Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Wizards' Cup Round 1: Snuffitpuff & Shooteryn

It's All-Skype Fight Night!

There were a couple of delays to the kick-off of our Wizard's Cup. The first was some terrible (yet predictable) bank holiday traffic keeping me from my computer; the second was an intermittent broadband signal in Sweden, which can really put paid to a SkypeBoot.

However, in between the dropped calls, redials and saying "Hello?" about a billion times, we managed to play the first two rounds of the Wizard's Cup.

Feel free to add the soundtrack "You're The Best Around"


To keep things simple, and to maximise the wizards' impact on the game, each army was identical and around 500pts.

20 x Spearmen - Spears, Light Armour, Full Command
10 x Crossbowmen - Crossbows
5 x Knights - Lances, Shields, Full Plate Armour. Barded Warhorse. Full Command

The wizards had a choice of a barded warhorse or not (if they chose to go on foot, they got an extra knight) and had 25pts to spend on magic items.

Death vs Fire

Amethyst Wizard (Kraken): barded steed with Opal Amulet and Shrieking Blade
Spells: The Caress of Laniph and Doom and Darkness

Bright Wizard (Stylus): on foot with Ruby Ring of Ruin
Spells: Fireball and Cascading Fire-Cloak

The Lore of Death was the overwhelming favourite going into this, and the mounted wizard joined the Knights with the intention of closing down the gap quickly.

The Fire Wizard took his place among the Spearmen infantry block, with the intention of lobbing fireballs (one for the ring, one for the spell) and hoping the Kindleflame attribute took hold.

Fire on the left, Death on the right.
(here I am, stuck in the middle with you)

Turn 1

Fire rolled well for winds of magic, and managed to pop off both Fireball spells in the first turn. Sadly, I rolled less well for the number of hits caused and nothing got through the Amethyst Knights' armour. In the second turn, I switched focus to the Amethyst Spear block, hoping to cause a bit of panic, but to no better avail.

The Bright Crossbows showed that mundane could be just as useless as magic, and failed to hit anything (I miss Wood Elves).

In her first turn, Death rolled an Irresistible Doom and Darkness on the Bright Knights (but her Opal Amulet absorbed the miscast effect).

Turn 2

And by her second turn, she was close enough to do exactly what she came to do: Caress of Laniph on the Fire Wizard. Three wounds, game over, poor bastard never stood a chance.

"How did you win in just two turns?"
"I'm Death."

Lore of Death is first through to the semi-finals. But who will she face?

Beasts vs Heavens

Amber Wizard (Stylus): barded steed with Power Stone
Spells: Wyssan's Wildform and The Curse of Anraheir

Celestial Wizard (Kraken): on carpet* with Dispel Scroll
(*no attacks or armour save, immune to Dangerous Terrain)
Spells: Iceshard Blizzard and Comet of Casandora

With the hope of a better match-up than last time, and internet signal fading fast, we kept the same set-up as last time, but switched ends. Both wizards joined their respective Knights.

Turn 1

Lore of Heavens went first, with both infantry and cavalry marching forward.

Though nothing of note happened in the magic phase, the Celestial Crossbow unit had some rather spectacular success: wiping out three of the Amber Knights in a single volley (although I also helped, by failing the +1 armour saves). The unit didn't panic, although I was starting to wobble.

I responded by sending my own Spearmen forward, and hiding what remained of my Knights behind the unit. Expecting combat in the next turn, I cast Wyssan's Wildform on the Amber Spearmen, which was Dispel Scrolled by Kraken. I failed to cast The Curse of Anraheir on the Celestial Knights, despite throwing four dice at it (and the lore attribute helping me out).

Turn 2

Sure enough, Kraken charged into my spear block with his own Spearmen and the Knights. He added to his chances by casting Iceshard Blizzard on my spears. This was cast Irresistibly, and the Calamitous Detonation took out a handful of spearmen apiece, plus a knight, before the fighting even started.

Not to be outdone in the carnage stakes, his Celestial Crossbows sent another deadly volley at their opposite numbers across the field, killing three and sending the rest fleeing towards the table edge.

Not to worry you, but if this unit breaks, they'll overrun into your skulking wizard.

Though incapacitated by the Iceshard Blizzard, my guys had two hopes: 1) they received the charge, so would have an extra rank fighting 2) the wizard was positioned on the right flank of the Celestial Knights, and so was unavoidably in the kill zone.

