Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Game 112 - Warriors of Chaos - 2014/06/07

Game 5 - Charles - Warriors of Chaos - Battle for the Pass

In my last game I played against Charles who is a veteran of Warhammer. He used to win tournaments a decade ago and he wrote this excellent article everybody should read:

Irresistible Force - Issue 4

we were about to play modified Battle for the Pass scenario where there were three counters on the battle field. If your unit ended the game on it you got the objective and 200VP bonus points for each.

Charles had a very intriguing army, both in terms of composition and visual effects. It was modelled with the use of Easterlings miniatures from Lord of the Rings series but the characters were special too.

Easterlings of Chaos – Army List

Scylla Anfinngrim (Shelob) – General
Sorcerer Lord of Tzeentch (Sauron), level 4, Disk, Sword of Might, Earthing Rod, Enchanted Shield, Talisman of Preservation, The Third Eye of Tzeentch, Flaming BreathLore of Tzeentch
Sorcerer (Ringwraith), level 2, Chaos Steed, Charmed Shield, Dispel ScrollLore of Metal
BSB, Exalted Hero of Tzeentch, Daemonic Mount, Armour of Destiny, Scaly Skin

14 Marauder Horsemen, Mark of Slaanesh, Flails, FC
5 Marauder Horsemen, Mark of Slaanesh, Flails, Standard
5 Marauder Horsemen, Mark of Slaanesh, Flails, Standard
5 Marauder Horsemen, Mark of Slaanesh, Flails
5 Warhounds
5 Warhounds
5 Warhounds

Gorebeast Chariot, Mark of Slaanesh
Gorebeast Chariot, Mark of Slaanesh 
6 Chaos Trolls
5 Chaos Knights, Mark of Slaanesh, Gleaming Pennant
Very interesting army list and you could bet it was not a coincidence that it was shaped like that. Let’s have a look at the details:

Scyla – I have never faced that special character before. As a general he gives nice Ld10 inspiring presence. Very good for trolls! He is relatively tough with T5 and scaly skin 5+ gives him a little protection. He also has 6+ save that combines nicely with MR(3). He is unbreakable which can be used as an asset. He has random attacks and only WS4 but with hatred it can still count. Star Lance noble could potentially get him on the charge with the Potion of Foolhardiness. Other high S attacks eventually would get him too although I'd better do it quick as he might get quite a few attacks back.

Sorcerer Lord – now we have a typical tooled up Tzeentch disk surfer but as he is not general he can be used more freely. Sure, 400+ is not cheap but at least there is no bonus for the general in this case. Extremely tough to kill due to 1+ armour and 3++ ward with re-rolls of 1’s. Unlike combat Tzeentch Lord, however, he is the most dangerous when he casts his spells and Tzeentch Lore can be really dangerous. Swordm of Might and Flaming Breath added to his arsenal even further. Would be great to catch him so that at least he would have been grounded. Otherwise, he will be major trouble.

Sorcerer – He definitely helps against high armoured foes as Tzeentch Lord might not get the Gateway but even if he does, he can add to the must-dispel spells for the enemy. Metal Lore has some useful spells anyway so that there is also a nice choice. Dispel Scroll is always handy. Not to mention obvious advantage of having 2 dice to channel rather than 1.

BSB – Another hard to kill hero, which is very important in the case of a BSB. But he can also be very good at combat as all chaos champions. Other than that good, old BSB is always handy to have around, be it as an independent character or in the unit. I guess breaking him in combat would be the best option due to his 1+/3++.

Marauder Horsemen – I have never seen so many fast cavalry units in a single army (maybe DE are close to it these days or new WE) and I was impressed. They were all armed with flails so that could be potentially dangerous. Big unit as an interesting option. Mounted sorcerer had plenty of regiments to hide. Mark of Slaanesh is very good choice on them as they will never panic and can always be used as redirectors. Very useful and very cheap too. Can do some damage but even if they don’t they are not expensive to be worried about.

Hounds – poor hounds are perfect throw away unit. They are very useful though and add to the number of regiments that can keep the enemy away from joining the fight or slow them down. Typical diverter role. The problem is they need to be eliminated too as otherwise even a single dog can be very annoying.

Chariots – now tougher guys for a change. Not fast but with good charge range and very, very tough. Perfect support unit as they need to touch the enemy to deliver the maximum number of attacks. Their impact hits are the most dangerous though. If charged or counter charged they are still a trouble but if hit in the flank the beast cannot attack and that means they are more vulnerable. Dragon Princes, in particular with characters, have a good chance to destroying them though. Quite good target for searing doom too.

