Sunday 14 June 2015

Game 101 - Wood Elves - 2014/02/17

Game 3 - Johannes - Wood Elves - Meeting Engagement

Meeting Engagement is a tricky scenario. It allows for close deployment but has a chance to mess it up for you if are going to roll too many 1's. It also creates a little confusion as to how to deploy. On the other hand it can create some nice opportunities due to closer proximity of the troops.

This round I drew Johannes who played with beautifully converted Wood Elves army:

Johaness army in its full glory! Picture courtesy of ThaneG from The hand made dragon is there for occasional Transformation of Kadon spell

I have found out during the tournaments that Wood Elves players are one of the two kinds at the moment. First, great modellers and simply in love with their miniatures. They didn't abandon that army over the years simply because they like their collections too much. The fact that it is very difficult to play with such army is not a problem. Second, hardcore players, who like to win in style. Their grasp of the game is unsurpassed and they can teach you tricks you have never heard of. Being in one group does not mean you cannot be in the other one too!

Johannes brought the following force (unfortunately I still haven't obtained the army lists from the TO so sorry for lack of details):

Wood Elves - Army List

Treemen Ancient, Annoyance of Netlings - General
Spellweaver, Level 3, Dispel Scroll - Lore of the Beast
BSB, Light Armour, Asyendi's Bane, Hail of Doom Arrow

10 Glade Guard, Standard, Musician
10 Glade Guard, Standard, Musician, Banner of Eternal Flame
16 Glade Guard, Standard, Musician
8 Dryads, Champion

6 Treekin
11 Wild Riders
, Champion, Banner, War Banner
Great Eagle

Swedish Comp: 16

Not quite numerous force, with a mixture of elves and forest spirits. The shooting is quite potent against my small units and I had to approach with care as they can be deadly at the same time moving away from the danger of my own arrows. On the other hand, forest spirits are very tough and are deadly in close combat. Even dryads can be problematic, in particular for my elites, thanks to initiative 6.

That created a dilemma. I wanted to rapidly approach towards the soft elven units as they are the most dangerous at a distance but can be dealt with in close combat. But I didn't want to engage combat specialist from WE army unless I could do so with overwhelming forces and as isolated targets.

However, all depended on the dice rolls before the deployment showing which army set ups first and which units are kept in reserves. I won the roll off and it meant I had to deploy first not knowing where and in what strength my enemy was to be. That determined the symmetric set up.


* prologue and epilogue written by the great story teller (and fantastic painter!) of fame, Il Maestro himself!

‘Oh look, here he comes now!’

Wine sloshed out of the chalice as Larry hurriedly placed it down on the table and rose to greet his emissary. He walked past Bob’s chair, towards the tent flaps and out into the cold morning as the rider emerged from the forest and rode towards their lines. Bob sat at the table with the other lordlings and nobles, sipping calmly at his water as the tent fell silent, awaiting the news. The loremaster had sent a rider into the forest to treat with the Asrai and secure them safe passage through the forest, though ‘treat’ may have been too subtle a word, for Larry had given the rider a silver blade with a pommel shaped as a phoenix and instructed him to deliver it to the Asrai commander with an ultimatum: accept this blade in the name of the White Tower and let them pass, or die by it.

Not much of an offering Bob mused, the rhythm of the galloping horse growing louder and louder as it approached. He placed his own empty chalice on the wooden table and leaned back into his chair, mentally preparing himself for the day-and-night long discussions that would be held once they received word that the Asrai had denied their ‘request’. Bob had been through too many battles to know how this worked, and he was not relishing the long night ahead. And here I thought I might be able to get a single good night of sleep.

The air shimmered and grew hot in an instant, and it was only Bob’s instinctive reflex to jump to the ground that saved him from being knocked to it. A sudden rush of air blew through the tent, knocking everything over with a loud crack. As the heatwave passed overhead Bob jumped to his feet, sword in hand, and spun around to face Larry and the attack.

Encompassed in a ball of bright blue light, Larry hovered inches above the ground, the very air around him shimmering with raw power. Bob’s gaze passed beyond the blinding light and towards the field before them, though to his surprise it was empty, bar the emissary. Sword still drawn, he stepped forward until he stood next to the hovering loremaster, and it was only then he noticed it.

