deliberation about how big or small I should make the Plague Monk units - I thought about 10/10/20, 30/10, 20/20 and one unit of 40. I also consider having 60 but ended up dropping some to put other things in.

In deciding to take two units of 20, my reasoning was:

1. Monks in Nurgle don't get bonus for the unit size in the same way that Monks in Skaventide do; there isn't the same incentive to max out the unit.

2. If I wanted to get all the banners I would need to take a unit of 40. My worry about a unit of 40 was that I would struggle to keep it wholly within the Furnace bubble. I also don't think that 40 models worth of Monk attacks is always necessary, and is sometimes overkill.

3. By splitting them into two units of 20, it means that I can afford to be sacrificial with one unit and will still retain a combat threat after the other unit perishes. I have found that sword Monks are better for this role as they provide their own re-rolls to hit and don't need support from the Corruptor.

4. I don't want to leave the Furnace stranded. It was a common problem at Ultramates that the Monks with the Furnace would charge off and then there were no monks nearby. Hopefully I can avoid this by having two smaller units.

By deciding that I was having two units, that made a Furnace more necessary to protect against battleshock. Overall, I'm not yet sold on the Furnace. I could have pushed one unit to 40 and added another 10 Monks instead, but I want to give the Furnace a good run before I come to a decision on that. I'm also dreaming of taking off a small hero with the Great Plague Censer and want to achieve that before I take it out.

The Verminlord Corruptor was a stand out at Ultramates for its versatility, so I wanted to keep playing around with that. An essential part of this was the Sword of Judgment and the Umbral Spellportal. I think the Spellportal is going to be particularly useful in this list. Plague Wind, Favoured Poxes, Glorious Afflictions and Dreaded Plague are all excellent spells to put through the portal, and it will give me a great deal of versatility in games - I'm really excited to try this. Putting the Sword of Judgment on the Corruptor was a more difficult decision. Both Places of Arcane Power and The Relocation Orb are scenarios in this tournament, and having the Rustfang on the Lord of Afflictions has worked well for me in the past and would have given me a third option for capturing in both those scenarios. However, I ultimately decided that I want to keep testing the Corruptor and so the Sword of Judgment is in, though I may regret it. 

With these choices made, I still needed two Battleline units. For me, the next choice was the Pusgoyle Blightlords. The Blightlords are a unit I really like, but I'm not certain yet whether I am better off taking another unit of 20 Plaguebearers instead. What I like about the Blightlords is that they fly, they can be very fast if I want them to be, and they benefit greatly from the GUO command ability. They give me a medium sized option to fight middle level monsters, or to tag the corner of units without losing too much power. I'm also a big fan of the Lord of Afflictions, so by making him my general I can get the Blightlords as Battleline and I don't need to take more units of Plaguebearers. This decision is probably partly motivated by lack of Blightkings; I don't own any (shock! horror! A Nurgle player that doesn't own Blightkings!). I'll fix this eventually but at the moment they don't exist for me.

So by this point we are starting to run out of points. It is almost second nature for me to take a support Great Unclean One now; he is a two cast wizard with a movement buff and improved casting and dispelling. Eventually I will need to try a list without him and see how the Corruptor does instead, but this is not that time. The list is then rounded out by a unit of 10 Plaguebearers to act as chaff and to be my third Battleline unit.

The hardest part I find about list building is that I don't yet think I have a good grasp on what is needed (or not needed) in a list. I think (hope) this is a skill learnt through experience, but I think this list has some good options in it. It has defensive units and offensive units, I have ways to debuff or slow down offensive armies and I have speed and range to tackle defensive armies. I'm not sure how well I will deal with shooting armies but hopefully I can find an answer on the day.

If anyone has any thoughts on list-building, or takes a different view on the units I have chosen, I would love to know. I'll otherwise post up reports on Unending Battlelines once I have finished up my coverage on Ultramates. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Ultramates - Game 3

Game 3: Total Commitment - Chamon

After a rushed lunch (the kitchen in the pub was experiencing a backlog with many hungry gamers wanting food) our third game was Total Commitment in the realm of Chamon. The realm didn't end up playing a part in the game, but the lack of reserves may have been significant. Our third round opponents were Dave Satterthwaite and Shannon Reid, and their lists were as follows:

Dave Satterthwaite: Sylvaneth



20 x Dryads

10 x Dryads

Shannon Reid: Sylvaneth



5 x Tree Revenants

5 x Tree Revenants

3 x Kurnoth Hunters w/ Scythes

I have had the pleasure of playing against Dave before, and I occasionally see him at Outpost 6030 - my local club. He was playing with his partner, Shannon, who was new to AoS. It was lovely to meet her and it was really nice to see a couple playing at the doubles event together.

Initial Thoughts & Deployment

Prior to this game I had played Sylvaneth on one occasion. My memories of that game were that Tree Revenants did more damage than I thought, and that Treelords were difficult to kill. Fortunately, my addiction to podcasts had left me with one resounding piece of advice; denying the spread of trees is important. Given the way that objectives are spread in this mission, restricting Sylvaneth's mobility was doubly important. 

