Swarming Spirits swarms Tabletop Scotland 2019!
Welcome to the third 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 and 2 for all the information and tactics with the deck. Today I’ll be going over the use of it at Tabletop Scotland 2019 Grand Clash, the place where I had won my first every Grand Clash title. This was it, my finale. The deck had now won 2 store tournaments and I had 15 games in total under my belt. I wasn’t fully prepared but I was ready for another great Grand Clash as well as hoping to try and win a best painted award with my Thorns of the Briar Queen. Before getting into the details here’s the deck again:
Playstyle: Flex (Aggro, Control, Hold Objective, Magic)
Don’t forget the spooky crew:
Spooky Scary Combat Key:
After an 8 hour train journey the day before I was up early on Saturday for the Grand Clash. There were 36 players registered but only 28 showed up which is still an increase of 2018’s 20 player total. There were also a lot of tough players in attendance: Thomas who won UKGE 2019, Michael from Steel City, Paul with his fearsome Mollog, Jan-Willem from Europe with his crazy Reavers and Derek the king of Canada himself to name but a few. Still the event was held at the spacious Dewars Centre. It was game time!
First up was Cameron and his Zarbag’s Gitz. Losing board roll I placed the Shattered Refractor while Cameron set the Katophrane’s Reliquary in long configuration.
Losing priority I simply pushed all the Chainrasps onto objectives. Drizgit activated to move himself and the Squigs up, surrounding objective 4 and my Chainrasps near it. We began attacking each other back-and-forth but neither of us could land a successful attack. Still my sheer luck with not dying allowed me to score Our Only Way Out (OOWO), Supremacy and Keep Them Guessing.
Phase 2 had me give away priority. A Squig chomped down on a Chainrasp with 2 smash but scored me Martyred. I successfully cast Howling Vortex which allowed me to mess around with a Squig, trapping it in an edge hex. I then used my push cards and Varclav to surround it with 3 Chainrasps which scored Nowhere to Go, Death Sentence and Ganging Up. The trapped Squig could do little with my fully supported fighters defending themselves. The Ever-Hanged killed the trapped beast to score Precise Use of Force.
Phase 3 was just about killing. The Queen now had Tome of Offerings and managed to get a few kills in due to Sudden Appearance and her range 2. At the end of the game I scored Superior Tactician to win 21/5.
Game 2 had me win boards. Cameron placed the Cursed Oubliette while I set the Molten Shardpit wide.
Going first again I simply pushes the Chainrasps up. Headless, Planky and the Ever-Hanged surrounded a Squig to immediately score Death Sentence. Cameron then activated Drizgit to move himself and the Squigs away from my Chainrasps. He then used Sidestep to push Prog away from Horseshoe. Next I pushed the Chainrasps around again, all deep into the Gitz onto objectives 3 and 1. Now unable to move away, a Squig attacked Headless on objective 1 but I rolled a crit. My activation got me Deathly Clutches finally so I just put Headless on guard. Prog charged the Ever-Hanged but I missed and reacted with Maddening Cackle just to score Treacherous Foe. We were both on all objectives outside of my objective 5. Cameron gave Faneway Crystal to Zarbag but I then I gave Varclav the Formless Key and Ready for Action to move him onto objective 5. Thwarting his move, Cameron drew a card.
Losing priority for phase 2 the Squig attacked Headless but I rolled a crit again. Next I just attacked back with Headless but missed. Finally Headless died and scored Martyred. I then cast Howling Vortex and pushed all the Gitz around, primarily the left archer into an edge hex. After a Hidden Paths with the Briar Queen placing her next to the archer, I used Varclav to push the Chainrasps to complete the circle scoring Ganging Up, Nowhere to Go and Death Sentence.
For phase 3 I went on a killing spree with the Queen to score Precise Use of Force and end her charge on an objective. I then moved around the rests of my ghosts to sit on objectives. Yet more defensive crits allowed me to stay in place to score the Formless Key, OOWO, Supremacy and Superior Tactician to win 23/2.
