Monday, 4 August 2014

Game 18 - Beastmen - 2012/03/17


I had a chance to play against Beastmen of Chaos based on horde of Gors and dreaded Minobus. My friend was also testing his army for a tournament where he is allowed to take 2600 points with this army.

Pre-battle considerations and army lists

Fortunately for me I saw this army in action against my arch-enemy Wardancer and his Daemons so I tried to prepare some counter-tactics. Let's have a look at details of the army then:

Beastmen of Chaos - Army List

Doombull, Axes of Khorgor, Armour of Destiny
Great Bray Shaman, Level 4, Talisman of Endurance, Stone of Spite - Lore of Beasts

Wargor BSB, Heavy Armor, Shield, Beast Banner, Gnarled Hide
Bray Shaman, Herdstone - Lore of Shadow
Bray Shaman, Dispel Scroll - Lore of Shadow
Gorebull, Shield, Pelt of the Shadowgrave, Ironcurse Icon

38 Gors, Full Command, Additional Hand Weapon
29 Ungors, Full Command
5 Ungor Raiders
Tuskor Chariot
Tuskor Chariot

7 Minotaurs, Champion, Musician, Great Weapons, Blackened Plate

Two big units and some support units. The role of Ungors is clear, babysit Shamen nearby Herdstone and provide constant additional power dice. Hore od Gors can actually hit powerfully. 3 ranks to hit, first with 2A each, at +1S due to Beast Banner and re-rolls to hit due to Primal Fury can be deadly. But the real threat is Minobus. This unit is extremely powerful in close combat and it can start stacking additional attacks quickly. So sacrificing units is not that good idea, especially that they overrun and pursue only D6 so it is harder to draw them into some kind of trap. Besides they tend to take it all and emerge victorious too. My plan then was to:

1. Get rid of Razorgors and Chariot asap
2. Separate Gors from Minotaurs
3. Shoot at Gors and finish then with combined charge
4. Use fast cavalry to divert Minobus but do not engage if not absolutely necessary
5. Use heavy cavalry and/or additional unit to deal with Ungors
6. If possible prepare last turn combo-charge on weakened Minotaurs (shooting/magic)

Outcasts - Army List

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

20 Spearelves, Musician, Standard
20 Spearelves, Musician, Standard
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician

10 White Lions, Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
10 White Lions, Musician
10 Swordmasters, Musician, Bladelord, Amulet of Light
10 Swordmasters, Musician, Bladelord, Talisman of Loec
5 Dragon Princes, Musician, Drakemaster, Foe Bane
5 Dragon Princes, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears

Great Eagle
Great Eagle

We rolled for spells and we got:

Great Shaman - Wildform, Flock of Doom, Curse, Transformation
Brey Shaman - Miasma
Brey Shaman - Miasma

HE BSB - Drain, Shield
Archmage - Drain, Shield, Courage, Flames, Vauls Unmaking

Deployment after Vanguard moves. Grey arrows indicate how light cavalry repositioned

The big rock to the left of Ungors with Brey Shamen is Herdstone. Beastmen won the roll off and theirs was 1st turn

Beastmen - Turn 1
Beastmen move forward with strong center while support units protect the flanks

Big units of Beastmen wasted no time and making a lot of noise surged forward. Ferocious beasts on their flanks, although eager to taste elven flesh, moved more cautiously. Winds of Magic were very weak and even with the power of a Herdstone Beastmen evil magic could not be cast.

Outcasts - Turn 1

High Elves move aggressively to regain initiative

Elven units on both flanks moved fast while the center moved back a little as the Beastmen covered the distance too quickly. In order to separate the solid battle line of the enemy on of the eagles landed in front of the Minotaurs to tempt their furious charge.

All bow armed regiments aimed at Eastern razorgor to clean the path for fast units. The best was wounded badly but not yet killed. Elven Archmage summoned a lot of power to cast flames and vauls on big horde but Great Shaman dispelled his attempt and one of his apprentice quickly burned a scroll to prevent further damage. Archmage, still content with testing magical defenses of the enemy, simply drained magic powers from the area of the battlefield.

Beastmen - Turn 2
Great Shaman takes more than he can handle

Minotaurs this time restrain themselves and let Chariot to deal with pesky bird. It is killed in an instant but Minotaurs do not move an inch forward. Wounded razorgor charges Reavers who feign flight and leave it vulnerable in the open. On the West Beastmen unit pull back while gor horde moves forward again.

