Sunday 14 December 2014

Game 62 - Empire - 2013/03/28

Game 2 - Empire

In a second game of a tournament I faced the army that remains my nemesis. Empire. When I saw a big unit of knights, demigryphs and 2 hellblasters I knew I up to another tough challenge. However, I firmly believed that I learned a thing or two from my defeats and that I might actually put up some good fight.

Josh, my opponent, brought the following list (as always, please, forgive me the lack of details about magic items)

Empire - Army List

Archlector on Altar
level 2, Lore of Light

2 x 10 Crossbowmen
2 x 25 Infantry
(I think halberdiers but possibly swordsmen too)
10 Knights, Great Weapons
4 Demigryphs
5 Outriders
2 x Cannon
2 x Hellblaster

I was outgunned. It was good I didn't have to face a steamtank this time but 2 hellblasters were dangerous enough on their own. Good mixture of ranks, armor and relatively heavy hitters meant I could not just rush towards the enemy lines as survived the shooting would be easy pray for combat troops.

I had to approach differently.

I thought Josh might form some kind of a castle with infantry and war machines as it seemed to favor his army. Because of that I wanted to do the following:

1. Stay away from the range of hellblasters until I was able to shoot them down. 20 archers should do the trick if left alone. Sea guard could help provided I had a good chance at killing hellblaster before it shoots back.

2. Eliminating Outriders would be priority too. They are simply too dangerous to be left alone.

3. Steady but careful advance would keep a little pressure on the enemy while I could maneuver to position units for simultaneous charges and hopefully enough would survive magic/shooting to be able to do some significant damage.

4. I wanted to use Metal Lore to some good effect, this time more with direct damage spells. Backed up by Reaver Bow and single shots from eagle claw I hoped I will be able to inflict enough damage to monstrous cavalry so that my own combat specialists would be able to defeat them.


Deployment after vanguard moves

As predicted Josh castled. Please, remember, that woods and hills blocked line of sight completely. As Josh deployed his armor to the side it was good for me as I could try and approach these regiments, engage them and still be out of range of hellblasters.

Buildings were impassable terrain. I managed to deploy archers in the way that I could shoot at war machines. I also tried not to stretch the deployment so I formed double line in the center. The units there still had long way to walk towards the enemy.

Respective wizards had following spells:

Wizard - Net of Amyntok, Banishment

Archmage - Glittering Robes, Searing Doom, Enchanted Blades, Golden Hounds

I was very happy with the spell selection as I had 2 good spells to harm monstrous cavalry in the form of Searing Doom and Golden Hounds. Glittering Robes are always great and Enchanted Blades do help too. What not to like if you have 2+ re-rollable to hit as well as armor piercing?

To my surprise I won the roll off and I have found myself in a unfamiliar position when I moved first.

Outcasts - Turn 1
High Elves advance
Envelopment maneuver on the West

High Elves advance in a wide envelopment on the Western flank. All units remain out of range of deadly hellblasters and archers aim at them immediately. They are quite successful as they inflict some damage right from the start.

Elven shooting is also very efficient on the East. Sea guard proves to be very efficient and kills all Outriders in a single salvo (Edit: very lucky, I know)

Archmage manages to spread aura of protection over nearby troops even if the expected shooting was not going to be to the maximum of Empire abilities.

Empire - Turn 1
Empire dig in and do not move

Empire shoots back

Empire troops do not move maintaining their defensive formation. Although their shooting is a little limited they still inflict some damage. Some spells go through as well, wounding a few elves (Edit: I am not sure who did it but in between level 2, altar and prayers empire still had enough to cast and break through my defenses)

Outcasts - Turn 2
High Elves keep advancing
First charge!

High Elves have first opportunity to charge and reavers attack the flank of crossbowmen but humans still hold and reform to face elven light cavalry.

The army keeps advancing with Lions heading towards enemy knights, cavalry forming the center and swordmasters kept as reserve. Archers and sea guard all open fire at the nearest hellblaster and manage to finish it! Eagle claw crew, not wanting to be worse, aim at demigryphs and kill one of them too!

Empire - Turn 2
Empire troops remain on their positions

First casualties in combat

Empire troops see no reason to abandon their positions and remain motionless. Crossbowmen are beaten this time and flee from the battle field but victorious reavers do not pursuit.

Shooting and magic inflicts some casualties again, this time on sea guard.

