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Free Dwarfs on the Mersey Part II

The Raven clan of the Free Dwarfs once again have answered the call to arms and travelled to the coast to take on more nefarious invaders to their newly conquered Realm.

Once again the Kings of Liverpool have challenged all comers to take part in a one day Tournament and once again the Trolls of the Ribble Warriors have responded. Three of us braved the short journey to Liverpool on a cold Saturday morning and arrived in good time, albeit without breakfast as we still need to locate a McDonalds for the pre-tournament Ritual McMuffins, Research required!

The Kings of Liverpool venue is a local friendly games Store called Just Play and boasts two floors of gaming space with custom tables, a shop and nice Toilets (very important to some) and this was to be the fourth event we had attended here.

We had the usual Tournament morning greetings and Banter before our TO, Ged, called us to order, gave us our table allocation and kicked the Tournament off.

The Raven Clan had brought a variation of their current list as below:

The main differences with this list was the swapping of two Regiments of Ironclads for Two Regiments of Shieldbreakers, these little chaps have been boosted in the latest Clash of Kings updates with the addition of an extra Crushing Strength, although they are still Def 4 the ordered march special rule can help them to close with the enemy, one of my regular opponents, I shall call him Mike, has been stricken with an urge for me to adopt the Free Dwarf Formation, Eyrics Mallets, in the Raven Clan but this requires the painting of a THIRD regiment of Northern Dwarf Infantry so it may be that there is a delay before the fielding of this formation in the army while the models are done. Also the Stoneclaws have been boosted to a Horde and their shooting attack dropped as it has been next to useless in the practise games. The Stoneclaw Champion has been included again with the Tricksters wand as it may help to negate some of those nasty spells we suffer with. Also the Dwarf Lord on a Large Beast has been gifted the Orb of Towering presence to help in those pesky Unit Strength scenarios where his nimble and Speed 7 can come in useful to contest objectives or claim territory at the last minute. The rest of the Army is pretty much as it has been for a while although the Ironclad horde now has the Brew of Strength instead of the Hammer of Measured force and so on to the first game

Game one

The first challenge for the Raven Clan was the Night Stalkers of Glen, Glens army is amazingly painted and won a Judges choice painting award at Clash of Kings last year and was made up as below.

The Scenario for this game was Salt the Earth and we dutifully scattered the Objective markers around the table before rolling off to choose sides, the scenery for this event was decided by the seven tables utilising the Epic Dwarf Map pack numbers 1-7, as we were playing on Table two this resulted in the infamous “Penis” table

To his credit TO Ged said we could change but I had never played on this table so I set it up as is. This resulted in myself and Glen fighting over the two Hills and in the woods in the centre more than anywhere else. We also both streamed in and left Objectives in our rear zones unattended. To be honest I think neither of us had a plan other than kill the enemy. Glen had some Scary stuff and this was only the second time I had played the new Nightstalker list. Luckily for me the volleys of Mastiffs unleashed by my front line units managed to cut down his shooting unit and a unit of Reapers,  while the Tricksters wand stopped the Wind blasts from pushing units too far away, I pushed forwards with Shieldbreakers on my right flank and held with mastiffs and the Brock rider troop on the left while my centre made an effort to crush the units there. With the Berserker Brock Regiment and the Stoneclaws in my second line threatening to Countercharge any unit that attacked Mastiffs or Ironclads, there was a general scrum in the centre but luckily I managed to win on the right and in the centre while Glen pushed forwards on my left. Around turn four we both realised that neither of us was really playing the scenario and so then we tried to concentrate on holding objectives and in turn 5 Glen was one point ahead , I was able to kill off two of his units in Turn 6 though to clinch a 3-2 Victory but we had both damaged each others armies extensively so our Kill point bonuses were quite high, but I went into game two with a win under my belt !

Lunch was then provided with Pizzas being hand delivered by our host Ged , plenty of toppings to choose from , even some with Anchovies, these Scousers are Mad !

Game Two

Game two was the new scenario Stockpile that I had only played once before in practise and my Opponent was an old adversary, Alistair, who was using a Forces of the Abyss Army, My heart sank when I saw his list, as coupled with the scenario in question and my slow moving army I would really be up against it! I did however come up with a plan that I thought might work and took advantage of my heavy Mastiff shooting.

We were playing on Table three and the three piles of tokens were evenly spread across the centre of the board.

I deployed my Mastiffs as far forwards as possible with the Infantry Behind and behind them was the Stoneclaws and Brock Riders with other units in support. I did win first turn but as part of my plan I chose to go second. As I thought Alistair flew Regiments of Tortured Souls forwards to land on the Stockpiles, with one in front to block off the Token carrier from charges. My Plan was to shoot off the blocking units then chase down and kill the token carrying units. The Plan didn’t work. Poor initials shooting dice followed by rubbish Nerve checks resulted in intact blocking units, only in the centre did I have success and managed to destroy the follow up units too when an abyssal Horseman Regiment failed to kill Sveri Egilax. A Double one against a Gargoyle troop cost me the right flank and me having only lightly held my left flank ( to concentrate on the right and middle) saw that pile of counters collected safely , despite a valiant effort from the Shieldbreakers on my right I couldn’t catch the Tortured Souls regiment with the tokens. I did manage to briefly kill the centre token carrier unit but another Tortured Soul regiment was on hand to fly in and collect them whilst yet another blocked by unit. I did manage to claim the one token Alistair had been unable to pick up for a 6-1 defeat although I did pick up three points for Kills.

And so onto Game Three

Game Three was against a new face to the KoW Scene, Daniel. Daniel had a gorgeous Ogre army that I had seen on our regional Facebook Group – Kings of War in the North UK – and it was even better in the flesh so to speak. However it had two Hordes of Siege breakers, two Giants and Grokagamok!

