Saturday, 11 October 2014

Game 40 - Dark Elves - 2012/10/27

Greetings!

I have mentioned that already a few times that I had an opportunity to play a rematch against GuessRange and his DE. After massive beating I received last time I was more than eager to show that it is not going to be a regular outcome of our battles!

Pre-battle considerations and Army Lists


I knew already that I am against a very capable commander and an army that has quite a nice selection of tools that huts my army in particular. I was wondering, however, if GR is going to make any significant changes in order to test new toys. This is what he brought to the field of battle this time:

Dark Elves - Army List

High Sorceress Melith, Level 4, General, Darkstar Cloak, Crystal of Midnight - Dark Magic
Master Horkrim, BSB, Heavy Armour, Great Weapon
Assassin Kalil, Extra hand weapon, Repeater handbow, Rune of Khaine
Assassin Sharik, Extra hand weapon, Repeater handbow, Rune of Khaine

20 Corsairs, Full Command, Repeater handbow
20 Corsairs, Full Command, Repeater handbow
16 Repeater Crossbowmen, Musician
8 Dark Riders, Musician, Repeater Crossbows
5 Harpies

20 Black Guard, Full Command, Banner of Murder
5 Cold One Knights, Full Command, Standard of Discipline
8 Shades, Great Weapons

3 Reaper Bolt Throwers

The army didn't change dramatically but bad news for me was that there was even more shooting. Repeater handbows might be a short ranged weapon but still dangerous due to number of shots it can produce even without usual armor piercing. No ASF banner on Black Guard was good news but the units is still extremely dangerous if not weakened and I would get no re-rolls from majority of units due to their initiative 6 anyway. All in all I faced similar challenges as during the first game and I was curious to see if I learned from painful lessons I received last time.

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 used the army I played with against Skaven. I was convinced to try it out mainly due to the opportunity of adding eagle claw to the equation. Some long range firepower can be handy although it poses its own problems. I am used to moving without consideration for clear line of sight for shooters while here I might need to take that into account. A few other changes were also required to get the points for the war machine but in the end the army didn't lose any regiments (although some of them had much less equipment as usual).

Deployment
Deployment of armies after vanguard move by Dark Riders

I would like to highlight that a lot of details for this game are there thanks to GR and his notes as well as his report. I used them as reference since we experienced a massive amount of trouble with server connection and my usual method of copying the chat to be able to check particular thing didn't work this time. I will add saving of the chat to my regular procedure of doing so for snapshots and the game itself for future battles!

Numbers indicate deployment order. This time we played with magical forests (infinite height), the hills were of infinite height as usual. GR opted for normal scouts deployment but I am sure that if we played that game one day later he would use them with their advanced deployment option. He simply didn't want to lose +1 bonus to roll off for the first turn. He won the roll for the first unit to be deployed, by the way.

Sorceress joined Corsairs on the West while BSB led Black Guard. Archmage was with Swordmasters and BSB started the battle with LSG. The wizards got:

Sorceress - Power of Darkness, Chillwind, Doombolt, Bladewind, Black Horror
Archmage - Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Curse of Arrow Attraction, Fury of Khaine, Flames of the Phoenix

High Elves won the roll off and this time they moved first.

Outcasts - Turn 1

High Elves army advances
Every unit in High Elves army, with an obvious exception of eagle claw, advances. Western wing uses cover of the hill and building and units provide mutual support for each other. Due to not clear line of sight to the intended target eagle claw crew aimed at Black Guard instead of Cold One Knights. Archers too let loose at elite Druchii warriors. Only BSB could shoot at the knights and managed to kill one of them. The Archmage tried to aid his warriors but Fury of Khaine could not penetrate thick armor of enemy cavalry.

Dark Elves - Turn 1
Dark Elves unleash their magic

While the regiments on both flanks moved to positions the Sorceress revealed the Crystal of Midnight and its dark magic immediately affected the Archmage who lost precious Drain Magic spell. But it was just the beginning of the battle of wills and in order to stop some of the deadly spells he had to let others through. Doombolt and Black Horror claimed 6 brave lions who despite heavy casualties didn't stop their advance.

