I recently had a chance to test my new Stormcast Eternal list (found here), against another local tournament player running a list pulled from the new Cities of Sigmar Book, and I found the results to be quite informative.
In the first practical application of my Stormcast list, I faced off against Hallowheart. I believe that Hallowheart, as previously discussed here, is the most competitive of the seven cities in the book, but I would not say that the list I played against was particularly optimized (I think my opponent was somewhat limited by his current Cities collection).
His list was as follows (I didn’t catch all of his specific spells):
- Lord-Arcanum on Tauralon (General)
- Command Trait – Famed Spell-Hunter (+3 to dispel endless spells)
- Relic – Ignax’s Scales (Aqshy relic that ignores mortal wounds on a 4+)
- Lord-Arcanum on Gryph-Charger
- Lord-Arcanum on Celestial Dracoline
- Relic – Thermalrider Cloak (+4″ to movement and grants the ability to fly)
- 5 units of 10 Freeguild Guard (sword and shield)
- 1 Gyrocopter
- 2 Helstorm Rocket Batteries
- Endless Spells
- Purple Sun of Shyish
- Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws
- Geminids of Uhl-Gysh
- Quicksilver Swords
- Everblaze Comet
- Whitefire Retinue Warscroll Batallion
The basic idea of this list is to push the Freeguild Guard forward ahead of the wizards to take/contest objectives while jamming up the board with large base size endless spells. The endless spells also deal out a good amount of mortal wounds and the Helstorm Rockets and Gyrocopter add damage where needed. I think that if my opponent continues with Hallowheart, he will likely drop at least on of the Lord’s Arcanum and include some additional Battlemages (potentially on Celestial Hurricanum) and endless spells.
This list that I used is exactly the one I previously broke down (linked above).
We randomly rolled the updated Shifting Objectives scenario (three objectives along the centerline, one is randomly rolled for to be worth three points each battle round, the other two are worth one) from the General’s Handbook 2019 and used a good mix of ten pieces of terrain (we also rolled for each piece of scenery, randomizing effects using both the old and new terrain tables).
Due to the inclusion of a battalion, I knew that my opponent would have the option to take first turn. With that in mind I deployed quite conservatively, with my Liberator’s, Lord-Castellant (along with his loyal Gryph-Hound), and Desolators on the board in some combination of in cover, out of range, and out of line of sight of his wizards and rockets. My Ballistas, Longstrikes, Lord-Ordinator, and Knight-Azyros were deployed in reserve.
My opponent deployed his Freeguild Guard in blocks across his front line (the scenario uses standard “dawn of war” deployment) with his wizards and rockets further back to ensure I could not get my ballistas within 18″ and zoning me out of his backfield. He also made sure that my Knight-Azyros would not be able to drop within 10″ of any of his important units (denying me rerolls of 1 to hit against anything good).
Being a smart opponent, and seeing that I deployed too conservatively to get my desolators into charge range of anything turn one, he gave me first turn.
My turn was quick, I gave the Desolators a 2+ save from the Castellant and ran everything forward except said Castellant. Since I deployed so far back, I was forced to drop my Ballistas into range of the center objective (it ended up being the three point objective turn one). I also dropped my Longstrikes onto the right flank to claim that objective (a unit of Liberators were able to run onto the left objective), the Azyros remained in reserve. I wanted to try to take down the Arcanum on Dracoline to reduce his spell casting numbers, but was only able to reduce it to three wounds remaining with my shooting. I did manage to take all five points on my turn.
On his first turn, my opponent buffed up his wizards using the Hallowheart command ability on the Tauralon, and threw all of his endless spells into the middle of the table. He fired his rocket batteries and gyrocopter at various units and charged into my Longtrikes with a unit of Freeguild Guard (to force me to shoot chaff instead of high-value targets).
Between mortal wounds and shooting, I lost a few models, and took wounds on all of my Ballistas and Ordinator, but I still felt pretty good assuming I got turn priority. As often happens though, my opponent won the priority roll and took the double turn.
We took turns moving endless spells (I managed to get the Geminids and Jaws away from my lines and put some mortals on his units, but also took mortals in return. I also lost a Desolator to the Purple Sun). Through a combination of endless spells, shooting and melee, my opponent managed to remove two Ballistas, the Lord-Ordinator, and reduce my Desolator unit down to three.
On my second turn, I dropped in the Azyros and was able to kill the Drocoline and get the Gryph-Charger down to a single wound (I also killed quite a few Freeguild Guard). At the end of the turn, I was down by a score of 10-6.
Had I managed a double turn I think that I would have had a chance to come back, but my opponent once again won turn priority, and we decided to call it there. He likely would have ended up removing the reminder of my Longstrikes and my Liberators via mortal wounds and I would not have had enough models remaining for adequate damage output and objective contesting.
In hindsight, I deployed my Desolators much to conservatively. They have enough wounds and inherent tankiness that I should have put them on the line to force the action and at least make my opponent think about taking the first turn. As it stood, giving me turn one and playing for the double down the line was the obvious choice for him. I also should not have gone for the risky play of shooting his Dracoline turn one, and just tried to weaken his ability to hold objectives and tie up my shooting units in melee by thinning out his Freeguild Guard.
Though the inclusion of three Lords-Arcanum was precipitated by model access, I actually like the inclusion of two (maybe not all three) in a Hallowheart list. The Tauralon has enough wounds to use as the mortal wound sponge for the Hallowheart command ability and the Gryph-Charger warscroll includes a healing spell (this is in addition to the Hallowheart healing spell) which means the Tauralon should be healed back up by the end of the hero phase. The Arcanums also both have the ability to bring one another back with a single wound remaining each turn (not battle round) giving them a bit more resiliency. They also allow access to the Everblaze comet, which when combined with the +3 bonus to dispel command trait, is very good in this list (there is an argument that the comet may be too expensive, but with the ability to dispel and recast each turn it has a lot of damage potential). With a couple more cheap wizards and endless spells, I believe that a variation of the list definitely has legs.
I think that next week I will take a crack at writing a Hallowheart list and break it down here.
Let me know how the Cities of Sigmar and Stormcast have been treating you lately (either playing with or against them) in the comments below.
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