Friday 10 October 2014

Game 39 - Skaven - 2012/10/21


The first game I played over the weekend was against wardancer/eastern barbarian and his vile Skaven. However, unlike some time ago, a few of usual suspects were missing. Wardancer decided to build an army with special characters but more importantly, the one that could score a little higher than usual in the more and more famous Swedish Comp system.

Pre-battle considerations and Army lists

Skaven are one of these armies where you can have multitude of choices and still come up with a dangerous army. It was hard to anticipate what this one might have but wardancer showed his first draft early enough for me to start thinking about counters to his force. In the end he made some changes to the list he intended to use in the first place but the main idea remained the same. Here are the details:
Skaven - Army List

Queek the Headtaker
Warlord on bonebreaker, poison, halberd, pistol, Potion of Strength

Warlock level 2, condenser, Ironcurse icon - Lore of Ruin
Warlock level 1, Dispel scroll - Lore of Ruin
BSB , shield, Storm banner

30 Stormvermin (queek bodyguard), FC, shields, ratling gun, Banner of discipline
2 x 5 giant rats with packmaster
40 slaves, musician
41  slaves,musician

7 Rat ogres, 2 packmasters, master bred rat ogre, Skweel Gnawtooth
2 x 6 Gutterrunners, slings, poison

2 x Plagueclaw catapult
Warplightning cannon

What attracts the attention is of course queek and his bodyguard of super stormvermin. Queek is a monster in close combat and I needed some indirect ways of bringing him down or accept the fact he is going to inflict significant casualties. In the war of attrition his stormvermin can be deadly too so the way to deal with them is to take the advice from Skaven themselves and do not get into fair fight (if something like that even exists :)).

Another important addition to the army is Skweel and big unit of Rat Ogres. Special abilities granted by Skweel can be very handy and my bet was that wardancer would love to get regeneration. Big number of Rat Ogres also meant that they would be another tough regiment to bring down and whatever would hit them from the front would die horribly. Of course they are frenzied so that was an option to use against them too.

I was curious about warlord on bonebreaker. Something I have never seen in Skaven armies and dangerous character on his own or even more so if with the unit of Rat Ogres.

Magic seems to be less of a problem but still something to watch out for. Especially that it was just another form of shooting and Skaven army had more than a handful of units participating in that phase of the game. One might question addition of shooting elements with Storm Banner but wardancer claims it gives him nice options depending on the enemy he is facing.

Outcasts - Army List

Archmage, Staff of Solidity - High Magic
BSB, Heavy Armor, Shield, Great Weapon, Dragon Helm, Reaver Bow

10 Archers, Musician
10 Archers, Musician
15 LSG, Shields, Full Command
15 LSG, Shields, Full Command

10 Swordmasters, Bladelord, Amulet of Light
10 Swordmasters, Musician, Bladelord, Talisman of Loec
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
, Spears
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Spears

Great Eagle
Great Eagle
Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower

I decided to give a try to new army list so I was curious if I would miss bows on reavers and how would eagle claw perform. With gutter runners able to appear everywhere it would be very hard to hid it so I had to decide if I wanted to defend it or position it far away from main force so that it takes away a unit from the main fight and does not cause panic tests.

Lack of annulian crystal might not be that bad against level 1 + level 2 so I was looking forward to magic phase too. As always ability to isolate Skaven units and attack them with overwhelming force would be helpful. I intended to send heavy cavalry against doom wheel as their speed would give them a chance to hit it fast and hard. Reavers would perform war machines hunting duty and eagles would be held back to swoop down when needed provided some storm would not ground them. I also planned to use LSG aggressively but against Slaves. I thought that with more attacks and re-rolls to hit as well as with lack of armor for the enemy spear armed elves would have a very good chance to grind them down while blocking their advance and ability to reinforce other regiments providing rank bonus. Two units of Swordmasters can deal a lot of damage to Skaven and a timely flank attack of White Lions could break Rat Ogres too.


Armies after vanguard moves

We used one of the maps for upcoming Fluffyhammer tournament prepared by SmithF. The hills were of infinite height, ruins in the center were dangerous terrain and provided hard cover. The tree line on the South formed a fence and provided light cover. Other than that nothing special. :)

I must apologize but due to some server breaks I didn't ave the whole chat and I can't recall the deployment order. I believe I went with archers and eagles, followed by elite infantry and ended up with cavalry deployment but I am not sure about it. Maybe wardancer will help me out with it :)

Gutter runners were obviously hiding. Level 1 was leading slaves while Queek, BSB and level 2 were all among Stormvermin. Skweel and Warlord begun the battle herding Rat Ogres. Skweel also provided Regeneration for Rat Ogres that made them very tough unit indeed.

Archmage joined Swordmasters in the house while BSB was with the other regiment of warriors of Hoeth.

