Event Recap: Charmed to the Teeth
This past weekend, I took Stormsire's Cursebreakers to a quarterly store event at Goldmine Games. I had a feeling there was going to a big show out at the tournament so I decided to take the warband that would give me the best chance at the trophy. As some of you may know, my goal is to win a Shadeglass trophy with every warband so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Also, I wanted to see if the Cursebreakers could live up to their top tier brand.
So turns out they did! With some solid play and a heap of luck, I was able to nab the prized trophy for the warband. Below, I will be doing an overview of the warband, explain my card choices, describe my tournament experience, and recap the games I played.
Stormsire, the namesake of this powerful warband, is a fantastic commander that boasts strong stats. Four wounds and two defensive dice when inspired means that he's a tough cookie to boot. Where he shines is his offensive magical capabilities. Once you add the upgrade, Tempest's Might, he can start slinging spells that deal three damage a piece! The one downside is that his rolls can miss from time to time as he requires focus (swirly) rolls to get his Fulmination spell off.
In fact his play style can be likened to members of The Farstriders. And to a degree, he does operate similarly. He has a threat range of six hexes and doesn't mind taking movement negating upgrades like Sudden Growth and Deathly Fortitude. Keep him well protected in the beginning of the game and go for and end of turn one charge should the situation allow it. Once you're in the mid to late stages of the game, he'll be a huge threat to your opponent, forcing them to spend valuable resources to take him out. Also, should the situation arise, he deals a solid two damage with a range two weapon requiring smashes (hammers).
Dawnguard, for a supporting fighter, has perhaps some of the best offensive stats in the game. Pre-inspiration, she deals a respectable two damage with two different range one attacks. Tempest Blade hits on smashes and will strike characters with one block (shield) at a 55% chance while attacking dodge (arrow) fighters at a 58% chance with a 26% chance to crit. Charged Stormstave gives you a 54% against blocking characters and a 59% chance against dodging ones with a 36% chance to crit. Use whichever one you feel comfortable, I personally prefer smash based attacks, but for those of you who swear by MathHammer, you have some options.
Uniquely, at least for now, she is one of two non-leader, Nightvault fighters who also count as wizards. This means, should Averon fall early, she can still cast gambit spells. She comes with an innate spell titled Empower. Requiring a channel (lighting) to successfully go off, it allows her to re-roll one attack dice until the end of the phase. Since she requires a spell to inspire, this is fantastic and can get her to perform at peak efficiency rather quickly.
Post-inspiration, Ammis hits on three dice meaning she has a 70% chance to hit blocking characters and a 74% chance to hit dodging ones. She's also got a 36% chance to roll a critical. Oh, and she deals three damage...with knockback one! If you couple this with Empower, this makes her already formidable attacks even more reliable. Keep in mind that once a new turn begins, this benefit goes away and you will have to cast the spell again to gain this benefit.
She does roll a single block for defense so she can be susceptible to cleave and a high volume of dice. Keep in mind that she counts both blocks and dodges as successes when she is inspired. Don't be afraid to play her offensively after you spend the first turn casting spells and inspiring your fighters. She can put on some serious hurt and one shot four wound characters with either Gloryseeker or Great Strength.
Rastus the Charmed
Rastus is the weakest of the three fighters but he still sports some above average stats. Similarly to Dawnguard, he sports two offensive attacks pre-inspiration. Although his Stormstave is more accurate and deals more damage, keep in mind that he does have cleave on his weaker attack.
Rastus has the same innate spell Empower and should use it accordingly. I usually spend the first couple of turns casting it on both of my non-leader fighters so I can not only make the more powerful, but also to score some easy objectives like Harness the Storm and Magical Supremacy. One inspired, he has a single attack which deals both two damage and cleave. This gives him a 65% chance to successfully hit blocking characters and a 59% chance to hit dodging ones. Either way, he's got a 26% to roll a critical.
Because the warband has only three fighters, each loss is felt keenly. However, losing Rastus first doesn't hurt as bad and you can use him to bait charges should you need to. Remember that he is your only source of cleave in the warband so try to score What Armour? before you let him go down. If he lives long into the game, he's great at attacking heavily armored foes.
