Swarming Spirits hits the tournament scene!
Welcome to the second part of special miniseries dedicated to my use of the Thorns of the Briar Queen and the Swarming Spirits deck I created. Checkout part 1 for all the information and tactics with the deck. Today I’ll be going over the use of it at 2 different store tournaments. I had to keep everything secret so that my deck would be a surprise for the Tabletop Scotland Grand Clash, after all I have to keep some stuff hidden at times. Before getting into the details here’s the deck again:
Playstyle: Flex (Aggro, Control, Hold Objective, Magic)
Now there is one more thing I didn’t mention in Part 1, it’s the most important part which I learned from the man Phil Kelly himself. Name those Chainrasps! Let me introduce you to:
Spooky Scary Combat Key:
The first tournament I went to was Warboar Games in Bromley. The last time I had played here I won their store tournament and gained Underworld’s first Organised Play Shadeglass trophy. This was a loooong time ago however. Prior to this I had only done 1 practice game with my deck and had changed it to the final version posted above. It was going to be a trial by fire!
My first opponent would be my friend and regular opponent Rob. He was using Stormsire’s Cursebreakers which is probably the most difficult matchup for my warband. It was gonna be tough. I won boards so Rob placed the Mirror Well which lead me to set the Molten Shardpit wide.
Losing priority I was made to go first and thus used Varclav to push all the Chainrasps up. After 2 more activations of pushes my ghosts were in position. Rob placed an adjacent Stormsire away which was clearly setting up a Cry of Thunder. Instead of splitting up the Chainrasps (as it was my activation next) I used Drifting Advance to push them adjacent to Rastus and Stormsire. Rob still casted Cry of Thunder with a double crit, maiming everyone. He then healed with a nice Vital Surge. The start of my activation scored me Deathly Clutches. I then used Varclav to push the Chainrasps again, trapping Ammis. After my activation I scored Death Sentence, Nowhere to Go and Ganging Up.
Phase 2 had Stormsire attack but he rolled double channel. I reacted with Maddening Cackle to uninspire the wizard while scoring Treacherous Foe. The ghosts then went to work. Ammis died to Heroslayer by being trapped which scored me Precise Use of Force. After this I spaced out the ghosts, losing a few to magic but still scoring me Supremacy, Our Only Way Out (OOWO) and Escalation.
Phase 3 was just dedicated to scoring Keep Them Guessing as killing was no longer necessary. After the required activations game 1 ended in a 19/14 win to me.
Game 2 had me win boards again. Rob placed the Katophrane’s Reliquary so I set the Shattered Tower in wide configuration.
Going first I activated Varclav to push all of my Chainrasps forwards. After moving Ammis onto objective 1 I successfully casted Howling Vortex pushing Ammis off her objective and Rastus into another edge hex close to my fighters. I then played Drifting Advance which pushed Helmet Head and Planky into Rastus. They inspired and scored me Deathly Clutches. He was then charged by the Ever-Hanged who did 2 damage by rolling supports and then scored me Death Sentence and Nowhere to Go. I played an upgraded then scored Ganging Up. Rastus attacked back but missed. Helmet Head swung back rolling a single fury. Rastus failed to roll a crit as he was trapped which then scored me Precise Use of Force. I went on to score Escalation.
At the start of phase 2 Stormsire blasted apart a Chainrasp scoring Measured Strike and Strange Demise whereas I got Martyred in return. I then just pushed the Chainrasps around as all I wanted were the objectives now. He attacked again, missed, reacted with Lightning Assault then I saved a fighter with Last Chance, then reacted with Maddening Cackle and scored Treacherous Foe. With Stormsire now at damage 1 with Fulmiation, I freely moved around the board to score Keep Them Guessing and Supremacy.
Phase 3 had Stormsire die to Headless with Heroslayer. It’s amazing what those Chainrasps can do. Ammis charged after inspiring and managed to kill Headless in return. With no more activations left for Rob I just pushed the Chainrasps around and got the Formless Key, OOWO and Superior Tactician which closed the game out at 22/9 for me.
Next was another friend and regular opponent Dan with his Thundrik’s Profiteers, another rough opponent for my ghosts. Winning boards again Dan placed the Ruptured Seal so I set the Shattered Tower wide.
Going first I pushed up the Chainrasps with Varclav. Lund shot but rolled double fury. I activated Varclav again. This time I pushed Planky and Helmet Head next to Ironhail whereas Headless and the Ever-Hanged went next to Lund. Lund charged backwards at the Ever-Hanged but I rolled a crit to defend. At the start of my 3rd activation the other 2 ghosts inspired and scored me Deathly Clutches. I charged the Ever-Hanged in-between Lund and Ironhail, attacking Lund. I missed but scored Death Sentence by surrounding Ironhail. I then gave Helmet Head Potion of Rage and reacted with Ready for Action, 4 fury meant Ironhail died to score me Precise Use of Force.
