Monday, 29 June 2015

Game 117 - Ogre Kingdoms - 2014/08/20


Darth Sabre is one of the players who owns more than one army and he wanted to test his Ogre Kingdom force. He also wanted to try new approach to it, so that it is not a standard Gutstar type of an army. I am sure Jimmy the Beastmaster would approve! :)

This is the army list Darth came up with:

Ogre Kingdoms - Army List

Slaughtermaster, level 4, Ironfist, Sword of Striking, Glittering Scales, Talisman of Preservation - Lore of the Great Maw
Firebelly, level 2, Gnoblar Thiefstone, Potion of Speed - Lore of Fire
BSB, Great Weapon, Armour of Destiny

6 Ironguts, Full Command, Standard of Discipline
6 Ogres, Ironfists, Full Command
6 Ogres, Extra Hand Weapons, Full Command
6 Leadbelchers, Champion
3 Maneaters, Poison, Sniper, brace of pistols, heavy armor
2 Sabertusks

2 Mournfangs, Musician
2 Mournfangs, Musician
Definitely not your typical Ogre list. More units means that it can counter my MSU better. One-on-one fights also favor tougher ogres, especially when they get the charge with their impact hits and stomps. Let's have a closer look:

Slaughtermaster - it seems Darth wanted a flexible general that casts spells but is protected in combat too. -1 to hit and 4+ ward always help to survive longer and T5 and many wounds help here too. Lore of the Maw is an interesting one for sure. It is probably not as powerful as others and the fact it is mandatory for OK armies may limit the variety but I think the spells can be very helpful for tough but lightly armored Ogres.

Firebelly - a very popular support wizard for Ogres. Lore of Fire is always useful with the magic missiles it provides but some spells like Sword of Ruin can also be very useful. Potion of Speed suggests his role as a monster hunter because with boosted initiative he can hit monsters such as hydra first and hopefully wound it so that his companions can pick up after him and destroy it. May give the edge against trolls or crypt horrors too. Breath weapon will be dangerous for my squishy elves too so it will be crucial to tie this guy up with Dragon Princes or any of the characters.

BSB - battle standard bearer with 4++ ward save. Tough enough to survive some hits and keep waving the flag. His importance is similar to many armies, even more so for Ogres who don't sport the best leadership around.

Ogres - two medium blocks of Ogres form a core of the army. 6 Ogres = 18 wounds so it is not that easy to destroy these regiments. They can take a few casualties and still have enough attacks back to hurt my small units. If left alone they can have S5 on the charge as they have one extra rank permitting that. Equipped for flexibility, one with extra weapons and one with ironfists these guys can be dangerous on their own.

Iron Guts - well known elite, this time in smaller number but with Standard of Discipline as usual. Hit harder so even heavy cavalry cannot charge them alone. They will be bodyguards for at least the general if not other characters too. If all go there it might be risky to keep all eggs in one basket but then they will be even more powerful. In order to tackle that regiment I would need to soften it up first and attack from 2-3 sides. It might work then, otherwise, to be avoided.

Leadbelchers - ogres with cannons! These guys are my priority threat to eliminate simply because their potential to deal a lot of damage at a distance is huge. If possible I will try to fight fire with fire, i.e. magic missiles and shooting. Even S3 shooting may hurt these guys as they are lightly armored. And every leadblecher less means one d6 less to roll for number of hits.

Maneaters - another shooty unit, this time with the option to snipe out characters. Quite dangerous with S4 and armor piercing. Depending on the positioning they will also be targeted. In general, I try to eliminate shooters so that I can maneuver better and without fear of losing warriors and combat potential.

Sabertusks - very important addition to any OK army. They can be very annoying and mastering their use is very important. I will need to deal with them quickly as well, maybe even choosing to kill them first before I deal with Leadbelchers and/or Maneaters. Cats are simply too fast to ignore and can block crucial charges so I hope to chase them off the board as soon as possible. Reavers may be used for the hunting role this time.

Mournfangs - units of 2 might not look as powerful for other armies but it is more than enough to kill my small units. D3 impacts, 4 S5 attacks, 3 S4 attacks and stomps from a single model is really a lot. They are even faster than Ogres and that is a big advantage of entire army anyway. I am afraid that without some baiting it will be very difficult to get these guys and even one can do a lot of damage. I expected some unit exchange here.

