It is with great joy that I write this article as I have finally got my grubby little paws on a Grand Clash Shadeglass Trophy!! I’ve been running with the Skaven Warband ever since they were released way back at the start of the year and have racked up a fair few competitive games with them (129 recorded games, not including the practice games!) and have had a good rate of success winning five events with them and reaching the podium in five more. However, today marks the end of Skritch’s reign of terror as I move onto new challenges. It’s been a good run Skritch, you truly are the Greatest yes-yes.
- Jamie Giblin’s Skaven Deck available to view here
- Michael Bax’s Farstrider Deck available to view here
- Jay Clare’s Thorns of the Briar Queen Deck available to view here
But before you retire let’s have a rundown of your finest moment! Winning the UK Team Championship. The UKTC allows a team of three players with different factions to play against an opposing team of three. We had 15 teams turn up so there would be four rounds. The pairing system was very simple. Flip a coin. If you win pick a match up, if you lose pick the remaining two. I attended with Skaven, whilst my partners in crime took Farstriders (Michael Bax) and Thorns of the Briar Queen (Jay Clare). We felt quietly confident but knew the Steelcity Shadespire team, and the ‘Can You Roll a Crit’ team were also top contenders and we hoped to avoid them as long as possible.
Our opposition for Round One had brought Magore’s Fiends, Farstriders, and Skaven. Going into the event I did NOT want to play Farstriders as they are my bogey match up, but Jay was more than happy to take them on with his Thorns. We won the coin toss and elected for the Thorns of the Briar Queen to face off against the Farstriders, whilst our opponents chose their Skaven player to play our Farstriders and for me to fight Magore’s Fiends.
After some strong positional play in both my games against the Magore’s and with a flurry of attacks from Skritch I was able to win both my games with a comfortable Glory Difference of +12. Whilst my teammates did similarly well winning both their match ups. I wish I could recall more of this game but the whole day is a bit of a haze with a few standout moments. Onto Round 2 with a strong set of results under our belts and a spring in our step.
In Round 2 we were drawn against a Polish team who had travelled over for the event. We were expecting a tough fight here as you don’t fly over not to compete! They had brought all three Stormcast Warbands and I had a sneaking suspicion that they would all be the defensive-stand-still-long-board-deployment style warbands. I was right.
We lost the coin toss and the Polish team chose to put Farstriders (Bax) into the Stormcast Eternals, whilst we chose Thorns (Jay) to play Farstriders, and myself to play Cursebreakers.
In game 1 I got to place the board deployment and went square on, and after a miserable turn one from me the game was all but sealed. If you need assistance and advice playing against Defensive Builds then I highly recommend the Steel City Shadespire Blog series on Breaking the Bulwark. In my opening hand I had ZERO movement ploys and was punished because of it though I was able to disrupt their scoring the game ended 7-9 in favour of the Cursebreakers.
In game 2 my opponent was able to set up the boards and went for the dreaded long board deployment with the three hexes at the end, and a myriad of deadly hexes between. I felt I played this match up really well and chose a board that gave me the best chance. The game ended 10-11 however Skritch did not turn up and missed three consecutive attacks (Charge, Ready for Action & Time Trap to kill a Cursebreaker and deny Glory. Had these Attacks landed I feel I could have won the game quite comfortably. C’est la vie.
So two losses, it didn’t feel good. My losses could spell the end of our trophy run but fortunately Jay was able to win big with the Thorns vs Farstriders and bagged two wins, whilst Bax smashed it out the park and won a match up he expected to lose! Well done Bax! We were through to the next round! The Polish team ended up coming third, winning all their remaining games.
Going into round three we were fortunate to not be playing either the Steel City bunch, or the Can You Roll a Critters who were drawn together on table one. Instead we were matched with a team running Orruks, Magores, and Farstriders! We lost the coin toss and the Thorns were forced to play Magore’s Fiends. Me being the coward I am wanted to avoid Farstriders at all cost so Bax bravely took that bullet for me, leaving me with the Orruks.
Orruks are a warband I’m extremely comfortable playing against with Skaven as out of nineteen games played against them I have lost only two. They are predictable. They are slow (compared to Skaven) and their damage output takes a while to ramp up.
In an interesting twist my opponent was playing Defensive/Key Orruks. Fortunately, because he placed the boards length ways and chose the leader pack board with the lethal hexes I was well aware of what he would be trying to do having played the same style warband in Sheffield just a few weeks ago. Skritch was on form in this game after his miserable effort in the final round and was rolling crits for fun – often double critting to ensure the kill. It was kind of stupid. Still the games were close, but I was able to score consistently and won both my games!
