On to day two and I was riding pretty high! I’d been up very late the night before and got up very early to finish painting, so I crashed out shortly after an evening meal and returned to my hotel room. It was certainly a different experience playing Sunday games without a hangover!
Game Four – Jon Quayle (Empire of Dust)
I’ve faced Jon once before with his gorgeously painted Empire of Dust and knew that he played a very tight game with a lot of surge shenanigans. I was very pleasantly surprised reading his list not to find an Undead Dragon lurking in it (I actually assumed there was one and it took him to point out he didn’t have one for me to realise..!). Still, Jon caught me out on movement a few times in our past game so I had to be on top form!
The scenario was Raze – destroying objectives on the other half of the board while trying to hold a tie breaker in the centre.
On to the bullet points:
- A hill on the left hand flank played merry havoc where our battlegroups (my knights vs his mummies and enslaved guardians) couldn’t see each other. Theyally danced around each other all game, not really doing much except grabbing and destroying the objectives on either side of the board.
- Jon lost Paul to a charge from the Plowshares. Damn those guys did some fine work over the weekend!
- Another giant in the centre was lost when it underestimated how much damage a Water Elemental horde could do.
- Again, we settled down for a grind in the centre.
- Hilarity when Jon tried for a long surge into the flank of my Nick FFS Living Legend, needing 9 successes out of 10 and actually achieving it! Only for his priest’s base to be ever so slightly in the way and stopping the surge…
- On the right hand flank, a giant held up the Elohi horde for far longer than it should have!
Coming into turn 6 and all the objectives had been destroyed except for the tie breaker in the centre.
That’s when I did it.
One of the cheesiest, beardiest moves I’ve ever done.
I had a glimmer in my eye when I saw the opportunity and pointed it out. As soon as I’d said it, I regretted it but it was a game winning move. I feel it’s a bit of a rules exploitation and I called an RC member (Mr Chuckles) over to make sure it had been done right.
Jon’s Chariot Pharaoh was 2.5″ away from the centre objective, no other units in scoring range. I charged him with the Adjutant, and then moved the Phoenix directly behind the Adjutant. The Adjutant failed to even hit, as expected, but because the Adjutant couldn’t move back, the Pharaoh was forced to, leaving it 3.5″ away from the central objective and my Phoenix the only scoring unit in range.
I hated myself as soon as I’d done it, but it was obviously the only way for me to win since Jon had a horde of Revenants parked about 5″ away, blocking my Elohi from jumping there (they would have been surged into the rear). I could have just jumped the Phoenix there and grabbed the draw, but once I’d pointed out that the push back was possible… well why wouldn’t you go for the win?
All in all I walked away with the win and 1000 kill points for a total of 16 tournament points, and a ton of self hate. I really don’t like the push-back tactic and hope that the RC address it in an FAQ at some point.
Game Five – Chris Cowburn (Ogres)
I found myself in the number 2 spot going into the final round and was on the top table with a local player, Chris Cowburn. I was quite glad to avoid Adam Padley’s Goblin list!
Chris has a solid playstyle but undervalues his skill at the game.
You can watch our game on the FFS channel (3:23 into the video if the timestamp doesn’t work).
Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot to say on this one. There was a grind on the left with my knights vs his chariots and Jon, there was a grind in the centre of my infantry vs his.
My Elohi did precisely bugger all for the entire game, barring killing a horde of shooters.
There was a moment of miscommunication that I really regret and I think might have cost me all chances at winning the final game.
Chris’s Grokagamok model didn’t physically fit next to an Ogre horde, even though the base did, so he had the model turned 90 degrees to the left. A couple of turns into the game, Chris had umm’d and ahh’d about keeping Grok facing forwards, or turning it to the left as per the model’s physical facing. He decided to keep Grok facing forwards and I either didn’t hear him or forgot him saying that.
In the next turn, my Elohi were in a prime position to jump over the top of his lines and face the flank and rear of his battle line. Either he turned to face me and get rear charged by water elementals, or he charged the water elementals and (assuming they hold) get rear charged by a horde of Elohi. A brilliant position and maybe a game winning one.
Only, the spot that they were to land in was covered by Grok.
If he was facing the way that the model was facing.
I initially moved the Elohi, then realised it was covered by Grok. I checked his charge arc and charge range and… yep. They would be toast. So I moved them elsewhere. Sadly the only position I could safely get to was facing the corner of the board.
The next turn Chris declares a charge against a unit in Grok’s flank.
Ummm, what? He’s facing to the left where my Elohi were going to land?
After going back and forth Chris had actually decided to keep Grok facing forwards, not to the side where the model was physically facing. I could have landed the Elohi behind his lines and they would have been safe.
I asked why Chris didn’t tell me which way Grok was facing when I started measuring charge arc and range from the model’s physical facing and he said that he thought I was up to something that he hadn’t seen. I either didn’t hear or didn’t remember Chris saying that Grok was facing forwards rather than to the side.
I considered asking the judges over to undo what had happened but the game had gone too far and I was worried about coming across as a sore loser/sour grapes – especially on the livestream. I do worry that this post is going to come across as sour grapes, but there’s honestly not much more to write about with this game.