It was actually a tough set of games. The Briar Queen and Zarbag’s Gitz matchup is equally bad for both parties. Cameron played well but I was just able to get the lead early with better phase 1s in both games to take the lead and keep the Gitz pinned in glory. Plus rolling lots of crits to defend helps too.
Next up was Jon with Ylthari’s Guardians. Winning the board roll Jon placed the Shattered Tower first while I set the Molten Shardpit wide.
Going first I once again pushed the Chainrasps up with Varclav while Gallanghan went on guard. I pushed again and scored Death Sentence by surrounding Skhathael. Gallaghan charged and missed but scored Change of Tactics. I then placed the Queen next to Ylthari with Hidden Paths. Scoring Deathly Clutches I attacked with the Queen but rolled a single fury whereas Ylthari rolled a crit. She charged back but I defended with a dodge only to be pushed back. Finally I put the Queen on guard. Ahnslaine charged and missed but I managed to score Keep Them Guessing while using Howling Vortex to deny Reclaim the Lamentiri.
Losing priority Ylthari blew up a Chainrasp but got me Martyred. I charged the Queen into Ylthari and killed her with 2 crits, scoring me Precise Use of Force. Gallaghan and Skahthael got revenge by killing 2 Chainrasps but I managed to stay alive and get my own Supremacy at the cost of Reclaim the Lamentiri.
Going first in phase 3 the Queen quickly eliminated Skhathael. Gallaghan attacked again but I saved a Chainrasp with Last Chance. The Queen then charged and killed Ahnslaine. Gallaghan killed another Chainrasp with a charge but I was able to stay on enough objectives. Varclav got me the Formless Key while I then scored OOWO and Supremacy to narrowly win 14/12.
Game 2 had me win boards again. Jon placed the Cursed Oubliette while I set the Shattered Tower wide.
This time Jon went first and put Gallaghan on guard. I pushed the Chainrasps around. Gallaghan charged but missed. I then put a Chainrasp on guard. Skhathael charged into objective 2 but I rolled more dodges than his smashes. With a successful Howling Vortex I pushed everyone around, namely Skathael into the edge hex next to objective 2. I used Hidden Paths to place the Ever-Hanged above Skhathael then used Drifting Advance and Quick Advance to surround the Sylvaneth warrior with Planky and Horseshoe which scored me Ganging Up. At the start of my activation I scored Deathly Clutches and attacked with Horseshoe doing 1 damage. Ylthari moved onto her objective and burned it with Leech Power and deleted objective 2 with Abasoth’s Unmaking. I then scored Death Sentence. I charged the Queen into the trapped Skathael, killing him and getting Precise Use of Force while getting Keep Them Guessing in the end phase.
Phase 2 had the Queen with Great Strength immediately charge Ylthari. The first attack was a miserable failure but I reacted with Endless Malice rolling 2 crits and a fury which killed Ylthari and got me Treacherous Foe. Gallaghan charged but his smash was dodged. Ahnslaine was then slain by a Heroslayer-weilding Chainrasp, fear the power of single crits. Next was pushing around to get Supremacy.
Finally Jon went first again and charged but failed to a Rebound. Gallaghan had been given too many wound upgrades still so I just moved onto the objectives and drew cards to fish for upgrades. In the end phase I got Escalation, OOWO and Superior Tactician to win 20/3.
Next I was up against Paul and his Zarbag’s Git. He won boards and I placed the Shattered Refractor while he set the Penitent’s Throne in diagonal configuration.
After getting rid of Escalation and Supremacy Paul went first moving up Drizgit with his action and scurrying Snirk then inspiring him. I pushed the Chainrasps around to surround the nearest Squig and get onto objectives. The Squig attacked and missed so I then scored Deathly Clutches in my activation. I attacked back with Planky but missed. The Squig finally killed Planky but got me Martyred. Snirk scatted into threat range so I moved a Chainrasp away. He scattered closer again so I had to burn all my movement ploys to get away from him allowing me to go on guard for the final activation. Paul then played Centre of Attention and shutdown my Supremacy but I did get Keep Them Guessing.
