Tim Hixon's UK GT Battle Report

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Tim Hixon's UK GT Battle Report

Postby Smeagol » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:16 pm

In a few hours I will be participating in the 2010 LOTR UK GT. This is my first UK GT and I'm expecting to see some serious hard games over the weekend. I've enjoed the company of many ofthe competitors and expect to see some equally fun games as a result. As I have gotten into the habit of prewriting my tournament battle plans as part of my mental preparedness for the games to come as the preface to my battle reports I have penned this rough and ready action plan for the upcoming scenarios. Normally I would be sleeping right now and really should be, but since I’m still up and haven’t starting writing a battle plan synopsis I thought I’d do that now. The UK GT is different from the others I’ve played in as it requires good on evil matchups and therefore I had to prepare two forces instead of one. For me it’s a nice change of pace as the US tournaments are typically single force affairs so you can get some unusual matchups the game wasn’t designed to handle natively.

While I love to play competitive LOTR games I don’t enjoy playing forces that are built solely to be competitive. I enjoy the challenge that playing an underdog force can bring to the table top. Not that I build soft lists, but rather I have a different view of what it takes to be competitive than many of my counter parts. All of us are right of course as there is no one way to build a force that can or will win most if not all of its games. One of the lovely bits about this game actually.

So after months of thinking on forces to play I finally decided on one new force in the form of my Mordor Orcs and one updated older force. This kept my painting time to a manageable level, but the truth be told my first two army choices for my good army proved to be daunting in the painting and modeling requirements (Gondor and Rohan) or proved to be too fragile for me to master (Wood Elves). So in the end I drug out my tried and true Dwarf Rangers and upgraded my generic hero to Balin and added fourteen Iron Guard to beef up my fighting line. My pitifully few play test games showed my dwarven rangers to still be the viable threat they have always been. So I did some touchups and packed them away. My evil was both easier and harder to decide on. As they were my new army for the season I had already started modeling and painting them for the US circuit and their debut proved them to be a formidable force. They are a bit finicky in some areas and that had to be addressed. So I got in as much play testing with them as I could. After each series of disastrous play test games I would find something lacking in the force in the hero department and had the greatest amount of problems with solving these fatal flaws. After a series of disastrous games I finally came up with a combination of heroes that I liked and did some emergency painting to get them finished. The final play test games proved that the new forc3e configuration worked if I was patient with the force. Being an aggressive, devil-may-care player would still lose me games even though the force does lend itself to this style of play.

Good force:
1 Balin
14 Iron Guard
15 Dwarf Rangers with two handed axe
15 Dwarf Rangers with throwing axes
15 Dwarf Rangers with dwarf longbow

Points = 700
Models = 61
Might = 3
Break point 31 dead.

This is a tough elite horde with enough numbers to go head to head against even goblins and orc hordes. It is also one of those sweet spot forces in regards to evil elite forces. The dwarves typically have a higher or the same fight value as their opponents so combats become weighted slightly back to my favour, I have a mediocre defense which is enough to protect my forces from enemy bow fire and blunt any advantages the evil elite player might expect from his Morannon orcs or Uruk-hai. Basically it is an all round pain to face as an evil player. It will however struggle in To Kill a King and Cornered. So I do have to play carefully with it to have any chance at a win.

Evil force:
1 Morannon Orc Captain with shield
1 Orc Captain with shield
1 Orc Captain with orc bow mounted on warg
1 Orc Shaman mounted on warg
1 Orc Warrior with banner
20 Orc Warriors with shield
20 Orc Warriors with spear
20 Orc Trackers mounted on warg

Points = 700
Models = 65
Might = 7
Break Point = 33 dead

A medium sized horde with a large contingent of warg riders. This force has pretty much everything I like in a force. It has at least three maneuver elements, one of which is cavalry, and it has leaders for each maneuver element. The cavalry are all mounted archers which improve their versatility and effectiveness and my fighting line is easily twice as long as anything my opponents will throw out against me. It has some weaknesses. The first being the force is all orcs. I have a low opinion of orcs as I have rarely been defeated by them and so I know how easy they are to destroy. The few times I’ve tried them in the past have all been dismal failures. Unfortunately I got into the idea of modeling a large collection of mounted warg riders and when I was done I had finished twenty one of these figures. After putting in all that (obsessive) effort and time I decided to build a force around them. This put a bit of a crimp in my ability to make them competitive as I would need 40 regular orcs to balance out the 20 bow armed trackers. This in turn leaves me with very few points for heroes which can get kind of tricky to manage.