The horse, scared by the sudden lights and noise, had turned sideways and ran parallel to the forest border, away from the camp. The rider hung on for dear life, though there was not a breath of life left in him. Cruel vines wrapped around the horse’s neck and up the rider’s arms and legs, the barbs biting deep into the flesh of each, tying them together. The headless body of the emissary swung back and forth as it unwillingly held on to the frightened horse. In place of his head the rider had a small phoenix pommel – the rest of the silver blade lay sheathed inside his neck. Bob stood motionless and watched, the sounds of the Asur host behind him readying themselves for battle hardly registering as he was struck by the barbarity of the scene before him.

‘They have made their choice,’ whispered Larry calmly, his magical words carrying to every elf ear in the camp.

‘The Outcasts march to battle.’


Civil War?

Deployment of the armies after vanguard moves

As you can see not many WE units decided to show up. Both treemen, spellweaver, treekin and dryads decided to stay hidden before the battle started. Not surprisingly, Johannes was not pleased.

On my part, only Swordmasters didn't show up and I had an advantage of having the first turn.

The Spellweaver had following spells:

Wyssan's Wildform, The Flock of Doom, The Savage Beasts of Horors

Outcasts - Turn 1

High Elves approach their outnumbered kindred

But the distance is still too far for some serious damage to be inflicted

High Elves move forward and Swordmasters regiment enters the field too. Outnumbered wood elves stay as far as possible and that works well for them as they stay out of range of the missiles and spells. Only Wild Riders suffer some casualties in the opening salvos of the battle.

Wood Elves - Turn 1

Reinforcements! Forest Spirits enter the battle!

The opening attacks of the Wood Elves are much more devastating

Arrogant Dragon Princes didn't pay attention to the surroundings and now they had to pay the price. They exposed the flank to the ferocious Wild Riders and now they had to withdraw in order to avoid dangerous situation. That also forces the Lions to abandon their position and both units withdraw.

All Forest Spirits enter the battle now, protecting the flanks of a very fragile Asrai bowline. Taking heart from that, glade guards aim carefully and both small groups of Sisters are reduced to single member each!

Outcasts - Turn 2

High Elves smoothen their battle line

And fight fire with fire!

Shooting contest continued. High Elves kept shooting at Wild Riders and they crippled the unit leaving one lucky survivor. Larry the Loremaster treated the biggest unit of Glade Guard with ice cold-flame hot beauty treatment. Some of them fell to a well placed fireball, the others suffered shortly after from the coldness of the iceshard blizzard.

The rest of the regiments redressed their ranks and regrouped forming a new battle line.

Wood Elves - Turn 2

Treekin lead the way

With Forest Spirits wood elves can afford to be more aggressive
Forest Spirits on both flanks of the wood elves formation advance towards High Elves. Remaining glade guards also advanced and kept shooting. One of the Sisters didn't make it to the safety of the castle while Sea Guard became another target.

Outcasts - Turn 3

High Elves - setting up the trap

Will White Lions be enough of a bait for the Treekin?

Four High Elves units manoeuver together to set up the trap on the Treekin. White Lions move in to be a bait while both units of Swordmasters wait nearby to counter charge. Also Dragon Princes, equipped with the enchanted banner and their lances blazing with magical fire, are ready to strike.

In the meantime High Elves shooters aim at their counterparts and the regiment of glade guards is reduced to just a few members. Another unit of Wood Elves shooters is destroyed in the building by another Fireball, cast by no other but Larry the Loremaster himself!

Wood Elves - Turn 3

Forest Spirits break through!

The trap is sprung but Forests Spirits had their own surprise!
Treekin and Dryads charged against White Lions. But before the blows were exchanged, the Spellweaver made the form of the treekin even wilder than usual. Sensing magical energy the nearby blood forest lashed out in rage. Forests Spirits remained unscathed but Chracian hunters were not that lucky as even their considerable forester skills were not enough to avoid the punishment. Then, using the opportunity created by the Blood Forest attack, treekin and dryads attacked. Brave White Lions, already depleted, were no match for the ferocity of the Forest Spirits and perished. Triumphant treekin had enough momentum to storm into Swordmasters nearby and to move out of charge range of the Dragon Princes. Now it was High Elves who were in trouble!

