The dream of a podium finish for Seraphon at a major tournament this year is most likely over after we wiffed against Steve Lang's Tzeentch game 5. (won a few 1 dayers with them). But there's still a place in this years UK masters to try and secure. Best get my gaming head right back into the game, as the next opponent is Tom Mawdsley and his Vulkite spam/Prime Fyreslayers. Not only is this one of the worst match ups for me but it's also in a difficult scenario. Plus Tom is a seasoned veteran and I was to discover, plays a hard game. Game 6 Knife to the Heart. Tom Ran Runeson on Magmadroth, reduce incoming hits rend by 1 and something else.. Battlesmith Grimwrath Berzerker Runesmiters x2 1 with Auto unbind Allied Prime. 30 Vulkites x 3 with sling Shields Warrior Kinband I am running: Allegiance: Seraphon Lord Kroak (450) - General Saurus Astrolith Bearer (160) - Artefact: Incandescent Rectrices Skink Starpriest (80) - Artefact: Light of Dracothion Celestant-Prime (340) - Allies 10 x Skinks (60) - Boltspitters & Star Bucklers 10 x Skinks (60) - Boltspitters & Star Bucklers 10 x Skinks (60) - Boltspitters & Star Bucklers 6 x Ripperdactyl Riders (280) Shadowstrike Starhost (170) Balewind Vortex (100) Reinforcement Points (240) Total: 2000 / 2000 Allies: 340 / 400 After having my hopes and dreams dashed, this was not the last game I wanted to be playing at all lol. Knife to the heart is difficult enough without having to get through 90 Vulkites, 60 of which can deploy anywhere. Still, this is a major tournament after all and I have been lucky to duck Fyreslayers so far. I quickly accept, without incredible luck, I have little chance of a major victory and just getting a minor loss is going to be hard to avoid... Tom deploys 30 Vulkites on his objective with the Grimwrath and Battlesmith to there left. The Magmadroth is deployed on there right. Everything else is off the table. I circle my Skinks around my objective with the intent of Shadowstrike moving them to increase the area denial. Kroak and Astrolith are deployed on the objective. Everything else is off the board. Tom then asks me if I'd like to go first or second, as I lost the roll off to decide sides and we have the same drops, so the choice is mine.. Decisions, decisions.. In most situations, this army wants to go second. If Kroak gets an early double turn it's normally game over and you deny your opponent the chance to get one. This is a different story. allowing the Fyreslayers to go first, you'd be quickly surrounded and would give up the initiative. It would be near impossible to come back from so I have to go first. Now do we play defensively or aggressively? What would you do? There are 2 clear choices here to my mind. Pop Kroak on my own objective on his Vortex and play a really boring evasive game, accepting I cant get a major and hope I kill more than Tom, or play with my balls out. I opt to play with my balls out. I don't want a boring game, nor does Tom. So I opt to go first and have a plan.. Besides, you'll unlikely get more kill points playing defensively. Better to put them under pressure than yourself. The plan is to go first, throw so much pressure at Tom's objective, he will be forced to drop a unit of 30 Vulkites back to defend (if I'm lucky he will have to drop his Prime early as well), halving the amount of Vulkites that will be threatening my objective and giving me time to deal with his Prime. The slow movement of the Vulkites and my initial Skink spreading should give Kroak the time he needs to kill a decent amount. Go all out initially, then switch to defence after Tom's army is deployed where I want it. I'm playing for the minor win, unless I win the 1st priority. I don't like to play for minors, but you have to recognise the situation you are in and Knife to the Heart against Fyreslayers is a nightmare scenario for my list. Turn 1 My first hero phase sees Kroak teleport right in front of the Vulkites daring them to shoot him after he has -1 to hit on him. Vortex goes off without a hitch and Kroak explodes. Killing the Grimwrath, dropping a couple of Berserkers thanks to their special saves, taking 4 wounds off the Battlesmith and another 4 off the Runeson. Lovely stuff.. Finally he summons both a unit of 3 Rippers and a unit of 2 Razordons to his left to attempt to further wound the Magmadroth or charge it. The toad is deployed between the Runeson and the Vulkites, I'll have the choice of going into either depending on how good my shooting and charges are. Movement sees the 30 Skinks move in a line circled as far forward as possible so the Vulkites with the Smiters can't deploy behind me (Astrolith is deployed at the rear, Skinks everywhere they can be 18" away from him). Maximising the area denial. Prime comes down to join the 3 Rippers and Dons looking at the Magmadroth and within 24" of the Battlesmith to finish him off with his shooting. 