For phase 2 Dan was on no objectives scored but I had ditched Nowhere to Go as it seemed unlikely. The Ever-Hanged (who was inspired and had Great Strength) charged Lund and missed but I reacted with Endless Malice and scored Treacherous Foe. I then hit back with 2 smashes and killed Lund. However Thundrik inspired charged back onto objective 2, shooting at Planky. He missed so I played Maddening Cackle to Uninspire him and killing any chance of scoring What Armour? With Thundrik in the corner I played Quick Advance then pushed Planky and Helmet Head next to Thundrik, scoring Ganging Up!
Phase 3 had Dan finally get going but now it was almost too late. Drakkskewer managed to kill a Chainrasp but he was unable to stop the Ever-Hanged murdering Alensen with Tome of Offerings. I closed off game 1 with a 17/5 win.
Game 2 had me win boards. Dan placed the Shattered Refractor so I set the Molten Shardpit wide.
Dan began by firing Ironhail into a Chainrasp but rolled nothing but smashes. I activated Varclav and scored Death Sentence after having 3 ghosts adjacent to Ironhail. Faced with having 3 Chainrasps inspire or the Ever-Hanged inspiring, Dan charged Ironhail away while shooting at my hanged ghost only for me to roll a crit to defend although he did score Calculated Risk. Dan used Seek the Skyvessel to reposition his fighters. I used Drifting Advance to push all the Chainrasps (bar Helmet Head) and then scored Deathly Clutches. Next I had Horseshoe attack and kill Ironhail to score Precise Use of Force. Lund managed to wound a ghost to score What Armour? after 2 activations while I put Varclav on guard and charged with another ghost. At the end I scored Escalation and Keep Them Guessing.
For phase 2 Lund was now alone to the left of objective 2. Going first I pushed all the Chainrasps near him, leaving the only unoccupied hex being the one between the blocked hexes. Thundrik shot through the gap but my crits saved me again. I next played Quick Advance to push up and close the gap which allowed me to score Ganging Up. Dan then passed and I played an upgrade (edit: this was pointed out to be wrong as the FAQ doesn’t include upgrades. I still played gambits after the upgrades so it was fine but it’s good to know) to then score Nowhere to Go. With my swarm objectives scored I was now free to do whatever I want. The Ever-Hanged simply attacked Lund, 2 smash doing 2 damage. Lund shot at a ghost but I was saved by Last Chance and scored Treacherous Foe. Lund was dragged down by ghosts but Drakkskewer charged and killed a Chainrasp while the Ever-Hanged finished off Lund.
Phase 3 was just all about objectives now. After scoring Martyred I began pushing around what little Chainrasps I had left. I lost most of them to the Overlords but still had enough to score OOWO, Supremacy and Superior Tactician with the Formless Key to win 23/11.
It was a John-off for the final round. Once again I’d be against the Profiteers. I finally lost boards so placed the Shattered Refractor while John placed the Shattered Tower in diagonal configuration.
I had Ganging Up, Deathly Clutches and Death Sentence in-hand but no way to score it so I went with setting it up which took all of action phase 1. The Profiteers moved around but crucially Thundrik charged into my Chainrasps and ended beneath the double blocked hexes and near the right edge hex. At the end of 1 I had scored Death Sentence but had Thundrik surrounded by 5 ghosts leaving a single empty hex adjacent to him.
Winning priority my Chainrasps immediately inspired to score Deathly Clutches. I pushed them with Varclav then played Confusion to swap Thundrik into an edge hex. Surrounded and trapped by 3 ghosts scored me Ganging Up. I drew into Nowhere to Go so played an upgrade to score it and cycle again. The Profiteers attacked again but I scored all my swarming stuff so pulled back to claim objectives.
Phase 3 was short for me. Not interested in killing I instead when to ensure my Supremacy. Out of threat range I pushed about, ending with Keep Them Guessing, Supremacy and Superior Tactician to win 13/6.
Game 2 had me lose boards for the second time. I placed the Soul Refractor while John set the Mirror Well in a slight diagonal configuration.
This time I started off with Supremacy, Keep Them Guessing and Deathly Clutches. Not needing to engage, I pushed all my Chainrasps on objectives while pushing Headless 2 hexes to the left to act as bait. John instead wisely moved his fighters around instead of charging. I pushed again but still no bite. I went on guard then Drakkskewer charged and missed. I mistakenly charged Varclav into Drakkskewer, forgetting Varclav is damage 3 only when inspired. I missed regardless but then played Hidden Paths on the Queen then played Howling Vortex to separate Drakkskewer by pushing him closer to me while pushing all the uninspired Profiteers a hex away. Still I got my Supremacy and Keep Them Guessing.
Winning priority I went first and scored Deathly Clutches. I pushed the Chainrasps around Drakkskewer as he was adjacent to Varclav and the Queen which closed the gap to score Nowhere to Go and Ganging Up. Drakkskewer attacked a Chainrasp and rolled double crits. Rebound failed me but got me Treacherous Foe and then Martyred. I played an upgrade and then scored the newly drawn Death Sentence. Eventually I killed Drakkskewer and charged the Queen into killing Ironhail via Inescapable Vengeance.
