Sunday, 20 January 2019

Game 106 - Undead - 2019/01/20


The very first battle of Kings of War in 2019 was played with real models! I consider that a really great start of a new year. Especially, that it has been a few months since I had a game like that.

January is also a time for practice for upcoming big event CanCon2019. Chris and I were still on holidays and we used that opportunity to organize a game at a local store. 

I have played against Chris and his super-cool old-school Undead army a few times so far. However, it has been a while since our last game too. I was thus really happy we could play again. Especially that he posted a few pictures of his new, Vampire Lord on Undead Elder Dragon and I really wanted to see that beast in action.

Here are the details of the army list:

Undead - Army List

10 Soul Reaver Cavalry, Regiment, Cavalry, Crushing Strength (1), Lifeleech (2), Thunderous Charge (2)
- 10 Wraiths, Troop, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Fly, Shambling
- 10 Ghouls, Troop, Infantry
- Vampire Lord on Undead Elder Dragon, Hero, Monster, Fly, Crushing Strength (3), Inspiring, Lifeleech (2), Breath Attack (12), Boots of Levitation

3 Zombie Trolls, Regiment, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (2), Shambling, Lifeleech (2)
- Cursed Pharaoh, Hero, Infantry, Individual, Inspiring, Regeneration (5+),  Surge (6), Crushing Strength (2), Wings of Honeymaze

6 Werewolves, Horde, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (1), Nimble 
- Necromancer, Hero, Infantry, Individual, Surge (8), Inspiring Talisman

6 Wights, Horde, Large Infantry, Brutal, Crushing Strength (3), Shambling
- Balefire Catapult, War Engine, Blast (D6 +2), Indirect Fire, Piercing (2), Reload!, Shambling, Vicious

6 Barrow Wights [1], Horde, Large Infantry, Brutal, Crushing Strength (3), Shambling, Fly
- Balefire Catapult, War Engine, Blast (D6 +2), Indirect Fire, Piercing (2), Reload!, Shambling, Vicious

The army did not look big on the battle field but it was in itself a bit scary. With Undead forces that usually means that each of the units is actually some sort of nasty thing to deal with. Chris told me his goal is to play faster and do not be concerned about timing out. If he fielded elite units, he would have fewer dice to roll but the results would actually matter! :)

From my point of view as an opponent, I had to take into account that every horde or regiment in that army could comfortably take on any one from mine. Thus one-on-one combats had to be avoided at all costs.

The army is quite fast and has some good ability to surge units as well. It meant I had to be very careful as to where I place my units. One can easily fall into a trap and get attacked from the flank by one of these nasty Wights, Barrow Wights or Wraiths. At the same time Soul Reaver Cavalry, Werewolves and Vampire Lord on Dragon are fast and hard hitting too. Two catapults provide long range supporting fire and Vampire Lord can also add his Dragon's breath attacks. Especially when equipped with Boots of Levitation that allow him to breath even after moving at a double.

Some time ago I also started calculating the number of units in total, the number of scoring units and combined unit strength for the opposing armies for the purpose of comparison. I found that it is quite helpful in determining what would be possibly a good approach to win the game. In particular in terms of scenario.

Opposing Undead army has 12 units, 9 of which are scoring and with the combined unit strength 14. It is worth noting that Werewolves and Barrow Wights have one less unit strength as they are Large Infantry units that are Nimble or Fly.

I also made some changes to my army list. I had to expand it to 2250 and I have not yet acquired units that I tested on Universal Battle. Mainly some Forest Shamblers. For this game I came up with the following:

Outcasts - Army List

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (1), Crushing Strength (1), Fly
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop, Cavalry, Nimble, Bows

- 5 Windborne, Troop, Cavalry, Nimble, Bows, Windborne Arrows
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry, Crushing Strength (1), Thunderous Charge (1), Dwarven Ale

3 Drakon Riders, Regimen, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (1), Crushing Strength (1), Fly
- 5 Stormwind, Troops, Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2)
- Army Standard, Hero, Banner of Griffin

