So CanCon 2019 – what a truly amazing event filled with 200 loud, hospitable, funny and competitive Australian, New Zealand and American gamers in 40 degree heat in a massive tin shed. The pinnacle of Southern Hemisphere Warhammer beamed to the world via the Honest Wargamer. #AussieMeta showing that Kharadron Overlords, Warherds, Beasts of Chaos, Swifthawk Agents, and Mixed Destruction can all outperform the global statistics and defy expectations.
I’m writing this report on the plane back from Sydney to Auckland as I try to personally digest the story of CanCon 2019, while we wait for the full results to be published. You can find all the initial results and awards here and also read my report on the Tasman Cup – the precursor team event between New Zealand and Australia. I will update the post with pictures and videos once I get some time on the ground.
Reflections on CanCon 2019
What struck us visiting Kiwis the most was the warm embrace we received from the Australian Age of Sigmar community. So many people came up to say hello, introduce themselves, show us around and take care of us. The whole long weekend was filled with a common love of the hobby and good vibes. It was the ultimate testament of the health of the Australian Age of Sigmar community!
Friday – set-up, Tasman Cup, and BBQ
Friday was set-up day – over 50 gamers turned out at the EPIC convention centre in Canberra to help Clint and the TO team to help set up 100 tables with mats, board toppers and terrain. Even before the addition of the player terrain, the tables looked great because hobbyists and gaming clubs from around Australia contributed terrain to the cause. The event truly was a group effort from the Australian scene, led by Clint and the Heralds of War team.
Friday afternoon for us was the inaugural Tasman Cup – a team competition between New Zealand and Australia with bragging rights in the line. You can read how that went down in my Tasman Cup report.
Friday evening was the perfect icebreaker – Michael of the Doom and Darkness YouTube channel and the South Australian boys put on a true Aussie BBQ for over 50 gamers at the Carotel. The evening was whiled away with sausages, steaks, banter, goon (wine in a sack), Blue Tinglers (just ask Randy or Nathan), and a certain #SpiderRidah! It was a great way to meet many people that we only knew from conversations online ahead of the weekend’s gaming. I’d highly recommend other destination tournaments think about arranging group Friday night entertainment.
Saturday – unexpected heroes & #AussieMeta
So day 1 of the tournament dawned, 41 degree heat, blazing sun and thousands of gamers gathered outside the three large halls of the EPIC convention centre in order to play 35 different game systems, enter the cosplay competition, attend painting seminars, or shop through the vendor hall. In such conditions, the event organisers arranged for cold water bottles to be distributed to all the players throughout the first day. Great call!
Now before I delve into all the round by round coverage, you can check out all the live-streaming back on the Honest Wargamer twitch and YouTube channels. Tabletop commentary, interviews and my roving reporting from around the whole event.
Round 1 – Three Places of Power
Round 1 was Three Places of Power, fought in Hysh and with the Dazzling Glow realmscape feature.
The first round kicked off and legends started to be made. An Idoneth Deepkin Army with 4 sharks, eels and a turtle kicked off the stream (because #Australia!!!) – sadly that ended as you may predict. However, it was more than made up for around the hall – Swifthawk Agents beat a Murderhost with two Bloodthirsters and scored 1880 kill points! Scourge Privateers beat Gloomspite Gitz and a Vorgorath (1200pt Khorne Dragon) died to clan rats and a Warplock Engineer!!!
The first Gobbapalooza army at a tournament also got a win from teleporting 60 Stabbas across the board, releasing a large unit of Loonsmasha Fanatics and wiping the heart of a Seraphon army off the board. James Moorhouse’s Phoenix Temple army lost its 30 Phoenix Guard for the first time ever, and his three Phoenixes suffered 34 out of 36 wounds, against a Mixed Destruction force but he still held on for the win.
Adam Burt, last year’s winner, got off to a slow start, only able to get a minor victory from a very hard match up for him in this scenario. Morathi held the centre of the board against Adam’s Stormcast and Adam’s Aethervoid Pendulum was not able to do enough to Morathi. Adam’s chances were dented but he wasn’t out.
Round 2 – Better Part of Valour
The second round was Better Part of Valour, in Chamon with the Rust Plague realmscape feature. Given the scenario, there is always a risk of some games finishing early to an alpha rush with objectives being swarmed and burned on turn 1. Now, while we didn’t have any games finish in the first 40 minutes, Skryre, Deepkin, Dreadwood, Murderhost, Spiderfang and other alpha armies were winning through.
My favourite story of this round was Danny Carroll’s Freeguild General on Griffon with Sword of Judgment doing 17 mortal wounds to a Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon with Ethereal Amulet in order to take it off in one shot. What a story!
The result of the round would have to have been Paul Grixti’s Swifthawks beating a second Blades of Khorne army. The first two victories for a Swifthawks army at a major tournament!
We also met Dave Broomham this round – a first time tournament player using the Bonesplittas Teef Ruk with 12 Big Stabbas! By this point, Dave had beaten a Gavriel Surecharge Stormcast list and a Maggotkin list (with no monsters)!
