Event review: UK Clash of Kings (and the final steps of manticisation)

It’s been said so many times in so many places, but there’s no harm in repeating it:

It is so good to get back to face to face gaming.

This year’s UK Clash of Kings unfolded at Firestorm Games in Cardiff. It played host to almost 100 excited Kings of War types with as many fantastic armies on display (and of course in action).

Excluding lockdown, I’ve only really been playing a couple of years, and this was my fifth tournament. The previous four were all comparatively small events with no more than 20 to 30 players, so this was a massive step up in terms of numbers. It definitely felt a bit daunting going into the venue on Saturday morning.

Add to that it was my first event with the new edition, not to mention an increased points limit on armies of 2,300. I was all set for an interesting weekend.

This weekend also marked a completion of some personal hobby goals as well. At the beginning of the year I decided to scrap my GW rats and replace them with the new Mantic range. As part of that project I decided to try and do a bit of fancy (for me) multi-basing and a display board (a definite first). Painting a new army from scratch always has its challenges, but all was completed and ready to go a couple of days before the tournament.

Time well spent completing a couple of hobby goals.

My army list:

Warlock with Boomstick

Warchief mounted on fleabag with Blade of Slashing

Master Scurrier with Boots of Levitation

Scud

Mutant Rat Fiend

Shock Troops Horde with plague pots and Brew of Sharpness

Warrior Horde with plague pots

2 Hackpaw Regiments

2 Weapons Teams

Vermintide Regiment

The games

Saturday

Game 1

Varangur – Pillage – win

This game really set the tone for my weekend. My opponent was friendly, welcoming and had a great looking army.

Varangur are a hard-hitting army, and this was no exception with plenty of punchy units, some hard as nails individuals and a couple of Magus Conclaves for support. My shooting served me well this game keeping a horde of snow trolls wavered which allowed Scud, the Tunnel Runners and a unit of hackpaws to creep around the back whilst my centre did its best to fend off some heavy hitters.

The body count was high and in the end the Tangle and Scud held the winning objects in an excitingly close game.

Game 2

Northern Alliance – Plunder – loss

This army was essentially an Ice Elemental build with four hordes of the things, a giant, a couple of Frostfang Lords and a Chimera (with a couple of extra bits thrown in). My first discovery was how annoying Ice Elementals are. Eighteen breathe attacks with surge creates the need for some serious thinking time.

As a result, for my part, the game could best be described as cagey. The rat advance was slow, but it kind of happened after a fashion, and it worked well, after a fashion. My army controlled the board and the areas where 4 out of 5 of the loot tokens were… but… my mind was not on the scenario until the end of turn 5 when I realised (only because my opponent picked one up) that these were Loot Tokens and not objectives. Consequently, by turn 6 not only had I not picked any up, I also had no chance of picking any up. Fortunately, for my opponent, he had a full working knowledge of the scenario and the presence of mind to pick up a token and take the win.

Game 3

Twilight Kin – Fools Gold – win

It was good to see some Twilight Kin over the weekend and this was a really beautiful army. It was a good mix of Elves, Nightstalkers and Abyssals and had a fair amout of punch. Unfortunately, this was one of those games where things just didn’t go well for my opponent from the start.

Shooting claimed an Abyssal Horseman regiment before it had done anything. An Archfiend lost its life after some charge shenanigans against my Warlock ended up with him getting charged by Hackpaws to the front and Tunnel Runners to the flank (you can guess how that ended).

My Shock Troops one shotted a Shadow Hulk, and another regiment of Abyssal Horsemen. Scud went through a regiment of Impalers in one, whilst another regiment was lost to shooting. By the end of the game the Kin had no scoring units on the table.

All in all, I think it’s fair to say the Twilight Kin have had better days.

Sunday

Game 4

Free Dwarfs – Invade – loss

With two wins under my belt I felt cautiously excited about what Sunday would hold. My enthusiasm waned somewhat when it became apparent it held badgers – lots of badgers. Dwarf Brock riders pack a huge number of attacks and have loads of threat range so the poor old rats simply couldn’t respond quickly enough. It all fell apart when the Tangle accidentally offered a flank charge to one of the regiments and the rat lines dissolved quickly after that.

It was a really fun game, but there weren’t many rats to pack away by the end.

This game has given me quite a lot of food for thought because its the first time I’ve seen an army made up of pre-dominantly defence 4 cavalry. I’ve always fancied playing with a Hackpaw army, and this morning that seems several steps closer.

Game 5

Salamanders – Push – draw  

This was my very first game against Salamanders, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better opponent. Playing a wide range of armies is one of the best things about events, especially when you haven’t played them before.

Push, being a Loot Token scenario was never going to be a great one for me. I think this might be the first time of played it and I just had no idea where to put the Loot Tokens. Consequently, they spent most of the time in my deployment zone trying to avoid Tyrant Hordes. Eventually a path was cleared, but despite reducing my opponent’s forces to a single unit of Ancients I just couldn’t get two of the three tokens I ended up with over the halfway line. His Loot Tokens were on the surviving Ancients regiment that managed to cross the line fully in the seventh turn equalling our points. All in all, it was a really hard fought, fun game and a great introduction to playing Salamanders.

Game 6

Undead – Dominate – loss

This had to be the perfect way to round it all off, facing a fantastically painted, fun undead Halfling army.

The game took some interesting turns. My shooting dice, which had all but deserted me in the previous game were now exhausted. Add to this general tiredness and a lot of silly mistakes were made. However, my opponent also made at least one error which occurred around turn 4 when he took one of his werewolf hordes off the table thinking it had died. Knowing there was no way I could have reached or damaged the horde to that point in the game I reminded him they weren’t dead, just forgotten, and they rejoined the game and promptly wiped out my warrior horde!

Despite everything this game turned out to be really close with the Tangle and a Revenant Cavalry regiment sharing the circle whilst my Tunnel Runners were stuck just outside with a wavered Vampire in front of them!

Rat of the Match

This honour absolutely has to go to the Hackpaws. They get thrown at every kind of nasty alpha strike unit going and whilst they usually die, they generally hold out long enough to keep big nasties at bay for a couple of turns. What was great about bringing two regiments is that I got the opportunity to see what else they could do.

Their nimble movement really helped to get them where they needed to be and they have (on a good roll) enough in the tank to do some real damage. Their stand out performance was against the Salamanders where they managed to one shot a horde of Tyrants and a regiment of Lancers, as well as carry one of my Loot Tokens over the half way line.

Final thoughts

It goes without saying I had a great time. Kings of War has a great community around it. Incredibly talented artists, gamers, and just all around great people. I’m hoping to get out for more tournaments next year knowing that where ever I manage to drag the rats along to will reflect this experience.

Tournaments are always a great place to improve you’re gaming, but seeing so many fantastic armies on display has also given me bags of inspiration for my next project.

And Finally…

All in all this was a massively fun event. My thanks go to the lovely people at Mantic for putting on a generally slick event and my super relaxed opponents who put up with my faffing around. I have to mention the little trinkets as I’m especially proud to now have a Troll Dojo Gate in my work area, as well as an impromptu present from the lovely Steve Hildrew of the plague pots from his Ratkin army. Very gratefully received. And a final question for the Moonrakers – if anyone manages to get a trophy from each of you at a single event is there a bonus achievement trophy on offer?

Great mementos of some great games.

How the rats came to be:

Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – A brief discourse on why Nightmares aren’t like Boomers

Part 3 – What’s the difference between a Skaven and a Ratkin?

Part 4 – Getting back to gaming

Published by Eddie B

A blog about fantasy wargaming and literature.

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