Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Game 13 - Skaven - (2012/02/11)

CanCon 2012 - Battle 7 - Watchtower

The modification organizers added was that the player who controlled the tower got additional 1000VP points instead of automatically winning the battle. Of course such a huge bonus usually meant that the player who controlled the tower won anyway. But, as I have learned too, every point counts in the overall placing during the tournament.

Because of the system organizers had for drawing armies for each turn even if I lost games I still was paired with armies with lower composition score than mine. This battle was not an exception where I faced Matt and his tough Skaven army with composition score of 2 (the lowest in the tournament). Here is why :)

Skaven - Army List

Grey Seer, Warpstone Tokens, Screaming Bell, Fencer's Blades, Dispel Scroll, Skalm - Lore of Ruin
Plague Priest, Level 2, Flail, Plague Furnace, Talisman of Preservation, Potion of Speed - Plague Lore
Chieftain, Halberd, Heavy Armour, Shield, Battle Standard Bearer, Banner of the Under-Empire

25 Clanrats, Musician, Standard, Poisoned Wind Mortar Weapon Team
25 Clanrats, Musician, Standard, Poisoned Wind Mortar Weapon Team
30 Clanrats, Full Command, Poisoned Wind Mortar Weapon Team

6 Gutter Runners, Slings
6 Gutter Runners, Slings

22 Plague Monks, Standard, Plague Banner

Hell Pit Abomination
Warp Lightning Cannon
Warp Lightning Cannon


 

Not that numerous but very tough army. 5 template weapons per turn alone can hurt my army a lot. Plague furnace can be diverted and I planned to feed some units to it so that it overruns away from the tower and other combats as I probably would not be able to deal with it at the same time as I try to deal with the bell. Powerful magic could be very dangerous too but from my previous games against Skaven I knew Drain Magic will be very handy here. Matt didn't have small enough units to occupy the tower from the start although he technically controlled it after roll off. So I decided to put one unit of Swordmasters in the tower as they have huge enough amount of attacks to defend it against any foe with an exception of Plague Furnace. Although the furnace would take some hits from charging the tower it still can use it's poisonous gases and that alone would destroy any unit in the tower. Even more reasons to divert it but I had tools for the job. Also banner of the Underempire can be a nasty surprise for small elven units as it affects all regiments in base contact with the skaven unit and it hits before the combat.

In general I was really glad to face that army as I like the tough challenge and I believed in my army. It would probably be the toughest game of the tournament but I say ... BRING IT ON! :)

My own army just for reminder:

Outcasts - Army List

Archibald the Archmage, Level 4, Annulian Crystal, Dragon Bane Gem - High Magic
Bob the BSB, Dragon Armour, Shield, Great Weapon, Radiant Gem of Hoeth - High Magic

20 Spearelves, Musician, Standard,
20 Spearelves, Musician, Standard
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician

10 White Lions, Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
10 White Lions, Musician
9 Swordmasters, Blademaster with Amulet of Light, Musician
8 Swordmasters, Musician
8 Swordmasters, Musician
5 Dragon Princes, Musician
5 Dragon Princes, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears

Great Eagle
Great Eagle

The spells for wizards were as follows:
Grey Seer - Warp Lightning, Howling Warpgale, Scorch, Dreaded 13th
Plague Priest - Withering, Plague
Elven BSB - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery
Archmage - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Fury of Khaine, Flames of the Phoenix, Vaul's Unmaking

Very good spells selection for both armies so whichever spell goes through it will have an impact on the game.

Deployment


Skaven army looks suspiciously small - expect some dirty tricks :)


Deployment after vanguard moves

High Elves deployed wide and Skaven Gutter Runners were sent away as reinforcements instead of scouting duty. Skaven occupy the corner of the battlefield preventing envelopment and exposing tough units.

