Welsh Masters 2023 Battle Report

It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve written one of these. But whatever, we’re doing it!

Hello there! My name is Jamie Perkins and this is my battle report series for the 2023 Welsh Masters that recently took place under MK4 Warmachine.

Warning before you go any further: this report is LONG. I’ve got some photos of games in play, too.


For those of you who don’t know me, this was my first Warmachine tournament in about 7 years. I picked up the game again shortly before MK4 was announced last year and have been relearning since.

Long ago, I was someone who played quite a lot of competitive Warmachine with Khador and Legion of Everblight and enjoyed writing these kinds of reports afterwards. I managed to win the UK Nationals four times running, the Templecon Masters (a sort-of precursor to Captaincon), as well as playing for Team England at the WTC in the event’s earliest years.

Despite playing many others in the years since, I never quite clicked with a tabletop game like I did with Warmachine. I just enjoyed the gameplay, the decision-making, and the camaraderie of the players more than most other games I’ve tried.

Additionally, MK4 has really done a lot that I like. Where it seems some players are missing using their full range of miniatures, I wholeheartedly believe restriction breeds creativity. Do I miss playing Ravagores with Lylyth? Yes I do. Did I ever put Warmongers or Warspears on the table all those years ago? Absolutely not.

I love that the power level of the whole game has stepped back a few paces. Not every faction has the perfect tool to answer every problem. It’s intentionally uneven again, in an interesting way. And the more limited selection of minis is forcing players to field units and army compositions they wouldn’t have considered before. To experiment, and be creative.

Even so, I’ll be first to agree the new infantry movement rules were strange at first. But after playing multiple games, for me, they’re no better or worse than the previous rules. They’re just different. It’s mainly quicker to resolve because there are fewer miniatures on the game board per unit.

Long story short, I still love this game, and for the last year I’ve been glad to be back playing it.

Before we get into the details, I want to give a quick shout-out.

My wonderful partner, Chynna-Blue – who came with me to the tournament – had surprised me the week before with an awesome new set of tokens and widgets from Monstrous Makings to use at the Masters. I was absolutely over the moon to get these, particularly as my kit at the time was a mixture of cobbled together bits and pieces from events of years gone by.

I actually met the guy who makes them, Chris, as he was also playing in the Welsh Masters and complimented him on the design. I had everything I needed when I needed it and having them in easy reach definitely sped up my gameplay.

Preparing for Welsh Masters

It was watching the reports, results, and good feels coming in from the 2022 Welsh Masters that really sparked me playing Warmachine again. That, and attending the UK Games Expo to play Star Wars Armada, playing some exceptionally good Polish players who really knew what they were doing, and realising that wasn’t the game for me.

As luck would have it, I managed to pick up the exact Legion of Everblight army I sold off 7 years ago to start my collection off, and then started to hunt down newer releases to bring it up to date. I strongly considered diving back into Khador, but that army was sold off in A Lot of different pieces so it’d be impossible to piece back together. Plus the whole playstyle of Khador seemed to have really changed since I played them ‘back in the day’, whereas Legion felt a lot more familiar.

I had a lot of fun playing Children of the Dragon. Thagrosh 2 is a ton of fun. Playing with Anamag was awesome too; those chosen of everblight are immense! This army is the one I re-learned the game with – including the new unit movement rules – and gave a lot of wins away in the process to local legends like Sean, King of Rhul. (Side note: Dwarves are WAY better than I remember them being!)

And then the Ravens of War came.

Ravens of War is a powerful army, no doubt about it. I don’t think it’s the strongest army in the game. There’s a lot of super powerful stuff out there, particularly the new MK4 factions. But Ravens of War absolutely makes Legion capable of winning events and can go toe to toe with the toughest opposition.

Also, I’m a Vayl 1 diehard from way back when, so when I saw she got to move herself with her feat again, I was in.

I played a fair few games to experiment with my army lists. I started out with Angelius in both battlegroups but eventually took them out. I think they’re usable but it’s a hard sell sometimes. Got some advice from our Legion of Everblight lord and saviour, JVM, along the way. Booked my ticket for the Masters, and I was all set.

Firestorm Games is still one of the premier gaming venues in the UK. It’s a fantastic space to game in if you get the chance.

Onto the Army Lists!

Vayl, Disciple of Everblight
15 Azrael
10 Neraph 1
10 Neraph 2
10 Neraph 3
10 Neraph 4
11 Seraph
6 Annyssa Ryvaal
1 Blighted Nyss Shepherd 1
1 Blighted Nyss Shepherd 2
1 Blighted Nyss Shepherd 3
5 Blighted Nyss Sorceress & Hellion
1 Spell Martyr
6 Blackfrost Shard
9 Blighted Nyss Raptors
4 Ice Witches


DEFENSE 1 - Barrier
DEFENSE 1 - Barrier
DEFENSE 1 - Barrier


Blessing of the Gods
Break Through


Lylyth, Herald of Everblight
15 Azrael
8 Nephilim Bolt Thrower
10 Neraph 1
10 Neraph 2
11 Seraph
6 Annyssa Ryvaal
1 Blighted Nyss Shepherd 1
1 Blighted Nyss Shepherd 2
5 Blighted Nyss Sorceress & Hellion
1 Spell Martyr 1
1 Spell Martyr 2
2 Succubus
6 Blackfrost Shard
9 Blighted Nyss Raptors 1
9 Blighted Nyss Raptors 2
4 Ice Witches


DEFENSE 1 - Barrier
DEFENSE 1 - Barrier
DEFENSE 1 - Barrier


Blessing of the Gods
Power Swell
1 Savagery


Ravens of War are gifted with two solid warlocks to lead their forces. Vayl 1 is a melee powerhouse. Those neraphs start out hitting at POW 15 but when you add incite (Vayl), dark shroud (sorceress on hellion), and kiss of lyliss (black frost shard) into the mix you can get up to POW 21. Plus the hellion sorceress giving them free charges makes them feel like 4 fury warbeasts. Add in the native sprint of a neraph and the cat & mouse feat from Vayl and you’ve got something that hits hard and is extremely mobile.

Azrael I could write a whole book about. That thing is an absolute monster in melee and at range, and by far Raven’s biggest asset. Two crit slam ranged attacks, fury 4, snipe animus, heavily armoured (for Legion), and the faction inherent bonuses of flight and eyeless sight. There are very few turns you won’t find something important for Azrael to do.

On the other hand, Lylyth isn’t bringing an out and out shooting list. I’m not sure she even could anymore, without access to ravagores. But what she can do is bring a strong combined arms game to the table, with a lean towards being gun (bow) heavy. A fully stealthed battlegroup is something a lot of lists just aren’t equipped to deal with. Pursuit and parasite are both excellent spells and she can deliver them personally with access to the snipe animus and her funky bow ammo types.

Her main difficulty is that she doesn’t have as much raw damage as Vayl, since parasite can only affect one thing at a time. She has a pair of neraphs in there mainly to contest zones and be a defensive melee threat. Being able to strike out at something and return to the battle line with sprint is really good for an army list that’s happiest standing a bit off instead of engaging in a brawl.

Raptors and Annyssa Ryvaal are in both army lists because they’re just great. They epitomise Legion of Everblight by being complete glass cannons that move like lightning. When they get caught, they go down fast, but they usually do good work before that happens.

My last point will be about defences. Simply put, if you’re not playing with these, you should be. As an absolute minimum, you NEED to take the sapper command card unless you have a large enough base to crush defences. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in a bad spot.

I took 3 barriers to keep things nice and simple. Plus, as I found out, Ravens have zero warbeasts capable of throwing a powder keg (note, I was wrong about this), and we don’t need the firepit to ignore stealth. The spike trap I might experiment a bit more with, but I think they’re very match up dependent. Barriers are always excellent, especially when you have DEF 14 warbeasts that happily sit behind them at DEF 18 to shooting and can fly over them to charge.

Battle Reports

GAME ONE | Mike Taylor - Circle (Devourer’s Host) - King of the Hill

Mike was originally playing Warmachine when I was, all those years ago. Like me, he was returning from an extended break and made the trip down with his long term gaming buddy, Rob Brown, who’d brought along his trolls.

I won’t beat around the bush; Vayl tends to be the list I drop into most things, unless I’ve got a specific reason to use Lylyth instead (cough-cough-Storm Legion). Vayl is definitely the more ‘brute force’ of the two lists I brought, and it’s nice to be able to fall back on that when things get rough. Plus, Vayl is the list I had more practice with.