Great Shaman prepares a vicious curse on the Dragon Princes in the center o elven battle line and he succeeds as he cast the spell with irresistible force. Resulting dimensional cascade kills 7 gors and wounds Wargor BSB but Shaman emerges without a scratch. However, he has no power to use anymore.

Outcasts - Turn 2
First charges

Dragon Princes show excellent horsemanship and despite Curse do not suffer any casualty in their charge against Chariot which flees. That puts it, however, on the path the victorious Ellyrian Reavers who after spearing down wounded Razorgor use momentum to catch Chariot too!

Another eagle lands in front of Gor horde to block it further while other units in the center march to charge positions. On the West White Lions run towards the targets they elected to hunt down. Unfortunately another light horse are still struggling with their mounts and cannot join the fight just yet.

Archers aim at the horde and kill 6 gors while Archmage focuses his efforts on that regiment too. His attempt to cast Unmaking is dispelled by great Shaman but it seems Elven wizard relaxed too early and he failed to cast Flames of the Phoenix on the same target (Edit: I cast 1,2,3 for that spell :) ). Gor Horde seems to melt quickly.

Beastmen - Turn 3
Beastmen attack!
Gor Horde attacks lone eagle but before it is destroyed it manages to kill unit champion. Nearby Minotaurs charge Dragon Princes who elect to withdrew behind the Spearelves. However, in this highly risky move the confusion spreads and one unit of Spearelves misjudges the situation and attempts to withdraw as well only to flee the battlefield as a result.

On the West Razorgor and Chariot charge single unit of Lions. Chracian hunters skillfully avoid charging beasts, destroy the chariot before it has a chance to inflict more damage and chase off razorgor. All of it at a cost of only a single casualty!

Great Shaman, furious at such a bad display of combat prowess of his minions curses Western heavy cavalry but again overdoses magical powers and once again causes dimensional cascade. Only half of the initial strength of his gor horde remains now, he is wounded and even mighty Doom Bull is harmed! Great Shaman is not able to cast more spells at the moment as the powers he summoned dissipate in an instant.

Outcasts - Turn 3

High Elves patiently prepare their trap

Victorious Lions charge fleeing Razrogor, catch it but are so enthusiastic in their hunt they do not reform to be able to emerge from the woods soon enough. Regiments in the center move forward not charging gor horde yet in order to prepare the trap they cannot escape from. Reavers block Minotaurs and divert them away from their smaller brethren.

Archmage this time changes his strategy and cast Flames first to tire Great Shaman in his effort to dispel the spell and then attacks with Vauls Unmaking destroying evil banner that added to strength of beastmen. Archers kill 4 more of them and reavers add one wound inflicted at Minotaurs.

Beastmen - Turn 4
Minotaurs begin their rampage

Minotaurs charge Reavers who hold and are utterly destroyed by the beasts but manage to wound their champion. Gors reform their much smaller unit to have better chances at survival. Great Shaman decides to curse Spearelves in front of him after killing two Swordmasters with Flock of Doom and ... miscasts for the third time! One could wonder who is really cursed here! Magical Feedback wounds his two apprentices near herdstone. With nothing more to do Gors brace for impact.

Outcasts - Turn 4
High Elves finally close their trap!

Spearelves do not risk any moves due to the curse and it is for elite regiments to spring the trap. White Lions charge harpies first who misunderstood their orders and fled leaving open the path for flank attack at Gors. Swordmasters charge from the front and second unit also tries to join the fight but cannot do it in time.

Before the combat starts the last magic duel between Great Shaman and Archmage begins. Elven wizard cannot get Vauls through but he casts Shield of Saphery on Swormdasters and then casts Drain magic with irresistible force. As a result he and BSB suffer a wound each. But in the resulting combat Swordmaster Baldelord with the aid of his talisman of Loec kills Wargor BSB while elven elites kill no less but 13 gors and suffer no wounds in return. The only casualty is Bladelord whose life is claimed by the trickster god. Great Shaman and remnants of the unit break and are caught in pursuit. However, Swordmasters are chasing their enemy too far away and hit the flank of Minotaurs.

Beastmen - Turn 5
It's all about combat prowess of Minotaurs now

With their Great Shaman gone it would seem Beastman are at disadvantage. However, Bray Shaman also cast his spell with irresistible force but he forgot his spell as a result. Swordmasters became as skilled as regular soldiers.  They still managed to inflict 4 wounds on Minotaurs but only 2 of them survived that round of combat but valiantly held.

