A Grand Clash with Steel City – Day 2 of 2

My photoshop skills have now transcended the plane of mere mortals… (What the heck is this??? – Freya)

Intro – Mike 

This is part two of our mega grand clash article coverage from the July Warhammer World Grand Clash. If you haven’t read part one then you really should, although fair warning its over 10,000 words long. For those who have read part one and need a bit of a recap:

  • I had finished day one in 19th place with a 3-2 record and so wasn’t in the running for the day two 16 player tournament.
  • Tom had finished day one with a 5-0 match record and as the number one player of the day.
  • Freya, Oli and Martin made the top 16 and were competing alongside Tom
  • Yes this meant that 25% of the top 16 players at the event were members of Steel City

That’s the general gist of where we are at. 

At a Loose End – Mike

Not only was I feeling pretty rubbish for being the only team member still around (Daniel did not attend day 2) that wasn’t competing I was also generally a bit confused as to what I could even do on the day. While the team were getting registered it became obvious that there were pretty much just the top 16 players around and no one else to chat to. I asked the TO if he was ok for me to spectate the games and he was not only fine with it but he also enlisted me as a judge to help the day proceed. This was such a nice gesture and it stopped me from getting so drunk Tom would have to restart my heart (Questionable as to whether i would’ve bothered – Tom). I only made one ruling during the whole event as the players at this point pretty much all know exactly what they are doing.

For anyone interested in the ruling: The question was can Inspired Mollog take actions other then a move or a charge once he has one charge token on him. The errata (which is additional text for his fighter card) says that when Mollog is inspired he can still be activated but his fighter card states that he can move or charge when he has a single move or charge token. The card text could imply that he can only move or charge once he has a charge token. The way I view this situation is that the only function of a charge token is to stop a fighter from being able to activate, as the text on Mollog’s card does not explicitly state he cannot take non move or charge actions the fact that he can activate with a charge token means that he behaves just like a normal fighter without a charge token. The decision was run up to the TO and I gave my opinion on the matter and I also told him that I was massively biased because I built the entire Troll Tomes deck to abuse this interaction. In the end the TO ruled in the way I suggested but he ran an email up to the devs so this whole interaction might change in the future. 

I had a fellow judge from the GW community team called Gav who I got to chat to while wondering round observing games. He was not only a solid bloke but also a fan of the blog. Knowing that GW staff read the blog helped pump up my deflated ego and having a sense of purpose was great at distracting me from mulling over my losses.

I would take this moment to complain that we didn’t have a proper day 2 event for all the losers, like myself, a lot of people had planned their whole weekend around this event so not having anything to do on day 2 seems like a massive oversight. However the next 2 day grand clash is going to have this type of event so GW are already on it and there really is no need to moan.

Competing on the day – Tom

After leaving Mike at the creche with the GW staff, I embarked on my Day 2 mission equal parts excited and terrified. My first match of the day was against Nick Bayton. After my unsuccessful attempts at diverting Mike away from the bar, I tried to mentally gather myself for the game.

Round 6 vs Nick Bayton (Stormsire’s Cursebreakers)

After rocking up to Bugman’s Bar for the final day of the Season 2 Clash, I was reliably informed that Nick was suffering badly from a stupendous hangover. After deciding that bringing 5 shots of tequila to the table to smoke out Nick was probably not very sporting, I prepared for my 3rd Cursebreaker game of the tournament. I was immediately wrong-footed when Nick, unlike most other Stormsire’s players, racked up his models right at the front of the board. Early aggression and free damage in the power step are two things Godsworn Hunt hate, and it turned out Nick had them in abundance. Even after being wiped turn 2, Nick picked models off the board with Shardgale and Encroaching Shadow (I now have nightmares about edge hexes). The sheer volume of 1 damage gambit spells were deadly for my 2-3 health warband. However when inspired, my accurate 4 damage heavy hitters were equally deadly to Sigmar’s spellcasters. Now having a better measure of the bloodthirsty nature of the matchup, I went into round 2.