You can see this play out from about 3:59 in the FFS video.
In future I’m going to start bringing spare bases, not just for myself but also for my opponents, if units can’t fit but a blank base will. I personally feel that if your model isn’t facing the right direction (this happens, I don’t think this should stop, I’d hate to see people stop making extravagant bases for fear of causing confusion) then you should take every single opportunity to remind your opponent. If they start measuring any range, any charge arc from the model then you should remind them which way the model is facing in-game, not assume that they are up to something that you haven’t spotted. If your model is facing the wrong way because of physical limitations then you should almost be annoying your opponents by reminding them after every single measurement from that model that it’s physically facing the wrong way.
By the time my Elohi turned around from the corner they were stuck facing, the game was already lost.
I’m not saying that I definitely would have won the game if the Elohi had landed in the spot that I thought Grok was covering, but it would certainly have been a closer one. Chris was very apologetic about the confusion and insisted that he had told me during his turn which way Grok was facing. I just wish my memory and/or hearing was better.
In the end Chris won out with ease, giving me a loss and 830 kill points. I was very gutted to have suffered so badly from miscommunication. Again, I don’t know if I would have won the game (any more than you can know halfway through a game of KoW anyway), but I felt that the game turned against me completely in that moment and I had no way of clawing back.
Awards & Wrap-up
I was absolutely dead chuffed to win the Best Army award. This was THE award to strive for as far as I was concerned. Gaming is a (very nice) bonus. I’ve been on a drive over the past couple of years to really step up my hobby skill and it feels fantastic to have such a great payoff.
Interestingly, going into the last round there was a significant chance that I could walk away with first overall, best general and best army. The FFS guys had the debate on what to do and they agreed that at least one of the trophies would be handed down to the next person. Dan and Paul correctly guessed that I was most bothered about the Best Army award and would gladly hand down the other two, including first overall!
I also placed third overall, despite the pasting in the last game. My gaming rank came to just 7th out of 40, but because of a very high hobby score I jumped all the way up to 3rd for the overall.
On the event itself
The event was great with a fantastic atmosphere. I really enjoy two day events anyway, but to have an event in the UK where hobby is celebrated? Brilliant!
I sometimes feel like I live on the wrong side of the pond for tournaments since I’m strongly of the opinion that there should be hobby scoring in events. Without hobby scoring there’s little incentive for you to pursue greater hobby attainment at these events. If you’re not the absolute best then you get no recognition for the skill of your painting and no incentive to try out new techniques or improve yourself.
I really feel that hobby scores drive that positivity around hobby so it pains me to see a number of UK players complain because one event in the calendar year celebrates the entire hobby, not just gaming. There are so many events in the calendar and just one of them rewards hobby as well as gaming.
Unfortunately I witnessed one of the worsts acts of gross unsporting behaviour at a Kings of War event I’ve seen, when a player decided to start complaining to me about their opponent, while playing their game and with their opponent listening. I told them to shut up and informed the TO’s that I would back up a sporting complaint if their opponent made one. I was shocked to see this happen at a Kings of War event and is one of only a few examples of bad sportsmanship that I’ve ever seen in the KoW tournament scene. I hope it’s the last.
The event was great fun though, despite these misgivings. Tournaments are, as always, a celebration of the entire hobby, much more like a convention than a hardcore competitive arena. I had some great games, hung out with some cool duuudes and the FFS guys are always a blast.
I love the army.
It just didn’t click with me at King in the North. It was too fragile, I didn’t have any anvils, my hammers didn’t hit hard enough…
I love the new list though. Elliot Morrish helped me with it, offering sage advice about a Phoenix, Order of the Redemption and a Heal(7) devoted. I didn’t expect it to click again and was entering the event thinking I’d maybe make mid-table – I certainly never expected to find myself on the top table in the final round!
The Phoenix was fantastic all round. It was great for healing the Elohi and keeping them grinding away much longer than they would have done otherwise. Previously once a decent amount of damage was put onto the Elohi they became fairly useless since they didn’t have the staying power to commit to any situation where they were facing a counter attack. Instead at FFS they were able to commit to many grinds and come through on the other side.
The Devoted was a brilliant addition. As I mentioned above, my army was previously too fragile and any damage that I took stuck around. With units on the cusp of being routed, I was afraid to commit them, but that Heal(7) combined with plentiful Regeneration around brought many units back from the near-grave. Definitely an MVP contender!
My Plowshares more than carried their weight (and given half the models are metal, that is saying something!). Me5 and De3 is… underwhelming. But with CS1, often Bane-Chanted to CS2, they actually made massive dents in the enemy forces. They managed to kill a Paul (giant equivalents), helped bring down an Orc horde and killed a Winged Slasher. The high(ish) nerve meant they were a solid anvil that packed a surprising (and actually a little terrifying) punch.
Order. Of. Redemption.
I didn’t think too much to these guys on paper. They’re expensive. They’ve not got incredible nerve (for their cost). They don’t have any Crushing Strength and Brotherhood struggles to get any in. Two regiments of them though? Tooled up with +1 to hit and Brew of Strength? Absolute beatsticks, and able to grind surprisingly well when backed up with the Devoted.
I’m definitely sticking with this army for the forseeable future!