It’s a new year and a new Grand Clash at Warhammer World!
November was my last Grand Clash at Blood and Glory in December of 2018. It was the second clash I had won but more importantly it was just before the banned and restricted list hit so when Warhammer World put up their event for January I was down in a heartbeat. It was really exciting to see how the game would differ thanks to the ban and restricted list. Due to this, I have stopped playing Spiteclaw’s Swarm.
Some people already had an inkling despite me stubbornly sticking with them for 9 months but the banned and restricted list heavily affected how it work and with good reason. Without going into a long speech, they don’t work how they used to for me.
As you know, I always try to guess the field a bit and aim to play more against expected trends for Grand Clashes. With the popularity of swarm warbands and Stormsire’s Cursebreakers I had decided to go with the Farstriders. Their 3 model count made bleeding glory almost non-existent and with my power card combinations I would threaten every fighter on the board.
The main jist of the list is to kill multiple 2 wound fighters at once or kill a 4 wound fighter in a single power phase. This also allows me to easily score The Bigger They Are. Raptor Strike, Lethal Ward and Encroaching Shadow are just too good. They guarantee me kills. Trap and Pit Trap make it even better. With those 2 ploys and Raptor Strike I can kill a 3 wound fighter as long as I simply hit them. Madness. I have the threat range of Skritch for the entire board.
The Upgrades are just as important. Fighter’s Ferocity and Gloryseeker make Farstrider’s Starfalcon do 4 damage on a crit to a 4 or more wound fighter. Champions Fortitude helps them, especially when inspired while the +2 move universally helps mitigate the negative modifiers of Deathly Fortitude and Sudden Growth. Flashing Handaxe and Well-Timed Lunge are just amazing upgrades with cleave. So useful.
I came up with this around the time of Blood and Glory but only decided to play it 3 weeks ago. My commitment to running all the warbands has been a boon and a curse at the same time. It’s cemented my knowledge with the game and how different warbands work as well as putting my skills to the test.
When I was mainly playing Spiteclaw’s Swarm this was fine as I knew them like the back of my hand. Yet I had left selecting a main warband too late so I had spent the last 3 weeks putting in as much practice as possible. I was even considering Chosen Axes or going back to my Skaven but I decided to stick with the Farstriders and see how well I could do with them.
I’ll try to be a bit more brief in this write-up as I tend to ramble a bit with tournament reports plus I don’t fully remember the boards I chose. As always here is the venerable symbol breakdown box:
I was paired up against James and his Sepulchral guard. He was a lovely chap but fairly new to the game with only 10 matches under his belt.
Game 1 started rather brutally thanks to winning boards with a standard wide configuration. The skeletons moved up while I began withering them down in the power step with Lethal Ward and Raptor Strike. Quickly I scored The Bigger They Are, Ranger Strike and Strong Start from my boltstorm pistols alone.
Phase 2 turned into a further bloodbath as I managed to get the whole warband inspired at the bottom of 1. By phase 3 the Sepulchral Guard had basically been wiped out and I had managed to win 21/2.
Game 3 was a lot closer. Winning the same setup I became too complacent and totally missed that James was on 3 objectives and scored Supremacy at the bottom of 1. Still I was able to get Farstrider and Eagle-Eye inspired.
Now powered up, the two where able to go on an offensive push. By the end of phase 3 there were only 3 skeletons left but Farstrider had taken out a 2 wound Warden (due to Raptor Strike and Encroaching Shadow) with his standard axe to score Victorious Duel. This time the game ended on a close 12/9 win to me.
It was a fun set of games with the second game being far more enjoyable but I noticed I was still making too many mistakes.
Jumping up to the higher tables I was paired against Rob and his Thorns of the Briar Queen. This was my toughest matchup but I had prepared my notes on it and done well in my practice games as well as tooling the Farstriders to dismantle them. In theory anyway.
Game 1 started off with me being quite aggressive, probably too aggressive. My main gameplan against Thorns is to kill the Ever-Hanged then the Briar Queen. Once those 2 are dead, the warband loses all its punch as sending Varclav in usually means they can’t capture objectives.
I managed to keep up in glory but lost Swiftblade in phase 1. I denied Supremacy but my lack of kills in phases 2 and 3 left me behind on glory ending up losing 8/12. This had effectively eliminated me from making the finals thanks to the event being 166 players (more on this later) so now was just focusing on playing cleaner.
Game 2 went much better for me. I killed the Ever-Hanged immediately with a single boltstorm pistol, Trap and Pit Trap scoring me Strong Start too. Phase 2 had the Briar Queen die as well and more score immediate objectives allowed me to take the lead. It was tight but I closed out the game with an 18/14 win.
Game 3 had me win boards with the perfect draws for me. All I had to do was stick with the gameplan. Then for some reason I focused instead on scoring Ranger Strike and Strong Start. Phase 1 had me up 4 glory to zero but I had completely ignored my target priority. Phase 2 had an inspired Briar Queen wipe out 3 of my fighters over 2 activations and with that I had lost. The last phase was spent cycling cards and I ended up with a 5/12 loss.
I had played poorly and been capitalised on by Rob and his strong plays. It was annoying for me (due to all my mistakes) but I wasn’t surprised by the result. I should have sat back and played more defensively but letting go of the Skritch ways is a hard thing to do.
Now relaxed and content with being out of the running for winning, I was paired up with Kev…and his Thorns of the Briar Queen. Thankfully I had gone through my notes over lunch again so I was more than ready.
Game 1 started bloody. I quickly made sure the Ever-Hanged died first while the Queen cautiously sat back from my advances. By phase 2 she was dead and at the end of 3 only a single Chainrasp remained resulting in a 20/10 win.
