BLOOD WILL TELL
Whatever had caused the plague of violence and darkness receded across the world as suddenly as it had appeared few could offer even the barest of observations as to the nature of the event.
Deep within a fortified valley laid a secret and unseen base of operations. It was one of many built by those among what was called the Azur Alliance a hidden secret kept from the majority of those who had seceded from the greater Empire of Abel.
There in the lowest room of the fortress behind thick walls lay a single chamber, its interior sparsely furnished only a single source of illumination hung from the roof shining upon a table, in the centre of the table sat several vials of blood, barely coagulated and taken recently. A tall and imposing man shrouded by the dim illumination picked up the nearest vial and examined it briefly before levelling his gaze at the massive figure armoured in black plate on the opposite side of the table.
Not a world past between the so called “Demon Arbiter” and his master but Alastor quickly turned and marched from the room, off to continue his work.
The weekend was a success, more or less. It saw highs and lows as people inflicted complete victories and suffered crushing defeats. The tournament had five players participate in 7 rounds of matches. I had hoped for a few more to attend but such was not to be. It was also strangely unique with three players fielding Azur teams, but each team being different in selection and tactics.
Although there were only five players everyone seemed to have a good time. At first they were a bit stressed over the matches falling one after another so often compared to the usual relaxing pace of my events but soon they realised it was better to have a time limit than not at 300 levels. They also enjoyed the various different scenarios even if they took a bit of effort to set up.
The schedule included five games on day one and two games the following with the possibility of a third if needed to break a tie. Matches went for 80 minutes with 10 minutes of downtime or overtime, and as the day wore on I let this slide a little. Despite the long hours the players enjoyed the weekend and the calamity of the games drew a lot of attention throughout the day.
Saturday began with the five players, one player sat out each round on a bye. The first two rounds where standard Annihilation matches each fought with the full rules. The second two matches were played using the Nodes of Power scenario. Sunday saw only four of the players return. Player 4 had unfortunately been unable to score on the first day and was due to have his bye making it impossible to place. Out of the two rounds on the Sunday the first was using the Ambush scenario followed by a final round using the Annihilation rules that produced a clear victor.
The tournament also featured a special rule where each player was required for one match to designate a figure that would suffer from a permanent Berserk state. The selection of when to play this rule was up to the individual, some used it on aggressive characters such as Faust others tried to use it to toughen up a skirmisher. Some found it a benefit and others a detriment as the games wore on.
Player 1: Azur Alliance (Shadow Lords)
- High Arbiter Arkied
- The Colonel + Clock of Chronos
- Kirsten + Piercing Weapon
- Kyler + Nue
- Claude Valmore
+ Team: Les Jaeger
+ Plot: Tactical Advantage
+ Covert Ops
Player 2: Wissenscraft (Lost Loggia)
- XII + Supernatural weapon + Raphael’s Gift
- Lorenzo + Orb of Power + After Image
- Rayne +Dragons Blood + Greater Life Potion
- Goethia (Pilot: Frederick)
- Alessa + Fate Clock
- Sophia Imora
+ Team: Assault Team
Player 3: Azur Alliance (Shadow Lords)
- Arkeid + Life Potion
- Adolf Brunner + Covert Operations
- Frey + Piercing Weapon
- Sophia Ilmora
- Azur Agent 1 (Infiltrate, Open Movement)
- Azur Agent 2 (Infiltrate, Open Movement)
+ Team: Puppet Master
+ Plot: Tactics
Player 4: Church (Divine Mediation)
- Saint Elienai
- Saint Hazael
- Nero + Supernatural Weapon
- Azriel + Combined Combat
- Aliss Testarossa + Raphael’s Gift
- Grey + Martyr
Player 5: Azur Alliance (Shadow Lords)
