Thursday, 25 June 2015

Game 113 - Orcs & Goblins - 2014/07/02


My "regular" sparring partner, Eastern Barbarian (known was wardancer on is preparing his O&G army for the upcoming tournament and wanted to test yet another of his unorthodox armies. This time he lined up some Orcs and Goblins but with double Wyvern riders! We played with closed lists so I didn't know about his magic items and the list below is the one I have obtained after the game. Bear that in mind for the reminder of the report! The tournament he is going to attend is using Swedish composition too. In addition, there is no mysterious terrain. His army list with details was as follows:

Orcs & Goblins - Army List

Warboss, Shield, Spear, Wyvern, Talisman of Preservation, Dragonbane Gem, The Other Trickster Shard - General
Warboss, Spear, Wyvern, Charmed Shield
Night goblin BSB,  Light Armour, Shield
Orc big boss, Dragonhelm, Spear, Shield, Boar
Goblin big boss, Spear, Light Armour, Shield, Wolf

5 Wolf riders, bows, spears, shields
5 Wolf riders, bows, spears, shields
40 night goblins, Full Command, Netters, 2 Fanatics
42 night goblins, Full Command, Netters, 2 Fanatics
Wolf chariot
Wolf chariot
Wolf chariot

Spear chukka
8 Trolls

Doom diver
Doom diver
Orcs and Goblins with no magic might sound like a crazy idea but the tools that are in that force are good enough to smash many opponents. It is a very fast list with quite good support of war machines (super accurate doom divers) and nasty units in the form of manglers and fanatics that can mess up everybody's movement and prevent crucial charges. Let's go through the list with more details:

Wyver riders - they are not as heavily protected as they could have been but the fact there are two of them makes up for it. Very fast, the general provide 18" inspiring presence, terror causing monsters, deadly against any infantry due to thunder stomps in addition to all the attacks from the warbosses and wyverns. The chance to fight against them would be to wound them with shooting and magic and try to use high strength attacks to kill the monsters first and then to destroy the warbosses. But that is possible only if they fight as isolated units which is hard to do against flying individuals. To catch them is one of the challenges. The good thing, however, is that they need to be in combat in order to win the day for O&G.

NG BSB - one role for him is to wave his flag for nearby units. He would be hiding among night goblins so getting to him is a problem (fanatics) but once in combat (even despite netters) he is at danger. Not the priority however.

Orc big boss - no boar boyz suggests he is here to babysit trolls (also protection from fire based attacks helps them a little as he can be allocated some hits from fireballs and such). Can charge on his own against some small units or annoying eagles if there is a need. A good and cheap addition.

Goblin big boss - fast cavalry on his own, can vanguard and be a problem all by himself, especially for war machines. Another nice and cheap addition, also quite expendable if the situation arises (due to speed and small frontage he can sneak in between the units much easier). Can be dealt with by shooting or in combat anyway and if possible quick so he is not blocking crucial units.

Wolf Riders - very good fast cavalry although easy to panic. Their ridiculous 4+ armor save makes them quite resilient to S3 shooting but as I have mentioned, any panic check and they may flee. Although this time under the stern eye of the warboss on wyvern they might be moved further forward and still behave. Shooting or combat (reavers, eagles) is the way to deal with them. Again, the units that is better to eliminate fast to have clear field for movement.

Night Goblins - usually their role is to deliver fanatics but in here they also provide useful rank bonus, break steadfast and netters can also be very annoying for many units. Can be dangerous if attacking together with hard hitters of the army.

Wolf chariots - excellent support units. Their long charge range and impact hits will be a problem for small infantry units. Even a single chariot has a potential to cripple any of my units. If 2 or 3 combine their efforts they can smash through any single unit in my army. Fortunately, they are very fragile as for chariots with only 3 wounds each. A small fireball or some shooting can destroy them quickly.

Spear Chukka - nice addition, very annoying too as I would need to move carefully with cavalry so that I don't expose the flank. It may potentially slow down the army.

Trolls  - one of the 4 hard hitters of the army (2 wyverns + Arachnarok). Very resilient due to regeneration but vulnerable if that is removed so it would be crucial to provide some flaming attacks. Fortunately, I have some supply of those. Sisters, magic missiles or dragon princes with Banner of Eternal Flame can be very helpful here. As always, the problem will be in isolating them and not allowing them to get into combat together with other regiments.

