[WotR] - Oak Park store tournament, Aug 2nd, 2009

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[WotR] - Oak Park store tournament, Aug 2nd, 2009

Postby Amdur » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:19 pm

Hello all!

This is just a mini battle-rep for the WotR mini-tourny that we had at the Oak Park GW store this past weekend.

There were four of us in attendance:

Mat – Gondor
Kevin – Elves w/Gondor allies
Stephen – Isengard
Tim – Dwarves w/an Ent

The GW staff at the store had their two tables each divided in two, so that we had effective 4 playing surfaces of 3’ x 4’. It didn’t really give much room for maneuver, but we all went with the flow. Since there were only 4 of us, we were asked to play all our games on one table, to leave the other table open for other players. In the end, the staff decided we’d just all play everyone one time, and go by record after to determine the winner.

My dwarf list:

2 Companies Kazad Guard w/Captain
2 Companies Warriors w/2h weapons w/Captain
2 Companies Warriors w/sword-shield w/Captain
2 Companies Archers
2 Ballistae
1 Ent

Game 1 – Vs. Mat’s Gondor list

Mat’s list (as best as I can remember):

8 Companies Mounted Knights of Minis Tirith (including Boromir and a Captain)
4 Companies of Osgiliath Vets (with a hero of some kind)
3 Companies of Rangers of Gondor (with two heroes of some kind)

This was an interesting game, and by far my worst. This is also the game where I was introduced to Boromir. For those who don’t know – in WotR, Boromir is one bad mo-fo. Combined with a single Fate from the Fates/Fortunes section of the book, he lugs around 6 Might, AND has a pretty easy time renewing his supply! This lets him do wacky things like Duels, Mighty Blow, Epic Strike, etc, all in one round, without breaking a sweat. So what if he burns 4-5 Might in a turn? As long as another friendly hero within 12” has a Might to expend themselves, Boromir recharges!

I learned this on turn one as the knights came trotting across the field, to within striking distance of one of my warbands with a Captain. His Vets sat in the woods on top of the hill that was the objective in his deployment zone (I have to watch the board set-up more closely next time, for sure. ;)

I moved the K-guard on the opposite flank of Boromir (thank goodness), as fast as I could towards those woods. Meanwhile, my archers were in the center with the ballistae, but their only shots were at the Vets in the woods (making them Defense 9!) and the ent was in the wood closest to my side of the board, and near the charging knights.

The first charge phase came, and I declared a heroic charge with my captain in the warrior group right in front of Boromir’s group. As luck would have it, I won the roll-off and was able to charge him and his cav! I thought “whew! I prevented a Cav charge on me (with a massive cav formation)”, but not so fast! – Boromir calls a Heroic duel (which I can not refuse). He then calls Mighty Blow (lowering my Resilience to 1). He then calls Epic Strike (raising his Fight value to 10). So far, he’s spent 4 might and still has 2 left. And… he gets to roll two dice for his duel, and pick the best one (and adding 1 to it for calling the duel in the first place!)!

We rolled the combat, and with his Fight value of 10, he rolled a 6 and 2, giving him a total of 17, vs. my 5 (+5) for a total of 10. I used my last Might to make it an 11 (cause I knew I was dead anyway), and he still got 6 rolls on the duel table. With those rolls (which he spent his last two Might to beef-up), he was able to kill my hero, and 12 guys along with it – effectively wiping out the unit in a single roll – without even having to use my unit’s Defense value. As you can see – this tactic is INCREDIBLY effective against high-Defense units, since it ignores Defense completely!

The ent, just to give me some solace, was able to pummel and kill 1 knight. Woopee. :)

On the following round, Mat used his Fate to restore all the Might to Boromir by burning the 1 Might from the other hero he had in the cav unit, giving Boromir 6 Might again. And, as you guessed, he lined up, rinsed and repeated the same thing against another of my Warrior kinband units. Again, the ent jumped in and was able to kill 2 horses this time, as someone pointed out that I was forgetting to compare Fight values for the ent for the extra dice. DOH!

On the 3rd turn, Boromir launched himself towards my ballista. By now, I could see them with the ballista, and let out a couple of awesome shots that tore through his ranks, killing several more knights. Mat’s sights were set on the ballista, so I was able to bring my 3rd warrior band to bear on his flank, along with the ent again.

Once again, my 3rd warrior unit with a Captain called a heroic charge, and once again I beat Mat on the roll and was able to charge first. And, once again, Boromir mowed through enough troops during the challenge to win the contest, even though I had him flanked and even reared! But, I had saved the ballistae at least!

Meanwhile, the K-guard continued their slow and plodding march toward the objective (filled with angry Osgiliath vets, taking advantage of the protection offered by the defensible terrain). I just had to fail two of my “At the Double” rolls, so it took a bit longer to reach than I had hoped, but thankfully I made it finally to the woods with only a couple shooting casualties. Once the K-guard hit the wood on turn 4, though, they unleashed their fury, and actually won the combat!

