In 2010, the One Ring has started a monthly painting challenge. Last month, the theme was Gandalf the Grey. I submitted the Gandalf I’ve been working on as part of the Unexpected Party. This month, the theme is Nazgûl. For Christmas, I got the Betrayer model and I’ve wanted to paint him as a possible addition to my Harad Army. So it was an easy choice to paint this model for the competition. The challenge was that I was distracted with the Unexpected Party the entire month and never got a chance to work on him! So finally this afternoon about 8 hours from the monthly deadline, I put brush to mini and got him painted. Its not as great as I would have liked but given the amount of time I spent on him he came out okay. Its one of my hobby goals this year to try and enter every Monthly Challenge at the One Ring so I’m glad to have beat the deadline (had 105 minutes to spare!)
Archive for the Harad Category
Post Tournament Wrap-Up
So that was it, the Gathering in the Desert had come and gone. My final count was 3-2-0 with 2 Major Victories, 1 Minor Victory, and 2 Minor Losses. All in all I was quite happy with my performance. I’d made some crucial mistakes in each of the last three games I played. However, for the first time in a major tournament, I’d managed to avoid the dreaded Major Loss and kept earning points, even in the scenarios where I was losing ground.
The Prize Support was great, for Best Overall, I won a Rohan War of the Ring Battlehost Set – the equivalent of 48 Warriors of Rohan, 18 Riders of Rohan, and King Theoden. For those that have followed my blog, you know that I’m a huge fan of the Rohan armies (even if they aren’t competely competitive) and this was a great prize for me. I had every intention of building up my Rohirrim to 1500-2000 point force ready for War of the Ring.
Finally, I have to reiterate again, I really think the Gathering of the Desert was probably the most fun gaming weekend I’ve ever had. Tim and Dean did a great job running the event and I absolutely loved the venue. Being able to spend time with so many of my hobby friends was just the icing on the cake. We had group dinners each night and Jeremy, Tim, and I (along with John and Keith on Saturday) stayed up late just shooting the breeze each night. Thanks to everyone for a great weekend!!
Thanks again to Tim and Dean for running the event. Thanks to Kyle for hosting the event as his great store. Thanks to all the sponsors for their generous support and finally thanks to all the great players who made this a great event.
Game 5 – The Last Alliance vs Jeremy’s Serpent Horde Cavalry
After three years of tournament play, Jeremy and I finally got a chance to play against each other. I think we were both looking forward to the opportunity. However, we knew that matching up in Game 5 meant that we both knew we still had a shot at Best Overall (especially depending on how Chris and Sean’s game would come out).
Our scenario was a To the Death variation with the outcome actually judged by Victory Point differential. The other interesting twist was that if at the end of the game, you had any models left within 12″ of your deployment edge, then you could finish no better than a draw.
Jeremy’s army was all mounted Haradrim. He had Suladan, a Haradrim Chieftan with a bow, 8 Serpent Riders, and the rest were Haradrim Raiders (mixed with war spears and bow). He deployed his entire army in the center of his deployment zone with the archers to my right and the Raiders and Serpent Riders towards the left. His archers pushed forward towards the right. His non-archers split into two groups, one small and one larger one. The larger group turned towards the left to sweep around a large ruined tower in the center of the battlefield. The smaller group was pulling to support the Raiders with bows.
I deployed in a tight box style formation hoping to be able to defend both a northern and western flank with lines of Mahud warriors. I left a very small contingent on the far right side to protect a flank that was around area of difficult terrain (wooded forest).
During my forward advance, I used a formation consisting of a Haradrim warrior blocking two Mahud warriors. I knew the Haradrim had lower defense but I could afford to lose a few of them in order to get into combat. Jeremy took several shots with multiple in the ways to try and get at some of my stronger models (Half-Troll and a Mahud Raider). I advanced my archers towards the ruined tower in the center. I knew that if I could get there, I’d have a nice archery platform and be protected from the advancing cavalry models. Nothing significant came from our archer attacks.
