Pete's Cancon 2007 report

My list:

Alexei von Carstein – Vampire Count
Great weapon
Level 2 wizard
Ring of the Night
Cursed Book
Wolf Form

Zlad von Carstein - Vampire Thrall
Battle Standard
Sword of Might
Flayed Hauberk

Abel Yemenov - Necromancer
Level 2 wizard
Book of Arkhan
Dispel Scroll

Vargas Raschid- Necromancer
Level 2 wizard
Power Familiar

Bone Legionaries
19 Skeletons
Light armour, shields
Full command group

Dust Legionaries
19 Skeletons
Light armour, shields
Full command group

Legion Militia
16 Zombies
Standard, musician

9 Ghouls

9 Ghouls

Night Stalkers
5 Dire Wolves

Night Prowlers
5 Dire Wolves

Legion Elite
20 Grave Guard
Heavy armour, shields
Full command group
War Banner


Game 1 - Slaanesh Beastmen

I thought this might go ok. There were a lot of ambushing Beastherds and Hounds, which I figured my Ghouls could deal with. There were a couple of Bray-Shamen, but due to the character points limits they hadn’t managed to bring along any dispel scrolls. I picked Atrocity as the scenario, and ended up having to wipe out the menacing-looking Bestigor led by the Beastlord. They had the Rapturous Standard, which I thought might make things a bit sticky....

Things started off pretty well, with the Grave Guard flanking and running down some Minotaurs (thanks to some sacrificial Dire Wolves). A Shaggoth ended up worryingly close, but it got held up by the Banshee for long enough to be flanked and chased off by some newly-raised Zombies. The Bestigor didn’t look as happy to be engaging the Skeletons in front of them now that it had both the Vampires in it, but had a go anyway. Unfortunately they were out of range and got charged by the bloodsuckers instead. The Rapturous Standard and the Cursed Book meant that nobody was terribly competent, but the Vampires ended up chasing the Beasts off after a couple of rounds. Things went downhill from there, with the Shaggoth taking 3 turns to chew through a unit of Ghouls before getting chased off by some Skeletons, the Count’s unit chopping up a sizeable Beastherd and another mob of beastmen getting unruly, charging at the Grave Guard and fleeing due to the War Banner.

Result: 20-0. It was looking closer mid-way through, but some unfortunate rolling on my opponent’s part and liberal use of the Book of Arkhan meant that it turned out as a bit of a massacre.

Game 2 – Vampire Counts

This was practically a mirror match. Apart from his Count being a Strigoi and having a Wight Lord instead of a Thrall, the characters were identical, and the lists were creepily similar – he had no Grave Guard, but more dogs and bats. This could have been a pretty interesting game, since Vampires vs Vampires can be a fairly tricky match-up...

....except for the terrain. Literally half the table was covered in forests, including a massive one in the centre (which also had a lake inside it, like some kind of twisted Babushka doll). There were a couple of narrow open paths from side to side. Basically, the game consisted of each army log-jamming around opposing openings and lobbing ineffectual spells at each other. A couple of feebly small support units got toasted, but nothing worth any real points. After getting a bit tired of this halfway through the game, I summoned a new unit of Skeletons, ran both the Vampires into it and pulled an opposing Skeleton regiment to bits. They turned out to only be worth a handful of points, though.

Result: 10-10. Even if I’d lost nothing , I still wouldn’t have killed enough to scrape a minor victory. Curse you, Table 1.

Game 3 – Nurgle Daemons

Nurgle Daemons and Undead don’t mix in any way that the Undead appreciate. Plagueriders are unpleasantly effective against most units in the army, and with an Icon-toting Herald nothing goes anywhere. Having said this, he only had three dispel dice and one Spellbreaker, so I was hopeful of doing pretty well in the magic phase. I used the Treasure scenario and my opponent used Meeting Engagement.