On the left, we set up 10 Plaguebearers and the stave Monks. Opposite them was the Branchwraith, 5 tree revenants and the two units of dryads. In the middle we set up the Furnace, Gnarlmaw, sword Monks and Verminlord with Drycha, Durthu and Alarielle opposite, and then on the right were the Lord of Afflictions and 30 Plaguebearers opposite 5 Tree Revenants and the Kurnoth Hunters that were in a Wyldwood. 

The way that we board had been set up, we each had a weak flank set up against a strong flank. On the right we had 30 Plaguebearers that were too far away and too hard to shift for Dave or Shannon to bother trying to take that objective; Alarielle could have made a play for it but other threats such as the Plague Monks needed to be out of the way before she could try. On the opposite side however, there were only 8 models holding their objective. In comparison, there were 30 dryads and 5 Tree Revenants guarding the objective on the left flank. In order to get through there we would need a turn 1 charge from the monks that devastated their numbers before they had a command point to avoid battleshock. Conversely, our objective was being held by 10 Plaguebearers, and if Shannon and Dave could past the stave Monks then they had a good chance to take that objective.

Taking all that together, this meant it was a race. The person who lost their objective first would most likely lose.

It's also worth noting that in the centre of the board was a big tower on a hill. It was big enough to block line of sight and to divert movement to the left and right of it. It effectively divided the board into two flanks that were limited in the assistance they could provide to one another. We finished setting up first, and with the podcast wisdom resounding in my brain, we took the first turn.

The Game

Not a great deal ended up happening on our turn one; we repositioned the sword Monks to make a turn 2 play onto the right hand Sylvaneth objective and the Verminlord got Umbral Spellportal and Dreaded Plague off onto the unit of 10 dryads and they ended up being wiped out by battleshock. The big gamble we took this turn was to try and get a turn 1 charge from the stave Monks into the dryads protecting the left hand Sylvaneth objective. Dave and Shannnon had placed their dryads at the front of their deployment zone, which meant that the Monks had a 7" charge to get in. If they could get int then there was a great chance we would knock out the unit of 20 dryads and would have been contesting the more strongly held Sylvaneth objective on Turn 1. The risk was that if the Monks did not get the charge then they were going to face retribution from both Drycha and Durthu. Unfortunately, despite command pointing a re-roll, the monks fells short and didn't get in. They were going to have to face the music next turn, but it would delay the Sylvaneth forces from spreading their woods and threatening our left objective.

In Sylvaneth Turn 1 not a great deal happened expect for one thing. The Slyvaneth magic phase was ineffective and there was only a little bit of re-positioning done. The exception was a valuable lesson that Sam and I learnt about Drycha. Apparently, she has a shooting attack and this shooting attack hits all models in a unit that are within 10' of her and inflicts a mortal wound on a 3+! The Plague Monk unit was suddenly looking like it would hold out for much less time that anticipated as they lost half of their number to Drycha in one fell-swoop. The only saving grace is that they took enough damage that we were able to remove models in a way to return the unit to wholly within 13' of the Plague Furnace; battleshock would have been lethal for the unit and in hindsight the loss of that unit would have cost us the game.

At the end of turn 1, we were both on 2 points, and big plays were going to be made in Turn 2. We won priority and chose to take the turn.

Looking at the board, we had a heavily stacked left flank of Sylvaneth with both Durthu and Drycha committing to that side. Alarielle had a summoned a Treelord and both her and that Treelord were pushing towards the left flank. We had a unit of stave Monks that could block things up a little bit, and some citadel woods in between our left objective and the Sylvaneth monsters, but otherwise most of our damage was in the centre. The spark of inspiration came when the Great Unclean One managed to successfully cast Foul Regenesis to move the Nurgle Wheel. The sword Monks were within 7' of the GUO giving them a move of 9'. With the wheel moved to +2' to movement, plus a strong run, the sword Monks could move up to 18' (11' + (D6 + 1')). This was enough to get them within a reasonable charge roll of the right Sylvaneth objective that was held but the Kurnoth Hunters and the Tree Revenants. Dave and Shannon had placed a Wyldwood on top of that objective, and this meant the Kurnoth Hunter's had a 3+ re-rollable armour save. 

We cast some spells in the hero phase, but what we were really waiting for was the movement phase. After getting the Corruptor out of the way, we were then ready to move the sword Monks. Sam picked up the dice, gave it a roll, and luckily for us it came up a 6'. We then moved our lightspeed sword Monks 18' across the board into a empty space and making threatening ratty faces at the Kurnoth Hunters near them. Seeing an opportunity to give the sword Monks a better chance the Lord of Afflictions touting the Rustfang also buzzed his way towards the Kurnoth Hunters.

By the end of the turn, one Kurnoth Hunter was left with one wound (that re-rollable armour save is amazing!) and the stave Monks had taken off Drycha. We had managed to take a Sylvaneth objective and we were on 7 points.