Mike elected to play Kromac 2, and this is as much of his list as I can recall:

Kromac 2
Warpwolf Stalker
Feral Warpwolf
Tharn Ravagers + Chieftain
Tharn Blood Trackers + Nuala
Tharn Wolf Riders
Than Bloodweavers + Haruspex
Bloodweaver Night Witch
Tharn Blood Shaman
Lord of the Feast
Gallows Grove

Kromac can be quite scary for Legion from the perspective that he’s got access to big threat ranges on his feat turn. Plus, you need to be careful when you shoot his beasts because he gives them all hyper-aggressive.

I won the roll and elected to go first (which feels like what you should almost always do at the moment, unless you’ve got a specific plan). My go-to deployment tends to leave Vayl fairly central with Azrael and the seraph. Then a pair of neraphs to her left and the other pair to her right, with support scattered centrally behind. I put the raptors and Annyssa off to give me more threats against his objective.

Mike deployed his wolf riders opposite my raptors, battlegroup centrally, with most of the other tharn off to my right to pressure my objective.

Turn One

Vayl casts tether on Azrael and Frost Field on a neraph. Then everything runs up. I’m careful to put the raptors close to the obstruction on the left to give them protection from any wolf rider shots. I remembered to take a photo just after my first turn as Mike was starting his:

Mike similarly runs forwards but being more cautious to be careful of my threat ranges. The tharn ravagers take up position behind the forest on the right, just toeing the zone. Lord of the feast is on the left, supporting the wolf riders. Kromac stands in a trench in the middle before casting spiny growth on himself, awakened spirit on the warpwolf stalker, and then dropping some fury.

Turn Two

I measure the distance between Azrael and Kromac. Kromac is only 12” away with just 2 fury on him. I also measure the distance between Vayl and Kromac and I can get incite onto him, too. Azrael threatens 11” on his own, 13” when you add in slipstream, and 16” when you move him with tether.

Under incite, Azrael hits at MAT 9, POW 19 (with a second initial at POW 17, and then his initial ranged attack at RAT 8, POW 19, too), he charges for free due to the hellion sorceress and has 4 fury. And I can spend the blessed command card to ignore spiny growth.

I have a quick think and, considering how the TO Martyn reminded us all this was the first MK4 event for most people and we’d all be shaking off rust, I let Mike know he was in a lot of danger where he was and I could, without too much trouble, get Azrael to Kromac and take him out before the game really got underway.

It just doesn’t feel right. So, I recommend Mike moves Kromac back, which he does.

After that, I take a look at what else I can get to, and Ghetorix is possible to reach for Azrael instead. It would mean I trade Azrael for Ghetorix but, considering I have 6 heavies to Mike’s 3 and could favourably start off a piece trade, I decided to send him in.

Vayl upkeeps both her spells and puts up incite, feats, and tethers Azrael forward. The ice witches put puppet master rerolls on Azrael, the seraph, and a Rhylyss of the black frost shard. The black frost shard then move up and put the kiss of lyliss onto Ghetorix before frost bolting him a few times for good measure.

Azrael promptly charges Ghetorix and takes him out with his initials and 1 bought attack. Azrael then adds insult to injury by force reloading a boosted shot into the feral, which crits. The crit slams the feral into the stalker, knocking them both down and dropping the feral to half its health thanks to the bonus die from hitting the stalker and a boost.

The raptors and Annyssa take out the wolf riders. The seraph and neraphs combine to down some bloodweavers. Then I start my feat moves.

As I move Vayl back I realise it’s theoretically possible for Kromac to reach her if he feats. It’s a big ‘if’ because Vayl’s behind a building, but it panics me a bit with first game jitters, so I surround her with warbeasts just to be sure.

Then I pass the turn. Note below the absolute fortress of warbeasts I left Vayl inside of.

The warpwolves both force to stand and Kormac upkeeps awakened spirit. The tharn on the right combine to take Azrael to low health but don’t quite take him out. The ravagers come through the forest and threaten my objective. Lord of the feast attempts to bird himself into my raptors but misses the shot.

The stalker comes flying into the front neraph of Vayl’s fortress and cleaves it in half. Ouch. The feral can’t quite reach so it hangs around and forces itself to regenerate.

Kromac can’t leave Azrael alive so goes in himself to take Azrael out. The tharn that hit him and Kromac are all set on fire for their trouble.

Turn Three

With Kromac so close to the rest of my battlegroup now, I can’t ignore the opportunity to take him down. I do some quick measurements before upkeeping frost field, casting incite, then dropping rerolls onto Rhylyss, the frost fielded neraph, and the seraph.

The seraph flares Kromac and does some nice damage with its incited shots. The blackfrost shard put the kiss of lyliss onto Kromac and the frost fielded neraph takes the big man out.

Mike was very graceful in defeat and said he enjoyed the game. He spent a while chatting to Chynna-Blue and I after the game about some super interesting things he’s working on. When catching up with him and Rob later that morning, they said they’d managed 3 games before coming down to Cardiff and were looking forward to the chance to play a lot more over the weekend.

I was happy to be off to a winning start for the weekend. Onto game two!

GAME TWO | Luke Archer - Cygnar (Storm Legion) - Spread the Net

I’d been dreading this matchup in particular. nuCygnar was the most popular MK4 faction at Welsh Masters. Although in fairness, that could be at least partially down to being released first.

Wolfe is already an infamous warcaster and I’ve heard and read about players having a really difficult time facing him. I’ve heard that it gets a bit easier once you’ve played him once. And this was my first ever game against nuCygnar…

Luke came to the table with Wolfe and Athena and his lists looked pretty scary. A plethora of well armed heavies in both lists and even though I fully expected to face Wolfe I had a good look at the Athena list to be sure.

Having read the nuCygnar rules a lot, some of it was already in my head. But I wasn’t taking anything for granted so I reverted to what I think is good advice for learning (or in my case, relearning) players and asked a tonne of questions.

Knowing what questions to ask really helps you cut through the mass of information a new faction can present to you. Some basics are ‘what’s the maximum melee and ranged threat ranges in your list?’ as well as refreshing yourself on their warcaster’s stat card in its entirety.

Once you’ve got that down you should also look to stuff specifically important to your own faction. For me it’s important to know how much anti-stealth tech army lists have (mainly for Lylyth). It’s also key to ask about upkeep removal (again, Lylyth).

I had a plan, at least. I just wasn’t sure how effective it’d be given I’d never tried it before. I chose to play Lylyth. Luke went for Wolfe (again, recalling what I think was his list):

Anson Wolfe (chose arcane shield and jackhammer from the spell rack)
Stryker (relentless charge, voltaic halberd, galvanic shield)
Stryker (relentless charge, voltaic halberd, galvanic shield)
Stryker (relentless charge, voltaic halberd, galvanic shield)
Stryker (relentless charge, voltaic halberd, galvanic shield)
Courser (shield guard, mag bolter, electrified shield)
Courser (arc node, voltaic spear, voltaic punching spike)
Stormblade Legionnaires
Stormguard Legionnaires
Stormguard Legionnaires
Legionnaire Officer
Legionnaire Officer
Arcane Mechanics
Arcane Mechanics

That’s a lot of stuff to chew through. I was concerned Lylyth might not have the volume of attacks required but I just don’t think Vayl can handle Wolfe’s feat turn as well as Lylyth can.

On the plus side, Luke had no way to ignore stealth. As long as I played smart with my raptors he wouldn’t have much to shoot at on the feat turn. Important because Luke was telling me he got something like 14 shots off with the courser’s mag bolter in his previous game’s feat turn.

I won the roll off, phew, I really wanted that for this game. The feat would be putting enough time pressure on me as it already was. I deployed my battlegroup centrally with a raptor unit on each flank.

I deployed my two barriers on the back edge of the central zone, just either side of the forest. With so little shooting coming back at me they’d probably have limited use in this game.

Luke deployed fairly centrally with everything. There was a large forest in the centre of the table so Luke was angling to send two of his stykers down each side of it. Luke didn’t have any defences himself.

Turn One

I run up with everything as fast as possible and put up fog of war. Because Lylyth has field martial prowl, this is what gives her entire battlegroup stealth.

Raptors move rapidly up the flanks, the unit on the right takes cover behind the building to not give easy targets for Luke’s sharpshooter.

Luke has Anson cast arcane shield on himself, feat, and then run forwards with everything he’s got. The shieldguard makes sure to stay close to Wolfe. Because of the bodies in the way and the level of protection on Wolfe, he’s pretty safe from assassination.