Things went ok at first. The Plagueriders got held off by diverting units for a bit, though they eventually slimed into the front of my Grave Guard and some Skeletons led by the Thrall. In the middle, my Vampire Count engaged in a duel to the death with the Herald, eventually killing him. This wasn’t good for the Daemons, as they were now in vague danger of exploding when they lost combat. Unfortunately, the Exalted Daemon leading the army decided to fix things himself by flapping into the combat, rolling like a fiend and killing the Vampire outright. This was the beginning of the end – not only did things start falling apart very quickly, but without the Count stabbing things the combat in the centre was over rather quickly. The Grave Guard got ground down, as anything that could potentially have come to save them was either about to be dismembered or already in pieces, and the Thrall’s unit rapidly went the same way. The pair of Necromancers cowering in a Zombie unit tried to get out of the way, but were never going to make it in time. Given that all I was going to have left at the end of turn 6 was a Banshee who’d been lurking in a corner all game, at this point we agreed to call it a massacre and wandered off to watch some other games.

Result: 0-20. Not exactly a great result, but it was still an interesting game. Up until the heroics by the Exalted Daemon, things could have gone either way.

Game 4 – Ogres

Ogres can be a bit of a worry for Undead. They cause Fear, have some exceedingly choppy characters and actually get to hit on 3s for once. The army I was up against had a couple of large Bull units, some Ironguts led by a Tyrant, some Yehtees and a Scraplauncher. There were a couple of Butchers, so there was a bit of magic around, but no Gorgers, which was a large plus. I played Kill the General in this game.

Things went pretty straightforwardly at first. The Count’s unit stormed forwards towards the Tyrant’s unit, aiming to get the extra points. A storm of Gazes of Nagash fried the Giant, making one flank a lot more secure. Sleazy Dire Wolves blocked the massive line of Bulls advancing on one flank, while the Grave Guard held the other flank. The Count and his unit Vanhels’d into the Tyrant’s Bulls and beat them off in a couple of rounds, thanks mainly to the Cursed Book and an inspired performance by the Vampire and Skeletons. The Ogres got away, but were run down by the Count sprinting 18”. The Grave Guard saw off a unit of Yehtees, but then wound up in a losing combat against a Bull unit. Luckily the indomitable unit standard bearer survived to beat them, thanks to a flank charge from some Skeletons. The Banshee held up the Scraplauncher long enough to scream it to death, and the Bulls on the other flank finally made it past the walls of Dire Wolves only to get charged by some Ghouls and the Thrall. Unfortunately the Ghouls and Thrall managed to inflict a massive three wounds between them and took seven in return, which was just enough to crumble the Thrall and make the Ghouls run.

Result: 17-3. A good game against a great opponent, and I couldn’t really complain about the result.

Game 5 – Dwarves

This looked like it could be ok. There was a monster Hammerer unit led by the Dwarf Lord loaded with scary runes, some Longbeards led by a battle standard bearer and some Warriors containing a Thane with a big axe. Some Thunderers, an Organ Gun and a Cannon added shootiness, and a Gyrocopter rounded out the list. I used Spy in the Camp, which ended up moving a Cannon into a marginally different position.

I immediately gave up on ever doing anything to the Hammerers and sent a unit of Skeletons at them. After a few Invocations it was around 40-strong and looking sufficiently tar-pit-esque. Both the Vampires jumped into the other Skeleton unit and barrelled towards the Longbeards, while the Grave Guard strolled towards the Warriors while getting shot up a bit by the cannon. The Hammerers started to pulverise the Skeletons they were fighting, which, once you counted the constant stream of Invocations directed at them, looked fated to go on for a while. The Vampires chopped up the Longbeards and ran them down, but the Grave Guard didn’t fare as well against the Warriors due to the Thane of pain. They eventually all crumbled, but by this point the Vampires had turned around and avenged them with a vengeance. The Dire Wolves and Ghouls had managed to munch through the artillery and Thunderers (aided by the Banshee managing to shriek five of them to death, which was a pretty good effort against Ld9). The Skeletons fighting the Hammerers eventually crumbled on the tail end of turn 6, but they’d done their duty.

Result: 17-3. The Grave Guard and Skeletons had to be sacrificed for the greater good, but I wasn’t touching that Hammerer block with anything short of an entire unit of Vampires led by Nagash. (Slightly cowardly, I know, but oh well).

Game 6 – Vampire Counts

Another near-mirror match – almost identical character setups and only slight variations on support units. The terrain was also actually going to make results other than a draw possible, which was a plus. I played Mist, which might have concealed things a bit.

