MOONRAKERS AT CLASH OF KINGS 2019
Planning for Moonrakers attendance at Clash 19 started well in advance of the tournament. The retirement form competitive play of Paul Fox meant that we had to advertise for a replacement. We devised an entry test for potential candidates, but before we used it, Nick Williams asked if he could join us as a one off. (He apparently qualifies as his great grandmother, on his mother’s side, once spoke to someone who had previously eaten a Wiltshire ham sandwich.) And so Andy, Leo, Nick and I set off for sunny Stockport with a song in our heart.
Andy was running an Undead list featuring Ilona’s Coven and a Dragon.
Andy's Undead Army
Leo was also running Ilona’s Coven but including Mortibris.
Leo's Glow in the Dark Undead Army
Nick was using his Water Elemental heavy Brotherhood lost while I was hoping for some success with my Abyssals, featuring Despoilers converted from Plague Aberrations.
Not Quite my Final Army Build
Here we are at the venue
It’s time to put on the last waist coat you will ever wear
The photo below shows Nick playing his first game, a challenge against Steve Hildrew, on Friday night, before the tournament officially started.
Now, there are only 2 requirements to being a Moonraker:
- You must dress well to assist the team in winning the best-dressed team award.
- You must contribute high quality game play to assist the team in winning the team competition.
And you can see that Nick fails to meet the requirements in just 2 ways. His appearance falls well below that expected of a Moonraker, and he lost the game. Not a propitious start. The tournament had not even started and we were already bottom of the points table!
Elsewhere, I had a practise game against Paul Welsh, winning after Paul rolled an unlucky Double 1, while Andy took on the Rust-Meister’s Abysmal Dwarfs.
A few beers were then consumed as we met up with old friends.
After registering on Saturday morning, we were all given a Vanguard starter set and a Mantic Giant. A cracking free gift. And then we were off for Game 1, Pillage, where I faced Cailean’s Abyssal Dwarfs on Table 4.
The terrain did not help Cailean and with my superior movement, I was able to concentrate on individual sections of his army in sequence. I eventually ran out with a 19:1 win.
Elsewhere, Andy beat Mat’s Varangur 19:1, Leo beat Jeff’s Dwarfs 18:2 and Nick submitted his 3:17 loss to Steve Hildrew from the previous evening.
Game 2, after lunch, was Dominate and I was pitted against Tim Smith, the US player who had won entry to the tournament as a result of having the highest placed Mantic army at a US event.
Captain America comes to Visit
This was quite appropriate, as I had also won free entry to the tournament having won Battlemasters in 2018. We met up and exchanged gifts, and then discovered that there had been an accounting error and I had to sadly hand back the gift, which was a real shame as it looked really good. And so, onwards to Table 17 and an appointment with Dan Read’s Basileans. Dan paints nearly as well as I do. This is a new and rarely-used definition of the phrase ‘nearly as well as I do’, which actually means: ‘paints like a god with detail in places that I can’t actually even see any detail in the first place’. A beautiful army which went on to win 2 of the painting trophies.
I had more drops than Dan and he had chosen sides and so had to deploy first. We both deployed strongly refused left flanks, but I was able to wait until he had deployed his Elohi before positioning Basusu and a flying unit. This would make it difficult for those units to support the centre without presenting a flank to my fliers.
We jockeyed for position and Dan was ahead positionally, but then unfortunately ran out of time on his turn 6. I had just less than 4 minutes left and was able to engage his units and we then rolled a turn 7. Unfortunately, the chess clock we were using stopped working once one player had timed out and we lost track of how much time I had used in my 2 ‘free’ turns. In the end we diced for it and decided to call the game a draw. When we added up the attrition points, we had both killed 1,105 points of the enemy. A real counter-charging draw!
A draw created an unexpected problem. I had created trophies for players who had beaten me and for those who came second in the game. I had not prepared trophies for draws. I think I gave away winner trophies in the event of a draw.
Elsewhere, Andy lost 4:16 to Andy 2D6 on the live stream, Leo lost 4:16 to the Twilight Kin but Nick redeemed himself with a 20:0 win.