I deployed slightly more defensively against Nick game 2, and tried to focus the fighters in his warband who had yet to activate. Given the volume of spells Nick was running, Stormsire was also a priority target. A couple of upgrades netted me a kill on Stormsire early game 2.  Being more cautious of edge hexes, I was able to close out this match with fewer casualties. With a lot of Nicks score immediately cards seeming to come from spell related death, I just had to not die to spells to win…

Game 3 started with some early aggression from Nick, killing Jagathra out of the gate. I held my charges as Precise use of Force was in my hand, and the glory scored from Martyred would allow me to use Ready for Action for a double hit towards the end of the turn. Grundann went in with Hidden Paths and managed to successfully mutilate Rastus with the combo, netting me some solid glory and setting me up nicely for Turn 2. A couple of whiffed spells from Stormsire stopped Nick from cycling objectives in Turn 2, which meant Shond and Grundann were able to clean up the remaining Cursebreakers. After some intense games with damage flying every which way, I’d managed to scrape a Match 1 victory. Thank god for Nicks hangover.

Result: 2-1 win

Lesson: In fast paced games don’t be afraid to get stuck into the action. Turning the other cheek is not the optimum strategy in Shadespire, even if you’d rather wait until later to fight. Work out what your best chance of hitting and killing is, and pull the trigger, otherwise you’ll run out of models before you have a chance to strike back.

Round 7 Vs Neil Snowball-Hill (Mollog’s Mob)

Playing a second time into Neil’s Tome Mollog was not something I was looking forward to, it had been my tightest set by far the day before. The matchup requires timed aggression to whittle down the massive Tome bearer. Unlike Cursbreakers, you can’t snipe Mollog in one hit. Mollog can play just as evasively, but you need to land 2 or three good attacks to bring him down without being bopped in-between. Healing Potion made this job a lot more difficult. Game 1 I opened with Martyred and Gloryseeker, I thought if I landed Jagathras spear on Mollog I could get a Turn 1 kill. With Jagathra charging and hitting I waited for Neil to counterattack and score me Martyred. Instead of doing that, he ignored Jagathra and burned Hidden Paths to dodge any potential charge. This was incredibly intelligent play from Neil, and the game would’ve been a close run thing if I had put Grawl in a spot where he could score me Martyred by running through lethal hexes. This unforgivable error cost me my turn 1 glory, and even though Mollog went down in Turn 3, I still lost game on 15-12. 

Game 2 I managed to get Mollog within 1 wound of death with a Shond Hidden Paths combo onto the Troggoth. Grundann was in charge range with some accuracy boosts, and Ollo + Grawl were alive to poke Mollog the Mighty down should he dodge Grundann. Theddra lay in wait with Faneway Crystal equipped to dive deep so Mollog had nowhere to run. Instead Neil Illusory Fighter’d Mollog forward and killed Grundann, then Healing potioned out of kill range of everyone except Theddra, who now sat uselessly with Faneway Crystal equipped, unable to charge. In multiple games I’ve learned to hold Faneway until the moment you plan to use it, but more and more mistakes were creeping into my game, and Neil was playing perfectly. As I was unable to charge and kill Mollog, Neil took the game. (it’s worth mentioning that up until this loss Tom had won 10 Grand Clash matches in a row counting the UKGE tournament which was the last one he attended, that’s a hell of a run – Mike)

Result: 0-2 loss

Lesson: Critically reflect on your losses. There are always plays you can make that would change the outcome, or changes you could make to your deck to improve your odds. I personally think my deck had a lot of game into Neil, but my misplays and Neils outplays cost me the win. I personally blame Mike and the sofa for these mistakes (see Ode to a Sofa).

Round 8 versus Daniel Mashford (Mollogs Mob)

This was without a doubt the worst game of the tournament from me, I can make excuses for my poor decision making, but the truth is I didn’t have the stamina for a long tournament and the adrenaline of a potential grand clash win had disappeared for my final set. Daniel played Tome Mollog and I didnt kill Mollog in our games. I had all burnt out by the time this set ended and to be honest I remember very little of it.

Result: 0-2 loss

Lesson: Me and Dan both enjoy a nice garden and cats. Dan I hope your cats were managing ok without you while you were busy Molloging all over me. (if anyone has any idea what Tom is rambling about here then I am impressed – Mike)

No Godsworn Trophies for Tom

Jamie Giblin you win. Chances are I will never get a Godsworn Trophy (I’ll explain why after a short poem). I am super happy with how the deck performed over the two days, especially given that I only had one match out of 8 that wasn’t into either Cursebreakers or Tome Mollog, and I was playing Godsworn!

