Monday, 18 August 2014

Game 23 - Vampire Counts - 2012/05/18


I finally had a chance to test my army against new VC led by Gatti-jwg20. I faced a different army than he used against Brewmaster_D or Findolfin as it was his tournament list and he was limited to the available models borrowed from his friend. But it was still true to his idea of a very fast undead host and it might have been even more dangerous than his previous army. At least that he told me after the game :)

Army Lists and pre-battle considerations

As I have already mentioned I saw Gatti's army in action and as you can see below it is quite similar force in the whole concept and definitely plays in a similar way with just different tools here and there. Let's check the army list first (I will need to check if I remember the details right and will correct them as soon as I found out if there are any mistakes):

Vampire Counts - Army List

Vampire Lord, Hellsteed, Heavy Armour, Shield, Level 4, Nightshroud, Sword of Might, Dawnstone (?), Red Fury, Quick Blood - The Lore of the Vampires
Vampire, BSB, Hellsteed, Heavy Armour, Shield, Level 1,  Quick Blood, Rod of Flaming Death, Dragon Helm - The Lore of the Vampires
Necromancer, Level 2, Ruby Ring of Ruin, Dispel Scroll, Master of the Dead - The Lore of the Vampires

42 Skeletons, Full Command
25 Ghouls
20 Zombies, Musician
2 x 5 Direwolves

3 x 2 Fell Bats
12 Black Knights, Full Command, Screaming Banner

5 Blood Knights, Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame

"Only" two Vampires :), a little more variety in core section and Vargulf instead of Vargheists. The army is still fast, with potent magic nicely augmented by two bound spells. My Archmage was going to have tought challenge to stop it. The army is also a very interesting and efficient combination of small sacrificial units which are also very fast and can be crucial in blocking any counter charges or attack paths and powerful characters and hard hitting units. Both units of Knights are not only delivery systems for the characters but can be very dangerous on their own, especially when they charge. Both characters are hard to stop or divert as they fly and nothing really can stop them from charging their chosen target if only that target is in their front arc. Vargulf is a great and versatile unit on its own and with regeneration it can proove to be hard beast to put down.

Outcasts - Army List

Archmage, Annulian Crystal, Bow of Seafarer - High Magic
BSB, Great Weapon, Heavy Armour, Shield, Reaver Bow, Dragonhelm

10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician
10 Archers, Light Armour, Musician
15 LSG, Musician, Standard
15 LSG, Musician, Standard

10 Swordmasters, Musician
10 Swordmasters, Musician
10 White Lions, Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
10 White Lions, Musician, Standard, Gleaming Pennant
5 Dragon Princes
5 Dragon Princes
5 Ellyrian Reavers
, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician

Great Eagle
Great Eagle

I present this army just for a reminder as I haven't changed it since the last game against Daemons. I wanted to try out magic bows one more time. With such a fast army to face I think I was at disadvantage. It would be very difficult for me to create a situation for favourable combination of charges as support units of the enemy will always be in the way and despite having some good amount of bow fire I might not have enough time to clear them all out. Good thing is that I have enough regiments on my own to destroy them in close combat too so I was looking at the oportunity to do so with my cavalry.

I had to take into account the fact that heavy hitters would be upon me in no time. That is why I decided to spread the army so that every unit attacked by the Vampire does not give it opportunity to overrun into another one if attacked individually. Easier said than done :) Fortunately for me each of his regiment I could face with my own in close combat if they had no characters in them. So I wanted to use that opportunity and as soon as Vampires are busy I wanted to charge in against his regiments and see who can get quicker at this exchange. With more units I still had a chance to do so.

Last but not least I wanted to use my own magic, Vaul's Unmaking in particular. And the main target was Nightshroud which is a terribly efficient item. So my plan was to throw as many dice as posible and risk cascade even if it was necessary to get rid of it. Without it my units had a chance to wound Vampire in close combat and if I were lucky, maybe even kill it for good.


