Saturday 14 March 2015

Game 76 - Dark Elves - 2013/07/19


I am happy to start the series of reports from recently attended ConVic. :) In the first game we played Blood and Glory scenario. It was a rulebook one with a modification that the game continued after one of the armies was broken. The person who broke the enemy first would get 500VP bonus. If he remained unbroken himself by the end of the game, that bonus would increase to 1000VP. As you can see a massive shift!

In the first game I met Andrew who brought his very nicely painted Dark Elves to the tournament.

Dark Elves - Army List

Hag BSB on Cauldron

Sorceress, level 2, Dispel Scroll - Lore of Shadow
Sorceress, level 2 - Lore of Shadow

30 Corsairs, Full Command, Banner of the Sea Serpent
20 Crossbows
18 Crossbows

8 Cold One Knights
, Banner of Eternal Flame
15 Black Guard
, Full Command, Banner of Murder

A mixture of the usual suspects and some old school stuff. Andrew's army definitely had some shooting advantage over my own and I had to be very careful with my approach. I don't have that many archers to simply go for the shooting contests and fight at slightly longer range. What is more, in a blood and glory scenario I wanted to protect my own banners. Hence Lions, who have better protection against shooting, might not be used for shielding duties.

However, as usual in similar situations, I wanted to use my larger number of units to the advantage. First, I knew I could thin down crossbows a little. Deploying a little deeper in the zone meant that his first turn would be a waste as even after a move he would have been out of range. I also counted on my opponent to move to me as no matter if he wanted to shoot or fight or both, he had to close. Thanks to that I could jump forward in my turn and have that extra round of shooting.

I also thought Andrew might want to deploy tight. If he did I wanted to move on the flanks mainly. But with infantry close to the center I could always move both ways and either reinforce the center or push harder on the flanks.

Outcasts - Army List

Just a reminder of my own army list.

Loremaster, level 2, Armor of Caledor, Sword of Might -  300
Battle Standard Bearer, Dragon Armor, Halberd, Charmed Shield, Potion of Strength, Reaver Bow - 157

15 Archers, Full Command - 180
15 LSG, Full Command - 210
2 x 5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Spear, Bow - 2 x 105

5 Dragon Princes, Musician, Banner of Eternal Flame - 175
5 Dragon Princes, Musician - 155
2 x 11 Swordmasters, Bladelord, Musician - 2 x 163
10 White Lions, Muscian, Standard - 150
10 White Lions, Muscian, Gleaming Pennant - 155
5 Shadow Warriors - 70

Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower - 70
2 x Great Eagle - 2 x 50
2 x 5 Sisters of Avelorn - 2 x 70

I was very excited about that game as civil wars tend to be bloody and very brutal until the very end. This time, however, I could not rely on re-rolls on my elite infantry to balance out the eternal hatred. Seeing that COK have flaming attacks I wanted to use my Dragon Princes against them in a nice cavalry clash.

No mercy will be asked or given!
Deployment of armies after scouts and vanguard moves

Reavers on the West were initially deployed on the other side of the forest but I moved them out of range of the crossbows. Second unit was pulled back a little for the same reason.

As I have mentioned, I deployed in the way so that I could deny first turn shooting to crossbows even if they moved. As predicted Andrew deployed in close formation and weighted the flank a little. Very good idea against my army. He exposed his reapers, though, what I wanted to exploit with my fast units.

It was very good not to roll for spells for the Loremaster :)

Dark Elves Sorceresses got:

Enfeebling Foe, Mindrazor
Miasma, Steed of Shadow

Unsurprisingly Andrew won the roll-off for the first turn.

Dark Elves - Turn 1

Dark Elves opening moves
Dark kin move cautiously

Dark Elves moved forward with well controlled hatred knowing they will have a chance to unleash it soon. All their hated foes were still out of range for majority of shooters. Only the Reapers opened fire, inflicting some casualties but nothing too serious at this stage.

Outcasts - Turn 1
Outcasts respond in a more dynamic way
Counter moves to gain initiative

Outcast move to envelope the enemy and to unleash the might of their shooters. Fast troops close in to attack the reapers as soon as possible. Shooters jump on the hill and their arrows find their targets. Both units of crossbows suffer from the ranged attacks.

In the meantime:
Larry surveyed the battlefield from the balcony of the abandoned building. He was somewhat disappointed to see only a few infamous witch elves pushing some kind of bath tube. He hoped to encounter some more, in particular after studying some very graphical tome dedicated to the brides of Khaine.

Ah well, it seemed he could throw a fireball or two just to amuse himself. He observed as his fiery creations grew in size as they approached dark kin ranks. Then something went wrong. The fireballs, still growing, turned and twisted and started going back. Accelerating. Fast!

Larry could not believe his eyes but managed to shout "Take cover!" before the hell broke lose

Edit: I am not sure if I really tried to cast Fireball. I remember, however, I cast the first spell with 2 dice and got a miscast. Then I got a cascade. Then I lost the Loremaster. Ouch!

Dark Elves - Turn 2
Dark Elves press forward
First charges!

Burning hatred didn't allow to hold the line any longer and crossbowmen charged the reavers, who surprised by such a sudden attack from the unit that supposed to hold fast, fled out of the field. The crossbowmen carried on and decided to attack heavy cavalry.

As reckless as it seemed it was a well designed plan and sorceress supported the warriors just in time with a powerful mindrazor, using the advantage presented by the untimely disappearance of the Loremaster. The fight was bloody and Dragon Princes lost all but one of their numbers. Lone survivor held, however, knowing his companions are already preparing a counter attack.

