By: Kevin Lathers
It was a great team tournament! My team finished in third place with a 3-1 record. I personally went 3-1 with Fyreslayers (Vostarg). The venue was good and the people were good-er.
(My team got a little third place trophy)
The Georgia Masters is a team tournament that the Georgia Warband (Atlanta/Northern GA AoS club) is attempting to make a yearly spectacle. This is the first year of it so we were hoping to have solid attendance and a good time. I’d say we achieved both of those.
It’s in the Northern suburbs of Atlanta at a relatively new hotel: The Holiday Inn. The event space was a bit cramped, but not uncomfortable.
Day 1 included a dinner buffet with the ticket price, and I gotta say that was well worth it. I ate so much salmon and shrimp. Lunch could be purchased at the venue, it was good, though perhaps overpriced; it’s a hotel so it do be like that.
(Food were had)
There was a Wendy’s a 2-minute drive away, so that fulfilled some needs otherwise (fuck yea Frosty).
Having a bar immediately outside the event room was helpful, though we still ended up drinking SoCo out of the back of a car in the parking garage as a supplement. C’est la vie.
It’s early October in Atlanta, so the weather is perfect. That means we all got to enjoy the cozy patio on the Hotel’s roof to its fullest after our games. It’s a good place to just hang out and chillax.
(Note: All these people are cool)
The People & My Team
I was on team “5 o’ Clock Somewhere.” This a very subtle and clever play on the fact that we have alcohol issues. This also meant that a large portion of my time was spent drinking and being drunk.
The team consisted of myself on Vostarg Fyreslayers, Daniel on Null Myriad OBR, Mike on Thunder Lizard Seraphon, and Jacob on drums… er Jaws of Mork Gitz.
I would describe us as – to use my friend, and local dad, Andrew’s terminology – a “goofus” team. Here’s our team chat’s very careful planning:
While none of us are the most competitive people, we are all veterans of the game and familiar with our own armies. Despite our complete lack of planning or team organization, we figured we could take some games just off having a pretty wide gamut of armies all being piloted at least semi-decently.
Many, though far from all, of the attendees were the Georgia Warband guys. They are a lovable batch of people who generally are there for a good time. It seems oddly surprising to people that you can be both competitive and affable. Everyone else was also super cool, it was only to their great benefit and my own great detriment that I couldn’t speak with many of them more.
The event was being run by Calvin Rarie and his Co-TO Andrew Simmons. Calvin’s a great guy and good friend. The tournament went smoothly and his choice in location was perfect for both the size and the location. Andrew is always a treat, I last saw him at the Cherokee GT, so it’s good to see him again. The TOs got to play good cop bad cop, though there didn’t seem to be a ton of TO rulings. I think we’ve all mostly figured out 3.0 by now.
At some point the spirit of Gorkamorka began flowing into the room and things got too intense.
(you may not like it, but this is what peak AoS looks like… I think)
(I am buying these even if their rules are awful)
- Army Faction: Fyreslayers
- Subfaction: Vostarg
- Grand Strategy: Masters of the Forge
- Triumph: Inspired
Auric Runefather on Magmadroth (360)*
- Artefacts of Power: Master Rune of Unbreakable Resolve
- Mount Traits: Coal-heart Ancient
Auric Flamekeeper (90)*
Auric Flamekeeper (90)*
- Nullstone Adornments: Hand-carved Nullstone Icon
Auric Runemaster (130)**
- Command Traits: Master Priest
- Artefacts of Power: Volatile Brazier
- Prayers: Curse
Auric Runesmiter (130)**
- Runic Iron
- Prayers: Ember Storm
- Artefacts of Power: Nulsidian Icon
Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (160)
Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (160)
Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (160)
Vulkite Berzerkers with Bladed Slingshields (150)*
- Fyresteel War-pick and Bladed Slingshield
Vulkite Berzerkers with Fyresteel Handaxes (160)**
ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS
1 x Molten Infernoth (50)
1 x Runic Fyrewall (60)
TOTAL POINTS: 1980/2000
I wouldn’t say Fyreslayers are in a great spot right now, though not an awful one. The issues, and this is somewhat borne out by their win-rate (45%) as of writing, are: the GHB’s tactics are somewhat difficult, Fyreslayers tactics are situational (barring one), and their point costs are just a bit too high. This turns a somewhat difficult to play army into a real uphill battle; you generally feel on your back foot for most of the game every game and only pull wins out of the jaws of defeat by capitalizing heavily on your opponent’s own mistakes or abusing hard trades.
