Hi everyone, my name is DJ and I took first place at Gencon this last weekend. I thought I would take a minute and write up some of my experiences over the weekend in case it might help someone. Overall my hope is this post will encourage more people to not only come play this great game but also participate in next year's tournament.
Oathsworn Cavalry x6 
--Training: Moment of Inspiration 
----------Total Unit Cost: 51
Oathsworn Cavalry x6 
--Training: Moment of Inspiration 
----------Total Unit Cost: 51
Lord Hawthorne x1 
--Artifact: Shield of Margath 
--Unique: Might of Daqan 
----------Total Unit Cost: 44
Spearmen x2 
--Music: Rallying Cornicen 
----------Total Unit Cost: 22
Rune Golems x2 
----------Total Unit Cost: 28
The total points for this list is 196 points. I did this for the sole reason of I wanted to go first or least have the choice to go first. More on this later. When building my list, I looked at the objectives that were going to be played and wanted something that would help me in all 3 of them. We knew the objectives were going to be Bounty, Break Their Defenses, and Supply Raid. For both Break Their Defenses and Supply Raid, I needed high mobility. For Bounty, I wanted a tanky unit that could hold the objective and I wouldn't have to worry about it dying and still get some use out of it. The 3rd criteria was a list with a simple enough strategy that I could play 3-4 times in a row without fatigue. For this, I settled on a pair of 3x2 cavalry for the speed and added Moment of Inspiration for more firepower and Hawthorne for the ability to make my cav 3-wide and be my "tanky" unit. The 2 tray unit of spearmen was reformed to 1x2 with the Cornicen in front for a little bit of protection. This unit would follow nearby the cav to refresh Moment of Inspiration and possibly pick up tokens or get in the deployment area. The Rune Golems are simply blockers. If I see something that could move fast or I want to flank, I try to get the golems in their face.
The bid. I think for the most part, everyone was at 200 or 199 points. But I wanted to be sure I could go first. Second player got to pick the deployment and I really didn't care which side of the board I was on. But going first also lets you put down the first and last piece of terrain. Especially in Careful Approach (corner deployments), being able to put down 2 of the 3 pieces of terrain can greatly affect the game. In our 3rd game, I was up against a 9 tray block of cav with 2 4 tray spearmen with Dispatch Runner. Just by placing 2 pieces of small terrain (the smallest ones, even) I was able to force him into a position he did not want to be in and nuke down his cav. With a little practice, you can set up lanes for flanks and all other sorts of fun stuff.
The strategy. My strategy was simple. I could lose a golem or 2 and a unit of cav and still be effective. The golems would face off and block/distract anything that could move fast while my cav took a flank. If needed, one cav unit would take the front attack while the other took the side. The spearmen would follow whichever cav unit I thought would be attacking more while Hawthorne stuck with the other unit and tied up anything that tried to flank.
My games. I'll try to recall as much detail as I can, but I don't retain a lot of information. If you played me and would like to add anything, please feel free to comment. All 5 of my games were very fun and against very skilled players and I hope you all had fun too. My first 4 games were against fellow Daqan players, so that was kind of funny.
Game 1: Ryan and his Hawthorne cav. Ryan's list was somewhat similar to mine but he had a pair of 2x2 cav, tank-mode Hawthorne, 2 single rune golems, and I can't remember if he had any spearmen. I started off pretty nervous since my goal of the day was to just win 1 game since it'd been a month and a half since my last game. The first objective was Supply Raid and Standoff deployment. I really don't remember too many of the details of the game since many of us were all getting used to the tournament rules. I did learn that attacking his Hawthorne with my cav was a bad idea since he didn't take any wounds and I lost 2 knights. The game ended with a 10-1 in my favor. Good game, Ryan!
Game 2: Dan? I'm really sorry I can't remember your name, but I think I played Dan. I'm like 75% sure it was Dan, though. For game 2, we played Break Their Defenses with Hammer and Anvil deployment. At this point I was just excited to have won my first game and be at the top table. Dan had a 6 tray cav and a 4 tray cav, also with Hawthorne. I don't remember what else was in his formation but those were the big pieces. I decided early on that I was going to rush which worked out perfectly since he decided to turtle. I sent Hawthorne into some terrain nearby his 4 tray of cav with the thought that if he is foolish enough to charge the terrain, he's going to lose a lot just from Hawthorne's defense attack. Unfortunately for me, he was smarter than that. The turning point of the game was round 3 or 4 when he turned his big scary block of cav and gave me his flank for my own cav to charge. We called the game early with all his units either locked up or destroyed except his Hawthorne which made it over to my deployment area. My second 10-1 win of the day, but still a very good and fun game. Thanks for the game and I'm sorry I can't remember your name!
