This past weekend saw the annual GuardCon Event hosted by the Auckland City Guard, which sported a vast number of players over variety of different games.
I attended the 9th Age event, which is my second to last qualifying tournament this year to secure my place at Invitational, and had a blast. It was great to see such interest in the game, with it being the largest T9A tournament in NZ to date.
As far as I am aware, it was also the TO's first time running an event, and its inspirational to see so many new TO's coming through, with both NiCon and Panzershrek earlier in the year being running by competitors who hadn't hosted a tournament before.
I bought out my Beast Herds again, running with the same list that I had taken to a tournament earlier in the year, with the full intention of taking a podium position in a elf heavy tournament. I knew that I was very unlikely to take Best Paint (bringing my streak to an end) with the return of the Master himself, blogger Blame the Dice, but felt that I could land that place in the top three.
So a break down of the games:
Game One (Blame the Dice)
This was the battle of the bloggers, as I grudged Blame the Dice to this match and he readily accepted. And so the Beast Herds took on the Lust Daemons, in what turned out to be quite an interesting battle.
I rushed a flank with monsters and chariots, looking at the Daemon Engine and a small unit of Sirens as easy pickings. Although the I made short work of the Sirens, the Engine turned out to not be as movable as I had first expected, and took two chariots and three monsters to handle (granted, the Engine made some spectaular saves).
Whilst this was happening, my Minotaurs made a long charge bottom of turn one into the main combat brick of Sirens that sported his General, and made very short work of it. To be honest, they took on most of that flank, and met their end after about 6 rounds of combat against his Courtesan (which they managed to get down to two wounds remaining, but wasn't enough even for half points).
My Wildhorns took a triple charge towards the end, as I has mispositioned them, and the Lust Daemons tried to make a comeback (and almost obliterated the unit). However, with some help from the gargoyles, we were able to stand until the end, with the unit surviving the onslaught.
This match was a glorious battle and a load of fun, and was a fantastic way for me to start the tournament, landing me a 16/4 result.
Game Two (A Battle of Grudges)
Game two saw me face off against the player who ended up winning the event, and has taken over the position in NZ as the #1 tournament competitor. He ended the tournament with an outstanding 97/100 possible Battle Points!
There isn't much that I can say about this game, except that I made two mistakes, once in my deployment and the second in going against my plan and better judgement (a plan I had made before even leaving home for the trip). It was a white wash tabling. If I am honest, had I not gone against my plan, I still do not believe I would have won the game, but I may have landed some points on the table as opposed to walking away with 0 points.
Game Three (The TO)
The next game saw me up against the Tournament Organiser and his Saurian Ancients. This match up on paper was probably my most favourable, as it had minimal poison, which is the bane of my army. In saying this, it had two major infantry blocks and an extremely killy lord, so it was still formidable and I did have to be careful with some things I did. However, after being tabled in my previous game, I may have thrown caution to the wind a little, and it paid off. I rushed my army into his, and with so much in his face so fast, there was little he could do to counter it (which is the same with anyone who faces a list that's designed to be in combat by the end of turn one start of turn two). There were some worrying moments, like watching Caimans charge my Gortack, and had they made the 4" charge, would have been able to take my right flank out, however the dice stayed in my favour, and I was able to walk away from this game with a full 20-0, having tabled the lizards. The opponent was definitely an enjoyable guy to play, and I would love to get another game in with him soon, though I think he maybe inclined to bring more poison against me after that match!
Game Four (A Bloodbath)
As we were leaving Saturday, I was informed of my next opponent for the first game of Sunday. I was to take on the Sylvan Elves player I had barely scraped a win against at Panzershrek, and we were to play the same game type and same scenario as we did there. It was the rematch!
This SE player is very skilled, and landed himself 3rd place at GuardCon. He has had a great tournament showing this year, podiuming at the majority of the tournaments he has attended.
After my huge win against the SA in my previous game after playing uber aggressive, I decide to continue with that. My opponent and I deployed on the line, and by the end of turn one, my army was sitting just inches from his combat style SE force. Personally, I believe this is what put him on the back foot.
This game was an absolute bloodbath, with my opponent only having his Shapeshifter lord, his mage and the mage's bunker remaining, whilst I had very little left as well. This was the game where I made a critical error, that ended up costing me 3rd place overall. As opposed to rushing my minotaurs straight over to an objective, I tried to charge with them, which I then failed, and by the time I realised I needed them on the otherside of the board, it was too late. This made my 15/5 victory turn into a 12/8.
This game was the best game I played all weekend, and my opponent is one of the most enjoyable players to game with. I look forward to the next time I see him on the field (maybe Warbanner?).
Game Five (Battle of the Masters)
My final matchup was against another blogger, Elven Glades, who alongside myself is a driving force behind the rankings and invitational tournament for NZ. He bought out his Highborn Elves for the weekend, and this game turned out to be yet another bloodbath.
After chaffing my Minotaurs at the top of the game so that they wandered off onto the other side of the board, my opponents Ancient Dragon, Knights and Phoenix did a solid job of making short work of the rest of my force. With Curse of the Wildwood managing to sneak a few wounds onto the Dragon Lord, my Gortach and Jabberwock made a desperate attempt to finish off the wounded Dragon, but to no avail, with my Jabber being torn to shreds and my Gortach ran away just to become a pincushion. At this stage however, my wayward Minos had returned to the fight, and my opponent threw his Dragon into their flank in a last ditch attempt to save his quickly dying knights. It was here that I had the highlight of my tournament, as I watched a single Mino turn around and slap the Ancient Dragon silly, taking the final two wounds off it.
It was a brilliant game, and a load of fun, and I was able to walk away with a 12/8 victory.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend, and I was very happy winning four out of my five games. I landed myself in 5th place, just a hairbreadth away from 3rd, and my best tournament result yet.
Overall I was happy with the way I played, with only a few errors that cost me, and I feel that I have really grown a strong understand on the synergies and cogs that make both my list and Beast Herds as a whole turn.
At the end of the day, it was my Minotaurs that pulled me through to 5th place, proving at how well they can handle a flank on their own, and in the case of my final game, a whole army apparently.
I am putting away the Herd for this next tournament, as I bring out my Warriors of the Pestilent God to WarBanner (even if they are unpainted/unfinished), and will look and bringing them back out for the Invitational tournament in November, where the top 12 players from across the year battle it out to determine who is NZ's T9A Player of 2016.
Until next time,