GT Report (or How To Do Well and Look Good in a Cloak)

As promised to a few people, here's a write-up of how I went at the Melbourne GT. Sorry it's the length of a small novel...



Alexei von Carstein's Dread Legion

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 – 20 Skeletons
Light armour, shields
Full command group

Dust Legionaries – 19 Skeletons
Light armour, shields
Full command group

Legion Militia - 10 Zombies
Standard, musician

Flesh-Eaters - 9 Ghouls

Corpse-Eaters - 9 Ghouls

Night Stalkers - 5 Dire Wolves

Legion Elite – 25 Grave Guard
Heavy armour, shields
Full command group
War Banner

Night Gliders – 5 Fell Bats

A fairly standard Vampire Counts list that's heavy on infantry, overall. The Count, the Necromancers and the Power Familiar add up to a respectable 9 power dice and a strong magic phase. The Count and the Thrall are both good fighters, with the Count's Cursed Book making any nearby units a lot harder to hurt. The Skeletons are basic line units that have a good save in close combat and won't break (duh), while the Zombies give the Necromancers a place to fall back to. The Ghouls, Dire Wolves and Fell Bats are handy support units, and the Grave Guard are a pretty tough infantry unit capable of taking on a lot of stuff (Killing Blow can come in handy, too

Game 1: Dwarves – Hi Ho, Hi Ho

Yan Zhi Lai

The short bearded ones had a pretty balanced army – one unit each of Warriors, Longbeards and Hammerers, with a few Quarrellers, Slayers, bolt throwers, Miners, a Gyrocopter and an organ gun on the side. The Dwarf Lord looked like a pretty tough nut to crack, or at least he would be while he was lurking in his mallet-toting bodyguard.

Things started off well as the Fell Bats devoured a bolt thrower and the Grave Guard Vanhels'd into the flank of the Warriors and a Runesmith, just managing to run them down. The two Skeleton units and the Vampires advanced fairly cautiously up the centre, as the Slayers were looking menacing on their flank. The Longbeards led by the Dwarf BSB turned around and chopped up what was left of the Grave Guard (who by this time had been pummelled with bolts, quarrels and hails of hot lead. The Gyrocopter circled the Skeletons and Zombies, spraying the Necromancers with its steam gun but failing to hurt them. Some Ghouls charged the Slayers in the flank, failed to do anything, broke and panicked the other Ghoul unit, causing both to run off the table.

Near the end of the game both the Vampires were trying to get into combat, but the Dwarves were having none of it and kept fleeing out of range (immovable as the mountains, bah). On the last turn, though, some magical trickery got the better of the Longbeards. A small unit of summoned Zombies magically flanked the Longbeards, which the Skeletons with both Vampires charged the last bolt thrower. After shredding most of the crew, they pursued into the Longbeards behind it, did unpleasant things to them and ran them off the table.

Overall, a good game against a good opponent. Things went well for me, with the last turn tipping it over into a solid victory. Off to a decent start...

Result: Solid victory (9-2)

Game 2: Bretonnians – The Charge of the Heavy Brigade

Andrew Goodman

At least a good third of the Round Table turned up here, with four angry Bretonnian characters waving various spiky things at me. These guys were rolling with a couple of decent-sized lances of Knights of the Realm, alongside a smaller unit of Grail Knights and some Knights Errant. Various unhygienic peasants were lurking around the edges, including a bunch manning a very big stone thrower. This game used a modified scoring system where you got less tournament points for just slaughtering things, but bonus points for capturing enemy standards, keeping your own and getting yours into the enemy deployment zone.

One of the large lances and the two smaller ones started off by thundering down the centre of the table, toward the Skeletons, while the other large one set off down the flank toward the Grave Guard. The undead sort of shuffled around uncomfortably, raising extra Skeletons, while the Vampire Count flitted back and forth between his Skeletons and the Grave Guard (probably just to impress the crowd with his turn-into-a-wolf party trick). Eventually he decided to stick with the Skeletons and concentrate on magic, summoning extra Skeletons and annoying various lances with summoned Zombies. One of his Necromantic minions managed to Danse the other Skeleton unit into the Grail Knights, but they shrugged off the (fairly feeble) impact and started sending bones all over the place. This did open up the Damsel they were gallantly protecting up to being eaten by Ghouls, however, and they rushed in for a spot of light lunch.