Time to learn how to deal with this feat, then…

Turn Two (Perkins)

My general plan is to try to take off as much of the infantry as possible, and use the neraphs and Azrael to counter attack any stykers that wander too close to my lines. As long as I keep the raptors out of range of the courser, Luke should have nothing to shoot at.

After some pondering and measuring, I feat with Lylyth. She then shifts to the right and shoots at the far right stryker with a witchmark shot before casting pursuit on it. She then caps a stormguard and ends her turn.

I move the blackfrost shard to the left who kiss of lyliss the stormblade legionnaires on the left of the forest before frost bolting a few of them down. It’s then remembered that my frostbolts have critical stationary. It dawns on me that any warjacks I knockdown or make stationary can’t make feat moves and attacks.

I shoot the bolt thrower at the nearest styker but, even with the bonus die from the feat and a boost, I don’t get the critical knockdown.

It’s at this point I realise that in my anxiety from thinking how to handle this feat turn, and my excitement at clocking onto an answer, I’ve forgotten something CRITICAL. I forgot to reposition Lylyth backwards 3 inches… She’s now way too close for comfort and only a few moves away from letting a stryker get within charge range, or even Wolfe himself. Bollocks.

Trying to style it out and play on like nothing’s wrong:

I return to my plan of trying to angle for critical effects and move up the ice witches who take out more of the stormblades and crit stationary the stryker who’s moved up behind them. This stryker is within range of a neraph but I need to drop its health down some so the neraph can finish it off and sprint backwards.

The left raptors come flying in and put decent damage onto the stationary stryker with their charge attacks. Because it’s stationary, they’re free to dual attack with their bows into the arcane mechanics behind it and take out two of them. Another nearby stryker comes in and takes two of the raptors out for their trouble. Felt worth it to get some of those empower / repair bots off the board.

Then the left neraph comes in and finishes it off. Wolfe comes forward, but Luke then asks about Azraels threat range, who’s stood directly behind the forest. I realise Wolfe isn’t going to come any further forward while Azrael hasn’t activated so I decide to keep Azrael until the very end to keep Wolfe as far back as I can.

The raptors on the right come flying into the stormguard there and take out several with their swords and bows before repositioning forward into the second rank of them to give them something to tie them down next turn.

This causes the other stryker on the left to start making its way towards my front lines and butchers the black frost shard. The problem is, now I’m out of critical effects to prevent that warjack from moving. So a combination of my second neraph and azrael go in to take it out.

I still have the hellion sorceress and Annyssa left, but I’m still very concerned at the lack of distance and bodies between Lylyth and harm. Both solos run to engage the non-pursuited stryker on the right.

By the end of it I’ve managed to take out two of the heavies, a full unit of stormblades and a full unit of stormguard. About half the list. There’s only one problem to this otherwise very successful turn.

Lylyth only has 1 fury. And I am bricking it.

Turn Two (Luke)

Luke’s no slouch. He cottons onto the fact Lylyth isn’t far enough away immediately and starts measuring up whether he can get a stryker there to jackhammer her to death. Because of the threat of Azrael, Wolfe himself is a few inches short of sidestepping and beatbacking his way there himself. With energiser though, it’s very possible for a stryker to make it there.

Fortunately, I’ve given Luke some problems to deal with thanks to one of the stykers being out of the equation due to pursuit, and the raptors, Annyssa, and the hellion sorceress being in the way. The forest is also helping me a little here but wouldn’t be enough on its own.

Luke begins by using Wolfe to energiser himself and the warjacks forwards. He casts positive charge on the moveable stryker and charges into Annyssa, taking her out easily. A combination of the remaining stormguard and a legionnaire officer clear out the sorceress and a blocking raptor.

The stryker has a clear run at Lylyth, positive charge, and 3 focus. And it’s only able to reach Lylyth because I didn’t move her backwards when I could’ve.

I hold my breath.

The stryker comes barreling in with a MAT 11 charge attack and drops an 18 damage roll onto Lylyth. I transfer that to the seraph. Now I’m on zero fury. And Luke has 2 focus left.

He ponders whether to boost the second attack, needing a 7 thanks to positive charge.

He attacks without a boost and misses.

He buys a final attack. It connects.

He needs a 10 to take Lylyth out.

He rolls the dice and one disappears behind the building on the right. The die I can see shows a 5.

I lean around the building to get sight of the other and see a 4.

I allow myself to breathe again, briefly, before scanning the table looking for anything else that can get to Lylyth. Saved by stealth and some good luck, nothing else can reach her.

Me doing my best impression of a nervous “this is fine” face (note Lylyth’s health in the background):

Luke’s final move is to advance the pursuit’d stryker into a defensive position close to Wolfe. This allows Lylyth to disengage the stryker that charged at her in preparation to retaliate.

Turn Three

Hooo boy. That took me a minute to recover from.

Okay, Wolfe is low on focus thanks to his assassination run. He’s just behind the forest and slightly to the right. He’s very getable. I need to end this now.

There’s a few stormguard just ahead of Wolfe, otherwise I can get a clear line to him with a pair of raptors, Lylyth, and I can move a neraph and Azrael through the forest to get attacks onto him.

I pushed all my warbeasts hard in the previous turn so the other neraph, the seraph, and the bolt thrower all frenzy. Luckily what I have should be enough.

My ice witches put rerolls onto the neraph and Azrael.

The raptors go first and charge the stormguard near Wolfe, clearing them out and dropping a damage roll onto Wolfe for good measure.

Lylyth boosts her first shot into Wolfe that the courser shield guards. The second one also connects and she parasites him.

The neraph advances into melee and manages to miss all its attack rolls… oh no.

I suddenly feel quite nervous as it’s down to Azrael. Thankfully the big guy doesn’t let me down and skewers Wolfe with boosted attacks.

Me reporting to the local facebook chat that I won game two in style:

Yeah… I very definitely could’ve lost that one thanks to a critical error. Absolute kudos to Luke for seeing it for the opportunity it was and taking a damn good shot at it.

I can forgive myself for the mistake a little. I’ve heard several times how much of a head f**k that feat is to think your way through and I had to do it on a deathclock.

That said, I really feel like access to ranged knockdowns and stationary are a massive boon to anyone struggling with Wolfe’s feat.

This is how the table looked at the end. Wolf was previously between the neraph and Azrael. Lylyth ended up just off camera to the right.

I took out my red drywipe marker and wrote “REPO 3!!!” in huge handwriting next to her name on my army list.

And somehow, by the skin of my teeth, we march on to game three!

GAME THREE | Martin “Piper Mac” Braeundle - Khador (Armoured Korps) - Invasion

A little worried that I was about to go from my first game against a new MK4 faction straight into another first game against another MK4 faction. Longshanks is a brilliant piece of software but it doesn’t yet have the symbols loaded to distinguish the “old” factions from the “new” ones so it’s a wonderful little anxiety-inducing moment when you’re looking up your opponent on the round draw.

Anyhow, Longshanks is awesome and you should use it for your tournaments too! It’s here https://longshanks.org/

Anyhow, I was at first slightly relieved to be facing “old” Khador, a faction I know very well. That was until I saw just how many Man-O-War units and Tankers I’d have to go through to win this one. Speaking of which, Martin’s list:

Kommandant Irusk
Greylord Forge Seer
Man-O-War Kovnik
Man-O-War Strike Tanker
Man-O-War Strike Tanker
Man-O-War Suppression Tanker
Man-O-War Suppression Tanker
Man-O-War Bombardiers + Officer
Man-O-War Demolition Korps + Dragadovich
Man-O-War Shocktroopers + Officer

That’s A Lot of beef. And it’s even more resilient on Irusk’s feat turn. The guns on it aren’t bad either to be honest with those bombardiers and the destroyer.

My main advantage in this game is my speed. The longest melee threat range in Martin’s army list is 11” (before infantry placements anyway). My neraphs threaten 11” natively but with just slipstream that bumps up to a respectable 13”.

I opt for Vayl. She’s got the raw hitting power I’d need to have a chance of chewing through all this and the speed to hit and run multiple times over the game. I can’t stand and fight this toe to toe, I’d get annihilated.

Martin won the roll and opted to go first. I knew he’d be looking at a heavy scenario push. I decided to double check how much bulldoze there is in his list. Sure enough, all the tankers have it.

Before setup I did my customary checks of what command cards Martin had. He didn’t have defences, that’s fine. More notably, he didn’t have the sapper command card. That immediately leapt out at me as critical, for one simple reason.

