Sunday, 25 September 2016

KoW Game 25 - Trident Realms of Neritica - 2016/09/25

Greetings!

It's been a while since the most recent report but fortunately I had a fantastic opportunity to play against a great player from Oxford, Mr. Edzig, over Universal Battle . Ed has a few armies but his most recent project is about Trident Realms of Neritica, one of the forces that are featured in the Uncharted Empire supplement. He also has started a topic at Mantic forum detailing his progress with the army, I highly recommend checking the pictures, as he has some great ideas, here is the link for your convenience:
Coral reef Trident Realms Neritican Army

Trident Realms of Neritica is not a popular army yet so it was not easy to find some examples of how this army fights. Fortunately for me, however, Ed took part in a most recent tournament at Universal Battle and I could check all his 4 games thanks to posted battle reports. Here are the links to the games:


Round 1 - vs Forces of Nature + Elves
Round 2 - vs Twilight Kin
Round 3 - vs Dwarves
Round 4 - Neritican Civil War

On of the local players from Canberra, Mr. Wedgetail, has also started similar project and he posted some updates on his blog. Check it out, as I hope we will see more from him as he prepares his army for CanCon2017:

Wedgetail - on Wargaming

Ed is practicing intensively for Clash of Kings tournament in England, that is going to take place in October so we used the players pack for this tournament. Because of that he also made some changes to the army list in order to be able to field fully painted army. Here are the details:

Trident Realms - Army List

40 Naiad Ensnarers, Horde - 230
- Kraken, Monster - 230
- Naiad Centurion, Hero, Harpoon Gun, Ensorcelled Armor -  165

6 Depth Horrors, Horde, Fire-Oil - 190
- Knucker, Monster - 145
- Naiad Envoy, Hero, Kevinar’s Flying Hammer - 65

6 Depth Horrors, Horde, Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar - 205
- Knucker, Monster - 145
- Placoderm Defender, Hero, Wings of Honeymaze - 150

3 Gigas, Regiment - 125
- Coral Giant, Monster - 200

3 Tidal Swarms*, Regiment - 75
3 Tidal Swarms*, Regiment - 75

The army wide rule for Trident Realms is "Ensnare" - the enemy has -1 to hit penalty when attacking the unit from the front.

However, it is quite interesting to note that this rule does not apply quite a significant percentage of the units in the list. Ed told me he wanted to build the army that would benefit from it better thus his choices were also determined by that.

40 Naiad Ensnarers - one of the three horde formations of the army, Naiads are lightly armored infantry with great regenerating abilities. It means that it would be preferable to attack them with overwhelming force to destroy them in a single turn, as otherwise they may quickly heal any damage done. In addition, they have Pathfinder special rule so I expected them to try and go for some good defensive position, preferably in the forest, where their Ensnare rule would be combined with hindered charges. At the same time, they would threaten to attack from the forest or control area/token (depending on the scenario).

6 Depth Horrors - these are the hard hitters of the army. A bit faster than regular infantry, they have 18 attacks that hit on 3+ and Crushing Strength (1) special rule. They will do the damage even from the front, in particular to Elven infantry. They also benefit from Ensnare special rule and one of the units has Pathfinder as well.

They are also lightly armored but do not have regenerative abilities so may be even better target for shooting. Being large infantry means they would be more difficult to hide so I expected some cover from friendly troops/terrain to be applied.

 3 Gigas - an interesting type of Large Infantry with height 1, Gigas have actually a very good defense from the front due to Big Shields and hit hard with their Crushing Strength (3). Fortunately for me they don't have many attacks, do not benefit from Ensnare and are Speed 4. Hopefully, I will be able to avoid them for a while, before I could attack them, especially from flank/rear to avoid Big Shields.

3 Tidal Swarms* - two regiments of irregular, height 0 swarms, were obviously included to provide some cheap expendable units. However, they can also claim loot or pillage tokens so their role is not going to be solely sacrificial.

They seem to be very fragile though but to balance it out they cannot be wavered either.

Kraken - probably the most iconic Monster of this army, Kraken is truly dangerous beast. 12 attacks, even at 4+ to hit will hurt, especially with Crushing Strength (2) and Strider that allows to ignore any penalties due to terrain. It may not have the best armor but Regeneration (4+) will help enormously to heal the damage done. Again, in order to destroy that Monster I would need to inflict a lot of damage in a single turn.

