It has been several weeks since my last update, I have been preparing for the Shiloh Slaughter. This weekend I and all of my preparations were put to the test, so how did it go?
There are a few things I would like to get out of the way before we get into the meat of this thing, for starters this will be a somewhat abridged review of the weekend in general. I do have notes that I will be using to write up Battle Reports from my five games, but that will be later. Those will likely be presented individually as I intend to go into them in some detail. Additionally, I’d like to thank Brian Preece of T Shirt Explosion and the volunteers that worked so hard to make this a great weekend. And last, but certainly not least – I’d like to thank my opponents. Even when I lost (and I lost more than I won) you guys made for great games and excellent company, so hats off to you fellas. Without further ado, I present…
The field included 50 people from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. There were certainly plenty of locals and returning players from last year, but there was actually a fair number of new faces. I got to meet several and was pleased with the mix of armies and competitors. Going into the thing I had several concerns, basically the list of armies I didn’t want to go against. I was a little leery for example of facing a Dark Elf army, and considering the number of DE players in attendance I knew I was going to face one. Turns out, I played one during the first round…
I also knew Ogres were going to be tough, and I hadn’t had a chance to playtest against them. Of course, I had the book at home but theory will only get you so far. Interestingly enough, I faced a list very similar to the one I’ve been working on in game 4. The real surprise though was that I didn’t face a single VC or WOC army the entire weekend. I actually was matched up with a particular VC player, unfortunately he had a heroic hangover that made him late Sunday morning. That’s how I ended up facing local Blake Dixon’s Ogres. During the entire weekend I didn’t face the same army twice, literally every game was against a completely different army (Dark Elves, Brettonians, Lizardmen, Ogre Kingdoms, and Empire). Luck of the draw I’m sure, but it definitely made for a more enjoyable experience. Now, let’s get back to the beginning and tell this thing right shall we?
The night before the games began was bitter sweet, I spent some time at home with my wife and son before making the trip to War Pig. I haven’t mentioned this place a lot, but over the past year I’ve spent a few Friday nights at this gaming club soaking up the nerd pheromones. It was from this place that I developed a love for Super Dungeon Explore and Vallejo Paints, unfortunately the owner had to shut the place down. Friday was our last night in the shop, we played a few rounds of some space aged card game, I’m still not entirely sure what was going on but I had fun. I’ll definitely miss the place, but no more than I ended up missing my little Ogre and little lady at home. I spent the weekend with my dad in Springdale, this put me about 10-15 minutes from the tournament itself.
At 6 AM I was up and getting a slow start to my day. I had everything prepared ahead of time though, so an hour later when I was actually awake I filled my belly with pancakes and set off for the tournament. I showed up early, but there were already several in various stages of setting up. The display board got some attention immediately, but I didn’t realize how much attention until I returned from the car with my army case and saw several guys huddled around the board itself. After I finished setting up a young man named Xavier introduced himself and asked a few questions about the army, a few others stopped me with similar questions, but eventually I got to take a look at the rest of the armies. There were several beautifully painted armies, I was actually quite pleased to see so few that were bare plastic or all primer.
There was even a Chaos Dwarf army (the finest that money can by, right Matt?) and a Texan (Ryan Smith, an organizer from the Alamo GT) brought the single finest Orc army I’ve ever seen, The Beer Waaaagh! He earned the best paint award, I voted for his army myself. I was lucky enough to play against 2 of the armies pictured below, the Brettonian army gave me the best game of the entire weekend (yes Jeff Westerhold, you got my vote this year). And of course the Ogres with frostbite gave me a big upset as well.
Matt Farrar seemed to have enjoyed his new Chaos Dwarfs though, he definitely had a decent weekend with them. I believe he’d only had a handful of games with the army before the tourney, but still managed 3/0/2 WLD for the weekend. Matt’s a local and a friend, so I bet I’ll get a chance to face those beautiful models on the field eventually.
Game 1 was blind deployment, but that’s a bit of a misgnomer since every table had these hanging over them.