Action phase 3 was just the Queen killing. I used Varclav to push the Chainrasps around. It ended with me getting OOWO and Supremacy for a 15/4 win.
At the end of the tournament I was the only undefeated player, winning at Warboar once again while also getting best painted too. It was a really tough tournament for me as all the pairings were rough but I was really happy with the performance of the deck.
The week after I was at Chaos Cards in Folkstone. I had been here before and it’s fairly close for me to travel. The tournament was best of 1 but it would be a good opportunity to test the consistency of my deck plus they have a really good group of players.
Game 1 was against Josh and his Magore’s Fiends. Winning boards he set the Cursed Oubliette first so I placed the Animus Forge wide.
The first activation had me just withdrawing, ending with all the Chainrasps on my back edge. I had my swarming objectives but couldn’t swarm the Fiends, especially after failing to cast Howling Vortex. Josh charged Zharkus in phase 2 into my horde of ghosts but rolled double fury. I then played Confusion to swap him to the edge hex then used Quick Advance to close the circle and score Nowhere to Go and Ganging Up. I then scored Deathly Clutches and slowly kill the Blood Warrior. Phase 3 had me just survive charges thanks to crits and Last Chance leaving me on a 8/1 win.
Next was Michael and his Steelheart’s Champions. I won boards again so he set the Soul Refractor while I placed the Molten Shardpit wide.
He began by moving back, perfect. I realised Michael was playing control Champions. I just pushed up to score Supremacy and Keep Them Guessing. Winning priority, the 3 champions were swarmed. I scored Deathly Clutches then charged the Ever-Hanged to complete the circle around Obryn to score Nowhere to Go, Death Sentence and Ganging Up. Obyrn attacked back but failed to roll any hits. After this I played Potion of Rage on the Ever-Hanged and used Ready for Action to kill Brighshield which scored Precise Use of Force and Treacherous Foe. By phase 3 the inspired Queen with Great Strength and Tome of Offerings killed Obryn while I went for the other objectives to score the Formless Key, OOWO and Superior Tactician for a 21/3 victory.
Next was John and his Stormsire’s Cursebreakers. Losing boards I placed the Shattered Refractor while he set the Katophrane’s Reliquary in diagonal configuration.
For the first activation I simply sat back and went for the objectives. The Cursebreakers inspired but only slowly moved up. This allowed me to score OOWO, Supremacy and Keep Them Guessing. Stormsire, with Well of Power, shot a Chainrasp but I rolled a crit to defend. I then reacted with Maddening Cackle to uninspire him. Ammis had used Hidden Paths to attack Varclac who moved to be bottom-rightsaf Objective 2. As she had missed I scored Deathly Clutches. I had the Ever-Hanged charge her, surrounding the Stormcast between 3 ghosts and a blocked hex. She took 2 damage due to being trapped and scored me Nowhere to Go, Ganging Up and Death Sentence. She attacked again but missed on 3 dice. I then just put Varclav on Guard. Rastus charged and killed a Chainrasp to score me Martyred. I then charged the Queen, who had Tome of Offerings, into the trapped Ammis and killed her with several crits to score Precise Use of Force. I lost some more Chainrasps in Phase 3 but the Queen killed Rastus. With the Formless Key and Superior Tactician I won 21/13.
Finally I would be playing Andrew who was running Garrek’s Reavers. I lost boards and placed the Shattered Refractor whereas Andrew set the Penitent’s Throne wide.
Phase 1 did not go well for me. Bad positioning and Howling Vortex failing to cast meant my swarming died which wasted my first 4 activations. Phase 2 had me ditch Nowhere to Go and Ganging Up. I had already scored Martyred so used the Ever-Hanged with Great Strength to kill Saek and score Precise Use of Force. I managed to survive some deadly attacks while killing Karsus and scored Keep Them Guessing. Phase 3 had the Queen kill Targor with Tome of Offerings for a glory boost. Arnulf, who was uninspired thanks to Maddening Cackle, missed his charge. I moved around onto the objectives. Finally Garrek charged Varclav but rolled only a single smash even with Prized Vendetta. Despite being fully supported I rolled double block. I reacted with Rebound and rolled a crit! Garrek died to unlock Pure Carnage but kept my ghost alive to score the Fractured Key, OOWO, Supremacy and Superior Tactician for a super-close 22/19 win. Praise be to Rebound.
After all that I was the only undefeated player and thus the winner! I had staved off all manner of opponents and the deck proved to be mostly consistent. It was only best of 1 but still a good test of the deck.
Thus we reach the end of part 2. The deck was tested and had a few trophies under its belt. Now the big test would be the Tabletop Scotland 2019 Grand Clash. How long do crits hold out?