On Wednesday, 9th May, I played the fourth and final game in my local GW shop’s Spring Age of Sigmar Escalation League. This week was the 2000 point game. Shop house rules are that measurements are taken base to base and whoever goes first in the first round goes first in all subsequent rounds, so no “double turns.” However, as you’ll see, my opponent and I elected to roll off in each round anyway. Games in our League use random draws from three subdecks of the Open War deck to establish the Deployment, the Objective, and a Twist. Every game played each week by all players uses the same cards, which are drawn the day before the week’s games begin (cards already used in League games are discarded so we don’t repeat ourselves). The cards drawn for the game I played are shown in this picture. Here’s the army I took. Allegiance: Seraphon Slann Starmaster (260)  --General --Leader --Command Trait: Great Rememberer Saurus Astrolith Bearer (160)  --Leader --Artefact: Incandescent Rectrices Skink Priest (80)  --Leader --Cloak of Feathers --Artefact: Prism of Amyntok Bastiladon (280)  --Behemoth Troglodon (180)  --Behemoth 5 Saurus Guard (100)  --Battleline --Alpha Guardian --Stardrake Icon --Wardrum 3 Salamanders (120)  --Artillery Razordon (40)  --Artillery Shadowstrike Starhost (170) --Warscroll Battalion Skink Starpriest (80)  --Leader 20 Skinks (120)  --Battleline --Alpha --Boltspitters and Star-bucklers 20 Skinks (120)  --Battleline --Alpha --Boltspitters and Star-bucklers 6 Ripperdactyls (280)  --Alpha Total Points: 1990 Total Wounds: 116 Drops: 9 (minimum, I actually took more) Leaders: 4 of 6 Artillery: 2 of 4 Behemoths: 2 of 4 Battlelines: 3 Models: 61 (I’ll talk a little bit more about why I chose this list after I’ve shown you my opponent’s list). I got there a little early and put out all my models below the table, ready for deployment. My opponent, Alan, is probably the best regarded player on the local scene, or at least the scene at our shop, Games Workshop: Man o’ War. He’s not only skilled at all aspects of the hobby, he’s also just generally likable, helpful, welcoming, and good-spirited. He has a vast collection of models across many different armies, both in Age of Sigmar and in 40K. I’ve only played him once before, I think, a teaching/practice game right after I bought my first models. Sidebar: he was wearing a khaki kilt with these kind of Rob Liefeld pouches at the hips. Sidebar to sidebar: I was in a black t-shirt and grey slacks, both by Old Navy. Alan fielded a nicely painted (and fully painted, unlike me) army of Kharadron Overlords with some units of Ironweld Arsenal allied in. I’m not sure what Kharadron Code or Codes he was using, though he showed them to me during play. I neglected to write them down. I know he got a lot of extra movement and a one-time reroll on charges. This was my first time even seeing Kharadron Overlords being played. I do know that his “Sky Port” was Barak-Zilfin, the Windswept City. I sure will be glad if the Seraphon ever get a nifty new book with a bunch of options and updated rules like the latest Battletomes have provided various armies. I’m not exactly sure of his list, but this is very, very close. Allegiance: Kharadron Overlords Aetheric Navigator (100)  --General --Leader --Command Trait: Fleetmaster Endrinmaster (140)  --Leader --Artefact: Sledgeshock Hammer 10 Arkanaut Company (120)  --Battleline --Company Captain --Aethermatic Volley Gun --Light Skyhook --Skypike 10 Arkanaut Company (120)  --Battleline --Company Captain --Aethermatic Volley Gun --Light Skyhook --Skypike 10 Arkanaut Company (120)  --Battleline --Company Captain --Aethermatic Volley Gun --Light Skyhook --Skypike Arkanaut Frigate (280)  --Behemoth --Heavy Sky Cannon Arkanaut Ironclad (440)  --Behemoth --Great Sky Cannon Grundstok Gunhauler (220)  --Artillery 3 Endrinriggers (120)  3 Endrinriggers (120)  Gyrocopter (80)  --Ally Gyrocopter (80)  --Ally Total Points: 1940 Total Wounds: 103 Drops: 4 Leaders: 2 of 6 Artillery: 1 of 4 Behemoths: 2 of 4 Battlelines: 3 Models: 43 So I had more points, more wounds, and more models. Theoretically, with more leaders, I should have also been exploiting more synergies among units with all their abilities and spells. That said, I realize that my list is kind of a mixed, suboptimal bag. I fielded it for several different reasons. First, I had briefly entertained the notion that I could get it fully painted in time for this final game (life intervened). Second, and more to the point, last week I fielded what turned out to be a superoptimal 1500 point version of a “Kroaknado” list which, as I’ve discussed here and there on these boards, was probably a bad idea given the relatively lowkey and friendly nature of this league. As it turned out, however, Alan was prepared for a Kroaknado list. In fact, he even mistook my (unpainted) Slann Starmaster for Lord Kroak (he didn’t really read the Roster I’d prepared for him) in the first round. He was, in fact, running a version of what I believe is a fairly infamous list itself, the Kharadron Overlords “clown car” deployment. Actually, maybe “infamous” isn’t a fair word. Well-known, maybe. I