We’re joined by a guest writer on the Blog today – Bryce Johnston, a Fyreslayer player through and through. Please note: This blog should be read with a Scottish accent.
Hey all, I’m Bryce, I work with Jamie at SFG. I’ve been playing Shadespire since just after the Dwarf and Skaven boxes were released, on and off as work and Real Life™ have allowed, and I attended an event at the Game Forge in Manchester last weekend.
First off, while I’ve tried a couple of games of Skaven and Stormcast, I’ve only really ever played dwarfs since I got into Shadespire. I generally prefer playing the good guys in games, and I’m not a fan of the look of Stormcast, so that pretty much left the dwarfs. Lucky for me they’re such stone cold badasses then, eh!?
Been a bit of an odd one with dwarfs, cause I got told they were terrible when I started playing, but I always did pretty well with them. I do think the last couple of releases have been very good for them too. Inspiration Strikes is more important for dwarfs than I think for any other faction; roughly 80% of the strength of the faction is Grimnir one-shotting 95% of models in the game when inspired, so being able to do that without having to hold an objective first is FIERCE. It’s been nice to see them doing well more recently, but they still don’t seem to be super popular.
Anyway, quick backstory and thoughts aside, here’s a review of the tournament last weekend!
Round 1 – Dave – Magore’s Fiends
Since there were six of us, we just played a round robin, so I knew from the start I’d have a lot of tough games throughout the day. There were a couple of big names there! But for round 1, I got Dave. Dave is a super new player who had only played one game before this tournament, so kudos to him for coming along and playing! This was more of a teaching game, where during and after we took some time to go over basics of the game, teaching different mechanics and timings for stuff. I won the two games comfortably and it was on to round 2!
Round 2 – Rich Loxam – Magore’s Fiends
Loxam is a former top tier Warmachine player, (and also my boss!) so I went into this round a bit trepidatious. I got three objectives on the first game, and set up as far back from the Fiends as I could, with Grimnir the furthest forward to take advantage of an opening hand with Inspiration Strikes in it. Going last on turn 1 and an inspired Grimnir let me take out Magore at the bottom of 1 and the Best Doggo at the top of 2 and the game snowballed from there. Lox managed to get some work out of Gary and Zach as the game went on, but I’d already gotten too much glory for him to catch me.
Game 2 I got lengthways deployment, which was fine by me since it again allows me to control the pace of the game. Drew into Inspiration Strikes early again and managed a near repeat of the first game except he started even further away from me. Better lucky than good, I guess!
Two comfortable wins again, roll on round 3!
Round 3 – Jamie Giblin – Skaven
Yep, this time it’s the Giblin King himself. He was there running his aggressive Skaven build. He came in on turn 1 hard with Skritch, and completely whiffed his attack, leaving Skritch high and dry to get murdered. The game sort of snowballed from there, since no one else on the Skaven lineup can really threaten dwarfs too hard, not without Shadeglass weapons at least. I won the first game 16-9 following some strong passive scoring from Giblin.
Game 2 went pretty much the opposite of game 1. Skritch came in hard, got several upgrades, and got to take out both Tefk and Vol early in the same activation of turn 2 (Skitter-Scurry comboed with Ready for Action is GOOD). I got some of my passive objectives off, but Giblin managed to wipe out my whole warband by the first activation of turn 3. Sad face.
Game 3 I got to set up long boards, which I LOVE against aggro lineups. Slowing down the game is a key part of dwarfs, to my mind, since you can’t really start playing the game till turn 2 anyway (unless you have, wait for it, Inspiration Strikes). Skritch got Sidestepped forward and could have come in on Grimnir at the bottom of 1, but a handy The Earth Shakes pushed him back out of even his very impressive 7 hex threat range. I gotta be honest, I don’t remember much else about this game, but the slow start and Grimnir getting inspired aftermeant the Skaven couldn’t engage favourably. Taking the tempo away from aggro decks is pure fire, and I managed to win the long fight on this one.