Doom Divers - one of the most hated "war machines" in the game. Can be devastating against any cavalry unit, not only the small ones. Their ability to correct the scattering is huge and often results in hitting the target no matter what. Need to be destroyed as soon as possible.

Arachnarok  - With 8 wounds and 8 attacks on his own + 8 attacks from the crew and t-stomps this is a real beast in close combat. It is possible to wound it and eventually bring it down but it is going to take time and requires focused efforts. The power of that model lies in the fact that even wounded it does not lose anything from its offensive potential and as such needs to be killed outright or it is going to inflict a lot of damage.

Manglers - another must-kill things in the O&G army. One cannot flee from their random movement. They are hard to destroy by regular shooting so magic missiles can be very helpful here. However, it is really better to land on them with any unit to prevent their rampage.

The main problem with O&G army is that although each element is possible to be dealt with it is very hard to do so when there are so many of them and they all look like a priority. For me Manglers are number one, then doom divers if I can get to them. The rest is a danger that can be delayed or contained to some degree and when the opportunity arises, can be eliminated. But I was under no impression I can do it without suffering significant casualties. To fight this army I brought my standard MSU but with a few minor changes:

Outcasts - Army List

Larry the Loremaster, Book of Hoeth, Dragon Helm, Talisman of Endurance
Bob the BSB, Dragon Armor, Golden Crown of Atrazar, Shield of the Merwyrm
Nasher the Noble - Dragon Armor, Barded Steed, Enchanted Shield, Luckstone, Ogre Blade

18 Archers, Full Command
15 Sea Guard, Full Command
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Spears, Bows
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Spears, Bows

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

Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower
Great Eagle, Swiftsense
2 Great Eagles, Swiftsense
5 Sisters of Avelorn

2500 instead of 2400 allowed me to include missing musicians. I have also kept only one of the mounted nobles and changed his equipment slightly for something that looks more flexible to me. +2S and ASF no matter when is good option in my opinion. 1+ armor save with Dragon Armor is also very good protection. I chose Luckstone this time but there is of course option to add some other items for 5 points.

The points I saved I decided to use for something I haven't seen anyone doing so far. Unit of eagles and with Swiftsense upgrade too. My idea for that unit is that it offers some fast war machine hunters, have -1 to hit for being skirmishers so can be quite intact when finally hitting the crew but can also be a little more of a problem if attacking from the flank. The re-rolls can be also very valuable in the case of assassination missions. Last but not least, as T4, 3W skirmishers they can provide some protection for small units behind them. Or can use them as a shield when attacking some shooters and forcing stand and shoot at heavy penalties.

Against this particular enemy I didn't predict many opportunities for that formation yet but it was also a good test for me. If I can make the unit work against less than ideal opponent then I can do so even better when circumstances are more favorable.

Deployment of the armies
Vanguard moves

Edit: I believe I made a mistake and switched the positions of the Wyvern riders. Please, note, that W - Warboss General, G - just Warboss. Apologies for the confusion! 

Orcs and Goblins deployed in the weighted flank formation. Elves reacted by deploying elite infantry at the very edge to buy more time, archers forward to occupy the building and cavalry in front to hopefully win the war with wolf riders and chariots and get to the war machines behind.

Surprisingly, the Elves won the roll off and they had the first turn!

Outcasts - Turn 1
Elven opening salvo!

Elves didn't waste time and seized the initiative. However, they moved with care as they were very well aware of potential counter attack from all these chariots, manglers etc. which hit with such an impact that no amount of training can help to strike before them. Because of that several units moved only to cover the potential passages and block them so the enemy cannot sneak in between.

The honor to begin the onslaught belonged to the army general and Larry the Loremaster felt it is going to be his day. Winds of magic blew strong and  he harnessed them to his will smoothly. His magic missiles destroyed the Mangler, spirit leach drained life from the goblin chariot crew and he even managed to send blizzard of ice shards on doom diver crew!

Following the example of their general, the Elves aimed carefully and killed unusually brave goblin boss who decided to be heroic and moved on his own. Nearby Wolf Riders also suffered from the elven arrows and only thanks to shields some of them managed to survive. However, cowardly creatures run towards the safety of the forest, not knowing their action was going to distracts the trolls hiding in it.

The Warboss face turned into darker shade of green but he decided to direct his fury against some worthy foe instead.

Orcs & Goblins - Turn 1
Orcs and Goblins march forward!

Ancient Orc tactician, Grunt-Tzu, who roamed the lands of Cathay and thought different tribes there on Art of Waaaagh! said that the best form of defense is offense and Warboss leading this particular army was more than happy to put this theory into practice.