Game 3 was to be Loot and I faced another Abyssal Dwarf army, this time piloted by Rob Phipps. We both played refused left flanks, claimed the Loot token on our right flanks and then turned to face each other and squabble over the central token. Although Rob had deployed mostly on my left, he had placed his Overmaster on Dragon on my right and I had to commit Basusu and my Hellequins to defeating that before they could support my bid for the centre.
In the congested area, I could not concentrate sufficient force to kill the Golems and there was insufficient space to manoeuvre around flanks. Rob ran out the winner, holding 2 tokens to my one and with only an attrition difference of 25 points, this was a 5:15 loss.
Elsewhere, Andy beat Mohd from Singapore 3:17, Leo beat Alex Lover’s Orcs 18:2 and Nick returned to from with a 1:19 loss against an Undead army.
At the end of Day 1, Moonraker scores were: Andy and Leo both on 40, I was on 34 and Nick on 24.
That evening we were treated to a talk by Ronnie about Third Edition and then competed in a pub quiz (which is the only king in a standard pack of cards that does not have a moustache?). After that there was more drinking and the playing of games, one of which involved pointing a gun at the other players and then stealing jewels and cash. I’m not sure that I knew what I was doing.
Day 2 dawned bright and sunny with clear blue skies. No it didn’t, this was Stockport and it was grey and raining.
Game 4 was Kill and I was facing Jeff and his Dwarfs on Table 29. Facing 3 regiments of Rangersm, an Organ Gun, Golloch’s Fury and some shooting characters, I decided to avoid the open ground as much as possible and use the only covered approach, on the left, to limit the effect of Jeff’s shooting. I did however place Basusu on the right in cover, with the intention of snurgling around the cover on the right flank to try to get to the Organ Gun.
With most of Jeff’s shooting out of range, I allowed him to go first. The only target he had was from his Rangers who could shoot Basusu but would be hitting on 6s and wounding on 5s. How bad could it get? Seven wounds and wavering, that’s how bad!
And so I started my advance, eventually ending up taking out some of the Rangers and then getting a flank to take out the horde of De 6+ I the front Bulwarkers. My Twisted Victims got round a flank and took out the Berserker Lord on Brock and it was pretty much in the balance when Jeff ran out of time. I had a tasty flank charge against Golloch’s Fury with my unhindered and Bane Chanted Hellequins, 40 attacks. Hitting on 3s, wounding on 2s. And then I ran out of time too. We did the sums and there was an attrition point difference of 90 points, another 10:10 draw.
Elsewhere, Andy won 20:0 against Rene’s Salamanders, Leo lost to the Rust-Meister by 2:18 and Nick recorded his third loss, 5:15 to the Forces of Nature.
On to Game 5, Control against Danny Graves on table 20. I forgot to take any photos of our game but here is his army. Have a good look at that Coral Giant, a fantastic model that won a painting award and is my favourite model in Danny’s army – read on to find out why.
Dnny deployed 2 hordes of Naiads, Knucker, River Guard, Ektor … on my left with his big hitters, Giant, Kraken, Wyrm Riders and Thuul on my right. I concentrated on my right with the aim of killing the enemy there, securing the ground and then turning to face while my fliers got round the flanks. I needed to secure the right before the forces on Danny’s right could move round to assist. This meant that I had to force the issue and put some of my units in harm’s way to avoid Danny just backing up to buy time and surround me. I charged Basusu into the Wyrm Riders to fix them for a turn at least and then moved Despoilers to attack the Thuul. I failed to kill the Thuul, which left my Despoilers exposed, but I did sufficient wounds on the Wyrm Riders to waver them. Danny then concentrated on my exposed Despoilers by charging the Coral Giant into the flank, the Kraken and Thuul into the front. And he failed to kill them. The Giant and Kraken notched up 12 wounds but the Thuul completely whiffed. In the next turn, Basusu wnet back into the Wyrm Riders and killed them, Then Despoilers went into the already wounded Thuul and killed them and I got my Hellequiins into the flank of the Giant (my new favourite model) and killed that. I was also able to reform into a strong position to start claiming table sections.
