Saturday, 31 March 2018

Game 84 - Trident Realms - 2018/03/31

Greetings!

This game was played on Universal Battle 2 in January 2018. It was just before KoW Masters in UK and Clash of Kings 2018 in Australia. This report was meant to be posted earlier but due to my misunderstanding I didn't do it. Later on I started posting about Clash of Kings Australia 2018 games and I didn't want to disrupt the pattern of the series of the reports.

My sincere apologies to Ed for my misunderstanding and to all the readers for posting the report later than intended. However, I do hope that the whole context of the duel and the game itself will make up for the delay! 

This report is going to feature a very unique battle. I had a great pleasure to play against Ed who played against me several times already. However, there were some circumstances that made this game not like the others.

Ed has qualified (again! well done Ed!) to UK Masters and wanted to have some practice games before the event. He also helped me to do so before Australian Masters so I was very happy to return the favor. 

What was quite funny to notice and what we have not realized before setting up the time for the game was that regardless of the time and space discontinuity, two Master players from the opposite hemispheres were about to face each other with their chosen armies. What is more, we are two current Wooden Spoon winners as well! It was becoming more and more epic and this report is going to detail the Battle of the Wooden Spoons where two People's Champions faced each other! 

Before I start, however, here is the army list Ed is going to use at UK Masters and which he fielded against my Elves:

Trident Realms - Army List

40 Naiad Ensnarers, Horde, Hammer of Measured Force - 250
- 10 Riverguard, Troop, Crushing Strength(1) - 120
- 10 Riverguard, Troop, Crushing Strength(1) - 120
- Knucker, Monster - 145 
- Naiad Centurion, Hero, Harpoon-gun, Wings of Honeymaze - 170

40 Placoderms, Horde, Brew of Haste - 305
- Knucker, Monster - 145  
- Thuul Mythican, Hero, Bane Chant (2), Lightning Bolt (3), Inspiring Talisman - 130

3 Tidal Swarm, Regiment - 75
3 Tidal Swarm, Regiment - 75

Dwarfs - Allies

20 Rangers, Regiment - 180
- 5 Sharpshooters, Troop - 100
- 5 Sharpshooters, Troop - 100 
- Organ Gun, War Engine - 85

Ed has refined this army over the course of many battles and it is the force with which he qualified to Masters again. It means that he is an expert in using it against any foe. As we played against each other many times as well I could also count on him knowing all my tricks! Hence the challenge to come up with something new but effective to be able to tackle this very versatile and dangerous army.

The army is built around two tough infantry hordes, where Placoderms are one of the hardest units to rout thanks to defense 6+ as well as Ensnare and Phalanx special rules. While Naiads have incredible regenerative abilities. These units are very difficult to rout, in particular if they occupy some sort of terrain. At the same time they can form a tough battle line to breach and a platform for other units to maneuver around and anchor their attacks. 

Knuckers and Riverguard are very maneuverable and while Riverguard is not as fast, the ability to fly makes it very versatile. In addition, the units have throwing weapons. They may be lightly armored but are mobile enough to use cover well while advancing and then showing up on flanks to harass the enemies. In the case of my small units such attacks can be also quite devastating.

Tidal Swarms have proved already that they are not simply road blockers and cannot be ignored. They are very reliable as they cannot be wavered. It would be good to get rid of them early as otherwise they will be very annoying.

Both heroes provide inspiring presence and have enough attacks to add to any melee or even intercept units on their own. Centurion, with his Wings, is even better at doing so, disordering the enemies which may be very helpful, in particular against some shooting hordes. At the same time Mythican can use his spells to either further boost the attacks of nearby units or to snipe enemies with Lightning Bolts.

Thus Trident Realm contingent is quite flexible melee orientated force that can maneuver well on the battle field and has enough elements to trap careless enemies.

Dwarf Allies provide much needed ranged attacks support. It is not only to be able to rout enemy units but also to prevent them from maneuvering around Trident Realms units. Dwarfs are very flexible in that support because with 4 elements that can shoot they can aim at a single target or spread the fire, depending on the situation. However, one would be foolish to ignore Rangers as melee unit as with Crushing Strength (1) they can be very useful too.

In general, this is a flexible army that can attack and defend well, participates in all phases of the game and can adapt to all scenarios very well. My own army still has some speed and maneuverability advantage and the shooting duel may be quite interesting perspective. In my opinion, neither army has a significant advantage in that department and a lot would depend on the respective deployments, terrain and scenario.

I decided to focus on eliminating the shooters, in particular Organ Gun, as they can significantly interfere with my maneuvering. Then I would need to at least counter the Knuckers and  River Guard as fast and maneuverable enemies. Only then I should be able to have enough space to surround the slower infantry hordes. However, even if I succeeded, would I have enough time to do so?

