Edge of the Abyss campaign continues! I must say I really enjoy the games, as they are a bit more relaxed without time pressure. I do like plaing with chess clocks during the tournaments but it also nice to have a bit of a break and play a few more casual games once in a while.
This time I had I played against Chris and his evil Undead in a very fitting scenario - The Dead Fleet. I have played against Chris before but since it was quite a log time ago I was even more happy to do so!
We also played in a different location as Chris suggested we should promoted Kings of War in another store in Canberra, Jolt. It is a very nice place to play too, with plenty of space and neat tables. I played there before and as it is relatively close I was happy to drop by.
Chris has a really cool army comprised of old school models. It is always great to see it assembled across the table and he constantly adds new units to it. The one he used in our game had:
Undead - Army List
20 Skeleton Archers, Regiment
- 10 Ghouls, Troop
- 10 Ghouls, Troop
- Revenant King on Undead Wyrm, Hero, Wings, Pipes of Terror
20 Reventants, Regiment, Undead Giant Rats
- 10 Soul Reaver Infantry, Troops
- 10 Wraiths, Troops
- Army Standard Bearer, Hero, Banner of the Griffin
20 Mummies, Regiment, Brew of Courage
- Cursed Pharaoh, Hero, Wings of Honeymaze
3 Zombie Trolls, Regiment
- Liche King, Heal(6)
6 Werewolves, Horde, Potion of Caterpillar
- Necromancer, Hero
I like this army a lot because it has so many different units. I also expected there is come kind of trap in there as it does not quite look like a horde of shambling undead legions. There were some changes in comparison to the force I faced last time too.
20 Skeleton Archers - the only regiment that can provide ranged attacks. They proved many times before that they cannot be ignored. Simply because they have the ability to waver my units when I need them to be operational! Cannot be wavered and one of the many Shambling units to annoy the opponent with Surge! They are quite fragile though so I hoped to win the missile fire duel.
20 Revenants - these are completely different type of a unit. Very good defensive infantry with Defense 5+. Cannot be wavered either. Slow due to Shambling but I am always amazed how this rule in combination with enough amount of Surge can make units much more maneuverable that expected.
20 Mummies - if Revenants are tough then Mummies are even tougher. Same defense but better nerve and Regeneration. I faced them before and it takes a lot of effort to take them down. They also hit harder so I need to watch for the danger of being attacked from the flank with Surge of course!
3 Zombie Trolls - another Shambling unit. Crushing Strength 2 would make sure that they can deal some damage consistently. Not the best armor though and no regeneration of their living kin but still a very good unit. May be a good target for shooting though!
6 Werewolves - the fastest and the best of the enemy units without a doubt. Very good armor, excellent maneuverability reinforced by Pathfinder upgrade. One of the main threats in the army and the one I would need to counter at least in order to gin advantage in the movement phase.
2 x 10 Ghouls - very cheap units that can be living shield (pun intended! :)) Always good to have some distraction units available but with Defense 3+ they may be taken down by shooting easier than other units
10 Soul Reaver Infantry - Quite expensive unit but no wonder why. Faster than regular undead infantry but still sporting 5+ defense. 20 attacks, hitting on 3+ with Crushing Strength 2 mean that they will hit hard even in the frontal assault.
10 Wraiths - no undead army is complete without Wraiths! :) Very good unit, with super armor and an interesting combination of Shambling and Fly. Very good flankers too and not that easy to take down. They often need more resources than they are worth to get rid of them. However, I would need to as they can mess up with my own movement thanks to the ability to Fly!
Reventant King on Undead Wyrm - one of the two very dangerous units in the army. Together with Werewolves they create fast and hard hitting elements. However, the King is also very flexible and versatile hero. He hits hard in melee, even if basic 4+ to hit may cause troubles sometimes. But he has excellent nerve, Crushing Strength 3 is fantastic and he can also Surge units! He may not push them far on his own but it may be all they need if Surged by another hero first in order to reach the designated target.
It takes a lot of effort to take him down so I didn't expect I may have many opportunities to do so but it may be worth keeping eyes open for some flank attacks. It did work before!
Army Standard - always good to have a source of inspire and even more so with the Banner of Griffin to increase that nerve value a bit.
Cursed Pharaoh - very annoying hero! Hard to get with ranged attacks, with good nerve and defense value, he can easily regenerate whatever damage was done. Extremely versatile too, as he can both, inspire and surge nearby units. But with added Wings he can also buzz around and cause a lot of headache for the enemy. It would be good to pin him down at least.