It is clear that I needed to divide these units in order to have a chance to destroy them. Heavy cavalry has some chance to win against mournfangs but even then I better go for combined attacks. Ogres, even with medium units, would keep them all close so that they can benefit from higher Ld and BSB presence. That makes separating them from each other even more difficult and with more units they can cover more space too.

Before the deployment my initial plan was to:
- eliminate sabertusks as soon as possible, in particular if that can cause panic checks
- target leadbelchers with ranged attacks
- destroy maneaters so that they cannot snipe my characters
- look for opportunities to bait and counter mournfangs
- block Ironguts

My own army had a few small changes:

Outcasts - Army List

Larry the Loremaster, Earthing Rod, Dragon Helm, Talisman of Endurance
Bob the BSB, Dragon Armor, Golden Crown of Atrazar, Shield of the Merwyrm, Ring of Fury
Nasher the Noble, Dragon Armor, Barded Steed, Enchanted Shield, Star Lance, The Other Trickster Shard

15 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
5 Shadow Warriors

Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower
Great Eagle
5 Sisters of Avelorn

Main change is probably lack of Book of Hoeth and getting back to Earthing Rod. There were a few moments where BoH helped me to continue with the magic phase but somehow I could never feel that I absolutely need it. The more I read in other topics it is a must-have item the more I wanted to get rid of it. I finally did it and left the Book where it belongs. On the shelve :)


Deployment after vanguards and scouts

This time strong flanks face each other

I won the roll off to pick the sides and chose the one with the tower closer to the deployment so that I could deny perfect spot for leadbelchers. I also chose the hill due to nice defensive fence system around it. Additional penalties for to hit rolls are always great. I positioned Shadow Warriors in the tower as the woods to the right seemed too far away to be useful and left flank was already crowded. I wanted them to be close so that I could use them to disrupt enemy approach as well.

I positioned left reavers in a long file with their vanguard move to be able to provide -2 penalty to hit if maneaters wanted to snipe my characters and if I lost the roll off for first turn (which I always assume is going to happen with my opponents having +1 to the result).

Ogre wizards rolled the following spells:

Slaughtermaster - Spinemarrow, Bullgorger, Toothcracker, Trollguts

Firebelly - Fireball, Flaming Sword of Ruin

I won the roll off (again!) and got the first turn:

Outcasts - Turn 1
Elves take advantage and seize the initiative

Opening fire!
Elven fast units move forward and in between enemy forces. Reavers try to hunt down big cats but somehow they are unable to wound them yet. On the other hand, Sea Guard and Archers manage to aim well and one of the maneaters collapses to the ground. His two companions decide they are not interested any more and turn around to wander away while the Slaughtermaster was not looking. (Edit: Darth was just out of the 12" range of the general and bsb and was unlucky to fail panic check.)

Ogre Kingdoms - Turn 1
Ogres move forward
Steamroller picks up the momentum

Mournfangs are the most eager of the Ogres to get to the elven lines but swift Reavers are too fast for them to reach. The rest of the army follows in steady roll, slowed a little by leadbelchers who aim at the nearby tower. Sea guard garrisoning it is protected by the walls but a few of the elven marines still die.

Unfortunately, Maneaters don't change their minds and wonder away for good.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Taking fight to the enemy!
Elves try to stall Ogres advance

A few opportunities presented themselves and Elven warriors attacked. On the right flank, two huge cats were caught unaware and hunted down by elven cavalry. Shooting focused on the Ogres on the right flank and two brutes died to elven arrows. Magic and shooting also saw one leadbelcher down.

On the left flank Lions hunted down another sabertusk. Then a lone rider galloped out of the ranks of elven knights and aimed his magical lance at the Mournfangs. He aimed well but his steed, not used to huge beasts ogres were riding, was uncontrollable and proud knight wounded one of the beasts but not mortally. He soon fell victim to fangs and claws.

Ogre Kingdoms - Turn 2

Ogres counter attack!

They kill many elven warriors but do not break through!

It is time of Ogres to counter attack. First, Mournfangs, encouraged by the victorious duel with elven knight, charge nearby Lions. Chracians stubbornly hold but the price is high. Only standard bearer is left alive but he holds against surviving Mournfang!

Leadbelchers decided that is it better to charge swift reavers who perform their famous feigned flight. Unfortunately, they have to do so through the ruins of the tower and 4 of them collapses on the treacherous ground! (Edit: Yes, I rolled four 1's out of five dice! :))

Leadbelchers charge the tower garrison instead but elven marines don't give up their excellent defensive position.