The lance of Realm Knights opposite the Grave Guard decided to get things over with and charged in, accompanied by the Bretonnian Lord (who charged out from behind some intervening Zombies). Unfortunately some indifferent rolling and the toughness of the Grave Guard meant they took few casualties, and a surviving Wight managed to unhorse the Lord with a lucky killing blow. The Knights fled back through a forest, getting stuck for the rest of the game. In the centre, a combination of the Cursed Book and some eerily convenient pursuit moves meant the Vampires and their Skeleton unit got to charge both the Knights Errant and the other unit of Knights of the Realm, beating both of them. The Trebuchet tried to get off a parting shot on the last turn but only managed to misfire and blow up.

Another good game and a good opponent. Bretonnians seem to sometimes have a bit of a hard time against undead, especially when they don't have a lot of magic defence, but Andrew didn't let that faze him. After counting up the banners, I'd achieved all three objectives and he'd got two, so we both got bonus points.

Final result: Minor victory (5+3 bonus – 3+2 bonus)

Game 3: Empire – Open Fire, All Weapons

Rob Juratowich

Some living Imperial troops to counterbalance my undead ones. They had the firepower advantage (i.e. they had some firepower), but I had spookier troops and snazzier cloaks. Quite a balanced Empire army here – a couple of large infantry blocks with detachments, a pair of Knight units lead by a Grand Master and a Warrior Priest, some Pistoliers, some Flagellants, a pair of cannons and a Steam Tank.

The Empire forces deployed widely, covering pretty much the whole table edge. I decided to try and focus on one side, so I deployed opposite the Steam tank and cannons. Things started with the Steam Tank thundering forward and some flanking Skeletons moving out to intercept it. They managed to get the drop on the tank and hold it in place, while the Fell Bats went straight for the artillery. The Grand Master and his Knightly comrades charges into the Skeletons led by both Vampires, but didn't do too much damage and fled after a couple of rounds. The bloodsuckers charged along after them, trying to chase them off the table, while the Grave Guard shielded their flank.

On the other side of the table, the Pistoliers, more Knights and some state troops were being held up by a unit of Ghouls that nobody seemed to want to charge (quite a lot of failed Fear tests). The Fell Bats made it to the cannons and started eating the crew, while the Grand Master rallied his unit and lined up for a flank charge on the Vampires' Skeleton unit. Unfortunately the unit of Handgunners that would have diverted the Skeletons failed a Fear test and fled, leaving the Count and company to have another go at the Empire general. They bravely held on for another few rounds, but eventually broke and fled off the table. The Halberdiers that would have relieved them were held off by various summoned Zombies that were hard to get rid of due to failed Fear tests (seeing a pattern here?)

The Steam Tank looked all set to finish crushing the Skeletons holding it up, but it managed to overload and do nothing instead. This gave the lurking Necromancers time to top the Skeletons up, meaning that one survived to end of the game. More magical trickery meant that the Grave Guard were able to magically charge the other Knight unit, breaking them and the Warrior Priest.

Rob had about the worst luck I've seen in living memory – I honestly think passed about two or three Fear tests during the whole game, and he was taking a lot of them. About the only things that worked well were the cannons' artillery dice, but even that didn't help much since the cannonballs themselves managed to bounce off Fell Bats. Despite all this the game was closer than it looked (only just a solid victory), and he didn't let his luck get him down.

Final result: Solid victory (9-2)

Game 4: Vampire Counts – The Dead Walk Fast

Ben Morrison

Ben's a semi-regular opponent from the club I go to, though I haven't played against his Vampire Counts that much. I was expecting this to be a bit of a nil-all draw. We both had largely infantry-based armies, both of us had a respectable amount of magic to replenish our units and neither of us was exactly going to flee off the table. Ben had an exceedingly choppy Blood Dragon Vampire Lord (who I was determined to keep my considerably squashier Count away from at all costs), a pair of Necromancers (who evidently had impeccable taste in magic items as they were sporting the same stuff as my own wizardly duo), a large unit of Black Knights, a Black Coach, assorted Ghouls and Fell Bats and a massive array of Zombies.

