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600 Point Helm's Guard Tournament Report

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of playing in a 600 point tournament at Battlegrounds in Richmond, VA! I opted to run Helm Hammerhand as I was just really enjoying the list in the past two games I played. I didn't change up my list much, opting to run just Helm and one captain.

I setup two boards for the tournament. I was sad that I didn't see anyone use the 2nd level of the elven platforms :(

Game One: Versus Adam's Iron Hills & Army of Thror

This tournament was using the veto system, but I probably forgot all of the scenarios veto'd, so I'll just skip that. Our first game was Breakthrough on my Minas Tirith board. Adam's approximate list as follows:

Dain Ironfoot with Pig
12x Iron Hills dwarves, 6 with spears.
3x Goat cavalry
1x banner dwarf

8 Grim Hammers

Adam deployed in two different table halves, so I loaded my whole army up on a trajectory to slam into Thror and his boys on the right objective. We clashed pretty quickly and, surprisingly, Rohan had a pretty good time of it. Honestly, Adam's dice were... Andrew level bad. He literally never bannered into a win, and probably only won 20% of fights max. While Helm's fight bubble helped, it was mostly just awful awful dice.

Being isolated and swamped saw Thror's dwarves collapse. Eventually, I trapped Thror and after a round or three of Helm battling him... he fell.

In the mid game, Adam solidly controlled my objective, my left flank objective, and his own objective. However, he was rapidly losing dwarves. Here, Adam made his one mistake. Helm, the Captain, and a few boys had trapped Thror who was out of might and with 1 wound. Helm struck and the Captain called a heroic combat. Adam called a Heroic with Dain (I can't remember if it was master of battle but may have been). He won the rolloff, killed a Warrior, and slammed into my back line... But then we killed Thror, then trapped Dain, and knocked 2 wounds and 3 fate off of him. He died the next turn.

With both of his leaders gone, Adam was actually in a great board position to lose some dwarves to courage... but his fellas refused to depart the field. This allowed me to fan out and swamp objectives.

In the end, when Adam's forces broke, I was able to nab his objective and both center objectives. 

I scored 2 VPs for killing Thror, 1 VP for breaking the dwarves, and 8 total VPS for objectives. Adam scored my home objective for 4 VPs.

11-4 Major Victory to Helm.

This game went south hard for Adam and his dice were absolute garbage. I do think my ability to swamp Thror and his boys was a huge early advantage, and of course Helm being a beast was a ton of fun! Really had an awesome game with Adam, and hope I get the chance to play him again.

Game Two vs Richie's Moria

I super did not want to face Richie's list... but I was stoked to play Richie! He's a great guy, and we've played twice before, most notably in my 500 point Rivendell tournament. Richie was once again running the Watcher in the Water! He had

Blackshield Captain
The Watcher in the Water
A metric pile of Goblins. 43 models in total, I think.

This was a tough one! Richie veto'd Lords of Battle and I veto'd Fog of War into Clash by Moonlight... but that was before I realized Clash by Moonlight only affected me! Ouch. I got greedy thinking my throwing spears could be killing on 4s!

With that big well in the center, I had NO INTENTION of going near it with the Watcher lurking about!

I called a March and within two or three turns we were stuck in. Richie's shooting was decent. He put a wound on the Captain and dropped a dude or two. Once the fights were on, Rohan was giving as much as they were getting- but I knew what was coming.

And land it he did. Helm died a horrible, brutal death : (

The fight wore on, with tons of casualties! Eventually Rohan killed enough to break Moria, and the game ground towards Rohan being quartered. The watcher ate his fill of Eorlingas... when tragedy struck! Richie's leader Durburz failed his morale and fled the field!

The watcher just chompin'

The captain, out of Will, and Might, and with one wound remaining bravely ran and hid!

In the end both Richie and I scored 3 VPs: 2 for killing the enemy leader and 1 for breaking the opponent. And.. that was that! A solid draw and a really fun game with a great opponent. Always love playing with Richie.

Game Three vs Cheri's Mordor

My last game against Cheri was hands down one of the most fun games I've played at a tournament ever. Plenty of good laughs and laid back play; which is NOT to say it wasn't a high-level of play! Cheri was impeccable with model placement and used the Witch King really well. Also... Cheri's dice were perfectly normal but my dice were absolutely atrocious this game.

We wound up with Hold Ground after fairly unanimously veto'ing Storm the Camp and Divide and Conquer. Honestly, for game three I don't think either of us were particularly enthusiastic about walking around the board and playing corner to corner! In hindsight, Storm the Camp probably would've been the smart choice for me, given I want to form ranks... but I think we made the right call for a fun game three where the pressure was off us both.
As I mentioned, my dice started bad and stayed bad. Right off the bat I burned a valuable 6 on "winning" priority in a Maelstram game. I wound up burning two might off my Captain to deploy near my forces... but made a mistake putting them so far away. Naturally, Cheri proceeded to roll both of her forces right into my mightless Captain's flank!

What ensued was a laughter filled absolute scrape. This was a ton of fun, even though my dice were so bad I think Cheri stopped enjoying killing Rohirrim. I think I killed at most 10 Mordor warriors, but I zoomed past broken... Unfortunately for Cheri on the turn I broke I ran a Royal Guard to the central objective (which, in this mission, is the only objective that matters). The Witch King made an end run towards the objective on the following but was 2" outside of range... and then my bad luck held. I rolled a 2 to see if the game ended and it did.

This resulted in me absolutely snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. We actually calculated it as a tie because both of our brains were mush and we did not read the final sentence under the scoring rules for Hold Ground: or you are the only player to have models within 6" of the Objective Marker, you instead score 7 points. Shoutout to Chris for pointing that out, and huge gratitude for Cheri for taking that correction in good spirits. 

I scored 7 VPs for the objective, and Cheri scored 3 VPs for breaking me without being broken.

Thus ended Helm's run for the day on two majors and 1 draw. Both the draw and 2nd victory were, frankly, just really good luck (or, in the case of my game with Cheri, consistent bad dice?) on my part, but that's why we roll dice I suppose!

This earned me 3rd place overall, which I can't complain about! Shoutout to my first opponent, Adam, for printing that trophy topper and to Robert who always makes the coolest trophies. 

2nd place went to my friend John running an absolute horde via Goblin Town, and first to Caleb who was running Minas Tirith and (or?) Fiefdoms. 

Closing Thoughts Well, I have to say, I don't see Helm being competitive at any higher points and probably honestly belongs at slightly lower. I could see this list excelling at 500 points. Strength 3 across the board is tough. It's hard to calculate the return on my heavy investment in throwing spears... but overall they weren't amazing. Of course, providing spear support has tons of value, so in that regard they're quite useful. Helm himself is an absolute machine. Royal Guards are awesome.

What an absolute joy of a tournament with three wonderful opponents across three very friendly yet challenging games. Really thankful to have such an awesome crew of folks in this area!


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