Thursday, 2 September 2010

2010 Doubles GT

19-20 June 2010.

The final score after 8 games with a 35-1, 30-5, 10-10 and +5 for Oaths looked as follows:

1st - Craig Johnson (UkRocky) & James Braund (LotRChampion), 225 battle points, 10/10 Quiz points
2nd - Mikolaj Bakalarz (BlackMist) & James Knight, 225 battle points, 9/10 Quiz points
3rd - Adam Troke & Ben Lambert with 206 battle points, 10/10 Quiz points

The Report:

I will beat you with my pole... ish friend!

Sorry if I don’t remember your name, it’s been a long time and my memory isn’t that good to remember every single player I played/talked with this weekend.

After winning last year’s title with an All-Hero good army I thought long and hard about taking a similar list this year but it looked like it was not going to work as well as it did last year (and as proven by this year’s winners who took an All-hero army, it only won 2 out of the 4 scenario), however a single all-hero force supported by a lot of models could and did prove to be a good choice:
Aragorn with Armour on Horse
Twins on Horses
6 Rangers of the North with Spears
13 Rangers of Arnor
10 Rangers of Arnor with Spears
Total for the army: 32 models, 15+1 Might, 29 bows.

11 Orcs with Spears
6 Orcs with Spears and Bows
1 Orc with Banner
Goblin Captain
15 Goblin Bows
15 Goblin Shields
15 Prowlers shields
Total for the army: 67 models, 21 bows, 8 Might.

Oaths of battle (each awarded 5 points for completing and one must be used per game per army):
- Your main leader has to kill more models than your opponent’s main leader
- Your banner must be alive at the end of the game
- Your combined army must not break
- You must kill a chosen hero in your opponent’s army

Game 1, Field of Glory, Good.
Objective: To control the centre of the board (have more models within 3” than opponents)
A doubles All-hero force considers 3 things to be ‘bad match-ups’: 1+ Mordor Trolls, 1+ Ringwraiths or Mouth of Sauron, 1 Shade. Unfortunately for us in the first game we came up against double Mordor force with Troll Chieftain, Mordor Troll, Mouth of Sauron and 50-something Orcs/Morannon Orcs. It was a nightmare match-up, but you gotta live with it when playing tournaments. We were almost drawn to play against Tom and Harry Moore at the start due to lack of opponents on the bottom tables, but since we played several times before and it has always been a top table showdown (GT2010 Tom was 1st I was 2nd, Doubles09 I was 1st Tom was 3rd), it didn’t seem right to play with them in game 1, so the referee found us different opponents. I don’t remember the first opponents’ names.
Both armies swiftly moved towards the centre, Grey Company didn’t fire a single time because it needed its movement to get to the centre. In around turn 3 Aragorn charged an Orc, heroic combated into Mount of Sauron and took him down too, in the same time both Twins charged a Mordor Troll (I had no other choice, it’s either this or we lose the game), lost combat, one Twin suffered 2 wounds, but saved both with fate (he was also the target model to kill by our opponent’s Oath of Battle). Next turn Aragorn charged another 2 orcs while Twins charged the Troll again, this time winning combat. First Twin struck with his 4 attacks and rolled 6,6,6,1 which was enough to take him out.
Our opponents could easily have gotten the centre of the board after they almost managed to block the path of the Grey Company to the middle, but a correct positioning and a timed heroic move allowed us to slip through a small gap and secure the objective. With Twins and Aragorn killing a lot of models, soon one force broke, the game ended and the score in the middle was 13-8 in our favour for a minor win. Oath failed – we didn’t have a banner.
30 – 5

Game 2, Evil:
Opponents were Paul Hanscombe and Andrew Wiggins, or “Shenanigans Too”, with armies of Dwarves with Gimli and Tower of Ecthelion with Faramir and all infantry. Shade got to the middle of the board first and once combats started being under both Shade’s and Banner’s ranges, there was no way the centre would have been conquered by our opponents. They did however manage to have exactly 1 model around 2.9” away from the centre when the game ended and that gave them 5 points (although it was an arguable decision whether we should measure 3” from the actual centre or 3” from the Marker, which was 1” wide. Either way we didn’t argue and gave them the 5 points). Oath, don’t remember what it was, but it was completed.