This left Dave and Shannon in a difficult position. They needed to take our objective plus reclaim their own in order to take the game back. We both knew that we weren't going to get another turn after this one so it was all or nothing. Unfortunately, neither us or Dave and Shannon realised this, and we both thought that if they retook our left objective then that would tie up the game. This made for an intense turn as they managed to get Alarielle across the board into the 10 Plaguebearers, where she killed only six, but they got enough dryads within 6' of the objective to take it from. They also finished off the stave Monks while we cleaned up the Kurnoth Hunters. In the end we had pulled ahead on kill points and it was only then that we realised that we had also walked away the the major victory - we were on 7 to their 6.

After-game musings

Timing was an issue in this game. We started a little late, and the rounds were short, but we should have got through more than 2 turns. I'm not sure where exactly the delays were but it's something I need to bear in mind in the future. The monk combats definitely take time to resolve, and moving that many models can also be time-consuming. Other than that, Dave and Sharron were great to play against. After the game they said that the decision denied them the space to set up Wyldwoods which made things difficult; thanks podcasts! Otherwise this game on our side was all about the monks and the placement of the Plague Furnace. It doesn't say much about the rest of the army but I guess that's what happens when only two turns are played.

Somehow, we had won all our games with one more to go! I was starting to get nervous at the idea that we might go undefeated and who our next opponent might be! We certainly had not intentions of being on the top tables in the last game but that's where we were! Stay tuned for Game 4 and the final results!

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Ultramates - Game 2

Game 2: Take and Hold - Hysh

Game 2 was Take & Hold and we were against team FTG - From the Grave. As you may glean from this name, there was a theme to these lists:

Matthew Jones: Legions of Nagash

Vampire Lord (General)
- Lord of Nagashizzar (Command Trait)
- Terrorgheist Mantle (Artefact)
- Spell: Vile Transference

- Spell: Soul Harvest

Wight King

30 Grave Guard

20 Skeleton Warriors

1 Extra Command Point

Matt is a guy a have played a few times since I got into AoS and something that is immediately apparent that he loves his Grave Guard. This love can be seen in this list, where the whole list is geared towards buffing up the Grave Guard and sending them hurtling into the enemy.

Samuel Ahola: Nighthaunt

Lady Olynder
- Spell: Spectral Tether

Guardian of Souls
- Spell: Lifestealer
- Artefact: Beacon of Nagashizzar

30 Chainrasp Horde

20 Chainrasp Horde

Warscroll Battalion: Chainguard

2 Extra Command Points

I've seen Sam around but haven't ever played against him. This list was the defensive list of the two, and had a lot of regeneration in the Chainrasp hordes. Other than knowing that they have ethereal saves, I haven't had much experience playing against Nighthaunt.

Initial Strategy & Deployment

I had never played Take & Hold but I felt like our lists were suited to this scenario; we had elements that could defend our objective and elements that could fight/flood their objective. While setting up, I was only really on the look out for the Grave Guard; they were the only unit that was going to be able to break through 30 Plaguebearers. However I had completely forgotten that they could be deployed in the Grave! We ended up splitting our force into three parts - the Monks with swords went on our left flank with the Great Unclean One and Feculent Gnarlmaw, the 30 Plaguebearers went in the middle on the objective, and the Monks with staves went on the right with the Corruptor and the Plague Furnace. Matt and Sam set up 20 Chainrasps on the left with the Guardian of Souls, the Skeletons and Legion characters went in the middle and Lady Olynder and her 30 Chainrasps went on the right.

Our general strategy was to send the sword monks off to break one flank and possibly swing around in the centre. The Plaguebearers would hold our objective, and the stave monks would be flexible but with a view to taking out the Grave Guard. The Corruptor's job was to reduce the size of the enemy units with his own spell (roll a dice for every model in the target - each 4+ deals a mortal wound). Finally, if we saw a chance to kill the Vampire Lord then that was a high priority.

Matt and Sam finished deploying first and they chose to take the first turn.

The Game

In Matt & Sam's turn one, each block of Nighthaunt moved forward and the Grave Guard were summoned in the middle of the board, 9' away from the front of the Plaguebearer unit. Some spells were cast but they were essentially moving out to zone us out of their back field and to set up the Grave Guard making a play on the Plaguebearers. In our turn one, the Plaguebearers stayed where they were, but the Plague Monks on the left received +1 attack from the Plague Furnace and went straight into the 20 Chainrasp in front of them. On the right, the Verminlord got Spellportal and Dreaded Plague off and killed 9 Chainrasp from the 30 man unit. We otherwise played cagey with the 40 Monks with staves and screened them with the Plague Furnace. The sword Monks that went into the 20 Chainrasp handily took them off but unfortunately left the Guardian on a couple of wounds.

Matt and Sam then won priority going into turn 2.

After seeing the mortal wounds from the Corruptor and losing a unit to the sword monks, Sam decided to turn his remaining Chainrasps around and head back to their objective. Matt continued on and charged in a Grave Guard Units with 5 attacks each and Vanhels Danse Macabre connecting with both the Plaguebearers and the Plague Furnace. Interestingly, the first pile in didn't wipe out the Plaguebearers or the Furnace, but the second one certainly did. In our turn two, the Plaguemonks with staves were all set to go into the Grave Guard, and the Corruptor positioned in a way to provide them with re-roll hits from his Command Ability. The sword Monks on the left went after the 20 Skeletons holding their objective and the Lord of Afflictions saw an opportunity to take on the Vampire Lord. After summoning an Feculent Gnarlmaw behind the sword Monks and Lord of Afflictions, everything made their charges on combat was on!

