The Tasman Cup was a 5 person team competition between players from Australia and New Zealand on the night before CanCon 2019. The event was held at Jolt Games in Canberra, with five 1v1 games being played in five different battleplans from the CanCon rules pack.
You can find more on the team rules, lists and selection process here. We should also have all the video coverage from the event and post-match interviews from the Honest Wargamer once Rob and the team have made the long trek back to the UK. I’ll embed the videos here once that has happened.
If you are interested in the main event, CanCon 2019, you can read the CanCon awards and results post and the CanCon review post.
But for now, on to the match-ups.
Liam Burnett-Blue (Sylvaneth) vs Seth Cook (Spiderfang)
Liam and Seth were playing in Better Part of Valour in Chamon with the Rust Plague realmscape feature.
Seth’s Spiderfang deployed up on the line of his objectives with the two Skitterstrand Arachnarok’s in reserve. The centre of the Spiderfang line was anchored around 20 Grots and the Loonshrine.
Liam deployed in one go with his heroes on the back board edge to ensure that he could get all his spells off. Once the spells went off, Liam redeployed his Winterleaf battalion to 9″ away from the Spiderfang line and teleported Durthu with Warsinger into the centre of the board. With Warsinger and Cogs boosting charges, Liam had 6″ charges with Durthu, 2 units of 30 dryads and another unit of summoned dryads. Liam swarmed over the objectives and burned all six turn one. Game Over!
0-1 and the early advantage to Team Australia.
Shaun Bates (Anvils of Heldenhammer) vs Paul Grixti (Swifthawk Agents)
Shaun and Paul were playing Border War in Shyish with the Aetherquake Aftershock realmscape feature (+1 to casting rolls). While Paul’s list may have lulled Team NZ into a false sense of security, Paul gave a vision of things to come for the weekend (he went 3-0 on day 1 at CanCon).
Paul demonstrated the sheer speed of a Swifthawk Agents army to score maximum points for the first three rounds of the game to lead 15-4 at the top of turn three. However, Shaun knows how to fight and play out a full five turn game (as demonstrated by his come-back earlier in the day to beat Sam Morgan, who had prematurely declared victory at the top of turn 3).
Shaun scored maximum points in the bottom of turn 3 and in turn 4 and it all came down to the priority roll. Paul rolled a 5. Shaun rolled a 6n (#Facehammerdice). Shaun got the points he needed. Game to Team NZ.
1-1 and parity restored.
Fraser Baker (Maggotkin) vs Anthony Magro (Gloomspite)
Fraser and Anthony, two giants of men, faced off in the third game to finish. These gents played Knife to the Heart in Ghyran with the Seeds of Hope realmscape feature.
The Maggotkin Thricefold Befoulment quickly established magical dominance as the battle lines crashed together. Plaguebearers, manglers and squigs smashed themselves to a stalemate.
The Gloomspite shamans seemed to struggle with a bad batch of mushrooms – Anthony managed to only roll a total of 13″ on 6D6 to have Mork’s Mighty Mushroom land down near his own lines, rather than wrecking destruction in the Maggotkin forces.
The game ended when Fraser was able to fly the Great Unclean One with Thermalrider Cloak over the Gloomspite battleline, summoning 10 plaguebearers and then get a 10″ charge with a re-roll to take Anthony’s home objective and the major victory.
2-1 and for the first time that afternoon, New Zealand was in the lead!
Sam Morgan (Mixed Order) vs Lee Wilmot (Sylvaneth)
Sam and Lee were perfectly matched with two mobile armies in Relocation Orb. The chase to catch the bouncing ball was on. Every step a league.
This match was a typical cagey affair with Lee using all of the precise measurements and redeployment options of a Winterleaf force to defend against Sam’s Mixed Order army, the Pride of Zandri. Sam won the choice of turn in battle round 2 and gave it to Lee. Lee exploited that opportunity to score heavily. Sam surged back and the game stayed in the balance until the very last turn.
It would all come down to the bounce of the orb. The orb bounced and was captured by Sam’s griffon general and Evocators. Win to Australia!
2-2. The Tasman Cup would all come down to the last game still being played.
Dan (Sylvaneth) vs Hayden Walker (Sylvaneth)
The Sylvaneth mirror match was between my Alarielle Winterleaf (the Laurie HW TM list) and Hayden’s Alarielle Gnarlroot list with 5 Endless Spells. The trees were facing off in Hysh with the Dazzling Glow realmscape feature (-1 to hit rolls made for attacks that target units in cover).
I won the priority roll, deployed, took first turn and re-deployed onto all the objectives. The Phoenix seized the centre objective, surrounded by 20 dryads, and dared the Gnarlroot to cast spells within that 24″+ bubble of the centre of the board. My Branchwraith teleported to the side objective,wrapped with 30 dryads, but without scoring that turn. Alarielle held back between the Phoenix and Branchwraith ready to support either.
Then the Gnarlroot magic phase came. Geminids and Metamorphosis took care of the Branchwraith on the objective ensuring no points for me. Hayden then moved the whole weight of his force to the opposite side of the board to seize the other side objective. Hayden got the double, his Alarielle cleared off the side objective and he continued to cast spells outside of the Phoenix bubble. In fact, Hayden spent the game attempting to cast 10 spells a turn and not once did he cast within the Phoenix bubble (denying me any buff to my 5+ armour save).
The battle then turned to the centre objective. My Phoenix versus Hayden’s Treelord Ancient and two large units of dryads. Hayden took full advantage of Alarielle’s command ability (for all Sylvaneth units to re-roll wounds) and some well placed -1 to hit buffs to peel away the dryads protecting my Phoenix. It was looking grim.
This central combat swayed back and forth as we both used Pha’s Protection and the Hysh command ability (allowing units to attack immediately at the start of the combat phase) to try and tip the scales. Hayden stalled my Scythe Hunters from helping by timing them up with Shackles. It could go either way, and by this point we were both very conscious the outcome of the Tasman Cup rested on the game.
The combat ultimately turned on the Phoenix being able to do enough damage to the Treelord Ancient to lower the impact of its attacks – it helped that I could activate the Phoenix in combat before the Treelord Ancient’s stomp to avoid the -1 to hit. The Phoenix survived long enough for my Alarielle to sweep over from the side objective and take out the Treelord Ancient with a devastating charge.
Game. Set. Match. Team New Zealand had the win.
Tasman Cup 2019 – Victory for New Zealand
So with the final game going to the Kiwis, Team New Zealand won the inaugural Tasman Cup for Age of Sigmar – 3 games to 2. The plucky underdogs and dismissed cousins proved that they could play Warhammer.
Thanks again to Charles Black for organising the event and all the Australian team for playing the games in a wonderful spirit. Every single guy in the Australian team was an absolute gent and the games were great fun.
We look forward to many years of match-ups to come and more Trans-Tasman battles as both our scenes grow further. Notorious GT 2019, Sydney GT 2019, CanCon 2020 here we come!