Today I’ll be sharing my experiences from the Warhammer tournament ‘Face Off!’, which was presented by ‘The Dwellers Below’ who are prominent Warhammer podcasters.
Last weekend on the 24th and 25th of May, ‘The Dwellers Below’ held their first tournament. Named after the John Travolta \ Nick Cage movie, Face Off! was a 2400 pt, 6 game event that aimed to be more than just a standard tournament. The event was held at the Ibis hotel in Melbourne CBD and offered discounted hotel rates for competitors, a bar tab and a catered lunch on the Sunday.
What set this tournament apart from the usual was that the Dwellers boys wanted to create a hobby weekend where contestants and friends could hang around afterwards for more Warhammer, board games and imbibing.
All the game tables were nicely arranged and had some decent looking terrain (though not all tables were of the same calibre) and some also featured a Mysterious Monument to mix things up a bit when playing. Another change to standard games was that each table quarter can be held, by a unit of 5 or more figures, for 100 pts a quarter.
All players were given a ‘field of vision’ template provided by Blue Aspect Design and some custom made dice with the Dwellers’ logo in place of the number 6. Being the creator of their logo (winning a competition last year for the privilege) I was also given a dice bag with the logo patched on. Another small touch was that all contestants were given a nicely printed, glossy A4 sized score card with their name printed on it. Yes, I know, it’s just a piece of card but it’s the small things like this that I found took this event above any that I’ve attended before.
Righto, with all that out of the way let’s get into the meat of the meal.
In my previous tournament write up I ended feeling quite disappointed with the dwarfs. I felt my poor performance was due to a poor army list (not the army itself) and so I figured I’d give the stunties another go.
So here is the army list I brought to this Warhammer-a-thon and why:
Dwarf lord on shield bearers (general):
Equipped with – rune of iron x2 and rune of stone, rune of warding x3.
I love the model for this guy so I wanted to use it. I kitted him out defensively as I thought that if he was built offensively then my opposition would just avoid getting into combat with him, thereby making him useless.
Equipped with – Master Rune of Grungi. This is to protect my slow dwarfs from missile fire somewhat.
Equipped with – rune of stone, rune of spellbreaking x 2
Simple runesmith with a scroll that can smash the opponents successfully cast spell on a roll of 4+.
Equipped with – brace of pistols, rune of shielding, rune of stone.
This fella will sit in between the warmachines and give his higher ballistic skill to an Organ gun and the odd misfire re-roll. He is also very resistant against missile fire (2+ ward) and should be able to take out any war machine hunters that get sent his way.
Ironbreakers x 26, full command . This is my bunker for my general and is large enough to hold its own in a fight and has very little chance of breaking from combat.
Longbeards x 24, full command, hand weapon and shield, rune of stoicism. A decent combat block that also has little chance of breaking due to the stubborn rune. My BSB and runesmith will sit in this block.
Dwarf Warriors x 24, full command, hand weapon and shield. This was just to fill out my minimum requirement of points spent in Core. My thinking was that they’d be able to hold the flank from any attacks, especially from the standard flank attackers (usually fast cavalry or flyers).
Gyrocopter x 2, 1 with vanguard. These guys should just get in the way, take out small units and soften up infantry blocks.
Rangers x 6, musician. Just a small scout group to maybe hunt war machines or hold a table quarter.
Organ gun x 2, both with runes of accuracy and one with rune of burning. These bring the hurt.
Cannon – rune of forging. It’s a canon with a misfire re-roll. What more is there to say.
I expected this list to live a lot longer than in my previous tournament showing. All my combat blocks have a good armour save and all have shields for parry save which becomes a 5+ parry when charged.
My shooting is also more accurate and with more punch so theoretically I should be able to earn some points with just the Organ guns.
I was confident that my general would stay alive. With Toughness 6, Wounds 6, 1+ armour and 4+ ward he should be fine in combat. My BSB on the other hand was less durable so I’ll keep him out of combats that aren’t favorable.
Soooooo, with my list explained and my hopes high the first game was drawn:
Orcs & Gobbo’s
*2 blocks of night goblins with fanatics and a bunch of great weapon wielding heroes up front
*A large block of orc with choppas with lv 4 shaman and black orc BSB
*2 doom divers
*An araknarok spider
*5 wolf riders
*2 snotling pump wagons
Setting up evenly opposite one another, I sent my choppers out to bomb both pump wagons before they could crash into my lines and deal their damage. The wolf riders, being within 6 inches of a destroyed pump wagon failed their panic test and headed for the hills, never to return.
My scouting rangers became close enough to release the first set of fanatics while my vanguard chopper moved to do the same with the second set.
My opponent weaved her army about trying to avoid the fanatics while getting in charge range of her main combat block to my Longbeards.
