Thursday 28 May 2015

Game 88 - Vampire Counts - 2013/12/09

Game 2 - Mick - Vampire Counts

In game 2, which also used Dawn Attack scenario rules, I had a pleasure to play against Mick and his horde of undead. We haven't had a chance to play against each other yet although I believe there were a few occasions in the past when it was quite possible.

Mick is a current number 2 in Oz and he was also selected to the Australian ETC 2014 Team. That meant I was playing against a veteran Master player :) Let's see what he decided to bring to the tournament:

Vampire Counts - Army List

Vampire Lord, level 1, great weapon, heavy armour, Dragonhelm, Talisman of Preservation, Book of Arkhan, Other Tricksters Shard, Red Fury, Flying Horror - 411 - Lore of Vampires
Master necormancer, level 3, Power stone - 185 - Lore of Vampires
Necromancer, level 1, Dispel scroll, Obsidian trinket - 105 - Lore of Death
Wight King, great weapon, Nightshroud - 130

34 Crypt Ghouls, champion - 350
5 dire wolves - 40
5 dire wolves - 40
30 zombies, musician, standard bearer - 100
20 zombies, musician, standard bearer - 70
28 grave guard, great weapons, full command, Banner of the barrows - 416
7 Crypt Horrors - 266
2 fell bats - 32
2 bat swarms - 70
4 vargiests - 184

Another tough army for my Outcasts to fight against. Vampire Lord has the ability to chop anything I can throw at him by himself. He can then proceed to heal himself if he suffers any wounds. GW and "only" 4+/4++ saves might give me a chance to wound him sometimes but in general it is a tough thing to accomplish.

Necromancers and a bound spell assured that the magic should work to VC army favor. Depending on the spell selection I was about to either face multiple invocations or even two van hels spells per turn. Spirit Leach on level 1 also added to the equation, in particular that at this event Inspiring Presence could be used for the roll-off. So lowly necromancer had ld10 for the purpose of that spell.

4 combat units were all tough on their own. Ghouls and Grave Guard are very numerous and only a powerful mutliple charge can decrease their numbers fast enough to avoid them getting back to fight thanks to necromantic spells. Vargheists, while frenzied and unarmored, pose a huge threat thanks to S5 and ability to fly. Crypt Horrors are insanely tough and very hard to destroy even with flaming attacks.

Add to that some zombies and a few fast unit and you have a force that can form a very solid battle line, can move surprisingly fast and can replenish the losses quickly too.

I also wanted to highlight that Mick's army looks absolutely fantastic on the battle field and I was ashamed that my own elves are not up to that high standard. I will need to improve that aspect asap. Mick, your army is an inspiration! Thanks for that! :)


Tight undead formation versus spread elven battle line

Deployment of the armies after vanguard moves.
A lot depended on the scenario. I lost the roll off and I knew that I will probably be second. Because of that I wanted to deploy slightly further with some of the units, so that I had more time to shoot or react. It was hard to predict where particular units might end up so I had to adapt quickly. But I had a little advantage because I saw how Mick's army is deployed and could form some kind of a plan already. His army unintentionally ended up crowded in the corner. It meant I had a lot of room for wide outflanking maneuver. At the same time I needed some delaying force on the opposite flank or units that could threaten the advance of the undead if they wished to turn more towards the center.

Whatever the deployment it looked like it was a race against time for both of us. If Mick managed to advance quickly he could overwhelm my forces on one flank before the reinforcements arrived from another. If I could delay the advance I would be able to set these combined charges and try to destroy his units in powerful attacks from all directions.

Mick's wizards had the following spells:

Vampire - Invocation
Master Necromancer - Invocation, Van Hels, Hellish Vigor
Necromancer - Spirit Leach

I attempted to steal the initiative but I was not successful and Mick had the first turn.

Vampire Counts - Turn 1
Undead move forward

The advance is unnaturally fast!

Undead horde moved forward. But instead of slow and uncontrolled shambling the restless dead move in unison and at a speed that was surprising even to the Elven warriors. Surely some powerful mind and iron will was behind that.

Outcasts - Turn 1
Cavalry leads the way!
Left flank on hold, right flank moving fast

Elves moved according to the orders given before the battle. Left flank stood firm and opened fire at Crypt Horrors destroying two of the huge creatures. For now. A pack of dire wolves was also destroyed in an accurate bow fire.

Right flank moved quickly to intercept dire wolves and to outflank the approaching undead units.

