Thursday 11 September 2014

Game 31 - High Elves - 2012/06/27


The last game of the Wintercon was to be another civil war or "magical tactical simulation" :) as I faced Steve and his High Elves. We used Battle line scenario rules for this one.

Army List and per-battle considerations

I think I am getting used to fighting against HE. :) It is actually quite interesting because all the games I had so far (5 of them in total to be precise) were against different army lists. There were some similarities but also distinct differences which in general made particular army unique on its own. Steve had an army which had some very unusual choices (I picked pink color for Steve's army after his set of dice he bought especially for this event!):

High Elves - Army List

Prince, Great Weapon, Shield, Bow of Seafarer, Armor of Stars, Talisman of Protection
Archmage, Level 4, Guardian Phoenix, Vortex Shard - Lore of Shadow
BSB, Great Weapon, Armor of Caledor, Dawnstone
Mage, Level 2, Talisman of Endurance, Silver Wand, Ironcurse Icon - Lore of Metal

24 Lothern Sea Guard, Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame
20 Lothern Sea Guard, Full Command

3 x 7 Swordmasters
14 Phoenix Guard
,  Full Command, Banner of Swiftness, Skeinsliver

2 x Great Eagle

Steve's army had definitely advantage in the magic and shooting phases. Since I didn't have many heavy armored units I was not that afraid of bolt throwers and metal magic but it didn't mean I could relax. Just the contrary, I needed to use my own asset of speed to get to the war machines as soon as possible as their longer range and multiple shots could eliminate my small units quickly. The sea guard could make it even more difficult but I wanted to use the fact one of the regiments had flaming attacks and send my dragon princes there so at least their arrows would be wasted.

I wanted to counter small units of Swordmasters with my own shooting if possible and send in 2 regiments of my own against them, preferably my own warriors of Hoeth and sea guard as I have learned that in HE "pillow fight" number of attacks is the key factor.


On thing can be said for sure - Elves are going to win!
Deployment after vanguard moves

Knowing I have slim chances to start first I deployed in such way that no targets would be available for enemy sea guard and tried to position eagles so that repeaters would have obscured line of sight to them (or at least both would not be able to shoot at a single bird). In terms of movement I wanted to be more aggressive on the East with heavy cavalry as a spearhead of an attack while hold with Western flank and inflict as much damage as possible with shooting. The only exception were Reavers who would run towards repeaters but in coordination with an attack from the East.

As predicted Steve won roll off for the first turn and our wizards got following spells:

Shadow Archmage - Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Withering, Pit of Shades
Metal Mage - Searing Doom, Enchanted Blades, Glittering Robe

Archmage - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Courage of Aenarion, Fury of Khaine, Vaul's Unmaking
High Elves - Turn 1
Offense is the best defense! (or is it the coffee they really crave? :))

But shooting helps too

Pink Elves moved forward at full speed with Sea Guard and both wizards quickly taking control over the tower. Pink Mage cast a protective spell and all nearby troops had glittering skin in an instant. With such quick manoeuvrings only bolt throwers and Prince fired at their adversaries. The Prince hit the eagle with easy but somehow it only wounded it while three reavers didn't manage to avoid incoming volley of deadly bolts.

Outcasts - Turn 1
Blue elves are swift too ...
... and respond in kind

According to the plan fast units on the East move quickly, with two remaining Reavers taking cover behind some trees. Infantry on that flank does not join the fight yet, luring the enemy forward a little bit more and shooting at but with their skin hard as armor they could not do much.

On the West another unit of Reavers intercepts great eagle and uses the momentum to move towards their main target - repeaters - a little bit closer. Archers and Sea Guard aim at second eagle and hunt it down too. Their own bird of pray flies behind their lines for protection.

Archibald the Archmage was about to show his adversary how the real magic is done but then some vortex appeared above the tower and to his surprise Archibald found out that he does not feel and magical currents he could use anymore. Bob the Battle Standard Bearer didn't notice, was busy showing Swordmasters his new arrows and claiming maidens from Ellyrion provided the finest hair to use in making of the best bowstrings.

High Elves - Turn 2
The advance gets slower ...
... but firing increases

Pink Swordmasters on the East react to the outflanking by separating their directions of advance, one unit was heading towards the blue infantry while the other tried to block heavy cavalry.

With so many different targets available the Prince ordered his troops to fire at will and each regiment took aim at different enemy. Sea guard protecting bolt throwers shot down one reaver, the Prince and one repeater killed three enemy knights, sea guard in the tower aimed at Swordmasters and second bolt thrower fired at the blue archers. All regiments suffered some casualties but none panicked and pressed forward.

