Tournament Review – Bristol SMASH 2017


Bristol Smash 2017

After a flurry of last minute painting, I’m happy to say that I got my Skullreapers finished for Bristol Smash 2017 the beginning of June (3rd/4th). Now that the dust has settled and I’ve managed to regain my ability to think, here’s my summary of the event and the games I played.

Because of the amount of games I played at Bristol Smash 2017, this post is already pretty long, so I’m going to do my army summary as a separate post as it’ll really allow me to chew the cud so to speak.

As with my last tournament summary post, I’ll try to keep this write up as objective as I can and will keep my opponent’s names out of it, although I will say up front that all of my opponents were fantastic, not a single “win at all cost” attitude amongst them.

Anyway, that’s enough preamble, on with the post!

Bristol Smash 2017

This was an all weekend event run at Bristol Independent Gaming which is where I went for the one day event a couple of weeks previously. The event consisted of five 2000 point, two and a half hour games and I’m happy to say also included lunch on both days. Organisation was brilliant and I didn’t hear any complaints or negative comments from other players about the event. The Tournament Organiser was hoping there would be a bit more terrain (which I’m always a fan of) but there was enough for each table to have at least half a dozen pieces.

Game One – Blood and Glory

Stormcast Eternals

In my last tournament at BiG it felt like I had played nothing but Stormcast, so I entered this game hoping that this wasn’t going to be how the whole event was going to be (I’m happy to say it wasn’t). My opponent is very experienced and competent general with a lot of games under his belt. Game wise, there isn’t really very much to write about, the Stormcast army deployed from the Celestial Realm and overall the game was very close, getting to turn four. I lost that priority roll which allowed my opponent to just get to one objective before me which secured him a major at the end of his turn. If I’d managed to get the priority then I feel I could have just squeezed out a minor loss, but such is the folly of dice!

Result: Major Loss

Game Two – Gifts from the Heavens


My opponent brought a really classic army in the form of Bretonian Knights – including one massive unit of over two dozen Knights. This is something completely different to anything I’ve played before and I can say that they hit like a train on the charge. I had the advantage though in that my smaller units were more manoeuvrable (how ironic!) and I was largely able to determine where melee would take place, effectively pinning the large units in one corner.

As with most cavalry, a 2″ range doesn’t compensate for a 2.5″ oval base, so I was largely able to grind through his units a bit at a time. I do feel a bit bad as I’m not sure we went over the battleplan enough as I simply managed to camp both objectives when they came down achieving a major victory in the process. I do feel that smaller units of Knights, camping on the objective and harrying my objective would have made it much more difficult to achieve.

Result: Major Win

Game Three – Three Places of Power

Slaanesh Chaos

This was a really interesting game and featured a host of Slaanesh Daemons and Mortals. Lots and lots of debuffs appearing round and they’re surprisingly resilient. This was probably one of the most difficult games because by this point I was pretty tired and hats off to my opponent who didn’t exploit that my brain felt like was starting to run out of my ears by then…

One of the big things I messed up on this, was that I didn’t deploy my army very well. My heroes were far too close together rather than directly opposite the objectives, which meant I was fighting to control them. One objective was also on a Temple of Skulls terrain piece which made it really difficult to support the heroes around there. However, I did manage to deny my opponent a Major Win, so all things considering I’m not going to complain.

I also managed to miscalculate the kill points my opponent gained – I calculated the remaining units on the table and took that away from 2k – however my army was under 2k and I had 120 points of battalions… Oh well such is life 🙂

Result: Minor Loss

Game Four – Escalation

Mixed Chaos

Game four started after a pretty reasonable night’s sleep, despite the B&B smelling of smoke as the owners smoked (which we didn’t know when it was booked).

I have to say that this was the most tactical and tense tabletop game I’ve ever played, with the victory points flipping between us all of the time. I was actually pretty apprehensive as my opponent had a Sayl driven Bloodletter bomb and couple of Warpfire Throwers. It appears that he was slightly concerned about throwing them into my Blood Warriors which I think are one of the better units to counter them. Numerous priority rolls were made with sweating and shaky hands.

