Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Game 49 - Empire - 2013/01/20

Greetings!

This time we decided to try and play Meeting Engagement as per rule book. Wardancer, who was my opponent again, decided to try out his cavalry based Empire army. I played against it some time ago and this is a very tough one indeed. The list itself was very similar with a few tweaks, downgrading it to 2400 point limit being the most important one.

Army list and pre-battle considerations

As I have mentioned the army is more or less the same. One less cannon and Pistoliers instead of Outriders too.

Empire - Army List

Wizard Lord on barded Warhorse, Level 4, Dispel Scroll - Lore of Heavens
Warrior Priest on barded Warhorse
BSB on barded Warhorse
Engineer, Pigeon Bombs
Captain on Pegasus
Captain on Pegasus

10 Inner Circle Knights
, Full Command, Steel Banner
5 Knights, Musician
5 Knights, Musician
10 Huntsmen


5 Reiksguard, Musician
5 Pistoliers, Musician
5 Pistoliers, Musician
3 Demigryphs, Musician
Cannon

Steamtank


Plenty of 1+ armor saves is no good news for my S3 regiments. Even S5/6 units will struggle to inflict wounds. The army is very fast and has enough units to deny any advantages I might have in the deployment phase. On top of that flying captains are always priority for shooting as they can really mess up with my movement phase (and not only!). Unfortunately I cannot remember the items for the heroes so hopefully wardancer will step in at some stage and fill the gap in that information.

The rules for meeting engagement meant that we rolled off who was to pick the half of the battle field. I won and took North. Then I had to deploy my whole army and rolled for each unit to see if they are in reserves. It turned out Dragon Princes, White Lions and Archers were to enter the battle field a little later.

Wardancer had an advantage of deploying his army second to respond to my own deployment and as it turned out no units of his were kept in reserves at all.

Deployment


Deployment of armies after vanguard moves

Pistoliers and Reavers used their vanguard moves. Pistoliers close to the cannon shifted sideways to block easy path through for the reavers and the other unit galloped in between the buildings.

The wizards had following spells:

Wizard Lord - Iceshard Blizzard, Curse of the Midnight Wind, Urannon's THunderbolt, Comet of Casandora

Archmage - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Curse of Arrow Attraction, Courage of Aenarion, Fury of Khaine
Empire tried to steal the initiative but could not roll a 6 and High Elves begun.

Outcasts - Turn 1
Reinforcements arrive from the North

Elven reinforcements arrive just in time to intercept Pistoliers. Incredibly accurate archer fire destroys the unit in a single salvo.

In the center of the battle field reavers see no gap to sneak through and pull back to stay away from the enemy archers and the cannon (no light horse warrior likes to be too close when it is loaded with grapeshot).

Archmage engaged his human counterpart in a duel of minds and managed to get enough power to cast fury of khaine irresistibly (Edit: Yeap, two 6's for a spell cast with two dice :)). Thanks to his staff of solidity the magical feedback was safely dispersed. Much to his disappointment, however, only single pistolier fell down. Nearby sea guard aimed at the enemy as well and 3 more horsemen died young. Last survivor held his ground.

Elven BSB decided to aim at a bigger prize and he let fly at pegasus captain but inflicted only a single wound. The crew of the Eagle Claw also aimed at him but missed completely.

Empire - Turn 1
Empire steamroller moves forward!

Entire army moves forward. Only Pistolier moves to the safety of the hill. Steamtank experiences some difficulties and although nothing major happens its cannon could not be used at that moment.

Cannon crew, however, didn't have any problems like that and shot at distant eagle claw. Miraculously the elven war machine, although hit, was still intact!

The wizard lord cast his spells. This time elven archmage was unable to block the thunderbolt cast at the white lions. What is more, that enraged the blood forest the Chracians were in but their experience let them avoid the dangers and the forest walked away.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Winds of magic are difficult to control!

Elven regiments had to move fast. On the West Dragon princes and White Lions, protected by the magical shield, moved in to trap Reiksguard. Ellyrian Reavers blocked Demighryphs since the eagle was too far behind to do so.