Pink mage once again cast protective spell for nearby regiments.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Blue cavalry breaks through
Blue elves charge first

Dragon Princes level their lances and charge Swordmasters in front of them giving them no chance, destroying entire unit and losing only single knight in the process. The path to bolt throwers was open. In the meantime ellyrian reavers run towards the enemy artillery too and both eagles landed in positions where they could join the attack.

Infantry regiments on the West attacked as well. White Lions stormed the tower and inflicted significant casualties but had to pull back as the defenders didn't abandon their positions. Swordmasters and Sea Guard charged their enemy together but their foe was harder to destroy than they anticipated and sea guard had to withdraw to re-group as they sustained quite significant casualties. However, only 2 enemy warriors remained and their fate seemed to be sealed.

Bob the Battle Standard Bearer gave an example how to shoot but archers and sea guard didn't follow quite as good and single survivor from among the enemy Swordmasters remained.

High Elves - Turn 3
Pink bolt throwers tried the last volley to destroy their enemies
Phoenix Guard long charge

The situation became dangerous for pink elves and they did what they could to avoid the worst. The Prince killed last knight from one of the blue units and repeaters tried to finish the other one but failed. Sea Guard reformed and shot at lonely reaver who was not swift enough to outpace the arrows. Finally, sea guard from the tower shot at the second unit of reavers but didn't kill them all and all blue units were not impressed anyway.

As predicted blue Swordmasters used their greater numbers to win against their counterparts. While Phonix Guard must have lost their strength during the long charge as they didn't really hit their enemy and what is more their ward saves didn't work much either. They lost the combat but didn't run just yet.

Bob the Battle Standard Bearer hoped that nobody messed with magical random number generators as he didn't fancy arguing again after the simulation that the situation was perfectly valid and that stranger things happen in real battle. But then, he also new how hard it is to convince all these theoreticians who believe only in what their computational crystals show them.

Outcasts - Turn 3
Bolt throwers are destroyed
Full scale assault by blue elves
Blue elves doubled their efforts sensing it is time to tip the scales into their favor. Reavers and Eagle charged one of the bolt throwers and although the eagle was killed the crew could not fight against two foe at the same time and light cavalry prevailed. Dragon Princes made a short work of their target too and nearby sea guard failed their panic test but didn't run far away.

White Lions stormed the tower again and again they were pushed back but the number of defenders melted significantly once more.

Finally, Archibald the Archmage led the his sea guard in a flanking attack against phoenix guard. He tried to be civilized as there was a lot of violence done already and engaged phoenix guard captain in the conversation about the feasibility of some ancient spells on the modern battle field but it seems that he didn't understand as he didn't even reply. He actually decided it is good time for jogging and started to run.

Archibald wanted to ask him another question but Bob the Battle Standard Bearer interrupted and told him to carry another banner as he could not carry two along with his bow and great weapon. Archibald was deeply offended, his annulian crystal was heavy enough and by the time they solved the problem by handing the banner to sea guard sergeant, lone Phoenix Guard was already ahead of them and they could not catch him.

High Elves - Turn 4

Pink Elves were clearly at disadvantage now. Sea Guard rallied. Their companions in the tower prepared for another assault and attempts at casting spells were dispelled. Lone Phonix Guard kept running from his foes. Only the Prince had a good chance to hurt the enemy as they exposed their flank to him but simply missed.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Outcasts consolidate and regroup

Bob the Battle Standard Bearer didn't trust pink Prince and asked Archibald the Archmage to perform standard magical scanning for the hidden magical trinkets his adversary might carry. Archibald, however, decided it is his turn to have fun and promptly cast a magic missile at the enemy commander who ... disappeared only to be found on the other side of the tower. "Just great!", thought Bob as even with his skills he cannot shoot at the target which is hiding behind the corner of the building.

Other shooters were also confused and instead of aiming at last phoenix guard shot at new target but they missed.

White Lions stormed the tower for the third time and for the third time they could not force the defenders to abandon it, even if there were only a few of them left.

Bob the Battle Standard Bearer was about to give some new orders but suddenly the battlefield was gone. Apparently somebody "accidentally" kicked the "restart" crystal and whole simulation was stopped. He hoped somebody at least saved it so they could analyze the maneuvers later.

After-battle thoughts

Well, the hole tournament was full of games which were stopped too early and this one was no exception. I really wish I had one more turn to wrap it up and that upon hearing "5 minutes" I didn't suffer some brain fart which simply resulted in wrong decisions in the last turn.

