This is the report from the very first game with MSU style, this is when the journey begun! By re-posting all my battle reports in this blog I aim to collect them all in one place for the purpose of archive. I will post my new reports on various forums (time permitting) but I think it is a good idea to have them all stored in one place too.
Many of them are little outdated due to the fact that respective army books of the forces featured are already updated. However, I believe it can still be an interesting read and besides, it may be nice to have a look where that journey started, how the army evolved and where it is now!
Battle 3 of my tournament preparation. Daemons again but this time typical battle line. My opponent decided to make some significant changes to his army list and so did I. :)
Army lists and pre-battle considerations
Daemons of Chaos - Army List
Keeper of Secrets, Level 4, Siren Song - Lore of Slaanesh
Slaanesh BSB, Siren Song, Daemonic Robes
Heralnd of Tzeentch, Level 2, Master of Sorcery, Spellbreaker - Lore of Beasts
Mask of Slaanesh
36 Deamonetess of Slaanesh, Full Command, Siren Standard
20 Deamonetess of Slaanesh, Full Command
2 Fiends of Slaanesh
6 Flamers of Tzeetnch with Pyrocaster
As I expected a greater deamon had to appear at some stage. I have never faced one but it is going to be a great trouble no matter against what might be the enemy army. From reports of other players it seems that Keeper of Secrets is very dangerous one as it is a very fast, very good in combat and a potent spell caster too. So the main idea to deal with it was to comehow occupy it and try to get rid of the rest of the army. And that is not going to be easy as this force is also fast, negates ASF advantage in the case of big deamonetess unit and Siren Songs with abilities of Mask of Slaanesh will definitely disrupt movement phase. Fortunately this army is also relatively small and its support regiments, if cought by elven elites, can be quickly destroyed. Hence the plan in general was to get rid of support first, block the keeper and try to kill deamonettess one unit at a time.
Outcasts - Army List
Archmage, Level 4, Annulian Crystal - Lore of High Magic
BSB, Dragon Armour, Great Weapon, Radiant Gem of Hoeth, Pigeon Plucker Pendant - Lore of High Magic
20 Spearelves, Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
20 Spearelves, Musician, Standard
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician
10 White Lions, Musician
10 White Lions, Musician
9 Swordmasters, Musician
9 Swordmasters, Musician
9 Swordmasters, Musician
5 Dragon Princes, Musician
5 Dragon Princes, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears
8th edition MSU high elves as advised by SmithF. I was really inspired by his approach and his experience with Empire MSU and decided to give it a try. I still remember the time when MSU was suggested for the first time at Druchii.net in the old days of their poorly designed army book and when that actually bred a lot of good tacticians. I also missed something in my army, which became more and more character heavy. It was very fragile and any casualty was very painful. One cannot avoid harm in that game at all so when I realized I have no room for absorbing some punishment without significant impact on the abilities of my units to deal damage in return I decided it is a time for a change. And since I was often advised to bring more troops I thought it is as good time to try pout MSU as ever. A quick review of available miniatures and the fact I needed 2400 strong army (SmithF build his example for 2500) and I came up with the list you see above.
First, I was overwhelmed how many troops and individual warriors I can have. It would be yet another challenge to move that army around in a proper way but somehow it felt good. And I actually thought I have a chance against Deamons as I have enough units to distract big one and then deal with the rest of his army. I also decided not to change the army list much in comparison to the idea presented by SmihtF to have a good starting point. He has a better experience in that kind of armies so I trusted him he knows what is he doing :) I might make some changes in the process but at the moment I focused on how to deal with deamons with this force.
I wanted to quickly destroy flamers and DP are the best for it. With two units and many more deployment drops I was confident I can place them where they are needed. They could also destroy any light troops on their own so I wanted to play aggressively with them as overruns could actually get me into contact with target sooner. I wanted to use White Lions to stop greater deamon. Despite his many attacks I think that with proper positioning and them being stubborn, as long as there is only one left I could try and hold the infernal creature longer. Swordmasters and Spears with their number of attacks could be a threat to deamonettess especially if I could kill the herald. Of course not head on but with more units on the table than they had I could create some favorable charges or situations (hopefully).
Last but not least I planned to use drain magic often to make his spellcasting more difficult, even with +6 to casting rolls sometimes. Shield of Saphery was also a good idea to have, especially for WL fighting against greater deamon but any extra protection for fragile troop is great. Having two of them is great too. Other spells are also good and versatile so no matter what I got I can find a way to use it.
That's about plans, let's see how much of it survived the contact with the enemy :)
|Armies ready for battle, just after scouting and vanguard moves|
At the beginning an important note. It seems I forgot to distinguish Slaanesh BSB herald. She is with big Deamonettes in the top right corner and was there entire battle. Apologies if that creates some confusion. Archmage joined White Lions, while BSB decided to lead Spearelves.
The altars in the middle of the board was treated as difficult terrain and also gave hard cover.