On the North East another eagle landed just in front of the main cavalry regiment of the Empire army and Sea Guard exposed themselves to the charge of a single Knightly unit. Then Lions and Dragon Princes moved around the house to be able to aid infantry with timely rear charge.

Elven wizard once again invoked fury of the war god and again he could not control the winds of magic. This time it resulted in a dimensional cascade. Half of the sea guard unit perished and the mage was hurt too. Again, the powerful spell resulted in a miserable single wound upon pegasus captain (Edit: Out of 9 hits only 3 wounded and only 1 was not saved.).

Empire - Turn 2
Empire attacks!
Demigryphs charge interposing reavers and make short work of the light cavalry. Then they reform and in their victory celebration carelessly expose their flank to Sowrdmasters.

Inner Circle Knights charge and destroy great eagle easily. They reform to face East.

Then Knight unit and pegasus captain attack sea guard as one. Elves cannot breach through enemy armor, lose combat and flee (Edit: Unfortunately I failed my steadfast break test roll).

Empire cannon this time makes no mistakes and finishes off elven warmachine in a proper blast.

Outcasts - Turn 3
Elves counter attack on the West

White Lions charge Reiksguard, kill 2 knights but the rest stubbornly holds. Then Swordmasters hit the flank of the Demigryphs. Despite the fact all but one blow is deflected by the thick armor monstrous cavalry breaks and flees out of the battle field. Pursuing Sowrdmasters are not fast enough to reach the combat against Reiksguard and dangerously expose the flank to the nearby cannon.

On the North East Dragon princes galloped through the gap but treacherous wall claimed two of them. Shaken by the unexpected casualties, nearby archers failed to kill lonely pistolier, racing towards their lines. White Lions remained in the building, keeping defensive position against the knights.

Empire - Turn 3
Empire Army turns towards the West

With Elven units scattered empire general gives order to turn towards West to deal with the enemy grouped there. Only pegasus captain charges the archers on the hill who despite losing some of their warriors kept fighting.

The cannon crew didn't waste the opportunity and under careful inspection of the engineer they aimed at elite elven warriors, killing a few and panicking the rest. The hunters, inspired by the gunners example, aimed at dragon princes and ... 

Nikolas was considered by his fellow companions slow. But he liked to think he was just precise. Every time he set traps for animals he did it for four times longer than other hunters, he even moved like a bear in late autumn. His slowness never won him any chance to dance with a girl on village feast and some simply considered him an idiot. But now, as usual, he notched an arrow and aimed slowly, carefully. His companions already let lose and everybody could see as their arrows were deflected by the ornate armor. They braced for the incoming impact when Nikolas finally shot his arrow. To the surprise of all around him it hit the elven knight right into the eye slit in his helmet and with a sharp jerk, the elf toppled down from his steed. To even greater surprise his two remaining companions simply turned in full gallop and moved away. - (gotta love these 1's to armor save followed by 11's for panic checks :D)

Another unit of Dragon Princes was the target of the Thunderbolt spell but they held fast. White Lions finally managed to kill all of the Reiksguard.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Elves consolidate their positions

Elven units on the West consolidate their positions. They were hard pressed but not all was lost yet. White Lions on the East moved away from the house to be able to aid their companions.

Archers finally kill the lone pistolier while their comrades on the hill kept pegasus captain busy.

Archmage tried to aid the shooters but only his spell resulted in a single casualty. That human armor was really tough to breach.

Empire - Turn 4
Empire knights close in

Steamtank charges poor great eagle and destroys it in no time. Also pegasus captain finally kills all the archers and looks for new targets.

One knightly unit charges 5 Swordmasters but they decided to withdraw. A few lions die to the spell and arrows of the Empire.
 
Outcasts - Turn 5
Death or glory!

White Lions feigned an attack at small unit of knights who withdraw. They had to do so through the ranks of their companions. It was perfect moment for Swordmasters to attack and they charged disorganized foe, killed them all and descended upon retreating second unit, destroying them utterly as well.

White Lions, glad that their comrades did so well, prepared for suicidal mission. They were in a wrong spot now and could not avoid the inner circle knights. Their aim was to try and kill some of the characters. To their surprise Dragon Princes joined them. Unfortunately for elves, they didn't far well and could not assassinate either BSB or the Priest. And they all died for that.