The glade guards tried to aid the Forest Spirits in their assault and unleashed their missiles at second unit of Swordmasters. With the aid of the Hail of the Doom Arrows, half of the regiment was destroyed.

On the other flank great eagle attacked the Sea Guard and pinned them down while Treeman Ancient chased off the bird of prey that aided High Elves.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Exchange of blows continues

Desperate measures to save Larry the Loremaster

Dragon Princes charge the dryads and kill all but 1, which promptly flees to the safety of the forest, never to be see again. Swordmasters aid their brethren but even the warriors of Hoeth are helpless against the tough wooden skin and natural toughness of the treekin. A lot of casualties are inflicted and Swordmasters flee. The unit that tried to save Larry the Loremaster was unfortunately caught in pursuit.

The shooters of the Outcasts did better as their eliminated both remaining glade guard units, leaving the Spellweaver and the BSB in the open. Ellyrian Reavers managed to finally hunt down the last Wild Rider and Sea Guard braced for impact as the charge of the Treemen Ancient seemed to be inevitable.

Wood Elves - Turn 4

Treemen rule the centre!

Both armies are already bloodied but none admits the defeat

Both Treemen charge the enemies in front of them. The Ancient is stopped for a while by the noble sacrifice of the sea guard captain. The Speallweaver and the BSB try to run towards the woods in the hope of saving themselves from the High Elves arrows.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Exchange of punches continues!

After careful examination of the situation on the battlefield and backed up by the experience of the countless battles, Nick H. concludes that Elves will win! But who would believe Father of Lies?

Dragon Princes charge!

Dragon Princes charge the accursed treekin and their flaming lances inflict a lot of damage. One of the knights is lost, however and steadfast treekin holds the line!

The Spellweaver and the BSB are not given another chance of escape and are shot down with cold blood.

Unfortunately for High Elves, Sea Guard is unable to stand up to the wrath of the Treemen and flee.

Wood Elves - Turn 5

Treemen advance further

Treekin keep fighting

Treeman Ancient tries to engage a new foe but High Elves refuse to fight. Treekin kills another Dragon Prince but the fight is not yet resolved.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Treekin still holds!

Dragon Princes fail to wound the treekin and their armour seems to be made out of paper

In the last charge Dragon Princes storm into the flank of the treekin but this time they fail to wound the enemy and suffer a lot of casualties in return.

Elven shooters all aim at a treeman but are unable to inflict mortal wound.

Wood Elves - Turn 6

Treekin hold again!

Not much is left of both armies

In the last attempt to charge, wounded Treeman charges the Dragon Princes but cannot reach them. However, tough treekin still refused to give ground.

Treeman Ancient moves close and attacks white lions with its strangle root attack. Brave Chracians refuse to panic despite heavy casualties.

Both armies were very bloodied at this stage and disengaged in good order. Although from the Asrai army only Forest Spirits remained, the passage through their domain was denies to the Outcasts.


 photo Summary_zpszk5rgf8y.gif
Turn-by-turn summary animation


Red leaves swirled through the air and smoke, rising and falling on invisible waves as they seemingly danced to a music of their own. The fading din of battle in the background did nothing to mar their beauty as gusts of warm air swept them across the battlefield, until they finally came to rest on the forest floor. They floated calmly in pools of slickened blood, their red hues matching the glistening puddles they now inhabited. Though war waged around them, the leaves had no knowledge of it – nature was serene and unscarred, even amongst so much death. It was beautiful.

Bob’s moment of serenity came to a sudden end as the thundering hooves of the Dragon Princes approached. He looked towards them and caught his breath as he spotted a single figure in charred robes, slumped over the back of a horse in the midst of the column. He rose to his feet, all too slowly after the pains of battle, as the princelings arrived with their leader, taking him down and laying the limp body on the ground.