Vampire Counts - Turn 2
Undead are almost upon High Elves
Elven lines seem to be in disarray

Undead minions didn't slow down and in some cases it even looked like they are faster. Crypt Horrors headed towards the heavy cavalry, almost making it to the elven deployment zone. One regiment of Sisters had to withdraw from the charge of the Grave Guard. Powerful magic was at work again and not only the undead regiments moved surprisingly fast but the undying legion's warriors seemed to be even more vigorous. What is more, the seemingly destroyed Horrors stood up again and joined their cursed brethren.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Blurry picture - no report is complete without at least one
Encirclement of the enemy. Or so it seemed.
Offense is the best form of defense and Elves attacked. Dragon Princes with the support of Sea Guard attacked Crypt Horrors. Flaming lances tore through foul bodies and spears stabbed from the side but still 3 brutes remained and held the line for their vampiric master.

On the other flank elven units moved fast and encircled the enemy in a perfect formation. Or was it?

Vampire Counts - Turn 3
Counter attack
Undead dominate the left flank

Dragon Princes and Sea Guard fought bravely but the counter charge of the Vargheists was too much and both units fled. Grave Guard and Ghouls both destroyed interfering eagles but surprisingly enough one of them inflicted a single wound on a Vampire Lord before it perished.

Zombies moved accordingly to the Vampire orders and blocked elven cavalry from supporting their infantry companions.

Outcasts - Turn 3
All out charge!

Bob the Battle Standard Bearer gulped his potion and feeling very heroic shout out to the cursed vampire lord to meet him in a single combat. Surprisingly, the lord of the night sent his ghoul minion in his stead. The attack of many elven units was incredibly ferocious and where in one second a ghoul horde was threatening their lines, now only Vampire Lord and a single cannibalistic creature remained.

Elven cavalry hacked left and right to break through the bodies of zombies to aid their companions but for now they were stuck.

Vampire Counts - Turn 4
Exchange of blows continues
Vampire Lord tried hard to break through. He even managed to rise more ghouls to help him out. He faced only Swordmasters so he though he had a chance. But warriors of Hoeth swung their blades with no mercy and inflicted such horrible casualties to the unit that the magic was weakened and Lord of the Night perished with his minions.

Grave Guard, led by their immortal king also stormed elven warriors in order to break through. Archers bravely stood in their path. Brave warriors died but helped other units to set up the trap.

Outcasts - Turn 4
The might of coordinated attack

Another powerful combined charge!

Elves, encouraged by the fact the Vampire Lord perished, doubled their efforts. Heavy Cavalry tore through thin line of zombies and smashed into the rear of the Grave Guard. The timing was perfect as the undead were simultaneously engaged from all sides by Swordmasters and White Lions. No foe could stand such a powerful attack and Grave Guard was no more. Only their King had the will strong enough to remain standing.

Although the undead were still a threat it was clear that without their master and with their numbers decreasing fast, that they were in a very difficult position. Master Necromancer decided then, that it is time to withdraw before Elves regroup and encircle him and his brainless "bodyguards".


 photo output_7ESkFO_zpsxrq3lgr1.gif
Turn-by-turn summary animation

After-battle thoughts

I was very pleased with the outcome even if we played only 4 turns. I was hard pressed and I thought I am done when the opportunity presented itself. The all out attack, even without the aid of cavalry proved to be a right decision. I risked my BSB knowing that Vampire has lost 1 wound and that 3 ASF attacks with S8 can be his ending. Since the positioning of the characters prevented Vampire from attacking the Swordmasters I managed to inflict even more casualties. But the effect of destroying 30 ghouls in a single combat was surprising even for me.

Mick played a very good game and I admired his great skill in blocking my units with seemingly very slow infantry. Magic of course helps but it was a very good performance regardless. After the game we exchanged the impressions and he said he probably was moving his units too fast. It allowed me to isolate ghouls and even when grave guard turned around it was not able to help out and prevent the worse - losing the general.

Another powerful charge from all sides and also grave guard crumbled in a single turn. I was very glad I managed to pull out these charges as for a change, in this game the close combat was the main thing. Shooting did little and the casualties were brought back anyway.

And let's not forget about brave eagle who inflicted that one crucial wound on Vampire Lord himself!

I would like to thank Mick for a fantastic game! It was a great pleasure to play against you and I am looking forward to the opportunity for a rematch!

Thanks for reading!


  1. This showcases the true power of MSU! Very good game from both sides. His army was very fast and at first I thought that might be too much for you to handle, but you used it to your advantage. He could have afforded a more careful approach since shooting casualties could be replenished but I must admit that didn't occur to me at first. Very masterful play on your part and definitely a report to learn from. You did a great job setting up traps that were really unavoidable. His army lacked the shooting and magic to remove your support which proved very decisive. You seem to do well against purely combat armies and I think that's a big reason why.

    1. Hi Dan!

      Thanks a lot! It was one of the best games I played and I am very happy I got this victory as it was against a very tough opponent. I am glad I didn't panic as the push was hard and it looked grim when the left flank collapsed.

      This game is something I would love to achieve on regular basis and against different type of armies too!