I looked over and saw Bax had also cleared the board of his opponent’s Farstrider models and was comfortably winning his round. Safe in the knowledge that we had made it to the final we let Jay play out his final game. He came over to us after the game with a sorry look on his face as he had lost both games versus Magore’s due to some clutch dice moments that, had the dice been average, should have gone his way. We were able to break the good news and Jay breathed a sigh of relief. The team had carried me through round 2, and now Jay through round 3 – we were joking that Jay and I would need to carry Bax through…
Exciting times. The final. Butteflys in my stomach. Vomit on my sweater already – mom’s spaghetti. This was it. We were paired against fellow blogger John Rees, Can You Roll a Crit?, and his team mates Alec & Dave. They were running Magores, Reavers & Skaven. We lost the coin flip and John choose Farstriders he obviously knows something about Farstrider that I don’t! Whilst I took on Magores and Jay took on Reavers.
This was particularly special for me as at the UK Games Expo Clash I missed out on playing Dave in the final as they used SoS rather than Glory Diff as the tiebreaker – dropping me from first to third and missing out on the cut. This was my opportunity to prove to myself that I could have won that Clash and aid my team in doing so on this day.
In Game 1 I had the perfect opening hand. Quick Thinker, Great Concussion, Spoils of Battle, Great Strength and Acrobatic. Whilst my opening objectives were mulliganed I drew into Change of Tactics, Skritch if the Greatest, and Chosen Champion. After a Riptooth Charge was left high and dry I used Great Concussion to separate the warbands and isolate the dog. Equipped Skritch with Great Strength and killed the doggo after going on guard. Scoring three glory and drawing into Shining Example and Master of War! I scored all these bar Chosen Champion. The game felt very much sealed up when a failed charge from Magore saw me score Victorious Duel and Precise Use of Force for four glory. Game 1 ended with me scoring Superior Tactician with a total of 18 glory to Dave’s 5.
As I looked to my left Bax had just beaten John 10-6, and to my left Jay had won 14-13 against Alec. We were closing in on the trophy.
Game 2 saw a very standoffish affair as I was able to utilise the board placements to deny any turn one charges from Magore and we mainly drew our power cards and discarded objectives in a desperate attempt to score glory and prepare for the round two bloodbath. This bloodbath never game as we ineffectually swiped at each other. Ending the game 3 glory to Dave’s 8 after he netted a few kills in the final phase.
I looked to my left and Bax had just lost 8-13 to John, whilst to my right Jay and Alec were still locked in a gruelling game that had no clear winner.
We went to game 3. This was it. If I lost here, then Jay & Bax had to win. If I won here, then just Jay had to win. Again, I was able to make good use of the board to only allow a single charge, a momentously inspired riptooth tore Krrk apart. I responsed in kind with a one-two combo from Skritch and Festering Skaven to score Precise Use of Force. Both Dave and I knew how much this meant and we played it super cautiously from this point on. We were discarding our Score Immediately cards for our safe ‘Shining Examples’ and ‘Alone in the Darkness’ passive scores. I was able to get fortunate in my final hand and score Escalation, Change of Tactics, Master of War, and Tactical Supremacy (drawn into by the CoT). Putting me on 12 glory. Dave totalled up his glory. He was on 11, but had forgotten to equip a Destiny to Meet. I fully believe in being able to rise above competition for fair play and agreed that Dave would have equipped it in the final phase as there was literally nothing I could have done to prevent it given our positioning and cards in my hand. A 12-12 draw. We looked at the rules for how to break the 1-1 tie and the total glory scored wins out. Which my spectacular game 1 secured. I’d done it.
I looked to my left left Bax was losing. I looked to my right…JAY HAD WON. WE WERE CHAMPIONS!
It’s been a long journey through Shadespire, and I’ve finally claimed a piece of the big glass! Thank you to all my opponents and to Jay & Bax for taking me to the final. I LOVE team events – the dynamic is so different to solo events. Your friends can carry you through a round and you can help them. The camaraderie is real across all levels of play! Going into my next event I’m unsure which warband I’ll be using but Skritch has earned his retirement now and can live on the shelf of Champions alongside Steelheart…though Skritch will be able to stand a little taller on his loot pile.