Here is my own army for the reference:

Outcasts - Army List

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment - 175
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry, Brew of Haste - 175


3 Drakon Riders, Regiment - 175
- 5 Stormwind, Troops - 140
- 5 Stormwind, Troops - 140
 - Army Standard, Hero, Mounted - 65

3 War Chariots, Regiment, Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar  - 160
 - Army Standard, Hero, Mounted - 65
 
20 Palace Guard, Regiment - 150 
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop - 105
 
20 Sea Guard, Regiment - 170
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop - 105
- Army Standard, Hero, Mounted, Lute of Insatiable Darkness - 85

Deployment and Scenario

Deployment and Bounty Tokens placement.
We got Eliminate as a scenario and that immediately added to the challenge for me. Both Drakon Riders and Drakon Lord are my most expensive units but also the most maneuverable and hard hitting. It is their threat that often makes people shy in advancing and they often participate in multiple charges. Now I need to be careful with them as otherwise each bounty they carry contributes to the enemy victory. Even more so when they lose them in melee as each bounty counter ibtained this way is worth two points!

In addition, both hordes are very difficult to rout so getting any bounty token from Ed's army is much harder to do. What is more, the single objective in the center that cannot be moved and has to be either contested or occupied is also quite a good target for Trident Realms army. Placoderms in particular would be good at claiming it.

I decided that following with my original plan should be a good start. I still need to address the issue of Dwarf long ranged attacks, neutralize the Knuckers and make sure I am not losing the valuable units in the process. 

In order to achieve that I had Drakon Riders on both flanks to keep Knuckers in check and be out of range or sight of enemy shooters.  I also divided my own shooters to be able to move them against Organ Gun regardless where it is going to be placed. When I noticed it is in the woods I went with cavalry there to try and shoot at it and move Storm Wind in charge range early in case the shooting is not enough. 

At the same time the other half of the shooters would advance towards Sharpshooters and engage them in a duel. I decided to position entire infantry together in case I would need to engage Placoderms or Naiads in frontal assault. That would allow me to slow down their advance and hopefully work around the flanks by the time that happens. In addition, many units would be able to to contest the middle bounty too.

I happened to win the roll for the first turn and used it as an opportunity to try and take on Organ Gun as soon as possible.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves attempt to shoot down Organ Gun early.

Elves moved towards the enemy fast. Some of the units already moved into charge range and the first shots were aimed at the Organ Gun. However, despite some damage done the war engine was still fully operational.

Trident Realms - Turn 1

Dwarfs demonstrate how shooting is done.

Dwarfs did not need any encouragements to demonstrate to Elves how the proper shooting is done. As a result one Silver Breeze cavalry perished. 

It also seemed that Drakon Riders overextended their advance and were now intercepted and grounded by the Knucker.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Elves engage on the left flank.

Despite the obvious mistake, Drakon Riders had to fight back in order to have a chance to survive. They hit hard but not hard enough and the Knucker is only wavered. At the same time Storm Wind cavalry distracts the Rangers so that Silver Breeze has more time to shoot at Organ Gun. Still no luck in destroying the cursed War Engine!

Trident Realms - Turn 2

Elves start losing their left flank.

Neriticans and Dwarfs all counter attacked on the left flank. River Guard units managed to waver Drakon Riders while the Rangers routed Elven Knights with easy. 

On the opposite flank, Naiad Centurion spotted an opening and attacked Elven Army Standard, capturing precious Elven banner.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves attack but the results are not what they expected.

The situation was becoming more and more difficult for Elves who kept trying to get rid of the stubborn Dwarfs. Unfortunately, Silver Breeze failed to damage Organ Gun further and Drakon Lord was stopped by a unit of Sharpshooters. 

Seeing that, Sea Guard and Charioteers tried to scare off the Knucker with arrows but the beast was not impressed.

Trident Realms - Turn 3

Powerful attacks of Neriticans.

Trident Realms army pressed forward and capitalized on Elven mistakes. River Guard finished off the Drakons in aerial combat. Rangers and Mythican routed another group of Elven knights. The Sharpshooters finished off damaged War Chariots and one of the Knuckers gave no chance to the Drakon Lord and chased him off the battle field too.

It looked like a serious punch to the Elven force who faced an extremely difficult situation with four elements lost in a second. To add insult to injury two of them carried the bounty that was now in possession of the enemy.

Outcasts - Turn 4

New order - Regroup and fight back.

With a number of powerful units lost, Elves had to regroup and proceed with fighting withdraw. However, disciplined warriors kept looking for any opportunities to fight back.

First, Army Standard, who survived quite unsuccessful attack of the Knucker, charged the monster alone and managed to find the weak spot in the scaly skin. One beast down! Then on the opposite flank the only remaining Drakon Riders avenged their lord and hunted down the second Knucker.

The rest of the army regrouped using the nearby hills as a cover.

Trident Realms - Turn 4

Neriticans advance towards the center.

Neriticans advanced towards the center of the battle field consolidating their positions. Both infantry hordes covered each other while Riverguard started hunting down their enemies with shooting attacks. 

Rangers maintained their good, defensive position while Organ Gun turned around to be prepared for incoming Drakon Riders.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Army Standards buying time for the rest of the army.

