Shroud of the Reaper - Tournament Report
After a couple of false starts over the years I finally made it to an event hosted by Bexley Reapers. chucking my freshly painted Ogre pirate units into the car I set off for 4 games of Kings of War accompanied by access to a slightly insane event only Special Character in the form of Davy Jones.
If you want an expert assessment of the lists on offer look no further than one provided by Troll Cast here.
I took the usual mix of an infantry block in the form of two siege breakers supported by a pair of warlocks and some boomers to help manage the back field and clear chaff. These also had the insurance policy of a blaster to hide behind them. Then a bunch of hard hitting things that could operate on their own, provide a threat and generally look for flanks or just go and die.
Accompanying this rat tag bunch of pirates and to fit in with the theme of the Davy Jones and pirates I took a regiment of pirate scarecrows and a shade represented by an animated figurehead. Yes they are allies but I had a lot of joy painting them so who cares.
I usually take a bully in place of one of the warlocks but the special character you were permitted pretty much did the job of the bully and meant I could swap in for some lovely additional Lightning Bolt and Drain Life.
Jock had had this type argument before with Beefheart. The rowdy lieutenant was always keen on the wilder side of life and had unearthed a chest from the latest raid that looked more than suspect. Thick with seaweed and encrusted with limpets and other detritus it looked like it had been at the bottom of a cess pit for centuries. Far easier pickings had been gathered full of doubloons and rich silks that would fetch a tidy sum on the black market.
"Look Dovon, we don't need it. We've got more than enough stuff, chuck that grim lookin' box back in the drink where it belongs. There's summit messed up about it that don't feel right. we've got enough already to have the life we want and there's plenty more out there. For once just have an ounce of sense and leave it be"
Donvon resented the Captain and his authority. Granted, he'd led them to more booty than they had seen in years. Yes, he had secured a crackin' ship from those knife eared scum. Admittedly, he swollen the crew to a point where they feared no one. BUT what has he really ever done for us? Begrudgingly he picked up the strong box and strolled towards the edge of the deck. Jock nodded curtly in his direction and returned to his cabin.
Muttering to himself Dovon looked again at the worn brass fastenings and hinges. It really wouldn't take much effort to just prize them open for a quick look. No harm at all really a suddenly naggingly awkward voice in his ear remarked. A quick look around confirmed no one was in sight.
"OK, a quick shot at openen' it and if nothin' comes of it I'll haul it over the side. What's the worst that can 'appen?"
The gleaming cutlass slid easily between the aged hasp and staple. A faint shower of rusty fell about the deck as he put his weight into the make shift lever. With a dull click the fastening was sprung and the remains of it fell limply to the deck. with a sudden air of caution the intrigued lieutenant bent over the lid and gingerly began to lift it. As the light flooded in to reveal the content there was no glint of silver or gleam of precious gem, the more he pulled back the cover the quicker he yanked. Eventually he threw back the brass clad oak to reveal a paltry amount of golden sand with the remains of what looked like a long lost sailor.
After rummaging briefly to check there was nothing of value Dovon agitatedly slammed the box shut, lugged it to the gunwales and thrust it unceremonially into the dark sea below. He sloped off to the mess to find Hagrath, Karg and the others.
The waves bubbled at first. An onlooker would presume this was just the air escaping as the chest slipped beneath the surface. Soon a more vigorous bubbling occurred, turning eventually to a violent broiling cacophony. Suddenly a great column of water erupted carrying a figure out of the depths to land upon the deck of the Skinned Elf. As it came to rest, the ethereal remains of dead sailors and a ghostly figurehead from a long forgotten wreck flanked the hulking brute.
Davy Jones grinned and shook the seawater from his tentacled beard."
Game 1. Smoke and Mirrors - Dave's Goblins
First up were goblins with a mixed bag of spears, trolls fleabags. a slasher and some artillery. I placed all my objectives to the left of the board. It was quite congested with scenery and the plan was to bring my better Unit strength per footprint to bear and stop the goblin hordes gumming it up. My fast and throw away stuff was to the right with a meaty centre of siege breakers and Boomers. Dave actually ended up with a thinnish centre of some fleabags with all his goblins hanging out on the right and the trolls and some spears on the left.
I had no idea where those devious goblins had put their tokens. I had stuck all my bluff ones on the right and my strength on the left. I hoped to punch through the trolls and just run about the goblins while grinding up the centre.
The game went largely to plan with me have Kuzlo and Davy Jones hopping all over the place around the less mobile goblins using Cloak of Death and setting up flanks. This was all a distraction for both of us as it turned out as Dave had put all his tokens on the left too!