This is the point where I made my biggest mistake of the game, and the day as a whole: as I discovered later, by pushing him out of the defensible terrain, I was entitled to occupy the terrain I pushed him out of – but I did not know that at the time. I simply assumed it would come down to the next priority roll to determine who got to go first, and would get to move first into the terrain to claim the objective.

As fate would have it, the following turn (5) was our last turn (due to the time limit), and I lost the roll. And instead of moving his severely depleted Vets back into the wood, he brought out his Ambushers, a 3-company strong formation of Rangers of Gondor. That pretty much sealed the game, as I would have had to been able to inflict 20 casualties in order to wipe him out… but I was hoping that I could at least beat him and dislodge him from the terrain, making it a draw. To add irony to the situation, we fought the last round, and lost the EXACT same number of models, so he retained the objective. And in addition, his Osgiliath vets, separated from the K-guard by the wooded objective, took a random shot at the ent, and rolled two 6’s and killed him with a single arrow!

Important lessons learned:

1) Set-up/terrain. I need to remember a tournament is a tournament, and not a friendly game. “Sure, set-up the terrain wherever you want, put the objective wherever you want – oh sure, pick whatever side you want, no problem,” definitely cost me the game. He set up the objective on a hill, and put a forest on top of that same hill (to benefit his ambushers), AND he picked the side of the table where the objective was in his deployment zone! Someone, please shoot me!

2) Characters/Fates/Fortunes. There are some POWERFUL combos in this game, more than I was aware of. I simply never thought of tactics like this – but that doesn’t mean other people won’t! I must be more careful of that in the future!

3) When confronted with a bad-ass duelist (like Boromir), slow-up such units with units of my own that HAVE NO HERO. If there is no hero to challenge, Boromir (or other such characters like him) just aren’t as nasty. They have to fight like everyone else, and don’t get to ignore Defense values by challenging other heroes to duels. Without a hero to challenge, there’d be no rolls on the duel chart, and no free kills. VERY IMPORTANT.

4) Don’t forget to compare Fight values! This cost my ent several dice in two combats. With such a powerful unit, losing dice severely hampers them!

5) Attackers winning a combat vs. troops in Defensible terrain = follow-up into that terrain! This single move cost me the game, as K-guard in the terrain would have been Defense 9! Mat would have had a fairly difficult time pushing me out of there with STR 3 or 4!

All in all, given the stupidity I displayed during set-up, not knowing that I could follow-up into defensible terrain, and simply not winning the last Priority roll, I still felt that I had ample opportunity to win. If I would have pulled it out, I assume Mat would have regretted not keeping the Boromir's smash-face unit a lot closer to the objective.

Mat was a great player, though, and fun to play with. He didn’t gloat or rub it in as he removed dwarf after dwarf. He was very sporting and made the game very suspenseful. I’d play him again anytime!

Game 2 – Vs. Kevin’s Elf list

Kevin’s list, as well as I can remember it:

6 companies of Elf warriors w/ Stormcaller and Elrond
6 companies of the new Elf Cav
1 Gondor Bolt-thrower

This was a different scenario, where we scored points for killing the opposing general, capturing banners, and scoring points for every 3 companies we destroy.

We also were told to set-up our lines ‘width-wise’, which, given the tiny tables we were on, meant we were starting the game about 18” a part (instead of the 36” we were supposed to have).

This, of course, played RIGHT into my opponent’s hands, who won priority first turn and proceeded to blast my ballista with Nature’s Wrath, wiping both out before I even had a turn. 120 pts in the hole already – and I was thinking to myself, “Isn’t this the reason I avoid 40k much anymore?”. ;)

That was about the high point for Kevin, though, as after that, things just didn’t go too well for him dice-wise. He failed most of his spells with his Stormcaller AND Elrond, and his bolt-thrower I think got a single round of shooting off the entire game!

I focused three of my units (including the ent) on Elrond’s formation. I knew that he had Light of the Valaar (the one that brings dead models back to life, but only to a depleted company that was still on the board), so I knew to beat him, I’d have to wipe entire companies away… which I was able to do when I flanked, fronted, and pounded him with the ent. I eventually just wore him down, and on the last turn, I was able to kill 5 guys on his last company, effectively removing Elrond and the Stormcaller.

On my left, a single unit of dwarf warriors took care of the cav – essentially, I was able to call a heroic charge with them and was able to reach them, as they got just a hair too close to me. Being cav, and being charged, REALLY stinks! That same dwarven unit proceeded past the doomed cav and crashed into the bolt-thrower, killing all 3 crew immediately.

In the end, I tabled Kevin, and felt bad doing it – I hate tabling or being tabled myself. I much prefer a closer game – win or lose.

In the end, I had more than enough VP to claim a victory, to even my record at 1-1.

Like Mat, Kevin was a fun and fair opponent. I figured out quickly why he wanted to set-up our armies starting so close (so he could nuke the ballistae before they even fired a single shot!), but in the end, that also helped my slower army reach his lines all the quicker! Still, Kevin took the loss very well, and was a gentlemen during the entire game!