Liche King - The best source of Surge in the army, this time equipped with Heal spell too. His role is to lead the units and either Surge them into melee or keep healing them. Not so easy to hunt down as even with Defense 4+ he has a very good nerve for a hero and can regenerate too.
Necromancer - lowly necromancer may not be tough or brave but he too has a role to play and that is to Surge undead units into battle.
This army is deceptive as it has a lot of units that can be Surged and many heroes that provide that spell. With quite an interesting combination of Regeneration, Lifeleech and Heal this army can also soak up some damage and return to its starting strength quickly.
It does not have much of a shooting abilities so it may be a good idea to try and crate a few holes in the battle line before committing to melee.
Deployment and Scenario
|Armies ready for battle.|
|Deployment of both forces.|
Formidable spell casting abilities of Undead army were further boosted by the scenario special rules as each spell added +2 to casting value. That meant that Liche King would cast his Surge with 14 dice!
It was also more difficult to charge in the treacherous sands and under the scorching sun. Although Shambling units didn't care so I would need to take that into account.
Undead army deployed in what seemed to be two independent groups but I had a feeling it is a trap :) If any of my units landed in that gap I had no doubts that either Mummies or Revenants would be Surged to intercept them!
However, if I could tie the part on my right flank, inflict some damage by shooting and box the elements on the right I hoped to inflict enough damage to carry the day :)
In this scenario Good army has the first turn.
Outcasts - Turn 1
|Elves move forward.|
Elves moved forward as one and as it was often the case, the shooters released their arrows while on the move. Some Skeleton Archers were damaged but it was not yet enough to crumble the unit. The rest of the army stayed out of the range of the enemy. Or so they thought!
Undead - Turn 1
|The flankers get ouflanked!|
|Curse Pharaoh curses the Drakon Riders!|
The Drakon Riders on the left flank miscalculated and now paid the ultimate price as Cursed Pharaoh intercepts them and routs them from the battle field! (Edit: That was bad mistake on my part as I forgot about Pharaoh and landed in charge range of this hero. Chris charged immediately and rolled double 6's to punish me for my first mistake!)
The rest of the army remained still and the Liche King simply resurrected damaged Skeletons back to fill the gaps in the unit formation.
Outcasts - Turn 2
|Elves keep advancing.|
Despite the untimely demise of Drakon Riders on the left flank, Elves kept advancing on the right and this time got rid of Skeleton Archers for good. But is getting closer to seemingly motionless undead such a good idea?
Undead - Turn 2
|Not much movement on the right.|
|Surging on the left!|
|Elven units intercepted.|
The undead units on the right were in no hurry to move towards the enemy but those on the left were suddenly spurred into action. What seemed to be a safe distance to the enemy, turned out to be a trap! Both, Zombie Trolls and Mummies were quickly advancing at surprised Elves and it was clear that some dark magic was behind it.
Although attacked units were not destroyed that immediately resulted in confusion in the Elven ranks.
Outcasts - Turn 3
|Elves try to regain the initiative.|
Hoping that they can regain the initiative by attacking the enemy, Elves commit to melee. On the right flank the Drakon Lord and Army Standard distract their enemies while Drakon Riders and Palace Guard advance to attack the foe.
At the same time the units in the center of the battle field attack too. Sea Guard and Storm Wind destroy Zombie Trolls. However, second unit of the heavy cavalry was too eager to join the fight and by attacking the Mummies did not leave enough room for the Sea Guard to reform!
Undead - Turn 3
|Mistakes are being punished.|
|Undead counter attack.|
It was clear that Elves overextended and it was time to start punishing them for their arrogance. On the left flank the Pharaoh and his flying minions attacked Palace Guard but luckily for Elves they held the line.
Sea Guard was not so lucky as Mummies stormed through their exposed flank and routed the unit immediately.
On the right flank Drakon Riders were attacked by nimble Werewolves who somehow did not destroy their enemies and did not even inflict significant damage!
Outcasts - Turn 4
|Elves try to fight back.|
The fight was getting fiercer and more and more units were now engaging the enemies. On the left flank Wraiths were banished by combine effort of heavy and light cavalry. In the middle, the fights continued as neither Storm Wind and Palace Guard nor War Chariots could defeat their opponents.