As I had lost my game two I dropped down a table onto Table number four

The scenario for Game Three was Invade, a nice straight forwards finish to the Tournament or so I thought…..

I set up with Mastiff Regiments to the fore, backed up by the Ironclads and Shieldbreakers, on the right was a token force of the Lord on Beast, Mastiffs and Nimble Brock Troop and on my left were the Brock Riders, Sveri, Craggoth and the Stoneclaws, facing off siegebreakers, Giants, Nomagarok , Grokagamok and some warriors. The Dwarfs surged forwards and launched their Mastiffs killing the Boomer Chariots in the centre, on the right the mastiffs were shot off by the shooter regiment leaving the Brock berserker Troop and Lord to rush across the table and spend 3 rounds fighting them, again my dice were a bit meh. The Stoneclaw champion used his tricksters wand to great effect and prevented the Ogre Warlock from casting while the Brocks and Birds advanced up with Craggoth to engage the Ogres right Flank. Despite Grokagamok being an absolute Beast and the Giants running Rampage (see what I did There) a critical double one in the centre of the table allowed the devastated Stoneclaws to hold off and destroy a SiegeBreaker horde and paving the way for the Ironclad Horde to run to the other side of the Table resulting in a 5-4 victory for the Dwarfs over the Hardy Ogres ! Two wins!

Overall I came Fifth at the event, my best performance at a Tournament for quite a while and to cap it all the Raven Clan was voted a the Players Choice best Arm again, Awesome! The other two Ribble Warriors placed Second and Fourth, a respectable performance for the Ribble Warriors Trolls.

So how did the army perform? Overall I found that the Army performed well, I am still getting to grips with the Ordered March rule but I think it makes the Free Dwarfs much more competitive, especially with the native Pathfinder on the Shieldbreakers, several more practises have been had since the change from Ironclad to Shieldbreakers and I must admit I am leaning more towards the latter, even to the point of considering changing the Ironclad Horde to Shieldbreakers. The fact that they are Crushing Strength two more than makes up for their lack of Defense 5,  I am also thinking of dropping the Greater Earth Elemental, which is used as a defensive “Roadblock” piece, to put another Horde of Stoneclaws into the army , perhaps with the Brew of Haste to use them as a threatening area denial unit, they can hold things up just as well and have the potential to cause a lot more damage than Craggoth , they just need more work to protect them from shooting but it would be worth the trade especially as one of the main reasons I chose to take Craggoth in this army was its ability to Scout ,said ability I completely forgot to use in any of the three games at the Tournament and both Practise games! In the Background anyway Craggoth has remained at Cwl Gen with Banick to help hold it against the Goblins and Abyssals.

The Brock Rider Regiment is a classic Hammer, with Brew of Sharpness and Native Pathfinder it is very effective at dominating areas , especially with Sveri’s wild charge aura and the chance of Sveri adding his 10 Attacks to the mix, The Brocks also benefit from the Army Standard Bearers Rally and Banechant occasionally which can help. The Brock Regiment will continue to be included in the army as it is my only unlocking Hammer unit at the moment. The Brock Rider Troop with the Skirmishers Boots is an amazing utility piece, with the ability to move 16” and pivot it can put itself into some threatening positions early in a game and with 13 attacks with Thunderous Charge 1 it cannot be ignored by most units, especially in the Flank, so it can force reactions early in the game. But it can’t work in isolation so either Sveri or Stoneclaws can benefit from being close enough to take advantage of the Troops position play.

The StoneClaws were equally good at being a Hammer unit and threat projection although the Dwarven Ale I put on them would have been better if I had remembered it in my game against Alistair, it could have swung the game to a draw or at least a closer loss, curse my memory! The Stoneclaws may be getting some help in the next version of the Army soon in the form of a second horde which is on the Hobby Desk as I type, perhaps the Brew of Haste on this one to make the area denial larger and to give them a fighting chance against other flyers, just need to work on the Shooting mitigation a bit more.

Sveri Egilax shouldn’t really be in the Raven Clan Army as he is supposed to be at Cwl Gen, but I suppose there is nothing to stop him popping out once in a while? He is super good, I love the model but am struggling to keep justifying 210 points when he Hinders so easily in an army of Pathfinders. There is little point in having him as a support unit when he needs more support than the Brock Riders? But his high nerve , Nimble and Wild Charge Aura are currently irreplaceable in the Raven Clan so he will be staying a little longer to help out.

The Mastiff Hunting Regiments remain as awesome chaff, 11/13 nerve makes them surprisingly resilient and they can certainly wind people up, I love them and my only regret is not fielding a ton more! Plus the new 3D printed Mantic models are so characterful!

The Lord on a Large Beast is another good utility piece, although he has a low damage output and no terrain mitigation his def 6 and 15/17 nerve allow him to function as megachaff and his speed 7 and Nimble allow last minute repositioning and he is a scoring unit to boot. However he is still a throwback to the Imperial Dwarf list that could do with being a bit more “Free Dwarf”

The Stoneclaw Champion with the Tricksters wand is another great character and will be seeing more use in the army, he can cut down shooting or surge threat , manoeuvre onto flanks and threaten, support the bird hordes in combat and even shoot chaff with his grenades, although with the absence of Steady Aim this kind of attack is a bit hit and miss so to speak. His Fly, Nimble and scoring abilities make him an End of game hero but his Def 4 and 11/13 Nerve mean he may not get there. Another Model that will be remaining in the army for a little more time at least.

Meanwhile there will be more practise games against the various Armies of my clubmates and any passers by I can drag into the Dojo, more discussions on tactics, scenarios and lists and of course Tournaments. I will also be adding to the Lore of the Raven Clan and the Free Dwarfs of Bowland as well as adding to the Army. More Bloggery will be along soon.





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