I was able to put a single barrier right at the back of each circular zone with enough space to fit 2 neraphs or several smaller miniatures to contest the zones. If Martin can’t remove my barriers, and can’t get his tankers easily over or around the barriers he’s going to have a really hard time getting me out of the control zones.

Me refreshing myself on Martin’s unit rules and bulldoze threats while Martin deploys. Related note, having the warmachine app on your phone to do quick checks while it’s also open on a tablet to record damage is something I found very helpful over the course of the event:

Martin deploys his bombardiers, a strike and suppression tanker to my left, the demo korps and battlegroup centrally, and the shocktroopers and other two tankers to my right.

I deploy similarly to my first game. Two neraphs and raptors to my left. Azrael, Vayl, and seraph centrally. 2 more neraphs to my right.

Turn One

Martin runs everything up, puts ironflesh on the demo korps and superiority on one of the kodiaks. Tankers take positions close to the circular zones.

Tether gets cast on Azrael. My raptors hug the obstruction on the left, warbeasts and Vayl take position behind the barriers and support solos make sure to remain well back incase of being clipped by blast damage.

Turn Two

The sumo push begins. Martin does a lot of measuring before popping Irusk’s feat and all the Man-O-War come flying forwards. Dragadovich pops his mini feat for sanguine bond on the way forward.

The bombardiers have the front mini toe the zone and then most of them take shots at the closest neraph who’s currently behind a barrier, on a hill, at DEF 20. One of them manages a direct hit (needing 10s due to feat and aiming) and does a decent damage roll. Somehow, even the blast damages from the misses manage to chip the neraph fairly consistently (and they’re at dice off 8).

Anyhow, the neraph is alive and that’s what matters.

We get to the end of Martin’s turn and I feel like he’s been a bit more conservative than I’d expected. With me having such a lead in threat ranges I expected him to push prettymuch everything as far forward as it’d go this turn. But there’s a few tankers toeing the zones with Man-O-War units ahead of them. The warjacks are also all fairly conservative with their positioning.

Even though the ranged damage was higher than expected, I don’t feel that threatened.

Turn two for me begins and I don’t feel like I can accomplish much because of how many layers of defence Martin has on all his units. But because I think I can hold down the zones fairly well I feel relatively free to do some hit and run to start taking the Man-O-War units health pools down.

Vayl incites and pops her feat before walking forwards just enough so that she can retreat behind the barrier again at the end of the turn. The injured Neraph on the left charges into the frontmost bombardier and takes him out before sprinting backwards into the middle of the left zone.

The raptors, Annyssa, and seraph combine to put some chip damage onto the demo korp without worrying them too much.

Azrael and the right hand Neraphs combine to take down most of the shocktroopers in the right hand zone. Leaving only the officer alive after he passes a tough check.

Not a lot of kills, but I never expected many this turn. Vayl’s feat brings my units back to safety. I take the opportunity to switch out the wounded neraph contesting the zone for a full health one. This allows the wounded neraph to retreat to relative safety behind the left hand obstruction while the raptors take a more central position. I used the infiltration (stealth) command card on the raptors this turn to ensure their safety opposite the bombardiers.

The right hand neraphs and Azrael also retreat to positions of safety. The last little move is my spell marty takes up position behind an obstruction in the right hand zone meaning Martin will have to devote an entire tanker activation to taking it out if he wants the zone. That’s assuming he can take down the neraphs behind the barriers he can’t remove. It’s because I don’t fear those tankers that I focussed so heavily on the shocktroopers instead.

How things look after my feat moves:

Turn Three

Firstly, apologies, from this point onwards I’ve no new photos of this game. My bad!

Martin understandably takes a few minutes to think here. Because he’s not pushed up as aggressively as possible, he’s now quite far away from being able to attack me. He can’t clear the left and right zones without some excellent shooting rolls. And now Irusk’s feat has gone.

He uses the reposition command card on the demo korps (which I am now just remembering only affects one model rather than a whole unit, but, whatever). They charge my objective, kill it, and repo back a bit.

The bombardiers and the destroyer fire into the fresh neraph on the hill and behind the wall. Similarly doing about half its health although this time more respectably since it required some combined ranged attacks and boosts from the warjack.

The left hand kodiak runs into the centre of the zone.

The suppression tanker on the right moves around the building to spray and kill the spell martyr. The strike tanker moves up a little and takes a shot at a neraph behind the wall but, considering it’s DEF 18, it misses.

Martin scores 2 control points at the end of his turn for the objective and central zone and passes the turn.

Now it’s time to put some hurt on. I still can’t win the fair fight toe to toe. But I don’t have to. If I can prevent Martin winning the scenario game long enough for me to take out the units at the centre of his army, I can bore a hole deep enough to start threatening Irusk.

Vayl moves up again and uses Incite, catching the left hand Kodiak and the demo korp. The left hand neraphs both charge the kodiak but leave it on a few boxes remaining with a couple of poor rolls. The raptors, seraph, and Annyssa combine to take the demo korps off the table.

One of the right hand neraphs finishes off the last shock trooper while the other charges into the strike tanker and badly wounds it without finishing it off.

With the help of the blackfrost shard, Incite, and some rerolls Azrael and the raptors charge in to take out the Kodiak and the bulkhead giving me command of the centre of the table.

Azrael force reloads a thrown spear and takes out the Man-O-War Kovnik standing near Irusk.

Either way, I ended the turn in a fairly commanding position in the centre of the table. I didn’t score any CPs this turn, but felt very confident Martin wouldn’t be able to score the 3 he needed to win.

Turn Four

I definitely had more of my army exposed this turn, but I needed to ensure I held my ground in the zones a little while longer. I’d managed to decimate the centre of Martin’s army like I hoped but he still had a lot of teeth on my left.

The left zone got pretty wiped out. It took everything Martin had left over there but he cleared it. Two neraphs were holding it down for me and the combined force of the bombardiers, wounded Kodiak, and the destroyer managed it.

The tankers in the right zone put a lot of hurt into the neraph engaging the strike tanker but didn’t manage to down it. It was important the strike tanker missed its cannon shot but then it did need 9s so I didn’t feel too bad about those odds.

The remaining central solos take out the raptors also contesting the central and left zones.

Martin left Azrael alone for quite a while. I think he was seeing if he could clear the circular zones to the sides leaving the death of Azrael to secure the win. The issue was, if I remember correctly, there weren’t any units to score the right hand zone except Irusk himself. Therein lies the rub.

Martin didn’t take out the seraph to the right, and Azrael was still standing, full health, in a forest in the central zone. Irusk can’t be in two places at once.

Martin does a lot of measurements. Then comes something I didn’t expect.

Martin activates Irusk, casts battle lust on himself, and charges at Azrael. I have a momentary panic until I realise this is Martin’s last activation of the turn.

Martin looks at me and says words to the effect of “I don’t believe in running away to the corners. Also, there’s nowhere I can hide that Azrael won’t reach me. So I’d rather go out in a blaze of glory.”

Irusk then chops down Azrael using all his focus and ends the turn on 4 control points.

I take a moment. I expected to have to decide between chasing down Irusk and clearing the remaining Khador. The latter of those two options was doable but by no means simple. With Martin up on scenario too, I wonder whether he could’ve held on another turn to see how it played out.

Then again, there was really nothing left to defend Irusk at this point. The right and centre of the table were about to fall to me and the left zone was the only real battle remaining. So in that regard I also get it. Martins view must have been to take a quick end rather than one he felt was slow and inevitable.

As it was, I cast incite on Vayl and took Irusk down for the win.

Three wins from three games and we march on to game four!

GAME FOUR - Tim “Smeerlap” Bossuyt - Infernals - Split Decision

As my game ended, Tim was just coming to the end of his against Sean, King of Rhul. Unfortunately for Sean, he came unstuck against Tim’s infernals.

Watching the end of that game prompted me to renew my very limited knowledge of infernals. Like nuCygnar, I’d never faced this faction before. And like nuCygnar, my severe lack of knowledge scared me.

The next round draw came up as I was frantically scrolling for the summoning in the core rules. Infernal masters and horrors seemed to be some kind of strange mixture of warlock, warcaster, and warjack rules. Summoning horrors seems strong, but them not being able to attack on the turn they appear feels fair.

Horror stats don’t seem THAT wild but then I guess that’s a faction tax due to being able to summon more. Infernal masters seem really strong, but then so do most warcasters and warlocks.

