THEY CAN TAKE OUR SHADEGLASS, BUT THEY CAN NEVER TAKE OUR CRITS!
It’s been awhile since I last went to a Grand Clash, 3 months almost. This time I was going to the furthest part of the UK I’ve ever been to; Scotland. The journey would be long (and expensive…) but nothing will stop me attending a Grand Clash in the UK.
With all major tournaments, I spend awhile tinkering my warband and ironing out any kinks. Honestly, my list didn’t need changing since I last ran it at the UK Games Expo in June. All I changed I was the addition of Shining Example, Rebound and A Destiny to Meet. Most of my time was just spent refining my own unique playstyle I developed since coming 24th at the 2nd Warhammer World Grand Clash. But without further ado, here is…DECK LIST PLS!
Objectives (12) (17☆):
#149 Honed Survival Instincts (☆)
#154 Skritch is the Greatest, Yes-yes (☆*)
#234 Advancing Strike (☆*)
#235 Alone in the Darkness (☆☆)
#243 Change of Tactics (☆*)
#257 Escalation (☆☆)
#272 Master of War (☆)
#282 Ploymaster (☆)
#284 Precise Use of Force (☆*)
#291 Superior Tactician (☆☆☆)
#305 Victorious Duel (☆☆*)
#L24 Shining Example (☆)
Power Cards (22):
#159 Musk of Fear
#329 Great Concussion
#331 Hidden Paths
#332 Illusory Fighter
#347 Quick Thinker
#348 Ready for Action
#368 Time Trap
#166 Bodyguard for a Price
#171 Sneaky Stab-Stab
#373 A Destiny to Meet
#376 Awakened Weapon
#384 Deathly Fortitude
#391 Great Strength
#395 Incredible Strength
#410 Shadeglass Dagger
#412 Shadeglass Hammer
#424 Tethered Spirit
There’s far more that I want to talk about with this warband as the deck is only really about half or less of how I play. I wouldn’t call it an aggro deck, more of a board control one. I’ll leave the rest for another article series though 😉
What I will say is that I dropped Supremacy for Shining Example after Jamie Giblin suggested it to me when the Leader Pack came out. He told me objective play is too hard to play currently unless investing heavily in push cards and that while Supremacy does win games, you won’t consistently score it like Shining Example. Scoring just 1 glory consistently is far better than sometimes scoring 3. He was 100% right. If you haven’t, check out his blog again here.
In regards to the Grand Clash, my plan was simple. Just play my Skaven the way I have been for the last few months. As I said earlier, it was all about just refining my gameplay to become super consistent. For a fun little fact, my Skaven haven’t lost a best of 3 since the end of June, although I have lost a game here and there inside best of 3 sets. The last time I lost a set was at the London GT Grand Clash final.
I had ‘predicted’ a path to success with the Grand Clash however. Due to it being 20 people with 4 sets, with Swiss there would only be 1 true undefeated player. Although due to the current pairing system, the highest winner plays the lowest winner and so on. After round 2, the lowest winner would play the highest person not on 3 or 4 wins etc. So basically you could either win all your games to get into the final OR go 2-1 every game to get an “easier” path to the final. Also you could afford losing in round 3 to win in round for and get a final spot as well. I find it just a critique of the pairing system. It should be randomised winners vs winners and so on. I shouldn’t be able to map it out like this.
Regardless, the venue was great and 20 people had registered. A small but still decently sized Clash. My Skaven were ready. Or should I say….Skinks 😉
Beginning the tournament, David and his Steelheart Champions would be my first opponent. There were a lot of them at the event and a few of them were defensive players. Once again it would be trying to figure out which flavour David was running.
Winning deployment, I made sure my opponent had square-on deployment with no back-line starting hexes. With a decent hand, my David allowed me to go first. Lurking Skaven was the only target in range, so I immediately moved him back onto an objective. Now with no one able to charge, the Stormcast started moving towards me. With that I knew what I had to do. Placing Krrk on Guard, he charged up and smacked Obryn back while also scoring Change of Tactics. Obryn healed a single wound with a Healing Potion. Now that he was on 3 wounds, I inspired Skritch. Charging in, the Stormcast died which allowed me to score Precise Use of Force and Advancing strike. At the bottom of phase 1 I had scored Escalation as well as Master of War. I was on a lot of glory.