6 Rippers in the sky then come down behind the 30 Vulkites and Magmadroth, again so I have the choice into which I go to. They are also as far back as possible, so the inevitable unit of 30 Vulkites to counter them are moving/deploying away from my own objective to help split the counter attack. Shooting sees the Battlesmith and another Vulkite die to the Prime's point and die attack. Tom elects to make his unit of Vulkites next to the Battlesmith be affected by his death thanks to his warscroll ability. They now can't move, but reroll hits and wounds. I'm sure he mentions they are also immune to battleshock now, though I can't recall why. This is great stuff indeed, 26 odd less Vulkites to worry about taking my own objective and will mean Tom will have to commit some troops back to deal with the pressure I have brought to bear on his own objective. I didn't know the Battlesmith could do this when he died, but it fell right into my plans. Razordons fail to wound the Runeson, thanks to some poor rolls on my behalf and some lovely rolls from Tom for it's saves. Thinking the Vulkites are immune to battleshock, I decide charging them is a fruitless endeavour. I am unlikely to take enough off to not be hit hard myself and want enough troops that side of the table to warrant Tom committing his tunnelling troops back to protect his objective. So after the Razordons, Prime and 3 Rippers all fail to charge the Magmadroth decide to charge the 6 Rippers into him. They eat him in one and take no hits from it's fiery blood in return. Turn ends with all the characters on the board dead and the 26 odd Vulkites frozen. A great start! No hero phase begins a very quick turn for Tom. He drops the first unit of 30 Vulkites down on my left as close to the unit of Skinks as possible in a long line 2 Vulkites deep (very happy to see this, any potential charges myself can hit the flank minimising return hits). The remaining unit of 30 is deployed the only place it can get to the 6 Rippers, right in Toms top corner and as far away from my objective as it could be. Marvellous, my opening gambit has worked. 2 thirds of Toms fighting strength is no where near my objective. I can now switch to playing defensively and conserve as may points as possible. Over the rest of the game Kroak should take out the Prime and Smiters. Just have to avoid the major loss. Prime is also deployed 9" away from my own Prime. Happy he's down! It's just a shame none of my units made a charge other than the 6 Rippers. If even one unit had made the 9" charge (Prime rolled a double 2 so couldn't use his special change dice to make it) there wouldn't have been such a great target of the Primes point and die attack in the shooting phase. As it is my Prime, 3 Rippers and Dons are all bunched together for him. If all three had made it, Prime would have been further away from the fight for my objective. Can't have it all though.. The Fyreslayers have chosen to double the range of their firing axes and proceed to muller the 6 rippers. Thanks to some lovely rolling on Tom's part and poor rolling on my own 5 Rippers die to the combined axes of the 56 odd Vulkites surrounding them. Bugger. I take the 5 off closest to the unit that can charge, making it impossible for the freshly deployed unit to charge them (later roll a 6 for their BS so the 6th Ripper dies this turn as well, more buggers). Prime shoots into the middle of the Prime cluster and kills a Ripper and takes a wound off the Dons and 2 wounds off the Prime. 