Trolls – the “deathstar” of the army if accompanied by Scyla and BSB. Scyla provides some protection against spells so that they are not naked. Flaming attacks needed greatly here. Wider frontage means they can be easier diverted. Normally one unit of 6 trolls is manageable (but not easy to defeat) but with characters it can be a real problem.

Knights – another hitty unit in the army. Not many warriors in there! 5 knights is a problem on its own as I have experienced many times. However, they are perfect target for searing doom, and I have enough high S attacks in the army to try and tackle them too.

The main challenge, however, was that it was Battle for the Pass scenario so I could not use spread formation to try and engage the enemy in one-on-one combats where my units are better. Apart from trolls and knights of course. But winning the war of support units is priority in MSU vs MSU fights.


MSU armies in the Battle for the Pass - and you still have rivers!

Deployment of the armies after vanguard moves

I hoped to use defensive position with my shooters behind the river and added Lions for protection while other units would hopefully be able to attack the flank of the incoming enemy. At the same time I had to pay attention to the objectives and looked like there is a chance they can be contested if taking them is impossible.

Shooters behind the river and sisters in the building gave me hope to either thin down the trolls or shoot at light cavalry.

Surprisingly I won first turn and I had to come up with the plan as what to do when the enemy is not yet approaching my lines!

Oh, the enemy wizards had the following spells:

Sorcerer Lord: Pink Fire of Tzeentch, Bolt of Change, Glean Magic, Infernal Gateway
Level 2: Searing Doom, Enchanted Blades

Outcasts - Turn 1
Elves move cautiously

Keeping defensive positions

Elves didn't move fast forward as the passage through was blocked by the units of Chaos. The gaps had to be made with shooting and magic. Due to intervening terrain or units being out of range, the shooting was less than impressive. Only some hounds and a some horsemen fell and that didn't impress neither of sides.

Easterlings of Chaos – Turn 1
Close up on the centre and left flank

Close up on right flank
And the bigger picture

Chaos troops do not run towards enemy lines, just send their Sorcerer Lord

Surprisingly (or not!) the light armoured horsemen of Chaos were not eager to move towards the Elves and some units even withdrew. The survivors of the shooting went hiding behind other troops. Only the Sorcerer Lord moved towards the enemy. His attempt to cast a bolt of change at the dragon princes was dispelled but that opened the defences and he could cast Gateway without any resistance. Dragon Princes died anyway and only the noble remained.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Reavers sneak in

Stand off on the right flank
Units on the right flank didn't move forward but that didn't allow them to shoot at preferred target anyway so the shooting was wasted on tough and well armoured foes. Even fire ball did nothing to trolls since the Khorne protection was strong. Only reavers managed to sneak in between enemy units and shot down two more marauder horsemen.

Easterlings of Chaos – Turn 2
Sorcerer Lord strikes again!
Another gateway!

The units on the left flank withdrew. No need to fight Swordmasters anyway. On the right flank the regiments shifted their positions but in general they didn't move forward much either. Trolls were in the safe distance from the shooters and Sisters in particular. Marauders were too far for the archers to pick them up. Only chariots were moved a little forward since their toughness and armour were protection enough.

Sorcerer Lord landed behind the elven lines despite nearby White Lions. He used them as a next target and destroyed them utterly with his spells (Edit: I thought it was Gateway again but it may have been Pink Fire as well, in any case, all died)

Outcasts - Turn 3
Elves move a little forward

Loremaster tried to snipe the Sorcerer Lord
Elves didn't move forward much, only sea guard attempted to change position. Reavers had to withdraw to more defensive position. (Edit: I failed my march test and could not use the speed to hunt down the marauders.)

Larry the Loremaster risked all in a single searing doom spell but only 1 wound was inflicted upon the Sorcerer Lord. Two Chaos Knights fell to the ground too.

Easterlings of Chaos – Turn 3
Charles after killing 4 reavers with a searing doom. 5 hits, 4 wound on 5+, that's how you roll it! :)

Time for blurry pictures

Gorebeast chariot scatters elven infantry

Sorcerer Lord hid behind the building while nearby chariot attempted to catch elven infantry but both units withdrew in time. Warhounds tried to bait some elven knights while big units of marauders blocked the passaged through the river.

Then sorcerer, seeing how efficient his master was, cast a spell on reavers. No less than 4 elves died due to deadly searing doom but the only survivor didn't panic. He had to withdraw though.