Tim was very open with information about how infernals worked and their stats etc. Gave direct answers to all my questions and even did a 5 minute whistle stop tour of how the units in his arny list worked for me once we’d deployed.

I paid more attention to that explanation than anything in my wargaming life because it was the only way I wasn’t going to immediately lose due to lack of knowledge.

After my questions, I opted for Vayl for the hitting power, threat range, lack of souls, and more health in warbeasts. Tim opted for Zaateroth:

Lord Roget D’Yyaros
Alain Runewood
Great Princess Regna Gravnoy
Hermit of Henge Hold
The Wretch
The Wretch
The Wretch
Valin Hauke
Cultist Band
Dark Sentinels + Orin Midwinter
Griever Swarm

I won the roll off and took first. Knowing so little about how infernals worked I wanted to at least have the advantage of board presence (although as I said earlier, I think going first is the right call unless you’ve a particular plan for the scenario in mind).

Deployed similarly to my first two games with two neraphs and raptors on the left, seraph, Vayl, and Azrael centrally, and the remaining neraps to the right.

Tim deployed in fairly similar fashion except that his battle group was slightly more heavily weighted to my right with griever swarm on the left alongside Nicea. I didn’t realise Nicea in this form is more of a sniper, didn’t see that coming.

Turn One

My main takeaway from what I’d learned so far is Tim’s threat ranges, with rare exceptions like Nicea, really aren’t that good. With this in mind I’d placed my barrier defences as far forward as my warbeasts could run on turn one. I then followed this up by running all my warbeasts up behind them.

Before moving Vayl and Azrael I enquired about shield guard options on Tim’s side. He responded by saying he didn’t have any. With tether once again cast on Azrael he rocketed forwards into the middle of a forest just ahead of Vayl. This was intentionally done to put as much pressure as possible from his spear attacks on Tim’s front lines.

Raptors gave respect to Nicea’s ranged threat and positioned on a hill close to the left hand neraphs.

Tim began his turn by enquiring about Azrael’s ranged threat before kicking off with Zaateroth. Tim surprised me by using all the essence on Zaateroth and saving none for transfers. I assumed it must be critical for tempo for him to get all his abilities up on turn one.

I think Zaateroth allocated essence to horrors before casting rites or torment, summoning a soul stalker, and falling back to outside Azraels monstrous 21” ranged threat (only reduced from 24” due to Zaateroth’s dark legacy ability). Tim made sure to check he could still get Zaateroth back inside the killbox for turn two. I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen someone do this, but it makes sense!

The rest of his army ran forwards to just outside my maximum threat ranges, excluding Azrael. Orin and his sentinels came rushing forward behind a wall but were otherwise Tim’s furthest forward unit.

It was during this turn I had more questions about how certain units worked and their abilities. Tim offered to pause the clock to do his run through of all his units which I gratefully accepted. Tim’s explanation was very fast but concise, clear, and incredibly helpful for me understanding his units.

The summoned soul stalker moved onto a hill in quite a threatening position. Well inside Azrael’s capacity to reach it, however. Tim had “just” managed to missposition things so the soul stalker wasn’t inside Zaateroth’s dark legacy aura.

Turn Two (Perkins)

My brain metric worked as follows. To simplify target selection I focussed on what Tim spent the most time talking about. The result was, Orin Midwinter absolutely, categorically, had to die this turn. As did the soul stalker because it had a 15” melee threat range. If I could nullify these to targets, Tim didn’t seem like he had anything else that could get to me.

I opened my turn by asking some more questions about this unit specifically. Stat lines, self-sacrifice, and so on. I also checked the stats and abilities on the soul stalker.

Me briefing my troops on the minutiae of Orin’s demise:

I upkept tether and used the ice witches to put rerolls onto Azrael, Annyssa, and Vayl.

I sent Annyssa and the raptors in to clear out most of the dark sentinels (mainly the ones not getting cover from the wall). I needed to clear out the self-sacrifice targets before taking Orin. This means he gets souls for forcing me to reroll attacks and cancel spells but I had no other choice.

Tim uses some of his souls to force rerolls but these attacks take him down to just Orin with 1 soul remaining.

I run my spell martyr around the forest in range to frostbite Orin. Tim reminds me he can cancel spells with his souls. I thank him for the reminder but say I should be fine since I’m not doing a lot else with the fury this turn. Orin cancels my first frostbite and my second takes him out.

Azrael then scoots over to the side of the forest and gets to max range on the soul stalker. He boosts the hit looking for a crit slam (I get 3 chances to do it because of forced reload and my puppet master reroll). I get lucky and land the crit on the first try. The soul stalker flies back 4” off the hill taking out a solo along the way (a wretch, I think?). The damage roll takes off about a third of its health.

The seraph comes up a little to contest the left zone and slipstream Azrael backwards a little. I reposition my units to contest the zones and leave a shepherd on my flag to score it if Tim doesn’t contest.

Turn Two (Tim)

After the soul stalker on the hill was sent flying, Tim sighed and said “if I had him, I could have done something next turn. Now, I can’t do anything”. This relaxed me quite a bit, actually, because I THOUGHT that was the case but I didn’t really know. I was constantly aware that there were things about this faction I wasn’t aware of.

Tim kept this turn fairly simple. Zaateroth came flying forwards with her feat up for extra defence and teleport shenanigans if I missed. A shrieker came forward to contest my flag. The griever swarm and another shrieker contested the zone with some other solos. All the heavies and Valin Hauke came forward and stopped just outside the forest Azrael was hiding in.

It dawned on me that Tim couldn’t really engage me without a turn like this. My threat ranges were generally better than his and he needed to just run at me and take a turn of pain before being able to strike back with what was left.

Turn Three

It’s a good feat. If you miss anything, those 3” teleports were going to start causing real problems. So I needed to hit with everything. The good news is, I have incite up my sleeve and neraphs have a form of sustained attack using their tails. I felt I was in a good spot to deal a lot of damage.

Vayl goes first and puts incite up and uses her feat. She then runs to where she can catch the vast majority of Tim’s horrors. The sorceress on hellion came forward and got a tormentor and Valin Hauke within her dark shroud aura. The black frost shard advance and use kiss of lyliss on the second tormentor before frost bolting it a few times to start the damage off.

And then the fire nation attacked.

On the right, my neraphs took down a tormentor and the shrieker contesting the flag. On the left, my raptors, Annyssa, and two more neraphs largely cleared the zone of the griever swarm and heavily wounded the other tormentor. The seraph came forward and finished off the tormentor. Azrael took out one of the soul stalkers and Valin Hauke.

When the dust settled, 3 of the 4 heavy horrors were off the table, as was a light horror, most of the griever swarm, Valin Hauke, and a few other solos. It felt like I’d done a lot of work to take heavy hitters out.

When it came to Vayl’s feat moves, I wanted to keep the pressure up. I still had 6 heavies on the table to Tim’s 1 and some lights. Most of my feat moves saw my warbeasts and solos advancing up the table to engage Tim’s remaining forces. I didn’t think he had the damage output left on the table to handle it all.

I didn’t let my advantage go to my head however. Vayl still moved backwards, respecting the threat range of Tim’s remaining soul stalker.

This is how things looked at the end of turn two:

Turn Four

Tim knew he was up against it now. He went all in to take out as many beasts as he could. The soul stalker and solos to the left combined to take down azrael and the nearby neraph.

The lamentor and Zaateroth herself put a lot of damage into one of the neraphs on the left. The raptors bit the dust due to Nicea, the remaining grievers, and shrieker.

Tim just couldn’t lift enough warbeasts off the table.

Zaateroth was sat on 6 health (from taking health points for essence) and 2 essence points for transfers when it came to my turn. She had to be quite far forward to lend her strength to the battle but this left her too close to my remaining warbeasts.

Vayl cast incite, ran forwards to tag Zaateroth and my first neraph came in to take her out.

Tim was an absolutely lovely opponent and very gracious in defeat. Great knowledge of the game and his faction.

We talked for a while afterward about just how bad a match up Legion are for Infernals. And I joked about how scared I was coming into the game! But yeah, in hindsight, I can see how that match up is really difficult for Infernals. Incite is such a perfect counter to Zaateroth’s feat and with neraphs being able to auto hit with most of their attacks as long as their tail connects, I couldn’t really have been better set up for this one.

Going first was the icing on the cake. Tim said if he wins the roll off he can sort of make it a game but it’s still an uphill slog. I felt a bit bad after learning all that but it was also just so jarring coming into the game knowing so little.