Entire army moved forward at a double. Goblins with BSB decided to show'em all that they are good fighters too (amazing what a little bit of mushrooms can do to self-esteem level!) and run at a double-double! On the other flank goblin charioteers charged reckless Reavers who elected to hold due to fact that retreat path was blocked by the building. Elves braced for impact and three of the light cavalry were trampled to death. However, encouragements shouted by the Loremaster helped them hold for a little bit longer!

Only war machine crews disappointed, with one doom diver crew loading dummy diver instead, the other aimed totally wrong so that the diver hit the house instead of the Dragon Princes he wanted to smash and spear chukka missing completely.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Exchange of blows continues

Elves didn't stop hitting their enemy in order to prevent it from getting back to the fight after initial blow. Reavers on the Western flank carefully maneuvered around the wyvern and stayed out of range of the Night goblin fanatics. Archers swift reformed into 3 columns and moved pass the wolf riders in order to find shelter in the nearby house. They did it so quick that managed to surprise Mangler and shot at it from the windows and balconies and pinned its twitching body to the ground.

What is more, that abrupt appearance made both Night Goblin units nervous and they could not contain maniac among their ranks any longer. Those on the left flank tried to reach great eagles but were not thrown far enough. Those on the right hit each other on their way towards Elven heavy cavalry.

On the Eastern flank sea guard came to the rescue of the reavers and destroyed goblin chariot while Dragon Princes tempted the last of the carts to charge through the forest.

Larry the Loremaster, warmed up by the previous display of magic was in a good mood. He barraged enemy with more spells and spirit leach went through with huge spider as a target. The beast twisted its huge body and half of the crew were thrown away and trampled while Arachnarok tried to avoid invisible enemy that was hurting it.

Orcs & Goblins - Turn 2
Orcs and Goblins keep trying to fight back!
Orcs, Goblins, Trolls and all other creatures were eager to get to the close combat with fey Elves. Warboss on Wyvern swooped down and destroyed Eagle Claw so that it was not a danger to him or his twin who was the army General. Trolls and Wolf Riders destroyed reavers who sacrificed themselves to slow down the enemy. Finally, Arachnarok, mad due to injuries, stormed the house with Archers and many Elves perished but they managed to push the monster back. For a while.

On the East last chariot sped through the forest expertly and hit the Dragon Princes hard. But dragon armor deflected all the potentially deadly hits and what's more, the knights cut one of the crew members of the goblin chariot. The rest, horrified by such display of resilience, fled with Elven knights in hot pursuit.

Doom Divers did even worse than before. Both misfired, one exploded and the other was so broken that it would take significant amount of time to fix it.

Outcasts - Turn 3
Outcasts redress their ranks and present uniform formation once again
The Archers moved out of the house, not wanting to confront the monster again but in doing so they moved right into the claws of the Warboss General and his pet Wyvern. Larry the Loremaster tried to help and yet another barrage of spells was directed at the enemy. He succeeded in finishing Arachnarok and while that achievement was cheered by his warriors, it didn't change the poor position of the Archers.

Dragon Princes caught fleeing chariot and reformed to face doom diver crew, busy with repairs and totally oblivious to the incoming doom.

Orcs & Goblins - Turn 3
Orcs and Goblins keep marching towards elusive enemy

Warboss General finally had some chance to kill some enemy, even if they were lowly archers. He charged with all his might and a lone figure stepped out of the ranks of the Elves. Warboss accepted the challenge and quickly dispatched his brave but foolish foe. The rest of the unit held fast to buy more time for their companions.

Orc Big Boss also felt impatient and spurred his mount to charge few Sisters of Avelorn but his boar was still munching on some chestnuts and was not happy to break and charge. As a result the might charge turned into throttle and big, hairy pig was more than happy to find some mud on the way to dive in. To cover his embarrassment orc boss urged his trolls to move in front of him and hide him from the eyes of quite unforgiving warbosses.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Elves secure the flank
Elves continue their attack on the flank, where Dragon Princes easily kill doom diver crew. Two reavers push hard too but single remaining goblin refuses to flee! Sea Guard charges the goblins but their netters stop Elves in their tracks and they barely hold.

Brave archers are destroyed utterly by the Warboos General and that puts sea guard into even more difficult position.

On the opposite flank, solitary Sisters shot down two wolf riders and prepare to be attacked by another pack.