We started with the Grave Guard; if they attacked, they still had all their buffs on and could have wiped the stave Monks which was could not afford. After rolling a huge amount of dice, but before we started on the staves, the Plague Monks had wiped out the Grave Guard. This was an example of how powerful re-rolling 3's to hit and 2's to wound was - there was very few attacks that didn't go through to dealing damage.

Matt then activated his skeletons and killed some sword Monks. The combat with the Vampire Lord was what was really nerve wracking for me though! I was very concerned about the Grave Guard coming back for a command point, and knew that if we didn't kill the General then we could face that. Despite this, I forgot to use the Rustfang and after attacking he was left on 1 wound!

Unfortunately we didn't have time to play and finish Round 3. In discussing it with Matt and Sam the outcome of the game was still up in the air; if the Grave Guard managed to charge the Plague Monks they might be able to take our objective, however if they couldn't deal with the sword Monks then we may take theirs. Ultimately we decided to calculate Kill Points at the end of Round 2. This left Sam and I up and we ended up with the minor win!


I think we made some mistakes that could have had some bigger significance if they game had continued longer. Firstly I had set up 10 Plaguebearers to screen the flank of the sword Monks while they pushed up the left flank. However it may have been better to place these in front of the 30 Plaguebearers to take the initial charge of the Grave Guard. I also used the Plague Furnace to screen the stave Monks from the Grave Guard, but it may have been possible to avoid the charge without losing the Furnace. Ultimately it was imperative that the stave monks didn't get charged and that goal was achieved.

Overall though, I think the game plan was appropriate and other than user error it was the best way to approach the situation. We had unexpectedly won both of our first two games and after lunch we were in to game three!

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Ultramates - Game 1

Game 1: Battle for the Pass - Shyish

Up first was Battle for the Pass! The realm rules were in effect (though promptly forgotten) and our first round opponents were a team called 'the Friendly Geordies' made up of two young guys by the name of Geordie and Che. From memory their lists were:

Geordie: Beasts of Chaos

Doombull (General)

Great Bray Shaman

6 Gorebulls

3 Gorebulls


Wildfire Taurus

Che: Daughters of Khaine (Hag Narr)

Slaughter-queen on Foot

Bloodwrack Medusa

10 Sisters of Slaughter

10 Sisters of Slaughter

10 Blood Sisters

5 Khinerai Heartrenders

5 Doomfire Warlocks

Unfortunately I don't have copies of their lists so I'm not sure what their artefact selections were, but they didn't come into play during the game.


We rolled off and our team won sides and deployed first. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from the Skaven side of our list, so we deployed the plaguebearers in a long line along the back and sides of the board to prevent summoning or Khinerai dropping into our backfield. We set up the furnace and rats with woe staves on the left flank, the rats with swords and the Verminlord Corruptor on the right flank, and the Great Unclean One centrally to maximise his movement buff. The free Feculent Gnarlmaw had gone on the centreline on the left hand side of the board.

Geordie and Che each took a flank each and the herdstone was set up in the middle. They each set up the majority of their forces on the line and were looking for a fight. In particular, Geordie set up 9 Gorebulls in a line. We finished deploying first and gave them the first turn.


In a recurring them for the day, Geordie and Che made a big mistake straight off the bat and didn't give enough thought to the danger the Plague Monks posed. Geordie pushed his Gorebulls straight forward while Che shuffled a little bit and had Geordie send his Doombull to the other central objective.. Very little else happened in their turn, but from our perspective (as Nathan from the Honest Wargamer so sagely noted) the objectives were bait and they had taken that bait. In our turn 1, the monks with woe staves received the +1 attack buff from the Furnace and ran 17' at the Gorebulls, leaving them 3' away and within range of the Feculent Gnarlmaw. They then proceeded to charge the two units of Gorebull, removed the unit of 6 and left the unit of 3 with one wound remaining. This charge had clipped the Ghorgon but the Ghorgon whiffed with all of its attacks.

This initial charge took a large chunk out of our opponents forces, and when we then won the double turn the rest of the game fell into our favour. Highlights were:

  • The unit of sword monks went into the DoK army and held most of it up for a couple of turns. It took out 7 of the snakes and after that did sporadic wounds here and there.
  • The Lord of Afflictions took on the Doombull. Unfortunately the Doombull was as effective as the Ghorgon and did no wounds over two rounds of combat before the Lord put it into the ground.
  • The Verminlord Corruptor charged in to the Ghorgon and did 22 mortal wounds with its Sword of Judgment.
  • After the stave monks charged, the Plague Furnace was left on its own and could no longer move as there were not enough monks within 6'. This happened a fair bit over the weekend.

At the end of turn three the score was 13 to 9 and time had run out. The Friendly Geordies had a couple of characters left on the board and some heavily depleted units. We had lost a unit of Plague Monks and the Lord of Afflictions.


