Steamroller: December 2011

The final event of the 2011 Warmahordes series was a quiet tournament as many players chose to stand, sobbing, in toy-shop queues throughout Dublin. Its small size is reflected by the length of the tournament report. For those lucky souls who did attend, they had the opportunity to beta test the Steamroller 2012 rules. But first, the violence. I deployed my Menoth, bringing a pKroess Pop'n'Drop list and the Harbinger.

Game 1: vs Anto's Cryx, eSkarre

Going into the game, I reflected on Anto's limited intelligence and silly hair. I spent a good five minutes debating the relative merits of incessantly mocking his defeat for the rest of the day or simply sporting an insufferably smug look everytime he wandered nearby. That concluded, we diced off.

*draws breath* Hate, hate, hate. Die in a fire, eSkarre. *draws breath*

I regret to report I was rather nicely outplayed in a short, sharp shock. Having played this exact match-up recently, complacency had nested. My opponent reinforced this by going with what appeared to be his standard opening. Deathjack and Nightmare both postured for the assassination run and I decided to play defensively and lure him in for a failed attempt.

This caution left me unable to react when he completely reversed his normal game plan and made a bid for a scenario win. By turn 3, he was poised for victory. One futile attempt to gun down his caster and the Menites had crashed to a defeat.

Game 2: vs Steve's Circle, Morvahna
This seemed somewhat familiar. Steve. Circle Orboros, that nameless mission. Looking at the large swarm of infantry, the Harbinger was the only choice. The mission suited me, the list composition suits me and the caster match-up suited me. Despite this, I still managed to make it far too close a match.

His army was a sight to behold, massive amounts of Tharn infantry filling the deployment zone. My slightly anemic force, hiding in a forest, may have wanted to run at that point. But a series of lucky scatters saw his caster, beasts and some druids lit on fire. With the tricksy assets being removed, I felt a little safer about the course of the game.

His caster was heavily dependent on upkeeps, my caster could cheaply and easily remove all upkeeps in a large zone. This rather simple course of action never occurred to me. But the Harbinger's feat disrupted the tempo of his advance and the troops never really managed to hit home. By the time his flankers were in place, my warjacks were firing on Morvahna.

Game 3: vs Peter's Cryx, pDeneghra
Well, it was something of a wash. There was a brutal bloodbath in the centre into which both sides fed most of their armies. We both felt rather pleased with ourselves by the end of the first hour. Peter felt he had the advantage in the endgame and I felt likewise. After several turns of slaughter, a trio of Bane Thralls and Nightmare faced off against a Reckoner and Vanquisher. We'll never know what would have transpired as the game ended very early.

Peter took the win on tertiary tie-breaker with a Deathripper partially in the primary flag zone. Bad beta rules, bad. No reducing the time limit to an unfeasibly short amount of time. Admittedly, my dislike may be based on losing by time and the fact that we played ten minute rather than seven minute turns would skew the system but I really dislike the idea.

The games were fun, my final standing was disappointing.

But the beta test certainly reveals that next year's tournaments will see some major changes. The shortened turns and potential for reduced match lengths make units with multiple AoEs unpalatable. In fact, even large infantry units threaten to use too much of your precious time limit. Warbeasts and warjacks will be tempting and those casters/locks which support them will see more play.

The character restrictions, however, will certainly shake up list design. The stronger builds will still see play but expect the alternate lists to be more focused, optimising a specific caster rather than being similar to the primary list, with a second choice caster. I'll miss you, Covenant of Menoth.

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