Outcasts - Turn 3
The exchange of blows continues

Elves counter powerfully

Dragon Princes charge the exposed flank of the Mournfang and kill the beast. Their magical banner countering regenerative abilities gained through spell cast by Slaughtermaster. White Lion is relieved and saves regimental standard! The knights were concerned though about more Mournfangs nearby. However, Larry the Loremaster and the shooters on the hill came to the rescue and utterly destroyed the Ogre cavalry!

Swordmasters spotted exposed flank of the Leadbelchers and charged. Ogres decided to withdraw but then elven cavalry attacked them from the other side and their withdrawal turned into a full retreat! They were caught by Swordmasters anyway and cut to pieces! (Edit: I am not sure of the Dragon Princes charged from the right flank at all, it might be only reavers who did that.)

Ogre Kingdoms - Turn 3
Ogres do not give up!
An attempt to break through the center
 Ogres keep attacking, with flanks that collapsed, only the center was the good direction to break through. Ogres charged Swordmasters and boosted with Fire magic (Edit: Flaming Sword of Ruin!) they tore through warriors of Hoeth in no time! But second unit of the Swordmasters stopped them.

Iron Guts attacked the eagle and decided to run through the gap. And run they did! (Edit: Dart rolled 12 for overrun!)

Firebelly and his retinue kept withdrawing and kept Elves at a distance.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Encirclement in progress
Only single Ogre survives the counter attack

Assessing the dynamic changes to the flow of battle Larry the Loremaster gives order to his bodyguards to support Bob the BSB and his Swordmasters. This allows to deal with smaller but still dangerous threat and only a single Ogre survives the attack but stubbornly holds his ground.

In the meantime, all the shooters focus on Ironguts and 3 of the elite Ogres lie dead! The combat potential of that unit was reduced significantly but they were still a dangerous opponent.

Finally, Reavers blocked Firebelly and his Ogres from joining the fight.

Ogre Kingdoms - Turn 4
Slaughtermaster cannot catch a single Elf!

In the last attempt to engage the enemy, Slaughtermaster orders his Iron Guts to charge the Archers who withdraw and are fortunate not to be caught. Lone Ogre dies finally and Firebelly and his companions finish off brave Reavers who sacrifice their lives so that the army can carry the day.

Seeing his attempts to be futile, Slaughtermaster got bored and wanders away. It was dinner time anyway!


Turn-by-turn summary animation

 After-battle thoughts

I must admit I was very happy with the result. It sounds obvious but I am simply happy that deploying opposite of the enemy and countering the attacks worked. This time, I managed to pull out a victory from that brutal exchange of blows.

Darth and Hinge have already discussed some alternatives and I agree that the deployment helped me here. First, positioning many combat units at the back allows me to inflict more casualties before the combat. My army had ranged superiority even if damage potential from 6 leadbelchers is higher than anything I can muster.

Second, I feel that sabertusks were simply wasted asset here. They were spread out and either were too far to contribute or too exposed to be kept safe. Jimmy addressed the use of these big cats very well in this article:

Sabertusks by Jimmy the Beastmaster

In addition, some comments on some situations during the game:

1. Maneaters - it was unlucky to lose them so early but it shows how important it is to have small units close to the BSB at least.

2. Leadbelchers - I believe it was a mistake to charge with them against reavers and then sea guard. I think it would have been better to shoot the reavers and stay in place (or move a little to allow other units behind them to move forward). Instead, they exposed the flanks to attack. They could have hold against Swordmasters to the flank too although I feel they would be at a disadvantage here.

3. Mournfangs - I gambled with a charge of the noble. I thought I had a good chance to kill one with WS6 and re-rolls + star lance. However, failed fear test ruined that plan. First, I didn't hit with all the attacks and second, being hit on 3+ meant I had too many attacks to save and I lost the noble. I still think it was worthy because I had a chance to break through and attack second unit behind.

4. Shooting/Magic - I was very happy with shooting and magic and I believe I had a chance to catch IG with characters if we played longer. Especially when Darth was not lucky to roll high enough to catch fleeing Archers.

5. Combat - close combat was brutal and exchange of blows was very rewarding. Ogres did great in the initial attack when supported by Flaming Sword but it was equally interesting to see that the counter with Lions and characters was enough to kill all but 1 model. It was this particular situation where I feel MSU helped me as although I lost a unit I had many more to counter and could choose where to attack.

Many thanks to Darth for hosting me again! I am sure he is going to get me next time!

Thanks for reading!

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