That evening the tournament organiser, Martyn, had a table booked at a local BBQ place and most of the tournament attendees went to join him. As it happened myself and Chynna-Blue sat very near to Tim and had a lovely evening of banter and chat. Martyn had published the round draw for the Sunday morning already and I’d be playing Tim’s travel companion, Davy!

GAME FIVE | Davy Smets - Cygnar (Storm Legion) - Bunkers

I’ll be honest, I did what any of you would do if you’d found out your match up the night before. I spent a good while re-reading all his faction cards and abilities.

“I knew it would be Wolfe, it’s always Wolfe…” he says with grim resolve after playing nuCygnar a grand total of once.

I felt a lot more prepared for this game, having now faced Wolfe on the Saturday. I did refresh myself on the other nuCygnar warcasters but still felt like Lylyth 1 was the right choice, even if they brought some anti stealth tech.

The Wolfe game feels like it comes down to nullifying the effect of the feat turn as much as possible. While at the same time, removing as much of Wolfe’s army as possible. While also not leaving yourself open to assassination.

The crit stationeries and knockdowns would help facilitate this plan, but are not themselves THE plan.

And then, into this cloud of seriousness and intensity strides a wistfully smiling gentleman quietly singing to himself “dumb ways to die”.

An instantly likeable human being.

Davy’s list:

Anson Wolfe (Deflection and Snipe from the spell rack)
Styker (Relentless Charge, Voltaic Halberd, Galvanic Shield)
Styker (Arcane Precision, Electro Bombard, Heavy Mag-Bolter)
Courser (Shield Guard, Heavy Stormthrower, Voltaic Punching Spike)
Courser (Shield Guard, Heavy Stormthrower, Voltaic Punching Spike)
Stormblade Legionnaires
Stormblade Legionnaires
Stormguard Legionnaires
Stormguard Legionnaires
Stormthrower Legionnaires + Standard Bearer
Arcane Mechanics
Legionnaire Officer
Legionnaire Officer
Eiryss, Shadow of Retribution

Davy won the roll for sides, elected to take second and remain where he was.

I deployed my battlegroup centrally with a unit of raptors on each flank. I’d also placed my barrier defences right at the front of the control zone I’d be defending.

Davy then set up everything fairly centrally with the melee stryker on the left and the remaining warjacks dead centre. When advanced deploying, Eiryss deployed slightly to the right.

Turn One

Lylyth casts fog of war. The battlegroup then runs up to take cover behind the barriers. The raptors on the right take cover behind the building and the raptors on the left run up much further since they’re at a safer distance from the gun stryker.

(photo part way through my first turn)

Davy casts snipe on the gun stryker, deflection, and then feats before running up behind the wall in his own control zone. The rest of the storm legion then runs full pelt towards me and spreads out. Davy also pops the cover command card on the stormblades just in front of Wolfe, with both shield guards positioned close to Wolfe. He wasn’t getting assassinated.

Oh at some point during this we remember we’ve not placed our objectives down yet so we fix that before continuing.

Turn Two (Perkins)

The yellow terrain in the centre of the table was some sort of fire causing cloud. Because it was a cloud I largely didn’t care about it (go go gadget eyeless sight). Time to engage what I learned from game two.

Lylyth feats, power swells for an extra fury, snipes herself, shoots the melee stryker with a witchmark before casting pursuit on it. I then realise I’ve not considered what I want to shoot to cast parasite on because I got too excited about pursuit. So I shoot a stormguard :person_shrugging:.

The ice witches placed puppet master rerolls onto Azrael, the bolt thrower, and the seraph. The bolt thrower advances to shoot at the gun stryker and crits. The first courser shield guards the hit. Azrael then crit slams the gun stryker but the second courser takes the hit. The reloaded shot doesn’t get a crit so instead just does some damage.

I need to nullify the gun stryker because I can really go to work. The blackfrost shard advance up the table and throw frostbolts at the stryker. Thankfully one of them gets the crit stationary thanks to the feat die. With all four warjacks now dealt with in some way, I can get to work on the infantry.

I manage to remove some of the stormguard on the left and right with raptors. This causes the melee stryker to start to advance towards me with feat moves.

Eventually the stryker advances to within neraph charge range. At which point a neraph darts out and deals quite a lot of damage but not quite wrecking the stryker. I used my tail attack to kill a nearby stormblade so the neraph could sprint back to safety.

This is followed by the comical about-facing of the stryker who starts to limp back to Davy’s battleline with subsequent feat moves now that it’s so close to being wrecked.

I run up my spell martyr on the left to contest the flag and take out a few more storm legionnaires before passing the turn.

I didn’t take out quite as much of the infantry as I’d hoped to. But I also didn’t feel particularly exposed positioning wise for Davy’s retaliation.

Chynna-Blue took this picture towards the end of my turn two:

Turn Two (Davy)

After shaking the status effects on his warjacks and taking some measurements, Davy seemed to be gearing up for a scenario push. Davy upkeeps snipe, recasts deflection and puts up positive charge on one of the coursers.

The raptors on the left were cleared out by the stormthrower legionnaires. Although crucially they weren’t able to get the spell martyr.

The two stormblade units and the positive charged courser came charging into my lines to contest my zone and deal damage where they could. The left unit takes out the bolt thrower. Davy drops his sapper card on my right hand barrier and the right hand unit of stormblades deal damage to my neraph.

Stormguard then come in to clear out the blackfrost shard.

Due to my stealthed battlegroup, the sniped stryker couldn’t be hugely effective but helped Davy clear out the right hand flag before Eiryss jumped on it to control it.

The mechanics set about repairing the crippled melee stryker and got most of its systems working again.

Davy ends his turn scoring his own zone and the right flag to go 2-0 up.

Turn Three (Perkins)

This game is going to be a war of attrition, no doubt about it. I need to keep pace with Davy’s scenario score and remove his units faster than he’s removing mine.

I have a bit of a fury problem that results in the seraph frenzying.

Fog of war and pursuit are both upkept. I set to work removing as much infantry as possible. A neraph takes down the courser. Annyssa and the right hand raptors set about removing the stormblades and stormguard on my right.

The right hand neraph takes down Eiryss before sprinting forwards to contest Davy’s control zone. I drop a spell martyr onto the flag.

The ice witches actually came in real handy here in an offensive capacity as they moved out to the right and helped me clear out the stormthrowers with their frostbite sprays.

Feeling good I removed a lot of infantry and a light this turn, I score 2 control points of my own and take it to 2-2.

Turn Three (Davy)

Continuing the slug fest, Davy positive charges one of his warjacks and uses that benefit to take out the neraph contesting his zone.

Running out of units now, Davy needs to start making heavier use of Wolfe himself who I think does a lot of the work to lift the neraph out.

The raptors and spell martyr to the right are taken out, largely by the gun stryker who moves out from behind the wall in Davy’s zone to more heavily contest the right hand flag.

This turn it’s the two legionnaire officers who control both flags.

This puts Davy 5-2 up on control points which turns up the pressure a good amount. Because of the meticulousness of dealing with Wolfe’s feat, I’m also significantly down on clock so I turn up the pace of my play a little as I enter around 15 minutes remaining.

Turn Four

As a side effect of the increased speed of my play, my memory of the following few turns is a little hazy. However I do recall it became very “small wins, stay in the game, remove the minis you can”.

I was outpacing Davy on the attrition and I needed to keep that up while staying live on the scenario.

I parasite and remove the gun styker with my other neraph. Azrael finishes off the wounded melee stryker.

The seraph takes out the left officer before the hellion sorceress controls the flag.

Lylyth herself takes out the right hand officer before a shepherd takes control of that one.

We go to 6-5 on control points because I don’t contest Davy’s zone. I don’t feel so bad about this because the chances of Davy taking 4 control points at once with what he has left are remote.

He removes some more of my solos and unit minis. The remaining courser comes forward and takes off an ice witch and another solo. I want to say a shepherd.

I don’t recall the exact score but I do remember being 1 control point up. This is important for the next turn.

Turn Five

I nearly make a severe error here. I think I can win by the scenario with so few contesting units left on Davy’s side. Running lower on clock I don’t take the extra seconds to think about exactly how. I’m mainly looking at what I can take off the board.

I clear out the left flag, right flag, and use a neraph to contest Davy’s zone. I look to come in and remove Davy’s objective for the win with Lylyth. Before I move her I realise I’ve no contesting solos left to score the right flag. This would’ve meant I only went 4 control points up not 5 and given Davy a chance to come in and take Lylyth out for the win.