We continued this general approach for the next few turns with a few causalities on each side. I lost a few Haradrim spearmen and Jeremy lost two Raiders. I made one huge mistake during this phase of the game. At one point, I left my Mahud Tribesmaster exposed to the Haradrim Raider archers. Jeremy had 14 shots without any in-the-way rolls. He scored 5 hits and I was really worried. Luck was with me on this turn as not a single wound was scored (a consistent theme throughout the match). Whew, disaster averted.
As the game proceeded, Jeremy left his archers outside of his charge range, content to let them try and dink and dunk some shots. Around this same time, Suladan and his escort were circling around the ruined fort and eyeing up a charge. I had formed up my lines on both the north and western flanks. I also moved my Haradrim Cavalry towards the southern side of my army in order to prepare for a counter charge. I purposefully left my Mahud line within the Haradrim charging range (although Jeremy only had about 3 Cavalry in full range). Jeremy took my bait and charged in towards the Mahud warriors he could reach. I withstood the charge winning the fights and managing the kill 3 Serpent Riders (and also dismounting another one with my archery).
It was a critical moment in the game and Jeremy decided to go for it on the successive turns to charge into lines. Unfortunately the second turn was much like the first, with the Mahud winning most of the fights. He was able to break through and kill some of my army on the northern flank and Suladan was doing a good job winning his fights and killing his opponents. However, on average, I was killing a lot more than he was able too. Of particular note was the Mahud Raiders who managed to kill an enemy each and every time they charged into combat thanks to their impaler rules. The Half-Troll and Mahud Tribesmaster were hacking their way through Raiders making a lot of kills. The game was starting to draw towards a close and Jeremy’s army was close to breaking.
In the late stages of the game, I kept feeding Suladan a single Haradrim warrior while the rest of my army was trying to break him. I was determined to my best to kill him all on the battlefield and not rely on victory points. However, Suladan was a mighty foe indeed. A quick model count showed that Jeremy was within 1 kill of breaking my force. He won the priorty roll and managed to charge into two Haradrim Raiders. I could have counter-charged with my Haradrim Chieftan but since I was so close to breaking, I didn’t want to risk the potentially valuable victory points. I managed to kill the rest of his army on that turn but Suladan won his combat and killed both of his foes. I was broken and my Mahud Tribesmaster would have to take that dreaded courage test on the next turn.
On the following turn, I won priorty and picked up a pair of dice. I needed that same 7 again and this time the dice smiled at me rolling an 8. I was able to charge the Tribesmaster into Suladan and then completely surround him with other models. On that last turn, Jeremy failed to roll a six and I won the combat and managed to inflict 11 wounds on the trapped Haradrim King. His army was completely wiped out. However, since I was broken, the scenario rules dictated that the best result I could achieve was a Minor Victory.
This game was very enjoyable for me, especially since my plan worked out almost perfectly. I avoided a near fatal brain cramp with the exposed Tribesmaster, but otherwise things went almost perfectly. One thing I really failed to remark on in this report was how brutal Jeremy’s dice were. Even on the combats where I didn’t roll a 6 to win, Jeremy couldn’t seem to roll higher than 3 with most results being 1. It became a running joke as he would toss each crappy die to one side after it failed him. Although I don’t know it to be true, I’m fairly certain he’s melted those dice into a heap of plastic. They really did deserve it.
Game 3 – Look to the East vs Anthony’s White Hand of Isengard
Entering the last game of the day 1, Anthony and I were tied for first in battle points. Anthony is a great general (as he showed throughout the tournament arguably playing the most difficult gauntlet of opponents) who does a good job on playing his Uruk-Hai army list.
