Thursday, 14 May 2020

Game 144 - Undead - 2020/05/14

Greetings!

Welcome to the first battle report from the online tournament called Rage of Isolation! This even is organised by Michael, who was recently interviewed on Counter Charge podcast about building Kings of War scene in Sydney:


I participated in a similar even Michael organised last year just before the release of 3rd edition of Kings of War. It was a great experience and and I was really happy he decided to do something similar again. 

The games are played over Universal Battle 2 platform, with one week time to arrange your game with your opponent. There are four rounds planned and armies are at 2300 points. However, the composition restrictions are used for 1995 size armies. If you are interested, full player's pack can be found here:


We are currently into 3rd round although I have not played my 3rd game yet. If you want to check the current standing, please follow the link:


There are 18 players participating with quite a diverse armies and you can check the details of the army lists here:


Please note that players are not allowed to change the army lists and need to play all four games with the same force as during the usual event.

In the first round I was paired with Matthew. We have played against each other twice so far and the last time was during CanCon 2020 a few months ago. Matthew decided to bring Undead army this time and I must say when I saw his army list I knew I am about to face a very tough foe!

Undead - Army List

Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment (SR1), Infantry - 250
Soul Reaver Infantry Regiment (SR2), Infantry - 250

Wight Horde* (W1), Large Infantry - 260
Wight Horde* (W2), Large Infantry - 260

Zombie Regiment (Z1), Infantry - 70
Zombie Regiment (Z2), Infantry - 70
Zombie Regiment (Z3), Infantry - 70
Zombie Regiment (Z4), Infantry - 70
Zombie Regiment (Z5), Infantry - 70

Deathpack Regiment (D1), Swarm - 75
Deathpack Regiment (D2), Swarm - 75

Vampire Lord on Undead Dragon (VL1), Hero (Titan), Blade of Slashing, Lightning Bolt (4) - 335
Vampire Lord on Undead Dragon (VL2), Hero (Titan), Lightning Bolt (4) - 330
Revenant King (RK), Hero (Cavalry) Undead HorseSurge (5) - 115



I admit I really like this army! To me, it does have a great theme of powerful Vampires raising a lot of Zombies to act as "living" shield and smashing everything in front them. Vampire Lords, Soul Reavers and Wights are all hard hitting units, capable of routing enemies on a charge. A lot of units of Zombies can ensure the Vampires get into positions for an attack and serve as great objective holders. 

However, apart from Vampire Lords, the rest of the army is rather slow and does not have many ranged attacks either. I thus concluded that I should seek my chances in using my own shooting to either eliminate zombies (every unit less means less elements to control objectives) or try to soften up tougher units such as Wights and Soul Reavers.

With higher speed and better manoeuvrability, I should be able to pick the fights a bit better. And even Vampire Lords my not want to go into the fights alone, if they risk being flank charged in return.

After last game I made only few changes and my army list looks like this:


Outcasts - Army List



Stormwind Cavalry Regiment (S), Cavalry, Chalice of Wrath - 230
Palace Guard Regiment (PG1), Infantry - 160
Palace Guard Regiment (PG2), Infantry - 160
Tallspears Regiment (T1), Infantry - 140
Tallspears Regiment (T1), Infantry - 140

Drakon Rider Regiment* (DR1), Large Cavalry, Staying Stone - 170
Drakon Rider Regiment* (DR2), Large Cavalry - 165
Forest Shamblers Regiment* (FS1), Large Infantry - 120
Forest Shamblers Regiment* (FS2), Large Infantry - 120


Silverbreeze Cavalry Troop* (SB1), Cavalry - 130
Silverbreeze Cavalry Troop* (SB1), Cavalry - 130

Lord on Drakon (DL1), Hero (Large Cavalry) - 170
Lord on Drakon (DL2), Hero (Large Cavalry) - 170
Elven Archmage (M), Hero (Infantry), Inspiring Talisman, Lighting Bolt (5) - 115
Elven Archmage (M), Hero (Infantry), Lighting Bolt (5) - 95
Army Standard Bearer (AS), Hero (Infantry), Lute of Insatiable Darkness - 85

Heavy Cavalry got Chalice of Wrath to be able to keep on fighting and ignore these annoying wavering effects! Archmages kept their Lighting Bolts but the Army Standard has Bane Chant now to support the units in more than one way.


Terrain


Terrain Details


Deployment and Scenario


Elves vs Undead - Deployment of the Armies

In the first round of the tournament we were to play Salt the Earth scenario. I was glad I played this scenario recently in the game against Ed and his Sylvan Kin. At least I had a bit better understanding of what to expect!