The centre ground slowly up taking incoming fire from all the artillery. My shade had been meant to shut this down but ended up in a shin kicking contest with a mounted biggit wielding the crystal pendant. The trolls proved much harder to crack on the left than I had anticipated and I ended up losing the trade off. A last chance of the blaster heading in to clear them off the token only managed a single wound. My infantry finally made it through the hail of missiles up the centre and sat on a couple of the objectives. It ended up being very tight with a couple of lucky rolls either way in the middle meaning I'd have lost. You can find Dave's view of events Here
Final Score Goblins 2 - 3 Ogres
Game 2. Plunder Rusty's Abyssal Dwarves
Rusty had a wall of Golems backed up by mortars with the expected inspiring infantry characters to herd them in the right direction. he also gambled heavily and put all the objectives he placed on one side which I then won the roll off for. The board was one of the Joker ones for the event with a winding river covering most of it. This neutralised a lot of my speed and hitting power but I deployed all my infantry again in the centre. Rusty did the same and had two mortars off on the left and one on the right. My Davy Jones deployed to run off and punch the mortar on the right with my warlord and dogs to fight the ones on the left.
The battle went largely as predicted. I raced to silence the guns while having to sacrifice my faster stuff. The goblins and warlord managed this by T3 after some wavers on the way in. Davy Jones fluffed spectacularly though managing to fail to rout on T2 and then getting a double 1 on T3. This allows him to be chased down by some Golems. In the centre the shells kept falling but the pirates couldn't do much more so tried to punch through but again fell foul of some low nerve rolls and eventually lost the trade off. My shade spent the whole game pretty much wavered due to me forgetting about throwing dogs and the Ironcaster's lightning bolt when she should have been helping out with mortars.
The warlock batter kept up a relentless barrage of Lightning at one of the Greater Golems who was plodding into my half of the board. helped out by Kuzlo I stood a chance of breaking him by the end but failed, having needed an average nerve roll.
Turn 6 I was 3-2 up but the mortar that Davy Jones failed to kill ironically was the one doing the haunting and landed a shell on my warlock on a token and T7 meant it was a draw. In the end I don't think I could have done much more. The game went to plan with me trying to split up the golems and force them to hunt units all over the board. I barely killed a unit and the mortars had such power to just reach out and pick of units that not neutralising all of them was an issue. As always a great game against Rusty and the striking paint jobs made the battle a lovely spectacle.
Final Score Abyssal Dwarves 2 - 2 Ogres
Game 3. Pillage Steve's Varangur
Steve had some pretty hefty hammers backed up by a shooting battery that worried me just as much as Rusty in the form of some magus conclaves and a Lightning Bolt heavy caster. The tokens spread across the middle meant that the 2 pointers ended up separated, this was pretty even for both of us as with the armies we had they were both based around density of attacks and smashing through things. Steve deployed with a hammer and support on each wing and a one in the centre with all the shooting battery off to one side. I put Kuzlo and Davy Jones on my right, all the lads in the centre and the chariots and wolves on the left with the scarecrows behind them to wander up and grab tokens.
Kuzlo and my reaper tag teamed the frost fangs and foxes on the right using the stack of cloak of Death and Kuzlo combined with the Crystal Pendant. This left Kuzlo free to scoot across the centre and pick up a couple of tokens.
On the left my Scouts chaffed the hurscals allowing the chariots and warlord to take out the ghouls and then the elite northerners. Meanwhile the Chimera had redeployed to take out the scarecrows with shooting, a unit of foxes had shot down the middle to nab a token and were running like heck for the corner of the board out of the way. There was a serious amount of firepower back and forth between warlocks and conclaves. My warlocks pressured Steve's frost fangs into coming out of the woods where they launched into the siege breakers who won the trade off. His reaper ran for the centre of my lines but got cut down by my boomers and drain life battery which was good low Defence access to heap my Siege breakers back up.
The chimera dealt with the scarecrows but then got tapped by the warlord, couldn't take him out in return and the chariots came in to save the day flattening the multi headed dragon. My shade had been taking out a conclave a turn reducing the shots coming my way while the siege breakers kept on pushing up the middle. the shade finally ran off at the end of T6 and punched the foxes who had been running away all game, clearly exhausted they were routed and dropped the token.
