AOS Skirmish: Gameday at LGS

Luckily miniature wargaming is not all about preparations and painting but actual gameplay is also part of the deal. On the top of that there is currently reasonably active scene of AOS players at Tampere. So when a Magic the Gathering event was cancelled due to low number of participants I was able to secure the tables at Puolenkuun Pelit Tampere for skirmish.

Taking my whole Coralhammer scenery to the store was less daunting than I had excepted. They fit pretty easily to my army carrying case so I naturally wanted not only to play with that board but also (vainly) to show them of.

There were four of us playing skirmish last Wednesday. That’s not much but considering the time table I was very happy with it. I got to play two games in little over three hours and got much better understanding of how skirmish works as a game.

Up until these games I had had great success with a simple Sylvaneth list (Branchwych and some Tree-Revenants). I was maybe overly confident with my list and abilities since I lost to Nighthaunts (although just barely) and Stormcast Eternals just wiped my entire team of the board with one spell.

I wanted to share a few of my ideas about the games we had and how they shaped our experience.

Use a lot of scenery – This is an easy point. By my experience more scenery means more interesting battles. The amount of options for you to build your warband might not be that high and the scenery is there to even the differences. I would add that you do not need to use scenery rules for all pieces. In fact filling the table with hordes of scenery rules might hinder the game. We used deadly-rule for all “coral forests” and it really changed how we viewed the battlefield. Army specific terrain could be an interesting addition but I would limit them to narrative and casual games.

Controlling the choke points of deadly terrain proved to be a valid strategy for Stormcast Eternals.

Don’t Underestimate the Filler Units – Cheaper units that work as battleline tax in regular Pitched Battles are nothing to scoff at. My dryads managed to do a lot of work in both games and a band Chainrasps killed my general in single round. They are also better for taking the objectives (as per usual) and have the merit of protecting your general with Look out, Sir!

My Branchwych did not survive this.

Manage your shooters – Ranged attacks are usually pretty good in skirmish. Being able to shoot from and into close combat is very valuable. That being said basing your whole strategy on shooters alone might backfire (yes, pun intended) if the table is filled with scenery, as it should be. Taking the high ground is very important to increase your line-of-sight. The main problem with shooters is that they have to be in the open to use their ranged attacks and this means they are always also a clear target for your enemy. So protect them and keep them with 1” of scenery since most of them have obstacle that pumps their save against ranged attack.

I had invested in Kurnoth Hunter with a bow but it was extremely underwhelming in skirmish. It didn’t do any ranged damage in the whole game and most of the time my opponents was able to move without entering its threat zone. 

Understand Magic – Magic is essential in skirmish. Even if you do not plan to take any spell casters you need to be able to unbind them. The way Skirmish handles units changes the way most spells work. But even if you are not able to gain the most out of your own spells Arcane Bolt is excellent in a game where even one mortal wound can tip the balance. You might not be able to cast Endless Spells but most of there also won’t be a Cygor to kill your caster.

Keep It Light – Skirmish is a game a broken stuff. Spirit Storm from Knight-Incantor can wipe out an entire warband with one roll. That might be fun once but I would take it in every game I play. The rules that Skirmish uses were meant for fun games and expanding your mini collection. At least for me it isn’t a competitive format of honing combos. If that’s to your liking I have no objections against it. Go do your thing and enjoy it by all means! I only pointed this out because currently skirmish is a fringe format that does not need more bad rep about new players facing overpowered perfection. We have Underworlds for that.

After the games were over all players felt pretty excited. We kept on chatting about what happened and how Skirmish could be played. I ended up writing flavor and drawing maps for Coralhammer and ordering even more minis I really don’t need.

If you haven’t tried AOS Skirmish yet I would advice you to give it a try. It quick fun and does not require that much space to set up.

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