Geordie and Chu were great to play against. It seemed that Geordie had a bit more knowledge than Chu but both were fairly new to Age of Sigmar 2.0. That lack of knowledge resulted in us getting a turn 1 charge and eviscerating the heart of Geordie's army on turn 1. 

I haven't had much experience playing Hagg Nar but the re-rollable ward save is incredible - it hurts me slightly that scantily clad murder women are more resilient than lesser deamons of a Choas god known for resilience, but these are the rules that we play in.

The Plague Monks showed that they were the blender that I thought they could be, however there is a lot of dice to roll and it meant that Sam and I needed to be as clear and efficient as possible. This issue is exacerbated by the monk warscroll that has different effects on 6's to hit and 6's to wound - you end up having four sets of dice with some having rend, some having +1 damage, some having both and some having neither.

At the end of the game, the Verminlord Corruptor was in a position to take the rest of their heroes off with the sword of Judgment. Having 10 attacks and a Command Ability to re-roll all hit rolls made it a very reliable way to do mortal wounds to heroes. The Lord of Afflictions also did an excellent job with his -3 rend - he reduced the Doombull to 1 wound in the first round of combat and it could just as easily have taken him off in one. The fact the Rustfang helps the mount's attacks is very significant.

Overall it was a very enjoyable game and it would be interesting to see how they would do things differently next time.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Ultramates 2019

So on the Sunday just gone, 18 March 2019, Western Australia's largest Age of Sigmar tournament to date played out. Run by Mitchell Byrne, our very own TO extraordinaire, Ultramates was a doubles tournament that had 36 teams, or 72 players sign up, with 29 teams participating on the day. It was held on St Patrick's, in a pub (yes!) and was run by our TO extraordinaire Mitch Byrne.

Tournament Details

So in it's basic form, this was a 4 game tournament (gaming event?) held over one day. Each player brought a 1000pt army; two players per team meant each team was playing 2000pts. Each team needed to meet the usual requirement, so 1 leader and 2 battleline units. There were no restrictions on Grand Alliances playing as allies so Death could pair up with Chaos, or Order with Destruction; the aim was to allow people to play with their mates in a fun setting (hence Ultra'mates' - get it?). There were some house rules regarding the doubling up of terrain based allegiance abilities (ie. two Sylvaneth players were only able to place one Wildwood rather than two) and spells and abilities that affected 'friendly' units could only affect your own army (so no Blades of Putrefaction on allies which was very relevant for our list design). Other than this the Realms were in play (but largely forgotten in my games at least) and there were some slight changes to the way in which artefact's were selected. If you are interested there is a Facebook page where you can find the players pack, but the changes were primarily flavourful rather than significantly altering the way armies were built.

My partner and I

Doubles Tournaments always seem to pull people on the sidelines of Sigmar in to give it a shot. Players who have been on the fence or haven't played since Fantasy Battle can be convinced to join in on the basis that they can have a great time with their mates and that someone will be there to celebrate their victories and commiserate with their losses. In this sense, our team was no exception.

Back in the days of Fantasy, myself and my twin brother (Sam) both played here and there; I played Daemons and he played High Elves. He hadn't played Sigmar at all but I convinced him that he should come play in a Doubles event with me. He agreed on the condition that I essentially pick the army for him and away we went.

Over the past six months I had been adding Pestilens units to my roster, and with the Skaventide book approaching, it seemed like a good opportunity to expand my Nurgle collection further. Sam was on board, and so the lists I devised for us were as follows:

Our Lists

Alex: Maggotkin of Nurgle

Lord of Afflictions (General)
 - Rustfang
 - Virulent Contagion

Great Unclean One
 - Bile Blade
 - Doomsday Bell
 - Lore Spell: Glorious Afflictions

30 Plaguebearers

10 Plaguebearers

Total: 1000pts

Sam: Skaventide Pestilens

Plague Priest on Plague Furnace (General)
 - Master of Rot and Ruin

Verminlord Corruptor
 - Sword of Judgment

40 Plague Monks
 - Paired Foetid Blades
 - Doom Gong / Bale Chimes / Contagion Banner / Icon of Pestilence

40 Plague Monks
 - Foetid Blade & Woe Stave
 - Doom Gong / Bale Chimes / Contagion Banner / Icon of Pestilence

Umbral Spellportal

Total: 980pts

Creation of the lists

In building a list for Sam, I was very mindful that he had never played a game of Age of Sigmar, and that our time to practise would be very limited (in the end we got about 2 turns of a practice game in before the event). With that in mind, I wanted a list that would be straightforward to play, but one that would also give him some opportunity to create some fun stories. In the end (and with a certain degree of pride) his list ended up being absolutely filthy, but it ticked these two boxes:

1. It essentially involved throwing Plague Monks into something important, and given their power they were likely to kill what they touched. This meant that Sam didn't have to spend much time thinking about whether he would kill something, particularly when he would be relying on me to tell him what everything was.

2. The Verminlord Corruptor had the potential to go off both with magic against hordes and in combat against heroes and monsters. Sam could look for opportunities to create stories with the Corruptor, and if it died it was not going to be game breaking.

