Thursday, 14 August 2014

Game 22 - Daemons of Chaos - 2012/05/06

Greetings!

With a little delay (I had to postpone the game for one week) I finally had an opportunity to play against DoC led by dreaded Blood Thirster. I was playing against jwg20 (for those who visit Ulthuan) aka Gatti (for UB players :)). What was also interesting about this game was the fact we knew about our army lists before it. So no hidden aces in the sleeve. :)

Army lists and pre-battle considerations

The whole idea was to provide me with a challenge as there is an impression (and the right one!) that MSU army might have huge problems with armies with big flying monsters. I have had no opportunity so far to play against a Dragon or Blood Thirster and I was definitely curious what would be the outcome of a game against one. In general I knew it is possible as I saw SmithF doing that with his Empire MSU (against DE with Dragon and double Hydra) or with his WoC (against Ghoul King on Terrorgeist backed up by 2 more TG's). Luckily for me jwg20 spotted the discussion about MSU vs. big flying monster and offered a game to test all the ideas in practice. We didn't play with any specific rule pack or composition system. The only condition was for BT to be present. So here we go, his army list:

Daemons of Chaos - Army List

Bloodthirster, Armor of Khorne, Spell Breaker, Immortal Fury, Collar of Khorne

Herald of Khorne, BSB, Obsidian Armor, Great Icon of Despair
Herald of Slaanesh, Daemonic Robes, Siren Song

5 Furies
5 Furies
29 Bloodletters
, FC, Skull Banner
29 Daemonettes, FC, Banner of Ecstasy
5 Flesh Hounds
5 Seekers
, St, Siren Banner
6 Fiends


Quite a tough army, despite the absence of some of the usual suspects. It seemed that Tzeentch was not invited but unholy alliance between Khorne and Slaanesh was made. The army is incredibly fast and in fact there are 3 big blocks in it, as for my elves 6 Fiends count as a big unit too! Flesh Hounds are always dangerous with their 2 S5 attacks and 2w each. Seekers could be very dangerous and I was already warned against the following: Siren Song on archmage or the unit he is with and charge by Seekers next turn if the unit could not make it against Daemonettes in the first place. Bloodletters are as always dangerous and icon of despair is very annoying when one needs to pass all these fear/terror tests.

And of course the main player, Blood Thirster. It has the ability to crush any of my units in a single turn so I had to be very careful with positioning. Whatever he charged I wanted it to be in empty space afterwards so that it cannot fight in my turn as well. Easier said than done. Its flying ability means I cannot block it or redirect it. That is why I planned to move with caution but keep moving and use any terrain feature to avoid its line of sight.

The good thing was there was no shooting or magic. It does not mean I would have free reign in the magic phase but it could help me use my characters solo.

Outcasts - Army List

Archmage, Annulian Crystal, Bow of Seafarer - High Magic
BSB, GW, Heavy Armor, Shield, Reaver Bow, Dragonhelm

10 Archers, Light Armor, Musician
10 Archers, Light Armor, Musician
15 LSG, Musician, Standard
15 LSG, Musician, Standard

10 Swordmasters, Musician
10 Swordmasters, Musician
10 White Lions, Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
10 White Lions, Musician, Standard, Gleaming Pennant
5 Dragon Princes
5 Dragon Princes

5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician

Great Eagle
Great Eagle


The most recent discussion on Ulthuan was focused on the fact that I would need some range weapons in general and against BT in particular. Hence I decided to add Seafarer bow for the Archmage. He would act as mobile bolt thrower, although his BS4 is not that great in this particular case as moving and shooting at long range means hitting on 5+. Not great odds if you really need to hit something big and scary :) But I decided to give it a go anyway. I also added Gleaming Pennant for White Lions so that this unit could operate outside BSB range of influence.

Deployment


Deployment after Vanguard moves

I deployed further in my zone to give that few extra inches between both armies. It might not be much but charges are failed due to that 1 inch difference and every turn without combat is a waste of time for BT. And an opportunity for me to shoot at it. I was a little fooled with deployment of Seekers, however, as they moved from the Eastern flank to the forest when I wanted to shoot them as priority and hence deployed both LSG units there instead of more symmetric battle line. Their deployment on Eastern flank also made me alter my plan a little and I paired reavers so that they can delay Fiends and/or Daemonettes while they would be easy target for Seekers.

I also spread my army so that it is easier to move them around big enemy blocks and also makes a difficult decision for BT as what to attack. Initially I wanted to position characters more in the center but seeing where BT is I decided to position them on the East. If it moved towards them I had some units to block his advance, if not I would use these units for typical envelopment. The same goes for Western flank. If given the opportunity I would attack but if not I would move around and try to avoid combat.

Archmage had following spells: Drain Magic :D, Shield of Saphery, Curse of Arrow Attraction, Courage of Aenarion and Vaul's Unmaking. This was good as all spells with an exception of Drain Magic would be very useful. Shield is always good against high strength attacks, Curse would help my archers, Courage would be crucial to keep even a single survivor in combat and deny opportunity for another charge for the enemy and Vaul's is great against nasty Daemonic Icons. The question was would winds of magic be good for me? :)

Not surprisingly DoC won the roll off and the game began!