Deployment after vanguard moves

Ellyrian Reavers didn't move so that if HE started the battle they would be able to declare charges against Dire Wolves and break through behind enemy lines. However, VC won the roll off and they started. Respective wizards got following spells:

Vampire Lord - Invocation of Nehek, Vanhel's Danse Macabre, Hellish Vigor, Curse of Years
Vampire - Invocation of Nehek
Necormancer - Invocation of Nehek, Gaze of Nagash

Archmage - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Curse of Arrow Attraction, Flames of the Phoenix, Vaul's Unmaking

Vampire Counts - Turn 1
Vampire Lord commands his minions to speed forward

Vampire Lord and his knightly bodyguards move towards thin elven line at full speed and his iron will orders all the nearby regiments to do likewise, even if foot soldiers have some problems with catching up. Vargulf and Fell Bats move towards the center to reinforce their master and use the huge rocks as a protection against any elven attacks.

On the East, another Vampire and his grim companions moves forward but at slower pace, not wanting to be in charge range of ferocious White Lions just yet. Despite combined efforts of both Vampires and Necromancer they cannot harness winds of magic properly and elven Archmage dispells their attempt to cast their evil spells.

Outcasts - Turn 1
High Elves prepare for enemy attack

High Elves didn't have much time to prepare for inevitable charges so regiments on the West readjusted their positions, characters moved out of the units so they could counter attack and valiant reavers raced in front of Black Knights to stop them for a while at least. On the East White Lion moved boldly forward while cavalry took position for supporting charges. Winds of magic were still weak so Archmage used all his power to attempt to destroy potent magic items in Vampire possession but his slave Necromancer quickly burned his scroll to save his master.

Vampire Counts - Turn 2
Vampires attack!

Vampire Lord orders an attack and charges Lothern Seaguard himself. Bats charge swordmasters to make room for Vargulf who charges reavers. Light cavalry withdrew. In the ferocious combat bats are cut to pieces but somehow Vampire Lord manages to kill only a single elf and the will to reanimate his dead body weakened.

What is more the efforts to cast spells were all in vein as elven Archmage skillfully dispelled all attempts. Only ruby ring hidden by Necromancer was activated and 4 reavers were engulfed in deadly flames.

Rest of the army consolidated in the center, while Blood Dragon Knights pulled back at the order of Vampire BSB who landed in between elven regiments looking for a prey.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Elven counter-attack!

Elven elite regiments counter charge on both flanks. On the East Dragon Princes charge dire wolves and their impetus attack carries them far almost reaching Fell Bats. White Lions attempted a long charge against Blood Knights but they misjudged the distance and had to call off the attack.

On the West another White Lion regiment charged Bats obstructing the path and Swordmasters wasted no time to help the Sea Guard who valiantly held against Vampire Lord. Seeing this the Archmage summoned his powers to assist and shimmering shield protected warriors of Hoeth. Such was the power of the spell that evil wizards could only stare. The Archmage, however, fought hard to control his mind despite the feedback and managed to cast yet another spell. Vampire Lord failed to dispel it and his Nightshroud turned to dust. Furious, he hacked left and right and five more elven warriors lied dead. Swordmasters pressed hard and managed to wound him in return. As it turned out this attack was barely enough to break magical bond and undead general was finally put down.

His army started to crumble but Necromancer quickly took the control over it and not much of the damage was done. He was pleased as he knew his master might come back.

Elven archers and another regiment of seaguard aimed at ghouls and many of the savage cannibals were dead too. It seemed like Elves gained an advantage but undead force was still very dangerous.

Vampire Counts - Turn 3
Minions of Vampire Lord enact vengeance on behalf of their lord (Edit: on this diagram I forgot to change the color of the arrow for Ghouls who charged lone reaver)

Vargulf was looking for a prey and it spotted weakened archmage between elven regiments and charged him. The elf drew his bow and wounded the beast but his unholy regeneration abilities healed it in a second and soon hapless mage was torn apart. Elven BSB shouted to nearby regiments to hold the line and with the huge effort warriors steeled their nerves.