Again, likes Ammis, he rolls a single block for defense but once he is inspired, dodges count as successes as well.
The deck can score a total of 16 glory and its not uncommon to cycle through 90% of your objectives due to the fact that you have five immediate scoring cards.
Let's start with the magically inclined objectives. Harness the Storm is extremely easy to score because of the three innate spells you have. If you have this first turn, barring poor dice rolls, you should score it almost instantly. Being a score immediately, it helps cycle your objectives too. Magical Supremacy rewards you for casting at least two spells successfully in a turn. Again, this should be easy. Sorcerous Scouring is a bit tougher as only Stormsire can really score it. Still, you should be able to remove a fighter off the board with his Fulmination ability relatively easy.
Next we'll go with everyone's favorite cards, the restricted objectives. Extreme Flank should go in almost every single deck because you can easily score this, especially on turn one. If you pick the right boards, your fighters don't even have to move and can just start casting spells off the bat. Escalation is fantastic as it can be scored by either you or your opponent, though usually you both contribute. Getting rewarded for making your fighters better is a plus. Lastly, Change of Tactics presents an easy immediate score card as you are often not the aggressor, at least until you charge.
What Armour?, another easy to score immediate objective, goes off when you successfully make a cleave attack. Rastus should score that easily enough for you. Measured Strike is also quite easy to score. Your fighters are doing two to three damage and can easily finish off most fighters precisely. Shining Example is taken as its pretty easy to inspire Stormsire and keep him kicking into the late game. Plus, Fired Up is restricted so this is a great substitution.
Master of War, although a low scoring card, is not difficult to score. Playing an upgrade, scoring an immediate objective, and playing a gambit card in one turn is quite natural for this warband. Solid Gains helps with getting a glory boost on turns in which you can be struggling to score cards. Keep in mind that the glory your receive for eliminating an enemy fighter counts towards this. Lastly, we end with Superior Tactician. Scoring six of your objective cards should be quite achievable because of your numerous score immediately cards.
Starting with the restricted cards, My Turn and Ready for Action are both cards that allow you out of activation attacks. Since your fighters have four health, the former should have many opportunities for it to be used while the latter is just the best gambit in the game and offers many tactical rewards. Lightning Assault gives you a redo on your attack activations which is nice, especially when you are charging.
I find movement manipulation to be essential to the game and I tend to exploit it quite often. Sidestep allows you to push a friendly fighter in any direction which can foil an opponent's attack strategy or enhance your charge radius. Distraction allow you to push an opposing fighter which can prevent them from scoring objectives as well as, again, foiling an opponent's charges or enhancing your own. Rebound, a personal favorite, can really come in clutch when it goes off. Yeah it has a 33% chance to go off but if it does, it will almost always put you in a superior position.
Inspiration Strikes is great if you really need to power up your fighters if things start to escalate too quickly. It usually goes on Stormsire. Spectral Wings and Hidden Paths give you more maneuverability on the battlefield. Whether its trying to get to an out of reach enemy or retreating to a safe distance, they are quite helpful. Lastly, the only spell being taken is perhaps the best neutral spell released thus far. Abasoth's Withering lets you remove a wound off of a fighter's wound characteristic making it easier to take them out. It can also reduce an opponent's health to zero and remove them from battle should you target a fighter with a single wound remaining.
In case you require some extra damage, Great Strength and Gloryseeker allow you to take down those higher wound fighters easier. The latter is particularly great for taking out rival Stormcasts, Fiends, and most enemy leaders. Potion of Rage gives you greater accuracy which is especially useful considering you only have three fighters. Every hit counts!
Tempest's Might, the only faction upgrade being taken, transforms Stormsire into a spell slinging monster by upgrading his Fulmination spell to three damage. Sudden Growth and Deathly Fortitude help by giving your fighters more wounds to play with. Yeah, you lose two movement but by the time you actually need to play them, most of combatants are already in the thick of it. Do keep in mind that if you play both on a single fighter, their movement becomes zero. I actually did with Stormsire at one point during tournament but his ranged attack offset that negative.