Her double doom divers were ineffective, either always missing their targets (my cannon) or failing to wound. About mid-way through the game one of the divers had had enough and misfired, blowing itself up.
The Araknarok spider didn’t last very long and was shot off by my warmachines before making combat.
My choppers did a fantastic job of blasting the night goblin blocks leaving just 2 heroes left in one unit and only a quarter of its starting size on the other.
Time was running out for us as the orc block made its charge and both sides failed to do any substantial damage.
The game ended as a 17-3 victory to me and was a nice friendly game to start the weekend with.
Both sides square off with each other.
As the game draws to a close the Orcs make their assault.
Meeting engagement deployment (no unit starts in reserves though)
*2 units of dark riders
*2 units of warlocks
*2 bolt throwers
*a witch elf horde with shrine/cauldron
* a hydra
*a dude on manticore
*a dreadlord on dragon >.>
Dreading just about everything in my opponents army I did what any scared kid would do… hide in the corner and hope it doesn’t see me. It didn’t work.
My opponent took the first turn and attacked my choppers with the warlock’s spell while they set themselves up to aim for my warmachines next turn. Everything else moved forward (except for the dark riders which ran to the opposite side of the table, out of harms way and holding a table quarter).
So what could I do? Fire all ze guns!!
Before combat could take place I managed to take out the Hydra and the dragon. The rider, sadly, survived the barrage and hid behind a building.
I broke a warlock’s spell with my rune and managed to panic another unit off the board.
The clincher at the end of the game came in an unexpected combat. Firstly the Kharibdyss charged my warriors on the flank of my army. My warriors held and my general charged out to flank the Kharibdyss. My Iron breakers turned to face it ready for a charge next turn.
Next the witch elf hoard made a long charge into flank of my Ironbreakers. Oh dear… that wasn’t supposed to happen. *sigh*
The witches made their impact hits and massive amounts of regular attacks which both did very little. 😮 !! My breakers made their saves and held.
Beside them the warriors and Lord finished of the Kharibdyss and turned to the flank of the witches.
With my turn up next, I charged those naked elves in their side. Combat happened. Elves died and dwarfs lived! What’s more, I won the combat and the witches failed their break test and ran… and were caught.
The last couple of turns were just our guns trying to take each other out.
In the end, that crucial combat gave me the 13-7 win. Gotta be happy about that.
Afraid of the inevitable, the dwarfs cower in the corner.
So many monsters!
Battle for the pass
Warriors of Chaos
*2 units of dogs
*a large unit of skullchrushers
*a juggernaut mounted BSB
*a unit of 6 trolls
* a block of warriors with Festus the Leechlord
*… Daemon Prince Be’lakor
So with the scenario being Battle for the Pass, you’d think that I’d have the advantage. So why did this game go so wrong for me? *spoilers* I lost, big time *spoilers*
This game was fairly quick for a couple of reasons.
1) I was playing dwarfs and I wasn’t going to move forward to get closer to those killing machines that were running headlong towards my lines.
2) My warmachines were spelled off in my opponents magic phase as soon as he could. Be’lakor, being flying, was able to position itself perfectly to use a powerful pendulum to take out 2 machines in one shot. It’s next spell ripped through my last machine leaving me with no shooting.
3) I didn’t get to see much combat. When my warriors saw the destruction of the Orgun guns, they ran… off the board.
So with all that good luck coming my way combat came fairly quickly. My Ironbreakers took a charge against some dogs and won. Then they took a charge against the warriors and just lost. So I thought being steadfast, ld 10 would be fine. Nope. I failed my leadership 10, re-rollable break test. Poop.
My Longbeards received a charge from the crushers and held out for 2 rounds before I conceded. 0-20 loss
Chaos warriors start off quite a distance away. Too bad they can sprint.
Where all the action happens.. for like, 3 seconds >.>
It had been a loooong day without food (missed lunch due to my first game running for so long) and I made the fantastic decision that alcohol would hide the hunger that I felt. Meeting up with a few friends and my partner, we headed out into the city for some delicious cuisine and recharge.
A couple of us returned back to the venue to play a few more games and myself and a mate started a game of liars dice with 3 other people which attracted a larger crowd of 12.
It was about 10 pm before I retired back to my hotel room and try and get some sleep before another big day.
Waking sore, hung over and very tired I sorted out some breakfast juice to get me going. It was quite an effort to get psyched for the 2nd half of this event when I slept so poorly the night before… I just wanted to go back to my own bed.
Fortunately my 4th round opponent stated that he felt the same so I could at least count on having a very laid back Warhammer match.
Blood and Glory deployment
*a unit of ogre
*a unit of Ironguts with BSB, lv 4 Maw Slaughter master, lv 2 Firebelly
*a mournfang unit
Game on ….
On this table there was a mysterious monument that allowed any unit within 6 inches of to gain hatred, something that I didn’t want the ogres to have. So I deployed as far from it as I could knowing that there was no way I could use that terrain feature without the ogres also gaining benefit.
