Saturday, 2 August 2014

Game 16 - Dwarves - 2012/02/29


I had another opportunity to play a game the very same day. This time I had a pleasure to fight against Vanyon and his MSU Dwarves!

Army lists and pre-battle considerations

As surprising as it may seem this army too can have a very interesting and successful list. I have seen MSU Dwarves in action once and it was enough to show me that they are a force to respect.

Dwarves - Army List

Rune Lord on Anvil, Shield, Master Rune of Balance, Rune of Stone
BSB Thane, Strollaz Rune
Dragon Slayer, Master Rune of Swiftness, Rune of Speed, Rune of Fire

10 Warriors with Great Weapons, Musician, Standard
10 Warriors with Great Weapons, Musician, Standard
10 Warriors with Great Weapons, Musician, Standard
14 LongBeards, Shields,Full Command
15 Rangers, Musician, Standard
15 Hammerers, Musician, Standard
15 Hammerers, Musician, Standard
10 Slayers, Musician
10 Slayers, Musician
16 Miners, Full Command, Steam Drill

Cannon, Rune of Burning

First of all Anvil of Doom. :) This thing makes Dwarves so fast and even let them charge in addition to march move. What is more, they can swift reform so positioning a unit out of sight of a Dwarven regiment does not mean it will not charge you. A very powerful combination! This army also starts the game closer to your lines than you think. Strollaz can make all unit in 12" from march BSB before the game start. Then Rangers deploy as scouts and on top of that we have a unit of miners. And don't forget about the Anvil :)

Also, with famous Dwarven resilience for magic I would be facing a strong opposition with more dispel dice than I had power dice. Shooting in this army is not as strong as it could be but both cannons can always kill some from afar, especially if I position me regiments with exposed flank. Gyrocopter is, in my opinion, a very good weapon against my small units as by landing on the flank it can still cover a lot of models completely. It is important as it still suffers from 7th edition rule which means that partially covered models are hit on 4+ only.

I was curious about Dragon Slayer. Against my army he didn't have targets he likes to fight but being ASF too meant I might have troubles with him. :)

Outcasts - Army List

Archmage, Level 4, Annulian Crystal, Dragonbane Gem - High Magic
BSB, Dragon Armour, 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
10 Swordmasters, Musician, Bladelord, Amulet of Light
10 Swordmasters, Musician
5 Dragon Princes, Musician, Drakemaster, Foe Bane
5 Dragon Princes, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears

Great Eagle
Great Eagle

I post my army list as a reference only.

Deployment after Vanuard, Strollaz and Scouts moves

Rangers and Hammerers wasted no time and occupied buildings. Busy in search for some ale, no doubt! The entire army deployed in refused flank formation. My plan was to use light troops to get to his cannons as quickly as possible. I had to run fast with Western units but I was confident they can deal one on one with Dwarven regiments facing them. On the East I wanted Dwarves to come to me and seeing weaker link in the form of Warriors I hoped for an opportunity to charge and break through. If that worked I would have a clear path to anvil to make it busy in combat and stop striking the runes. That, in turn, would make Dwarven units much slower. Archers were to shoot at troll slayers as the most viable target.

The spells I got:

BSB - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery
Archmage - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Curse of Arrow Attraction, Fury of Khaine, Vaul's Unmaking

Dwarves won the roll off and the battle began.

Dwarves - Turn 1

First blood for Dwarves!

Lonbeards grew impatient at Hammerers inability to find any ale and kicked them out to search for it in the backyard. They resumed the search themselves as they remembered very well that the tavern keeper had some barrels for special occasions. They visited him not that long time ago after all, merely 200 hundred years but the wretched human was nowhere to be found. It seemed that Rangers were more successful as they refused to go out. The rest of the army moved forward although keeping the proper distance so that Dragon Princes would have to cover some ground to get to them.

Cannon crews both aimed at great eagles and while one was successful and even panicked nearby archers, the second one overshot slightly and they killed 4 Spearelves instead. Then the Runelord stroke his anvil and Dragon Princes armor proved to be too weak to save the knights and 3 of them fell to the ground. Their 2 companions refused to flee though.

On the West a young pilot was very excited and closed in towards Ellyrian Reavers then fired with his steam gun. However, to his disappointment he managed to kill only one elf.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Left flank forward

Ellyrian Reavers on the West didn't wait for Dwarven pilot to re-adjust his aim and attacked. They have never fought against such machine but since it was flying they decided to attack whatever made it fly instead of wings. Piercing the most fragile part of the gyrocopter worked and Dwarven pilot decided to flee before they destroyed his machine beyond the point of repair.

Other units on the Western flank entered dark and haunted woods. Corrupted trees didn't like the intruders and attacked elven warriors, many of which stayed in the woods forever.

On the East elven units moved back a little to encourage Dwarven units to come to them while light cavalry moved in column to pass by Dwarven units and charge the cannon as soon as possible. Elven Archmage and archers were extremely surprised to find out that none of them can do what do the best as spells dissipated before they were even formulated in archmage's mind while arrows normally traveling huge distances fell down from the sky at half distance.

