Western Smash tournament round-up

Good Day to you all!

I recently attended the annual Warmachine/ Hordes, Warhammer 40k & Warhammer Fantasy tournament, Western Smash, and I’d like to share my experience. Today I’ll be focusing on the WHFB as this is the game in which I was competing.

The details:

Western Smash was run by the folks at D6 Gaming, Melton, Vic,

It was held at the Melton Indoor Sports Stadium, over the Easter weekend.

It was a 2 day tournament with 5 games being played using the standard scenarios from the Warhammer rule book.

Army lists had a 2400 point limit and comp (composition) was set via a panel (1 being hardest – 10 being softest)

 

Righto, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

I decided to take the Dwarfs to this event as I was tired of playing with my Lizardmen all of last year and wanted a change of pace. I didn’t really pay much attention to my army composition and the list is, essentially, just the units that I wanted to play with and try out.

The army consisted of:

A Thane BSB with 1+ armour save and 2+ ward vs Flaming attacks

A Runesmith with 3+ armour save and 5+ward. He also had a spellbreaker rune to auto dispel 1 spell per game.

21 Dwarf Warriors with full command and Great weapons

23 Longbeards with full command, Great weapons and the Runic standard of Slowness (x1)

23 Hammerers with full command

15 Ironbreakers with full command

2 units of 10 Thunderers

10 Irondrakes with a champion equipped with the Trollhammer torpedo (strength 8, D3 wounds)

2 Gyrocopters

1 Organ gun with a ‘+1 to hit’ rune

1 Cannon with a ‘re-roll the misfire die’ rune

My comp came in at 7, so pretty soft.

 

As you can see, it’s a character light, artillery light, armour light army. In combat they can pack a punch, but only if they survive being struck first.

The day after I submitted this list I had an awful feeling of regret. How can this army possibly win anything? It doesn’t have great shooting, it can’t move very fast (Dwarf movement of 3”!), it can’t sustain lengthy combats due to lack of armour saves or ward saves, there’s nothing I can do in the magic phase. “Oh well” I thought, “it’s just a game and it’ll give me first-hand experience of what works and what doesn’t”.

To makes things a bit more entertaining, I decided to dress up as a dwarf for the occasion as well as make a display board fitting the army. The results of my work:

 

 

Dwarfs ready to defend their home!

Dwarfs ready to defend their home… and yes, that’s real chainmail!

 

With a deep sigh and stress levels rising (I always get nervous before every match), my dwarfs were ready to take a beating.

The first game was to be played using the Battleline scenario. A straight forward game to get warmed up. I was matched up against a friend I played quite a few times (in fact we played a practice match using the same armies a fortnight before which ended in a draw).

I knew I was in for a close game against the Tomb Kings as both our armies received a comp score of 7 and I knew my opponent’s tricks well enough.

Included in the Tomb Kings list were:

2 Casket of Souls,

A horde of Tomb Guard with a Prince and Necrotect,

A level 4 Priest on horse sitting with skeleton horsemen,

4 Snake Knights,

A unit of 4 chariots,

2 units of archers,

3 scorpions.

Dice were rolled, charges were failed, dwarfs were bombarded by the Tomb Kings Casket of Souls.

I managed to take 1 casket out with my cannon and pop his snakes + chariots with hammers and gunfire. Other than that, not much to report. I avoided his Tomb Guard horde as best I could and focused my chopper fire on his Heirophant/mage (which died in the last turns of the game).

As predicted, the game was close ending in an 11 – 9 victory to me.

 

The dwarfs ready to take the charge from the silent undead.

The dwarfs ready to take the charge from the silent undead.

 

The second game rolled up as the Blood and Glory scenario vs my Daemons of Chaos opponent.

I wasn’t looking forward to this game. He was running:

2 Bloodletter hordes,

Ambushing Hounds,

A Skullcannon,

BSB on throne,

The Blue Scribes,

A Bloodthirster ,

2 units of Furies.

There wasn’t much I could do in this game. All I managed to take off was his cannon with my own before the hordes of daemons slammed into my infantry. Having very little in the way defence meant it was only a couple of turns before I was wiped out.

A crushing defeat for the poor dwarfs 0 – 20

The last game of the first day finally arrived (wearing chainmail and pauldrons while playing Warhammer with no chairs isn’t ideal).

