Interview with Joel Graham, Winner of End of the Everwinter

Joel is killing it this year, winning the Summer Smash event way back before lockdown and following that up with a 5-0 at SAGT. Last weekend the bastard went and beat me on table 1, game 5 to wrap up another famous victory, this time with FEC, in what must be their first tournament win in well over a year.

Let’s see how he did it.

Another week, another win.  2020 hasn’t been too unkind to you, from a wargaming perspective?

Hello all and thanks for having me on Pete. For my first full year in AOS it’s been quite the ride. Taking out two tournaments and getting 5 wins at each of the 4 tournaments I attended; it doesn’t get much better then that, does it?

While it’s not always about winning, it does make all the time and effort you put into preparing and theorycrafting worth it. There’s a lot of depth to this game when you start peeling back the layers, and it’s been very rewarding to do so.

Can you run us through your list? How does it work?

Nothing crazy in this one, we’ve seen it all before. The two Terrorgheists kill anything they touch, and anything that touches them thanks to Call to War (fight on death, and for a CP they can pile in and fight again. Not broken at all, move along…)

In my opinion, Chalice is the best Endless Spell in the game in the context of the army it’s part of. 
King’s Ghouls was very much a pack-dependent call, having 3 missions that each reward Leaders, plus Total Commitment in the pack. For that reason it edged out Ghoul Patrol. I was worried about the Crypt Horrors being a tax, but I was pleasantly surprised by their performance across the weekend

I didn’t pick FEC to win this event: this army is very much a hobby project and I wanted to have a go at Best Army, and show it off a little. I did tune it to take the best stuff available in the faction as I enjoy competitive AOS, but winning the event was a pleasant surprise.

Can confirm that it’s an outstanding hobby army! The troubadour heroes with their fedora hats was amazing, but it was the effort that went into kitbashing the Peasantry with little details like pitchforks that really blew my mind.

So what good and bad matchups did you have earmarked at the event?

Very few combat armies can hang with Gristlegore, even with the book starting to show its age; most armies in the meta have no more than one or two big hammers. You need to kill my Terrorgheists…and when you do, you better be damn well sure he’s taking them down with him. 

I believe the list is favoured vs K.O. so I wasn’t worried about the stunties, but things like Seraphon, Lumineth, Cities (Hallowheart) and Fyreslayers are terrifying for my poor Ghouls. There was a bit of luck involved to avoid them.

Can you run us through your games Day 1?

Day one was Everchosen starring Archaon and 9 Varanguard, followed by Beasts of Chaos and Feast Day FEC. To put it simply, Gristlegore’s fight on death is too powerful for all of these armies, and with some smart positioning and playing around the double it was fairly elementary, my dear Watson.

Shoutout to Joel McGrath for making me almost shit my dacks by deleting my Terrorgheist with 6 Bullgors. Twice over. With no buffs. Those bulls are no joke!

EZPZ! And how about Day 2?

Day two was the big day where I really earned my chops. First up was Total Commitment against a Skaven list run by Rohit Thomas, an absolute gentleman. This army was sporting 200+ bodies, including 80 Plague Monks and 40 Skryre Acolytes. Lucky he’s a nice guy.

I deployed far enough back to avoid charges, and gave Roh the first turn. He moved very conservatively here, not moving his Monks or Acolytes up far at all. This gave me the opening I needed.

I was able to advance my Terrorgheists up the board, leaving them out of range of his scary stuff if he got priority, but close enough to get where I needed on my next turn. Roh did get priority, killed a few Horrors and Flayers I’d summoned, and then it was go time.

By the end of my turn two, 60 of 80 Clanrats were dead, 40 Plague Monks had disappeared and his Plague Furnace was lunch for my General, scoring me 3 points on one of his home objectives. At that stage, Roh just didn’t have enough left to turn it around.

Shoutout to Roh’s Skaven dice for abandoning him at the perfect time, get fucked Death Frenzy and More More Warp Lightning!

Last game and playing off for the tournament was against the nicest man in Warhammer and the reason you’re here, Pete Atkinson. Poor Pete was going in at a disadvantage here, running 4 Stonehorns in Eurlbad along with a few Mournfang. His Stonehorns were going to murder my GKoTG, who in turn would do the same right back, and they were doing it when they died as well.

Pete played the game with aplomb, positioning really well as best you could. That 5+ aftersave was super clutch, almost completely negating a few pile-ins from the Terrorgheist; the highlight was definitely my Terrorgheist living on one wound after taking a pounding from a Frostlord on Stonehorn.

The Terrorgheist then ate him and piled in again, killing the 2 Mournfang still on the objective. For those who don’t know, Mournfang do a mortal wound on save rolls of a 6. Of course, Pete gets the one 6 on one of the saves…and I rolled a 6 in return from my Death save, to keep him alive!

I then won the turn priority for the double and killed another Stonehorn with that same Terrorgheist. Thanks for the game Pete, it was the highlight of the weekend gaming wise, you really gave it a good shake.

Thank you man, it was a classic! And played in a great spirit.

So what’s the smartest decision you made all weekend?

One of the overlooked parts in FEC is their terrain piece, the Charnel Throne: you can do some really obnoxious things with it. You can block up a large part of an objective, and/or make a unit on an objective basically unchargeable unless they can get around or behind it. That alone can be game winning; you could honestly do a whole article just on this alone. If you’re a FEC player, spend the time to really think about where your Charnel Throne is going on the table.

And how about the dumbest?  

Pushing my Terrorgheist up the board against BOC with only a 10 man screen of Ghouls in front, that one hurt.

What power move from one of your opponents had you worried?

One of Pete’s Stonehorns rampaging around the board, basically soloing my entire army outside of the Terrorgheists. Boy do those horn attacks hurt when they’re hitting on 2s!

Ha! Thank you – yeah, the Murderhorn is a legend.

Now how do you feel about where AOS is at currently?

I think AOS is not in the best of places right now, to be completely honest. It’s a combat and objective game first and foremost in my opinion, and I think the shooting and spellcasting is a little too strong, obnoxious and prevalent at the current time.

At least when it’s a combat game most armies have a chance with smart play and positioning; right now there are matchups where the game is over before it starts. I’d like to see shooting armies toned down or more rules introduced or changed to curb them.

Aside from that, most of this year’s Battleplans are fantastic (aside from Focal Points and Blade’s Edge, both of which need a rewrite), the Triumph change was good and the aftersave was a nice timesaver.

Any hopes and dreams for Broken Realms?


Now you’re talking! So what’s next for you?

A break from AOS is on the cards until next year and beyond. I’ve locked up my Australian Masters spot, so it’s off to Star Wars Legion to itch that childhood dream

I’d just like to give a shoutout to the boys in my gaming club, Measured Gaming. Without their constant trash-talking of every idea I have, as well as list and matchup talk, I wouldn’t be half as clued-in to AOS as I am. 

Special mention for Michael Thompson for taking the risk and planning this event when COVID was shutting down and stopping so many things, he held the faith.

Thanks for having me on again Pete, being on this blog is the highest honour in Warhammer, now I just need you to Knight me with your sword 😉

Ha! Thanks for that Joel – and congratulations again on a much-deserved win.

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