4 Nations Tournament
My daemon army was finished and now I needed to see how it would work on the tabletop. So off to sunny Warrington I went for the Four Nations ETC Warmup tournament. I was part of Team Ireland and we were up against Team Norn Iron, Team Scotland and Team England. My recent experience with high-level tournament play has been patchy at best. I was at the 2008 Irish GT (where I came about 20th) and the last major tournament before that was probably a GW staff tournament back in the late ’90s. To say I was rusty is something of an understatement.
As this was a team tournament, the pairings weren’t based on the usual Swiss system. Instead each team played every other team once on the Saturday and then the 3rd and 4th placed teams and the 1st and 2nd teams played each other first on Sunday before switching to the 1st v the 3rd and the 2nd v the 4th. Lists were semi-secret and each team took it in turns to put one of their armies forwards for matching, the other team would then pick two armies to fight it and the first team would pick one of those two for the game. This alternated until all team members were matched. There was also a ‘secret champion’ per team who was never put up as a match but was instead paired up with the other team’s secret champion once all the other pairings were determined. The games themselves used the standard 20 points system for match results.
My army was as follows:
Lord of Change – Level 4 wizard, Iridescent Corona, Flames ofTzeentch, Spell Destroyer
Herald of Slaanesh – Level 1 WIzard, Battle Standard Bearer, Great Icon of Despair
Herald of Tzeentch – Level 2 Wizard, Spellbreaker
14 Daemonettes – Full command
15 Daemonettes – Full command
17 Horrors – Full command
The basic strategy was to use the Daemonettes as shock troops, the Flamers and the Screamers as harrassing forces/march blockers and to score cheap victory points, the Horrors were basically a magical sniper unit and the Lord of Change would cause Terror tests and provide magical heavy support.
First up were the Northern Irish team and I was paired up with their captain Jonny Fisher and his Daemons army. He had a lot of Screamers as well as a largish unit of Flesh Hounds, three heralds (two Tzeentch and one of Khorne) were the only characters in the force and nothing particularly big or scary looking. We both set up for a fairly cautious deployment and I gave him the first turn. He rushed forwards and in my first turn he Sirened my Lord of Change – as I can’t choose to flee, I had no choice except to pile Mr Feathers into one of his Daemonette units. Luckily, although the Lord of Change isn’t really a huge combat monster, he’s also not exactly rubbish and I’d given him the Iridescent Corona specifically to help him out in case he got sucked into tarpit units. That combat went on for a bit with the greater daemon gettign charged by Flesh Hounds and the Herald of Khorne who were countercharged in turn by one of my Daemonette units and eventually (thanks to my knack for rolling ward saves), he emerged bloodied but victorious and surrounded by a heap of lightly crisped daemon corpses.
While that conflict was raging, the rest of our armies were shredding each other pretty effectively but, with most of his attention focused on trying to kill my general, I was able to mop up the rest with little problem. I came away with a 12-8 win which was a great start.
After the Northern Irish lads, we were matched up with Team England and I got drawn against an Empire army that was pretty much designed for Daemon killing. A War Altar firing off bound Light Magic spells was the main problem I had to face, that and the Steam Tank that ran over Daemonettes multiple times. I didn’t dare move my Lord of Change out into sight of his two cannon and so Feathers spent most of the game hiding in a wood firing off area of effect spells to negligible effect. The Empire knights and crossbowmen took apart what little I had left from the depredations of the War Altar and pretty soon, all that remained was a single Flamer hiding in a wood. I salvaged some honour by killing both the War Altar and the Arch Lector on it with this last Daemon but the end result was a solid 20-0 defeat.
The last game of Saturday was against Team Scotland and I happened to be our secret champion. Unfortunately their secret champion was their High Elf player who’d brought along an army that was pretty much completely immune to flaming attacks. The only things in my army that don’t have flaming attacks are the Daemonettes and even many of the Tzeentch spells have been FAQed to be Flaming attacks as well. Needless to say it was a very frustrating game as there was almost no point in me rolling any dice for combat. The Daemonettes, who were pretty much all that I had were crisped by his Dragon in a series of fly-by shootings and then dispatched on the lances of Dragon Princes. Eventually the Dragon got bored of such easy prey and waded into the Lord of Change who was completely unable to damage the beast or its rider. Another 20-0 defeat but there was no way that I could have salvaged anything from that. I killed some archers and both chariots but they were small change compared to the big points sinks of the dragon and the knights. It didn’t help that the Lord of Change rolled a miscast on 5 of the six magic phases but there were very few things I could do to him even if my magic had been more reliable.
On Sunday we were drawn against Northern Ireland again to begin with and I chose to put up against a Dark Elf army rather than give Jonny Fisher a rematch. I thought I had a pretty good chance despite getting an assassin amongst my Flamers in the first turn. He put his Black Guard forwards and both units of Daemonettes accepted the bait and charged. Two turns later I had no Daemonettes left as he’d tanked the unit to the hilt. Always Strike First, Eternal Hatred, 3+ armour saves and some strong magical protection meant that Daemonettes died before they could fight back. I managed to get a Bolt of Change off on the War Hydra and left it with one wound, I also managed to get Gift of Chaos off in most magic phases but no unit got hit with anything higher than strength 2 throughout the whole game. In the end I was reduced to doing fly past spell bombs and trying to cause terror tests when everything except the Lord of Change was dead. He survived but gave up half his victory points and another 20-0 defeat.
Finally we played Team England and I got paired up with Jerry Brawley’s Vampire Counts. This was a game I should have won easily – and in fact was winning easily until the dice gods decided that I needed to see what three utterly awful turns looked like. So, to start I had things under control. I was shutting down his magic phases, I had killed most of the Blood Knights and I was making inroads into the Graveguard. Between actual combat casualties and combat resolution he was being whittled down pretty handily. Then my Lord of Change rolled a pair of ones for a spell casting test followed by a double one on the miscast table. Off he goes and from there it got worse. My Daemonettes proved incapable of hitting anything, every single ward save that I was asked to take failed and I rolled double sixes for 3 out of 4 instability tests. A comfortable 20-0 win was turned around into a 20-0 crushing due to nothing more than some of the worst luck with dice I’ve ever seen.
As a team we came last with Team England taking the winners’ shield for the event.
The standard of armies was generaly very high. My Daemons weren’t the worst and my lord of Change was (in my opinion) at least as good as anything else there. Here are a few of the more interesting armies from the event.