Friday 27 June 2014

Game 4 - Skaven - (2011/12/24)


I was really looking forward to playing this game. Simple battle line but dreaded and filthy Skaven as my opponent.

Army Lists and Pre-battle considerations

Skaven are considered as a very tough opponent for many armies and no wonder why. Many infernal machines, abominations, powerful magic and cheap, expendable troops make this army very flexible and with potential to inflict a lot of damage in a single turn. They also have the ability to field different types of units so one can expect some variations in the army lists but it is hard to tell which unit choice is worse for Skaven enemies as whatever they bring is bad anyway :)

Skaven - Army List

Grey Seer, Screaming Bell - Plague Lore
Cheiftain, BSB
Engineer, Warp Energy Condenser, Level 1 - Lore of Ruin
Engineer, Doomrocket

40 Clanrats, Full Command
40 Slaves, Musician
40 Slaves, Musician
22 Slaves
5 Giant Rats, Packmaster
5 Giant Rats, Packmaster
30 Stormvermin, Full Command

6 Gutter Runners, Poison, Slings
6 Gutter Runners, Poison, Slings
3 Jezzails with champion

Warplightning Cannon
Warplightning Cannon
Hellpit Abomination 

It looks like a standard Skaven list. There was Storm Banner somewhere but I don't know if it was BSB or Stormvermin who had it. I will also update it with magic items as soon as I find out what exactly Skaven characters were equipped with.

I naturally was concerned with Skaven shooting and I hoped my light cavalry will perform their war machines hunting duty well, especially that during the upcoming storm eagles will be literally grounded. Gutter runners are also an issue but I can deploy wide so they do not appear at my back and if I am lucky and I could hunt them down with heave cavalry. I'd better do it quick too, as they can really hurt my small units.

I decided to deal with magic by casting drain magic no matter what. I think I can get one through each magic phase and that should make casting spells for Skaven a little bit more difficult.

Doom Wheel and Abomination are very dangerous so they are also an important issue to deal with. In general the army has so many of things to address that it is hard to make priorities as they all seem to be the ones that need to be destroyed fast. :)
Outcasts - Army List 

Archmage, Level 4, Annulian Crystal - High Magic
BSB, Dragon Armour, Shield, Great Weapon, Radiant Gem of Hoeth - High Magic

20 Spearelves, Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
20 Spearelves, Musician, Standard
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician

10 White Lions, Musician
10 White Lions, Musician
9 Swordmasters, Musician
9 Swordmasters, Musician
9 Swordmasters, Musician
5 Dragon Princes, Musician
5 Dragon Princes, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears

Great Eagle
Great Eagle

My army is the same as last time so I present it just for the sake of completeness. I was considering different options and decided to go for a form of weighted flank approach after seeing the terrain and since my opponent won roll off for sides and opted to deploy North.


Armies ready for battle

Grey Seer got Bless, Wither, Cloud and Plague as his spells and had 2 tokens hidden in his robes. Warlock had Lightning. One unit of Gutter Runners was ambushing.

Archmage got Drain, Shield, Curse, Courage and Flames of the Phoenix while BSB had Drain and Shield.

As Skaven won the roll-off again they chose to move first.

Skaven - Turn 1

Steady Skaven advance

Skaven moved forward, keeping their tight formation. Warlock engineer operating Doom Wheel did some target practice on nearby slaves. Cannon and Jezzails aimed carefully and 2 Dragon Princes and Great Eagle perished. The other cannon aimed at White Lions with suspiciously bright banner but killed only one. Gutter Runners shot at archers and two of young elves died too. Grey Seer didn't have opportunity to cast many spells just yet so simply observed the situation from the safety of his Bell platform.

Outcasts - Turn 1
Elven units perform encirclement of their enemy on the Western flank

Ellyrian Reavers spurred their steed and galloped towards unprotected cannon with heavy cavalry following closely. All elite units on the Western flank moved forward as quickly as possible to envelope the flank of Skaven formation. Especially Lions with their magic banner focused their eyes on the huge monstrosity moving towards the elven lines. Archers aimed at gutter runners but some strange storm appeared as from nowhere and their arrows could not find their marks. The unnatural weather probably shied elven steeds of Dragon Princes on the East and they could not force them to charge approaching Doom Wheel.