Important lessons learned:

1) Magic can be VERY POWERFUL. There are few spells that are flashy or as destructive as I remember from WHFB, but the spells that are there, when used wisely and supported by some decent Focus rolls, can be very beneficial!

2) Getting the jump on cav is very, very important! If I can burn a Might to have a chance to charge first and prevent a cav unit from charging – I will likely do this from now on – especially if my opponent has brought them too close to me to resist the urge to do so!

3) Read spell descriptions carefully! At first, Kevin tried to do a spell that would have allowed Elrond to bring a bunch of cav back to life after I killed a good number of them. However, at the last moment, we looked and the spell was limited to his OWN formation. I sighed with relief, as it would have returned a company and a half of cav back to the fray!

Game 3 – vs. Stephen’s Isengard

Finally! Orc scum to kill!!! My dwarves were cheering when they finally limped into this game!

Stephen’s list (as best as I can remember):

8 companies of Warg Riders
2 companies of Orc scouts
2 companies of Orc scouts
2 companies of Uruk-hai
1 company of Crossbowmen
Isengard Troll

This scenario was the one where we roll each turn for each formation to see which side of the board it arrives on… and if it arrives at all!

I was immediately given a gift in that ALL of my formations arrived on turn 1 – I did not roll a 1 or a 2 for ANY of my formations!

Meanwhile, Steven failed to bring 2 of his formations on (the uruk-hai and the warg riders), but not only did they both fail to come on turn 1, they also failed to come on turn 2! In the end, this would hurt him the most.

On turn 2, when what we had on the board could finally come to grips with their foe, I actually on priority for once and charged his Troll with my ent AND my K-guard. As predicted, this teaming-up was able to down the troll – but only through the luck of the “Hard to Kill!” table! With the troll’s Resilience, I was only able to inflict two rolls on the table – the first roll adding two wound markers onto the troll, and second roll being high enough (with those two wound markers) to kill him! Whew!

Meanwhile, my archer unit had its best shot of the day, and brought his crossbow unit down to 5 models! Just 1 away from breaking! The following round, Stephen took a chance and popped Saruman into the unit for some Epic Restoration action – which was a pretty huge risk, but he was able to bring the unit back up to full. But luck was with me, and as I fired again at the same unit, I DID manage to kill 4 guys – destroying the unit AND Saruman along with it!

From there on out, it became a bitter struggle for the Wargs to do much to my warrior unit and K-guard unit teamed up against it, and his uruk-hai who finally came on the board were teamed-up against another of my warrior units plus the ent.

Overall, Stephen’s dice were not kind to him that game. His shooting proved fairly ineffective, and his Wargs did not fight well (especially after being hit in the rear).

After 4 turns, Stephen was down to a single unit of Scouts, who had claimed one of the objectives. I offered to stop the game there, but he insisted on going to the bitter end, and so we did. The foe charged my unit in the woods, and the orc-scum washed off the shields of my dwarves like a tide against the shore, and the battle was over.

Stephen was a joy to play against, even when things went south and then even FARTHER south. He kept the jovial attitude no matter how bad the rolls, and was fun to play with all around!

Stephen’s army was especially cool because EVERYTHING was painted – even all the movement trays!

Lessons learned during the game:

1) That scenario (Maelstrom I think it’s called) is truly chaotic! You are at the mercy of your dice as to where your troops enter (and when!). And based on what you roll, you may not have any opponents… or you could be facing a boat-load of them… or something in between. This scenario forces you to think on your toes!

2) Trolls are nasty. Even with an ent on my side, the Isengard troll was still pretty darned scary!

3) Hitting a unit in the rear is very, very good stuff – as long as you are the one doing the charging! This one attack pretty much cost Stephen his Wargs, but by the time they came on the board, they really were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

At the end of the day, I ended up with a 2-1 record, and second place. Mat won first place after going 3-0. Kevin was third with 1-2, and Stephen sadly went 0-3. Mat was able to select two blisters as a prize, and Kevin was able to select one blister as a prize for Best Sportsman.

I still am kicking myself over the mistakes I made in the first round. I hadn’t competed in a tournament of any kind in several years, and getting back into that mindset from the “let’s play a leisurely game of xxxxxx” mindset is just going to take some adjustment.

I was lucky in that all three opponents were good guys. I didn’t hear a single argument (at least we didn’t have any in the games I was involved in), and I’d be happy to play these guys again anytime.

The GW staff was fairly helpful – but the place was busier than I had seen it usually, so we tried to bother them as little as possible. My only real complaint was that we were forced to play on a single 4x6 – making our games take place effectively on a 4x3, which made for a REALLY tight setting. But, given the limitations of the Oak Park store, it was understandable.

I am definitely looking forward to my next game of WotR AND LotR!!!!!

-Tim S.
Wheels within wheels in a spiral array, a pattern so grand and complex.
Time after time we lose sight of the way, our causes can't see their effects.
Posts: 178
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:01 pm
Location: Oak Park/River Forest, IL

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