Bob knelt by Larry’s side and placed his hands over his fallen leader’s heart and eyes. He closed his own eyes and started mumbling prayers and offerings – though the words themselves held largely no meaning for him, he still believed that the gods cared for their truly loyal subjects. He knelt there for what felt like hours, reciting over and over the broken words taught to him by corrupt teachers, until at last he gave up. He slumped back on his knees, and looked upon the face of his fallen leader. Tears rolled down his face as he stared at the lifeless corpse in front of him, wooden shards still protruding from multiple wounds sustained in battle. He begrudgingly closed his eyes once more and began saying his final prayers, hoping that at least Larry’s soul would find its way to the light.

The air shimmered.

Bob opened his eyes in surprise as Larry’s body was engulfed in a bright blue light. The surrounding dragon princes jumped up and fell back a few paces as an unbearable heat started to emanate from Larry’s body. Bob sat there in silence, relieved to feel the searing heat touch his exposed flesh. They have answered my prayers he thought as the ball of light grew and encompassed him, and in an instant the whole world blinked out of existence as heat and light took over his senses.

Suddenly the light and heat disappeared, and Bob was left kneeling by his leader’s side. In front of him lay Larry’s now unmarked body – the wooden spikes had disintegrated, and his wounds had healed. His torn and dirtied robes were now resplendent in white and unmarked; the smell of death that had clung to his corpse mere moments ago was gone. With the grace of the gods on our side, none can truly question the motives and loyalties of the Outcasts thought Bob, a smile creeping across face as he lay witness to the events unfolding in front of his eyes.

Slowly, Larry opened his eyes

After-battle thoughts

First of all I would like to thank Il Maestro for his fantastic prologue and epilogue short stories! I think they add greatly to the report and I am very happy that he agreed to write them for me. I hope you like them too! If you do, please, let him know so that he might agree to write more for the following battle reports!

After surveying the photos I took during this game I realized we played 7 turns. Somehow we probably forgot to turn the "counter" and miscalculated the turns. In that turn I lost my fast cavalry, one in a futile attempt to aid Dragon Princes and another one to block the treemen. I also could not inflict that last wound I needed to fall down that damn walking tree!

The game ended with my loss of 8-12 and I was clearly outplayed by Johannes. Congratulations! In particular for this brilliant move with blood forest!

I made a mistake of staying in it with White Lions. Johannes not only managed to get Wild Form on the treekin, which in itself is a great thing to have, but the attack of the blood forest enabled treekin killing all the lions. That, in return, allowed the overrun into Swordmasters. So not only he was not trapped, not only he destroyed my unit but also charged my Swordmaster with the general and was safe from the charge of the Dragon Princes with flaming attacks! Master stroke! 

There were a few things that also contributed to the overall result. Let me go through them one by one:

1. A mistake in positioning of Dragon Princes on the right flank. In fact, I wonder if I should not have charged turn 1 with them. Instead I presented the flank to the Wold Riders and had to flee. Quite typical mistake for me lately  :oops:

2. Already mentioned mistake in positioning the White Lions in the forest but also lack of anticipation or preparation for the worst . I mean that I didn't position Dragon Princes in the way that allowed them to counter immediately no matter what.

3. Another mistake was exposing the flank of Sea Guard to the charge of the eagle. I think I should have marched them to the other side if not turn around and move back.

4. I don't know why but I was very passive with White Lions. It was risky to charge them against Treeman alone but maybe I should have not charged treekin with Dragon Princes but turn around and use cavalry to kill the treeman instead?

5. I was very desperate to destroy treekin as an act of revenge after killing my Loremaster. I think I would have had a better chance to hunt them down if: a) I have positioned second unit of DP properly so I could charge with both at the same time, b) failing that if I manoeuvred to position them for the coordinated charge. Instead I kept throwing unit by unit at them and simply lost them all.

I guess I learned a valuable lesson and should be happy that after these mistakes the loss was only 8-12. I lost the initiative in that game, started reacting and countered piece meal. All bad moves and no wonder that they led to the loss. On the other hand I am glad I targeted elves instead of forest spirits with spells and missiles as it allowed me to remove the threat of enemy archery and get fragile enemy characters.

I hope that this example is going to show that treekin can be very dangerous. If they are going to get natural ward save then they will indeed be a truly feared Monstrous Infantry.

In the meantime, thanks for reading!

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