Game 2 started even more brutally. Phase 1 had me quickly kill the Ever-Hanged and the Briar Queen (Raptor Strike OP). Phase 2 had Varclav die to Farstrider’s damage 4 bird and by the end of the game there were no more ghosts left. This ended with a 15/1 win to me.
It seemed one-sided but I was fresh from stopping the mistakes I made in round 2. Once I stuck to my gameplan, the warband was hyper-efficient, as it reflected in my practice games. Kev was a great opponent but just unlucky to be my post Thorns opponent.
For the final round I was paired against Dan who I had played before at a previous tournament. He was also using Thorns of the Briar Queen. Perhaps this was a message to make sure I have sufficient practice against them.
Once again in game 1 I followed my anti-Thorns tactics. I killed the Ever-Hanged with Trap and Pit Trap to score Strong Start then killed another Chainrasp by weakening it with Raptor Strike to score The Bigger They Are and Ranger Strike.
With the glory and upgrades, phase 2 had inspired Farstrider kill the Briar Queen with another damage 4 Starfalcon to score Victorious Duel. With their leader lost, Varclav charged in but failed to roll any smashes. Farstrider then struck back with his damage 4 Flashing Handaxe to kill the ghost. Phase 3 had me kill even more ghosts to win 23/5.
Game 2 was a strange one. Dan cleverly put back the Ever-Hanged out of being shot from a starting hex and he quickly became inspired which became extremely annoying thanks to his cleave. He died by phase 2 but had wounded half of my warband. He capitalised on this with the Briar Queen but Farstrider was eventually able to put her down via Raptor Strike. Still we had played neck-and-neck resulting in a narrow 11/13 win for Dan.
Game 3 started off with blood on both sides. I was able to kill the Ever-Hanged but not after he had wounded Eagle-Eye. This trade cost me losing him to the Briar Queen but she remained un-inspired while my warband pressed along the right flank to deny objectives and rack up kills.
Phase 2 devolved into a scrum as the Brair Queen once again died to the Starfalcon after being whittled away by Raptor Strike and Lethal Ward to score Victorious Duel. Phase 2 ended with Farstrider surrounded and trapped by 4 chainrasps. Luckily I won priority and used Faneway Crystal to get him to the opposite edge of the board to safety. Now in the lead, I played super defensively to just stall which allowed me to win 16/9.
It was a super tight set of games but, to be honest, we were both just glad for it to be over. This had been a super tiring Grand Clash.
With that the final results were called out. Sadly I missed out on best painted (one day!!!) but I expected to be top 32 via my score and glory difference of +62. Strangely I came 33rd behind my friend who I had a higher score than.
Thinking he probably did better than me, I thought nothing of it. Then the official results were listed on the following Monday. I had been given an extra loss incorrectly so should have been 21st instead. The problem was other players had been given extra losses wrongly too so I’m not exactly sure of my final placement apart from it being in the top 32 out of 166 players.
Does this detract from the event for me? Nah. I had a great time still but I’d be totally understanding of the players who had wrong placings. Overall I had played poorly via lack of practice but once again I was expecting this. 166 players was also…interesting. I love that the tournament pulled so many players in but it doesn’t work for a single day event. Here’s hoping my dream for a 2 day clash with day 1 being 4 to 5 rounds and day 2 having a top 8/16 cut 2nd day tournament (scores wiped) with a side event for players who didn’t make it.
Special mention goes to my friend and teammate David who came 10th with his Eyes of the Nine! Proof practice and experience can trump all. Even with Tzeentch.
The clash has re-invigorated my passion for the tournament scene. It was great seeing the general skill level advance so much along with the increased attendance, even at local tournaments. But remember, check out Warhammer World for their stellar events and venue. I’ll catch you at their next Grand Clash.
BUT WAIT, SUNDAY!
Full of tournament energy I passed upon the luxury of a lie-in to travel down to Firestorm Cards. I had previously won their with Thorns of the Briar Queen. I was going to use Stormsire’s Cursebreakers but decided upon sticking with my Farstriders to get more practice and also to keep this article short. Of course deciding to do this on the train up there meant I had left all my new cards at home.
I was against Alan and his Skaven. It was an interesting match. Turning out to be aggro, I was caught off-guard but took the lead. Confident in my win with Superior Tactician guaranteed surprise keys caused me to lose 15/15 on tie breakers. Losing boards for game 2 I was quickly cut down in phase 2 via crits, punished for being too aggro. It ended 3/10 to Alan. We played a fun 3rd game where I remember how to beat myself but overall it was good learning experience.
This time it was Sam and his Fiends. Game 1 was static at first but brutal. I hung back to score my passives while the Fiends advanced. Starved of glory, I began taking them apart and won 9/2. Game 2 had the Fiends get in early but I was able to fend them off. Thanks to my upgrades I began cleaving the Khorne warriors down to give me a bloodier 12/4 win.
For the last round I was up against Rhyd. We had played before but this time he was using Spiteclaw’s Swarm over the Chosen Axes. Setting up long, the Skaven managed to try to score Supremacy. Yet Farstrider with Spectal Wings put an end to that. Swiftblade with Hidden Paths backed up the advance and the Farstriders pushed forwards to claim a bloody 17/7 win.
Game 2 was a tighter and bloodier affair. It came down to the dial in the 3rd phase but sacrificing Farstrider allowed Swiftblade to run away and score Change of Tactics which secured me Superior Tactician and a 12/9 win. Once again close but very enjoyable games which helped me figure out how to correctly play my Farstriders.
In the end I managed 3rd somehow. It was a surprising result but the TO’s ran a great tournament helped by awesome players. Check out Firestorm Cards if you’re nearby, you’ll just need a packed lunch. I’ll be down for their next event so until next time: crits, crits EVERYWHERE.