Scenarios:
Cornered:
Good – This is a tough one for my dwarves as I have just one hero. Luckily I have learned a lesson or two about how to lose this scenario so I know what not to do. I will get to setup second which means I can dictate which direction my opponent is likely to want to go. Typically this means away from my hero and away from my archers. Knowing this means I’ll probably setup my archers into two groups of eight each and place them opposite each other. Balin will go onto any area I think will be easily exploited and thus give that area some flexibility in terms of Heroic Moves. The rest of the models will get dispersed out to create a cordone of throwing axes and hard fighting dwarves. The most important part is to choose my opponent’s opposing force that is either ground based (no flyers) or vulnerable to shooting and throwing weapon attacks. So the Shadowlord will be ignored for any other choice. Basically the idea is to funnel my opponent into a line of dwarves that will collapse into meet them and create a second line to act as both a reserve, but also to act as a safety net in the event I suffer a Herioc Combat that goes against me. The plan is to delay the enemy as long as possible as far from the table edge as possible.

Evil Force – This force is beset with two problems. The first being that I have to split it into two parts and my opponent gets to choose which one they want to fight. The second is that my heroes aren’t the toughest bunch of orcs to walk Middle Earth. To that end I’m looking at splitting my force into an all cavalry force with my Shaman becoming the default target and my infantry which makes my Morannon Orc the target of choice. Either you are shooting at catching and killing a cavalry force (not an easy task in this scenario) or you have to fight an infantry force that is as large as or larger than the Good force attacking it and you have to kill a much tougher model to win the game. Personally I think both options are unpalatable for most Good forces. My basic tactics start in deployment. It’s time to obfuscate my intentions. My shaman will be placed dead center of the table and I will have a circle of wargs at their maximum deployment distance to keep the enemy models as far from him as possible. Then I will weight the force into one direction which should make most opponents think I’m headed in that direction. If they take the bait then I’m well on my way towards a win. After my opponent deploys I reassess my options. I want to avoid heroes if I can and I want to avoid as much archery as I can. I really want to avoid Legolas at all costs. So having done this I go with my obvious plan and advance in the direction I deployed in or I change direction and attack in a direction that gives me the clearest path to victory which away from enemy heroes and banners, but not into a bottle neck. A sacrificial rear guard will be used to slow down pursuit while I slam into the defenders lines with my cavalry. The one flaw to this plan is enemy wizards, but at least the shaman has enough Will to have a decent chance at resisting any such endeavor. Not much to this plan really as it relies on my ability to confuse my opponent about my intentions.

The infantry force deploys in a similar manner and makes its initial dash using the same criteria. Where it gets trickier is in the advance and rear guard. I need to keep enemy cavalry off my hero and especially prevent Heroic Moves from advancing these dangerous models against my targeted hero. Of course Legolas and any accurate archery also need to be voided at all costs.

Ill Met by Moonlight:
Good Force – After a lot of thought I’ve decided that my Good force splits up perfectly into my throwing axe armed models and the rest of my force. So Balin and his throwing axe armed contingent are my initial striking force. This gives me thirty throwing axes of which fifteen f them have two attacks each. I’m going to take losses, but I think I can afford to take more amongst my rangers as the Iron Guard have better combat stats and will cut through my opponent’s line faster. This leaves the archers and two handed dwarves to advance as a reserve force. If I can get into a good position I can then use my ranger archers to pepper my opponent’s reserves as they close on the fighting line and still reinforce with an additional fifteen fighting rangers. Once the game becomes a knife fight I abandon the bows and reinforce my fighting line with another sixteen fighting dwarves. Of course this assumes that things don’t go south on my too fast. If I can I want to take down enemy wraiths as quickly as possible as they have a nasty effect on Balin which I will need if I get broken.

Evil Force – My evil force is in for a world of hurt. I don’t have a natural division for this force in this scenario. My best bet is to put a fighting line of orcs to take the initial charge with an orc captain and then reinforce with the rest of my force while my orcs fall back into my reserves. This will give me the potential to put a lot of close range arrow fire into the attacking enemy force, delay the link up of my opponent’s force long enough for me to get into a stronger position and do some damage with my archer while it’s still deadly. Once things settle in then I treat this as a standard pitched battle and work on trapping models and shutting down my opponent’s archery as much as possible. My Shaman needs to stay alive in this scenario as he’ll help deflect injuries to orcs, but more importantly he provides much needed courage to this otherwise cowardly force.

To Kill a King:
Good Force – Balin is my only hero in this force so I have to keep him out of the front lines and basically fight the battle without him, but at the same time I have to attack in order to have any chance at winning the game. Depending on what my opponent is fielding I may need to keep a strong reserve element to handle rampaging wraiths which will be high on my list of things to stop. Spider Queens will also be high on my list. As this is one of the final four scenarios I expect to be facing the hardest forces and best players in the tournament. I can’t make any mistakes or Balin dies and I lose the game, but I can’t be defensive or I can’t win the game either. So a cautious advance that tries to target the worst threats to my hero and also closes in for the kill on my opponent’s “King”. I will have to be very careful with my movements as I will have no Might support for my front line as I move in to attack, at least not until late in the game when things become safer for Balin to get involved in the fighting.

