I am master of . . .

A few years back, the TOs (that is Tournament Organizers) for a lot of the independent GTs (Grand Tournaments) got together and thought it would be fun to make an invitation only championship for WFB (Warhammer Fantasy Battles).  They broke the US (United States) into 8 regions, and each region was allowed to decide how to pick the 8 people who would get invited to represent the region. Then GW (Games Workshop) blew it all up.
Honestly, I had quit WFB about a year before this happened and had started playing Kings of War even before that.  The masters organizers took a vote from all the regions, and with a 7-1 decision, they moved the masters for 2016 (to be held in February 2017) to Kings of War.

I belong to the mid-west region (why they call it mid-west when it is east of the Mississippi river is beyond me - it should be mid-east) (what should be mid-west is mountain).  In 2016 I ran four of the qualifying tournaments for the masters - Adepticon, Origins and Gencon in the mid-west, as well as Manticon in the south-east.  I was scheduled to run OH-Con, but the Kings of War event there was cancelled (Ohio as a whole seems to be much more involved in 9th age than KoW).

I did manage to actually go to two qualifying tournaments - Nashcon (in the south-east again) and DragonFall - and by finishing in the top half of both I actually qualified for the Masters for the mid-west region.
I may have qualified DEAD LAST (with HALF the points of the top finisher).  So I made the list, but not nearly high enough to actually get an invitation.  A situation I was completely content with.

Unfortunately, with Kings of War being so relatively new in a lot of the regions, many of them were NOT able to get eight people to play (and especially from the west coast, where the travel is significantly further and thus much more expensive).  So they started calling for mercenaries - people who, while from one region, would actually play for another, to make sure the tournament had the full 64 people it needed.  Kara and Amy jumped at this chance, as the tournaments they had won and placed were fairly small (Origins and Gencon) and so they did not get in for the mid-west region. However that wasn't enough, and they soon began scraping the bottom of the barrel.

I was very surprised when they called me to be a mercenary for the West Coast.  I believe this was because I has already said I would be down there (and had volunteered to help run the tournament). So now I was playing with the big dogs.

Honestly, my goal for the Masters was to NOT lose every game 0-20.  These are the best of the best - I'm there to fill out the loser's bracket.  And it doesn't look to start out good for me.

The guys from several Kings of War podcasts (Counter Charge, Lake SWATT, Unplugged Radio & TheBeerPhase) got together to give their opinions on the lists and first round matchups for the masters.  I'm on table 9 against Shawn Williams with a very nasty undead list (2 vampire lords on dragons and Mhorgoth).  I'll let you listen to how they think I'll do for yourself.
Yep - they expect a landslide defeat for me - 0-20.

Now I had been tweaking my list a bit - apparently in the wrong direction according to these guys.  I have been very frustrated lately with not being able to hit jack or shit with my artillery - a bunch of wasted points (the last game with 3 mortars, out of 12 shots I did not hit AT ALL (statistically I should have hit 4 times (hitting on 5 or 6) (only 12 shots because there were turns where I did not have a target, and a couple of them were eventually destroyed)).  So I took a different approach and doubled down on the things that did well for me, adding a second greater obsidian golem, another troop of gargoyles, a regiment of slave orc gore riders, and abyssal allies (flamebearers and an efreet) for shooting).  Those were all NEW units I painted up just to try this.  (I also had the new ironcaster model, and a new Supreme Ironcaster on Great Winged Halfbreed to add as well).
new Supreme Ironcaster on Great Winged Halfbreed
a lower shot showing the face of the halfbreed
new troop of Gargoyles
new Slave Orc Gore Riders
new Ironcaster
Allied Abyssal Flamebearers
Allied Efreet
Of course I have my other units as well to make up the rest of the list.
Regiment of Immortal Guard (yes, I have dwarfs in my Abyssal Dwarf list)
 Another troop of Gargoyles
Troop of Slave Orcs
Another troop of Slave Orcs
Greater Obsidian Golem (armor courtesy of Battlezone industrial terrain)
Greater Obsidian Golem
Horde of Lesser Obsidian Golems
Horde of Lesser Obsidian Golems
And of course a shot of the entire army on the display board.  So packed and ready - it is all over but the crushing of the enemies and the lamentations of the women.

First game was against Shawn Williams and his double dragon / Mhorgoth list in a Loot scenario.
so confident he didn't even need a display board :-)
Shawn checking line of site on first turn
end of turn six I had one GoG left, and we got a turn seven
So I went 1-19, and once again I hear how if my dice rolled even close to average I would have done better.  They are giving consolation gifts for losers, so I got a ruler with lots of useful markings from Armada Games.  The only thing that would have made it truly useful is if it were exactly 1" wide and one end flat (instead of both ends angled) so you could use to to back up units after combat and make sure they 1" from enemies.
Proof I went to the Masters
Second round was against Tony Nelson with a fantastic Ogre army "The Ogre Tea Party.  I loved this army - so many cool little bits.  He allied Basileans, and his Phoenix was an eagle (yes, it should have been a bald eagle - subtract 0.001 points for that :-) ).
There are so many cool details, I can't show them all.
Love the flags (with the maw instead of stars) 
allied Elohi - real cool conversion
Tony looking up from smashing my army
Part of me did not want to vote for a GW army, but this was just too cool and overrode that and got my favorite army vote. He went on to win general's choice and 2nd for best painted (as well as best Ogre Player).

