Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Game 19 - Daemons of Chaos - 2012/03/24


I had a very interesting game against MSU DoC army led by my arch enemy Wardancer (or Eastern Barbarian for those who follow UB :)). Here is the report from that game.

Army lists and Pre-battle considerations

I have seen many MSU armies, it seems that the idea starts to be popular among players with different armies. However, I haven't seen DoC army in that form yet. Maybe it is due to the fact they are quite strong in a more traditional, horde-like build so the players do not see the reason to experiment that much. As always there are a lot of them who are also sceptical about new ideas. But when Wardancer told me he is going to try it out I was very excited and I am glad his first game was against mine MSU HE. Not exactly the proper test for a new army, since we cancel out many of MSU advantages for each other. What I knew for sure, however, is that such games are great fun :)

Daemons of Chaos - Army List

Herald of Slaanesh, Torment blade, Siren song, General
Herald of Slaanesh, Torment blade, Siren song
Herald of Tzeentch, Master of Sorcery, Winged Horror - Lore of Heaven
Herald of Khorne, BSB, Great Icon of Despair, Armor of Khorne

12 x Daemonettes, Musician, Standard, Banner of Ecstasy 
12 x Daemonettes, Musician
14 x Bloodletters, Champion, Musician
12 x Bloodletters, Musician
5 x Furies
5 x Furies

5 x Flesh Hounds
5 x Flesh Hounds
5 x Flesh Hounds

5 x Flamers
4 x Flamers
1 x Fiend
1 x Fiend
1 x Bloodcrusher
1 x Bloodcrusher

A very fast and powerful army. There are a few units I haven't had a chance to fight against yet, like all Khorne regiments and they look powerful enough. I cannot out-deploy this army and it is faster than mine. It is also Immune to Psychology which is great advantage but sometimes can be used against it. It even has some very considerable shooting abilities and these Flamers are not going to be easy target with so many other units protecting them. Their magic is an interesting choice. The main thing is that Blizzard affects Leadership which combined with Great Icon of Despair as well as Fear all over the place can cause a lot of problems. Especially that my BSB cannot be everywhere at the same time while flying Tzeentch wizard can quickly get where his magic is most important. Thunderbolt, Lightning and Comet are all very dangerous to my small units too. There will be no easy way to win against this force and I expect a lot of exchanges like in chess in order to create better opportunities for favorable combats.

Outcasts - Army List

Archmage, Level 4, Annulian Crystal, Dragonbane Gem - High Magic
BSB, Dragon Armor, Great Weapon, Radiant Gem of Hoeth  - High Magic

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

10 Swordmasters, Musician
10 Swordmasters, Musician
10 White Lions, Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
10 White Lions, Musician
5 Dragon Princes, Musician, Drakemaster, Foe Bane
5 Dragon Princes, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Bows, Spears, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Bows, Spears, Musician

Great Eagle
Great Eagle
Great Eagle

Some changes to my army list were required simply because I was too enthusiastic about upgrading my Swordmaters to Bladelords with some magic items and didn't notice when I crossed the limit for Special units. Hence third Eagle and no Blademasters :)

Armies after Vanguard moves

We both tried to guess how the enemy is going to deploy and how to use that to our own advantage. I decided to hold my one flank with Lions and attack on the opposite one with Dragon Princes performing swift strike if possible thus giving me the opportunity to create combined charges after that.

I also deployed Archers in the center as I didn't want to reveal my plan too early (deploying them on the hill would betray that) and I also could use them more aggressively if needed (or even fight their delaying combats against some of the enemy regiments). I moved Reavers to the West as I wanted to use the ability to focus all my bow fire against the unit with the BSB as I treated them as priority target.

Tzeentch Herald had, of course, all spells from his chosen lore, while my spellcasters had:

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

High Elves won the roll off (it was that rare situation when I had +1 to roll for deploying first :)) and their was an honor to begin.

Outcasts - Turn 1
High Elves move fast right from the start!

