Well there haven't been many updates on this of late... I was at work on Mondays so not gaming, and the only painting I was doing was in preparation for the tournament. Given I was planning to surprise a few people with Dark Elves I didn't want to show off my nicely painted Cold One Knights in the weeks approaching the tournament, given several of my potential opponents read this :oP
I managed to paint 15 Cold One Knights (barring the shields, didn't quite get time annoyingly) and 20 spearmen. Still have quite a bit to do, but a lot less than any of my other armies. If I can keep this rhythm up I might be able to paint all my Dark Elf stuff over the next month or so, meaning for the first time in my life I'd have a fully painted army. *revives readers with smelling salts* Some pictures will be posted of the painted models and added to the blog, but right now my phone is playing silly buggers and won't connect to my PC, so I'll have to find the setup CD again - wherever the hell that is...
In the tournament itself I played against Rich first. I'd been thinking of this as my "easy" game, my army is practically designed to beat his. He had a bit of an advantage in that he had the manner he could hide his archers in. I didn't have any missile troops so it wouldn't have done me any good to have his side, but it would have been useful to deny it from him. Rich won this game. Despite taking Teclis down with a flying assassin, and through a miscast and a magic item reducing his other mage to a slolitary spell, I couldn't dominate the magic phase like I expected to (and very convincingly did in every other game.) I just wasn't rolling well enough to get the spells off. My Cold Ones also proved somewhat unreliable. They took 4 wounds from arrows on turn 1. Ok, that'll be 2+ saves then. 2 dead. 3 wounds on turn 2. 2+ saves again. Another 2 dead. Admittedly Richs unpainted Bolt Thrower should have accounted for some but inexplicably failed with every single shot, but that doesn't make you feel much better when they finally get into combat, lose by 1, and fail a break test on Ld9. Sigh. Rich wonthis convincingly.
My next game was against Nige and his assault minded deamons. We both went straight for the throaght, and were in combat on turn 2. In a very bloody battle we pasted the shit out of each other, and it looked like nige may have the upper hand, until my mages started ripping the shit out of his daemonettes. By the end of my turn 5 Nige had 3 flesh hounds locked in combat with my cold ones, and about 5 daemonettes. I stil had some Cold Ones and a unit of corsairs, plus a couple of mages who would have finished off the daemonettes in pretty short order. Nige conceded defeat.
My third game was against Tomb Kings. I made a stonking start against these. By turn 3 I'd killed a unit of skeletons, a bone giant, a unit of skeletal horsemen, a screaming skull catapult, his hierophant (triggering his crumbling tests each turn) and his other liche priest, all for the loss of a single unit of corsairs. By turn 4 the carrion and ushabti and BSB were gone too. But turn 4 is where it all went wrong. His grave guard had a banner that let them reform at the start of every turn. And then charge. His chariots could do something similar. Similar, but not the same. They can't charge. Stu had misread this. When I questioned the ability, he showed me the magic banner and told me it made them just like his chariots, so I took his word for it. Big mistake. Their extra mobility allowed them to rip the heart out of my army. They constantly had the initiative. I know Tomb Kings can be quite quick... they can turn and prepare and then magically charge. But I dominated the magic phase so could prevent such charges. But when he's getting to turn at will, giving his units an effective 360 arc of sight, there was nothing I could do. In two turns he wiped out my three central units, all my mages, and charged down my assassins. With just fleeing Cold Ones left I conceded. It was in discussion after the game with the other players that someone pointed out that this couldn't be done. As it had such a massive game changing effect Dan (as ref) said we should replay the game the following day. Int he end, Stuart couldn't be bothered to (bythe end of the day he was in last place anyway.) and conceded the three points to me.
The first game of day two saw me facing the undead again, this time against Vampire Counts. Cunning use of Shadowblade saw Mannfred cut down in his prime, triggering the crumbling. His blood knights proved massively destructive, seeing off my cold ones. Rich did however fail to follow up, allowing the squad to rally, and turn and see off his skeleton unit. The blood knights did however turn and save his grave guard unit. This unit is legendary for never going down. I got it down to three models. But he bloody well brought it back up to about 10 by the end of the game. Annoying undead - stay bloody down!!! I made a gamble in this game that cost me the chance to take down the grave guard. Each turn my assassin challenged his BSB. The BSB always refused. My assassin would then cut down the front rank of troops, and my spears might throw another wound or two his way. With no reply, I'd win by combat resolution. He'd lose a couple more. Then in his turn he'd usually bring a couple back. Then I gambled. I didn't challenge - instead the assassin did his attacks against the person in base contact - the BSB. Sadly THIS time he didn't get any killing blow (got plenty agains the single wound grave guard mind!) and without those the BSBs strong armour protected him. He got to strike back. My warriors tried as usual, but couldn't wipe the front rank. So they got to fight too. This time the combat resolution was in his favour... and as he outnumbererd me I automatically broke from combat, and was run down. In the end I was in the lead by 422 points... putting me just within the 450 required for a draw. If that gamble had worked... Oh well, these things are not always to be.
