Thursday 13 November 2014

Game 57 - Dark Elves - 2013/02/20

Game 6 - Dark Elves - Blood and Glory

Game 6 had a modified rulebook scenario. If one of the army was broken the game continued as normal but the opponent would get 350VP bonus. I really like that change as it can give you that something extra to win the game but it was not win all - lose all situation. One might of course debate if 350VP was enough bonus to try to break the enemy instead of playing it as typical battle line.

In that game I had a pleasure to meet Lachie and his beautifully painted Khainite Dark Elves. They all had great snow bases, with very chilly dark blue painting scheme. By chance we also had a high elf tower on our table so that it added further to the theme of the civil war.

Lachie's army was also unique in terms of composition. As I have mentioned it was an army dedicated to Khaine but also sported 3 huge regiments backed up by fast support units. In such force cauldron was of course a must!

Dark Elves - Army List

Supreme Sorceress - Lore of Metal
Witch Hag BSB, Rune of Khaine, Manbane, Standard of Hag Graef

30 Crossbowmen, Shields, Full Command
10 Corsairs
5 Dark Riders
, Crossbows
5 Dark Riders, Crossbows
5 Harpies
5 Harpies

40 Witch Elves
, Full Command, Banner of Murder
40 Executioners, Full Command

Cauldron of Blood

I apologize for lack of details on all magic items, unfortunately I don't remember what sorceress had.  :oops:

I must admit I have never played against an army like this one. Two huge blocks of infantry, stubborn thanks to cauldron (provided they stayed close enough) and with amazing killing potential. Huge unit of crossbowmen should be able to decimate any of my small units in a single salvo. On top of that the best fast cavalry in the game (at least in my opinion) and annoying harpies. Not to mention the fact that Cauldron can even further enhance very good abilities of the executioners or witch elves. Especially witches were extremely dangerous as they all had so many attacks, had the banner that canceled out my ASF advantage and a handful of these crazy ladies can still ruin any of my units one-on-one.

I decided a careful approach is required. First of all I wanted to use a small advantage I had with longer range and dispersed shooting potential. It meant that I could use my shooters more efficient and my priority was to eliminate dark riders and harpies asap. My heavy cavalry could deal with these troops too if the was an opportunity.

A key to victory was in ability to separate these blocks. I was confident I could clash with any DE regiment with an exception of witch elves and even if I were to lose some of mine in the process I had more to come and eventually an exchange should be in my favor. Simply because those big units are worth tons of points.

The opportunity to exploit was the fact witch elves are frenzied. So I wanted to use some of my units to sacrifice and force overrun away from the rest of the army. That should give me time and space to surround the enemy, provided I could at the same time deal with fast enemy elements quickly.

But by no means I thought it is going to be easy or in fact even work. If you wonder how I came up with the plan like that so quickly the answer is - I didn't! When me and my friend were walking around and checking the armies the day before, we both noticed Lachie's army and talked about it. So by chance I had a little extra time to design a plan to fight against the enemy I was about to meet soon!


Civil War is about to start again
Deployment of armies after vanguard moves

As you can see the battle field this time was rich with terrain features. Some swamps on both sides of the river (which turned out to be a normal one), some dangerous terrain, some ruins and some hills for good measure. It was hard to say which side is more favorable but when I won the roll-off to pick side I chose the one without swamps. I knew I need some more room to maneuver and my cavalry does not like them at all.

Lachlan deployed with weighted flank which is always a good idea against my army. It looks like fast elements were about to fight for dominance on the Western bank while majority of both armies were about to meet on the East. I waited with Reavers to be deployed as last as I didn't want them to confront Dark Riders (a suicide if you ask me) but they would be far better on the East, annoying witch elves as much as possible. I also deployed further back to be out of range of crossbowmen.

The wizards had following spells:

Supreme Sorceress - Power of Darkness, Searing Doom, Glittering Robe, Transmutation of Lead, Final Transmutation

Archmage - Drain Magic, Curse of Arrow Attraction, Courage of Aenarion, Flames of the Phoenix, Vaul's Unmaking
Dark Elves won the roll-off and had first turn.