Champion's Fortitude gives your fighters a re-roll on a single defense die which can make the difference between being removed from the battlefield and sticking around. It is particularly useful with Stormsire since he has two defense dice post inspiration. Faneway Crystal is useful in that you can create unique charge scenarios while also running to an objective to ensure you fighter stays safe. It can also help you win a game if you think you might draw. Rising to the Challenge is great if Stormsire goes down before any of your other fighters. It makes whomever you give it to more accurate and durable. Lastly, Hero's Mantle gives you a glory if Averon is alive at the end of the game. As he is your most important fighter, this should be a priority and might give you the edge in a close game.
Goldmine Games hosted their quarterly official Underworlds event this past Saturday and I knew the competition was going to be fierce. Mike, the store owner, runs a great shop and atmosphere which attracts a lot of players. If you are ever in the Houston/Sugarland area, I highly recommend you check it out for yourself. His stock is incredible and even carries GW direct order only models as well.
We had players from all over the Greater Houston Area attend with even three traveling over an hour to come play. We had eleven players in total which meant someone was forced to have a bye every round. No one minded though as we were all excited at the prospect of facing so many different players, and warbands. Thorns of the Briar Queen seemed the most populous choice with four players bringing the spooky fighters. Aggro seemed popular as well as two participants brought Magore's Fiends, with Ironskull's Boyz and Garrek's Reavers making a single appearance as well. The remaining three warbands were Zarbag's Gits, The Chosen Axes, and my own, Stormsire's Cursebreakers.
The rules were per the recommended rules provided by Games Workshop. We had four rounds of single games with players getting matched up with similarly performing players. A win was worth three points, a draw one, and a loss zero. If any participants were tied at the end, glory difference would be the deciding factor.
As Mike was swamped with customers, I offered to help run the event and TO should any rule queries came up. Mike handed me a giant skull with everyone's names in it. We took turns drawing and I made sure to go last as I didn't want a bye. Unfortunately, that didn't improve my odds and I received the single bye. Good and bad I guess. Because of the circumstance, I was awarded a +7 glory score and 3 points. Off to a good start I guess?
This ended up being positive as I was able to help a bunch of players with rule clarifications and unique circumstances. I was also able to take a bunch of photos too!
Round 2: Carlos
I got paired up with Carlos, a practice partner and formidable opponent. He brought an objective based list which works great with the Thorns. Carlos selected The Cursed Oubliette while I picked the Mirror Well. I won the roll off so Carlos ended up dictating board set up. He set it up wide and got three objectives. Not a good start.
Unfortunately, I forgot to click a photo of how we set up board - thankfully Can You Roll a Crit came through for me via Google. Thanks John!
Ammis was deployed on the hex touching the edge while Rastus was mid board and Stormsire hanging in the back. I figured once Carlos scored his objective glory cards, he'd come after me. Carlos had his Briar Queen and Varclav in the back while The Ever-Hanged was mid board. The rest of the chainrasps filled out his board, mostly at the front.
I drew terrible gambit cards as four of them were upgrades. I opted to mulligan the hand and draw again.This time I still got four upgrade cards... Luckily, my objective hand was somewhat decent.
Note: My understanding on mulligans is that you can draw either your objective or gambit cards first and then immediately chose to discard that specific hand or not. After making your decision, you draw from the deck you haven't drawn from yet and then make a decision on whether you want to keep that specific hand or not too. That way you can't change your first set of cards bases off your new draws. I hope that makes sense.
I also ended up losing the roll off so Carlos opted me to go first. I attempted to cast Empower on Ammis but failed. Carlos used Varclav's action to push his chainrasps up. I tried with Ammis again, this time succeeding, scoring Harness the Storm. Carlos played sidestep in my power phase and charged Rastus with the Ever-Hanged and wounded the charmed fellow by two. In my turn I swung with Rastus and hit scoring What Armour?. My opponent responded by moving the Briar Queen onto an objective. Now he had three objectives. For my final activation, I charged with Stormsire and missed. Carlos then used Hidden Paths to charge Varclav into Ammis, thankfully he missed. I played Distraction to move one of his fighters off an objective. He responded by playing Sidestep, moving the fighter back. He then cast Howling Vortex which prevented me from scoring Extreme Flank. He ended up scoring Supremacy and Our Only Way Out. I scored nothing. Going into turn two, it was 2-5, not good. I was able to equip Stormsire with Tempest's Might though in the end phase.