My fourth game was against Dan. I got off to a good start killing off his most dangerous combat unit (at least in my opinion, I don't want my feeble elves taking toughness tests with no armour save!) Unfortunately Dan made a slight mistake in his charge repsonse. He only realised this after I'd wiped the unit out. It turned out if he'd responded correctly he'd have had a 50/50 chance of killing my assassin, thus preventing the combat. My opinion was that it's his responsibility to know his own army (something he'd said to Stuart earlier) and we called Rich in as a third party. In the end it was diced off. 4+ he'd get to attack the assassin and potentially replace the unit and mage. less and the combat went ahead as normal. The dice rolled in my favour. This unfortunately set a precedent, with both of us rigourously applying the rules from then on. I'd moved a charging unit but forgotten to roll to rally my other units... "Well if you'd let me have that one..." so they ran for another turn. Annoyingly the following turn one of the units kept running and took my sorceress with it. Likewise when Dan handed the turn over to me without firing his cannon, I confirmed it was definitely my turn then said "So, didn't want to fire that cannon then..." It came to a head with me saying "My sorceress will charge that building... actually scratch that I'll keep her back she can do more damage with spells." To which Dan said "Well you just Declared a charge..." Rich was on my side in this one but we diced it off anyway. This time I lost. The sorceress charged, with her one attack. And ironically won. Chasing the rats out of the building and off the board. It was a very bloody battle. In the end Dan had his annoying cannon left, a ratling gun, a pack of skaven salves and that bloody bell, with about 2 people with it. Dan got the win in the last turn with a well placed cannon shot which killed my general and took my unit of Cold Ones below half strength... well, down to one man really. Damn skaven and their shooting into combat. If it hadn't been for that I'd have been on the losing side of a draw... hell if it hadn't been for that my unit of Cold Ones might have finished off the unit around the bell for some more points. Don't think a win was on the cards though. What killed me in this game was the spell plague. It decmiated my units. Dark Elves are only T3, meaning that spell kills roughly half the unit infected. I do not fair well against Toughness tests (hence the first target of my spells was the unit that makes each model in base contact do a toughness test... I did NOT want to meet them in combat!)
With Rich winning on 15, and Stu last on 0, Rich, Neil, Dan and Me were tied on 7. So it would be 2 more games, with victory points deciding ranking. Neil would play Dan (that'll be Dan getting second place I immediately thought) and me against Rich with his Vampire Counts. This time he did a massive difference. Because you can choose your general at the start of the game, he moved his generalship from Mannfred to the mounted Vampire Lord. I can't hide shadowbalde in cavalry, not tomention that unit being a bloody tough one anyway. So I did the same trick as last time with shadowblade, killing off Manfred (he may not be the general any more but he's still a 475 point hell of a magic user) and this time I supprted it with the flying assassin. This killed off the BSB too. That grave guard unit looked a lot more manageable. The cold ones faced off against the Blood Knights, inviting the charge. He charged. I have always strikes first, so don't really care, though I do lose the str bonus for lances. More importantly, I got his general in range of the ring of hotek. He cast a spell on three dice... 2,3 and 4. Shit. Ok, just fight the combat as normal. The next turn - miscast. Killed 2 of each unit and took a wound off the Vampire Lord. Saw my opening so challenged with my general. Promptly missed with most of my attacks, and he made his ward save against the one that made it. He then sliced my general down (I'd forgotten to unleash his daemon side in my turn, which would have upped him to T5. Which would have meant suffering 2 wounds instead of 4, on 4+ save. Mathhammer says I die. Course, I managed to not make a single save, so even rolling half the dice I'd have lost THAT one...) Then the annoying bit about those blood knights - the blood drinker ability. For every wound the Vampire Lord does, he can put a wound back on himself or his squad. So that healed him and ressed the knights he'd just lost to that miscast. There went my best chance of taking him down. There was a slugfest going on in the centre, which I was ok in as long as I was winning, but sooner or later I'd lose a combat, and then the "auto break from fear causing enemies" kicked in. It also didn't help that one of my Supreme Sorceresses seemed to have a Supreme deathwish this game... she miscast 3 or 4 times I think?!? In the end it was a solid victory for Rich, by a margin of 1300 or so points. Dan won his game, but only by about 1200. Putting Rich in second place.
It was a good fun tournament. I think I'd have done better with my Empire, but I wanted to bring something different to what I normally play. hence why I didn't bother with the dark elves decent shooting aspects, and just went for magic and combat. (And lots of assassins... it was the weekend of long knives at the club...) Yet again though I see my fantasy army do well in the main tournament but then fall apart in a playoff game. Ont he bright side, at least there are no kill points... :oP