Monday, 27 February 2012

The Dark Side

So it happened. I gave in. Defected. I turned my coat. I've started playing *sniff* Warhammer Fantasy. I knew I never should have picked up Island of Blood, the WHFB starter set. But after hearing that MooCon 3: This time it's Fantasy, would provide an easy way to enter the hobby I caved and bought it. I'm a big fan of using tournaments to get into wargaming, those 5 games teach you more in a short period then a month of normal playing. My ever first full game of 40k was game one of Warpcon 2009. It got me hooked. I was looking to MooCon 3 to do the same. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the tournament in the end and shoved Island of Blood back in the press.
My press, where hobbies go to die.
Then King of the Gnoblars was approaching and I realised there was another WHFB tournament that ticked all of my boxes. Well, all one of my boxes in that I don't have to sacrifice playing 40k to attend. So instead of borrowing a complete army I decided I could make the majority of one myself. After trading the Skaven in my Island of Blood for the High Elves in Rob "Prod Rob Gleasure" Gleasure's box set I had about 60ish GW high elf miniatures. Also seeing as SWG have been playing King's of War and even holding tournaments down in Skibb I also have a significant amount of Mantic models. Mainly spear-men and archers. With a list of all the models available to me I enlisted the help of Nigel "Glassy guy" Kavanagh to construct a list. And by help I mean he made my list for me. In fairness to Nigel he did at least try and get some input from me. I'm not sure however, that my repeating "Level Four, 2+ Ward save, FULL COMMAND" was entirely helpful.
I also want them to have deep-strike and outflank.

One thing of note for King of the Gnoblars, run by the aforementioned Prod Rob, is that it is using an incredibly interesting system of composition restriction. My view of comp in Fantasy, as a 40k player, has always been akin to "Oh, that's a very nice model you've spent lots of time converting and painting. Oh, you want to play with it? Of course. LOL. I was kidding, that's too good. You're not allowed bring it." Rob's system works differently. Allowing to bring anything your army book allows but penalising your end round score by what you bring.

Systemised Criteria for Army List Evaluation (SCALE).

- Each army list's score is worked out as per the details below
- Armies start at 0, each 'nasty' adds 1 to the score (to a maximum of 5), each 'nice' deducts 1 from the score (to a minumum of 0). Some 'nice' and 'nasty' details are especially important to army balance, so they add or deduct 2, 3, or 4. Where this is the case they have this number in parentheses after them, e.g. Teclis (4).
- After each game, the standard 20-0 score is calculated as per the rulespack. The players then compare army scores and the result is adjusted by the difference in army scores, e.g. Player A beats Player B 12-8. Player A's army has a score of 4 and Player B's army has a score of 2. The difference (4 minus 2) is 2 in favour of Player B, so player B adds 2 to his score and Player A subtracts 2. Thus, the result of the game is a 10-10 draw.
- An army can have any score but the adjustment is always capped at 5

Edited to make more sense as an excerpt.

So every army book(codex) has a specific list of "Nasty" things and "Nice" things. As well as there being a general list concerning all armies.
Numbers and MATHS

Talking to Rob he explained the reasoning behind it all. He's not exactly trying to penalise the units he thinks are good or give people extra points for bringing units recognised to be useless. It's more about trying to wean people away from the recognised "tournament builds" There are basically 4 different things you can do with a comp system like this.
1. Bring your regular tournament build that you bring to every tournament and just use that armies SCALE score
2. Bring whatever you've always wanted to because things like double rare and special characters are no longer banned(as a 40k player I'm going to use the name of the only broken special character I know. TECLIS)
3. Max out on what's recognised as being broken. Hydras, Pegasus Lords, Teclis again and take the massive SCALE score that comes with it.
4. What has come to be known as Stealth Cheese. Bringing units no one ever brings combined with units known to work so that it all works out to a low SCALE score (0 or 1).
Hi, I'm Teclis. I know ALL THE SPELLS.

So anyway, for people who know about Fantasy here's my list:

High Elves [0]:
Level 4, life, 4+ ward, scroll
BSB, GW, armour of caledor
Level 2, shadow, jewel of the dusk, seerstaff [pit of shades, mindrazor]
28 sea guard, shields, FC, flaming
30 spears, shields, FC
20 swordmasters, FC

5 reavers 
5 reavers
28 white lions, FC


Pew pew...... magic?
The two squads of reavers which are not considered a great unit give me a nice point which cancels out the nasty point for taking 28 white lions. >15 white lions in a unit is a nasty point.

It was with this list that I played my first ever game of Fantasy last Thursday. Stephen "Deathstrike to the Face" McCarthy from WAC, who can't make it to KotG, played me with his Chaos Warriors. Steve was also nice enough to let me play with pieces of card cut out in the rough size of a unit with "White lions" and "LSG" written on them, what a gent. We were playing the number 2 mission from KotG which will from know on be known as "Fantasy Spearhead with Corner Grab" which involved getting extra VPS for having units in the corner. His list was [I think]:

Daemon Prince with Tzeencth
2 x sorcerers with tzeentch
These heavy cavalry guys.
A bunch of guys with frenzy
Chaos Warriors
A giant thing. 
Fighting for Equality. And also because of their unending blood lust.
Steve got very unlucky here, failing a lot of what seemed like sure-fire charges. Also I got Mindrazor off. A lot. Coupled with how silly "Always strikes first" is as a rule and how stupidly good white lions are. I ended up winning the game. The reavers were great in this game because they a very fast, have swift reform and ran off to grab corners to get me 500 extra VPs in the end.

Couple of things I learned from playing this game.
1. You do not want to roll a 6 and a 1 for your magic.
2. White Lions win at everything
3. Mind Razor makes everything better.
4. Giants do no like repeater bolt throwers when I keep rolling 5s and 6s.
5. Random charges are random. Very much so.
6. I know that eagles are meant to fly in front of people and block them, I just don't know how to do that.
7. My guys, no matter how much they know the Daemon prince is next to them, will not turn to charge him. Noobs.

So basically, I'm very much looking forward to the weekend. The drinking mainly, but also trying out this new system. At the very least I will know a little more about fantasy when I'm shouting "NERD" at the top of my voice at the various conventions I'm going to attend in the future.

- Eoin

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