Now and again, GW run one day events for their games at the HQ in Nottingham. These are free to enter, and this weekend I went along to my first one.
This was the Trials of the Oighear, an Age of Sigmar campaign covering Ice Mages in the Realm of Metal getting together every thousand years to prove who is best and will be their leader. The conceit here is that they can change shape at will and hire in mercenaries to do their fighting – so, for the event, you could bring any army of up to 30 models, plus one Ice Mage whose Warscroll was provided.
You can read about Ice Mages here. They are quite pokey for wizards, and have a Shield of Ice ability that gives them and one other unit +2 saves. They do not have access to arcane bolt or mystic shield, but have their own suite of spells. Frosty Blast is a pumped up arcane bolt that also slows the target unit, Lake of Ice shifts units in a random direction, and Ride the Storm effectively teleports the Ice Mage up to 20″.
The only restrictions to your army is 30 models, only one of which can be a Monster and none can be Wizards. The Ice Mage is in addition to this.
I ended up taking two units of 9 Chaos Warriors, 1 unit of 9 Chaos Knights, and a Lord on Manticore – all Tzeentch worshippers (hence the units of 9). The Ice Mage went on top of this, for which I used the Tzeentch Sorcerer Lord I had painted up earlier because… he was kinda bluey in colour…
All tables and opponents were randomly drawn in this event, and I got paired up with a Dwarf player to begin with. The battle took place across an ice field, with one side trying to get past the other. Throughout the game, units risked breaking the ice and drowning, though Heroes would just get a bit stuck and flyers would ignore it altogether.
I am not going to say what I thought of this game – instead, I will just give you some facts.
- I lost, and the game lasted about 20-odd minutes, which is the quickest game I have ever had at an event.
- He took a Giant in a Dwarf army (or a Destruction unit in an Order army, if you prefer).
- He started off by saying that he did not fancy marching his Dwarfs across the table, so would I mind being the attacker instead of rolling randomly?
- There were three Organ Guns, with an Engineer in the force. But you see, that does not really matter, because…
- What I first thought was a unit of 20 Troll Slayers was actually 20 separate Dragon Slayers. In other words, there were 20 Heroes in his army. No actual troops, unless you count the three Gyrocopters.
- He had also taken Ungrim Ironfist, whose ability he proceeded to use upon the Giant (description says Dispossessed only).
- And he had 38 models on the table in a 30 model event.
I just present these facts to you, you make up your own mind.
This was an ambush Battleplan, and I ended up being the Ambushee – this would be a classic confrontation as my Tzeentch warband would be surrounded by Nurgle followers! I had to set up first, so my opponent would know exactly what he had to face, but at least I got to go first. I picked what I thought was the weakest point in the circle (a big unit of Chosen, as it turned out – no way did I want to mess with Dragon Ogres, Blightkings and a Maggoth Lord!), and just went for it!
We both made a few mistakes in this battle but, in the end, I managed to get a third of my models off a table edge to claim victory, even though I felt like a complete coward at times – my Knights kept getting tangled up with the Maggoth Lord, which they did not enjoy and so kept fleeing, while I quite cheerfully sacrificed one unit of Chaos Warriors to act as a speed bump for his Dragon Ogres!
My opponent (nice chap, really into the modelling side) didn’t think this scenario was completely fair. I am in two minds about it. If I were doing it at home, I would pay particular attention to the forces in the centre (the defender) to make sure they were either few in number or just plain slow. On the other hand, he spent some time messing around with my Chaos Knights, the fastest unit I had after the Manticore. However, they did not really mean a great deal in terms of the scenario conditions, as I needed to get a certain number of models off the table and the Knights would not likely have cut it. Just concentrating on my slow Chaos Warriors could have made things really sticky for me.
Still, I cannot criticise – my main tactics were centred around trying to get the Hell away from the Maggoth Lord!
While I was playing this game, Dwarf Boy was on the table next to ours – his opponent had a grim expression, glazed eyes, slumped shoulders… yeah, I could sympathise.
The second game was good, this third was the best of the lot. I met another Chaos force, this one full of Trolls, Ogres and Plague Toads, and the Battleplan was basically the storm one from the Ghal Maraz hardback – basically, the territory of the players shifts in a line across the table, influenced by victories and random chance. If you kill the enemy general (the Ice Mage, in this case), you will shunt it far enough that you will likely win.
My issues began early on in this game. You see, they had given us a list of objectives to complete to gauge how well we did, and in this Battleplan, it seemed as though every objective was designed to get us to commit suicide!
For example, you got 3 bonus points if you did not use the +2 Save Shield of Ice at any point. You got 3 more if you teleported your mage to an enemy then charged him (always a good idea for a wizard…).
So, I had made the decision not to use Shield of Ice, and that kinda stuffed me from the outset. You can see in the photo that our Chaos Lords on their Manticores had engaged one another. However, while I had the mark of Tzeentch (can unbind spells), his chap had the mark of Nurgle and the benefit of Shield of Ice – which gave him a 1+ save, meaning I only got a few scratches in while he was (eventually) able to finish me off.
I knew that using Shield of Ice was the right thing to do, but once you start something…
The game ended with my Ice Mage teleporting over to his, completely fluffing his frosty blast spell, then getting minced in close combat.
Still, an excellent game and, morally speaking, I think I was the better Ice Mage! And, as it turned out, I was only 1 Objective Point behind this chap across the entire campaign. So, that ended well too!
One Day Events
So, should you make the effort and go to one of these events? Well, it is free – if you can bring yourself to struggle up to Nottingham (two hour drive for me, your mileage may quite literally vary), why would you not at least give it a try? No entry fee, no hotel bill, just bring some pennies for drinks and food at Bugman’s Bar and, frankly, you could just as easily bring your own. Give me a shout, and I will see you there!
Speaking of which, the next Age of Sigmar events being advertised right now are Rotwater Blight on January 9-10th (which I am booked in for already), and the Rise of the Seraphon on February 20-21st, a doubles event (which I have not booked for yet, but the idea of leading a huge bunch of Lizards is appealing…). Both of these are the more standard two-day paid-for events.