In the second turn, things started going better for me. I won the roll off and went first. I fired off a spell with Stormsire taking down a chainrasp scoring both Measured Strike and Sorcerous Scouring. I then played Champion's Fortitude and Ready for Action and fired again, removing another chainrasp from the board. Carlos swung with the Ever-Hanged in hopes of slaying Rastus. He missed. I swung back and although he missed, I was able to push the chainrasp back. The Briar Queen was moved via Sudden Appearance and came in hot. She managed to successfully take down Rastus. On my turn, I charged Ammis into the Ever-Hanged and successfully took him out. Carlos then charged Ammis with Varclav, hit and then used Ready for Action to hit again and take her out. On my final activation for the round, I chucked away an objective and ended up drawing Solid Gains. My opponent spent his last turn moving a chainrasp up the board. Current score stood at 9-11 with Carlos being up.
Turn three, Carlos won at went in for Stormsire, wounding him. In the power phase, I played both Sudden Growth and Deathly Fortitude on my sole remaining fighter. At this point Carlos received a phone call and stepped away. A few minutes later he returned saying that he had to leave because his wife needed him for something. Unfortunately, he had to concede the game. It was unfortunate as we couldn't finish the game. It honestly could have gone either way. Shoutout to Carlos for being an amazing sport and great opponent. Looking forward to facing you next time!
As per the rules, I was again awarded 3 points for the win and a +7 glory differential. This put me at a +14 total glory with 6 points going into the third round.
Round 3: Will
In round three, I was paired up with the only Chosen Axes player - Will. Although newer to the game, Will won the last local event a couple weeks prior with his dwarves and was in the hunt for his first piece of Shadeglass. I won board and set up the board wide but slightly offset. This also forced my opponent to come to me in order to inspire his warband as I got to palce 3 objectives. I had picked The Soul Refractor while Will picked the Mirror Well. Again, I forgot to take a photo but managed to click one right at the start of the second turn. In the photo below, Rastus is still on his starting hex while Stormsire moved one up later in the round from their starting hexes while Ammis started in the bottom right starting hex.
I ended up drawing the perfect objectives cards: Harness the Storm, Extreme Flank, and Magical Supremacy. My power cards included Ready for Action, My Turn, Great Strength, Distraction, and Rebound.
After winning the roll off to see who goes first, I elected for Will to start. He moved Vol up. I then successfully cast Empower on Ammis, inspiring her. Will played Inspiraion Strikes on Fjul and moved the fighter up to set up for a potential counter charge. In my turn, I successfully cast Empower on Rastus, inspiring him in the process. Tefk moved onto an objective. I drew a power card for my turn and played it, Inspiration Strikes, on Stormsire. For his final activation, my opponent moved Maegrim onto an objective. I moved up Stormsire one hex up. I scored all the cards in my hand putting me at 4-0.
The second phase started with Vol moving up, in what I can assume as bait. I played distraction on Fjul moving him to stand next to Vol. I then played Abasoth's Withering with Stormsire and successfully removed a wound from Fjul. I finally equipped Ammis with Great Strength. My opponent played nothing. With the power cards in my hand, I felt confident in what I was about to do. I charged at Fjul...(pictured below)
... and I rolled two crits! Unable to block and already wounded from Averon's spell, he went down. I then equipped Dawnguard with Potion of Rage and then reacted with Ready for Action. With four successful rolls but no crit, Vol could survive. Fortunately, he failed his defensive roll and went down. After that, the game was pretty much in the bag. I ended up defeating the rest of his fighters and cycling objectives. I ended the game with 18-0. I know, wild considering how bad my luck was last game. I ended the third round of the tournament with 9 points a glory differential of +32.
Round 4: Casey
With the highest result in the tournament so far, I just had to get one win to secure the prize. I ended up matching off with Casey. To my dismay, he was playing Magore's Fiends. In the last tournament I played, I lost to a Fiends player in the final - crushing my dreams for the trophy back in October. Casey was playing a slightly modified version of the deck posted by Mike from Steel City Underworlds. You can find the original list here. Winning board, Casey selected the The Cursed Oubliette (it has been in all three of my games) and I opted for The Pentinent's Throne. I placed the board as shown below putting the lethal hexes closest my opponent.