Phase 2 had Krrk die to a vengeful Brightshield. However Skritch moved in and killed Sevrin, scoring me Victorious Duel. Skritch then swung into Brightshield and wiped her out. The rest of phase 2 and 3 was just spent cycling out cards. It ended with a 17/5 win to me.
Game 2 started with me winning boards again and making a choke point as I now knew my opponent lacked the objectives to do passive keep-away play. Going first, I moved lurking out of range and played up the passive game again. Sevrin and Obryn moved up while Brightshield sat back. Then I charged up with Krrk and attack Obryn. I then charged up with Skritch and missed but brought him back to my edge with Illusory Fighter.
Taking the lead with some minor glory and a Great Concussion to deny objectives, I tooled up Skritch. Biding time again, Krrk hurt Obryn again. He was then cut down by Brightshield after Sevrin failed. Skritch then ended the phase by killing Obryn.
Losing priority, Skritch was in range on the last 2 Stormcast. Brightshield charged in but did no damage. I then upgraded Skritch with Great Strength, played Ready for Action and killed Sevrin which scored Victorious duel and Precise Use of Force. For my first activation, Skritch then hit Brightshield and cleaved her in 2. The last 3 activations were spent cycling cards and I ended with an 18/3 win. A great start to the tournament with a very enjoyable opponent.
It seemed to be Stormcast appreciation day as the Farstriders were my next foes, played by Alister.
Game 1 began with me winning deployment. Sitting back, Farstrider inspired and his warriors moved up. After being put on guard, Krrk took the baiting firing of 2 Stormcast before then falling back. Skritch then charged up and wounded a Farstrider.
Going into Phase 2, with Great Strength Skritch cut down the enemy leader and scored Victorious Duel. Without Farstrider, the last 2 warriors moved in. Hungering Skaven fell to damage 2 boltstorm fire but Skritch was able to kill another Stormcast.
Phase 3 had the last Farstrider fail a charge, only to be slain by Skritch after an activation or 2. Drawing some more ploys, my Hidden Paths was Forceful Denial’d so I was unable to prevent Denial but I did score Ploymaster and ended the game with a 16/4 win.
Game 2 had me playing completely defensively due to my objectives. Skritch charged in early but missed and so was put back to safety with Illusory Fighter. Thankfully I managed to score 2 glory while my opponent had nothing.
The inspired Farstrider took stage at the centre of the board while Skritch was now tooled up with Great Strength and Awakened Weapon. Going first, the Stormcast missed with his pistol but fired again thanks to a ploy, still only doing 1 damage to a clanrat. Alister then played the Farstrider +1 defence card for the next activation. 3 dice was nothing before Skritch! Charging in, he was double crit’d away. Fortunately, I had a back-up plan. I upgraded Skritch with Deathly Fortitude and used Ready for Action. With a crit and a hit, Farstrider was dead again and scored me Victorious Duel and Skritch is the Greatest.
Leaderless again, the Farstriders doubled their resolve but where unable to do any damage thanks to a crit-rolling 6 wound Skritch. My fearless leader cut another Stormcast down with double-crit power. With the last Farstrider killed by a Hungering Skaven with the Shadeglass Dagger, I moved up to properly stop denial and ended with a 12/1 win. Alister’s beautifully painted Farstriders proving no match for my Skaven (Skink) warriors.
Chris would be my 3rd opponent with his Garek’s Reavers. This matchup is always very difficult so I wasn’t too confident going into as I still think Reavers are the best warband in the game currently.
Regardless, winning deployment, I put the boards square on with hardly any forward hexes for the Reavers. With all his damage 2 or 3 fighters deployed at the back, I put Krrk in range and allowed Chris to go first. Targor charged into Krrk and failed. Krrk smacked back and killed him, scoring Precise Use of Force. Buffing up, Skritch went in for the kill and ended Saek.
Phase 2 had me winning priority and Skritch killed Garek in a Victorious Duel. Karsus moved up and killed Krrk. In phase 3 I killed Targor after Karsus ran deeper into my territory but failed to hit. At the end I had managed to take an early lead to win 18/8
Game 2 had me lose deployment. In a worse position, the Reavers quickly closed in to get early kills. Krrk charged into Saek but failed to do any damage. Chris played Blood Offering on Saek and then My Turn, cutting down the 2nd in command. Skritch swung back into Saek and managed to kill him.