Outcasts - Turn 5
High Elves try a counter charge - grievous mistake

Elven units had a difficult decision to make. They could leave Swordmasters to their fate alone or could try and charge into bloody combat too. Lions and Spears decided to fight. In a ferocious fight they inflicted more wounds on Minotaurs, killing two more (Edit: One had 2 wounds already and champion was wounded too)] and even wounding Doom Bull twice. However, Lions and Swordmasters were destroyed to an elf while Spearelves held due to being steadfast. Minotaurs were in such a blood lust now that nothing could stop them!

On South Dragon Princes killed some harpies but didn't pursue the lone survivor. Reaves sped there too to join the fight while Lions finally emerged from the woods.

Beastmen - Turn 6
Beastmen fight back!

Minotaurs killed plenty of Spearelves and 3 or 4 survivors managed barely to flee the beasts. Ungors decided offense is best defense and charged Lions. Shamen managed to slow their enemy with spells and Lions could not hit either bestmen spell casters or ungors enough to win the combat but this time they held. Unfortunately Dragon Princes were out of position to offer their help. Lone harpy still rallied!

Outcasts - Turn 6

Elves do not enter last combat satisfied with bloody marginal victory

BSB and his Swordmasters decided Minotaurs are too dangerous to attack alone. Dragon Princes were in bad position to lend their support either. Archers and Archmage tried to kill some of the big brutes. In the end only 2 of them plus Doom Bull and Gore Bull survived.

On South Dragon Princes and Reavers finished harpy and ungor riders but the last word belonged to Ungors who won combat again and White Lions didn't manage to hold despite their stubbornness and were promptly run down.

Still, High Elves emerged victorious although both armies were heavily bloodied in that battle.

After-battle thoughts

What a carnage! Minotaurs are incredibly dangerous and I almost made it in terms of avoiding them. However, one too eager pursuit almost cost me the game and brought them back to fight. In the end I won by around 300 point which considering circumstances I am very happy to get. 

Despite the fact I thought I seized the initiative in that game my carefully planned positioning was almost for nothing due to some mistakes I made. Hence, as I mentioned at the end of the report, I was very glad to win at all! Let's have a closer look at things I consider as done wrong and on some other remarks.

1. Deployment - one can never learn enough how to do it right :) The main problem was with Dragon Princes in the middle. They not only had limited space to move but also blocked other units. In general with so many regiments I think I should consider formation where units might form two lines but not exactly one behind another. Thanks to that I can flee but not cause panic tests. In this particular game DP would be way better on the Eastern flank where they could hunt down chariot and/or razorgor. And would have much more space to move. The enemy asked for double envelopment with his very compact build but I didn't use that opportunity.

2. BSB positioning - I have already mentioned that but placement of this character is absolutely crucial, even more so than general. Of course I would not have to rely on his presence if I deployed better with DP but then I was also away from WL who especially benefit from that Ld re-roll.

3. To pursuit or to restrain - Great Shaman was a danger to my army. I don't know exactly what could he do but only due to his constant miscasting I didn't witness his full capabilities. And it also meant I had easier life in terms of casting spells myself. Hence it was good to try and destroy him as soon as possible. If I restrained it was a great chance he would rally and try to cast some more spells. I think it was worthy risking instead of pursuing as his Minotaurs were still out of position to attack anybody and his Shaman would be at the mercy of my units with nowhere to hide. Even if he cast Transformation successfully (and I think I would allow it) I could dispel that in my turn before the combat. Not engaging Minotaurs so early would also give me an opportunity to shoot at them and further decrease their numbers.

4. Charging in with more units - I have never faced Minobus before so although in theory I thought I had a chance to do something in practice I should have avoided that combat too and move all the units away. I didn't lose all Swordmasters in his turn of combat but it didn't really matter as he could not move in his turn anyway. My other regiments, even if unable to avoid his line of sight, could at least increase the distance and flee from the Beasts if they charged. I was lucky that Spearelves survived the battle. I also could not direct enough attacks against his regular minotaurs thanks to both characters which prevented me from getting points for the unit at least. And this regiment is worth almost 500 points. Instead I gave him more than 300 points and earned nothing in return.

5. Hunting down Ungors and positioning of the cavalry - although I was a little unlucky with swift reforms for Lions (first when they caught fleeing razorgor and then when they tried to get out of the forest) the main problem was bad positioning of DP who could not see Ungors when the cavalry charge at the back would swing the result of the combat into my favor and I had a great chance at breaking the unit then. I really need to be more careful and even measure how far away the enemy can move.

6. Enemy magic - I think I was very lucky that my opponent rolled 4 miscast this game and that he didn't cast more spells. His ability to get almost twice as many dice as I had to dispel is very powerful. In the future I need to consider some more active mage hunting :)


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