The units on the West were outnumbered but moved towards the enemy nonetheless. Dark Riders unleashed their deadly salvo at the Sea Guard. Repeaters battery opened at the Archers and one of the regiments was forced to withdraw.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Outcasts begin their attack

Using the advantage on the West High Elves begin their attack. Dragon Princes spur their steeds and charge Dark Riders who are not swift enough to avoid heavy cavalry and are destroyed. The rest of the cavalry quickly form the formation around victorious knights. Reckless Chracians, despite warnings from their companions charge alone against Shades occupying nearby buildings and vicious fight erupts on all levels. Eventually numbers prevail and all remaining lions are slain. Shades are, however, surrounded from all sides as sea guard defeat vile harpies and Swordmasters move in to avenge their companions. The Archmage summons his powers and with the aid of his magical Staff of Solidity manages to channel irresistible energy to fuel avenging Flames of the Phoenix. Many corsairs die in magic fire but the sorceress remains unscathed. The survivors flee to the safety of the woods. In the meantime BSB and eagle claw both aim at Cold One Knights and 2 more of them are fallen.

Dark Elves - Turn 2
Druchii strike back

Furious sorceress rallies her troops and immediately, even among flames, starts to weave her dark spells. All her fury is directed at a single target - Dragon Princes. She casts all spells that can potentially harm them and in the end only one of the proud knights is left alive (Edit: She cast 4 spells at them, I cannot tell now which one I let in and which I simply failed to dispel). But not for long, as salvo of repeater bolts finishes him shortly after. Only then she lets herself to drink deep in dark power and squashes the flames around her.

Druchii continue their barrage. Remaining repeaters together with Shades destroy one light cavalry and significantly weaken Western flank of High Elves.

Outcasts - Turn 3
High Elves keep pressing forward
The fast regiments on the West move to positions to charge. Cavalry positions itself on the flank of the enemy, while eagles swoop down to blocking positions and to be able to attack enemy artillery.

Swordmasters charge Shades and give them no chance to strike back. The building is reclaimed and High Elves now secure the West. White Lions march forward, out of sight of Black Guard and receive much needed protection in the form of Shield of Saphery. Flames of the Phoenix are cast again as sorceress is unable to dispel the powerful spell. More corsairs die but yet again she seems to be untouchable.

BSB aims at Cold One Knights again but this time their armor saves them. Eagle claw and archers start shooting at approaching corsairs who burn with hatred and do not care about casualties.

Dark Elves - Turn 3
Power of Dark Magic

Winds of magic blow strong again and sorceress loses no time to take advantage of that. Chillwind and Doombolt destroy the reavers completely. The Archmage fails to stop her from drawing from the pool of dark magic and he is unable to oppose her when she casts Black Horror that claims 3 dragon princes. However, she is spent completely after she unleashed such a powerful magical barrage and has absolutely no power to dissipate flames engulfing her and her regiment.

Repeaters and corsairs aim at the eagles on both proud birds of prey are struck down from the skies. High Elven attack on the flank is stopped. The only failure is the charge of reckless and overconfident Cold One Knights who charge Lions and are mercilessly cut down.

Outcasts - Turn 4
With cavalry dead High Elves resort to ranged attacks

Despite horrendous casualties High Elves are not without the means to hurt their enemies. All the shooters aim now at the corsairs approaching from the Eastern flank and more evil Druchii fall with their black hearts pierced by the pure white arrows. That still does not stop them.

Raging fire claims more corsairs protecting the sorceress and for the third time she does not even have a scratch or little burn on her skin.

White Lions attempt to attack the battery of the repeaters but they miscalculated the distance and were now in a very dangerous situation all in the open.

Dark Elves - Turn 4
Dark Elves destroy the last units attempting to threaten their artillery

Black Guard charges Lions who try to withdraw but cannot avoid merciless warriors and are all slain. Proud Dragon Princes too meet their end being so close to their target.

Corsairs on the East charge the Archers who perform tactical withdrawal in good order. Blinded by hatred corsairs continue to chase their enemy oblivious to the threat they are facing.

Although winds of magic blow strong again Dark Elf sorceress fails to cast her first spell and her powers dissipate.

Outcasts - Turn 5

High Elves continue to kill their enemies from the distance

Not wanting to risk another deadly salvo of enemy repeaters remaining High Elves units stay in cover. Only shooters move to better positions. On the East more corsairs lie dead and almost entire unit is destroyed.

In the battle of wills Archmage manages to break through with Fury of Khaine and finishes the unit protecting the sorceress. Only she and an assassin are alive but this time they too are wounded (Edit: GR revealed the assassin the previous turn).

Dark Elves - Turn 5
Corsairs last charge (apologies for "casualties" markers mistake on Black Guard)

Corsairs charge hated enemy with no regard to their own safety and are all slain by brave archers. However, the assassin uses that distraction and kills them all. His overconfidence leaves him in the open though.