I’ve played Uruk-Hai once before using a list consisting of a fighting core of Mahûd Warriors. However, last time this happened, I was allied with Orcs including a decent group of heavy armored Morannon Orcs to absorb some of the blows from the Uruk-Hai. I was a bit unsure of how the Haradrim contingent would do but felt confident none-the-less. Our armies were very similar in terms of pure fighting ability. Anthony’s big advantage was heavy armor across the line and crossbows whereas my advantage was slightly higher model count (8 I believe) and the presence of a small cavalry contingent. Our direct fighting lines could go toe-to-toe with equivalent FV, equivalent Str (wounding on 5+), and equal number of attacks (3 for him with pikes and 3 for me with spears).
The scenario was our third Meeting engagement variation of the day. We had edge deployment with the twist that only half our army was deployed at the start of the game. The remaining half could enter play starting on Turn 2 depending on the outcome of a random die roll that got progressively easier as the game went on. The reinforcements would “come from the east” which in game terms meant come from your right edge. Since directions technically don’t change, we jokingly called this scenario “Look the Right” – however, I applaud the organizers for using the obvious LOTR references for the scenario names.
To start the game, I deployed all my archers and about half my Mahûd, Tribesmaster, a Half-Troll and a handful of Haradrim Spears. My reserves were all cavalry, the rest of the Mahûd , a Half-Troll and a few Haradrim Spears. I deployed all my models close to the “East” edge of the board to try and maintain the fighting near my reinforcements. Anthony deployed all of his Crossbows on the right half of my board. He also had around a dozen Uruk-Hai with Shields or Pikes alongside a captain. His reserves were another Captain and 21 Uruk-Hai with Shields or Pikes.
The game started with two rounds of relatively weak volleyfire while he advanced the line to try and get the crossbows into range. On his second turn he rolled the necessary 5+ to bring his reinforcements to the table and started the long trek towards me. I advanced cautiously trying to be prepared to dive into some terrain to avoid getting some direct fire from his crossbows when he was in position.
By the third turn, I had priority and rolled the necessary result to bring my reinforcements on the board. I made the first huge mistake of the game as I was so focused on getting into position I totally forgot about the fact that he still had to move (duh!). I lined up a row of Mahûd and the Half-Troll right in front of his crossbows so that I could be ready to jump him on the next turn. Well, duh, he didn’t have to move them and he shot 12 crossbows right into me and killed 4 Mahûd warriors. Ouch, but as bad as it was, it could have been worse. I was going to deploy my cavalry behind his lines and try to crunch his crossbows from both sides but the difficult terrain made it impossible for me to get my Cavalry into the position that I needed to be in to pull off this maneuver. As a result of my brain gaff, I was now reeling a little bit trying to figure out how to survive that part of the battlefield.
On the middle part of the battlefield, Anthony was advancing his 22 model reinforcements towards me. I formed up my ranks and prepared for the inevitable assault. I hoped that my decimated lines up to my north could hold those models at bay long enough for me to get the upperhand. My archers moved into a postion to get several turns of direct fire at his advancing Uruks. I had a bit more luck with direct fire taking out a couple bezerkers.
Once our lines clashed it was a bloody scrum. We just bludgeoned each other basically trading casualty for casualty. I was starting to lose ground in my fight around the Crossbow Uruks (now also supported by his other half of his original deployment group) but I was making headway on this reinforcements. Most of his kills were coming from Haradrim spearmen but my Mahûd were standing firm. The Half-Troll and Tribesmaster were monsters on that flank.
In the northern flank, my Young Suladan fell to the hands of the Uruk-Hai Captain. He was avenged when the Captain eventually was swamped with some remaining Mahûd. The battle got very tight as we were both within a small handful of models of breaking and we’d each lost one of our heroes.
In the central battle, I was finally able to wear down his remaining Uruk-Hai Captain as the Tribesmaster and Half-Troll brought him to his knees. However, elsewhere, my other Half-Troll was surrounded and trapped by Uruk Hai and died. We counted the bodies remaining and found that I was broken (by 1) and he was 1 model from breaking. He had lost both of his heroes and I still have the Mahûd Tribesmaster on the board.
