Pompey Pillage 2004 Tournament Report
By Alex West
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After some frenzied painting I finally managed to finish my
army in time for the tournie. Despite having the overwhelming urge to tear out
my own eyes and never paint a high elf ever again I was pleased to have
finished the army within such a tight time scale. It looked good as an army
too, at least in my opinion, and it also meant I wouldn’t have to take Steve’s
silver helms and chariot that he kindly agreed to lend me which was good
because they are a different colour scheme!
You can read about my army, and see groovy pictures, by
following this link to my
high elf army showcase.
Anyway, the Friday evening myself and Chris set off on our way
to Soton where we were staying in my girlfriend’s student house for free.
Bargain. Having never driven there before, I usually get the train, I was
slightly nervous to be relying on Chris for directions from the infamous AA
auto route which is poor at the best of times. Never the less we made good
progress and arrived in Soton in time to get a takeaway and collapse in bed
ready for the big day in the morning.
After checking out opponents I was delighted to see James had
drawn Rob Lane……the fact he went on to draw Rob in 3 of the 5 games of the
weekend added to the amusement. I was less amused to see that the first test
for my fluffy High Elves was Brettonians.
Game 1 vs Owen Pearce – Brettonians
High Elves: 557
Bugger. Basically. Whilst this was a good game against a good opponent I was
disappointed with the army’s showing in its first tournie game. It was hidden
set up which, I think, played to the Brettonians strengths as they could pick
any number of units to easily go through whereas my army relies on a proper
deployment to make the most of its strengths and exploit my opponents
weaknesses at the best of times never mind against Brettonians with no
I could see from the deployment I was in trouble but I felt the game was
winnable until I made what can only be described as a school boy error. I let
Owen get the charge in on my elf cavalry. Normally I pride myself on judging
distances and have acquired a certain knack for it recently but for some reason
I cocked up all the distances in this game and it cost me. As a contest it was
effectively over on the 2nd turn with my cavalry and chariots destroyed. I was
consoled, well a little by the mages and spearelves helping to regain what few
victory points I got from this game.
Overall an embarrassing start. As we finished early I wandered
over to see how James was doing and was pleasantly surprised to find him doing
better than I thought he would. Berating myself for being so stupid I waited
for Chris to finish his game and get some lunch.
Game 2 was against a Vampire Count army….great I thought.
Another stern test for my poor elves.
Game 2 vs Paul Newman – Vampire Counts
High Elves: 717
Vampire Counts: 2385
Going into the game I thought I was in with a chance if I could hold back the
tide of magic and crush Paul’s 2 main units, a unit of Black Knights and a unit
of Grave Guard.
Sadly it all went to pot. I weakened the Black Knights with bolt thrower shots
and then in went the Dragon Princes and Elrahir, relying on their lion standard
to complete the charge. Well I don’t think I could have rolled more 1’s and 2’s
if I had tried. I caused 1 casualty and needless to say lost the combat. I held
but next turn I was down to strength 3 and killing blow told. The Dragon
Princes held again and next turn I flank charged with my Silver Helms with the
warbanner which finally won me the combat. Sadly with a combination of crap
dice rolling and terrible luck my centre had given way with the army in sound
retreat. A late rally saved some face but I just couldn’t inflict enough
casualties to kill things off.
Tactically I don’t think I would have changed anything. I would probably have
given higher priority to killing the necromancers, as I knew I would be under
the cosh magically and towards the end of the game Paul’s magic really began to
take hold and help mop up any resistance I could offer. My luck was atrocious,
we both agreed, and was the main reason for my loss. Paul was a good sport all
the way through and I felt we got on well despite the thrashing I got and he
easily deserved his Best Sportsman award. He certainly got my vote.
At this stage I was very fearful of ‘doing a Dave’ and losing
every game. I was starting to doubt the ability of the army and myself. With a
stupid mistake in the 1st game and terrible luck in the 2nd you could say this
wasn’t the start to the tournie I was hoping for. Although I hadn’t gone there
to win it would have been nice not to be hammered into the ground and I had
hopes of finishing above both James and Chris and being the top placed Big’Un.
At this time those hopes seemed far off especially as Chris and James had both
drawn and won their games respectively.
Game 3 saw my drawn against another High Elf army. I knew it
wouldn’t be an all cav force as there weren’t any there so I felt some small
voice of optimism creep back into my mind. If only I would stop making stupid
mistakes and my luck changed I was confident I could pull a result off here.
Game 3 vs Viv Sage – High Elves
My High Elves: 3192
Viv’s High Elves: 170
With the capture the flag scenario in place we were fighting for a centre point
and had to be closest to it to blag a sack of victory points. The only way I
could see this being played was in an aggressive manner so I made my mind up
early on to go for the jugular.