Sorceress and another assassin join black guard but it seems she is spent completely as she is unable to cast any spell again. Repeaters aim at sea guard but fail to kill all the warriors.

Outcasts - Turn 6
Suicidal charge of the Sea Guard

Sea Guard, almost destroyed by enemy fire decide on the last gamble and charge into advancing enemy. They do not care of their own safety nor life, their only aim is to get the sorceress. They managed to wound her but she was still alive and brave warriors are hacked by the assassin.

The last thing to do was to cast magic and shoot at the enemy. Archers with practiced calm let lose at the dark figure in front of them and vile assassin was no more. The archmage cursed the deadly artillery and BSB found two perfect openings for his shots and destroyed one of the crew by the same means they kept killing his companions.

The last word, however, belonged to vile Druchii.

Dark Elves - Turn 6
Last spell proves to be fatal for Dark Elf sorceress

Black Guard do not risk charging Swordmasters in the building and Druchii once more resort to magic and shooting to deal damage to their enemies. But this time the sorceress, badly wounded and exhausted, overloads the power. Cataclysmic explosion claims her life and life of nine Black Guards.

Repeaters open at remaining warriors of the sea guard but fail to kill them all and proud standard was held high in defiance. it seemed that this time High Elves claimed victory. Narrow one but victory none the less.

After-battle thoughts

I was really surprised to snatch the victory in the last possible moment and more due to bad luck of my opponent than to some exceptional performance. But I am still happy to get it as it was very tough and great game. I want to thank GuessRange for his patience as we experienced so many connection problems and the game was extremely long that I would not be surprised if he called it half way through. I really appreciate that so thanks again!

There are many things that contributed to my eventual victory and I am aware that it could have gone either way easily. I have made mistakes again too so let's have a closer look at the things I believe were important for the outcome.

1. Deployment - I thought my single bolt thrower might be in danger so I placed it on the ground instead of on the hill. That was a mistake as it was never a target number 1 for GR. He had to deal with all the fast troops approaching his lines. As a consequence I had poor line of sight and could not focus on shooting Cold One Knights.

2. Shades - I made two mistakes here. First was to block the charge path for Swordmasters with Lions. Second was to forget they can have great weapons too and it was simply suicidal to charge them with only 4 lions. I expected that GR will occupy that building and I positioned Swordmasters in charge range of it. But then I was trying to make room for eagle claw and in the end blocked the path. If I did it right I could have charged with Swordmasters turn 2. It would save reavers too and would allow me to claim building one turn earlier. The would mean to be able to join the advance of the Western units and be able to charge corsairs or repeaters.

3. Western Corsairs - I think it was actually beneficial for DE to fail that panic test when they fled to the woods. They would be in the charge range of 2 of my cavalry units and I would have taken the chance to charge them even if I knew the assassin was there. I think I had a chance to win that combat and since BSB was far away and they were not in deep formation I could have good odds to break them.

Another mistake was with positioning the eagle in front of them. My first idea was to perform Kanadian's light cavalry blockade maneuver. I could race my reavers in front of the corsairs, form the line along their formation and prevent them from reforming. They would have to shoot at light horse while DP's would be ready to charge the flank. The eagle would be there to charge repeaters and some of the spells require line of sight too. I basically didn't press hard enough on that flank, despite the casualties I suffered.

Last but not least I probably should have charged 2 remaining DP's into that unit instead of moving around. Unless attracting attention of repeaters to save other units was a good thing to do.

4. Eastern units - I think GR helped me by racing his Eastern corsairs alone and keeping crossbowmen in the building too long. If he moved them earlier he could have shoot at my own shooters thus decreasing the number of casualties he suffered. In the end I managed to claim that unit and even shoot down the assassin due to low roll for overrun.

5. Sorceress - first 3 turns were simply devastating. The winds of magic were strong enough to let her cast all her spells and I had to choose 1-2 to dispel and letting other to go through. Even then it was not guaranteed I could do something to prevent casualties. GR then proceeded to roll high for number of hits. No wonder that with shooting he could destroy 2-3 units per turn. And I thought I managed to out deploy him and be able to bring enough units to attack his artillery :) Then she remained unharmed by 3 times flames of the phoenix too! I also failed to kill her in close combat although I hit her enough to get these 2 remaining wounds. In the end it was simple miscast that killed her and I feel very uneasy that I won by such bad luck on the part of my opponent.

I am glad to claim victory in the end but I still need to play more solid game, in particular to avoid all these little mistakes that add to big problem in the end.

Thanks for reading and if you liked the report, please, leave a comment or two!

Cheers!

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