Relic Knights - Northern Cadre 2015

I'm here to report on the very first Relic Knights Northern Cadre Tournament in the UK (I apologize in advance for the very long write-up I never apologize). First off I can only say thank you to the Ninja team and specifically Cy Dudley for making this event possible, massive kudos. The tournament took place in the grand old city of York which was a nice three hour drive for me discussing units, tactics, deployment, abilities, painting styles, Shingeki no Kyojin and how awesome Major Alex Louis Armstrong is with Paul Scott (thanks for keeping the journey interesting).

My aim for the tournament was to not achieve the wooden spoon. I have played four friendly games before this event, two of which were only a few activations to get to grips with it all so I am by all accounts pretty green. I went with two Doctrine lists in mind but only ever really had the intention of playing one. Doctrine as a faction really ticked all the boxes for me, there are plenty of unique miniatures. I wasn't that keen on heavily minion based cadre, preferring the story telling element of named characters with great history. They also tie in to lots of anime's that I enjoy *cough* Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood *cough* and most importantly have a strong bright visual element which was a must to sell it to the wife. The following was my 50 point cadre, "It's All About The Magic... Shazam?!?"

Relic Knight
Togan & Cecilia
The Prefects
Esper Condenser
Dampening Field

It was a race to get it all painted, but the challenge was accepted (and completed)
Initial game plan was to get Kisa's Catnip area of effect buff down as early as possible, providing any friendly units activating in the area plus one held esper. The idea was to create a zone for Fiametta to fire-bomb units with Conflagration. Not needing line of sight would make her an absolute pest and should cause the enemy to soak up a few activations trying to deal with her. Also my cypher Scratch could more efficiently distribute two esper on his activation to those who needed it (due to also having the Channel Esper ability). From then on it was use Togan and Cecilia as a pesky objective grabber and Kisa to provide most of the legwork. The Prefects hitched along for the ride for three reasons, number one, I really like the idea of them, secondly they increase Togan and Cecilia's damage output as they are Novitiates and last but not least Act as One means they can go where they please individually and provide some great potential to get the all important Attune faction scenario.

So with my game plan down I felt prepared...
The tournament itself was the Endless Hunger format, the rules of which are freely available from Ninja Division. In short everyone could take two cadre lists and choose the most effective list after scenarios were drawn. The first to six victory points would be declared the round winner of which there were three rounds which lasted 70 minutes. Three points for a win and one point for a draw as well as logging victory points earned to settle tie breaks.

Red Planet board
We got to the event for about 10:15 and met the gang who up to this point had only existed in digital format to me, so it was great to see they actually have flesh and bone counterparts. A total of ten players for the event meant we wouldn't get chance to all play each other, instead it was decided by Swiss rounds with the first a randomized draw. The factions being fielded today included Black Diamond, Doctrine (just me), Black Diamond, Radiant, Black Diamond, Shattered Sword, Black Diamond, Noh, Black Diamond, Cerci and did I say Black Diamond?

Having the lightest and brightest faction (you have to squint when you look at my minis compared to all those dark Black Diamond nasties) I felt I had to be the banner carrier for the good guys.

Virtual Reality board
My first opponent was Andrew William Snow, or "Snowy" to everyone who knew him. Being my first event match I had no idea what to expect, we both pulled scenarios and I was dubbed the hero, hoorah! I ended up with Heist as my primary objective and Carnage as my secondary. Heist seemed achievable but Carnage appeared out of reach as my list (and Doctrine in general) isn't heavily damage oriented so that would be a lot of wasted activations. We then revealed each others lists and to my surprise I saw a Black Diamond build with two units of Suspect 7, yikes! Magnus and Amelial  made up the remaining points. Snowy had also drawn Anarchy as his secondary objective but it sent chills down my spine to see Tear it Down come out for him, with two units of Suspect 7 I figured this could be a very quick game. So I changed up my tactics and decided going for the Anarchy victory points might not be a bad idea, the Suspect 7 if targeted correctly are quite squishy.

The game progressed with snowy picking up two Transport tokens with his Suspect 7's and breaking up their formation to get them to the board edge as soon as possible. I managed to follow my early game plan and set up a zone to work from, then using Kisa and Fiametta to full effect I was able to delay his faction objective from being completed for several turns, wiping out the two Suspect 7 units in the process.

Sacred Forest board for the first match against Snowy
With 20 minutes left on the clock Snowy focused on destroying my two secondary objectives using Magnus' ability to reduce the armour of them to zero. I quickly grabbed my faction objective Attune and went into lead with four victory points to two, I just needed to hold on. The Black Diamond managed to half the health of my last secondary objective, Togan and Cecilia (who had been pretty dormant) then managed to heal the objective as they were in base contact and had some held esper spare. Amelial then went on to deal enough damage reducing the objectives health to just one. In true cinematic fashion Kisa swooped in on my very last activation and spent all her held esper to heal the objective making it impossible for Magnus on his last turn to deal enough damage to destroy it. A very close game but great fun.