Things started pretty cautiously, with a few Invocations here and there, but eventually the main blocks got into combat and everything became very messy. Both Vampire Counts had the Cursed Book and both of them were in range of each other (as well as half the unit fighting), so everything had trouble hitting anything. Both sides’ Necromancers went ballistic with Invocation of Nehek, resulting in massive pile-ups of newly-summoned units and combats that took a very long time to go anywhere. Our support units pretty much mutually annihilated each other, leaving a lone enemy Banshee floating around with nothing left to kill.

In the end, I managed to force his Necromancers into a unit by threatening them with raised Zombies, which led to them being assassinated by Ghouls and Grave Guard. That, combined with what the other stuff I’d managed to kill and the fact that all my main units managed to not give up any points, meant I actually came out a lot better than I expected.

Result: 17-3. Certainly surprising, but definitely welcome, considering I’d been hoping for a draw at best halfway through.

Game 7 – Orcs and Goblins

I thought this one could go ok. Orcs are reasonably vulnerable to psychology and don't have too many things that could completely stuff up my advance. It was a very balanced army with a large variety (and large number) of supporting units. There was a potentially unpleasant Giant to be dealt with, but the Banshee-Thrall tag-team was on red alert and primed to go. I used I Just Want To Fight, though this was sort of wasted since my opponent used Bring it On.

Unfortunately, the Curse of Table 1 struck again, this time in the form of a giant snaking river that went across the whole table and had no crossing points. Slightly annoying, since I managed to get no attack spells and my ranged attacks were limited to an 8” Banshee scream. This was basically a repeat of game 2 – we both threw a few rocks/bolts/spells around, a few support units bit the dust, but no significant points came out of it. About the most exciting thing that happened was a Shaman frying himself with a miscast.

Result: 10-10. The only winner here was the damn river, which was probably cackling madly to itself while stopping anything decisive happening.

Game 8 – Wood Elves

From experience, Wood Elves can be unpleasant for Vampires. Treemen basically won't go anywhere if there's a battle standard in range, Wild Riders, Treekin, Dryads and Wardancers chainsaw through anything up to (and often including) Grave Guard and the Strength 4 archery can be quite unpleasant. There was no Treeman in this list, which was a pleasant change, but there were a fair few fast units, including a decent-sized mob of Wardancers led by an exceedingly lethal Highborn. I used Bring it On here, while my opponent used Meeting Engagement.

I used my standard deployment against Wood Elves, which is to say I semi-cowered in a corner and did my best not to expose anything remotely similar to a flank. I was lucky enough to roll up just about the perfect set of spells (three Invocations, two Gazes of Nagash and a Vanhels), which I attempted to fry anything I could see with. Thanks to some less than amazing casting rolls and a miscast, that didn't go brilliantly at first, though I did zap a few Dryads, Glade Riders and Waywatchers towards the end of the game. Both our armies were pretty much deployed in opposite corners of the board, so much of the game involved us manoeuvring to actually face each other (Vanhels sped this up a bit).

By the middle of the game, things were actually getting into HtH. The Grave Guard managed to charge some Treekin and beat them, though they took a lot of damage in the process. Closer to my table edge, some Wild Riders and the murderous Wardancers were barrelling towards the back of my lines, worryingly aimed straight at the unit of Zombies containing both my Necromancers. Thankfully some Ghouls and Dire Wolves managed to hold them off for long enough to summon a small legion of corpses into the unit, and although they laid into the Zombies' flank in a fiendishly brutal manner, there were enough walking corpses around to shield the Necromancers from a messy encounter with the walking blenders. The four remaining Grave Guard managed to scare off a unit of Glade Guard, while the Vampire lobbed spells at anything he could see. A speedy unit of Skeletons managed to make it into combat with some Dryads on the last turn, which scraped just enough points for a minor victory.

Result: 13-7. Not a huge one, but given how cautiously we both deployed, it was nice to get something other than a draw.

Overall, I believe I came something like equal 7th on battle points out of 50-something players, which I was more than happy with. I had a good time, and it was a well-run tournament with a great atmosphere. Only a few more places to go for next time...

( categories: )