High Elves, knowing how dangerous Daemons can be, moved fast to engage the enemy with local force superiority. White Lions led by BSB were given a very dangerous and important duty of securing the refused flank against fast enemy units. Elven Archmage used all his skills to aid his army. He first Cursed Bloodletters and their Herald and indeed all the arrows shot at them were drawn to that regiment as to some magnet. No less than six foul Daemons were banished from this world. He then forced another powerful spell through magical defenses of helpless Tzeentch herald and Great Icon of Despair stopped glowing with unholy light and shortly after changed into dust completely.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 1
Daemons are even faster in their advance
Daemons moved fast, especially on the Eastern flank eager to overwhelm brave Chracians. Six units were heading towards their positions and they were one of the fastest units in Daemons army. On the Western flank cunning evil spirits started some re-deployment and awaited Elven advance not wanting to engage in one-on-one combats. Flamers too were cautious to expose themselves and simply hid behind their own units bidding their time and awaiting better opportunity to unleash their deadly flames.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Some elven units risk long charges early in the battle

Strange song could be heard over the battlefield and Ellyrian Reavers elected to withdraw rather than get closer into something that probably was a trap. Dragon Princes spotted one of their primary target, Flamers, hovering behind Slaanesh Fiend and spurred their horses to gallop in glorious charge. Swift as a wind, Knights of Caledor covered long distance in no time and hit the Fiend. However, despite their skills, magical energies protecting the evil creature prevented many of the blows to be fatal and its bond with this world was not entirely broken.

On the East White Lions decided to attack first before they will be charged by many units at once but cannot reach Flesh Hounds just yet.

Archers and Archmage yet again combine their efforts and try to finish enemy BSB bodyguards but this task proves to be difficult. However, they are rewarded by yet another display of powerful elven magic spell casting when Archmage destroys second unholy icon, this time blasphemous totem of Slaaneshi Daemonettes.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 2
Howling Daemons attack!

Daemons do not wait for better opportunities and three units attack single White Lions regiment on the East. Chracians fight bravely and even kill a hound and wound some other but their losses are big too. However, they stubbornly hold their position knowing that every second counts for their companions on the Wester flank. Dragon Princes now face a big trouble as Bllodcrusher storms into their flank. What is more, Archmage is not able to protect them from such distance and they are Cursed by the Midnight Wind too. Despite the casualties they still wound Bloodcrusher and keep fighting.

The rest of the Daemon army reorganizes their battle line and finally Flamers on the hill have a target to shoot at but despite all the fireworks only two reavers fell and survivors refuse to panic either.

Outcasts - Turn 3

High Elves press forward
 Western flank of Elven army pushes forward and is almost ready to commence the attack. Eagles block some dangerous regiments of the enemy so that their elven brothers in arms can overwhelm their chosen targets. Dragon Princes show their skills again and finish off both their enemies and are ready for another charge!

Archers and Archmage still try to destroy Bloodletters from afar but yet again are able to decrease their numbers only. Archmage manages to get Fury of Khaine through but immediately suffers from magical feedback (which affects BSB too!) while the missiles are deflected by daemonic protection aura.

White Lions on the East kill two more Hounds but are finally destroyed by the enemy too numerous to guard against.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 3
Elven Eastern flank collapses
Daemons on the East keep pushing forward. Archers flee from Flesh Hounds but their companions decide to hold against Fiend of Slaanesh. Despite losing some of their numbers they hold fast and even reform to face their enemy. Second pack of Hounds took the bait and charged White Lions in the woods. Chracians killed one and although suffered from the attack they refused to give ground either. Both eagles are mercilessly killed by Khorne Daemons.

The rest of Daemon army again pulls back a little and some lesser creatures are send to block more powerful elven units. Tzeentch herald pushes Spears into Swordmasters with a wind blast and both units lose single warrior as a result. Flamers fly down from the hill and promptly kill half of the Swordmaster unit guarding the Archmage. The other unit of shooty Daemons opens fire at Ellyrian Reavers but manage to kill only single horseman.

Outcasts - Turn 4
All out attack by Elven army, only two units do not fight!

Now it is a time for an all out assault and Elven Army moves as a single body. On the West Dragon Princes destroy furies in no time but their impetus charge carry them into some dark forest where they need to slow down rapidly. They to not reach another target due to that and even lose two of them in treacherous woods.