On the right flank, Palace Guard tried to help Drakon Riders but both units did not inflict enough damage to rout the Werewolves. Unfortunately for Elves that was a crucial moment and put them in extremely bad situation. (Edit: I believe it was Banner of Griffin that helped to avoid Waver result here!)
Undead - Turn 4
|Left flank - Mummies a bit surrounded.|
|But keep deleting Elven units.|
Undead army seized the initiative and more Eleven units were routed. Mummies, although surrounded by the enemies, kept fighting and this time Storm Wind cavalry perished.
On the right flank Elven forces fared even worse as Drakon Lord and Riders were finally destroyed.
Outcasts - Turn 5
|Battle for survival begins.|
|Mummies are destroyed.|
The desperate struggle for survival for the Elven army began. Although there was some degree of success after the regiment of Mummies was destroyed, another gamble on the right flank did not pay off at all. Palace Guard failed to break through Army Standard and didn't even reach Ghouls.
Undead - Turn 5
|Undead units advance towards bloodied Elves.|
|More Elves die.|
Finally free to move, Revenant King and his pet Werewolves approach damaged Elven units. Undead army was clearly winning side at this stage so it was just a question how many Elves would stay buried in the sands forever.
Outcasts - Turn 6
|Revenants are banished.|
With only a few units left Elves attacked Revenants. They managed to banish the enemy unit and formed a thin, blue line of a last defense.
Undead - Turn 6
|Revenant King and Werewolves lead the attack.|
Fast and nimble Werewolves were unstoppable and Revenant King joined them to make sure the Elven unit is destroyed for good. That attack broke through the Elven last line of defense.
Outcasts - Turn 7
|The shooters did not destroy the King.|
In the last attempt to inflict some more damage, Elven shooters aimed at the Revenant King and while they wounded the beast it was not enough to destroy it.
Undead - Turn 7
|Undead claim well deserved victory!|
|Not much was left of the Elven army.|
In the last attack Revenant King destroyed the Chariots while the Pharaoh finally routed last Elven knights. The few Elven survivors withdrew knowing they failed to stop Undead and that their fleets will soon roam the Seas.
|Turn-by-turn animation summary|
Congratulations to Chris for a well deserved victory and many thanks for a great game! It was a painful lesson but as always, a great pleasure and fun to play against him. Chris told me it's been a while since the last victory for his Undead. But while he may have entered the battle as a Cursed Pharaoh he definitely emerged as a dreaded Revenant King!
Chris was very patient in this game and has never missed an opportunity to exploit my mistakes. He perfectly delayed my units on my left flank and disordered the approach with timely Surge attacks. I liked his Werewolves charge the best where he reminded me how awesome Nimble large infantry (or cavalry for that matter!) is. Despite bad luck (he inflicted only 2 points of damage on that charge!) he prevailed and methodically kept destroying my units.
On the other hand, I made tons of mistakes and I am really sorry I didn't offer a better game to Chris. I am trying to figure out what was the reason I made so many but I guess it is more important to simply acknowledged them and try not to do it again :)
In general, I think the major mistake was to engage in melee when I had superiority in ranged attacks. Even if it takes 2-3 turns to rout a unit it is still beneficial provided I don't lose mine in the process. It would also create a difficult situation for the opponent where he would need to make a decision to advance. I was inpatient and even moving forward was done in badly coordinated manner.
I started the game with moving Drakons on the left flank into charge range of the flying Pharaoh. Even if I didn't lose them in the single turn I would have had a problem in bringing reinforcements.
Then I messed up the counter attack on Mummies were I blocked my own Sea Guard and could not reform them so that they would have avoided being flank charged.
Another mistake was to allow second Drakons to be charged. Again, I didn't properly assess the situation and Werewolves smoothly maneuvered around their own Ghouls. I really liked that move though, because Chris showed perfectly how one can use a unit to shield hard hitters and how they can catch the enemy that overextended.
More mistakes followed as I foolishly assumed I can get Army Standard, follow up into Ghouls and then break through to avoid both Revenant King and Soul Reavers Infantry. Looking at the pictures again I don't think I would have avoided them even if my attack succeeded. I should have charged Werewolves instead to inflict some damage and slow them down. The could have been healed but at least I would have had a better chance to harm them rather than the King with my shooting.
I hope you enjoyed the game despite my mistakes and that it will be a good example what can happen when you make them :)
Thanks for reading!