I was confident that the Plague Monks would blend almost anything they touched, and the Verminlord Corruptor was a fantastic toolbox for managing hordes, heroes and monsters alike. In designing my list, I was looking for ways to hold objectives, provide support to the Plague Monks, and to try and protect them from retaliatory counter charges. The Support GUO fit the bill here with his bonuses to cast and dispel, as well as the 3" movement to Nurgle units within 7". He would allow the Plague Monks to more reliably alpha strike when the opportunity arose.

The Plaguebearers were also fairly obvious choices. 30 Plaguebearers are tough to shift and they were exactly what we needed to hold objectives in our side of the field. If we held an equal amount of objectives but the monks could claim one enemy objective for a turn then we would ultimately come out on top. I would have liked the second unit to be larger but ultimately could only afford the 10 to meet the Battleline requirements.

The least straight-forward choice in my list was the Lord of Afflictions. I'm a huge fan of the Lord of Afflictions; I think he is super fun to play, benefits from the GUO command ability well and can take some damage. In this list though I had a particular purpose for him. We had way of killing heroes and monsters, and hordes weren't going to be a problem. What we didn't have an answer to were heavily armoured units like Sequitors or Kurnoth Hunters. Multiple wound units that could get a 3+ or 4+ re-rollable armour save were going to be very difficult for us to shift. The Lord of Afflictions provided an answer to this by being a mobile Rustfang carrier (he could reduce armour saves by 1) and he naturally had -2 rend on two of his attack profiles. When combined with the Rustfang this meant that he could ignore 4+ armour saves.

Allegiance Abilities

Something that I want to highlight is the interaction between the Skaventide and Nurgle armies that we were playing. Because of the way in which this tournament was set up, we had a unique opportunity to merge the Pestilens and Nurgle allegiance abilities on all of the Skaven units. While I couldn't buff the Skaven units directly, the Nurgle allegiance applies to all Nurgle units, whether friend or foe. This gave us the ability to supercharge the Plague Monks in a significant way.

Plague Monks start off by hitting on 4's and wounding on 4's as baseline with their blades. When in the Skaventide allegiance, units of 30 or more receive +1 to hit and +1 to wound, and they get +2 to their bravery for each 10 models, rather than +1. The way to reduce their power is to whittle them down to under 30 and then under 20.

In a Nurgle allegiance, Plague Monks  get access to the Cycle of Corruption, which can give +2 movement or +1 to wound. Importantly, Nurgle also provide Feculent Gnarlmaws which give run and charge. However, Nurgle can't buff the hit rolls of the Plague Monks and often don't have command points to save them from battleshock.

When combined however, the weaknesses of the Plague Monks are covered by each allegiance and a hideously powerful 240 point unit is created. With the wheel and the Great Unclean One, the Plague Monks have a move of 11', they run d6 + 1', and then they can charge 2d6 + 1'; this puts them squarely within alpha strike territory. The importance of them being able to alpha strike is that opponents don't have an opportunity to whittle them down and reduce the bonuses. Over the course of the weekend, this dual interaction was very important to our gameplay, and it heightened the power of the Plague Monks to a greater degree than what you will find at a singles event.

Preparation for the day

Leading up to the 18th, we ended up both being very busy. At the time that I settled on our lists I had the Nurgle side of the force adequately painted, and I had 20 Plague Monks with paired blades that were ready. This meant that we needed to buy, build and paint the following:

 - A Verminlord;
 - A Plague Furnace;
 - 60 Plague Monks; and
 - The Umbral Spellportals.

On the morning of Saturday the 17th, we had built everything and undercoated the plague monks, but that was it.

We had to paint 2 behemoths and 60 monks. Within a day. 

What followed was a painting marathon from 6:30am until 3:30am, with occasional breaks for coffee and food. By midnight my fiancee had decided that we weren't going to finish, and despite knowing nothing about painting or Warhammer, she spent the last three and half hours with us painting bronze bells, sword and woe staves. Come 3:30am we were all tired, but it was immensely satisfying to have powered through it all to a point where we could put two painted forces on the table (and wouldn't risk anything being removed for not meeting the requisite painting standard).

The Big Day

The next morning we were up early and got to the venue by about 8am. We had about 3 hours of sleep each and had a water with Berocca in hand as we entered. I had made Sam a file with each battleplan and scenario, and in the 30 minutes we had before the first game he re-read all his warscrolls and read the first mission and realm rules for the first time. We were as ready as we were going to be.

Stay tuned for Game 1, 2 & 3 in the next post!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

SHO 2018 Report

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As per usual it seems, I get distracted, busy or unmotivated and suddenly my plans of posting regularly just don't happen. Nonetheless, as the title suggests I'm going to do my best to give an overview of my games across Southern Hemisphere Open. I'll do another post about Skulls 2018 and then give my thoughts on the Tallyband. On to SHO!

SHO 2018
Game 1 vs Yordan
As mentioned previously, SHO 2018 was a one day tournament put on by Objective Secured on 24 September 2018.

My first game was against a well-known player in the local scene called Yordan. Yordan has a reputation as being one of the more competitive players in our scene and, while being a bit nervous going into the game, I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately I can't remember for the life of me what the scenario was, but he was playing a Gore Pilgrims list. He also had the bloodthirster that can do AoE mortal wounds.