The streamed game was Luke’s Scourge Privateers against a Death Army. Sadly this was too hard a match-up for the pirates – which rely on speed, shots and encircling opponents with the Anvilgard rules.
However, we did learn that Pete Bickford, holder of the CanCon 2018 wooden spoon (last place) had won his first two games with Gloomspite and was having a much better 2019.
Round 3 – Border War
The final round for day one was Border War, in Shyish, with the Life Leeching realmscape feature.
By this point, there were still some really interesting match-ups in play. Paul’s Swifthawks flew their way onto the stream and table 16 to play against Bruno’s Sylvaneth army. Bruno was clearly living in the future as he had converted a pram into an army carrying vehicle complete with display board and space for his carry cases. Paul’s Swifthawks again delivered and the shock sensation of day 1 was on 3 major wins!
Other notable match-ups were Eddi MacMichael (DoK) beating Sam Morgan (Mixed Order) on table one, a Gobbapalooza on table two against Gore Pilgrims, a Phoenix Temple vs Stormcast Vanguard army on table three and the Master, Dave Kerr’s Deepkin vs Dreadwood on table four.
Beasts of Chaos were performing well on tables 9 and 14, and Legions of Azgorh were on tables 13 and 15. Dave with his Teef Ruk managed to get Foot of Gork off 7 times in one go to do 28 mortal wounds and turn the game in his favour.
By sheer coincidence, the only two Freeguild armies at the event were drawn against each other on Table 95 and fought out a draw on victory points, with the minor going on kill points. This was a beautiful game as these two armies took first and second in the Best Painted Awards.
Round 4 – Relocating Orb
Day 2 is the day that the top tables start forming and players are pushing for places. So I spent my time focussed on the top 10 tables and who was rising and falling. For rounds 4 to 6 you’ll see the top 10 tables and the results – a bold player name indicates that the player was victorious.
Round 4 was Relocating Orb, in Aqshy, with the realmscape feature, Flaming Missiles, giving extra rend to all shooting over 12″.
Top table, and on the stream, was the reigning Australian Master, the wizard himself, Dave Kerr against the kid, the challenger, Alex Khron with his KO. A combination of the realmscape feature and the Barak Zilfin rules meant that the double Eidolons of the Master were dealt to and we had a massive upset on table one.
- Dave Kerr (Deepkin) vs Alex Khron (KO)
- Eddi MacMichael (Daughters) vs Sam Morgan (Mixed Order)
- Lee Wilmot (Winterleaf) vs Liam Burnett-Blue (Winterleaf)
- Matt Tyrell (Legion of Blood) vs Matt Campbell (Gore Pilgrims)
- Nick Gentile (Daughters) vs Ryan Kirby (Warherds)
- Shaun Bates (Stormcast) vs Ash McEwan (Nighthaunt)
- Ben Camden-Smith (Maggotkin) vs Brod (Maggotkin)
- Mick Thomson (Grand Host) vs Paul Grixti (Swifthawks)
- Tim Neal (Legion of Azgorh) vs Rhys (Legion of Azgorh) – DRAW
- Adam Burt (Stormcast) vs Dan Brewer (Tomb Kings/Bye)
Round 5 – Knife to the Heart
Round 5 was Knife to the Heart – the perfect time for this battleplan to act as a separator for the top tables. It can be a real challenge to get the major victory and maximum points in this scenario. This round was fought in Ghyran with the Lifesprings realmscape feature.
- Alex Khron (KO) vs Eddi MacMichael (Daughters) – MAJOR
- Matt Campbell (Gore Pilgrims) vs Ryan Kirby (Warherds) – MAJOR
- Ash McEwan (Nighthaunt) vs Lee Wilmot (Sylvaneth) – MINOR
- Mick Thomson (Grand Host) vs Adam Burt (Stormcast) – MINOR
- Ben Camden-Smith (Maggotkin) vs Jesse Perkins (Daughters) – MINOR
- Nick Hoen (Daughters) vs Rhys (Legion of Azgorh) -MAJOR
- Tim Neal (Legions of Azgorh) vs Charles Black (Dreadwood) – MINOR
- Deano Mathews (Mixed Destruction) vs Ethan (Deepkin) – MAJOR
- James Morehouse (Phoenix Temple) vs Joel McGrath (Beasts) – MAJOR
- Kameron (Deepkin) vs Kent Van’t Schip (Deepkin) – MAJOR
A personal highlight of this round was Alex’s move to win the major victory at the top of turn 3 while snakes were just inches from his lines and home objective. He dropped the Frigate at the bottom of round 2, disembarked the 14 thunderers and khemist from inside, shot off the witch aelves on Eddi’s objective, charged a bloodwrack medusa with cogs, and then retreated immediately out of combat with a run with cogs onto the Daughters of Khaine objectives. Unfortunately the success of the move meant the game ended before he could claim his secondary objective (worth 4 points or the difference between a major and a minor victory).