Evil force – My evil force is more forgiving in this scena rio. My Morannon Orc Captain becomes my King which gves me a reasonably tough and dangerous hero as the target, but I also have three other heroes to support his efforts. My cavalry gives me a threat that can help to dictate how my opponent maneuvers their attack or to just go hunting an isolated and poorly defended enemy “King”. My best results to date have had my entire fighting line hitting the enemy about the same time. The wargs tear into flanks and exploiting gaps while the infantry adds the strength of numbers and creates a shield wall between my opponent and their force. By this time I fully expect to be facing elves which will make the game dicey at best. My shaman needs to stay alive and keep his Fury spell up in order to get any chance of charging the (usually) terror causing elven hero that will be my target. Courage rolls against a two or lower are miserable to rely on.

Domination:
Good Force – This is typically the worst scenario for me as it relies on something I lack, good luck. If I am doing well I need the game to end when I’m still in the lead, but it seldom works that way. My basic plan is to place a security force of two handed axe armed dwarves on my home objective while I send the majority of my force towards the center. The ranger archers will act as a reserve as always, but I have to be careful to avoid the temptation of Volley Fire. Dwarf Rangers are deadliest when they are direct firing so I want them to be near enough to the action to make use of them as I close, but not too far back that they can’t reinforce quickly. The remnants of my two handed dwarves will be sent to claim one of the nearest objectives which should give me a three pronged attack with the archers covering the smaller of the two lead forces.

Evil force – This force has a harder task ahead of it. I will need to leave a security force in my home objective for starters, but I also have to worry about being broken so I may decide to leave an orc captain back to help the troops stay in play once things go badly for me, however I can think of many uses for a captain on the front lines. My attack plan is to lead with my wargs enmass on one flank to intimidate my opponent into redirecting their main assaults or at least give them pause while my infantry advances up the center. If I can engage my opponent away from the objectives then I have a much easier chance of a major win. Again I expect to be facing elves so I have to be able to move into range of my bowmen while keeping out of range of theirs until I can engage and destroy them. The key to my success will be to try and destroy the elves piecemeal without getting broken. Easier to say than do I’m afraid.

No plan survives contact with the enemy, but at last I have some basic strategies to consider as I start my games over the weekend.
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Postby BrentS » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:36 pm

Good luck tomorrow Tim. I'm looking forward to hearing how Day 1 goes.
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Postby Smeagol » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:46 am

Day one: Went to bed at 2:30 AM after writing the battle plan. Wake up at 7:00 AM and got some caffeine. Good start to the day. Need to get my tail in gear or I'll be late for registration. The army arrived intact and my couple of pick up games were won pretty handedly. Apparantly my reputation as a top notch player preceded me. I've got people nervous to play me. I suppose this is a good thing. I also got to talk with Adam and discuss some of the rules things that bug me and have been a bit contentious around here. I'm smarter than I look guys. We might be seeing some FAQ additions because of that conversation.

Well maybe, it could have also been pub talk. :)

Well I'm off to go see about trashing some players on the table. Really looking forward to the event and it appears that I am the only US player this year.
Last edited by Smeagol on Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby BrentS » Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:06 am

Smeagol wrote: I also got to talk with Adam and discuss some of the rules things that bug me and have been a bit contentious around here. I'm smarter than I look guys. We might be seeing some FAQ additions because of that conversation.


I hope we do get some more FAQs.

Good luck again.
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Postby Guardian of Ecthelion » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:07 pm

After reading your prep plans it is no wonder why I never win a GT style tournament. I don't think about everything that much. Maybe I can try to prepare myself for Adepticon this year.

You are certainly prepared for battle now go out there and get it done.
As some luck is iinvolved GOOD LUCK and play solid games.

Chris
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Postby Smeagol » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:50 pm

So far I can't complain about my play or my forces abilites to win scenarios. I am however bvery disappointed in my dice. At the moment I am sitting at 56 points with two draws, a major loss and a major win.

Game one I slaughtered my opponent's force, but I couldn't cause two wound much less three on a Mordor Troll Chieftain despite having him surrounded and trapped most of the game. The game went the length of the clock.

Game two I managed to squeek out of the trap and was within 6" of the table edge, but a mistake (which kept me from being there a turn earlier) and then a loss of Priority meant that I lost that game. I was one die roll from a major victory. If the clock had run out just 3 minutes earlier then I would have pulled off a draw.

Game three I tore up a Galadhrim elf force and broke him without being broken in return. I killed Rumil and Haldir at range, but couldn't take out Legolas. Game clock ran out and Legolas' refusal to lose combat meant I couldn't win the game.