This game ended up being close in objectives but ultimately I lost out. The game progressed much as I thought it would - I grabbed the objectives early, and it was then up to Yordan to shift me. To begin with it looked like he might not be able to do it, but towards the end of the game my units were overwhelmed and he was able to catch up.

There were a few things I learnt in this game. To begin with, I forgot that I could cast Glorious Afflictions to halve movement. Given how tight the score was at the end, holding a unit off for a turn could have made the difference.

I otherwise generally learnt about how pile-ins could be used in interesting ways and to watch out for flying units charging into places I didn't expect them to be. His bloodthirster got into my backfield without me expecting it, and if he had some better dice it could have done a world more damage. While I was eventually able to take it out, I was lucky with the limited damage it did. While it was an intense first game, it was highly educational.

Game 2 v Kieren
My second game was against a guy called Kieran who was also new to the scene. He was running a Seraphon list with the follow (probably not everything):



3 units of Skinks (10's I think)

A unit of Ripperdactyls

2 x Bastilidons

1 x Engine of the Gods

1 x Balewind

I have never played against Seraphon, but I listen to podcasts, and knew that Kroak and Bastilidons are bad news for daemons, and I was running a complete daemon army. I knew that I was going to be up against it, but I was up for the challenge; I don't really get into bemoaning how poor of a match-up a game might be, or whether something is fair or not. I enjoy the challenge because I want to get better, and the way to get better is to get smashed up and learn from the mistakes I make.

We were playing Total Conquest, which is the scenario with the weird blocky deployment. There are four objectives, and claiming an objective that belongs to your opponent is worth more than holding your own.

This game ended up coming right down to the wire, but I got pipped at the end and went down. My lack of knowledge of Seraphon definitely worked against me in this game, particularly in relation to how Seraphon can teleport, and how skinks can retreat. Early on in the game, we were fighting over the two objectives near the thin deployment zones on the board. He went after mine with ripperdactyls and skinks, and I sent a large block of plaguebearers after his. One of the big issues for me in this game was how to deal with the bastilidons, and the crazy summoning that Seraphon can do. Early on, I decided that my best option to try and deal with the bastilidons was to send my Great Unclean One after them. I decided this on the basis that he was not going to be effective at holding objectives, and if he managed to get into them then the witherstave would give him some limited protection. I'm not sure if this was the right idea or not; their ability to teleport made it very difficult to truly protect against them, and I couldn't zone out the board in a meaningful way because I needed bodies on objectives to contest against the skinks.

The two big learning points in this one were to be more careful with my position to block out summoning or teleporting. In turn 4 I left a gap for Kroak to teleport outside of 6 of my back objective and he wiped out the plaguebearer unit holding that objective. If I had been a bit more careful I could have mitigated it to a degree and may have got up in the end.

The other big one was in relation to a Beast of Nurgle I summoned. I forgot that it could retreat and charge for two turns in a row. This could have done 2D3 mortal wounds to the skinks I was fighting, and had the potential to allow me to steal the objective back. At the end of the game though, we had both had a fun game that came down to the wire. I'm looking forward to playing Seraphon again to see if I learnt anything from this experience.

Game 3 vs Matthew
My final game for SHO was against a Legions of Nagash player by the name of Matthew. Neither of us had won a game at the stage so I think we were both up for a nice easy game to see out the weekend. We ended up getting Shifting Objectives as the scenario, and I was the only person to outdrop his 2 drop Legion list all day. From memory, Matthew had:


Lord of Bones

2 Morghasts Harbingers

30 Grave Guard

30 Skeletons

10 Skeletons

There was probably some other stuff as well.

This game was the only game where my list worked exactly as I intended it to; I think this was for two reasons. Firstly I had a better idea of what I was doing with the list by this time, and secondly I was up against another army that was more suited to grinding.

In my first turn I ran my guys onto the objectives and basically set myself up to take charges. Matthew obliged and the centre of the board turned turned into a melee. We didn't finish the game, but the main points were discovering how much damage Black Guard can do (quite a bit), and seeing how slow Black Guard could move after learning how much damage they did (2" as it turns out). Shackles were both annoying and very useful in this game; something I hadn't considered is how annoying it could be to move around the endless spells.

At the end of the day I had won 1 game, lost 2, and had played against three people I had never played against. I was feeling a bit down on the list at this point in time; the lack of damage in the list was frustrating, but I also think I didn't get the most out of my Plague Drones - a lot of the time they seemed to be buzzing around somewhere that didn't matter rather than getting stuck in. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day, but I ended up being voted the second favourite person to play against which was awesome.

In considering whether SHO was a run well, I don't think I really have the experience to say whether it was good or bad. In the end only 10 people ended up attending which was a shame, and there was some discussion about how to get more people to come out to events. I think our local scene is building at the moment, and I hope it continues to do so, but we seem to be split into a number of smaller communities. I'm hoping that somehow we can connect these scenes are start to build to local tournament scene.

