The weekend just passed saw our local gaming club host the inaugural Oxford Tier Tournament for Warmachine and Hordes. The premise was simple: a standard 35pt Steamroller event with the extra stipulation that every army present must be a Theme Force.
This turned out to make for an interesting change from the normal tournament fare. I was impressed to see all three Legion players come along with a Tier 4 Absylonia list, given that I've never seen her used at a competitive event before. Even Hierarch Severius graced the field of battle with his presence, and managed to beat up epic Madrak with his Staff of Authority. Clearly Madrak hadn't heard the adage about approaching an apparently unarmed old man...
It was the second WM/H tournament that I've run, and seem to go pretty smoothly from my point of view. There were a few changes to the lineup continuing right up until the first game was due to start, with one last-minute dropout due to illness, and one player turning up late (Kurt - shame on you!). However, after a few tweaks to the first round pairings, we managed to get by. Kurt, on the other hand, got a bye. See what I did there?
Having an odd number of players was a bit awkward, but it meant that I had a chance to play a couple of friendly games myself against the players who got a bye in rounds 2 and 3. Of course, I felt honour-bound to stick to my own rules and take a tier list. Given what I have painted for Protectorate, this doesn't give me many good options. The best I could do was Tier 1 with any 'caster, so Tier bonuses were hard to come by. In the end, I threw caution to the wind and turned to my favourite warcaster, Amon ad-Raza. Here's the list I used:
Amon ad Raza (Wanderers of the Faith, T1)
Zealots (max) with Monolith Bearer
Vassal of Menoth
Yes. There's no Choir. In what I can only assume is part of an elaborate in-joke on the part of Privateer, Amon's theme list doesn't allow Choirs. He's the flipping 'jack caster, for crying out loud! Anyway. My guiding principle was "take as many 'jacks as possible, then add some chaff". I could have slid in an Devout, but that would have hurt my Zealot unit quite a lot, and they were there for two very important reasons. Firstly, I needed something that could deal with enemy infantry. Until I get a Redeemer or Vanquisher painted, the Zealots are still my go-to-guys for that. Secondly, they're there to provide souls to the Reclaimer, who can in turn make sure that my 'jacks have even more focus for wrecking stuff on Amon's feat turn.
As I suggested, I got two games in with my silly Amon lists. First against Robbie Davies' Cygnar, led by Captain Haley. The game started off well, as I managed use my feat to neutralise all of his 'jacks except for a Charger belonging to a recently decapitated Journeyman Warcaster. At the end of my turn, I still had a Reckoner who didn't really have any good targets. In the end, he took a pot-shot at Haley. Unboosted, I needed an 11, and got a 12. Critical Fire! At this point, Haley wasn't camping any focus, and the shot took about 8 points of damage. The fire continued to burn in Robbie's turn, leaving poor Haley on only 3 damage points. With Amon out in the open, and with no Focus, it was now or never. Haley managed to bounce two Chain Lightnings off the Reckoner, and feated to give the Long Gunners many chances to hit Amon. Unfortunately, his high defence and Perfect Balance meant that they needed 11s to hit, and couldn't combine. After a huge number of shots, Amon was still standing. All that was left was the Charger, which was still engaged with my Dervish was over on one flank. It ducked the free strike, wandered into range of Amon, and blew him away. Curses. Next time, Robbie!
The second game was against Ben Clark's Karchev force. I've fought against Karchev a lot before, and know that he's not too tough to beat as long as you can clog up his charge/trample lanes. I knew taking those Zealots would be a good idea. To cut a long story short, Amon & co made short work of Ben's Men O War while the Zealots cut off Karchev's approach. After that, it was just a question of lining up a charge and some well-placed Zealot bombs, and the big man was reduced to a pile of slag. It was a fun game, and I've been looking forward to playing Ben, having crossed paths with him at a few events. He's still pretty new to the game, and it shows in some of the mistakes he made, but he'll get there in the end!
Anyway, back to the tournament. When the dust settled, It was a Tier 4 Ashlynn list that won the day, ably led by Chris Roberts. Stuart Hunter followed as a close second (and also unbeaten) with a Tier 4 Rasheth list. Quote of the day for me came from Steve, our local Cygnar player: "I hate Gun Mages". This from a man playing a Tier 4 pCaine list. Unfortunately, he'd just been on the receiving end of what happens when you have two units of Gun Mages under the effects of Ashlynn's feat. It wasn't pretty.
All in all, it seemed like a good day. People seemed pretty happy with the way things went. I'm sure that the Oxford Tier Tournament will be back next year!