With phase 2 I ditched Supremacy but Paul went first. A Squig charged next to objective 5 but I was saved by Last Chance and scored Treacherous Foe. I used Varclav to surround the Charged Squig in the edge hex and scored Death Sentence with Ganging Up. Snirk scattered around and after I got Nowhere to Go. The Queen got into a duel with Snirk but his 4 defence was too much. The Queen took 2 damage from Snirk but survived a bad swirl.
Going first in phase 3 I attack Snirk with the Queen and missed, used Endless Malice but Snirk rolled 3 crits. He spun back to an adjacent Queen but completely whiffed. I attacked back but got crit’d again. Then the Queen went down to Snirk. I charged Helmet Head into the last Squig, a single fury went through to kill it and get me Precise Use of Force. Drizgit charged it but he was saved by Rebound. I then drew a card while Drizgit killed Helmet Head leaving me with a single Chainrasp and Varclav. I was unable to stop Zarbag getting his 3 tomes but Varclav scored me the Formless Key, Escalation and Superior Tactician to bring us to a 15/15 tie. Shocked with the result (as I thought I had lost) we checked and realised we were both holding 2 objectives each. No one was wiped out and objectives held were equal so it was a draw.
Losing boards again for game 2 I placed the Soul Refractor while Paul set the Shattered Refractor in diagonal configuration.
Paul moved Snirk up and inspired him. I pushed the Chainrasps back but the Squigs quickly chomped through my ghosts. It was a bloody phase 1 but I did get Supremacy.
Phase 2 was were my Chainrasps were mostly annihilated via a mixture of Squigs and Snirk. The Queen managed to inspired but couldn’t land a hit on Zarbag. Outside of Martyred I scored nothing.
Phase 3 had the Queen finally kill Zarbag for Precise Use of Force but the Gitz were too far ahead and she was overwhelmed. Varclav survived but I lost the game 8/14.
Game 3 was it. Now I had to win it to force a draw and keep my chances of winning the clash alive. I lost boards and placed the Shyishian Stardial. Paul placed the Ruptured Seal in diagonal configuration.
Paul went first, activating Drizgit to move the Squigs with his special action. I pushed the Chainrasps back. Paul began moving up while I drew cards. A bad scatter from Snirk bought me extra time then Howling Vortex pushed him back more with several Gitz into lethal hexes. Finally I used Hidden Paths on the Queen placing her next to Zarbag. She then inspired and killed him with 3 crits to get Precise Use of Force. Once again Centre of Attention messed up my Supremacy.
Phase 2 had the Queen with Potion of Rage and Tome of Offerings charge Snirk. I rolled 1 fury and he rolled no dodges so Snirk died while getting me Treacherous Foe. The Squigs moved up to minimal effect but this time I got Supremacy and Escalation.
Going into phase 3 I abandoned going for Superior Tactician, I just needed to win by any amount now and no longer could risk going for a big win. The Queen killed the Squigs in her path while my remaining Chainrasps sat on objectives. I could only score OOWO but managed to claw a narrow 12/8 win.
We handed in our results but I was told something terrible. Tabletop TO, the software being used for the event doesn’t accept draws. The TO was unaware of the apps flaw but as a result he needed a winner even though the rules pack said otherwise. Whoever had the higher glory differential won. I obviously was at -2 to my opponent’s +2. I brought up the rules pack and said if I knew I would have played my last game for the big glory instead. The TO apologised but said he had to go with it as the next round was 1 minute away. I took the loss, other players protested but at the end of the day it was the TO’s call and I had to roll with it. Just screw Tabletop TO though, at least for Underworlds (why was the app not programmed to accept draws??). I thanked my opponent for the games but apologised as I was extremely disappointed with how the set ended results-wise.
Final round. I was now 4th overall and was paired against Michael fromSteel City. We had last played at the UKTC 2018 where my Spiteclaw’s Swarm beat his Farstriders. Now it would be his Skaven vs my Thorns. Michael was undefeated at the time too so if I won I had a chance of making the final but the “loss” had messed up my results so I honestly had no idea. Still on tilt, we rolled for boards. I won so Michael placed the Arcane Nexus while I set the Molten Shardpit wide.