The deployment was tactical with each of us throwing down units to try and draw
out a key unit. Luckily I had more….less useful shall we say….units than Viv so
I could see where his 2 cavalry units were going which gave me an advantage. 1
obviously had the ellyrion banner as it was behind a wood.
My eagles were sent on bolt thrower hunting duty and duly silenced them
quickly. I shot up his seaguard before they could cause too much damage; I
killed half of them on the first turn. If there is anything elven archery is
deadly against its other elves!
Viv made a couple of mistakes with his cavalry, namely forgetting that with the
ellyrion banner you still need to be able to see your target to charge. Couple
that with 2 failed charges from his cavalry units meant I could get the charge
in on his bigger unit of Silver helms, my commander shot down 3 from the other
unit in 1 turn with his reaver bow!, with the helms with a warbanner, my
commander and a chariot. Surely that would be enough to break some Silver Helms
right? Wrong. The combat lasted until the last turn with Viv passing numerous
leadership tests on 4’s and 5’s and me rolling like a goon only added to the
comedy of errors that the combat was. Luckily he charged said units in the
flank with his other cavalry unit only for my commander to save the day when he
finally learned how to use a great weapon. I lost the combat but only by a
couple and passed my break test. My Dragon princes then countered with a flank
charge of their own which broke the silver helms in my flank and let me beat
the other unit which got run down.
In the centre with the seaguard decimated by shooting Viv only really had his
large unit of Swordmasters which a chariot and some Silver Helms soon sorted
out. I was surprised by Viv backing away with this unit especially when he was
faced with cavalry and I think that really cost him. The highlight had to be
Viv’s mage which was hiding in a wood until he miscast and blew himself out
with a S10 hit only to be chewed up by my eagle the following turn.
At the end Viv only had a mage left on the table.
After this result I was a bit happier. My luck had changed, albeit fitfully and
I played a tactically sound game which helped renew my faith in both myself and
As we headed back to Soton I reflected on my performance on the
Saturday and whilst I was disappointed I was pleased to have at least got 1 win
under my belt. If Sunday brought me some good fortune I could be in with a
chance of a reasonable position.
Sunday morning and Chris and I arrived raring to go. We knew
Chris was in the lead and so I was hoping for an easy army to take apart and
hopefully go above him. Shame I drew bloody Brettonians again then wasn’t it?
Game 4 vs Dave Johnson – Brettonians
I don’t have the victory points to hand but I managed a win.
When I saw I had Brettonians I was both relieved I had the
chance to put right my wrongs of the previous day and worried about getting
another beating. There was also the fog to take into account which would hinder
both of us as badly, it depended a lot on who got first turn and who could
adapt to the fog the best. With that said I was surprised when Dave said he was
going to pray.
Relieved at getting what was undoubtedly crucial, the first
turn I set about executing my series of cunning tricks. I could tell from the
way Dave was eyeing the eagles during deployment he didn’t quite know how to
handle them. This was confirmed by several wonderful quotations such as “I hate
High Elves”. Excellent I thought…..being a High Elf player and all.
Anyway I duly placed the obligatory eagle in front of his 2
large units of cavalry whilst I set about trying to sort out the couple of
smaller supporting blocks of knights. That didn’t quite go to plan but I held
them up for long enough to inflict a decent amount of damage and have them not
really affect the battle. I got lucky at one point when 2 Pegasus Knights
charged my elf archers and only killed 2. Passing the break test I had a nice
flank charge with a unit of spearelves. Although they passed their panic check
they were overwhelmed by combat resolution and fled off the table. Meanwhile
the remaining 2 Silver Helms with the warbanner charged a unit of 15 peasant
archers and despite some rustiness on Dave’s part in that he thought the
archers got to go first because of the stakes they duly cut down a couple of
peasants and ran them down.
It was about turn 3 when Dave committed 2 game costing errors
that I knew he would. The first was charging an eagle which duly angled his big
unit of knights in front of a unit of silver helms and spearelves. Needless to
say they were destroyed by combat resolution and ran down. The second was with
the other eagle. Dave nicely pointed out that if I fled with the eagle he was
planning to charge he could redirect on to my last 2 helms with the warbanner
that were about to see off the peasants. Of course I had already foreseen this
and so, to Dave’s surprise I think, stood with the eagle. 2 wounds later the
eagle fled from combat only for Dave to surprisingly pursue right into
difficult terrain. At that point the game was mine. I placed my spearelves
fresh from seeing off the Pegasus knights to flank charge in the next turn and
charged his knights errant with my dragon princes and commander only for them
to flee…..and then fail to rally. Hmmm….
With the big unit of knights that was left Dave tried to charge
my remaining archers wrongly believing that charging units ignored difficult
terrain. Receiving a volley for his trouble he shuffled forward 4”. A flank
charge from the spears was enough to see off the knights as I wheeled to
connect with 1 knight who was duly dragged down. He fled and it was game over.
