Recently, I participated in a tournament. I loved the people, the ambiance and the games I played. The sight of fully painted armies on the tabletop is always great and the people were great sports! Thanks for the organisers for hosting this!
The results on the battlefield, however, are not that spectacular. I won one battle and lost two. Though the results could have been easily different (in the first battle I had the worst rolling I’ve had in my life and the final battle was really, really close.) I also failed in my army selection. In this blog post, I’ll describe why I failed, how I solved that and why this made me shelve the army for now.
Bef before I start, first I’ll do a shoutout to my 2nd opponent, JP, who again faced off against me with his dwarves. He’s a very nice guy (and a great modelist – he made this peg) so it’s a pity the two battles we played against each other were so one-sided. One can imagine that a dwarven army consisting of Guns&Golems does not like to face an all-cavalry matchup like mine… The story repeats itself. Here’s a pic from the battle:
But onwards to my failures in army selection, that why you’re reading this, right?
In the tournament, I chose this army:
The list has 12 units and 25 US
The idea is that the 5 mounted threats (horde knights, 2 regiments knights, regiment sergeants with TC(2) and horde beast cavalry) serve as the beatsticks of the army, with the 2 medium fliers and the titan to support them. The wizards-on-pegs serve as chaff, the sole mounted wizard is banechant support. Finally, I chose a horde of polearms for unlock purposes and they have served me well. usually, they arive one turn after the knights and they can mop up whatever the knights leave alive. Their defense of 3 doesn’t matter that much in the 2nd line and 25 CS(1) attacks don’t suck at all @ 175 points!
This was the plan.
Where it failed me
First of all, I only tested this army three times in preparation to the tournament. To optimise a list, I would prefer at least a dozen try-out games but as this isn’t feasible for a father who also works full time, five or six would be preferable.
In the two battles that I lost (and once more in the preperation fase agains the goblin list that won the tournament) I would have won if I had one more unit. Apparently, 5 threats is not enough in an alpha-strike list.
When building this army, I loved the new benefits Kingdoms of Men got in the new Clash book. Budget-titan at 280 points? Yes please! I even painted up a great looking model for her! 230 point large cavalry horde with CS AND TC AND vicious? Yes, please! (it’s only 35 points over normal knights, a steal, right?)
These units proved to be point traps. Both the elephants and the titan didn’t perform as they should be. The lower movement of the beast cavalry (7 over 8) cost me a charge (and possibly the game) and most definately they didn’t warrant the extra point investment. The queen, beautiful as she was, failed utterly. Due to her titan-ic (pun intended) base size, she couldn’t perform the same role as my generals-on-winged-beasts do (hunting flanks) and so she mostly got frontal charges. And 10 attacks in the front do only as much damage as a regiment of knights. For double the points.
So, after the tournament, I went to easyarmy again and axed anything that was too expensive for the battlefield purpose. Mage-on-horse? Just there for bane chant and inpiration, so why not take an ASB with the lute? Pitty about the model, though. Elephants? Demote to knights, etc.
This was the new army list:
The army has 29 US, only the list now has 14 elements. This army worked a lot better. The army now has 6 mounted threats and 2 supporting medium fliers, but 4 chaff units.
I tested it twice. I won twice. It goes something like this.
Turn one: place everything ready for the charge. Chaff threats.
Turn two: charge. If I kill enough to leave your counter-attack crippled, I win. Otherwise, you win. The 6th threat and the 4 chaff pieces worked. They worked.
But other than that, the battles were not fun. Neither to me nor to my opponent.
the purpose of the game
The purpose of the game is having fun. As this is not fun, this is not an avenue I’m continuing. So instead, I shelved the army.
On the bright side: there’s new ideas
On the bright side, now my Kingdoms-of-men mania has waned, there’s plenty new options! I started reading through my Clash of Kings book again and I got tons of new ideas. I’m considering my basileans again, maybe as Brothermark as they got a lot of new tools! I’m also trying out a few undead options, as the formation is really fun and I do happen to own two legions of zombies!
Stay tuned for new ideas!
7 thoughts on “My tournament list and why I stopped playing it”
Interesting… if playing a GOOD list is LESS fun though, that is kinda black mark against the game design to me…
I’ve seen this kind of thing before in videogames where high-level play becomes actually far less interesting than lower level play and it’s a real shame.
I’m not sure if that is the case all the time. In this particular case, it most definately is, but that’s because this list does one thing (fairly cheap heavy cavalry) and extrapolates from that. Most high-level list don’t have that much one-dimensionality.
This list also has one fairly hard counter. A list featuring a lot of phalanx (i.e. an elven list based on sea guard or a ratkin list based on heavy halberds) will be very hard to face, as these units will be very hard to remove.
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Thanks for explaining further.. that makes sense!
Ideally though I’d want more multi-dimensional lists to also be the best in the game.. but I think a common problem with many list-building games (most mini wargames really!) is that often the one-dimensional or “skew” lists as I see them called too, can often end up being the best ones.
I guess partly it’s tournament format and affected by the “meta” and all of that too though. It reminds me of a similar thing in Magic TG though too, where you’re looking to build a heavily optimised deck that ‘wins’ vs majority of the field usually and just hoping you don’t get matched with a counter to your deck .. it’s basically moving a lot of ‘the game’ to the ‘pre-game’ really – it’s exactly why you make your comment about ‘failed at army selection’..
So yeah in an ideal wargame IMO the most interesting & multi-dimensional armies would also be the best and most powerful ones. But I am not sure any mini wargame system has fully cracked that! – a lot of the problem is there are just too many options for list-building really to ever control/design the system enough.