A T7 allowed my warlord to nip in and take the token from the fallen foxes, kill the remaining caster and despite my best shooting efforts the final Varangur conclave survived. A game that went to plan again with me gambling a bit on the right and it paying off. with Steve splitting his Frostfangs and hurscals I was reasonably confident of trading out against them and my Lightning Bolt 15 kept them honest enough to force them to charge.
Final Score Varangur 0 - 7 Ogres
Game 4. Louis Northern Alliance Control
As with most people it seemed Louis had brought a fair chunk of lightning bolt to deal with the reaper and generally blast stuff, this was backed up by hurscals, horsemen and some blocks of nerve and fox chaff. His hammers stood a fair chance of blowing away my Siege breakers in one and to make it interesting? the game was on another of the joker tables. This consisted of an entire map where the table was difficult with two large islands in the middle and some sand bars. With Louis winning the roll for sides he chose the one with instant access to the hills being the main "non difficult" terrain.
I set up the infantry as usual in the centre slightly biased to the left with my chariots and faster things on the left. Kuzlo hung out on the right to run the gauntlet and try and get into the backfield. The only exception was the blaster who with no shooting on the left tried to hide and claim a sector while I pressed on through the surf. Louis matched up with the bulk of his army spread across the centre and some knights foxes and his reaper on the left facing my faster stuff.
As predicted by the end of Turn one I was facing what felt like an angry bunch of knights stood atop atop the white cliffs of dover while I was wading up the beach. Beautifully thematic but tough to play. I tried to exchange my chaff on the left to get my chariots into play. A double one on his Draugr after my plucky goblins scored a flank tipped this and I ran out of pieces. I let his Davy Jones in over the top to take out my blaster and the situation became a stand off with there not quite being enough units to spread across the sectors to allow one of us to dominate. The centre was hard going. Unable to shoot off the hurscals with Lightning and Boomer fire meant that they along with all the other units frothing at the mouth charged off the hill and slowly took my ogres, unit after unit.
Kuzlo had made a valiant charge using his pathfinder into the backfield but taking 6 points of damage from the Magus on the hill and not regening it Turn 2 meant that he was a sitting duck and got dispatched. If only I had a flier I could use to lock down those casters...
T4 Enter the shade! That amazing moment when you realise you left a model in the box. I instantly put her to work hanging out behind the mounted sons unit and allowing my warlocks to shoot them enough to waver them two consecutive turns which just about slowed down the massacre in the centre. My redeployed warlord teamed up with the remnants to swing the tide a little then turned to sneak into Louis' centre sector to claim it in T6. If there was a turn 7 I would have been toast but for the first time in the event there wasn't.
My Scarecrows out-unitstrengthed (is that a word?) the foxes as the dust settled from the stand off on the left gaining one point, and his horsemen on the hill took another. My centre was held by him but the late demise of his Draugr horde meant he had to commit his other cav who were straddling the to the centre meaning they couldn't capture my side right. My warlord sneaking into the centre meant I took his centre and it played out a draw.
Final Score Varangur 3 - 3 Ogres
Conclusions and other stuff
Was a great day to get gaming and Mark and Grant did a fine job of keeping us safe with the current circumstances. I had four great games against a variety of lists and friendly opponents. I came away with two wins and two draws meaning a 4th place finish. Most of my play went to plan and I felt was only really tripped up by the last table being pretty tough to game on and not killing the mortar against Rusty. I don't think there is a lot I would change on the list except maybe messing about with the artefacts and toying with another bully. The chariots I took were fantastic at being a threat and generally blending through things with their me2. Their H4 is a double edged sword though as it means they can be seen over hills but can see over them themselves. They were great fun to paint though and I am pretty proud of the unit.
The Living Legend Davy Jones did swing things a couple of times and was crazily powerful. Knowing that I got one did change my list building both offensively and defensively against my opponents. The tables were ok but I did feel the three joker tables were a little bit of a challenge in terms of balance. If I had got the hills table rather than the pirate's cove it may have been a different match up. Scenario selection was ok and covered most of the bases to suit most armies.
As the day went on I took fewer and fewer pictures as I got more tired so that's definitely something that I would want to improve!
I picked up Best Army award which was cool and came away with some Rosemary & Co brushes which look nice Sable ones. There were a collection of bits that the Shroud guys supplied too in the form of dice trays, army trays and some objective counters.
Not sure when the next of event gaming is or even if I'll take my ogres as they have been on the go for sometime but we'll see. For full details of the event see here.
More info on the Ogres I used on the Kings of War Form here
I stick most of the stuff I paint up on Instagram here.
Join the conversation on the Kings of War scene if you're in London UK here.