Skaven - Turn 2
Skaven Abomination is getting dangerously close

Galloping Reavers spotted some shadowy figures emerging from some hidden places and two of the horsemen fell to poisonous missiles. The remaining three, however, were kept going towards the cannon. Its crew desperately tried to aim at approaching elves but missed. The other cannon was affected by the storm and seems that skaven magic starts working against their own as much as against elves. Abomination and Doom Wheel rush towards the enemy but are not yet able to reach it. Skaven magic once again proves to be ineffective.

Outcasts - Turn 2
High Elves - first to fight!

Both cavalry units on the West attack their targets and both kill them on the charge. On the Eastern Flank Dragon Princes charge Doom Wheel. They inflict a single wound each other and skaven engineer feels very brave this day and keeps fighting. Units on the Western flank perform even more dynamic maneuver and as the storm vanishes as quickly as it appeared great eagle sores to the sky and lands in front of the abomination to attract its attention. Thanks to that other elven units can prepare a counter attack.

On the East Archers decide to destroy giant rats in close combat rather than waste their precious arrows while nearby Spearelves reform into deep formation.

Skaven - Turn 3

Skaven move more aggressively too

Abomination devours hapless eagle and follows into grim but determined White Lions. Their brethren from the second regiment are attacked by deadly plague, surely working of a vicious Grey Seer, but remain on the post of duty. Other regiments move forward, especially Grey Seers unit. Infernal inventions of Skaven engineers are unleashed but while doomrocket kills half of the unit of Spearelves then Warplightning cannon malfunctions and disappears in a detonation. Last but not least, warlock engineer happily twists and turns his devilish machine and noble caledor knights fell down.

Outcasts - Turn 3
To hunt or to be hunted?

Chracian hunters attack with ferociousness of the Lion they took their name from. But it is not just a monster they hunt today and despite their skill the abominations still lives. One of the unit is destroyed to the last elf but the remaining regiment stands its ground. Units on both flanks charge all slave units in order to prevent outflanking. Many slave rats die but they all keep fighting under stern gaze of grey seer. Elven Archmage manages to summon enough power to engulf Stromvermin in flames and skaven elite starts to burn.

Skaven - Turn 4
Skaven are winning on the Eastern flank but their Western wing collapsed

Doom Wheel charges fighting Archers from the flank and destroys them completely. Nearby Spearelves are overwhelmed by slaves and flee to be run down in pursuit. Grey Seer orders his unit to attack interfering Archers in front of them but two who remain after the charge show insane courage and refuse to yield! White Lions finally kill the Abomination while Swordmasters on the West kill plenty of slaves again but not without loses too.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Elven attack continues

Swordmasters and White Lions charge Stormvermin from two sides. Swordmasters with BSB also try to join the fight in case White Lions are too tired after fight against Abomination but Chracians do not show any sign of it and simply shout to give them space to swing their axes. Spearelves with Archmage move towards the hill instead of charging the exposed flank of clanrat unit, a decision that can soon cost them lives and the army whole battle. Dragon Princes charge gutter runners who flee and elven knights smoothly redirect their attack at the slaves. Winds of magic are so low that grey seer cannot summon enough power to even attempt to dispel flames that burn even harder and many more Stormvermin die. Archmage ends the spell to cast it again on the big clanrat unit but his efforts are also not successful.

Stromvermin, who just survived flaming inferno found themselves attacked by elven elites and they didn't even stand a chance to hit back, such was a ferocity of elven attack. Nearby engineer decided it is good time to flee and report incompetency of grey seer to lords of decay.
Skaven - Turn 5
Will Spearelves hold and win the day for High Elves?

Grey Seer, seeing the opportunity orders his clanrats to attack Spearelves on the hill. To his surprise elven warriors fought like heroes and despite huge pressure from clanrat ranks they held. He was even more surprised to notice that the elven spears are actually much longer than he expected and his last thought was that he must have been cheated and that his army, machines and magic items he payed for with so many warpstone tokens, were not what he thought they are. He didn't figured out who was the traitor, however, as 3 long spears skewered him to his precious bell.

On the West slaves were finally destroyed but elven light horse could not dodge bullets shot by jezzails and fine ellyrian horsemen died bravely, killed from afar by cowardly ratmen.

Outcasts - Turn 5
Swordmasters hit the flank of clanrat unit

Elven elites had a few options and it was quickly decided that relatively fresh Swordmasters should hit clanrats with full strength while White Lions buy them time to finish ratmen by charging nearby doom wheel. It was a carnage but although half of the ratment died the rest were fanatically protecting the bell. Elven BSB accepted a challenge from skaven chieftain who had some hidden weapons and killed noble elf.