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 1
Howling Daemons rush forward

With a mighty roar Blood Thirster gave an order to approach towards elven lines at full speed. It was not reckless, however as some daemonic units kept proper distance just yet as elven arrows can be still deadly despite the protective aura each daemon has. Furies, Fiends and Seekers created a dead zone on the Western flank and Ellyrian Reavers seemed to be trapped there. It was also clear that Khorne followers wanted to move to the Eastern flank of the elven army while Daemonettes protected their side and were close by in case they needed some support.

Outcasts - Turn 1
First blood for High Elves!

One of the Reavers unit attacked exposed Furies and after short fight little flying daemon were no more and elven light horse were at the flank of the enemy. Second unit pulled back and shot their arrows at Fiends but without success. Archers aimed at Daemonettes and killed 2 of them. LSG moved forward to get in range and opened fire at Hounds but also were not lucky in scoring mortal wounds. Archmage and BSB were able to shoot at Blood Thirster but archmage missed while BSB arrows lost momentum over such a long distance and didn't hit with enough strength to penetrate the armor of the greater daemon. Since the enemy was still far away and there was no immediate danger Archmage decided to harness winds of magic a little longer and do not risk any unwanted feedbacks.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 2
Daemons continue their fast advance

Slaaneshi Daemons moved forward with their fast units protecting the flank of the army and getting ready for charges if the elven cavalry were reckless enough to close the distance. Blood Thirster, roaring in disgust at cowardly elves with bows decided to fly next to the rocks (Edit: blocking line of sight) and threaten elven Archers. Furies landed in front of Dragon Princes to draw them from their position and enable Hounds to counter charge.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Elves attack again

Dragon Princes on both flanks spurred their horses and dispatched their foes without taking any casualties in return. White Lions on the East could not resist the siren song of glory and charged daemonettes horde. They could not hope to win that fight but it could be that despite some evil influence of the dark gods they might buy some time for other elven regiments. Ellytian Reavers moved around their foes and kept proper distance and shot at Fiends again, this time inflicting a wound.

On the East Lions moved towards the Hounds but could not yet block them properly. It was also ironic that killing one of the beasts by shooting enabled the whole pack to be even more agile and probably avoid elven hunters too. Elven Archmage could not yet penetrate the defense Khorne granted to his followers. Also elven Archers were not lucky to find a weak spot in Blood Thirster's armor and their arrows only enraged greater daemon furhter.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 3
Finally Daemons can charge too
Blood Thirster roared and started to fly towards elven Archers. Being young and not experienced they were ordered to withdraw if such situation arises. Some lives had to be saved at all costs and although ashamed the Archers followed the orders. Seeing that greater daemon changed the direction and attacked White Lions fighting Daemonettes. Brave Charcians died to an elf and even they could not wound Blood Thirster.

On the East Khorne BSB was enraged that some eagle blocks the path for its regiment to the elven lines and charged out of the unit. The eagle tried to fly away but was caught. However, Khorne follower was now exposed in the open and was about to witness how accurate elven archery can be.

Hounds run by White Lions and hit Dragon Princes dragging 2 of them from their horses. One hound was dead too and heavy cavalry held the line.

Outcasts - Turn 3

High Elves move to new positions
Elven cavalry on the West started to control that part of the battle field and encircled Fiends while shooting at them and this time combined fire from Reavers and Archers killed one and put some wounds on the second daemon.

On the East Dragon princes were losing the fight against vicious hounds and lost two more knights while they managed to wound the hound only once. Last survivor kept fighting though.

Seeing the opportunity elven Archmage drew his magic bow. Aimed carefully according to all the archery manuals he read at White Tower. He has already missed twice and he was even more eager to prove that he can shoot too. His aim was true and foul Khorne icon bearer was hit right through its evil heart. Even his protective aura could not save him while magic arrow easily penetrated usually very tough armor. Feeling his second in command disappearing from material world Blood Thirster roared his curses at cowardly archer and promised to enact his vengeance.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 4
Daemons attack once more

Fiends on the West attempted a charge at Archers but they too withdrew and now daemons were surrounded by elven cavalry, ready to charge. Blood Thirster landed in front of sea guard and blood letters charged White Lions, easily covering the distance with the aid of their unholy icon. Chracians fought ferociously but the sheer number of daemons prevailed ... almost. Single survivor held knowing that his sacrifice will enable Swordmasters to enact proper vengeance and banish foul daemons from this world.

Last knight tried to fight back but 3 hounds overwhelmed him. Nearby guard unit decided they need to protect the general and bsb at all cost and despite their protests, elven characters were carried away from the danger.
(Edit: Apologies for the lame excuse but how should I explain that I rolled 11 for panic test twice in a row? :))

Outcasts - Turn 4
High Elves fight back to turn the tide

Elven cavalry on the West charge all together against fiends. Despite the uneasy feelings bestowed on them by daemons elven horseman inflict enough damage to reduce the number of daemons to 2. They lost 6 reavers in the process, however.