Outcasts - Turn 1


Elves move forward at a double to secure the watchtower and its surroundings


Reavers in diverting duty - their vanguard move is a huge asset here


High Elves knew there is no time to lose. Swordmasters marched to the entrance to the tower. The rest of the army surrounded it from both sides. Even archers moved full speed forward as weapon teams were still hidden and they could have a better line of sight over the plain East from the tower. Elven Archmage managed to get Flames of the Phoenix through but some clanrats were saved by their rusty armor and evil magic of screaming bell. Grey Seer needs them to push it after all!

Skaven - Turn 1


Skaven move forward too - slowly gaining the momentum for their huge war machines


Skaven artillery begins its barrage


Plague monks are kept in check by their priest and do not charge just yet. Clanrats with Screaming bell move towards the light horse and their efforts are doubled by the sound of the ringing bell. Reavers are caught by surprise and are destroyed by the infernal machine (EDIT: I was told that extra move from the bell does not allow flee reaction). Evil magic was dispelled but there was nothing the Archmage could do to stop skaven artillery. Many units were targeted and they suffered serious casualties but all passed their panic tests. Only gutter runners succeed in killing great eagle.

Outcasts - Turn 2


Elven attack is not as successful as expected

Tower is now under elven control

High Elves risk early attacks to stop Skaven advance. White Lions with Flame banner make a long charge against Abomination but fail to kill it outright (was left on a single wound). The beast, although badly wounded, still manages to kill many of them but three survivors still win the combat which is going to continue a little longer.

Three Dragon princes risk a suicidal attack to get rid of the Grey Seer. Archmage tried to help them in their mission and attempted to destroy the healing skalm potion Grey Seer had so that it cannot recover from the attack. However, he lost concentration and that ended a promising magic phase before it started. To add insult to injury two DP fell due to the evil magic of UnderEmpire banner and single survivor could not wound Grey Seer at all and fled from combat. That helped clanrats to push the bell away from any elven units who might want to counter attack later.

On the East archers spotted weapon team and wasted no time to kill it from afar, decreasing a little the number of artillery pieces in Skaven army.

Skaven - Turn 2


Skaven attack with their main units - Clanrats on the West tried to charge Swordmasters but failed, sorry for that omission


Plague monks charged great eagle and their frenzy took them even further with their overrun move. Clanrats with the Bell charged fleeing Dragon Prince and then redirected towards Spearelves who also chose to flee. Dragon Prince was destroyed in the process. (EDIT: I have a question here, Matt redirected the charge and was not quick enough to catch spears but he rolled high enough to catch Dragon Prince. He claimed that he can still destroy him so we played it this way. However, do you that it was indeed the case? Or is that redirection and failed charge on new target does not give him right to move full charge move that enables destroying Dragon prince?)

Skaven Artillery keeps destroying elven warriors but Grey Seer is still blocked in his attempts to cast spells. White Lions finally kill the Abomination which panics nearby clanrats off the board.

Outcasts - Turn 3


Heavy casualties on elven West


Elves get to the hill with artillery and have their revenge


White Lions continue their rampage and destroy Warp Lightning Cannon while the crew of the second panics (EDIT: Matt took it away as a casualty but I think it simply would not shoot next turn so I guess we played that wrong). Heavily depleted Swordmaster units moved full speed towards mortar teams.

Spears rallied and both unit prepared for attack while Archmage moved to the safety of the tower. From the top of it he cast magic missile at gutter runners but only 3 of them died, the rest passing their panic test with easy. Flames of the Phoenix were burning Clanrats again, dangerously decreasing their numbers.

On the East Archers sacrificed themselves to drive frenzied monks away from the tower while Dragon Princes closed the distance towards Clanrats.

Skaven - Turn 3


Cursed bell crushes the tower!

Second unit of Gutter Runners emerged just in time and Swordmasters hunting down mortar crew died to an elf. Clanrats pushed the bell into combat where they destroyed Spearelves but not before the evil magic of the bell destroyed the tower and scorched second unit of Spearelves! A few Swordmasters died while crushing down and Spearelves panicked too. Only bright moment was when Clanrats charged Dragon Princes who won combat but were locked in it since ratmen took courage for their greater numbers.

Outcasts - Turn 4


Elves are still in control of the ruins of the tower


Can Elves hold the ruins of the tower?