Phase 2 had Skritch die from an early charge by an upgraded Karsus with Twist the Knife. With my last 2 rats I did the best I could but only happened to score some minor glory before they were wiped out. Phase 3 was just cycling cards but with nothing to score I just drew cards but played nothing to save stuff for game 3. It ended on a 7/20 loss for me.
Winning deployment in game 3, I once again chose and advantageous setup for myself. Moving back and waiting, the Reavers advanced. With Saek and Karsus moved, Krrk charged in and killed Targor. Inspiring, Krrk tanked a charge from Garek. Skritch then charged up next to Saek. With Incredible Strength Skritch killed Garek and scored Victorious Duel with Skritch is the Greatest. I then played Awakened Weapon and Ready for Action to kill the adjacent Saek. At the bottom of 1 I scored Escalation and Master of war, putting me on 10 glory to 0.
Phase 2 had Karsus being pulled down by Skritch while Arnulf charged in and killed a clanrat. However we was quickly pulled down to his doom. Cycling through cards once again in phase 3, the game ended with a 22/2 win to me. A super tough and very swingy set, played incredibly well by Chris.
Magore’s Fiends played by Paul were my 4th opponents for the day. Going into it, I won deployment and setup the boards diagonally with a tiny chokepoint. With Riptooth deployed at the back, all my fighters were safe from a first phase charge. Still, going first I moved back lurking to safety. The Fiends moved up slowly. Krrk then charged the bald Fiend to which Riptooth Quick Thinker’d into Krrk. I turned attention to the dog, rolling a crit and a hit.
Then Paul did something strange. He played Shardgale, killing Riptooth and giving me a glory. Magore then moved back on to an objective. With my final activation I pushed up Skritch with Sidestep and gave him Awakened Weapon. He charged next to the baldy and attacked Magore. I rolled 2 hits and he rolled a shield. Thanks to Shardgale he was dead and I scored Precise Use of Force and Victorious Duel. I then upgraded Skritch with Deathly Fortitude and attacked the adjacent enemy, killing him too. This combo allowed me to score Escalation and put me up 7 glory.
Phase 2 had the last Khorne warrior kill Krrk before being impaled upon Skritch’s spear. After the familiar cycling of cards, the game ended on a 14/4 win for me.
Winning deployment again, I used the same setup as earlier. This time Paul was more cautious of my tricks. He slowly advanced and then moved Riptooth into my board. Thinking nothing of it, Krrk charged and did 2 damage. He then played My Turn and killed Krrk with Trap to score Advancing Strike. Skritch killed the dog but now I was behind on glory but Skritch had Deathly Fortitude now.
With Skritch sitting back, the bald Fiend charged next to Lurking Skaven, onto an objective and fired Dark Darts at Skritch. I then put Lurking on guard. Passing in the power step, my opponent played Second Wind. I countered with Confusion to swap Lurking onto the objective. He then played Great Concussion to push his warrior back on the objective. Sniffing Supremacy, I played Time Trap and charged Lurking into Magore, doing 1 damage and scoring me Change of Tactics. Magore then killed the rat before falling back. Skritch then charged into the bald Fiend and killed him, stopping Supremacy and Our Only Way Out.
With a decent lead, I ditched Victorious Duel but held onto Superior Tactician. Skritch was damage 5 now but Magore had 3 wounds. Going first, Paul put Deathly Fortitude on him. Doing this had already scored me Escalation now as well as Superior Tactician due to having scored 5 objectives prior and only having 2 upgrades in hand. Skritch charged Magore but crits got in the way. The last Fiend charged and missed while Magore lacked 5 damage needed to kill Skritch. With Hidden Paths I stopped any potential Denial and end the game with a 13/9 win.
A very tough 2nd game that I was able to pull back from the jaws of defeat with a little bit of luck and correct card chucking. Still Paul played and adapted extremely well but Skaven (Skinks) stood triumphant at the end. The Grand Clash final was all that awaited.
Here were the results after all 4 rounds:
It was ground-hog day as my final opponent was Alec with his Reavers. A regular gaming buddy of mine and a repeat of the London GT where we had last faced off in a Grand Clash. This was a 50/50 matchup for me with a top class opponent. It was never going to be easy.
Going into game 1, I won deployment and placement. I played with a diagonal choke point so that only 1 Reaver could get in. Going first, I once again moved Lurking back to safety. Karsus charged in and missed. Illusory Fighter was played to get him to safety. The Reavers moved back whilst Skritch charged into Saek but missed. I then played Illusory Fighter to bring him back and used Hidden Paths to put Hungering Skaven in the corner of Alec’s board. There were no kills but I edged it out with my neutrals.