The Blood and Glory scenario allowed my opponent to deploy closer to mine, which is obviously not favourable for me. I reacted by staggering my units so that he could only charge one at a time and my war machines should be safe.
I was concerned about the gorger turning up 2nd turn and killing a gun on the 3rd turn so I placed my ranger unit on gorger watch.
The game started with my guns reducing the left-most Stonehorn to 1 wound and choppers removing a cat from the game.
Both Stonehorn made their charges when they could, the left into my Longbeards and the right into my lone Master engineer.
The Stonehorn on the left won combat and the beardies held, the engineer died and the right hand Stonehorn bumped into the Organ gun. In retaliation my Lord and Ironbreakers had a go at the same Stonehorns’ side, took him down and run on just falling 1″ short of the Left most Stoney (the one with 1 wound left.. still).
On the other side of the field the Mournfang bumped into my warrior block and were locked in combat for a whole bunch of turns. My warriors were holding fast.
“Surprise!” said the gorger which sounded like a wet growl.
“Bugger!” replied the dwarf crew. “Where them rangers be at?” questioned the dwarf loading another cannon ball.
Looking over his left shoulder the engineer saw that the rangers were in combat with the Stonehorn that the cannon failed to kill.
“Rightio then. We have some work to do lads”. The Organ gun was wheeled into position and took aim and the frenzied gorger. P-P-P-P-Poom!
There was nothing left of the beast but red mist.
With the game coming to a close, the warriors finally were cut down but the Mournfang were too short to overrun into the warmachines. My machines were safe.
The ‘gutstar’ made their charge into the Lord and Ironbreakers but failed to remove enough dwarfs to break steadfast and both sides held.
My forces were bloodied and bruised but they did manage to swing a few connecting punches. I lost this game 13-7, which I was happy about considering the rotten luck on not destroying the first Stonehorn that survived on 1 wound for more turns than I would have liked.
The scenario allowed the ogres a close deployment
My opponent lines up the Stonehorn charge
All warmed up and ready to continue, the 5th round was drawn and I was placed against a fellow dwarf. Hmmm… this should be quick.
Meeting Engagement deployment
*a unit of longbeards with runesmith
*a unit of special dudes (Ironbreakers or Hammerers… can’t quite remember)with Thane BSB
*a unit thunderers
*a unit of Irondrakes
*a mining unit
*2 organ guns and a grudge thrower with Master Engineer
*a single gyrocopter
So you can imagine how this game went. Seriously, have a guess…
His Organ gun took out one of mine, my cannon took out one of his as well as his stone thrower. We both lost a chopper each and in the last turns I ran forward knowing that he couldn’t shoot off my blocks in time.
I ran to claim table quarters and if i was lucky, take out his Irondrakes which were the closest thing to my lines.
I made the charge with my Longbeards but couldn’t finish the drakes off in time to collect the points.
Draw 10-10. With an hour to spare :S Not to worry, it was an enjoyable game even though not much really happened.
His dwarfs …
… my dwarfs.
Daemons of Chaos
*2 units of 3 flamers
*a unit of daemonettes
*2 units of plague drones
*a skull cannon
*a greater daemon of Tzeentch with lore of Metal
*2 Seekers of Slaanesh units
*a large unit of plaguebears with herald
Game *yawn* On!:
So let me just say this up front. This was probably the worst, most boring game of Warhammer I’ve ‘played’ ever. Ever.
Here’s basically how the 40 minute game went:
“Oh so you’re playing dwarfs. Great. I’m just going to move my daemons out of the way of your cannon so they don’t get shot off again”
Turn 1 – My opponent moves all his fellas to the opposite corner of the table. I shoot off his skull cannon.
Turn 2 – My opponent continues to move into the corner. My cannons are out of range of anything worthwhile.
“Oh, so you were serious about not losing anything? Hmm…”
20 mins later, game over. I won 11 – 9.
He destroyed my rangers and choppers who came close to his line and I removed the seekers, the skull cannon and a unit of flamers with my Ironbreakers in the last turn of the game. From turn 4 I thought “Bugger it. I’ll just try and take table quarters then” and moved everything forward.
This is how you play Cornerhammer.
The above image was taken at the start of turn 4.
Some turns I couldn’t do anything at all but move forward… even my war machines. I kind of feel cheated out of a game of Warhammer. What do I do here? Is it unsportsmanlike to not engage in a battle just to preserve points? I know I did a similar thing in my game vs the Dark Elves at a tournament in April, but in that situation there was nothing I could do. The dwarfs couldn’t run fast enough to make combat with the elves and I had no shooting left. Plus, I discussed my options with my opponent and If I could have made combat, I would have tried.
It wasn’t like we were at the top of the board playing for a podium place either, we were both in the middle of the pack.