3 War Chariots, Regiment, Large Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2), Bows, Potion of Caterpillar
 - Elven Prince, Hero, Infantry, Crushing strength (1), Wings of Honeymaze

10 Stromwind Cavalry, Regiment, Cavalry, Thunderous Charge (2), Brew of Haste

- Elven Prince, Mounted, Hero, Cavalry, Crushing Strength (1), Inspiring Talisman
20 Palace Guard, Regiment, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1)
- Mage, Hero, Infantry, Heal (3), Windblast (5), Zephyr Crown

20 Palace Guard, Regiment, Infantry, Crushing Strength (1)
20 Sea Guard, Regiment, Phalanx, Bows, Dragonshard Shield

The army had quite a few magic artifact, not something that I usually take in large quantities. One new element I wanted to try is the Windblast that can inflict damage. I tried Windborne Cavalry before and I really liked the fact they can ignore cover for shooting. Their ability to push units is also quite handy. With a mage with similar ability I could start interfering with the enemy movement phase a bit more.

I also brought back the regiment of Stormwind cavalry with Brew of Haste to have a super fast heavy cavalry. They can be quite a good threat for some fliers and can easier intercept them. Other than that all the units I like to use were there.

This version of the army has 15 units, 11 of them are scoring and the combined unit strength is 16. It means that I started the game with a slight advantage over Undead in each category. Not something that happens often!

My general plan was to use the shooting to inflict damage and possibly eliminate a unit or two. Windblasts should help to disrupt enemy advance in addition to damage done. And perhaps result in additional turn for shooting. At the same time I needed to use my fast elements to get to the catapults as soon as possible. A singe hit from one of them can seriously damage any of my units and potentially rout it too. 

I could use fast and maneuverable units to surround the flanks of the Undead army as it has fewer units and there would be gaps in the formation. But in order to do that I had to make sure that neither Necromancer nor Pharaoh can cast spells. I hoped that my own flying prince would be helpful here.


Terrain Details
We used random map generator provided by Epic Dwarf and we based the terrain placement on the map number 4. The height and type of each terrain piece is described on the map.

 Deployment and Scenario

Undead vs Elves.
Deployment of the Armies

We randomly determined the scenario and this time it was Invade. My first idea was to use Windblast spells to keep the enemy from crossing towards my half of the battle field. Or at least delay that. In order to do that I decided to deploy all the shooters in the center. That would help me to focus the fire on a single target at the beginning of the battle. Hopefully being able to rout a unit or two. In the second half of the game I could use these units to interfere with movement a bit more and to pick up elements of the opposing army that were damaged earlier.

It seemed that both of us did not want to leave any flank open and both of us deployed units there. However, we also deployed considerably stronger elements on the same flank. I hoped that with five strong units on my right I could engage the powerful Vampire Lord on Dragon as well as Soul Reavers Cavalry. Thanks to the advantage in numbers I wanted to use that opportunity to first pin down the enemy and then to outflank the units. The goals here were to stop the enemy from invading, destroy it and invade with the survivors. Because both Catapults were there as well I planned to use both flying heroes to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

I thought I was in disadvantage on the left flank but seeing that Chris deployed his forces heading towards the narrow path between the flank and house I thought I may have chance to slow his advance there. The trick was to attack the Ghouls but not rout them on the charge. Perhaps it would even give me an opportunity to fly the Drakon Riders over and start threatening the flanks of enemy units.

In general, what I hoped to achieve was to slow down left flank for as long as possible, slow down the advance through the center and inflict damage by shooting and counter attacks, and win on the right flank. Let's see if that worked!

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves march forward first.

Steady advance and opening shots.
Elves advanced towards enemy lines, making sure that they did not get into charge ranges of their enemies yet. Only Drakon Lord landed close enough to attack the Catapult on the right flank. 

The opening fire was directed at Zombie Trolls, as they were the least resilient target. However, as it was only Sea Guard and Chariots that were shooting, the damage was minimal. 

Undead - Turn 1

Undead forces shamble forward.

Undead army advances in three groups.