I don’t blow my own trumpet much because I have a habit of immediately dropping the trumpet and looking like an idiot. Still, I am proud of having to date the two best Grand Clash finishes the Godsworn have had at the only two tournaments I’ve attended with this warband in the last 3 months. I’ve also been the only undefeated Godsworn player at two seperate Grand Clash days (Day 2’s suck).

If you’re fed up of Cursebreakers, pick up these fast moving marauders. The Power Unbound pack bolstered their arsenal to the point where I favour the Godsworn in that particular matchup. If you like good bois and big axes, this warband will do you proud. The Godsworn Hunt are top tier boys and girls!

Oodles of thanks to the GW staff who organised the event. It ran as smoothly as could be asked, and everyone on the day was a pleasure to play with and chat to!

Anyway, now for my excuses.

An excuse for a poor Day 2

I wrote a poem because I didn’t sleep. Neither did Jay or Nick, and they did fine, but I still wrote a poem about a sofa. The Sofa.

Ode to a Sofa

Arrived on time in Nottingham

Steel City came to play

Some juicy meat to fill our tum

Ready for the day

First we had a choice to make

A puzzle to be solved

We tried our best to dish out beds

To our poor and tired souls

The Sofa fell to Mike.

The monster eyed its first victim

He fell upon its trap

The Sofa yawned and sucked him in

Mikes Day 1 cursed like that

The three survivors did return

Exhausted from their games

Mike having once been burned

Fought off its dark embrace

The Sofa fell to Tom.

The leather sticking to his skin

The sofa had its way

The chance of sleep indeed was slim

Tom could only pray

It was not enough.

Day 2 alas had come too soon

The Sofa reigned supreme

Tom had found himself consumed

The Sofa’s Curse ran free.

RIP

Competing on the day – Freya

Round 6 vs Oliver Bond (Ylthari’s Guardians)

This was the first game I’d played against Oli in a long time, and was kind of the reverse of my game against Tom on day 1 – Oli didn’t really make any mistakes, but because this was the match-up I’d put the most thought into (after losing every match against the Guardians I played in the May Grand Clashes) I was just about able to keep a step ahead of him throughout the match and advance through to the top 8. 

Result: 2-0 win

Lesson: like with my Guardians match on day 1, practicing weak match-ups and trying to improve them really pays off (also, not playing against one of your teammates for ages so that they aren’t familiar with your deck is a secret tech…).

Round 7 vs Paul Burrow-Newton (Mollog’s Mob)

Next round was a rematch against my round 2 opponent from day 1 and his defensive Mollog list. With both of us now being familiar with the other’s deck this would be a pure exercise in trying to outplay each other.

Paul made an extremely good choice in games 2 and 3, making use of Mollog’s naturally strong stats to switch to a more aggressive playstyle that put me on the back foot and gave his passive objectives the edge over mine. In one of the games he even managed to kill off Ammis with an inspired Batsquig after I’d finally taken out the Troggoth. This paid off really well for him and allowed him to advance into the top 4 with a well-deserved 2-1 win.

Result: 1-2 loss

Lesson: Mollog is really dangerous, even with only a few power cards supporting him. In a mirror between defensive decks, this lets the Mollog player force you to choose between dealing with him or trying to stop their passive glory game, which is a lose-lose situation. Because of this it’s quite possible that defensive Mollog lists are the strongest thing in the game at the moment.

Round 8 vs Wojtek Szala (Thundrik’s Profiteers)

I could make a bunch of excuses about this match – I was tired after 2 long days of games, I kept a few questionable starting hands, my heart wasn’t in it any more after my loss last round, etc etc. All of that is true, but it doesn’t change the fact that Wojtek is an absolutely amazing player who piloted a well-built deck with almost clinical precision – as expected from one of the few 5-0 players from day 1.

Despite my just managing to take 1 game off him by a narrow margin, Wojtek completely took me to pieces in the other 2. Our game 3 in particular was just a massacre, with him finishing at 18 glory to my pathetic 3. This deck really highlights the strengths of the Kharadron warband, being able to consistently churn through objectives while still advancing the board state.

Result: 1-2 loss

Lesson: Try and distinguish between what warbands/archetypes are actually a good match-up for your deck and what’s just an inexperienced player. From my limited experience playing against the Profiteers they’d seemed pretty ineffective against me, but when played by a more skillful opponent that turned out to very much not be the case.