Priority was rolled and he won. Knowing the warrior pride rule, he pulled back and engaged no one. It was time for me to roll for courage checks. I started with the Tribesmaster (of course). I needed to roll at least a 7 (Courage 2 + 1 Will). The dice fell… 4… 2. I was one pip short of passing the test as my Tribesmaster ran away. Predictably my army fell apart running away. One brave Mahûd warrior managed to pass his courage test (rolled a 10) and charged an Uruk-Hai warrior. A few Haradrim spearmen survived their courage checks and lended support. I won that combat and killed the Uruk-Hai, successfully breaking his army. However, the damage was done, the courage checks caused my army to fall below 25% and the game ended. Anthony earned a hard fought victory.
We were both exhausted after this game. It was probably the tensest game I’ve ever played individually. He was held to a minor victory as he had no surviving heroes. Anthony played his army very well and I thoroughly enjoyed the knock-down throw down match that ensued.
In the aftermath of the game, I realized my two fatal flaws. The first was the obvious bad deployment of my reinforcements. The second goes back to a conversation I had with Chris Langland-Shula on Adeptus Arizona. He advised that he really thought I should bring a Mahûd King instead of the Tribesmaster as those extra two courage points could be all the difference when I get broken. My over-confidence in the army didn’t allow me to think that I’d be broken easily enough to make a difference and I rationalized that I the two models I would have lost would be more valuable than the Hero upgrade. I’m pretty confident now that if nothing else would have changed in my game, having a King would have meant that I won the game. Oh well, lesson learned after a tough battle.
So Day 1 ended with me still 2nd overall in battle points behind Anthony. Sean was one point behind me followed by Chris.
An interesting sidebar to this game was that I learned that Anthony would not be eligible for Best Overall as he had not painted his own army (a stipulation by the organizers, and all GW GT events, that you wouldn’t be eligible for best overall or best appearance). So despite the outcome of our match and the huge points difference in battle, the Best Overall award was still very much up for grabs.
Game 2 – Light the Beacons vs David’s Serpent Horde
This scenario was another meeting engagement modified scenario with a corner deployment. There were up to 3.5 bonus points available in the form of 7 beacons that were equally spaced across the board from corner to corner (opposite our deployment corners). You could earn 0.5 bonus points for each beacon that was lit (requiring a roll of 4+ on a D6 – a failing result meant your model was burned and died instantly).
For this scenario, I drew David’s Haradrim horde army featuring the real Suladân (as opposed to my “Young” version), 5 Serpent Riders, 5 Haradrim Raiders, and a huge host of Haradrim Warriors with bows and spears. Ironically, we also drew the Harad themed table – it represented a small village somewhere in the desert regions of Harad. It was a classic match-up of rival Haradrim tribes.
I deployed with 2 Haradrim Raiders eying each corner beacon with the rest of my army bunched to the center to march towards the open area near the center of the table. There was a nice building near my deployment zone that allowed the archers to climb up and form an archery platform. It took me several turns of full movement to get them into position but it was worth the effort.
The northern most beacons (north being the top of the board from my perspective of course) looked like they would be contested by both of our us as I raced two raiders towards them and David brought all his Cavalry towards the them. However, David turned the majority of his cavalry in towards the center of the battlefield to prepare for combat. This allowed me to dismount both raiders and light each beacon successfully. I also moved my other two raiders towards the beacons to the far right. However, as I was in no danger of losing the ability to claim those beacons soon, I left my Raiders to guard them until some cheaper infantry troops could get closer. After a few turns I had two Haradrim warriors in position to light the beacons. Fate struck a fickle note there as one of my Haradrim warriors burned up in his attempt to light the beacon and to make matters worse, both Haradrim raiders fell to archery as they moved to join the ensuing battle at the center of the table. Aargh. I was able to secure one other beacon for a total of 4 earning 2 bonus points regardless of the outcome of the scenario.
