Sunday 24 May 2015

Australian Masters 2013 - Introduction


Year 2013 was by far the most successful of my Warhammer "career". I participated in tournaments more often than ever, played more frequently in general and as a reward, I qualified to Australian Masters!

This is a unique event that you can participate in only via invitation. The criteria to qualify were as follows:

* 2012 Masters’ winner

* Top ranked players from (NSW, VIC, QLD, WA, TAS, ACT, SA)

* Top 10 ranked players in the Australian warhammer fantasy rankings who have not already received an invite.

* 11-20 ranked players in the Australian warhammer fantasy rankings (but only to fill total of 16 spots available).

If you want to read about it in more details here is the link to the appropriate topic:

I was very happy to qualify as a best ACT player and at the time 7th in the country, according to Rankings HQ. :)

Another unique thing at the Masters is that 2 out of 6 games are played with army swap. Each player randomly pick somebody's else army and plays against the next player in current standings (players are still matched up based on their current result). It is a very interesting idea. It is based on the assumption that a Master player should be able to adapt to any army and play well with it even if he it is not his preferred army choice for other games/tournaments. Since there are 2 games like that it can have a significant impact on the overall result.

This year the armies were composed with the use of the Swedish Comp and had to be in the 9-14 brackets. What is more, there was a battle comp used in the tournament. Each point of difference in the comp was multiplied by 200 and added to the result of the player with softer list. That inspired people to design army lists that got good scores in the comp but at the same time had some powerful choices regardless.

Here is the link to the topic with army lists that were sent by the invited players: 

Australian Masters - Army Lists

The event was of course commented by many players (as you can see in the army list topic) and two podcasts were dedicated to the army lists analysis and predictions (The Dwellers Below from Melbourne and Watchtower (unfortunately, Watchtower is no longer continued and I could not find the archive with this podcast anymore :() from Sydney).

Here, I am going to report on my own games and experiences from that fantastic event. If you are interested in checking the coverage with some pictures, here is the link to the relevant topic:

Australian Masters - Coverage & Results

I decided to take the following army list to the event:

Outcasts - Army List

Larry the Loremaster - level 2, Shield of the Merwyrm, Golden Crown, Earthing Rod, Sword of Might - 300
Bob the Battle Standard Bearer - Dragon Armour, Halberd, Charmed Shield, Potion of Strength, Reaver Bow - 157

15 Archers - Full Command - 180
15 Sea Guard - Full Command - 210
5 Ellyrian Reavers - Spears, Bows, Musician - 105
5 Ellyrian Reavers - Spears, Bows, Musician - 105

5 Dragon Princes - Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame - 185
5 Dragon Princes - Full Command - 165
12 Swordmasters - Bladelord, Musician - 176
12 Swordmasters - Bladelord, Musician - 176
10 White Lions - Full Command, Gleaming Pennant - 165
10 White Lions - Full Command - 160

Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower - 70
Great Eagle - 50
Great Eagle - 50
5 Sisters of Avelorn - 70
5 Sisters of Avelorn - 70

I wanted to achieve the following:

1. Test HE MSU against tough armies in all my games.
It goes without saying that MSU style is rather unforgiving. It is also believed that it cannot compete against certain armies, in particular these that have big flying monsters. Seeing as there are quite a few there I wanted to test the army and collect valuable experience. I believe that MSU still can be a very good army to play against any opponent. The best way to find out is by playing games!

I was also very curious how other players will do with my force.

2. Test my own skills in highly competitive environment

In a regular tournament I can count on an element of surprise when I face players who have never fought MSU army before. I could not use that advantage here. All players are very experienced (otherwise they would not play in that event). On top of that I might have played against players whom I met before or that simply know my style of play anyway. It was a totally different type of a challenge and I was really eager to test my mantle!

Basically, if you want to improve you need to constantly challenge yourself and play against better players than yourself. :) Having played with MSU HE only for last 2 years I was also curious if I can play a decent game with whatever army I am about to pick.

3. Experience Australian WHFB Spirit to the fullest!

Last but certainly not least is that unique approach Australian players have as a community. They play tough but fair. You can expect challenging games but as a whole, they will do their best to play as fair as possible. It is amazing attitude and something a lot of competitive players (my own countrymen including) should learn from them.

You can play on top tables, compete to be the best of the best but do it in style! I can tell you already that it was exactly how I expected. Well done, guys! Keep this attitude no matter what!  

Next: Game 1 Battle Report!

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