I was set against a nicely painted Dark Elf army, this was a close win. I mean this sincerely, he made me fight for every point. He had two units fleeing at the end, his Blackguard had only 1 man alive. Treason, Gateway, and a unit of Warriors accounted for something like 80-90 Dark Elves. He managed to kill a unit of Marauder Horsemen, a Chariot, and both units of hounds. In the end, the game was decided by my Marauders who were garrisoned in a house, earning me the points for a minor win.
Game 2 was against a seasoned veteran with a lovely Brettonian army (pictured above). It was a variation of Battle For the Pass, and we butted heads for several turns. I whittled a unit of Knights down until I killed his BSB. I also killed a unit of Knights Errant, then in a single turn the game turned entirely the other way. A lucky Treb shot killed my BSB, both units of Warriors died to Panic tests (they were overrun with only 2 casualties between the units) and my Skullcrushers, well they were ripped to shreds by a Chimera (Beast magic ftl). Apparently our game was the only time he got the spell off all weekend.
I conceded the win to a worthy opponent and took the opportunity to get a snack in between games.
Snap into a Slim Jim! OH YEAH!
Game 3 was split deployment in three zones, maybe I was distracted by my bad luck in game 2. I don’t know, but I was definitely sleepy during the game (I forgot my 5 hour energy at my dad’s house). And unfortunately, I was against a competent player with a good, if unorthodox army. An MSU Lizardman army with NO SLAAN! My own inattention led a unit of Warriors and 2 Chariots to their doom as they faced a hero on a Carnosaur and 2 Stegadons, they held up for a surprisingly long time. But not long enough for me to consolidate my forces and take them out, worse we were playing to turn 6 (no time limit) for this game. It was 8-9 PM before I got back to the house, and I was beat. And we were finished well ahead of many other tables, I can’t imagine how the drunkards managed to even get up the next morning after that…
The day started with me 1/0/2 WLD, I already felt I had done better than last year so I went into the final two games feeling good. My first opponent was a no show, he was probably 30 minutes late. I later found out that he’d had a heroic night drinking, apparently he ended up with alcohol poisoning and was in the shower when placement was called. With him incommunicado, I ended up facing Blake Dixon’s Ogres. The scenario meant it was going to be bloody, and whoever went second was going to have a hard time recovering. I went second.
Lunch time again, I learned Saturday that there was a pizza place across the street from the hotel. And better still, they had good food. So, both days I grabbed a small meat pizza for lunch. If you ever get the chance, Razorback Pizza is not bad. And yes, this is a small:
This thing would be a medium anywhere else…
My final game was against an Empire Knight bus. I’ll be honest, after all of the bad luck over the weekend I was a little intimidated when I saw a block of 25 Inner Circle Knights hit the table. My opponent was friendly and new to the game, I wiped the board losing only a Skullcrusher, 3 Marauders, and 2 Warhounds in the process. Afterward, and during the game I talked with my opponent at length. He had liked the look of my army all weekend and was asking for advice, he didn’t know much about Chaos, but was interested in the army and wanted to know my thoughts on the new models. I gave him some pointers and thoughts on his own army too, some thing I thought might make his list a little more effective, and some general strategy tips for making it work. For a beginner, his list was actually pretty strong. He’ll make a fine opponent next year, that’s for certain…
I did well, final stats have not been posted yet. But it looks like I did even better than expected, if the rumors are true I actually got some votes for Players Choice and Best Paint. Frankly, Smith’s drunk Orcs earned that win though, I would gladly vote for that army again. I had fun, I accomplished every goal I set for myself and exceeded my expectations. I met some great people who I hope will become friends in the future. I’ve taken some notes from the games, trying to learn from my mistakes as well as my successes. I’ll likely have Battle Reports up soon, as well as a comparison of standing for this year VS last year (I’m already happy, so the stats will just be gravy). But if I’m entirely honest, the best moment of the entire weekend didn’t happen at the tournament at all. It was when I got to come home to my wife and son. As great as the weekend was, seeing my boy smile and hearing him laugh when he saw me was the best part of the whole thing…