On the West Swordmasters start melting Blood letters fast and Hounds do not stand a chance either. Lothern Sea Guard charges Blood Thirster to stop it from attacking their nobles and archmage manages to get Courage of Aenarion through to boost their resolve. Elven warriors hold despite horrendous casualties.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 5
Can Blood Thirster break through?

There were few units left now. Reavers and Dragon Princes managed to inflict enough casualties on fiends to break their bond with the world and daemons finally disappeared, taking the lives of 2 more light horseman with them. Brave eagle delayed Daemonettes a little bit longer too but would it be enough to hold them for good?

Swordmasters kept killing Blood Letters although this time the fight seemed a little bit more even. Finally Blood Thirster killed all but the standard bearer who refused to give ground even in such dramatic situation.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Can Elves prevail?
The situation became truly dramatic. Swordmasters killed all but a champion of blood letters and it was clear that even this daemon is not going to last long. Reavers did what they could to attract the attention of Daemonettes and block them so that they could not join the fight. Archmage summoned his powers to boost resolve of his warriors once more while they created protective formation around him and BSB to prevent Blood Thirster from attacking them directly. In doing so he drew so much power that even Khorne defenses were not enough. Archmage barely managed to control the feedback so that he wounded only himself and not anybody nearby.

Greater Daemon looked at single figure who faced him carrying his regimental banner high. With a single sweep of his massive arm Blood Thirster smashed the lone warrior aside and then stood over him to land the final blow. The he received the order from his master Khorne who told it not to kill that warrior. If he was strong enough he would survive and fight again and as a hero and more experienced warrior he would provide even more skulls for the throne of skulls. Khorne didn't care whose skulls. With silent obedience greater daemon started to search another target.

Daemons of Chaos - Turn 6
Last attempt of Daemons to break elven resolve

Daemons knew this is the last chance for them to break elven army. Blood Thrister charged sea guard together with Slaaneshi Herald who could attack only on her own. Elven warriors even wounded her but her magical aura deflected the blow and sealed the wound. Again, Blood Thirster killed many elves but again they held.

Outcasts - Turn 6
Elves held the line ... barely

Elven warriors were not able to threat Blood Thirster as he proceeded to kill their companions. That was a sad moment but their lives held Daemons long enough and evil hordes didn't achieve victory this time.

After-battle thoughts

I really liked that game and jwg20/Gatti is a fantastic opponent. Thanks a lot! That was a real pleasure! :)

When we calculated victory points it turned out it is something like 1585 : 1483 (Gatti, I calculated again just in case I made a mistake :)). However, I think I got 100 bonus for BSB while I should not as it was killed by shooting. In that case we had 2 points difference. I guess that's a draw :D

I liked the fact I kept moving my army as this created some opportunities to fight enemy forces and do not focus on hurting BT only. Imagine what disaster it would be to castle up in a corner and await these hordes head on. It is sometimes easy to forget that such big monster is not alone. I still could not contain it and it proceeded to kill many of my units. There are things I could have done better and after looking at diagrams here are my observations:

1. I made mistake with Lions on the West as I forgot to put an eagle in front of them to prevent that charge. They were too close to the edge and I could not risk fleeing. I held the unit for one turn and Blood Thirster too but it was not enough to sacrifice that regiment in this way.

2. I should not move Lions on the East so much forward as I didn't have a chance to block hounds while DP definitely would need some help. Because of that I could not help them and even failed panic tests which almost cost me a game.

3. I was wondering if it was good call to charge reavers at the rear of fiends and came to the conclusion it was reckless. I didn't inflict enough to balance out my own casualties. If I charged only from the flanks fiends would have less attacks to hit back and also would have to hit DP instead who had enough armor to speak about. Not to mention I failed fear tests for them and for DP.

4. Some failed march tests for eagle also saw it too slow to block blood letters but fortunately for me it was enough to stop Daemonettes. Otherwise it would be very bad situation with these girls on my flank.

5. Magic bows are interesting but it seems my opponent overestimated them. It was good for me that I actually killed something with them but then the main achievement was that BT flew elsewhere. I was concerned before the game that the bows might be a magnet rather and I have a feeling that next time BT will be heading that direction much faster. :)

We also had 2 situations in terms of rules which we kind of skipped but I wanted to ask for an opinion:

1. When Bloodletters killed all but 1 Lion, could they reform so that the lion would be fighting their flank instead?

2. Can fiends divide their attacks between different units or each fiend has to allocate all of them against single regiment?

As to my opponents play I think he was too shy :) He made a mistake with Seekers when he positioned them too close to DP and lost them as a result. Otherwise it would have been quite interesting situation on that flank with fast troops moving around and trying to gain advantage.

I also think that Gatti didn't expect I would flee with an eagle and hence he charged out with his BSB. I am not sure but I wounder if it would not be better for them to kill the eagle as it was with whole regiment.

Once again thanks a lot for a game, Gatti! And thanks for the reading to everybody. If you liked it, please leave a comment or two :)

Cheers!

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