Pretty narrow 2-1 victory meant I was 3-0 and going into round 4.
Round 4 – Jay Clare – Skellies
Yep, you’re reading that right. The man, the myth, the legend. Some say he once won a game with an objective deck that included Total Annihilation, Mr Bun the Baker, and the four of Spades. Others claim he won a game of poker with a Hold Objective straight. Still others claim he feeds on the souls of dead cards and uses them to fuel his top deck. Regardless, it was round 4.
I did have one thing that offered me a chance; he was playing objective skellies rather than one of the more common warbands in the game. This would actually be my first time playing against the Sepulchral Guard, since I’d never run into them before.
Given that this was round 4, and I was on peak playing mode cause yanno Jay Clare, I don’t remember these games super clearly. I know Jay got 3 Objectives, and I know at the bottom of turn 1 I got involved and sent Grimnir in rather than getting him inspired. Jay pulled the Champion away with Quick Thinker, and I completely forgot to use Treasure Lust to pull Grimnir back onto my objective. What a silly billy! The remainder of the game was me slowly losing, and seeing a lot of synergies contained in the Skellie deck for the first time.
Jay got 3 Objectives again in the second game, but this time I managed to get fighting a bit earlier and smash some skellies to dust. A moment of comedy was me losing Grimnir cause it was bottom of turn 2 and the game had been going for so long that I just assumed he was inspired by then, but I managed to pull out a very narrow win regardless.
In Game 3 I finally got 3 objectives, but Jay countered it by his brilliant play of getting a godly opening hand that led to him ending the turn with the Harvester on MY back objective cause of Hidden Paths, and then scoring Our Only Way Out and Supremacy. Gulp. I got into the game though, scoring my passives, while mashing Skellies left, right, and centre and getting my score immediatelys that way. I ended up using Inspiration Strikes on Grimnir at the top of turn 3, which is I think the latest I’ve ever made it into a game without him either inspired or dead.
Jay finally came in with the Harvester as his last activation and completely whiffed two attacks on Maegrim, which meant that in my final turn I scored a kill, Escalation, Flawless Strategy and Superior Tactician, plus a Key on Maegrim, plus the Formless Key and A Destiny to Meet, meaning I got 11 Glory and just pipped Jay to take the round!
Round 5 – Richard – Reavers
Into the final round, and I’m pretty confident I’ve already won the event, but it never hurts to make sure! Since we’d all been chatting throughout the day, I knew Richard’s deck has a tonne of score immediatelys (like, 9 or 10?) which trigger when he kills or does damage. Very Khorney! The trick is to slow down the game and stop the deck getting the pain train rolling.
Got 3 objectives in the first game and deployed back far enough that he could only get one swing on me, which unfortunately whiffed. Grimnir then got Inspired (seriously, I got Inspiration Strikes early a LOT this tournament) and murdered Garrek first activation. At the top of turn 2 I killed Saek, and then Karsus, and then killed the remaining two dudes over the next few activations.
Second game was pretty much a repeat of the first game, he ran hard at me and I Inspired Grimnir (a LOT I say) and again, killed Garrek turn 1. Took slightly longer this turn, and he got to kill Maegrim and Tefk, but I killed my way through his best fighters and left him with the two little Khorne dudes, one of which ended up dying on the last turn again.
Two comfortable wins and I was 5-0, winning the tournament!
Had a great time at this event, and I’d love to see more people at the Game Forge in future, it’s a cracking venue. Dwarfs are good, but I didn’t realise until I was writing this just how often I drew Inspiration Strikes early. [Editors Note: MHHMMM YES YOU DID!!] I think that definitely contributed a great deal to my success, so I’m a bit wary of taking too much from it. Regardless, always nice to win! Thanks to all my opponents for fun games, and thanks to Corey for running the event.
Keep hunting for that Shadeglass!