Tuesday 3 February 2015

Game 67 - Warriors of Chaos - 2013/04/23

Game 3 - Warriors of Chaos - Meeting Engagement

One of the good things of attending tournaments is that in time you start having quite a group of people you have already played against and would like to have a re-match. It was indeed the case in game 3, when I faced Joel's Warriors of Chaos who have just received new goodies! I played against Joel's tough as nails warriors at CanCon and it was great to have an opportunity to play against their new version so soon. I really didn't know what to expect as the new lists are still tested and although some "must-have" choices seem to clear out then it is still matter of personal taste. Joel was kind enough to send me his army list with details so for a change all is there :)

Warriors of Chaos - Army List

Sorcerer lord lvl 4, Mark of Tzeentch, disc, Talisman of preservation, charmed shield, flaming breath (395) - Lore of Tzeentch
Bsb, Mark of Tzeentch, disc, halberd, 3rd eye of tzeentch, armour of destiny, burning body (251)
Exlated hero, Mark of Tzeentch, disc, shield, talisman of endurance, dragon helm, biting blade (203)
lvl 2 sorcerer, dispel scroll (170) - Lore of Fire

19 Chaos warriors MoN, shields, halberd, musican, standard (400)
18 Chaos warriors MoN, shields, halberd, musican, standard (380)
5 Hellstriders (95)
5 Hellstriders (95)
3 Skullcrushers, ensorcelled weapons musican, standard (254)
3 Skullcrushers, ensorcelled weapons musican, standard (254)

Army Total: 2497

In comparison to the old version there were no marauders (surprise! surprise! :)), no warhounds but instead of a single unit of warriors I had to face two. Hellstriders also multiplied to two squadrons. Skullcrushers became twin units and a pyromaniac of a sorcerer joined that merry band. Of course surfer-trio were still there and probably a little tougher than before too!

This army might be smaller and easier to outmaneuver on paper but I was not fooled by that impression. Each character on a disc is a tough unit on his own, capable of wreaking havoc individually. Skullcrushers are as tough as they were and I had a feeling that despite lower toughness the increase of wound number is going to be bad thing for me.

I was curious about the warriors. Harder to hit but I still had my re-rolls. Since they fight with halberds it means they have 6+ save against Swordmasters/DP's and none against Lions. Good! I thought my elites should be able to handle these guys but only when fought 2 against 1 to be able to kill them at a ratio that would save some bodies from my units. I expected blody exchange anyway.

Tzeentch magic would be a problem no matter what. So many spells that do damage and even these with d6 hits are often painful for my small units. With fire magic as a support prioritizing what to dispel would be a tough decision for sure.

While meeting engagement is not as bad as dawn attack in terms of deployment chaos it may have some funny effects. We rolled and it happened that I won the roll off again. I picked the side and started to deploy.

Wall of Steel
Deployment of the armies after vanguard moves
Not knowing where my enemy is going to deploy I went for a kind of symmetric deployment with center withdrawn and flanks forward in an obvious envelopment formation. Warriors were smaller army and if they decided to go through the center I could attack the flanks. If they deployed on either flank I could always withdraw one side and move forward with the other. At least I thought so :)

In general the rolling for reserves was good but somehow Archie the Archmage had a fantastic ideas of staying behind for a while. Light cavalry in reserves is quite a good idea but the only spellcaster and a general? Ah well. As some kind of consolation Joel's sorcerer lord and a unit of warriors had the same idea!

Fortunately for me warriors didn't steal the initiative and High Elves were about to start the battle. Respective wizards had following spells:

Sorcerer Lord - Pink Fire, Glean Magic, Firestorm, Gateway
Level 2 - Flaming Sword, Fireball

Archie - Searing Doom, Plague of Rust, Enchanted Blades, Transmutation of Lead

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves attack immediately

Destruction of enemy light cavalry

Seeing the opportunity to catch swift hellstriders Dragon Princes spur their steeds and charge in. Hellstriders died to the man and victorious knights reformed. At the same time elven reserves showed up and threatened the rear of a second unit of enemy light cavalry. The Archmage ordered his archers to aim at them as well and only a single survivor stood where the full squadron was seconds before.

On the North light cavalry blocked both units of steel clad behemoths, hoping their blood lust will prevail and that they will charge recklessly, exposing flanks to a deadly counter charge.

