Thursday, 23 February 2017

Clash of Kings Australia 1 - Game 4 - Night Stalkers - 2017/02/23


My apologies for the delay in reporting! Fortunately, I managed to get back to it and here is the one from the last game of day 1 of Australian Clash of Kings! Another Night Stalkers army and this time I had a pleasure to play against Micky from Queensland. 

I would like to take that opportunity and thank Micky for his fantastic pictures he was taking during our game. They were far better than mine and I also noticed that I missed a few! So not only you will have a much better coverage for this game but also there will be a complete set of pictures for each turn! 

Night Stalkers - Army List

20 Dopplegangers, Regiment
- 5 Shadowounds, Troops
- 5 Shadowounds, Troops
- Void Lurker, Darklord's Onyx Ring

20 Dopplegangers, Regiment
- Shadow Hulk
- Banshee, Lightning Bolts 
6 Butchers, Horde
- Banshee, Lightning Bolts 
20 Scarecrows, Regiment
3 Nightmares, Regiment

3 Nightmares, Regiment

What I liked about Clash of Kings is that it was very hard to find two armies that looked alike. Micky's force is a great example of that, especially when you compare it to what Jules brought to the table in my Game 2.  It may be due to the fact that some players may still be looking for their "perfect army". However, to me it also shows that the armies offer a lot of variety in the frame of a single faction and that is simply fantastic!

Micky's army was fast. Shadowhounds, Nightmares and all characters could either fly or had a very good speed anyway. The infantry was not that much slower than mine either. In terms of number of elements the foe also had almost the same as my army. That basically meant to me that I would have needed to create favorable exchanges in order to achieve any meaningful advantage. 

This army had fewer Lightning Bolts but on the other hand it had four sources of Wind Blast! I wondered if I could see some tornadoes disrupting my ranks :)

There are some units I haven't had a chance to play against too so let's have a look at them in more detail:
2 x 20 Dopplegangers - very intriguing unit as it can use the enemy's Melee stat, Attacks stat and Crushing Strength value in combat. That can be quite powerful if they can get in touch with the right enemy unit. In the case of my army it would be my infantry, since even Palace Guard troops hit better than Dopplegangers regiment. A very interesting situation may arise in one-on-one combats as potentially, Dopplegangers would win the war of attrition against any of my infantry regiments and troops due to a better nerve value. However, it could have also been affected by dice rolls. It seemed to me that I would need to avoid such one-on-one combats and try to eliminate Dopplegangers with usual combined charges.

6 Butchers - heavy infantry of the army, they cannot be wavered so that provides greater degree of reliability. Good defense and high nerve reinforce that even further. They can also hit hard thanks to numerous attacks and Crushing Strength 2. The downside is that they are Shambling in the army without Surge. It can potentially create problems with keeping the battle line intact or being left behind. 

20 Scarecrows - another slow, shambling element of the army, scarecrows can still be very reliable (no waver) and great at holding objectives. Their 15 attacks are not that great due to hitting on 5+ but that can be a problem if they are allowed to charge from the flank. And that can happen as such units may be overlooked when faster and harder hitting elements of the army draw the attention of the opponent. 

2 x 5 Shadowounds - another troop type that is new to me. As fast cavalry, Shadowhouns always are important unit for me to deal with. They are very fast and maneuverable and can hit reasonably too. Their regeneration will keep them in fight for longer so it would be good to eliminate them before they start healing themselves back. Shooting may still help to inflict a bit of damage and force lucky nerve check.

2 x 3 Nightmares - This time I had to deal with 2 flying cavalry units that can hit almost as hard as my Drakon Riders, are a bit more fragile but with better nerve value and greater flexibility thanks to the Wind Blast. It would be difficult to charge them as they can always stay away from the potential attacker. But I still wanted to use my Drakons as a counter simply to be able to limit their movement and not allow them to fly behind my units.

Void Lurker - very good hero, hard hitting, with a very high nerve and a great ability to regenerate the damage. Again, killing it on the charge would be ideal but with fly it is not that easy to do. However, pinning it down would also be desirable so that it has to get rid of the attacking unit first and hopefully waste time to do so. 

Shadow Hulk - seems like another good friend of mine :) Very reliable, in the attack and in the defense. May take more damage due to average Defense value and no Stealthy rule but it is still very dangerous monster. I will try to avoid it for some time unless I have a chance to shoot at it and then execute combined charge so that it cannot hit back or will be in the position to be punched for the second time.

Banshees - the only source of the shooting attacks of the army they could still hurt my small units. I wish I could have a better solution to hunt such flying individuals down. But some shooting here and there and opportunity to charge them so they cannot fly away may be all I need to catch them. 