Phase 2 hard Arnulf charge Hungering, to which I played Quick Thinker to move him to the opposite corner and out of charge range. Saek charged into Krrk but missed. Skritch swung back but Saek was saved by Last Chance. I then played Time Trap and killed Saek to unlock my glory train. With Spectral Wings, Karsus charged in and killed Lurking.
Phase 3 had Karsus beheaded by Skritch. Targor charged into Krrk with Shadeglass Sword but I defended. Krrk hit back and smashed the Reaver apart. Garek then went in and killed Krrk but was then killed by Skritch. Hungering was charged and killed by Arnulf thanks to Spectral Wings, closing out phase 3. Once the blood settled, there was 1 Reaver left alive but the score was 19/7 to me.
Game 2 had me winning the board again but losing fighter placement. This time Karsus charged into Festering and killed him, scoring advancing strike. Saek charged into Krrk with Spectral Wings and missed but was then saved by Illusory Fighter. Bringing back Festering, Skritch then charged Saek but missed. Phase 1 ended with 1 glory for me to 4. I put Deathly Fortitude on Skritch and ditched everything else except for Ready for Action.
Phase 2 had Karsus charge into Skritch and Krrk. Instead of using Quick Thinker to save Krrk, I moved in Lurking Skaven next to Karsus. He then swung against Krrk instead, rolling 2 hits and killing him with Trap. Skritch swung back but Karsus was saved by his newly put on Tethered Spirit and disappeared. Skritch charged into Saek, killing him but once again was saved by Last Chance. I used Illusory Fighter to bring back Skritch onto my edge. I got no kills but we both scored Escalation. I was now 3/8 down but Skritch had Great Strength and A Destiny to Meet. I ditched Superior Tactician but kept Victorious Duel, leaving me with Skritch is the Greatest and Shining Example.
With no one able to kill the other, it was a stand off as the Reavers moved away. I calculated that the only way to come back was with Hidden Paths but I had not drawn it. To make matters worse, I only had 4 cards in the deck left. First Karsus moved back and I drew Awakened Weapon. Then Saek moved back and I drew Sidestep. Garek moved close to the edge onto an objective. This was it. My 3rd activation. I had 2 cards left and 1 of them was Hidden Paths, if I didn’t draw it now the game was lost. I took a deep breath and drew my 3rd card.
With his last activation, Alec drew a card. He passed in the power step. I then played Hidden Paths and placed Skritch next to Garek. With no response, I believed in the heart of the crits and rolled my dice. Skritch rolled a single hit, Garek rolled a shield and died which scored me Victorious Duel as well as Skritch is the Greatest. Passing, Alec played Great Concussion to push apart my Skaven to which I replied with Sidestep to push Festering back next to Hungering. Going to scoring, Alec had nothing. I had prevented any objectives scored to stop a Superior Tactician. I scored Shining Example pushing me to 8 all with my A Destiny to Meet pushing me up 1, ending the game 9/8 to me. I had taken victory from the jaws of defeat!
I had done it after so many months of hardship! Alec was a super tough and gracious opponent. It was a fitting rematch as well as an all London final. In Scotland. Even though I did not want to face him in the final, I was happy Alec was able to claw his way back into the final.
Over the course of 5 rounds I had only conceded a single game while also ending with a glory differential of +94 and 165 glory scored in total. Pretty decent overall. I was disappointed I lost out on best painted to Sepulchral Guard but I think winning a Grand Clash makes up for it haha.
I would definitely recommend going to Tabletop Scotland. It was a great expo and well run. Just look at this for example:
You do not understand the importance of such things at big gaming events. The staff were a blast and knew how to have a laugh. Not only that but Scotland is truly a beautiful place. You should visit even if you have no gaming intentions.
In regards to my win, I’ve finally completed my goal of winning a Grand Clash so now I can shift priorities for the website. Don’t fret however as your Shadespire Ronin will still be going to events. The Team Tournament in October will be my main focus and then the Blood and Glory Clash in November, hopefully with Nightvault out by then.
Most importantly a special thanks goes out to all my Shadepire friends who helped me get where I am today, especially all my London friends (shout out to my club HATE!) and players. None of this would have been possible without them. Crits only go so far.