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 1

Warriors counter attack

Sorcerer Lord makes his presence known

Skullcrushers maintain discipline and do not let themselves be baited. Sorcerer Lord appears on the battle field and immediately makes his presence known. Unit of Dragon Princes disappears in the infernal gateway and nearby Swordmaster also suffer badly from enemy magic. Almost in an instant two powerful elven units are no threat at all.

Disk surfing hero spots exposed flank of hated Swordmasters (they killed his twin brother) and seeking personal vengeance storms in. Elven champion calls out a challenge and is killed shortly after but not before he lands a single wound on a chaos champion. The regiment of warriors of Hoeth stoically holds.

BSB also seeks his chance of glory and swoops down towards a small unit of archers being only protection of the archmage.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Ferocious maneuvering

Eagle Claw scores!

Having the best view over the battle field the eagle claw crew made a quick decision as to which of a juicy target to shoot at. Enemy BSB was the closest one and a powerful single bolt soon was sailing through the air towards him. It hit home with a huge impact, no armor could stand against such a force. But even tzeentch's magic fails sometimes and arrogant chaos champion was lying dead on the ground, his black heart pierced by the huge bolt.

Other elven regiments gave out a cheer but kept moving fast. Enemy was not yet unified and they had to take advantage of that. Swordmasters kept fighting against another chaos champion. Their companions from seriously depleted regiment decided on a suicidal charge and attacked skullcrushers. They managed to put one down but remaining two utterly destroyed a few elven warriors.

Archers didn't let a single hellstride to move away and killed him too.

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 2

Warriors gain upper hand on the North

But Elves seem to dominate on the South

Skullcrushers got and order to attack and didn't waste their time. White Lions readied their axes but despite their proficiency in fighting monsters they just could not dent Khorne blessed armor and only two brave Chracians remained to hold the enemy for a while. (Edit: I inflicted 7 wounds but Joel promptly saved all but one! Ouch!  ) Nearby light horse also tried to delay the brass behemoths but stood no chance against ferocious beasts.

Other units on the North also suffered casualties and it seemed that warriors won the battle of control over that area. Even on the South enemy sorcerer cast a powerful fireball and all but one reaver were dead. His horse was so terrified by magical fire that poor elf could only hold on in the saddle and wait until the steed stopped by its own.

But the glimmer of hope for elves came when Swordmasters managed to land the last wound on the enemy champion and freed themselves of that menace.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves smoothly change the direction of the attack

Setting up the trap
Using the opportunity Elves change the direction of the attack and use their local number superiority to surround the isolated unit of chaos warriors. Archers and Lions die bravely buying more time for their companions and archers even managed to wound enemy general!

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 3

Skullcrushers rushing to the rescue

Warriors keep pressing forward

Sorcerer Lord charges Eagle Claw and kills brave crew but elves one more time managed to wound chaos general! Warriors kill the interfering eagle but its sacrifice is not going to be wasted. Skullcrushers rush to aid the infantry but will they be in time?

Reality Check

Unfortunately to our surprise we run out of time  :shock: I honestly don't know how did it happen. Maybe we spent too long during deployment phase? I really need to do something to improve my timing. Some games are great but somehow some are slower despite the fact it does not feel so.

At this stage it was a draw so we handed out our result sheets. But since it was the last game of the day we decided to continue to see what could have happened.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Warriors are no more!

Powerful double punch!

Swordmasters, White Lions and Dragon Princes all charge at the same time and even powerful warriors of chaos cannot stand against such an assault. A few elves die in combat but warriors lose almost all of their numbers and fleeing survivors a re quickly run down by dragon princes.

At the same time Archie the Archmage finally manages to summon enough energy and obliterates regiment of skullcrushers all by himself!

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 4

Skullcrushers arrive but they are indeed too late

Both armies are significantly reduced in strength

Chaos army is now reduced to its general and 2 units but it is still a huge threat simply because elven force is also depleted. Both armies catch a second breath and regroup for a final push.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Elves regroup

Archie strikes again!

Elven units regroup to receive the charge of skullcrushers while Archie the Archmage once more breaks through the defenses of his adversary and tries to repeat the feat. This time, however, he manages to kill only one skullcrusher and wounds another one.

All shooters aim at the wounded enemy general but his armor is tough and blessing of his dark god saves him too.

Warriors of Chaos - Turn 5

Damn Skullcrushers!
Yeap, they did it again!