Undead army advanced as well. It was formed in three distinct and seemingly separated groups. As anticipated, Ghouls led the way on the flank with Werewolves and Pharaoh close behind.

Large infantry formation in the center shambled forward through the woods, still using it as a protective cover from the incoming shooting.

Last but not least, the hardest hitting units on the opposite flank prepared a welcoming party for any Elves seeking glory in a reckless charge.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Elves commit the units on the right flank

The attack did not go according to the plan!

The incoming fire from Undead Catapults prompted Elves to more direct action. Drakon Lord charged one of the war engines and destroyed it. Storm Wind cavalry followed but failed to rout the Wraiths. The prince charge the Soul Reaver Cavalry to distract them but he too failed to do any damage. The attack did not go according to the plan but with Palace Guard following perhaps not all was lost!

The units in the center all focused their attention on the Zombie Trolls. The damage was more substantial this time but it was still not enough to make them perish.

The mounted prince charged Ghouls alone on the opposite flank and he achieved the strategic goal of blocking more powerful Werewolves behind them.

Undead - Turn 2

Undead counter attack was not completely successful either!

Stormwind cavalry survived!

Undead forces counter attacked on both flanks. Ghouls attacked the prince but could not bring him down just yet. Pharaoh charged the Drakon Riders (Edit: I apologize for the discrepancy on the diagram. Cursed Pharaoh was in a perfect position to charge the Drakon Riders as he was not completely behind the blocking house.) but completely failed to do any damage and Elves were free to move!

On the opposite flank, Soul Reavers Cavalry captured Drakon Lord while Wraiths and Vampire Lord attacked Storm Wind cavalry. Miraculously, Elven Knights survived it! (Edit: Dreaded double 1's nerve test result in effect!)

What is more, Catapult hit the Drakon Riders and wavered them!

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves attack with the second wave.

Undead forces are losing some units.

Trying to make the best out of the unexpected circumstances, Elves attack with the second wave on the right flank. Storm Wind counter charges the Vampire Lord to keep him occupied a bit longer. At the same time Palace Guard regiments and Prince eliminate Wraiths and second catapult.

Units in the center finally finish off Zombie Trolls. Windblast spells push Barrow Wights back into the forest so that only pedestrian Wights horde can possibly attack at the moment.

Drakon Riders and Storm Wind Cavalry both wheel towards the center to be prepared to assist the units on the hill if Wights decided to attack.

Undead - Turn 3

More Undead units are committed to the fight!

Elves hold the line!

Werewolves attacked lone mounted Prince but the valiant Elven Knight refuse to yield! Similarly, Sea Guard wavered but held the ground and Elven units could now prepare for counter attack.

On the opposite flank Storm Wind cavalry was routed by the Vampire horsemen but Elves had now three units against two to fight.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Exchange of blow continues!
Elder Undead Dragon is down!

Elves used another opportunity to a great effect. First, units in the center charged isolated Wights and routed them. Silver Breeze cavalry valiantly moved forward to protect Drakon Riders' exposed side.

On the right flank Palace Guard and the Prince all charged the Vampire Lord. Surrounded by elite Elven warriors, even the mighty Elder Undead Dragon was not able to hold on and was brought down!

Undead - Turn 4

Undead eliminate some units too.

Elves suffer some losses.

There was no other option for Undead depleted forces but to attack. And they did! Warewolves finally got rid of the annoying prince. Barrow Wights easily defeated Silver Breeze cavalry while mounted Vampires hunted down some Drakon Riders.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Elves reform and ...

... make some grievous mistakes!

For some reason Elven forces started making mistakes during redressing the ranks. First, they left their left flank completely exposed to Werewolves. Second, Drakon Riders recklessly landed very close to Barrow Wights and third, Chariots decided to attack the Pharaoh. The fight they could not possibly win.

Only Palace Guard noted some success as they did some damage to Soul Reaver cavalry.

Undead - Turn 5

Drakon Riders pay ultimate price for their folly.

Some Elven units surprisingly hold the line!