Round 6 – Focal Points
The final round came down to a battle of Focal Points, in Ghyran with the Hungering Animus Realmscape feature. Top table was Alex’s KO vs Matt Campbell’s Gore Pilgrims – the South Australian wunderkid vs the runner-up at the Australian Masters. Immediately below that table, the battle was equally intense as players fought for podium places and best in alliance awards.
- Alex Khron (KO) vs Matt Campbell (Gore Pilgrims)
- Ash McEwan (Nighthaunt) vs Mick Thomson (Grand Host)
- Nick Hoen (Grand Host) vs Ben Camden-Smith (Maggotkin)
- Deano Mathews (Mixed Destruction) vs Joel McGrath (Beasts of Chaos)
- Ken Van’t Schip (Deepkin) vs Lee Wilmot (Winterleaf)
- Mick F (Stormcast) vs Chris Tot (Blightkings)
- Nathan Princi (Stormcast – Thundercats!) vs Nick Gentile (Daughters)
- Eddi MacMichael (Daughters/Snakes) vs Luke McFadden (Sacrament)
- Matt Tyrell (Legion of Blood) vs Ryan Kirby (Warherds)
- Tim Gunderson (Stormcast) vs Tim Neal (Legion of Azgorh)
Matt Campbell defied the odds, stared the KO Barak Zilfin guns in the face with his Gore Pilgrims with Bloodthirsters and seized the day!
CanCon 2019 Final Standings and Awards
- First Place: Matt Campbell (Gore Pilgrims)
- Second Place: Nick Hoen (Grand Host of Nagash)
- Third Place: Michael Thomson (Grand Host of Nagash)
- Fourth: Joel McGrath (Beasts of Chaos)
- Fifth: Nathan Princi (Stormcast)
- Sixth: Ken Van’t Schip (Idoneth)
- Seventh: Eddi MacMichael (Daughters)
- Eighth: Chris Tot (Maggotkin)
- Ninth: Matt Tyrell (Legion of Blood)
- Tenth: Tim Neal (Legion of Azgorh)
- Best in Chaos: Joel McGrath (Beasts of Chaos)
- Best in Death: Matt Tyrell (Legion of Blood)
- Best in Destruction: Joel Hennessy (Gloomspite – SQUIGS!)
- Best in Order: Nathan Princi (Stormcast)
- Best Opponent:
- Third: Brod McMurdo
- Second: Seth Cook (Goonboss)
- First: Josh Best
- Coolest Army – Player’s Choice:
- Third: Dan Carroll (Freeguild)
- Second: Tim Barclay (Sylvaneth)
- First: Blake Kerwick (FEC)
- Best Painted Army – Judge’s Choice:
- Third: James Lynch (Blades of Khorne)
- Second: Danny Carroll (Freeguild)
- First: Brent Cers (Freeguild)
- Best Terrain:
- Third: Randy (the Tasmanian TombKing)
- Second: Tim Barclay (Forest Treehouses)
- First: Ben Spinetti (Deepkin waves)
- Wooden Spoon: Ashley Marr (Beasts of Chaos)
- Narrative Prize Winners:
- “Pat” / Pasquale
- Tristan Smith
- Ashley Marr
- Alex Gordon-Carlyle
- Tim Barclay
- Luke Stone
- Pasquale #2
Some final CanCon 2019 highlights
Well with the round by round coverage done, I just wanted to add some final bullet-points on stories from the weekend.
- All the events around the main event – Doom and Darkness BBQ at the Carotel, the Measured Gaming crew in the campground on Saturday night, the Sydney lads, the Failed Charge guys and the Dwellers Below crew.
- Everyone sharing cabins at the Carotel – early morning Roo-spotting with Nathan as Magpies circled.
- Swifthawks going 3-0 on Day One – the postman was delivering
- Anvilgard Scourge Privateers showing what speed and shooting can do
- Warherds pushing hard on the top tables and ending 4-2 at the last hurdle
- All the mirror matches!!!
- The two top Legion of Azgorh armies battling to a perfect draw in Relocation Orb – matched on victory points, matched on kill points and both happily fighting over a hill on the battlefield.
- Spiderfang vs Spiderfang in Knife to the Heart – at one point both players looked like they would swap objectives with the skitterstrands popping up at one end while spider riders swarmed over Grots at the other n
- The Winterleaf match-up between Liam (Durthu) and Lee (6 eels) one of the most precise and technical games of Warhammer I’ve ever seen
- Chaos Dragons stomping around the tables – either swinging between removing the entire opposing army or dying to lowly Skaven
- Deano’s Mixed Destruction on table 4 last round, having earned the place by teleporting the Troll Hag onto the opponent’s objective in Knife to the Heart the previous round.
- David Broomham at his first tournament smashing face with Bonesplittas,m Teef Ruk and 12 Stabbas!!!
- The German wunderkid, Alex Krohn, showing that shooting is back with a great display with Kharadron Overlords.
- Danny Carrol’s Freeguild General on Griffon taking out a Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon with the ethereal amulet by doing 17 mortal wounds with the Sword of Judgment.
- The Freeguild vs Freeguild battle on table 95 played between two amazingly painted armies (the guys took first and second in the best painted competition) on great terrain.