Grand Tournament heat one report
My first GT took place on a scorching weekend in August, within
the super-heated confines of Warhammer World. It was a great event - well
organized (in my opinion at least) and lots of fun. My only real issues were
the outrageously high temperature in the gaming hall, and the lack of time for
each game (two hours is rather tight for 2000 points).
This was my list:
Templar Grand Master: General Albrecht von Plauen 250 Full plate armour,
shield, lance, barded warhorse, Sword of Might (20), Laurels of Victory (70)
Captain Ottokar Verborgen 114 Full plate armour (8), shield (2), great weapon
(4), Pegasus (50)
Captain Josef Wieland 114 Full plate armour (8), shield (2), great weapon (4),
Celestial Wizard: Lady Marlene Philomena 110 Level one, Lore of Heavens, 2
Dispel Scrolls (50)
10 Knights of the Order of the Heldenhammer 300 Inner Circle Knights, full
command (40), full plate armour, shield, lance, barded warhorse
6 Knights of the Sullen Crescent 233 Inner Circle Knights of the White Wolf,
full command (40), full plate armour, cavalry hammer, barded warhorse, War
5 Knights of the Order of the Heldenhammer 115 Full plate armour, shield,
lance, barded warhorse
10 Archers Local Guides 80 Bow, Skirmish
5 Pistoliers Outriders 112 Brace of pistols, light armour, warhorse, Marksman
with Repeater Pistol (17)
5 Pistoliers Outriders 95 Brace of pistols, light armour, warhorse
Great Cannon: Volkmar 3 crew 100
Great Cannon: Marius 3 crew 100
Steam Tank: Terminus Est Steam gun turret (25) 275
A hard list certainly, but to make things a little more
interesting I didn't use the army at all before the tournament. This could also
be considered stupid.
To get a good 'soft score', you also needed a theme. A theme is
where you take whatever the hell you like in your army, then write a contrived
little story to justify it. Here's mine:
The Averland Siegebreakers
The sky was red and black, the colour of smoke and flames.
Albrecht spat to clear the taste of charcoal from his mouth, and then looked up
again. Middenheim was burning. As he stared up at that polluted sky, he could
see something moving like a great, ugly bird. The thing descended towards him,
bat-wings flapping in a slow, beguiling rhythm, and he realised that it was not
a bird at all-
"General von Plauen, may I speak to you for a moment?"
Von Plauen came fully awake and aware at once, realising he was still on the
narrow road that wove its way through the Drakwald. Captain Wieland had landed
his Pegasus, and now the animal trotted along beside von Plauen's less
"Certainly, Wieland. What is it?"
"General, I've been consulting with the local guides. Apparently, the road
becomes somewhat marshy in a few miles time. As far as I can tell, it should
pose no difficulty for the greater part of our force, but I fear the Terminus
Est and the heavy guns will not be able to pass."
Von Plauen frowned - Wieland had always been against the idea of bringing the
artillery and, Sigmar forbid, the Steam Tank, on this mission. The man was a
good soldier, but he would make a poor general.
"Wieland, as I have told you many times before, we cannot leave the artillery
or the Terminus Est behind. You know well that our mission is to break the
siege of Middenheim, though I pray that it has not yet begun, and to succeed
will take more than a glorious charge of cavalry. The enemy has many terrible
weapons, weapons that we will need the support of the cannon to hope to defeat.
Likewise, the Steam Tank is the equal to any company of knights. We will find a
"As you say General. I shall speak to the guides once more."
Von Plauen looked back over the relief force, as it trailed
away along the road behind him. The Avermarshall had called for more troops to
head north, and so they had - the greatest of the chivalry of the Grand County
of Averland. Behind the knights, behind the Sullen Crescents with their
fearsome hammers and the lance-wielding masses of his own order, rumbled the
Terminus Est. It was a terrible sight to behold, wonderful and disturbing at
the same time. The Tank dragged both of the heavy guns behind it, but even so
it was able to keep pace with the knights. Recalling his day-dream of a few
minutes past, Albrecht smiled grimly. The enemies before him were dreadful
indeed, but he bore with him the wrath of the Divine Lord of The Empire. He
would succeed in his mission, by strength, skill, and above all by the mighty
will of Sigmar himself!
Before the first game, there was a brief multiple choice test
on rules and background. As it turned out, I got 18/20.
Game one - Vampire Counts - "you think it's easy, but you're
Strigoi Lord (regeneration, +1 strength)
2 L2 Necromancers (no book of Arkan!)
2 units of 20 Zombies
10 Black Knights
4 Spirit Hosts
3 Fell Bats
6 Dire Wolves
I'm always oddly confident when facing the VC, and this game
was no different. This list looked pretty strong to me, though a bit light on
support units. I did a standard deployment, using my archers and pistoliers to
give a false idea of where I was going to place my main strength. As a result
of this, and some marchblocking by a pegasus, his knights never made it to
combat (receiving a few cannon balls for their trouble). I moved both pegasus
to threaten his necromancers (each was in a zombie unit) - he responded by
moving them both behind their units, so I put one pegasus in front and one
behind to get him either way.