The spells for each wizards were as follows:

Level 1 - Warpligthning
Level 2 - Warpligthning, Death Frenzy

Archmage - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Courage of Aenarion, Fury of Khaine, Flames of the Phoenix

Skaven won the roll off for the first turn and with evil laughter they marched towards human-elves  

Skaven - Turn 1
Skaven advance in one big formation

Queek ordered his troops to march towards the enemy. All infantry units marched as one. Only warlord detached himself from Rat Ogres to guard the flank in case light cavalry tried to sneak pass them. On the other flank mad engineer pulled and pushed many different accessories he proudly called as control panel and his infernal machine started to roll forward slowly gaining speed.

Artillery opened fire at distant line of the elves and claimed first blood as some archers and lions died in warpstone explosions.

Outcasts - Turn 1
High Elves advance when magical storm started to form above fighting armies

Spotting a chance to break through a weak link of the skaven formation one of the reavers squadron charges giant rats who flee as ordered. Swift ellyrians change the direction of their attack and without slowing down they raced pass frenzied rat ogres and sneaky warlord and hit another pack of giant rats and their pack master hard. Cowardly rat, thinking he was left there alone fled and pursuing reavers hit the unsuspecting plague catapult. Warlord ordered his new pet after them but the imbecile completely misunderstood the order and thought he needs to carry his master to the safety and run in the opposite direction. It even managed to trip over some bushes and only savage banging on his head with a pistol butt attracted its attention for long enough to give the warlord time to issue another order.

With the storm building up great eagles were literally grounded and archers could not aim as accurately as usual. The crew of eagle claw aimed at the doom wheel but their deadly single bolt missed the target due to suspiciously strong wind.

Skaven - Turn 2
Queek orders his army to slow down

As quickly as the storm started it also disappeared without a trace. Using the opportunity gutter runners jumped out of their hidden positions and killed eagle claw crew with their poisonous sling shots.

The army slowed down to let the artillery do more damage but this time its performance was less spectacular as one crew was busy dying in the combat against ellyrian reavers while nearby plague adepts were suspiciously interested in checking the robustness of the bottom of the catapult that required all of them to crawl underneath their machine. Only the cannon and mad engineer did well and 3 brave elven knights were fallen.

Outcasts - Turn 2
High Elves increase the pressure on the enemy formation

High Elves decided that it is better to contain the enemy in favorable combats before they can bring their numbers to the advantage and many units attacked. On the West both regiments of heavy cavalry charged but unfortunately they didn't coordinate their actions well enough and only the smaller one hit the infernal machine. The engineer didn't panic however.

In the center sea guard units charged slaves to stop them from joining stormvermin in upcoming clash but only one unit actually clashed with the enemy. Casualties on both sides were significant when vicious fight erupted. Second slave pack was blocked by the archers.

Eagles, now free to soar again, blocked Stormvermin as Ellyrians still kept close proximity to rat ogres baiting the brutes to attack and abandon the formation. Swordmasters and Lions moved to positions for main push.

With almost no shooting the only ranged attacks were performed by the archmage whose magic missile fell a few stormvermin. On the East another Reaver regiment chased ratling gun crew desperate to avoid swift horseman.

Skaven - Turn 3
Skaven are stopped in their advance

Queek ordered his units to push harder. His warlock managed to cast Death Frenzy on nearby slaves who went amok and elves were taking serious casualties even when killing many rats in the process. Archers managed to hold a massive push of another slave unit. Queek killed annoying eagle himself but could do nothing to advance further without exposing flanks of his regiment.

Shooting was even more insignificant since one catapult was gone, the crew of the other was still hiding beneath theirs and cannon missed. Only doomwheel managed to free itself of the knights and pivoted to face another unit.

It seemed however that Skaven advance was stopped and that they were about to be hit. Hard.

Outcasts - Turn 3
All out elven attack

High Elves, seeing the opportunity to inflict crippling damage to the enemy army attacked with even more ferocity. On the East dragon princes charged the doomwheel, wounded it and even forced mad engineer to flee but could not yet catch it. On the West revers and eagle finished giant rats while another light cavalry used the opening in the enemy formation to position themselves at the flank of the artillery group.

Sea guard helped the archers to stop slaves but they still refused to give ground. Swordmasters attacked the enemy general and his formation. In combat of elite units elves gave no chance to stormvermin and many of them were cut down. Warlock engineer was among them. Queek challenged one of the bladelords to single combat and to his surprise he was wounded. Brave elf died soon after struck by the evil magic of Queek's armor. Despite that the casualties of rat men were horrendous but under stern gaze of Queek no rat even though about running away. What is more, frenzied slaves killed all the elves opposing them and were ready to join their general.

In the meantime White Lions did their best to protect the flank of Swordmasters. One unit positioned themselves in front of the hulking Rat Ogres, knowing very well it was their last stand. Second regiment charged lone warlord but only managed to wound him once. They kept fighting even after half of the unit was killed in return.

Skaven - Turn 4
Skaven counter-attack

Skaven had now only one chance to prevail. One unit of slaves was doomed but they slowed down enemy attack and they served their purpose. On the West doomwheel was under engineer's control again. Before he managed to unleash his deadly lightnings at the knights chasing him his comrades from skavenblight technical university used their creation and proud elven cavalry evaporated in one big and suspiciously green blast.

