Last year, my friend E and I met up for a very inaugural match of Age of Sigmar where we more or less did, well, everything wrong. Last night, we met up for a rematch after having had several more games on other hands under our belt, as well as countless hours of debating and discussing the rules, comp variant and theories.
We decided to use the Clash Comp v1.41 for the game – while it’s not perfect, it’s the closest thing we’ve found that matched our own view of the game, and the comp’s pool points values are on the whole relatively balanced. We also tried out an interpretation of the rules where allocation of wounds to multi-wound models are limited to current phase – in short, once a new phase begins, allocation is reset and you can start placing wounds on unharmed models instead of finishing off harmed ones. The wording in the Age of Sigmar core rules is ambiguous, and given the wording of the various regeneration rules on warscrolls, we found this rules variant to flow far better and make for more tactical allocation of wounds, as well as affecting pile-in moves since you’re not guaranteed to actually kill off hurt models and clear up space.
I went with the following list, picked from 20 pool points as per the clash comp:
- Cauldron of Blood
- Death Hag
- Malus Darkblade
- Dark Elf Sorceress
- 2 Reaper Bolt Throwers
- 20 Executioners
- 20 Witch Elves
- 15 Dreadspears*
- 2×5 Dark Riders
*Dreadspears are originally 1.25 pool points per 20 models, however, as I only have 15 painted, we agreed I would be allowed to take those 15 for a single pool point.
His list was… lots of stuff with the words Skull and Blood in it.
After deployment and roll-off, I chose to let E go first, knowing full well he had no ranged attacks in his arsenal. His only choice was to make run moves across the table towards me, putting himself in range of my initial wave of nastiness. During a violent first shooting phase and the ensuing combat, Malus Darkblade almost singlehandedly took down his Daemon Prince as first blood, and a Bolt Thrower and the Dark Riders reduced the Slaugtherbrute to a mere 4 wounds left.
Objectives after turn one: 1-1.
I won the roll-off and went first, finishing off the Slaugtherbrute and charging Malus and a unit of Dark Riders into his Skullcrushers. The Witches decided to hold back a bit and failed their charge roll (and re-roll), and Malus seemed to be content with himself after his big kill, wounding only my own Dark Riders for the remainder of the game (seriously, he actually did not wound a single thing apart from my own models until he died turn four). On the opposite end of the map, Hellebron and the Executioners slammed into his unit of Marauders, and afterwards, he didn’t have a unit of Marauders anymore. In his turn, Shadowblade showed up and utterly annihilated his general in one fell swoop, before falling flat to the Chosen. He then countercharged the Executioners with a unit of Chaos Knights, whose shields against mortal wounds proved the PERFECT antithesis to Executioners, halving them to ten.
Objectives after turn two: 2-2.
I get the first round again, and the Witch Elves decide it’s finally time to charge. Slamming into the Skullcrushers, they allowed me the rare joy of making no less than FIFTY-TWO (52!!!) to wound-rolls with re-rolls of 1’s. We stopped counting how many wounds they actually caused since we’d still only gone through about half of the armour saves when they were dead, allowing the Witches to score the objective they fought around. During E’s turn, his Skullsomethings (Reavers? Rippers? They were nasty as fuck) tore my Sorceress into elf kabob without very much effort, and the Knights got reinforced by a spawn and Slaughterpriest to reduce the Executioner to zero. Over by the Witches, he finds his Chosen woefully overwhelmed by the might of chainmail bikinis and thirty-odd daggers; reinforced by the Cauldron and the separate Death Hag, they came, claimed a few skulls, and got wiped.
Objectives after turn three: 4-3.
E wins the roll-off, and wastes no time charging the Sorceressrippers (or whatever they’re called) into my Witches, clearing out half of them in one fell swipe. Malus finally kills off the last of the Dark Riders, before falling himself to the might of the Bunny Eared God. The Reaper Bolt Throwers are making complete fools of themselves by taking out a single Bloodletter from a combined 24 shots – to rub it in, the Bloodletters regenerate two guys from their battleshock test. The Witches, before getting wiped off the table themselves, manage to clear out all but the last of the Skullsomethings with aid from the Cauldron and Death Hag, and the table is starting to look mighty empty at this point.
Objectives after turn four: 5-4.
The final Skullguy falls to the Cauldron, and the Knights claim an uncontested objective. The Bolt Throwers thinks last turn’s performance was just perfect, and does an encore, killing nothing.
Objectives after final turn: 6-6.
As we’d drawn on objectives and sort of forgotten to play the secondary objectives, we decided to count pool points left on table to decide a winner – my 7,5 points barely edged out his 5,5 and handed me the narrowest of victories. Blood for whichever Blood God you choose to believe in!
I really liked the Clash Comp. Apart from the summoning rules – I see WHY they’ve done it this way, I just think there has to be some other way of making it less of an elephant in the room – I think it’s very well balanced. The points costs are a bit off still, a testament to a fair amount of units not having seen particular use I’d imagine. I particularily found Witch Elves to be a bargain – at 3 pool points I got 20 girls and a Death Hag – I could have added in another 10 before they were on the same points level as the Executioners, and even without the Cauldron, they were simply that amazing for their value.
Dark Riders really suck. There’s no two ways around it. They’re fragile, and their attacks amount is in spite of the large amount, massively impotent. They’re good for a late game claim in theory, but honestly, they’re not worth the pool points cost for such a role. I’ll likely swap in some Shades in their place next game.
As for my opponent, his list is really solid. I’m sure there’s a million and one counters to Khorne Bloodbound out there, but as they stand, they’re a really strong army. They can dish out so many attacks with decent hit and wound rolls, rend and several synergy boni, and they’re generally dressed in something a bit more reliable than chainmail bikinis. In the hands of a very sporting and competent player, they made for a massively challenging opponent, and to take home such a close victory after such a tight game was really cool. I’m already dreading the rematch, since I just KNOW he’ll annihilite me…
Now, to go paint up a brand new Dark Elf army with round bases with all the knowledge gained from these past games. My poor bank account is already weeping.