35 – 10

Game 3, Take the Head, Slay the Body. Evil:
Objective: Kill [b]both[/b] enemy leaders to win.
This time we came up against double Gondor forces, led by Boromir and Faramir, both mounted and combat ready. We took a defensive strategy at the start, hoping that our opponents make a mistake and come to us with their heroes and cavalry – they did, but because of the overwhelming terrain and bad positioning, there was nothing we could have done to actually surround their heroes and kill them. The game overall was quite boring and not much happened – it is partially our fault because we played it safely, but some of the blame has to go on victory conditions – you can rarely kill leaders before reducing the army below 25% if your opponents play well. Both teams kept their oaths.
15 – 15

Game 4, Good:
The best game of the tournament by far. We came up against double Isengard – one with about 12 or 15 berserkers, captain, some crossbows and some orcs; and the other with lots of Feral Uruks. Opponents set all of the combat troops on the left flank and started marching towards Grey Company, while Vrashku and some 5 crossbowmen and 5 Shields set in the top right corner of the board, just making sure that Vrahsku doesn’t get hurt.
Plan from the start was to shoot the Legions of the White Hand half (not the Raiders list) and hopefully make the Uruk Captain flee, while the 3 heroes would pursue after Vrahsku to the top right corner. Everything was going as planned, except a turn before heroes got to Vrashku, he decided to use his General’s Stand Fast Doubles Special Rule to take a courage test for the models nearby (all of which belonged to the other player). The test was failed on a double 1 and he was gone due to having used one of his Might before. At the same time the other army leader passed his courage test every single time until the end of the game.
A chase across the board begun, with the 3 heroes running over 50” to get to the enemy captain, in the same time trying to kill as few models as possible, just so that our opponents would not get reduced to 25% (game would then end as a draw). At some point the Captain was behind a forest, one Twin went to one side (where he couldn’t be charged by other models) while the other went the other way and dismounted (to be able to catch the captain in the forest in case he went in there and at the same time to be able to shield and NOT kill any warriors). At the end of the great chase we had a combat where Aragorn charged the captain on his own, caused 2 wounds, one of them was saved. Next turn Twin called heroic with his last might (opponent tried to counter but we won the roll-off), Aragorn charged again and killed.
If we had killed one more model other than the Captain, the game would have ended as a draw, that’s how close it was. ONE MODEL. Oath was secured (Aragorn Outkilling our opponents’ leader)
40 – 1

And we were on our way to play Craig (Ukrocky) and James (LotRChampion) in the 5th game on table 1 (where in my personal opinion we would have really big chances to beat them in scenario 3), but surprisingly the team who lost to Tom and Harry in game 1 managed to gain 115 points from the 3 other games and finished the day on 121, with Craig/James on 125 and us on 120, having to face Dave (Hithero) and Andrew (Hengest) on table 2.

Peter Jackson's Hobbit Model:

Day 2, Game 5, Evil:
Objective: Good: To move hobbits off the enemy board edge. Evil: To kill the hobbits.
I have played Dave an Andrew twice at the 2009 doubles, getting a minor win in round 2 and a draw in round 8 (they finished 2nd at that tournament, just 11 points behind Voitek and me) and as always they weren’t going to give away this game. The match was quite uneventful. First James and I decided to shoot as much at the Dwarves/Elves as possible, killing off any D3 models we could see, then with superior numbers we planned to outfight our opponents, but they saw that and went for a defensive formation and played for a draw which they easily got. Scenario doesn’t really allow the evil army any good chance if the good side decides to play for a draw so after uneventful 100 minutes we gave up and agreed to a draw. Our oath wasn’t kept, but theirs was.

10 – 15

Game 6, Good:
After losing to James and Craig, our opponents Chris and Andy used an army of Spider Queen with Giant Spiders and Morgul Knights, Stalkers with mounted Black Marshall. Our good army was built to win this scenario in a manner of first destroying everything our opponent had and then moving the hobbits off the board. However, our plan was demolished by the House Rules which I only saw the day before the event in Warhammer World – killing all enemy models means the game ends in a draw. On Friday before the event I thought we were doomed in this one because of that change, but then on Saturday we realised that the Twins can use shielding if they dismount and here’s what happened:
Enemies moved towards us, we shot, shot, fought and without any problems killed most of the models (the total numbers were similar on both good and evil sides and we had a bow and hero advantage, so it wasn’t hard to kill everything). Then, in the turn when the last enemy model was left on the table, Elrohir dismounted, charged it and shielded, allowing hobbits to move 4”. We then declared that he is going to do this every turn until the hobbits leave and this is regardless of Priority because Aragorn will be calling a free heroic move every turn to ensure this happens. After few seconds our opponents conceded.