When considering this scenario and thinking how to fight against Matt's army in it, I came to the conclusion that it may be difficult for me to fight for all the objectives. While Zombies are easy to damage, they are also -/15 in terms of Nerve value and I was concerned one can get stuck fighting them.

So I decided to place some of the tokens on the middle line, first to force wider spread of them Second, to allow my Shamblers to approach the objectives and burn them before the Undead would be able to reach those too. 

In this way, I hoped to even the chances to hold two on my side (whichever it could be) and then try and wrestle the middle token for the win.

Of course, if I could see that particular objective is not going to be contested or there is a chance to actually hold it, I would make an attempt to save it.

My plan was to wait first and try to inflict some damage with ranged attacks. I wanted to target Wights or Soul Reavers to have better chance to rout them during inevitable melee. But I also knew I would need to get rid of some Zombies as well. I expected the more valuable units to move behind the expendable regiments.

I deployed majority of the forces on the centre and left to protect tokens there and to be able to move towards the centre as well. The units on the right were to advance and burn the token and keep Vampire Lord busy so that he does not fly to my back yard.

Matt won the roll off and decided to take the first turn.


Deployment of the armies after Scout moves.


Undead - Turn 1


Undead forces shamble forward

Undead army shambled forward animated by the iron will of the powerful Vampire Lords. They tried to crack some lightnings as well but failed to do any damage just yet.


Outcasts - Turn 1


Elven shooting!

While majority of the Elven army kept their positions, Shamblers were sent in Vanguard to force enemy moves. The unit on the left stopped the Deathpack while the one on the right tempted the Vampire lord to attack them in the forest.

In the meantime, Silver Breeze cavalry and Archamges combined their efforts and destroyed one of the zombies mobs.


Undead - Turn 2


Undead continue their march.

Undead forces started to spread a bit to respond to Elven attacks on the flanks. Vampire Lord on the right did not care about the Shamblers, however, and preferred to cast some dark magic at Silver Breeze cavalry.

On the opposite flank, second of the Vampire Lords sent his Deathpack to intercept Drakon Lord but his pets failed him and no damage was done at all.


Outcasts - Turn 2


Action on the flanks

Elves continued their attacks on both flanks. On the left, Shamblers defeated undead swarm and now threatened the enemies in the forest.

The Elven shooters aimed at Wights this time but due to cover and better defence, the damage was obviously not that great.

Last but not least, the Drakon Lord valiantly attacked the Vampire to slow the advance of the evil enemy.


Undead - Turn 3


Wight attack!

Vampire Lords responded swiftly and with the help of Wights. On the left, Forest Shamblers were not able to hold their ground. Those on the right, however, did! Unfortunately for Elves, the Drakon Lord was no match for the Vampire and quickly perished.


Outcasts - Turn 3


Elves attempt to threaten the centre

Elves kept safe distance on the left and kept shooting at Wights but the results were negligible.

One of the Silver Breeze units attacked Zombies in the centre to allow Storm Wind to advance unopposed. They were quickly followed by the infantry.

On the right flank, Drakon Riders decided to risk the attack of the Zombies and to lure them away from the objective. Elves hoped to defeat the Zombies and move to snatch this treasure from the control of the Undead forces.


Undead - Turn 4



Undead reaction to Elven manoeuvres

The units on the left and centre reshuffled to face advancing Elven regiments but did not advance forward much. On the other hand, Zombies on the right flank managed to ground the Drakon Riders and with Wights winning combat behind them, it did not look good for Elves. What is more, Vampire Lord, now free to fly, started moving to the Elven back yard.


Outcasts - Turn 4


Elves attack on the left.

Elves decided to gamble and attacked. Drakon Riders and Silver Breeze attacked the Undead forces in the forest to keep them busy while Tallspears and Storm Wind scattered Zombies.

In the centre, Place Guard also fought some Zombies but nearby Tallspears had to turn to protect from the potential attack of the Vampire Lord on a Dragon.

Unfortunately, Drakon Riders were not able to defeat their enemies and were now stuck in a very bad spot.


Undead - Turn 5


Elves pay the price for their folly

As expected, more fragile Elven units had to pay the ultimate price. But what was even more dangerous was the fact that free to move Vampire Lord was slowly but surely approaching one of the temporarily abandoned treasure behind the Elven lines!


Outcasts - Turn 5


Elves attempt to secure some objectives.