Elven BSB spotted the pegasus captain in the open and inflicted two wounds on him.

Empire - Turn 5
The power of the Empire artillery

Only few regiments remained on the battle field. Steamtank moved forward but then malfunction occurred and it stopped abruptly. Then pegasus captain swooped down on the flank of the few sea guards. Their brave champion challenged the captain and died for the greater good.

Hieronimous the Engineer looked carefully through his magnifying glass. He noticed how elven warriors moved into the building some time ago and now they were forming outside in good order. But he didn't see that brightly dressed mage with them and the conclusion was obvious. He was still inside the house. Hieronimous smiled and gave order to the cannon crew - they just acquired a new target.

Archibald finally had a little moment of peace. It was not his fault that the spells he cast didn't work as usual. He even channeled much more power than necessary to prove how skilled he was. And why they were so offended about the side effects? Ignorant fools!

He looked through the window and then something on the hill caught his attention.

"Bob! Bob, come here now!" - he yelled and always grim battle standard bearer showed up in the room. "Can you, please, stand on the balcony and show me how you wave that flag of yours to greet our allies?" - Archie tried his most innocent smile. Bob shrugged his shoulders and started waving his flag. And then something round, hard and fast moving hit him.


(Edit: It was a miracle that I didn't lose both characters due to my stupid mistake. I simply forgot to move them out of the building which in that case is a dead trap. BSB was killed but Archmage remained on a single wound!)

Outcasts - Turn 6
Last cavalry charge

Dragon Princes spurred their horses and enacted vengeance on the hunters for killing their companion. Nearby cannon crew didn't care however.

Sea Guard failed to reform to face the pegasus captain but a single attack of a single brave elven marine found a crack in the armor of his adversary and wounded captain finally was defeated!

Empire - Turn 6
Last word belongs to the Empire artillery

Victorious sea guard braced for the incoming impact but somehow steamtank hissed, shook, lost some odd screws and ... stopped again. They cheered loudly, yet again they were lucky to survive.

Unfortunately, Dragon Princes were all killed by a powerful grapeshot. With that last act of violence, both bloodied army withdrew. No one could claim victory that day.

After-battle thoughts

The fact that I didn't lose was simply a miracle. I made some idiotic mistakes but somehow I was not severely punished for them. In my opinion Wardancer played very well and made only a single mistake, when he didn't notice Swordmasters at the flank of the Demigryphs. Unfortunately for him, his amazing save rolls (out of 11 wounds he saved 10) were for nothing as the unit still fled.

I am really considering starting a topic about my stupid mistakes so people can learn how not to play :)

1. Deployment - It was not easy to do it right as although I knew I have great chance to start I also knew I need to be prepared for that 6 to steal the initiative. I thought that going for flanks and only pretending to hold the center should give me some opportunities. I also wanted to use buildings either to stay safe from charges or to be able to appear in dangerous spots.

2. Characters in the building - that was the most stupid thing in that game. I completely forgot but when I was reminded I didn't want to correct it as I need to learn to pay for such mistakes. But how many times I have to make them?  Somehow Archie is a very lucky guy, he survived Queek, now a cannon shot. Hopefully he didn't run out of his luck yet!

3. Lions + Princes charge - I knew I cannot save them both after the flee of the small knightly unit. Lions were doomed. But Princes had a chance to attack huntsmen and overrun into the cannon. I could get points and save some too. What I should also do was to keep chasing the knights. I would end in the front arc of the Inner Circle but at least they would have to charge the Lions and but me some time.

4. Swordmasters (SM2) and Lions (WL2) - I think I should have reformed Swormasters to be able to attack the Steamtank and close with Lions to it too. I was very lucky it malfunctioned and could not charge the sea guard. But I might get a chance to hold it for last turn and if both units got into contact they could have even wounded it properly. Probably not enough to finish it but who knows. I had more chance to win against it than against full inner circle knights.

These are just main things I wanted to highlight but in general I played badly in crucial moments, made horrendous mistakes and I was at the same time way too lucky to go away with a draw from that.

Thanks again to Wardancer for a great game and to all spectators, I hope you had some fun too! :)

Cheers!

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