Going first I pushed the Chainrasps up as usual. Michael ran Hungering through 2 lethal hexes to kill himself and score Calculated Risk with Martyred. I then went on guard with the Queen. Michael then charged Lurking through a lethal hex and into no man’s land, missing his attack against a Chainrasp. He then played Shardgale. I charged the Ever-Hanged and killed Krrk but then Michael brought Hungering back with Skritch. I simply moved Varclav onto objective 2. Hungering then charged and killed Horseshoe who was in my territory. I managed to get Keep Them Guessing and Escalation but Michael got more objectives including killing ground.
Phase 2 had me push ahead but I began losing Chainrasps too quickly. With Swordbreaker and inspired Clanrats, they tore through my ghosts leaving me unable to swarm.
Phase 3 had me just go for kills as the game was lost. I managed to kill Skritch but it was too late. By the end of the phase I only had the Queen and Varclav left for a 9/16 loss. I took a brief pause to compose myself. Michael was playing really well and I had to forget about round 3 which had still left me on-tilt.
For game 2 I lost boards so I placed the Shattered Refractor whereas Michael set the Penitent’s Throne in diagonal configuration.
Going first I simply pushed the Chainrasps up so they were all in a line. Michael then put Lurking on guard. I pushed all the Chainrasps up and had them all adjacent to Lurking and Festering Skaven which scored me Death Sentence. Festering attacked but I defended with a crit. For my activation I scored Deathly Clutches as all the Chainrasps inspired. I charged Headless over everyone to block Lurking moving back but missed. Krrk charged and missed. I them push the Chainrasps again. Now Lurking was surrounded except for 1 hex but I could swarm him next turn. Michael then charged into the corner with Lurking. His fury was cancelled with my dodge but he got Change of Tactics. I them played Quick Advance, trapping Lurking to score Nowhere to Go and Ganging Up.
Winning priority I attacked trapped Lurking with the Ever-Hanged, killing him and scoring Precise Use of Force. Michael attacked with another Skaven but missed. I then began pushing back onto objectives. The phase ended with Krrk charging and failing but I reacted with Maddening Cackle to score Treacherous Foe. Michael then played Confusion with Krrk to kill my Supremacy but I did get Escalation.
Phase 3 had Michael kill a Chainrasp early but got me Martyred. I then preceded to use my activations to get Keep Them Guessing. Failed attacks from Michael also got me OOWO and Superior Tactician topped it off for a 17/9 win.
With game 3 I lost boards again so placed the Shattered Refractor while Michael set the Animus Forge in diagonal configuration.
Going first I pushed the Chainrasps around but made sure not to go into no man’s land again. I then just drew cards. Phase 1 was pretty tense as no one really wanted to commit first. I managed to get some glory on the board so gave Varclav the Formless Key.
Phase 2 had the action step up. Lurking charged and missed but Festering teleported into no man’s land with him to score Shortcut. I pushed up the Chainrasps next to them and scored Death Sentence. Festering failed to drive them back so they inspired and got Deathly Clutches. I then moved the Queen onto objective 4. Michael drew a card so I gave the Ever-Hanged Tome of Offerings. Michael gave the adjacent Festering an upgrade and reacted with Ready for Action to move away. I then gave him Potion of Rage and Heroslayer. He charged across to Skritch and rolled 2 smashes. With no crits Skritch died and I scored Precise Use of Force. Krrk then came over to the Queen with Hidden Paths and used Confusion to stop Supremacy but I did get Keep Them Guessing.
Phase 3 was the decider. I lost priority so drew a card. Michael did the same. I need to score Martyred while denying Killing Ground and Michael wasn’t attacking. I then ditched OOWO but still Michael drew a card. Knowing I had to make a move. I used the Ever-Hanged to kill a Clanrat for 2 glory. Krrk, using Shadeglass Darts shot the Queen down to 2 wounds. I then killed another Clanrat in Michael’s territory with a Chainrasp while Krrk failed to hit the Queen. In the end phase Michael hit 11 glory with his obectives. I got 2 from Escalation and 1 from the Formless key to put me on 11 as well! Tied on glory, no one was wiped out but I was the only player holding objectives which meant I won.
