Handful of Points Escalation League: Session One

For regular readers of the site, you’ll know my good friend and co-writer Ben recently wrote about an escalation league we were starting here at the HoD offices (I use that term very wrongly). As such, I consider it my journalistic duty to keep all you good folk up to date on the happenings of the league, at least as far as my games go anyway.

Despite already having many models and numerous armies of various sizes, I decided the best thing to do was start an entirely new one to coincide with the league. For this task, I selected the Slaves to Darkness as my army, courtesy of the new pre-release army box that came out back in December, new rules and all. Going into week one, this is what my army looked like:

Kristian’s army list

That’s it. Six dudes; sixty-five points under our starting total of 500. I’m a slow painter, ok? Personal preference aside, I thought going into the league that this list had serious chops. At 500 points very little is going to have the firepower to down my Daemon Prince before he’s done his job, and the Chosen would hang out in the backfield to sit on objectives and look scary (more on how they did in a bit).

The event itself was a proper beer & pretzels affair, with the terrain on our slightly undersized tables sharing space with cups of tea while army battletomes and core rulebooks balanced precariously on our laps. This right here is peak Warhammer to me. Since we only had one dining table to work with, we split it into two 35×35″ tables which we all agreed were “close enough” to the recommended size that it would be fine. With the tables set up and beverages offered, we were off to the races with round 1.

Escalation League Round One: Slaves to Darkness vs Soulblight Gravelords

Arron's Belladamma Volga, First of the Vyrkos

My first opponent for the day was Arron and his new and untested Soulblight Gravelords.

Arron’s army list

The eagle-eyed among you will have immediately noticed one key detail: none of us really have a clue what we’re doing. And to all of you at home afraid to go play Age of Sigmar because you’re in the same boat I have an important message. That’s ok. As long as everyone’s on the same page and you’re having fun. That’s all that matters.

Our first Battleplan of the escalation league was Rising Power, a cool game where there are five objectives on the field and one of the middle three randomly becomes worth more objectives for the purposes of scoring. To save on word count I’ll let you know two things now that remained true for the whole day; I always got the first turn, and I never remembered to use my Triumph.

My guys started strong, the Prince flew up the field with the Chosen happily plodding along at a positively sedate pace behind him. Turn one my Prince charges a unit of skeletons while my Chosen stand menacingly on the centre objective to claim both it and my battle tactic for the turn. From there things started to get weird, as frequently happens at a points value the game is not really designed to handle.

My Daemon Prince and the unit of skeletons waffle-batted each other for 3 rounds (not turns, rounds), with the Prince stopping briefly one combat to claim the skull of the Vampire Lord who had decided to poke her head in. My Chosen stayed near the centre for the remainder of the game, tanking Belladamma, a unit of skeletons, and a summoned unit of Direwolves. Clever selection of battle tactics and Arron’s inability to hurt either of my units meant I ended game one with a 10 – 4 win.

A banner image for Element Games displaying their 15-25% discount on Warhammer

Escalation League Round Two: Slaves to Darkness vs Hedonites of Slaanesh

My second opponent was our gracious host and dear friend Ben with his Hedonites of Slaanesh.

Ben’s army list

The Battleplan for this game was Burn and Pillage, one objective in each table quarter that can be removed by a unit to cash it in for a nice lumpsum of points. We did not do this thing.

Ben immediately used the Lurid Haze ability to remove some of his units from the battlefield to appear at the end of his movement phase, meaning there was one unit of Hellstriders all by its lonesome. It got charged by my Prince turn one. Once they turned up, Ben’s other two units moved at that blistering Slaaneshi speed to make up the distance, and Syll’Eske put down my Daemon Prince.

The Chosen were still on the field though and, in a scene reminiscent of a Benny Hill movie, slowly chased down the wounded Hedonites army until they were the only thing left standing. It’s at this point that I realised what the good unit in my army was. The end result: win for the Slaves to Darkness 10 – 6.

Escalation League Round Three: Slaves to Darkness vs Lumineth Realm-Lords

The last game of the day was against Editor-in-Chief Niall and his own pre-release box of Lumineth Realm-Lords.

Niall’s army list

Yes, Niall did accidentally cheat. No, it did not help him. And an important lesson was learned to always double check either the app or Warscroll Builder. The over 100 point disparity in our forces did not concern me nearly as much as the fact that Niall was going to be the first opponent with a reliable supply of mortal wounds, and as it turns out this was a healthy fear to have.

Our last game was also my second go around at Rising Power, and I intended to use the same game plan that had been serving me well all day: send in the Daemon Prince while the Chosen grab objectives, then mop-up afterwards. Alas, the Lumineth put out even more mortal wounds than I had anticipated, and so I had to push up my timetable to match.

Niall can claim the accolade of being the only person to wipe out my unit of Chosen, but alas it was too late for him. The Chosen had survived long enough that I could hold objectives and passively score points even without anything on the table for him to shoot at. The final score was a Slaves to Darkness victory 16 – 13; if Niall had remembered to pick a Grand Strategy it would have been a draw. It’s a dirt victory but I’m not proud.

And that’s it for our first Escalation games day. As you can see, it was rough, messy, and damned good fun. Definitely not the professionalism or meticulous planning you’d see from a proper tournament held at a convention centre or even a large FLGS and again, that’s ok. I hope this shows people that you don’t need to worry about those things to put some minis on the table and have fun with your friends.

Next time we’ll be upping the limit to 750 points and I have very little clue what I’ll be adding, but I do know I’ll be taking better notes for the next recap.

Did you enjoy this post? Let us know in the comments! If you want to support the site you could always tip us a bit of change to feed our plastic crack habit, or get some great deals on wargaming and table top gaming products through our Element Games referral link. They have great offers on Age of Sigmar and a wide range of other Warhammer and accessories if you want to start your own escalation league. Make sure you’re following us on Instagram to stay up to date and get involved in our community by sharing pictures of your projects with us!

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