In the center of the board, using my typical formation, I lined up my Mahûd, Half-Trolls, and Tribesmaster with spear support in preparation for the upcoming assault. David tested the waters of the my front line by charging in some Serpent Riders. Despite the equal fight value with the Mahûd, my superior number of dice (3 vs 2 again) allowed me to win the fights or luckily win the roll off. In the first turn, I took down three Serpent Riders (if I remember correctly).
The rest of the game was spent trading priority and had very similar results with the Mahûd working there way through the cavalry charges. Once I had broken through and killed most of his mounted models, the next lines of foot soldiers died pretty quickly. One of the highlights of this game (for me) was the Half-Troll going toe-to-toe with a Haradrim Chieftan (on foot) and taking him down. My “little” hero-killers did exactly what I wanted them to do. However, despite all that, the most valuable player of the game for was the “Iron Coated Ent-like Palm Trees” in the center portion of the battlefield. David and I both dubbed these trees with this moniker as they seem to absorb 75% of the arrows that his archers shot at me.
Eventually, my superior FV and Strength values broke through his army and he succumbed to the 25% remaining end game criteria, earning me my second Major Victory plus the 2 additional bonus points.
David was a fun opponent and I think both of us really enjoyed playing that game on that table. If he had been able to get his archers clear of those Iron Trees, I think the game could have been a lot closer. He could have been much more successful with his archery against me and wore my numbers down that way.
Game 1: Bilbo’s Treasure vs Tom’s all mounted Rohirrim Army
This scenario was a Meeting Engagement style game with bonus points available for successfully finding Bilbo’s treasure and carrying it off your board edge. There were 6 objective markers scattered evenly across the table. Each had a number written underneath them. At the start of the game, we rolled a D6 and that number represented the hidden treasure. If you managed to get the treasure off the board then you were awarded 3 bonus points.
For the start of the tournament, the organizers made sure that all the out-of-towners had an opponent from the local area to play in game one. I drew Tom O. I’d admired the work on his blog and was very happy to see Rohirrim across the table. As many of you know, Rohan was my first and still favorite army and I always enjoy seeing them played.
Our table was the “Angmar” table that was designed by one of the locals had two large hills that spanned the entire length of the table on each side. We had several areas of difficult terrain (trees and ruins). My deployment was split into three groups. On my far right side I deployed about 1/3 of my cavalry and all my archers. In the center I had the majority of my Mahûd host supported by Haradrim Spears. On the far left, I had the rest of my cavalry. My plan was to sprint out and get to at least the three objectives closest to my deployment edge. However, since I was facing an all cavalry force, I knew I could get to as many as I would have liked. As it turns out, the first objective marked that we uncovered was on my side of the board and it was the one marked with the 2 on the bottom, matching the result of our D6 roll. I used 2 Haradrim warriors to drag the treasure off my board (taking about 3 turns).
With the objective secured, I repositioned my army for a straight up Meeting Engagement style battle. On my left side, my archers ran up the hill and in front of the ruins settling into a nice archery zone. On my right flank I moved a small contingent of Mahûd and a Half Troll, some spearmen to compliment the Haradrim Raiders and Mahûd Raiders. The middle portions of my army filled in a front wall of Mahûd, the other Half-Troll and the Mahûd Tribesmaster, all supported by Haradrim Spearman. This front wall was bracing for the inevitable cavalry charge.
As I’ve said before, I love Rohan but right now I’m convinced they’ve been affected more than any other army list by the “stat creep” in the last few supplements. Even on the charge, they aren’t as effective as the front line I could put against them. Tom did what he had to do and charged head-long into my lines. Our first point of contact was my right flank. It was probably shortly after those first fights that he realized how hard it was going to be against my army. Even with the extra charge bonus, I could still get more dice rolling into his attacks (2 from the Mahûd and 1 from the spear vs 2 from the Cavalry) and with a higher FV I was more likely to win the fights. On top of that, in certain fights, I could counter-charge with cavalry and negate some of his bonuses. Including in one instance where I countercharged with a Mahûd Raider and killed the Rider of Rohan with the Impaler rule.