First, I should have tried to cast vauls unmaking at the Prince. It could have been dispelled but at least there was a chance to destroy that armor. Instead the Prince jumped to the right direction and I was completely out of place with my shooters.

Second, I should have not charged last PG and simply shoot him down. Because I did that and then foolishly aimed at the Prince I had only 1 unit left to do so and I of course missed.  300+ points not taken

Third, 6 lions are not as good at assaulting as 6 Swordmasters who had a chance to finish off sea guard in the tower.

Despite all that I am glad with the win and I simply need to stay calmer no matter what. I had this problem before and it seems I haven't dealt with it yet so I will have to work on the end game to get myself the points which are there to take. What is more, if I did the right thing I could still have a chance to get the Prince too, despite the fact we finished at turn 4.

Having said all that I need to admit that Steve helped me a little in that game too. He was better with defensive approach with his longer range of shooting. Spreading his army is never good idea against the force like mine. I would also focus his shooting at one target until it is eliminated but it seems he got confused at what to shoot at. To add insult to injury some of his crucial rolls were way below average, in particular in that phoenix guard vs. swordmasters fight. Which brings me to the mistake I made, i.e. make sure that unlikely charge (Steve needed 10+ for this one) is impossible charge. I might have lost that combat and my bsb too. I was definitely lucky here.

It was a nice game and I would like to thank Steve for that, I hope his dice will be better for him in his future games!

Well, that is the last game of the tournament, I hope you enjoyed all 8 reports. I am going to write the summary of the event soon.

Tournament Summary


From the point of view of organization the event was simply flawless and I would like to say "Thank you!" to organizers who prepared it. Yes, it was a small one but they put a lot of effort to make it happen in the first place (especially that it was clear that not many people are going to show up) and made sure it was run without unnecessary delays. I think they didn't really have many issues to solve which also a great thing as players showed fantastic approach to the game and even if they didn't last as long as they could everybody did their best anyway.

It is possible that 8 battles over 3 days is quite intense. But I really like it as it gives you even more opportunities to play different people and armies. I really liked modified scenarios as they added new dimension to the game but were not the only factor that contributed to the final result. Although extra 15 minutes might be good idea as often players spend some time checking the rules of the particular scenario just to make sure they get it right.

I think that using the rules for magical terrain also adds some flavor to the game but some of the effects might need modifications too (some people lost entire units in marshes so I guess it was too huge of an impact for their games). It also might be a good idea to state in the players pack what kind of terrain people might expect on the tables.

I had a great pleasure to play 8 games against very nice opponents. We managed to solve rules issues (as some always appear in games) quickly and in general not many of them caused some discussions. Everybody was very friendly and once again I would like to thank all of them for great time. The more players like you guys, the better!

MSU High Elves

I think playing with MSU army in the meantime, between two tournaments I attended, really helped me to improve. There is still a lot to learn, especially against armies I haven't play against so far, but I was very happy with my games and general outcome. I still make mistakes but I made less of them for sure. I don't know if it is related but my Archmage didn't blow up himself as often as he used to and he usually did so in games I lost. :)

I would love to hear your opinion on the army as it is at the moment and what did you like (or didn't!) about its performance during the tournament.

What I learned during the tournament is:

1. I still need to think about the end game, no matter when it really happens, turn 3 or 6, to collect the points I can. I was happy to win majority of the games I played, which is a great improvement in comparison to the previous tournament, but in some of them I could earn more points if I were more careful.

2. In some cases Deployment needs to be better. I need to come up with some options that are similar to the generic one but with little changes that give me better chances against particular opponents.

3. Still need more patience :) As it has been mentioned before, the game lasts 6 turns (or it should :)) and if I can spend one more turn to position troops better and also save them for longer, I definitely should do that.

4. Need to keep painting new units so that when I replace older models the army looks more uniform. I played against some great armies with very nice painting scheme and that inspires me to paint even better so that my opponent enjoys playing against similarly good looking force :)

I am sure my army will evolve further but I think the general idea and composition can work. As always I was to be blamed for poor performance when I made mistakes which didn't stem from the army list itself.


Ok, my final results then. I earned 93/160 points from battles (which is miles ahead from what I got last time), 40/40 for sportsmanship (all players got perfect score here) and 36/40 for composition. In the overall standing it meant that I came home with this little fella:

I guess I have no choice but to optimize my army so that includes a dragon :)

Thanks for reading!


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