- High Arbiter Alastor + Supernatural Armour
- Deadmoon + Raphael’s Gift
- Harod + Smoke Bomb
- Faust orbatos + Supernatural Weapon
+ Team: Lord of the Abyss
Saturday – Round One – Annihilation
Player 1 (Azur) v Player 3 (Azur): Result – Complete Victory, Player 3
Player 4 (Azur) v Player 5 (Church): Result – Draw
Player 2 (Wissenscraft) - Bye
Saturday – Round Two – Annihilation
Player 1 (Azur) v Player 4 (Church): Result – Partial Victory, Player 1
Player 2 (Wissenscraft) v Player 5 (Azur): Result – Complete Victory, Player 5
Player 3 (Azur) - Bye
Saturday – Round Three – Nodes
Player 1 (Azur) v Player 2 (Wissenscraft): Result – Annihilation Victory, Player 2
Player 3 (Azur) v Player 4 (Church): Result – Partial Victory, Player 3
Player 5 (Azur) - Bye
Saturday – Round Four – Nodes
Player 2 (Wissenscraft) v Player 3 (Azur): Result – Annihilation Victory, Player 2
Player 4 (Church) v Player 5 (Azur): Result – Complete Victory, Player 5
Player 1 (Azur) - Bye
Sunday – Round Five – Ambush
Player 1 (Azur) v Player 5 (Azur): Result – Complete Victory, Player 5
Player 3 (Azur) v Player 2 (Wissenscraft): Result – Partial Victory, Player 3
Sunday – Round Six - Annihilation
Player 3 (Azur) v Player 5 (Azur): Result – Partial Victory, Player 5
Player 1 (Azur) v Player 2 (Wissenscraft): Result – Partial Victory, Player 1
After the Six rounds were complete we had a winner, it was a close run series of games and could have gone to anyone with some luck but in the end player 5 with an Azur force was the victor of the tournament and laid claim to the prize.
1st Place: Player 5 (Azur)
2nd Place: Player 3 (Azur)
Equal 3rd Place: Player 1 (Azur)
Equal 3rd Place: Player 2 (Wissenscraft)
Unfortunately with all the rules adjudicating and the chaos of the weekend I was unable to watch any specific match for enough time to take copious notes so instead here is a bunch of photo’s from the weekend.
Here we are getting underway
As you can see in this match both sides got into it very quickly with infiltration and flying characters
Player 5 on the left 4 on the right
Player 3 on the left 1 on the right
First time anyone has faced Frey and Freya or used them in a match, in fact before th tournament Player 3 had only played 1 game and a 150 point Demo.
Round 2 begins
Player 4 tries to bring his entire team to bear on the Azur force
Lots of careful decisions being made
Azur forces capture and stake out a series of gothic ruins with the help of Faust
During round 3 we had the most open match terrain wise, just a tower in the centre and a single tree.
Round 3 is a bit taxing, the heat in the room has built a bit, Player 5 was lucky enough to have the bye this round but stuck about to watch anyway.
The final round for Saturday gets underway
Brunner and Sophia oversee a fight between Arkied, Lorenzo and Freya
Player 3 carefully stages his Ambush right down to the smallest detail.
Is player 1 (top of pic) planning to play a Grid Iron match with his setup?
A true ambush occurs when player 3 deploys his infiltrated characters in the path of player 2
The stealthy Harod takes a hill trying to flank the impostor Les Jaegers
Nobody move! There be Ninja’s in yonder trees (8 infiltration markers in this match was a great setup)
The battle is joined as all the infiltrator characters leap out of hiding or are located with Seek in a single turn.
XII and Claude do battle atop a wall, fencing back and forth with each other until…
XII is victorious but in his excitement his foot slips and he topples to the ground.
Bloody battle around the forest forces player 3 to disengage and fall back with only three figures left, in turn the sudden opening of the field convinces player 5 to retreat knowing that chasing the fleeing figures would be damaging to him in turn.
Congratulations to Player 5, well done to everyone who took part it was a great weekend to judge and watch. It really ended in a heroic clash between Player 3 and 5 especially with the sudden change in tactics by both players right as the match came to an end.
Next month I will be starting my next Campaign series and the following month will see Anima demonstrated at Little Wars 2010.