It was a super tough set with game 3 being one of the most Warhammer Underworlds games I’ve ever played. We were both playing around each other’s moves and objectives to deny glory. Michael did a great job at denying my ability to score Supremacy and OOWO. It was difficult buy really fun at the same time.
Now after round 4 I believe I had qualified anyway for the final by being second overall as I had the least losses and highest glory differential for everyone on 3 wins and 1 loss with Derek being undefeated. Still the TO adjusted the scores at first for me and my opponent’s round 3 result to a draw so it was no longer a win/loss.
This was later updated to included the 2 other drawn pairings that occurred at round 3 as shown here:
There is an issue here that updating scores post round 3 effects how round 4 pairings would have gone as Derek would have been the only undefeated player instead of him, Paul M. and Michael. It’s an unfortunate situation as it would have most likely been me vs Derek in round 4 but I have no idea what the scores would have looked like adjusted after round 3. The bottom line is don’t use Tabletop TO (until it gets fixed of course).
This was it. My 4th Grand Clash final. It was my Swarming Spirits Thorns against Derek the King of Canada and his honourable Cursebreakers. We had actually been drinking and chatting a lot throughout the event. We had thought the chances of playing each other in the event had fallen through after my loss and Derek was even one of the players who tried to get the result changed. Still we finally got our wish. Players turning up for best painted now in the final (you should see his Cursebreaker ruins display board).
Losing the board roll I placed the Soul Refractor. Derek then set the Shyishian Stardial in diagonal configuration.
Going first I pushed up the Chainrasps. Ammis then moved onto objective 1. Next I pushed up my Chainrasp “raiding party” of Helmet Head, Headless and the Ever-Hanged with the first 2 being 2 hexes away from Ammis. Rastus moved onto objective 3 and scored, as Derek coined it, Faecal Formation. In the power step I played Drifting Advance so that Headless and Helmet Head were adjacent to Ammis. I scored Deathly Clutches then charged Ammis with the Ever-Hanged. 2 smashes did 2 damage and I left her there to score Death Sentence. Stormsire casted Seggut’s Salvo on the Ever-Hanged then attacked him but missed. As I response I placed my ace: Maddening Cackle. Now Stormsire was back to 1 block and more importantly 1 damage with Fulmination. Helmet Head attack Ammis with 2 crits and killed her to score Precise Use of Force. Stormsire charged in with his staff but I rolled a crit to defend. I then played Quick Advance to push the Ever-Hanged next to Stormsire and Varclav onto objective 4 to score Supremacy and Keep Them Guessing.
Going first Stormsire whacked Helmet Head to death and scored me Martyred while he got Measured Strike. The Ever-Hanged knocked Stormsire down to 2 wounds thank to cleave but then he healed up with Vital Surge. Now Stormsire shot at Headless but rolled double channel. It took several activations but finally Stormsire killed Headless to score Strange Demise.
Phase 3 had us still really close on glory as Derek’s deck was super efficient. Stormsire shot the Ever-Hanged but defensive crits saved me again. The Ever-Hanged weathered bolt after bolt while the Queen with Great Strength, Glory Seeker and Inescapable Vengeance charged and killed Stormsire. Totalling up glory Derek hit 15. I hit 15 too with Superior Tactician but Varclav with the Formless key pushed me to win 16/15.
Game 2 had me lose boards so I placed my old Shishyian Stardial. Derek set the Shattered Tower in diagonal configuration.
Going first I once again pushed my Chainrasps onto objectives while sending the Ever-Hanged and Planky forwards. The Cursebreakers began Empowering themselves while my 2 Chainrasps pushed up 2 more times. Finally I drew a card then scored OOWO.
