Friday 30 March 2018

Clash of Kings Australia 2 - Summary


With all the battle reports finally done and posted it is about time to wrap it all up with a summary.

Australian Clash of Kings 2018 was another great success without any doubt. I am very happy that I was able to attend again and I keep fingers crossed that the number of Kings of War players keeps growing steadily.

There were 64 participants which is still fantastic, considering that many of them had to travel from other states to Canberra. It is also interesting to note that the number of spots each system got depended on how many players managed to signed up early enough. There was no fixed number of spots at the beginning so it was great to know many participants committed early to allow the organizers negotiate enough room for 60+ people.

Event Organization

Let's start with the general organization of the tournament. I personally think it was exceptional on so many levels. First, all the tables were properly equipped with a fantastic terrain, each table had a gaming mat on it. This was only possible because the players brought their own terrain and gaming mats to make sure all of them are set up properly.

In addition, each table had a laminated map with the description of the terrain pieces (maps from Epic Dwarf website were used). What is more, each player got a description of each scenario to be played each round with printed instructions on how to use Black Jack Scoring System. Thanks to that everyone had the scenario rules at hand and calculating the end result of each game was straightforward and easy. 

There was enough time to finish the games and enough time to change the tables from one round to another. Everything seemed to go smoothly and there were no delays. We used Tabletop Application to record the scores what also helped to run the things quicker. 

We played 7 games in total and I think it is a good number. It does feel a bit exhausting but for the biggest gaming convention in Australia I think it is really fitting. 

In general, Matt and all the people who were involved in organization of the event did a fantastic job (again!) and Kings of War players are truly lucky to have such a fantastic tournament organizer!

The Armies

Almost all the factions were represented. I think only Trident Realms and Herd were missing and there were three historical armies too. The most popular faction was Dwarfs! I also had an impression that even in the frame of the same faction the armies were significantly different in terms of composition. It was certainly the case in my games, when I played against two different Elven armies, for instance. 

I also liked the quality of painting a lot and it was very inspiring to see many unique approaches to armies. I really hope I can make some proper progress in my own painting as it is only fair to the opponents to field a finished army.

From the point of view of the composition I played against the forces that included at least one big flier and often two. However, I know it was not necessarily the pattern for each army and in top 10 there were only three large flying models. 

Here is the top 10 list:

1. Dwarfs
2. Dwarfs
3. Goblins
4. Varangur
5. Ratkin
6. Ogres
7. Goblins
8. Dwarfs
9. Abyssal Dwarfs
10. Varangur

You can check almost all the army lists and the detailed results here: Clash of Kings Australia 2018

How did the Outcasts do?

This year I finished on 25th position in the group of 64 players. It was a worse result than last year when I ended up 18th out of 62 players. I collected total of 77 points from 7 battles where I won 3, drew 1 and lost 3 games. By comparison, I had 82 points with 4 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses last year. 

I hoped I could do better this year. After all, I gained valuable experience and playing more games alone should result in better performance. It turned out that  I playing more games alone is not going to automatically mean one can do better at the events. At least playing more games alone does not seem to be the only contributing factor.

As you could see in my games there were times when I made mistakes that greatly contributed to the defeats. And that was quite surprising for me because I thought I should make fewer of them. After all, that is the whole purpose of playing with a single army to be able to do so. 

It is clear I need to look at the bigger picture and see what can be done so I can improve my skills as a player. I think it would also be beneficial to my opponents as I could offer a better game and challenge to them rather than make something silly and make it far easier for them to win :)

I decided to break down the analysis into a few categories. Here we go:


We used excellent Epic Dwarf maps but I noticed that the height of the particular pieces often varies between what I may play elsewhere. That is perfectly fine and I don't necessary have any preferences here. What is important, however, is to remember what is what and how that affects the game.

Two main factors I noted that contributed to the decision making are:
- Height 2 hills - I noticed that I sometimes positioned my units as if the hills were height 1 and then had to adapt because my infantry and cavalry could not see the enemy on the other side of the hill. 

It was quite surprising but I re-discovered that the ability to treat the terrain in terms of the height and not let the real physical dimensions to fool you, is very important. 

I don't think that if we played with terrain pieces that matched the height level  would change the perception. I look at the models from the eagle eye point of view so obviously it is hard to forget what the models "can see". 

- Height 4 blocking terrain vs Height 6 forests - that had a very interesting effect where a monster on the top of the hill would not see over the forest but could see over the blocking terrain.  I noticed I tend to automatically treat blocking terrain as literally blocking the line of sight to everything. That is my obvious mistake and again, I need to keep that rule in mind in order to use the terrain to an advantage and not to let the opponent to surprise me.

Plan and Deployment

Ideal situation is to have a good plan and implement it already with a perfect deployment. The reality is more challenging. Consider this: there are 21 factions in Kings of War. And there are 12 scenarios that can be played. So in theory one should be prepared to have 252 variants to take into account the possibility of playing each faction in each scenario. That alone does not take into account allies or the fact that there are many, often quite different armies in each faction. Well, I don't know about you but I have not played that many games yet since I started Kings of War! :)

However, I still noticed that in the games I lost I either had a bad plan or messed up the deployment (and the rest of moves and mistake often were the consequences). While when I won I had an impression I had a better idea what I want to achieve both as an overall plan and in terms of movement each turn. 