Not all of them were so resolute, however, and lone reaver and nearby seaguard withdrew from the battle entirely. On the Western flank vampire destroyed second unit of horse archers and in his fury didn't stop until the last of them was dead, although they wound him before they all die. Blood Knights threatened Dragon Princes who also withdrew and even managed to break through zombies and skeletons but when they thought they are safe some fell bats got them and proud knights were dragged down and destroyed by undead. Blood Knights redirected

Outcasts - Turn 3
High Elves keep attacking

Despite heavy losses High Elves are determined to fight and charge again. On the East remaining Lions finish off Blood Knights who finally found worthy opponents. Swordmasters run through Ghouls as if they were not there and hit Zombies behind them. Another White Lion regiment makes a very long charge against Black Knights and such is the power of the attack that entire unit crumbles to dust! Dragon Princes charge Vargulf but again the beast regenerates almost all wounds inflicted.

Vampire Counts - Turn 4
Necromancer and his bodyguards are being surrounded

With majority of the army disintegrated it is up to the Necromancer and his magical abilities to turn the tide. He manages to destroy more than half of the regiment of Lions but somehow his attempt to rise more zombies and keep Swordmasters busy fails. Warriors of Hoeth do not wait for better opportunity and brainless undead are utterly destroyed too. Vargulf drags yet another knight down but his companions keep fighting.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Swordmasters keep attacking!

Both units of Swordmastes charge Skeletons but only one reaches them in time and destroys plenty fo them. But undead do not perish yet.

Elven Archers spotted Vampire BSB and aim carefully. Many arrows hit the target and despite fine armour some of them find weak spots and wounded Vampire is also brought down. Only Vargulf remains now on the battlefield from all the mighty Vampires. And he fights ferociously killing remaining knights and looking for another prey.

Vampire Counts - Turn 5

Necromancer tried hard to summon more skeletons

Vargulf charges elven BSB who withdrew to pull it out in the open so the archers can hopefully put it down before it does more damage. Necromancer summons more skeletons and Swordmasters seemed to be worried about it and destroyed only one undead. Their ranks also melted but they held knowing help is on the way.

Outcasts - Turn 5
Swordmasters finish off Skeletons and Necromancer for good

This time Swordmasters co-ordinate their attacks and even eagles swoop down to help. Necromancer can do nothing to prevent that and he and his undead bodyguards are destroyed for good. Archers manage to put only one wound on Vargulf and depleted Lions are getting ready to hold it.
Vampire Counts - Turn 6
Vargulf destroys Lions!

Charge of Vargulf is so powerful that White Lions can only wound it once before the beast kills them all and finally reaches elven BSB. However, experienced elven captain plants sacred banner securely in the ground, puts down his bow and with single master strike kills the wounded monster before it finishes its jump.

Undead army was utterly destroyed!

After-battle thoughts

That was very hard battle despite the final result and I must admit I was very lucky in this one. I have also made mistakes I should not make and I am glad I didn't pay for them in a more drastic way.

1. I didn't position my Swordmasters well to support Lothern Seaguard and only thanks to the charge of bats I was able to reform them and counter charge the Vampire Lord. As a defense I say that I expected him and his Knights to charge reavers instead. But it just shows I need to anticipate what my enemy can do better.

2. Positioning of characters in that game was bad. Partially because I was looking for a good spot to use bows but it was crowded anyway and I always had penalties for target obstruction. Because of my mistakes Vargulf could kill my Archmage, leaving my army without magical defense. It also meant that killing the Vampire Lord was balanced out and it did feel like exchange of queens in chess. Only I lost mine due to silly mistake. The same with BSB, I was lucky he managed to put last wound on Vargulf as I would lose him otherwise. I didn't check the angle at which he was facing after he rallied and that meant that Swordmasters were not able to see the monster to help out.

3. I think I will get rid of the bow on Archmage. His BS 4 is too low and as I need to keep him safe at the same time and then look for good spot to shoot it means there are two contradictory goals. To shoot I need him in the open, to keep him safe I need to hid him.

Other than that I am happy with the outcome and I made up for some of mistakes in other places. Lions destroying both knightly units were great, as well as Swordmasters going through enemy infantry as if they were not there. I am sure there is a lot of things I could have done better and need to look at them for the future as Gatti has already stated he wants a re-match. I will also wait for him to comment on the battle from his point of view before I add some of mine about his army and the way he played.

Thanks for reading!

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