The scenario was Battle for the Pass, a favourable mission for dwarfs. I was playing against High Elves running:

2 Archer blocks,

A unit of around 20 Swordmasters,

25 or so Phoenix guard,

2 units of silver helms (one containing a character)

A lv4 Life mage,

3 Repeater Bolt throwers.

Feeling pretty confident I just sat back and shot his cavalry as it sped towards my army. Gyrocopters took out a fair chunk of his blocks and the clincher was when my opponents Phoenix guard failed it’s charge against my block of Hammerers. In reply, the Hammerers, Longbeards and Ironbreakers counter charged (breakers in the flank) and took them out over 2 turns.

Hooray for the Dwarfs 20 – 0

After some much needed food and rest, day 2 arrived with the promise of more slaughtered dwarfs.

Game 4: Dawn Attack *groan*

This is not what dwarfs want. With very poor movement, any unlucky rolls of deployment meant they were sitting ducks. Most of my army was crammed in the centre with a warrior block placed way out on the flanks.

My Dark Elf opponent would be fine with his deployment as he could quickly march those elves out of unfavourable positions in a turn or 2.

In his army was:

2 units of Dark Riders,

A unit of Darkshards with a lv 2 Fire Mage,

A unit of Shades,

A small unit of Corsairs,

A large block of Sisters of Slaughter,

A large block of Black guard,

2 Reaper Bolt throwers,

A BSB on Pegasus and a mounted hero.

I didn’t enjoy this game. I was shot off the board and whenever I attempted to charge, my opponent fled. Movement 3 is just so restrictive.

3-17 loss.

 

The Dark Elf army lined up to pepper dwarfs with crossbow bolts.

The Dark Elf army lined up to pepper dwarfs with crossbow bolts.

 

The last game of the tournament and Meeting Engagement would see us through to the end.

This time I was playing against a Wood Elf Army which consisted of:

3 Glade Guard blocks,

2 Treemen,

An Ancient Treeman,

A small unit of Driads,

5 Treekin,

A Hero mounted on Warhawk,

A BSB and a lv 4 Life Mage.

Starting the game with a unit of Thunders and my Longbeards off the board was okay. I wasn’t planning on getting into combat early. I managed to pop his ancient Treeman with shots from organ gun and cannon. My Irondrakes had 3 rounds of shooting at an advancing lone Treeman and were unable to wound once! The Treeman charged a nearby unit of Thunders who decided that they’d had enough of the tournament and failed their Terror test, promptly fleeing off the board. The Treeman successfully re-directed into the Irondrakes. They held out a couple of turns in combat before the Treeman wiped them out and turn to charge the large combat that was unfolding between the Treekin, Treeman, Mounter Hero, Ironbreakers and Hammerers.

All my attacks seemed ineffective and I lost the combat and the game. 0-20

 

The Wood Elf army ready to ground dwarfs into compost.

The Wood Elf army ready to grind dwarfs into compost.

 

After writing all this down, it seemed as though I had a really rough tournament. I can only blame myself and will write a better army list next time. I feel what let me down was a lack of armour on my units.

All my blocks (apart from the small unit of Ironbreakers) only had a 5+ armour save, leaving them very vulnerable to missile fire. Once they were in combat, because of the Great weapons they carried, they received a lot of punishment without any parry saves. The blocks also were not large enough to sustain a prolonged combat. Numbers is what one needs when one is lacking armour.

Gyrocopters for Dwarfs are a must. Not only are they annoying to your opponent, they can take out swathes of Toughness 3 infantry, zip about and re-direct and are quite resilient (Tough 5, 4+ armour, 3 wounds) but they are the most fun unit in the Dwarf army to play. I really do miss the movement bonuses the Anvil of Doom used to bestow on the Dwarf army.

Lessons were learned and fun was had. Although I placed 17th out of 22 competitors, I took home the ‘Best Painted’ trophy!

 

Next month I’ll report back from the large (60 + players) tournament ‘Face off!’ which is being run by a prominent gaming club in Melbourne, the Hampton Games Club. I’m quite excited for this one.

Until then, may the dice rolls be ever in your favour.

-Bensome

Photos courtesy of D6 Gaming.

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