30 Vulkites in front of my Skinks kill 2. Must be windy in this part of the Realms as the Prime also fails his charge on my Prime, as do the 30 Vulkites bearing down on my line of 8 Skinks. All things considered, things are going to plan. Now if we can win the priority roll we should be able to retreat my army away from Tom's objective and stall the 30 Vulkites threatening my objective and his Prime for an easy minor win. Turn 2 We lose the Priority and the game is on.. Tom uses both his Smiters to make his Vulkites reroll wounds and uses their double damage on the roll of a 6 Rune. Moves the Prime up to take mine on, the 30 Vulkites and their Smiter to 3" away from my line of Skinks. The Vulkites at the top skirt around the frozen Vulkites on his objective and the Smiter moves with them within 18" of Kroak (some shenanigans happen later with this guy.. Prime shoots and kills another Ripper and chooses to take 3 wounds off my Prime with his special change dice rule, misses the Dons though. With another couple of Skinks dying to the other non frozen Vulkites axes. Everything else is out of Range Prime charges my Prime hoping to finish him off and the Skinks get hit by the Vulkites. Prime goes first and thanks to him being forced to deploy early, only one hit makes it through, which I change to a 6 using my own Primes special change a dice. Phew.. If he'd of come down this turn and made the charge I'd of died I reckon, thanks to him having more attacks. My Skinks retreat (4 are left after the Vulkites sling shield attacks) think Tom had forgotten Skinks can retreat from combat. I love Skinks. My own Prime get 3 wounds through on his Prime. Despite getting double turned we are still in this because Tom only has got 35% of his army able to do anything. I am feeling really pleased with my decision to go all out early, rather than just turtle around my own objective. 60 Vulkites surrounding my army would have killed more than I could of them I feel. My Prime is still alive to boot. I do need to deal with the 30 Vulkites bearing down on my objective though. Time for my Skinks to get in lines.. My hero phase sees Kroak explode, taking 2 wounds off the Prime, and reducing both Smiters to 3 wounds, with some Vulkites dying in each unit.. I only roll 1 for his d3 units take d3 mortal wounds spell and try and finish off one of the Smiters (those reroll wounds will help bring my Skinks down quicker and they are the only things currently keeping the Vulkites at bay). Tom then goes to use his auto unbind item and realises he meant to use it on Kroak's AOE spell. Asks if he can go back slightly and use it on that spell and I agree as the game hasn't moved on very far at all (if I'd of seen a couple of turns into the future I may have changed this decision, Tom asks for mercy but doesn't like to give it it would seem). So we take the wounds of all the characters and put back on a few Vulkites that had died. Arcane bolt finishes the Smiter leading the Vulkites onto my objective. the Starpriest casts -1 to hit on those Vulkites as well and Kroak gives my Prime Mystic Shield. Movement and my single Ripper moves down to engage the Vulkites in their flank. deployed in 2 ranks, they and -1 to hit should mean he can hit them and survive, holding them up for a turn if I lose priority again. Dons move around the Primes fighting ready to shoot the Prime. Combined with the Primes shooting, I'm confident they can take him down between them. Skinks nearest the Vulkites move back in front of the Astrolith, with the other Skinks moving as far as possible to get some boltspitters in range. A couple of Vulkites die to the 24 Skinks spitting at them thanks to the stare from the Starpriest and the rerolling hits from the Astrolith. Prime hits the Prime for 2 wounds but the Razordons fail to wound the Prime, bugger has 3 wounds left. Will have to fight it out in combat. Rippers engage the Vulkites in their flank, Razordons charge the Prime. Seeing as the point of the Ripper charge is just to survive I elect to use my Prime first. Thanks to a Kroak reroll and the Primes special dice change we get 6 wounds through. Tom fails both saves, so even with changing a dice to a 6 his Prime dies. Phew.. My plan of charging the Ripper into the Vulkites to hold them up works as they only inflict a single wound on him and he survives! kKilling 2 in return, good Ripper. Turn 3 We win a priority roll!! I was starting to feel winning important priority rolls was impossible.. More Phews, we can do this! Kroak wiffs a little here and only manages a couple of wounds on the remaining Smiter, but does get Mystic Shield off on the Prime with his 3 remaining wounds.. starpriest continues to debuff the Vulkites with -1 to hit. Prime moves down to engage the same flank as the Ripper to minimise hits back. Skinks get into better positions to slow down future assaults on my objective and screen my Astrolith. Razordons move down to shoot the Vulkites. All the shooting sees a single Vulkite die.. Ffs, who gave them that 4 up special save?? They're a battleline unit ffs! Ripper dies, but what a hero he was, If I'd of lost priority he would have kept me in the game for sure. Prime kills a