I quickly replan and play much more conservatively with Lylyth since assassination is likely Davy’s only out at this point. As a side note, why does Wolfe have energiser, sidestep, AND beatback???

Anyhow. I go further up in the scenario but don’t win the game.

Davy needs Wolfe to come in and remove the second neraph himself with so few other units left to support him.

He does so but at the cost of using most of his focus.

Chynna-Blue took this photo at some point during Davy’s turn five:

Turn Six

With no contesting units left, I score flags and zones at the end of Davy’s turn. I explain that, without moving any miniatures, I can activate everything, do nothing, and win on scenario. Thankfully I still had four minutes left. We shake hands.

Longshanks tells me the score ended 14-9 on CPs in my favour. I recall winning by scenario but not the exact score. It sounds right. I may have muddled up a turn or two towards the end there. Playing on a deathclock can get your heart rate going folks, trust me.

Davy was an absolute joy of an opponent. Extremely friendly and we had some good laughs during the game too. Really love that him and Tim both made the trip over to play at the Welsh Masters and even more so that I got to play them both!

And somehow, we’ve made it to the final round!

My game ends first so I scootch over and watch the end of Rob and Dan’s game on table two. Bart’s pirates are taking their match with Boris right down to the wire. Rob manages to snatch it on scenario in a very similar fashion to my game.

The final is against Rob McCormick, the returning champion. Whoever wins the final round gets to become the first person to EVER have won the Welsh Masters for a second time.

GAME SIX | Robert McCormick - Khador (Winter Korps) - Recon II

This was it. This was the game I’d hoped to be able to play, but had no idea if I’d reach. And I’ll be honest with you, I was just happy to have made it.

As a tournament player, I love being in and amongst those vying for the top spot. I know there’s only one person who’s going to be able to take the day, and the odds of being that person aren’t super high.

I’d already achieved what I set out to do. I wanted to know, after seven years, if I could still do it. I was happy that I could. I’d won enough games to land me in the top bracket. Now I could just enjoy myself and see where the day ended up taking me.

Having spent a decent amount of time talking and laughing with Rob the night before, I was excited to play the guy. He seemed like a really lovely person and he clearly knows what he’s doing at the gaming table.

To have won the Welsh Masters last year and beaten players of the calibre of Wout Maerschalck along the way, you have to be the real deal.

This would also be my first game against nuKhador. I’d read about them, quite a bit actually, they felt familiar to my old Khadoran soul.

Both Rob’s lists seemed quite scary. I figured he would probably play Boris (see, Borisyuk) since Rob’d played him in all his first five games. I was genuinely considering Lylyth since there was limited anti stealth tech.

The problem was, there was just enough anti-stealth tech to make it risky. Also the sheer amount of armour and damage boxed Boris was packing probably puts that game beyond Lylyth. Also, if Rob did happen to drop Baranova, she’s got spellward which could be problematic for pursuit and parasite, as well as a feat that hurts ranged quite a bit.

Vayl generally doesn’t like to face heavy shooting lists. But, none of Rob’s shooting was AOEs. This meant I could pack my warbeasts together quite tightly if I wanted to and just shield guard the shots around to spread the damage. If Rob had been packing heavy boostable AOEs this wouldn’t really be an option.

I wouldn’t be able to withstand the firepower of Rob’s Boris list for long, but it might be enough to let me engage them in melee and hit back hard. Again, I was making the assumption he’d play Boris.

Rob’s army list:

Kapitan Ilari Borisyuk (Superiority and Avenging Force from the spell rack)
Dire Wolf (shield guard, cannon, scrap saw)
Dire Wolf (shield guard, cannon, plow-shield)
Great Bear (slammer, heavy cannon, battle axe)
Great Bear (slammer, heavy cannon, battle axe)
Great Bear (aggressive, battle mace, heavy cannon shield)
Great Bear (aggressive, battle mace, heavy cannon shield)
Magziev Zariyah Volkova
Koldun Lord Damien Korovnik
Battle Mechanik
Winter Korp Snipers + Hunting Dog
Winter Korp Snipers + Hunting Dog

Hooo boy. That’s a lot of ARM 19-22 beef. And the guns on this thing are immensely good.

It’s worth noting for those who don’t know. The slammer head effects currently stack with the momentum special rule on the heavy cannons. That means if they hit a medium or small base they’ll push you back D3+2 instead of just D3, and the great bear gets to follow up the slam distance.

In my case, because I’m playing Legion and I ‘ignore half the rules in the game’ it’s not too bad. But that’s a really nasty little bit of synergy for armies it works against. As it is for me, all my warbeasts are on large bases and can’t be knocked down. I don’t really have a lot of decent slam targets on small or medium bases. I’d just need to be very careful with Vayl herself.

Rob also had his own defences in the form of two walls and a fire pit.

Both of us really wanted to win the set up roll. Made extra tense because we both rolled a 1. I got it on the reroll and windmill slammed the option to go first. Rob said “yeah… that’s big”, and honestly I agreed with him.

Both of us deployed our walls at the back of the longer zones with toe-in space for contesting units. Rob placed his fire pit off to the left. I only had one stealthed unit in this list with Annyssa anyway.

Just after we set up the defences, before regular deployment:

I went for my standard deployment. I only now realised that in every game with Vayl I had my raptors on the left. I need to examine if I’m doing that out of pure habit or if it’s actually a good idea…

Rob deployed his battlegroup central with support behind. There was a large central forest so Rob placed one of his sniper units on each side of it.

They’d be hard to get, but with this much beef in the battlegroup, if I could gut the support models those warjacks would lose quite a lot of effectiveness without Boris dumping his own focus into them.

I had the hitting power on the table to take down warjacks this tough. I’d need to protect my own hitting power from retaliation to stand any chance of winning an attrition game.

Turn One

I ran all my warbeasts and Vayl up to my barriers. Vayl put tether on Azrael, frost field on a neraph, and camped the remaining 3 fury. Raptors ran far left to get cover from the building with Annyssa not too far behind.

I had a mild panic at the end of this turn. I’d left Vayl too exposed if Rob decided to sapper her barrier. But reasoned that 3 fury and 2 shield guards should be enough against what was in range. Plus, I’d moved way past her when I thought about this so I also reasoned ‘what will be, will be’.

Rob advanced his battlegroup while being very cautious of my threat ranges. He didn’t need to push far at all given he was going second.

His left snipers came forward to take out the spell martyr before spreading out with reposition. Rob made a few comments asking about my spell slinging threat ranges and seemed to be concerned about spell assassination. He’d actually chosen not to cast superiority on one of his jacks after initially wanting to in order to ensure some focus stayed on Boris.

Turn Two (Perkins)

How things looked at the start of my second turn:

I had a good look at where all the support was and did plenty of measuring to see what I could get. Both shield guards were near to Boris and most of the battlegroup.

There was a solo hiding just behind the dire wolves (the yellow and pink warjacks above) that, on enquiry, turned out to be Volkova. When I asked for a reminder on which one Volkova was, ability wise, I made the decision that she had to die.

I did some range checking on the raptors and realised they could get in range of both Korovnik and Volkova. That seemed like value. I upkept tether and let frost field expire.

The raptors went first and scooted around the edge of the warjacks. The first one hits and kills Korovnik. I go to attack Volkova before being reminded she’s DEF 16 due to snow-wreathed. So instead switch targets to the battle mechanik and take that out too.

I much later (like, after the game) realised I could have used the infiltration card here to give the raptors stealth. But, alas, I didn’t. They ended up close to the firepit but with reposition 5 I think they’d have been able to keep clear of it.

The ice witches put puppet master rerolls onto Azrael, the seraph, and Vayl.

Annyssa takes out two of the snipers. She had the unit as a prey target which helped a lot.

I ponder feating with Vayl. I won’t get much at all. Mainly a shot at killing Volkova. That felt worth it at the time. I measure Vayl forward to see if she’d be in range to throw her oraculus at a warjack and arc through it onto Boris or the support. She’s out by about an inch.

Something else I realised much later is that I could’ve had Vayl snipe herself using Azrael’s animus to get extra range on the oraculus and channel a frostbite at something juicy. As it was, I didn’t realise this, feated, and dumped 4 fury points.

Azrael snipes himself and moves up to take a shot at a direwolf. Gaming tip folks, always establish intent with your opponent. I lined up Azrael with movement to spare, checked with my laser line and agreed with Rob that, no matter which direwolf takes the shot, if I get the critslam it’ll go over Volkova’s base. Thereby making the shield guards totally redundant.