Stormsire, feeling safe, used Fulmination against Planky. He rolled double channel and I had drawn into Madden Cackle. Once again Stormsire was back to 1 damage while I scored Treacherous Foe. Next I pushed up the 2 Chainrasps while Ammis moved onto objective 5. I could have stopped Faecal Formation but I needed to score my objectives. I pushed up the 2 Chainrasps again. Rastus moved onto objective 4 to score Faecal Formation but this allowed me to use Drifting Advance then score Deathly Clutches and had inspired Ever-Hanged cleave Rastus down to 2 wounds. Stormsire shot Planky but I used Rebound after failing the defence roll purely to leave my ghost off of being on 1 wound. I rolled a crit. Still Rastus healed up with Vital Surge so Planky charged in but missed. I reacted with Endless Malice to attack again and did 2 damage. This got me Keep Them Guessing.
Losing priority, Rastus killed the Ever-Hanged scoring Measured Strike with What Armour but I got Martyred. Next I gave the Queen Tome of Offerings and Potion of Rage. I used Hidden Paths to put her 1 hex away from Rastus who was adjacent to Planky (if she was placed next to him the Queen would inspire). I then attacked and Rolled 2 fury. Rastus rolled no crits so I got Precise Use of Force with Tome of Offerings for 3 glory. Stormsire shot Planky but once again I had the power of crits. I gave Planky Heroslayer and charged Stormsire. I rolled a single smash. He rolled a dodge. The Stormcast was cut in 2. Ammis was still outside of threat range so Derek drew cards while drew a card then put Varclav on guard and gave him the Formless Key. In the end phase I scored the Formless Key, Escalation, Supremacy and Superior Tactician to win 12/17.
It was a really tough set and I completely abandoned my swarming cards Nowhere to Go and Ganging Up in order to win. Derek’s Curesbreakers are intense and I survived repeated magical barrages from him thanks to Maddening Cackle (MVP) as well as his ability to miss and my ability to roll crits. The King of Canada is no slouch however as he was still the only undefeated player prior to the Grand Final.
After all of that I had done it! I had successfully defend my first Grand Clash title being the first person in the world to do so while also being the first player to win 3 Grand Clashes. Unfortunately there had been a mistake with Games Workshop shipping out the prize support so there was none available on the day but the TO said at the start of the event that all prize support would be shipped out to us free of cost.
Special thanks goes to everyone I chatted to at the event. It was great to see players new and old plus it’s an honor that you all consider me and my blog highly. My aim is to help everyone so it’s nice to hear that I’ve been aiding people in understanding the game better and that my articles are enjoyable. As always I’d be nowhere without all of you awesome people.
The deck worked just as designed. There were a few games that had me not score my swarm objectives of Nowhere to Go and Ganging Up but I designed the deck to work without having to achieve them. It was still really fun to play and helped counter a lot of weaknesses that Thorns usually have. MVPs were Quickening Greaves which guaranteed my Supremacy and OOWO along with my other MVP the Formless Key.
Overall Tabletop Scotland 2019 was still amazing and once again my favourite event of the year. Outside of the blip with Tabletop TO software (they used it due to their experience with the app for other game systems as well as that it automatically saves a hard copy in case the system crashes) it was run very smoothly, with the staff and venue being great. The staff are super experienced at running events and make sure the attendees have a good time. They want to run a good event and get value for their money instead of trying to get as many people to attend as possible.
The other aspect was the trip. Yes it was long and awkward at times (thanks for overbooking all my trains private train companies) but the journey through the east coast of Northern England and Scotland is really beautiful as well as the train journey into Perth.
If you want a really great expo and expertly ran event then Tabletop Scotland is the place to go. It’s not the easiest place to get to but you entrance fee covers everything in the event so the Grand Clash was only £10 as that was the cost of the Saturday ticket but I was free to join in any of the other activities for, well, free too! Plus everyone there is great too. The Scots are a blast to play, chat as well as drink with. I even celebrated with a deep-fried Mars bar!
The date for Tabletop Scotland 2020 had been announced too!
With this I wave goodbye to Nightvault. It’s been an awesome season that’s seen me accomplish things I didn’t think possible. The way the community has improved and levelled up is also very impressive, no matter where you go now you’ll be running into tough opponents. Still we’ve survived the horrors of the Mirrored City but now it’s time for something new, something primal. Join me as I venture into the Beastgrave. You’ll need more than just your crits.