Again this year I went to Poland in April to see family and friends and was hoping to play in the EEGT event, but that got cancelled earlier. Fortunately the time around March/April/May is the end of the ‘season’ for the Polish LotR National League and it’s full of scheduled events that I could attend (including a doubles masters event 27-28 March and the singles 550 masters tournament 17-18th April – the latter one I was looking forward to play at, especially given the 50+ registered players and high status/level of the event, but due to the plane tragedy it was moved to May, as the country fell into a week mourning :( ).
So the end of April before had the EEGT, but this time in the lack of it, www.mitril.pl in association with GW organised the first big War of the Ring tournament in Poland (13 teams might not be astonishing, but it’s great given that WotR is a new system). My goal for this tournament was purely recreational, I wasn’t hoping to win anything especially since I had taken armies that filled the free leftover gaps in my case after it was filled with models for the 550pt LotR event. Therefore along with my best friend Damian we made two fun, cool looking lists:
Winged Nazgul – The Knight of Umbar (General)
Winged Nazgul – The Tainted
2 Warg Riders
1 Warg Riders
1 Wild Wargs
1 Wild Wargs
3 Mordor Troll Chieftains
1 Stone Giant
Fate: There Will Be No Dawn
Reasons: KoU as General because he’s a safe choice for duels with his Fight stealing (though if I had read the rules more properly I would know that I can’t steal Epic Stike and this is a bad choice). In addition he’ll often have F7 or 8 given the amount of big named heroes running around in WotR.
Tainted because he stops units from using heroes’ Courage and all important models cause Terror. Combine him with There Will Be No Dawn and it could be very powerful.
3 Chieftains because of the At the Double possibility and the fact that I don’t have Shelob and couldn’t borrow it from anybody (I’d have her instead of 1 then)
Stone Giant... because he’s big :)
5 Riders of Rohan
5 Riders of Rohan
5 Royal Knights
6 Royal Knights
6 Knights of Minas Tirith + Horn Blower
Then with the other best friend Szymon we went to Warsaw with a team name “The Three Hunters” (he didn’t play, just came for company and sight-seeing).
The initial motto for Damian’s army was “For Death” – he didn’t say “... and Glory” because he didn’t expect it :P While for me it was simply “Big is Beautiful”.
During some test games with this army I realised a few things which I was going to rely on during the event to win whatever matches there could be won kill whatever enemies there were possible to kill:
1. Don’t move your Winged Nazgul forward when you’ve got priority because they [b]will[/b] die
2. This I knew before but just to reinforce – it is better in 99% of the situation to move 2nd
3. Don’t forget that Giant and Trolls have S9 and S8 Throwing weapons because they will make a difference!
4. The Tainted + ‘There Will Be No Dawn’ Fate combo combined with a co-ordinated charge by several Terror causing models could potentially be a game winner.
5. Councellor is likely the most broken ability GW has ever invented – the concept is good but I have no idea who came up with such a ridiculously overpowered rule that generates sick amount of Might within 1-2 turns. Talk about Outriders/Gamling being broken, they are nothing compared to this. Seems like GW always has to mess something up that completely ruins the game...
Let the “Mass Battles” begin!
Additionally to the scenario Victory Points, player could score 3 more points if they manage to break (reduce below 25% of all companies) their opponent.
Game 1, The High Ground vs Elves controlled by Haba
Objective: For controlling the centre piece of terrain you gain 10VPs.
It begun with my opponent getting priority, standing still and me moving back out of his range in the first turn. Later the two wraiths flew over to the right flank, tried outmanoeuvring the hosts of elves, but through a one simple mistake one was lost – I forgot about Thranduil’s Epic Shot and moved into his range, paradoxically saying at the same time that it doesn’t matter if I move further...
After the death of one of the Nazgul, the other followed soon through heavy magic, then the Trolls died through Magic and 8 Might points of the Three Hunters. Giant fought till the end, but didn’t manage to do much anyway.
At the same time my teammate Damian was fighting Isengard with Saruman, Nazgul and heavy infantry. He lost too and after game one we had 0 out of 26 possible points.
Game 2, Field of Swords vs Elves by Isilheru
Objective: For each company killed 1 point, for each 3 additional 1, for each hero 2pts, for general 4 pts, max difference = 10 points.
First time I came up against the councellors in a tournament environment – normally friends never tried to exploit it in friendly games at the time I played more WotR (ie. About 9 months ago). Scenario was Field of Swords with set up on the short edges.
