My first matchup of the tournament turned out to be an Ogre Kingdoms army, a matchup I was quite pleased with given the ammount of Ogre players in our local meta and all the mistakes I’ve learned from against said players before. I felt confident enough to pull off a small victory, since I know the limits of my army and the weaknesses in his, by getting a sweet multicharge in the late game turns 5 or 6 against one of his blocks. I’d love to send the Emperor in to baptize his character-star once it had been depleted of some of its Ironguts, but I was also concerned with the dangers of getting overconfident – Ogres can put alot of pressure early in the game and I didn’t want to rush my way into a massacre day one. In the worst case scenario my plan was just to deny him point chunks from my army if the dice wouldn’t go my way. I don’t remember all of the details concerning his list but he had a fairly kitted Tyrant general, a lvl 4 Heavens Butcher, a lvl 1 or 2 Butcher with the lore of the Maw and a standard ogre BSB. All of the characters hid in the middle and back ranks of a three-wide gut-star. For chaff he had three obligatory cats, he also brought a bus of 40 gnobblars which I think he would have loved to throw under the wheels of my steamtank! Two Ironblasters covered one flank while a unit of 7 or 8 maneaters with dualwielding sniper/poison pistols covered the other and put up a nice zone of hurt for any wizard who dared enter within casting range of 24″.
Deployment was fairly straight forward: He dropped his three cats across his entire deployment zone as usual which kind of forced me to deploy in the center to not risk running across the entire table with my army while taking fire from his cannons and gun-eaters. I used the hill in the middle of my board to hide my hellblaster behind, thinking that if he’d get first turn at least he wouldn’t get a clear shot at it and if I got first turn I could simply push it forward to get in range for my second turn, all while screening it with archers to avoid death by poison. Once he started to castle up in one corner of the table I figured I’d use the impassable terrain piece on his left to cover the flank of my advance. From this position my knights could easily advance to within easy charge range while not exposing their flank to cannon shots, countercharges or an early re-direct from one of his central cats. I also dropped my bunker here, since I got Iceshard blizzard, Curse of the Midnight wind, Comet of Cassandora and Chainlightning for my spell genereation my wizard really didn’t need direct line of sight which allowed him to use the impassable terrain as cover. On my left flank i put down the Demigryph knights to pressure the maneaters after a volley or two from the hellblaster. The Greatswords just had to advance along the middle and help out if an opportunity would arise since we all know what happens if Greatswords and Ironguts go one on one…
His double Ironblasters posed a serious threat to my Steamtank but I thought that instead of hiding it I’d just push it up against is left flank, taking shots at his cannons on the way in. Aided by the threat of a charging Captasus and some magic buffs/hexes there was a small chance of getting rid of at least one ironblaster and rounding the impassable terrain with my steamtank by turn 3 or 4, to threaten his gutstar in the flank and forcing him to chose between Franz and his friends in the front together with impact hits in the side or viceverca. As it would turn out, some Greatsword-wielding beardyman, angry with the lack of trust in his unit, must have thought it was a great way to prank the steamtank crew by taking a piss in the gunpowder the night before battle, limiting the cannon fire to come…
I get first turn and immediatly shuffle coal into the steamtank. After generating 4 steampoints I put two of them into the engine and roll a dazzling 10″ for my first move towards his leftmonst Ironblaster. The Captasus swoops forward to hide behind the hill on his left side of the table. Normally I’d want to offer him the choice of either shooting at the Captasus or steamtank but there was no way doing this and be within a descent charge range by turn two so the captasus had to bunnyjump obstacles for a turn. My central line just push forward, keeping both my knights and Demis outside of Ogre charge range but limiting his movement should he enter my zone of possible charges. The Hellblaster crew, screened by a detachment of Archers, push their gun forward along the hillside to get in range of his Maneaters who decided to hide inside the old ruins of a sigmarite chapel, vandalizing its idols, on the other side of the table. For the Winds of Magic I roll a lovely 1 and 2 all of which make up the three dice I throw at the game’s first comet. I roll 12+4 for my casting value which he fails to dispel, allowing me to place a comet 5″ in front of his Maneaters and Gut-star. The steamtank takes aim for one of the Ironblasters but rolls two 2″s on the artillery dice, a shot that fails to impress both the Emperor and the ogre Tyrant. A smirking laughter is heard across the ogre line which marks the end of Empire turn 1.
In his following turn he plays a bit safe, backing his line up to make the comet stay 8″ away from his units since there was no need to rush into my chargerange, stand on top of a comet marker and also getting in danger close of the hellblaster all while being in easy re-direct range from my archers. He pushes his cats forward, placing one in front of the Steamtank who thought it was a good idea to go all ahead full. The Ogre magic phase was fairly uninteresting, first of all my comet failed to land, then I managed to stop him from placing a comet in front of my entire army and instead let him cast the spell from the lore of the Maw that forces you to take a panic test, which targeted my bunker but since the Emperor finds lack of leadership disturbing within 18″ he easily kept the men in order. The Ironblasters put their name to the test by first taking 3 wounds off the Steamtank with a well placed round shot and the other hitting the Hellblaster but rolled a 1 to wound.