Knuckers - if I were to pick my favorite I would definitely go for these Monsters. Very fast with speed 9, they are also nimble and have pathfinder. So it is hard to rob them from their impressive Thunderous Charge (3) while they may not be that easy to be forced to attack if they don't want to either. With such speed and maneuverability as well as small foot print, they may find their way to flanks and rears easier. I found them to be the most dangerous part of the enemy and I wanted to try and eliminate them as soon as possible.

Coral Giant - one of the toughest elements of the army, reasonably fast, can be comfortably used to hold areas with high defense and nerve values. Extremely dangerous on the flanks too. From my experience with giants so far they simply have to be attacked by my heavy cavalry with the support of Bane Chant to be able to destroy them quickly.

Naiad Centurion - first of the heroes. Very good defense thanks to magical artifact, further enhanced by Regeneration (4+). Multi purpose character, good leader with Inspire but capable of holding the line all by himself, in particular if in defensive terrain. Adds some shooting abilities too.

Naiad Envoy - main purpose seem to be to inspire nearby troops. A bit more difficult to eliminate due to Regeneration (4+).

Placoderm Defender - another hero with defense 6+. Usually quite slow but here equipped with wings. It looked to me as if his presence it to disrupt some shooters that are otherwise deadly to the Trident Realms. He can also be very useful in war engines or fragile leaders hunting missions.

The army had 13 elements total so I could not out-deploy it. It had quite a few monsters so I would need to be careful as they could potentially team up for frontal charges and still inflict enough damage to destroy my units.

Obviously, Trident Realms want to be in combat as soon as possible so regardless of the scenario I wanted to use some shooting before committing to melee. And as you can see below, I brought some Sea Guard to reinforce the flexibility of the army, also in the shooting department.

Outcasts - Army List

10 Stormwind, Regiment, Wine of Elvenkind (Nimble) - 255
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry, Mace of Crushing - 165


3 Drakon Riders, Regiment, Dwarven Ale (Headstrong) - 185
- 5 Stormwind, Troops, Brew of Haste (+1 Speed) - 155
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop - 105
- Bolt Thrower, War Engine - 90

20 Palace Guard, Regiment - 150 
- Bolt Thrower, War Engine - 90
 
20 Sea Guard, Regiment - 170
- Elven Mage, Hero, Inspiring Talisman, Bane Chant(2) - 110

20 Sea Guard, Regiment - 170
 - Army Standard, Hero, Mounted - 65

I wanted to try Sea Guard again due to the following reasons:

- I have some nice models that I want to use as Sea Guard rather than Spears. One unit is composed from 5ed Warhammer metal Sea Guard another is going to be created from Island of Blood plastic models I always wanted to paint.

- The unit is not that popular but I think it has some potential to be useful, not necessarily in the direct damage roles. I like its flexibility and as I have learned in some of my previous games, lack of ranged attacks in the last turns was what could have swung the balance of the battle into my favor. 

I also made two changes in terms of magic artifacts, both to reinforce the theme of an Elven army that relies on speed and maneuverability in order to strike fast and hard. Thus Wine of Elvenkind to give Nimble to heavy cavalry regiment and increasing the speed of the troop to 10. 

Terrain

I really like the maps that were posted on the Mantic forum:

We rolled and got Map 12! Here are the details for terrain pieces:

Hills - Height 1
Forests - Height 4
Obstacles - Height 1 
Lake/Wheat Field - Height 0, difficult
Building/Rocks - Height 4, blocking

Deployment

Deployment Order


The scenario for the game was also rolled from the CoK player's pack and we got - Invade! The modification for the scenario from the pack is that individuals add only half of their points value to the score. Other than that, whoever has more points in the enemy half by the end of the game and the margin is larger than 200 points (10% for 2000 point battle) - wins.

Ed won the roll off to pick the sides and chose South. My plan was to focus my fire on one flank. It was due to the fact that I knew the maps would not give me clear line of sight to the majority of the battle field anyway. Hence, I wanted to make the best use of my shooters, in particular that Trident Realms units may not like focused ranged attacks. 

I also wanted to deny Ed the good defensive position in the forest in my half of the battle field. It would much more difficult to shift his units from there, due to combination of Ensnare and hindered charges. Because of that I deployed majority of my army on that flank.    

However, I used my heavy cavalry to threaten Trident Realms army with a wide flanking maneuver as well as keep Storm Wind troop in the center to threaten any advance from that direction.

Final Deployment

I won the roll off to see who starts first and chose to have first turn.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elven shooting proves to be deadly right from the start.