Competing on the day – Oli

Before I start I just wanted to bring up a question asked in part one of the article. I made the choice to not bring ploys that allowed me to inspire my fighters, and lazily didn’t comment on why. So here’s the question and answer.

Q. You don’t take any card to inspire/heal your warband (ok Ylthari can inspire herself) ? a cleave on Skhatael and a 4 range of Ahnslaine is not worth it ? 

A. Honestly, don’t know. Obviously the inspire is strong, but is it better than say Rebound or Upper Hand? Is it better to have the smaller deck. I didn’t have enough time to practice with and without, so I made I call that the fighters were strong enough uninspired and went with it.

Adding gambits that can inspire the warband may well be the key to suring up some of the holes in the deck (Skhatael obviously will hit more reliably on high hp targets), but the AoE on Gallanghan and extra bow range on Ahnslaine are in my opinion a bit of a waste of time. Having an extra gambit purely to inspire means your now searching for 1 card in a 22 card deck, which is unlikely. The alternative is you toss an objectively better Gambit (with the amount of score immediatelys in my deck, there were no bad hands turn one and I didn’t  toss a single power draw) or you have to remove a card for a possible 1 hammer cleave buff on 1 unit (who I used as an early glass cannon anyway).

Long answer but basically – needs more testing, my initial feeling was not wurf.

Round 6 vs Freya Milligan (Stormsire’s Cursebreakers)

Going into game 6 it was clear I was going to be in for a tough game. Cursebreakers were a fairly unpracticed match up for me, and I knew that a high toughness stormcast faction did not fall well into how my deck played. That fact that it was piloted by Freya just added more pressure. Having played her in the past I know how strong a player she is, and the mastery of defensive decks she has displayed in the past is was worried.

The games both started well for me. I got my much needed ping damage, to help clear those 4 health fighters, as well as a reasonable setup and objective hand. That’s when everything fell apart. If we could have recorded this game, it would have shown an absolute masterclass in how to play around aggressive moves. Using mobility from illusory fighter, healing from vital surge, as well as the innate counter attack available to Cursebreakers, Freya was able to bait out my damage, drag my fighters forward, and then heal up and pick off my out of position war band. This strategy managed to both deny my objectives, as well as leave me open to being collapsed upon.  Even when I was ready for it in the second game, I was outplayed by a frustrating amount. 

Genuinely this was a game you left knowing that you lost because of no reason than your opponent just played the better game. I spent a good amount of time trying to work out where my mistakes were, but in the end I’m sure the risks I took were the only way I had a chance to win. This was an excellent game, where Freya identified my win condition, and played around it beautifully. 

Result – 2-0 Loss (32-15)

Lessons – I would love to say this game reinforced the fact that there were problems with my final deck build. Unfortunately I drew my damage, and my accuracy this game, so that wasn’t really my issue. Honestly though I think this loss goes down to playing a skilled opponent that had a solid plan going into the game, as well as the knowledge and experience of how to execute it.

Round 7 vs Sean Mattson (Magore’s Fiends)

Fiends are a warband that I feel have extremely good consistency from a group of very well rounded fighters that each have their own unique strengths. I was going into a warband that had the ability to outperform me in a brawl, due to the advantage they hold in accuracy. 

Despite this the game felt very much the opposite of the previous. Magore’s fiends is perhaps my most practiced match up (except for perhaps Reavers), as Tom played (and has written several interesting articles about) them during the season 1 days. Going in I won board set up both times, and knew exactly how to deny Sean the ability to do anything, while I powered up with some easy passive objectives. In turn two I started the fight on my terms with a bunch of upgrades equipped and the odds rigged in my favour. 

The second game was much tighter than the first (only one glory in it), with Sean having learnt from some game one mistakes, such as sending Riptooth in alone when I had set up to deny back up. Despite this it wasn’t quite enough and I managed to pull out a quick win.

Result – 2-0 Win (29-19)

Lessons – Experience can win games. I may be a little rusty but playing counter attack into fiends is my wheelhouse. I know how to play this warband inside out and that showed with me gaining early advantages. The other huge contributor is winning board layout both games. Against a full aggro deck being able to set up a wide board using both the minimum 3 joining hexes and using terrain to block approach allows you the time to gear up for the win.