Outcasts - Turn 3

High Elves slow down their advance

Black circle - enchanted blades

High Elves advance but slow down the pace a little. Shooting and magic (Edit: I think) causes a few casualties upon knights, demigryphs and hellblaster. It is clear that some more serious combat will happen soon.

Empire - Turn 3
Empire counter attacks ...
... but knightly charge fails miserably

Empire knights cannot avoid combat anymore and decided to charge the only unit they can  - White Lions. But Chracians, their axes reinforcements by the spell, show no mercy and give no chance to even try to hit them. All 8 cavalrymen are dead before they have a chance to strike back! (Edit: S6, armor piercing and 2+ to hit with re-rolls = devastating effect)

Demigryphs advance too but with so many enemy regiments around it is hard to choose against which it is good to charge.

Empire artillery finally has a better chance to speak and cannons destroy the eagle why hellblaster enacts its vengeance upon weakened unit of sea guard, which is utterly destroyed.

Outcasts - Turn 4
High Elves pick up the pace
Powerful magic blow!

High elves continue their advance. Units maneuver in such a way that demigryphs are blocked by lions with second unit ready to counter charge. But before the trap can be revealed elven archmage destroys them on his own. All it takes is to cast two direct damage spells on the monstrous cavalry and no assistance of the close combat troops is needed!

Archers continue with their shooting and claim yet another hellblaser! Even the engineer is wounded. Empire army loses a lot of its assets.

Empire - Turn 4
Empire troops try to patch up the holes in their defensive formation
And hit back too!
Empire infantry moves in to fill the gaps. With the shooting abilities reduced Empire still tries to inflict casualties. Another eagle is shot down and two dragon princes are also killed. In the end Empire wizards manages to get a spell through and casts magical net on the second heavy cavalry unit.

Outcasts - Turn 5
High Elves storm the castle
and inflict some more casualties

Ellyrian reavers charge the exposed cannon and destroy the crew easily, overrunning into another war machine. Empire engineer is not able to hide from the incoming storm of arrows and falls dead, his heart pierced.

Sea guard unit charges exposed flank of a crossbow unit in the forest and breaks them. They flee but are caught.

Dragon Princes try to break through the spell but fail and even lose 3 of their numbers as a consequence!

Empire - Turn 5
Another counter attack
Elven troops are pushed back

Archlector moves his altar into combat and elven light cavalry are no match for him. Sea guard tries to use the woods to its advantage but even in a dispersed formation human infantry is able to push them back.

Outcasts - Turn 6
Last charge
High Elves redress their ranks

Trying to redeem themselves Dragon princes charge the cannon and after easy victory, overrun into the archlector. Sea guard rallies and reforms to face empire infantry.

Empire - Turn 6
Last counter attack by Empire troops

Overrunning heavy cavalry tries to inflict some damage upon the archlector but he is saved by Sigmar. He is not able to push them back, however. Infantry charges from the forest but despite greater numbers their loose formation is not tough enough to break solid line of elven spears.

With that last effort armies disengage. It is clear that Empire troops suffered more and had to withdrew before elves could re-group and destroy their army entirely.

Turn-by-turn Summary


After-battle thoughts

I was very happy to win that game. I didn't expect I could do it but I was determined to try something new. Patience with advance and focus with shooting, backed up by metal magic helped enormously. I was lucky enough to keep rolling some 6's when I needed them (against hellblasters) but I think it just shows archers are quite good at war machines hunting.

Single shots from eagle claw at monstrous cavalry helped to thin them down so that magic could finish them off. Also, having two spells that can actually damage them is a great thing as I have more chances to get at least one through. It also improves my chances to do some damage as d6 roll is always tricky.

The fact that Josh remained static with his troops helped me a lot. I could isolate his knights and kill them in combat. Even without magic demigryphs were doomed as there were just too many units around for them to break through.

On the other hand I wonder what I could have done better. I think eagles should have been deployed behind the buildings on the East, then I could jump them behind the forest (although crossbwomen were a little annoying there and I should not forget about bound spells). Possibly that would let me to get them into position to attack the cannons. Or I could kept them behind the forest one turn longer.

I am also thinking that deploying one swordmaster unit behind sea guard (the one that got shot) and the other closer to the archers would help me to have units in position to engage enemy infantry. But that is because I managed to shoot down these hellblasters while before the game I wanted to be safe in the first place.

In the end I was very happy with the result too as 900+ points difference gave me nice 14-6 win.

I would like to thank Josh for a very good game! I hope he still enjoyed it. He did well in the tournament, winning his two other games.

Thanks for reading!