Scenario: The Artifact
Opponent: Kyle Toth – High Elves featuring Elladan, Elrohir, and Erestor
The last game of the tournament saw me matched up with Kyle. I’ve played Kyle once before at a local event (part of a team tournament primer) and I knew that he was a very good player. Kyle was playing a High Elf army and while his army was relatively small (a little less than 40 models), I knew that given the high Fight Value it would make the combats challenging. The other challenge I was going to have was the fact that with my slower movement rates he was likely going to be able to secure the artifact first. The objective of this scenario is to dig up the Artifact and get it across the board and off your opponent’s table edge.
Kyle and I drew the second table that feature a river dissecting the board. There were two paths across the river, a ford and a bridge. In addition, there were several large woodland features. The woods posed a particular problem as of course the elves could cross the terrain without any movement penalties.
The game started out predictably with the elves moving quickly towards the artifact. I was surprised that Kyle deployed all three of his heroes behind his lines. I was hoping this would allow me to use Gandalf to cast a Command or Immobilize on whichever elf reached the artifact first. Unfortunately, it felt like every crucial priority roll I needed went against me. Kyle was able to get two elves in base contact with the artifact and was able to dig it up on his first try. I lost the next priority and when I called a heroic move (in hopes of Commanding the elf towards my dwarven line, Kyle counted with a heroic move of his own from one of the twins. Unfortunately, I lost the roll-off and Kyle was able to get the jump on moving the ring towards my board edge.
Kyle was able to use the bridge to cross the river and with my dwarves concentrated on the ford, I was out of position to stop him. Kyle’s archery, while largely ineffective thanks to the Blinding Light, did manage to fill Shadowfax. I had to use several points of Might to call heroic moves to try and get back into position. I managed to isolate the elf carrying the prize and killed him using a Heroic Combat. Balin secured the prize as I tried to using a Heroic Move to get some distance and start moving the Artifact towards Kyle’s edge.
While I was expending so much might to try and secure the Artifact, Kyle’s Elves and two of his heroes were tearing through my Dwarves. He was easily winning the combats through superior numbers and higher Fight Value. He managed to kill all my non-heroes and started to bring the full weight of his force on my surviving Heroes.
Balin and Thorin traded the prize but were eventually overwhelmed. The twins were able to get into combat with the dwarven heroes, swarming them with high elves. Over two turns, Gandalf was killed for the first time all weekend. Unfortunately, for the dwarves looking to reclaim the lonely mountains, the High Elves proved too strong and too powerful. Balin and Thorin were both slain in the last two turns of the game. For only the second time ever (and first in the tournament), the Unexpected Party was killed to a man. With plenty of time on the clock, Kyle was awarded a Major Victory.
Outcome: Major Loss – 5 points. 65 Battlepoints Overall for the tournament.
Well, I gave it my best shot. I found myself out of position most of the game and fighting a constant losing battle of priority and heroic move roll-offs. I was happy to at least get the Artifact into my possession but by that time, my army was depleted of might and my numbers were reduced to just a few. Kyle played a good game and his superior army won the day.
Post Tournament Thoughts…
Overall, this event was one of the finest weekends of gaming I’ve ever had. So many of the players are returning players or players that I’ve met in the past, the level of camaraderie is just outstanding. We have so many excellent people, painters, and players in this community, the tournament is always just a total blast. During play-testing my army was 5-4 so it should be much of a surprise that I ended up with a recording essentially the same – 2-1-2. I had hopes of competing for Best Overall, despite the small size of my army. I knew if I could survive the first two scenarios, the next three were all winnable for my army. My plan worked perfectly until I ran into the Elven buzzsaw in Game 5. Even though Best Overall was my “stretch” goal, the real prize I was hoping for was Best Appearance. I’m very happy that I was able to walk away with that award. I certainly did put a lot of time and effort into planning, building, converting, and painting that army. I was very pleased to see that I managed to score a “perfect”40” points appearance scoring – easily my best ever appearance score. Buoyed by such a high appearance score, I later found out that I finished 3rd Overall in the tournament – not bad for Army of only 15 models! Although I didn’t repeat as Best Overall Champion, I still feel like my experience at the Gathering in the Desert 2010 was a success.