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700 Point Tournament Report with Rivendell

Following on from my last post (in which I managed to do quite well with a 500 point tournament using Rivendell), this was the 3rd tournament in a 4 part Escalation League called "To War!" Put on by some very fine folks and hosted at Your Hobby Place in Fredericksburg Virginia.

Past escalation series posts:
[LINK] Part one, 300 point. 3rd place finish.
[LINK] Part two, 500 point. 1st place finish.

My list this time around:

I essentially added Erestor and 2 Rivendell Knights plus a handful more warriors. After my last few games, I really considered Elrond/Lindir over Glorfindel/Cirdan but the latter combo is just so dang flexible in a tournament they're hard to resist.

Quick note- Given the higher points, I did not feel like I had as much ability to snap pics so I really apologize for the lack of heavy action shots! I will do my best to describe the games in a meaningful way.

Game One: Sieze the Prize vs Arik (Azog's Hunters)

Arik and I were playing on a Khazad-Dum inspired table with lots of LOS blocking. He had Azog, Bolg, both pretty kitted out on wargs and an absolute smattering of hunter orcs. I proceeded forward cautiously, using Blinding Light to help with the shooting war. Arik, however, rushed forward with Azog, dismounted the white warg, and attempted to seize the prize but failed the roll. Every archer that could get a shot, fired at Azog, and managed to put one wound on him and strip his fate.

On the following turn, Arik picked up the artifact with the White Warg, heading for my right flank. His hunter orcs raced forward as Bolg made a bold move on my left flank. At this point Arik had given me two major issues to deal with and had certainly taken the initiative of the game. I had Erestor on my right flank- nowhere near enough juice to deal with both Azog and the White Warg... but Bolg was about to run rampant in my backfield so I had to decide what to do with Glorfindel.

Given Asfaloth's tremendous speed, I was able to surround Bolg with both Rivendell Knights, 2 spearmen, and Glorfindel. I think we both struck up, and Glorfindel reached 10 while Bolg only reached 9 (I may be misremembering that detail- that situation luckily occurred several times for Glorfindel over the tournament!). In either case, Bolg was mercilessly cut down along with his warg.

You can see a Bolg sized hole on the left, while the White Warg is poised to make a break for it on the right.

Azog and several Hunter Orcs are trying to tie up my lines to free the White Warg up to make a break for it. 

Over the following 3 turns, Glorfindel begins racing back along the back line to try to interrupt the White Warg. Arik initially goes for the "get the relic across the opponent's board edge" play, but realizes Glorfindel will be able to intercept him. The turn comes when the White Warg attempts to heroic combat off of two Rivendell Warriors; and fails to kill them. At this point, Arik is out of might and Glorfindel still has 2 remaining. Glorfindel proceeds to charge the white warg and, thanks to some Enchanted Blades from Cirdan, dispatch him. Glorfindel then grabs the relic and races up the right board edge crossing the end zone and scoring the huge 7 victory points. Asfaloth for the win.

In the end, Rivendell scores 7 VPs for escaping off the edge. We also managed to surround a mightless Azog, and bring him down for 2 additional VPs. Neither force was broken, making the game close at 9-0 to Rivendell.

Honestly, Arik's plan was very strong and if the White Warg had managed to kill those two warriors there's a strong chance he would have pulled out the victory. Glorfindel would have still had a chance to chase him down and catch him, but it is far from a guarantee. 

Game Two: Storm the Camp vs John's Iron Hills

John was my first opponent in the first escalation tournament and has since become a buddy and regular opponent. Honestly, I despaired about this matchup because John had the fearsome Iron Hills Ballista. What a perfect scenario for him to sit back and shoot as I am forced to cross the diagonal of the board. If I remember Pythagoras correctly, on a 4'x4' board, that's a little over 5 and a half feet corner to corner. Subtract the 12" of each of our deployment zones, and that's roughly 44" deployment zone to deployment zone. With a 6" maximum move (no March in my list!), that's 8 turns minimum before our lines are clashing. Ouch! 

However, I, of course, had my one saving grace. Cirdan. As the game got started, it was physically and mentally exhausting. Each turn I moved up, made sure I was in the Blinding Light bubble, and made sure I had sacrificial troops inside of 3" (and outside of 2") from key targets of the ballista. John still managed to score 2 pretty solid hits- killing 3 total warriors and knocking several more prone which janked up my battle line.

As I got closer, his crossbows added to the mix and by the time our lines finally clashed I had taken 5 casualties. However, the fight was now centered in his camp with near zero chance of any of his troops reaching mine. So, worst case, we were now playing for the other points. 

At this point, upon reflection, I felt compelled to apologize to John. I was pretty salty about the game so far. It had taken 45 minutes or more of just painstakingly slow advancement with no interaction. BUT, it is a valid part of the game and a strategy John invested in. For as frustrated as I was to have to march ahead- John was equally frustrated that Blinding Light had essentially negated his investment. I'm sorry for being salty, my dude!