The only thing I did wrong in the game was charge my commander
into his general, it was the kill the general scenario, who fluffed it and gave
Dave about 400vp’s. I should have just held back and shot him with the reaver
So with another win under my belt I was relieved but tired. The
game against Dave was ok but he kept complaining about his luck and how it had
been terrible all tournament. This got very tiring very quickly especially as I
don’t believe bad luck runs that long. I had lost 2 of my games the previous
day but only 1 was realistically the ‘fault’ of the dice. The other was
tactical error as was Dave’s defeat, and his previous ones I expected. He sat
staring at the eagles for 2 turns when they clearly weren’t going to
move……never mind. I felt I outmanoeuvred him and all he could do in response
was curse the dice and go on about how much he hated High Elves. He clearly
hasn’t played wood elves.
After that I was looking forward to a nice last game and was quite excited to
see whether I would win or lose and where we would all finish up. With 2 wins
under my belt I was in with a chance of finishing above Chris and James.
Lunch time was spent wandering around looking at armies of which there were
some very nice ones there. In WFB Dominic Booth’s High Elves were fantastic and
easily deserved the best painted award they were duly given. In 40k there was a
lovely Bad Moon Ork army which was also duly given the best painted award and
was thoroughly deserved.
Anyway with lunch time over it was onto see who I had drawn for
the final game…..Lizzies. Woohoo. This had the potential for a great last game.
Game 5 – Peter Windle – Lizardmen
High Elves: 1013
Well it had the potential for a great last game. Never mind eh?. Of all the
armies I had played against this was the beardiest. In fact it was the only
beardy army I played. With barely a normal saurus in sight this was an army
with every trick in the Lizardmen book in it – The old blood on cold one with a
0+ save, the 4 krox, the scar vet with the charm of the jaguar warrior, the 2
scroll caddies. God only knows what he thought he would be facing but this
oldbeard certainly had a long beard.
Determined not to have a crap last game I put all this aside
and went into the game with high expectations. With so few units I was bound to
stand a chance. Things went well and victory depended on 1 charge on a unit of
saurus. Now im not up to speed on whether during deployment a Lizardmen player
should say something along the lines of ‘this unit has mark of quetzl’ or ‘this
unit has a sacred spawning’ but I believe you should. Especially I your going
to fancy painting down the spines of the unit. It was interesting to note that
1 unit had a sacred spawning and the other didn’t but both were painted with
‘sacred spawning markings’. Anyway I charged a unit of 15 saurus with helms
with warbanner, commander and a chariot, failed to break them and indeed lost.
Failed all the break tests and fled. With that gone I was in trouble and it
took a combination of Peter letting through some spells that he really
shouldn’t of, him pissing around with his unit of saurus cavalry and oldblood,
seemingly scared of 5 silver helms and some valiant kroxigor slaying by my
spearelves and chariots to drag the victory points out of this army.
The highlight was probably when 10 archers marched onto the
hill and proceeded to shoot down 2 saurus cavalry. How I laughed. The most
annoying trait Peter possessed was to tell me what to do all the time. In that
I mean when people say things like ‘well your BS4 so you need 3’s to hit but
its long range so you need 4’s”. I’m sat there thinking I bloody well know what
I need to hit and I don’t need you to tell me. He also tried to hurry me during
my charging by asking me to take fear tests when I charged fear causing units.
Not in itself wrong but when I hadn’t finished declaring charges and he was
there gesticulating like he had a nervous twitch it got real irritating real
quick. After the first turn where I could see it was going to be one of those
games I just ignored him but it certainly got to me and may have led to me
making a couple of mistakes I wouldn’t normally have made.
Overall a disappointing game in terms of opponent but a decent
result against the most ‘tricked out’ army I faced.
In the end I came in 25th out of 48 which was 2 places above
Chris [27th] and James [40th!?!] so I was very happy with the army and the
weekend as a whole, especially considering the start I made. I was genuinely
surprised by the armies’ ability, with the much maligned infantry in it, to
compete effectively in most situations and there were times when the infantry
had to hold the game together after the cavalry seemed to continuously
disappoint. That being said I still don’t think the list is as strong as a
decent all cav list but I am certainly happy with the balance of the army and
am pleased to have shown it is possible to make a ‘traditional’ high elf force
that can compete.
The tournament was a good laugh and the pre game Olympics, in
which I was hilariously given a dwarf!, were good fun. My dwarf managed to win
every event but it wasn’t enough for him to win the Warhammer Olympics sadly.
It was also interesting to note that we left the scenery in place for the 2
days which meant we didn’t have the same scenery to play over. This idea seemed
to meet with a lot of criticism when the WPS suggested doing likewise but I can
honestly say it was a good thing and my scenery came back to me in the same
condition it left me in.