Elven Drakon Lord attacked the Vampire to buy time for Palace Guard to withdraw towards one of the objectives. Storm Wind cavalry also did not engage with the enemy and moved to claim another token.

Elven wizards once again tried to destroy evil Wights with their magic but to no avail! And while Palce Guard kept the enemy busy in the centre of the battle field, Tallspears moved back to try and reach the remaining treasure before the Vampire Lord.


Undead - Turn 6


More Elven units perish.

With no support, Elven units stood little chance against Soul Reavers and both, Tallspears on the left and Palace Guard on the right, were eliminated.

Luckily for Elves, Storm Wind cavalry avoided deadly attack to the flank but only because the magic of the Revenant King proved to be a bit too weak.


Outcasts - Turn 6


Elves brace for impact.

There was very little Elves could do but to minimise the margin of defeat. They lost too many units and were not in a position to even contest at least one of the objectives either.


Undead - Turn 7


Storm Wind holds!

Undead forces controlled the majority of the battle field now but a few pockets of Elven resistance kept fighting on.

In particular, Storm Wind cavalry had to face the coordinated attack by Wights and Zombies. although suffered significant casualties, and initially wavered, Elven Knights kept on fighting!


Outcasts - Turn 7


Storm Wind prevails!

In the final act, Storm Wind cavalry managed to defeat Wights and collected the treasure. Unfortunately for Elves it was not enough to hold against Undead army and Elves had to concede a defeat!


Summary



Turn-by-turn animation summary


After-battle


Many thanks to Matt for a great game and congratulations on a well deserved victory! Matt was playing like a true Vampire Lord! Patiently moved his minions on the board to trap arrogant Elves and waited for the mistakes to be made and exploited! Really well done, Matt!

I truly enjoyed playing against Matt and his army. It was a tough challenge but I think I was not without a fighting chance and had some advantages to lean on. As it is often the case, however, what seems like a good idea during the game, is not so after the battle and when one can analyse the flow of the battle with cool head :)

Let's have a look at a few examples where I thought I have a good plan and what I would have done differently if I were to face the same situation again.

I don't think I would change much in how I placed the tokens and how I deployed so let's move to turn 1. First, I am not sure anymore I needed to burn the token on the right and if yes, did I need to do it so early. I could, in fact, try to trap Vampire Lord instead. I had 3 units vs 2. Matt quickly sent some help in the form of Wights which was a very good move. But if I positioned units better, I had a chance to keep the enemies busy there.

At the same time I am not sure if charging Deathpack on the left was necessary either. I initially wanted to burn the token there as well but I realised later that I may have a small advantage there. I was thus not surprised that Matt decided to burn this one. It looked like I could actually control this one at some stage. If I kept the Shamblers in place I would present Matt with a dilemma. To attack and stay in the open, with a potential flank counter attack? Or stay put but risk being intercepted by the Shamblers and not being able to control the objective at all?

In turn 1 I managed to eliminate one unit of Zombies but then I switched to shoot at Wraiths and spent several turns not doing much. I think I should have focused on Zombies if only to remove units that could interfere with my movement and contest objectives. In this way I would have more space to manoeuvre.

In turn 3 I decided not to attack the Vampire Lord on the right flank and that was a mistake. Not only I failed to stop him from moving around but allowed him to capture this crucial objective! I also moved too close to Zombies, I could have stayed where they cannot reach the Drakon Riders to keep them alive.

In the same turn, after I noticed that Soul Reavers moved to the left, I thought I could advance with heavy cavalry and simply wanted to block Zombies from attacking the knights. I think it was a mistake because I should have kept fast cavalry away from the fight. I could still face frontal Zombie attack and destroy them in the counter charge. While Soul Reavers had a good defensive position anyway.

Then I decided to sacrifice some units in turn 4 to be in good position to charge on the left but it was really bad idea. I really should have been more patient, keep the distance and keep shooting. I only lost valuable units. What is more, I did not even divert fast cavalry to counter the Dragon in my back yard and to keep that token under my own control.

As a result, I was not able to keep the units fighting in the centre, and was not able to get back to the token with Spears. I was very lucky that Surge did not work and Storm Wind managed to survive and control one of the objectives.

Despite these mistakes, it was a great game for me! Lessons were learned and I hoped to get better next round. This time I lost 5:16 (we are using Blackjack scoring system). Perhaps I will have a chance for a re-match at some stage, especially against this army as I would really like to try and defeat such a powerful force again!

I hope you enjoyed this battle report and thanks for reading!

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