40 – 1

Game 7, Evil:
Objective: Reduce enemy army to 25% of starting numbers
The victory in game 6 combined with the tournament leaders’ loss in the same game put us on the same points total on 1st position. During lunch before the game we discussed the possible outcomes of the game with our opponents and agreed that if we get to play Evil, they will have a very hard time and it is almost impossible for them to win because of the Shade. If we played Good, it would most likely be a very close game (their evil army being Spider Queen, Orcs and lots of Goblins). The deciding dice roll was thrown across the gaming hall, watched by a group of people (it seemed like a very important event back then...) and we got to play evil.
60 something vs 7 seems easy enough, but having won the doubles previous year with 6 models and beaten armies of anything between 50 and 70 I knew it wasn’t going to be an auto-win. We rolled for the Shade force to set in the middle and fight against Boromir CotWT, Faramir, Beregond and Banner Bearer led by James. From turn 1 we won heroic move roll-off, charged, killed Faramir and Banner, surrounded Boromir and killed him in turn 3. At the same time Aragorn and Twins killed around 10 goblins and were running around not quite sure what to do. For the remainder of the game our army was chasing Craig’s force and James was having a lone drink in Bugman’s Bar. Both teams completed their oaths, though I don’t remember which ones they were.
15 – 15

Game 8, Good.
We came up against Dave and Andrew again (Hithero and Hengest if you forgot). This was the 4th time in two doubles tournaments that I had to play these. Opponents set up first with Harad in the centre of the board and Mordor, including Mordor Troll Chieftain (the anti-hero weapon) coming in from the edges. My Aragorn and Twins were drawn to set up in the middle against the Harad force and Grey Company was to walk onto the table.
Within the first few turns, Aragorn and Twins annihilated the Haradrim force in the middle, although one of the Twins suffered his first ever tournament death and Aragorn fought Suladan for I believe 3 turns before managing to finally cause the killing blow. Over the course of the battle, Rangers got broken but their captains’ high courage helped to save them before opponents’ total was reduced to 25%.
The highlight of the game was a move which I like to call ‘Heroic Death’ - Ranger of the North was fighting a Mordor Troll Chieftain and the Chieftain decided to call a Heroic Combat to kill the RotN and move onto the other models, but I declared that the RotN is going to call a Heroic Combat himself. Dave and Andrew looked confused as to what we are doing – clearly we’ve lost our minds, the RotN has no chance of killing a Troll on 3 wounds with just 1 attack. But here’s the catch – if the roll-off goes to our favour, then our Heroic Combat goes first, our RotN most likely dies, but then when the time comes for the Troll’s Heroic, there isn’t anyone in combat with him, so the Heroic cannot legally take place, so it is cancelled. After explaining this to our opponents, we allowed them to cancel their move because it seemed sporting to me due to them not knowing that such a play could still be done after so many years of experience with the game – on the other hand, I secretly wanted them to cancel it because I’d rather have 100% that there’s no Heroic than a 50/50 :). (I gotta admit, ever since I posted this story on TLA, Craig Johnson already managed to pull it off on me during another tournament and I wasn’t too happy about it :) )

Result: 40 – 1 (or 40 – 6, not sure if they got the oath, I remember that we did)

Final standings:
1 – Craig Johnson (Ukrocky) & James Braund (LotRChampion), 225 points, 10 on the Quiz
2 – Mikolaj Bakalarz (BlackMist) & James Knight, 225 points, 9 on the Quiz
3 – Adam Troke & Ben Lambert, 206 points, 10 on the Quiz

The Fellowship Award for the group of teams to "3 Brits, 1 Pole" (1st and 2nd place finishers are friends).

As always, the doubles and singles GTs are excellent events, nothing bad to say about this one. I hope to see same or greater number of great people again next year and as long as I attend these tournaments. 104 people attended this event.

This is my 3rd UK GT/Doubles podium in a row (2009 2v2 - 1st, 2010 1v1 - 2nd, 2010 2v2 - 2nd).