Round 8 – Gerard the Professor (Godsworn Hunt)

This was a fun game that wasn’t taken too seriously. At this point, both of us were locked into the 8-16 bracket (tournament format meant that everyone who won game one advanced to top 8), and placement didn’t mean too much. I know at least in my case I was very tired, and just wanted to have some fun (I feel bad for the finalists, after 9 games concentrating on the most important game at the end would be a herculean effort), which was pretty much exactly what happened. 

With both of us playing quite aggressively the games were very close brawls, that came right down to the wire. Many dice were rolled, lots of glory was generated, but in the end gerard took games 1 and 3, to eventually take the win. I have no regrets about the game, and I know both sides made lots of silly mistakes, in part do to fatigue, and in part due to the other option just being so much more fun. Having said that there were some great plays on both sides, with some really strategic thinking. It is clear Gerard was very able to pilot a notoriously difficult warband effectively.

Result – 2-1 Loss (50-42)

Lessons – At the end of the day we are playing a game. Sometimes it is worth just trying to have fun. This wasn’t the most technically perfect game ever to be play (not by far), however it was a lot of fun and trying to remember what happened made me remember just what a blast I finished the tournament on!

FInal thoughts – Oli

My official result was 11th (technically it was 8-16th, or maybe 11-12th depending how accurate you looking, but BCP said 11th so im taking it) Despite starting the day with a hunger to finish in the top 8, and get some of those lovely looking glory tokens, I was over the moon to finish where I did. The tournament was an excellent experience, that was managed very well. When staff handed out feedback forms, for once I was more than happy to put in my honest thoughts. I want to congratulate the rest of the squad on excellent placements. Also I want to thank them for all the support throughout the weekend, especially after I was sure I was going to crash and burn after game one. Finally I would like to say how much fun I had writing these articles, and that I’m glad Mike, Freya and Tom gave me this opportunity, and that I hope you guys enjoyed reading.

Reflections – Freya

I’m pretty happy with my performance overall, even though I’d have liked to have done better. All the games I won I won 2-0, and all the ones I lost I lost 1-2. I also had a streak of 9 game wins on day 1 and so was 1 game away from being one of the undefeated players.

As a team we took 2 top 8 slots, 2 top 16, and 1 top 32, which is a pretty good showing. Everyone did a really great job and I’m so proud of all my teammates, Oli in particular did amazing for not having played much in a long time – making day 2 and top 16 of his first ever Grand Clash after taking a loss in the first round is a great result.

The tournament organisers were also really great and were unfailingly polite, considerate, and helpful across both days (big shout-outs to Stephen in particular for checking in on me and sorting out my missing card issue on day 1).

Outtro – Mike

Unfortunately Martin didn’t have time to write out any content for part 2 of the article, suffice to say he fought Jay Clare in a rematch from day 1 but this time Jay got the better of him. Martin must have done pretty well with his remaining games because he finished 10th place overall.

For anyone who has made it this far through both articles I salute you, it was quite the journey. From our side articles like this take an absolute ton of effort to make and I’d love any feedback people can provide on how they felt it held up. 

Steel City once again came close to the prize but couldn’t quite nab it. It’s fair to say that despite not winning the trophy we were by far the best team on the day, on the other hand the competition at this event was the best it has ever been and congratulations to Neil Snowball-Hill for taking a well deserved win. I feel so bad for Tom that this was the first 2 day grand clash meaning that his first place finish in day one wasn’t enough to nab him a big shiny trophy, like it normally would have, coupled with the fact that at the last Grand Clash he attended he went undefeated but didn’t make the final on tiebreakers. I blame the sofa.

Goodbye for now – Tom

Due to a combination of work, projects and preparing to go travelling for 11 weeks over summer, I have only attended Grand Clashes for the last 3 months and I won’t be playing Underworlds again until November!! The game I expect will have changed drastically by the time I return, and I can’t wait to come in with an open mind to a whole new set of warbands. I will be back!!!

Thanks so much to anyone who has taken the time to read anything I have written. It’s been humbling to have people read my ramblings, and as long as someones enjoying them I don’t plan to stop. (please for the love of god write part 2 of your godsworn hunt review before you go – Mike)

Much Love!

Good bye sweet prince…

At Steel City we would love to have your feedback. If you have something to say about a specific article then feel free to comment below, if you want to get in touch about the blog in general, or just prefer to communicate privately then you can get in touch by emailing us at team@steelcityshadespire.com

Tom

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