This past Sunday I organized a Who’s the Boss tournament at Drawbridge Games using the nice Grotscon ruleset. While an unusual number of last-minute cancellations from players kept the numbers down, we still had enough to field a sizeable group of casters. For those unfamiliar with the Who’s the Boss format, all the Warcasters and Warlocks get pooled in the middle and are rolled for at random each round. It makes it so the players have a different caster leading their force each time, and as they cannot be from the same faction it can lead to some strange and fun combinations. In addition, casters are fielded as if they are part of the faction you’re playing, so Warcasters could be using a Fury mechanic instead of Focus (and vice versa) depending on who gets them. It’s pretty chaotic, because they’re usually using spells that aren’t balanced for the faction. Mayhem can easily ensue.
We had a huge field of casters available even with the cancellations–40 different fully painted casters that could be randomized.
Quite the deadly group.
As we would have had an odd number of players if I didn’t join in, I played as well. Because Who’s the Boss games take a long time–there’s a lot of reading and thinking about the casters, which slows you down to be safe–we had 30 point forces with at least 7 points worth of Warjacks/Warbeasts. I fielded Trollbloods for mine: Two Dire Troll Blitzers, a Storm Troll, a Troll Bouncer, and five Troll Whelps. I figured that it could deal with whatever infantry showed up at 30 points, but could still get work done against beasts and jacks as needed.
My first Random Boss was Calaban the Gravewalker, a Minions warlock. Occultation to keep me safe, Bone Shaker to assault the foe, and Parasite to make the Trolls hit like trucks… plus a crazy feat versus an opponent fielding a lot of living infantry.
I got lucky, and that’s exactly what my opponent fielded. It was a Thornfall Alliance force with a heavy line of Brigands and Slaughterhousers, backed up by some beasts. His randomized caster for the round was Grissel Bloodsong, Fell Caller. As Grissel is one of my contributions to the caster pool, I knew her pretty well–it was time to see what she did for the Pigs.
The Roadhog grabs my Bouncer’s shield as the two tussle in the zone. I put a lot of pressure on his force, with the Blitzers’ Guns and Calaban’s spells (especially on feat turn) putting the hurt on them badly. But the sheer brute force of the Roadhog helped keep my Trolls in check. Finally my caster was killed, thought we were each down to just three or four models each at that point. Absolutely bloody but fun battle with a great sport of an opponent–who seemed to love the raw power of Grissel’s feat turn especially.
My second Random Boss was Kara Sloan, a Cygnar Warcaster. She’s a shooting specialist for a shooting faction, and given that I was fielding a pretty shooty list, I was excited about the combo. Her feat turn in particular could be devastating with my force as it meant a number of extra long-ranged attacks from her and no need to boost my to-hits with my Trolls (which is usually a must for ranged attacks in the faction).
My opponent fielded Cryx, led by Random Boss Vice Scrutator Vindictus. The force was two bonejacks, a big unit of Bane Thralls with UA and Bane Lord Tartarus, and Blackbane’s Ghost Raiders. Defender’s Ward on the Bane Thralls was a bad, bad thing, and the movement bonus and pathfinder from True Path was just icing on the cake for them.
A lone Troll Whelp stands up to the withering menace of a Bane Thrall. Too much work had to be done by Kara in this one: she was the only magic weapon, but it was only ranged, so a lot of her shots had to go into Blackbane’s incorporeal models. But with her ability to see Stealthed models, she was the only one that could really project any threat on the Banes. While the feat helped, it really didn’t stem the tide.
Vindictus himself rolled up to push the attack and clear the zone. Kara was not assassinated, as he was well back on a flag on my half and killing things as they got close. But the Banes cut my warbeasts to ribbons and eventually left him able to out score me with dominating the central zone. It was a fun game, and I’m not sure what all I could have done to be the victor in this one.
My third Random Boss was Drake MacBain, a Mercenary Warcaster. As my force was almost all battlegroup, his feat was near useless but Energizer was awesome. He was also the best painted of the casters that I got to play with during the event.
My opponent had a Khador force that was quick and deadly with Black Dragons and Doomreavers. His random Boss was Anson Durst, Rock of the Faith. The scenario was the older one with three flags, one of which disappeared at the very end of round one. I gambled by sending my force almost entirely to the left flank, while he went middle and right. Luckily, it was the rightmost flag that disappeared. I could win the scenario by dominating the outside flag (2 points) if I could keep him off it.
What proceeded to happen was a strange maneuvering game, with very few casualties at first. I got a quick turn of nabbing 2 points of the objective, so I was well on my way. Once his forces started to hit home I could see that I wasn’t going to with the actual battle. So I had to be creative–thank goodness I had the Dire Troll Blizers and their Repulsion animus that pushes opponents away. Through creative use, I was able to slow him down and score again. It finally ended in a situation where if I could just get a few key models pushed away, I’d win the scenario 6 points to 5 points (as he had been getting the middle one flag for a while). Drake did his job, pushing a unit away, Energizering, pushing a few others away, then moving and pushing out a third group. All that was left was the completely healthy Blitzer needing to animus near him, then suffer but a single free strike on his way to move and animus away the last two models. Victory was almost in my grasp. Till the Black Dragon Pikeman’s free strike rolled doubles, and my Dire Troll suffered the Critical Knockdown effect which ended his turn before he could shove out the last two foes and causing my opponent to win 5-4. It was a blast of a game, and my scenario play was a race against his killing power. Really fun time.
I did up the trophies for the event, as you’ve always got to give out trophies to reward players, as I wrote about in this Bell of Lost Souls article. The big center one, with Who’s the Boss’ Tony Danza, was for the overall winner and came with the prize of Haley 3–the boss who’s three bosses at once! The one on the left, with Boss Hogg, was for the best painted boss, and came with pSkarre. The one on the left, with Boss Nass, was a surprise award–it went to the player who had the worst luck with which random bosses they rolled throughout the event. It’s good to award a non-competition prize in every event.
A shot of the winners with their prizes. Matt won the overall Who’s the Boss victor, going undefeated for the event. Andy won best painted for his nifty, and bloody, Minions warlock Midas. And Ryan won the Boss Nass worst caster luck award largely on getting Durgen Madhammer in his first round, which proved to be a complete disaster. Durgen has a hard time being successful with a force full of carefully synergized dwarves… in Who’s the Boss he’s a disaster when you get him in a force that had no shooting besides a single spray.
Overall it seemed to be a fun event. I was bummed that we had so many people cancel and no-show right at the last minute, but focusing on the players who did show and the fun we had makes it a success in my mind. I’ll probably try to host another in the future sometime, as it’s a fun format for everyone–and I’ve got a few casters I want to paint up to offer up for the next incarnation!