Elves move forward to get into range for their shooters and unleash the multiple arrows. Despite some measure of cover, one of the monstrous Knuckers was down as all Elven shooters focused fire on it. (Edit: I must admit the rolls were above average here, very lucky start for me. Sorry, Ed!)

At the same time Storm Wind cavalry regiment moved in the gap between the forest and the rocks, closely assisted by the Drakon Lord. Storm Wind troop remained at the positions to control the center.

Trident Realms - Turn 1

Neriticans begin their invasion.


Trident Realms army moved forward across entire battle line. Both Depth Horrors units used terrain and friendly Naiad horde as covers while Coral Giant spear headed the advance. 

On the opposite flank, however, Placoderm Defender decided to intercept incoming Elven Storm Wind cavalry. Not only he stopped their advance but also disordered their ranks. 

Outcasts - Turn 2

Another round of deadly shooting.


Elves continued the fight on both flanks. This time Naiads were the target of the Elven shooting but they held their ground, wavering. The Defender was counter charged by the cavalry and drakon lord attacked from the flank and even powerful armor was not enough to save him. However, nearby Knucker was ready to counter attack!

Trident Realms - Turn 2

Attack of Neritican's Monsters.

Depth Horrors moved forward as Naiads focused on regenerating damage. While Elven shooting was impressive so was Naiads' ability to heal themselves! 

Coral Giant had one of the regiments of Sea Guard in his charge range and attacked through the forest. The Elves held but their advance into the forest was stopped.

Neriticans in the center invaded Elven territory and Knucker on the extreme flank charged Storm Wind cavalry, inflicting substantial damage and wavering the knights! With Kraken following towards the same direction the fight for the dominance on that flank intensified.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elven all out attack.

With Trident Realms army close, Elves decided to attack along the whole line. Storm Wind and Palace Guard troops charged in to hold the center for some time and protect the flank of an infantry. Sea Guard regiment pulled back from the forest to make room for a coordinated attack from two sides by Palace Guard regiment and Drakons. Backed by Bane Chant, Elves cut down Coral Giant, despite additional difficulty due to fighting in the forest.

Another regiment of Sea Guard charged in to protect the other flank and luckily for Elves, wavered their opponent! At the same time, brave Army Standard sacrificed himself by stopping in front of Depth Horrors while the shooters tried to inflict as much damage as possible. The horde remained intact but the damage was significant.

Trident Realms - Turn 3

Grinding along entire battle field.


There was no turning back for Trident Realms army now so all the units kept pushing forward. Knucker tried to repeat the result of the previous round of combat but this time Elven knights were not so easily shaken.

In the center, swarms and Gigas attacked their respective opponents but neither side could gain enough advantage to break through yet.

The Defender, furious after the loss of the Coral Giant, wavered Palace Guard with his ferocious attacks. Unfortunately, Depth Horrors were both blocked for now so Naiads decided to change the direction of the advance and moved towards the center now.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Elves destroy a few more units of Neriticans.


The deadly fight continued and this time it seemed like Elves may have gained some advantage on both flanks. Storm Wind cavalry and Drakon Lord combined their efforts again and again they managed to destroy their foe. Storm Wind troop got rid of one of the Swarms too!

And while the fight around the forest seemed to stagnate a bit, then noble sacrifice of Amry Standard allowed the Elven shooters to finish off one of the Depth Horrors hordes.

Trident Realms - Turn 4

Neriticans are breaking through the center.


Although the previous successes of the Elven army were important, the fight was far from over. The Kraken was released but it had to attack Elven Lord instead of badly damaged cavalry and he held his ground.

Gigas and Naiads attacked Palace Guard troops and against such overwhelming odds the small detachment of elite warriors could not hold any longer.

Nearby Depth Horrors also showed how dangerous they can be and routed Sea Guard regiment that blocked their advance.

Outcasts - Turn 5

The flanks are won!


Elves finally dominated the flanks. Storm Wind cavalry and Drakon Lord inflicted enough damage upon the Kraken to slay the beast! On the opposite flank Elven shooters once again managed to destroy the enemy unit.

But the Centurion kept entire unit of Palace Guard in place again and now Elves were about to be attacked by more enemy regiments.

Trident Realms - Turn 5

Neriticans claim the forest.


As expected, Gigas and Naiads moved all together to attack Palace Guard in the forest and destroyed Elven regiment. Also Swarms attacked viciously and this time Storm Wind troops was utterly defeated! Last but not least, Naiad Envoy tried to silence one of the bolt throwers but could not land the blow on the target.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Sea Guard engages the enemy in the forest.