That's it from me for the moment folks, but I (hopefully) will be back soon with another post.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

SHO 2018 & Skulls 2018

Southern Hemisphere Open has been and gone, and while I didn't place particularly well, it was an enjoyable event to participate in! It was run smoothly by Mike and Emma over at Objective Secured at Perth's Ascot Racecourse. I've never been to Ascot, so it was a good excuse to check it out; mind you I went to the wrong venue on the way and each of my games ran the full round length so I didn't have a great amount of time to explore, but the view overlooking the racecourse while we played was pretty great. I'll go through each of my games in a future post, but I thought I ought to set out why I took certain options in my list. I have another tournament this coming weekend, Skulls at Outpost 6030, that I'm going to take the same list to so I'll give a review of it after that.

My List

As mentioned in my previous post, my list is as follows:

Allegiance: Nurgle
Realm: Shyish


Great Unclean One
  - General
  - Plague Flail & Doomsday Bell
  - Command Trait: Pestilent Breath
  - Artefact: The Witherstave
  - Lore of Virulence: Glorious Afflictions

  - Artefact: Wraithbow
  - Lore of Virulence: Favoured Poxes

  - Lore of Virulence: Favoured Poxes


Plaguebearers (30)

Plaguebearers (20)

Plaguebearers (10)

Plague Drones (3)

Plague Drones (3)


Tallyband of Nurgle


Chronomantic Cogs

Geminids of Uhl-gysh

Soulsnare Shackles

List Choices

In building the list (the theory of which I discussed here) there were a few places in the list where I could play around. The core of the list (to meet the tallyband battalion) had to be a Great Unclean One, a Poxbringer, 3 units of Plaguebearers (for battleline) and a unit of Plague Drones. From there, my choices were primarily:

1. What load out did I was on the Great Unclean One?
2. What did I want my second artefact to be?
3. Did I want my Plague Drones in a unit of 1 or 2?

There is also room in the list to drop a poxbringer, the cogs and the shackles to bump the unit of 10 plaguebearers to 30, which I think I like the idea of, but I don't own enough plaguebearers to make it an option.

Great Unclean Load-out
This was probably the most straight-forward choice. I knew I wanted the Doomsday Bell for the 3" movement buff, so that was automatically in. Choosing between the flail and the bileblade was more difficult, and I'm not entirely sold on the choice, but I decided I wanted the GUO to have the ability to do some damage in combat. The trade off of his Massive Bileblade (3 attacks / -2 Rend / 3 damage) for the Bell (4 attacks / -1 Rend / 1 damage) is already a fairly significant hit to his damage, and I didn't want him to be a complete potato in combat so I kept the flail. An interesting side note is that the bell doesn't get any worse the more injured the GUO is, whereas the Massive Bileblade drops attacks, so the difference didn't end up being as extreme as I feared.

The Witherstave is an amazing item, and has such a large area of effect that it fits really well into my overall gameplan, so that was an easy choice.

Pestilent Breath for the command trait is primarily to give me flexibility. At it's heart it is a horde killer; 1/3 of a unit taking mortal wounds is excellent. That being said, it is highly situational and is short ranged. I'm not sure whether the ability to manipulate the dial with Grandfather's Blessing is a better choice - it's something I'll keep an eye on and will mix it up at some point.

Second Artefact
I had a really good time going through the Malign Sorcery book and thinking about what artefacts were open to me and what I wanted. After a fair bit of consideration I came down to deciding between the Tome of a Thousand Poxes from the Maggotkin book and the Wraithbow from the Realm of Shyish.

The tome gives spells cast from the Lore of Nurgle +1 to cast. The uses for this in my army are limited but significant. There are only two spells that would be affected; Foul Regenesis and Favoured Poxes. Foul Regenesis is important because it allows wheel manipulation, and Favoured Poxes is an incredibly potent debuff; -1 to hit, wound and save. Both spells are cast on a 7+, which means they had a 20/36 chance of being cast (or 55% chance). By taking the Tome, this increases to a 26/36 chance, or a 72% chance, as well as providing some assistance against dispels.

The Wraithbow is an artefact that is used in the shooting phase. You pick an enemy unit within 18", roll 6 dice, and they take a mortal wound for each 6 rolled. What attracted me to this item was that:

1. It has a good range;
2. It can be used after running; and
3. It isn't affected by negatives to hit.

One of my concerns is my ability to pick off characters. I have a few ways in which to deal D3 mortal wounds (spells primarily) but it isn't significant. This bow is quite variable, but the ability to ping a wound off here an there was very tempting. I also thought the item seemed fun, so I am going to give the bow a run for a while to see how it goes.

Plague Drones in a unit of 3 or 6?
The decision here was whether the have one unit that would benefit from the GUO command ability, or whether it was better to have two separate units acting independently. I'm not sure which way I prefer as yet, but I'm going to try having two units; I think it will give me more options and more roadblocks if necessary.

It will be interesting to compare how this list performs in an event that uses full realm rules (Skulls 2018) vs one that didn't (SHO). My initial thoughts are that I have a good number of casters to take advantage of the realm spells, but I have too many endless spells which are points that could be spent elsewhere. I'm looking forward to forming testing some hypotheses, forming some opinions, and seeing how they compare with internet wisdom.