I regret to say I totally failed to snap any pictures once our lines clashed- a huge oversight of mine! But, I knew time was not on my side. Glorfindel won a strike off against Dain and killed his Pig. Across the front we were trading roughly equally... but Dain without his pig is much less mobile and I knew my path to victory here was to keep Glorfindel killing. We went for traps where we could, and the softer bits of dwarves (artillery crew, crossbows, and dwarves who couldn't make shield wall). On the final turn, Glorfindel scored 4 crucial kills. In the end, when we tallied it up, I had 3 more elves in John's camp than he had Dwarves thanks to a hard push on my right flank. 

I scored 6 VPs for holding his camp without having lost my own, and 1 VP for breaking him (just on the final turn). John scored 1 VP for breaking me (also on the final turn- if I remember correctly?)

At this point, two games on, Elves had scored 2 Major victories and I was slated to go up against Bill in my next game. Bill soundly beat me in our first encounter at the 300 point tournament.

Game Three Breakthrough vs Bill's Survivors of Laketown and Mirkwood

Let me just say first of all, that I think Bill is an amazing player. Having now played him twice, I feel like I've leveled up just by watching how meticulous he is, and his deep understainding of the rules. In fact, I learned a lot- I will summarize all of the rules I learned or got wrong over the course of the tournament at the end of this post. Shoutout to Bill for playing a very clean game, having a next level understanding of the rule set, and being a very friendly opponent to play with.

Bill's army consisted of Bard and his kids, Percy and some archers, Thranduil and horse plus tons of upgrades, and Tauriel with a few rangers. All of his elves had glaives and he had a boat load of Laketown militia.

This mission has each force divided in half and 3 central objectives. I stuck the majority of my force in the bottom left in the picture above- Glorfindel and Cirdan's force. While Erestor was in the upper right. Bill had Tauriel and Percy in the upper left, and Bard and Thranduil in the bottom right.

Right off the bat this became a wonderful game of maneuver. Bill is exceptional at keeping his forces out of danger and avoiding bow fire. Tauriel, Bard, and Thranduil all converged on Erestor and his scant warband in the woods of the top right while my main force slowly worked towards the center traiding bow fire with Percy. 

I knew Erestor was a goner, but I had to try to delay that for as long as possible. If I could surround the central objective and bleed off resources in the Erestor fight, then Glorfindel and company could be hale enough to hold the line.

Over the course of the game, Erestor went down but not before a cheeky hit on Thranduil that bled off all of his fate. Tauriel, Bard, and Thranduil spent a good amount of resources dispatching that force of Elves; while my main force had taken the upper hand in the bow battle vs Percy's militia. With the brunt of my force now firmly holding the central objective, Bill had to try to crack through it. 

In the final turns of the game, Glorfindel dispatched Bard, and a throng of shielding warriors managed to stop Thranduil from launching a devastating heroic combat. On the left objective, two archers and a Rivendell Knight held the line, killing all of Percy's men leaving only him contesting.

As the final game of the tournament came to a close, we tallied up the score. I had more figures on the central objective for 3 VPs. I also had more figures on the left objective for 1 VP. I killed Bard for 2 VPs, and broke Bill's forces on the 2nd to last turn for 1 VP. Bill scored 2 VP from some sneaky Militia holding out on the right objective. Bringing the game to a 7-2 Major Victory for Rivendell.

Closing Thoughts & Lessons Learned

Really glad I have my eyes closed in this shot.

In the end, 4 major victories was enough to take Rivendell to victory for a second time! All three of my games wound up being great, with great opponents. Each and every one was close- not one of them was an easy fought victory. 

I will forever sing his praises- but Glorfindel is an absolute machine. He never lost a duel all tournament. Cirdan is also an absolute MVP- being completely instrumental in my second game, but never being irrelevant. His auras in the last game were huge- stopping several of Bill's charges to get close to the objective in their tracks, and negating Thranduil's own terror bubble. Erestor and the Rivendell Knights were okay- but never outright amazing. 

The final tournament in the series is 800, and I really don't have any idea what I'm going to do to up the points. I do feel light on Might, so I am heavily considering just swapping Erestor for the Twins and calling it a day. We shall see.

A Few Rules and Lessons Learned
  • I thought if a model was partially in/partially out of a woods and cavalry charged them, the defending model still got the benefit of the wood (or, rather, the cavalry didn't get their charge bonuses). This is a holdover from games like Flames of War where a unit even partially in area terrain received benefits.
  • Bow shots are line of sight from the top of the model's head... this means Cavalry that sits taller can typically shoot over infantry models that are close, but not in base to base.
  • Don't forget to declare channeling at the start of the move step! I am not in good practice at that.
  • You can ride your full speed and then dismount at the end of the move to pick up relics like in Seize the Prize. 
  • One round I feinted with my Rivendell Knight which, of course, means I cannot get my Lance bonus. Just a sloppy play- thankfully I had ALSO cast Enchanted Blades on him so the re-rolls on my lance were still kosher. Sloppy sloppy sloppy.
Thank you for reading!


  1. Ugh to the troll in the Biden shirt, otherwise great stuff! :D

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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