On Saturday I travelled down to Woodmansterne in Surrey to take part in my first ‘Kings of War,’ tournament of 2020. ‘Stane of War,’ was a singles tournament for armies of 1495 pts, 4 games of 45 minutes in 1 day. I believe that particular point’s level was set, as it prevents repetitive selection whilst you select the troops you’ll take, and stops players spamming their army with powerful units. It kind of levels the playing field. I took a while to choose my army, as the ‘Empire of Dust’ has 7 irregular units, and it is tough to make a legal list with the unlocks you need to be effective. I wanted units that would take a charge and plenty of surge to allow me to get a few melee’s of my own started. My final list looked like this:
Ahmunite Pharaoh (Tome of Darkness),
Cursed High Priest (Shroud of the Saint),
Skeleton Spear Horde,
Skeleton Archer Horde,
Enslaved Guardian Regiment (Diadem of Dragonkind),
Enslaved Guardian Archer Regiment,
Desert Swarm Regiment,
This gave me 10 drops and a unit strength of 16.
Game 1: (Dominate)
My first game was against Grant and his ‘Varangur’. This matchup had been due to a challenge by Grant. We had been at several tournaments together and never played each other so as we were allowed to throw down the glove to anyone that was attending, Grant chucked his at my feet and I graciously accepted, even though I knew he would probably kick my butt. My first match at any tournament is never great, as I seem to need it to get me head in the game, and shake off the annoying nerves that dog me despite my mantra of ‘it’s only a game,’ I knew that the ‘Varangur’ had some fast troops and hit hard, so given the scenario I decided to keep my troops in close formation, move slowly toward the centre and deal with whatever came through first. Grants units were on my flanks by turn 2 and of course I broke formation to try and deal with the threat. This opened me up to Grants assault and he proceeded to pulverise my army. My skeletons did give as good as they took at first, but could not cope with the sheer ferocity of the barbarian warriors. Two lessons that I took from this game are as pointed out by Grant, if you have the ability to heal, you need remember to use it. Also if you are going to charge a unit, make sure that you actually have the correct angle, otherwise you might surge past you target, and offer up you flank in the same move.
Game 2: (Raze)
I believe that my opponent in this game was Marcin (but I am not sure). He had an impressive looking ‘Ratkin’ army. This was a tense game for many reasons, and I learned that the ‘Ratkin’ have some cool tricks, ‘Plague pots’, anybody? The main point of the ‘Raze’ scenario is to hold the most objectives by the end of the game. Other than the centre marker, you can start accruing objectives by turn two, so It does favour more speedy armies. However I was determined to do better in this game. It started well when my ‘Enslaved Guardians’ surged into and hammered his ‘Tunnel Runner Regiment.’ This decisive mover lead to me dominating the right flank, however the centre was soon in the hands of the Rats with their ‘Mutant Rat Fiend,’ glaring down upon my skeleton warriors, whilst being supported by a horde of ‘Shock Troops,’ and a ‘Rat Swarm’. I decided to claim my three outer objectives, that had been placed in the Rat’s half of the table, and keep my opponent from his remaining token placed in my half. The battle swung in the balance between the two forces until turn 6 when I rashly charged my ‘Enslaved Guardian Archers’ into his 2nd horde of ‘Shock Troops.’ Tis unit had been guarding the last objective. Although I won that combat, we rolled for a turn 7. My lust for battle had drawn me away, leaving a gap for his Rat Swarm to sneak through and claim his last objective, suddenly, my draw became a 4 – 3 defeat, so close, but no cigar.
Game 3: (Control)
My third opponent was Mick and he was using a ‘Vampiric Undead’ army. Most of his army did not worry me, and I felt we were evenly matched. However his army general was a ‘Vampire’ upon and ‘Zombie Dragon’, and I had no idea how to counter it. Both armies are quite slow as neither can march. As they staggered toward each other I sent my ‘Archer horde’ and ‘Guardian Archers’ to deal with two troops of ‘Wraiths’, I had underestimated the ability of this troop type, and soon the units were locked in a stalemate, that my dice results did nothing to assist. As the game went on, neither side looked certain to claim control of the field, as Mick and I traded units, however on his turn 5, Mick’s troops turned the tide of battle by destroying 4 of my units. I was able to claim the left flank with my remaining units, but it was not enough. I lost the game objective 5 points to 2. I was impress with my ‘Reanimated Behemoth’, which had been able to smash through the enemy lines, and managed to survive a grinding melee against a regiment of ‘Revenant Cavalry,’ and a ‘Mounted Vampire’ (not the dragon riding one), and claimed the top left flank for the ‘Empire of Dust’, without any help from the other units.
Game 4: (Loot)
Similar to the ‘Raze’ scenario, tokens are placed along/near a centre line, and your units need to capture and hold these tokens. The difference in the scenario is that unlike the objective markers, you can pick up and move the Loot tokens around, in order to keep them in your control. My opponent in this game, Elliot, had brought an ‘Elven’, army. He had a good selection of ranged and melee units, but nothing large to worry me. I have already learnt not to underestimate the ‘Elves’, as they are and elite force with excellent shooting and fighting statistics. After the sides were set up and tokens placed, I made my plan of action. My ‘Behemoth’ would take the right flank, with the ‘Revenants’ and ‘Pharaoh’ in support. The centre would be covered by my ‘Monolith’, ‘Archers’ and both regiments of ‘Guardian’. The Swarm’, ‘Spear horde’ and ‘Cursed Priest’ were to take the token on the left. Elves are fast and can march, unlike my shambling skeletal warriors, I had to be ready for them trying to sprint to the tokens pick them up and run before I could reach them. Thank the ancient gods for ‘Surge’, a spell that is a gift to undead armies, and keeps us in the running, so to speak. As the game progressed, my plan to take the right was faltering, not due to any great losses, purely because the ‘Elves’, being more mobile than my troops, kept grabbing the loot. My ‘Swarm’ took the token on the left, were shot and killed by a troop of ‘Elven Gladestalkers’, who claimed the token only to be butchered by my ‘Spear horde’. Once these guys had the token they weren’t letting it go. In the centre, units on both sides had been killed. However the ‘Elves’ had made an early claim on the token and never really looked like losing it. We held 1 loot token each at this point. It all came down to the fight on the right flank. My ‘Behemoth’ was too busy slaughtering Elves to concentrate on the objective, and by turn 3 this was also in the hands of the Elven army, a late surge from the monolith and then the ‘Pharaoh’ had been just enough for the ‘Revenants’ to make contact with the ‘Elves’ holding this coin. After 2 rounds of combat and with support from the ‘Pharaoh’ and ‘Behemoth’ the ‘Revenants’ claimed the objective. Due to time there was to be no round 6. With 2 tokens to 1 and a larger kill score the ‘Empire of Dust,’ finally claimed victory.
Over all this was a really fun day. The tournament, planned and organised by Matt Gee ran really smoothly. The tables looked immaculate and great to play upon. Matt’s brother scored for the event and the results were calculated quickly, so that the event did not drag and you knew your next opponent and table with enough time to tray and move your army and grab a coffee before starting the next game. The opponents were all good gamers and such a fantastic level of painting. Next time Matt plans a tournament, I will definitely try to attend; rumour has it there may be on in August 2020.