Second regiment of Dragon Princes, Swordmasters and Spears all charge Daemonettes but due to close proximity Flamers are drawn into that massive combat. Slaaneshi daemons performed their evil rituals and suddenly stalwart elven warriors started to fear their enemies. This affected their combat skills dramatically as Drakemaster failed to wound Herald in a a challenge and was killed in return while Spears could not land a blow against Flamers who then scorched to death many elven veterans. Only protection of Shield of Saphery prevented Swordmasters from suffering the same and warriors of Hoeth did their best to kill as many Daemonettes as possible. However, despite local superiority, what looked like an overwhelming assault became a bloody war of attrition (Edit: I failed fear test for DP here and for Spearelves despite re-roll from BSB and instead of inflicting a lot of wounds on Flamers I suffered many in return. So much for generating enough combat result to crumble both units :))

Second regiment of Swordmasters, who protected the Archmage, were lured by yet another Siren Song. But before they charged, Elven BSB and his Spearelves gave a powerful battle cry and stormed in first, thus preventing Swordmasters from joining the fight. Such was ferocity of this attack and such was the power of magical protection Spearelves had that they lost only single member of the unit while entire group of Daemonettes were destroyed either by elven spears or due to suddenly very weak bond with this world. Only Herald remained on the battlefield!

White Lions in the central wood showed their hunter skills and destroyed all remaining Hounds and quickly reformed to face another enemy. At the same time Reavers and Eagle charged remaining Hounds in hope that they can kill them on the charge and be safe from Flamers too. But despite their best efforts the combat was a stalemate. Archers wounded Fiend again and again suffered some casualties but were determined to fight and do not let the creature roam freely.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 4
Daemons are weakened but still very dangerous

Daemons counter attack although their army was weakened. Flesh Hounds on the Western flank attack Dragon Princes in the forest but their armor proves to be strong and they keep fighting. In the multiple combat Daemonettes are destroyed but their herald refuses to die. Flamers and Spearelves kill each others ferociously. The units are still locked in combat although Dragon Princes have no one to fight and reform to face new target.

Khorne BSB finally leads his minions to combat and charges the flank of Elven Spears. They hold but they also lose BSB who is killed in a challenge against Slaaneshi Herald. Another Bloodletter unit charges Swormdasters who believe they can protect their Archmage. Unfortunately, with the aid of magic of Tzeentch herald who Curses Swormdasters and aids Bloodletters, they are unable to kill Khorne daemons fast enough and elven Archmage perishes.

On the South-East front Archers keep fighting the fiend while Furies attack eagle which flees to safety, not caught by flying daemons or hounds. Last elven cavalryman is killed however.

Outcasts - Turn 5
Both armies suffered heavily but the battle is far from over
High elves fight for revenge now. They lost their leaders but instead of despair they are more determined to banish Daemons. Dragon Princes charge into the woods and yet again another knight is claimed by evil forest. Although exchange of blows didn't kill anybody on both sides it somehow weakened the bond with real world for the Hounds and suddenly only one of the beasts remained.

Swordmasters tried hard to finish the Herald but still could not prevail as magical aura was too strong. Flamers yet again killed many Spearelves and that was enough for these warriors who fled and were run down. Fortunately their companions managed to finish off another Herald of Slaanesh and now faced Khorne BSB.

Swordmasters and Bloodletters were also locked in mortal combat and it was now clear that the last warrior of Hoeth is going to face his doom soon. His White Lions companions were still too far away to help him and he was ready to take as many enemies with him as possible.

Only three archers remained in the fight against the fiend but they stubbornly refused to yield. Ellyrian Reavers avenged their companions and charged furies, destroyed them and carried their charge into the flank of flesh hounds.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 5
Regiments on both sides are still locked in combats

Flamers and Bloodcrusher storm towards unengaged Archers ready for co-ordinated attack. In the meantime survivors of the second Archers unit finally land that last blow and fiend is no more. Ellyrian Reavers desperately try to use the advantage of fighting at the flank of their enemy but Flesh Hounds simply refused to be destroyed. Last Eagle is not able to help them as it is blasted from the sky by Tzeentch Herald.

Dragon Princes on the West kill the last of the Hounds. Swormdasters kill Slaaneshi Herald at last but only 3 of them remains. Nearby Spearelves kill the last of Bloodletters but Khorne BSB hacks at them too and they hold knowing that Swordmasters will help them soon. Second regiment of Bloodletters kills last Swordmaster but from that unit only two Daemons remain and their will soon face the ferocity of Lions attack.

