Monday, April 25, 2011

Why Saurus Unit Champions are a Total Waste

So yeah, quick post. In my various games running a Life Slann, I've finally come to the realization that the unit champion for Saurus Warriors is a complete waste*.

For the incredible bargain that is 23 points you get the same ol' Saurus Warrior stat line, and, wait for it...


Surely, you say, then they must be able to take an extra weapon, piece of gear, additional wound, better weapon skill, or higher initiative right?
**** no! They don't get anything. The only benefit you get from paying the extra 12 points to upgrade (on top of the 11 you already paid), for which you could buy another Saurus and still save a point (or give it a spear), is the ability to challenge an opponent's champion or character. That's it. Oh and if you went ahead and just bought a regular Saurus instead, you'd net +1 attack and +1 wound.

The only real benefit to buying this upgrade is the fact that you can challenge opponent's champions or characters. Except for the fact that your Champ is going last the overwhelming majority of the time. You may get lucky and the opponent might whiff, then you get to make your 3 attacks back, and hope your average of 1.5 hits (against most) can wound the jerk.

Alternatively, if your opponent accepts with most Lords or Heroes you're going to need to be scraped off his boot. Thankfully, the points you just gave to your opponent towards combat resolution probably won't matter a ton since cold blooded makes breaking combat not-so-easy.

There is some benefit to upgrading and being able to challenge, namely trying to get Teclis or some other Wizard to decline the challenge, tie up a character for a turn or so, or get a nice string of luck and kill their Champion/Hero/Lord. Or to protect an Old Blood or Scar Vet (if you have one).

However, since challenges can be issued by either player in any close combat, regardless of whose turn it is, odds are pretty good that you'll end up losing a champion and possibly some overkill wounds to combat resolution. The nice thing about not having a champion? You don't have anyone for an intelligent opponent to challenge, and you gain 12 points per Saurus block that otherwise would have taken one.

I run 3 blocks of Saurus in a 2000 point army, so I end up gaining 36 points that can be spent adding Chameleons, upgrading my TG's magic banner, etc.

*Of course, if you're running a Light Slann, Saurus champions issuing challenges are much more effective. Speed of Light and/or Birona's Timewarp can make issuing challenges offensively pay off. With both, your champ is WS10, Initiative 10, ASF (rerolling missed hits), and 4 attacks. Very potent indeed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

StillCon '11 Wrap Up

Alrighty, so the Fantasy tournament at StillCon was a pretty cool time. My first impression was "Wow this is much smaller than I was expecting." I guess I didn't notice, or they edited it on their website, but the max for the Fantasy tourney was only 15 people. However, there were all of 7 of us (5 competitors, 1 TO, 1 judge). Evidently it was a better turn out than last year (2 people), so hey maybe next year there will be another 300% growth in players.

There were only 3 tables set up (talking to the TO before hand, he knew it was going to be a small turn out), all of them set up pretty similarly. One peice about 6" in from each corner with 1 big/medium sized piece dead-center, or 2 smaller ones dead-center.

Being that we only had 5 people there signed up, the TO and judge took alternating turns to play the TO's army so someone wouldn't have a complete bye. I don't know if they received max points playing the "bye" army, as I was one of two that did not play him. What I do know is that he took a fantastically painted Skaven army, and ended up going 2-1 on the day, oops!

The army breakdown was 2 Skaven, 2 Lizardmen, 1 Dark Elf, and 1 Chaos ****ing Dwarf army. What?!?!?! I'd thought Chaos Dwarves were the stuff of legends, myths you hear about, tales sown far and wide across the 7 internets to scare Fantasy players. When was the last time you could say you heard of a tournament where Chaos Dwarves made up 16.67% of the damn thing? Never, that's when.

I ended up taking 2nd place, going 2-1-0 with a major loss, major victory, and massacre. Played against Dark Elves (Meeting Engagement), Chaos Dwarves (Dawn Attack), and Lizardmen (Blood and Glory) respectively. I think I did pretty well all things considered. The Dark Elf player ended up winning the entire thing, and pretty much sat back on his board edge and shot me until I got to him. There were 3 things I wish I had done in that game:

1. Placed my Chameleons better, one group managed to take his Sorc down to 1 wound late in the game. Had I killed her, I may have been able to pull out a win. I ended up losing like 460-175 VP. As it was, he pretty much deployed in groups and protected his vulnerable targets. I ended up shooting at his forward most group of Crossbowmen. I should have placed them on the flank of his Black Guard so he'd have to waste a turn reforming if he wanted to try to charge me. Or tried to blow up his Shades.
2. Charged/Flamed/Whatever'd his small unit of shades, would have given me some extra points.
3. Been more patient. I kept pressing the issue with Throne of Vines, and he kept dispelling it. In what proved to be my biggest mistake, I finally got Throne off with Irresistible Force, but had already used my Cupped Hands. Had it not IF'ed, he had little to no dispel dice, and I had like 5 left to use on a Regrowth on a unit of 12 Saurus I had just that turn charged his ~12-15 Black Guard with. So my IF roll came up Power Drain, FML. So my Saurus proceed to get cut down, and I give up a 250 point block (+victory points for banners etc.). Had it gone on another turn or two I had that Black Guard squad in combat again, had wiped 1 of 2 Hydras, and was probably going to sweep that entire flank. I also didn't cast Dwellers as much as I should have (once maybe?), especially when you consider he used his dispel scroll on something turn 1.

I did end up learning from my loss and I exceeded my expectations, can't ask for a whole lot more than that can you?

Now it's time to go prime some Lizardmen before the OKC Thunder game tonight!