So I don’t know… I guess it gave me plenty of time to pack up and watch some more exciting games that were happening beside me. It was just a bit of a sour note to finish the weekend on.
Other than that last game though, Face Off was probably the best, most well run Warhammer tournament I’ve attended and look forward to doing it again next year. Highly recommended.
The player taking 1st place was Sam Morgan who brought his Bretonnian list. I asked him a few question regarding his army and here are his responses:
Could you please share your winning army list with us?
Bretonnian Lord: Virtue of Heroism; Sword of Swift Slaying; Gromril Great Helm; Dragonbane Gem; shield; Royal Pegasus 263
Bretonnian Lord: Virtue of Duty; Dawnstone; Falcon-horn of Fredemund; lance; shield; barded Bretonnian Warhorse 240
Paladin: Virtue of the Impetuous Knight; Enchanted Shield; Luckstone; Battle Standard; barded Bretonnian Warhorse 124
Paladin: Dragonhelm; The Wyrmlance; Gauntlet of the Duel; shield; Royal Pegasus 152
Damsel of the Lady: The Silver Mirror; Level 2 Wizard; Lore of Life; Bretonnian Warhorse 155
Damsel of the Lady: Scroll of Shielding; Level 2 Wizard; Lore of Life; Bretonnian Warhorse 130
9 Knights of the Realm:Champion; Musician; Standard Bearer (War Banner)265
10 Knights Errant: Champion; Musician; Standard Bearer (Standard of Discipline) 236
10 Peasant Bowmen: braziers; Musician 70
10 Peasant Bowmen: braziers; Musician 70
3 Pegasus Knights Champion 165
3 Pegasus Knights Champion 165
3 Pegasus Knights Champion 165
Field Trebuchet: Yeoman Craftsman 100
Field Trebuchet: Yeoman Craftsman 100
Did you have a game plan going in? If so, did your games go according to plan?
“I was extremely fortunate and got some very favorable match ups throughout the tournament but, evidently, a little luck is required to win any event. So discounting luck, my plan was:
– Deny my opponent big points. This was primarily done through list design with over 1100 points in characters, two difficult to catch buses, artillery that deploys on the table edge and three units of durable flying fast cavalry. Further, I was willing to give up a few points to preserve many. I often launched my damsels out in front of my buses to delay my opponents and offer them 130ish points whilst retaining the 600 they may have otherwise picked up.
– Force my opponent to decide which of my threats to deal with. Two trebs [trebuchet] can’t be ignored, nor can Life mages or two big combat buses. If they split their army to deal with the multiple threats I was able to pick off their points piecemeal while if they threw everything into the big points I could shoot and magic them off.
– Rely on the ‘unknown’ element. Generally speaking, the meta usually reflects the newest toys on the market. Conversely older books are used less and are consequently less well understood. I used this to my advantage and people often underestimated the durability and static combat res my units possessed. “
What were you most afraid of with your army (apart from bad luck)?
“User-error was my biggest concern. I had only played a handful of games with Bretonnians going into the event so was concerned that the lack of stress testing may result in some teething issues. However, having so few units meant that I was actually able to take my time during games and think (often aloud) about my options and their potential ramifications – this enabled me to mitigate some, but not all, n00b errors.
My other concern was the prevalence of strength 3 and strength 4 amour piercing attacks, a real threat for my army, particularly from range. I really did not want to play against 4 repeater bolt throwers backed up by diverters and Heavens/Metal magic. A well constructed O&G [orc and goblin] army would also pose a massive threat. “
Whats your top tip (or 3) for playing as Bretonnians (or even against)?
“Tips for playing with:
– Wait for the ideal time to charge, just because you can get stuck in turns 1, 2, and 3 doesn’t mean you should.
– Take time in deployment to ensure:
1) that you’re buses are angled in such a way that charges can be completed without taking unnecessary difficult terrain tests
2) that there is space for your characters to join units and that unit champions are placed in such a way as to deny the enemy as many attacks / combat res as possible
– Identify a threat hierarchy within your opponent’s army and systematically target the appropriate threats. In some instances, this may mean targeting all of their cheap chaff/throw away units and ignoring their combat threats / big VP [victory point] units to ensure that your buses can get into favorable combats late game.
Tips for playing against:
… I think I might get a few more tournaments in before revealing these!”
I’d like to thank Sam for sharing his thoughts and also congratulate to him for taking the top spot.
With that, another tournament has come and gone. Much enjoyment was had and I can’t recommend Face Off enough to all Warhammer Fantasy players out there.
I think I’ve had enough time spent with the dwarfs and will sit them on the shelf for the time being. I might continue on with another of the many unfinished armies that I’ve got sitting in the cupboard… that Night Goblin squig army looks mighty tempting. 😉
Until next time, may your wizards never get sucked into the warp.