Accordingly, I threw nine attacks against the unprotected Celestial Wizard - and managed only one wound. My remaining six spearmen did far better, killing five of the enemy for a couple of casualties in return. The sole knight failed do anything, and amazingly, I had won the combat! The Celestial Spearmen held on with Insane Courage, but the Knights were out of there, taking the Celestial Wizard with them.

In my turn, my Amber Crossbows failed to rally, but stopped short of the table edge. My wizard and his diminishing escort crept around for a peep at his fleeing enemy. I cast Wyssan's Wildform on the Amber Spearmen and used my Power Stone to drop The Curse of Anraheir on the Celestial Knights (which was really adding insult to injury).

Things got personal in the spear clash: both champions challenged each other (and did exactly nothing). Already outnumbering the enemy unit, my buffed-up Amber Spearmen once again edged the casualty tally to win the combat, send the enemy fleeing, and run them down.

It looks bad for Heavens. But don't write-off those guys behind the wall.

Turn 3

Kraken failed to rally the Celestial Knights, and lost another two due to The Curse of Anraheir. The wizard was fortunate that his carpet rules kept him protected, but he was now 10" from the edge of the board.

The Celestial Crossbows decided to go for a long shot: aiming through the Spearmen and right at the Amber Knights. Three shots hit, and then two of them randomly hit the wizard, wounding him twice. I had to save at least one of these or it would be game over, in spite of his fleeing wizard. I picked up the dice and rolled...

... boxcars. The last crossbow bolt didn't even scratch the knight either. Someone in the Heavens must be looking out for me.

Back on terra firma, the Amber Crossbows rally on the edge of the board (too far to do anything), my Spearmen declare a charge that pushes his fleeing Celestial Knights to within four inches of the edge. It's now out of charge range for my Amber Knights to give them another nudge, so they just march closer, ready to charge (and out of the line of sight for those damn Crossbows).

Turn 4

Finally, the Celestial Wizard and his sole bodyguard rally themselves. In a desperate attempt to even the score, Kraken casts Comet of Casandora just behind where my Amber Wizard and Knights are shortly *going* to be (although Casandora is shy, and does not appear during the battle).

The Celestial Crossbows kill off another rank of the Amber Spearmen, just for kicks.

The pig hiding under the sofa is just waiting to spring the trap. Beasts everywhere.

In my turn, I charge into his Wizard's unit, buffing my Amber Knights with Wyssan's Wildform as I do. Kraken calls out a challenge with his champion, and I accept with my Wizard (since I want my Knight attacks to concentrate on his Wizard). The challenge ends in stalemate, but his Celestial Wizard is killed a couple of times over, and comes back down to earth with a bump. The champion lasts another round before combat resolution had him scurrying off the board.

Lore of Beasts will face Lore of Death (better stock up on ward saves!)

A good day for Beasts - extra bushels of oats all round!

Back in the studio...

Communication problems notwithstanding, that was a fun couple of matches. The decision to play it at a really low level paid off, allowing the spells to have a real effect on the game.

It was also fun to field regular humans against each other: when everything is T3, a S4 weapon or an extra fighting rank can really make the difference. A Ld of 7 across the board, with no characters to help, can also keep things nicely shaky in a way you don't often see in 8th Ed.

(it almost makes me tempted to try out a 'Lost and the Damned' style warband at a skirmish-level, led by wizards)

I'm not sure Fire could have done anything better against Death - other than to hide out in a board corner and hope the regular troops got her before she could close the range.

Celestial had bad luck with rolling spells - almost anything would have been better, and some of the magic missiles could have swung it, considering I was already taking a hammering from the crossbows (the true stars of the game). I liked the magic carpet rule though (put through its paces by the Curse of Anraheir), and will lobby to keep it for future games.

Beasts has got a tough ask ahead, but he will be Lv4 next time - maybe it's time to go on foot and hope I roll Transformation of Kadon...

Next time: Life vs Shadows! Metal vs Light!


  1. They were indeed good scraps - probably about an hour apiece, although it took nearly double that with the awful connection. Which turned out to be a prelude to our router dying totally. Feedback from all my miscasts, I expect.

    1. No router? These are grim tidings indeed - of all the household utilities, I'd do without gas, water and electric* before I'd want to lose my broadband.

      (*yes, electric. I just hook up a dynamo to my exercise bike and pedal my computer into life)

      I'd say these 500pt games could be done in 30-60 minutes, which raises interesting ideas for NonBoot weekends: such as a 15-game knockout in a single day, each Warhammer army represented?