Dwarves - Turn 2
Dwarven battle line expands

Equipped with the most recent model of a steam drill and guided by GPS (Grugni's Positioning Stones for those who think they know something about engineering :)) Miners had no problems in finding the way end emerged precisely behind enemy lines. As it was agreed before the battle they had to wait for the sound of the special rune which Runelord was supposed to strike. Somehow the signal was not coming and miners started to wonder if they arrived too early. But they had their orders and didn't attack without the signal.

The rest of the army widened the battle line and even Rangers emerged from the building. Cannon crews aimed at elven units but this time the Western crew performed better, hitting their target, while Eastern cannon shot was too short.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Dragon Prices attempt to break through and fail
Dragon Princes charge warriors who elect to retreat. As it happens elven knights had to stop their gallop as both hammerers units close the gap and it was clear that heavy cavalry is not fast enough to break through. Fortunately smaller unit is still in position to exploit the opportunity and escape the encirclement. A little further to the East Reavers position themselves for a charge being careful not to get into range of a grapeshot.

Their companions on the West once again charge Dwarven pilot but he is more careful this time and none of the sides can get an advantage. Western elven units escape from the wild forest not wanting to risk any more damage. Then disaster struck. Not only elven archmage could not cast a relatively easy spell with low amount of power but seemingly harmless magic had a powerful feedback effect. As a consequence many Spearelves died in resulting explosion and elven archmage simply disappeared. Although shocked, survivors remained steadfast and it was up to Battle Standard Bearer to lead elven army now. (Edit: I wonder how many times I can get double 6's casting Shield of Saphery on 2 dice. It is third time with the same spell and with the same amount of dice when it happens to me recently and each time I managed to kill my archmage. )

Archers aim more carefully and 3 troll slayers met their ancestors.

Dwarves - Turn 3
Dwarves decided it is time for an attack!
Although elven archmage was not able to break through dwarven magical defenses just yet they were happy he was gone. It was good time for an attack too and regiments on the East grabbed their weapons and charged. Hammerers and Rangers attacked Dragon Princes who elected to hold to buy more time for other units and draw Dwarves deeper into their own lines. Only hammerers made it and after exchanging some blows and casualties on both sides the fight continued as Caledorians refused to give ground.

Second Hammerers and Miners charged Spearelves who fought bravely and even managed to kill 5 miners but could not withstand the blows and pressure and broke. They fled the battlefield and both Dwarven units reformed.

Cannons aimed at Swordmasters and no less than 4 warriors of Hoeth were knocked down. Also one Ellyrian Reaver was unsaddled by the power of the Anvil. The only good thing for Elves happened on the Western flank where second unit of Reavers finally managed to destroy Gyrocopter and reformed to face a new target - the cannon.

Outcasts - Turn 3
Elves attack back!

Elves decided that the best defense is offence and attacked too. On the West great eagle and Reavers charged the cannon. Two members of the crew were killed but the third one happened to be a kung-fu adept and with his surprisingly fast sponge attack technique manged to unhorse one elf. He then stood on the top of the cannon and taunted his adversaries in the way that would make longbeards blush.

White Lions charged warriors with ferociousness of the chracian big cats and few survivors fled only to be run down. Chasing White Lions hit the flank of troll slayers who readied their axes as it seemed they finally found worthy foes. Who would have thought that elves can fight with proper weapons as befit true warriors?

On the East another reaver unit destroyed cannon crew and tried to use the impetus of their attack to get into Anvil but it was still out of reach. Two Dragon Princes moved forward fast to assist light cavalry in their attack while their comrades fought bravely but this time could not withstand punishment of great hammers. Seeing this, Archers decided to avenge them by shooting at troll slayers and more red hair maniacs lied dead on the grass.

Dwarves - Turn 4

Will the Eastern units of Dwarven army be able to rejoin the fight?

Dwarven regiments who secured Eastern flank now moved at speed to help their companions on the West. Their situations didn't look good. Troll slayers could do nothing against White Lions but bonded by their oaths they kept fighting until death claimed them. Brave cannon crew member also had to eventually fall down against numerous foes.

Runelord shed a single tear for his fallen warriors. His guards readied themselves for the inevitable attack of elven cavalry and didn't even notice that their master put down his hammer, stepped on the anvil and took the great hammer he used long time ago to smash orcs heads. He has done his part as a runesmith, now it is time to get things close and personal.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Elves continue their attack

Ellyrian Reavers on the West charge troll slayers fighting White Lions to make sure dwarven unit is utterly destroyed. Victorious Lions reform then to face Dragon Slayer and his 3 surviving companions. On the East elven cavalry attacks the Anvil and their charge hits home with such power that only Runelord is left to strike back. He kills one Reaver and holding his hammer in powerful grip awaits another attack.

While Eastern flank belongs to Dwarves now it seems Western part of the battlefield is secured by Elves.

Dwarves - Turn 5
Is the Anvil really destroyed?

Dwarves tried to re-arrange their battle line to meet Elves again but without encouraging sound of anvil and slightly tired after their constant pursuit after the enemy they were still too far away.