Keeper of Secrtets got following spells - Acquiescence, Succour of Chaos, Slicing Shards of Slaanesh, Phantasmagoria
Elven Archmage got - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Courage of Aenarion, Fury of Khaine, Flames of the Phoenix
To our mutual surprise elves won the roll off and took the first turn as a very good sign. :)
Outcasts - Turn 1
|High elves seem to own the movement phase|
With an exception of Archers entire army moved forward. On the East Dragon Princes positioned themselves for charges against any light troops of daemonic host with eagles acting as a bait and protection against inevitable assault of horrible slaanesh "music". On the West elven infantry moved swiftly to be able to cover the distance to daemonic army in time. White Lions headed towards the altar where they could keep strong center and await proper moment to start hunting the greater daemon. Two units of Swordmasters performed second line duty in the case any furies landed behind the first line and supporting their troops at the same time. Despite long distance and intervening terrain magic and shooting saw one unit of furies completely destroyed. What is more, combined efforts of the Archmage and his BSB companion saw a massive drain of winds of magic in order to stop foul daemons from casting their spells. Seems like a good start for Elves.
Daemons of Chaos - Turn 1
|Slaanesh Deamons are not foot sloggers either|
Nurglings happily run after one eagle and then another one but big birds didn't want to play and to nurgle little ones disappointment flew away. Fiends attempted to charge Reavers who feigned their retreat. Flamers moved away from their bane and although safe now it also brought them a little too far away from any target for their deadly flames. Mask run towards the altars from where she could be seen performing her dances and one unit of white lions didn't feel so stubborn anymore. Greater Deamon barely summoned enough energy to cast one spell which was promptly dispelled by the archmage.The second attempt to send some razor sharp shards towards White Lions failed though.
Outcasts - Turn 2
|Early charges of elven cavalry|
Dragon Princes had some options for an attack but to attack they decided anyway. One unit pinned down Nurglings before they started to spread their infestation. The second unit saw an interesting opening and charged furies while at the same time White Lions attacked the Mask. It looked like Dragon Princes could break through furies and either help Lions to deal with the Mask or even reach Flamers behind. Unfortunately, although they destroyed Furies with easy, they didn't overrun into the Mask (After closer inspection she indeed was not on their overrun route) and fell one inch short of the Flamers. At least they were out of sight of other units who could have charged them later. White Lions inflicted only a single wound to the Mask and she killed 3 of them in return. With lowered leadership White Lions could not hold even despite encouraging shouts of nearby BSB and run. The Mask followed closely. Eagles rallied as did light cavalry and Ellyrians rushed forward to guard the flank of Dragon Princes fighting Nurglings.
Daemons of Chaos - Turn 2
|Deamons are reluctant to speed forward|
Mask chased after fleeing White Lions and caught them but that brought her into a fresh fight against elven Archers. However, it looked like these particular bowmen were Swordmasters in disguise as they inflicted enough wounds to destroy evil Mask. Daemonetess charged Reavers who tried to buy time for heavy cavalry still stuck in combat with little nurglings. The rest of the daemonic army consolidated and seemed reluctant to move forward. Flamers shot at Swordmasters but only 2 of the warriors fell. Greater Daemon, however, had some plans of its own and first managed to turn Dragon Princes nearby into simpletons and then its presence was felt on entire battlefield due to potent Phantasmagoria. Many elven units struggled to hold on and not to fear even the smallest of daemons as if they were much greater threat. Some of the elven warriors lost that struggle but kept fighting on, although with much lower efficiency.
Outcasts - Turn 3
|Elves redress their ranks|
Dragon Princes failed to come to senses and stumbled forward despite the presence of their foe nearby. The unit on the East finally managed to finish off Nurglings and reformed but it was clear they run out time to prepare the next charge before they are going to be attacked first. Swordmasters moved behind them and eagle landed nearby for support. The rest of the army re-arranged battle line. Unable to shake off the fears of his warriors the Archmage decided to attack daemons in a more direct way and engulfed big unit of daemonettes in flames. Many of them were utterly destroyed in the fire which seemed to grow even bigger with every moment.
Daemons of Chaos - Turn 3
|Daemons attack exposed elven cavalry|
Greater Deamon charges Dragon Princes who are oblivious to their fate. Keeper of Secrets instantly kills 3 of them but as they seem to be no fun at all it lets them flee and faces another elven unit. Deamonettes charge another unit who is determined to stand and fight. And stand and fight they do, managing to hold despite voices in their heads urging them to run. Flamers float nearby and obliterate all but two Swordmasters who refuse to panic nevertheless. Fiends enter ruined altars. Winds of magic blow weak this time and no spells are cast.
Outcasts - Turn 4
|Siren Songs are heard over the battlefield|
Two remaining Swordmasters now have an opportunity to avenge their fallen brehtren and help valiant Dragon Princes with a charge against Deamonettes. That fight keeps on going but Deamonettes die much faster than elves. Before anything else happens though, some disturbing songs are heard over the battle field and on the West great eagle recklessly charges Slaanesh Herald and her Deamonettes while White Lions move forward Keeper of Secrets but fortunately magical forest makes the song die away quicker and Chracian hunters stop before they reach greater daemon. Other units keep moving further and the Archmage yet again changes the unit and jumps to second Spearelves. Remaining Great Eagle blocks Keeper of Secret while two survivors of Dragon Prince unit come to their senses for a while and rally.