Outcasts - Turn 6
The battle is almost finished

Very tired High Elves try to push for the last time. Swordmasters charge Herald and manage to inflict enough wounds to kill it. Also White Lions finish off the remnants of Bloodletters. Even Archers inflict a single wound on Bloodcrusher and only reavers are still locked in combat with last Flesh Hound.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 6
Not much remains from both mighty armies

Despite horrendous casualties on both sides the battle is not yet decided. Bloodcrusher and Flamers attack as one but somehow elven Archers inflict that last wound on Khorne behemoth and stand their ground against flamers. Last reaver finally kills last flesh hound but last word belongs to Tzeentch herald and second flamers who together kill Swordmasters, Archers and a bunch of Lions and Spearelves. But it is not enough to break resolute High Elves who win very bloody victory.

After-battle thoughts

That was probably the most bloody game I have played ever! The result was something like 2310:1930 in HE favor and it could easily be other way around. It was also a very intense game where moves had to be considered very carefully. I will post more detailed remarks in a few days time.

1. MSU vs. MSU - it is yet another example of armies which play in a very different way but when faced with a similar force they need to adapt yet another way of fighting. Both armies had their unique abilities and you could see how both of us tried to use them to our advantages. I grouped Swordmasters and Spears in two teams so they could take on everything together. Wardancer used his Songs to prevent that. He has faster army, better protected but my HE are better in one-on-one combats. These differences meant that we constantly were looking for new openings. And that is why it was so exciting but also very bloody. Even if something worked usually it was not game winning situation straight away as it would have been in the case of traditional army.

2. Deployment - this is a very important part and was very difficult to get an advantage here. I have found out that many players think MSU army can correct mistakes in deployment thanks to more drops. That is not the case. Units need to be in the right spot from the start. MSU just gives you the opportunity to throw the enemy out of balance and choose more favorable paths to the previously chosen targets. Here it was mutually denied. It also caused some interesting solutions. Wardancer deployed his flamers at flanks as he wanted my DP's to go there and then redeploy and contain my cavalry with his fast units. It didn't work as well as he thought because I deployed them on one flank and then managed to pull of that long charge on Fiend too.

Outflanking is usually good idea for MSU army while here, in order to do so I had to break through enemy lines. That was the reason for SM, Spears and DP on one flank and WL on the other. It didn;t work as well as I hoped due to much longer combat against Daemonettes and Flamers (which I though might help me to win combat more decisively but ended up running down my Spears!).

3. Ellyrian Reavers - I like them more and more but I think I didn't use them well. Looking at the game as it was played I should have redeploy them to the East and help Lions to control the center. WL could be then kept as a second wave and could march forward if needed while Light Horse would be much better at performing feigned flight against Eastern flank and even attack furies if the chance presented itself.

4. White Lions - as I have mentioned I could use them better, especially the regiment I sacrificed. What is more I failed to use great eagle to block one flesh hounds to charge them together with other two units. In general there was no need for early advance and I could waited so that 4 enemy units had to move longer distance to my lines while not being able to join the fight in the center without exposing their flanks to counter attacks.

5. I was happy with that DP+SM+Spears attack on Daemonettes but didn't expect to draw Flamer in it. I underestimated them too which cost me dearly. I was stuck in combat for too long and even lost Spears in the end. I know I wanted to be sure that at least one unit, Spears or SM reaches the combat. It was relatively close but it happened before that I failed that 4+ roll for charge distance. Of course I was also unlucky to fail fear test for spears (with a re-roll) but this is also something I take into account when fighting against Daemons. With so many units I am to fail some of these tests anyway. On the other hand the combat against another unit with Spears only went very good for me and was very unlucky for Daemonettes. It was due to his poor rolls to hit and to wound and my good rolls for Shield of Saphery. If both combats went that way I would collapse his flank entirely and that would be the game breaker. Next time :)

6. Wardancer made one mistake that helped me a lot. He positioned his BL with BSB in the front line and that allowed me to target them turn 1 with magic and shooting which resulted in considerable casualties and lost Icon. He needs to keep this unit as a reserve so that his Icon is active longer and his unit is at full combat strength all the time, ready to counter-charge.

7. I need protection for my characters. I simply cannot play safe with them :) So I will try BSB with build as a warrior and add some kind of ward save for archmage :)


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