After the loss of so much of his powerful units, Danny was now poorly placed to win the scenario and I just jumped my units around the board to where they could claim most points, also taking the opportunity to despatch Ektor, who had taken one for the team to delay a horde of Despoilers, and a horde of Naiads that had unfortunately presented their flank to my Hellequins. I eventually ran out with a 17:3 win.
Elsewhere, Andy lost 6:14 to Nightstalkers, Leo Beat Dangerous Dave’s Varangur by 17:3 and Nick beat George’s Nightstalkers.
And so, on to the final game which was to be Push. It was my turn to face the Rust-Meister’s Abyssal Dwarfs on Table 18. I had heard that his artillery had been laser-guided on Saturday and when we met I suggested that we simply roll a dice, on a 1 – 3, we assume his artillery would hit and he would win, on a 4 – 6 we would assume that the artillery miss and I won. But Table 18 offered other opportunities as there was a lot of terrain, including several height 4 blocking pieces in the front of one deployment zone. I won the roll to choose sides and forced Rusty into the heavily blocked deployment zone.
Rusty deployed the bulk of his mobile forces hard over on the right flank where they were to march forwards into my table half. He left one horde of Golems to contest the central token with his artillery on my left. I deployed in the left hand side of the table with the aim of killing the artillery as quickly as possible and then contesting the central token.
We then had an unfortunate misunderstanding. On my extreme left there was a piece of blocking terrain fairly close to the table edge. During deployment, I took a template to check if a large cavalry horde could fit through it, it couldn’t but a normal cavalry regiment could. Rusty thought that I had measured for a normal cavalry regiment and so placed a Mortar and Blizzard Priest there thinking them safe.
I won the roll for first turn and decided to take it in order to move towards the artillery with the aim of some turn 2 charges. I very carefully angled units into areas where multiple mortars could not target the same unit, and then promptly moved my height 3 Despoilers carrying my Push tokens onto a height 2 hill, thus opening them up to every artillery piece known To Abyssal Dwarfs. Fortunately, fate had rolled a 4 – 6 on the artillery success table and after the smoke cleared, the horde was left alive having taken only 7 wounds. That could have gone very differently.
On my turn 2, I charged Basusu and the Hellequinns into the Mortar and Priest on the extreme left, which was when we discovered the confusion over the gap between the terrain and the table edge. I got the Twisted Victims into one of the other mortars and largely shut down Rusty’s shooting. I charged my other horde of Despoilers into the Golems that were aiming for the central token and studiously ignored Infernok and the rest of the Abyssal Dwarfs that were slowly turning inwards and making their plodding way towards the middle.
Despite rolling 2 Double 1s in later combats, I destroyed the artillery and those units that got towards the table centre for relatively little loss of my own and eventually won by 18:2.
I felt bad at the end of the game as with the terrain there was on the table, Rusty was at a severe disadvantage after losing the dice roll to select sides. I don’t’ think this was a game breaking problem in most games but on some tables there were clear advantages for fast moving and nimble armies that could dodge around the terrain. I don’t know how other players found it. Perhaps this might be reviewed before the next Clash of Kings with the aim of having more equitable table layouts?
Our other final game results were: Andy and Leo both lost 7:13, Nick beat a Trident Realm army 15:5.
And so on to the final reckoning.
Nick’s diorama won a modelling/painting award.
Andy won the best Undead player award and I won the best Forces of the Abyss player award (I think because when Ronny visited the table I was playing on and saw that I had bought 10 Plague Aberrations [£14.99] to use as Despoilers, he took pity on me).
Final scores and results were:
Me: 80 points, 12th
Andy: 71 points, 25th
Leo: 66 points, 34th
Nick: 62 points, 40th
On a side issue, it was interesting to see so many Battle Essential Table TidYs (BETTYs) being used.
These are now being seen and used across the globe after our first international sales to Tim Smith (USA).
And to Mohd Gaddafi, for a friend of his in Singapore.
So another great tournament. Many thanks to Mantic for organising the event and to all of our opponents and everyone else who attended. We had a great time.