Game three I got an Isengard force. I have never been so happy to see a bunch of uruk-hai across from me. The dwarves tore them up in short order and I manged to destroy them and still remain unbroken, by a margin of six models.

Day two has To Kill a King and Domination as the last two scenarios. We'll see if I can manage to get some wins into my stats,
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Postby Smeagol » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:53 pm

Guardian of Ecthelion wrote:After reading your prep plans it is no wonder why I never win a GT style tournament. I don't think about everything that much. Maybe I can try to prepare myself for Adepticon this year.

You are certainly prepared for battle now go out there and get it done.
As some luck is iinvolved GOOD LUCK and play solid games.

Chris

I probably over analyse the scenarios and how I will win them. Luck however hasn't been on my side. I could of had and probably should have had two major wins instead of a draw and a loss, Still the games were great and the after hours camraderie is outstanding. Adepticon and GitD are the only two events that even came close to the same type of social atmosphere.

If I didn't love the TLA dice so much, I'd probably replace them.
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Postby febber » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:02 pm

Smeagol wrote:So far I can't complain about my play or my forces abilites to win scenarios. I am however bvery disappointed in my dice. At the moment I am sitting at 56 points with two draws, a major loss and a major win.

Game one I slaughtered my opponent's force, but I couldn't cause two wound much less three on a Mordor Troll Chieftain despite having him surrounded and trapped most of the game. The game went the length of the clock.

Game two I managed to squeek out of the trap and was within 6" of the table edge, but a mistake (which kept me from being there a turn earlier) and then a loss of Priority meant that I lost that game. I was one die roll from a major victory. If the clock had run out just 3 minutes earlier then I would have pulled off a draw.

Game three I tore up a Galadhrim elf force and broke him without being broken in return. I killed Rumil and Haldir at range, but couldn't take out Legolas. Game clock ran out and Legolas' refusal to lose combat meant I couldn't win the game.

Game three I got an Isengard force. I have never been so happy to see a bunch of uruk-hai across from me. The dwarves tore them up in short order and I manged to destroy them and still remain unbroken, by a margin of six models.

Day two has To Kill a King and Domination as the last two scenarios. We'll see if I can manage to get some wins into my stats,


One of the advantages of a slow start in this tournament is that you can make up ground fast. You will be playing against weaker opponents tomorrow due to your poor dice and you can make a good run.

Two years ago I played the last 5 games in the top 9 boards. The competition was tough and while I did well at 2-1-2, people with half my skill finished ahead of me because they chewed people up in the middle of the table.
All-time LOTR Grand/National Tournament Record: 92-18-45 (W-L-D), 63 major victories
21 awards in 35 events inc. 5x Best Overall; 2x 2nd Overall (w/o Best General); 9x Best General
2007 National Circuit Champion
2008 National Circuit Champion
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Postby Smeagol » Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:36 pm

You are well remembered by the veterans. I came over here almost "infamous" and so far haven't embarrassed myself considering I brought over some relatively tame forces. One of the bragging rights that LOTRChampion was making earlier today is that he has a higher score than me. Like that's hard considering what he's playing and the scenarios.

If I could afford it again I would definitely come back next year.
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Postby BostonNazgul » Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:32 pm

he running hobbit star wars and mordor star wars missle defense forces?
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Postby BrentS » Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:57 pm

Sounds like a respectable showing for Day 1. Its very difficult to make up for poor dice but it sounds like you did as much as you could all things considered.

Hopefully you'll have better luck tomorrow!

Did you get to play against anyone that you "knew" from TLA?
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Postby Guardian of Ecthelion » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:19 pm

Very good Tim,

Well wishes tomorrow. I look forward to to reading the detailed battle reports.
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Postby Smeagol » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:39 am

BostonNazgul wrote:he running hobbit star wars and mordor star wars missle defense forces?

To be honest I don't know what half the players are using. Too big of a playing field and I don't know most of them by face and name. Though most of them know me by sight.
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Postby Smeagol » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:43 am

BrentS wrote:Sounds like a respectable showing for Day 1. Its very difficult to make up for poor dice but it sounds like you did as much as you could all things considered.

Hopefully you'll have better luck tomorrow!

Did you get to play against anyone that you "knew" from TLA?

Not yet. I'm in the cheap seats and have been for the first half of the tournament. The tournament is probably a lot more fun as a result as I'm not stressed over the need to perform and my opponents are in it for the fun and love of the game. Top tables are too stressful to really enjoy the game as it's intended to be played.. I've already heard of gamesmanship issues from other players, but haven't ecxperienced it myself. Though I did try to Volley Fire in Ill Met by Moonlight. How quickly I forgot that I was stuck playing that scenario. Fruedian slip up? :)
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Postby Gartl » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:43 am

Well you had better not lose any games today or you will screw up my prediction! And we certainly can't have that!!!
It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. - Boromir FOTR
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