Azrael takes the shot and gets the slam (on the reroll, I think), sending it back a few inches but most importantly going over and crushing Volkova in the process with a POW 17 collateral damage roll.

I force reload to take the second shot which doesn’t crit and I get a smallish damage roll on the other direwolf.

Other stuff shuffles around but ultimately ends up feat moving to contest both zones with a pair of neraphs. I get my hellion sorceress on my flag to the right. I’d have preferred to put a shepherd or the spell martyr there in hindsight but this was somewhat of an afterthought.

There’s a key moment of positioning here. I move Azrael backwards to ensure he’s protected from a melee charge by Vayl’s dark sentinel ability. If Rob charges in with something, I can just move Azrael out of melee range before the charging model gets to attack.

However, as I adjusted Azrael’s position, I moved him a smidge forwards to get within an inch of the left hand barrier for protection from ranged damage. This will become relevant shortly.

Looking back, there’s a few mistakes here that I definitely shouldn’t have made. But, hey ho. I reasoned the hellion sorceress would be okay since she was surrounded by 2-3 shield guards.

Turn Two (Rob)

During my turn, I’d asked a lot of questions about Rob’s threat ranges. Particularly the melee ones. Those great bears can actually go quite a long way through a combination of Boris’ feat, superiority, and avenging force. 16” if memory serves. An obscene threat range for a khador warjack.

Now, I couldn’t really do much to stop that. I needed to take down those sniper minis to avoid them gutting my support and that was going to trigger avenging force. Now, it would be very expensive for Rob to switch which warjack had superiority, but I wasn’t really thinking about that a lot at the time. I felt relatively safe with Azrael behind a wall and within dark sentinel range.

Rob upkept both avenging force and superiority, the great bear on the left shifts forwards about 3”. Boris then feats and shoots into two of my raptors, killing both before repositioning back into his trench. This shifts the melee great bear another 2” towards azrael.

Rob remembers dark sentinel, and starts checking ranges with a proxy base to see whether his great bear can charge Azrael while staying out of dark sentinel range. Remember that little shuffle to get into cover? Yeah, that’s relevant now. The great bear could get in and I was about to lose Azrael. That’s bad.

The great bear comes in and takes Azrael out with a focus to spare, so puts a savage attack into a nearby neraph too.

The right hand sniper unit come running in to drop the hunting dog nearby since it’s got mark target. It also contests my flag at the same time.

Rob removes my right hand barrier and starts dropping shots into the hellion sorceress. I shield guard two of them. A third one comes in but without a boosted damage roll and leaves her low on boxes but alive.

Remaining shooting puts significant damage onto my neraphs without downing any of them. The final raptor also goes down to feat turn shooting.

Rob ends his turn with one of the ranged great bears at the back of the left zone. A melee and ranged great bear also sit at the back of the right zone.

Rob scores a control point from the left zone.

Turn Three (Perkins)

Okay so, that’s really bad. Losing Azrael before taking down any of Rob’s heavies likely puts the attrition game out of my reach. Even with all four neraphs still up.

I need to push forward, take out what I can, pressure the scenario, and see what opportunities open up for me. There’s a large forest in the centre of the table that’s largely cutting the table in half. I should be able to wheel around to one side and take that zone while staying largely out of reach of the other half of Rob’s warjacks.

I decide that I’m in a much better state to take the left zone than the right one. Vayl advances up to the melee great bear and puts up incite before healing a few points of lost aspects on a neraph.

The blackfrost shard move up and dispel superiority before dropping the kiss of lyliss onto the great bear. Finally the hellion sorceress flies over and tags it with dark shroud. After all that and some speculative damage from a few places a neraph comes in and takes it out.

Two other neraphs combine to take down the ranged great bear at the back of the zone, leaving me in fairly firm control of the left zone while largely surrendering the right zone to Rob. A wounded neraph hangs around at the back to contest it.

Annyssa runs up the left hand side to get a better position for a future turn. There aren’t really any targets for her right now since I forgot to move her up with the feat.

I level to scenario score at 1-1

Turn Three (Rob)

Rob allocates some focus and immediately sets to work taking control of the right hand zone. A flare shot from Boris followed by overwhelming firepower just takes the contesting neraph off the table.

Boris then scoots back into his central trench again.

The remaining hunting dog and sniper on the left run in to contest the zone and apply another batch of mark target.

Rob remarks “I’ve just noticed something, that’s probably lost me the game, but it is what it is” and then continues. I’d already spotted what he meant but appreciated the confirmation all the same.

I lose another neraph to heavy shooting. One of the great bears starts making its way through the forest towards the left zone. A direwolf is circling around behind the forest too.

Rob takes a second control point for 2-1.

Turn Four

The key point that we’d both latched upon during that turn was that, to get so much work done, Boris had spent all his focus.

I also expected him to wheel boris around the bulk of his remaining forces and get behind the relatively safety of his remaining warjacks to the right.

Instead, Rob had repositioned Boris back into his trench again which was fairly central between the two zones. I’m not entirely sure why Rob did this but I put it down to habit of that trench having been a very safe space for Boris to be up until now.

I ask if Boris has cold resistance. Rob replies no. I reply with complete surprise given he’s playing faction themed fairly significantly on WINTER. And then begin measuring what I can get to Boris.

Neither of my two remaining neraphs can get to him. He’s too far away. Shooting wise I can take the remaining snipers out, which allows Annyssa to put her prey token on Boris. She’s in range, too. But the problem is with Boris in cover, even with prey, Annyssa still needs 10s to hit him.

I look at a spell assassination. I can oraculus Rob’s objective and arc two fully boosted frostbites onto him. I only need 8s to hit with those and they’re boosted. Because Boris isn’t cold resistant, those each deal boosted POW 12s and they have critical stationary. I can get a reroll on one of those too thanks to the ice witches.

Without any focus on Boris, there’s close to a 50% chance I just take him out with the spray damage rolls (assuming I hit both). If I can crit stationary him, I have back up from Annyssa’s preyed bow shots and I think there’s a few blackfrost shard in range with frostbolts, too.

With the attrition going against me, this feels like my best shot at the game.

I’m just going to pause for an editorial note here: Remember the update that recently came out with the full objective rules saying that you can’t channel through them? Those came out on the app about two days after the Welsh Masters. At the time I had no clue you couldn’t channel through them, neither did Rob, nor the referee stood watching the game.

I use the neraphs to take out the remaining snipers. Annyssa’s prey token gets placed on Boris.

The ice witches puppet master Vayl. I move Vayl up, fire her oraculus into the objective and arc my first frostbite.

The first one crits without needing a reroll. I also get an absolutely monstrous 15 on the damage roll, again, without a reroll.

The second frostbite gets boosted hit and damage rolls (I wasn’t taking chances) and takes Boris out.

I shake Rob’s hand and compliment him on an excellently played game before hugging Chynna-Blue. A hug that nearly cracks my ribs through sheer nervous energy.

I didn’t expect to win. I wasn’t even sure if I’d win any games against any of the new factions at all. Knowledge is such a powerful tool in Warmachine and always has been and I went into the event feeling severely lacking in key areas.

But here we are. I won the Welsh Masters as my first event back after 7 years out of the game. And to say that I’m overjoyed about it would be an understatement. It feels great to be back.

Rob was an absolute gentleman of an opponent. Very clear and clean with how he plays the game. Clearly an extremely skilled player even if he slipped up this time with Boris’ positioning. It’s not a mistake he’ll make again and whenever the rematch happens I won’t bet against him.


The warmachine community, smaller as it is, is still awesome. Opponents who want to play the game cleanly and competitively, but in a way that doesn’t conflict with being friendly.

Community heroes like Tom Wiggins, who I’m fairly sure supplied half the room with proxy defences to use, are the kind of people who help keep this game alive. People who make you want to come back and do it all again.

Martyn Jenkins’ tenure as the organiser of the Welsh Masters has made the tournament a flagship event for Warmachine in the UK. He and his team deserve enormous praise for putting on a magnificent gaming event year on year.

Finally, a shout out to my staunch supporter and photographer, Chynna-Blue. Chynna hadn’t been to a tournament before and wasn’t sure what to expect, but had taken the time to learn the rules enough to easily follow what was happening in each game (I know, a keeper). Thank you for being there with me, even though your nerves were shot to hell by the end.

As for me? I’m definitely back and have already signed up for a one-dayer in June. Bring on more games and more tournaments! Bring on Khymaera!