With that said, I find Vostarg leans into that the best. Vostarg is generally the “trading” list as all the Vulkites can fight on death (once) and the flamekeepers can jack their damage WAY up. Meanwhile the Runefather on Magmadroth can act as a mobile hammer to hopefully rend through things the Vulkites cannot. This style of play means that win or lose, the matches will generally be close unless your opponent truly messes up. Thus, the army is not a bad “anchor” because you can generally keep any match to within a few points.
To add to this, after accidentally discovering them in a joke list, I’ve added Skywardens. These help a lot with scoring a couple tactics and can generally act as cheap cavalry, something Fyreslayers greatly could use.
This actually means Fyreslayers are a great team army. While you may lose games, you’ll never get trounced. In a singles tournament that… ain’t great. But in a team tournament? That can be fine if your team can do the dunking while you eat up the “bad” matchups (e.g. OBR or SBGL).
Day 1: Round 1 Against Ogors on Geomantic Pulse (Team Win)
At this point the pairing process is a true mystery to my team. Who do we put forward? No one knows. We know I don’t want to play Khorne due to their ability to stop my Grand Strat and we can’t have Mike play Grinnin Blades. So I’m put forward first and we hope for the best. It seemed to work out.
Starting things off strong against Travis Rogers’ Ogors. Travis is a great guy and we both decided we really liked rolling poorly. So throughout this game we both rolled just a ton of bad stuff, which ended up making for a fun and funny game.
He’s playing BCR Ogors, while not a bad matchup they are not a good one. It can be tricky for Fyreslayers to deal with their incredible speed compared to Fryeslayers own 4” moves.
His list is a Huskard on Thundertusk, FLoSH, Butcher, and 3x SH Beastriders. The list itself can put out serious mortal wounds and its combat damage, especially if the units charged, is also not to be trifled with. His spellportal is an odd choice, but then I realized he was attempting to cast the Butcher’s spells through it.
Turns out the spell portal wasn’t too much of a worry, the couple times Travis managed to roll high enough to cast anything I would just unbind it.
The map was Geomantic Pulse and I knew one of Ogor’s bane is their being so few models. Yes, they count for a lot on objectives, but they can’t contest more than one each and they still have to deal with my point sitters. Thus I placed units way on the edges of both A and B while holding my units way back in the middle, spreading his units way out because he couldn’t know whether A or B would be active.
Once either of them was active I locked his Ogors behind both a fyrewall and infernoth (he can’t banish both at once and might fail), and tried to deal with them separately.
This strategy generally worked, though it almost collapsed at one point. He pushed hard on my right side with the huskard and a beastrider, took two beast riders in the center, and his FLoSH on the left. I locked up the right side and hammered the middle with a single unit on the left for him to have to fight.
A fully buffed Runefather on Magmadroth can bring down a Stonehorn Beastrider, so that wasn’t an issue. But even with coal-heart ancient he will take a pummeling from a FLoSH. Luckily, this all costs Travis time and wounds. The poor trades had to happen and he couldn’t kill both the Droth and the vulkites.
By the time his Huskard + Beastrider were freed from the right side I had already held the middle too long and killed the others. He was lifting my units, but it was too late.
I managed to pull out the win 27-20. Mike’s Thunder Lizards are sacrificed to Fred’s Sylvaneth. We know his Coalesced will neuter Fred’s damage and even if Mike loses, it will be a relatively close match, though the map is very against him. My team pulls it out.