Oh yeah, we tied in a tough game 9 - 11 in a Control scenario.  Hey Dave, have I said that I think Grokagamok is broken?

We headed to a mexican food truck parked next door for a really good (and cheap) lunch before round three
three mulitas for only $6
This was against Sam Becker and his dwarfs.
Wow - a fast dwarf army
Three organ guns, four regiments of brock riders and two allied basilean knight regiments.  Very fast and lots of high piercing shooting - two things I have a hard time with.
does Sam have the range ?
For me the pivotal moment as rolling f#$@&%g snake-eyes when my gargoyles charged an organ gun for the third time ( on the re-roll, when he would have been destroyed on a 3).  This allowed him to move it to claim the third objective (and kept the gargoyles from being able to move to claim it) - and he won 3 objectives to 2, for a 6 - 14 loss for me in the Pillage scenario.

Fourth round on Saturday. saw me facing Mike Rossi's Dwarfs, as the civil war continues in an Invade Scenario.
Even with allied Elohi, this felt like a pretty balanced force
Mike backing up his runesmith
This may have my favorite game so far. A fun opponent and a close game that ended with another tie for me, 11-9.  Mike even wore a kilt to match his somewhat Scottish themed dwarfs.  (You know that he wore nothing beneath his kilt - because if you have something underneath it then it is a skirt :-) ).

So four games in, two to go and I'm at 0-2-2, with 27 tournament points.  So while I haven't won a game yet, they have not been too overwhelmingly bad.

We headed to Longhorn Steakhouse to try and relax a bit before the final two games on Sunday.

Game five was against Steven Dye and his Empire of Dust.  I had never played EoD, so wasn't sure how it might go, but then he has a similar record to mine.

We did a Push scenario, and it was essentially a battle of big, tough guys.  However my De 6+ did better than his healing, and it ended up with me having 5 tokens to his 2, for a 16-4 WIN (finally) for me.  I felt a little bad for him when he forgot to surge his one bone giant into the flank of my supreme ironcaster, but as our group discussed on the way home, at this level you don't get do-overs.

Empire of Dust - the two bone giants, Idol of Sobek, Serpent Riders
Steve counting up the points because I got too busy to remember to actually take a picture during the game
For the final round, I played Daniel Payne's Night Stalkers.  I had not played Dan before, but he had won the last two tournaments I ran in Dayton.  It was a Dominate scenario, and with his 64 Shots a turn and speed and power of his 3 fiend hordes, he dominated my ass off for another 1-19 loss.  He was a great guy, and it was nice to actually have my ass kicked by play him.
Dan, where is your display board
Dan measuring to see which unit he is going to kill next 
So overall I went 1-3-2, for 44 battle points (ultimately ending in 50th place out of 64).  I got a full 36 sportsmanship points, with 7 favorite game points, and a 36 paint score with a favorite army vote (total was 123),    I'm not unhappy with my result, it could have always been worse, and I did win one game.

So for the good, the bad and the ugly
  • I am not qualified for this level of event, and I think the other people from my local club ( 5 of us were here ) were a bit surprised by the level of competition as well
  • Rob runs a great evening, with beautiful terrain.  Puts my event tables to shame.
  • I don't know why Rob refuses to call my name for door prizes :-)
  • I LOATHE the "margin of victory" table, but that rant is for later
  • Nice facility, with plenty of room
  • There are a couple of armies here that pushed the "counts as" rules way too far.  They did not resemble the list at all, using Ogres as forest shamblers for example.  I feel these need me to add an explicit "counts as" rule to my future tournament packets.  I have talked to several people that agree as well.  These are at best proxies, and proxies should not be allowed at tournaments.  This isn't to say you couldn't do something - but it needs to look something like what it is - and for these two no effort was made to look like what they represented - they simply used models from other armies and called them something else.
this is NOT a nature army (Hordes of Salamanders, Unicorns and Beasts of Nature)
these are NOT elves (Forest Shambles, 3 dragons, 2 mounted characters)
So overall a good time.  No really bad games.  I'm not sure I will ever be back, but that is because I hope that the game keeps growing so mercenaries aren't needed (and I doubt I would ever actually qualify for a real invite).  If they were to need me to help run it, or they are so desperate to fill out the bottom of the bracket again then I would go back (for another ass kicking).

Because it is all fun and games . . .


  1. Have to agree those proxy armies are by far proxies and not counts as. Other than that looks like a fun event plus it had tacos! Makes me jealous to live in the middle of 40k ville.

  2. Bob, you can convert those 40k Guys easy. 40k is a terrible game, and I would know.

    Mike, thanks for the fantastic write up and the pictures.

  3. I'll have to pile on with the proxies. I went to watch Abyssals and FoN because I'm trying to decide which to do first. I had no idea that the demons and gnoblar were supposed to be FoN. It would be interesting to know if he qualified for the Masters using these proxies. It seems like showing the guts to say something at the local level (and score accordingly) would have sorted it out.

    1. For the local events that I ran the Elf player did not run elves - but ran various Undead armies, all using the correct, non-proxy models.

  4. Excellent write-up Mike and thanks for the kind words! I've passed your suggestion for the ruler on to Aaron at Armada Games, it's a great idea! Also, fingers crossed you'll win the big booby prize very soon!

    Finally - even though there were only a couple of proxy armies, there was certainly a lot of discussion on them. The Masters Committee will have to address this for 2018. And don't sell yourself short! If you stopped running all the tournaments you couldmake the team!


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