Dragon Slayer charged alone against second unit of White Lions choosing his most worthy opponent to find a good death. Remaining Troll Slayers did likewise and awaited the charge of chracian hunters.

Longbeards, enraged at the disrespectful attack on their sacred artifact emerged from the building led by their Battle Standard Bearer. But to their horror puny Elves managed to kill venerable Runelord! (Edit: As we found out after the game we made a mistake. I believe it was due to the fact that Vanyon had a chain of unlucky rolls of so many 1's that when I inflicted 2 more wounds he took away his Anvil while in fact it had still one more wound left).

Dragon Slayer kills one White Lion but is wounded too and the fight continues.

Outcasts - Turn 5
Forming new battle line

White Lions kill troll slayers but are a little too enthusiastic in their charge and its impetus carries them too far away from longbeards flank. Swordmasters aid another White Lions but chracians shout the warning that is not their business and warriors of hoeth just make a circle around fighting axeman without harming Dragon Slayer. He kills more Lions but the last one from the unit inflicts fatal wound and Dragon Slayer finally meets his death.

The eagle lands in front of the fuming Longbeards to distract them. While archers managed to kill a warrior or two.

Dwarves - Turn 6
Last attack of the Dwarven army

Frustrated Dwarves make a last attempt to attack. Longbeards charge eagle, make it break and then chase it down. Warriors on the East try to charge Dragon Princes to avenge their Runelord but they are too tired to make it. Another warriors charge archers but they withdraw and they are now in a very bad spot. Can they still survive?

Outcasts - Turn 6
Last word belongs to Elves

The battle is almost over but Elves are determined to show who got the upper hand in the end. First, Swordmasters charge warriors on the West but they flee. Seeing this, elven BSB urges his Spearelves to attack unaware Dwarves and they manage to catch them from unsuspected direction and destroy them.

Dragon Princes saw an opportunity to charge the flank of Longbeards who tried to reform to face a new threat but were also attacked through the woods by another unit of Swordmasters. Elven Drakemaster calls out for a challenge and Dwarven BSB accepts proudly. It was his undoing, however, as Drakemaster's heirloom and enchanted blade proves too much even for gromril armor and brave Thane was dead. Swordmasters swung their great blades with unnatural speed they were famed for and only 4 Longbeards remained alive. Survivors lost heart and chose death than to live in shame that they were too late to save Runelord and then lost their battle standard too.

After-battle thoughts

That was a very interesting game and I would like to stress out that Vanyon is a great opponent. If you meet him on UB do not hesitate to offer him a game. It will be an interesting one for sure!

As to the thoughts after the game here is my summary:

1. I was really sad to find out about the mistake with Anvil. First of all I didn't expect such a unlucky chain of rolls Vanyon had. Even with foe bane, which helps to wound tough opponents he still had his 2+ armor saves. And he kept rolling 1's. :( In the end I think that I had good chance to inflict that last wound eventually and his other units were to far away to help. I had second reavers and/or eagle to try and add some attacks too. It is of course hard to tell if that helped to get last wound. I just wish this mistake didn't happen. I guess we need a proper re-match to settle it down. :)

2. Looking at my deployment I think I could have done much better. I should have exchange one Swordmasters with Dragon princes if not even put both heavy cavalry on the Western flank. They are fast and can deal with units such as warriors or slayers as good as elite infantry. On the other hand Swordmasters are a good match for any Dwarven unit, even if they are initially stronger. Also placement of Eagles was bad. I should at least position them in such a way that it would not be possible to shoot at them and a unit behind them.

3. I am very happy with Ellyrian Reavers as they performed their war machine hunting very well. Two units are more fun than one for sure! :)

4. Detonation of my Archmage was bad luck but I doubt I would be able to do much as long as the Runelord lived. However, in the last turns his ability to cast Fury of Khaine could grant me extra opportunity to inflict some damage on Dwarven units. I have a feeling that if you want a spell to be cast you need to roll 6 dice and then hope for the good result on the miscast table. It is risky approach and I didn't have to do so as I would be ok without some spells in action. But if I were closer to Runelord I would definitely attempt to cast Vauls Unmaking to destroy his Rune of Stone. 3+ armor save is always worse than 2+

5. I think Vanyon made a mistake by moving his Longbeards out of the building and I believe he said so on Bugman's Brewery in his report from that game (yes, you have two reports from the same game ! :)). It gave me an opportunity to attack him and I earned a lot of points by defeating the unit and destroying his BSB.

6. His gyrocopter can be used more efficiently. I made a mistake with my vanguard move as I left him space on the flank where he would be safe from charge and also his steam cannon had a batter shooting position. He told me it is due to lack of experience with it so I assume next time his performance will be much more dangerous to my units :)

7. MSU Dwarves are great fun to play against but do not make a mistake and do not underestimate them just because they do not castle and don't have a lot of shooters. They are still very dangerous but much more interesting to play against as they use the movement phase as efficiently as any other MSU army. I definitely had a tough game and after first half of the game I thought I will not be able to fight back.

Thanks for reading! :)

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