Undead units use the new opportunities to the fullest. Or so it seemed. Werewolves stormed exposed flank of the Elven cavalry but failed to even waver them! Pharoh also disappointed and only Barrow Wights, that were surged to hit the flank of Drakon Riders routed their enemies.

Soul Reaver Cavalry counter charged but failed to rout the stubborn Elven prince!

Outcasts - Turn 6

Elves rout Vampire Cavalry!

But the shooting does not bring Barrow Wights down.

The battle entered the last stage now and the result was still hanging in balance. Storm Wind cavalry ignored Werewolves completely in order to charge the Necromancer. They did not capture the wizard but at least he was occupied enough to stop casting spells.

Sea Guard, Mage and Windborne cavalry all focused their shooting at Barrow Wights but could not destroy them yet.

Fortunately for Elves, Palace Guard and Prince successfully counter attacked Soul Reaver Cavalry and destroyed the unit!

Undead - Turn 6

Sea Guard and Chariots perish.

Undead forces defeat Elves defending the hill.

Werewolves and Barrow Wights had to attack Elves on the hill and routed both of them. However, it also meant that they would not be able to attack Storm Wind cavalry. That single units invading Undead territory swung the balance into Elven favor.

Outcasts - Turn 7

Barrow Wights are finally defeated!
Elves increase the margin of the victory

With very few units remaining and in range for any action, only Mage and Windborne cavalry could attack. Both, once again, focused on Barrow Wights and this time managed to destroy the unit!

Undead - Turn 7

Last Charges

In the last charges, Werewolves and Pharoh claimed more victims but it was not enough to change the result of the battle. Both armies suffered heavy casualties but it was Elven force who sucessfully invaded enemy territory in the end.


Turn-by-turn animation summary


Many thanks to Chris for a great game! It was really good to play with real models again!

I am glad I managed to win in the end, especially despite the fact I made a few bad mistakes. I am aware that I was quite lucky so it is even more important to correct them in the future.

At the beginning things worked well when I could slow down left flank. Right flank and center were putting up a good fight, although I need to remember that double 1's vs Storm Wind regiment helped here a lot.

Turn 5 was, however, the moment where I almost lost the game. First, there was no need to attack the Pharaoh and I simply should have moved War Chariots to the other half of the table. Perhaps I would have suffered more damage later on and I cannot say if they would have survived. But I would have added to the units invading enemy territory.

At this stage Chris had 3 regiments but his cavalry was already tied in the fight. It means that there were only 2 units with combined unit strength of 4 to invade my territory. It would have been better for me to move Drakon Riders and Windborne cavalry to a good position on the other half of the battle field where they would be safe.

At the same time I could attack Barrow Wights with Chariots to stop them from entering my half. I needed only 1 point of damage to stop them from flying. That would have forced them to charge the chariots and it was not sure if they could overrun far enough. In fact, that would have also prevented them from flying to Drakons flank so I may have considered moving Drakon Riders to the same position anyway.

I should have also moved Sea Guard at a double forward and move Storm Wind regiment away from Werewolves. These evasive maneuvers would have allowed me to save many unit and have more of them invading enemy territory.

It was very important to keep the scenario objectives in mind and I didn't do it in turn 5. Luckily for me enough of them survived the attack.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Hi Pawel, Galharen here!
    Great report as always, I enjoyed it;) I've played my first 2 games of King of War (1000 points each) and it was so much fun! 45 min per game is awesome. I'm looking forward playing something soon and of course seeing new battle reports from You.

    1. Hi Galharen!

      Great to hear from you! I am glad to know you tried KoW and that you liked it. Indeed, the system is really time efficient. Even without chess clocks!

      Do you plan to switch to KoW or is it going to be in addition to other games you play?

      I would love to see what kind of great looking models you would create if you started multibasing!


    2. I'm sticking with 9th Age (eventually it's a really good and stable game) and KoW, so if I add anything new, it will be useable in both systems. Right now I'm brainstorming how to do some nice drake riders conversions;)

    3. You don't have to look far for an inspiration! :)

  2. Yeah, I saw yours, really good!