Following on from my previous post- here I will share how my third game went, how the overall Escalation series went, and finally just some general thoughts about MESBG after having played for 6 months or so.
First, a quick reminder that you can view all of the previous tournament reports in this series from the links below:
Chris' game against Angmar in round 1.
Now without further ado....
I was pretty excited to play against Tim- though I think Tim was surprised to be on the top table! Tim was the organizer of the event, and only played due to there being an odd number. Shoutout to Tim- and especially his wife who ran the event on the day and did an awesome job running 4 smooth tournaments!
Tim was running the Return of the King with all three of the Hunters, the King of the Dead, and 21 Dead of Dunharrow warriors. Our mission selection was Storm the Camp, Assassination, and Fog of War. Honestly, I was so brain tired at this point that I don't even remember who vetoed what, but we wound up playing Fog of War (which is honestly one of my favorites, if not my favorite mission).
I chose the King of the Dead as my target. I chose the wood in the top right as my terrain. I chose Cirdan to keep alive.
Tim chose Boromir as his target. He chose The King of the Dead to keep alive (I think- though I actually don't remember confirming this?). He chose the ruin in the bottom right as his target terrain. Spoilers on those- but I figured it'd be more fun to read with that foreknowledge, yeah?
I deployed in my fairly standard elven battle line while Tim had Legolas (in a solo warband) and Gimli (leading just 2 spirits) deployed on his flank- with Aragorn and the King in the middle.
I wasn't really sure where I wanted to engage here. I would've loved to pepper Aragorn with arrows but the terrain was dense enough that his elven cloak was going to keep him out of harm's way.... so I wedged myself into the gaps created by the terrain and prepared to do everything I could to take down my target with an end game Glorfindel run into the woods.
Tim was rightfully cagey with Aragorn (D5 will fall to massed Rivendell bows) so his warband lagged a bit. Meanwhile the King of the Dead approached from my Right Flank where I sent both Boromir and Glorfindel. I assumed correctly that Boromir was his target and also wanted to make sure he was out of Legolas' bow shot! I also wanted Boromir on my flank with Glorfindel to hopefully pressure the King and maybe even go for a risky play to take him down while also being cagey with Boromir.
Speaking of Legolas... I made the dumbest error of the tournament here. I channeled Blinding Light with Cirdan, totally forgetting that Legolas' 2+ shot ignores it. Just throwin' might away.
These guys' profile is pretty good, but two-handed feinting elven lines when I outnumber him will eventually get kills. Often I was rolling 3+ dice on a single spirit just due to my numbers advantage. Cirdan was a real game changer here- making me fearless and forcing terror check. With Courage 6- he didn't fail often but it did happen a few times. Finally, when Tim did win a fight he wounded on 5s which could've been worse.
The battle continued to develop and, really, elves were giving more than they were getting. Once Aragorn got into it, though, it was of course much uglier. Erestor burned all of his might in a fight with the King of the Dead which did result in the King burning out of Fate and suffering 1 wound. Just 1 wound shy of getting him! Shortly thereafter, Erestor found himself in a situation, and I began to second guess that he was Tim's target- with no might and no fate I was really worried about Erestor but he was my best bet to kill the King as Boromir and Glorfindel were nowhere near him!
As the final game came to a close, I scored 3 VP for keeping Cirdan alive. 3 VP for killing the King of the Dead. 3 VP for scoring my chosen terrain piece unopposed, and 3 VP for breaking the dead without being broken.
Tim got 1 VP for grabbing his chosen terrain piece with 1 model, but I had Boromir in the terrain as well.
Making the final tally 12-1 for Rivendell.
With that, I had 3 Major victories under my belt for the 800 point round and pulled out the victory on the day!
But, finally, with a total of 44 tournament points across the 4 tournaments in the series, I also nabbed the Grand Champion trophy and I gotta say... it's SO COOL!
I mean, look at that thing?! Now I can have the Eye of Sauron watching me all day every day, and you bet your po-tay-toes it's sitting on my desk. edit to add this trophy was made by Rob and man he just really knocked it out of the park!
First of all, I feel incredibly lucky and quite happy to have done so well in this tournament. I am just over 7 months or so into this game and it felt a little overwhelming to wrap my head around the advanced tactics in this game (much less the basics!). It's a mature ruleset that (like any good tabletop game!) has plenty of complexities and little gotchas. And they still get me! But, I am SO hype on this game right now. In fact, my favorite moment of the whole tournament was against Tim when, at some point, we both turned to each other after something happened on the table (I can't even remember what now) and both exclaimed "This game is SO GOOD", both of us beaming.
My second favorite part of competitive play is the road trip up and back with buds. Andrew is one of my best friends and our gaming adventures throughout the years are just so fulfilling and fun. They're those things you look forward to and remember fondly. We've developed a great little group here with really standup people. What's better than that?
As I mentioned in part one, I will post up one more article around my impressions of Rivendell, list choices, etc with maybe a bit of a data breakdown from across the tournament series.
Thank you for reading!