His general's skeletons advanced down the middle with the hosts
ready to take on my Grandmaster's unit. However, I was fairly sure I could
dispose of them very rapidly indeed, so I charged the knights into the hosts
and the tank into the skeletons (mostly as a delaying action). At the same
time, I sent a pegasus into his necromancer - killing him and then fleeing to
The Grandmaster chopped though the hosts nicely thanks to his
magic weapon and the laurels of victory. Only one base was left, but it was now
out of contact with the GM… Meanwhile, the tank impacted on the skeletons,
crushing many but taking some hits from the vampire. It took until my next turn
to kill the last spirit base, and by then the tank was in trouble. On his turn,
it finally broke down.
However, my knights were now poised for the charge. His
general's skeletons and the remaining necromancer's zombies were forming an
L-shape around where the tank had been - this allowed me to charge both units
at once with my knights, forcing them to align to me! At the same time, one
pegasus hit the rear of the skeletons and the other (recently rallied) charged
and killed the ghouls.
This initial charge saw me win combat by nine points; his
vampire was unable to reliably break through the knight's armour. The zombies
and necromancer vanished at once. On the following magic phase, the vampire
miscast and was unable to cast spells for the next turn. It was too late for
him - two more rounds of combat saw him vaporised by combat resolution, and the
army began to crumble.
That was that. I had won by some sixteen hundred points - a
Game two - Khorne Demonic Legion - "is it a crisis or a boring
2 Heralds, one with battle standard
5 Flesh Hounds
2 units of 5 Furies
I've only faced the Demon Legion once before at Weymouth, and I
was steamrollered. To make matters worse, this army had a Bloodthirster! I was
starting to regret doing so well in the first game…
I actually had two hills this time (very rare), both near the
corners, so I put a cannon on each. After some initial maneuvering, I had my
wizard cast second sign of ammul (not really expecting it to go off). I miscast
and rolled a double six (the spell is cast with irresistible force, but the
wizard can cast no more spells and generates no dice). Not so bad actually,
since it gave me three rerolls and my opponent of course had no magic.
So I sent two cannonballs winging their happy way toward the
Bloodthirster. The first shot hit! I made the roll to wound, feeling fairly
safe with my rerolls standing by, and wounded. He failed his ward! I rolled
five wounds! My opponent took on a sick look as if someone had just run over
his puppy. With only two wounds to go, I resolved the second shot. Miss.
The next turn, the Bloodthirster chased my cannon crew off the
table. When he returned, I shot again. Miss. Then again - a hit, but a 'one' to
wound. I never did kill the wretched thing, but at least I got half points for
I decided to go for the Bloodletters, who looked like a nice
easy target for the knights - I charged them in the front, ran the tank into
the nasty chariot and drew the Bloodcrushers away with, oh, archers or
something I think. The chariot survived the hit, and took some points off the
tank. The Grandmaster's unit caused a lot of casualties, but those demons
weren't going anywhere in a hurry. I had to back the tank up and hit them in
the flank before I finally took them out.
I then executed an epic wheel that brought my GM into contact
with his lone BSB herald. This should have been and easy win, but it wasn't.
The Bloodthirsterr turned up and killed the tank, then flank charged the
knights while the chariot hit them in the front. I thought I was doomed, but
the GM finally got his act together and killed the herald. In a burst of
Laurel-fueled combat resolution I won the round by one, though the
Bloodthirster wasn't giving up so easily.
That was it. A minor victory to my opponent, but only by fifty
or so points.
Game three - High Elves - "got struck by the first volley…"
2 L2 Mages
3 units of 5 Silver Helms
5 Dragon Princes
20 Swordmasters (with Lord and BSB)
4 Repeater Bolt Throwers
This was painful. Maybe the temperature was finally getting to
me, but I started the game with the World's Worst Deployment. He won the first
turn, and shot big holes in my tank. Then he shot big holes in everything else,
and my cannon refused to even the score. I lost the tank to a Swordmaster
charge, then I lost the knights as well.
Massacre to the pixies.
Cursing myself for my rubbishness, I went for a drink in
Bugman's Bar. Then I saw a nice seminar on Ogre Kingdoms and had a passable
meal, followed by a few more drinks. At this point, I got psyched up to perform
better on the next day. After all, taking an über-army and then failing to
qualify would be embarrassing... Nothing less than the honour of the Bristol
Big'uns was on the line (sort of)!
Game four - Chaos - "rattled by the rush"
Mounted Lord/Hero (not sure which)
L1 Scroll Caddy
5 Knights with warbanner
5 chosen Knights
2 units of 6 Dogs
3 Dragon Ogres
The next day, and I had slid far down the tables. I was now
facing another chaos army, complete with a toy sword (part of the theme)!