Drakon Riders indeed attacked again but this time went for seemingly easier target - the Swarms. Routing small creatures was not the most heroic achievement but allowed the Drakons to keep up the momentum and threaten to attack exposed flanks or rears. 

Now, they had to brace for the incoming fire from the Organ Gun as Sea Guard failed to inflict any damage from the elevated position of the central hill.

Trident Realms - Turn 5

Nerticans stop their advance.

The appearance of the Drakon Riders behind their lines made infantry hordes a bit nervous. Naiads shuffled sideways to avoid them while Placoderms reformed to face the flying cavalry.

On the opposite side of the battle field River Guard and Swarms somehow failed to rout the Silver Breeze who bought some time for the remaining infantry in the middle.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Unexpected turn of events.
Elven patience paid off as the opening in the enemy lines finally was created and the Outcasts charged in. Drakon Riders silenced the Organ Gun and were ready to attack either Rangers or Naiads.

Fortunately for Elves, the well coordinated charge of two guard units routed surprised Naiads on the charge! 

That rekindled hopes for the Elven army that there still may be a chance to change the course of battle.

Trident Realms - Turn 6

The shooting did not rout the Drakons!

The surprising attack of the Elves and the loss of one of the most powerful units unbalanced Neriticans. Although they managed to rout two more Elven units, the Drakon Riders avoided majority of bullets and darts and were getting ready to strike again.

Outcasts - Turn 7

Elves tip the balance into their favor!

With new hope in their hearts, Elves doubled their efforts and attacked one last time. Palace Guard and Sea Guard entrenched around the central hill to defend the bounty while the Drakon Riders led the attack against the Rangers. They were aided by heroic Army Standard who also added a bit of damage to the enemy. And in the end Dwarf Rangers were defeated and routed!

Trident Realms - Turn 7

Drakons are down!

That was not what Neriticans envisioned. With that final push Elves gained an upper hand and were not in control of more bounty than Trident Realms army. It meant that at this stage Elves actually achieved strategic objectives and were claiming a pricey victory.

However, the last word belonged to the Neriticans and they mustered their forces for one more attack. Placoderms charged the Sea Guard but Elven marines managed to hold their ground in phalanx versus phalanx melee.

Riverguard, Centurion and Sharpshooters all aimed at the Palace Guard regiment defending the central objective but the damage was not enough to rout the Elves.

Last but not least, second unit of River Guard and Mythican combined their efforts and shot at wounded Drakons. Despite encouragements of the nearby Army Standard, the Drakons have had enough and fled the battle.

That success allowed the army of the Trident Realms to achieve a draw in a bloody struggle to eliminate their opponents.

Summary

Turn-by-turn animation summary

After-battle thoughts

Many thanks to Ed for a fantastic game! It was truly epic, especially at the very last moment when I got a chance to come back after horrible blunders I made at the start of the game. I was even winning in my turn 7 but a few well placed shots by Ed meant that he secured the draw with the literally last dice roll!

The game did not start well as somehow I assumed that the Knucker has speed 7. I have no idea why I thought so, especially after a few games against Trident Realms commanded by Ed. Not only I exposed a valuable unit but it was even more stupid because the Drakons carried the bounty!

If not for that I would have had better chances to further slow down and distract the units on my left flank.

Drakon Lord's charge on the flank of Sharpshooters was another mistake. For similar reasons, i.e. I should not have risked the attack with the units that carries the bounty when there was a chance that it would be in grave danger. I failed to rout the Shooters and lost the Lord as a result.

I am glad, however, that I didn't give up. It was not easy, I wanted to concede in turn 3! But fortunately for me the pressure from having Drakon Riders in the back yard resulted in Ed making his very crucial mistake. I got lucky that I spotted the exposed flank to Naiads and that my last wave of attacking units managed to rout the enemy horde. However, it does show that there may still be opportunities to change the outcome of the battle, even after huge losses.

Of course, in my future games I would prefer not to make mistakes in the first place. I cannot count on the chance that the opponent is going to make a mistake that would allow me to switch the balance in my favor.

This report is also the one that marks the end of my CoK 2017 version of the KoW army. In the next one you will see the updated list that I came up after my experiences at Australian Masters and Australian Clash of Kings 2018. It was a great journey over the last year and I hope that 2018 will bring many more interesting reports for you to read about the adventures of the Outcasts in the world of Mantica.

Thanks for reading!

4 comments:

  1. Another awesome battle report. Great reading. thank you.

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    1. Thanks a lot! I am glad you liked it!

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  2. Thanks for the report! A great game all around (especially coming down to the last roll). Eliminate is one of the hardest scenarios for MSU as it really plays to the strength of high nerve/horde armies. Good job on keeping focused and staying in the game after a rough start which can be a very tough thing to do.

    Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks Dan! I definitely got lucky because the game was lost until Ed made a mistake. While it is important to be ready to use new opportunities it is not the best strategy to plan your actions assuming your opponent is going to give you one! :)

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