By the time my Trolls got anywhere near combat, Gandalf and Galadriel were already on 10 might each with Haldir on 8 – ridiculous rule :/. I lost one Nazgul to magic quite fast, but then destroyed Gil-Galad’s Elven 4-strong Elven Cohort in one turn (killed about 2/3 really, then he rolled a 1 for break test with no Might left, using it all to kill off the Giant).
Game 3: Seize the Prize vs Gondor by Ismaril
Objective: To control 5 prizes, each worth 2 VP
With a defeat in 1st game and draw in the 2nd we were moved to the last table to play a fun game against Ismaril and Gico. I was lucky enough to play against the best painted Gondor army (respect here to my opponent, it was beautiful).
Once we deployed objectives, Ismaril chose a side with two of the markers and gave me the corner with three of those. It started with me moving forward at full speed, while my opponent preparing a defence to take on the incoming Monsters. During the first 2 turns I lost one company of Wargs to shooting, but otherwise was unaffected by it. The Giant made an extended move by entering a big piece of defensible terrain and leaving it next turn, making up about 7 or 8 extra inches with protection. The only big threats my opponent had were Gandalf and Aragorn – the first one was killed in a duel against a Troll Chieftain (he probably miscalculated my movement and charge ranges, because otherwise I would have expected him to jump with Gandalf to another formation). The Grey Company formation was then slaughtered by two Trolls. The two Winged Nazgul, using almost only Swoop Attacks throughout the entire game, and casting Strength from Corruption and Black Darts, completely outmanoeuvred and confused my opponent.
At the end of the game my opponent said he was considering using the Epic Journey with Aragorn to move into my deployment Zone and capture the objectives – which would easily count for 2 or 4 points for his team, but luckily for me he concentrated too much on killing my army. In the end I had lost one company of Wild Wargs and my opponent surrendered with his last formation of WoMT surrounded by Giant, 3 Trolls and 2 Fell Beasts.
In the same time the mighty Rohirrim slaughtered forces of Mordor for a 10-0 objective win and a 3-0 army break points. Total score 26-0 to us.
The Best Painted Army Choosing:
Tournament scene in Poland is known for having events organised in schools with players staying overnight in classrooms and doing a lot of random stuff... but unfortunately having slept only 2 hours the previous night I was too tired to engage in anything.
Game 4: The Field of Swords vs Dwarves by Gymly
By far the best game of the tournament. At the start when I saw Khazad Guards, 2 Ballistas, 2 formations of Archers, the Three Hunters (these guys are insane at killing Monsters, 8 Might rocks) and to top it all: 2 Councellors (Dain and Gandalf), I thought the game was about to be over as soon as I set up.
But it wasn’t meant to be that way... it begun with Gymly choosing the side and setting up his Ballistas on a hill, so naturally my only way of avoiding being killed in turn 1 was to have everything except the Nazgul as far away from them as possible (the reduced 36” range of Dwarf Ballista helped me enormously in this case) – the Nazgul didn’t care about the distance at the start.
In turn one opponent shuffled around a bit and ended the move phase. In my move phase the following happened: Nazgul number 1 flew next to one Ballista, killed it with Strength From Corruption, then cast Black Dart at the Three Hunters, which was resisted. Nazgul number 2 flew over as well and killed the 2nd Ballista to allow a safe field for the Trolls and Giant to run through. Turn 2 my opponent called two Epic Challenges, one of which I passed, the other failed and I won priority and chose to move first due to enemy magic and because I wanted to cast my spells first before potential death. The next thing that happened was Strength From Corruption unresisted (rolled a 1) which caused 3 hits, taking out one of them, then Black Dart needed to be resisted as well, leaving my opponent with I believe 1 Might point left. The other Nazgul then killed off the Hunters with his own SfC – by the end of my movement phase I was already up 1 point (3 companies) up on my opponent and about to lose 1 Nazgul.