Depolyment and Scenario

Deployment - Elven point of view

Deployment - Night Stalkers point of view and majority of Elven forces.

Deployment of both forces.

The scenario in this game was Invade so no wonder both forces spread across the respective deployment zones to be able to cover all venues. On one hand to be able to get to the enemy's side and on the other, to block the opponent from doing so.

We both deployed with fast troops on each flank and slower infantry in the middle so it already looked like a set up for some action on the sides before the main battle lines would clash. And if any of these flanks collapsed early that would have meant trouble for the center.

Micky reinforced his flanks with the infantry to negate the numbers of units advantage I would otherwise have. But that didn't mean I could advance through the middle aggressively as these fast units could easily switch towards the center and attack exposed flanks.

Because of that my plan was to advance slowly, with left and center forming more or less single battle line and trying to use my shooting to do some damage. If I could get rid of 1 unit on each flank with the shooting then that would have helped me to move forward and to try and set favorable exchanges. 

Outcasts got the first turn in this game!

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elven center and left flank

Elven right flank.

Steady advance.

Elven units moved forward slowly. Some of the regiments did so to get into firing range but not all of them succeed in inflicting any damage. The units on the flanks positioned to intercept any Night Stalkers that would advance more aggressively. 

Night Stalkers - Turn 1

The dance on the flanks begins.

Shadow Hulk tempting Elves for early charges.

Night Stalkers reinforce the flanks.

Night Stalkers decided they have better chances to overcome the flanks rather than go against stronger Elven center. Thus units moved accordingly to reinforce the sides and abandoning the middle of the battle field.

On the West Shadow Hulk led the way and tempted Elven units to charge it early with Nightmares getting ready to counter attack if that happened. On the East the units also positioned to be ready for receiving any attacks while Void Lurker lurked from the shadow of the nearby tower.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Elven center and left present unified front.

Units on the right pull back too.

First blood for Elves!

Sensing that the traps are being set, Outcasts pulled back a bit on both flanks and moved forward in the center to present a unified front. Sea Guard and Chariots continued shooting and this time one regiment of Dopplegangers was successfully routed. First blood for Elves!

Night Stalkers - Turn 2

Night Stalkers haunt the forest.

While Void Lurker shifts its attention to the center.

Double pincer maneuver continues.

Night Stalkers continue to advance on the flanks, with Shadow Hulk moving to the forest for extra protection. While on the opposite flank the Void Lurker and Brutes shift towards the center. But with three units remaining on the East that flank is still under control.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Further re-arrangements on the Elven right.

Waiting game is still on!

Palace Guard intercepts the Void Lurker.

The stand off between the armies continued. Elves didn't want to commit to melee yet as the options for the attack where not favorable yet. They could not bring their shooting to the desirable effect yet either. Night Stalkers were hiding well.

However, Palace Guard troop took the initiative and charged the Void Lurker. Despite obstacles on the way, they still managed to wound the beast and while they had to face inevitable counter charge they pinned their enemy down for a while. It was all nearby Drakon Riders needed to re-position and be ready for another round of combat.

Night Stalkers - Turn 3

Yet another round of maneuver-counter maneuver game!

Getting really close now!

Night Stalkers fight back!

Night Stalkers became more aggressive and pushed a bit further into Elven territory. On the West it was clear they invited some charges to counter attack. Silver Breeze cavalry also perished due to some well placed lightnings.

On the East the Void Lurker and the Brutes charged Palace Guard who could not hold against such an overwhelming attack. The Void Lurker tried to pull back to the safety between the tower and the forest but it looked like it was not quite enough!

It was now time for the Elven response!

Outcasts - Turn 4

Powerful charge on the Elven left!

And the result of it.

Meanwhile on the Elven right.

Action time!

Waiting time was over and the Outcasts decided to attack. The charge was executed mainly on the Elven left flank, where no less but five elements attacked in unison. Drakon Riders and their Lord charged Nightmares and managed to rout them! Storm Wind and Palace Guard troop eliminated Shadowhounds too. Nearby Palace Guard regiment had a more difficult task of distracting the Shadow Hulk but the Sea Guard was already rushing to help.

On the opposite flank Drakon Riders immediately spotted a great chance to tip the balance into Elven favor and charged the Void Lurker. To make things worse for the Night Stalkers, it was attacked from the flank and Drakon Riders used their chance well - the Void Lurker was no more!

It was definitely a powerful blow but the battle was far from over!

Night Stalkers - Turn 4

Night Stalkers try to counter charge.

Also on the East.

Elves hold!

There was no other option but to counter charge now with the units that were still capable of fighting. Dopplegangers tried to tackle Storm Wind but could not shift the cavalry. Even Shadow Hulk could not rout Palace Guard regiment. Banshees, sensing that this flank is lost, flew away from danger.

