The long-anticipated WFB tournament took place yesterday, and I had a blast. I was utterly slaughtered in my first game, pulled out a tie in my second, and was randomly tapped for a bye in the third (boo!). Still waiting to hear if I won the coveted "best sportsman" (aka dead last) award.
I'm finding that I'm enjoying playing my Brets far more than I did my Dwarves back in 5th / 6th edition. I'm not sure if this is a factor of edition shift, or just the degree of mobility Brets have relative to Dwarves. A Dwarf army is slooooow - and this game seems to revolve around manouvre. Bret mobility gives me choices as a player, and apparantly, choices are fun.
The tournament was 2500 points, using the "Ard Boyz" scenarios. Seven players - more were expected, but we had some no shows. I took the following:
2500 points of Bretonnians
Lord: Questing Vow, Virtue of Confidence, Birthsword of Carcassone, Enchanted Shield, Mantle of the Damsel Elena, Gauntlet of the Duel, Barded Warhorse = 243 / 243
Paladin: Battle Standard Bearer, Virtue of Discipline, Gromril Helm, Barded Warhorse = 119 / 362
Paladin: Questing Vow, Virtue of Duty, Cuirass of Fortune, Shield, Barded Warhorse = 134 / 496
Damsel: Dispel Scroll, Warhorse = 105 / 601
Damsel: Dispel Scroll, Chalice of Malfleur, Warhorse = 125 / 726
Core 1: 8 Knights Errant, Full command = 181 / 907
Core 2: 8 Knights of the Realm, Full command = 216 / 1123
Core 3: 8 Knights of the Realm, Full command = 216 / 1339
Core 4: 25 Peasant Bowmen, skirmish, brazier, musician = 185 / 1524
Core 5: 8 Knights of the Realm, full command, war banner = 241 / 1765
Special 1: 8 Questing Knights, full command, Valorous Standard = 301 / 2066
Special 2: 5 Pegasus Knights, musician = 285 / 2351
Special 3: 8 Mounted Yeomen, musician, Standard Bearer, shields = 149 / 2500
First game was against a mixed Warriors of Chaos list, led by the Lord of the end times himself, Archaon. For those not in the know, Archaon is pretty much the most badass h2h character in the game. That's him toward the bottom of the pic, taking on two of my knight lances and the big unit of bowmen. That fight? He won that fight.
See these Chaos knights of Khorne coming around my flank?
Yeah, they helped clean up Archaon's leftovers.
See these units in my dead box by the end of turn two?
Yeah, those are the units that tried to charge Archaon, failed their terror checks, and fled off the table.
Lessons learned from game one: Archaon is a badass. Bret leadership, while good, is not great, and there's little in the army that can counter fear and terror causing units that isn't a) expensive, or b) charging. I'm going to have to learn to use what resources I have to dispatch this kind of threat quickly. One option is a Pally with the Grail vow and the Morningstar item that allows him to destroy opponent's magic weapons. Archaon is a special case, but represents the extreme end of a class of terror-causing units typified by monsters. I'll need to learn how to deal with this stuff.
Other lessons learned - I need a better sense of charge distances. Archaon got in on me early because I moved my knights just a little too close. This is just a matter of experience. I've learned that Brets need to pull off coordinated, decisive charges. While they have good armour, after the first round they lack the offensive punch to win combats. This is just a matter of experience.
Game two was against a gorgeously painted and converted beastmen army. Here they are lined up across the table. The picture doesn't do them justice, but believe me, they were lovely.
This game was a close-fought tie. By the time I got to turn two, I was learning to hold back my knights. I'd figured out by this point that just because they can move fast doesn't meen they have to. Rather, their mobility means that I can advance more or less on my own terms, and consequently choose the terms of engagement. I made a stupid mistake with my Pegasus knights early, leaving one in the charge arc of the minotaurs on his flank, and not noticing it. This let him start his minos rolling in (they get better the more they kill), and they were a hassle the rest of the game. I did have the satisfaction of taking out his giant however. They are a little random, but fun. For example, when killed, it turns out they fall in a random direction, and can cause considerable damage if they land on your units. You should have seen my rendition of the "oh shit" dance;) We kind of ground away at each other throughout the game, and ended up with a closely fought tie.
Got the bye on the third round, which was a bit of a disappointment, as I was hoping for another game, but still, plenty of lessons learned.
There are four things I really need to work on (besides getting more stuff painted, of course).
1) I need to get a handle on leadership. I've noted the issues with fear and terror above, but there's not much in my army core (i.e., knights) that has leadership "bells and whistles". I'm gong to have to develop a feel for what my army can and cannot handle, and maybe put together specialist units for the things they can't.
2) Coordination. Brets, at least the way I'm playing them, are a little one-dimensional, but that narrow focus still offers tactical depth. I don't have a capacity for attrition. Period. That means I have to choose combats I can win, and win them in the first round, when I charge. More to the point, it means I have to learn how to use units in my army together in order to achieve that goal. This is harder than it sounds.
3) My light / fast units. I did okay with my mounted squires, but lost my Pegasus knights by turn two both games. This is a disappointment, as they are one of the better units in the list. I need to work on using my most mobile stuff to leverage the rest of my army. Neither of these units are throwaway, which leads me to point four . . .
4) Force preservation. Remember what I said about attrition? This is foreign to me. I play Cryx in Warmachine, and used to play orks in 40k. Caring about casualties is kind of a new thing for me. Brets don't have chaff, however, and every unit counts. Learning how to not only win combats, but win them in a decidedly one-sided fashion is going to be key to the success of playing them.
So there you go. A couple of fun games, some lessons learned, and the slow rehabilitation of my WFB experience continues. One last thing however.
I think it is time to simply admit that I am an army whore. I was looking over some other armies yesterday, and caught myself thinking "ooh, those would be fun to paint" pretty much every time. Chaos? Check. Beastmen? Check check. High elves? Checkaroonie. This is dangerous, as I simply do not have the time these days to hop from army to army. It's a problem however, as the number one project killer for me is when painting (which I love) starts to feel like work. I'm not really sure how to deal with this. I'm temperamentally unsuited to single-focus painting, but lack the time for multiple projects. Any ideas out there?