As the game progressed I lost both Nazgul but got into combat with Trolls and Giant with a plan to kill as many companies as I possibly could to score some points for the team. Once they started fighting with the main formation, Dain failed to kill Troll chieftain on two occasions and Galadriel had to flee. Then the funniest thing happened: 3 companies of Wargs, 2 Trolls and Giant charged the main formation. Given the order of strikes, enough models were killed that the wargs couldn’t strike anymore and I had Troll Chieftain left to strike who needed to kill 7 Khazad Guard to remove opponent’s formation from the game. The Troll had 8 attacks after charging and was killing on 4+... It’s enough to say that the formation was removed having been wounded on all 8 dice :P
After a very close and enjoyable game we counted the score and it ended 13-11 in objectives, hence a 2-0 score for my team but in addition I broke my enemy, so I scored 5-0 (my last company of Wargs survived and saved me from being broken). Interesting note on my dice rolls in this game: what are the chances of Wild Wargs with Courage 0 with -2 dice modifier passing a courage test for Visions of Woe? Normally I would say 50/50 – it either happens or it doesn’t... but this time I gotta say 100% :P
At the same time my teammate was playing against Mordor with Morgul Knights, Castellans, Gulavhar (shot dead from a Rohan formation in a single turn :P). The highlight of that game was the charge of the Winged Hussars (see Wikipedia for more info on the world's greatest ever cavalry formation, seen between the 16-18th century in Europe). My friend needed 6 to charge one formation, got it, then got an earthshaking charge on a 6 and then required a 6 to charge another formation which he obviously rolled again, making it a half table, half army smashing charge... WotR is fun! :)
Total score 15-0
Game 5: Domination vs Elves by Isilheru
The game was a bit uneventful, but ended with my Troll failing needing to kill 7 on 8 dice to draw the game, while he killed only the average 4 and lost the game. Nothing special, though I didn’t make as many mistakes against Epic Shot and councellors as I did in the previous games and I think I played the best I could have done against that particular army.
Score 0-11 in my game and 11-2 in friend’s game, for a total of 11-13 defeat.
I was gonna start with model analysis, but honestly I don’t have enough experience and 5 tournament games in a not too competitive environment is certainly not enough to state the uses of the models.
In total I won 2 games, my teammate won 4, so with 6 out of 10 games won we still ended up 9th out of 13 teams :D If I had taken something more competitive we might’ve been even on the podium, but who cares?
Councellors proved to be a really powerful rule, but unlike what I felt at the start, they are not that broken really. If we use a normal army full of normal models, all that Might will not be able to bring down overwhelming numbers. They are indeed overpowered when facing Monsters, but against infantry they wouldn’t be that good (and hence the podium finishes didn’t have any in 1st and 2nd place, not sure about the 3rd). They are also one of the very few counters for heavy Evil Magic.
Magic level... there’s been a lot of talk about this, but I believe that 1 level per 200 points is just about perfect (I would do 1 per 250 personally with exception of allowing level 8+ formations to be used in 2000pt games)
Epic Strike and Duel – I was heavily against it before, but now I believe it should be played that you are allowed to use Epic Strike in a Duel. Reason why is that otherwise the likes of Gil-Galad are impossible to beat and will always wreak havoc as long as they can call a duel (and with 6 Might they’ll always will be able to do it). Ringwraiths with Epic Strike are still at a disadvantage after being called to a duel by someone else with ES because that someone will have F10 too and +1 dice modifier and Might, so even then RWs will often fall. The combination of the rules allows for equal playing field between good and evil forces.
Different list that would have probably worked much better, Defensive Monsters:
2 Winged Nazgul
6 Siege Bows (2 form of 3 comp)
3 Mordor Trolls
10 companies of unarmed Orcs.
In every game opponents would be forced to move towards me, so there wouldn’t be any need for At The Double from the Trolls. In the same time 3 Siege bows average 5-6 kills per turn, so 6 would be averaging almost 2 companies – with most of my opponents having about 12-15 companies in total that could potentially be very powerful. It still outfights everything just like the other list did.
Just to conclude: WotR is an amazing game with a massive potential. It has a far greater range of tactical possibilities than LotR or Warhammer Fantasy (I play both of these too) and relies heavily on combo-play, ie. The ability to combine certain units to certain effects and countering your opponent’s effects... it’s a bit like Magic the Gathering I could even say. The simplicity of the LotR rules is still kept inside WotR, especially when it comes to movement – none of that wheeling and turning nonsense that Fantasy suffers. The beauty of the game is that you can do anything and no single move or model can ever win you the game on its own.
Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree with something or you think I should’ve played my games differently, we’re all noobs in WotR at this moment.
Thanks for reading,
PS. Sorry, I would've included more pictures, but blogger only allows upload of 5 at a time and it takes ages to upload any significant number :/
PS2. Once there's a report on www.mitril.pl I will include a link in this post to all the photos on that site.