Dark Elves - Turn 1
Dark Elves advance
Steady approach of Druchii force

Dark Elves moved as one. Even bloodthirsty witch elves maintained formation, basking in the Khaine blessing. Some barbed bolts flew towards the hated Asur but despite the huge number of them shot only two archers fell. Still, first blood to Dark Elves (although some unlucky executioners were swallowed by treacherous swamp too). To protect themselves from the High Elven archery, Corsairs were shrouded with magical glittering robes.

Outcasts - Turn 1
High Elves remain steady
And counter with powerful magical blow
Dragon Princes charged harpies who fled to safety. On the East Reavers begun harassing the with elves with the aid of the great eagle. The rest of the army didn't move and maintained disciplined ranks.

Then the Archmage, sensing that the Sorceress is not yet ready, unleashed his powers. His powerful spell could not be stopped and Flames of the Phoenix engulfed crossbowmen. Many of them fell and the rest decided it is more important to protect their wizard-general than to fight and carried her to safety. Nearby harpies followed.

With many units out of range High Elves focused on the available targets. On the West sea guard unhorsed 2 dark riders while other shooters claimed life of 3 fleeing harpies.

Dark Elves - Turn 2
Dark Elves first charges (apologies for a blurry picture)
Not everywhere tactical retreat was executed perfectly

On the West Dark Riders charged Dragon Princes who exposed their flank. Heavy cavalry chose to perform tactical retreat but their sudden appearance unnerved the archers who fled. (Edit: After so many games against DE I still can forget I can have re-rolls for panic checks :()

On the East Witch Elves charge Reavers who withdrew and then try to catch the eagle but it also flies away. Frustrated witches wail in disappointment even though they still can feel their murderous god's blessing.

Outcasts - Turn 2
High Elves do not charge yet but the combat is inevitable
High Elves win the fight on the West

Retreating Dragon Princes fail to control their steeds and run away again. Their companions circle around the tower to threat dark riders. However, the aim of high elven shooters is very good and both enemy light cavalry are dead. Even 2 remaining harpies who have just rallied do not enjoy their freedom of movement for long.

On the East things start to get hotter. First, white lions move as close as possible to corsairs but do not charge yet, knowing that the huge phalanx of the executioners behind them would destroy them soon after they attacked.

Swordmasters make a single thin line and great eagle lands in front of the witches while reavers move to their flank. Elven Archmage once again breaches the magical defenses of the supreme sorceress and flames of vengeance this time burn witch elves. Some of them are saved by their god but many still fall and the regiment's strength is reduced by a single rank.

Dark Elves - Turn 3
The battle is now fought on the East only
Too powerful magic phase for Druchii

Dark Elves try to maintain the pressure on the East, where now the battle goes on. Witch elves catch the poor eagle and in battle frenzy continue their charge. Exacutioners shift to the side to have a better position for the attack, while Corsairs charge Lions. They are not up to the task, however, as even under the influence of the spell white lions kill enough corsairs to force the survivors to flee.

Then supreme sorceress starts to weave her spells, eager to punish hated Asur for her previous failures. She casts a protective spell on his own unit and then focuses all her powers to destroy nearby heavy cavalry with potent searing doom. She kills them all but cannot contain the magical feedback and is wounded too. (Edit: Sill me! I forgot that Searing Doom is a flaming attack and didn't roll my ward saves. Ouch! )

Outcasts - Turn 3
Swordmasters vs Executioners - epic combat between truly elite warriors
High Elves strike another powerful blow

Judging that the time is right both Swordmaster units charged in a perfect unison. Executioners meet the charge with hatred and anticipation. It was a bloodshed of epic proportion as preternatural skill of Swordmasters was confronted by hatred and stubborn determination of Executioners. No less than 21 elite Druchii warriors lied dead after initial charge of warriors of Hoeth. No less than 11 of them had to pay ultimate price for that daring attack. But hatred and duty to the war altar of Khaine kept executioners fighting where other regiments would break easily.

White Lions maneuvered nearby, to envelope executioners and move out of sight of the witch elves. They were additionally blocked by the great eagle and for the third time flames of the phoenix engulfed brides of Khaine (Edit: Lachie didn't dispel it in his phase). Less than a half of the regiment remained.

Dark Elves - Turn 4
Swordmasters vs Executioners - the fight continues (apologies for blurry pictures - again! )
The center of Druchii army slowly melts away

Witch elves in their uncontrollable frenzy kill yet another eagle and run from the battlefield for some time. That is what high elves need and they already surround executioners.