Knowing that Khorne favors the bold Skullcrushers charge in. And indeed, the blessing of their god saves them from harm and enables to completely destroy another unit of White Lions! (Edit: Joel did it again! :) He saved all but 1 wound, this time from 6 inflicted!)

Sorcerer Lord used his magic to great effect and almost got the Archmage himself too!

Turn 6

I don't remember what exactly happened in turn 6 for both of us and I didn't take photos :( I do remember trying to kill the Lord and failing again. I am not sure if I escaped with Dragon Princes either, although I would like to think I did :)

In the end when we calculated the points after full game it was a narrow elven victory!


Turn-by-turn animation summary

After-battle thoughts

Very bloody game, very dynamic too, with punches dealt in each turn from the start (well, almost :)). A great pity we could not finish the game in time but not because the result was more favorable for me. It just feels wrong when it happens. As I have said I need to work out a way to play in a faster and smoother way. The main reasons for delay as I see it are lack of good plan for deployment (need to think about some generic deployments for different scenarios) and slower than required game later on (as a consequence).

As to the game itself I was much more happy with my performance. I risked the close deployment which might have backfired if Joel rolled that 6 to steal away turn 1. I think it was reckless on my part so maybe I should be more careful.

It helped me that Joel decided to deploy wide as that meant he could not support his units with each other. He also made a mistake with fast cavalry. I would wait with these guys and use them later on. If he also deployed with refused flank I think it would be a bigger problem for me.

I was lucky with that bolt thrower shot at his bsb but it also shows a potential of the eagle claw. It shot 3 times per game (once even failing to hit on 2+ thanks to enchanted blades) but that one kill was all I wanted. I am also glad Swordmasters prevailed when I made a mistake and exposed their flank to the attack. It turned out to be good for me but I could not count on that.

Joel's amazing rolls for armor save for his skullcrushers were game changing! In both fights all I needed was really 2 wounds to kill a single skullcrusher. With that the units output attacks were reduced by half, enough to hold on there for longer and even finish the beast next turn. I guess next time I will need to cast enchanted blades on Lions so that they have armor piercing special rule too! :)

Joel, that was a great game and I enjoyed our rematch, also because we could stay and finish the game! Congratulations on the well deserved 3rd overall too!  =D> Hope to meet you again on some tournament, maybe I will manage to repeat the fit one more time and win too! :)

Thanks for reading!


  1. Hey Swordmaster!

    I didn't expect to see a report so soon! It was truly a pleasant surprise. So onto the report!

    1. Neither Archie nor the Chaos lord showing up initially was hilarious. It's a good example of how different missions can make Warhammer exciting (and very, very funny).

    2. I was extremely nervous looking at the deployment before the steal the initiative role. I think if he stole the initiative, your chances of victory would have been slim to none. Having said that, sometimes against a great opponent with a powerful army (which Joel seems to be and have respectively), it would be a mistake not to exploit such a huge advantage (even with the possibility of catastrophic failure). The advantage being: removing fast support which is essential to allow your MSU army to win the maneuver game (opponent still had three disc characters which can win a movement phase on their own). It also allows you to set the traps. All in all, I'm not sure what I would have done in your situation. Very high risk, high reward. Worked in your favor this time!

    3. I think you played a great game, yet again the time got you. It was great that you got to finish the game and came away with the victory. You don't have many great counters to the disc lord and characters which are tough for many opponents. You did well to take what your opponent gave you (eagle claw to the BSB) and focus on what you could take down and outmaneuver (warriors and crushers) which you could outmaneuver since you dispatched the hellstriders early!

    4. One possibility that I may have tried (not sure if it would have worked or not) is to put your "suicide squad" of Swordmasters in front of his skullcrushers outside of chaos lords charge arc instead of charging them turn 2. He would have then either been stuck, or forced to charge which would have wiped that unit and forced them to overrun. Once they overrun, you would have had some options such as White lion flank charge (maybe LSG could get in the mix) or a flank shot with the eagle claw. This plan would be effected by what his chaos lord charged, but I imagine he would have still charged the archers. Just an interesting thought!

    5. The idea you have about perhaps coming up with a general/generic deployment for certain scenarios is really interesting. I'd be really interested to know your take on what makes a "good" deployment phase for an MSU list also. Ex, what you look for in your opponents deployment and how you use that knowledge to set your own deployment. It may be a fun change of pace for your blog to take army lists you've played against before, and just have a "deployment game". This would essentially be setting up a game with an opponent, but quitting after vanguard moves. You would then analyze the locations of the units, and try to plan/predict how things would work out, which combats could you set up given where you deployed, etc. It would be difficult, but may change the way you/I think about the deployment phase. If nothing else, it would be a good mental exercise! So many games are won and lost in deployment that it is worth the practice and research to get that phase right.