I see the need to have some kind of generic plan and deployment simply to save time. I noticed that in the games where I timed out that was contributing factor. I spent too long trying to figure out how to set up the force, then how to move it in first two turns and I was running out of time later. I think it should only be generic because I want to keep the flexibility of MSU force that lies in the ability to change the formation from game to game. But I am sure that the quicker assessment of the terrain and enemy force is needed and that generic idea about which elements are to be grouped together should help. Perhaps I should do an exercise and come up with something for scenario rather than factions? 

Opponent's armies

It was very interesting to observe the patterns (if any) in army lists composition. I happened to play against forces where at least one and often two big fliers were present. That was unique for me as I didn't quite expect that. At the same time, the top 10 show that you don't necessarily need such elements in your army to do well but perhaps it is good idea to have some plan if you play against one or two.

Other than that I faced varied armies, even if they were from the same faction. They all had tools to participate in each phase of the game and relied on regiments and hordes as core selections for the army lists. 

That had another interesting side effect, i.e. if the opponent anticipated potential flank attacks it was difficult for me to get to the positions where I could charge from multiple directions. In other words, sometimes I was in a situation where the opponent didn't let me move to the desired positions and frontal attack was not a good option.  

It is consistent with my previous observations where I noted I need some way of forcing the enemy to eventually present the flanks for multiple charges. One of these ways may be a brutal force where a frontal attack could break the line and create a gap in formation. 

Clash of Kings 2018 and Army evolution

It happened that new CoK 2018 was released shortly after the event so it was a good time for me to reflect upon my games in the context of the changes to the rules. I came to the conclusion that the changes I want to implement are mainly due to the fact I realized I cannot reliably perform certain actions and I need to address that. CoK2018 does not have impact on that conclusion at all. Some of the changes will, of course, affect the units I use but I want to emphasize that I decided to implement some changes due to my observations, mainly during Australian Masters and then Clash of Kings 2018 tournaments.

I tried one version of the updated army after the event but unfortunately due to an issue with the camera I have no photos and I will not be able to make report from that game. Then I decided to make some more changes and I came up with the following list. I had one game with it and you will see the report from this one soon:

Outcasts - Army List

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment - 175
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry, Staying Stone - 165

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment - 175

- 5 Stormwind, Troops - 140
 - Elven Prince, Hero, Mounted, Inspiring Talisman - 95

3 War Chariots, Regiment, Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar  - 160
 - Elven Prince, Hero, Wings of Honeymaze - 100
10 Storm Wind, Regiment, Brew of Haste - 230
20 Sea Guard, Regiment - 170
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop - 105
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop - 105 
- Army Standard, Hero, Mounted, Lute of Insatiable Darkness - 90

In this army I have 14 elements instead of 15. The main changes are:

1. Replacement of Palace Guard regiment with Storm Wind regiment, upgraded with Brew of Haste

This was not an easy change as I really like the Palace Guard but I decided I need a faster, hard hitting element that would help me to break at least some units on the charge. I can always add a second unit in the frontal assault if needed. 

With the new update charging through difficult terrain will result in -1 TC so Storm Wind cavalry should still inflict some damage in such cases.  I upgraded the unit with Brew of Haste to emphasize the speed of the army and be able to threaten even powerful fliers. With Sp10 the Elven Knights should have it easier to outpace their counterparts in other armies too. 

2. Replacement of two Army Standards with Princes.

Following the suggestion after one of the games, I replaced Army Standards with Princes, one mounted and with Inspiring Talisman and the other with Wings. 

The first prince is to fulfill the same role as mounted Army Standard but with a better chance to do that crucial 1 point of damage to prevent enemies from shooting or flying. 

Second prince is the most mobile element of the army and I decided to use one because I am constantly impressed how annoying such a model is to the enemy. While he is not nearly as dangerous as Ba'su'su or Herja or Cursed Pharaoh, I believe he will greatly add to the ability of disrupting enemy plans and allowing me to get other units to the right positions with less interference. 

And there may be some neat idea for a conversion of such model too!

For the current season I would need to come up with different versions of this army for bigger and smaller games alike.

Oh, and I definitely need to do something about that painting progress because it seems I have not really painted since the tournament! That was not the plan! 

Thank you very much for reading! I hope you enjoyed the series and apologies that it took a bit long to complete it. 



  1. Ah, the much awaited secret list changes! I really like the new list as I think it increases your versatility and protection against units with fly. The first change I made to my MSU Twilight kin was adding a regiment of cav and it certainly paid dividends. Now, I focus on “footprint” size as opposed to unit size. Hordes of large infantry and regiments of cav have very manageable footprints. I can’t bring myself to take infantry hordes as they are so unwieldy. Looking forward to reading your reports with the new list!

    1. Hi Dan!

      That's definitely the aim. To further help with the theme and style but to be able to better tackle different challenges. I have had one game with this army so far and I will do my best to post the report soon.