Things started off with Ben rolling up an unholy battery of attack spells, while I got a large stack of Vanhels'. Not that I was unhappy with this, exactly, but nasty magical rear charges tend to do better against things that actually break. We lined up our respective armies of the dead, and I sort of milled around a bit adding to my own units, while the opposing casters started frying my Grave Guard with the Gaze of Nagash. I had some early fun chasing a unit of Ghouls off with a Dansing unit of Skeletons led by the Thrall BSB, but after the enemy Vampire Lord started glowering at him menacingly he backed off.

The sadly depleted Grave Guard decided to at least go down fighting and marched toward the Black Knights led by the Vampire Lord, who duly charged and shredded them all horribly. In a fit of extreme cunning I'd managed to put my Vampire-led Skeletons back far enough that they were out of range to counter-charge the Knights, which was excellent work. At this point I was willing to get charged by the Black Knights and hope for the best, so forward the Skeletons went. I did manage to get them into the flank arc of the Knights, so I figured that if I could manage to force through a Vanhels I'd at least have a chance of doing some serious damage before the Vampire Lord showed up for revenge. I was really regretting not taking that third (4th, counting the Book of Arkhan) Vanhels in favour of Hellish Vigour now...

Out went the first Vanhels and I was more than pleasantly surprised to see that it's Irresistible. Most excellent, I thought, as the Vampires strutted into the Knights' flank. I went from surprised to amazed when I get a second Irresistible Force when I cast Hellish Vigour on the Vampires' unit (good choice after all), and from amazed to slightly embarrassed when I got a third Irresistible spell off (on three 6s, no less) to charge a lone Necromancer with my Fell Bats. Certainly hard to complain about that turn's magic phase. The Count and the Thrall managed to slice up five Black Knights between them, which was just enough to crumble the rest of the unit and the Blood Dragon leading them.

With the demise of the Vampire Lord, the opposing undead started disintegrating horribly quickly. The Necromancers were on the way out, so the game was over pretty quickly from there. I certainly did better than I expected in this game, and Ben took an incredibly harsh reversal very well (he gets those sportsmanship scores for a reason!).

Result: Massacre (10-1)

Game 5: Tomb Kings – Un-Live and Let Die

Nick Hoen

Another regular club opponent here – we managed to uphold our tradition of playing against each other in nearly every tournament we both enter. Nick had a pretty all-round Tomb Kings list, with a couple of combat Skeleton blocks, some archers, a pair of Scorpions, a Bone Giant, some Chariots and a Catapult. Character-wise he'd gone down the magical route with a High Liche, a Liche and a pair of Princes for muscle, so I was glad I had a halfway-decent amount of Dispel dice... I deployed fairly defensively on one side of the table, while Nick spread out a bit more.

I got the first turn and sent the Grave Guard ahead at full speed to engage the Skeleton archers (burning out the Book of Arkhan in the process – note to self, use fresh batteries next time). The Count wolf-formed his way up to join them. The Fell Bats flapped into position to charge the Catapult, while the rest of the army shuffled forward a bit. After some matching shuffling from the enemy undead, the Bats jumped on the catapult and devoured one of the crew. unfortunately the Chariots could just see the bats, and so got ready to charge in and splatter them.

Somewhat bizarrely, though, I was saved by the Tomb Scorpions showing up. Both made their 4+ Tunnelling roll, but both misfired. (Cue internal singing and dancing – I hate Tomb Scorpions.) One died in a cave-in, and the other managed to surface but misread the map to Albuquerque and I got to place it. I shoved it in front of the chariots, blocking them from rescuing the catapult. Nick reformed them and tried to magic them in, but my one scroll and some impressively exact dispel rolls held them off (admittedly the High Liche casting one movement Incantation with a 3 on 3d6 helped). The bats savaged what remained of the crew and flapped off into the sunset.

On the far flank, the Grave Guard and the Count had charged the Archers and mopped them up in short order. In the centre, the Bone Giant and a unit of Skeletons led by both Tomb Princes charged a Skeleton unit, smashing it equally quickly. They then turned their attentions to the Zombies containing both Necromancers and the Count, who'd (somewhat rashly) sprinted back down to join them. Both the Bone Giant and the enemy Skeletons magically charged the Zombies, but thanks to the Vampire Count's Cursed Book the impact was severely blunted. Reinforcements for both sides turned up in the form of some Ghouls and a Tomb Scorpion, and the fight went on.