Game 3: Justin and his big block of cav. During the first game, Justin was on a table behind me and I saw his 9 tray of cav. My first thought was "I hope I don't have to play him". Sure enough, he and I had both done quite well that day. We were both at 20 tournament points going into it, so that was pretty neat. The objective was Bounty and deployment was Careful Approach. I was excited for this because ever since the game came out I was saying that whoever could master this deployment would win Gencon. The pieces of terrain we drew were the 3 smallest ones... the spikes. Not what I really wanted to see, but oh well. I was still able to set it up for him to either come out from his side very close to his edge or out and around from the far side of the board. I tried my best to make it more desirable for him to come out the side so I could block and smash with my cav. Justin also had Kari and his own golem for me to worry about, but I was mostly focused on the 9 tray cav being followed by 2 4-tray spearmen with Dispatch Runner. He made his cav his bounty unit and I made Hawthorne mine. As expected, he set up his cav to come out the side. I swung wide with one of my cav units to come around and meet his front while the other set up to flank. On turn 2, he had initiative and I expected him to move a little forward to avoid my charge so I keyed up a turning charge. Both my cav units made contact and it was curtains from there. We played cat and mouse for bit with Kari and the golem but ended up calling it. With the 75 points from the objective, I got my 3rd 10-1 victory. Thanks for the great game Justin!
Day 2-- Final 4
Game 4: Nathaniel and the glass cannons. Nathaniel was also running dual cav but his were 4-wide using Hawthorne's ability. He also had a deathstar to worry about. For this game, we played Supply Raid with Hammer and Anvil deployment. After setting out the Supply Raid tokens, I pretty much decided to ignore those because if I went after them, it would spread me out too much. My thought was to let him pick up the tokens and just go for the kill. In setting up terrain, I created a small area that a 3-wide tray unit could barely fit through hoping he might put his deathstar there so I could block and flank. But he put it in the corner with 1 unit of cav and Hawthorne. The other unit of cav was on the complete other side of the board set up to flank. I chose to ignore that flank completely and just run down the middle with my flanker (in that 3-wide thread the needle area). My other units were set up pretty much across from his. I set my Rune Golems so they would be impacted on his cav charging so I could charge back with my cav. Instead of that happening, Nathaniel sent in Hawthorne to block my cav and attempted to turn charge my golems with his 4-wide cav. I saw the Hawthorne charge coming and keyed up a 7 initiative attack on my cav that nearly killed Hawthorne. His turning charge from his cav impacted his own Hawthorne so that was a miss. Next turn my Golems charged his cav to block while my own cav took out his Hawthorne. After a couple turns of doing the unexpected, Nathaniel was on to my tricks and read me like a book and knew I would move my cav in to engage his deathstar. He pretty much punked them leaving a single tray of knights to fight back. I took a mental blow but it was ok since reinforcements were now on the way. My flanker cav made it to the fight as their brothers died but got the flank and started working on his deathstar. By round 6, Nathaniel decided to call it and gave me the win. Thanks for a great game!
Game 5: Matthew's Waiqar. Archers and Lancers and Reanimates, oh my! My only matchup against Waiqar and it's the final table. Pretty thematic. We played Break Their Defenses and Battle lines. We spread out the terrain evenly and began set up. We set most of our units on a single mat only using a 3x3 area for the most part. My cav was set straight against his reanimates with archers on either side. One of his lancers in his corner with the other two blocking for his archer's flank. Having played a list with a bunch of archers in the early days of Runewars, I knew that I would lose some numbers on the push. So it came down to getting as close as I can while staying at range 5+ and then pushing in as fast as I can. Sure enough, my 6 trays of cav were whittled down on the approach. They were still mildly effective at reducing his reanimate numbers, but he won that battle. Hawthorne came in behind but was met with a Carrion Lancer and they duked it out there until the end. Meanwhile on the other end of the board, my flanker cav went in hard at the same time and were met by 2 carrion lancers. I knew he would be able to charge me before I could charge him so in a daring move I went 1 straight with a 2 straight modifier. This put me within range 1 of his side and just clear of both of his lancer's charge. Next round I reformed and charged his lancers taking them out one at a time. Meanwhile the Rune Golems were threading the needle of some spikey terrain to get in and engage the archers. They made it there to tie them up for a couple of turns, dealing enough damage to make them a much smaller threat. In the end, I lost a whole unit of cav and one Rune Golem. 3 of my 4 remaining units made it into the deployment and I won by points. It was an amazing game and could have gone either way. Thanks for a very memorable and epic game, Matthew!
The attached picture shows Turn 4 (I think) of the final game. I'm not very good at remembering to take pictures so I don't have hardly any. You can see what little remains of my cav from the charge but his carrion lancers are about to get wrecked for payback!
Big thanks to FFG for putting on a great tournament and to all who came and played. A personal thank you to my wife and my good friend Kyle for the support and pushing me to be a better player. Thanks for reading this and I hope to see you all next year!