On the East lions tried for the last time to kill vicious warlord but although wounded badly the beast was still alive and deadly enough to kill remaining warriors even before gutter runners managed to strike from behind.

In the main combat yet another bladelord perished in a challenge killed by Queek himself. Swordmasters killed almost all stormvermin in return but new wave of frenzied rats claimed the archmage despite the best efforts of his warriors to protect him. Seeing that their unit is almost gone and that slaves could occupy the enemy long enough remaining few stormvermin dropped their standards and carried their master to safety.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Elves claim the center

Elven BSB, seeing that Queek is less of a danger for now aims at another wounded but still dangerous warlord. But it was thanks to archers in the nearby house who managed to deal the last wound to deadly beast.

Frenzied slaves were finally put down by Swordmasters and flanking sea guard while eagle and reavers destroyed the cannon. Another light cavalry unit was still fighting with the crew of plague catapult.

Skaven - Turn 5
Last attack of Skaven

Queek was still carried away from the battlefield and he cursed loudly and promised thirteen deaths to his too loyal bodyguards unless they stopped and let him kill more elves.

Seeing that the center of the army collapsed Skweel leads his rat ogres in an attack against arrogant archers who dared to kill the warlord. They stood no chance when mutated rats broke through walls.

In the meantime doomwheel struggled to get out of the forest while gutter runners closed to unleash their deadly salvos.

Outcasts - Turn 5
Mopping up

Elves had no intention at attacking Rat Ogres who in return were not that kin to attack elves having something to plunder in the house.

In that situation elves returned to the ranged warfare and combined efforts of bsb and sea guard saw all the gutter runners threatening them killed. Another group of clan Eshin adepts were too careless and came too close to swift elven light cavalry and was also quickly terminated.

Skaven - Turn 6
Queek is not returning

Mad engineer saw Queek running away from the battle. Then a thought occurred to him. If he could paralyze the warlord and then "rescue" him while he is unconscious and take him to safety he would definitely be thanked for that act of bravery. What is more he could claim that it was him who defeated majority of the enemy forces and even consider that as victory. Yes,yes, that is a very good master-plan. Careful aim through warp-lenses, calibration of the power so that only stormvermin are killed and a little modification to the circuit and ... blast! ... but? ... curses! How was that possible that Queek was still running? Even faster now! And being even more angry. Skaven engineer made a quick yet precise calculation that he has exactly 13 seconds to come up with plausible explanation of that "accident of friendly fire".

Outcasts - Turn 6
Elves redress their formation and make last attempt to destroy doomwheel

Elves were bloodied but it seemed their enemy suffered even more. All the shooters aimed at the doomwheel but didn't manage to destroy it completely. Great eagle swooped down to make sure Queek was gone for good. Outcasts claimed a narrow victory.

After-battle thoughts

That was indeed bloody battle and I claimed victory by less than 400 margin. I am still glad as it was not easy to get it. In general I am also glad with how the plan worked. I decided to go for the head of the enemy army as Swordmasters can kill stormvermin at fast enough ratio. Queek was of course the problem. I had a chance to kill him with Bladelord who had talisman of loec but I didn't roll well and I inflicted only a single wound.

There were a few more situations when a little better rolls would give me local victories:

1. Doomwheel survived the charge of 2 dragon princes and I failed charge roll with another unit. Then I broke it but failed to catch it. In the end I lost both heavy cavalry units and doomwheel survived.

2. White Lions had a good chance to kill warlord but could not and I am glad I managed to kill him in the end anyway but it is of course a pity I lost another regiment.

3. Failed charge of LSG (I think I needed something like 5+ to get the charge) and I had to sacrifice archers to stop them.

On the other hand I made 2 mistakes which cost me the archmage as a result.

1. We resolved combats in a "wrong" order. It is of course my mistake but I should have done combat against Queek first. If I broke him (I didn't but I had a good chance) then slaves would not be able to use his inspiring presence, what would destroy them and could overrun into another unit to block it from charging Swordmasters.

2. Or leave the eagle in place and block slaves from joining the combat while keeping the archmage out of base contact in case I didn't break queek (as I didn't) instead of helping reavers.

I also know there were few things that helped me.

1. Wardancer made a mistake by leaving the path to artillery opened or I would rather say that he left his giant rats in a position that enabled that. If he only angled them so that I could not overrun into catapult it would have been much better.

2. Storm banner stopping early - sure, it would have stopped his own artillery too but I do need the eagles to fly :)

3. Plague catapult panicking and shooting wide - that big blast template is really scary and even with S2 it does have a potential of killing enough troops.

4. Bad position of ratling gun - wardancer noticed that after it was too late. He shot at reavers in front of rat ogres instead of positioning it so that it could aim at any unit getting behind the first line. He was looking at wrong direction and was too close to even stand and shoot when reavers attacked him.

As always feedback is much appreciated!

Thanks for reading!

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