Losing the roll off, Casey selected me to go first. As usual, I casted Empower on Ammis, successfully inspiring her. Casey moved Zharkus up. I tried to inspire Rastus and failed. Ghartok went to his right (from my perspective) board edge. I figured my opponent would score Extreme Flank but I couldn't do anything to stop it. I tried again with Rastus and this time he was successful and, more importantly, inspired. Casey drew a power card. I decided to move Rastus to the red objective (5) fearing a charge from Riptooth. Unfortunately it didn't matter as I had misjudged the distance. With Spectral Wings, our favorite good boy came rushing in and successfully hit Rastus. I reacted with Rebound and got Riptooth to hit himself for two damage! I ended up scoring Magical Supremacy while Casey scored Extreme Flank. I was down 1-2.
Phase two, I won the roll and struck back with Rastus successfully eliminating Riptooth and scoring What Armour? and Measured Strike. I then equipped Stormsire with Tempest's Might. Zharkus moved up and he played Faneway Crystal on Magore. In my turn, I moved Ammis in-between the purple objective (4) and Stormsire. Knowing a charge from Magore was imminent, I played Sudden Growth on Dawnguard. My goal was to bait him into attacking Ammis so I could spend the rest of my turn zapping him with Averon. Furious Inspiration was played on Magore, inspiring him. He then played Gloryseeker on him as well which all but confirmed my guess. As expected, Magore came in swinging at Dawnguard successfully doing 4 damage. I was then pushed back and Trap was played. Ouch, my fighter was left with a single damage. On my turn, I decided to cast Fulmination on Magore, successfully dealing two damage and pushing him into a lethal hex for a total of three. Stormsire inspired and I scored Harness the Storm. On his turn, Ghartok came in via Hidden Paths and took out Ammis. Undaunted, I responded with flinging another spell at Magore, ending him and scoring Sorcerous Scoring. Casey chucked an objective and drew another one for his final activation of the round. Scoring Escalation, Solid Gains, and Master of War putt me up to 11-2.
The last round, I lost the roll off and Ghartok came charging at Averon and missed his swing. Knowing I was safe, I moved Stormsire one hex away just in case Ready for Action came up again. Zharkus charged at Rastus and missed. At this point, the game was pretty much over. I cycled and scored whatever I could, ending the game 15-5. This put me at a total of 12 points and +42 glory, winning me the event! Shoutout to David G. for also being the only undefeated player in the tournament.
Man, what an event! For the past two days, I had been debating on whether I should take Magore's Fiends or the Cursebreakers and, I'm glad I ended up going with the warband I was most comfortable with. My opponents were tough and piloted their warbands strongly. Yes, I got lucky with the bye and Carlos having to drop out of the tournament but I believe luck is a strong part of the game. You can be a fantastic player and make every correct decision but still lose due to unlucky dice rolls. To quote an old university professor, 'Fortune favors the prepared' and prepared I was. I played practice games every night for a week leading up to the tournament. But I‘ll admit, I was pretty lucky.
I believe Stormsire's Cursebreakers are a very strong and highly competitive warband. With access to some easy to score objectives, powerful supporting fighters, and a monster of a leader, its truly a force to be reckoned with. I highly recommend you to try the warband and see its power for yourself.
Thank you to Mike and Goldmines games for hosting a great event and thank you to my fellow participants for ensuring that we all had a good time. The most pivotal moment of the day was when Ammis charged in and obliterated Fjul and Vol. That was a game changer and allowed me to secure my lead going into the final round.
There are five more tournaments this month and each of them are awarding a Shadeglass trophy. For those of you who are local, the next two are at Atomic Games, located in the Cypress area, and at Fat Ogre, located in the Spring area. My goal is to win 3 trophies this month and I am elated that I was able to start the competitive season with a win.
Finally, a big thank you to my readers for supporting this blog. The amount of love and kind words I have received since my last article have truly been a blessing. I hope to keep putting out some quality content and meeting your expectations. As always, I would appreciate any and all feedback.