We then broke for lunch and everyone deliberated over the mornings mistakes. Once fed and fully fueled it was back into the action.

For my second match I was paired against John (I believe the surname is McGrory, sorry). And what a catastrophe this was, I certainly learned a few things. I was dealt the accursed Grand Conjunction as my primary objective (no way I was going to complete that) and Defense of Life as my secondary which I thought was my best bet. John drew Grand Conjunction and Anarchy and was fielding another Black Diamond list with One Shot, Sophia and the Black Dragons as well as a unit of Suspect 7 (which would become the bane of my life). I managed to get off to the same start in setting up my zone but quickly fell behind to John sabotaging three objectives setting himself up for an early secondary objective lead as well as his faction objective Transport.

Silo board for my second match against John
The card gods were not in my favour throughout this game, in total I managed to land 6 offensive abilities on the Suspect 7 when I needed them most to stop them achieving objectives and to John's credit he always came up trumps with the guard to stop them. Having wasted such a large portion of the game trying to stop his objective grabbing I got myself into a situation where Togan and Cecilia were boxed in making Defense of Life impossible with the amount of time remaining. Suffice to say this was the most frustrating game I had on the day, looking back I would have perhaps activated Togan and Cecilia a little more often but not being able to hurt the Suspect 7 meant they could grab objectives way too quickly so would have just resulted in a slightly closer score but I believe a win nonetheless for John. A true stomping and a five to nothing victory for John, well played sir!

Two games and I've lost one, won one. Not too shabby, I may not win the spoon!
For my final game I was paired against Conrad and we had a cracking last game of the day. Yet another Black Diamond player but this time he elected not to play with the Suspect 7, woot! I was drawn Tear it Down and Anarchy, again I decided not to even attempt Tear it Down but Anarchy might be achievable. Conrad then drew Secure Perimeter as his primary and Defense of Life as his secondary. I decided to place the life token on his Diamondback, the rest of his list was made up of Magnus, Sophia, Black Dragons and Diamond Corp. We also drew the ever elusive Void Scenario, which we promptly ignored for the remainder of the game (let's not confuse things). The showdown was epic, set on the Palatial Temple Grounds board which looked amazing.

Palatial Temple Grounds board for my final game against Conrad
I got off to a great start, sabotaging an enemy secondary objective with Togan and Cecilia and redirecting an attack to the Diamond Corp killing a model and breaking their formation after they had deposited one Transport token off the board edge. I didn't get chance to set up my Fiametta/Cypher zone this game but The Prefects really showed their potential by sabotaging two objectives and soon after infusing another with their ability to Act as One. By this point Conrad had spent some time securing his objectives and moving onto mine. Then (in a great show of shenanigans) the Diamondback used his Plasma Glave ability to deliver a massive nine damage to Togan and Cecilia who were moving on to sabotage another objective. With another redirect the Diamondback was tricked into hitting himself to cleave his health in half and dropping his life token in the process, ouch! I then went on to complete my secondary objective and supply some more damage into the Diamond Corp breaking their cohesion in the process with Kisa's eight inch push ability.

Fiametta stands toe to toe with the Diamondback to deny that last secure token
Conrad then managed to get his Diamond back in a position to score his Defense of Life scenario and set himself up to complete Secure Perimeter on the Diamondbacks following activation, so in a stand-off worthy of being sung throughout the ages, Fiametta (who had remained dormant for pretty much the entire game) stepped up to pen the monster in. With some tricky positioning it was impossible for the Diamondback to get in a position to use his action to place the secure token. In my following activations Togan and Cecilia infused the remaining objective for my faction scenario, it then came down to Kisa and Jacob The Prefect who dealt enough damage to remove the remaining models in the Diamond Corp for a six to five victory, another really close game which came down to the wire timing wise.

So two victories to one loss, that is two more than I expected (and also notably one more victory than Paul Scott, I am all modesty...) and the day turned out to be a great success. I am definitely looking forward to more of these, coming away with some free goodies is always great too. Overall I came fourth place out of ten and am really happy with how I ended up playing on the day. I feel my game has progressed and can only think of new and more exciting ways to play units I have available. All in all it wouldn't be possible without everyone who turned up to play and make it happen so again a massive thank you and I hope this is the start of something big for the Relic Knights scene in the UK.

Craig McNicholas

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


  1. A good read. Unlucky getting 3 Black Diamond opponents.

    At least they were different lists

    1. I think this will be the flavour for a long time to come :) they are like the Space Marines of the Relic Knight universe.