In the meantime, Scarecrows tried their luck in grounding Drakon Riders so that Butchers would be able to finish them but failed to do any damage. Drakon Riders were still flying high!

Outcasts  - Turn 5

Elves about to finish their job on the West.

Drakons are free to fly to safety!

Elves clear the left flank.

Elves capitalized on the success on the West and finished their job by eliminating Dopplegangers and Shadow Hulk. Only the Drakon Lord tried to catch one of the Banshees but was not yet successful.

On the opposite flank things became a bit less interesting with Storm Wind cavalry having a pillow fight with Shadowhunters and Drakon Riders flying to safety.

Night Stalkers - Turn 5

Banshees run away

Situation on the East.
Nightmares attack!

Majority of the remaining Night Stalkers army moved further into Elven territory and only Nightmares attacked their enemies. However, Drakon Lord was not impressed and held his ground!

Outcasts - Turn 6

Chariots chase the banshee
Nightmares are pinned down.

Elves invade the enemy territory.

Main Elven forces focused on invading into enemy territory now. Only Drakon Lord and Palace Guard regiment attacked Nightmares and wavered them. Chariots were too far to help with the invasion so they tried to get rid of one of the banshees instead.

Night Stalkers - Turn 6

Situation in the center.
Brutes try to trap Chariots.

The battle was slowly heading to the end. Some of the units carried on with their initial orders even if that would not matter for determining the victor of this encounter. But it still mattered for the individual warriors and they kept on maneuvering!

Outcasts - Turn 7

Nightmares are routed.

The last charge of the Elven army was against wounded Nightmares and this time the unit was routed for good. The Chariots took the risk and moved away from the Brutes but exposed their flank to the Scarecrows.

Night Stalkers - Turn 7

Last action of the battle!

The risk paid off as Scarecrows could not land a proper blow at the Chariots and Elven unit survived the attack. Elves successfully invaded the enemy territory!


Turn-by-turn animation summary.

After-battle thoughts

I would like to thank Micky for a great game and for his enormous help with the pictures. I noticed mine are so bad in comparison that I decided to not use them almost completely! I need to check these camera settings for sure :)

Micky mentioned he didn't play with his army prior to the event but I think it is a great force that can be dangerous too. It may be fragile and require careful use so it is possible that a few moments during our game were of a more crucial consequences.

We both played carefully for some time. I could not land these shots properly with my Silver Breeze units which simply shows how much I need to focus fire to make it efficient.

We talked about the game a little and I agree with Micky that turn 4 was when the game was decided. His plan was to draw some charges on my left flank but he got more than he accounted for. That resulted in charges of more units at the same time and losses he could not recover from.

I am glad I had enough patience to wait for the right opportunity to present itself but it is yet another example where I could use the situation that I didn't quite generated myself. I think it will come with experience, however, so I am simply happy to know what I need to achieve in terms of positioning. Now, I am using that to exploit openings that present themselves in the game. Next step is to learn how to create such openings.

I liked how Micky used the speed and maneuverability to "ignore" the center and try to overwhelm the flanks. He negated small advantage of mine in terms of number of units. I wonder what would have happened if the Void Lurker pressed on the flank instead, for instance. Also, with so many sources of Wind Blast I hardly had it used against me. Maybe these Banshees could have used that against my units instead of shooting at the Silver Breeze?

I hope Micky enjoyed the game despite the fact we were all exhausted at this stage and despite the loss. I think it was an interesting game with two armies that required precise strikes and reminded me more of Samurai duel when there is a period of waiting and mind games before one of the duelist decides to make a move. :)

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great game!
    I enjoyed the extra pictures in this report as it is easier for me to determine distances and positioning from the photos as opposed to the generated images. Micky really did take great photos!

    I liked your comment about creating your own openings instead of reacting or waiting for one. I think that is what makes a really good player into a great player. I'm still looking for ways to accomplish this and reading reports from different battles is a good way to do that. Thanks for the report!

    Also forgot to say that I enjoyed your interview on the episode of countercharge. It was a very enjoyable listen. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Dan!

      Indeed! I am very happy he took so many and from different angles. I personally try to take only one overview photo but I hope to: 1) Improve the quality and 2) to be able to take more photos, at least during casual games.

      I hope one day I will be able to create favorable situations myself. It is very difficult but very rewarding when it works. I also agree about learning from the reports, it is one of the reasons I write them. I actually learned quite a lot by making the maps alone! Very often there are some opportunities that went unnoticed during the game. The reports also allow to have a look at other possibilities, knowing what was the result of a particular decision. But there are always more options to choose from!

      Thanks a lot for kind words about the interview! It was the first time I was offered to talk on the podcast and I feel very honored! It is good to know it was enjoyable to listen :)