actually have no idea whether or not the clown car evokes words like “cheese” and “broken” the way the Kroaknado does, I just know I’ve heard it mentioned as a supremely effective tactic in many situations on various podcasts. It was to prove effective here, that’s for sure. Alan, with his four drops, finished deployment first and elected to go first. He put all of his models in one of his two deployment zones, excepting the alpha strike capable Arkanaut Ironclad. I deployed most everything towards his forces, leaving my unit of Ripperdactyl Riders in the sky, utilizing the Strike from the Skies ability granted by the Shadowstrike Starhost Warscroll Battalion. Here’s what the table looked like at deployment. Many of Alan’s units, including all of his Battlelines, were embarked upon various vessels. And here’s how the game went. Alan rolled for the Wrath of the Gods Twist but didn’t generate any mortal wounds. Then he put the plan he’d walked into the shop with into motion. He brought the Ironclad on to the table in my rear, between the two gateways you can see in the image above. He disembarked two units of Arkanauts and his Endrinmaster. And then he shot the smithereens out of my Slann Starmaster, shooting up all my plans and hopes for the game with it. On the other side of the board, he advanced hs forces and went hard for my Skinks. He was playing a two-part strategy: remove my general and the abilities, synergies, and spellcasting he brought to the table, and remove as many easy targets as possible, given the wording of the win condition. I cannot tell a lie, he did a great job implementing this, taking out my Slann and all but three of my Skinks in the first two rounds. Here’s Alan disembarking his third Battleline to fight with my Salamanders and Bastiladon. That went well for me, as I took them out pretty quickly in rounds one and two. Having accomplished his devastating opening blows, Alan played relatively conservatively for the next couple of rounds. He lost some units near his original deployment zone, but then used his high mobility to move everything back into a curving line at my (now shredded) rear. See here, as I scramble with my surviving Skinks and artillery units to get them over to where the fight suddenly was. I had some mobility too, of course, in the form of Lords of Space and Time. I decided to throw caution to the wind and try to take out his general, and maybe do some damage to that 18 wound Behemoth and its two companies of Battleline shooters, by teleporting my Troglodon into his rear. I rolled a 6, getting great position. My shooting in rounds three and four, unfortunately, was terrible. Alan played it smart, keeping his units at a distance and pretty much ignoring my Bastiladon. At the top of turn three, the objective was revealed to be right in the center of the board, where I had a few units (and where my Blot Toad was hanging out). We were both well aware that I still had those six Ripperdactyl Riders patrolling the skies above the battle, but that their utility would be limited depending on when and how the last turn fell. Alan won the roll. He elected for me to go first. I had no choice but to pile everything onto the objective, including the Ripperdactyls, as they wouldn’t have another movement phase to arrive in. At the bottom of the fifth and final turn, Alan moved everything in via charges and superior mobility. This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whole bunch of bangs, mostly coming from the ranged weaponry of an Ironclad. The Ripperdactyls were decimated by ranged fire, and then in the combat phase, the three remaining Skinks fell. At the bottom of the turn, Alan’s models outnumbered mine in range of the objective by nearly 2 to 1, and he took the win. He played very well, following his plan to use superior shooting and mobility even when it turned out it wasn’t the Kroaknado he was dealing with. I feel confident that he would have taken out Lord Kroak the same way if I actually had been running a version of last week’s list. Other than some fun stuff with the Salamanders and the Bastiladon, I didn’t really ever threaten him. I brought in an odd list (you’ll notice that my report never mentions the Saurus Guard at all, that’s how effective they were), and when one or two of the synergizing dominoes fell, the already-limited efficacy of the list fell with them. My plan and the list had a lot of interlocking, moving parts, a gearwork, and Alan threw a sabot in the gears with his opening volley. But I enjoyed it. He was polite and helpful throughout, and I learned a lot. My next games will be three 2000 point games at a little local game day/tournament at another store on 26th May. I’ll be spending the intervening weeks painting and trying to come up with a list that’s competitive but not offensively so. I finished the League having scored 12 of a possible 16 points. Only one player, a woman named Vicki, finished with a perfect score, with four wins fielding fully painted armies each time. I think there were 14 participants, and I think I probably finished in the bottom of the top third points wise. I had fun!