Orcs & Goblins - Turn 4
Edit: some inaccuracies in the diagram. Wolfs charge Sisters, NG2 move a little forward too, Dragon Princes overruned the previous turn. Again, my apologies.

Warboss general charges sea guard. Their captain tries to challenge but lowly goblin accepts. Being a goblin he cheats and throws dirt into the eyes of the elven captain and stabs him in the back when he can't see. Sea guard cannot hold against mass of goblins and rampaging wyvern and flee but the wyvern is more interested in the bodies of the fallen and it does not catch the survivors.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Elven cavalry set up the trap for the warboss if he decided to charge the sea guard. Elven Noble also detached himself from the unit to cover another angle and be able to help out too. Larry the Loremaster, however, drew too much of the magical power and the feedback resulted in dimensional cascade but fortunately for him, this time he was not sucked into the realms of chaos. Needless to say that his surviving bodyguards were not happy regardless.

Orcs & Goblins - Turn 5

One uncontrollable Wyvern!

Warboss general smelled the obvious trap but his pet wyvern had one of its infamous stubbornness attacks and he barely managed to flew it a little bit away from the Elves but not long enough to avoid the attack of swift elven cavalry!

Nearby goblins attacked the eagle, didn't kill it but forced to retreat and that also caused nearby sea guard to abandon their position. Goblins and Trolls moved towards the Elves but that brought them to the range of the enemy charge!

Outcasts - Turn 6
All out attack!

Both heavy cavalry attached Warboss general who refused to retreat and decided to win the battle all by himself. But elven cavalry hit hard, one unit was infused with supernatural strength courtesy of Larry the Loremaster and his magical abilities. The wounded wyvern was dead and warboss general, despite hacking left and right, could not hold and was run down in the hot pursuit.

Night Goblins with BSB were about to be engaged by Swordmasters and White Lions but the other remaining Warboss sounded the retreat as he wanted to call for more reinforcements.

After hard fight Elves carried the day!


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After-battle thoughts

I was very happy with the result but I feel sorry for Easter Barbarian as he had to fight against me and bad luck. I can only imagine how hard it was to deal with the frustration. In 4 attempts to shoot with doom divers he had 3 misfires. Both chariot charges failed and not necessary because he didn't have good rolls for impact hits but because I either held or saved all the hits.

The Larry the Loremaster was on fire like never! What is interesting, however, it was not due to the Book of Hoeth that helped me significantly only last turn when I rolled double 1's for first spell and managed to re-roll one dice simply to be able to keep going. But even then it was more or less decided who is going to win the battle. I had a similar impression after the tournament too. In my opinion, BoH is mainly the item that helps to keep casting spells. Which is important for a single caster and in particular, for the Loremaster who is usually casting many low level spells. It was also quite significant when he managed to recover power dice due to death lore attribute that increased his overwhelming magic superiority even further.

Having said that I think there were a few things he could have done better. He seemed to deploy as if he had first turn guaranteed. If he but put his mangler and chariots 1" back he would have prevented that first turn magical barrage. His wolf big boss should have stayed with the wolf riders. I am also wondering if more central placement of trolls was not a better option. As using house for shielding Arachnarok and wyverns was very good option. It was probably hard to predict that Archers could trigger all fanatics (and very unlucky for them to kill themselves) but I guess the lesson for the future is to move them in a way that prevents that situation by staying away from the buildings.

There were a few things I was not happy with either. I think I made mistakes with reavers on both flanks. While these on the left managed to slow down Trolls, I didn't accomplish the main goal, i.e. getting to the doom diver. Second unit was badly positioned and I held against chariot charge only because flee would carry them through the building and beyond the table.

I baited the chariot with DP but didn't position sea guard or reavers to counter charge and I was lucky they actually won the combat even despite getting so many impact hits!

I had no good idea on how to use unit of eagles either. I didn't want them to fly over to be sacrificed and the threat of manglers and fanatics was too great to move them far. I guess I should have kept them in reserves to have the chance to pass over the enemy and attack the warmachines. I am aware though that there were not many good targets for them.

Also mounted noble was not in combat at all. I considered attacking Arachnarok with him alone but decided against it as it still had 4 wounds left and I might lose the noble to so many S5 attacks regardless. Or maybe I was too cautious?

I am of course very happy with the victory and I think many things work much better than I expected (magic in particular) so the description of mistakes above are just to try and come up with better moves next time!

I hope you enjoyed the report and thanks for reading!


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