Again, I used my light troops to vaguely suggest I might like
one side of the table, then put all the hard stuff on the other. This meant
that the Dragon Ogres and both chariots got to do nothing besides beat up the
unit of five knights, then die to cannon fire. Well, OK, one Dragon Ogre did
He had the first turn though, and moved all his knights and the
trolls right up to my own knights and tank. I duly charged the chosen with both
the tank and the GM's knights, and he fled! It was the right thing to do, since
the unit was at the edge of my charge reach; I just don't expect to see chosen
knights flee a charge.
My knights were charged by the non-chosen with the general.
This began a very long session of attacks bouncing off armour saves. Round
after round, we drew.
Meantime, both flyer units charged a pegasus captain and chased
him off the table. When they returned, they swarmed around my cannon crew and
received a little grapeshot for their trouble. My opponent decided to charge
both units into my GM's knights, still locked in combat with the chaos knights.
Four furies in the flank, four screamers in the rear. No kills and no bonus to
combat resolution. Even worse, the screamers were an amazing target for my GM -
three wounds with his magic sword on the no-armour, no-ward demons racked up
six points of combat resolution thanks to the mighty laurels. The furies
vanished, but still the knights held… that is until my pistoliers hit the
remaining screamer in the flank, and I simultaneously killed the last knight.
Off ran the general, and I ground him into the dirt!
Things did not go so well for the tank. It charged the rallied
chosen, but only killed two (and I forgot to fire the steam gun. Again). That
was that for the tank, though it ended the game on one hull point. Just half
victory points for that then.
I won't even say what happened to the Knights of the Sullen
Crescent, who were forced to charge the trolls. Let's just say it was
End result: minor victory for me.
Game five - Beastmen - "cos that kind of strength I just don't
3 units of 5 Khorne Minotaurs
4 units of Dogs - 2 of 6, 2 of 8
2 Giants (!)
Good grief! That's a lot of minotaurs!
He put three units of dogs on one flank - my five knights and a
pegasus captain easily dealt with those. He also put one unit of minotaurs
there, and I made very sure they never got into combat.
On the other flank came the Doombull's unit with a giant on
each side. The other minotaur unit came up a little behind. I opened fire on
the giants, and wounded one. Then I had a difficult choice - I wanted to charge
the GM's knights into the Doombull's unit, but should the tank assist or should
it hit the wounded giant and finish him off? I opted to hit the doombull with
both. They went right through the unit with a satisfying crunch, running them
down. The Sullen Crescents disapponted me by failing a terror test and runnning
from the other giant, but my cannon soon took that monster out.
I now had a problem. My GM's unit had clipped the other
minotaurs. Without the full number of attacks I should have had, I managed to
lose combat by one. And broke. And was run down. As an encore, he wrecked the
I now started moving everything I could away from his remaining
units, whilst he tried to keep the giant out of sight of the cannon. Only one
thing remained in danger - the Knights of the Sullen Crescent, newly rallied
and facing the minotaurs. Expecting to lose, but with no other choice, I
charged them in. To my amazement, they defeated and ran down their enemy!
The end result was a draw, though two hundred points in my
Game six - Clan Eshin Skaven - "because there's 40 different
shades of black"
Master Assassin - fellblade, talisman of protection
Assassin - warpstone stars
L2 Sorcerer - Brass Orb
L2 Sorcerer - 2 Dispel Scrolls
3 units of 10 Night Runners
2 units of 14 Gutter Runners with poison
5 Rat Swarms
2 units of 7 Jezzails
An all-skirmishing night fight list. Not a good match-up for my
I was at a bit of a loss as to how to play this, so advanced up
the field toward the jezzails. I put the unit of five knights bang up in front
of the GM's unit, both to screen it and to ward off skitterleaping assassins.
Then he started to jump models around - first a sorcerer showed up by the tank
and lobbed a Brass Orb into it - nine hull points lost. For his next trick, he
jumped the Fellblade-wielding master assassin up and chopped the tank into very
small pieces indeed. Not nice.
I killed his rat swarms and one unit of jezzails. He killed a
pegasus captain and had the other jezzails run and hide. Warpstone Stars and
jezzail fire slaughtered the Sullen Crescents. Now though, I had a chance to
kill the master assassin, already wounded twice by his own Fellblade. I charged
him from close range with a pegasus captain, and that was the end of that.
Sadly, the captain died next turn as he was mobbed by gutter runners.
In the last turn, I charged a unit of pistoliers into an
already-wounded sorcerer. Yes, I failed to kill him with six attacks. Game
End result - minor victory for the Skaven by about 40 points!
If I had been able to kill that sorcerer (as I should), or even worse, if I had
actually remembered to contest the last table quarter, it would have been a
It was all over, and I retired to Bugman's to moan about my
failure to qualify - after all, 57 gaming points out of a possible 120 couldn't
possibly be good enough. I was resigned to my uselessness at warhammer, and
remained in good spirits during the awards presentation. Then the results were
handed out. I found my name. Number 50! I had (just) made it into the top
third, and had qualified for the final! It seems that my weak gaming score was
buoyed up by my quiz result and, surprisingly, a high sportsmanship score!
Naturally I was rather pleased, and am now looking forward to
the final. Since it's in February, I'm not expecting another sauna-style gaming
hall… it will probably be more like a freezer.