In the meantime the shooters tried to get rid of the fast troops but they divided their shots and High Elves kept coming at them, even if they suffered considerable casualties.

Outcasts - Turn 2

High Elves counter attack!
Dragon Princes charge!

Dragon Princes charge to relieve their companion. He refuses to withdraw and dies in combat. However, the timely counter charge destroys crossbowmen and the sorceress that accompanies them. Before the momentum carries them into nearby Cold One Knights, enemy cavalry is shot to pieces and only two knights survive to face the wrath of Caledorians.

Light troops, heavily depleted, have the chance for revenge and attack the reapers. Both crews hold, however.

Dark Elves - Turn 3
Dark Elves keep pressing forward!
Black Guard in action!

Black Guard, led by the army general, counter charge attacking dragon princes. Caledorians have to use all their skills as their mounts shy away from the stinking cold ones. As a result the usually effective lances unhorse only single enemy knight. Using the confusion in the enemy ranks, Dreadlord kills a few high elves knights and the survivors need to retreat. They fortunately outpace the pursuers.

On the East a single Eagle finishes off the reaper and its crew but on the West Shadow Warriors keep dying.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Powerful punch by Swordmasters

Exchange of blows continues

Since the corsairs took the bait and exposed their flank, the Sowrdmasters charged in. Even attacked from the flank, the black ark dwellers were dangerous enemy. But warriors of Hoeth showed no mercy. In fact, the blow was so powerful that even the threats shouted by the Witch Hag were for nothing and corsairs fled with remaining Swordmasters in hot pursuit.

Shooters destroyed the last surviving cold one knight while the lone reaver managed to destroy the last reaper and its crew member.

Dark Elves - Turn 4

Corsairs keep fleeing!

Chariot's desperate attack

Sisters blocked the Black Guard in noble sacrifice. That allowed archers led by Bob the BSB to hold against the charging chariot and even wound it a few times.

Corsairs could not muster enough discipline to reform and kept retreating!

Outcasts - Turn 4
Dark Elves army is surrounded

Only 2 units remain!

Swordmaster chase the corsairs off the battlefield to get rid of the threat. BSB destroys the chariot and remaining units of the Dark Elves army are either surrounded or blocked.

Seeing the development of the situation Dreadlord gives a signal to withdraw before his army is completely destroyed.


Turn-by-turn summary animation

After-battle thoughts

It seemed that our first game took a little longer to warm up and we had time for 4 full turns only. Despite the early loss of the Loremaster I managed to pull out a 13-7 victory and I was very happy to get that result.

But first of all I would like to thank Andrew for a great game and an opportunity to start a tournament with a classic match up. Games between High and Dark Elves tend to be very bloody and I guess it was one of such battles too.

I was quite pleased with the deployment and I don't think I would change anything. It was a pity I lost Larry with the very first spell as it seemed to put me in a grave danger. Not only I lost my offensive magic (and some dispelling bonus) but I had to recover from the loss of 400 VP.

I did make a mistake with Reavers on the center right. I think it would have been better for me to hold. I simply didn't take into account that if I turn the long formation for fleeing I would end up too long to avoid hitting my own unit and then fleeing the battle field. I realized it immediately after declaring the flee reaction and it was too late.

Andrew told me he underestimated my shooting and that is why he lost 3/4 of his Cold One Knights before the combat even begun. S4 Sisters helped here as well.

I got 2 standards and was 1 point from breaking the enemy. I believe 2 shooting phases might have given me the chance to get Black Guard and crossbowmen were in great danger too. On the other hand failing steadfast break test with a re-roll only to fail to rally on a re-roll as well was very unlucky for Andrew.

All in all I was happy to get my first victory no matter what, in particular that I started the game without the general and spellcaster.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Hey Mr. Swordmaster!

    Back from Europe only to return to two exams this week! I wanted to check in though and found a wonderful HE vs DE matchup!

    Great victory on your part, especially with the early loss of Larry. I feel like the battle was almost over at the list making stage. I personally could not run a DE list with so little in the way of mobile support (no fast cav, no harpies, no flying characters). You claimed his huge unit of corsairs for essentially the price of an eagle (?50pts). You kept the eagle safe and when he did get an opportunity to remove it, it seems he chose other targets. Hindsight is 20/20, but not allowing a 50pt piece to ruin your game plan must be taken into account. Overall, I don't think your opponent played poorly, but I feel that his list was poorly constructed. I feel that it lacked in the flexibility department, but if he has success with that list often, more power to him. Just my opinion of course

    Another issue was the placement of the COKs. Putting them behind the crossbows offered protection but it greatly reduced the threat and threat range of that unit. I probably would have deployed them toward a flank and not blocked by other troops. Maybe this way, they could be out of range from some of your threats while still being a threat themselves.

    Great report my friend!

    1. Hi Dan,

      Sorry for late reply but I was on holidays myself! :)

      I must admit I am always reluctant to discuss army list first. I assume that players had reasons to bring the armies they had during the tournament. Sure, more mobile support is great to have (and you don't have to convince me about that!). But at the same time I remember how negative people were about my own army list when I started the MSU journey.

      I wish I could explain certain decisions by my opponents. It is thus so important to have them sharing their thoughts after the game and in particular in a form of feedback for the battle report. I am not sure why he decided to pick other targets than an eagle for example. I can only speculate he was concerned with COK being shot at but then he limited his movement options as a result.

      I am glad you liked the report though as I definitely was happy to pull out the victory!