Daemons of Chaos - Turn 4
|The long charge of Fiends of Slaanesh|
Fiends of Slaanesh use an opportunity that White Lions were lured to attack other target and charged one of the Archers unit. Brave elves stand and shoot and ready their weapons. Greater Daemon runs towards great eagle and while doing so once again casts Phantasmagoria to shadow the minds of elven warriors. Great eagle does not last a moment and fiends break Archers despite the fact they killed one of the daemons. The second unit's nerve is broken too and the flee never to rally. Dragon Princes and Swrodmasters keep fighting and only a few Daemonettes remain. Can elves prevail?
Outcasts - Turn 5
|Setting up the trap - is it not too late though?|
Dragon Princes expose themselves as they prefer to die honorably to clean the shame they feel at being so easily manipulated by Slaanesh magic. Other units respect that and move to set a trap for Daemonettes and avenge their fallen warriors. Lone Swordmaster and his 3 Dragon Prince companions fight well but in the end they lose and due to the foul spell clouding their minds they are unable to keep fighting anymore. Two surviving Dragon Princes flee the battle. Only 4 daemonettes are left standing after that war of attrition.
Daemons of Chaos - Turn 5
|Daemonnetes attempt to break through|
Keeper of Secrets charges elven knights to get rid of these annoying mortals. Daemonettes decide to charge White Lions who are fixed in place by the magical Siren Standard. Despite furious attacks White Lions defend perfectly and they stubbornly hold the line. Fiend of Slaanesh tries to block nearby Spearelves from joining the combat while Flamers shoot at Swordmasters but only a few of them dies and the survivors pass panic test.
Outcasts - Turn 6
|Last charge by the Elves|
Despite their efforts not all of the units are in position for a charge but those who are do so without hesitation. Unengaged Spearelves and Swormdasters run forward to be away from the Keeper's line of sight. The Archmage summons enough energy for 2 potent spells. His magic missiles destroys Tzeentch herald as Keeper of Secret does not bother to dispel that spell. The herald was useless to him anyway and it was good opportunity to get rid of that spy of rival god. Then the Archmage focused his mind and broke through daemonic defenses engulfing Daemonettes in flames once again turning 6 of them into ashes. After magical assault another attack hit home. Swordmasters destroyed Slaanesh Herald but not before she killed a few of their numbers. White Lions and Spearelves hacked left and right and more Daemonettes fell. They fought back but not that efficiently and only single line of them remained after that combat. They kept fighting but it didn't look good for them at all.
Daemons of Chaos - Turn 6
With majority of remaining deamons in a bad spot to join the fight only Fiend charges into the rear of White Lions. Flamers yet again are a little too far away from any target. Keeper of Secrets, enraged by the fact it didn't have enough fights summons his power and Phantasmagoria is cast for the third time this battle. Despite that elves fight like never and before Deamonettes or Fiend have a chance to strike they all fell dead, with Spearelves alone inflicting no less but 9 wounds.
It seems that this bloody battle reached its end. Both armies suffered a lot but again elves managed to snatch a victory over daemonic foe.
That was a very interesting battle for both of us. I am sure many things could have been played better, from the deployment phase onwards but it was a great fun. We both had our share of good and bad luck. I failed to dispel Phantasmagoria 3 times having one more dice to do so every time :) This potent spell was the doom of my troops. Both Archers units and Dragon Princes on the East were lost due to its effect, not to mention many failed fear tests only slightly of less importance thanks to ASF and re-rolls I still had. A few thoughts after the battle and first time use of MSU style army.
1. Having so many units feels good during deployment and movement phase. I really like the fact I could always have some regiments to keep attacking despite loses or that I could try and set up traps. Not that I need to sacrifice units but if I have to I have some to do it.
2. High magic is fun too. Easy to cast, there was no need for banner of sorcery (although it would not harm to have extra dice or two). It might not be spectacular but double Drain Magic is something to be afraid of while even single Drain Magic forced my opponent to use one more dice for particular spell than he normally would use. With Annulian Crystal many times I also had more dispel dice than my opponent. Unfortunately he gave me the ones which resulted in 1's anyway :)
3. My opponent claims this army is quite confusing as it is hard to make a decision what to attack without expensive targets. He played only his second game with Deamons so maybe it will change later but I do think it plays the role in the battle anyway.
4. I was concerned with amount of time I might need to move around this army but it didn't take longer than with my previous battles. Of course it still requires to anticipate the outcome of fights and one need to position units with more care but it does not take forever and I think with more games it might actually be easier.
I hope you enjoyed the battle report as for us it was a nice and refreshing experience. I will be playing with some form of MSU army. I don't really plan to change the army list much but I am always happy to discuss possibilities and I always carefully consider any suggestions. Feel free to post any comments!
Thanks for reading!
P.S. And many thanks to SmithF for his very inspirational topics! :)