As the winds of magic were low Archmage cast only Shield of Spahery on White Lions, who won combat but could not break the Doom Wheel.

Skaven - Turn 6
Skaven slaves try to fight through elven elites to "safety"

One Skave slave unit is ordered by chieftain to attack Swordmasters and protect the rear of his unit. That was his last order as he and his clanrats soon die to merciless warriors of Hoeth. Their comrades kill many slaves who keep fighting a little longer. White Lions strike hard but cannot land proper blows on Doom Wheel which grinds them down slowly.

Outcasts - Turn 6
High Elves win but it is a very bloody victory

Swordmasters finish Slaves and Dragon Princes charge the last unit of pathetic skaven who flee and die this time. Elves put some last effort to destroy the bell but the construction is very hard and wounded rat ogre is the last remaining guardian of this infernal device. Battered but still not destroyed doom wheel kills the last brave Lions but it is clear that High Elves won the day, although the price was high too.

After-battle thoughts

I did make mistakes. First one was to deploy White Lions too far away on the Western flank. They barely made it to combat with Abomination and although I had some units which could perform their duty as well I really wanted flaming attacks to make sure it is not going to come back. And it almost broke through as in the combat with Lions I lost greatly and only thanks to bsb re-roll I kept fighting. Something I need to take into account to have a unit at the back to not let the abom go away if I am unlucky.

Charging with small spears, after heavy blow from doomrocket, against slaves was a mistake too. I should have simply march forward and park in front of them. So I can hold them one more turn. It didn't matter much in the game but it could have. I though I can grind them down with just 10 spears but I quickly learned that I migth not kill enough to overcome their rank bonus. Since the plan was to hold that flank as long as possible, there was no rush here. I just wish archers broke through the small unit but again, 18" from the bell and LD of grey seer helped them to keep fighting.

But the main mistake was in turn 4 that
would have cost me the battle. Killing Grey Seer was not a plan really and I was desperately trying to find out what to do. It was extremely lucky. It was even more so with break test, I needed 5 and I got it from re-roll.

I was trying to understand why I didn't see that charge coming in the first place and I think I was simply happy that my 2 archers held on Insane Courage and stopped thinking about second round. If they broke as they should big unit would face my regiments already but then I would throw my elites at it and aim at Grey Seer with high S attacks of Swordmasters.

I was also a little bit paranoid about WL not getting into combat against Stormvermin and fighting them with single Swordmaster unit. My regiment would win that combat initially but I am not sure how many elves would stay after returning attacks. Maybe it would not be that bad, as Lions killed an engineer and 3 (?) rats while Swordmasters managed to finish the chieftain and majority of a unit. I even sent third unit into that combat but since there was not enough space I could not do it. It seems like an overkill but I had these situations before when I needed 4+ on charge roll and I got double 1 or 3. I guess sometimes you are your own enemy, especially when you need to keep your head cool

Alternative charges in Turn 4

You didn't see much magic on Skaven part due to simple reason. Drain Magic+Channeling+Crystal. I made sure I got at least one Drain Magic up. Then his level 1 could not meet the casting value on 2 dice and I didn't have to dispel D6+2 S5 lightning which is very dangerous against small troops. It also created a slight advantage in power - dispel dice pools we had. So whenever he tried to cast could I dispelled it and he had not much to cast after that. Only once I let the Plague to go as I decided that Cloud is more dangerous. And fortunately it didn't spread. In my magic phase I was sometimes more successful, being able to cast flames on Stormvermin. Then we forgot about it and he used his own power dice. While in my turn he had only single dice (I had 2, I rolled double 1 for winds of magic) and poor stormvermin had to burn again as with a single dice he cannot meet 11+ to dispel flames! I also managed to get Shield off as again, with 2 attempts to cast it at least 1 was successful. That helped Lions to keep Doom Wheel busy that one turn longer. That is why I am very happy with High Magic as I would not be able to achieve similar result with other lore.

Before the battle I was also wondering how to deal with the Bell and I don't know why I decided it has a combined profile and while Grey Seer stays on top of it the whole model has T6 and 6W :D It was also the reason I left it alone. If I remembered correctly that you can attack Grey Seer directly and he is only T4 and 3W with 4+ ward it might be good idea to send some suicidal regiment of Swordmasters and kill the guy. It is definitely an option I need to consider as I cannot always be so lucky with winds of magic and and drain magic. It also immediately affacts troops as they don't have that high LD anymore. 

I hope you enjoyed the report! 

Thanks for reading!

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