Gorebeast chariot moved to threaten Swordmasters flank who seemed to overexpose themselves. But other than that army of Chaos occupied its defensive position.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Loremaster jumps to the house for a better view
but still cannot hunt down the notorious Sorcerer Lord

Elves don't take the bait and shoot the warhounds instead. Magic is still uneventful and Elves don't feel confident enough to advance more aggressively. Even Swordmasters back up from the chariot (Edit: one of the situations where I wish I had a musician)

Easterlings of Chaos – Turn 4
Some more units shifting
Warhounds chase Swordmasters away!

Gorebeast chariot charges Swordmasters who made a little rush decision and tried to withdraw in good order. However, nearby war hounds chased them too and warriors of Hoeth had no choice but to retreat to the nearby rocks. They escaped but would have been to late to re-join the battle!

Sorcerer Lord again flew around and behind elven lines but his bolt of change was stopped by the dragon armour this time.

Outcasts - Turn 5
An attempt to shoot some enemies

Elves were running out of time and tried to get a few enemies. But shooting and magic were again quite disappointing. Even combat didn't go well as chariot fled and the noble could not catch it while lone reaver attacking from the rear could not break the hounds (Edit: or catch them, can't remember which one)!

Easterlings of Chaos – Turn 5
Securing the objectives
Stalemate until the very end

Chaos troops moved in to secure the objectives and controlled two out of three. Sorcerer Lord tried to cast some magic but surprisingly even to him the winds of magic dissipated before he cast a spell.

With that both armies withdrew, none could have gained enough advantage to break through but it was clear the forces of destruction controlled bigger part of the pass now.


Turn-by-turn summary animation
After-battle thoughts

Unfortunately, due to lack of time we could not even finish the magic phase and I am sure some more casualties would have been suffered by my army with the Lord ready to cast more gateways or bolts. In any case, Charles outplayed me and won 12-8 and that secured him first place at the tournament! Well done, Charles!  

I played against a very cunning opponent and made some mistakes, so no wonder I lost.

First of all, I deployed assuming the enemy will come to me. I should not have. And that helped Charles to play to his strengths. Basically, he kept fragile units away and I wasted resources on hunting down unkillable lord.

Second, as I have mentioned, I should have tried to get some points elsewhere. The Lord can kill a unit per turn but I should have done so too. For example, instead of targeting him with searing doom I should have done so with Knights. They are the perfect target. Or even chariots. I wasted fire ball on trolls where middle one could have wiped out some marauders. It would have had additional benefit in the form of preventing them from contesting the objective.

I also misread the rules and assumed that staying in 3" from the objective can contest it. Hence I didn't move dragon princes in the middle. I gave away 200VP for free.

From the hindsight I should have stayed with Swordmasters and take the charge but I suffered from yet another tunnel vision and made the very same mistake as with Loremaster in game 3.  :oops:  #-o There was a chance I would have held (maybe on steadfast if lucky) but that also would have make it easier for the noble to catch the chariot. 

The last two mistakes were the difference between loss and a draw.

I should have deployed differently, however and be a little more aggressive. I think I need more units on the right flank, also mixed and not shooters only. Then apply shooting and magic to hurt fragile units rather than waste the potential on tough targets. And maybe force some exchanges too.

From the perspective of a player it was a very challenging game and despite not many combats it was the fight were we both tried to get into better position but not gaining enough of advantage decided not to push it too much.

Tournament Summary

I was very happy with the games I had this tournament. It would have not been possible if not for great organisation and fantastic opponents! So my big Thank You! to TO's for taking time for preparation and all the players for creating nice atmosphere. People were great and did their best to have competitive games and be fantastic sports!

It was a small tournament but was run smoothly and the terrain quality is great. The only thing that may be improved is the tables. They are big and stable but they only have clothes instead of mats and that sometimes creates little bumps. It also makes it possible to move it a little by accident. But it is a minor thing really.

The terrain was very good and added to the tactical options for the games. Although the last one with two rivers in the pass was tough :) I like the scenarios as they seem to add greatly to the games. You need to pay attention to the objectives and as you could have seen sometimes I was close to get more points if I tried harder to accomplish these tasks. It does affect the way the armies are built and in fact, creates more variety.

I am glad I managed to get good victories with the same army (more or less) I had at CanCon as it shows that it has the tools but simply needs to be used more aggressively. Sometimes (mainly two last games) I should have pushed harder though. I will try to write a more detailed post about the army performance later. I will try to play with it again as I do need musicians I left behind and will try to find new balance again. I like the addition of mounted nobles but may try to play with the equipment. Basically, the usual challenge is to fit all you want in the single army :)

I was very happy to find out my results were good enough to secure 2nd overall placing, just behind Charles! It seems that we were fighting for the top position on table 1!

It was a great tournament and I hope you enjoyed the reports!

Once again, thanks for reading and comments!


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