couple of Vulkites and loses a wound in return. eek.. Not the best turn but it could be worse. Tom uses his extra rend to try and kill the Prime off this turn. runs the Vulkites further around the forzen ones and promptly rolls a run for their run, good. The remaining Smiter, realising he isn't gonna play much more of a part in this battle runs as far away from Kroak as possible. Shooting and the 4 Skinks get reduced to 2 from the Vulkites engaged with the Prime. Combat and they have 4 chaps around the Prime now. Using his special save he is reduced to 1 wound, skin of his teeth! Killing a single Vulkite back. They will not die!! Turns are getting quicker and quicker! A quick tally up and I realise we are well up on points. If I can keep the Prime alive it should secure the victory.. I hope I win this priority roll to retreat him away.. Turn 4 We bloody win it! Get in, or so I thought. This turn sees a slight change in the games atmosphere I begin my turn after a quick tally up of the points by mistakenly running my Dons away from the Vulkites towards my top right hand corner. I'm looking to conserve points after all. Then I realise I have forgotten an entire hero phase! Laughing, I ask Tom id it's ok to start again and he points to my Razordons.. "you've started your movement mate. This is the last game on the high tables, sorry but you've made a mistake.".. Fair enough.. I am only slightly salty as I let him go back and use an item he had forgotten about earlier which had done several wounds across his entire army without pause or any deliberation. I wasn't extended the same courtesy. Lessons learnt about top tables I guess. Tom in this situation is right, you can't make mistakes on top tables, but I don't think you should expect mercy either.. A bit flabbergasted I decide to give the rest of the game my full attention, I am going to win this now come hell or high water lol. Prime doesn't have Mystic Shield, Vulkites aren't at -1 to hit.. I retreat my Prime away from the combat and surround him with Skinks. I hope he's safe. Shot another Vulkite off. There's about 21 of them left at this point. still enough for the 4 up save and they have made a fair few this game. Not a big turn this one.. Tom uses the 8" move trying to get his other Vulkites into the game, though they are still too far away really and manages to run his Smiter right up to the top hand corner. If Kroak wiffs his last hero phase that's 80 points saved. the 21 Vulkites move up to take out the Skinks. Shooting and the bugger kill 8 Skinks in front of the Prime, 8! there's still 10" to the Prime and... He rolls a 10, doesn't need the Vulkites reroll. Shields kill the Prime and the Vulkites have gotten into most of the other Skinks. There's now a unit of 2 and a unit of 5 Skinks left. Buggerations. They all retreat.. We need this priority roll and.. We get it! Turn 5 In a nut shell, Kroak kills the Smiter. Starpriest runs away to my bottom corner (need to conserve those points. 2 man unit of Skinks runs as far as poss away from the Vulkites and the remaining unit of 5 surrounds the Astrolith. Have we done enough?? Last turn and those buggers Kill enough Skinks to get a charge on the Astrolith. they charge in. Sling shields cause 5 wounds. Axes kill the Skinks and the Astrolith Tom smiles I smile I pick up a dice and mention my Astrolith's Incandescent Retrices. Explain what it does again.. Promptly roll a 4 and deploy the Astrolith 3" away from the Vulkites but still within range to contest my own objective. Game ends I killed 900 points, Tom killed 880. I win the minor victory! Justice. This game, although not the best result was the one I was happiest with overall. the plan to go all out, was the only way I reckon this battle could have been won. the little mix up in the middle with how to react to an opponents honest mistakes only adds to the sweetness of the victory. We finish 10th overall after painting scores are added (I dropped 4 points here, didn't bring a display board and my army painting isn't memorable). In a field of nearly 110 people I am over the moon with this though. We even won on WarhammerTV twice, hopefully getting Seraphon the exposure they deserve I am happy with the army, the addition of a Celestant Prime really helps pump out the damage. I reckon if I'd of had a few practice games and known a bit more about my opponents armies we could have done even better. If you have read all the Blood and Glory reports and gotten this far, thank you. I hope it's been entertaining and useful!