White Lions charged one weapon team which fled never to rally. Second unit of Lions and Swordmasters now with BSB turned towards grey seer and his very small unit which burned even more as skaven wizard failed to dispel that spell (or didn't want to) two times in a row!

Dragon Princes killed some more clanrats but were still locked in combat with ratmen.

Skaven - Turn 4


Skaven keep attacking although the momentum was lost


Grey seer orders his unit to attack and they the combination of impact hits and magic of the under empire banner kills all lions before they have a chance to hit back (EDIT: now this is something I forgot during the game although I asked two times my opponent about it. I remebered that the bell unit cannot be moved if there insufficient number of clanrats. At this stage he had 3 or 4 of them left so this charge was illegal. It is a pity I haven't noticed that as not only it would save my lions but would give me a chance to attack them and kill BSB who was wounded due to flames at this stage). Magic is dispelled while gutter runners do not attempt to close to the tower in fear of being targeted by the Archmage and his potent magic missiles.

Reality Check 2

When we finished the 4th Skaven turn a referee apeared and said we have 2 minutes to wrap it all up. I thought I have it then as 2 minutes is not enough to play full turn. However, Matt was adamant about continuing to play. Unfortunately the referee was already gone to rule that out. I thought to myself that ok, this is not fair but I wanted to show I can pull it off anyway, cheating or not. This is what happened:

1. Dragon Princes break Clanrats but somehow I don't think properly and do not reform my units so that they can face other skaven regiments.

2. In Skaven turn the bell explodes but I do not get points for that as Grey Seer lives.

3. He then proceeds to cast dreaded 13th with IF, kills my unit with archmage and gets the tower.

4. Only then Matt goes to referees to ask if we can play one more turn when it does not matter anymore, as my units are out of position to even charge new clanrat unit in the tower. The referees of course say no and games ends.

I lost 3-17. I don't even want to know by how great margin the game turned up side down. :(

Well, I basically was devastated by the outcome especially that I let myself be cheated like that. I really wanted to show that I can still win but I forgot about crucial rule about the bell (although this is something my opponent should remember about in the first place) and was punished for agreeing to play another turn with IF. I have only myself to blame to believe real games can be like high fantasy story where good wins versus evil despite all dirty tricks. That is a great shame that the game was won by Matt in that fashion as we had a great fun so far. :( It is just another lesson to remember that some people at tournaments use all means to win and you have to be prepared to say "no".

There are still some interesting things coming from this game which I would like to discuss regardless.

After-battle thoughts

In general I am pleased with my performance. I managed to drive the monks away and I hurt Skaven badly although at high cost. The scenario determined such bloody tactics as I was willing to sacrifice units to keep the tower under control. As I have mentioned before there are a few things I think I could do better.

1. Dragon Princes and their charge. It might not be the best idea but I think it was worth risking. However, I should have positioned them in such way that when even one left I should be able to direct the attacks against his BSB instead. At least I would be able to try and get rid of that character and his banner.

2. Garrison of the tower - the more I think about it the more I am leaning towards the option of garrisoning it with Spearelves instead. Swordmasters could be used to fight against bell unit with more impact and even would have a chance to kill grey seer too!

3. Crushed tower - I don't know how Skaven do it but I played this scenario against them twice and they destroyed it two times in a row :) My main mistake here was not reforming Swordmasters so that they could attack grey seer next turn.

4. End game - I noticed I make many mistakes in the end game, mainly not thinking about reforming or positioning units in such a fashion that they would be in a position to counter attack if the game lasted one more turn. I could argue that since we played 5 turns and referees didn't show up then we can as well play 6th turn. Then could reclaim the tower and even charge grey seer! But the main thing is that I should keep focused as long as the score is not handed down to the referees and not a second before as I might omit that crucial last chance to swing the game into my favor.

Ah well, very dramatic outcome in game 7, unfortunately another loss :( There will be the last chance to make up for it in the last battle of the tournament but in the meantime I am very curious about your comments!

Thanks for reading! :)

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