With remaining units of Neriticans occupying defensive positions, the Elven army focuses on strategic goals and invade deeper into enemy territory. Only Sea Guard attacks Gigas to occupy the enemy. Only the shooters are more successful when they finally bring Naiad Envoy down.

Trident Realms - Turn 6

Neriticans consolidate their positions.


With Elves being out of range for direct attacks only Gigas continued their fight against Sea Guard. But Elven infantry didn't yield. The Centurion lifted his Harpoon and shot at the reckless Silver Breeze cavalry but they held their ground.

Outcasts - Turn 7

One more round of duel between Gigas and Sea Guard.



Content with territorial achievements, Elves are in no mood to commit to melee. With the exception of Sea Guard who attacked Gigas in another round of combat but failed to destroy them again.

The last word, thus, belonged to Neriticans.

Trident Realms - Turn 7

The last chance to turn the tide.

Gigas tried one more time to rout Sea Guard but the damage done was not enough to do so. This would have not changed the result of the battle, however. It was up to the Centurion to try his luck. But despite his aim being true and inflicting some more damage upon Elven fast cavalry, Silver Breeze unit once again held the ground. Elves managed to invade enemy territory with larger force and thus claimed the victory!

Summary

Turn-by-turn animation summary

After-battle thoughts

First of all, I would like to thank Ed for a great game! It was fantastic to finally play against each other and I hope it is just a beginning of many games to come!

Because the game was meant to be a practice for a Clash of Kings tournament we calculated the points each army had in their opponents half:

Trident Realms: Naiad Ensnarers (230) + Tidal Swarm (75) + Gigaas (125) + Centurion (165/2) = 512.5
Outcasts: Storm Wind (255) + Drakon Lord (165) + Drakon Riders (185) + Silver Breeze (145) = 750

Difference is: 237.7 - Elves claimed victory (15-5) by a narrow margin of 37.5 points!

During this tournament the score is further modified by attrition points and to calculate that players first add the points for routed units:

Trident Realms: 645, Outcasts: 1405 - difference in favor of the Elves is: 760 points. It means that the final score in the tournament would be: 17-3 for the Outcasts.

From my point of view that result does not really reflect the fact that the game was not decided until the last dice roll. In fact, due to my mistake in assuming that Harpoon is 12" range weapon, I almost lost Silver Breeze cavalry. If I did, that would have been a draw!  
 
And while I am very happy to win a game, there is always something that should have been done better. And even more things that could have been done differently so let's have a look at a few I picked while writing this report and looking back at a game.

I was happy with the deployment in general but I wonder if having the cavalry that far away was a good idea. It worked well for me but I can't help to feel I was lucky. First. I made a mistake of moving a bit too close to the Defender. I wanted to force the charge of the Knucker first. While I managed to rout three powerful elements on that flank it was only because they acted as individuals, attacking one by one. In addition, due to a bit of luck, Kraken was not entirely in the forest and thus Storm Wind could get the bonus for lances. The fact that Kraken could not complete the charge against the knights and had to charge Drakon Lord instead helped a lot too.

I think I should have moved Storm Wind troop a bit forward in my first turn too. It may have not helped dramatically but at least would mean some fights would have occurred at the enemy territory.

I was very lucky with the shooting, especially turn 1. Focusing fire on a single target always helps but I got good results, also with Sea Guard. What I would have done differently is to shoot at Horrors in the wheat field instead of Naiads. While I got a waver result I think it would have been more beneficial to inflict damage on the Horrors, possibly eliminating them one turn earlier and saving one of the Sea Guard regiments.

Another different move would be to not engage the Centurion with Palace Guard and instead avoid being charged from the front and flank at the same time. It would have possibly allowed to create an opportunity for an attack of infantry from one direction and Drakons from another.

Ensnare rule is really good, especially combined with terrain and/or regenerative abilities. Thus I am glad I didn't jump the gun and used ranged attacks to eliminate some very tough enemy units.

As always, thanks for reading and looking forward to your comments!

Cheers!
   



4 comments:

  1. Wow! What another great battle report SM!

    How did it feel to get the Sea Guard back? Will you be keeping them in the next battle?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jimmy!

      I am very happy with them, although the dice definitely helped to have a very positive result. I believe the fact I changed the approach and focused on their flexibility was the key. I am happy to continue playing with them and see what I can do against different opponents.

      Also, I can't wait to start painting these nice plastic models from Island of Blood that were waiting for so many years!

      Cheers!

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