On Empire turn 2 (of which I forgot to take photos of) I decided to charge an Archer detachment into the side of the cat that ran out to redirect the Steamtank, thus allowing me to stay still with the tank and shoot the cannon rather than locking it in close combat for a simple roadkill. I march the bunker up 3″ behind their Archers so that even if I lose combat against the cat I’d still be steadfast. The rest of my line continues to push forward keeping my cavalry units 16″ away from his lines, making it a decent charge for me and box cars for him should he take the chance. I also fly the Captasus forward into charge range for one of his cannons. In my magic phase the comet comes down and takes out a maneater and puts 2 wounds an Irongut. He then let me throw Iceshard blizzard on his Maneaters, chosing instead to dispel Curse of the Midnight wind on the same unit. For my last spell I threw my three remaining dice at another comet which ends up high enough to force his scroll out. The steamtank takes aim and rolls a 6″ for the first artillery die followed by a misfire planting the shot in the ground 4″ in front of one of the Ironblasters. By some sort of miracle I then manage to put a wound on the Sabertusk in close combat with my Archer detachment while only taking one in return, forcing the cat to break away from the cheering Archers who fails to catch the beast!
On Ogre turn 2 he keeps repositioning his left Ironblaster to fire at a steep angle on my Steamtank while maintaining a small footprint and still threatenning the Captasus, the rest of his line just reorganizes. He moves the maneaters up to get into pistolrange of my Wizard and reforms his Gut-star to a better position should I fail an upcomming charge with my Knights. Hel also puts a Sabretusk in front of my Demigryphs in a way that would take me into easy charge range for his Maneaters and decent range for his Ironguts should I charge it to get rid of the chaff. In his magic phase I once again manage to stop both his Comet and Harmonic Convergence (on the Maneaters) with high dispel-rolls. In the shooting phase his first Ironblaster hits the Steamtank, wounds but rolls a single wound. The other Ironblaster finish of my Hellblaster with a well-bounced shot. While mediocre shooting from the Empire side kept his cannons alive, pure luck kept the Steamtank going for another round.
On Empire turn 3 I definitely felt that I was getting a bit too lucky on the right flank, my plan was to shoot the Ironblaster down and lock the other one in combat with the Captasus but by turn three it seemed like the call to glory fell on the Captasus alone. The Ogre line had now backed up and repositioned itself so that everything was within his general’s Inspiring Presence but I had to take the chance. The Captasus declared a charge hoping to do the average one wound, take one in return and then winning by 1, which togheter with a well placed Iceshard blizzard would have him at a re-rollable ld7, a gamble I had to take. In that way the Steamtank could use most of its steampoints to push forward and round the impassable terrain to line up for either future a sideshot at his second cannon or a charge into his Ironguts. Ofcourse the crew got to greedy and shuffled to much coal into the engine which misfired, and taking the engine (of all the components, the only one I really needed!) out for that turn. The Demigryphs charged the re-directing Sabertusk to get rid of it for future turns. The rest of the army moves up to position itself again, calvalry at the 16″ mark, bunker within casting range and so forth. I also shuffle my other Archer detachment behind the Demis allowing them to “bounce” through and escape an upcomming charge since they got out of position when clearing their own chaff… In the magic phase he dispells both Curse and the Comet which allows me to sneak Iceshard Blizzard through into the fight between the Captasus and the Ironblaster. Shooting is un-eventful with the only thing hitting a target was one of the Archers that chased away a Sabertusk, hitting an Irongut who managed to armor save the arrow from the side, thus failing to kill an Ogre. The Close combat goes as planned, Captasus charges in with curse words and bad manners but fails to hit two out of three and failing to wound with his bent lance. The Pegasus then takes a bite at one of the Gnobblar crew and manages to put a wound through which keeps me on the average side of the math. I take a wound in return and everything goes as planned. He rolls his first breaktest and fails with an 8 and on prepares for the re-roll – I now start thinking about what the history books would say of the brave Captain at the battle for the ruined chapel – then the Ironblaster rolls a chilling 3 and makes it which denies the Captasus any chance of getting a single line in the Emperors memorials.
On Ogre turn 3 He shuffles his remainig Ironblaster over to line up for a countercharge into the failing Captain, made available by the other gun chariot who reformed and opened up a corner. At this point I guess he was as scared of moving forward as I was of failing a charge which led to a stalemate in the movement phases to come. In the magic phase he gets Harmonic convergence of on his Maneaters and throw an Iceshard blizzard in return on my Captasus cementing the pillow fight to come. He shoots his Maneaters into my Demigryphs but Imperial armor proves its worth and keeps them from harm. In the Close Combat phase we both miss all of our attack and/or wound rolls.
From now on I completely forgot to take pictures of the rest of the game but what happened for the remaining turns was a game of cat and mouse: the Ogres backed up and didn’t want to push through my comets to get into easy charge range for the Demis, Greatswords and Knight-bus, and the Empire army pushing on the 16″ line. The Captasus and Ironblaster both fought bravely with their pillows untill the second Ironblaster settled the dispute with it’s Impact Hits alone. My Steamtank either kept misfiring or failed to genereate power in either engine or cannon. By Empire turn 6 I went for a charge with Karl Franz and his Inner Circle Knights into the Maneaters, since I was waving the Steel Standard I could re-roll 1’s on my charge range and I only had to roll an 8 with Swiftstride. Given that the Ogre army was basically on the board edge by the end of the game he had to take the charge. Karl Franz swung first and baptized 3 Ogres to eternity with the broad side of his sword and the rest of the knights killing another. I won the combat and pursued him off the table which made it impossible for him to countercharge or reposition his Gut-star to get my Knight unit. In his last turn he managed to shoot of the remaining 6 wounds off the Steamtank with a double cannonade which equalled out the points for the Maneaters and brought the game to a tie.
Game 1 Empire vs. Ogre Kingdoms: 10-10