On the center of the board, I advanced full on preparing the weather the same charge. I tried to narrow my exposure as much as possible to ensure that he couldn’t completely outflank my lines. The ensuing cavalry charges were much the same as the previous attempts as Tom was losing models quickly. On dramatic moment saw Eomer engage in a cavalry charge and was counter-charged with one of my Mahûd Raiders. The impaler rule allowed me to take his horse out from underhim. He passed his thrown rider test and ultimately won the fight but had to burn his might to get to a ‘6’. Another funny moment was when I killed his banner bearer 3 times in a row. Luckily he kept the banner in contact with another model so he was able to keep picking it up during combat.
As the turns progressed, the results were inevitable. The Mahûd went on to carve through the Rohirrim and eventually brought Tom’s army to less than 25% of his starting numbers earning a Major Victory and 3 bonus points for securing Bilbo’s Treasure.
This was a fun game that gave me an opportunity to play against a familiar army. Tom did a great job using his army, but he was just hampered by some bad dice and some overwhelming fights. He did a great job remembering the use his throwing spears advancing into every combat (many people pay for throwing weapons but forget to use them). He scored lots of hits with his throwing weapons but his dice failed on the rolls to wound. They almost always came up ‘1’. I told him after the game, that I thought he could benefit from adding a few more bows to his army. Rohan, they way they are currently configured, have to using archery to their advantage to whittle away at the enemy.
Next month, I’m going to be attending the first Lord of the Rings Circuit event in 2009 – the Gathering in the Desert. I’ve decided to bring a Haradrim Alliance army for this tournament. I’ve been trying to develop an list that can feature both good numbers and feature my Warriors of Far Harad. Here’s the army list I’ve settled on:
1x Haradrim Chieftan (Suladân), Horse, War Spear
12x Haradrim Warrior Bow
18x Haradrim Warrior w Spear
4x Haradrim Raider, Lance
2x Sepent Rider
1x Mahud Tribesmaster, Shield
6x Mahud Warrior
6x Mahud Warrior w/ Blowpipe
1x Half-Troll, 2H Weapon
2x Mahud Raider, War Spear
54 Models. 4 Might. 12 Bows / 6 Blowpipes. 9 Cavalry.
I actually think this is one of my best designed list. He features a hard hitting elite infantry. I’ve got enough archery to be a nuisance (poisoined arrows too) and a decent cavarly that can be used to cover the groups quickly and should do okay in a fight (thanks to the lances). The biggest weakness across the group is low defense. The majority of the army is D4 or D5.
The theme is build around a young Haradrim Chieftan (Suladân) on his rise to power. He’s taken the mantle of the Serpent Lord and recruted the best Horsemen in his clan to be his ‘Serpent Riders’. Knowing the treacherous battles ahead, he also allies himself with the stoic Mahud Tribesmaster, Tar K’Kikal, and his band of Mahud warriors. Though formidible when fighting from horseback, Young Suladân has nominated Tar K’Kikal as his Champion in Battle. Suladân is wise enough to know when to stick his own neck out on the line and the time is not right to expose himself to unecessary risks. Not when he has allies that will die for him.
I have a conversion put together for Young Suladân. This is one the last models I have to paint for this army to be finished. I’ve been meaning to post a picture of that model. Maybe I can snap a picture and see what I can come up with.
EDIT: Here’s a photo of my converted Suladân
As is typical with my army lists, I’ve been having some healthy debates on the merits of the list over on two of my favorite forums, Adeptus Windy City and Adeptus Arizona. Feel free to post some comments here (I always love to hear comments) or join in the discussion at those two great forums.