    As always, thanks so much for the report and keep them coming!

    1. Hi Dan,

      I am very glad you enjoyed this report! And I wanted to thank you for the dedication to commenting on my games! I really appreciate that as I like the after-battle discussions a lot! What is more you spot a lot of important points, you are definitely an astute reader and I will do my best to address your very valuable feedback.

      1. They do! Of course you have to be prepared that it can happen but also be able to treat it with some sense of humor as otherwise it looks very frustrating!

      2. I definitely risked with deploying my units so close. I didn't know where Joel was going to put his regiments but I learned that against WoC an extra round of magic/shooting always helps. If I were to play that army again I would position my units further for sure. I reached the conclusion (not after this game but in general) that in such configuration the risk is way too big.

      I agree that sometimes playing like that may be rewarded but at the same time I don't think it is the only option. WoC need to come to me (more often than not) and that too can be exploited.

      3. I experienced quite a few unfinished games in the past and I attribute it to the fact I didn't have that much experience yet. I am faster now and such situations happen less often, that is good for me and my opponents as nobody feels bad about not finished game. It happens that we don't play 6 turns sometimes but usually the game is already decided by that time anyway.

      I am definitely glad I made it this time and yes, taking care of fast elements was important. I learned that disc lords can be contained if they are wizards but to catch them is not an easy task. However, once in combat they are not that killy as fully kitted combat lords.

      4. Indeed that is a better solution. It is a trap that can be seen through but if Skullcrushers didn't charge they would be blocked again. I think at the time I simply thought it is better to charge than to be charged but obviously it is good idea to let berserkers attack so you can exploit their lack of discipline. As a result I also lost my lions while hitting the flank of the crushers would have been a huge advantage.

      5. Deployment and formations is a very important but complex topic. Since that game I haven't achieved the goal of some generic formations but I do have some guidelines. There are a lot of variables that play important role, the terrain, the scenario, the enemy force etc.

      I actually try to do that deployment game you mentioned and come up with a better solution even if I know it is idealistic to assume my opponent would keep the same formation. But it is a great idea anyway and I recommend it to anyone.

      I will look into that topic for sure as I feel the need to have it worked out in a more methodical but flexible way. Just to give you a few examples:

      - if facing fliers I try to deploy in 2 lines - cavalry as a spearhead and infantry following. In this way I can put some pressure on the enemy with my cavalry but by moving them forward I also create a no-landing zone with my infantry behind them. You just need to maintain that 20" distance between the infantry and enemy fliers.

      - against aggressive, combat orientated army I will try to deploy further from the enemy so that I have more time to soften them up but also to divide the opponent's army, especially when they have units that move at different speed. That creates a difficult decision to the opponent. He either has to advance at a slower pace or spread his forces. Both options can be exploited by me. I just need to make sure I am not subject to some nasty panic tests while being so close to the edge.

      As I said it is way more complex than that and the fact that I have more units makes it sometimes even more complicated :)

      Thanks again for your great comments, please, keep them coming!


  2. I'm glad you enjoyed my comments! As long as you keep the reports coming, I'll keep the comments coming! I really enjoyed your anti-flier deployment. Using two lines with long chargers in front and foot soldiers in the back is something that I never considered. That's why I like your blog and reading other good battle reports in general (such as SmithF). Getting another generals perspective is extremely valuable because it can positively influence your playstyle or help you predict your opponents' maneuvers.

    I'm probably going to go through your older battle reports and comment/ask questions purely from a deployment perspective so keep an eye out for that.

    I hope to have a link to post for you soon. My DE are slowly but surely getting completed and I'd like you to check them out. The next step is to get them on the field and get your advice on how to improve as an MSU general.

    Until then!

    1. Hi Dan,

      I like your comments a lot because you focus on the game and try to see what can have been done differently. Each turn offers many opportunities and I had to choose one. Being aware of the others is very important and such analysis helped me to be a better player.

      There are still many reports I have waiting in a queue to be added to the blog (I started it long after I embarked on MSU and battle reporting journey) so there will be plenty of material to discuss. Of course if you have time to comment on any other game I will be very happy!

      Looking forward to hearing some more news on your DE!