(Caught him off guard with this selfie for bingo)
Round 2 Against SBGL on Nexus Collapse (Team Loss)
(I don’t have pictures of this game, here’s Troggs, look GW: it’s hobbying!)
I am VERY drunk at this point in time. I honestly do not remember the pairings process whatsoever. I also don’t really remember most of the first half of the round. I have vague images of wolves and vulkites.
My opponent is apparently chosen to be Cory on SBGL. I like Cory, he works at a nearby store and is a positive dude to be around. He’s running a Vyrkos list with Wolves, Skeletons, Grave Guard, oh my. Cory, god bless the man, has to deal with me during this trying time.
Going off my memories of later in the round. I’m confident I only win this game by nailing a 13” charge with my Vulkites and basically flying them across the map to lift up the Grave Guard he thought were safe. Fyresalyers, oddly enough, are also a somewhat natural counter to SBGL. Their great power is lots of bodies and the one thing Fyreslayers do well is lots of damage.
Also, Ivy Volga is fucking crazy at dunking on monsters. I was starting to run away with things until she basically turned my Runefather into a big useless model worth 5 points on objectives.
Cory also fails some of his “bring back dudes” rolls and I think that’s likely why I win this matchup. It’s a close game, far closer than the score lets on, and I think if not for me dicing my opponent a bit things could have gone the other way. This game existed on a knife’s edge.
I won the game 26-19. I am the only one who wins. We had a bit of pairings snafu (apparently) and probably paired into some of the worst matchups we could (Squigs into their OBR and our OBR into BoC).
Day 2: Round 3 OBR on Spring the Trap (Team Win)
I am the sacrificial lamb here. During the pairings I take OBR. We know Squiggs can deal with SBGL well enough so I’m set to try to play a close match with OBR. And a close one it is.
My opponent is Walter Brock, a true gentleman and a scholar, running OBR: Null Myriad. You likely know the list already just by those words: Katakros, Arkhan, Ossifector, Immortis Guard, and Deathriders.
I am in a rough state. I’m also attempting to cure a hangover with more alcohol. Walter, to his great credit and my deep thanks, lets me get away with a lot of mistakes. I make quite a few both for and against myself throughout the game, most notably forgetting who even has the unbinds in my list (I should not have had one of those unbinds happen), not realizing that my battlesmith was alive (therefore forgetting wards/spell ignore for a round), and then not even knowing what round we were in so I was like “hehe, I’ll be tricky, take the round, tie this baby up and call it a day” only to find out its round 4 not 5 and I’m about to get dunked on because I left myself hanging.
Outside of this, the game itself was mostly lost at deployment. I had the chance to set up terrain and did it poorly. That, on its own, would have been fine: you should never bank on terrain being in your favor. But then I put my units on the wrong side of the board and strung them out a bit too much. To make matters worse, Walter is a skilled player who sets up well taking full advantage of my mistakes.
The idea, and a good deployment would have done this, is to funnel him into my Vulkites in a way that they constantly punish him back and he’s slowly left with nothing. My poor deployment means he can swing around them where need be and split my army instead of the other way around.
The game still becomes a bit back and forth due to the runefather managing to lift one of the units of Immortis. The Skywardens are also a godsend and not only keep an objective in play for me, but get me two tactics this game. But my inability to capitalize on my vulkites + flamekeeper combo due to my poor positioning means Walter quickly takes advantage and crushes my lines.
I lost the game 26-24. To be honest, I should have lost by more. The only reason I didn’t was Walter being a gracious opponent. He purely outplayed me and I deserved every bit of that loss.
My team does far better and OBR cleans up skaven, Squigs dunk on Zombie spam SBGL (one of the hardest counters to zombie SBGL tbh), and Seraphon bulldoze S2D with their damage reduction. Shoutout to Seth’s S2D, he’s new to the tournament scene as well as GAW, and watching him gain skills through this tournament was heartening.
Round 4 OBR (… Again) on Power Flux (Team Win)
Through the power of anime, alcohol, food, and hatred of Death, I am starting to wake up. A Wendy’s frosty was truly the nectar of the gods.
