Monday, 29 January 2018

...Into The West

Back again with the results of my exploits at a LOTR Tournament. It was a great weekend and I had a lot of fun catching up with old faces and meeting some new ones. Always good to get out for these sort of things as I get to play people I wouldn't normally have the chance to, but very rarely do I get the chance any more due to work. So how did I match up to tournament regulars I here you ask.... lets find out.

Game 1 was against Callum and his own Angmar list. Now I had heared that a real Angmar army could be quite powerful, but nothing prepared me for the nightmarish slog I had to put up with in this game.

The objective was just straight up Kill Points and I thought the cavalry would give me the edge here except for one thing, the (expletive deleted) Shade! That Tricky little piece demonstrated how a good player can use the tools he's given and just how out of practice I was. Everything I tried bounced off the wall of goblins as the Shade sapped the strength from my charges and soon after any resistance.

Callum played everything right and delivered the me a solid whooping, smacking me to the bottom tear tables where I belonged. That said, Callum was a gracious winner and was good enough to give me some helpful pointers in how to use my army going ahead.

My second game was against Dave Clark. We had met at an event last year, so I was looking forward to a rematch. This game centered around grabbing treasure from the middle of the board and escaping off the opponents table edge. I had played this style of mission before and knew how to win.

Dave was using Minas Tirith featuring a little bit of everything; shooting cavalry, high numbers. He played well and was able to break my army which scored him some points, but I had passed the treasure marker onto the Witch King early on which gave me my first win of the Weekend.

Game 3 was against Ryan that brought a mixed army of Dwarfs, Woses and Saruman the White (the good version). Though his army was small, the mission required players to attack opposing camps, forcing me to advance across the board.

My plan was rush the Dwarf lines and cause enough disruption to overwhelm the camp. Ryan wouldn't have been able to attack my camp in time as he had rightly chosen to defend all out. Ryan's choice to defend proved the right of things, The Dwarf line held strong and I couldn't break through fast enough to score off the camp. Ryan, score points for breaking my force and even killing the Witch King early in the game.

The fourth game was against Dave Alexander (there were a LOT of Daves at this thing) and his Isengard army, all crossbows and bezerkers. the mission called for moving models off your opponents board edge and I had the Warg riders to do it, but I spent too long skulking away from the Isengard crossbows to do anything impressive.

This was a hard fought match and Dave took the win by running a few stragglers off the board while my army desperately tried to hold against the wall berserkers.

Game 5 for me was a case of "be careful what you wish for" against Luke. Early on in the tournament I had seen a few people tackling the Mumak that was Luke's army.

Hobbits had had a go and so had a few others, but I had vowed that if I faced the Mumak myself I would slay it! The boast would require no small amount of luck and a little sneaking, but on paper the plan would work. The Witch King held a Morgul Blade, which would allow me ONE chance to kill the Mumak with a single strike. This game can be summed up in one image....

Yup, the Mumak trampled the Witch King to paste and the dice abandoned me at the worst moment. The dream was dead. That said, it was a good laugh and Luke played well and knew what he was doing.

Game six was against Ian and his Harad army. Ian and I had played at Firestorm last year when he was using an all Troll army, so it was good to get a chance to play him again. Again this was a very close game with everyone gunning for the Heroes to score points.

The larger part of the game was a mass of infantry brawling in the middle of the board. My cavalry attempted to encircle the Harad, but stumbled along the left flank, leaving the Haradrim superior fighters to clear up the Orcs in the middle.

I did have some fortune. My archers, who  had been utterly useless in the tournament until now, came out with avengeance and crippled the Haradrim General in a single round of shooting. Ian was forced to hide the injured General for the remainder of the game to avoid giving up any points. Once the Witch King entered the frey, that was no long within Ian's power. Using fell magic the Nazgul drew the General into the open and charged him. wounded and unsupported, the Harad leader was cut down.

Despite my last minute killing of the enemy leader, Ian took victory for breaking my army. It was a hard fought game and a great rematch.

At the end of the weekend I was looking for a nice easy game to wrap up, but fate does love to play tricks and with the rankings set in stone at this point the only viable opponent was Dave Clark. Yes, twice in one tournament, the War of the Daves was being fought on both the Top and Bottom tables it seemed.

For this game we had to hold 5 objectives scattered around the board. I sought to hold the 2 in my half and we would duke it out for the central objective. I had hoped to send the Wargs up the flank to take one of Dave's objective markers, but once again, Gondorian heavy armour proved the better and my casualties began to mount up.

In the end my forces began to flee, abandoning one of the objectives I held in my table half. Though Dave had a solid victory, the cowardice of Orcs cost me a few points that could have swung it in the long run.

After seven games, I came out the end of Sunday with 6 loses and a single Win and even then Dave came back in Game 7 to reestablish his dominance. I enjoyed the event and everyone was good enough to give me some advice on using my army in the future and getting the most out the Witch King, so thanks to everyone for the advice, I look forward to seeing you in the future to try again.

The painting standard was really high at this event, with a good mix of armies and themes, here's a few of my favourites.

And the over-all best painted, Dave Clark's Gondor. A really nice looking army with a lot of detail and character. He talked about trying a new army in the future, so what ever he chooses to do, I'm looking forward to seeing the finished paint job.

At the end of the weekend I was lucky enough to not walk away empty handed. When I mentioned to people I won THREE awards, I keep getting asked who I stole them from. That said I happily took the Wooden Spoon (for coming dead last, but getting some good lessons) and surprisingly Most Sporting (I think handing out cookies to my opponents and the TOs may have helped) Finally I achieved Runner-Up for Best Painted which really made me happy. As I had voted for Dave's Gondor to win, it was nice to get some glory for my painting too, so thanks to everyone who voted.

Once again, a lot of fun and I hope I get the chance to do it again next year.

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