In the combat between both elite warrior units Swordmaster gain upper hand again, despite additional protection granted by magic. Still only 4 high elves remain. On the other hand only quarter of the executioner's regiment still fight too. A very bloody civil war indeed!

Outcasts - Turn 4
With executioners gone, cauldron looks very vulnerable
Also sorceress and her unit finally attract some attention

White Lions charge harpies and after destroying them with easy they continue into a single rank of Executioners. However, 4 remaining swordmasters swing their blades with precision and none of the Druchii warriors stands to hit back. Now the nearby cauldron looks very vulnerable without its protectors.

With no better targets, High Elven shooters engage Druchii crossbowmen into shooting duel. This regiment starts to melt away too.

(Edit: We had an interesting situation here. Witch elves were out of the table at this moment since they overrun too far away. But flames of the phoenix was not dispelled so technically the spell was on. We decided that the spell is on but since the regiment is out of the board, it does not take damage. How would you play it?)

Dark Elves - Turn 5
Witch Elves return
But isn't it too late for the rescue?

Witch Elves come back to the fight but it might be a little too late for them to rescue the cauldron or the sorceress. She orders to shoot at the enemy but only few crossbowmen remain and they cannot inflict enough damage. Cauldron is pulled back but it is not fast enough to avoid prowling lions.

Outcasts - Turn 5
White Lions replace Swordmasters as an assault force
The shooting duel continues

White Lions smell blood and charge the cauldron. Two witch elves die but witch hag kills a few lions in return. For now she keeps defending the altar.

Lone bladelord marches towards witch elves. He is bloodied and only he remains from his regiment. But he knows his death will be avenged and he sacrifices himself without any regrets.

All high elf shooters aim at the heavily depleted crossbowmen unit. Only 3 of them remained when eagle claw crew aimed a powerful single shot at their flank. The bolt hit but ... passed in between the druchii warriors doing absolutely no harm! (Edit: Nothing like hitting the flank only to roll a '1' to wound :))

Dark Elves - Turn 6
Witch elves attack!
But they are too late to save the cauldron

Noble sacrifice of the bladelord buys enough time for White Lions to finish the cauldron's guardian. Furious sorceress can only watch and to add insult to injury her magic fails too. Crossbowmen also fail to cause significant damage - again.

Outcasts - Turn 6
Last charge of White Lions and the end of Supreme Sorceress

White Lions didn't have enough after they destroyed cauldron of blood and decided to attack witch elves alone. In the last moment they got magical protection from the archmage and that saved the unit as witch hag went berserk and killed half of the unit herself. Only stubborn determination kept Chracians in combat.

Then all the shooters aimed at few survivors and sorceress. With so few of them remaining they had no chance to escape vengeance and the unit and the sorceress died to the arrows of High Elves.

After-battle thoughts

That was a very bloody battle indeed and the end result does not reflect it. I must admit that many things went better than planned. For example, I didn't expect crossbowmen to flee after that first flames of the phoenix. But it was very helpful as sorceress was out of range for some spells and crossbowmen didn't shoot either.

In fact, I don't remember the game when I managed to cast flames so many times. It didn't kill the witch elves but it reduced the unit significantly.

There was a moment in turn 3 when I considered charging the witches but I am glad I didn't. With ASF banner and so many attacks even Swordmasters aided by flames would not be able to win that combat. While against executioners, although very bloody, it was much more advantageous.

Apart from being stupid and not remembering the rules so that I would not lose two units I don't think I would do many things differently. The only thing I am considering is actually holding with dragon princes and accepting that flank charge. I had a chance to kill one rider before they even attacked. Then, 2+ armor save (reduced to 3+) could be enough protection. I was concerned, however, that if I broke (without any wounds I would lose by 2) then it might result in much more dangerous chain of panic checks (but then I had those re-rolls I forgot about).

In the end Lachie noticed I actually broke his army and with bonus points it gave me 17-3 win. The result that I didn't even dream about seeing his army. While losing by big margin is never great thing I still hope that Lachie had a good game and I would like to thank him for being great sport and keep fighting until very end!

Thanks man!

No comments:

Post a Comment