Now both of us made mistakes in this game. I probably made a few more and one of my bigger ones was that I thought the game finished at 12.30 but it was actually 12.45 (in my defence when I was looking, the clock was taken down from the screen to input results). This meant I did some things during what I believed to be the last game turn – but wasn’t (such as throwing my Wrathmongers into a unit they couldn’t possibly kill). However, my opponent equally managed to move a unit of Stormfiends ¼” off an objective. I also didn’t commit enough of my army early enough, though am very happy that my unit of 5 Blood Warriors managed to tie up a decent sized pack of clan rats in a corner for most of the game!

One very interesting point that was raised (and I’ve since confirmed) is that the hero phase movement from The Goretide battalion can actually allow you to move models currently within 3″ of the enemy – providing they stay within 3″ (moving beyond 3″ is a retreat move) – but I’ll go into this more in depth with my army summary.

Result: Minor Loss

Game Five – Border War

Mixed Destruction

Out of the five games I played this was probably my least favourite army to play against. Now I’ll very quickly say that this isn’t a complaint against my opponent, who was brilliant with giving over bits of advice, explaining what they were up to and answering questions during the game. Instead this comes back to certain things in AoS not having two-way player interaction and Bloodbound suffering massively from hero sniping.

My opponent’s army consisted of a blob of Moonfang Grots, unit of Brutes and the double Thundertusk with Stonehorn combination. For those that don’t know, on full wounds, Thundertusks have a ranged attack that hits on a 2 and does 6 mortal wounds to the target. This was very obviously used against all of my characters in turn and I’d pretty much lost the game after turn one when my Mighty Lord of Khorne was taken off. As I’ve said before certain abilities simply remove interaction from one of the players and when only dice roll of a 2 is required it’s simply doesn’t make an enjoyable game.

Although it sounds like I had a bad game, it was actually pretty enjoyable and allowed me to learn a lot about mixed Destruction armies – enough that I’ve since dug out a handful of Ogors I’ve had in the cupboard for years 🙂

Result: Tabled and Major Loss

Blades of Khorne - The First Outing Blades of Khorne @ BiG - Game Two Blades of Khorne @ BiG - Game Two Blades of Khorne @ BiG - Game Four Blades of Khorne @ BiG - Game FourBlades of Khorne @ BiG - Game Four Blades of Khorne @ BiG - Game Two

Total Points achieved: 34

Final placing: 37/44


So, did I enjoy Bristol Smash 2017? In a word – yes. I felt that my army performed much better than the event I attended two weeks earlier, although I can see where some changes would benefit the army as a whole. Being able to run The Goretide as a battalion did mean that I felt I was actually able to participate in the games I played rather than simply bimbling over the board whilst my opponent shot at me.

I’m surprised by quite how gruelling the event was, constantly being lent over a table and playing for well over 7 hours on the first day was so tiring. I’m sure given more practise this would actually improve.

A couple of bits that I have taken away with me is that I need to be more switched on with calculating things like Kill Points.  I was actually only running 1980 and 120 of that was in Battaltions, so calculating backwards for my game three actually handed away 140 additional kill points :s  But as I mentioned, I was pretty knackered by that point on the first day!

Even if things seem dire, always follow through on dice rolls (for both sides).  In my game four I knew that the 60-odd attacks aimed at my Blood Warriors would remove the unit of five – but I also managed to dish out a decent number of mortal wounds from my Gorefists 😉

So would I do it all again? – possibly.  Myself and the friend I went with both said that although we enjoyed the game, playing in tournament style events requires a much more competitive mindset.  What I mean by this isn’t to bring along the latest filth, but more if you want to end up “mid-table” you need to know your army pretty well off by heart and take advantage of any mistake your opponent may make.  I’m not entirely sure this appeals (regular readers will know I’m a painter/modeller first) so it may be that narrative events could be more up my street.

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