The Thrall and the other unit of Skeletons were too far forward to assist the Zombies, so they went for their opposite number – another enemy Skeleton unit led by the Liches (who were somewhat pinned down by the Fell Bats lurking at the rear). The Bats joined in from behind, managing to scrape together enough unit strength for the rear charge bonus, while the Grave Guard finally showed up to flank the Princes' unit. The Count cut down one of the mummies, passing his Curse test, while the Thrall chopped up the lesser Liche. Things were pretty much downhill for the Tomb Kings from here, with both opposing Skeleton units and all the characters falling victim to combat resolution on the last turn.

The Tomb Kings managed to grab one of the bonus tournament points (by stabbing the Necromancers at the end of the game), while I got all three. I was very happy with how this went, as I've had some bad run-ins with Tomb Kings in the past, and Nick was, as usual, a good opponent.

Result: Massacre (7+3 bonus – 1+1 bonus)

Game 6: Bretonnians – Out for Revenge

Dom Holloway

Evidently the noble Knights of Bretonnia were after me for the defeat I'd inflicted on their countrymen back in round two. Dom had a fairly similar army to Andrew – less characters and Knight units, but more peasants. Topping the threat list was a large and spiky-looking lance of Grail Knights, followed closely by a worryingly duel-happy Bretonnian Lord with more rerolls than all the world's Blood Bowl teams put together.

Things started similarly to the previous game against Bretonnians, with me deploying fairly defensively to one side and the Knights going more central. The Grave Guard started up the flank, but the Knights opposite them were having none of this and changed course to aim for the centre. A squadron of sleazy Mounted Yeomen had great fun getting in their way for the next few turn, keeping them from doing much. On the other flank, a large unit of Knights Errant started trotting toward the flank of my Skeletons, which was a bit of a worry.

The Grail Knights and the Knights of the Realm in the centre came at the Vampires' Skeleton unit full throttle, with some token Dire Wolves and summoned Zombies not really slowing them down a lot. They both crashed into the Skeletons, but thanks to a combination of Vampiric toughness, so-so to hit rolls and the Cursed Book (hideously unpleasant item, I know) meant that they didn't take too much damage. The duellist Lord was equipped with a fiendish magical gauntlet, which meant my Vampire Count was compelled to face him (after the poor old Skeleton Captain was reduced to a fine powder). The Lord caused three wounds, but I managed to roll some 5+s and save two of them. The effort must have exhausted the Bretonnian, as in the next round he failed to even hit the Vampire (no 5+s on 8d6, effectively). Three wounds from the Count's great weapon later and no passed armour or ward saves (grand total of zero 5+s on 14d6) and the Lord became available in kit form. This was too much for both Knight units, who fled with the Skeletons in pursuit. The Thrall charged out of his unit after the Grail Knights, causing them to flee off the table.

The Knights Errant were set to cause all kinds of flanking pain for my Skeleton units, but luckily (for me) they got distracted by a unit of ghouls and charged them instead. They carried on off the table, aiming to come back on behind me, but by this point both Skeleton units were out of combat and aimed right at them. They chose to run over the slightly feeble unit of ten Zombies instead (the Necromancers were hobbling at top speed towards a safe forest), but then overran a massive 4”, leaving their flank exposed to the Vampires. They wisely chose to flee off the table and keep their banners safe. The Mounted Yeomen had finally found more important work and had left the Grave Guard alone, so they magically charged the remaining lance of Knights. They fled, but then rolled horribly for their rally test on the last turn and vanished, leaving me with quite a few victory points.

One more good game against a good opponent, and a nice way to finish things off (for me, anyway). Dom put up with some horrible luck in places and handled the Bretonnian-undead-magic deal (see game 2) very well.

Final result: Solid Victory (9-2)

End Result

I suspected I could be in the running for a place as I'd done pretty well in my games, and after the scores were added up I was pleasantly surprised to find I'd come first! (People must have found me at least tolerable as an opponent, presumably.) I was (obviously) very happy with this – it was the first time I'd placed first in an individual tournament. All my opponents were a pleasure to play against, and the tournament system was a definite improvement over the one used last year. I had a great time at the GT – thanks to the organisers for running it, and I'd definitely like to come back next year.

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