The pairings process here involves one main thing: do not let Kragnos pair into Thunder Lizards where he will kill them all, rip and tear, leave no survivors. Thus Mike is put forward first. This results in me getting OBR… again (with basically the same list). Though it’s always a treat to play Luna.
Luna is relatively newer to the scene than my previous opponents and she’s been improving rapidly. I just got done playing OBR and am ready to learn from my mistakes.
To that end, I set up terrain to favor me a bit more and my ability to wall things up with invocations. I also deploy a bit more heavily on one side of Vulkites and separate out the Magmadroth, this means I can have my droth hammer on one side and Vulkite blob on the other. This is important for forcing the OBR opponent to spread wider than they’d like or threaten to flank them with one or the other. This works well.
Luna, to her great credit, sees my machinations and takes the top of 1, denying me fully locking her up behind the terrain. Oh well, I still can get disruptive with things.
Luna taking first means I get to choose the flux and choose wide. This means if she wants max points she has to at least send some Deathriders over which she does. These are easy enough to clean up with a magmadroth while my vulkites dont engage, just hold the point.
I win priority and give it away so I can keep the flux wide. I know she can’t accomplish a ton due to the positioning of my shield vulkites blocking my droth from some immortis and two units of vulkites clogging up the right side for two more units behind them.
She hits the shields and the vulkites as she has to to take the point, which she will. But it also dooms her because it means I will have the next turn with fully engorged flamekeepers and a juiced magmadroth.
I get my turn, finish off the immortis and some death riders. Still, Arkhan and Katakros are enough on their own to be threats. So the game isn’t over yet.
Luna wins the round 3 priority. Oof. No double for me here. Katakros slaps the shit out of my magmadroth, but thanks to a 3+ ward it lives and hits back some. Arkhan cleans up some more vulkites, but due to her rolls being too good she finishes off the Skywardens leaving no easy target for her Harvester to accomplish the tactic of killing something.
I take my turn, play “stand on 6” circles.” And do nothing.
Then I get the double and the game is basically over now as I kill Katakros with a Runefather on Magmadroth.
I win it 23-11. My team wins some real nail biters, matches I have no idea how they did it. Jacob gets absolutely beat down by Troggs though which makes the point differential a pure tie, thus we end up winning by the tie breaker: wins, our three to their 1.
(I don’t know if this good advertisement or bad advertisement)
So our team managed to claw its way back from 1-1 to a respectable 3-1 finish taking the third place trophy… despite my best efforts. Overall, good games, good food, good friends: the quintessential tournament experience! I went 3-1 personally so it’s hard to complain but sometimes I still do. I’ll give all my win credit to my team captain, Daniel Chabucos, for the pairings and to my opponents for being cool people.
The list itself has become a bit routine for me. Magmadroths have fallen off in the current meta. Power creep has meant they just can’t hold up and GW is loath to decrease FS points or improve their rules. This leaves FS with the hard choices of infantry types and personally I enjoy my hordes of Vulkites.
Team tournaments are definitely a much different experience than individual ones. For example, in my game vs. Walter: I could have gone for a big play and maybe won it but I went for the safe play for a tactic and a couple points. The safe play is better because even if I lose I keep it close and let my teammates do the heavy lifting.
It also means you can list build a bit more safely knowing you can dodge match-ups. Normally Thunder Lizards might suffer if they get matched into Kragnos, but in this setting we could have them dodge it and it’s no problem.
This isn’t my first team tournament, but I think it was my more competitive one. Overall I had fun and we took third place.
Shout out to the winners: Team Mega Best Friends. They deserve all the glory. Not only did they beat some astoundingly good players in Team Degenerates, but they did it with a replacement. Our great friend Eric Urbas, a loveable man who deserves the best, is sadly in the hospital, so Ryan filled in for him at the last minute with Skaven: based.
Will I go to next year’s GA Masters? Absolutely and I’d love to see you there.
(The Glorious Victors)